HALIFAX – A former medical student convicted of murder has won a different kind of court victory: He has been awarded nearly $700 after accusing a former roommate of stealing his sneakers and homemade wine from their Halifax apartment.William Sandeson is serving a life sentence after a jury convicted him of the first-degree murder of 22-year-old Taylor Samson during a drug deal.“The highly-publicized trial was in 2017. That conviction is under appeal by (Sandeson). All of this is well known to many observers in Halifax,” Nova Scotia small claims court adjudicator Eric Slone wrote in a written decision released Tuesday.“Less well known is the fact that (Sandeson) was an avid collector of shoes, specifically sneakers, and that he made his own wine in his spare time.”The decision said Sandeson was living with Dylan Zinck-Selig in August 2015 when the Dalhousie University student was arrested.Their apartment was seized by police, and the ruling said Zinck-Selig was given limited access to retrieve essential items during the forensic investigation.Afterwards, Sandeson claimed 18 of his 28 pairs of shoes were missing when his family went to collect his belongings. Also missing were approximately 40 bottles of homemade wine and between five and 10 bottles of liquor, he alleged.“These shoeboxes can be seen on the short video made by the police forensic unit when they first entered the apartment with a search warrant, looking for evidence in connection with the alleged murder,” Slone said, noting that many of the shoes were new and most were stored in shoeboxes in his closet.Sandeson alleged that his former roommate took those items, which were valued at approximately $2,500.The decision said Zinck-Selig admitted to taking two pairs of sneakers and four bottles of wine, but not all of the items. He testified most of Sandeson’s shoes wouldn’t have fit him, as they do not wear the same size, but the two pairs he did take were the right size.“(Zinck-Selig) says he felt entitled to take these things as partial compensation for the fact that some of his stuff had been destroyed by the police or forensic personnel in their search of the premises,” wrote Slone in the decision rendered April 17.“The main item that he referred to was a beanbag chair that had been split open with the result that the beans were piled all over the floor, to the extent that many small items were literally buried in beans.”Slone noted Zinck-Selig was not the only person with access to the apartment — the landlord and police also had access — and he therefore determined the former roommate took some, but not all, of the items.“In general terms, I have no problem with (Sandeson’s) credibility. There is nothing inconsistent with his evidence, and his theory holds water to the extent that (Zinck-Selig) is logically someone who was in a position to help himself to the missing items,” said Slone.He noted he doesn’t believe Zinck-Selig had a right to take anything that was not his.“Legally speaking, he did not have a claim against (Sandeson) that entitled him to help himself to compensation. (Zinck-Selig) was a victim of systems beyond anyone’s control. And of all the victims in the larger scenario, he was one of the least impacted,” said Slone.He awarded Sandeson $699.45 for the lost items and “process serving” fees.At the time of his arrest, Sandeson had already completed one year of medical school in the Caribbean, was a track and field athlete, worked two jobs and had a girlfriend. He was due to start medical school at Dalhousie University within a week of the slaying.Sandeson has no chance of parole for 25 years.During his sentencing hearing, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Joshua Arnold said it was on Aug. 15, 2015, that Samson went to Sandeson’s Halifax apartment to sell nine kilograms of marijuana for $40,000 as part of a prearranged deal.Samson was last seen alive on a video recording captured by Sandeson’s surveillance system that night. There were no images of Samson walking out, the trial heard.Arnold said Sandeson shot Samson while he was sitting at a kitchen table.Crown lawyers had argued Sandeson, motivated by greed, devised a scheme to kill Samson and steal the marijuana to pay off his debts. Arnold said there was no evidence Sandeson had $40,000 cash to pay for the drugs.In his closing arguments, defence lawyer Eugene Tan conceded there was a “violent incident” at the apartment that night, but he said his client had always maintained there was someone else in the apartment.Tan said Sandeson was taking an active role in his own case and was participating in every decision. He said Sandeson took a paralegal course while in prison so he could better understand his case.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.
