New Delhi: Justin Trudeau’s disastrous trip to India – one that had evoked mirth-inducing comparisons to the Trudeau family cosplaying as a bunch of Bollywood extras – has become a major focus in a new book set to be released next week. In the book Trudeau: Education of a Prime Minister, Trudeau’s longtime advisor Gerald Butts accused the Indian government of trying to ‘screw’ the Liberals by helping undermine Trudeau’s trip to India. The trip was a disaster from the start. Trudeau was welcomed at the airport not by PM Modi but Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. On top of being widely panned as a family jamboree, Trudeau was also of being soft on terror, particularly Khalistanis after a former terrorist was invited to one of his receptions.(With inputs from DNA)
Mumbai: A major fire broke out in a four- storey commercial building in Masjid area of south Mumbai in the wee hours on Saturday, officials said. Nobody was injured in the incident, they said. “The fire brigade control room received a call at 4.24 am today, alerting that a major fire has broken out in Navrang building located on Abdul Rehman street,” Mumbai fire brigade chief P S Rahangdale said. Four fire fighting jets were rushed to the scene immediately, he said. “The blaze had started on the ground floor. It was confined to the electric wiring and some stationary articles kept on the loft and the mezzanine floor. Due to the fire, dense smoke engulfed the building, causing poor visibility during the rescue operation,” Rahangdale said. The fire brigade personnel rescued some people from the upper floors of the building, he said.
Kolkata: Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police has nabbed a person and seized charas approximately worth Rs 8 lakh on Sunday from Kidderpore.Earlier, the police had seized huge quantity of heroin and arrested two persons from Hastings, which is near Kidderpore. According to the police, on Sunday afternoon, STF officials came to know from their sources that a someone under Watgunge police station area is about make a deal of drug or narcotics. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaBased on the information, the police started gathering information about the possible deal of narcotics and suspect. Around 3 pm, police came to know about a person identified as Shafiuddin Shaikh, a resident Dr Sudhir Bose Road. Around 3:40 pm on Sunday STF personnel spotted Shaikh in Kidderpore area and intercepted him. He was taken to Watgunge police station and interrogated. During interrogation, Shaikh confessed that he kept huge quantity of charas at his home. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayFollowing his statement, police along with Shaikh went to his home and conducted a search. During search 8.2 kg heroin was found and seized eventually. It is assumed that the cost of seized charas is around Rs 8 lakh. Earlier, on Saturday STF intercepted a car on Munshi Prem Chand Sarani under Hastings police station jurisdiction and arrested two persons for allegedly carrying heroin. Police found the heroin kept concealed inside the door of the car in such a manner that it would not catch the sight of the people who would open the door from outside. Police recovered about 3.208 kg (approx) of crude heroin. Approximate cost of the seized narcotics may be between Rs 3 crore to Rs 12 crore. The duo, identified as Dipak Roy and Kumar Chetri of Anlong, belong to Assam. Further, a few days ago STF had seized huge quantity of Yaba tablets, which was suspected to have procured from the North East.
Srinagar: India on Friday said that the country’s national position was and remains that matters related to Article 370 are entirely an internal matter, after a rare closed-door meeting at the United Nations Security Council to discuss New Delhi’s move to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.The meeting was called after Pakistan – backed by its all-weather ally- China, requested “closed consultations” on the issue. The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations said that members of the UNSC generally feel both India and Pakistan should refrain from taking unilateral actions over Kashmir. The situation in Kashmir is “already very tense and dangerous,” said Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsSyed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Security, said the government is committed to gradually removing all restrictions in Kashmir and the government is undertaking steps towards normalcy. “Change is internal to India. This change hasn’t affected our external orientation,” he said. Meanwhile, most phone lines in Kashmir will be restored over the weekend and schools will reopen next week, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said on Friday while announcing the easing of restrictions in a phased and “orderly way”. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayOffices of the Jammu and Kashmir government in the Valley functioned normally on Friday and the attendance in many offices was “quite high”, Subrahmanyam said at a press conference. He said there has been no loss of life or major injury since restrictions were imposed on August 5, when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 was revoked and the state bifurcated into two Union Territories. “…There will be easing of restrictions in the next few days in an orderly way,” Subrahmanyam told reporters here, adding that steps would be taken keeping in view the evolving situation as well as the cooperation of the people in maintaining calm and peace. “Schools will be opened after the weekend area-wise so that children’s studies do not suffer,” he said. “Telecom connectivity, a major point of concern, will gradually be eased and restored in a phased manner keeping in mind the constant threat posed by terrorist organisations in using mobile connectivity to organise terror actions”, Subrahmanyam said. Asked about the restoration of telephone lines, he said, “You will see gradual restoration from tonight and tomorrow onwards. You will find a lot of Srinagar functioning Saturday morning. BSNL takes a couple of hours to get back to action. Exchange by exchange they will be switching it on. Over the weekend, you will have most of these lines functional.” Earlier, the Supreme Court said it will wait for sometime before passing any direction on the plea seeking the removal of restrictions on the media in J&K after the Centre said curbs are being lifted gradually. During the hearing, the Centre told the apex court that the situation is improving in J&K and the curbs are being lifted gradually. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Najeer said, “We would like to give little time. We have read in the newspaper that landline and broadband connections are being restored gradually. Therefore, we will take up the petition with other connected matters,” the bench said. Meanwhile, India suspended weekly Thar Link Express which connects Jodhpur in Rajasthan to Karachi in Pakistan, a railway official said. Former CM of J&K Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti has written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the restrictions on the people in Kashmir Valley. In the letter, she said that while the country was celebrating Independence Day, Kashmiri people were being “caged like animals” and “deprived of basic human rights”.
