EDMONTON – The University of Alberta is standing by its decision to give David Suzuki an honorary degree despite growing criticism.Earlier this month, the university announced that the longtime environmentalist will be one of 13 people to receive the honour later this spring.That led to criticism from some professors, donors and alumni — including some in the oil and gas industry — who said they would withdraw donations and partnerships.University president David Turpin has issued a statement saying the school won’t change its mind.He says withdrawing Suzuki’s honorary degree might seem like an easy solution to the controversy.But Turpin says the university’s reputation is founded on the principles of freedom of inquiry, academic integrity and independence.Suzuki is to receive the honorary doctor of science degree on June 7. read more
OTTAWA – The federal government is facing increased pressure from Indigenous advocates to confront how historical figures are celebrated in Canada following the passage of a motion by an Ontario teachers’ union calling for the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from elementary schools in the province.A bigger conversation needs to unfold nationally about the role of historic figures in the “dark realities of colonialism”, NDP MP and Indigenous affairs critic Romeo Saganash said Friday, adding it is the responsibility of Ottawa to begin this dialogue “in the spirit of reconciliation” with Indigenous Peoples.“I also think there should be a priority placed on education regarding historic figures from the Indigenous community, which should include putting their names on important buildings,” he said in a statement.Saganash, a residential school survivor, supported Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to remove the name of Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation, from the Ottawa building that houses the Prime Minister’s Office.Trudeau made the announcement in June after Indigenous MPs and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called for the change because Langevin was an architect of the residential school system.“We’ve heard from you and the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and from many indigenous communities over the past year that there is a deep pain in knowing that … building carries a name so closely associated with the horror of residential schools,” Trudeau said at the time.Bellegarde said he is personally encouraged Canadians are finally speaking about the harsh truths of the country’s past, including about how prominent leaders like Macdonald did not always have respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples.The federal government helped to facilitate this process by renaming the Langevin Block near Parliament Hill, he added, noting he also commends the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario for its motion.“We are not revising history, it is about being honest about our true history,” he said in an interview. “You can look at the history of Canada in a more comprehensive way and have the truth be taught.”Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, however, does not have the same assessment of the union’s motion.In a statement, she said it “missed the mark”, noting Macdonald contributed greatly to the creation of a stable federal government for Canada as a founding father of Confederation and as the country’s first prime minister.Metis National Council President Clement Chartier said Friday he is neutral on the motion, adding he believes there are far more important issues to address, including the exclusion of Metis residential schools from the residential school settlement agreement.“We can’t undo history,” he said. “Macdonald was a father of Confederation. He did have a role to play. While it may have negatively impacted the Metis Nation, I’m sure it did some good for other Canadians. There has to be a balance to it as well.”A spokesperson for Heritage Minister Melanie Joly said the federal government will engage with Indigenous groups on how to correct historical wrongs, adding it must “seize this opportunity” to acknowledge Canada’s past was from perfect.“All levels of government have a responsibility to promote dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to continue towards the path of reconciliation,” press secretary Pierre-Olivier Herbert said in a statement.—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter read more
CALGARY – The Royal Canadian Mint is paying homage to Canada’s fallen with a special toonie now in circulation for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.The commemorative $2 coin, which depicts two soldiers standing on either side of an image of the Vimy memorial in France, was officially unveiled at the Military Museums in Calgary on Thursday.Canadian troops secured a hard-fought victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917.Nearly 11,000 died in the battle.However, it helped lead to Canada’s recognition as an independent nation and helped create a newfound sense of pride and national unity.Officials with the Royal Canadian Mint said they drew inspiration for the coin from the Vimy memorial.“I was truly, genuinely moved by their beauty and the significance of the story they represent,” said Sandra Hanington with the Royal Canadian Mint. “We are deeply proud to use our state-of-the-art coins to share profound historic moments that have shaped our nation and compel us to reflect on what it means to be Canadian.”Jeremy Diamond with the Vimy Foundation said the coin is a way for Canadians to carry a little piece of history.“This is like having a little textbook in your pocket all the time or a little video clip in your pocket all the time. It’s always an opportunity now to learn a little bit about our history,” said Diamond.The coin is part of a continuing series over the next six years that will mark important events in both World Wars.(CTV Calgary, CFFR) read more
HALIFAX – The younger sisters of Maureen Dares sit with her in a Halifax hotel room, hoping for a call to say she has a place go before their money runs out.The 58-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis and epilepsy is among about 912 people in this part of Nova Scotia awaiting a nursing home spot.It’s frightening for her.“Quite honestly, I find it scary. I find it terrifying,” she said as she sat near a table with her medicines neatly arranged in a row.Like other Canadians who move relatives from home care into the queue for subsidized care, sisters Janet and Sandra Glazebrook are discovering the steep financial and emotional costs involved.After the death of her husband, Dares’ brother-in-law moved in to care for her. However, he had to move out earlier this year for health reasons. That, along with the discovery of mould in the home, set off an unforeseen family crisis.The sisters searched unsuccessfully for a new caregiver to supplement the daytime home care the province provides, and then started paying the price for private care.Janet, a 52-year-old hotel accountant, and Sandra, a 55-year-old nurse, say within months $40,000 of their savings were gone for the provision of private home care, which they estimate at $440 per day.“The care cost was astronomical. It ran through our money pretty quick,” said Janet, sitting across from her sister, who worked at a radio station and raised two daughters before the illnesses led to the disabilities she lives with now.Dares was moved from one nursing home to another for almost a month under a respite care program, making her anxious and uncertain.