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  • Jack 3:25 am on December 7, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: aboriginal customs, ashley martin, , , , , rcmp training, standing on blankets   

    Blanket Stuff 

    RCMP cadets at Depot Division in Regina will soon have a better understanding of Indigenous history in Canada.

    Troop 10 will be the first, starting Tuesday afternoon, after a group of about 25 RCMP officers and staff spent Monday learning how to lead the “blanket exercise,” which compacts 500 years of history into a one-hour session.

    The hope is that cadets will gain “a sensitivity to what has transpired in the past,” said RCMP curriculum designer Nathalie Fehr, “and that they understand that they have a responsibility to work with all communities to problem-solve and … help people.”

    Sara Anderson, from the Ottawa-based charitable organization KAIROS Canada, led Monday’s exercise.

    Standing on blankets that represented the northern part of Turtle Island — now known as Canada — the participants read from scripts, telling the story of Canada’s Indigenous history from pre-colonization to the present.

    Putting a long and often traumatic history into words, the goal is that future RCMP officers will be able to better relate to community members.

    Tara McMillan started her career with the RCMP 16 years ago, as a dispatcher in the Northwest Territories.

    In that work, she often heard the negative aspects of Indigenous people’s lives —alcoholism, drug abuse and violence.

    “If that’s all you’re hearing, then you become hardened to them and to what they say and to their experiences,” said McMillan, who now works in cadet services at Depot.

    “I think that this will help (RCMP officers) to maybe get a different perspective as to where these people have come from, how their land’s been taken away, how they’ve gone through the residential schools,” added McMillan.

    “All of that history I think will allow them to be more empathetic as they go out into the workforce and work with the people on a daily basis.”

    Two years ago, RCMP then-commissioner Bob Paulson admitted “there are racists in my force.”

    There have been cases across the country of RCMP members racially profiling citizens.

    Various former Mounties also say they experienced racism from colleagues.

    A lawyer representing Colten Boushie’s family alleges the RCMP was racist in dealing with the family after his shooting death.

    “Unfortunately we do hear stories and I’d say it’s not just from police forces, it’s from all sectors of society,” said Anderson. “Everyone can have very negative and racist stereotypes against Indigenous peoples and against other minorities.”

    Having worked with RCMP members in the past, Anderson has heard that the blanket exercise has changed the way members work with Indigenous people.

    “When they next encountered an Indigenous person while they were in uniform, their assessment of the threat level was definitely changed,” she said.

    The blanket exercise will be tied to the cadets’ module on missing persons investigations.

    Throughout the blanket exercise, which was held in the Aboriginal Cadet Heritage Room, participants heard that, prior to colonization, First Nations people fished, hunted and farmed. They each had a language and laws, and made treaties to resolve conflicts.

    Participants read first-person perspectives, as well as a series of facts, such as:

    The last member of the Beothuk, the original First Nations inhabitants of Newfoundland, died in St. John’s in 1829.

    The 1783 creation of the U.S./Canada border divided existing communities.

    The 1876 Indian Act banned traditional ceremonies like smudging and potlatch.

    First Nations people lost their status if they went to university, became teachers, doctors, lawyers or soldiers.

    Inuit people today are 186 times more likely to get tuberculosis than most other Canadians.

    Canada voted against the United Nations’ Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was enacted in 2007. It only approved the declaration in 2016.

    The RCMP has been part of the problem. One Inuit man told how the RCMP shot his sled dogs, which prevented him from hunting.

    The RCMP “often” helped remove children from their homes to attend residential schools, where thousands of children died and many experienced physical and sexual abuse.

    Throughout the workshop, as the story of colonization went on, the blankets got smaller and smaller, to the point that the participants ended up on squares no bigger than their feet.

    This represents reserve lands, which comprise less than 0.5 per cent of Canada; 70 per cent of land that was set aside in more than 300 treaties has been lost or taken away.

    KAIROS Canada developed the blanket exercise in 1997, a response to the federal government’s 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.


  • Jack 3:25 am on December 7, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , goreway station partnership, hydro ripoff, ontario crime, , , ,   

    Brampton Mess 

    A Brampton power plant “gamed” Ontario’s electricity system to get at least $89 million in payments it was not entitled to over a three-year period ending in 2012, says an explosive new report that warns it could happen again.

    The Ontario Energy Board found the Goreway Station Partnership “repeatedly exploited defects” in the system by which the provincial Independent Electricity System Operator pays suppliers for power.

    “Goreway routinely submitted what were obviously inappropriate expenses to be reimbursed by the IESO and ultimately borne by Ontario ratepayers,” the energy board concludes in a 55-page report first revealed by CBC Radio.

    Goreway has been fined $10 million and repaid a “substantial portion” of the inappropriate payments received — but the report does not specify how much and says that information will remain confidential at Goreway’s request.

    The rules by which suppliers are reimbursed for expenses are complex and create “opportunities for exploitation,” the report notes.

    While the IESO — which is in charge of arranging Ontario’s daily electricity supply from all suppliers to the system, from gas-fired plants to hydroelectric dams and nuclear plants — is working on the problem, the report adds “that solution is many years away.”

    Along with the payback amount from Goreway, names of personnel involved in the management and operation of the power plant have also been redacted from the report.

    Lawyers for Goreway disputed elements of the investigation by the energy board’s market surveillance panel (MSP) in a letter dated August 1.

    “Although Goreway does not agree with many of the draft report’s findings and conclusions, including that Goreway engaged in gaming or that it deliberatedly misled the IESO, Goreway takes the MSP’s position on these issues seriously,” wrote lawyer George Vegh of McCarthy Tetrault.

    “Goreway has implemented initiatives designed to ensure that compliance is a central operating principle at Goreway, that a culture of compliance is supported throughout the organization.”

    The measures include the appointment of a chief compliance officer who reports to Goreway’s board of directors.

    Energy Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

    The energy board report was quietly posted on the agency’s website November 2.


  • Jack 2:57 am on December 5, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: bc casino's, bc crime, , , david eby, , , ,   


    Attorney General David Eby says he was stunned by internal briefings about the alleged reach of transnational organized crime groups into B.C. casinos.

    In a speech Friday at an anti-corruption conference in Vancouver, Eby said he could not reveal details of his concerns because of the continuing police investigations. But he gave new indications of how serious he believes the situation is.

