The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a trade investigation to assess the impact of Canada's worldwide lobster exports on the U.S. lobster industry.It's the latest election year overture aimed at Maine, where lobster, valued at $468 million US in 2019, is the state's largest export. It is also where Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Trump are trailing in the polls.On Aug. 24, the United States International Trade Commission announced it will investigate the possible negative effects of the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA) on American lobster exports.The investigation was requested by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The investigation will also examine tariff treatment of Canadian lobster in the United Kingdom, China and other countries."We're not sure what it means," said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada."We're studying it. The government of Canada is studying it. Now we're talking to our colleagues in the U.S. and we're trying to figure out how best to manage it from the Canadian side."The situation has the attention of the federal government."We are aware of the USITC announcement and are closely monitoring new developments," said Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Patricia Skinner in an email statement.Investigation follows major tariff winThe trade investigation was launched three days after the European Union eliminated an eight per cent tariff on U.S. lobster, sweeping away an advantage enjoyed by Canadian fishermen under CETA.It was a major win for Maine's lobster industry and for Trump, who had demanded European tariff relief two months earlier.Neither the Trade Commission nor Lighthizer's office would discuss the trade actions when asked by CBC News.Maine feeling the love — this yearTrump visited Maine in June, where he held a roundtable with the fishing industry and announced he was reopening the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the New England coast to commercial fishing.Last week, a Maine lobster fisherman was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention, where Jason Joyce praised the removal of the European tariff and Trump's decision to reverse the Obama administration protection for the seamounts.A one-year trade deal with China eliminated a 35 per cent tariff on U.S. lobsters imposed during a trade war between the countries.Lobster fishermen and exporters in Nova Scotia were beneficiaries as Canadian shipments to China soared to fill the void.The trade commission's findings will be released in January, but not before a public hearing is held Oct. 1 — about a month before the U.S. election.MORE TOP STORIES
Shirley Jensen-Klassen, a 64-year-old member of Fort McMurray #486 First Nation (FMFN), is currently living in a home without power, water, sewer service or garbage collection. When Jensen-Klassen realized the problem three weeks ago, she called Ron Kreutzer, chief of FMFN. The home had previously belonged to Julie Cheecham, a long-time elder of FMFN.
Part two of a two-part series. Read part one here. Paige Fogen says she can't help but wonder if the unexplained disappearance of her brother is somehow connected to the cases of other men who have gone missing in B.C.'s southern Interior.Marshal Iwaasa vanished without a trace last November. His burned-out truck was found on a remote forest service road near D'Arcy, B.C., about 150 kilometres northeast of Vancouver. To date, police and private investigators haven't found any clues about what happened to him, or evidence to prove he's dead or alive.In the two years before Iwaasa disappeared, at least five other cases of men going missing were linked to the same region of southwestern B.C. Some of those cases share details similar to Iwaasa's.Two of the missing men were eventually found dead. None of the cases have been solved.The RCMP says there is no "investigational correlation" between any of the files, but Fogen can't help but wonder. "I certainly think that there's something," she said. "Whether this area does happen to be higher for dumping vehicles and burning them, or whether there's something else going on."Fogen is not the first to be struck by the parallels.Last year the family of another missing man also raised questions about possible links in the cases.Luke Neville vanished without a trace near his home of Spences Bridge, located about 140 kilometres north of Hope on Highway 1, in Oct. 2017. His burned-out van was found on a forest service road 20 kilometres out of town the next day. "I keep hoping every day that the police would call and say we're starting to connect all the dots," brother Mark Neville told CBC in 2019. "But no, I haven't heard anything from the police about if there's any commonality between the cases. But I feel that there is — that's just my gut."Missing men cases in B.C.'s southern Interior * Marshal Iwaasa, 26 — last seen Nov. 17, 2019 Iwaasa's torched GMC pickup truck was found by hikers on a remote forest service road near D'Arcy B.C., Nov. 23, 2019. His last known location was visiting a storage locker in his hometown of Lethbridge, one week earlier. Lethbridge Police are leading the investigation and say there is no evidence of criminality in the case. * Ryan Provencher, 38, and Ben Scurr, 37 — last seen July 17, 2019, found dead one month later The two Surrey men were last seen alive in a 2019 white Jeep Cherokee which was found four days later, abandoned in a wooded area near Logan Lake, located between Kamloops and Merritt. One month later, their bodies were found in a rural area north of Spences Bridge, 80 kilometres away. The RCMP has said there was "criminal behaviour" associated with the case, but no further details or cause of death have been made public. * Ben Tyner, 32 — last seen Jan. 26, 2019Tyner, a working cowboy, vanished from the Merritt area after riding into the hills to look for cattle. His abandoned horse was found fully saddled on a forest service road northwest of the city two days later. An extensive search by volunteers and police on foot, horseback, in helicopters and on snowmobiles, found no trace. * Ryan Schtuka, 20 — last seen Feb, 18, 2018The 20-year-old disappeared after leaving a house party at the Sun Peaks Ski Resort outside of Kamloops. RCMP and hundreds of volunteers have searched extensively through the village and its surrounding trails, forests and mountains, but few clues have ever emerged as to what happened to him. * Luke Neville, 48 — last seen Oct. 9, 2017 Neville's burned-out white van was found on a forest service road 20 kilometres from his home in Spences Bridge. A cadaver dog search of the area in June 2018 turned up nothing. Last year the Neville family erected a billboard on the Trans Canada Highway in Spences Bridge, asking anyone with information to come forward. Police say they consider the disappearance suspicious. Brother Mark Neville says the family has not been informed of any developments in the case. "No leads, no suspect, no news," he said. "It's all in the police's hands and up to them."According to an RCMP spokesman, all the cases remain open in each of their police jurisdictions. "The investigators in these matters are familiar with other ongoing investigations," said Cpl. Christopher Manseau. "The only thing noted to be in common is that the missing persons or victims are male, and their geographic location."
