TORONTO – Ontario’s governing Liberals claimed Monday to have found a costing error in the NDP election platform, marking yet another attack on the third party that has been gaining momentum, as the New Democratic leader stood by her plan and ruled out any possibility of a coalition to keep the Tories from seizing power.The province’s election campaign has increasingly seen the Liberals take aim at the NDP after months of focusing their attacks on the Progressive Conservatives led by Doug Ford.Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne said just because her party and the NDP have similar values, doesn’t mean she won’t ask questions about their platform.“We have to have the same degree of scrutiny applied to all of our plans. That’s what this is about,” Wynne said at a campaign stop in Toronto where candidates who were the province’s finance minister and treasury board president outlined what the Liberals called the New Democrats’ “miscalculation.”The Liberals claimed the NDP platform defunds hundreds of millions in apprenticeship programs, women’s shelters and efforts for the implementation of legalized cannabis, among other things.“I think this is about the NDP making a mistake,” Wynne said. “I think the NDP believes that the things they’ve left out are important. But the fact is they’re not included in their plan. There’s no way when you look at their plan to be able to discern how they would pay for them.”The NDP countered that the figures in their platform were accurate, with leader Andrea Horwath saying the Liberals were being “pretty dishonest” with their criticism.“This is a party which has consistently challenged the independent officers of the legislature, not agreeing with the auditor general, not agreeing with the financial accountability officer,” she said.“I want to assure people that the NDP numbers are in fact correct.”Several polls have suggested the Progressive Conservatives have the most support ahead of the June 7 vote and the Liberals, who’ve been in power for 15 years, are lagging behind the New Democrats.While neither Wynne nor Horwath want to see a Ford government form next month, the possibility of a coalition between the two left-leaning leaders if the Tories win a minority was ruled out Monday.Horwath said there is no way she would join forces with the Liberals — appearing to go further than when she was asked Sunday about the possibility.“I am unequivocally saying I have no interest in partnering up with that party,” Horwath said. “They have consistently made decisions that were in their own political best interest, decisions that were in the best interest of the well-connected Liberals and high-income earners that tend to be their friends.”Ford, meanwhile, said Ontarians don’t want a “backroom deal” that would keep Liberals in power.“They don’t want the NDP making a backroom deal to prop up the Liberals,” he said at a stop in Niagara Falls. “They’re the same. When you look at the NDP who destroyed this province, then you look at the Liberals and how they destroyed this province, people want change.”Wilfrid Laurier University political science professor Barry Kay said the Liberals’ focused attack on the NDP on Monday is a bad sign for the governing party.“The NDP is moving up in the polls so the NDP is the party the Liberals are losing their votes towards,” he said.“They have to start fighting back. At the beginning of the campaign they hoped that it was basically a two-horse race … between the Liberals and Conservatives, but that is not the way the most recent polls have gone.”In their scrutiny of the NDP platform, the Liberals said the New Democrats didn’t factor in government spending announced between last year’s budget and this year’s fiscal plan, creating a hole of at least $3 billion in their platform.Horwath said the NDP plan was based on new spending programs the Liberals promised in their 2018 budget — substituted with the party’s campaign pledges. She added that her numbers have been verified by a former parliamentary budget officer.The Liberals’ own deficit projections have been called into question by the financial accountability officer and the auditor general, though the Liberals chalk that up to a difference in accounting methods.— with files from Colin Perkel and Liam Casey.
The federal Conservatives say if the Liberals are willing to put up billions of dollars to save the Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast, they should be willing to provide the same level of certainty to revive the Energy East line to the East Coast.Opposition parties are sharpening their attacks on the government’s decision to buy Trans Mountain for $4.5 billion to ensure it gets built, with the Conservatives looking to see how far the government is willing to go on other pipelines and the NDP arguing the Liberals have completely abandoned their environmental principles.Conservative MP Lisa Raitt says the government seems to take for granted the 32 seats it won in Atlantic Canada in the last election, since it is willing to give certainty to Trans Mountain but didn’t step in to save Energy East when TransCanada pulled the plug on that project last fall.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Energy East is “old news” and the Conservatives are just embarrassed that they couldn’t get pipelines built when they were in government.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in the meantime says he understands the frustration of those who are planning to protest hard against the Trans Mountain pipeline and while he condemns any violence, he will not instruct his caucus or anyone else on what limits should be placed on protesters breaking the law to stand up for what they believe in.Singh says there is a long tradition of non-violent civil disobedience in Canada and he will not condemn people who use protests to express their frustration and anger.
