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Facebook to fact check Canadian news stories and reduce spread of false articles
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-27    0 views
TORONTO—Facebook Canada will launch a third-party, fact-checking program to root out fake news and provide users with more context on articles they read on the platform.

The program is a collaboration with newswire service Agence France-Presse, who will have fact-checkers in Canada to review stories from local news outlets and rate their accuracy.

Content the fact-checkers deem to be false or a mixture of accurate and inaccurate will appear lower in news feeds and be accompanied with related, true articles from fact-checkers.

Pages that repeatedly share fake news will see their ability to monetize and advertise removed after several offences.

Publishers responsible for false stories will have the chance to dispute any inaccurate ratings they receive and will be able to issue corrections.

Facebook has long been the subject of complaints around fake news, which some say the platform has allowed to spread.
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Cost of substance use in Canada tops $38 billion, with booze and tobacco on top
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-27    0 views
VICTORIA—The economic cost of substance use in Canada in 2014 was $38.4 billion, or about $1,100 for every Canadian, and came with a staggering toll of 67,515 deaths, says a report released Tuesday.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction partnered with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research to examine the data and estimate the harms of substance use based on health, justice, lost productivity and other costs.

While researchers acknowledged that Canada is in the middle of a crisis because of illicit opioid overdose deaths, their study concluded that two-thirds of substance use costs are associated with alcohol and tobacco.

It found the four substances related to the largest costs are alcohol at $14.6 billion, tobacco at $12 billion, opioids at $3.5 billion and marijuana at $2.8 billion.

"One of the key messages that comes out of this report is that while we do need to pay attention to the opioid crisis, while we do need to think very carefully as we move toward legalizing recreational cannabis, we shouldn't forget about alcohol because it's around and it's costing Canadian society,'' said Matthew Young, a senior research and policy analyst at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction in Ottawa.

The report says costs associated with alcohol use jumped from $369 per person in 2007 to $412 per person in 2014.

It found alcohol use resulted in 14,827 deaths in 2014, at an average age of 65 years. Tobacco use caused 47,562 deaths at an average age of 74 years.

Cannabis caused 851 deaths and opioids 2,396 deaths at an average age of 45 years.

Young, one of the report's co-authors, said that when more substance use data becomes available beyond 2014, the economic and deadly impact of the ongoing opioid overdose crisis will likely reveal costly increases. He said researchers will also be watching for new data when recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Canada this October.

Canadians should be made more aware of the ongoing and escalating human and economic costs of alcohol use, Young said. He said even though the numbers of tobacco-caused deaths are higher than alcohol, they are showing signs of levelling off, while alcohol's impact continues to increase.

"We have, as a culture, been moving towards greater availability and cheaper prices for alcohol,'' Young said in a telephone interview. "It's intermeshed within our lives. We shouldn't lose sight of some of the substances we take for granted that are intertwined with our regular lives because they do still exact a toll.''

The study suggests Ontario and British Columbia could see a spike in alcohol-related harms and costs in the near future because both provinces have relaxed restrictions on alcohol sales since 2014.

"I think most people would be surprised to know that alcohol and tobacco are killing ten times more people than the other illicit drugs combined,'' said Tim Stockwell, the report's co-authors and a director with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria.

Both researchers say they aren't prohibitionists, but add that they would like to see more measures that make Canadians aware of the costs and harms of alcohol.
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Salmonella outbreak: Health Canada identifies 9 new cases
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-19    2 views
Health Canada has updated its public health notice on the ongoing salmonella outbreak, indicating that nine additional cases of the illness have been identified. The June 18 update raises the number of people affected to 68.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency had issued a food recall warning on June 2 for a frozen chicken product sold by the Loblaws No Name brand.

The item that has tested positive for salmonella is the 1 kg pack of chicken burgers, with an expiration date of 2019 FE 06 written on the package.

Health Canada’s notice indicates that the province with most reported cases of the illness is Quebec, with 23 cases. Ontario follows with 15 cases. Alberta and Manitoba have nine cases each, while British Columbia has eight. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Northwest Territories each have one reported case.

No deaths have been linked to the outbreak, but 15 people have been hospitalized.

Since those who contract salmonella can be infectious for up to several weeks, Health Canada suggests people contact their health care provider if they experience symptoms linked with the infection.

These include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

To safely cook whole poultry, the internal temperature should be 82°C (180°F). When cooking poultry pieces or frozen breaded chicken products, the internal temperature should be of 74°C (165°F).

Health Canada suggests avoiding cooking raw breaded poultry products in the microwave.

It’s important to wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling raw poultry or the package it was in. Any surface, knives, utensils, or cutting boards that have been in contact with raw poultry should also be washed with warm water and soap.

In healthy people, symptoms of salmonellosis often clear up on their own in a few days.
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Mom sparks debate by detailing daughter's 'extreme' punishment on social media
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-12    0 views
A Newfoundland mom is being both praised and panned for what some say are extreme measures to punish her daughter for apparent bullying behaviour—and then discussing it all on social media.

Amanda Mitchell posted three pictures on Facebook of her nine-year-old daughter's room after she stripped it of everything except the young girl's bed and a single change of clothing for the week.

Mitchell said the near-empty room—along with the same outfit of an anti-bullying T-shirt—was punishment for acting up in school and being mean to a friend.

The mother of two also planned to make her daughter copy phrases—50 times apiece—including "I will not lie,'' "I will be kind to everyone'' and "I am responsible for my own actions.''

"Welcome to Mommy's Juvenile Detention little girl,'' she said in the post.