For Ricardo Moraes, a veteran photographer who for 11 years has documented for Reuters life in Rio de Janeiro's often dangerous cinderblock slums known as "favelas", work began at about 6 a.m. on Thursday, when he heard a radio report of a hostage situation in Sao Carlos, a sprawling tangle of hillside homes near the city center. The images he would capture - a young woman, kneeling over her husband's body, overcome with grief and surrounded by heavily armed police - ultimately would appear on the front pages of Brazil's two largest newspapers. The incident culminating in the photographs began when a man who police later identified as a drug trafficker took a family of three hostage in an apartment building.
The owner of a chemical company — a 38-year-old man from Markham — has been charged for allegedly supplying chemicals to illicit laboratories producing fentanyl and methamphetamine.Officers executed search warrants Thursday at a home and at facilities used by Genaxx Pharma and Dufore Technologies, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a news release.According to the release, officers seized 400 barrels of chemicals and lab equipment.The RCMP said officers of the Toronto Serious and Organized Crime Unit, based in Milton, Ont., had been investigating Genaxx Pharma, Dufore Technologies and its owner for allegations of diverting chemical products and laboratory equipment to illicit laboratories to manufacture controlled substances, including fentanyl and methamphetamine.On Saturday, the RCMP said the following charges had been laid against the man: * The sale of chemical products knowing that they will be used to produce fentanyl. * Possession for the purpose of selling anything that will be used to produce a controlled substance. * Illegal importation of Class A precursors. * Possession of proceeds of crime. * Offer to transfer restricted firearms when not authorized. * Attempt to possess a firearm for the purpose of trafficking. * Breach of prohibition order.Meanwhile, officers also charged a 29-year-old Toronto man with offering to transfer restricted firearms when not authorized to do so."There is a marked disregard for the wellness of individuals in the profit driven crime of chemical product diversion," said Insp. Marwan Zogheib of the Toronto West RCMP Serious and Organized Crime Unit."The illegal firearms acquisition by criminals is of particular concern and it increases the propensity for violence."Anyone with further information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.
Fifteen years ago, Hurricane Katrina left death and devastation in New Orleans, La. Award-winning journalist Jarvis DeBerry speaks to CBC News about what's changed in the city since then, and what still needs to be done in the U.S.
MONTREAL — Protesters in Montreal toppled and defaced a statue of John A. Macdonald on Saturday as rallies were held in several cities to demand that police services be defunded and reformed.A spokesman for the Montreal police confirmed the statue of Canada's first prime minister was unbolted, pulled down and sprayed with graffiti at around 2:45 p.m. The statue's head disconnected from its body during the incident.Jean-Pierre Brabant said police were on hand but did not intervene other than to ask the crowd to disperse on a loudspeaker.He said no arrests were made.The incident came at the end of a peaceful protest in which police estimate some 200 people marched to call for police defunding as part of what they called a nationwide day of action.Images from the event show a crowd of protesters marching in the rain under umbrellas and carrying signs bearing slogans such as "We demand change."The protest organizers, who call themselves the Coalition for BIPOC Liberation, are asking cities to reduce their police budgets by 50 per cent.They said the diverted funds could be used to invest in alternatives to policing such as better mental health treatment, civilian conflict resolution services, and trauma-based emergency services.But Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante condemned the vandalism of the statue of Macdonald, which she said could be neither tolerated nor accepted."I understand and share the motivation of citizens who want to live in a more just and inclusive society," she said in a statement. "But the discussion and the acts to be taken must be done in a peaceful manner, without ever resorting to vandalism."She said the city's public art office would secure the site and coordinate the statue's preservation.Newly elected Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole was less diplomatic, saying on Twitter that Canada is a great country that people should be proud of."We will not build a better future by defacing our past," he said. "It's time politicians grow a backbone and stand up for our country."Calls to withdraw funding from police forces have multiplied in both Canada and the United States in the months after George Floyd, a Black man in Minnesota, was killed when a police officer pressed a knee against his neck for nearly nine minutes.This set of protests follow a week that has seen major-league athletes strike over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot in the back seven times by a police officer. The 29-year-old was left paralyzed.This week also saw Ontario's police watchdog clear officers who were in the Toronto home of Regis Korchinski-Paquet when she fell to her death from a 24th-floor balcony in May. The Special Investigations Unit said officers didn't commit any crimes, but the woman's family said that if officers hadn't been there, she would still be alive.Rallies were also held in Toronto and London, Ont. Others were scheduled in Fredericton, Moncton and Halifax, according to organizers.In Toronto, a protest organized by social justice group Not Another Black Life saw a large crowd of demonstrators take over two parks before culminating in a march through the the city to Toronto Police Headquarters.Protesters were greeted by cheers from those sitting in restaurants and watching from their windows, though a few people shouted profanities at demonstrators.Diana McCormick, a server and bar manager, had just finished her shift when she said she heard a man yelling at protesters in front of the restaurant she works at, taunting them with the phrase "all lives matter."It was at that moment McCormick decided to join the protest."I think it's a really, really important moment, where taking a stand now is becoming more contentious than it used to be," she said, pointing to increasingly volatile political rhetoric directed toward protesters from politicians and pundits."I'm not anybody important but there is strength in numbers. More of us need to physically show up and not just support from the sidelines."The John A. Macdonald statue, which sits in Montreal's Place du Canada, has been repeatedly targeted by vandals who see it as a symbol of racism and colonialism.The statue has regularly been doused in paint by critics who cite Macdonald's role at the head of a government that created the Indian Act and established the residential school system, as well as his racist comments about Indigenous Peoples as reasons to target the monument.Macdonald statues in other Canadian cities have been vandalized in a similar fashion.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2020.—with files by Jake Kivanc in Toronto.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlire version carried an incorrect day of the week.
