British PM issues backstop ultimatum to EU over Brexit

first_imgLondon: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued an ultimatum to the European Union over what he has branded an “anti-democratic” Irish border backstop, which must be scrapped to negotiate a new deal before the October 31 Brexit deadline. In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday night, Johnson reiterated his “highest priority” was to achieve an agreement to avert a chaotic no-deal exit from the 28-nation economic bloc, but not with any kind of backstop designed to avert a post-Brexit hard border between EU member-country Ireland and British region Northern Ireland. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The changes we seek relate primarily to the backstop. The problems with the backstop run much deeper than the simple political reality that it has three times been rejected by the House of Commons,” writes the prime minister in his letter. “The truth is that it is simply unviable it is anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK as a state,” he notes. Johnson, who has been a vehement critic of the clause in the withdrawal agreement negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May, told Tusk that it locked the UK, potentially indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind Britain into a customs union. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”It is inconsistent with the UK’s desired final destination for a sustainable long-term relationship with the EU. When the UK leaves the EU and after any transition period, we will leave the single market and the customs union,” Johnson said. By requiring continued membership of the customs union and applying many single market rules in Northern Ireland, it presents the whole of the UK with the choice of remaining in a customs union and aligned with those rules, or of seeing Northern Ireland gradually detached from the UK economy across a very broad ranges of areas. Both of those outcomes are unacceptable to the British government, stresses Johnson’s four-page letter. The communication was sent soon after another conversation between the British Prime Minister and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar. The Indian-origin Irish Taoiseach, as the Prime Minsiter is referred to in Ireland, has been categorical in his stance in favour of a backstop to ensure the island of Ireland can function under the terms of the Belfast Agreement dating back to the 1990s when the ‘Troubles’ in the disputed region culminated in a shaky peace process. “The Taoiseach reiterated the EU27 position that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened, and emphasised the importance of the legally operable guarantee to ensure no hard border and continued free trade on the island of Ireland,” Downing Street said in reference to the telephone conversation between the two leaders on Monday evening. “The Prime Minister [Johnson] made clear that the Common Travel Area, which long predates the UK and Ireland joining the EU, would not be affected by the ending of freedom of movement after Brexit,” it said. Johnson has called for “flexible and creative solutions” and “alternative arrangements” based on technology to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and wants the backstop to be replaced with a commitment to put in place such arrangements as far as possible before the end of the Brexit transition period currently the end of 2020 under Theresa May’s deal. The EU, which did not immediately react to Johnson’s letter, has been firm in its position that the withdrawal agreement struck with his predecessor was not up for reopening and that any negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU must be based on the premise of the legally binding text of that pact. That text includes the controversial backstop, which had ultimately cost May her job as Prime Minister after facing a bruising three-time defeat in the UK Parliament. This week, Johnson is on a Brexit blitz as he is set to travel to Germany on Wednesday for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and then to Paris on Thursday for discussions with President Emmanuel Macron the two heavyweight politicians of the EU. Meanwhile, the UK Opposition Labour Party is demanding that the government publish all documents related to the real impact of a no-deal Brexit, following stark warnings of medicine and food shortages in a leaked report over the weekend. While the Johnson-led government has termed the warnings outdated as it has sped up its preparations for a no-deal exit from the EU by October 31, the Opposition has been demanding a recall of Parliament from its ongoing summer recess to address the Brexit issue.last_img read more

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Rupee falls 17 paise against US dollar in early trade

first_imgMumbai: The rupee depreciated by 17 paise to 71.95 against the US dollar in early trade on Thursday, tracking weak domestic equity market and persistent foreign fund outflows. Pessimism over US-China trade talks prospects also put pressure on the domestic unit, forex dealers said. However, a weak dollar against other major currencies overseas and softening crude prices restricted the rupee’s fall, they added. At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened weak at 71.96 and fell further to 72.05 against the US dollar. The domestic currency, however, pared some losses and was trading at 71.95. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The rupee fell 29 paise to close at 71.77 against the US dollar on Wednesday. The BSE Sensex was trading 215.51 points, or 0.58 per cent, lower at 37,236.33, while the broader Nifty fell 58.90 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 10,987.20 in early trade. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital markets, pulling out Rs 935.27 crore on Wednesday, as per provisional data. Meanwhile, investors remained edgy over concerns about developments in the China-US trade talks. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, declined 0.63 per cent to USD 60.11 per barrel. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.02 per cent to 98.19. The 10-year government bond yield was up at 6.57 per cent in morning tradelast_img read more

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Boman Irani to be honoured at Bollywood Festival in Norway

first_imgMumbai: Bollywood actor Boman Irani will be felicitated at the 17th Bollywood Festival in Norway, for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema. “It is an honour to be awarded for my work at the 17th Bollywood Festival Norway. I am thankful to everyone who has loved my work over the years and has contributed to my success. I am also looking forward to having an interaction with the audience,” the 59-year-old actor said. The actor, who is known for his performance in movies like the Munnabhai series and “3 Idiots” among others, will participate in an interactive session with over 1,000 cinemagoers. The event is scheduled to take place on September 6 in Oslo. On the work front, Boman has quite a few films coming up, including Tarun Mansukhani’s “Drive”, “Housefull 4”, and Kabir Khan’s “83”.last_img read more