"Harsh? Not in my opinion. If she grows up to break the law then the result is jail and that's not what I want for my children. I think the problem with this generation is inadequate punishment.

Punishment is bad, we should only use positive reinforcement and ignore all bad behaviour—NOT in this house.''

Mitchell said she was just trying to dole out what she thought was adequate punishment, adding that her daughter is usually very well-behaved.

She told Global News the little girl was a bit shocked when she first saw her room, but was contrite after they talked about why the behaviour was happening.

"She's been very apologetic, very remorseful,'' Mitchell said. "She wrote a letter to her friend she was mean to. She wrote a letter to her teacher.''

Mitchell, who declined to say where she lives in Newfoundland, said she initially posted the photos Saturday to share with her local "mom friends'' because she figured they could relate.
What she didn't anticipate, was the overwhelming interest and response.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the post has about 124,000 shares and more than 242,000 reactions. There were also a couple hundred comments—many from fellow parents.

"Excellent ... this is how to teach children there are consequences to their actions. This is how they learn,'' read one.

"Wow! Awesome parenting!'' read another.

The majority of comments were favourable, though some did question her decision to make the public post.

"Wow. I really feel that this is extreme ... How old is your child? I feel that taking away toys, electronics etc. But making your child wear the same outfit to school for a week and stripping her entire room ?overboard,'' wrote one person.

Mitchell said the feedback caused her to re-think her punishment, a bit.

Her daughter won't be wearing the same outfit every day and instead will rotate through four anti-bullying shirts. As well, the little girl has to copy 25 lines instead of 50.

Mitchell said 90 per cent of the comments were in favour of the action, with about 20 messages calling her "nasty and telling me I'm a terrible parent.''

She said her daughter has already earned a few of her belongings back, including some books, her side table and lamp.

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Overnight apartment fire claims two lives, injures 16 in North Vancouver
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-11    0 views
VANCOUVER—An apartment fire in North Vancouver has killed two people and sent more than a dozen to hospital for treatment of various injuries, fire officials say.

The victims were trapped when the blaze tore through one of four buildings in the 170-unit complex early Monday, said Wayne Kennedy, deputy chief with District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue.

"One half of the building was fully affected by the fire and the other half was affected by smoke and water,'' Kennedy said of the fire that gutted 16 units in the wooden building of about 30 suites.

Flames were visible as firefighters pulled up, Kennedy said, but residents from other suites were already rushing to assist people, he said, adding that was a huge help to crews.

As a precaution, crews evacuated other buildings in the sprawling 4.5-hectare complex and sent more than 100 residents to a nearby reception centre.

They didn't immediately realize two people were trapped, Kennedy said.

"There was some mention to us, early on, that there were a couple of people that weren't accounted for, but due to the intensity of the fire and the amount of units that were involved it wasn't a safe alternative for us to get into some of the units until we had a better control of the fire.''

Firefighters were able to check the suites several hours later and found both people in the same unit.

The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed via email that it is in the early stages of an investigation.
Names or ages of the victims were not immediately being released.

Fire officials said 16 survivors were treated in several area hospitals for injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to burns.

Most residents were allowed to return to their suites in unaffected parts of the complex within hours but crews continued to douse hot spots Monday, and Kennedy said an assessment of the structural integrity of the building would also be required.

He said it was still unclear what sparked the fire but work to determine a cause would begin as soon as possible.

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Police in Quebec City Asking for Public Help after Three Attempted Kidnappings of Young Women
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-07    0 views

Police in Longueuil, Quebec, are asking for public help after three attempted kidnappings of young women.

The attempted kidnappings occurred mid to late May, with the first on May 17, and the two others on May 31.

Police media liaison officer Ghyslain Vallières told the French-language TV station Radio-Canada that two of the young women are underage.

Police have some limited information on the suspect, and are asking for help from the public to get more details.

According to Vallières, the suspect is between the ages of 25-35, has brown eyes, has a height of between five feet nine inches and five feet 11 inches, and a weight of between 73 to 77 kilograms. The suspect drives a recent model of a silver Dodge Caravan.

Vallières is confident that there are people with more information out there, particularly for the attempts that occured on May 31, although the witnesses may be unaware that what they saw was an attempted kidnapping.

Anyone with information is asked to call 450-463-7211. Tips can be provided anonymously.

