VANCOUVER – The head of the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women says the commission accepts full responsibility for delays and poor communication but more time and money are needed to finish the “tremendous work” that has already been done.Marion Buller responded Friday to concerns outlined in an open letter from more than 30 advocates, aboriginal leaders and family members that the process is in “serious trouble.”The problem is one of communication, Buller told a news conference at the First Nations House of Learning on the campus of the University of British Columbia.“I don’t think it’s a matter of leadership. I don’t think it’s a matter of staff issues. It’s our fault for not communicating the tremendous work we have already accomplished,” Buller said.“The top priority for the national inquiry is to let the whole country know the tremendous work we have already done and the work that we plan to do and how we’re going to carry out that work.”Buller, the first female First Nations judge in B.C., and four other commissioners are overseeing the inquiry, which launched in September and was expected to take two years and cost $53.8 million. Buller said work has begun on a new timeline and budget, but couldn’t say when details would be released.Earlier this week, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett responded to the open letter, saying she shares the concerns of family members who are growing more anxious about the inquiry.The group, which published its comments Monday on the website of Metis artist Christi Belcourt, said it is aware the commission faces a difficult challenge, but it noted immediate action must be taken to shift the current approach and prevent damage.Buller said she understands that some people want the commission to proceed faster and she hears the frustration of those who have waited up to 40 years for answers.But she said there are others who are telling the commission to take its time and be careful and respectful so that it doesn’t cause any more damage or retraumatize people.“I understand where they are coming from too, because they don’t want the hurt to continue,” Buller said.“The commissioners and I share one important concern above all, and that’s our fear of retraumatizing people,” she added. “It’s a concern we live with daily and we take very seriously.”Buller said a lot of work has been done behind the scenes and she still expects to release the commission’s first report in November.“There is still a lot of hope out there,” she said. “We still enjoy the support of many family members across Canada, many survivors across Canada. We continue to receive letters, emails, telephone calls of people saying we support what you are doing. We receive some great comments of what we can do better.”Buller said the commission could have started a courtroom-like inquiry months ago because that has been done many times before, but this inquiry is different.“We want to take a decolonized, indigenous approach to this work that will do no further harm. You can’t roll that out in a couple of months. It takes time to do it right and we intend to do it right. That’s the only way that’s fair, to honour the spirits of the lost women and girls, and to honour the spirits of the survivors.”The commission is set to hold its first public hearing May 29 in Whitehorse in a tent instead of a courtroom.Other community meetings won’t take place until later in the fall at the earliest.— Follow @gwomand on Twitter
MONTREAL – Quebec’s public transportation systems are the latest target in the ongoing debate in the province over religion and identity.Neither Montreal’s transit authority nor unions representing bus and subway drivers wanted to comment Thursday on speculation that women wearing the Islamic niqab or burqa will be prevented from using public transportation.Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee hasn’t been able to answer the question clearly either.The debate surfaced after Vallee on Tuesday tabled amendments to Bill 62, legislation that sets guidelines for accommodating religious requests in Quebec.Vallee’s bill attempts to enshrine into law the policy that all people giving or receiving a service from the state must do so with their face uncovered.“As soon as there is an interaction between the state in the citizen, the service has to be offered and received with an uncovered face,” she has said about her law, first tabled in 2015.Tuesday’s amendments included language explicitly stating municipalities and public transportation systems would be subject to the proposed accommodation law.Vallee has since been accused of being coy regarding the details of the amendments and how they would be enforced.The justice minister was asked repeatedly during radio interviews this week whether a bus driver could reject a woman wearing the Islamic burqa or niqab from walking onto a bus.She wasn’t able to give a clear answer.“The objective of the bill is not to prevent people from taking the bus,” Vallee said, without responding to the questions directly.Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has come out against the amendments, saying the provincial government doesn’t have the right to tell the city how its employees should dress.He also raised concerns about whether women wearing Islamic face coverings would be able to ride public transit.Montreal’s transit authority said it was “premature” to discuss the government’s bill and the agency would consult with the city on the issue.The union representing many municipal bus drivers across Quebec also didn’t want to comment, saying it would likely be ready to talk about the bill in September.Political Science professor Bruce Hicks of Concordia University suggested in an interview the Quebec Liberals could be purposefully trying to “stir things up” in order to distract the opposition in the leadup to the 2018 election.“They are clearly stirring the pot,” said Hicks, who is also a visiting fellow at York University. “The fact (Vallee) has been ambiguous suggests that maybe they are just throwing it out there to get people talking about it.”Hicks pointed to the fact Vallee tabled the bill in 2015 and said if passing the legislation was a priority the government could have done so much sooner.He said the Liberals have a political incentive to make the opposition look like they are intolerant against Muslims or obsessed with identity issues.Hicks said having a big societal debate on religious accommodation and systemic racism this year might “exhaust the conversation” by the next election, scheduled for fall 2018.“It takes the wind out of the sails of opposition parties,” he said.Haroun Bouazzi, the head of a well-known Muslim organization in Quebec, didn’t care to opine on what he thought was the government’s strategy.He said the Liberals could have closed this issue years ago by passing a law on religious accommodation.“It seems a bit improvised,” he said. “It seems as though they don’t recognize the consequences of what they are proposing.”