“I don’t have a home anymore. I’m on the move,” Dares said.Meanwhile, Janet and Sandra say their own homes can’t accommodate the wheelchair access Maureen requires, nor can they provide the attention she needs.That puts the family into the queue, which in the central zone of the Nova Scotia Health Authority is currently an estimated wait of six months.“For us it is an emergency situation. We don’t know what to do with her … or how to support the care she needs,” said Janet, who arranged the Lord Nelson room that is her temporary home.To save cash, the sisters and Sandra’s husband Gary Siepierski take turns sleeping in the room, ready to help if Dares has a seizure.“What do people do who can’t afford the care while they’re still waiting to get into a nursing home?” asks Janet, holding her hands in the air.It’s a question that’s also being asked by advocacy groups fighting for reduced waiting times when a transition to long-term care is necessary.Peter Howarth, a retired school administrator in Brampton, Ont., said when he researched care for his wife Maureen after her stroke, he rapidly realized annual home care costs of about $150,000 a year were far beyond what he could afford.“The idea of aging at home is a smoke screen,” said the volunteer for CARP, formerly known as the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.The Nova Scotia provincial health authority’s central zone — which includes Halifax — currently has 912 people on the waiting list for long-term care, with about half of those located in a facility while awaiting a transfer to a care home they’d prefer.Since 2015, if a person refuses a placement within 100 kilometres, they’re taken off the wait list and only allowed to re-apply three months later.John Gillis, a spokesman for the authority, said the agency can’t comment on individual cases like Dares’.Meanwhile, the issue is similar throughout the country. For example, Ontario’s Long Term Care Association says the latest figures for the past summer had 32,000 Ontarians on wait lists for long-term care.The association warned in a summer pre-budget submission that the need for nursing homes will likely mount, noting census data shows that for the first time since 1871 Canadians over the age of 65 are outnumbering those under 15.Nova Scotia’s Health Department has budgeted $569 million for long-term care, and $263 million for home supports. After public criticism of budget cuts made in the prior year, the Liberals increased spending on home care by $5.1 million and added $3.2 million to increase food budgets and recreation programs for residents in long-term care facilities.In the spring election campaign, the governing party’s literature promised to develop a “brand new continuing care strategy.”However, it hasn’t been released yet.Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, health critic for the provincial Progressive Conservative Party, said the Dares’ case may be solved as media and opposition party attention is drawn to her situation.But she says its a symptom of a system struggling to find the ailing, aged and infirm safe places to stay more quickly.“She’s in an unfortunate situation and I know there are other families experiencing similar things around the province,” she said.—Follow @mtuttoncporg on Twitter. read more
WINNIPEG – Immediately after a letter bomb exploded inside the small family-law firm where Maria Mitousis worked, she slumped in her doorway, covered in blood and begged a colleague not to leave her side.“I heard a large bang and (there was) a scream, followed with a second scream,” Connie Petersen, managing partner at the Petersen King law firm in Winnipeg told a courtroom Wednesday.“Maria was walking out of her office … she slid down the side of her door frame.”Two co-workers called 911 and were told to evacuate the office, Petersen added.“Maria said, ‘Don’t leave me. Please comfort me.’ There was a lot of blood going down from her throat.”Mitousis would undergo surgery in the hours that followed the July 3, 2015, explosion. She lost her right hand in the blast and suffered severe injuries to her face, torso and legs.Police later charged Guido Amsel, the former husband of one of Mitousis’s clients in a divorce case. He is also on trial for sending other letter bombs that July to the workplace of his ex-wife, Iris, and to another law firm that had represented Amsel. Neither of those bombs detonated before police found them.Amsel, 51, is also accused in a 2013 explosion outside the home of his ex-wife that did not cause any injuries. In all, he faces five counts of attempted murder and several explosives-related charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is being tried by a judge alone.The trial has already heard from police officers who say the package that exploded in Mitousis’s office contained a voice recorder with an explosive compound designed to detonate when the play button was pressed. There was also a note instructing her to press play, they testified.The trial also heard Wednesday from Karlee Kaplan, a legal assistant who worked on the law firm’s reception desk. She said a package had come in the mail for Mitousis the day before the explosion while she was out of the office, so Kaplan placed it on the lawyer’s desk.Kaplan said Mitousis returned the next day, went into her office and a few minutes later there was a loud noise. Kaplan ran to the office and saw Mitousis on her hands and knees.“Her face was covered in blood. Her clothes were covered in blood,” she testified.Amsel’s lawyer, Saheel Zaman, has questioned how police officers handled evidence collected and whether they properly secured the scene to avoid it being contaminated by others.At one point Wednesday, he asked Petersen whether, as managing partner, she had even been told by Mitousis of any animosity or problems stemming from the Amsel divorce.“You’d agree with me that (Mitousis) didn’t bring up the Iris Amsel file as problematic?” Zaman asked.“No. Not that I can recall,” Petersen replied. read more
TORONTO – A man whose swimming goggles were confiscated by officers following a search of his backpack on the eve of the turbulent G20 summit in Toronto in 2010 is expected to testify Monday at the start of a hearing into his lawsuit against the city’s police oversight board.Numerous legal actions, officer disciplinary hearings and criminal proceedings have flowed from the summit that saw indiscriminate mass arrests and detentions, but this may be the only such civil suit to actually go to trial, according to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.In his statement of claim initially filed in 2011, Luke Stewart, of Kitchener, Ont., argues police officers assaulted and wrongfully detained him, violating several of his constitutional rights. He wants Superior Court to award him $100,000 in damages.The defendant police services board denies any liability, claiming police were simply doing their jobs, and blames Stewart for any problems he encountered when he went to a downtown park carrying a backpack while planning to take part in a protest.In an incident captured on video, Stewart says he went to Allan Gardens on the Friday afternoon of the summit weekend in June 2010. He says several officers demanded to search his bag as a condition of entry into the park. When he refused and tried to get to the protest, he alleges the officers “assaulted and battered him,” illegally searched his bag, and confiscated his swimming goggles.“The plaintiff was unlawfully detained for 12 minutes,” his claim asserts. “The officers acted with malice and bad faith.”The statement of claim also alleges police, under orders from superiors, were planning to form a perimeter around the park with the aim of searching “every person with a bag” trying to enter the area. The plan and orders, the claim alleges, violated the charter.