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Area of standoff part of Chinese territory Beijing

first_imgBeijing: China on Thursday claimed that the Pangong Lake area in eastern Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese troops had a standoff, is “entirely located” in its territory and under its “effective jurisdiction”.According to Indian military sources in New Delhi, a scuffle broke out between India and Chinese soldiers on the bank of the Pangong Lake on Wednesday but the matter has been resolved through talks. The incident took place after Indian soldiers patrolling the area did not heed to objection to their presence in the area by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops, the sources said on Thursday. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Two-thirds of the lake in eastern Ladakh is controlled by China. Reacting to the incident, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a written reply to queries from the media here said that “the areas mentioned in the relevant reports are entirely located in China” and Beijing has been “exercising effective jurisdiction”. “The Chinese border troops have always strictly followed the relevant agreements and consensus between China and India, carried out regular patrol activities on Chinese territory,” it said.last_img read more

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Archbishop orders NB churches to return federal cash over abortion pledge

first_imgMONCTON, N.B. – A New Brunswick archbishop has ordered several Roman Catholic parishes to return federal funding they applied for without reading the fine print on abortion rights.Moncton Archbishop Valery Vienneau says the church cannot compromise its values just to please the government.“We’re in a democracy, so why should we have to compromise our values to get some summer jobs for students?” Vienneau asked.The Liberal government this year required that organizations seeking funding under the program check a box affirming their support for constitutional rights and the right to reproductive choice, including access to abortion.The government says it is not targeting beliefs or values, but churches and other faith-based organizations say they are being forced to choose between staying true to their values and seeking grants to help them run programs — from summer camps to soup kitchens — that have nothing to do with abortion.“We cannot compromise our human, Catholic, Christian values just to please the government,” Vienneau said.Vienneau said he sent a memo to all the parishes earlier this year, telling them not to apply for the summer job funding, but some had already sent in their applications.He said some of those churches were granted federal funding for student summer jobs, but the parishes didn’t read the fine print and he has told them to refuse the money.He said the diocese usually hires 25 to 30 students each summer for a variety of projects such as office work and the upkeep of cemeteries.“Of course we are distressed that we are losing all these summer jobs for the students. Some parishes will try to raise the money for some projects, but some will probably not be able to do that,” he said.The federal government takes issue with the church’s position.In an email to The Canadian Press, Emily Harris, senior communications advisor for Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu, said organizations do not have to support rights, they must respect them, and not actively undermine them.She said when the churches are saying that they are “losing” jobs for students, they are actively refusing the funds.“We are proud that over 3,000 paid summer jobs are approved in New Brunswick for this summer thanks to our government’s doubling of the Canada Summer Jobs program. All of these approved employers submitted complete applications and are eligible,” she wrote.“It is disappointing to learn that some organizations are being pressured by their leadership to drop out of the program, because we know that many of these organizations have provided excellent work experience opportunities for summer students in past years.”Of 42,708 applications to the program, 1,559 were deemed ineligible because of the attestation requirement, according to a government answer to a Commons order paper question tabled by Conservative MP Bob Zimmer.Vienneau said he’s had no contact with government officials but hopes the application is changed for next year.— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.last_img read more

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Saskatchewan environment minister says province will never allow a carbon tax

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada and Saskatchewan seem headed to a legal showdown over whether the federal government can force provinces to impose a carbon tax.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last fall he wants every province and territory to have a $10 a tonne price on carbon in place by 2018, rising to $50 a tonne by 2022. Trudeau said if they didn’t do it themselves, he would do it for them.Saskatchewan Environment Minister Scott Moe told The Canadian Press on Thursday his province will never let that happen. A $50 a tonne carbon tax would amount to $2.5 billion in Saskatchewan, he said, and that’s a cost its export-based economy cannot bear.“We’ll use everything in our disposal to not have that cost imposed on industries here in the province of Saskatchewan and that may include going to a court of law,” he said.Eleven provinces and territories agreed to the carbon price plan in December, when they signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.Saskatchewan and Manitoba did not.Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told The Canadian Press this week negotiations with the two have continued.“We’re always having good discussions with them and, to be honest, they agree with most parts of the framework, so I’m optimistic,” she said.Manitoba is working on a carbon plan, but Premier Brian Pallister has said his priority is a better deal on health care. A spokesman for Pallister did not respond this week when asked whether Manitoba will sign the framework now.Moe said his government will cut emissions through innovation and technological advances in areas such as carbon capture and storage and renewable energy production.The federal government has never specified when in 2018 the price has to be in place or exactly how it intends to impose a carbon price in provinces which don’t do it on their own. A spokeswoman for McKenna said Thursday the federal backstop plan to impose a carbon tax on any jurisdiction without one will be ready in a few weeks.British Columbia and Alberta already have carbon taxes in place. Ontario and Quebec have cap-and-trade systems under which governments set a cap on emissions. Companies with lower emissions can sell credits to those with higher emissions.Both systems are designed to provide financial incentives to encourage people to find ways to cut their own emissions.Nova Scotia intends to create its own cap-and-trade system and the other three Atlantic provinces are now looking at whether or not to join it.-follow @mrabson on Twitter.last_img read more

