Swaraj enhanced Indias reputation Amit Shah

first_imgNew Delhi: The untimely demise of Sushma Swaraj had left him as well as millions of party workers and her admirers in a state of shock, Union home minister and BJP president Amit Shah said on Wednesday, as he remembered the departed leader’s stints in various positions in the opposition and in different governments.Speaking to reporters after paying his last respects to Swaraj at her residence here, Shah said as the external affairs minister in the first term of the Narendra Modi government, Swaraj had enhanced the country’s reputation across the world and her death had left a void which would be hard to fill. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”Her untimely demise is not a big loss for the BJP alone, but also for national politics,” he said. Shah added that Swaraj zoomed across the political firmament like a bright star and made valuable contributions, whether as the Delhi chief minister or the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha or a minister in the first Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and then, in the Modi dispensation. “The country will always remember her services,” he said. Swaraj breathed her last at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here on Tuesday night, following a massive heart attack. She was 67.last_img read more

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YouTube Originals released post Sep 24 to be free with ads

first_imgSan Francisco: Months after confirming that its Originals programming would soon be free with advertisements, YouTube has finally announced content released after September 24 will be available to non-YouTube Premium subscribers as well.”The new freemium model for YouTube’s original content begins after September 24, 2019. All YouTube Originals series, movies, and live events moving forward will be free to watch with ads for ‘non-members’. “However, there will be tiering system where Premium subscribers ‘get immediate access to every episode of a new season’ for binging. Free watchers will have to wait for each new instalment to be released,” 9to5Google recently reported.The video-sharing site, in an email to Premium subscribers, said that Premium members will have early access to the shows, along with bonus footage.This is being seen as the Google-owned video sharing platform’s new “Single Slate” strategy and comes at a time when most other media companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are putting content behind paywalls.last_img read more

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Mayawati reelected BSP chief vows to never to stop or bend

first_imgLucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati was on Wednesday re-elected the party’s national president after which she vowed never to “stop or bend, let alone break”. She was elected BSP president unanimously at a special meeting of senior office-bearers of the party’s central executive committee, its state units and representatives selected from across the country, a party release said. On her unanimous re-election, the 63-year-old Dalit leader expressed gratitude to all her party workers and followers and assured them of her continued commitment to take forward the BSP movement. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details She said she would remain ever ready as usual to pursue the humanitarian missions of sants, gurus and great men, born in the Dalit, Adivasi and other backward classes from time to time. She vowed never to “stop or bend, let alone break” in the interest of the party and the movement. Mayawati said the excellent work of the BSP governments in Uttar Pradesh is an example on the strength of which the BSP can seek people’s support in the upcoming elections in various states. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Referring to the assembly elections to be held soon in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Delhi, she said the party has to contest all elections with “full strength”. “The BSP has to fight these elections against both the ruling BJP and the Congress and has to move forward by first becoming a balancing power,” she said. “In addition to this, the BSP has to also show a good result in the assembly by-polls to be held for some seats in Uttar Pradesh,” she added.last_img read more

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Sea lion drags little girl off a Vancouverarea dock

first_imgA startling video of an incident on a fisherman’s wharf in Richmond BC is making the rounds on social media.The footage, on YouTube, shows a group of people watching a sea lion play near a dock, and when a young girl sits down, the creature suddenly jumps up and grabs her.The video also clearly shows someone feeding bread crumbs to the sea lion before the incident.The creature comes close and then jumps up, grabs the child’s dress and pulls her into the water.A man immediately jumps in after her as the creature immediately releases her.The crowd pulled the pair back up on the dock safely and the little girl was whisked away by another adult.The video, posted by Michael Fujiwara, has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.last_img read more

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Canada 150 proved to be a big draw for tourism operators coast