TORONTO – The Writers’ Union of Canada apologized Wednesday for an opinion article in the latest issue of its quarterly magazine advocating for more cultural appropriation in Canadian literature.In the article, novelist and Write magazine editor Hal Niedzviecki writes that he doesn’t “believe in cultural appropriation.”He goes on to say he thinks “anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities,” and suggests there should be an Appropriation Prize in literature.According to the Oxford Reference website, cultural appropriation involves “the taking over of creative or artistic forms, themes, or practices by one cultural group from another.”Some of the other contributors to the magazine took to Twitter to express outrage, noting their articles in the issue were against cultural appropriation.They also noted the magazine issue featured indigenous writers.In a statement, the Writers’ Union of Canada said it “deeply regrets the pain and offence caused by” the article, and noted Niedzviecki has resigned from his position.“The (article) offended and hurt readers, contributors to the magazine and members of the editorial board,” said the union, noting the magazine is intended “to offer space for honest and challenging discussion and to be sincerely encouraging to all voices.”“The union recognizes that intention is not enough, and that we failed in execution in this instance. We remain dedicated to honouring the very hard work we have set ourselves, and to taking responsibility for systemic wrongs in which we as an institution with a place in helping to define Canadian culture have participated.”Alicia Elliott drew attention to the article on Tuesday with a series of posts on Twitter.“I can’t even begin to describe the anger I’m feeling right now. I’m literally shaking. My essay is about cultural appropriation,” she tweeted.Fellow contributor Joshua Whitehead added: “I can’t get over how in my piece I called out appropriation and settler expectations in CanLit publications and performances (including TWUC calling their community a ‘tribe’ on their website) and yet they still published this.”
OTTAWA – Great Britain and France intend to bar outright the sale of any gas powered vehicles by 2040 but even one of the biggest proponents of electric cars in Canada says that’s likely an impossible goal for this country.France announced its policy in early July, followed by Britain this week, joining Norway and India as the only countries in the world with a plan to entirely phase out the sale of gas or diesel powered cars and trucks.The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change requires Canada to have a national strategy on zero-emission vehicles by next year and Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau has already signalled setting sales targets or quotas isn’t on his agenda.Matt Stevens, CEO of FleetCarma, a Waterloo, Ont., based technology company aiming to help expedite the adoption of electric vehicles, said it might be good for Canada to aim towards a phase-out date for gas powered vehicles but he said 2040 is likely too soon for Canada.Even though that’s 23 years away, Canadians drive far more trucks and SUVs than the British do, and the electric vehicle market in bigger vehicles is not as advanced as for sedans.“One of the big challenges in our market is we buy a ton of pickup trucks and a ton of minivans and a ton of SUVs,” said Stevens.More than half the vehicles sold in Canada are pickups, minivans and SUVs.There are several hybrid and electric SUV models on the market but the first electric minivan — a plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica — just appeared on the market this year and there is no electric pickup truck yet.Stevens said targeting 2050 to see a phase-out of gas powered vehicles might be more realistic but he also said the market is moving there quickly already.Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, said the emissions standards Canada and the U.S. have jointly implemented are already pushing Canada towards gas-free cars.“The only way we can get (to the standards) is greater electrification,” he said.In 2011, there were only seven electric vehicle models available in Canada, said Nantais. Now there are more than 30.More charging stations are also being added for public use every month, with investments from the private and public sector, including announcements just this month of a network of stations along highways in Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick.“A year ago there were five non-Tesla fast chargers in Ontario and now there’s over 100,” said Stevens.Michael Hatch, chief economist for the Canadian Auto Dealers Association, said the “heavy-handed” approach is not good for anyone but thus far he has no indication from the government that quotas or phase-outs are the way it intends to go.He said incentives to get less-efficient cars off the road, help reduce the costs associated with buying electric cars and installing more charging stations are all critical and far better policy to encourage the electric car market.Quebec has introduced quotas for electric vehicle sales that will kick in next year, requiring auto dealers to sell a certain percentage of electric vehicles or buy credits to offset if they miss their targets.The Montreal Economic Institute this week issued a report that said the plan is little more than a new tax on car dealers that will drive up the cost of conventional cars, and have the greatest impact on the price of the cheapest, most efficient vehicles.Vincent Geloso, who peer reviewed the study, said even the Quebec environment department has acknowledged the quotas are going to be impossible to meet because the sales are just not there yet.Just over one per cent of cars sold in Quebec last year were electric, and the province has to increase sales to 3.5 per cent to meet the 2018 quotas. The quota rises to 22 per cent by 2025.In Canada last year about 0.6 per cent of all new cars sold were electric or electric hybrids. There are now about 32,000 electric vehicles on Canada’s roads.-follow @mrabson on Twitter.
