More than half of Nova Scotia’s members of the legislativeassembly and more than 20 civil servants are going back to schoolthis week to begin French-language training. The classes, offered by the Office of Acadian Affairs, have beentailored to suit beginner, intermediate and advanced-levelparticipants. “We’re thrilled with the enthusiastic responsewe’ve had, both from members of the legislature and civilservants who want to learn or improve their ability to speakFrench,” said Acadian Affairs Minister Chris d’Entremont. “Thisis an important step in improving our ability to serve Acadianand francophone Nova Scotians.” The classes will be held weekly until June at the Acadian Affairsoffice in Halifax. The courses are being taught by qualifiedinstructors from Université Sainte-Anne. ACADIAN AFFAIRS–MLAs and Civil Servants Begin French-languageTraining
On April 1 the term “gone fishing” will have more meaning for people with the introduction of a one-day fishing licence. “Through our work, and the support of anglers, we have made several changes to the fishing regulations including a new one-day sportfishing licence which will be available to resident and non-resident anglers,” said Ron Chisholm, Minister of Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture. Last year more than 100,000 Nova Scotians took to the province’s many rivers and lakes to fish and this season more are expected to take advantage of the new one-day licence. Changes in regulations in the various recreation management areas have been developed through the six Recreational Fisheries Advisory Councils, in co-operation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. The one-day licence, which will cost $11.88, will allow anglers to experience sportfishing in Nova Scotia without purchasing a more expensive seasonal licence. The Nova Scotia Sportfish Fund, a portion of most fishing licence fees, provides funding for restoration and protection of fish habitat helping to sustain a healthy sportfishery. Last year anglers contributed $213,500 to the fund which, in turn, enabled 19 community groups to work on 33 watercourses in 19 watershed areas. “Community groups and volunteers contribute valuable service to our recreational fisheries and this fund provides them with resources they need to continue their excellent work,” said Mr. Chisholm. The new regulations and changes to existing regulations are included in the 2006 Angler’s Handbook and Summary of Regulations, which accompanies each fishing licence. There is no increase in any licence fees this season with seniors’ fishing licences still available at $5.75 (tax included), a general licence for the season costs $24.13 (tax included) for residents of Nova Scotia and $54.74 for non-residents. Non-residents also have the option to purchase a seven-day which costs $30.25. All anglers 16 years of age and older must purchase a general fishing licence. Licences are valid from the date of issue until March 31, 2007. Anglers who plan to fish during the winter portion of the angling season should keep their licence and return their stub at the end of the season. It is mandatory to return the licence stubs after the last fishing trip of the season. Anglers will once again have the opportunity to register larger catches in the Nova Scotia Fish Registry. This database of large and record-sized fish caught in the province is an exciting way to generate interest in sportfishing. Anglers are invited to submit fish in the catch and release, catch and keep, and youth categories. Nova Scotians are also encouraged to participate in the eleventh annual Nova Scotia Sportfishing Weekend to be held June 3 and 4. “During this special weekend Nova Scotia residents can fish without a general fishing licence. It is a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy recreational fishing in Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Chisholm. Information on angling and a list of special regulations by recreational fishing area can be found on the Fisheries and Aquaculture website at www.gov.ns.ca/nsaf/sportfishing .
Nova Scotians will have the benefit of a detailed environmental assessment report before a decision is made on the proposed Highway 113 project. “After reviewing a focus report submitted by the proponent, I feel the more-detailed information available in an environmental assessment report is required,” Mark Parent, Minister of Environment and Labour, said today, July 10. The Department of Transportation and Public Works is proposing creation of a controlled access highway connecting Highway 102 near Exit 3 and Highway 103, just west of Exit 4. The Department of Environment and Labour will establish the terms of reference for the report and the Department of Transportation and Public Works will have two years to submit it. At that time, the Minister of Environment and Labour can make a decision on the proposal or refer the decision to the Environmental Assessment Board.