Jordan Reaves has been speaking out against racism and the need for change, but he's found that many sports fans are not receptive to this."We're people who have an opinion, have a voice," the Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman told Saskatchewan Weekend's Peter Mills. "As professional athletes we have a platform to reach a lot more people than the average person could. So I feel like it's our duty to use that platform."Reaves is vocal on social media and he's faced a lot of backlash. "I would say for every two positive (messages), I get about five negative," he said.It hurts even more when these vitriolic, racist responses are coming from Roughrider fans, said Reaves."They love us in Saskatchewan when we have our green jerseys on, but as soon as we voice our opinion about injustices toward black people, all of a sudden we turn from that Roughrider player that they love to just a black guy who needs to just put that uniform back on and know his spot in this world," Reaves said.He's had to block some Rider fans, despite usually being "very active in the community" with them otherwise, he said."I'll go for lunch with some of them. I contact them regularly, interact with them whenever I have the chance."Reaves said players are putting their physical well-being on the line every time they step on the field to entertain these fans."It's mind-boggling that they could support us one second and within an hour, within minutes, they could flip around and say, 'Go back to go back to being an athlete, go back to entertaining us and do your job. You have no right voicing your opinion about anything else other than sports," he said."We're putting our blood, sweat and tears on the field for them to enjoy and they can't even turn around and support us in our day-to-day lives outside of Roughrider football or outside of CFL football."Players opposing racismThe sports world is currently home to an historic stand against racism. The NBA has led the way as players refused to take the court for playoff games this past week.Teams and players in other leagues like the WNBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and the NHL followed soon after. Reaves' brother Ryan plays for the NHL's Las Vegas Golden Knights and has been at the forefront of speaking out in a league that is almost exclusively white.Reaves said he has had long conversations with his brother on what they should do and say."To have his voice being heard and having the entire NHLPA and NHL backing him and all the other black players in the NHL, it's just it's such a powerful message because nobody thought the NHL would do anything," Reaves said."To see them stand in unity with the rest of the leagues and to stand behind my brother and hear him talk like that, you know, I'm nothing less than proud of him."And he said Canadians shouldn't be naive to think racism is only an American problem. He said his car has been followed and searched by police, for example."There's racism in Canada. It's not as blatant as the States. It's not as blatant as the South. We don't have a Confederate flag flying in Canada or something like that, but it's here. Indigenous people, black people, it's been happening."He said we all need to step up in the fight against racism."We are in 2020 now, right. We're not in the 1800s, we're not in the early 1900s, it is 2020. It is to me embarrassing that we're still having this talk on racism."Reaves said most people they haven't had to deal with racism directly, but they still know it exists. Those are the people he is reaching out to so they can start having these uncomfortable conversations with their friends."You talk to people about it, who [normally] wouldn't be talking about it, and get them to talk to five of their friends about it. Now, we have 25 people talking about it who never would have talked about it. And now they're going to voice their opinion to five of their friends. Now we've got 125 people talking about it. You know, five again, we've got 625 people talking about who never would have even thought about speaking about this," Reaves said. 'I was just mad at the world'Reaves said he's had a rollercoaster of emotions from the time of George Floyd's death to watching peaceful protesters being tear gassed in Washington so Donald Trump could get a photo opportunity in front of a church."It was anger for the first couple of months. I was just mad at the world. I was mad at humans. I was mad at us as a human race," he said.Reaves went to rallies and protests and said he was able to slowly start channeling his energy toward trying to put out a positive message for change and to talk to people who normally wouldn't have this conversation."And then all of a sudden Jacob Blake happens and it's like I have nothing but anger again back in my body," he said.Jacob Blake is a Black man who was paralyzed after a Kenosha, Wis., police officer shot him in the back earlier this week."I'm working on it. I'm trying not to be as angry and, you know, put it for good. But it's hard not to be angry with these kinds of situations," Reave said.He hopes what all these athletes in the different leagues will help get conversations started with groups that normally wouldn't be having this talk. "I just really hope we get some change soon, because this is not how I want my kids to grow up, in a world like this."