OTTAWA – The federal Liberals are looking to push more of the billions they plan to spend on infrastructure in the next decade directly into flood mitigation, hoping to avoid repeats of disasters in Quebec and Ontario this month.Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the idea the Liberals will promote to provinces, territories and cities is to agree to spend the money over and above the $2 billion already set aside to help local governments defend against natural disasters like fire and flooding.The move could potentially save the government hundreds of millions annually in disaster relief payments, which are expected to rise over the coming years.In a report last year, the parliamentary budget officer estimated that payments through the disaster financial assistance arrangements could increase to more than $900 million a year over the next five years, including $673 million a year for flooding. Both costs are well above past averages paid out from the fund.Through funding agreements with provinces and territories, Sohi said the government wants “to negotiate language around dedicating resources towards flood mitigation and other disasters.“It’s a concern and we definitely want to have those conversations with provinces and territories.”The push for more disaster funding will be part of what Sohi calls a “green lens” that local, provincial and territorial governments will use on proposed infrastructure projects before they can be approved for federal funding.Sohi said the lens puts the focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions during and after construction, as well as mitigating the impact of severe weather to reduce the cost of disasters on communities.“Not only the human cost and the pain, the anxiety that it causes and the disruption of life for people, but also the economic cost to clean up afterward and the impact on the overall economy. This is part of our broader infrastructure plan.”Sohi made the comments during a roundtable interview this week with The Canadian Press.The green lens will be part of the second phase of the Liberals’ infrastructure plan, which is to dole out $81.2 billion on new, large-scale projects in cities and provinces over the next 10 years.The money will flow only after provinces and territories sign funding agreements with the federal government, which will take months to conclude because of the size and scope of the plan.The Liberals are banking on the infrastructure spending to prod economic growth to help boost federal finances that have been plunged into years of deficits partly because of the infrastructure plan.Federal officials have been wrestling with how to frame the requirements in the upcoming funding agreements to make sure the money spurs more projects, known as incrementality in federal parlance, and not have provinces and cities replace planned spending with federal dollars.Internal government documents show that municipalities in Ontario in particular have pushed the government to recognize their long-term capital plans as meeting the federal requirement for incrementality.A January briefing note to Sohi ahead of a meeting with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario recommended the minister reiterate the government’s position that federal funding should not “have the unintended negative consequences of displacing investment by the provinces or municipalities over time.”The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the document under the Access to Information Act.Sohi said the Liberals may provide some flexibility in the funding to allow for refurbishment projects, rather than new builds.“Under Phase 2, the long-term plan, we will be supporting more new infrastructure. There will be some flexibility to rehabilitate the existing infrastructure, but these will be new plans or plans that they (cities) have in place, but there is no funding attached to it. These will be the new projects that we will fund.”— Follow @jpress on Twitter.
KENORA, Ont. – Foul play is not suspected in the death of an eight-year-old boy who was found in a northwestern Ontario provincial park.Ontario Provincial Police say they were called to Rushing River Provincial Park to investigate reports of a missing person Saturday evening.Investigators say they searched the park with the emergency response team, a K9 unit and the Kenora Marine and Trails unit.The boy, whose name has not been released, was found dead early Sunday.Police say they don’t suspect foul play at this time, but are waiting for Tuesday’s post-mortem examination before officially ruling it out.
GIBSONS, B.C. – Police say a black bear has been put down after it broke into a home and terrified a family in Gibsons, B.C.Sunshine Coast RCMP say Elery Froude was home with her two sons and a family friend on Saturday evening when an adult male bear wandered in through the sliding glass door.The bear roamed through the house, going into most of the rooms and drooling on the dining room table while Froude locked herself in a bedroom with her children.Police say her friend yelled, banged pots and shook chairs at the animal before punching it in the nose, which made the bear retreat outside.The bear then began pawing and chewing at the screen door until police arrived and scared it into the bushes with air horns and other methods.RCMP say conservation officers later put down the bear, which weighed about 115 kilograms, after determining it lacked a fear of humans.
OTTAWA – Oxfam Canada says hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing violence in Myanmar in recent weeks, are without shelter and clean water in flooded refugee camps.The international development agency says nearly 480,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh and more than 70 per cent are without adequate shelter, while half have no safe drinking water.It said in a release Wednesday that heavy rains and floods in camps have left people facing extreme hardship, and have slowed down the building of emergency shelters and clean water tanks, and the delivery of aid.Oxfam says is has reached nearly 100,000 people with clean drinking water, emergency toilets, water pumps and food rations and is planning to help more than 200,000 people during the first phase of its response.Oxfam Bangladesh’s humanitarian co-ordinator Paolo Lubrano says most of the families are huddled under sarongs and urgently need help.Due to the volatile and chaotic situation, Oxfam says it is concerned about abuse and exploitation of women and girls.“Women and children are particularly vulnerable, sleeping under open skies, roadsides, and forest areas with little or no protection,” Lubrano said.The head of the U.N.’s migration agency said Wednesday there are increasing reports of sexual violence directed at Rohingya Muslims.Director-general William Lacy Swing of the International Organization for Migration said he was “shocked and concerned” about the reports of sexual and gender-based violence among Rohingya in Bangladesh.IOM said rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence have been identified. It did not specify who was responsible for the violence.An agency statement on Wednesday said IOM doctors have treated dozens of women who experienced “violent sexual assault” since August, but that the known cases likely represent only a “small portion” of actual cases.The military in Myanmar is accused of burning down the homes of Rohingya Muslims, forcing members of the persecuted minority to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.-with files from The Associated Press
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s premier says there’s “room for us to compromise” in his government’s showdown with the province’s teachers union over education reforms.“We have certain objectives, they have certain objectives,” Premier Stephen McNeil said after a meeting Monday with Liette Doucet, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.“We won’t agree on everything but I believe there is definitely room for us to compromise, so I said we would meet again.”Doucet agreed the discussion was positive, in that both sides are willing to continue talking. There was no immediate word on when the next meeting would be.“We want to make changes in the classroom and we want to make sure the changes are positive for our students, said Doucet. “We really need to work together to develop trust with the government and that’s what we are looking to do.”In a vote last week, more than 80 per cent of teachers endorsed strike action to protest the province’s decision to largely endorse reforms contained in a report by consultant Avis Glaze, including the removal of 1,000 principals, vice-principals and supervisors from the union.The Glaze report also recommends eliminating the province’s seven English-language school boards and creating a provincial college of educators to license and regulate the teaching profession.Any strike would be illegal — and teachers could face fines of up to $1,000 a day.McNeil said he met alone with Doucet and discussed point-by-point all of Glaze’s 22 recommendations.McNeil said the government intends to pass legislation this spring based on the Glaze report, but it wouldn’t be introducing a bill when the house reconvenes Tuesday. The premier said he doesn’t know when a bill might come.Doucet wouldn’t say whether teachers would strike if the legislation includes the removal of school administrators from the union.“We have to wait and see what the legislation says,” said Doucet.McNeil said his discussion with Doucet also touched on an upcoming report on classroom inclusion.Classroom composition, and inclusion of students with special needs, was a major issue that was seldom discussed publicly during a 16-month contract dispute that saw teachers walk off the job for a day and stage a protest outside the provincial legislature one year ago.The Liberals eventually passed legislation which imposed a contract and also ended a work-to-rule job action.McNeil said the report would be an opportunity to signal to teachers that the government is serious about providing classroom support.“That’s the report (inclusion) that is important to me,” he said. “Our budget will reflect a commitment to this report even though we haven’t seen the final product.”Monday’s talks followed a meeting Friday between Doucet and Education Minister Zach Churchill.