    Eby also announced that the first recommendations by Peter German, Eby’s independent reviewer into allegations of money laundering in B.C. casinos, will be released on Tuesday.

    In his speech, Eby said he will never forget the first briefing he received from members of B.C.’s gaming enforcement branch when he became attorney general last summer.

    “One of the members of the public service said, ‘Get ready. I think we are going to blow your mind.’ While I cannot share all of the details, I can advise you that the briefing outlined for me allegations of serious, large-scale, transnational laundering of the proceeds of crime in British Columbia casinos,” Eby said. “And I was advised that the particular style of money laundering in B.C. related to B.C. casinos is being called, quote, ‘the Vancouver model’ in at least one international intelligence community.”

    Eby suggested that a “lax attitude” towards regulation of B.C. casinos, during a period when the previous government had enjoyed “massive increases in provincial gambling revenue,” seems to have contributed to the problems today in B.C.’s gambling system.

    Eby pointed specifically to a decision by the B.C. Liberal government to cancel funding of a police unit that tackled illegal gambling, after the unit identified concerns with organized crime influence in B.C. casinos and proposed changes “to improve the ability of the existing policing team in identifying and prosecuting offenders.”

    “There were countless red flags from regulators,” in recent years, Eby said. “And it is important to note that this same period was a period of exceptional growth in the province’s gaming revenues.”

    Eby also noted that The Vancouver Sun has obtained internal documents regarding investigations in B.C. casinos, and his government believes that whistleblowers who share such information must be protected. New legislation to protect whistleblowers will be introduced in 2018, he said.

    “The public is no longer in the dark about what is going on,” Eby said. “And they shouldn’t be. And there is more to come.”

    Eby added that allegations of transnational money laundering linked to casinos go deeper than that: “I have reason to believe that these matters might be linked to other areas of B.C.’s economy.”

    Eby also said that he believes B.C.’s property ownership system — in which true owners of property can hide behind opaque legal mechanisms — could be attracting foreign criminals and corrupt officials seeking to hide wealth in the province. Eby said Finance Minister Carole James is working on reforms to pull back legal veils that cover true ownership of property and corporations.

    Eby pointed to a 2016 study by Transparency International that showed real estate buyers in B.C. are using shell companies, trusts and nominee buyers to hide their beneficial interest in property.

    In examining Vancouver’s 100 most valuable homes, the report found that 46 per cent — amounting to more than
 $1 billion in assets — have opaque ownership. Of the 100 properties, 29 are held through shell companies, at least 11 are owned through nominees (listed as students or housewives on land titles), and at least six are disclosed as being held in trust for anonymous beneficiaries, the report said.

    Eby said B.C.’s landownership system could be connected to Metro Vancouver’s skyrocketing home prices. Top economists have “made inescapable arguments that taxable incomes reported to Revenue Canada have no connection to real estate values in Metro Vancouver until you get out to the distant suburbs of Vancouver,” Eby said.

    Eby said that James “is doing the policy work required to reform our land and corporate registries to increase transparency.”

    In a panel discussion on corruption in Canada, several lawyers discussed Eby’s views on B.C. casinos and real estate.

    “I heard something that sounds like a commitment to reform beneficial ownership transparency,” said lawyer Paul Lalonde, a Transparency International board member. “We are very encouraged by what we heard.”

    Corruption is a systemic issue, the experts agreed, and it is a problem that, in Canada, has only been studied deeply in Quebec. A report found that organized crime reached deep into public works contracting in that province. But serious corruption exists across Canada, and concerning indications are growing in B.C., panelists agreed.


  • Jack 3:32 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: gdls canada, general dynamics, , norman de bono, stryker combat vehicle, weapons upgrade   


    Made-in-London military armour is getting a lot more firepower.

    Some Stryker light armoured vehicles, a mainstay of the U.S. army, are being equipped with a 30-millimetre cannon and anti-tank missiles as the army beefs up its ground forces in Europe.

    Called “upgunning” in military parlance, the changes aim to boost the vehicles’ “lethality” as they face a growing role in Europe, said Col. Glenn Dean, project manager for the Stryker combat team.

    “This need became increasingly evident to the army given increased aggression in that region against a backdrop of limited U.S. armoured forces remaining in Europe,” Dean said by email, adding the new Strykers will be know as “Dragoons.”

    The 2nd Calvary Regiment and its 81 Strykers will offer direct fire support to infantry, he added.

    The new 30 mm cannon can be fired from within the vehicle using a remote weapons station and will first deploy with the European-based 2nd Cavalry on Stryker infantry carrier vehicles.

    From the time the program, known as the Stryker lethality program, was funded to first prototype delivery was only 15 months, Dean said.

    “Not only does this provide improved firepower, it also enhances vehicle survivability by providing standoff against potential threat weapons,” he said.

    As to why this is happening, military publications point to a “fast-changing global threat scenario, which includes the emergence of Russian aggression and accelerated Chinese military modernization — along with rapid global proliferation of attack drones and longer-range precision-guided weapons,” said an article on the website nationalinterest.org.

    The 30 mm cannon can be used to counter unmanned military drones, a growing threat in battle. It will feature “airburst” technology, meaning its rounds can detonate near a target and cause damage.

    “The new weapons are designed to support infantry units on the move in major combat, assist ground formations in armoured warfare, identify and destroy ground and air threats from greater standoff ranges and better enable the army to succeed,” said an article on Scout Warrior, a military news website.

    Stryker armoured vehicles are born in London, before being sent to other General Dynamics plants in the U.S. for final assembly of several variants, from troop carriers and ambulances to mobile gun systems.

    The program will see some work land in London, with suspensions for the armour being done here. It is not known yet whether GDLS will hire more workers as a result of the U.S. army program, said Doug Wilson-Hodge, spokesperson for GDLS Canada on Oxford Street.

    As for where other work will be done, the Dragoon infantry carrier vehicle is assembled by General Dynamics Land Systems in Anniston, Ala., with the turret supplied by Kongsberg Defence in Johnstown, Pa. Work on other variants will be done at GDLS plants in Mesa, Ariz., and Lima, Ohio.

    The program was approved in 2015 and the U.S. military has been testing and evaluating equipped Stryker prototypes in Maryland since January, with field and final testing set to begin in January.