Vancouver Coastal Health has added a popular clothing-optional beach at the University of British Columbia to its list of public COVID-19 exposures.The risk of exposure took place at Wreck Beach all day on Aug. 15, a hot and sunny Saturday when some people complained on social media about a lack of social distancing among the crowds there. The health authority says the risk is believed to be low-risk. Anyone who was there that day should self-monitor for symptoms, and anyone who develops symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 and then self-isolate. Asked why it took two weeks — the incubation period for the coronavirus — for the exposure to be posted, Vancouver Coastal Health said contact tracing is a complex process that sometimes leads back to earlier exposures."It's still important to alert the public, as it may help us identify and link other cases that are still ongoing," a spokesperson said.Health authorities issue public exposure notifications when contact tracers haven't been able to reach or identify everyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Although health officials say spending time outdoors is less risky than socializing indoors with people outside your household, it's still possible for COVID-19 to be transmitted. To reduce the risk of exposure, health officials recommend keeping at least two metres apart from others and not congregating in large groups.
Fire crews are battling a blaze near a village at the southern end of Columbia Lake in British Columbia had to contend with gusty winds that could fan the flames on Saturday. The BC Wildfire Service says structure protection systems are in use near the 55-square-kilometre Doctor Creek fire as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, a fire that is about six kilometres north of Okanagan Falls on the east side of Skaha Lake moved out of an area that was inaccessible for crews, past a retardant line and down into a ravine.
Police on Vancouver Island are looking for a man they say fled the scene of a fatal collision on Saturday on the Trans-Canada Highway.RCMP say around 8:30 a.m PT a Ford F150 truck went over the centre median on Highway 1 near Oyster Sto'lo Road north of Ladysmith and collided with a northbound SUV. Then a truck and trailer swerved to avoid the collision.Police say the driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene while the driver of the F150 fled on foot according to investigators. They also say the man may have stolen another vehicle near the scene.Police are hoping to find the man, who they say is most likely injured.'High-speed collision'"Investigators are extremely concerned about the F150 driver's well-being as he was involved in a high-speed collision, and evidence at the scene suggests he is injured," said a release from RCMP.Investigators do not yet know what happened to cause the collision. The BC Coroners Service is trying to identify the person who died.Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call South Island Traffic Services at 250-416-0352
Dogs have long been the workout partners of choice for runners and bikers, but Vernon, B.C., ultra-triathlete Shanda Hill has turned to four-legged caprine friends to train with her.The Silver Star Mountain Resort resident is joined by four male Nigerian dwarf goats — Yoda, Wicket, Sparky and Spirit — in her running, hiking and rafting exercises."He doesn't bark at anything. He doesn't chase people," Hill, who is also a dog owner, says of her paddle boarding companion on Kalamalka Lake. "He's just a really chill personality, and he's quite quirky."Hill, 38, spends most of her time on weight training, but she also does a variety of outdoor exercises to maintain her strength and balance. The athlete adopted her first two goats — Yoda and his brother — from a Kijiji vendor three years ago. She began working out with goats after a tragic incident: a cougar devoured Yoda's brother."He [Yoda] came everywhere with me," Hill told Chris Walker, host of CBC's Daybreak South, about her pet's insecurity. "I was going for a paddle board, and he wanted to be with me, and he didn't want to leave." Hill takes her caprine buddy on board to practise balancing on the water. The triathlete said goats are good swimmers, but she often puts a life jacket on her pet."It helps limit the amount of questions that I get," she said. "A lot of people don't know that goats can swim."Goats can really sprint, Hill added. She often hikes 12 kilometres with her four goats cantering along. She said her pets boost her motivation for training, especially this year when all of her races were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.But Hill's goats are more than just fitness partners. They can appreciate the music she plays on a piano outside of her house.Just two months ago, Hill was crowned North Okanagan Athlete of the Year. She was the first Canadian to complete a double-deca triathlon — a gruelling race equivalent to 20 Ironman triathlon races — in Mexico last October.