first_imgFREDERICTON – Canada celebrated its 150th birthday in 2017 but it was the tourism industry that got to collect the presents.Tourism operators from coast to coast were planning for big events and extra visitors, and in many cases the numbers have exceeded expectations even before the year draws to a close.“Double digit increases in every part of the country,” said Gary Howard of the Canadian Automobile Association.“It’s not just international travellers, primarily it was a lot of Canadians who wanted to see more of their country that they hadn’t seen before.”Destination Canada, a federal Crown corporation, ran a campaign aimed at millennials in an effort to instil a “sense of pride” in the country and have them become lifetime ambassadors for Canada both at home and abroad. The organization reported a 16 per cent increase in the number of Canadian millennials who vacationed within the country this year.Jantine Van Kregten, director of communications for Ottawa Tourism, said Canada 150 promotions and advertising did a lot to attract people from other countries, as did Lonely Planet and the New York Times naming Canada as the No. 1 place to visit in 2017.“I think it did lead people to make the decision, out of any year to visit Canada, this is going to be the year. Canada has always been one of those dream destinations for a lot of overseas visitors,” Van Kregten said.Howard said there was a lot of preparation leading up to Canada 150 and tourism operators were ready.“Cruise lines had larger ships, there was an increase in rail capacity, and tour operators created more Canadian-ized packages,” he said.Randy Vogel, the owner/operator of the Granville House Bed and Breakfast in Vancouver, said business was booming this year. He’s on track for the highest annual revenue in the 20-year history of the business.“Canada 150 helped our business out and helped tourism in general,” he said, but added that the value of the loonie was also a big factor.“A weak Canadian dollar will always attract more business than any of the big campaigns. When you’ve got an 80 cent dollar to the U.S., reasonable flights, and 150 birthday as a reason to come — we get business.”At the other end of the country, the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown is also reporting a record year.“We consciously jumped on this opportunity at the Confederation Centre because after all, it is a memorial to the founding of Canada, so we figured it was impossible to ignore. Right from the first of the year we looked for opportunities to promote it and talk about it,” said Carol Horne, the centre’s chief marketing officer.Horne said aside from packed performances inside the centre, there were free shows outside in the evenings and their Confederation players portrayed historic Canadian figures in vignettes throughout Charlottetown — known as the birthplace of Confederation.“The activity level around the building really impressed us,” Horne said.“Canada 150 helped us draw attention to a lot of things, and people were happy to have lots to do when they got here.”last_img read more

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Advocates encouraged by government plan to reopen prison farms

first_imgAdvocates for Canada’s prison farm system said they felt wind in their sails on Wednesday after learning the federal government was about to start reviving the program they’ve been fighting to restore for years.One of the measures announced in Tuesday’s federal budget earmarked $4.3 million over five years to reopen two shuttered prison farms that operated near Kingston, Ont. before their closure in 2010.The Joyceville and Collins Bay farms were among six shuttered when the then-Conservative government concluded they were unprofitable and ineffective.Advocates passionately fought for the farms, which operated in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and New Brunswick prior to the shutdown and produced much of the food consumed in the prison system in those provinces.They argued that inmates working on the farms gained valuable life skills that greatly decreased their odds of reoffending once they had served their time.One group formed in Ontario even launched a co-operative to purchase some of the dairy cattle from one of the defunct prison farms and paid to house them until they succeeded in their quest to reopen the facilities.Tuesday’s announcement in the Liberal government’s budget, they said, makes them feel like they’ve nearly achieved their goal.“It’s been nine-plus years of lobbying, campaigning, driving the country,” said Jeff Peters, chairman of the Pen Farm Herd Co-Op. “Finally, we’re getting close. We’re only on third base, this has been a long, long game, but we’re heading for home.”Peters was an early crusader for the farms, which had operated in Canada since the 1880s until they were axed during Stephen Harper’s tenure as prime minister.At that time, the Conservative government argued the farms consumed more money than they made while conferring minimal benefit on the prisoners.At a 2010 speech in Toronto, then-Public Safety Minister Vic Toews contended that less than one per cent of prisoners who worked on the farms actually went on to find work in an agricultural setting. He argued that rehabilitation efforts ought to be focused on the sorts of environments former inmates would find themselves in once their incarceration came to an end.But prison farm advocates said the facilities did much more than Toews gave them credit for. They argued that farm work for inmates not only promoted values such as work ethic and responsibility, but taught sometimes hardened criminals to view the world around them and even living creatures in a more productive light.Sustainable food activist Andrew McCann, who was briefly arrested over his efforts to prevent the Kingston-area farms from closing, said people serving time for murder developed a different outlook after helping cows give birth and raising calves on the farms.“Helping mothers give birth is a profoundly transformative process for many of these men,” McCann said. “That’s at the heart of the therapeutic program.”Advocates said they hope the newly announced funds from today’s government will allow for a more comprehensive program that includes research as well as farming.Peters said that while the land at the Collins Bay and Joyceville farms is still in good condition, the animals would benefit from more spacious, modern barns that will allow for more movement and provide safer shelter.“The cows have become bigger in the genetics and so on,” he said. “There’s just better ways to keep animals happy.”McCann, for his part, said he hopes the modernized program will also contain a research component that will allow government to track the effects of inmate participation both during and after their time on the farm.The 2018 budget makes no mention of the other four facilities that are currently sitting idle, but activists outside Ontario said the revival of prison farms in that province bodes well for their local efforts.Terri Cormier, who actively campaigns for the reopening of a large, mixed farm in Dorchester, N.B., said she was thrilled to learn that the Ontario facilities might soon be up and running, adding she’s hopeful farms elsewhere may eventually rejoin their ranks.“We know we’re on the roster,” she said. “I’m just pushing to make sure we stay on it. Then we’ll see what happens from there.”last_img read more