    The army aims to see the entire 81-vehicle brigade deployed in Poland and Germany next year.

    “Army weapons developers are looking to harvest key insights from the current effort and are already looking far beyond equipping Stryker units in Europe toward a larger-scale, fleet-wide upgrade,” nationalinterest.org reported.


  • Jack 4:59 am on November 25, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: blm, , daily caller, david krayden, , , , toronto education, toronto police, toronto politics   


    The Toronto branch of Black Lives Matter (BLM) is claiming victory now that uniformed police offices are no longer welcome at the city’s schools. As CBC News reports, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) supported a resolution Wednesday night to end the School Resource Officer (SRO) program that was enacted to protect children from gang violence.

    BLM has agitated against the program from its beginning almost a decade ago, claiming the police are intimidating black and other minority kids.

    Members of BLM attended the school board meeting and cheered when its members voted to can the program. Rodney Diverlus, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, was ecstatic about the decision.

    “This has been a 10-year battle with a number of organizations that extend way beyond even the beginning of BLM Toronto. The community was not consulted when this program was created,” he told CBC. “I think there’s a relief … there’s a sense of justice, there’s a sense that we’ve been heard.”The TDSB claims it is only responding to “marginalized voices” with the decision.

    In a statement, TDSB chair Robin Pilkey said, “Over recent months, we have listened to marginalized voices that have not always been heard. We have heard loud and clear that the SRO program is not welcome by a significant number of our students and that’s why we’ve made the difficult decision to end the program at the TDSB.”

    However, according to its own report, 57 percent of respondents supported the presence of police at city schools, with only 10 percent opposing.

    Those numbers are outraging some, including the Toronto police who wonder what the school board’s agenda is. “How do they reconcile that?” Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack asked, suggesting the survey numbers demonstrated that public opinion was directly behind the police,

    ”I think they’ll live to regret that decision,” he told CBC News.

    Toronto police began to patrol city schools in 2008 after a Grade 9 student was killed as a result of gang violence the previous year.


  • Jack 3:20 am on November 24, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , ,   


    As part of its ambitious national housing strategy, the Liberal government is vowing to enshrine the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right in Canadian law, a symbolic move that has practical considerations.

    For years there has been an international push to do just that, and Canada is already a signatory to the UN-backed International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes housing as a right.

    “Housing rights are human rights and everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home… and one person on the streets in Canada is too many,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday in announcing the long-awaited, roughly $40-billion plan to help fund the construction of more social housing, repair old units and deliver up to $2,500 a year in rent support for vulnerable families.

    Trudeau defends timing of housing funding

    Don Iveson, Edmonton’s mayor, and the current chair of the Big City Mayor’s caucus, championed the announcement Wednesday, in part because of its commitment to protect housing as a human right.

    ‘A fundamental need’

    “Access to adequate housing is not just something that our citizens simply want or desire, but it is a fundamental need — a human right, even — and I believe that this announcement is the start of treating it as such.”

    But just because housing could soon become a “right” — albeit not one embedded in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — the government is not expected to supply a house to every man, woman and child within its borders.

    “While most governments are involved to some degree in housing construction, the right to adequate housing clearly does not oblige the government to construct a nation’s entire housing stock,” the UN suggested in its recent report on the issue.

    “Rather, the right to adequate housing covers measures that are needed to prevent homelessness, prohibit forced evictions, address discrimination, focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, ensure security of tenure to all, and guarantee that everyone’s housing is adequate.”

    In addition to Wednesday’s announced plan, the government is preparing a separate Indigenous housing strategy — to be released at an unspecified later date — that it says will be tailored to the unique needs of the many inadequately housed Indigenous communities where market-based solutions are often unfeasible.

    Enshrines a public sector role

    Importantly, a recognition that housing is a human right triggers some expectations under international law and demands the government act to address persistent problems. It is also a tacit admission that charities alone cannot solve the problem and that the public sector should take the lead coordinating solutions.

    The federal government has revealed the details of its ten-year, multibillion-dollar national housing strategy

    Guy Caron, the NDP’s parliamentary leader, said he hopes the Liberal government’s pledge is more than simply semantics. “It’s one thing to actually say that housing is a right, it’s another one to actually ensure that it’s legislated properly.”

    The government has tried to counter such skepticism by promising to soon introduce legislation in Parliament that will commit this government, and all future governments, to maintaining a national housing plan, and producing yearly reports on progress towards reducing homelessness.

    This is an effort to ensure action in this area is not limited to the Trudeau government alone. The Liberals are also appointing a federal housing advocate, which they say will ensure accountability and transparency of future leaders.

    Liberal plan checks the boxes: expert

    When the Ontario Human Rights Commission studied this very issue, they found, while most housing advocates welcomed a pledge to protect housing as a right, they were more interested in practical measures that might be made towards making it a right, such as:

    • Governments setting reasonable targets to get more people into homes (the Liberal plan promises 530,000 households will find more secure housing when the strategy is fully implemented).
    • Allocating sufficient funds.
    • Improving rental housing options.
    • Adopting measures to address discrimination.

    Singh reacts to Liberals housing strategy

    Farha said the pledge to reduce chronic shelter usage by half by the year 2026 is “too timid,” and Canada could have set a more ambitious target.
    Detroit Water Shutoffs

    Leilani Farha, a United Nations human rights expert, and the executive director of Canada Without Poverty, left, said the Liberal government’s housing strategy checks many of the boxes a ‘human rights approach’ to housing demands. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

     Leilani Farha, the executive director of Canada Without Poverty and a UN rapporteur, said the Liberal plan checks many of the boxes used to define a “human rights approach” to housing, among them legal recognition of the right to housing, a commitment to equality, measurable goals and timelines, and a comprehensive plan and accountability measures.

    Historic step

    “This housing strategy, I can’t say it’s leading in the world, and there’s some real weaknesses that need to be addressed, but it’s a solid rights-based strategy,” she said.

    Farha said the pledge to reduce chronic shelter usage by half by the year 2026 is “too timid,” and Canada could have set a more ambitious target.


    Leilani Farha, a United Nations human rights expert, and the executive director of Canada Without Poverty, left, said the Liberal government’s housing strategy checks many of the boxes a ‘human rights approach’ to housing demands. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

    “It’s historic to have adopted a housing strategy at all, but to have added to that all these strong human rights recognitions … for me it’s a really big step that this government, and all governments of Canada, have really resisted in the past. They’ve been repeatedly told, since 1993, by the UN that they need a housing strategy. So, it’s been a long time coming.”