“Senior police officers … gave orders they knew were unlawful,” the claim asserts.In response, the police services board says officers were doing their best to preserve the peace and defend public property under provincial trespassing law. What they were doing at Allan Gardens was legal, the board says in its statement of defence.By its account, the board says officers told Stewart, who was in his mid-20s, that he could enter the park if he allowed them to inspect his bag or could refuse and leave.“Such examination was necessary to protect the safety of those persons within the park in the circumstances as they existed on that day,” the statement of defence asserts. “He loudly and rudely yelled at the police officers, expressing his displeasure.”Police said they confiscated the goggles “noting that the park did not contain a pool” and that goggles had been used at violent protests in the past for illegitimate purposes. Stewart said he was carrying them in case officers used “chemical weapons,” the board says.Any force used against him, the statement of defence says, was justified by the circumstances and did not amount to an assault or other breach of his rights.The civil liberties association is intervening in the case. The group argues it is an abuse of police power to seize personal property as a condition of entry to a public space. It also maintains that awarding damages would help hold police accountable for allegedly violating civil rights.Since the summit, a senior police officer has been found guilty of misconduct for ordering mass arrests that weekend. A lower ranking officer was convicted criminally, as were several protesters who smashed windows or otherwise ran amok.One official report branded the mass detentions and arrests that weekend as one of Canada’s worst violations of civil liberties. read more
VANCOUVER — A British Columbia judge has told jurors they will have to decide whether a man who confessed to killing a 12-year-old girl could have obtained details about the crime from police or media reports.B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen is instructing a jury that is expected to start deliberations later today in the trial of Garry Handlen, who confessed to the 1978 murder during a police undercover operation.Monica Jack was last seen in Merritt while riding her bike and her remains were discovered in the area 17 years later.Handlen became the subject of a so-called Mr. Big sting in early 2014 and provided an alleged confession recorded on a hidden camera and shown to the jury during the first-degree murder trial.Defence lawyer Patrick Angly has argued Handlen was provided information about the crime by the RCMP in 1978 when he was interviewed and also by a supposed crime boss asking leading questions.Angly has said the crime boss was referring to a newspaper article about the crime while trying to extract a confession in 2014, and Handlen could have read some information he parroted back and may also have known details about Jack’s murder from a television documentary.The Canadian Press read more
MONTREAL — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is exposing the public to unnecessary risk by allowing deer and elk meat from farms affected by a contagious disease to end up on consumers’ plates, a group of experts and advocates say.Chronic wasting disease or CWD, an infection of the central nervous system similar to mad cow disease that is fatal to deer, elk, reindeer and moose, was discovered on a farm in Quebec’s Laurentians region last August, resulting in a cull of 2,789 red deer.While the 11 carcasses that tested positive for the disease, as well seven others, were destroyed, the rest were allowed to enter the food system, including some 1,000 young animals that had not been tested because tests aren’t sensitive enough to detect CWD in animals under 12 months of age, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.The news was a surprise to some experts, including Neil Cashman, a University of British Columbia medical professor who specializes in neurodegenerative diseases spread by prion proteins.He said that while there’s been no documented case of chronic wasting disease being transmitted to humans, it can’t be ruled out.“If you’re supplying meat, deer meat or elk meat or whatever from a farm in which animals have tested positive for CWD, if you provide it to the market for human consumption, that’s playing with fire in my opinion,” he said in a phone interview.He points to an ongoing study that suggests CWD can be spread to other animals, including macaque monkeys, as well as the case of mad cow, which was originally not believed to be dangerous for humans but was later linked to a rare degenerative brain disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob.He said it’s even possible that doctors might not recognize CWD at first if it did affect a human, because it could take a different form.“With all this knowledge about how wily prions are, how long they last in the environment, how resistant they are to destruction and degradation, it really behooves us to cut down on potential exposure to CWD,” he said.Health Canada notes there’s no evidence the disease infects humans, but recommends as a preventative measure that animals known to be infected with CWD should not be consumed, and that hunters should take precautions when handling carcasses of deer, elk and moose.In an email, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that allowing the animals from the Quebec farm to enter the food system did not violate that position.“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada’s position is that animals and products from animals known to be infected with CWD are prohibited from entering Canada’s food supply,” the agency wrote. “The meat that was released into the human food chain came from animals which are not known to be infected with CWD.”The email noted that “CWD is not a known human health or food safety risk, and that there have been no recorded instances of humans being affected by the disease.”It also said that its policy of allowing animals from CWD-positive farms into the food system only applies to red deer and elk, which have lower rates of transmission than other cervids.CWD was first detected in Canada in 1996, and has since spread across parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Laurentians deer farm was the first documented case in Quebec.Since 2014, animals from 21 CWD-infected elk herds have been slaughtered for consumption with the agency’s permission. The CFIA says only adult elks that tested negative were released into the food chain, since there is no market for meat from elks under 12 months.The agency’s position appears to have divided scientists.While some have expressed concern over what they see as a lack of caution, two other experts consulted by The Canadian Press said they see no reason to question the policy given that there’s no proof of any risk.Kerry Mower, a wildlife specialist with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, pointed out that humans have been consuming CWD positive deer and elk since at least the 1960s, and have been consuming sheep with a similar disease for hundreds of years with no known transmission.But Kat Lanteigne, who co-founded an organization that advocates for a safe blood system, was outraged to learn the animals from infected farms were being sent to the food system.She said the federal government quietly changed its policy in 2014 to allow the practice, leaving consumers and scientists unaware.