Nova Scotia students are returning to school after their Christmas holiday to find healthier food and beverage choices. Fruit juice and milk are replacing pop, and yogurt tubes and lower-fat muffins are bumping chips, doughnuts and other minimum nutrition snack foods from school canteens and lunch counters beginning in January. The Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools, introduced last September, gives the province’s 430 schools three years to phase out foods and beverages of minimum nutrition and replace them with healthier fare. Key policy requirements that come into effect this month include: Doughnuts, chocolate bars, chips, frozen novelties and other snacks of minimum nutrition will no longer be served or sold in schools; Deep-fat fryers will no longer be used to prepare food; Only 100 per cent juice, water, and milk (or nutritional milk alternative) can be served or sold; All schools will participate in the Department of Agriculture’s School Milk Program. Full policy implementation is expected by June 2009. Acting Education Minister Jamie Muir said students will benefit from having healthier food and beverage choices at school. “Nutrition, health and learning are all linked,” said Mr. Muir. “Students who eat nutritious meals and snacks learn more effectively, perform better in class and attend school more regularly.” The provincial school food policy uses a combination of directives and guidelines to promote healthy food and beverage choices. It also advances nutrition education, positive role modelling by school staff, and affordable pricing for healthy food items. The policy also establishes food and beverage standards, and gives schools direction on how to deal with school-based fundraising using foods and beverages. The Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools is available online at www.ednet.ns.ca/healthy_eating/ .
Nova Scotia’s economy continues to benefit from the film industry thanks to skilled crews, talented actors, unique locations, infrastructure, and one of the most competitive tax credits in the industry. The province recently landed the production of a $23-million television series, Haven, for the American Syfy Channel and Showcase Television in Canada. The supernatural series is based on the novel The Colorado Kid by Stephen King and is being shot in Lunenburg. “This is the first American dramatic television series to be filmed in Nova Scotia,” said Ann MacKenzie, president and CEO of Film Nova Scotia. “The Haven team chose the province because they saw we had the complete package, including a strong film tax credit incentive. We hope their decision to film here will open the door for future U.S.-based television series.” The tax credit is one of the highest in the country and offers a strong incentive to film in rural Nova Scotia. Production companies can receive a credit of up to 65 per cent on labour or 35 per cent of total production costs. E1 Entertainment, which is producing the series, determined that Nova Scotia provided the best overall production value. Attracting these kinds of investments to the province, especially to rural areas, creates good jobs and grows the economy. This helps to strengthen our communities and makes life better for families in every region. Not only is the series being shot in Lunenburg, E1 is partnering with Big Motion Pictures of Chester to produce the series. This is the second partnership for the two companies over the past 12 months. Call Me Fitz was filmed in New Minas in the fall of 2009. “Big Motion Pictures is very pleased to be co-producing another television series with E1,” said executive producer David MacLeod. “The financial and logistical support provided by Film Nova Scotia plays a crucial role in making these inter-provincial co-productions work.” Thirteen one-hour episodes of Haven have been ordered. The series features actors Emily Rose (Jericho), Lucas Bryant (Queer as Folk, Dollhouse), Eric Balfour (24, Six Feet Under) and local actor John Dunsworth (Trailer Park Boys). The executive producers are Shawn Piller, Lloyd Segan and Scott Shepherd (The Dead Zone). Film Nova Scotia is a provincial Crown agency reporting to the minister of Economic and Rural Development. The corporation provides a wide range of programs and services to build the capacity and competitiveness of the province’s film, television and new media industry. The provincial film industry is the fourth largest in Canada, regularly employing 3,000 people and exceeding $100 million in economic activity annually.
The meetings are from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Meetings will also be held with local school advisory council representatives in each location. The deadline for recommendations to the minister is Feb. 28. Meetings with interested groups, such as the Nova Scotia School Boards’ Association, have also been held over the past month. The public meeting schedule, more information on the consultation process and a discussion paper can be found at www.ednet.ns.ca/schoolreviewprocess. People can also make submissions through the website, e-mail or regular mail. Public meetings begin today, Jan. 6, as a committee studying the school review process consults with communities across Nova Scotia. The consultations committee, headed by Robert Fowler, will hold nine meetings. Mr. Fowler and a local representative will attend each public meeting. The local representative will listen to the public comments and contribute feedback to the full committee when it meets to discuss recommendations. “I encourage every Nova Scotian who is interested in improving the school review process to come out and share their views with the