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Rural school closures hit some communities hard main parties pledge action

first_imgSara van Ravenswaay was devastated when her high school in rural southwestern Ontario was closed last year, months before she was set to begin Grade 12.The 18-year-old was the kind of student who stayed late after class to engage with teachers and make sure she understood concepts being taught. But now, after having to transfer to a larger school in Grimsby, Ont., van Ravenswaay takes more of her classes online, avoiding spending time in a place where she says she feels like an outsider.“I’ve just taken myself away from school as much as possible now because I don’t feel like it’s a place that I want to spend time,” she said, noting that she has to drive to school now since the bus ride takes more than an hour.Van Ravenswaay’s former school — South Lincoln High School in Smithville, Ont. — was among the rural schools that have been shuttered in recent years due to a dwindling student body.The closures often force students to commute longer distances to get to class, place them in larger schools where they may feel isolated among already established peer circles, and remove what are essentially community hubs from small towns.At the same time, some schools in urban centres are bursting at the seams, with students stuck in portables and parents being warned there may not be spots for their kids at their neighbourhood schools.The issue is one all three main political parties vying to form government on June 7 have vowed to deal with.As it stands, the province gives money to school boards largely based on enrolment, leaving it up to them to decide which schools to keep open and which to close. But because rural areas and small towns have fewer pupils, they get less cash — including money to heat, power, maintain and repair school buildings.The Liberal government, wary of criticism that too many schools have been closed, put a halt last year on school boards recommending facilities for the chopping block. However, the moratorium was not retroactive, so schools previously slated for closure aren’t off the hook.Premier Kathleen Wynne has said the Liberals have built or rebuilt one out of every six schools in the province, invested in major repairs to more than 2,900 schools since 2011 and are supporting the use of school space for community hubs.The Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats have promised to change a system they say is not working.Andrea Horwath has said an NDP government would change the school funding formula, consulting with community members, educators and experts on how it should be updated.Doug Ford’s Tories have said they’d uphold the moratorium on school closures until the closure review process is reformed. Guidelines that help that process were recently revamped to better support rural education.The number of schools that have been shuttered is somewhat unclear.The Ministry of Education would not say how many schools had closed since Wynne took office in 2013, but in the 2016-2017 school year there were 4,877 public and Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Ontario, down from 4,897 in the 2013-14 school year.In that time, the province also opened up dozens of new schools.A 2017 report from the charity People for Education indicated that as of April 30 that year, trustees had voted to close 58 schools, with school board votes pending on another 52 recommended closures at that time. They also proposed opening 25 new facilities. The report suggested the “vast majority” of recommended school closures were in rural areas.Heather Derks is feeling the impact of a recommended rural school closure firsthand. The public English school her two kids attend in the village of Sparta, Ont., was on the chopping block and will only be taking French immersion students in the fall after the board said there was high demand for that programming in the area.The change means Derks now has decide whether to send her children — aged eight and 10 — to a Catholic school, consider homeschooling — an unlikely option, she said — or have them commute to an English public school more than an hour away by bus, which she finds unacceptable.“We lost faith in our government: local and provincial. Especially provincial,” she said of the impact the experience has had on her.Laurie French, president of the Ontario Public School Board Association, said many factors go into the decision to close schools — it’s not all about the money.“We have to look at, first and foremost, the programming to support student success,” she said.Small schools aren’t able to run as many programs — such as specialized courses in fashion or photography — if they don’t have enough students to fill the classes, French said.In an effort to mitigate the number of school closures in remote areas, the Liberals announced last year the creation of the Rural and Northern Education Fund: a $20-million reserve to help boards keep schools in those regions alive.There have been other safeguards put in place. The revised guidelines — the ones Ford’s Tories would change again — detail extra steps boards must go through before slating rural schools for closure. Those steps include an economic impact study and extra public consultation.But Mary Reid, a professor of education at the University of Toronto, said the measures are tantamount to a Band-Aid, and not enough to tackle the underlying issue that the funding formula disadvantages small schools, leaving boards with few options other than to continue closures once the moratorium is lifted.Losing a school can be devastating for small towns, she said.“It can put a jolt through a small, close-knit community,” she said. “You’ve got generations of families going to a school, and all of a sudden that school’s going to be torn down.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated that Sara van Ravenswaay’s new school was in St. Catharines.last_img read more

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Man wins fiveyear battle over pay lost during Prince Edward Island snowstorm