TORONTO – Like any typical teen, Jadine Baldwin loves spending time on her cellphone and laptop, the latter the vehicle for honing her skills as a wordsmith to fulfil her dream of some day becoming a novelist.But what sets the 17-year-old apart from most of her adolescent peers is her physical disability, the result of being born with cerebral palsy.And while she has no intention of letting that stop her from reaching her goal, she continually bumps up against the barrier of discrimination — the stares, the whispers and the social exclusion by those seemingly unable to see past her inability to walk or her somewhat laboured speech.“I think people discriminate against me in the way that they see my wheelchair and not who I am as a person,” said Jadine.“They’ll talk to other people about me, but not directly to me. So people will stop my mom in the grocery store and ask her what my problem is … because they think that because my legs don’t work I’m stupid and can’t understand them.“Then my mom’s always like, ‘Why don’t you ask her?’ And then as soon as I start talking, you see the look on their faces. It’s like they’re shocked. They don’t know what to do because they think I don’t have a brain.”Jadine is part of a new campaign by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, called “Dear Everybody,” aimed at ending stigma experienced by the estimated 400,000 Canadian children and youth with physical or cognitive disabilities and breaking down the barriers that lead to discrimination.“It’s a campaign that’s not only designed to change hearts and minds, but also to inspire action, to get people to think differently about the lives of people with disabilities,” said Julia Hanigsberg, president and CEO of Holland Bloorview.The campaign includes TV and radio ads, as well as a website — www.DearEverybody.ca — that features an open letter written by kids and young adults with disabilities that answers questions and brings Canadians “face to face with their own biases.”The website provides information and resources, including recommendations for teachers, employers and health-care providers, intended to end the stigma that can severely affect these young people’s lives.Hanigsberg said youth with disabilities are less likely to pursue post-secondary education, are vastly underemployed compared to their typically developing friends, and have fewer opportunities for social inclusion.“One of the most startling statistics that I have ever heard is that more 50 per cent of young people with disabilities have zero or one friend.“Young people who are intelligent and dynamic and have a ton to say tell me that they’re spending every day at the school cafeteria sitting by themselves because no one wants to sit next to them.“That’s the day-to-day life impact of stigma.”Maddy Hearne knows all too well what it feels like to be unable to keep up with her friends and classmates after suffering six concussions over the last four years, half of them occurring while the diminutive teen was taking dance classes.The traumatic injury requires resting the brain as much as possible to help it heal, in part by reducing exposure to stimuli like loud noise and bright light.“I had to wear headphones and sunglasses, and because of that people stared at me and they saw I had a bunch of accommodations (from the school) and they’re like ‘She’s crazy. Like I don’t want to be a part of that.’”At lunchtime, she was put in a quiet room as prescribed by her doctor. “No one else was allowed in the room. I couldn’t eat in the room, I just had to sit there,” Maddy explained.“The room was a glass room and I always call it the goldfish room, the goldfish aquarium, because everybody would stare at me. I felt like a zoo animal.“I’d sit there and watch my friends go by.”The Toronto teen said she’s lost a lot of friends as a result of her concussions, which cause symptoms like fatigue that don’t allow her to be as active as she once was. She previously spent dozens of hours a week practising and performing ballet and other forms of dance.Maddy said some friends don’t understand that she has good days when she functions well and bad days when she doesn’t — and that’s just the nature of concussion.“They only want to see you when you’re 100 per cent and at your best,” she said. “So they’re like ‘I don’t want to hang out with Maddy because she can’t do this stuff.’“It’s a very hard, unhappy feeling. A lonely feeling.”Maddy, who is also taking part in Holland Bloorview’s anti-discrimination campaign, believes it will help educate Canadians, providing them with the “right information” about disabilities due to congenital birth defects, disease or accidental trauma.“I think this campaign is going to help kids who are disabled and kids who do have injuries to feel more comfortable and that society shouldn’t look down on them.”For Jadine, education comes naturally: “I take the time to sit people down a lot and explain to them my disability. It’s better that I explain it to them than them making assumptions about me that are not true.”The Georgetown, Ont., teen knows the pain of feeling like a pariah — sitting alone at lunch at school and hearing people talking about her behind her back.“And some people have literally asked me why I’m even here because as they say I’m such a waste of space and I’m an alien and shouldn’t be here.“I’m no less of a person than anybody else,” countered Jadine. “We as individuals with disabilities can do and be anything we want to be.“We have passion and drive and we’re willing to reach our full potential, despite what anybody else thinks about us.”– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