committee,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey. “We want a full discussion on a solution that works for all — students, families, school boards and communities.” The locations, dates and local representatives are: Sydney, today, Sherwood Park Education Centre, Eileen Lannon Oldford Port Hawkesbury, Tuesday, Jan. 7, Strait Area Education-Recreation Centre, Bob MacEachern Truro, Thursday, Jan. 9, Cobequid Education Centre, Laurie Jennings Bridgewater, Jan. 13, Park View Education Centre, Marg Forbes Yarmouth, Jan. 14, Yarmouth Consolidated High School, David Saxton Berwick, Jan. 15, Berwick and District School, local representative to be named Amherst, Jan. 20, Amherst Regional High, Michael Wilson Dartmouth, Jan. 21, Dartmouth High School, Dr. Henry Bishop Halifax (French language), Jan. 22, Ecole secondaire du Sommet (video conference), local representative to be named
Nova Scotians are invited to celebrate Groundhog Day with Shubenacadie Sam on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 8 a.m. as Sam makes his annual spring forecasting prediction from his home at the Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park. Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines will join fans gathered to see if Sam will see his shadow. “Nova Scotia’s geographical location allows Sam to make his prediction an hour before his fellow famous groundhogs in Ontario and the United States check for their shadows, so you’ll hear it first from Sam,” said Mr. Hines. “Sam’s prediction party will feature family activities, displays and hot drinks, so I invite Nova Scotians to join us at the wildlife park on Groundhog Day.” Folklore says if Sam sees his shadow, winter will last for six more weeks. No shadow is a sign of an early spring. Those attending the Groundhog Day forecasting festivities can enter the park at 7 a.m. There will be free hot drinks, fun activities and displays. There will be no admission fee to see the animals. Along with Groundhog Day, Feb. 2 is also World Wetlands Day. Together, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Wildlife Park are hosting environmental partners and students for a morning of hands-on wetland education. Visitors can drop in to the Wetland Centre to get inspired by environmental experts from groups including the Clean Foundation, the departments of Natural Resources and Environment, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Maritime Aboriginal Aquatic Resources Secretariat, the Nova Scotia Bird Society, and the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. If you are unable to attend the festivities, you can watch Sam’s prediction live at www.novascotiawebcams.com/en/webcams/shubenacadie-sam/. Sam is also on Twitter @ShubenacadieSam. During the winter, the park is open only on weekends. For Groundhog Day, the park will be open until 1 p.m. Directions to the park and park hours are online at http://wildlifepark.novascotia.ca/find_us.asp.
Kolkata: Three members of a gang, which was involving in theft of truck, were arrested during a police near Nawabpur in New Town on Tuesday night. Seeing the police accused persons had tried to flee but they were nabbed after a chase for almost half a kilometre.According to sources, two complaints were lodged recently at the New Town police station regarding theft of two trucks. Sleuths came to know that no local gang was involved in the crime. Late on Tuesday night, they were tipped-off about a group in Nawababpur area. Police raided a under construction building and found 6 to 7 men had gathered there to steal a truck. Seeing the police they ran but sleuths managed to arrest three of them. Sleuths came to know that all of them belonged to Punjab and had criminal records at Pradhannagar police station in Siliguri, Dankuni police station in Hooghly and Uluberia police station in Howrah and they were arrested in New Town police station during 2014.
Panaji: The induction of ten Congress MLAs into the BJP in Goa has put a question mark on the fate of the saffron party’s allies, with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant saying that no decision has been taken about them yet. With the BJP’s strength in the 40-member Goa Assembly increasing to 27 with two-thirds of Congress legislators joining it, the Sawant government does not need allies’ support any longer. Sawant, who is in the national capital alongwith the ten MLAs, met party president Amit Shah Thursday. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!”We have not taken any decision on coalition partners. We will take the decision when we return to Goa,” Sawant told PTI over phone from Delhi. It is believed that Sawant and Shah discussed cabinet reshuffle. Sawant will have to drop some of the current ministers to accommodate the defectors from the Congress. Three MLAs of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and as many independents are part of the BJP-led coalition in the coastal state. All three MLAs of GFP including its chief Vijai Sardesai and independents Rohan Khaunte and Govind Gawade are part of Sawant’s cabinet. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedThe 2017 assembly polls threw up a hung assembly with Congress emerging as the single largest party with 17 MLAs. However, a quick-footed BJP, with 13 MLAs, managed to form government with the help of GFP, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and independents. In March this year, two of the three MGP MLAs joined the BJP, while senior MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar, then deputy chief minister, was dropped from the cabinet. Sardesai, who is deputy chief minister, said Thursday that his party remained “steadfast with this government in good and bad times”.