“None of the consumers in Canada know there is this infectious prion disease, that is the sister to mad cow, and that animals that could be infected could be ending up on their barbecues and dinner plates,” said Lanteigne, the executive director of Bloodwatch.In June, more than 30 people, including Lanteigne and Cashman, signed an open letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other senior cabinet ministers, urging them to take greater action to contain the spread of the disease.The letter claims that the threat is not only to human health but to trade and investment, noting that Norway has already banned hay or straw imports from provinces where the disease is present.“Despite the lessons of BSE and the dire threat posed by CWD, official policy still allows translocation of live animals, products, and equipment from cervid farms, movement of hunter carcasses, and continued human exposure—in violation of basic principles of science, public trust, and professional ethics,” they wrote.The signatories advocated for the government to issue emergency directives to contain the spread of the disease, including eliminating deer farms, testing all animals from areas where the disease is present, and boosting funding for research and surveillance.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press read more
Actor/Producer/Director/Humanitarian Scott L. Schwartz will return to Coast Anabelle Hotel to host the 2nd Annual Celebrity Cupcakes benefit and help celebrate the launch of Cupcakes Magazine while raising awareness and collecting food for LA Food Bank.Cupcakes Magazine Launch Party (updated)Credit/Copyright: Misty Schwartz PREvent sponsors include: AB Weddings & Special Events, Coast Anabelle Hotel, Mary’s Cake Shop, O.N.E. Coconut Water, A La Carte Crafts, Savory Saltine Seasoning, Lisa Kline, Camille Wood, Arie Bella Beauty, Monster Energy Drinks, Nekter Juice Bar, Autumns Vibrant Art, 165 Designs, My Delight Cupcakery and Cupcake Wars Winner: Bubba Sweets. The event will also include a special performance by Gavyn Bailey.Cupcakes Magazine is first magazine about cupcakes, celebrities, and charities… Cupcakes Magazine is focused on spotlighting cupcake chefs and designers from all over the world. They are providing a permanent place for cupcake aficionados to go and find recipes, showcase celebrities who enjoy and/or bake them, and promote and host cupcake charity events.Celebrity Cupcakes is a non-profit series of cupcake charity events that were created and hosted by actor/director/humanitarian Scott L. Schwartz (Ocean’s 11, 12, 13, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Changing Hands, Castle, The Mentalist, Starsky & Hutch, etc.). Celebrities are invited to stop in and “name” their favorite cupcake, to benefit charity. Guests will receive free admission with a donation of unwrapped canned goods for LA Food Bank. For more information on the Scott L. Schwartz Children’s Foundation please visit: www.scottlschwartzchildrensfoundation.wordpress.com or www.celebritycupcakes.wordpress.com.Scott L. Schwartz is widely known as the “Ultimate Bad Guy” from his acting career including: Ocean’s 11, 12 & 13, Starsky & Hutch, Spiderman, Fun With Dick And Jane, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Mentalist, Castle, among other feature films and TV shows. What most fans don’t know is that Scott is really “The Ultimate Nice Guy” and has been visiting children’s hospitals worldwide for the past 15 years after losing his sister to lung cancer in 1998. He realizes the value and impact of making a lasting impression on children with cancer and how important it is to make each child feel special. Scott enjoys visiting pediatric hospitals and bringing what joy he can into the lives of every child he visits. They are always smiling during his visits and usually begging him to return soon.The Scott L. Schwartz Children’s Foundation is making a difference in the lives of each child in need by continuing to visit hospitals worldwide, helping Alicia’s House Food Pantry, Children’s Hospitals Worldwide. For the past ten years Scott has been an essential part of the fundraising for Alicia’s House Food Pantry along with former Chicago Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas and the founder (former pro wrestler) Juan Hernandez. Scott recently accepted the CHOC Glass Slipper Guild Award (a prestigious award that others that David Beckham, Gwen Stefani among others have received). On May 21, 2013 Scott was invited by General Mills to be an Ambassador for Outnumber Hunger. Outnumber Hunger partners with Feeding America and Big Machine Label Group to help Feeding America secure meals on behalf of local food bank. Scott will show his support through raising awareness with his fans about Outnumber Hunger and the staggering issue of hunger in America. For more information or ways to help please visit: www.outnumberhunger.com.For more details about Cupcakes Magazine (the world’s first non-profit Cupcakes magazine…) please visit www.CupcakesMagazine.com.Copyright ©2013Look to the Stars read more
In their four statements of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court, the women allege Schultz groped them, exposed himself, pressed against them, or otherwise behaved inappropriately.None of their allegations have been tested in court and neither Schultz nor Soulpepper have filed a statement of defence. Schultz said he will “vigorously defend” himself against the allegations. Login/Register With: Sarah Polley, Mia Kirshner and Ann-Marie MacDonald are among the nearly 300 people who have signed a letter supporting the four actresses suing Soulpepper Theatre Company and its founding artistic director Albert Schultz for sexual harassment.The letter, dated Monday, calls on Soulpepper’s board of directors to “acknowledge the harm” allegedly suffered by the women, and adds “we also believe that there are more stories like theirs that have not been told.”Schultz resigned Thursday in the wake of the lawsuits filed by Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan and Hannah Miller. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Canadian actor and director Sarah Polley poses for a photo as she promotes Alias Grace, at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on September 13 , 2017. (CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS) Polley and Kirshner have spoken out about their own experiences with sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. Both have alleged they had uncomfortable encounters with fallen Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.MacDonald alleged last week that she experienced “exploitation, bullying and harassment” while working as an actress with Soulpepper in 2008. She alleged Soulpepper leaders laughed off her concerns about a fundraiser that auctioned off dinners with female actresses without their prior consent.The supporters of the letter say they look forward to Soulpepper’s board revealing the “concrete steps it is taking to ensure that Soulpepper is a safe environment, where abuse and harassment cannot be tolerated, and where art can flourish.”Others who signed the letter include Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon, who starred in the Soulpepper production of Kim’s Convenience and the subsequent TV adaptation for CBC.Actresses Tara Spencer-Nairn of Corner Gas, Kristin Kreuk of Smallville and Amanda Brugel of The Handmaid’s Tale also added their names to the letter.by THE CANADIAN PRESS Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Advertisement Twitter read more