    Importantly, the Liberals consulted widely with the homeless, and those who live in insecure housing, before unveiling their plan, Farha said.

    She said that sort of outreach is what led to the creation of the $2,500 housing benefit, which ties housing assistance to a person rather than a unit, meaning it can be used by those who move around for school or work.

    “It has to be people-centred and that’s not just a throwaway tokenism … It means every step of the way people who are affected have to be involved in a meaningful way in the process and in the rollout. And they’ve done that.”


    See Also:

    (1) Passive income changes could net feds $6 billion, PBO says (Ed: The changes are NOT passive. Somebody is getting screwed.)

  • Jack 5:50 am on November 19, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , eric atkins, , ice road   

    Ice Road 

    Churchill has been without a land link since spring flooding led to the closing of the railway, but an ice road to the remote Manitoba town on the shore of Hudson Bay is expected to be completed by Christmas.

    The new road over frozen muskeg, waterways and rock covers about 60 kilometres of the 280-km stretch, said Mark Kohaykewych, owner of Polar Industries Ltd., which has built ice roads all over Canada’s north.

    “Things are freezing quickly up there. We’re having ideal conditions – minimal snow and cold temperatures,” he said by phone.

    Churchill’s 900 residents have had to rely on planes and boats for supplies since the Hudson Bay Railway sustained washouts in May and closed. The federal government sued the railway’s owner this week for failing to repair and operate the line, in violation of a 2008 agreement. Ottawa is seeking about $20-million it says it contributed to the railway’s upkeep.

    Omnitrax Inc. has refused to repair the damaged rail line, which runs over unstable tundra and terrain ill-suited to heavy trains. OmniTrax, owner of several small railways, says repairs will cost at least $43-million, and it is focused on selling the port and rail line.

    The company has threatened Ottawa with a complaint under the North American free-trade agreement. The company said its 1997 purchase of the Port of Churchill and the railway were rendered not viable by the government’s dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board, the HBR’s main shipper.

    Once the ice road to Churchill is complete, large snow-tracked vehicles will haul trains of one to four sleighs carrying a total of 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of goods, Mr. Kohaykewych said.

    A crew of about 20 men and 15 pieces of heavy machinery are working north of Gillam, Man., packing down the route and flooding creeks and rivers where the ice is too thin. The company based near Winnipeg is partnering with contractors that work in the region and has applied for government funding to cover the costs of the $3-million project.

    “It’s definitely one of the most challenging and most remote projects we have ever done. We’re making history here – making a path to a place that’s never been accessed by road,” he said. “It goes from one extreme to the other. We start off in the rocky Canadian Shield and then we cross into muskeg and the last half of it is going into tundra.”

    Crews are staying in a mobile camp or in nearby trappers’ cabins owned by Fox Lake First Nations, a partner in the project.

    Meanwhile, Ottawa said late on Thursday that Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. has expressed an interest in buying the railway, port and other assets in partnership with two previously named parties, Missinippi Rail and One North. The government said its chief negotiator is working exclusively with the Fairfax-led group.

    “The Churchill rail corridor and the Port of Churchill are important pieces of infrastructure for northern communities and to the economy of Canada,” said Paul Rivett, president of Fairfax, in a statement. “Partnering with First Nations and communities is the right model for this investment.”

    Fairfax has a large stake in Regina-based grain processor and exporter AGT Food and Ingredients Inc., raising the possibility Churchill could resume its grain-terminal operations under new owners. Churchill is a deep-water port with shorter transit times to Europe. However, its short shipping season reduces its commercial viability.

    “We have deep experience in infrastructure projects and have the necessary operational expertise to run short-line railways in partnership with our investee company AGT Foods. The key is that the plan has to be viable and profitable in the long term as a business,” Mr. Rivett said.

    OmniTrax said on Friday that it has not been contacted by Fairfax about a sale. “That said, we continue to welcome a sale that would provide fair value for the assets and a solution for the people of Churchill,” the company said in an e-mail.


  • Jack 3:00 am on November 17, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: brad wall, , leadership race, rob clarke, saskatchewan party, saskatchewan politics   

    Rob Clarke 

    SASKATOON — A former Conservative member of Parliament and RCMP sergeant wants to replace Brad Wall as premier of Saskatchewan.

    Rob Clarke has entered the race to lead the Saskatchewan Party and, ultimately, become premier.

    Wall, who has been one of Canada’s highest-profile premiers, is retiring after a decade in office, and a new leader is to be chosen Jan. 27.

    Clarke left the RCMP and became an MP for the northern Saskatchewan riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River from 2008 until he was defeated in the 2015 federal election.

    He is the sixth contender for Wall’s job.

    Clarke says he’s the only candidate who can stop the NDP’s rising popularity, and notes the New Democrats have taken two seats from the Sask. Party in recent byelections.

    “The NDP have won power in B.C. and Alberta, and they will win power here unless we hit reset on this party and government,” Clarke said in a news release Wednesday.

    “As an outsider with a lifetime of strong leadership, I am the NDP’s worst nightmare.”

    Also in the race is former social services minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor, former justice minister Gord Wyant, former environment minister Scott Moe, Ken Cheveldayoff from parks, culture and sport, and Alanna Koch, the premier’s former deputy minister.


  • Jack 2:49 pm on November 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: abigail bimman, , canadian deportation, , , global news, , , , , stewart bell,   

    Immigrant Trouble 

    Video available…

    A Jordanian citizen, Othman Hamdan worked construction in northern B.C. and, in his spare time, ran social media accounts that supported the so-called Islamic State and celebrated terrorist attacks in Canada.

    A hearing to decide whether Hamdan should be deported is planned but figures obtained by Global News show the government has been removing far fewer foreign nationals who pose security and criminal risks than it used to.

    The number of foreign citizens deported for security, crime, organized crime and international human rights abuses has dropped by about a third since 2014, according to Canada Border Services Agency figures.

    READ MORE: Canadians are concerned refugees pose a terror threat. Should they be worried?

    During that same period, the number awaiting deportation on those grounds has more than doubled to 1,164. They include 20 ordered deported on security grounds and 35 for organized crime.