Sydney: Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama blasted his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison as “very insulting”, saying China offers a more welcoming brand of diplomacy following a tense Pacific summit. Bainimarama accused Morrison of heavy-handed tactics after the Pacific Island Forum wrapped up in Tuvalu on Thursday with pro-coal Canberra sharply at odds with island nations facing the existential threat of climate change. “The prime minister (Morrison) was very insulting, very condescending, not good for the relationship,” Bainimarama told the Guardian late Friday. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US The group had hoped to issue a compelling global call to action from nations on the frontline of climate change ahead of UN talks in New York next month. But after 12 hours of negotiations that descended into tears and shouting, the summit communique fell well short of expectations with language watered down at the insistence of the Australian PM, island leaders said. Morrison pledged AUD500 million in aid to Pacific Island nations to invest in renewable energy and climate change resilience, part of a strategy to counter China’s rising influence in the region. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls But leaders of the other 17 nations in the Pacific Island Forum have called on Canberra to do more to cut emissions and curb Australia’s lucrative coal industry. “(Morrison) at one stage, because he was apparently (backed) into a corner by the leaders, came up with how much money Australia have been giving to the Pacific,” Bainimarama said. “Very insulting.” The Fijian leader added there was “no competition” in the region between Australia and China, but commended Beijing’s approach to diplomacy. “They don’t go down and tell the world that we’ve given this much money to the Pacific islands. They don’t do that. They’re good people, definitely better than Morrison, I can tell you that,” he said. Morrison, who concedes climate change is real but insists it can be managed in a way that does not hurt the economy, has denied a rift between Pacific leaders. “We showed up, we’re stepping up, and it’s getting on,” he said following the negotiations that dragged into the early hours of Friday morning. Meanwhile, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has caused a stir after being caught on camera saying Pacific nations would weather climate change thanks to Australian aid and a programme that allows islanders to work in seasonally in Australia. “They’ll continue to survive because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit, pick our fruit grown with hard Australian enterprise and endeavour and we welcome them and we always will,” he said in a video published by the Guardian.
Lucknow: BSP supremo Mayawati here on Thursday met office-bearers of her party, asking them to remain alert against “government actions”.”The BSP men should remain alert to save themselves from biased government actions,” she said while expressing concern over “rising” incidents of mob lynching, violence and murder in the state. She also urged them to ensure the victory of party candidates in the upcoming assembly bypolls in the state. ” Mayawati reviewed ground-level activities in the party to increase its base ahead of the assembly bypolls,” a party release said. She said the Dalits, tribals and people belonging to other backward classes were agitated as “reservation was not properly implemented and lakhs of government posts were vacant”. “The economic mess is in news. The purchase power of people has come down. The government should take up issues of poverty and unemployment on a priority,” she added commenting on the economic situation in the country.
Los Angeles: Singer Demi Lovato and Mike Johnson of The Bachelorette fame are “having fun” together. A source told people.com that the singer and Johnson are “having fun and getting to know each other”. The source added: “They’ve been talking privately for a bit and hanging out.” Lovato was vocal about her interest in Johnson during his time on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette, and things heated up earlier this month when Johnson commented on her unedited bikini photo. After Lovato shared the swimsuit photo alongside a powerful caption about appreciating one’s body, Johnson commented: “Look at me like that again … Love yaself.” In response, Lovato sent a flirty kiss and tongue-sticking-out emoji.
TORONTO – A man who badly injured a woman when he tried to kill himself by driving his car into a hydro pole has had his jail sentence effectively cut in half.In finding the sentencing judge had gone too far, Ontario’s top court ruled on Wednesday that Constantinus Dedeckere should be released after having spent one year behind bars.“Without minimizing the seriousness of the offence and the impact on the victim, a sentence of time served and two years probation is fit and adequate to reflect the principles of sentencing including proportionality,” the Appeal Court said.The case arose in July 2015 when Dedeckere, then 58 and on temporary leave from a mental-health facility in London, Ont., drove his Chevy Malibu at high speed into a hydro pole on a rural road, knocking out power to Port Stanley, Ont., and spraying debris.A woman driver, 74, slammed into the wreckage and was critically injured, requiring surgery and rehabilitation.According to court records, the married father of four opted to attempt suicide that day after the Law Society of Upper Canada notified him he was being disbarred as a lawyer.Dedeckere, who had a long history of mental illness and failed suicide attempts, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing bodily harm.At sentencing, 14 impact statements were filed with the court. The prosecution called for a prison sentence of up to two-and-a-half years; the defence wanted a suspended sentence and three years probation.In October 2016, Ontario court judge John Skowronski accepted that Dedeckere was a first time offender, had pleaded guilty, and regretted what he had done. However, the judge called the “offence itself” an aggravating factor given the woman’s injuries.Skowronski noted Dedeckere hadn’t thought his suicide plan through or considered how it might affect other road users.“It is important to dissuade those who may be self-destructive from acting on such ideations to their detriment, and from exposing the innocent bystanders, as it were, to possible physical danger,” Skowronski said.Skowronski sentenced him to two years in a penitentiary, followed by three years probation and a six-year driving ban.Dedeckere appealed the sentence, arguing Skowronski focused too heavily on denunciation and deterrence, and failed to consider his psychiatric issues and rehabilitation.The Court of Appeal agreed, saying the usual deference accorded a sentencing judge was not justified in this case.Skowronski, the Appeal Court said, blamed Dedeckere for wanting to kill himself without considering how his bipolar disorder and depression had impaired his judgment.“The sentencing judge determined that specific deterrence could only be met by a custodial term due to the appellant being chronically suicidal,” the Appeal Court said. “(But) specific deterrence has little relevance in the context of suicide, and general deterrence is a factor of decreased significance when sentencing those whose behaviour is driven by mental illness.”The upshot, the court found, was that the sentence was unfit.In re-sentencing him the Appeal Court noted that Dedeckere is now over 60, and alcohol and drugs played no role in the offence.“There was no dispute that his sole intention was to kill himself,” the Appeal Court said. “He is genuinely remorseful for what he did. He has a loving and supportive family including his wife, four children, and two grandchildren.”The Appeal Court sentenced Dedeckere to time served — the year he spent in prison — and two years probation.