Police will also make a presence in the community to ask people if they have any information that may be useful for the investigation.
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Quebec nixes proposed dog breed ban but hopes animal control law still passes
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-06    0 views
MONTREAL—Quebec legislation on dangerous dogs will not include a controversial breed-specific ban that would have prohibited new pit bull-type dogs.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said Wednesday he will amend Bill 128 to remove references to specific types of dogs, telling reporters there isn't enough scientific consensus to warrant targeting pit bull-type dogs, Rottweilers and crosses between the two.
"If I had at least some support in the scientific community, I'd feel much more comfortable to continue with that portion of the bill,'' Coiteux said. "But we had absolutely no one who said this was a practical way of managing potentially dangerous dogs.''
The bill was tabled in 2017 following a handful of dog attacks, including the mauling death of a Montreal woman in her own backyard and an attack against a young girl just south of the city.
Some Quebec municipalities, including Montreal, have moved to adopt their own local legislation, although the province's largest city has since backed off on its plan.
The governing Projet Montreal overturned a controversial ban on pit bull-type dogs earlier this year brought in by former mayor Denis Coderre's administration.
Montreal has held public consultations and will present a revamped animal control bylaw next week it says will be based on best practices while taking into consideration the well-being of animals and public safety.
"After meeting the experts and numerous actors, the government came to the same conclusion as us that targeting a specific race is not applicable,'' said Coun. Craig Sauve, who is shepherding the city file.
Coiteux said many municipal officials who testified at hearings, and who would be responsible for enforcing the provincial law, said breed-specific rules would be problematic from an identification standpoint.
He noted the City of Ottawa doesn't apply a provincial pit bull ban in Ontario because it's difficult to enforce.
"We want to have rules that will be applied, that will be observed,'' Coiteux said.
The Montreal branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it is relieved breed-specific legislation is no longer on the agenda.
"We are happy the government is moving forward nonetheless with provincial legislation that will address the issue of dangerous dogs without the problematic part of targeting dogs because of their breed or what they look like,'' said Alanna Devine, the SPCA's director for animal advocacy.
Coiteux said the government is still committed to passing the vast majority of measures in Bill 128 ahead of the summer recess and the Oct. 1 provincial election.
He said all three major parties agree it's important to legislate and what's left of the bill will put stricter rules on dog breeders and the control of dogs deemed aggressive or dangerous.
"We want to make sure there will be a minimal level of severe rules applying everywhere,'' Coiteux said.
"I don't want to leave the situation as it is right now where every city has the right to have one rule or another.''
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N.S. looking for more foster parents, especially African Nova Scotians
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-05    0 views
HALIFAX—Officials say Nova Scotia needs more foster parents, with a particular emphasis on African Nova Scotians, even after the recruitment of 80 new foster parents in the last year.

There are currently 684 children in foster care, with 663 total homes.

Leonard Doiron, the province's executive director of Child, Youth and Family Supports, says the figures include about two-thirds of children under the province's care, because foster care isn't appropriate for all children.

Doiron says needs remain for foster parents who can provide more specialized levels of care and for homes better suited to a child's cultural background.

Nancy MacLellan, associate deputy minister with the Department of Community Services, says work is being done to reduce approval-process red tape, and on recruitment efforts in African Nova Scotian communities as part of boosting the numbers of available foster parents.

MacLellan told the legislature's community services committee that an additional $1.6 million in supports announced last year have helped, and resulted in about $900 more per foster family per child.
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Trudeau tells premiers U.S. tariffs 'unacceptable' as Trump's G7 looms
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-05    0 views
OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office says he spoke to provincial and territorial premiers on Monday to update them on Ottawa's response to the "unacceptable'' U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

Details of the call were released this morning, just days before Trudeau is scheduled to host U.S. President Donald Trump and other fellow G7 leaders in Quebec for their annual summit, which begins Friday.

Trump's decision last week to impose tariffs on Canada, Mexico and Europe fractured last weekend's meeting of G7 finance ministers.

It is threatening to do the same when their leaders convene later this week in Quebec's picturesque Charlevoix region.
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N.S. man who rescued elderly woman from fire to be honoured in Ottawa
Georges.Hebert
2018-06-04    0 views
HALIFAX—A Nova Scotia man who will receive an award from the Governor General says he's overwhelmed by the attention he's received since he saved his neighbour's life over a year ago.

Travis Wolfe, 26, of the small village of Port Joli, N.S., will receive a Medal of Bravery from Julie Payette for rescuing his elderly neighbour from her burning home in February 2017.

Wolfe says he was clearing snow from his grandfather's driveway when an overheated generator exploded at his neighbour's home over the hill, igniting a blaze that quickly engulfed part of the house.

He ran through waist-deep snow to the home, where he kicked open the front door, found an elderly woman, and carried her to safety. A second victim did not survive.

Wolfe—who has already received a medal of bravery in Nova Scotia and has been hailed as a hero by his community—says he doesn't feel like a hero, adding that he would hope someone would do the same for him if he was in a similar situation

Wolfe will pick up his medal at a ceremony Tuesday morning at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
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Two B.C. men vanish on Vancouver Island days after sailing north from Panama
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-29    0 views
UCLUELET, B.C.—A search is underway on Vancouver Island for two British Columbia men who have not been seen for almost a week.

A RCMP news release says 37-year-old Daniel Archibald and 43-year-old Ryan Daley docked their sailboat in Ucluelet harbour on May 13 and then left it three days later.

Both men were carrying large duffel bags and Daley was also wearing a yellow and green backpack.

The news release says the men have had no contact with friends or family in Squamish since last week.

Friends have launched a Facebook page saying it's believed Archibald and Daley were heading to a residence in Jordan River, B.C., and likely intended to hitchhike the nearly 300 kilometre route.

Ucluelet dockmaster Kevin Cortes was the last to see them on May 16 and says they had paid for one month of moorage for their newly purchased boat, which they had bought in Panama.

"When they left they had full packs, so they wouldn't have been going hiking because they left with a lot of gear,'' Cortes said.

"I assumed they were going home, or at least in that direction.''

Archibald and Daley were healthy but tired after a long trip, Cortes said, adding there was nothing out of the ordinary about them during the three days they spent in Ucluelet.

There is video footage from the day they left the harbour and Cortes said he thinks they got a ride from someone in the harbour's parking lot, but it's out of camera range.

Police want to speak to anyone who may have seen the pair, both described as 5-foot-9.

Archibald is of average build with strawberry blonde, short hair, and Daley has short, dark hair and hazel eyes.
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Conservation deal halts commercial salmon fishing in Greenland for 12 years
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-28    0 views
FREDERICTON—A deal has been reached that will halt commercial salmon fishing in Greenland and the Faroe Islands for the next 12 years to allow adult wild Atlantic salmon to return to rivers in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

The coastal waters of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are critical feeding grounds for the salmon, and many come from endangered populations in rivers like the Saint John in New Brunswick and the Penobscot in Maine.