HALIFAX – Jayne Turner couldn’t change an out-of-court deal in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of OxyContin on Tuesday, but she had her say before a Nova Scotia judge on how the prescription painkiller forever altered her life.“I lost a husband and everything he represented. … All that could have been, never can be,” the New Brunswick woman told Justice John Murphy, a few minutes before he ruled in favour of accepting a class action settlement of $20 million to be paid by Purdue Pharma.Murphy became the second judge to approve a settlement of the national lawsuit. With acceptances in Ontario and Nova Scotia, it must now go before judges in Quebec City and Regina before the settlement is finally completed.Turner drove seven hours from Grand Manan, N.B., for Tuesday’s hearing in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.Speaking quietly in the small, almost empty courtroom, Turner told the judge how her husband — Robert (John) Turner — started on the prescription painkiller in the late 1990s as part of a study he’d hoped would help him cope with debilitating back pain.It helped the lobster fisherman haul his gear in the first year, but as the dosage rose he became addicted and lapsed into periods of deep fatigue and mood changes, Turner said.On April 30, 2012, Turner fell asleep and toppled off his lobster boat, with a coroner determining his body was coping with a large dose of OxyContin, she said.Turner was one of nine people listed by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Ray Wagner, as objecting to the $20 million agreement, with $2 million going to health authorities and about a quarter expected to be assigned as legal fees.Murphy said the average pay out for between 1,000 and 1,500 Canadians might amount to between $13,000 and $18,000, depending on how many people qualify.The judge thanked the 51-year-old for her submission and said it, along with a submission by Adam Spencer of Moncton, N.B., gave him “pause.”However, Murphy ruled he would accept the proposed settlement, echoing the decision of an Ontario Superior Court judge that the amount falls within a “zone of reasonableness.”The Nova Scotia judge said he accepted arguments that if the case had proceeded to trial there were formidable legal obstacles to overcome and it could have meant years more of delay in the 10-year-old case.“If the case proceeds to litigation, there is a significant risk that the claims against the defendant will not succeed,” he said.The plaintiffs had argued that the U.S.-based manufacturer didn’t provide adequate warning about potential addictions.However, Purdue did not admit liability in the national settlement.In addition, Wagner — whose firm launched the action in 2007 — says there were legal arguments the company could rely on against his case, such as the role doctors played in prescribing the drug.The lawyer said one of his concerns is that Canadian regulators have never stepped in to launch a prosecution or thorough investigation of the marketing methods used for the prescription painkillers.There “are a lot of questions asked about why there wasn’t regulatory action, but that is for another place,” he said in court.Matthew Herder, director of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie University, said the Food and Drug Act allows for charges if there has been false or misleading marketing about a drug. The law professor said Canadian governments have been reluctant to use this power, and noted civil lawsuits can end without an assignment of legal liability.“I think what bothers me is that there doesn’t have to be any admission of guilt,” Turner said Tuesday.Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.
INVERNESS, N.S. – Three men leaped into the chilly Atlantic Ocean on the weekend to try and drag a shark that became stuck in the shallows of a Cape Breton beach back out to open water.“My personal opinion is that they were kind of crazy,” said photographer Sean O’Connell, who witnessed the night-time rescue attempt from Inverness Beach.“The thing comes back to life and turns and wants to have a nibble, they were right there waiting for him.”O’Connell said the men donned headlamps as they pulled on either side of the shark and pushed from behind, guiding it back out to sea on Saturday night.“These three guys had went in the water, trying to drag the shark back out about 40 feet into the deeper water, trying to get him back moving,” said O’Connell, 33, who watched the rescue attempt with his two young daughters.“He was already moving a bit in the shallows, but they pushed him out a little bit further to see if they could get him back to life.”O’Connell said their efforts were not successful, as the 2.3-metre shark went “belly up” once it was in deeper waters and it washed ashore the following day.A statement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said officials went to the site Monday morning and identified it as a porbeagle shark, a toothed shark that is common in waters off Nova Scotia. Its website said the species are commonly spotted between May and October.The department added that it does not plan to conduct a necropsy or take samples.O’Connell said he admired the selflessness of the shark’s would-be rescuers, but added that he likely wouldn’t have done the same.The Cape Breton native said he’s never seen a shark so close to shore on the island before, and its carcass has been drawing spectators to the sandy beach.“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a shark up that close,” said O’Connell. “There’s been a pretty steady stream of people going down and snapping photos.”