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Ten things to know about the British Columbia election

first_imgVANCOUVER – Voters in British Columbia go to the polls on Tuesday. Here are 10 things to know about B.C. politics:— The Liberals have been in power since 2001, but Christy Clark didn’t become premier until 2011.— John Horgan was acclaimed NDP leader three years ago and first won a legislature seat in 2005.— Green Leader Andrew Weaver was part of a group of scientists who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for their work on climate change.— This election has 87 seats up for grabs, but at dissolution the Liberals held 47 seats in the legislature, the NDP 35, and there were three Independents including Weaver, the first Green to be elected to the house.— The Liberals are promising a personal income tax freeze, a cut to the small business tax, and four more balanced budgets on top of the five straight they have already recorded.— The NDP would increase the corporate tax rate, bring in $10-a-day childcare and give renters a $400 annual rebate.— The Greens say they would overhaul the tax system to pay for spending on childcare, education, public health and the environment.— The Liberal Party of British Columbia is not affiliated with the Liberal Party of Canada and describes itself as “a made-in-B.C. free enterprise coalition.”— The last time B.C. had a minority government was in 1952, one of only three in the province’s history.— The NDP was in power from 1991 to 2001 after defeating Social Credit and had four different party leaders during their time in office.last_img read more

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Ontarios third capantrade auction sells brings in 526M

first_imgTORONTO – Ontario’s third cap-and-trade auction has sold out of all allowances.The September auction follows two similarly successful efforts in March and June, all of which are aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the province.The government puts caps on the amount of pollution companies in certain industries can emit, and if they exceed those limits they must buy allowances at auction or from other companies that come in under their limits.The first auction in March brought in $472 million and the June results show the second auction brought in about $504 million.The government says the most recent auction brought in just shy of $526 million, bringing the total for the program to roughly $1.5 billion.Revenues are being put toward green projects including retrofitting homes and putting fuel-efficient school buses on the road.“Ontario needs a realistic approach to fighting climate change that balances affordability with action,” Environment Minister Chris Ballard said in a statement. “That’s why our plan, which puts a cap on the pollution businesses can release into the atmosphere and stimulates low-carbon choices, comes at the cheapest price possible for people and our economy.”The government said the auction saw 25,296,367 current allowances sell at a settlement price of $18.56 each, down slightly from the $18.72 per allowance recorded at the June auction.Sales of future vintage credits continued an upward trajectory established in the second auction.In addition to current allowances, bidders could also purchase credits for the year 2020. The government sold a quarter of future allowances at the first auction and roughly halt at the second, but said they sold out during the latest round of bidding.The latest auction results put the province on track for the $1.8 billion the Liberal government expects to come from the quarterly auctions in 2017. Earlier this year, the government revised its projections downward for subsequent years, saying it expects about $1.4 billion annually, assuming the auctions sell an average of 80 per cent of allowances.Since Jan. 1, cap and trade has added 4.3 cents per litre to the price of gasoline and about $80 a year to natural gas home heating costs, in addition to indirect costs that will be passed onto consumers.last_img read more

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Canada suspends military aid to Iraqis Kurds amid outbreak of hostilities

first_imgOTTAWA – Canadian soldiers in Iraq have been ordered to temporarily suspend all operations with Iraqi and Kurdish forces following a series of battles between the two groups.The surprise move comes amid accusations Canada and its allies have failed the country over the past three years by ignoring its many political, religious and economic divisions while fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.Canadian special forces have provided training, advice and assistance to both the Iraqi military and Kurdish peshmerga for the last three years as part of the fight against Islamic State militants.But the one-time allies have been fighting each other for more than a week after the Kurds held a controversial independence referendum and Baghdad responded by seizing control of contested territory.Military officials said Friday that the Canadian Forces will continue to support the U.S.-led coalition fighting against ISIL through the provision of medical aid, intelligence and transportation.Canada has about 50 medical personnel and a tactical helicopter detachment in northern Iraq, as well as several dozen intelligence experts, a surveillance aircraft, a transport plane and an air-to-air refueller in Kuwait.But the approximately 200 Canadian special forces in Iraq have been told to sit tight and not provide any training or assistance to Iraqi or Kurdish forces until relations between the two sides improve.“Given the fluidity of the current situation, Canada’s Special Operations Task Force has temporarily suspended the provision of assistance to various elements of Iraqi security forces,” spokesman Col. Jay Janzen said.“Once more clarity exists regarding the interrelationships of Iraqi security forces and the key priorities and tasks going forward, the task force will resume activities.“In the interim, they will continue to monitor the situation and plan for the next potential phases of operational activity.”The entire mission is slated to run until 2019.While Friday’s decision to suspend operations with Kurdish and Iraqi forces was unexpected, the fact the two sides have come to blows has long been predicted.In fact, a senior representative for Iraq’s Kurdish government accused Canada and its allies this week of failing to address the many long-standing divisions that led to ISIL’s birth — and which are threatening to erupt again.While many fear a war between Baghdad and the Kurds, there are also concerns about the slow rate of reconstruction in many Sunni-dominated areas liberated from ISIL and Iran’s growing influence in Baghdad.Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurds’ top diplomat in Washington, said it’s past time the international community end its fixation on ISIL and begin to address Iraq’s many underlying problems.“‘We are laser-focused on (ISIL).’ That has been the mantra of the past few years,” Abdul Rahman told The Canadian Press during a visit to Ottawa this week.“But to continue to say we’re laser-focused on (ISIL) is missing the obvious truth of what is happening in Iraq.”That focus was on full display on Oct. 16, when Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan responded to the first outbreak of fighting between Iraqi and Kurdish forces by urging all sides to concentrate on finishing the fight against ISIL.The Liberal government has also refused to comment on Iran’s role in Iraq, including its support for Shiite militia groups that the Kurds and others say are responsible for many of the attacks on the peshmerga.Abdul Rahman urged Canada to speak up loudly and clearly and to use the many tools she says are at its disposal to try to mediate some type of peace between the Kurds and Baghdad, including at the UN.“There are so many things that Canada can do,” she said, “We are appealing to Canada to play that role.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.last_img read more