TORONTO – This holiday season, cocktail hour could really suck for the straw industry.That’s because some establishments are ditching plastic straws as public backlash grows against the ubiquitous convenience — a seemingly innocuous tool that has become emblematic of the world’s plastic pollution problem.Customers like 31-year-old Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster are leading the charge, by asking wait staff at the bars and restaurants she visits to not bring her a straw.She says she’s trying to reduce the overall garbage she produces, and believes these little gestures are finally starting to get some traction.“This year was the first year I feel like a server went, ‘Absolutely, we’re totally on board with that.’ A couple of times I’ve had that response. And that tells me, ‘Oh, they’ve heard about this, it’s now becoming a thing,’” says the Toronto actress, who has also emailed bars she frequents to suggest they limit straw use.“Sometimes I feel kind of embarrassed about these little choices and I feel embarrassed about coming off as some kind of crazed eco-warrior hippie person.”But she’s certainly far from alone in her crusade.Two years after a video of a sea turtle impaled by a straw turned up on YouTube, the campaign to eliminate straws seems to have hit a new level of mainstream awareness.Establishments now run the risk of being shamed on social media for serving a glass of water with a straw, and as more businesses make changes, those lagging behind risk appearing out-of-step with the times.Bar owner Rachel Conduit admits she caught on to the movement a bit later than she’d like, but says she recently switched to biodegradable straws at her two Toronto bars, Handlebar and Farside.She’s also told her staff to stop habitually putting straws in mixed drinks, and only leave them on the bar for customers to grab if they want one.“The reason it took so long is the places I think where bars and restaurants often go to buy straws just don’t stock (biodegradable versions). So you have to go out of your way to order and find and source and get them delivered,” says Conduit.They are more expensive — she says 3,000 biodegradable straws cost her more than $100, while the same amount from her local cash-and-carry run less than $20.Conduit chalks that up to the cost of doing business, and guesses it would be offset by using fewer straws overall. Before the switch, she says the bars would go through 400 to 600 straws a month.But she doesn’t see the day when people will ban straws altogether.“Some people love their straws. They have nice lipstick or they have sensitive teeth. I think people will always use them.”Food service consultant Geoff Wilson agrees. Despite the social pressures and greater awareness, he says cost is still the determining factor in how most businesses choose to operate.While it might be relatively easy for a small, independent outlet to make the switch — with bars especially able to fold increased costs into the price of fancy cocktails — he doubted the broader industry would go biodegradable. Large chains, especially, would have a hard time, he suggested.“Take the cost of one straw — the differential — and multiply that by millions of straws,” says Wilson, principal at fsStrategy Inc.“The implication is pretty significant for margins for an operator. And operators’ margins are getting squeezed by everything else, including rising labour rates in Ontario. It’s going to be a real tough sell to get an operator to say, ‘Sure, I’ll go with a paper straw at 50 per cent more or whatever the amount is.’ It’s not going to happen.”He also doubted a consumer would pay more for a fancy straw.“And quite honestly, it’s pretty hard to drink a smoothie or an Iced Capp or whatever without a straw while you’re driving in the car. Unless you want to wear it.”Nevertheless, at least one big Canadian franchise has jumped aboard.Boston Pizza switched to biodegradable straws from plastic straws in January 2017, says spokeswoman Alexandra Cygal, noting it’s part of a broader strategy to switch all packaging to more eco-friendly versions.“Across our 380 restaurants in Canada, each restaurant might go through an average of maybe over 120,000 straws a year. So that’s a huge impact,” says Cygal.She calls it “a bigger hurdle” for bigger brands to pull off, especially a franchise business like Boston Pizza in which each restaurant is owned by a franchisee. She acknowledged that the added costs are passed down to those individual store owners.