    In effect, the number of non-Canadians deemed by the government to be too dangerous to remain in the country has gone up but the number being successfully deported has gone down.

    As a result, there are currently almost 1,200 citizens of foreign countries living in Canada despite having been ordered deported for the most serious reasons such as membership in terrorist organizations and gangs.

    A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) logo is seen on a worker during a tour of the Infield Terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, December 8, 2015.

    A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) logo is seen on a worker during a tour of the Infield Terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, December 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch

    “The number has increased slightly year over year,” said Barre Campbell, a border agency spokesperson.

    The CBSA did not say how many of those awaiting deportation were detained.

    Asked why removals had declined so significantly, Campbell initially responded that the CBSA would “not speculate.” In a subsequent statement, the agency attributed the drop to troubles obtaining travel documents.

    “While the CBSA continues to prioritize these cases for removal, obtaining travel documents for these persons continues to be the single largest impediment to removal,” Campbell said.

    Before sending deportees back to their home countries, the CBSA has to obtain travel papers for them from their governments. The spokesperson did not explain why that had become more difficult over the past three years.

    READ MORE: 32,000 asylum seekers entered Canada, 6,000 work permits awarded, 9 deported: officials

    But the head of the union that represents border officers said it was partly a resource issue. Border officers who deal with removals are a “very small group” and they had been pulled off their regular case loads to handle the surge of refugee claimants such as those walking into Canada at places like Lacolle, Que., said Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union.

    “So basically all their files have been put aside in order to process these refugee claims,” he said. “They’ve been full time at the border.”

    He said the number of CBSA officers was also down despite the growing demands on them.

    “What we’re saying, give us the proper amount of resources to deal with that, and right now we’re getting onto a very dangerous slope.”

    The Liberal government has been reassuring Canadians that rigorous screening measures are in place to weed out refugee claimants and immigrants who pose security and crime risks.

    But the CBSA figures suggest that while screening has identified migrants who are inadmissible to Canada due to terrorist or criminal backgrounds, returning them to their own countries has become increasingly difficult.

    Removals in the four most serious categories of inadmissibility — security, human rights, crime and organized crime — were in the 1,200s from 2012 to 2014. But in 2015 they dropped to 1,025, then went down again to 810 in 2016. There have been 648 such removals so far this year.

    The number deported for security reasons was 12 in 2013 but dropped to nine in 2014. Five were deported in 2015. Among them was Aqeeq Ansari, a Pakistani terrorist group member who had stockpiled firearms and ammunition at his Peterborough, Ont. home.

    Also deported for security that year was Jahanzeb Malik, another Pakistani who had trained in Libya and was caught by an undercover RCMP officer plotting bomb attacks in Toronto.

    Another five were removed for security in 2016 but so far, there have been just three security-related deportations up to the end of October 2017.

    The same downward trend applies to removals for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They dropped from eight in 2014 to one this year. Removals for crime are also down. Those for organized crime are up this year but have still fallen since 2014.

    The drop in deportations is noteworthy because the number of security and human rights cases referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board for hearings has climbed during that same period.

    Last year, 67 security cases were finalized by the IRB, up from 36 in 2013. Human rights-related cases were also up, to 26 last year from 10 in 2013. The total number of IRB cases in the four key categories remained relatively unchanged.

    WATCH: Should the Edmonton terror suspect face deportation?

    Michelle Rempel, the Conservative immigration critic, said Sunday the government had an obligation to remove those found inadmissible to Canada as quickly as possible.

    “It is concerning that there seems to be a trend away from this,” she said.

    She said she wanted to know what the government was doing to track those awaiting deportation and to expedite the process of removing them.

    “People who aren’t eligible to be in Canada shouldn’t be in Canada,” she said.


    © 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


  • Jack 3:17 am on November 10, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: brian platt, , , david mcguinty, ,   

    New Committee 

    OTTAWA — In the next few weeks, a group of 11 MPs and senators who have received top security clearances and signed lifetime confidentiality oaths will start getting briefings on the country’s most sensitive national security issues.

    The brand new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which had its membership announced Monday, marks the first time Canada has allowed parliamentarians outside of cabinet to review its national security agencies. It also finally catches Canada up to its “Five Eyes” intelligence allies (the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand), who already have such bodies.

    The committee, chaired by Liberal MP David McGuinty, will have Liberal MPs Emmanuel Dubourg, Hedy Fry, Gudie Hutchings and Brenda Shanahan; Conservative MPs Gord Brown and Tony Clement; NDP MP Murray Rankin; and senators Percy Downe, Frances Lankin and Vernon White.

    In an interview, McGuinty said the group will likely start working by the Christmas break, but it still needs to hire its executive and research staff, and arrange for secure facilities to meet in and read through classified documents.

    “Everybody is ready to go, very keen to serve,” he said.

    “But all of us are going to need some very significant, comprehensive, detailed briefings about the state of national security and intelligence in Canada today, in the Five Eyes today, and globally.”

    It remains to be seen how much of the committee’s touchy work will become public, as the Prime Minister’s Office retains the right to redact reports. The legislation also allows ministers to deny access to some operational information. The committee’s only recourse would be to go public with its complaint.

    But speaking to the National Post, incoming members said they’re keen to bring greater transparency to an area of government that’s largely hidden from public view.

    “We are the parliamentarians, we’re supposed to be the eyes and ears for the people of Canada, and it was an embarrassment for Canadians to not have had a committee like ours for so many years,” said Rankin, who has previous experience as legal counsel in national security matters.

    Fry, one of the longest-serving MPs in the House, having first been elected in 1993, said protecting civil liberties will be top of mind.

    “The number one priority of this committee is to ensure that balance…that the civil liberties of Canadians are safeguarded while their safety and security are ensured,” she said. “But it means that we will have to be bold, that we will have to take on, in some ways, the established institutions and departments.”

    Lankin, who before becoming a senator had served on the agency that oversees the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said she thinks the committee will have a “particular citizen focus” to its work.

    “You will see a group of people that will be very concentrated on looking at how the activities of these organizations fulfill their mandate, but do so respecting the rights of Canadians…I think there will be lots to do, and I think it will be a pretty energetic group by the looks of it.”