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Singh sets sights on opioid crisis pushes PM to decriminalize all drugs

first_imgOTTAWA – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consider decriminalizing all illegal drugs in an effort to combat Canada’s escalating opioid crisis.Singh, who campaigned on the promise during his party’s recent leadership race, said he will push the federal New Democrats to make the position part of its own formal policy platform.The NDP is scheduled to hold a policy convention in Ottawa in February.“We have the evidence,” Singh said in an interview this week. “Why do we continue down a path that makes no sense?”Singh, a former criminal defence lawyer, has been vocal about the opioid issue ever since becoming the party’s new leader, including during a trip last week to British Columbia, when he paid a visit to an overdose prevention site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.In his legal practice, Singh said he witnessed first-hand how the current criminal approach is failing.“We are prosecuting people and incarcerating people that don’t need to be incarcerated,” he said. “These are folks that need to be helped and supported.”The majority of Canadians struggling with opioid addiction are also battling problems like mental health challenges and poverty, Singh said, noting that he would exclude drug trafficking from any decriminalization efforts.On Saturday, Singh told about 2,000 delegates at the B.C. NDP convention that Canada’s drug laws need to change to recognize drug addiction is a social justice issue, not a criminal justice problem.His comments come as Canadian health-care experts, including B.C.’s provincial health officer, urge the federal government to strongly consider borrowing from Portugal’s approach to drug policy, including decriminalizing personal possession of illicit drugs.Earlier this year, B.C.’s chief medical officer Perry Kendall said precious time and resources are being spent chasing people around the court system — exertions that do nothing to curb the drug supply or prevent drug deaths.“I think it is incumbent upon us, if we are really serious about trying to deal with this epidemic which is actually killing people, then we need to look at these alternative, regulatory frameworks to see if they might work for us,” Kendall said.It is up to Ottawa to shift its approach, because the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is a federal law, he added. Portugal did not decriminalize all drugs in all circumstances, but rather removed the application of criminal law on personal possession for limited amounts while offering education and social supports, he said.Leila Attar, a 20-year-old advocate who suffered an overdose last November after taking Percocet pills laced with fentanyl, said Tuesday she is pleased leaders like Singh are speaking about decriminalization, even if it’s not a “popular opinion.”“There’s so much stigma,” said Attar, who is channelling her own experiences into helping others at a pop-up injection site in Ottawa.If Trudeau fails to consider decriminalization, he is turning away from an approach that could save lives, she added.“It is frustrating,” Attar said. “We know there are so many people that are experts … pushing for the same thing.”Singh, who visited the Ottawa pop-up site in September during his leadership bid, said while social workers and advocates are trying to step up, the government has done nothing so far to stem the tide of tragedy.“The reason it is happening is because people are dying,” Singh said. “It is across this country and what people are doing is they are absolutely filling a void.”—Follow @kkirkup on Twitterlast_img read more

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Torontos St Michaels Hospital says it plans to create worlds leading MS

first_imgTORONTO – A Toronto hospital says it plans to create the world’s leading treatment and research centre for multiple sclerosis.St. Michael’s Hospital says the BARLO MS Centre will occupy the entire top two floors — about 2,300 square metres — of a 17-storey tower under construction at the downtown Toronto facility.The hospital says it already has the largest multiple sclerosis clinic in Canada, with about 7,000 patients, and is home to some of the world’s leading MS clinicians and researchers.The $30-million BARLO MS Centre is expected to open in 2020 and focus on patient-centred, personalized care and applying and generating leading-edge research.MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of co-ordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.It is known as “Canada’s disease” because the country has the highest prevalence of the neurological disease in the world, with one in every 340 Canadians living with MS. It affects three times as many women as men.“Our goal in creating the world’s premier multiple sclerosis centre is to stop the disease and provide the best clinical care and outstanding research,” Dr. Xavier Montalban, a Spanish clinician and researcher recruited to lead the centre, said Wednesday in a release.“Every day, three more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,” Montalban said. “Early diagnosis means we can start people on promising new treatments and give them hope they can live fulfilling and productive lives.”Montalban said the centre will offer “one-stop care” for patients who will be diagnosed, treated and offered the opportunity to participate in research, all in the same location.The centre will have its own infusion clinic, so that patients can receive more of the new treatments that have been developed in the last decade, many of which are given intravenously.last_img read more