Login/Register With: Advertisement Quotes“Our government is proud to support arts and culture by investing in high-calibre cultural spaces such as the Neptune Theatre. Audiences can enjoy the work of professional artists in facilities that meet industry standards and also contribute to the quality of life in communities all across Canada.”—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage“I am delighted that our government is supporting upgrades to the Neptune Theatre, which has been a significant feature of Halifax’s cultural infrastructure since the early 1960s. This well-loved theatre offers Nova Scotians and visitors a variety of professional theatre presentations, while contributing to local economic activity.”—Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament (Halifax)“Advice and investments from the Department of Canadian Heritage have helped Neptune Theatre plan and make smart decisions about its infrastructure and technology requirements. This investment will enhance the experience of visitors to the theatre and better position Neptune to respond to the needs of the community and long-term sustainability.”—Rebecca Hiltz LeBlanc, President of the Neptune Theatre FoundationQuick factsThe Neptune Theatre, which staged its first show in 1963, is the largest production theatre in Atlantic Canada.The Neptune, a registered charity, is owned and operated by the Neptune Theatre Foundation and is run as a not-for-profit society.The upgrades made possible through this funding will help fully integrate the new specialized light and sound equipment that Neptune purchased thanks to earlier support from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.Some of the main upgrades will include modernizing the stage area, upgrading the box office capacity, and installing a new heating and ventilation system.The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund plays a key role in improving physical conditions for artistic creativity and arts presentation or exhibition. It is also designed to increase access for Canadians to performing, visual and media arts, and to museum collections and heritage displays.Associated linksCanada Cultural Spaces FundNeptune Theatre With this investment, the Neptune Theatre Foundation will carry out technical and general enhancements to Neptune’s Fountain Hall Theatre (main stage), as well as improvements in customer service.This support is being provided through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada dedicated $168.2 million to the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund over two years. Budget 2017 provided an additional $300 million for the fund over 10 years. Advertisement Twitter Facebook HALIFAX – Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament (Halifax), today announced funding of $499,978 for upgrades to the Neptune Theatre. Mr. Fillmore made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment read more
Larissa Burnouf, aptn National NewsA popular teach in Regina is set to stand trial on several charges of sexual assault against three male students.33 year old Corey R Matthews is facing 3 counts of procuring the sexual services of a person under 18, 2 counts of sexual exploitation and 1 count of sexual touching.The police investigation started when allegations surfaced that Matthews had asked a male teenage student to touch him sexually. The event allegedly took place between October 1st 2008 and December 31, 2008.No trial date has been set and Matthews is not in custody. read more
APTN National NewsA young girl was found dead in a Winnipeg park from an apparent suicide last week.What makes the story more alarming, however, is that police released her photo to media in an effort to identify her.The move left many wondering whether authorities went too far.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler has this story.
APTN National NewsThere’s a big warning for First Nations along the Trent Severn Waterway in Ontario.It comes from an online posting on the federal government’s website and it’s serious.APTN National News reporter Annette Francis has this story.
APTN National NewsNeil Young performed for a packed house in Winnipeg Thursday in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.Before the concert, hundreds of Idle No More supporters round danced in appreciation.APTN’s Shaneen Robinson was there.
APTN National NewsRobert Falcon-Ouelette is running for mayor of Winnipeg.He’s Cree, Metis and bilingual.So, when a debate was held in the city’s French Quarter, he spoke in French.At the time, it seemed like the thing to do and he never expected it to draw a personal attack against his race and culture.APTN’s Ntawnis Piapot has this story.
APTN National NewsStudents across the country are back to school this week.One Thunder Bay teacher has started a unique course.APTN’s Wayne Rivers has the story.
It’s in the third interrogation video, which appears to have occurred at a separate location, when Scott said the murder was committed by Ginger and Oakes.“Who was there then?” said Graham.“Ginger,” said Scott.“Ginger and who?” said Graham.“Connie,” said Scott.Graham then presses Scott on why she would take the fall for something she didn’t do.“Because I don’t want to put anybody, I’d rather do it, because I have been taught you don’t rat, so if I got to take the time,” said Scott.“But you were ratting on Connie anyways when you were implicating yourself,” said Graham.“Because we already know Connie did it, nobody knows that Ginger did it, so,” said Scott.Ginger was the street name of a convicted drug dealer with red hair who drove a red car. An eye-witness testified in court she saw a red car in Armstrong’s driveway and two Caucasian women the weekend he was killed. The eye-witness also testified she saw a woman with red hair and wearing a ball cap put something into the trunk of the car.The Crown prosecutor who handled both Scott and Oakes’ cases, Andrea Dolan, also had details of the red car in her files, but never submitted them as evidence. Her files indicated the red car was a Grand Am and was originally owned by a woman from Saskatchewan. APTN tracked down the woman who said she sold her car for cash and drugs to a drug dealer named Ginger, but forgot to cancel her registration.A few months after Armstrong’s murder, Ginger was arrested and charged for trafficking cocaine. During surveillance leading up to her arrest, Medicine Hat police investigators noted she used two different vehicles, including a red Grand Am.Medicine Hat police never found the red car in relation to their investigation into Armstrong’s murder.Police also failed to identify the source of a size 11E bloody boot print found on the bathroom floor of Armstrong’s email@example.com@JorgeBarrera The three segments total about 3:44 minutes from the day-long interview sessions that began at 10:25 a.m. and lasted—with breaks that included a trip to Armstrong’s trailer, the trailer home Scott believed she shared with Oakes during the weekend of the murder and a re-enactment of the crime—until 7:32 p.m.The video segments show Scott was interviewed in two separate locations that day. According to the affidavits, Scott was interrogated at the police station and at the remand centre, which is next to Medicine Hat police headquarters. It’s difficult to determine from the videos the exact location of the interrogations.It is also difficult to determine the exact timeline of the interrogations because the videos were released without any identification markers except that they were recorded on Jan. 10, 2012. The trial transcript also shed little light on the timeline.The day began with Scott’s arrest at her home on Jan. 10, 2012, at about 10: 14 a.m. on the charge of obstruction. Scott had previously been questioned on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7, 2011, but released because investigators initially believed she wasn’t involved with the murder.According to Graham’s affidavit, Scott confessed shortly after the interrogation began and said Oakes killed Armstrong with a knife.Scott kept talking about her involvement in the murder and agreed to drive to Armstrong’s residence with the police. This would be the second time Scott was taken by the police to Armstrong’s trailer. She was taken there the previous month, on Dec. 6, but she chose the wrong house and the investigators had to point out Armstrong’s trailer, according to the transcript of Oakes’ trial.When Scott returned to the police station for further questioning, she began to change her story and vehemently denied she was involved in the murder.At one point, Scott admitted that she lied “my whole life pretty much.”