first_imgCHARLOTTETOWN – In what might be a moral victory for every Canadian who ever had to go to work in bad weather, a P.E.I. man has won a five-year battle to get 3.5 hours worth of pay after being unable to get to the office.A labour panel granted Leslie Smith leave pay for time missed during a snowstorm, agreeing that the evidence showed roads were not safe for travel.“It would not have been wise for him to endanger his life or physical health by driving in very difficult road conditions from his home to his workplace, which was an hour away,” adjudicator Nathalie Daigle said in a decision from a panel of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.“Based on the evidence, I am satisfied (he) made reasonable efforts to get to work and that the snowstorm prevented him from travelling to his workplace.”Smith filed a grievance against the Canada Revenue Agency after it refused to provide paid leave for the hours he was not at the Tax Services Office in Charlottetown on Dec. 4, 2013.The panel ruling said the office remained open in the morning, but closed at 1 p.m. due to inclement weather.It said Smith was living in Summerside, about an hour from the office, and left home around 7 a.m. He spent about 25 minutes on unplowed roads before deciding to return home after seeing a four-wheel-drive truck in a ditch.Smith again attempted to drive to work around 11:30 a.m. after seeing a snowplow on his street and clearing his driveway, but after driving around Summerside, he decided the road conditions remained unsafe.The CRA agreed to four hours of paid leave because of the early closure, and one hour for Smith’s efforts to get to work, but refused to pay him the remaining 3.5 hours as paid leave, under a clause he cited in the collective agreement.The clause said the employer may grant leave pay “when circumstances not directly attributable to the employee prevent his or her reporting for duty; such leave shall not be unreasonably withheld.”The panel ruled that Smith established that circumstances beyond his control prevented him from coming to work, and that it was reasonable to grant him leave under that clause of the collective agreement.“Based on the evidence on the record, I find that road conditions were poor and unsafe in Summerside and Charlottetown on December 4, 2013,” the decision said.“The local newspaper reported that a snowstorm had hit the area. In addition, a list of businesses and government offices closed on that day in Summerside and Charlottetown was provided to the board. It shows that many offices opened late and that some remained closed all day.”Smith had been granted sick leave for the time he was not at work, and so the employer has been ordered to credit the sick leave balance by 3.5 hours and grant leave for those hours.The panel also noted that it’s not clear on what basis the employer believed Smith did not make a sufficient effort to get to work.“I understand that employees may be absent due to a snowstorm and that the employer may not want to take every employee’s word for it that he or she was unable to report to duty because of the storm,” the ruling said.“The employer pointed out that (Smith)did not call the Summerside Tax Centre to see if he could work there that day. Nor did he telework. On the other hand, the employer’s representative did not know if those options were considered or even possible at the relevant time.”The grievance had been denied multiple times at various levels of the process.last_img read more

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Federal government moves to transform inmate segregation in federal prisons

first_imgOTTAWA – Eleven years after a teenager killed herself after spending more than three years in segregation in prison, Ottawa is moving to ban the practice of isolating prisoners who pose risks to security or themselves.Legislation introduced Tuesday by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale will eliminate the practice of separating inmates from others in isolated cells for either administrative or disciplinary reasons.Inmates who do pose risks, will instead be moved to new “structured intervention units” where they can be removed from the general inmate population while maintaining their access to rehabilitative programming, interventions and mental-health care.Goodale said the changes are a direct result of recommendations from a coroner’s inquest into the 2007 death of 19-year-old Ashley Smith. The young woman from Moncton, N.B., choked to death from self-strangulation in a segregation cell as prison guards looked on at Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ont.Smith spent more than 1,000 days in segregation in various corrections’ facilities before her death.An Ontario coroner’s inquest in 2013 ruled her death a homicide, and made 104 recommendations, including the banning of indefinite solitary confinement.“The approach that we’re taking now is entirely different,” Goodale said Tuesday.“Using the structured intervention units, it will allow us to maintain separation where separation is necessary, but at the same time the programming will continue.”Currently, inmates in segregation are restricted to two hours a day outside their cells and do not have access to meaningful interactions with others nor do they benefit from programming or mental health supports.Under Bill C-83 prisoners transferred to structured intervention units will be offered the opportunity to spend four hours a day outside their cell, during which time they would be guaranteed a minimum of two hours to interact with others.Inmates in these units will also be visited daily by a registered health care professional and be provided with access to patient advocates — a measure that was also recommended as part of the Ashley Smith inquest.The Correctional Service of Canada will also have to make sure that considerations unique to Indigenous offenders are factored into all correctional decision-making.Goodale says this is a “world-leading” approach to dealing with troubled inmates, focused more on intervention and rehabilitation rather than segregation and punishment.“Remember that the vast majority of these inmates will at some point serve their sentence and be released into society,” he said.“So the key question is, are they going to be released in a condition where they have some prospect of leading a law abiding life? Or are you just going to leave them in a condition where they will undoubtedly reoffend again and there will be more victims and there will be less safe communities?”This bill will replace another introduced by the Liberals last year to put a cap on the number of days an inmate can be held in solitary confinement. That bill was never debated and will no longer be pursued, a spokesman from Goodale’s office said Tuesday.Both the B.C. Supreme Court and the Ontario Superior Court have delivered decisions saying Canada’s current policies for administrative solitary confinement are inhumane and, in the Ontario decision, unconstitutional if longer than five days.The federal government has appealed the B.C. Supreme Court’s ruling, which was brought jointly by B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society.Goodale said Tuesday these appeals “will go forward” but Ottawa expects all sides will recognize the new legislation addresses the concerns with current policies, which “will make the further pursuit of the litigation unnecessary.”Grace Pastine, litigation director at the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said her organization needs time to digest the details of the proposed changes and how it could affect their court case. She said the bill does show the government recognizes the current system of solitary confinement must end.“It’s an important bill and it shows that Canada is waking up to the fact that solitary confinement costs too much, it does nothing to rehabilitate prisoners and it exacerbates mental illness and, in some causes, even causes it in prisoners who are healthy when they enter solitary,” Pastine said.“Will this bill result in meaningful change? I think we just don’t know yet. We need to examine the bill closely and we need to carefully consider how it might be implemented.”—Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.last_img read more