"Significantly reducing the harvest of wild Atlantic salmon on their ocean feeding grounds is meaningful and decisive,'' said Bill Taylor, president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

In exchange for commercial fishermen not setting their nets, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and "the North Atlantic Salmon Fund will financially support alternative economic development in Greenland, scientific research, and education projects focused on marine conservation.

The financial details are being kept confidential, but Atlantic Salmon Federation spokesman Neville Crabbe said no government money is involved.

He said all funding for the initiative will be raised through donors and fund raising by the two private groups.

Greenland fishermen will still be able to catch up to 20 metric tonnes each year for personal and family consumption.

Officials estimate the change will mean that more than 11,000 mature salmon that would otherwise be caught in commercial nets will begin returning to their home rivers in the spring of 2019.

“The best way to save North Atlantic salmon is to stop killing them. This deal does that in meaningful numbers, said Chad Pike, chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund.

“The alarming decline of the arctic indicator species provides insight into challenges being faced by both ocean and freshwater inhabitants,'' he said.

The 12-year commercial fishing hiatus will provide relief for two entire generations of wild Atlantic salmon and officials say they expect the population benefits to be significant.

Declining wild salmon stocks have been a concern for years, with both overfishing and global warming being blamed.

The size of salmon runs across North America in 2016 were down 30 to 50 percent from the year before.

According to figures from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the salmon population in New Brunswick's famous Miramichi River has declined by 26 percent over the last 12 years.

Last year, the federation said it was the first time ever that no wild Atlantic salmon returned to spawn in New Brunswick's Magaguadavic River.

Despite a stocking program going back to 2002, the Fisheries department said the population in the Magaguadavic had been dropping steadily since an estimate of 900 wild salmon in 1983.

Delegations from Greenland and the Faroe Islands will declare the zero commercial quotas at next month's international summit in Portland, Maine, but they are retroactive to April 30.
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U.S. goes to World Trade Organization over B.C. only wine policies
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-26    0 views
WASHINGTON—The United States has asked the World Trade Organization to establish a dispute settlement panel over what it says are unfair regulations on the sale of wine in British Columbia grocery stores.

The U.S. trade representative's office claims provincial regulations discriminate against American and other imported wines by allowing only B.C. wines to be sold on grocery store shelves.

U.S. trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer says in a news release that Canada is an important market for U.S. winemakers and the discriminatory regulations implemented by B.C. are unacceptable.

American Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says in the release that the discrimination against U.S. wine is unfair and cannot be tolerated.

The U.S. says the provincial regulations appear to breach Canada's World Trade Organization commitments and have adversely affected U.S. wine producers.

The office of the trade representative says U.S. wine exports to B.C. last year totalled $56 million, a 10 per cent share of the market.
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Archbishop orders N.B. churches to return federal cash over abortion pledge
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-25    0 views
MONCTON, N.B.—A New Brunswick archbishop has ordered several Roman Catholic parishes to return federal funding they applied for without reading the fine print on abortion rights.

Moncton Archbishop Valery Vienneau says the church cannot compromise its values just to please the government.

“We're in a democracy, so why should we have to compromise our values to get some summer jobs for students?,'' Vienneau asked.

The Liberal government this year required that organizations seeking funding under the program check a box affirming their support for constitutional rights and the right to reproductive choice, including access to abortion.

The government says it is not targeting beliefs or values but churches and other faith-based organizations say they are being forced to choose between staying true to their values and seeking grants to help them run programs—from summer camps to soup kitchens—that have nothing to do with abortion.

“We cannot compromise our human, Catholic, Christian values just to please the government,'' Vienneau said.

Vienneau said he sent a memo to all the parishes earlier this year, telling them not to apply for the summer job funding, but some had already sent in their applications.

He said some of those churches were granted federal funding for student summer jobs, but the parishes didn't read the fine print and he has told them to refuse the money.

He said the diocese usually hires 25 to 30 students each summer for a variety of projects such as office work and the upkeep of cemeteries.

“Of course we are distressed that we are losing all these summer jobs for the students. Some parishes will try to raise the money for some projects, but some will probably not be able to do that,” he said.

Of 42,708 applications to the program, 1,559 were deemed ineligible because of the attestation requirement, said a government answer to a Commons order paper question tabled by Conservative MP Bob Zimmer.

Vienneau said he's had no contact with government officials but hopes the application is changed for next year.



Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-23    0 views
VICTORIA—A new scientific study says more needs to be known about the impact on oyster farms of microplastic pollution that has been found in waters off Vancouver Island.

The report's authors say it would be prudent to assess the extent to which shellfish ingest microbeads, microfibres and microfragments after the pollution was found in the Baynes Sound, Lambert Channel and in areas off Denman and Hornby islands.

The study from researchers at Simon Fraser University says evidence of microplastics was found at 16 sites that were tested in the Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel areas, which are home to about 50 per cent of the province's shellfish farms.

The report says sources of the microplastics in the area include the shellfish industry itself and possibly towns near the Comox Estuary.

Prof. Leah Bendell is a co-author of the study and says oysters and clams serve as the ocean's filters.

She says Canada should adopt a zero tolerance policy for plastics getting into its waters, given a growing awareness about their impact on marine ecosystems.
G7 and European Union unite to reject recent election in Venezuela
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-23    0 views
OTTAWA—Canada and its fellow G7 countries along with the European Union issued a joint statement today saying they are united in rejecting and denouncing the recent presidential election in Venezuela.

The May 20 election of Nicolas Maduro has already attracted widespread condemnation, with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland earlier calling the vote “illegitimate and anti-democratic.''