TORONTO – A woman who signed a deal without legal advice decades ago in which she agreed her spouse would never have to pay support if their relationship broke down has lost her bid to have the agreement set aside.In upholding a judge’s decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal said it found no error that would warrant overturning the cohabitation agreement Denise Boyda Smith inked 20 years ago.“She acknowledges that she was not coerced,” the Appeal Court said. “There is no suggestion that the income of the parties at the date of the agreement impacted her decision to sign the agreement.”Court documents show Boyda Smith and Johnny Smith began living together in March 1997. He had already been through one acrimonious separation and, in an effort at avoiding a repetition, he presented her with the agreement as a condition of continuing the relationship and buying a home, documents show.Boyda Smith signed without going to a lawyer, even though she had ample time to do so. The couple later had two children and got married, but their relationship fell apart in 2013 and she turned to the courts to have the agreement waiving spousal support set aside.Superior Court Justice Antonio Skarica ruled against her in March last year, prompting Boyda Smith to appeal. She argued Skarica’s ruling was in error because the agreement in which she waived support did not meet the provisions of the Divorce Act, which attempts to put separating spouses on substantially equal financial footing.Among other things, Boyda Smith argued a “power imbalance” existed between her and her spouse, that she had not discussed spousal support with him, and that he had failed to be fully upfront about his financial position.She also maintained the cohabitation agreement did not square with the Divorce Act because she bore primary responsibility for their children and he made more money than she did.In rejecting her arguments, the Appeal Court cited Supreme Court of Canada case law that mandates a judge look at the circumstances at the time a deal was signed, whether the agreement complies with the law on divorce, and whether it reflects the original intentions of the parties.Skarica found the couple had discussed the cohabitation agreement beforehand, that Boyda Smith did know his sources of income and assets, and that she opted to skim the document rather than read it all carefully, the Appeal Court said. It was also her choice not to consult a lawyer, and she thought the agreement fair when she signed it, the court noted.“There was no fraud, coercion, or duress,” the Appeal Court wrote. “The agreement is in substantial compliance with the Divorce Act. Both parties suffered economic disadvantages arising from the marriage.”
WINNIPEG – The Canadian Judicial Council has rejected complaints that former federal cabinet minister Vic Toews, who is now a Manitoba judge, is unfit to remain on the bench after violating the Conflict of Interest Act.The council said Thursday the two complaints were reviewed by Justice Christopher Hinkson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, who found nothing that would warrant Toews’ removal.“Chief Justice Hinkson notes that the (federal ethics) commissioner did not make any findings that put into question the integrity, good faith or credibility of Justice Toews,” the council said in a media release.“Upon a full review of all the relevant information, Chief Justice Hinkson found an absence of any information that would suggest an attempt to mislead or reveal conduct incompatible with the duties of judicial office.”Federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson ruled in April that Toews violated the Conflict of Interest Act when he received money from two Manitoba First Nations for consulting services shortly after leaving federal office in 2013.Toews was appointed to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench in 2014.Dawson said Toews broke a two-year cooling-off period required under law in one case involving the Norway House Cree Nation.In the other, she said Toews provided strategic advice for the Peguis First Nation about the transfer of military land, even though he had been involved with the same file as a minister.Toews filed an appeal of Dawson’s decision. He said his dealings with Norway House Cree Nation during his final year in office were very limited, and his advice to Peguis was not related to the land-transfer negotiations.The commissioner’s findings prompted the two complaints to the judicial council, alleging Toews’ actions impaired his ability to be a judge. Toews’ lawyer said Thursday he is happy the matter is finished.“I thought the (ethics) commissioner’s process was badly, badly flawed and unfair, and so I’m happy that everything’s over,” Robert Tapper said.Toews dropped his appeal of the ethics commissioner’s ruling last week to allow the judicial council probe to be completed. As such, the ethics commissioner’s findings stand, although they carry no penalty.Democracy Watch, an ethics advocacy group that had criticized Toews’ actions, expressed disappointment Thursday that the council found Toews did nothing that would call into question his integrity.“I don’t know how they reached that finding when he was found guilty of violating a conflict of interest law,” co-founder Duff Conacher said. “To face no penalty at all, or sanction, is a questionable ruling.”