“We want it to be great for the environment, and definitely the kind of responsibility that we bear, we also want to be sure that the costs aren’t too high because we’re passing those down to the franchisee.”There’s certainly an opportunity for some businesses to market and build their brand by appearing eco-friendly, says Phillip Jacobsen of the online compostables retailer Greenmunch, based in Sherwood Park, Alta.He says his paper drinking straws have been a bestseller for over five years, with the biggest growth in the past year.While half of his business traditionally comes from individuals buying for parties, weddings, and special events, he says there’s growing demand from restaurants, bars, hotels, caterers and larger events.And these days, new businesses seem more likely to consider their eco-profile and work it into their brand, says Jacobsen. It doesn’t hurt that colourful paper straws photograph well and lend easily to Instagram and other social media promotion.Jacobsen says his corn straws also sell well, but he notes they must be diverted to a commercial compost facility in order to fully break down. That can be hit and miss, depending on the city you live in, he adds.In Toronto, Jennifer Wright of the advocacy group Green Shift bemoans a lack of support from some garbage haulers, noting she routinely hears complaints about collectors who refuse to believe their disposables are genuinely compostable.“The East Coast, for example, seems to be much more progressive in trying to really work with the compost facilities and support this, whereas in Toronto they love to just constantly say, ‘No,’” says Wright, president of Green Shift, which also distributes eco-friendly products including biodegradable straws.“Some places sell fake biodegradable and what happens is that it tarnishes everything because then the waste hauler will say, ‘Forget it, it’s all going to go to landfill.’”But making the switch is still worth fighting for, she says.“Don’t get discouraged if you can’t put it in compost right now, you have to realize you’re part of the change,” says Wright, who supplies most universities across the country as well as companies including Air Miles, HomeSense, Winners and Canadian Tire.Ch’ng Lancaster, too, says every small step helps.“We have so completely bought into this feeling that we deserve convenience as if it doesn’t cost something,” she says.“I do think small changes lead to bigger changes.”
WINNIPEG – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced questions on immigration, pipelines and Indigenous issues — and dealt with a few disruptions — during a town hall meeting with some 1,800 people at the University of Manitoba Wednesday night.Trudeau was asked by some people whether he would boost the number of immigrants accepted into Canada every year.Some people had personal questions, such as one woman who said a Nigerian friend was facing deportation and faced great danger if she returned to the African nation because she is a lesbian.One questioner asked Trudeau whether he was concerned about the number of people crossing the border illegally and claiming refugee status.Trudeau responded that Canada has obligations under international treaties to give asylum seekers a hearing, but also has the resources to ensure that people who are deemed not to be refugees are dealt with appropriately.“We always make sure that security is the first thing that is checked,” Trudeau said.One woman interrupted another questioner by shouting out opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project that would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta through British Columbia.She swore at the prime minister and security before leaving.Another man asked Trudeau to respect the British Columbia government’s plans to ban increased shipments of diluted bitumen off its coast until it can determine that shippers are prepared and able to properly clean up a spill. The move would limit expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline.He then shouted that Trudeau wasn’t providing a direct answer.A woman criticized Trudeau for the federal government’s summer-jobs program that requires groups to respect abortion rights.The crowd applauded loudly and drowned out the woman when Trudeau said groups that specifically hire students to oppose abortion rights should not be federally funded.“There are certain groups that are specifically dedicated to fighting abortion rights for women and inclusion of LGBT communities. And that is wrong,” he said.“That is not certainly not something the federal government should be funding summer students to do — to roll back the clock on women’s rights. That’s not going to happen.”The meeting, which lasted more than 90 minutes, also saw Trudeau questioned on the troubled inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.He was asked what he would consider a successful outcome.“Ideally, it will provide closure and healing for the families, a measure of justice for victims, and most importantly, show us how to put an end to this ongoing national tragedy.”Trudeau is to hold town halls in Edmonton on Thursday and in Nanaimo, B.C., on Friday.Note to readers: This is a corrected story to clarify concerns raised about pipeline.