The joint statement says by “failing to meet accepted international standards and not securing the basic guarantees for an inclusive, fair and democratic process, this election and its outcome lack legitimacy and credibility.''

The G7 and EU add that while the Maduro regime “solidifies its authoritarian grip, the people of Venezuela continue to suffer human rights abuses and serious deprivation.''

The statement calls on Maduro to restore constitutional democracy in Venezuela, schedule free and fair elections, immediately release all political prisoners, restore the authority of the National Assembly, and provide for full, safe and unhindered access by humanitarian actors.

On Monday, the Canadian government applied some pressure on its own by saying it would not seek to replace its ambassador in Caracas and would ``downgrade'' its diplomatic ties with the South American country.

Ottawa also imposed a ban on formal military co-operation with Venezuela and ensured the Canadian embassy in Caracas is only headed by a charge d'affaires rather than an ambassador.

Fishermen scrambling after endangered whales' arrival in Gulf of St. Lawrence
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-22    0 views
MONCTON, N.B.—The arrival of two endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has thrown several lucrative fisheries for a loop.

Federal authorities ordered fishermen in certain parts of the Gulf off northern New Brunswick and Quebec to get their gear out of the water by late afternoon Tuesday as part of an effort to prevent the slow, lumbering animals from getting entangled in fishing gear.

Marcel Godin, director of procurement for the Island Fishermen Cooperative Association Ltd., in Lameque, N.B., said fishermen are “scared'' because they don't know what will happen next.

“You can see a whale here tomorrow and they close a zone for 15 days. Two days after they are in another zone and they close that for 15 days.''

Godin's concerns were voiced amid a report of up to 40 layoffs at the Ichiboshi fish plant in Caraquet, N.B. The CBC quoted a union official as confirming the layoffs, although the company did not immediately return a request for comment from The Canadian Press.

Godin said the latest area closures come as snow crab landings are down by about half over the last two years.

“Now with the zone they just closed ... we have boats in that area and what those will do is go to another area,'' said Godin.

“If they close another zone there will be less and less. The more boats you have in the same area the less will be the catch because of too many traps.''

Godin said the average catch per boat so far this season is about 10,000 pounds—a figure down from normal years, which saw anywhere from 20,000 to 25,000 pounds of crab per trip.

He is worried about the potential for further area closures, he said.

“If we go that way and they close areas and the catch is low the (processing) employees will be doing less hours,'' he said.

As things stand, Godin said the cooperative's plant in Pointe-Sapin, N.B., is doing better with higher landings of lobster to process.

A total of 18 North Atlantic right whales were killed in Canadian and U.S. waters last year—mainly due to vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.

In an email, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said a conservation and protection surveillance flight reported two right whales swimming just north of the 14,000 square kilometre area that had already been closed to fishing for the season.

“Temporary fisheries closures are pending and will be in place in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, east of Miscou Island and north of the area closed to fishing for the season,'' the department said.

As a result, the snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster and whelk fisheries are being closed in five areas known as “grids.'' Closures would also be in effect for fixed gear winter flounder and Atlantic halibut fisheries, except in cases where gear is not left unattended, the department said.

The newly closed area would remain closed for 15 days, a measure that could be extended if whales remain in the area.

Ottawa announced measures last month to protect right whales, including possible closures, restrictions on the amount of rope used and mandatory reporting of lost gear and whale sightings.

Moira Brown of the Canadian Whale Institute in Campobello, N.B., said researchers will start their surveillance work a little earlier than scheduled, probably in mid-June, because of suggestions the whales' primary food source—plankton—may be more plentiful sooner than previously thought.

Brown said the whales are showing up in the region earlier than they have in the past, when they would start to be seen around the end of July or early August.

“Some of the plankton work is showing that plankton is more prevalent in the Bay of Fundy earlier in the season,'' she said. “The whales are responding to what they need to do to find food.''

She said that mirrors what researchers have seen in the last few years, with the whales turning up in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence weeks ahead of their traditional schedule. She hadn't yet heard of any being in the Bay of Fundy.

“The Canadian government has really stepped up its surv
Man arrested in double shooting of pregnant woman, man in Vancouver
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-22    0 views
VANCOUVER—A witness to the double-shooting in Vancouver that caused one woman to lose her unborn child says she's relieved that police have made an arrest in the case.

Dollie Middleton said she punched the man she alleges shot a pregnant woman and her friend, as he fled the scene of the shooting Friday morning.

Vancouver police have arrested 37-year-old Carleton Stevens of Surrey, B.C., for what they called a “targeted'' shooting.

They have previously said it is not gang related.

Stevens has been charged with one count of attempted murder and one count of possession of ammunition or firearm contrary to a prohibition order. Investigators said they expect more criminal charges to be laid.

Police made the arrest Sunday night and Stevens remains in custody.

The 31-year-old woman who was shot was in the third trimester of her pregnancy, police said, and remains in serious but stable condition. The 23-year-old man from Langley, B.C., is recovering from his injuries.

Middleton said she works at the print shop below the apartment where she said the female victim was staying and knows the male victim.

She said she heard a “ruckus'' Friday morning, saw some people she didn't recognize, then called to her own boyfriend for help.

Middleton said she heard a “pop'' and saw the woman, who said, “he shot me.''

“I could see her belly and a bullet hole and it really scared me. I was freaking out,'' Middleton said.

Middleton said the pregnant woman and the Langley shooting victim were friends.

When Middleton saw the man who she believed was responsible for the shooting, she said she started yelling at him.