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’ll abstain from any future discussions or decisions regarding the Aga Khan and his institutions.Trudeau says he’s establishing what’s called a conflict of interest screen to ensure he’s not involved in related matters.The move comes after the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner found Trudeau contravened four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act in relation to vacations on a private island owned by the Aga Khan in 2016.Trudeau had defended the trip on the grounds that the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims, is a close personal friend.But the commissioner said the two couldn’t be considered friends, and the trip could be seen as a gift to influence Trudeau since the Aga Khan’s institutions and projects receive government funding.Trudeau says he’ll inform the commissioner of anything he becomes aware of that relates to the Aga Khan in order to prevent a conflict of interest.The screen will be overseen by Trudeau’s chief of staff and the head of the Privy Council Office, the chief civil servant who works for the prime minister.“In the event that any issue or matter subject to the conflict of interest screen is not caught by that screen and comes before me, I undertake to recuse myself from that issue or matter,” reads the compliance agreement, dated Jan. 18.
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – The case against Dennis Oland has been put over until next week for more pre-trial conferences ahead of his retrial for the murder of his father.Oland was charged with second-degree murder in the 2011 death of Richard Oland and is due to face another trial in October.Oland was in court Tuesday when lawyers met for a short time and put off the next hearing to Monday in Saint John, N.B.He was found guilty in 2015 of his father’s murder, but the province’s appeal court overturned the conviction in October 2016 and ordered a new trial.The financial planner’s first trial in Court of Queen’s Bench lasted 65 days, and court documents indicate a retrial could last just as long.His 69-year-old father was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.An autopsy showed he suffered 45 sharp and blunt force blows to his head, neck and hands, but no murder weapon was ever found.
DILDO, N.L. – A recently opened brewery in Dildo, N.L. says it’s mostly eschewing lewd puns in naming four new beers, in spite of ample opportunity.The unusually named small town provided the Dildo Brewing Company and Museum with a chance to give its beers naughty names, but co-owner Angela Reid said they’ve managed to keep it classy — for the most part.“We had a lot of fun, and of course, we had many ideas,” she said in a phone interview Sunday. “It’s always fun naming beer.”The building has been a museum for years, but it’s recently been renovated to make it equal parts museum and brewhouse.The names of the new beers are inspired by the sights and culture of the Newfoundland community. Reid said they act as a tribute to the small town, while also poking fun at its provocative name.“We’re trying to, as much as we can, keep things local and keep things a little bit light as well,” said Reid.The punniest beer on the list is “I’se Da Bye-PA:” an IPA referencing the traditional foot-stomping Newfoundland folk song “I’se The B’y.”Written in the Newfoundland English dialect, the name translates to standard English as “I’m the Boy.” Reid said the new beer is “a reflection of Newfoundland and our slang.”More locally, “Blonde Root 80” is a blonde ale referencing Route 80, a coastal highway which runs along the northwestern coast of the Avalon Peninsula — and leads to the brewery.Made with beets, “Red Rocks Ale” references a popular nearby fishing spot.And last but not least, “Stout Dildo” is not, as it may sound, a lascivious play-on-words of the adult toy with which the town shares a name.The beer, which brewmaster Lionel Rodrigues describes as having a “coffee, toffee flavour,” is a shout-out to the community’s friends in South Dildo.“I’m a big fan of the double-entendre,” he laughed. “I jokingly call it an homage to our South Dildo neighbours.”Rodrigues, who recently turned to beer after spending more than 20 years in the wine industry, said the Newfoundland and Labrador craft beer industry is beginning to gather steam.While the province had a late start, a number of breweries have cropped up in recent years — and it seems as though the government is eager to support them.The Dildo Brewing Co. and Museum recently received a $300,000 grant from the federal and provincial governments to help set up processing facilities.“I’ve always loved craft beer,” Rodrigues said. “Now that it’s here, I consider myself really lucky to be a part of it.”He said the town’s name is sometimes met with incredulity: recently, he said an equipment shipment to the brewery was held up in U.S. customs for nine days after there was some confusion over the name of its destination.In his childhood years, Rodrigues said he and his friends had to lie about where they were from while signing up for a national fundraising event over the phone because they would get hung up on when they told the truth.Reid, however, said living in Dildo is just like living anywhere else.“We’re definitely a community that’s proud of who we are,” she said. “First and foremost, we’re proud Newfoundlanders, but we’re also very proud Dildonians as well.”“We own it, and we’re all good about it.”Reid added that she hopes everyone can stop by and “get a little taste of Dildo.”
MONTREAL – Former Quebec premier and longtime Parti Quebecois stalwart Bernard Landry died today at the age of 81.Landry, an ardent Quebec sovereigntist, died without seeing his vision of an independent Quebec fulfilled.Before becoming premier in 2001, he held many prominent government posts with the Parti Quebecois, including deputy premier and finance minister.Landry replaced Lucien Bouchard as premier after Bouchard resigned.He was defeated in the April 2003 election by the Liberals under the leadership of Jean Charest.The news of his death was confirmed to The Canadian Press by his personal assistant, Odette Morin.