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Accident or murder A look at some court cases involving fatal shootings

first_imgA Saskatchewan jury has found farmer Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie. Court heard that Boushie and his friends drove onto Stanley’s property seeking help for a flat tire, but had also tried breaking into a truck on a neighbouring farm. Stanley testified he fired some warning shots in the air before approaching the SUV. He said he reached in to grab the car keys in the ignition and the gun he was holding accidentally went off. Boushie was shot in the back of the head.Here are a few court cases involving people charged with murder who said the shootings were accidental:April 21, 1996: Nick Biuk, 26, was shot and killed at a backyard barbecue in Kitchener, Ont. Michael Meiler, angry that his estranged wife had a new boyfriend, had gone to the home with a gun. One man jumped on Meiler from behind in an attempt to get the gun. Meiler flew into Biuk and a struggled ensued. Biuk died from a single shot to the abdomen. Meiler testified that he did not intend to shoot Biuk and that the gun fired accidentally. A jury convicted him of Biuk’s second-degree murder and the attempted murder of his wife’s boyfriend. He was sentenced to life with no chance at parole for 12 years.___May 6, 2000: Chester Charlie, 20, was shot and killed at a house party in Fraser Lake, B.C. Jody James Gunning admitted to the shooting but said he never intended to kill Charlie. Gunning said he found Charlie, an uninvited guest, sitting on his bed and going through a drawer in his night stand. He said Charlie refused to leave and the shotgun he took out to intimidate him accidentally went off. Charlie died from a single shot to the neck. A jury found Gunning guilty of second-degree murder, but the Supreme Court ordered a new trial. Before his second trial was to begin, Gunning pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years.___April 5, 2005: Jessica James, 34, was fatally shot in the head in a home on Penelakut Island, B.C. Her husband, Robert Taylor, testified that the shooting was accidental. He said they had been drinking and arguing about money. She told him he was wasting money on his drinking and questioned why he could buy food for their dog but not his family. He loaded a high-powered rifle intending to point it at the dog. He testified that his wife grabbed the rifle and it went off. A jury convicted him of second-degree murder, but a new trial was ordered on appeal. A judge reached the same guilty verdict in 2009.___May 28, 2008: Janice McMath, 64, was fatally shot on a farm near Abbotsford, B.C. Her estranged husband, Robert McMath, told police he was responsible but that the shooting was an accident. Court heard the couple were separated and about to go to trial over their assets. However, they were cordial and Janice often visited Robert at the farm. They had been drinking wine outside near a barn when McMath said he picked up a rifle he used for coyotes. He said he was unloading the gun when he stumbled and it went off. Janice was shot twice and died days later in hospital. A judge acquitted McMath of second-degree murder and found him guilty of manslaughter. He received the minimum sentence for manslaughter when a firearm is involved — four years.last_img read more

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Rewriting Canadas memory banks Archivists decolonize collections

first_imgReconciliation is rewriting Canada’s memory banks as archivists across the country work to make their collections more open to and sensitive towards Indigenous people.Library and Archives Canada is leading the way with a $12-million project to hire Aboriginal archivists to work in First Nations communities and to give more control over materials gathered there to the people who created them.“Decolonization” is a hot topic among those charged with storing, organizing and making accessible the country’s historical record.“It’s huge,” said Camille Callison, Indigenous service librarian at the University of Manitoba.“It’s like the biggest thing happening right now. A lot of people are making changes.”Several recommendations in the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission urged libraries and archives to rethink their work in light of Indigenous people.“Archives are instruments of bureaucracy, instruments of power,” said Greg Bak, a historian and archivist at the University of Manitoba.“The archives become one way in which colonial views of relationships tend to be fixed and preserved.”The national archives, for example, hold reams of residential school records. Few, said Bak, speak of the children who died there.That institution is hiring seven Indigenous archivists to fan out across the country. They are to find out what materials are held locally and to record fresh oral history, said Johanna Smith, director of public services.“That is brand-new for (Library and Archives Canada) to do,” she said.“There’s definitely interest out there. When we talk about this, every time there’s a community that says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a freezer full of tapes that really need help.’”Instead of being centralized in Ottawa, materials could remain in their community. So would the copyright — a big shift and a step toward recognizing the concept of “cultural copyright.”Currently, a recording belongs to the person who made it.“The rights of that individual who was recorded are not as clear,” Smith said.“It’s about saying how can we connect those dots a little bit differently to put some agency back in the hands of the individual whose voice was recorded. It’s a community sense of belonging to that object. A community sense of privacy, also.”Staff are also poring over old records to find those of interest to First Nations.“Our holdings are vast,” said Smith. “We’re going to do some targeted research and … we’re going to Indigenous archivists to do that research, to identify collections that could be digitized.”Other projects are also underway.The Association of Canadian Archivists with 125 institutional members offers a scholarship for Indigenous archivists and has set up a working group to share best practices and to figure out how to best address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.“There’s no manual to follow,” said director Jo-Anne McCutcheon.“Every community is different. Settler-Indigenous contact happened differently, so it’s complicated.”Archivists in Manitoba are reworking the old U.S. Library of Congress subject headings, the access points to any collection.“They call Indigenous spirituality things like shamanism — the really antiquated terms we don’t use any longer,” said Callison.Edmonton’s city archivists are rewriting catalogue descriptions so they don’t repeat offensive language contained in the documents they refer to.“It’s growing on an annual basis,” said Raymond Frogner, archivist for the National Truth and Reconciliation Centre in Winnipeg. “It’s definitely gaining a lot of momentum.”Archives aren’t necessarily neutral, Frogner said. Archivists and those who use them have to work to ensure everyone’s experience is reflected in the stories told“We are what we choose to remember, but we also are what we choose to forget.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960last_img read more