Dave Ross and a few other UFO enthusiasts packed up a drone and metal detector last Sunday and went exploring in a farmer's field in Ebenezer, P.E.I.The day before, Aug. 22, marked 30 years since witnesses reported an unidentified glowing object that landed in that same field.Ross didn't necessarily expect to find anything three decades later, but he couldn't resist the temptation to at least take a look.So he contacted the woman who still owns the property to see if she'd mind. "She said, 'Yeah, sure, go have a look.' She said: 'If you find any treasure, be sure to let me know.'"> We can't be the only like, you know, species in this whole universe. — Dave RossAccording to Chris Rutkowsky, the chief researcher with Ufology Research, a hobbyist group based in Winnipeg that documents and analyzes Canadian UFO sightings, there were several sightings of strange objects in the sky the night of Aug. 22, 1990. Witnesses described a white object that looked like a large ice cream cone falling from the sky near Ebenezer, and continuing to glow for about two hours after it landed. "RCMP confirmed that they had received more than a dozen calls about the Ebenezer object and had sent two constables to investigate. They noted that one officer could see it in the distance, but then he just lost sight of it," Rutkowsky wrote in a 2010 blog.Rutkowsky said military helicopters and aircraft arrived and began circling the area. A witness had told Rutkowsky years later that she saw something covered in a tarp being taken away on a flatbed truck. "Spurred by the possibility that the object was in fact a meteor which may have fallen, a group of 30 amateur astronomers with the Charlottetown Astronomy Club searched the area the next morning, but found nothing of interest," Rutkowsky wrote.NORAD and CFB Halifax insisted the UFOs were ascribable to meteors, Rutkowsky wrote. He quoted a newspaper report as saying: "Neither military agency would say if anything struck the ground."Thirty years later, Ross and his group found nothing of interest either, except for a few deep impressions in the ground. They took soil samples but have not had them analyzed."It was great, it was just so good to be in the same area where that happened," he said.UFO Facebook group on P.E.I.Ross, 54, said he knows there are skeptics, but he doesn't let that deter him. He's been interested in UFOs since he began reading books about crop circles as a teenager growing up in Charlottetown."People say like, you know, 'UFOs? You're kind of crazy' kind of deal, but I knew that there were other people out there that had the same interest as me."He recently started a Facebook page for UFO enthusiasts, which has more than 300 members. As well as UFOs, they share stories about other paranormal topics such as Bigfoot, mysterious underwater objects and, of course, other P.E.I. sightings.Ross said he wants to know more about an object that landed in Conway in the late 1960s, and the bright flashing light over the water a camper reported in 2014 at Twin Shores campground near Kensington."I'm a believer," he said."We can't be the only like, you know, species in this whole universe. And people have all these different sightings — credible people, not just crazy, nutty people but actual credible people had sightings — so there's got to be something different out there and I'd just like to find out if there is or not."More from CBC P.E.I.
An iconic motorcycle shop in Hawkesbury, Ont., has reached the end of the road after a ride that spanned more than four decades.Goulet Motosports, a Harley Davidson dealership, will close Oct. 31."It is with nostalgia that I write this but also with pride to have had the chance to lead a retailer that has grown so much in our small town," store owner Sophie Goulet wrote in a French post on the company's Facebook page on Thursday."What a wild and exciting ride it has been, meeting wonderful people, attending meetings, travelling to many cities and much more."> It's much more than a dealership. \- Yves Charlebois, employeeGoulet, who took ownership of the family business from her parents in 2001, said the decision to close wasn't linked to the performance of the dealership, but is the result of weak regional demand for motorcycles.The news sent shock waves through the small town around 95 kilometres east of Ottawa and beyond. Hundreds of people responded to the Goulet's Facebook post, with many expressing their sadness and sharing stories of visiting the store.Yves Charlebois, who has been working at the dealership for eight of its more than 40 years, said it served as a gathering place for bikers and non-bikers alike."Just to think about that, the fact that ... this place is going to be empty and nothing in it and no customers and no bikers coming in town, I just can't get my head over it," he said. "It's much more than a dealership."Goulet Motosports is well-established in the community, sponsoring community events such as the Hawkesbury Bike Fest, which brings together Harley enthusiasts from far and wide. The dealership also raises money for local institutions, such as the Hawkesbury General Hospital.Other local business owners are concerned the loss the dealership may have an economic impact on tourism."Our terrace on the weekend is always full. Because of [the dealership] closing, we're gonna lose a lot," said Marie-Êve Côté, restaurant manager at the Moonshine BBQ Smokehouse.
After rising to a record high last year in Canada, spending on home renovations fell off a cliff in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.But the months of lockdowns and the seemingly endless purgatory of working from home have Canadians once again opening up their wallets to make their temporary workplaces as tolerable as possible.In a recent report, Toronto-based real estate consultancy Altus Group calculated that Canadians spent more than $80 billion on home improvements last year, a tally that outpaced growth in the overall economy. And the year's home reno boom was especially impressive, considering that the sector shrank by more than five per cent the year before."If we go back to last spring, interest rates were tumbling, so we were riding quite high," CEO Peter Norman said in an interview with CBC News.The $80.1 billion that Canadians spent on fixing up existing homes last year was more than they spent on new ones — and it was a big reason why businesses that tailor to that market were feeling hopeful that 2020 was going to be another strong year.Then COVID-19 struck — and just as the pandemic had a negative impact on almost everything else in the economy, it brought that spending to a grinding halt. What was shaping up to be a strong year for renovations cooled off completely in March and April.Altus Group is now forecasting that after a record 2019, spending on home renovations will fall in every province this year.Norman said there's a delay of a few months in the data, so only now is there some sense of what sort of activity was taking place in May and June. But it seems that all those months cooped up at home compelled Canadians to move ahead with home reno projects they either weren't planning before or put on pause in March and April.That's no surprise to Melanna Giannakis. As a branch manager with Meridian Credit Union, she said the activity at her branch in Fonthill, Ont., a community in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, mirrors the trends that Altus is seeing across the country: booming demand, followed by a complete deep freeze and now a resurgence.Line of credit debt grows to pay for renosMuch of that activity is being paid for by homeowners borrowing against the equity in their property to tailor their house to the new reality of their lives."At the beginning