“Why do you like attention, especially this kind of attention?” said Graham.“I don’t know. Psychiatrists, I really don’t know,” said Scott.“That doesn’t make any sense to me, unless you were involved,” said Graham.“I wasn’t, and I’ll go take a polygraph test right now. I was not there. I was not involved. I will take a polygraph test any day of the week for you. I will take 50 of them,” said Scott.Scott then told Graham about how “things get mixed up in my own head.” Scott then stated that she woke up at about noon the day of the murder, visited with Oakes for about an hour and then took a cab to go shopping in the nearby town of Redcliff.“Then what?” said Graham.“Then I went home because I wasn’t feeling very well,” said Scott.During this interview session, Graham brings up someone named “Ginger.”“I’m telling you right now, I wasn’t there. I was not there,” said Scott.“Did you talk to Ginger after this?” said Graham.“No. Me and Ginger don’t really get along too well,” said Scott. Read about the Connie Oakes case hereJorge Barrera APTN National NewsIn the drabness of the interview room Wendy Scott, wrapped in a blanket, told the police interrogator it was difficult to keep things straight in her head and that sometimes it took her up to three days to piece together a puzzle.The scene is captured in one of three segments of Scott’s interrogation video finally released to APTN National News Wednesday by a Calgary judge. The videos were played during the November 2013 murder trial of Connie Oakes, a Cree woman from Nekaneet First Nation, who was found guilty by a jury of second degree murder in the 2011 killing of Medicine Hat, Alt., resident Casey Armstrong.Oakes maintains she is innocent and is appealing her conviction. Her appeal date is set for Jan. 12.With no murder weapon, DNA or fingerprint evidence, the murder case against Oakes rested completely on the testimony of Scott, who was assessed as having limited cognitive abilities with an IQ of 50.The recently released videos are from the Jan. 10, 2012, interrogation of Scott by Medicine Hat police investigators. The investigators were preparing to charge Scott with the murder of Armstrong who was found dead in the bathtub of his trailer on May 22, 2011, with a puncture wound through his neck so severe it nearly decapitated him.Wendy Scott in a Facebook photo posted in 2008.Scott, who is now 30, admitted to the murder during the morning police interrogation session that day and then drove with investigators to Armstrong’s trailer, then to the home she said she was living in at the time and finally to the dumpster were she said some of the evidence from the murder was apparently dumped.The videos depict fragments from the afternoon interrogation of Scott when she suddenly changed her story, denied involvement in the murder and blamed a third-party named “Ginger” for the killing.Scott was being interviewed by Sgt. Jason Graham when the tale turned.As Graham pressed her to explain why she would make up the claim of killing a man, Scott explained she suffered from extreme confusion and had a difficult time piecing events together in her mind.“Every time I get things mixed up in my own head and that’s why, that’s why I have been in special needs because I get things mixed up in my own head. I can think one weekend I was doing this and one weekend I was doing it and getting them all mixed up,” said Scott, a slight quivering underlying her voice, according to one of three video segments released to APTN by Alberta Justice E. A. Hughes. “Sometimes, half the time, it takes me hours to figure out a puzzle…Some days it might take me three days to figure out a puzzle.”Scott eventually pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Scott’s guilty plea and testimony formed the foundation for the police and Crown’s case against Oakes.That foundation took a hit in October when the Court of Appeal of Alberta quashed Scott’s conviction, struck her guilty plea and ordered a new trial. The decision followed a concession by the Crown handling the appeal that the evidence did not support Scott’s guilty plea for second degree murder.Connie Oakes from an undated photo. Courtesy of the Oakes family.Scott filed affidavits as part of her successful appeal indicating she had been assessed by a psychiatrist of having limited cognitive abilities and an IQ of 50.Oakes’ appeal is now based partly on the October ruling and an affidavit from Scott stating she doesn’t believe the Cree woman was at Armstrong’s trailer at the time of the murder.Scott also stated in an affidavit that she was stoned during interrogation sessions, was coerced by police and coached toward certain evidence, including the type of car used in the murder. Scott also swears that she was interrogated by police several months longer than was ever disclosed by the Crown before the cases hit the trial phase.Scott also accused three other people—two men and a woman—of the crime.The Medicine Hat police investigators involved in the case have denied the allegations in affidavits filed as part of the Crown’s case in the Oakes appeal.None of the three video segments released to APTN suggest any coaching or coercion by interrogators, but they are only fragments from Scott’s questioning. The videos, which were submitted as evidence during Oakes trial by her defence lawyer Daryl Royer, do offer a glimpse of Scott’s limited intellectual capacities and contain one of the moments when she accused a third-party of the murder.Hughes initially prevented APTN from obtaining the video segments for publishing, forcing the network to contest the decision in court. Scott’s Legal Aid Alberta-funded counsel also opposed the media publication of the video segments which were finally released following a hearing in Calgary Wednesday.APTN is still seeking to obtain the full video interrogations of Scott, including the re-enactment of the murder which convinced Medicine Hat police and later the local Crown that Scott was involved in the murder.The video segments, taken together with the affidavits filed by the Medicine Hat police officers, including Graham, also fill in some of the details from the final moments of the investigation that led to Scott being initially charged with murder and the solidifying of the case against Oakes. read more