“I needed him to know what he really was. You can't do this to women and children. You can't do this to anybody,'' she said.

“I just decked him and he decked me back.''

Middleton said he aimed a gun at her, too, but shot it at the ground.

Vancouver police have not confirmed Middleton's allegations and said no further information will be released, as the matter is before the courts.
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New Ticats QB Manziel excited to play in ‘offensive-minded’ CFL
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-20    0 views
New Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Johnny Manziel says he relishes getting the chance to “play ball again.” The former Hesiman trophy winner and NFL draft pick said on Saturday he’s “excited” to play under head coach June Jones.
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Brandon, Man., residents tell harrowing stories of downtown fire
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-20    0 views
A resident of a Brandon, Manitoba, apartment building that caught fire in a downtown blaze on Saturday says she was scared as smoke filled the halls. Leanne Marlow says she lost her cat and her home in the fire. (May 20, 2018)
U.S. trade czar contradicts Trudeau, says: NAFTA deal 'nowhere close'
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-18    0 views
WASHINGTON—The United States says the NAFTA countries are nowhere close to a deal.
It has issued a statement that appears to douse hopes an agreement might be just a few minor adjustments away.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and several high-ranking staffers were in the U.S. on Thursday urging a quick deal before the American statement landed.

The statement from U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer says there are gaping differences on intellectual property, agriculture, online purchases, energy, labour, rules of origin, and much more.

“The NAFTA countries are nowhere near close to a deal,'' said Lighthizer.

“There are gaping differences ... We of course will continue to engage in negotiations, and I look forward to working with my counterparts to secure the best possible deal for American farmers, ranchers, workers, and businesses.''

The reason Canada, Mexico and some in the U.S. want a deal soon has to do with certainty _ with establishing business certainty and with settling the process before elections in Mexico and the U.S. push everything into next year.

Some fear that delaying the process into next year will add a new layer of unpredictability as many of the politicians involved now will no longer be in politics.

Mexico will have a new administration, the U.S. will have a new Congress after midterm elections and several senior U.S. lawmakers are retiring.
Terror suspect loses a legal avenue as Supreme Court declines to hear case
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-18    0 views
OTTAWA—A terror suspect has one less legal avenue to try to stave off deportation after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his appeal.

The federal government is trying to remove Mohamed Mahjoub, 58, using a national security certificate, claiming he was a high-ranking member of an Islamic terrorist organization.

The Supreme Court decision, handed down Thursday without explanation, is the latest setback for Mahjoub in a case that stretches back almost two decades.

Counsel for Mahjoub had no comment and it was not immediately clear what would happen next.

The Egyptian-born man, married with three children, came to Canada in 1995 and attained refugee status.

He once worked as deputy general manager of a farm project in Sudan run by Osama bin Laden, who would later spearhead the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Mahjoub was arrested in June 2000 after being interviewed by Canada's spy agency on six occasions between August 1997 and March 1999, each time denying any involvement in Islamic extremism.

He was arrested in June 2000 under a security certificate—a rarely used immigration tool for deporting non-Canadians considered a risk to the country.

The Supreme Court ruled the certificate process unconstitutional in 2007 and the government subsequently revamped the law, issuing a fresh certificate against Mahjoub the following year.

In 2009, Mahjoub was released from prison on strict conditions, which have since been relaxed.
The Federal Court found the security certificate to be reasonable, a conclusion upheld last year by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The appeal court also agreed with the lower court's refusal to stay the proceedings permanently on account of abuse of process.

Among other things, Mahjoub's counsel had claimed the case was gravely tainted by use of hearsay evidence and unsourced intelligence evidence, information derived from torture, breaches of solicitor-client privilege, and the interception of privileged phone calls.

At one point, several federal lawyers and assistants were ordered to quit the case because the government inadvertently walked off with Mahjoub's confidential legal files.

In its decision, the appeal court said that “these particular security certificate proceedings can only be seen as fundamentally fair in their execution.''

“True, occasionally mistakes and faults happened and often remedies were needed to redress them. But individually or collectively, there is no factual and legal basis upon which the Federal Court could have permanently stayed these proceedings. They properly ran their course to a final decision on the merits.''
Thunderstorms expected to add to flood woes in south central British Columbia
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-17    0 views
GRAND FORKS, B.C. _ Federal help is on the way for flooded communities in south-central British Columbia as they brace for more high water caused by rapidly melting snowpacks and potentially heavy rain.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale issued a statement Thursday confirming federal assistance for communities, including the city of Grand Forks, about 500 kilometres east of Vancouver.

``Officials are working closely with federal and provincial partners on planning the details of this assistance, including support from the Canadian Armed Forces,'' Goodale said in the release.

``Troops are deploying to the affected areas and will provide assistance with evacuations, help protect key assets from flood damage, and bolster sandbagging efforts.''

An exact timeline was not provided, but the minister's statement said help would be provided ``as soon as possible.''

A tweet sent Wednesday night from Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said ``the women and men of our Canadian armed forces are always ready to support Canadians.''

Environment Canada issued special weather statements Thursday covering the entire southeastern corner of British Columbia, including the flood-damaged Boundary region, as thunderstorms have the potential to add even more water to already raging rivers.

Forecasters predict as much as 40 millimetres of rain by Friday and there's concern about added damage caused by heavy downpours during localized thunderstorms.

A news release from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary said properties along the banks of the surging Kettle River are at risk and more evacuation orders are possible.

School District 51, which operates eight elementary schools, two secondary schools and a development centre in the Boundary region, closed all schools Thursday because of the potential for imminent flooding.