HALIFAX – A much-anticipated verdict is expected Friday in the multi-million-dollar stock market fraud case stemming from the collapse of Halifax’s Knowledge House e-learning company.Former company president and CEO Daniel Potter and lawyer Blois Colpitts are jointly charged with a series of frauds.Their trial began in November 2015 and heard from 75 witnesses over more than 150 court days, and 184 exhibits were received — including thousands of documents.“Describing this trial as complex and unique would be a gross understatement,” Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Kevin Coady wrote in August 2017 in one of many mid-trial decisions.Knowledge House Inc. was once a high-flying developer of educational software, trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange before collapsing in 2001.The Crown alleges that between January 2000 and September 2001, Potter and Colpitts manipulated the price of the company’s shares.Shares in Knowledge House began trading publicly on the TSE in 1999, and went from a few cents to more than $9 before suddenly collapsing.Coady is expected to hand down a verdict on Friday, as well as a decision in a Charter application brought forward by the defence.Colpitts and Potter were among three people charged in 2011 with conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud affecting the public market and fraud over $5,000, following a seven-year-long RCMP investigation.The third, former National Bank Financial stockbroker Bruce Elliott Clarke, was sentenced in April 2016 to three years in jail after pleading guilty to conspiring to affect Knowledge House’s share price and defrauding a trust fund established by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America of more than $5,000.In 2015, Nova Scotia’s Court of Appeal ordered National Bank Financial to pay $3 million in punitive damages for the way it dealt with investors who lost money when the technology firm collapsed.Justice Jamie Saunders had said the money was owed to four investors who were affected when the company failed.The judge said National Bank had secured a confidential agreement with the Nova Scotia Securities Commission concerning the role it played overseeing the actions of a broker involved in the stock trades, and once that was revealed, it showed the bank didn’t properly oversee the actions of its broker.Justice Jamie Campbell said at Clarke’s sentencing that he had defrauded a union pension fund of close to $900,000, and that “only a significant period of time in jail is the fit and proper sentence.”Federal Crown prosecutor James Martin described in court at the time how Clarke used three main techniques to elevate the price of Knowledge House shares and spur on buying by investors.He said he used different accounts to continually buy the stock to make sure the price didn’t decrease and, in the process, spent millions to keep the stock price rising. He said Clarke also actively discouraged people from selling their stocks.“This was an incredibly sophisticated fraud,” Martin said. “He spent millions of dollars over the course of 18 months doing what they could to make sure the price of Knowledge House did not fall.”Martin said the fraud amounted to $31 million in total.The case against Colpitts and Potter has faced numerous delays. The pair have made every attempt to fight the fraud allegations. They even sought mistrial and stay of proceedings in July 2017.In a decision rejecting to hear that application, Coady noted the defendants had brought forward a “significant number of motions” throughout the trial.“These motions have consumed lengthy blocks of time and, for the most part, were not particularly successful. Many of these motions produced significant delay without any corresponding benefits to the trial process,” Coady said in a written decision dated July 26, 2017.Six months earlier, Coady had issued yet another decision after concerns were raised by the court about the lengthy proceedings.Before instituting a proposed schedule for the remainder of the trial, Coady noted: “This state of affairs cannot go on forever. The time has come for me to control this process which is presently chewing up massive judicial resources and blocking others from accessing the justice system.”