Kenneth JacksonAPTN National News “I would never want to build over an area where there are burials,”-Alan Furbacher, developerIt was a proud moment between father and son that day back in May 2009 when Alan Furbacher stood next to his dad on a site in downtown Barrie, Ontario, where he was going to build the largest project their company had ever done.Furbacher’s dad started the family business in 1954, but never built something like his son was about to.“My dad thought it was a beautiful project,” said Furbacher, 59, of the 150,000 square feet of condos, hotel and restaurants on a three-and-a-half hectare site known as the Allandale Station lands.Barrie was calling this its “legacy project.”It was to be Furbacher’s legacy project, too – with a price tag of $65 million to build – and he was going to partner with the YMCA, who wanted Allandale to be their new home in Barrie.“We thought this had the quality of a world class project,” said Furbacher, of the Barrie project an hour north of Toronto.An artist rendition of the proposed project.Infrastructure was supposed to begin on the site a few months after Furbacher signed a preliminary agreement with Barrie on May 12, 2009.There were clauses in the agreement that needed to be checked off – one was the transfer of title on the land for $2 million.The city first sent Furbacher a purchase and sale contract July 28, 2009, a couple months after learning Furbacher’s bank needed an environmentally clean site.The city put in the contract they wanted Furbacher to be on the hook for any archaeological and environmental issues that may come up.He said this was the first time it was discussed, as he’d been in talks with the city for months and was expecting a shovel ready site.Furbacher amended the agreement and sent it back to the city August 24, 2009 saying, among other things, the city would assume any risk of potential environmental and archaeological issues.This is about the time his deal with the city began to unravel over a two year period.Staff at the city knew things Furbacher didn’t.Mainly, the land was likely contaminated from years of operating as a major rail yard from the 1850s to 1990s.Barrie was also aware that a rare Huron-Wendat village had been found in 2001 on the same spot Furbacher was going to build.More so, they knew documented burial pits, known as Huron-Wendat ossuaries, had been reported throughout the years on the land.None of this was told to Furbacher went he put in a bid to build the project.If Furbacher signed the agreement on the first draft he would have been on the hook for costs associated with potentially cleaning up the soil and checking for burials.“I would have been signing my own death wish,” he said. “I would never want to build over an area where there are burials.”He never would find out about the burials and soil contamination until he later sued the city after the deal fell apart near the end of 2011. The matter remains before the courts and has yet to go to trial.Alan FurbacherSwear to tell the truth, nothing but the truthThis is a travesty for First Nations people,”– Stephen Bauld, procurement expert.According to experts in the government procurement business, the city should have been upfront with any information it knew of contamination and burials in the initial request for expression of interest (RFEI) that attracted developers, like Furbacher.Stephen Bauld literally wrote the book on it, called Municipal Procurement, and is considered a leading expert.Bauld said he has reviewed documents of what happened between Barrie and Furbacher.“This is a travesty for First Nations people, “ said Bauld. “This is the one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, maybe ever.”Architect Jim Strasman was hired by the city to design the site’s master plan for the REFI and said he was never told of the documented burials or possible contamination.“That’s a show stopper,” said Strasman. “You would down tools immediately until that was somehow resolved.”But, after Furbacher refused to sign the purchase agreement the city hired Golder Associates, a soil testing firm to do a Phase 1 review of the site.What they would find was also be kept from Furbacher and everyone else.Golder was commissioned by Barrie in November 2009 to begin a Phase 1 report, basically a historical review of what was once on the site, something all banks require for financing on commercial properties.Based on its review, Golder said potential environmental concerns included, the “former presence of railway lines, including the use of rail ballast and the placement of fill. Contaminants of concern include metals and inorganics.”Golder said a Phase 2 soil testing would be required to be certain, which the city paid them to do.By January of 2010, Golder was testing the ground. They found contaminants such as mercury and lead exceeding the Ministry of Environment guidelines and chromium, sodium and chloride in the water above acceptable limits.Golder said if the ground was to be developed the soil would need to be taken to an off-site disposal site approved by the MOE and any development monitored by an environmental consultant.They also called for most tests on the north part of the property where there was a berm, or hill. There they found 19 contaminates that exceeded MOE guidelines, such as mercury, lead, arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, including benz[a]anthracene and benzo[a]pyrene.Golder said their testing was “limited” and would not count as a Record of Site Condition, something a developer also needs to build on a site. In order to obtain that, comprehensive testing would need to be done – to date it never has been.In total, Golder completed three reports for city staff, but they were never shared with Furbacher while he and the city continued to negotiate the project up until the end of 2011.They also weren’t shared with the public until late 2012, when the city first went to court with Furbacher who wanted to stop the city from having someone else develop the land. It was then that he first learned of the reports.“From what we know now… I have estimates of, if we just dug out the underground parking, not counting potential remediation of other areas, we could have been facing costs of anywhere from $10 to $15 million,” said Furbacher, as the soil would have needed to be hauled to a disposal site.Barrie also hired AMICK Consultants in November 2009 to review the site for any archaeological concerns. Furbacher said he was never told of this, either.AMICK told the city there was documented burials on the ground, likely containing hundreds of bodies belonging to the Huron-Wendat people who occupied the land for hundreds of years up until about 1650. AMICK told the city most of the site would have be stripped and a team of archaeologists would need to search for the burials.“It is a documented cemetery. (While) it may not be officially registered as a cemetery, it is a documented burial ground,” said AMICK owner Mike Henry, of the Allandale site. “It is a cemetery, so you have to be darn sure that area is contained.”The city also never shared AMICK’s report, completed in June 2010, with Furbacher or the public until April 2014, again when Furbacher was taking the city to court and they were about to be put on record.Stephen Bauld said all reports should have been immediately shared with Furbacher.“Two days into the project; I’m not talking about two months or two years. When some of this information came to light – full stop,” said Bauld. “To dig this up, with the contamination, and for nobody to bring it forward in a government setting? It’s appalling.”Bauld said the foundation of municipal procurement is based on transparency.