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Scotiabank Giller Prize to award 100000 to winning author at Toronto gala

first_imgTORONTO — Literary luminaries will walk the red carpet tonight to mark a quarter-century of coronating Canada’s leading authors with the Scotiabank Giller Prize.Five authors are in the running for the $100,000 honour to be awarded at a glitzy gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.Victoria-based Esi Edugyan, nominated for “Washington Black” (Patrick Crean Editions), is hoping to secure the top prize after being a runner-up for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and Writers’ Trust fiction award this season.Edugyan will face off against Patrick deWitt, author of “French Exit” (House of Anansi Press), whom she beat out to win the Giller in 2011.Quebec author Eric Dupont has been shortlisted for “Songs for a Cold Heart” (QC Books), originally published in French, alongside the book’s translator Peter McCambridge.Also making the cut are Sheila Heti for “Motherhood” (Knopf Canada) and Thea Lim with “An Ocean of Minutes” (Viking Canada).Comedian Rick Mercer will host the night’s proceedings, which will be broadcast on CBC.A five-member jury culled this year’s finalists from 104 titles submitted by publishers across the country.The Giller awards $100,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English, and $10,000 to each of the finalists.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Elizabeth May says shes engaged I had a crush on him he

first_imgVICTORIA — Green party Leader Elizabeth May is engaged and is making plans for a wedding next spring.May said Monday she and John Kidder will be married in Victoria on April 22 and are planning a train trip from Vancouver to Ottawa shortly afterwards as their honeymoon.She said the couple have known each other for about five years, but the sparks flew at a Green Party convention in Vancouver in September. Kidder, who is from Ashcroft, B.C., popped the question about a month later.Kidder, 71, has deep roots in the Green party, running federally for a seat in B.C. and is a founder of the provincial party.May says he is a retired technology entrepreneur who operates a hops farm in Ashcroft, but also spends time in Vancouver.“I had a crush on him and he had a crush on me,” said May, who represents the B.C. riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands in the House of Commons. “It was kind of like high school.”She said once the pair decided they were an item, the proposal came quickly.“When you know it’s right, it’s right. Whirlwind,” she added.Kidder is the brother of the late actress Margot Kidder, May said. He has three children and four grandchildren.May, who has a daughter, three stepchildren and seven grandchildren, credited her friend Sylvia Olsen with playing matchmaker. Olsen is the mother of Adam Olsen, the Green member of the B.C. legislature for Saanich-North and the Islands.She said Olsen told her she would encourage Kidder to make the move.“Let’s face it,” said May. “I didn’t have time. I said, ‘I don’t need a partner.’ I’m really busy. I’m quite happy as a single woman.”But now May said she’s thrilled.“I feel pretty goofy,” she said.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Alcohol policies fizzle for Canadian governments as harms overflow reports

first_imgVICTORIA — Two studies say the federal and provincial governments must do more to reduce alcohol consumption after determining it is now more damaging than tobacco use.As part of the Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation project, researchers graded the federal, provincial and territorial governments on policy efforts to reduce alcohol-related harms.Tim Stockwell, director with the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, says the federal government earned a 38 per cent grade while the provinces and territories collectively achieved 44 per cent.He says Ontario scored the highest with a C, while British Columbia following closely behind with a D-plus.But Stockwell says Premier Doug Ford’s move to lower the price of alcohol with his “buck-a-beer” legislation is sending Ontario backwards.Norman Geisbrecht, a senior scientist at the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says while the impact of alcohol is more noticeable in accidents, behaviour and certain chronic diseases, there may also be an indirect impact on people’s mental health. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Immigrants visible minorities say Quebec government targeting them with bills