OTTAWA — Liberal MP Raj Grewal says he has repaid his sizable gambling debts and is now reconsidering his hasty decision to quit politics.In a statement posted to his Facebook page late Friday, Grewal ended several days of silence, saying Canadians deserve to know the details of his personal troubles.Grewal’s sudden decision to step down as the member for the southern Ontario riding of Brampton East was prompted by a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts, the Prime Minister’s Office said last week.A source with knowledge of events has told The Canadian Press that the RCMP began looking into Grewal’s casino gambling based on reports of unusually large financial transactions.In his message, Grewal said he began frequenting the Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Que., in early 2016, racking up personal debt in the millions of dollars playing high-stakes blackjack. He started to borrow money from family and friends to continue to gamble.“On an average sitting, I would spend between 15 to 30 minutes at a table, and I either won a lot of money, which made me continue to chase wins, or I lost a significant amount of money, which threw me into complete despair,” he says.“I want to make it clear, that every single personal loan made to me was by cheque. Everybody has been paid back, and every loan and repayment is transparent and traceable. This has nothing to do at all with anything sinister except to feed my own addiction. I apologize to my family for both having to financially bail me out and to carry this burden with me.”Grewal says he hid his compulsive gambling addiction “from absolutely everyone” — including his wife of four months — and suffered in silence until telling his family on Nov. 5. Their love and support gave him the courage to speak to the Prime Minister’s Office on Nov. 19, he says.After a brief conversation Nov. 21 with Liberal colleague Mark Holland, the chief government whip, Grewal was told he probably could not remain in caucus and should resign his seat, the Facebook message says. Grewal flew back to Brampton to tell his family.“In a highly emotional state, completely exhausted and facing an extreme time constraint, I made an unadvised and irrational statement on Facebook that I would be resigning my seat.”Grewal now says he will take a leave of absence from the Liberal caucus to focus on his mental health and recover, and make a final decision about his political future before Parliament resumes in the new year. “I do not take this decision lightly, as it is easier for my family and me to just fade away and avoid the daily media scrutiny this will bring.”A well-placed insider told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that if Grewal did not officially resign soon, he would be kicked out of the Liberal caucus.The federal ethics commissioner began an inquiry last May after two opposition MPs expressed concerns that Grewal might have been in a conflict of interest when he invited a construction executive — who was paying Grewal for legal services at the time — to official events with Trudeau during the prime minister’s trip to India this year.The Prime Minister’s Office acknowledged last week that the RCMP had made inquiries related to the ethics complaint against Grewal. But the insider said the PMO only recently realized that the Mounties’ questions might actually have been part of a broader investigation.— Follow @JimBronskill on TwitterJim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A foundation that educates young people about genocide says it is partnering with the Quebec government to offer high school teachers a guide on how to sensitize students to the warning signs leading to the systematic destruction of a group of people.Beginning this fall, a selection of high schools across Quebec will be offered the universal teaching guide on genocide as part of a pilot project, said Heidi Berger, head of The Foundation for Genocide Education. The goal is to have the guidebook in every public and private high school across the province by 2020, she said in an interview Friday.“The guide is going to give educators all the resources they need to be able to teach this sensitive topic with knowledge and confidence,” Berger said. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors who lived through the Second World War in a Polish ghetto, Berger said she learned early about the horrors of genocide.“My mother witnessed many cruel and violent acts,” she said. “Her brother and father taken away; the rape and murder of her best friend; the machine-gunning of her mother as she was hiding in an attic.”Berger worries young people aren’t being sufficiently exposed to the history of the Holocaust and of the genocides since then. If students are ignorant of history, she says, they won’t fully understand where hate and intolerance can lead.And she has some numbers to back up her concerns. A September 2018 survey that polled 1,100 Canadians, conducted by New York City-based Schoen Consulting, indicated 22 per cent of respondents between 18 and 34 years old were unaware or unsure if they heard of the Holocaust.The guide is composed of a series of case studies that explain the major genocides of the 20th century, including the horrors that took place in Germany and Poland, Armenia, and Rwanda.“The importance is that the students develop critical thinking so they understand intolerance and hate,” said Berger.She said the Quebec Education Department will decide how many schools will participate in the pilot project. A spokesperson for the department did not return a request for interview. Berger says her foundation and the Education Department are aiming to have the guides in every secondary school by next year.Kyle Matthews, executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, was alongside Berger in meetings with the education minister to develop the guide.Most Holocaust survivors are elderly and every year there are fewer alive who can visit schools to talk about their experiences, Matthews said. He added that Quebec’s high school curriculum doesn’t included detailed lessons on genocide.