Seven stories in the news for Friday, April 6———PM TRUDEAU VENTURES INTO OILSANDS TODAYPrime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit the Alberta oilsands today, less than 24 hours after protesters in Vancouver called for him to revoke the approval of the Trans Canada pipeline project. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside a Liberal party fundraising dinner to bang pots and chant “Kinder Morgan has got to go.” Trudeau will tour a new Suncor oilsands facility today in Fort McMurray.—LATEST JOBS DATA OUT TODAYStatistics Canada will update the jobs picture for March today. In February, the economy added 15,400 net new jobs to trim the unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent. The February gains were due to a surge in part-time work that offset a decline in full-time positions. The labour force survey also said the gains in February were driven by an increase of 50,300 in public-sector jobs.———N.B. PREMIER SUSPENDS SPEAKER AMID ALLEGATIONSThe Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature has been suspended from the Liberal caucus pending an investigation into allegations of harassment. Premier Brian Gallant announced Chris Collins’ suspension Thursday, saying the allegations against the 55-year-old Speaker were made by a former employee of the legislative assembly.———BUDGET DAY IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLANDThe Prince Edward Island government will table its 2018 budget today amid what one observer says are growing signs of an early provincial election call. Don Desserud, a professor of political science at UPEI, says Premier Wade MacLauchlan may want to call a vote for May or early June while the Island’s economy is relatively strong.———ALBERTA BABY DEATH AND ILLNESS ON FIRST NATION A MYSTERYAn autopsy is scheduled to be performed today on a baby girl who died in a crowded home this week on a First Nation west of Calgary. RCMP are still trying to determine precisely why the child died and 14 other people were taken to hospital from the home. Authorities have said they suffered from influenza-like symptoms. Health Canada also plans to investigate.———EMERGENCY ALERTS COMING TO YOUR CELLPHONEStarting today, Canadians won’t have to be near a television or radio to receive emergency alerts. Life-threatening emergencies will now be broadcast on compatible mobile phones. As of today, the National Public Alerting System — commonly called Alert Ready — will include wireless networks, in addition to traditional broadcast channels. Situations that could prompt an alert include forest fires, terrorist threats or an Amber Alert for a missing child.———SEDIN TWINS BID FAREWELL TO VANCOUVER FANSIt was a storybook ending at Rogers Arena as Daniel and Henrik Sedin said farewell to the hometown crowd. Daniel scored the winning goal in overtime, with an assist from Henrik as the Vancouver Canucks beat Arizona 4-3 last night. It was the Sedins’ final NHL game on home ice. The Swedish twins said Monday they are retiring after playing 17 seasons with the Canucks. Their final game will be Saturday in Edmonton.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland meets with U.S. and Mexican trade representative in Washington, D.C.— New Brunswick Southern Railway to enter pleas on 24 charges stemming from the Lac Megantic disaster.— The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls holds hearings in Richmond, B.C.— A woman appears in a Lethbridge, Alta., court, accused of leaving a child in a freezing vehicle while she went drinking.— The Royal Bank will hold its annual meeting in Toronto.
Eight stories in the news for Thursday, June 7———ELECTION DAY IN ONTARIOAfter weeks of attack ads and controversies, Ontarians go to the polls today to elect a new provincial government. With Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne admitting she’s unlikely to be re-elected as premier, the race appeared to be a battle between the NDP and Progressive Conservatives. But after a drama-filled campaign — including a lawsuit made public this week against PC Leader Doug Ford — anything could happen as the race concludes.———TRADE CRISIS A ‘FAMILY QUARREL,’ SAYS U.S. OFFICIALDonald Trump’s top economic adviser has dismissed differences over tariffs as a “family quarrel” amid reports of a testy phone call between the U.S. president and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of this week’s G7 summit. Larry Kudlow played down his country’s trade dispute with Canada, and said he hoped Trump and Trudeau could work through their differences during their face-to-face meeting at the summit, which opens Friday.———KENT HEHR TO STAY IN CAUCUSKent Hehr says he will remain in the federal Liberal caucus, but won’t rejoin the Trudeau cabinet after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with women. The former veterans and sports and disabilities minister resigned from cabinet in January after a former employee accused him of calling her “yummy” during his time as a member of the Alberta legislature a decade ago. Hehr says he does not recall the encounter with Kristin Raworth, but has nonetheless apologized.———THREE SISTERS AMONG FIVE DEAD IN ALBERTA CRASHTwo First Nations communities in Alberta are grieving the loss of five people in highway crash south of Edmonton on Tuesday. Three sisters — Cheyane Soosay, 22, Dominique Norwest, 19 and Latesha Norwest, 23, were among those killed. They, along with Anthony Swampy, 30 and Terrelle Minde, 22, died when their car and an SUV collided near Millet, Alta. RCMP continue to investigate the cause of the crash.———YOUTH POT STUDY REVEALS DANGERSA 10-year study on cannabis use among Canadian youth reveals some troubling findings. The study examined data from the Victoria Healthy Youth Survey, which followed 662 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 from 2003 to 2013. It shows those who start using pot at a young age and kept using it often during adolescence and beyond were more likely than their peers to have poor health outcomes. They also achieve less occupational and educational success in young adulthood.———DAVID SUZUKI TO RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREEScientist David Suzuki will receive an honorary doctor of science degree today from the University of Alberta after months of criticism. The Edmonton university said in April that the environmentalist and oilsands critic would receive the honour this spring, which prompted a flood of complaints. Suzuki says universities should be the place “to air a range of ideas about the geophysical, social and economic consequences of fossil fuel use.”———GRIFFIN PRIZE TO BE HANDED OUT IN TORONTOLiterary luminaries gather in Toronto tonight as two of the best wordsmiths from home and abroad receive the Griffin Poetry Prize. One Canadian and one international winner will each take home a $65,000 prize at the awards gala. Scholar Billy-Ray Belcourt of the Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta, Montreal-born dancer and choreographer Aisha Sasha John and interdisciplinary artist and critic Donato Mancini are in the running for the Canadian prize.———WILL THE STANLEY CUP BE AWARDED TONIGHT?The curtain could fall on the NHL season tonight if the Washington Capitals beat the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. The Capitals lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and are seeking their first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 43-year history. Washington star Alex Ovechkin is looking to become the first Russian captain to raise the Cup.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Prime Minister Trudeau meets with the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission in La Malbaie, Que.— French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Montreal to begin his Canadian visit.— A first major protest against the G7 summit will be held in Quebec City.— The Bank of Canada will release its latest financial system review report.— Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan will host a roundtable in Ottawa on Veterans homelessness.— Premier Dwight Ball will provide updates on healthcare infrastructure for western Newfoundland.— Companies reporting results today include Stingray Digital Group, Saputo and Dollarama.