TORONTO – Canada’s top Anglican bishop says he plans to retire next year.Fred Hiltz says he’s been a bishop for 23 years and has served as the national leader, or primate, for the past decade.In a letter posted to the church’s website this week, Hiltz says he hopes the announcement will help the congregation move beyond “whispered speculations” about whether or not he’ll retire as he approaches his 65th birthday.Hiltz says that as he nears his retirement, he’s considering a variety of issues the church will have to grapple with, including how it can respond to calls to action put forth by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the second reading of an amendment to the Marriage Canon.In 2016, under Hiltz’s supervision, the Anglican church narrowly voted to approve same-sex marriage.Hiltz says his resignation will take effect on July 16, 2019.
CALGARY – Members of the International Olympic Committee are in Calgary this week to meet with the city’s Olympic project team.Calgary city council is deciding whether to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Council is expected to address the question again at its next meeting Jan. 29.The IOC is in Calgary at its own cost, according to a statement Tuesday from the city, to provide feedback and resources on a potential bid.IOC members will tour the winter sport facilities still in use from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, the statement said.With few cities interested in holding the Olympic Games, the IOC has revamped processes to make both bidding and hosting Olympic Games cheaper and more sustainable.Calgary is currently in the “dialogue” phase. The IOC will invite cities to bid for 2026 in October, 2018 and the deadline is January, 2019.Council voted Nov. 20 to spend up to $2 million more exploring a bid but said only $1 million would be released until it’s known what the federal and provincial governments are willing to contribute to a bid.City staff estimated a bid price tag would be between $25-million and $30 million.A project team of city staff and consultants took over the work of the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee, which estimated the cost of hosting the Winter Games at $4.6 billion.Calgary wants a deeper dive into five areas before it approves a bid: capital costs; security; operating costs; finances; and financial guarantees.Council gave $5 million for CBEC to conduct its research. CBEC’s work came in $1.5 million under budget and that money was passed on to the project team.
REGINA – Saskatchewan’s NDP has chosen Ryan Meili to be its new leader, who the party hopes will enable it to topple a weakened government that’s held power for more than a decade.Meili, a physician who represents Saskatoon Meewasin in the legislature, defeated Regina MLA Trent Wotherspoon at a leadership convention in Regina on Saturday.“It’s blowing pretty hard out there. I think those might be the winds of change,” Meili said during his victory speech.Lorne Calvert, who was at Saturday’s convention, was the last NDP premier, losing power to the Saskatchewan Party under the leadership of Brad Wall in 2007.But the Saskatchewan Party has faced intense criticism for last year’s austerity budget, and Wall has since stepped aside and replaced by Scott Moe.The next provincial election is still more than two years away and the candidates, as well as other speakers, expressed optimism the government is on its last legs.“We will win when we put forth a vision for Saskatchewan that excites and inspires people to look at us and say yes, that is the change we’re looking for,” Meili said in a speech earlier Saturday before the vote.“This is our moment. This is our time — our time to show that New Democrats are ready to lead.”Meili tried twice before to become the party’s leader, losing to Dwain Lingenfelter in 2009 and Cam Broten in 2012.In this campaign, he pledged to refuse donations from corporations or unions, saying he would only fundraise through individual donors.Meili received 5,973 votes to Wotherspoon’s 4,860. The party says 81 per cent of the 13,414 eligible members voted though online and mail-in ballots.Broten led the party in the 2016 provincial election. Wotherspoon, who lost to Broten in the NDP leadership contest in 2013, was named interim leader, but he stepped down last June to run for the job permanently.Bitter party divisions that can become focal points of some leadership contests appeared absent form this one.Meili and Wotherpoon mentioned support for many of the same issues during their speeches to the convention, including pharmacare, restoring a provincial bus service that was cut by the Saskatchewan Party and protecting the province’s Crown corporations.Wotherspoon thanked Meili for his ideas, care and hard work. Meili, meanwhile, made Wotherspoon the first person he thanked when he took the stage as the party’s new leader.Meili said that during the campaign, people told him the NDP couldn’t lose because they had two great choices.“I couldn’t agree more,” he said.The NDP hold 12 of the legislature’s 61 seats. Candidates representing the Saskatchewan Party swept three provincial byelections Thursday.The convention was originally scheduled for May, but the party decided in September to move up the date following Wall’s announcement in August he was stepping down.On Twitter, the next opponent Meili will face congratulated him on his win.“Look forward to working with you on areas where we agree, and to a vigorous debate on areas where we disagree,” Moe wrote.—by Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton
OTTAWA – The federal government has introduced legislation aimed at overhauling the criminal justice system — including making good on a promise to change the way juries are selected.Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould tabled a massive bill today that also includes measures aimed at tackling court backlogs plaguing the criminal justice system that has seen more than 200 charges dismissed following a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 2016 on court delays.They include restricting the use of preliminary inquiries to cases where the offender is facing the possibility of a lifesentence.The bill would also eliminate the use of peremptory challenges, which allow lawyers to reject jury candidates during the selection process.A number of visibly Indigenous people were excluded from the jury that last month acquitted Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley in the shooting death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie of the Red Pheasant First Nation.Speaking through a family friend, Boushie’s mother Debbie Baptiste says she’s pleased about the proposed changes and hopes the presence of Indigenous jurors will translate into more justice for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.The bill will also address a Liberal campaign promise to crack down on intimate partner violence, including by reversing the onus on bail for those previously convicted of violence against a current or former spouse, common-law partner or dating partner.Intimate partner violence would also be considered an aggravating factor in sentencing.
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s premier is reiterating his support for Canada’s supply management system in the dairy and poultry sectors, saying the province doesn’t want it bargained away in trade talks with the U.S.Following a cabinet meeting Wednesday, McNeil said his government’s stance on supply management has been consistent because the system has worked well for Nova Scotia’s dairy and poultry farms.“Those are the agricultural sectors that have sustainability,” he said. “We have seen some positive growth in those sectors, so we’re going to continue to make sure our voice is heard at the national level when it comes to supply management.”The premier was asked whether farms would survive the system’s demise as a result of trade talks.“They would look very different for sure,” is all McNeil would say.McNeil said although President Donald Trump has said provocative things on the issue, he remains optimistic that an acceptable overall trade deal can be worked out in the end.However, Trump has continued to denounce supply management in recent days as “very unfair”. The system is meant to protect Canada’s dairy, egg and poultry industries and levels tariffs of up to 300 per cent on American imports of those products.In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to defend the system.Meanwhile, McNeil said his government is also keeping an eye on any potential developments in the auto sector that could have effects on Michelin Tire’s operations in the province.The French-based tire giant has three plants in Nova Scotia and employs more than 3,200 workers, according to the company’s website.“We trade a billion dollars worth of tires every year… so we need to make sure that product is protected,” McNeil said.He said growing concerns over cross-border trade were part of the reason he travelled to Michelin headquarters in France last November.McNeil said he was reassured at the time of the company’s continued commitment to the province.As far as continued talks with the U.S., McNeil said he hoped a conversation at the table based on facts will “win the day.”“With 35 of the states, we are the number one trading partner,” McNeil said of Canada’s dealings with the U.S.“You are now starting to hear voices of American citizens who are talking about the fact that we need to continue to develop a positive relationship between Canada and the United States.”Nova Scotia exports about $1 billion worth of seafood products alone to U.S. markets.
SAINT-CHARLES-SUR-RICHELIEU, – Authorities ramped up checkpoints and their overall presence east of Montreal on Friday as members of the Hells Angels and their sympathizers continued to arrive for a weekend gathering.The Canada Run — the Hells’ annual get-together — is being held this year in St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, 50 kilometres from Montreal.Police said some 500 full-patch Hells members and up to 200 sympathizers were expected to attend.Authorities set up checkpoints to pull over bikers to check their ID.The gathering is being held in Quebec for the first time since 2008.The mandatory meeting for full-patch members is described by authorities as a show of force by the gang, with rivals and police the target audience.Police say the 500-odd full-patch members across the country include 80 in Quebec, where the gang is stronger than ever and controls between 95 and 98 of the drug trafficking market.