CONNE RIVER, N.L. — A Newfoundland First Nation asked people to wear red Friday in honour of a woman found dead on the reserve, and for all murdered and missing Indigenous women.The Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omi First Nation, which has identified the woman as Chantal John, said her death shows the national crisis has no boundaries.In a statement on its web site, the First Nation encouraged anyone wishing to show support for John’s family, and those of other murdered and missing Aboriginal women, to wear red.Red dresses have become a symbol of symbol of murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada.RCMP said they responded to a complaint of a suspicious death in Conne River, N.L., at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.There has been no official word on any arrests.Miawpukek Chief Mi’Sel Joe said the whole community is grieving for John, who was in her late 20s and a member of Joe’s family through adoption.He described her Thursday as a quiet and respectful person.“Right now everybody is in a bit of a shock and the whole community is under a dark cloud trying to deal with this tragedy,” Joe said.In a Facebook post, the First Nation emphasized the impact of John’s loss on the community.“As a community we are grieving. Such violence does not happen in small, rural communities. We are family, we are friends who are trying to deal with the murder of a young Indigenous women,” it said. It said her death “has hit home that the MMIWG crisis has no boundaries.”“Chantal’s death adds to the growing number of Canadian Indigenous women who are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence,” the post read. “Over the coming days and weeks we will do our best to support and comfort each other as this shock reverberates through our families and community.”The RCMP Major Crimes Section and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are investigating the death.The Canadian Press
Michelle Gray says she’s afraid to get behind the wheel again after having her licence suspended for failing a cannabis saliva test in Nova Scotia, even though she passed a police administered sobriety test the same night.Gray has been using medical marijuana for almost eight years to treat multiple sclerosis and she plans to launch a constitutional challenge to the law and roadside test.“They should not be on the streets and used for testing cannabis impairment,” said Gray, who lives in Sackville. “I think the government legalized cannabis way too fast. I don’t think it was a well thought out plan.”Six months after legalization, her case illustrates some of the challenges with enforcement facing both police and cannabis users, and highlights the questions that continue to surround the use of technology in roadside tests.The Drager DrugTest 5000 remains the only technology approved by Ottawa to test a driver’s saliva for concentration of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.Einat Velichover, who manages drug and alcohol detection in Canada for Drager, said the saliva test was never designed to test for impairment.“Our device is there to really just identify whether there’s a presence of THC. It’s not meant to measure impairment and we never claimed that it does,” she said.“So really it’s just one tool of many that law enforcement utilize in order to assess impairment and road safety.”Velichover said that while she appreciates the concerns that have arisen, law enforcement needs to balance cannabis users’ rights with the importance of keeping roads safe.Justice Department spokeswoman Angela Savard said the Canadian Society of Forensic Science tests and evaluates technology then recommends it to the attorney general for consideration.If a driver fails the roadside test, the result can be used in developing “reasonable grounds” to believe that a drug-impaired driving offence has occurred and also give the officer grounds to investigate further, she said.“It is important to note that investigating drug-impaired driving is not exclusively dependent on a drug screener,” she said in an email.As of Oct. 1, there were more than 13,000 law enforcement officers trained in standardized field sobriety testing and 833 officers trained as drug recognition experts across Canada, she said. Further training is underway.Savard said the department expects more technology to be recommended and approved in the future, but couldn’t comment on ongoing evaluations.Some police departments are declining to use the saliva test.“For the most part, in British Columbia, police departments have not deployed it. Several departments have a Drager 5000 that we can use and test but we’re all a little bit wary,” said Chief Const. Mike Serr of the Abbotsford Police Department.Serr said many departments are waiting to get a better sense of the test’s value and are concerned charges could be thrown out if it is challenged in court.“We’re concerned on how that potentially could play out,” said Serr, who is also the co-chair of the drug policy committee with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.“It doesn’t give us the quantitative analysis so it really doesn’t provide us much extra beyond what a drug recognition expert can provide us with. So at this point, the practical uses of the tool haven’t really been proven to us.”In the meantime, he said anecdotal reports from departments suggest the increased training seems to be resulting in a slight increase in drug-impaired driving charges since legalization. In Abbotsford, 30 per cent of frontline police officers are now trained in standardized field sobriety testing and all members of the traffic unit are drug recognition experts.