TORONTO – A published report suggests the Ontario government is poised to reduce Toronto city council to just over half its current size.The Toronto Star, citing unnamed sources within the Progressive Conservative government, reports that legislation will be introduced “as early as Monday” to reduce the number of council seats to 25 from 47.The report comes on the eve of a deadline for candidates to register for the municipal election on Oct. 22.Premier Doug Ford has scheduled a news conference for Friday morning, just hours before the 2 p.m. deadline.Mayor John Tory will also speak to the media Friday morning to discuss the reported plan. Tory told television station CP24 that he had a “very animated conversation” with Ford Thursday night and would have “much more to say” in what he called a major statement.Tory declined to comment directly on the Star report, saying he wanted to collect his thoughts and choose his words carefully before reacting, but added he is concerned about anything that “affects the wellbeing of the people of the City of Toronto.”Reaction from other politicians was swift, with Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath saying Ford “cooked up a backroom plot to use his new power to meddle in municipal elections.”In her statement, Horwath said Ford wants a smaller number of councillors “to make it easier for him to control Toronto city hall.”Toronto city councillor Joe Mihevic posted a tweet calling the reported Ford plan a “destructive attack on local democracy” while fellow councillor Joe Cressy tweeted that Toronto’s residents “will suffer because of this back of a napkin plan.”Councillor Janet Davis weighed in by calling the reported move “a gross misuse of power” while former Ontario premier Bob Rae labelled it “chaotic and disrespectful.”Once councillor, however, spoke in favour of the reported plan. George Mammoliti told a Toronto TV station that the city needs to start getting its fiscal house in order “and the way to do that is with a smaller city council.”The newspaper also reported that the Ford government will cancel planned elections for regional chair positions in two Greater Toronto Area communities — Peel Region and York Region.Such a move would put a damper on the political redemption hopes of Patrick Brown, whom Ford replaced as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.Brown, who stepped down as Tory leader in January amid allegations of sexual misconduct that he denies, had thrown his hat into the ring to become the chair of Peel Region.Horwath said reports that Ford is cancelling those regional elections “are deeply chilling.”Representatives for the Progressive Conservative government did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.
Seven stories in the news for Thursday, Aug. 9———PM TRUDEAU STANDING FIRM ON SAUDI ARABIAPrime Minister Justin Trudeau says diplomatic talks with Saudi Arabia will continue but he’s not backing down on Canada’s criticism of the kingdom over the arrest of several social activists last week. Trudeau says Canada is engaging directly with the Saudi government in a bid to restore diplomatic ties between the two countries. But an apology from Canada or a withdrawal of the human rights concerns Canada raised, is not on the table.———SINGH TO RUN IN B.C. BYELECTIONFederal New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh took aim at the Liberal government’s investment in the Trans Mountain pipeline while announcing he’ll run for a seat in Parliament in Burnaby, B.C. Singh announced Wednesday he’ll run in Burnaby South, which former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart recently gave up to run for mayor in Vancouver. Singh also said he’s running because he wants the government to invest in housing and universal coverage of prescription medications.———WORKER DIES AT SITE OF B.C. WILDFIREA logging company employee has died while working at a wildfire in the Nanaimo Lakes area on Vancouver Island. The province’s workplace safety authority say the TimberWest employee was found dead in a vehicle south of Nanaimo late Monday. “The worker was not a firefighter. Early information indicates the worker was making a delivery to forest wildfire fighters,” WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Trish Knight Chernecki said. The person’s name, age and gender have not been released.———BLAIR CALLS GUN VIOLENCE “SIGNIFICANT CONCERN”Border Security Minister Bill Blair says Canada’s handgun laws are effective, but the federal government will consider additional restrictions in certain parts of the country. Blair says it’ll also look at other measures to help reduce gun violence. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tasked the former Toronto police chief with conducting a “deep analysis” across government to examine what additional steps could be taken to tackle gun violence.———VICTORIA TO REMOVE STATUE OF JOHN A. MACDONALDA statue of former prime minister John A. Macdonald will be removed from the front entrance of Victoria City Hall as a gesture of reconciliation with First Nations, says Mayor Lisa Helps. Macdonald may have been Canada’s first prime minister, but Helps says he was also a “key architect” of the residential school system. The statue will be placed in storage.———POT-BASED MEDICAL PET PRODUCTS CLOSER TO FRUITIONCanadian pets are a few steps closer to getting their paws on pot-based medical treatments in Canada as more cannabis companies research marijuana’s efficacy for companion animals. Canopy Growth Corp. is the latest medical marijuana company to enter the potentially lucrative pet market. This week, it said it would embark on a Health Canada-approved clinical trial to research the use of cannabis-based products to treat animal anxiety.———FOREIGNER’S MUSICAL READY TO ROLLIt really was “Feels Like The First Time” for Foreigner founder Mick Jones as he watched a rehearsal for “Jukebox Hero” — a musical based on the group’s songs. “Jukebox Hero” tells the story of a hard-hit Pennsylvania town that is saved with the help of a local rock star who stages a benefit concert. Jones said it is set in the Rust Belt where communities that once produced of steel are struggling. “JukeBox Hero” is to run for three days in Calgary, four in Edmonton and then five days in Toronto in February.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— A funeral will be held in Montreal for former Quebec education minister Paul Gerin-Lajoie. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend.— The Nova Scotia PC Party will hold a leadership debate in Halifax.— A hearing will be held in Halifax on a motion by a former taxi driver to quash a sexual assault charge from 2012.— Statistics Canada will release the new housing price index for June and a cannabis survey.— B.C. Attorney General David Eby and ICBC chairwoman Joy MacPhail announce proposed changes premium calculations.— A court hearing will be held in Ottawa for ex-NHL player Dave (Tiger) Williams in relation to sexual assault charges on a military flight.