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Injured Calgary officer stable in hospital with family by his side police

first_imgCALGARY – A Calgary police officer was in hospital Tuesday with his family by his side after being shot by a suspect in a residential neighbourhood in the city’s northeast.Police Chief Roger Chaffin, who saw and spoke with the injured male officer, said the five-year constable was listed in stable condition in Foothills Hospital.“He’s an officer like many of our front-line people. These are young men and women who go out to police, they have families and they go out to do everything they can to create safety in this city,” Chaffin said. “In this case, he was confronted with a very violent situation and was seriously injured because of it.“These are not superheroes. These are average people who are very brave, who do what they can on a day-to-day basis to make sure this city is safe.”A lone suspect was found dead, Chaffin said.The call that led to the shooting started early Tuesday morning with a robbery at a convenience store, he said.“Following the robbery, brandishing a firearm, the suspect allegedly attempted to carjack a woman outside a home,” Chaffin said. “Our officers flooded the area and attempted to locate a suspect.”During that search, he said police received another report of an attempted break in and found a man matching the suspect’s description between two houses.“As officers entered the backyard, the suspect began firing shots,” he said. “It’s our understanding that a member or members of our service returned fire. One officer was shot and was taken to hospital.”No details were provided on the extent of the officer’s injuries and his name was not released by police.Chaffin said they were able to contain the area with the help of the tactical unit, which has a paramedic who attended to the wounded officer.As the officer got help, he said others noticed smoke coming from a garage and called in the fire department.The suspect — who also hasn’t been identified — was found dead inside the garage once the fire was put out, said Chaffin.A long line of police cars, including a large armoured SUV used by the tactical unit, rumbled out of the residential neighbourhood of Abbeydale earlier Tuesday afternoon.“I can tell you … we’re very lucky today because he took two rifle rounds, but he’s in stable condition,” said Les Kaminski, president of the Calgary Police Association. “So far, so good.”He said the shooting is a reminder of what police face on a daily basis.“This is what the work entails — dangerous people that we have to deal with that the rest of society don’t want to deal with,” said Kaminski.The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which investigates police conduct, said it was reviewing the shooting.Police initially called it an “active situation” involving a firearm and advised people in the neighbourhood to stay in their homes. That order was lifted later in the day.Chaffin noted that Calgary hasn’t had a police officer shot on the street in decades.“It was probably 25 or 26 years ago,” he said. “It’s not something we’re conditioned to see a lot.“When it happens, we have to be able to stand tall to it and respond professionally and they did just that.”last_img read more

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Woodlands survivors left out of previous settlement promised compensation