“With the rise of the far-right and the far-left and terrorism around the world … we are in a very difficult moment and we need to learn the lessons about what happens when hate goes out of control,” he said.The lessons are all around us, Matthews said, pointing to ISIS recently attempting to destroy the Yazidis in Syria, the Rohingya being persecuted in Myanmar and China imprisoning up to one million Muslim Uighurs.Moreover, Canada has had a “really high” number of citizens who have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIS, he added. A 2018 report on terrorism by Public Safety Canada indicated there were roughly 190 “Canadian extremist travellers” in the region and about 60 have returned home.“We have our own citizens who have travelled abroad and helped a group commit genocide,” Matthews said. “That’s not in the past — that’s the present.”Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
QUEBEC — A new report from Quebec’s language watchdog notes encouraging signs for the health of French in the province but raises an alarm about increased use of the bilingual “bonjour/hi” greeting in Montreal shops.In 2017, Quebec legislators were so concerned about creeping bilingualism they unanimously adopted a motion calling on store clerks to stick with a simple “bonjour” when welcoming customers. The report published Friday offers little comfort on that front.The Office quebecois de la langue francaise found that between 2010 and 2017, use of “bonjour/hi” in Montreal doubled, representing 8 per cent of all greetings in 2017. Exclusively English greetings also increased, occurring 17 per cent of the time in 2017, up from 12 per cent in 2010.French greetings remained the norm, but they were down to 75 per cent from 84 per cent over the same period.Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante made a pitch Friday for merchants to stick to French when greeting customers. “What I encourage is for our merchants to use ‘bonjour,’ period,” she told reporters at city hall. “Because everyone understands ‘bonjour,’ everyone likes it, it is something that brings people together.”The report notes that once the greeting is out of the way, French remains by far the predominant language spoken in Quebec stores. French was the language of service 96 per cent of the time, meaning incidents where someone could not be served in French were rare.And politicians’ concerns aside, the report notes that Quebecers — especially the younger generation — are increasingly indifferent to the language in which they are served. In 2012, 23 per cent of francophones aged 18 to 34 said it did not bother them to be served in a language other than French. By 2018, that figure had risen to 40 per cent.Both anglophones and allophones — those whose first language is neither French nor English — are more able to converse in French than was the case 20 years ago. In fact, 94 per cent of Quebecers reported they were able to hold a conversation in French in 2016.The report says workplaces have become more bilingual. Provincewide, 80 per cent of people used French most often at work in 2016, down slightly from 82 per cent in 2011. The percentage of employees using only French at work fell to 56 per cent in 2016 from 60 per cent five years earlier.The Canadian Press
VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The battle isn’t over for a Victoria senior who lost her license after she couldn’t do a breathalyzer test. Norma McLeod is still without a driver license, but one Victoria lawyer is taking up the fight, noting McLeod wasn’t able to take the test due to her oral cancer treatment and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).“This is excessive,” says Jerry Steele. “This is case in point that it is catching people now who are outside the scope of the people they are intending to catch.”He says this is a perfect example of how the law gives too much power to the police, noting it also showcases how current roadside prohibition laws remove the need for police to have cause.RELATED: Senior fined for failing to comply, says medical issues prevented her blowing breath testMinister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth tells NEWS 1130 in a statement that the decision to change the Criminal Code to allow random testing was federal.“That said, my ministry is looking at whether there are limitations to the equipment used at the roadside – and the broader issue of fairness to those with legitimate medical conditions, much earlier in the process,” the statement says.Steele would like to see a judicial review on the case, as well as the law overall to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again, “We’re going after both.’“I am not a fan of impaired driving but I am of due process and there isn’t any in this,” he adds. “You are absolutely presumed guilty – your guilty until proven innocent in this system.”Steele says this isn’t a small, nor quick battle, but is one he’s willing to take to the Supreme Court.
OTTAWA — New federal figures shows the Canada Border Services Agency has removed fewer than 900 asylum seekers who have crossed into Canada by exploiting a loophole in asylum laws.Since early 2017, more than 45,000 migrants have arrived in Canada “irregularly” by entering the country through a forest path between New York State and Quebec — avoiding official border checkpoints where they would be turned away and told to file a refugee claim in the United States.So far, only 866 have been removed from Canada after their refugee claims were rejected.The Immigration Department says a big reason the number is so low is because removal orders can only be enforced once an asylum seeker has exhausted all legal avenues to try to remain in the country.The avenues can include appeals of rejected claims, or undergoing a pre-removal risk assessments to determine whether sending a migrant back to their home country might put them in danger.CBSA says these processes take time to complete and limit the ability to remove irregular migrants more quickly.The Canadian Press