OTTAWA — Highlights from the 2018 auditor general’s reportNew planes, no pilotsCanada’s $500-million purchase of used CF-18 fighter jets from Australia will be hamstrung by the ongoing problem that the air force does not have enough pilots to fly them or technicians to keep them in the air. The military has warned the government about this for years.Military more aware of sexual assaults but supports lackingThe Canadian Forces are doing better at encouraging members to report instances of sexual misconduct but help for people who’ve suffered in the ranks is inadequate.Unprotected embassies and consulatesAbout half of Canada’s diplomatic corps works in places where there’s danger from terrorism, espionage or armed conflict. Spot-checks of Canada’s missions abroad found all of their security plans are lacking in some way, from outdated or nonexistent threat assessments to missing or broken equipment.Heritage buildings unprotectedThree federal bodies that are responsible for more than two-thirds of the government’s historic structures don’t have adequate plans to protect them. National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans, and Parks Canada don’t even have a handle on what buildings they own, let alone resources and strategies for conserving delicate heritage sites.No budget for high-speed rural Internet means no planGovernments have talked for years about extending broadband internet to almost every inhabitant of Canada but with no budget to put behind a plan, none has ever been developed. Rural and remote areas risk being left behind by the digital economy.CRA treats different taxpayers differentlyThe level of service you get from the Canada Revenue Agency depends on which regional office you deal with, which months-long delays varying from place to place.Parolees aren’t getting out on paroleA shortage of community-supervision options means that federal inmates who are entitled to parole aren’t getting out because there’s nowhere approved for them to go. Sometimes the delays stretch into months.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A new report says choosy car thieves are setting their sights on Ford trucks and high-end SUVs as the number of automotive thefts continues to rise across the country.The Insurance Bureau of Canada says in its annual list of the most frequently stolen vehicles that the Ford F-Series trucks are again topping the list.Henry Tso, the board’s vice-president of investigative services, says thieves in Ontario and Alberta are going after trucks, while in Atlantic Canada the Nissan Maxima is stolen most often along with the Chevy Silverado and Jeep Liberty.New Brunswick saw the sharpest rise in thefts with a 28 per cent jump, with Ontario seeing a 15 per cent increase.Nationally, police reported close to 85,000 thefts in 2017 — a six per cent increase over 2016.The board says New Year’s Day is the most common time for vehicles to be stolen since they are often loaded with gifts. But, it says vehicles are often smuggled outside the country, sold to unsuspecting consumers, scrapped for parts or used to commit another crime with organized crime rings usually involved.The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada says crime groups involved in auto thefts operate primarily out of Montreal and Toronto.The Canadian Press
NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — A lawyer for a man who stole a running SUV with a disabled girl in the back seat wants him sentenced to no more than two years in jail.The Crown is asking a Saskatchewan judge to hand 19-year old Johnathan Gunville three years in prison.Gunville has pleaded guilty to several charges, including theft of a vehicle and abandoning a child.The six-year-old girl had been left in the back of her parents’ Mercedes when it was taken last September from outside a North Battleford strip mall.RCMP issued an Amber Alert for the girl, who is autistic, epileptic and non-verbal, and she was found 14 hours later still in the vehicle a few kilometres away.Gunville is to be sentenced Feb. 20. (CJNB)The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — News that celebrity Quebec jewelry-maker Caroline Neron filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday is shining a harsh light on the qualifications of stars chosen for the province’s French-language version of the deal-making show, “Dragon’s Den.”Described by news media as a “thunderclap” in Quebec’s retail industry, Neron’s financial troubles have called into question her aptitude for assessing entrepreneurial talent on Radio-Canada’s “Dans l’oeil du dragon.” The show features prominent businesspeople deciding whether to invest in the pitches of budding entrepreneurs.Francois Lambert, a former panellist on the show, said the French CBC does not ask its prospective stars to reveal their riches or demonstrate they have the time and liquidity to properly invest in start-ups.