of the pandemic, the annual growth rate of home equity lines of credit doubled and nearly tripled for personal use," Giannakis said in an interview.Some of that money was likely used to pay the bills as incomes fell and job losses added up in the early days of March and April. But a lot of it has been going to pay for home renovations."One of the main things I'm finding is people are less concerned about where they are living and more concerned with how they are living," Giannakis said. The massive rise in the number of people working from home has changed the game for real estate, as millions of Canadians are now less tethered to downtown offices. That's leading to a real estate boom in remote, less dense environments.Those staying put in urban centres want to spend money to make their homes better suited for them in the new reality, Giannakis said."People want more room and more space — home offices with nice backdrops for video conferencing, for example, home gyms, finished basements, backyards pools.... They want their own little hideaway they can hunker down in."It's not just a Canadian trend, either. Bank of Montreal economist Sal Guatieri noted in a recent report that after plummetting in March and April, U.S. consumers are spending more than ever on their homes again. In June, spending on household furnishings, equipment and maintenance eclipsed $650 billion US in June and is now back above its pre-pandemic level."Telework has already spurred spending on home comfort," he said, especially for one type of renovation: home offices. "Demand for in-home office renovations looks to have risen sharply."That's not to suggest that homeowners are spending willy-nilly. Norman cited Altus data showing that the number of homeowners planning renos costing at least $5,000 has declined compared with last year, but it's still rising from its March low.While indications are that the reno market is recovering strongly, the decline was so steep that even with the current boom, it's unlikely that spending in 2020 will come out ahead of last year's strong pace."We do expect things to be a little bit subdued this year relative to the last year," Norman said."We just won't see that same rate of growth."
A group of Indigenous professors and staff say they've been forced to leave the University of Saskatchewan because of racism, a hostile work environment and the slow pace of reforms.At least nine First Nations and Métis professors have left in the past five years, according to a University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association letter sent recently to U of S president Peter Stoicheff. Other Indigenous senior staff have also left during that period.Stoicheff has repeatedly cited Indigenization as one of his main goals, but some say little has changed. Indigenization involves incorporating First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, their histories and their world views into every part of the university."You can't just sprinkle a bit of Indigenization on a system designed to hurt Indigenous people. That won't lead to everyone skipping down the path with rainbows and butterflies," said Chris Scribe, former director of the U of S Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP).Jeff Baker, former chair of Indigenous education and one of the nine professors who left, agreed. He cited a "culture of fear" within certain colleges."There's no will to do anything about it," Baker said.University say Indigenous voices 'critically important'Stoicheff issued an emailed statement to CBC News. A university official said Stoicheff would not do an interview until after he meets with the faculty association. No date has been set for that meeting."We strive to make our campuses across Saskatchewan inclusive, safe and supportive places for all faculty, staff and students," Stoicheff said in the email. "Advancing Indigenization and reconciliation continues to be critically important work in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous programming."The faculty association letter alleges racism against Indigenous professors — particularly women — in tenure evaluation, transfer requests, research approval and other areas.For example, one new Indigenous professor was assigned to teach eight courses with no terms off, a far higher load than typically expected, said the letter. Another had their sabbatical denied because the college's dean "was not in favour of proposed scholarly activity involving Indigenous knowledge development," said the letter. Others spoke about Indigenous voices being "diminished" and "silenced."Some who left took early retirement. Some were hired by other universities. Others left the academic world."I wondered if it was just me, if I just wasn't tough enough," Baker said. "But I see there are many others."'Impossible for me to stay'Baker said his ideas were dismissed and his authority undermined. He said he tried for months to get someone at every level up to Stoicheff to listen, but no one would help.Baker now works as the land-based education co-ordinator for Mistawasis Nehiyawak, a First Nation located approximately 100 kilometres north of Saskatoon."It just became impossible for me to stay at the U of S. I'm much happier and healthier now," he said.Scribe drew international acclaim in the spring when COVID-19 restrictions forced schools to close. His Think Indigenous online classes for elementary school students quickly attracted tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and YouTube.Scribe said he knew universities could be intimidating places for Indigenous people when he accepted the job six years ago, but it eventually became unbearable."Universities were founded by and created for white guys. We sign up knowing it's going to be a fight for our Indigenous students," Scribe said."It was no longer a space where I could make the difference I wanted to."Scribe said there are "bubbles" that have been created at the U of S in certain buildings or by certain leaders to promote Indigenous engagement, but that's not good enough. He's now completing the final year of his doctorate and intends to remain in the province as an education consultant.'It's sad they had to leave'Long-time Indigenous professor of education Alex Wilson is remaining at the U of S, but said the issues raised by her colleagues are valid and urgent."It's sad to see they had to leave. These systemic forms of oppression — racism, sexism, homophobia — do exist at the University of Saskatchewan," Wilson said.Faculty association chair Allison Muri said these stories are not unique."It's disappointing. It's deeply saddening to see them leave in this way," she said.Muri agreed with Stoicheff that Indigenization is a top priority, but said she's seeing "a profound disconnect between goals and actions."Muri said some colleges and departments are making progress dealing with systemic racism, but there are "hot spots" where much more work needs to be done. She said the faculty association is prepared to work with Stoicheff on solutions. She hopes to meet with Stoicheff soon.In his statement, Stoicheff agreed more needs to be done. He said work is underway in several areas, including "development of an Equity Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Action Plan, a new Indigenous Strategy with Calls to Action, anti-racism training for all senior administrators, and investing resources in our discrimination and harassment prevention portfolio."He also said he hopes to meet with the faculty association soon."We are committed to having open and honest discussions to better understand any situations of concern, and to take all necessary steps to ensure inclusivity and respect in our teaching, learning and research spaces," Stoicheff said.