“This is of such a magnitude that you just don’t see this type of thing,” said Bauld. “It’s really difficult to comprehend this even for me. You just don’t see one mistake on top of another mistake, on top of another, on top of another. These are horrific … they can’t even be called mistakes.”Barrie has said in court documents it acted “properly and within the scope of its duties at all material times” in regards to environmental and archaeological conditions according to the statement of defence.Barrie told APTN it was too soon in negotiations to be discussing environmental and archaeological concerns, but wouldn’t directly answer why they tried to get Furbacher to sign a purchase agreement with the environmental and archaeological clause in there.Former Barrie mayor Dave Aspden.According to former Barrie mayor Dave Aspden, city council were never given the Golder reports, either.Aspden, who was mayor from 2006 to 2010, did recall a confidential report staff provided council the very last day of their term on Nov. 29, 2010.It mentioned mercury contamination, but none of the other contaminants.“That is the first that I can recall being made aware of any contamination or any problems with the site,” said Aspden of the confidential staff report.Council got that report months after Golder had completed theirs.“The first I saw (the Golder) reports were when I had the opportunity to look them over just recently, because I had never seen those reports. I have no recollection of ever seeing those reports and I have no recollection of them ever being included in any staff report,” he said.The same goes for AMICK’s report on the burials, he said.In 2011, more soil tests were done by Terraprobe, a Barrie company that employed a city councillor at the time, Brian Jackson.A small number of test pits were done on soil near Gowan Street that borders the site to the north, also where GO Transit built a new station as part of this project.Terraprobe found dozens of toxins in the soil that was so bad, if dug up, it couldn’t be reused as fill. It found toxins like mercury, lead, arsenic and bezene.APTN asked Barrie why that report has never been shared with the public.“There was no need to post the report on the city’s website; it was available to construction companies interested in bidding on the road reconstruction project,” said the statement. “The City of Barrie includes geotechnical reports in its construction tenders to permit bidders to submit more accurate bids.”Which begs the question, why didn’t Barrie share the Golder reports with Furbacher when the city got them?Barrie has confirmed if any of the site is developed the soil will have to be removed, but is considered safe as is, according to this release.The Allandale station in 2009. The Huron Wendat community was located between the station and the tracks.Can we make a deal?They’re begging me to come back … They had no takers and said they were embarrassed,”– Alan FurbacherAround the time the Golder reports were commissioned, the YMCA dropped out of the project and the city and Furbacher eventually decided to keep going, despite with no purchase agreement signed.But it didn’t go well.The project had changed and, subsequently, the amount of land Furbacher was going to purchase changed, too.He wanted to pay less for the land.Barrie wanted him to pay more, as they had an appraisal done on the land in August 2010 and it was now valued at $3 million.“They tried saying that half the site is worth $3 million, we’re saying the appraisal is (allegedly) fraudulent and misleading,” said Furbacher to APTN and also in court documents.The appraisal noted it was based on the assumption there were no environmental concerns with the land, as well the appraisal was completed on what the land would hypothetically be worth if the proposed project was completed, with condos, a hotel and retail stores.The city said the $3 million was fair market value.The following month on July 27, 2010, Furbacher said he was asked to meet former city councillor Alex Nuttall, who is now a Conservative MP, and fellow councillors Jerry Moore and Michael Prowse – all three are named in Furbacher’s lawsuit, that also includes current Mayor Jeff Lehman.He claims they wanted him to keep going with the project.But the meeting didn’t happen in Barrie. They met in Newmarket at Milestones. Furbacher said he picked up the cheque.“I found it strange that we had to meet outside of Barrie,” said Furbacher.Furbacher had always been negotiating with staff and claims to have gotten many calls from councillors wanting him to make a deal with the city.It just didn’t happen and by December 2010, Barrie told Furbacher their exclusive negotiations were over.In June 2011, the city decided to put the land back up for sale and asked Furbacher to make another bid, which they declined, again.It doesn’t appear the city got any other worthwhile bids for the site and Furbacher claims by the end of 2011 he got a call from Nuttall on a cellphone belonging to Moore.“They’re begging me to come back,” said Furbacher. “They had no takers and said they were embarrassed. Again, they didn’t give me any of the Golder reports or anything else.”But, Furbacher never did come back.Instead, the matter found its way to court.A for sale sign that used to be on the Allandale Station lands in 2011.The lands have not yet been soldThe process went sideways long before Alan was declared a successful bidder,”– Denis Chamberland, lawyerBefore Furbacher got involved with the project the city was in talks with a company called Forecast and local developer Mark Porter pitted against the YMCA.Furbacher would join the YMCA bid, he claims at the request of councillors.Lawyer Denis Chamberland was one of the lawyers representing Forecast and Porter and said the procurement process lacked integrity.“The process went sideways long before Alan was declared a successful bidder and it didn’t get better,” said Chamberland.Most of the issues appear to stem around the YMCA being involved and not meeting various mandatory requirements. City council was accused of disregarding the evaluation process so that the YMCA could be involved.Chamberland said he was contacted by Furbacher about a year ago and reviewed some of the documents involved in the lawsuit.“He was the winner in this and by (the time we met last year he) had discovered, or appreciated, all the things that had gone wrong in the process,” said Chamberland.After losing his first court action against the city in late 2012, after a judge threw the case out, he amended his claim in 2014. Furbacher said he didn’t have the documents then that he has now. It’s unknown when it will go trial, but Furbacher said he’s looking forward to that day and is seeking damages in the millions of dollars.The city has since restored the old historic buildings on site, at least on the outside for the price of about $5.2 million. They recently bookmarked another $3.8 million to restore inside the buildings. The restoration was originally estimated to cost $2 million.They hope to have businesses in there by next year, including possibly a coffee shop and wedding reception hall.But, in the meantime, following Part 1 of APTN’s investigation, Mayor Jeff Lehman has reached out to the Huron-Wendat Nation to set up a meeting.In that meeting, he should expect to here they want all development on the site to stop.“We have been faced with many situations where the remains of our ancestors have been unearthed, examined, studied, unilaterally appropriated or simply disposed of like garbage. As in all such cases, this situation is unacceptable to us,” said Grand Chief Konrad Sioui, Friday.firstname.lastname@example.org@afixedadress read more
Brittany HobsonAPTN NewsNegotiations over a multi-million dollar contract to bring high-speed internet to remote Manitoba First Nations are crumbling.In January, the federal government announced it would invest $43 million through the Connect to Innovate program.Since then, talks between the groups involved with construction of the fibre optics line have stalled.Brittany Hobson brings us email@example.com