“They never asked to see my numbers,” Lambert said in an interview. “They can say that they ask to see people’s numbers, but they don’t, because they never did it with me. And this week it exploded in their faces.”Other embarrassing choices to play the role of dragon include Gilbert Rozon, the disgraced founder of Just for Laughs facing sex-crimes charges, and Martin-Luc Archambault, who quit the show in September under a cloud. An investigation by the privacy commissioner of Canada revealed his IT company violated numerous provisions in the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.Lambert co-founded Aheeva Technology Inc., a software for call centres available in 75 countries, and says he has investments in 10 companies, including a three-year-old start-up called Boostmi — an on-demand roadside assistance application.The entrepreneur said a little research would have flagged concerns about Rozon and Archambault, and he claimed there are other people with whom he appeared who did not belong on the show. Radio-Canada should seek out candidates who have money, and who have sold a business, he argued.“We make money with a company, in reality, when we sell it,” Lambert said. “I had just sold my business when they asked me to be on the show …. I wasn’t an impostor and I had my place there. You become a dragon when you have finished your company, and you have the time to invest and apply your recipe of success with others.”Marc Pichette, spokesman for Radio-Canada, said the public broadcaster and the show’s producers “conduct a basic review of (the) application based on information given in good faith by the potential dragon.”He added that when Rozon was on the show in 2016 he was an internationally celebrated figure who had also been chosen by the City of Montreal as commissioner for its 375th anniversary, held in 2017.Montreal’s La Presse reported Friday it contacted all eight of the entrepreneurs with whom Neron made deals on the latest season of the show, which ended in June 2018. Not one of them had received any money from the jewelry maker. Neron left the show in December.During an interview with the TVA television network on Thursday, Neron said she is closing 9 of 14 boutiques in the province and letting go 64 of 152 employees.She rose to prominence in Quebec as a singer and actor. Michel Nadeau, head of a think tank on governance of public and private companies, said Neron’s brand was strong in Quebec, and she was one of the few people to make a name in the jewelry market.“It was one of the rare companies, in the jewelry and craft and artisanal industry that succeeded in imposing a brand in the industry — she succeeded,” said Nadeau. “She is very, very present on television and on the radio.” The problem was that she grew the business too quickly, he said, by investing too much in retail and small boutiques in commercial centres with extremely high rents.Lambert, who was not invited back for the upcoming season of “Dans l’oeil du dragon,” said Neron’s story should serve as a lesson to all entrepreneurs “who spread themselves so thin and do anything and everything, instead of managing their own company.”Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press Hamilton police say they’ve made an arrest after a group of LGBTQ demonstrators showed up at the mayor’s house Friday morning.Police say about 20 protesters showed up at Mayor Fred Eisenberger’s house at about 7:15 a.m., banging on the door and planting signs on the lawn that said, “Mayor doesn’t care about Queer People.”They say they’ve since laid numerous charges against a 33-year-old woman, including theft under $5,000, criminal harassment and mischief. They say the woman was not granted bail.The protest follows an altercation at a Hamilton Pride event earlier this month that saw a physical confrontation between attendees and two anti-Pride groups that has led to five arrests.Video of Friday morning’s protest that was posted on social media, including on Eisenberger’s own Twitter account, shows demonstrators shouting and playing instruments.Eisenberger tweeted that he and his family were woken up by the disturbance, which he called “unacceptable.”“This morning, my family and I were awoken to over 20 agitators at my home, yelling profanities, leaving signs on my lawn and banging on my door,” Eisenberger wrote on Twitter.“Harassment of my family, my neighbours or anyone is crossing the line.”