A state of local emergency was in effect across the entire neighbouring Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen which posted on its website that provincial agencies are closely monitoring the levels of Osoyoos Lake and preparing for evacuation orders if required.

In the Regional District of Central Kootenay, east of Grand Forks, evacuation alerts were expanded along Erie Creek and the Salmo River, while firefighters from across the district were sent to the village of Salmo to help with sandbagging in anticipation of flooding there.

EmergencyInfoBC, the province's online link to emergency information, carried links to eight regional districts and 13 municipalities, communities or First Nations where rising river or lake levels have prompted evacuation orders or alerts in British Columbia.
Federal natural resources researchers forecast long, hot wildfire season
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-16    0 views
Federal researchers say Canada may be heading into a long, hot summer in the forests.
Richard Carr of Natural Resources Canada says wildfire numbers are already ahead of the 10-year average.
He says weather is expected to be hotter and drier than normal in most parts of the country in the coming months.
There have already been evacuations in the three prairie provinces because of wildfires.
Federal fire maps show the risk is already high to extreme almost everywhere in southern regions of the country.
Howie Mandel says comedy festival bigger than Gilbert Rozon
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-15    0 views
MONTREAL _ Howie Mandel says Montreal's Just For Laughs will move forward without founder Gilbert Rozon, stressing the comedy festival is not about one person.

The Canadian-born comedian led an investor group that acquired the festival in March after it was put up for sale.

The new owners include U.S. talent agency ICM Partners.

Just For Laughs was rocked last fall after several women came forward with allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment against Rozon, who was also majority stakeholder.

Mandel tells The Canadian Press the comedy festival is ``an amazing feat'' and that he doesn't want to think about what happened in the past.

He adds that everyone involved is energized and wants to make the summer event bigger and more exciting than it already is.

MONTREAL _ Comedian Howie Mandel is promising a bigger and more exciting Just For Laughs festival this summer _ even with founder Gilbert Rozon out of the picture.

``Our whole thrust is moving forward and not thinking about what was,'' he said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Tuesday.

``It's not about one person.''

Just For Laughs was rocked last fall after several women came forward with allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment against Rozon, who was also majority stakeholder.

The Canadian-born Mandel led an investor group that acquired the festival in March after it was put up for sale.

The new owners also include U.S. talent agency ICM Partners.

Mandel, 62, described Just For Laughs as an ``an amazing feat'' and that everyone involved is ``really energized'' in moving it forward.

Rozon, who stepped down as president in October, said he would sell his shares in the company in response to the allegations, which he has denied and have not been proven in court.

When asked if the festival's headquarters could be transferred to the United States, Mandel replied that such a move would negate the essence of the event.

``Being in Canada and in Montreal, which is where there are two languages, makes it truly an international festival and gives it more gravitas than if this was some place in Pennsylvania,'' Mandel said.

He also said he wants nothing more than to be involved with Just For Laughs and get it recognized ``as the mecca'' outside Canada.

``Once I started my career, this is probably the first place that embraced me,'' Mandel said, noting he and his wife lived in Montreal for a year in the 1970s.

``I don't think there's anything more powerful in the world of comedy and means more worldwide, as far as discovering and creating careers, than this festival in this town.''

Mandel also stressed no changes are planned to the organization and that he wants the festival to have a greater digital presence on different platforms.

``Maybe even live broadcasts on YouTube or Twitch or any of those platforms. . .these are the kind of things we're talking about,'' he said.

Mandel also appeared to welcome the arrival of the alternative ``Grand Montreal comedie fest'' and its artists.

The sexual-assault controversy involving Rozon prompted the creation of that festival, which was the idea of stand-up comedian Martin Petit.

Several dozen mainly francophone Quebec comedians joined forces to put together the July 1-15 event, while the 36th edition of Just for Laughs and ``Juste Pour Rire,'' its French version, runs July 11-29.

``There's room for everybody, but I don't find that to be competition,'' said Mandel.

``I think there's always room for laughter.''

In addition to the Montreal comedy festival started in 1983, Just For Laughs produces international comedy tours, TV specials and annual festivals around the world including in Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney, Australia.
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Horwath has ‘no interest’ in Ontario NDP-Liberal coalition
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-15    0 views
TORONTO _ Ontario's governing Liberals claimed Monday to have found a costing error in the NDP election platform, marking yet another attack on the third party that has been gaining momentum, as the New Democratic leader stood by her plan and ruled out any possibility of a coalition to keep the Tories from seizing power.

The province's election campaign has increasingly seen the Liberals take aim at the NDP after months of focusing their attacks on the Progressive Conservatives led by Doug Ford.

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne said just because her party and the NDP have similar values, doesn't mean she won't ask questions about their platform.

``We have to have the same degree of scrutiny applied to all of our plans. That's what this is about,'' Wynne said at a campaign stop in Toronto where candidates who were the province's finance minister and treasury board president outlined what the Liberals called the New Democrats' ``miscalculation.''

The Liberals claimed the NDP platform defunds hundreds of millions in apprenticeship programs, women's shelters and efforts for the implementation of legalized cannabis, among other things.

``I think this is about the NDP making a mistake,'' Wynne said. ``I think the NDP believes that the things they've left out are important. But the fact is they're not included in their plan. There's no way when you look at their plan to be able to discern how they would pay for them.''

The NDP countered that the figures in their platform were accurate, with leader Andrea Horwath saying the Liberals were being ``pretty dishonest'' with their criticism.

``This is a party which has consistently challenged the independent officers of the legislature, not agreeing with the auditor general, not agreeing with the financial accountability officer,'' she said.