“That’s something that wasn’t done pre-legalization,” he said.But as impaired driving continues to be a reality, others say they want to see saliva testing tools used more often.Eric Dumschat, legal director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, said the organization is hoping more technology gets approved and rolled out.“We had expected there would have been more devices approved by this point and hopefully in the longer run, the technology is able to be improved. In an ideal world, we would have the equivalent of the breathalyzer, but alcohol is a very simple molecule compared with THC,” he said.He said while testing bodily fluids is important to indicate recent use, the increase in sobriety and drug recognition training is better for identifying impairment and has been making roads safer.“In regards to enforcement, I think it’s going about as well as it can be,” he said.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
BANFF, Alta. — Parks Canada says three mountaineers are presumed dead after an avalanche in Alberta’s Banff National Park.The federal agency says the three men were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway.They were reported overdue on Wednesday and multiple avalanches in the area where they were climbing were noticed from the air.Officials say recovery efforts are on hold because of a continued risk of avalanches in the area.One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe.Parks Canada says the three are considered professional mountain athletes and highly experienced.The Canadian Press
UNITED NATIONS, United States — Former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Joe Clark are helping represent Canada at the United Nations General Assembly as the Trudeau government takes a pass during the federal election campaign.The former Liberal and Progressive Conservative leaders are part of a delegation that is being led by a top-ranking public servant, Marta Morgan, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, said Global Affairs Canada in a statement.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have represented Canada at the annual event in recent years but it is not uncommon for serving politicians to stay away from the week-long gathering of world leaders when there is a federal election campaign on.In addition to Canada’s UN ambassador, Marc-Andre Blanchard, Canada’s delegation is rounded out by former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, who was appointed as Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar, former Quebec Liberal premier Jean Charest and the independent Sen. Peter Boehm.Boehm retired from the public service last year after serving as Trudeau’s chief organizer for the 2018 G7 leaders’ summit in Charlevoix, Que., that was disrupted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s hostile tweets.Last September, Trudeau appointed Boehm to the Senate as an independent after a long career as a diplomat that included ambassadorships and deputy-minister-level positions in Ottawa.The Canadian Press
Code.org, a non-profit focused on computer programming education, launched this week with a short film starring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey , Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, and others.Video: Every One Should Code by Code.orgThe film is featured at www.Code.org, which also offers educational resources and a petition to promote programming in schools.Code.org also published statements from 60 supporters, including business leaders like Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg; politicians such as Vice President Al Gore, Senator Marco Rubio , and Mayor Bloomberg; educators such as the presidents or deans of Stanford, Harvard, University of Washington, and the Superintendent of LA Unified Schools; and leading scientists, doctors, and astronauts. All of these leaders reinforced the message that more students should be learning to code — regardless of the career they wish to pursue.“Basic computer programming is so easy that fifth-graders can learn it,” said Code.org founder Hadi Partovi, “yet only 10% of schools teach it, and only nine states recognize it for graduation credit. Learning to code unlocks creative thinking and opens unparalleled career options. Coding is the new American Dream and should be available to everybody, not just the lucky few.”Directed by Lesley Chilcott, (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman), the Code.org short film is meant to motivate students to learn computer programming. Via educational organizations, the film will be distributed to over 500,000 teachers, to be played in classrooms to over 10 million students.Code.org also announced its advisory board: Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, tech investor Ron Conway, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, former ACM president Stuart Feldman, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, Harvey Mudd president Maria Klawe, University of Washington Chair of Computer Science Ed Lazowska, Paypal founder Max Levchin, M.I.T. Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, and Amazon SVP Jeff Wilke.