    One of the committee’s biggest selling points is the breadth of its mandate, being able to take a “bird’s-eye view” and inquire into the work of every agency that does national security work, from the RCMP to the military to the immigration authorities.

    Senator Frances Lankin: “We will have to be bold.”
    But it will require the MPs and senators to build relationships with security officials (the committee doesn’t have subpoena powers), and to navigate disputes over access to information or redactions.

    “Our report could be redacted, but the thrust of it will certainly become public,” Rankin said. “Over time, I’m sure we’ll have an impact. You can’t ignore 11 individuals from the Senate and the House who actually know what they’re talking about because they’ve been given access to classified information.”

    The committee will file an annual report, but can also file special reports on a matter deemed particularly important. Whether they announce ahead of time what they’re studying is one of many questions they have yet to determine, McGuinty said.

    “There is a practice that has to emerge here, but first we’ve got to get together and begin,” he said.

    McGuinty said he’s confident the committee can operate outside partisan lines, and will thoughtfully take on a role that Canada’s government has never seen before.

    “We’re the first group ever of Canadian legislators cleared to a top secret level to be able to hear the testimony and read the evidence,” he said.

    “We’re not here on behalf of the executive of the government of Canada, we’re here as legislators who have a responsibility to continue to hold the government to account.”


    • Jack 3:00 pm on November 10, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This situation deeply bothers me because I take security seriously. Why would I say that? Because David McGuinty is Dalton McGuinty’s brother and we all know how that situation ended up.

      I have no belief that security will be maintained, especially with Hedy Fry at the table. This is a very bad idea but the Liberals/NDP are famous for that. Nobody should be surprised by what happens next.

      “Nuff said”….

  • Jack 3:42 pm on November 5, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , colin perkel, , , , , ,   

    Not Again!? 

    TORONTO — An Algerian man is set to sue the federal government for the abuses he says he suffered at the hands of American security forces after he left Canada 15 years ago.

    Djamel Ameziane

    Djamel Ameziane…

    The unproven allegations by Djamel Ameziane, who was never charged or prosecuted, raise further questions about Canada’s complicity in the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay — a topic his lawyer said demands a full-scale public inquiry.

    “My current situation is really bad, I am struggling to survive,” Ameziane, 50, said from near Algiers. “I was repatriated from Guantanamo and left like almost homeless. I couldn’t find a job because of the Guantanamo stigma and my age, so a settlement would be very helpful to me to get my life back together.”

    In a draft statement of claim obtained by The Canadian Press, Ameziane seeks damages of $50 million on the grounds that Canada’s security services co-operated with their U.S. counterparts even though they knew the Americans were abusing him.

    “The Crown’s conduct constituted acquiescence and tacit consent to the torture inflicted upon the plaintiff,” the lawsuit alleges.

    Canadian intelligence, the suit alleges, began sharing information with the Americans after failing to pick up on the 1999 “Millennium plot” in which Abdul Ressam, another Algerian who had been living in Montreal, aimed to blow up the Los Angeles airport. After 9/11, Canadian agents interrogated Ameziane at the infamous American prison in Cuba, as they did Canada’s Omar Khadr, according to the claim.

    Ameziane’s Edmonton-based lawyer, Nate Whitling, said the government’s recent out-of-court settlement — worth a reported $10.5 million — with Khadr over violation of his rights has prevented scrutiny of Canada’s alleged complicity in abuses at Guantanamo Bay. A judicial inquiry is needed, Whitling said.

    “Only then can the Canadian public come to understand the extent to which Canada is responsible for the torture of innocent detainees in the aftermath of 9/11,” Whitling said.

    The lawyer, who said he planned to file the lawsuit in Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton on Monday, said Ameziane would be prepared to put the claim on hold in exchange for an inquiry. Whitling also said two other people planned similar suits that name the federal government, RCMP and Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.

    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale had no comment given the pending legal proceedings.

    The U.S. detained Ameziane at Guantanamo Bay for more than 11 years until his release in December 2013.

    “For many years, I had the idea of suing the Canadian government but didn’t know how and honestly didn’t know it was possible until I read the news about the settlement of Omar Khadr, who was my fellow inmate in Guantanamo Bay,” Ameziane said. “The action I am taking may also make (Canadian officials) think twice before acting against the interests of Canada and Canada’s human values.”

    According to his claim, Ameziane left Algeria in the 1990s to escape rising violence there. After working as a chef in Austria, he came to Canada in December 1995 and asked for refugee status. He lived in Montreal for five years, attending mosques where the Americans said members of al-Qaida prayed.

    When Canada rejected his request for asylum, Ameziane opted to go to Afghanistan rather than Algeria, where he feared abuse. He left Afghanistan for Pakistan in October 2001 when fighting erupted, but was captured and turned over to American forces in exchange for a bounty, his claim states.

    The Americans first took him to a detention facility in Kandahar, where he alleges guards brutalized him, then sent him to Guantanamo Bay based partly on information provided by Canadian intelligence, according to his claim.

    Ameziane, who denies any terrorism links, says Canadian agents interviewed him in Guantanamo in February and May 2003 and turned over recordings of the interrogations to the Americans. They did so, he claims, despite widespread allegations that U.S. forces were abusing detainees and even though they knew he faced no charges and had no access to a lawyer or the courts.

    Ameziane alleged American officials interrogated him hundreds of times and abused him when they decided he wasn’t co-operating. The abuse, he alleges, included sleep-deprivation, intrusive genital searches, pepper-spraying, waterboarding, being left in freezing conditions, and having his head slammed against walls and the floor, dislocating his jaw.

    “Canadian officials came to interview me on two occasions (and) they not only shared information about me with my American torturers but even tried to get information out of me that had nothing to do with Canada in order to help my American torturers,” Ameziane said. “I refused to answer questions, after that I was subjected to a worse treatment by the Americans.”


    • donpear 7:57 pm on November 5, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What in the hell is happening in both Canada and the U.S.
      It’s notable that Canada is being damaged by a candy-ass led Liberal (socialist) government, almost to the extent of no return, and the U.S., though having elected the G.O.P., are being led by the nose by a destructive Democratic party who may profess to be moderate but, in fact, are becoming, more and more, a left wing party led by extremists and dishonest leaders. (can you say Hillary and countless professors and university students to say nothing of various other political movements ).
      I don’t think Trump has a chance for a second term as any changes he wants to make will be watered or completely shut down by the aforementioned Democrats and, as well by dissidents
      in his own party.
      Canada, of course, is fast becoming a lost cause as a free country if we continue to elect
      unqualified and feckless leaders such as we seem prone to do when you see the likes of Trudeau still gaining in popularity.