SEATTE, Wash. – A U.S. government agency says a killer whale that is part of the endangered southern resident population appears to have lost weight.The whale known as K25 is a 27-year-old adult male who has been documented in aerial photos since 2008 and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says he appears thinner.The department says his “notably poorer body condition compared with recent years” coincides with the loss of his mother last year, adding that males rely on their mothers and other family members to meet their increased energy demands.The agency says its long-term monitoring has show adult males have an increased mortally risk following the deaths of their mothers, which highlights K25’s vulnerability.Aerial photos also show that several females in the three pods that make up the endangered southern resident population are pregnant, although the department says there’s a high rate of reproductive failure.A sickly killer whale from the same pod disappeared earlier this month after experts from Canada and the U.S. tried to save the emaciated female.
Sara Austin says parents enrolling their children in athletic programs this fall can take an important step to help prevent sexual abuse.Just talk.Austin, the CEO of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, is working hard to get the message out this October that parents are the first line of defence in the fight against sexual abuse in sports as many leagues start their seasons.“It really starts with having open and honest conversations with our children,” said Austin on Thursday. “Being able to talk about their bodies and about healthy relationships and what to do if they ever feel uncomfortable and feel like someone is doing something that’s inappropriate.“Kids need to know that if something bad happens that they can tell trusted adults. That there’s a difference between good secrets and bad secrets.”Breaking down the stigma surrounding these difficult discussions is one of the goals of October’s Child Abuse Prevention Month, and topical given the ongoing trial of Dave Brubaker, the former director of the women’s national gymnastics team. He pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching earlier this week at his judge-alone trial in Sarnia, Ont. The charges relate to alleged incidents between 2000 and 2007.Speaking with children about sexual abuse may be the first step, but Lorraine Lafreniere, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada, says direct conversations with coaches or other volunteers about what is being done to safeguard the kids in their care is also crucial.Lafreniere says parents often have no problem asking about physical safety in the field of play but can be reluctant to ask hard questions that can prevent sexual abuse. That includes making sure that sports organizations use the Rule of Two — a minimum of two adults be present for any activity — and that they have background checks on any adult working with the organization.“We want parents to not just ask what size of helmet or what type of helmet or what kinds of skis, we actually want them to ask: ‘Do you have policies around the Rule of Two? Do you have training and education? What’s your screening policy?’” Lafreniere said. “The biggest factor that will change anything is the parent. Because if the parent goes into the clubhouse and asks about policies, that’s what gets people going.”Austin says adults have a legal and moral responsibility to report any suspicious behaviour to the police. Although some people might worry about raising a false alarm, Austin says there is no risk and flagging suspicious behaviour to the proper authorities could save a life.“It’s not your job to solve this problem, it’s your job and legal duty to report suspected abuse and then the police and child protection agencies will do the investigation and ultimately come to a conclusion if the child is at risk,” said Austin. “It’s really important for folks to hear the message that the earlier we end the cycle of abuse the better off the outcomes are for the children.”Austin and Lafreniere have each seen a shift in how society speaks about sexual abuse, both in tone and in frequency.Lafreniere points to the 2012 conviction of former hockey coach Graham James as a watershed moment. He pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually abusing retired NHL star Theo Fleury and his cousin, Todd Holt, when they played for him in the Western Hockey League in the late 1980s and early ’90s. James had already served time and been pardoned after he pleaded guilty to similar charges in 1997 when Sheldon Kennedy and four other players accused him of sexual abuse.Since then, Canada has toughened the requirements for a convicted sex offender to be granted a pardon.At the same time, a series of sexual abuse trials have rocked the world of sports. Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, ex-Canadian national ski coach Bertrand Charest, former USA gymnastics coach Larry Nassar, and most recently Brubaker, have put the issue in the spotlight.Those high-profile trials, coupled with the #MeToo movement encouraging victims of sexual violence of all ages to speak out, have inspired more people to come forward about the abuse they’ve suffered.“We believe that the culture is changing. That the stigma and taboo associated with sexual abuse is slowly being wiped away,” said Austin, who notes that the vast majority of cases still go unreported. “It’s still a very difficult subject to talk about for people who survived abuse or for people who suspect abuse, it’s still a really difficult thing.“And yet, we believe the tide is starting to turn. It’s not necessarily that there are more cases of abuse, but that kids are more likely to reach out for help if they need it and that adults who suspect abuse are more likely to report it.”According to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, signs of child abuse may include: sudden changes in behaviour or performance at school or other activities; unexplained physical injuries or injuries that don’t match the child’s explanation; extreme behavioural reactions such as aggression or withdrawal; sexual knowledge or behaviour beyond their stage of development; a desire to run away from home; and always being hungry, sick or not suitably dressed for the weather.