The RCMP's watchdog has flagged a number of ways in which the RCMP has bungled past investigations on cases ranging from mental health calls to fatal car accidents.The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission recently posted online summaries of its probes into allegations of Mountie misconduct — part of the CRCC's commitment to greater transparency.In the past, the independent body has released only the findings of its chairperson-initiated reviews (which often deal with high-profile cases that have generated media coverage) and a smattering of "sample" cases, concealing the details of hundreds of reviews from the public for privacy reasons.That's changing under the CRCC's new chairperson Michelaine Lahaie, said CRCC spokesperson Kate McDerby. In a bid to become more transparent — and against a backdrop of growing concerns about police accountability and use of force — the agency says it is in the process of posting all of its findings, with personal and identifying information removed.So far, details of 23 reviews that were completed in 2019-2020 have been released, with more on the way over the coming weeks. McDerby said the findings in all cases — whether they rule for or against RCMP officers — will be made public.'Minimal' investigation doneWhile the case summaries released by the CRCC to date represent a small fraction of the 2,000 to 3,000 complaints the agency receives every year, they describe some troubling standalone cases — and offer a window into how the force is compelled to reconsider its findings once the independent watchdog weighs in.At the end of one investigation, for example, the commission reprimanded the force for failing to properly investigate a fatal collision between a cyclist and motor vehicle, and for subsequently sending an "unreasonable" statement to the media. The father of the cyclist who died in the incident argued that the RCMP's media release — which indicated that his son was not wearing a helmet or high-visibility clothing and suggested that alcohol was a factor in the collision — was based on opinion and biased.The watchdog's review also "found that the minimal level of investigation done was contrary to RCMP policy," says the case summary."The RCMP should apologize to the complainant and his wife for the failure to reasonably investigate the collision that resulted in the death of their son."At first, the RCMP refuted the allegation that the investigation wasn't thorough while acknowledging that the media release could have been worded differently.However, after the CRCC came back with its findings, the RCMP's commissioner agreed to make changes.All potentially identifying details, including names and locations, are omitted from the case summaries for privacy reasons.Concerns raised about use of forceIn another case from the 2019-2020 pile, officers responded to a report about a person thought to be experiencing a mental health crisis.According to the now-public case summary, "the complainant and one of the RCMP members had an adversarial conversation, following which the RCMP member suddenly detected an odour of marijuana and told the complainant that they were being detained for investigation of possession of marijuana."A scuffle ensued during which the RCMP member used a closed fist to strike the complainant twice in the head."The complainant was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a fractured rib and soft tissue injuries to the head.The CRCC took the RCMP to task both for what it saw as unreasonable use of force and for using marijuana possession as a pretext for arrest — which didn't meet the grounds for arrest under provincial mental health legislation.While RCMP brass eventually agreed with the CRCC's recommendations, which included an apology and more training, the watchdog notes it took three years for the force to respond.WATCH | RCMP's watchdog 'dissatisfied' with forceThat wasn't the only case summary involving unreasonable use of force released in 2019-2020.In another incident probed by the CRCC, the RCMP was asked to apologize for using unreasonable force on a complainant after he was arrested for public intoxication.After reviewing security footage, the watchdog investigators found that "the third RCMP member delivered one knee strike to the complainant's face, three knee strikes to the complainant's ribs and back, and three punches to the complainant's face.""The complainant suffered bruising and scrapes to their face as a result of these actions," said the case summary.The RCMP deemed the use of force reasonable at first, but reconsidered after the CRCC review. The watchdog agency recommended the member in question meet with a use-of-force expert.Earlier this summer, CRCC chair Lahaie issued a statement citing a "general pattern of concern" about the RCMP's "unreasonable use of force" during wellness and mental health calls."Recommendations have been made over and over again with respect to wellness checks, and the RCMP does not appear to be listening," Lahaie told MPs on the public safety and national security committee on July 24.'Good for transparency:' researcherOne summary reported an officer failed to get medical assistance for a "bloodied complainant with a visible head injury," while another concluded a Mountie gave inaccurate information to the medical examiner. The CRCC also raised questions after an officer failed to properly alert the Internet Child Exploitation unit regarding a sexual assault case involving a minor.Other flagged cases involved unreasonable detentions, shoddy note-taking, illegal audio recordings and reckless driving. A spokesperson for the RCMP said the force does not comment on statements given by individuals or agencies."In most cases, the RCMP has already provided its official response, which is included in the sample finding summary," said Cpl. Caroline Duval.Erick Laming is a PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto whose research looks at police use of force and accountability in Canada. He said releasing the case summaries is a positive step toward greater police accountability — but he's not sure how much change it might bring about on its own."It's good for transparency. They always should have been doing this," he said."The average Canadian or the average citizen ... probably won't read the full summary ... but it's there. It's there for the public, it's there us to debate, to look at, to see what evidence was included in the investigation and how the decision was made. I think all of those elements are really important."Going forward, Laming said he'd like to see the CRCC collect more race-based data as they compile their investigations."We're still limited in knowing the full story of these issues."