first_imgVANCOUVER – Speaking from the site where a notorious school and psychiatric facility used to stand, one of its survivors says he finally feels a festering wound begin to close.Bill McArthur, who was sent to Woodlands in New Westminster, B.C. at age five, is among hundreds of survivors who had been left out from official compensation, because a legal loophole excluded them from a 2009 class-action settlement.That changed on Saturday, when provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that all survivors who lived at the facility before 1974 — the year that it became legal to sue the provincial government — will receive $10,000 in compensation.“Justice has finally been done, after so many years of suffering,” said McArthur. “It’s finally brought closure to a festering sore.”Woodlands operated from 1878 until 1996, providing care for children and adults with developmental disabilities and some individuals with both developmental disabilities and mental illness.Abuse at the facility is well documented and in 2002, then-provincial ombudsperson Dulcie McCallum confirmed widespread sexual, physical and psychological abuse had occurred.After a class-action by former residents was certified, the then-Liberal government won a ruling in the B.C. Court of Appeal to exclude former students who lived at Woodlands prior to Aug. 1, 1974 from compensation. That was the date the Crown Proceedings Act came into effect, making it legal for citizens to sue the provincial government.McArthur, who had been the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit but left Woodlands ten days before that cutoff date, said the exclusion was one of the most painful things he has experienced in life.“Abuse is abuse is abuse. It doesn’t matter when it happened,” he said.McArthur spoke Saturday in front of plaques commemorating dozens of residents who died at the facility. He recalled the abuses he both witnessed and experienced at Woodlands, including rape, beatings and extended periods of isolation.Children were lined up naked in a hallway every morning “like cattle” to use the bathroom, he said. If they didn’t move quickly enough, they were beaten with brooms or fists to the head. McArthur described seeing residents pulled down hallways by the hair “like a sack of potatoes,” or forced to take icy cold showers for no apparent reason.“Other residents were deliberately burned with scalding hot water to the point where their skin would peel off in strips,” McArthur said. “This was deliberate action by the people who were charged with the responsibility of caring for us in a humane manner, and who failed to do so egregiously.”Another resident, Luanne Bradshaw, said she was sometimes heavily medicated or locked in a “control room” with no lights for up to two weeks over the course of her 12 years at Woodlands.“I’m very proud of how far I’ve come in just being a free person, living life as I see fit and making sure that my identity doesn’t get forgotten,” said Bradshaw.Dix said there are believed to be between 900 and 1,500 survivors of Woodlands, and the government expects to pay between $9 million and $15 million.More than 800 residents were eligible for compensation following the original class-action lawsuit, but it was a long and arduous process to establish claims after the fact, Dix said. The total amount already distributed through that process, which is complete, was between $4 million and $5 million.Recipients of the new compensation, which the province is offering voluntarily or “ex gratia,” will not have to prove abuse, he said.In addition to the pre-1974 residents, anyone who was eligible for a settlement as a result of the class-action lawsuit, but opted against coming forward for any reason, will also be eligible for the $10,000. And anyone who received less than $10,000 through the lawsuit will have their compensation topped up, Dix said.Dix noted that a significant number of the pre-1974 residents have died and their families will not be eligible for compensation.The province expects all monies to be paid out by March 31, 2019.“Most of the residents of Woodlands were the province’s most vulnerable people. Many were children, some were wheelchair bound, some had developmental disabilities, others had mental illnesses,” Dix said.“They were placed in a government facility with the understanding, for them and their families, that they would be cared for. That fundamental trust was severely breached.“We know, and I know, that no amount of compensation can make amends for what people such as (McArthur) have experienced — the struggle they’ve experienced and the abuse they suffered. But it’s important that we acknowledge what people went through and help, I hope, give residents the sense of closure they deserve.”last_img read more

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Canadian anthropological linguist creates concept languages for films

first_imgVANCOUVER – Typically when anthropology professor Christine Schreyer finishes concocting a new language for a film, it is eventually spoken by aliens from beyond the stars bearing messages of hope, peace, and occasionally destruction and doom.However, her latest concept language has a uniquely human origin, contrary to the work she has done on films like “Man of Steel” and “Power Rangers.”Her newest language, called Beama, was created for the recently released film “Alpha,” which is about a young man separated from his tribe who befriends a lone wolf and takes place 20,000 years ago.Schreyer said the filmmakers’ desire for authenticity forced her to set her sights on ancient oral traditions to create something realistic but manageable for the cast.“They really strived for accuracy in terms of the tool technology, the housing, the animals and also the language,” said Schreyer, who teaches at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna.Schreyer started by exploring the research on phonetic sounds of several protolanguages to determine how her new language should sound.“I did take out some of the more complex sounds for English speakers because the actors needed to be able to say everything,” she said from Kelowna, adding there were sounds different from English retained in Beama.Although there are no fossil records for languages like there are for ancient peoples and animals, poetry and research from the study of historical linguistics helped guide Schreyer while sounding out Beama.“Poetry and traditional story-telling tends to have more of the older or high version of the languages — just like how Shakespeare has older forms of English in it,” said Schreyer.She said the film’s director, Albert Hughes, preferred more melodic-sounding languages, which prompted her to incorporate more vowel sounds and remove some of the harsher consonant-heavy words from Beama.And while concept languages have been used in various films and television series since the late 1960s, such as Klingon in Star Trek or the Elven tongue in “Lord of the Rings,” Schreyer said the internet has given fans far more access to the languages than they had previously.“They’re able to access details on films they were very rarely able to access before,” she said. “Part of the reason I’m here is because I did a study of people learning Na’vi from ‘Avatar’ and how they were able to do that.”Schreyer said the production designer for “Man of Steel” hired her to create the Kryptonian language after reading her study, knowing that diehard fans of Superman would not accept gibberish.“Fans are demanding that detail and that authenticity.”That sense of authenticity was not always in demand, or even desired at all. Schreyer said some films, including the Star Wars movie franchise, use inconsistent patterns interspersed with gibberish for language-like sounds.“I think at this point it’s a point of pride for them, that they’re the ones that don’t have it,” said Schreyer.“I know people in the constructed language communities often have an axe to grind with that.”She said she’s received many requests for Kryptonian translations for tattoos, and one woman on Twitter had compiled every trace of the language she could find from “Man of Steel.”Schreyer said people have taken her courses because of their love of her concept languages, and even gone into the field themselves afterwards.It’s the lovers of Na’vi and Klingon who often become the professional linguists preserving and maintaining oral traditions, said Schreyer, who has also worked in Canada and around the globe with Indigenous communities in revitalizing their languages.“Actually, you can get people like me who can do both things.”last_img read more