COCHRANE — A southern Alberta farmer says he’s still trying to get over the shock of losing most of his sheep herd in a cougar attack.Barry Richards, who farms in the Cochrane area, says he spotted a sickly looking cougar lurking in the area on Monday and began patrolling his sheep enclosure to prevent the big cat from stalking his animals.He settled in for the night after believing the cougar had moved on, but the next morning he discovered the bulk his herd — 38 animals — either dead or nearly dead.Two rams weighing about 136 kilograms each, 20 ewes and 16 lambs were among the livestock attacked.Neighbours helped corner the cougar in a tree and Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers were dispatched to euthanize it.Wildlife officials say the cougar was emaciated and in very poor health, adding that it’s unnatural for a single cougar to kill so many sheep at one time.Only 10 sheep, including two lambs, survived the attack.Richards said he’s been told he will be compensated for livestock lost in the attack.“I’m feeling kind of stunned still,” he said. “Feeling really tired and like I have post-traumatic stress syndrome … I’m not really doing very well.”Estelle Coulson, Richards’ daughter, said the family was attached to the herd.“A lot of these sheep I grew up with. It’s so shocking that they’re just gone. I just never expected something like this to happen.” (CTV Calgary)The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – As Ottawa limps across the finish line of its snowiest January on record, cherry blossoms are blooming at the legislature in coastal Victoria, B.C.Millions of Canadians were hiding out this week under extreme cold warnings stretching across the map, even as some East Coast cities enjoyed moderate temperatures.According to experts, these co-existing extremes have been predicted for some time — and they’re likely here to stay.“This is the kind of thing people have been predicting for years,” said Konrad Gajewski, a professor of geography and environment at the University of Ottawa.“This kind of pattern of more alternation, more extremes, both in terms of warm and cold conditions is what we’re expecting for the future.”Central Canada’s cold snap comes from the oscillating upper wind patterns of the jet stream, pushing the cold air down from the north with the polar vortex.At the same time, the large “waves” in the wind patterns push some warm air north, explaining comparatively warm temperatures on the coasts.READ MORE: Arctic weather heading our way The exact role climate change plays in the pattern’s changes is an ongoing discussion in the scientific community, but a common belief says it’s the result of a warming Arctic.“It’s thought that as the Arctic warms up because the ice is melting back, we’re going to have more of a situation where you have what we call ‘waviness’ in the polar vortex,” Gajewski said.This “waviness” in the upper wind’s pattern could be carrying cold further and further south into south and central Canada, and pushing warm air further north along the coast.Atmospheric physics professor Kent Moore at the University of Toronto says the striking weather patterns show how the world’s climate system is intimately coupled, and how changes in the coldest and warmest regions can be felt in central Canadian cities.As an example, Moore pointed to the theory that the waves in upper wind patterns are moving slower, with larger amplitudes as a possible result of warming in the Arctic.“The largest changes in the climate are occurring in the Arctic and some would say, ‘Who cares? I live in mid-latitudes, why should I care about that stuff?’” Moore said.“The Earth is kind of a small place and so things that happen in the Arctic don’t stay in the Arctic.”This interconnectedness of the world’s climate system also explains the impacts from El Nino systems on Canada, Moore said.READ MORE: Winter storm brings snow, rain, wind and cold to Eastern and Central CanadaDavid Atkinson, a climate professor at the University of Victoria, said the jet stream’s behaviour could also make the increasingly frequent, intense storms on the East Coast gain even more strength.“If the air is kind of moving apart, it allows surface air to rise more easily,” Atkinson said. “That helps a storm to work, storms depend on rising air.”Gajewski said the arrival of long-predicted weather patterns means it’s time for all levels of government to seriously plan for changes that are already hitting Canada in the form of sweltering heat waves in the summer and record cold in the winter.This could mean more snow-clearing and flood response on the municipal level and global warming mitigation efforts across the board.In Ottawa, Gajewski pointed to some ongoing local efforts like more bicycle lanes and efforts to plow some of them in the winter.“A lot of it would just be common sense. It’s going to get hotter in the summers and we’re going to get perhaps more snow, more rain, more extreme conditions, more floods,” Gajewski said.“Cities have to be planned to deal with that kind of thing.”For cities like Ottawa, which just completed its twelfth straight day of round-the-clock plowing, people shouldn’t plan to retire their shovels any time soon.“We’re going to have to shovel more often.”