first_imgMONTREAL — Immigrants and visible minorities are noticing how some of the most significant pieces of legislation introduced by the Coalition Avenir Quebec government since it took power last October have something in common: the bills disproportionately affect them.Quebec’s Bill 21, which bans some public sector employees including teachers and police officers from wearing religious symbols, has drawn widespread criticism since Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled it last month.The bill targets all religious symbols. But Haniyfa Scott, a teacher at Montreal’s Carlyle Elementary School, says it is Muslim women who wear the hijab — as she does — who will feel it the most. “I’d like for the government to live a week in the shoes of all the people they are targeting,” she said in an interview Monday.While the secularism bill has grabbed a lot of attention, two other major pieces of legislation addressing immigration levels and the province’s taxi industry have had outsized effects on the province’s minority communities.Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel’s Bill 17, tabled last month, overhauls a taxi industry that is heavily composed of immigrants. Joseph Naufal, the director of a taxi company in east-end Montreal who also works for the industry association, said “easily 90 per cent” of Montreal taxi drivers are first- or second-generation immigrants.The drivers say the Quebec bill, which abolishes a permit system, will drive many of them into bankruptcy.Drivers who blocked downtown Montreal streets last week in protest said Bill 17 mainly affects immigrants who took out loans to finance their permits. If the bill is adopted and the permits lose their value, drivers say the compensation offered by the province will not cover their deep debts.Abdelahk Bentarcheh, 36, who immigrated four years ago from Morocco, said that as a taxi driver, he feels targeted by Bill 17, and as a Muslim he feels targeted by Bill 21. “The government is trying to radicalize the public’s opinion on Islam,” Bentarcheh said of the secularism bill.Another bill affecting the immigrant community was tabled in February by Jolin-Barrette. Bill 9 creates a legal framework granting the government the authority to be more selective over who receives permanent residency in Quebec.Shortly after introducing the bill, Jolin-Barrette signalled the government would throw out a backlog of 18,000 immigration applications from people around the world, including roughly 3,700 applications from people already residing in the province. The government told them to reapply under a new system.Jolin-Barrette’s plan was stopped on Feb. 25, when a Superior Court judge granted an injunction and ordered the government to resume processing the applications.Doug Mitchell, one of the lawyers who took the government to court, said Jolin-Barrette’s decision to cancel 18,000 applications “had no justification.” He added that when one looks at Bill 9, 17 and 21 together, it seems as though immigrants are being disproportionately hit.“I suppose that’s the logical conclusion,” he said in an interview Monday. “It’s a little disturbing, when you think of it.”Ewan Sauves, spokesman for Quebec Premier Francois Legault, said it’s “totally false to claim bills 9, 17 and 21 … target one community or one religion in particular.” The Coalition Avenir Quebec, he said in an email, has tabled 18 bills since coming to power that touch many different parts of the economy and Quebec society.“Whether it’s about immigration, transportation, or state secularism, the same rules are in place for everyone,” he added. “During the election campaign, we were transparent regarding our intentions. We are doing what we said we were going to do. Quebecers, in large numbers, endorsed our ideas last October.”Scott is planning on retiring soon, so she does not expect to be directly affected by Bill 21. The legislation allows teachers already in the school system to continue wearing religious symbols, as long as they don’t seek promotion or change school boards.She said the government’s actions since October make members of some communities feel like second-class citizens.“I think that Quebec has always been known as being a unique society and (the government) is proving that fact, but not in a good way,” Scott said. “Why isn’t the rest of Canada treating people like this?”Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Anglos francophones sign deal to work together on minority language rights

first_imgOTTAWA — Quebec anglophones have banded together with francophones in New Brunswick and Ontario to protect and promote the rights of official minority language communities.The Societe de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick, the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Assemblee de la francophonie de l’Ontario called the partnership the first of its kind in Canada.At a news conference in Ottawa, the three groups said they have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together more closely despite the language divide.Geoffrey Chambers of the QCGN says it’s been difficult times for minority language rights in all three provinces and the organizations have expressed support for one another amid a number of decisions impacting their respective communities.Chambers says with a federal election coming, it’s important to have the federal parties make their positions clear on the Official Languages Act, which turns 50 later this year and is due for a renewal or an update.The three organizations say they represent some 2.4 million people between them — about 90 per cent of those living in official minority language communities.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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New sergeantatarms appointed in Ottawa

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is welcoming the appointment of Patrick McDonell as the official sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons.McDonell has been serving in the role as acting sergeant-at-arms and head of security for the House of Commons since 2015.He replaces Kevin Vickers, who shot and helped take down Michael Zihaf Bibeau, who barged into Centre Block on Parliament Hill with a rifle in 2014 after killing honour guard reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.McDonell has had a long career with the RCMP and the protective service overseeing the protection of dignitaries, including the Prime Minister and the Governor General, as well as the grounds of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court.McDonell was chosen as the nominee for the position through the Trudeau government’s merit-based appointment process.His appointment took effect July 1st.last_img read more

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Joanna Lumley To Auction Costumes For Princes Trust