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Look south study finds analogues for future climate of US Canadian cities

first_imgWondering what the climate in your city will be like in a few decades?An unusual study published today suggests you should look about 1,000 kilometres to the south.Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland says that’s the average distance between 540 cities in the U.S. and Canada and the closest place that resembles what their climate will become.Fitzpatrick says if nothing changes, Montreal can expect a climate similar to that of Chester, Pennsylvania.Vancouver will feel a lot like Seattle and Calgary’s weather will resemble what folks in Spearfish, South Dakota, now experience.Fitzpatrick acknowledges his calculations are approximate.They don’t take into account extreme weather, for example, and the climate in some cities won’t resemble anything that exists currently.But Fitzpatrick says the idea of climate analogues is intended to help people understand how radically the world is changing.  The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Kris HoldenReid joins cast of Vikings

first_img Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement The actor who became a fan favourite playing a centuries-old, supernatural creature on Canadian series Lost Girl is joining the cast of Vikings.Kris Holden-Ried, Dyson on Lost Girl, has been cast in the recurring role of Viking warrior Eyvind in the History series’ fifth season, to air in 2017. Twitterlast_img

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KNaan wraps HBO series pilot set in Somali community

first_imgFilming of the show’s pilot wrapped Friday after shooting at about 14 main locations in the Minneapolis area. K’naan, who lived in Minneapolis in his early 20s, said he wanted to shoot in a city he found “inherently cinematic.” Advertisement Facebook Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: For Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan, the story he is trying to tell in his proposed HBO series Mogadishu, Minnesota is one he has lived: an immigrant coming to America and trying to adjust.But the 39-year-old ran into vocal opposition from fellow Somalis as he prepared to film the series pilot in Minneapolis, home to the largest Somali community in the U.S. While K’naan envisions a family drama, critics worry the series will focus on young Somalis who have gone overseas to join terrorist groups, concerns raised by the series’ original title The Recruiters and the involvement of Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).“We don’t want Muslims being stereotyped,” K’naan says opponents tell him. “I say, ‘Me, too. That’s why I’m writing this.’” Twitterlast_img read more

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Canadian doc Rumble exposes unheralded influence of Native American musicians

first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The song kicks off the documentary “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World,” from Montreal-based filmmakers Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana, which has its world premiere Sunday in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and will air on The Movie Network later this year. “That’s the secret sauce, this hidden gem of a story,” Bainbridge said of how “these incredible icons” inspired so many famous performers seen in the documentary. Many of them agreed to appear in “Rumble” because of their friendship with the film’s executive producer, guitarist Stevie Salas. “Where in this day and age can you find things that are hidden?” said Bainbridge, whose award-winning documentary “Reel Injun” explored the portrayal of Native Americans in movies and on TV. Having seen “Reel Injun,” Salas approached Rezolution Pictures — which was founded by Bainbridge and her husband Ernest Webb — about using the Smithsonian exhibit as an inspiration for a documentary. Through archival footage and powerful performances, indigenous artists are acknowledged as influences by more than three dozen marquee performers, including crooner Tony Bennett, funk father George Clinton, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and proto-punk legend Iggy Pop. The documentary explores the often-unheralded contributions of Native Americans in shaping popular song. Wray was a Shawnee Native American but few people were aware of his background. Like him, many of the musicians profiled in “Rumble” either kept their heritage secret or downplayed it, fearing racist backlash. Advertisement Whether the musicians in “Rumble” talked about their backgrounds or not, their heritage influenced the work, including 1920s Delta bluesman Charley Patton, “Queen of Swing” Mildred Bailey, rock legend Jimi Hendrix and guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, who worked with blues musician Taj Mahal, John Lennon and the Rolling Stones. Salas said he had no idea there were so many Native musicians until he was interviewed by Canadian writer Brian Wright-McLeod for his 2004 book “The Encyclopedia of Native Music.” Facebook “It was a learning experience for many,” Salas said. “When I was a kid, my first band was (playing with) Rod Stewart, just out of high school. I didn’t look like everybody else. I’m an Apache Indian. I was looking around, how come there’s no Indians playing rock ‘n’ roll?” “I knew nothing about Link Wray and the influence that he had,” said Bainbridge. “Musicians know these people and how influential they are. It’s time other people knew.” They were the power chords that sparked a musical revolution: three growling, fuzzy blasts that made Link Wray’s 1958 banned-by-radio instrumental “Rumble” a rule-breaking inspiration for rock guitarists who followed. Salas teamed with Tim Johnson (also an executive producer on “Rumble”) to create “Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture,” an exhibit for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. It was named for the 1982 hit song co-written by Canadian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, who also appears in “Rumble.” Twitter Login/Register With: Guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson of the Band shares childhood memories of time he spent on the Brantford, Ont.-area Six Nations of the Grand River reserve with his mother’s family. He was advised: “Be proud you are Indian; but be careful who you tell.” Advertisementlast_img read more

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