``I want to assure people that the NDP numbers are in fact correct.''

Several polls have suggested the Progressive Conservatives have the most support ahead of the June 7 vote and the Liberals, who've been in power for 15 years, are lagging behind the New Democrats.

While neither Wynne nor Horwath want to see a Ford government form next month, the possibility of a coalition between the two left-leaning leaders if the Tories win a minority was ruled out Monday.

Horwath said there is no way she would join forces with the Liberals _ appearing to go further than when she was asked Sunday about the possibility.

``I am unequivocally saying I have no interest in partnering up with that party,'' Horwath said. ``They have consistently made decisions that were in their own political best interest, decisions that were in the best interest of the well-connected Liberals and high-income earners that tend to be their friends.''

Ford, meanwhile, said Ontarians don't want a ``backroom deal'' that would keep Liberals in power.

``They don't want the NDP making a backroom deal to prop up the Liberals,'' he said at a stop in Niagara Falls. ``They're the same. When you look at the NDP who destroyed this province, then you look at the Liberals and how they destroyed this province, people want change.''

Wilfrid Laurier University political science professor Barry Kay said the Liberals' focused attack on the NDP on Monday is a bad sign for the governing party.

``The NDP is moving up in the polls so the NDP is the party the Liberals are losing their votes towards,'' he said.

``They have to start fighting back. At the beginning of the campaign they hoped that it was basically a two-horse race ... between the Liberals and Conservatives, but that is not the way the most recent polls have gone.''

In their scrutiny of the NDP platform, the Liberals said the New Democrats didn't factor in government spending announced between last year's budget and this year's fiscal plan, creating a hole of at least $3 billion in their platform.

Horwath said the NDP plan was based on new spending programs the Liberals promised in their 2018 budget _ substituted with the party's campaign pledges. She added that her numbers have been verified by a former parliamentary budget off
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Emergency alert mobile messages officially up and running in Canada
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-15    0 views
An Amber Alert in Ontario is the first real emergency to appear on phones through a new text message alert system This real alert came after more than a week of tests Tests for the new system originally misfired across Ontario and Quebec, with only some people receiving messages Some cell phone users in didn't receive the real emergency message at all And the French version came through more than 30 minutes later Not everyone is happy with how the system works Some people even complained about receiving the alert The new Emergency Alert system is also meant for natural disasters or terrorist threats
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Quebec brewery concocts special G7 beer ahead of summit
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-15    2 views
A brewery in Quebec’s Charlevoix region has blended ingredients from all of the G7 member countries into one beer, ahead of June’s summit. Creator Nicolas Marrant says the main ingredient in La G7 beer is a Canadian barley malt.
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Canadian-born Superman actress Margot Kidder dies at 69
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-15    2 views
Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in "Superman" opposite Christopher Reeve, has died at age 69 She went on to become a mental health advocate after revealing she had bipolar disorder She also became a political activist and was arrested in 2011 during a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline Kidder was born in Yellowknife and since moved to Montana to live away from the spotlight She also rose to fame for her work in "The Great Waldo Pepper" and "The Amityville Horror"
University condemned for handling of residential schools course controversy
Georges.Hebert
2018-05-14    0 views
A group of Canadian professors is speaking out against a Halifax university's handling of a residential-schools course imbroglio, saying the race or ethnicity of a professor should not be a consideration when assigning a course.

Mount Saint Vincent University found itself embroiled in controversy after assigning a course about Canada's residential schools to a non-Indigenous professor, something activists say undermines reconciliation efforts.

In response, the school called a meeting this week between Indigenous faculty and staff and the professor assigned to the course to determine a way forward.

But the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship said in a letter Monday that the decision to call a meeting undercuts university collegiality and academic integrity.

Mark Mercer, president of the society and a philosophy professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, said it's up to the Mount's history department to consider a professor's expertise and perspectives. He said these matters should be judged on academic grounds alone.

``The race or ethnicity of the professor is not an academic ground and, thus, should not be a consideration,'' Mercer said in a letter to Elizabeth Church, vice-president academic and provost at the school.

``The idea that only Indigenous scholars can teach topics involving Indigenous People is false and pernicious. Mount Saint Vincent University should clearly and forcefully repudiate it.''

The university should stand by its decision to assign the course to a qualified professor, he added.

On Friday, Church said the university has been actively recruiting Indigenous faculty, with the search ongoing for additional Indigenous professors.

``What we've tried to do is listen to the different perspectives and really try to understand how to move forward in a way that is respectful and thoughtful,'' she said. ``It's a very complex issue and we're really looking at what it means to have expertise in the topic and bringing in the perspectives that need to be there.''

The decision to assign a ``settler scholar'' to teach the course was decried on social media last week as a kind of historical appropriation and reinforcement of the systemic oppression of First Nations.

Critics said only Indigenous Peoples have the lived experience to understand the complex and cumulative ways they've been discriminated against, and that they should teach their own history.

``Part of reconciliation is making space for Indigenous faculty members at universities and Indigenous knowledge perspectives,'' Patti Doyle-Bedwell, a Mi'kmaq woman and Dalhousie University professor, said on Friday.

``We're talking about indigenizing the academy.''

But Sherry Pictou, a women's studies professor at the university who is Mi'kmaq, spoke out in support of the history professor assigned to the course.

Despite the outcry on social media, Pictou said she has ``full confidence'' in Martha Walls as both as a historian and an ally to the Indigenous community.

Furthermore, she said the work of decolonizing ``cannot fall just on the backs and labour of other Indigenous academics.''

More than 150,000 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children were taken from their families--often by force--to attend government residential schools, according to findings by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.