first_imgJoanna Lumley and her Ab Fab alter ego Patsy are raiding their wardrobes for a charity auction in aid of The Prince’s Trust.At 8.00pm on Tuesday 13th November, Joanna Lumley will be throwing open her wardrobe doors and giving the public the chance to own some of her classic costumes and designer outfits.Joanna says, “I am giving up some of my greatest treasures and happiest memories”, adding that she’d only selected pieces for the auction that were special to her.A total of 50 lots of clothing and accessories are to be auctioned, including the sweet Jean Muir dress Joanna wore as the character ‘Marie Jouvet’ in the 1982 film The Trail of the Pink Panther, and lace lingerie worn as ‘Purdey’, the New Avenger girl in the 1980s.Vintage treasures from the 1970s to current designer wear add to the eclectic mix – including the Betty Jackson suit worn to HRH Prince Charles’ wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, a calico corset Lumley wore in the film Sweeney Todd, and the pink Chanel suit (worn when lobbying for the Gurkhas at the Palace of Westminster).Hermès scarves, costume jewellery, exotic brocaded jackets, shoes with killer heels, stylish Pucci, sequined Moschino, crisp, white Mexicana from the 70s, make this an intriguing and multi-facetted collection.“I am so thrilled to think that the proceeds will all go to benefit young people through one of my all-time favourite charities – The Prince’s Trust,” she said. “I love each item and each garment with a passion.”There are 16 lots from bad-girl Patsy’s stylish wardrobe – including the black velvet and feather hat she wore to Saffy’s wedding in 1996, the Joseph zebra striped coat that she is seen wearing on the AbFab opening credits, designer-wear from across the series by Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferre, Alexander McQueen and others.There is even a punk teddy bear and flagons of perfume that Jean-Paul Gaultier personally presented to her on the set of the Exploitin shoot in 2003. Auction date: November 13th 2012 at 8.00pm Viewing on the day from 5.00pm (other times can be arranged by appointment) Venue: Kerry Taylor Auctions, 249-253 Long Lane, London, SE1 4PR Tickets: £10 (all proceeds from tickets will also be donated to The Trust)An online catalogue is available on the Kerry Taylor Auctions website.You can bid in person, online or by telephone and estimates start at £100. All lots are accompanied by letters of authenticity signed by the Joanna Lumley.For more information about the auction please contact Kerry Taylor Auctions on 0208 676 4600 or info@kerrytaylorauctions.comAll proceeds (including tickets) will be donated to The Trust.Source:Prince’s Trustlast_img read more

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Amanda Holden Backs First Aid Education In UK Schools

first_imgIn the run up to Mother’s Day, the British Red Cross is teaming up with top British film actress and TV presenter, Amanda Holden, to back first aid education in schools across the UK.Mum of two Amanda is supporting the charity’s Pupil Citizen Lifesaver (PCL) campaign which seeks to build a generation of citizens with life-saving skills.She said: “Emergencies can happen to anyone, so I want my children and future generations to learn the skills to help in a crisis. That’s why I’m backing the Red Cross Pupil, Citizen, Life-saver campaign, which is fighting to make first aid and humanitarian education compulsory in schools.“It’s so important we put these topics on England’s new curriculum. Simple skills learned in just a few minutes – like what to do if someone becomes unconscious – save lives,” Amanda added.A recent ICM poll shows that only 20 per cent of secondary school students in England and Wales say they have learned life-saving skills in the classroom. Worryingly, just 4 per cent of the students would step up in aid of someone needing first aid assistance, according to the same survey.The British Red Cross is encouraging people to visit its webpage redcross.org.uk/pupilcitizenlifesaver to sign up a petition that will urge the government to make first aid a key feature of children’s education.Joe Mulligan, British Red Cross’ head of first aid, said: “This Mother’s Day, let’s do something that’s both special and incredibly important, by signing up the petition to help build a generation of lifesavers.“We have a brief window to take action and make a change. The government’s proposals are now open to public consultation for the next few weeks. We have less than two months to shape the future lives of millions, by getting first aid into schools. Let’s all take action now,” Joe added.last_img read more

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Bid On Celebrity Eyewear And Benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles

first_imgUnique eyewear designer, Stevie Boi, is auctioning off some of his celebrity-worn items to raise money for AIDS Project Los Angeles on Closets For Causes.Steve Boi Charity AuctionStevie Boi has teamed up with Closets For Causes to auction off some of his one-of-a-kind glasses like the ones worn by Anna Dello Russo, Fergie and Eva Marcille.Fans have the opportunity to bid on the Attackz shades and limited edition gold-spiked eye patch seen on and adored by Anna Dello Russo, the Fergz glasses rocked by Fergie during her Black Eyed Peas performance for Science is Rock and Roll, the Shines shades that were fiercely worn by America’s Next Top Model winner Eva Marcille, and a pair that graced the cover of Vogue Italia. In addition to these eye-catching sunglasses, Closets For Causes is also auctioning hand-painted tees, adorned with images of celebrity icons that were part of an exclusive collaboration with Anthony Pieters for Australia Fashion Week 2011.The Baltimore native has pushed the boundaries with his latest collection, “Leather” which features dark, sexy and chic pieces. His pieces have been worn by daring stars who push the limits of fashion. Stevie’s big break was landing his eyewear on the cover of the Vogue Italia November 2011 issue, shot by Steven Meisel plus an additional six page spread entitled The A Train featuring pieces from his collection “Coexist”. Stevie Boi now specializes in high fashion, runway, ready-wear shades and accessories, and is a favorite of Vogue Japan Editor-at-Large Anna Dello Russo.“I am very excited to team up with Closets For Causes on this campaign. I make fearless sunglasses so people can be who they are while rockin’ their own style. I’m honored to help support the fight against AIDS, and have my creations touch more lives than just those who wear them” says Stevie Boi.AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education, and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation.In 2013, APLA marks its 30th year of operation and is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach. Annually, the agency provides direct services and HIV prevention education to more than 11,000 clients in Los Angeles, a city with the second-largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the nation.“We are extremely happy to have the support of Stevie Boi. His decision to support our efforts to end the spread of HIV/AIDS and get those infected with the disease into the medical care system so that they can live happy, healthy and productive lives is commendable” says Clarence Williams, Corporate & Major Gifts Officer.Find out more here.last_img read more