      I can only hope for the sake of our children and grandchildren that we come to our senses before it is too late, although, I probably won’t be around to see the outcome.

      The alternative is too hard to contemplate.

      • Jack 2:43 pm on November 10, 2017 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Keep the faith, Don. This story is just beginning to explode and there is much more to come.

  • Jack 3:41 am on October 27, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: asian ladybug, biting insect, , fake ladbugs, gabrielle marchand, harmonia axyridis   

    Another Pest 

    A pesky kind of ladybug could be coming to a home near you.

    According to Health Canada, Asian lady beetles were brought to North America in the 1970s to control crop-eating insects.

    But entomologist Taz Stuart told CTV news that unlike ladybugs native to North American, the Asian lady beetle has been known to bite.

    “They look like a ladybug, and at this time of year they’re coming in from the crops and the fields, and now looking for a place to stay over the winter and hibernate,” Stuart said.

    And with cooler temperatures, Stuart said people can expect to see a buildup of the pests around cracks, crevices, door frames and windowsills.

    Stuart works for Poulin’s Pest Control, and said he noticed a spike last October in people reaching out about the insects.

    “Previous to 2016, you really wouldn’t see a lot of Asian lady beetles around here,” Stuart said

    “But last year we had an increase: a good number of calls in the fall around Halloween, and people were concerned.”

    The busy season prompted Stuart to dub them Halloween bugs.

    Stuart said the beetles can be problematic in a home, as they will leave a stench in they die in numbers.

    According to Health Canada, Asian lady beetles do not transmit disease, and can range from mustard yellow to dark reddish orange with spots or no spots at all.

    Asian lady beetles will also often have an M-shaped marking behind their heads.

    A regular visitor to the Maple Grove Dog Park, Jessica Nikkel said she first came across the insects was when walking on a back trail recently with her pup Molly.

    She had what felt like a black fly bite, but was surprised when she looked down.

    “And sure enough I looked and it was ladybug,” Nikkel said.

    Byron Hildebrand walks in the area every day with his dog Tash, and told CTV he had a similar experience.

    “I was just walking along the path and I felt this pinprick feeling and saw a lady bug,” Hildebrand said.

    Both expressed surprise that a ladybug would bite.

    If the bugs infest a home, Stuart said there’s a number of ways to deal with them, including vacuuming them up and throwing them out.


    See Also:

    (1) Ladybug look-alikes are landing in Louisiana

    (2) Ladybug Look-a-Likes are Invading Texas

    (3) Beetles Embedded in Dog’s Mouth?

    (4) Good and Bad Ladybugs

    (5) Asian Lady Beetles

  • Jack 3:20 am on October 21, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: burqa ban, , , , , ,   

    Why the Fuss? 

    President Donald Trump may be fighting off accusations — unfounded and ridiculous — that his travel ban on terror hotspot tourists is actually a Muslim ban.

    But in Quebec, it’s much, much closer to the real thing, Lawmakers there just passed a bill barring those who wear face coverings — yes, like the niqab, like the burqa — from accessing public services. This is a smart, safety-oriented measure. But Muslims will protest, claiming they’re unfairly singled out by government. Ostensibly, clowns wearing face masks won’t be allowed to ride public transportation, either, so it’s not as if the ban will only affect Muslims.

    But then again, there are probably more burqas drifting about than clown masks.

    And for veil-wearing Muslim women, the soon-to-be reality will be this: Want to board that train? Lose the burqa. The same applies to those working in government jobs — they’ll have to drop the face coverings, or face firings.

    Wow. What’s even more interesting is that Quebec is pretty liberal in political leanings. Maybe America needs to import some of those left-leaning politicos to plant into our Democratic Party.

    From The New York Times: “The law will prohibit public workers like doctors and teachers from covering their faces at work, and will effectively bar Muslim women who wear face veils from using public transportation or obtaining public health care services, although it will be possible to apply for exemptions.”

    Advocates say they’re not trying to target any particular religion, and will work to make sure Muslims aren’t unfairly singled out for enforcement. But come on now. Let’s be real. Who hides their faces in public but Muslim women?

    Anarchists — but they’re not a religion.

    Critics say the law’s unnecessary because it’s not as if scores of veil-wearing Muslim women were trying to gain public service sector jobs in the first place.

    But likely, they walk around in public — ride the public transportation — access plenty of other public services.

    “We are just saying that for reasons linked to communication, identification and safety, public services should be given and received with an open face,” said Premier Philippe Couillard of Quebec, CNN reported. “We are in a free and democratic society. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine. It’s as simple as that.”

    Yes, it is as simple as that. Why hide? Muslims will demand the law be struck, citing religious freedom reasons. But any religion that is shrouded so literally in secrecy ought to be closely monitored and watched. Full-face veils are already banned in public in France and to certain degrees in Belgium and parts of Switzerland. Quebec’s trade of transparency for public services is little more than the same.


    See Also:

    (1) Muslim anger as Canadians bring in burka ban

    (2) Some fears of Islam justified, human rights lawyer tells M103 committee

  • Jack 4:29 am on October 17, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: CNews, dr. kulvinder gill, dr. mark d'souza, oma, ontario health care, sue-ann levy   

    Sickening News 

    It’s enough to make you sick — or at the very least sicken Ontario’s 43,000 doctors.

    According to documents obtained by the Toronto Sun, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) spent nearly 40% of the roughly $68-million it took in last year, largely from doctor’s mandatory fees, sustaining its bloated bureaucracy in its Mink Mile digs and trying to convince members it has their best interests at heart.

    Those 2016 audited statements and a financial report to last fall’s OMA council meeting show that only $4.2-million went to negotiations in what was the third year physicians were without a contract — and as demoralized doctors faced the fallout of health minister Eric Hoskins’ 7% in unilateral cuts to fees.

    Dr. Kulvinder Gill, president and co-founder of Concerned Ontario Doctors, says the provincial government signed a special Rand agreement with the OMA in 1991 (allowing them to charge mandatory dues) precisely so they’d become the official negotiating body for doctors.