Following historic flooding that hit West Virginia last Thursday and Friday, Save the Children is helping families and communities assess damages and meet immediate needs.The organization has been working in the state for decades and runs programs to help children in three of the flood-affected counties, including Roane County, Calhoun County and Nicholas County.Save the Children has been reaching out to the families of the hundreds of children who participate in its programs in West Virginia, but telephone and power outages has made it difficult. “We are very concerned that we still have only made contact with about half of the families in our programs,” said Save the Children’s West Virginia Director, Anna Hardway. Families have lost homes, vehicles and belongings in the devastating floods that have spread across 44 counties throughout the state. “Parents are telling us their children have lost their shoes and are walking barefoot in contaminated waters, and traveling in vehicles without car seats, because their own cars were washed away,” said Hardway.Actor Jennifer Garner, a Save the Children Trustee and a native of West Virginia, is calling for support: “My heart is breaking for beautiful West Virginia — more than a quarter of children there already face the challenges that come with living in poverty,” said Garner. “The people of my home state are the most resilient you will find, but the damage caused by the storm and deadly floods has been catastrophic for these families and communities. I am relieved to know that Save the Children will continue to be on the ground in West Virginia throughout the cleanup and recovery, to make sure basic needs are met and services that families depend on most, including schools and afterschool programs, are restored. Let’s help Save the Children do what it does best.”Save the Children serves families in five West Virginia counties through health, early education programs and afterschool programs. “We’ve worked in these communities for years, and this level of damage and loss is unprecedented,” said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children President and CEO.The organization currently partners with local schools to help nearly 2,000 children in the state. Programs support mothers during pregnancy, provide home visits to families of infants and toddlers, help young children get ready for school, stay healthy and succeed in school and beyond.To donate to Save the Children’s West Virginia flood response, visit: SavetheChildren.org/WestVirginia
Advertisement Gord Downie’s spirited fight with terminal brain cancer struck a chord with Canadians in 2016.Whether he was packing arenas for the Tragically Hip’s summer tour or igniting a renewed dialogue on reconciliation with aboriginals, the poetic singer-songwriter’s relentless energy offered hope in the starkest of circumstances.His widespread impact on Canadian culture inspired news editors and directors across the country to name him the Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Downie received 26 votes (39 per cent) in the annual survey, marking the first time in the Newsmaker’s 70-year history that an entertainer has been selected for the title.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was second with 18 votes (27 per cent), while Fort McMurray fire Chief Darby Allen and four-time Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak tied with eight votes each (12 per cent). Advertisement It was Downie’s public struggle with mortality that seemed to connect most deeply with voters.His stage performance, captured vividly during the Hip’s televised final tour stop in Kingston, Ont., was a celebration of life juxtaposed against the looming promise of death.“The outpouring of support and grief for Downie was unprecedented, and the kind of shared cultural experience that doesn’t happen often,” wrote Treena Wood, program director at CKWX News 1130 in Vancouver. Advertisement “Everyone will remember where they were when they watched that final concert.”Formed in 1984, the Hip spent decades travelling the country’s highways and working their way up from playing dive bars to filling arenas. Their perseverance earned a loyal fan base, particularly with working-class Canadians, who made anthems out of the band’s biggest hits like “Ahead by a Century” and “Bobcaygeon.”When Downie’s health condition was revealed in May — only a few weeks after the Fort McMurray wildfires left many Canadians heartbroken — it felt like another kick in the gut for the nation.“He represents all those dealing with carnage in their lives,” said Dori Modney, news director at CHLB and CJBZ Radio in Lethbridge, Alta.“Whether it’s the wildfire or the downturn in the economy, many people have soldiered on, in spite of their world crashing around them.”Downie’s situation was unique in that he was still healthy enough to perform. That gave him an opportunity to shape his own final act.When the Hip’s managers sat alongside Downie’s neuro-oncologist Dr. James Perry at a press conference in May — absent the band — it became clear that Downie had a plan. Despite battling glioblastoma, an incurable and rare form of cancer, the 52-year-old father of four was going to stick with the long-standing adage of the entertainment industry: The show must go on.“His head space is, ‘We want to blow people’s minds,’” said Patrick Sambrook in relaying Downie’s desire to tour one last time.The “Man Machine Poem” tour became Canada’s hottest summer ticket. Fans jostled for seats but many were left disappointed when they sold out almost immediately. But the Hip struck an agreement with the CBC to air the band’s climactic final show in Kingston, their hometown. The concert was a TV ratings hit, drawing an estimated audience of more than four million Canadians. In all, 11.7 million Canadians tuned in for at least a portion of the broadcast on TV, radio or online and thousands more gathered across the country for public screenings.Many of them, not even Hip fans necessarily, got swept up in Downie’s story as a cancer fighter who refused to surrender quietly.At the show, an impassioned Downie led the band through a nearly three-hour set that included most of the Hip’s biggest songs. He also used the national platform to call for more attention to the inequities faced by indigenous people, particularly in the North. As he pointed out the prime minister, who sat in the audience wearing a Hip T-shirt, he sent a message.“He cares about the people way up North that we were trained our entire lives to ignore, trained our entire lives to hear not a word of what’s going on up there,” Downie said.