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Chelsea Clinton Helps Start A StarStudded Flash Flood For Good

first_imgWhat do President Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, Justin Bieber, Scarlett Johansson and Ozzy Osbourne have in common? They are among the people using their social media channels to encourage their followers to support the Flash Flood for Good campaign.Video: Flash Flood For Good | World VisionFlash Flood for Good is a three-day social media call to action to raise awareness and funds for children to receive clean water, a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action. Participants are encouraged to donate $10 – either online or through a mobile device – to provide clean drinking water to a child for a year.Chelsea Clinton officially launched Flash Flood for Good during her remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. For the next three days, a number of celebrity endorsers have committed to posting multiple messages on their social networks.World Vision is the exclusive beneficiary of the funds generated through the campaign, which will support water projects in Rwanda, Myanmar and Ethiopia. Procter & Gamble will work with World Vision to provide clean drinking water in each of these countries through P&G’s water purification packets, which transform dirty and dangerous water into clean drinking water within 30 minutes.Celebrity advocates invite the public to visit and join www.flashfloodforgood.org so they can swell the tide for Flash Flood for Good by adding their digital voice to the call to action. Every person who donates their social media channels during the three-day campaign can help positively impact the lives of children urgently in need of clean, safe drinking water.Already dubbed “We Are The Digital World,” Flash Flood For Good has garnered the support and social media feeds of Justin Bieber, Hugh Jackman, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pitbull, Kevin Bacon, Sky Blu, James Blunt, Blush, Jeff Bridges, Colbie Caillat, Celine Dion, Hilary Duff, Melissa Etheridge, Morgan Freeman, The Game, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Guiney, Arsenio Hall, LL Cool J, Scarlett Johansson, Juanes, Dave Koz, Drew Lachey, Nick Lachey, Cyndi Lauper, Florida Georgia Line, Alana Lee, Limp Bizkit, Austin Mahone, Matthew McConaughey, Mac Miller, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Psy, Megadeth, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Alejandro Sanz, Jeff Timmons, Robin Thicke, Rob Thomas, Louis Van Amstel, 98 Degrees and others.Flash Flood for Good is expected to reach more than 400 million people across various social networks. This initiative will focus the attention of global leaders, NGOs, academics, celebrities, private sector partners, corporate brands and the general public on the need for clean drinking water worldwide.Nearly 2,000 children die each day from diarrhea caused by unsafe water – more than killed by HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.In just the last two years, World Vision has quadrupled its capacity to provide clean water in the developing world, making it the largest non-profit, non-governmental provider of clean water in rural areas worldwide.World Vision now reaches a new person with clean drinking water every 30 seconds.The scaling up is part of World Vision’s “For Every Child” campaign, which will reach more than 6 million people with clean water, spending $400 million in a five-year period. Water is one critical element of World Vision’s comprehensive, holistic development program.In August, President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton visited a World Vision project in Rwanda for a first-hand look at the P&G water purification packets and the transformative effect of World Vision’s development program.last_img read more

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Josh Duhamel Reads For The Record

first_imgJosh Duhamel is the official celebrity ambassador for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record 2014 campaign.Duhamel will help shine a spotlight on the importance of early education and Jumpstart’s unique approach to closing the achievement gap before it’s too late.“As a new dad, I’m proud to be part of a campaign that advocates early education for all children. The best part of our day is story time with Axl,” said Duhamel.Jumpstart’s premiere national campaign, Read for the Record, mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy in an effort to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. On October 21, 2014, people across the country will unite in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between to read the children’s book Bunny Cakes, by bestselling author and illustrator, Rosemary Wells.“We are absolutely thrilled to have Josh as Jumpstart’s Read for the Record 2014 celebrity ambassador. His commitment and passion to serve those who need our help most is incredibly inspiring and we are honored to have him on board for this year’s campaign,” said Naila Bolus, president and CEO of Jumpstart. “There is an early education crisis in this country right now, particularly for children in low-income communities, and we won’t stand by and watch children be left behind.”In 2013 more than 2.4 million people participated in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. Since 2006 the campaign has engaged 11.5 million children and raised more than $8.6 million for early education programs.For more information about how you can make a donation to support Jumpstart’s work across the country, or to get involved in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign, visit www.jstart.org/readfortherecord.last_img read more

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