    To add insult to injury, the OMA brass spent $3.7-million on a four-hour general membership meeting last August to try to ram a contentious four-year deal with the Kathleen Wynne government down members’ throats.

    A cost breakdown from that meeting shows that the OMA ate up $397,943 alone on catering for a mere 586 delegates.

    Another $346,568 was blown to stage the meeting and a further $284,000 on communications strategy and research.

    The tentative four-year deal was voted down by 63% of the membership.

    Dr. Shawn Whatley, OMA president since May, defends the $3.7-million expenditure, saying it was “overbuilt” because it was the first general membership meeting in 25 years.

    “We didn’t know what to expect…we had to go overboard to make sure it was done right,” he said, insisting this past spring’s binding arbitration general meeting was a “fraction of the cost.”

    He promised to get me the actual cost of the latest general meeting — as well as the current staff count — before my deadline. But nothing ever came.

    As of July, the OMA had 248 full-time and nine part-time staff, many of whom do a great a job of “obstructing bureaucracy,” says Gill.

    “These staffers are very powerful… some have been there for decades and they get paid very well,” adds Mark D’Souza, an ER physician, who along Gill, were the first to resign their seats as district council chairmen in early July over what they saw as lack of accountability at the OMA.

    Gill says in the past four years, they’ve paid more than $200-million in dues to while the OMA has “passively stood by” watching the health ministry unilaterally cut $3.5-billion from patient services doctors provide and pass a number of bills that vilify doctors.

    D’Souza says he suspects the OMA will not be fighting for fee increases, either, to make up for the proposed federal tax reforms that could change the way doctors are permitted to retain earnings.

    The lack of transparency over finances has also been a bitter pill to swallow for 15-year physician Deron Brown, who resigned his council seat in late July.

    After vowing to dig deeper into OMA finances, he’s come to conclusion they are “aimless” when it comes to representing physicians’ best interests, but not so when it comes to their own best interests.

    “I’m certainly getting the sense there is a lack of transparency and vagueness in terms of disclosure,” he said, pegging a big part of the problem on the fact that their dues are mandatory and there is “no open competition” for doctor representation.

    Whatley, who spoke to me while in the midst of his $310,000 fall road show to update members, promised to report to membership in November on a “very thorough” operational review now being done by an outside management consulting firm (he wouldn’t name the firm).

    “It’s a top to bottom look through the organization…it’s like having someone go through your closet in your house,” said the new president, whose salary is also secret to members.

    “It’s quite stressful on the organization…I’m really proud of the whole team for agreeing to this,” he repeated more than once, sticking to his talking points.

    “The OMA will look and feel completely different in the next six to nine months… we’re in the midst of a massive turnaround,” he added.

    Gill said she’s heard this all before especially when PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was hired last fall to review the events surrounding the failed contract and ended up presenting a “non-forensic review” — particularly a timeline leading up to the vote.

    “OMA is 137-year-old bureaucracy that has no watchdog,” she says. “Ontario’s doctors demand a fully independent forensic review… independent eyes are desperately needed to come in and clean up the utter mess that exists in the OMA.”



    A snapshot of spending in 2016

    • Amount taken in from membership dues: $50.5-M
    • Total revenue (includes physician insurance): $67.9-M
    • Total amount spent: $74.7-M
    • Deficit: $6.7-M
    • Amount spent on execs: $9.2-M
    • Amount spent on administration: $13.3-M
    • Amount spent on negotiations: $4.2-M
    • % of revenue spent on exec salaries and admin: 37%
    • % of dues spent on negotiations: 6%
    • Rent payment: $2.4-million (penthouse at 150 Bloor St. W., and 393 University Ave.)


    • General Meeting of Members (Aug. 14/16)
    • Total cost: $3.7-million


    • Rental of Allstream Centre (security/AV/childcare): $346,568
    • Catering: $397,943 (for 586 delegates)
    • Communications (Navigator): $284,080
    • Honoraria (for board members): $58,446
    • Negotiation roadshows and Teletown halls: $310,459
    • OMA Council meeting (twice a year)
    • Total cost per meeting: $521,425


    • Honoraria for council and board: $274,369

    — Sue-Ann Levy


  • Jack 1:22 pm on October 12, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: charles sousa, , , , , , ,   


    Call it a $5-million suggestion box.

    That’s how much money is up for grabs in next spring’s pre-election budget as Finance Minister Charles Sousa earmarks the cash for ideas from the public.

    It’s the fourth year the Ontario government has asked for submissions on a budget website, but the offer comes with a catch that’s designed — at least in part — to keep pranksters at bay.

    “We look forward to tapping into the skills and experiences of Ontario’s best and brightest,” Sousa said Thursday in launching the site, adding “innovation is the driver of good policy.”

    The proposals must be aimed at quick results on child care, helping seniors, small business, students and healthy living and be made online by midnight on November 3.

    No more than $1 million will be spent on each idea, which must be completed or show progress by spring 2019. The public will be allowed to cast ballots online for their favourites.

    Last year’s budget, for example, incorporated a suggestion to put energy-saving LED lights on section of Highway 401.

    There have been other ideas, too — including many for an end to public funding of Catholic schools, which the government has shot down.

    Competition is stiff. Last year, 404 ideas were submitted and just over 19,000 ballots cast. Suggestions to reduce food waste, improve digital services to libraries and access to digitized health date got the most votes.

    A budget date has not yet been set.


  • Jack 12:38 pm on September 11, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , jury selection, lac megantic, rail derailment,   

    Rail Tragedy Revisited 

    SHERBOOKE, QUE.—Jury selection is set to begin today in the trial of three men charged in the rail disaster that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Que.

    Three ex-railway employees — train driver Thomas Harding, railway traffic controller Richard Labrie and manager of train operations Jean Demaitre — face 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death.

    The three men have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

    The trial is set to last until Dec. 21, and is being held in Sherbrooke, Que.

    On July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed in the tiny Quebec community and exploded, destroying much of the city’s core and leaving dozens dead.

    The bankrupt former railway company Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway has also pleaded not guilty to similar charges and will face a separate trial at a later date.

    Read more:

    Lac-Mégantic to mark fourth anniversary of rail disaster in Quebec town

    Four years after Lac-Mégantic, the struggle to prevent similar rail disasters continues

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