Ottawa is taking extra steps to find out if Canadians are still OK with killing wildlife in what one scientist calls “one of the worst ways to die on earth.”Health Canada’s Pest Management Review Agency has extended public consultations into whether it should consider cruelty before licensing poisons used to control large predators, including wolves.The most common of the three toxins under consideration is strychnine.The agency says it began the review in response to what it calls growing public concern about the humaneness of such chemicals.Alberta is one of Canada’s largest strychnine users, which uses it to kill wolves to help caribou herds survive in ranges heavily impacted by industrial development.Ryan Brook, a professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s agriculture department, calls strychnine one of the worst ways to die in terms of pain and remaining aware.A government spokesman says Alberta is talking with the federal government on the most effective and humane way to use toxins like strychnine.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says his party will cut Canada’s emissions almost in half over the next decade as he tries to stake out a claim to the climate change agenda in the looming federal election.The pledge is one contained in an NDP motion expected today in the House of Commons that will lay out eight broad strokes of the NDP’s climate change platform. The motion asks for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to declare “an environment and climate emergency” as well as pledge to cut emissions more deeply, eliminate government aid to the fossil fuel industry and cancel the planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.“We want to reflect the urgency people are feeling,” Singh said in an interview with The Canadian Press.That urgency for him means a slow end to the Canadian oil sector, which Singh says is on its way out whether Canadians like the idea or not.“This is the direction the world is headed,” he said.The motion comes just one week after the Green Party earned a resounding victory in a Vancouver Island byelection which most political observers – Singh included – believe was a message from voters for politicians to start taking climate change more seriously.Singh however insists today’s motion is not an attempt to beat back Green support, which would affect both NDP and Liberal fortunes in the fall.In fact Singh insists whatever message voters were sending last week in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, it was to the governing Liberals, not the NDP, even though the NDP won the seat in 2015. The byelection was triggered when Sheila Malcolmson resigned after just three years as an MP to run provincially in British Columbia.The Green Party’s Paul Manly now represents the riding, only the second Green MP ever elected in Canada. The NDP finished a distant third and the Liberals an even more distant fourth.“When voters want to send a message it’s to people making the decisions,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see people sending a message on climate change.”Last October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned drastic cuts to emissions are needed in the next decade to prevent global warming from becoming catastrophic. That report suggested Canada’s Paris climate change commitment, which would mean cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 28 per cent compared to where they are now, is nowhere near enough.Singh won’t put a specific number on his targets yet but he agrees the motion is “subtly suggesting” the NDP would aim for the UN targets, which would mean Canada has to cut emissions almost in half by 2030.The Liberal government’s climate plan, including the carbon tax, getting rid of coal as a source of electricity and subsidizing the purchase of electric cars, still leaves Canada nearly 90 million tonnes shy of hitting the existing goal.To slash more deeply would require more drastic action in Canada’s energy sector. Oil and gas production and refining accounts for about one-quarter of all Canada’s emissions, but also more than six per cent of the economic activity and more than half a million direct and indirect jobs.New Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has warned of the separatist angst growing in Alberta as the energy sector has struggled in recent years, but Singh said the NDP would ensure there is a plan to transition Alberta workers to the new-age economy.“We need thousands and thousands of people to work to fight climate change,” he said.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $9 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.However, the guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket holder in Ontario.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on May 29 will be approximately $11 million.The Canadian Press
Make-A-Wish UK is delighted to announce reality television star Amy Childs as its latest Ambassador.Amy, 22, first became involved with Make-A-Wish in February 2013 when she attended the Make-A-Wish Valentine’s Ball, held at The Dorchester.Speaking about her new role with Make-A-Wish, Amy said: “It’s an absolute honour to become an Ambassador for Make-A-Wish. In February, I saw first-hand the magic of Make-A-Wish and just what a difference the charity makes to the lives of very poorly children – I’m thrilled to now be a part of that magic.”Neil Jones, Chief Executive of Make-A-Wish, said: “We are delighted that Amy is joining Make-A-Wish as our newest Ambassador. Her involvement will be a huge asset to the charity.”Source:Make-A-Wish UK
Some of the biggest names in Country music will “Play in Peoria” with more than 17 acts coming together over 3 days for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, all to help raise awareness in the fight against childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.Jennifer Nettles, Big & Rich, Montgomery Gentry, Kellie Pickler, Randy Houser and more, will join headliners Brad Paisley, Hank Williams Jr., and Trace Adkins, July 18-20, 2014 at Ravina on the Lakes in Peoria, IL.“Proceeds from ticket sales, merchandise, memorabilia and a text to donate campaign are some of the opportunities to raise funds”, explains Brad Maloney, VP of Blu Entertainment Group and organizer of the festival. “We are honored to be partners with St. Jude, this charity is very dear to so many in our community”.“St. Jude is thankful for this partnership with Country Life Music Festival. The group of artists and business partners making this event possible are all long-time St. Jude supporters. Seeing the community embrace this event, country music and the mission of helping kids with cancer and other deadly diseases is truly inspiring” says Michael Joseph, President of the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Board.“It’s amazing how many people and how many companies have reached out to get involved,” adds Maloney. “Coors Light has been announced as the Title Sponsor, Cumulus Radio and their NASH FM brand is on board, as well as local companies R.J. Distributing, Petersen Hotels and Morton Buildings. It’s really coming together, and we have some surprises planned”, promises Maloney. “This is going to be a great event for St. Jude, the artists, and our entire community”.Ravina on the Lakes is set in the midst of a 120 acre private park, just minutes from the Grand Prairie Mall and Interstate 474 in Peoria.Single day and 3 day tickets are available online or by calling Blu Entertainment at 309-268-1202. General admission lawn seating, reserved seating, party pit and VIP options are available. Off-site camping with complimentary shuttle service is also available.