Public Safety Canada says it places no restrictions on how provinces and territories set criteria for delivering disaster financial assistance after some residents of a small B.C. community devastated by flooding last year say they were disappointed to learn that property buyouts will be lower than expected.The City of Grand Forks has said it advocated for funding to support buyouts based on pre-flood values, but the best compensation it could get from provincial and federal funding streams was based on post-flood assessments.The statement was issued in June, the same month that federal, provincial and local governments made a joint funding announcement of $49 million through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support recovery efforts.Infrastructure Canada, which manages the fund, says it has no role in determining the value of damaged homes or buying out homeowners affected by flooding.Emergency Management B.C. says in a statement the goal of the fund is to find ways to give people affected by the floods the means and opportunity to rebuild homes and communities in Grand Forks.It will also help rebuild Grand Forks with risk mitigation at the forefront, it says.“This is an opportunity to make sure that if an event of this magnitude were to occur again, it would not have the same outcome for this region,” it said.Federal help for disaster relief kicks in once costs surpass what lower levels of government could reasonably be expected to cover on their own.Public Safety Canada said in May that provinces and territories have asked for about $137.9 million to help cover costs related to 10 floods.The federal budget included $260 million over two years for disaster relief including relocation costs, buyouts and permanent removal of structures on vulnerable properties.The Canadian Press
Identical twins and world champion tennis players Mike and Bob Bryan are recent gold medalists and have racked up 11 Men’s Doubles career Grand Slam Titles and 61 overall titles. And, during the weekend, they went head-to-head with a team of unlikely, but worthy, opponents … firefighters from FDNY’s esteemed units in all five boroughs.Bryan Brothers Play Charity Ping PongUnlike the Bryans recent matches in London, the pros this time met New York’s finest on a different type of “court” – the table tennis court, as part of a ping-pong charity tournament hosted by NESTLÉ NESQUIK.Sixteen doubles teams representing FDNY competed in tournament-style matches to vie for the winning spot in the final round against the Bryan Brothers. The winning FDNY team then faced the champions as part of the final round of competition, culminating with a $25,000 donation made by the Bryans on behalf of NESQUIK to support the FDNY Foundation – the official not-for-profit of the FDNY that promotes fire safety in New York City and health and wellness training of FDNY members.Winning FDNY doubles team members Captain Tom Spade of Brooklyn’s Ladder Company 242 and Firefighter Glenn Brown from Manhattan’s Ladder Company 1, couldn’t prevail against the Bryans in action, but a good time was had by all.The tournament was sponsored by NESQUIK to support the FDNY and to build awareness for ways that athletes and consumers alike can keep their bodies in prime shape following physical exercise. To support their peak performance, the Bryans both drink NESQUIK as their athletic recovery drink of choice after they exercise. Replacing muscle fuel after exercise is essential for an athlete’s recovery – and results from recent studies suggest that low-fat chocolate milk, like NESQUIK, contains just the right mix of carbs and protein to aid in this process.
Celebrities, corporate leaders, media personalities and more attended this weekend’s Destination Fashion Event, hosted by The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis.American journalism Icon, Tom Brokaw served as Master of Ceremonies at the event, which paid tribute to The Buoniconti Fund’s notable 2012 Women of Substance & Style. Held at Miami’s famed Bal Harbour Shops, the star-studded dinner raised $31 million. Music and entertainment icon Enrique Iglesias performed a private concert for attendees and honorees at the shops. Guests ended the evening dancing to the musical stylings of DJ Irie and traveled their way through the shops, which were transformed into “The Destinations” of locations from around the world.Other notables in attendance included: True Blood and Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello, Gossip Girl star Matthew Settle, actor Tommy Lee Jones, actor Colin Egglesfield, Emilio Pucci Head Designer Peter Dundas, Music Icon Emilio Estefan, famed singer and entertainer Wayne Newton, and many more.Founded by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti after his son, Marc, became paralyzed during a college football game, The Buoniconti Fund, is the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center. Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 283 sports legends and honorees and has raised $93 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs. Contributions from previous events have funded the first ever human clinical trial, recently approved by the FDA to become the first of its kind.
ICAP, the world’s leading interdealer broker and provider of post trade risk and information services, will hold its 20th annual global Charity Day on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.On this day, 100% of ICAP’s revenues and commissions will be donated to more than 200 charities worldwide.Since the first Charity Day in 1993, ICAP has raised $158 million for more than 1,000 well-deserving charities worldwide. This year over 30 charities in the U.S. will benefit, including New Eyes for the Needy, Only Make Believe, and Children’s Defense Fund.As part of the day’s activities, ICAP invites the charities’ celebrity patrons to join the Company in 63 offices worldwide to speak to ICAP’s customers and help boost trading volumes for the day. The list of celebrities attending will be announced on the day, and in the U.S. includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Liv Tyler, Deron Williams, Mark Teixeira, and Joba Chamberlain, among others. Daniel Craig, Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, Lewis Hamilton, Bill Clinton and Elton John have been just a few of those who have lent their support to ICAP in previous years.Michael Spencer, Group Chief Executive Officer, ICAP said: “We recognise how hard it is for charities to raise funds during these difficult times, so this year ICAP’s Charity Day is more important than ever. This is the Company’s 20th Charity Day and we’re extremely proud of what has been achieved since 1993, thanks to the continued support and commitment of our customers, suppliers and employees. Together we all give 100%.”For more information on ICAP Charity Day and full list of this year’s global beneficiaries, please go to: www.icapcharity.day.com.