“And what’s going on up there ain’t good.”His words hinted where Downie would shift his energy next.Less than a month later, the singer-songwriter lifted the veil on Secret Path, a solo multimedia project that recounts the life of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who died in 1966 after running away from a residential school. Spread across a full-length album, a graphic novel and animated film, Downie’s interpretation of the child’s final hours brought a fresh urgency to a story many never heard.Blue Rodeo singer Jim Cuddy says hearing Downie retell Wenjack’s story elevated the history to a new level.“I know the story of the residential schools and I’ve heard the Chanie story, but when I listen to the record … I realize I don’t know the story and I haven’t fully absorbed the horror that was the residential schools,” Cuddy said“(It’s) an example of the importance of culture on having an impact on people.”Earlier this month, an emotional Downie was recognized during the Assembly of First Nations special assembly in Gatineau, Que., and was anointed the “Man Who Walks Among the Stars.”“It will take 150 years, or seven generations, to heal the wound of the residential school, to become a country that can truly call ourselves Canada,” Downie said after the tearful ceremony.“We must walk down a path of reconciliation from now on. Together and forever.”Since Downie went public with his diagnosis, more than $1 million has been raised for brain cancer research. He’s also motivated others to pitch into a fund that fosters relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people.Steve Wood of Northern Cree, who opened for the Hip at a Canada Day concert at London’s Trafalgar Square a few years ago, said he’s hopeful the singer’s efforts have created momentum.“It doesn’t matter what colour you are, you could be the colour purple. You’re a human, and that’s what matters to him,” said the co-founder of the Grammy-nominated aboriginal group.“Hopefully the Creator gives him lots more time because he’s needed here.” Facebook Twitter
After almost four months of trying to find the reset button for three underperforming theatres owned by the City of Toronto, Clyde Wagner has implemented a plan designed to end their woes.Wagner, who became president and CEO of Civic Theatres Toronto (CTT) in January, has merged the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts and the Toronto Centre for the Arts into one big organization to manage and leverage all three buildings. The new structure took effect in April.Wagner chose veteran executive Mark Hammond, CEO of the Sony Centre, to become vice-president of programming for the three merged theatres – making Hammond one of the most powerful figures in Toronto showbiz. He will be working with the help of a $5.3-million annual subsidy from the city, which will remain in effect until at least the end of 2018. Twitter Advertisement But two senior executives of Toronto’s theatre world – Jim Roe, general manager of the St. Lawrence Centre, and Pim Schotanus, general manager at the Toronto Centre for the Arts – have lost their jobs as a result of Wagner’s streamlining. (Roe announced his departure on Twitter on April 26.) There will likely be seven other job losses at lower levels, including some at each of the three venues. Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook
Login/Register With: The award is presented each year to an artist and an activist who have stood up to injustice, inspired others and furthered the cause of human rights. “There’s a veil that’s lifted so we’re not able to say anymore, ‘I didn’t know that,’” she said Saturday in Montreal, where she was honoured for her activism. “I do feel thoroughly confident that it’s rising such a powerful energy among the people — us the people. We are really feeling how important it is to be vocal and to take our beliefs and what we see around us and not accept it as it is.” Facebook She also co-founded a group that encourages young people to mobilize for change and speak out on issues such as gun violence and criminal justice reform. Advertisement Alongside Keys, members of Canada’s indigenous rights movement were also recognized for their fight to end discrimination and improve living conditions in indigenous communities. “If an indigenous person is killed there’s no coverage on the news,” she said. “It’s similar in America, where if a brown or a black person is killed there’s much less coverage.” Advertisement At a news conference ahead of the award ceremony, Keys said she was inspired by socially aware artists such as Nina Simone, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, all of whom were able to use their art “as this beautiful vehicle to remind us of our own personal power.” She said she believes people are increasingly aware of social inequality and are ready to do something to fight it. The 15-time Grammy winner received Amnesty International’s “Ambassador of Conscience” award which she shared with members of Canada’s indigenous rights movement. MONTREAL — American recording artist and humanitarian Alicia Keys believes a change is coming, as people in both Canada and the United States wake up to the fight against inequality and injustice. “There are far more good things than negative things overall, and the health care in Canada, I have to say, is quite impressive,” she said. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Alicia Keys said she sees similarities between the struggle of indigenous communities in Canada and that of communities fighting for equal treatment in the United States. Twitter On hand to accept the award were Quebec Idle No More founders Melissa Dupuis and Widia Lariviere, Inuk writer Delilah Saunders and activist Melanie Morrison. “You start to see how our struggles and the issues we all care about are similar no matter where we live and I think that’s bringing us together so much more, as humanity, as people,” she continued. “It’s amazing that the fight we’re having across Canada on so many different issues is finally being taken notice of,” she said. Morrison said she hoped the award would pressure the Canadian government to “follow through on their promises to indigenous people” and act on issues such as problematic policing, the need for clean water on reserves and the lack of progress on the national inquiry. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Despite the problems in the US and Canada, Keys stressed there’s a lot to be praised about both countries. Cindy Blackstock and Senator Murray Sinclair were also named as award recipients but did not attend the ceremony. Keys, who shot to fame as a songwriter and R&B artist, is known for her philanthropic work, including as co-founder of “Keep a Child Alive,” a non-profit providing treatment and care to families affected by HIV in Africa and India. Advertisement Morrison, who has been a leader in the push for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, said she was deeply touched to receive the award.