For four years, Brent Springer has been living a nightmare.His daughter, Jami Springer, disappeared on Aug. 31, 2016, and the family is no closer today to finding out what happened.She was 27 at the time.Jami was last seen walking on McLaughlin Drive in Moncton during the afternoon. On Sept. 4, she was reported missing, and the RCMP consider her disappearance suspicious."You see the Netflix movies, you see stories, you read novels, and you think, well, of course the cliché line: 'This could never happen to us,'" Springer said.He describes his daughter as someone with a lot of potential."She's a young lady that's clever, she's beautiful and she has a wicked sense of humour. She's always able to find the funny things in situations." Not knowing what happened is hard."We've, I guess, understood that the real story is never going to truly come out without the help of people that have shown us so much support." Springer said."And the real story, unfortunately, we're coming to understand that she may have met a tragic end, and that's hard to swallow, that's hard to accept."Over the years, Springer said, the family has heard stories about what may have happened, but what they really need is credible information.The RCMP say the investigation is continuing."We have received tips and leads and have followed up on them, but we still have not found Jami Springer," said Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh in an email. Much has changed since Jami disappeared. Her mother has died, and her daughter MaryJane is now nine years old."I guess the thing that we can also hope that people will understand is that Jamie is a human being with a family, with loved ones, a mother, a sister, a daughter all of those titles." Springer said.Jami's daughter is "a breath of fresh air," Springer said. "She is just an unbelievable little 9 year old , she is sweet, she is loving, she's caring, she's artistic. She's flourishing living with her father ." Springer said.He's asking anyone with any information to come forward."Jami's situation is hanging over us. There has been no closure, but at times I find myself living my life and not taking enough time to appreciate my daughter. So I have to remind myself on a daily basis of what really my cause is now in life." Through Crime Stoppers, $12,000 is being offered for information that leads to Jami being found.Jami is described as five feet four inches tall, 106 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.She has numerous tattoos, including a flower on her upper back, a butterfly on her lower back, a red, white and blue Popsicle and the Lord's Prayer on her left thigh.
Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.Air Canada is facing heat for its COVID-19 refund policies south of the border, tooAir Canada had the second-highest number of complaints about refunds to the U.S. Department of Transportation of any airline — domestic or international — in May. Here at home, Air Canada and other Canadian carriers have refused to reimburse most customers whose flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. airlines, on the other hand, are required to issue refunds and not just vouchers. Filing a complaint to the U.S. regulator is one way passengers are trying to get their money back. Read moreChild safety expert warns against hand sanitizer packaged like snacksOne brand of hand sanitizer looks similar to a squeeze pouch that would contain liquid snacks like yogurt or applesauce, and also features characters like the Paw Patrol and Barbie on its packaging. Experts worry this might give kids the wrong idea. "This can easily find its way into a young child's hand, no problem, and could easily be mistaken for an edible product," said Chantal Walsh, a health promotion specialist with Child Safety Link. Read moreIs Tenet worth the risk? Some doctors say no. Theatres say pleaseThe summer movie season is usually jam-packed with blockbusters. But COVID-19 has sidelined all of that. Many film studios have postponed high-profile films indefinitely, while others have released them straight to video on demand. Except for Christopher Nolan's new film Tenet. The movie hits screens this weekend, and theatres are hoping viewers will come back in droves, but some doctors say it's not worth the risk. Read moreMany students have the option to 'virtually' go back to school. But how will it work?Earlier this year, schools across the country had to move quickly to implement remote learning. But as students prepare to head back to school in September — in person or online — many parents are hoping they've had enough time to successfully work out the kinks. Unlike the ad-hoc solutions put in place when the pandemic hit, many school boards say they're intentionally creating virtual schools with separate, dedicated staff adhering to the same curriculum as their in-class peers. Read moreWhat else is going on?Toronto dentist charged with sexual assault of patients allowed to keep practising with conditions Marketplace co-host David Common reports. Survey launched to gauge hardship on seniors in care homes during pandemic Residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities have been 'profoundly impacted,' says B.C. seniors advocate.These Ditto-branded razors and refill cartridges have been recalled due to a laceration hazard The razors may cut the skin during use.Former Foodora workers reach $3.46M settlement with app's parent company The Canadian Union of Postal Workers complained couriers were losing their jobs just as COVID-19 was spreading.Fresh peaches recalled in Canada after salmonella outbreak in U.S. Wegmans peaches are among the multiple products being recalled in Canada over salmonella concerns related to California company Prima Wawona. Marketplace needs your help Do you think your store is following proper food safety and COVID-19 protocols, or have you spotted some issues? We want to hear from you. Send us your photos, videos, and stories to email@example.comDo you use a camera to help monitor your loved one's health in a long-term care home? We want to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.orgCatch up on past episodes of Marketplace any time on CBC Gem.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Montreal and Toronto, calling on city officials to shrink police budgets and allocate funds to social services.