Shimla: The 1985-batch IAS officer and state’s Additional Chief Secretary Srikant Baldi has been appointed as new Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh. The orders were issued on Saturday at the end of the monsoon session of the state assembly.Baldi,who was also Chief Minister’s Principal secretary, will replace B K Agarwal, who has been appointed as Secretary to Lokpal in the rank of Secretary to the government of India. Both Aggarwal and Baldi belong to 1985–batch. Aggarwal was appointed Chief Secretary only recently on retirement of Vineet Chowdhary, a 1982-batch IAS officer Baldi, who has seen a steady rise in the career has worked as state’s finance secretary, during the Congress as well as BJP regimes led by Virbhadra Singh, Prem Kumar Dhumal and later Jai Ram Thakur. Baldi will continue to hold the charge of housing department, Tourism and civil aviation department. He will remain the chief secretary for less than four months as he will retire in December.
Panaji/New Delhi: A case of rape and criminal intimidation was registered against a swimming coach by the Goa police on Thursday and a search was on to arrest him, officials said. Surajit Ganguly, a coach once employed by the Goa Swimming Association (GSA), is accused of molesting a 15- year-old girl who was training under him. “We have launched a search operation to track down the accused. Last we know is that he had left for Bhopal,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Gajanan Prabhudesai said. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhHe said police have formed multiple teams to arrest the coach. A video of the alleged molestation incident had gone viral on social media earlier, prompting Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to promise a stringent action. A case under IPC Sections 376 (rape), 354 (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation), as well as under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and Goa Children’s Act was registered against Ganguly, said inspector Kapil Nayak of the Mapusa police station in Goa. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe Goa Swimming Association sacked Ganguly after the video surfaced. “…we terminated Surajit’s contract immediately after watching the video. Both the girl and coach are from (West) Bengal,” GSA secretary Syed Abdul Majid said. Ganguly was appointed by the GSA about two-and-a-half years ago at its Mapusa indoor swimming training facility. “We appointed him because he had a good track record as a coach. There were no prior complaints (of misbehaviour) against him,” Majid added. In 2017, the Goa Legislative Assembly had passed a resolution congratulating him and other coaches for bringing “pride and glory to swimming and diving sports and to the state” in the 63rd National Games. On Wednesday, based on the girl’s statement, the Kolkata police lodged a complaint against Ganguly, and transferred it to their counterparts in Goa. Rijiju said he had asked the Swimming Federation of India to ensure that Ganguly was not employed anywhere in the country.
Sivaganga (TN): One man was injured when the security staff of a nationalised bank opened fire on a gang which barged into the premises to attack a murder accused at nearby Manamadurai on Wednesday, police said. Thangamani, wanted in connection with the murder of an AMMK functionary, ran inside the bank as he tried to escape from by the four-member armed gang which inflicted cut injuries on him, they said. The security staff on duty, an ex-serviceman, shot at and injured one of the gang members below the knee using his gun, while the three others escaped. The injured gangster and Thangamani had been hospitalised, police said adding further investigation was on.
TORONTO – The van attack that left 10 people dead in Toronto this week has raised questions about what could be done to guard against similar incidents, with experts saying some new automotive technology and urban planning measures may help mitigate risk.They caution, however, that it would be impossible to entirely prevent vehicles being used as weapons.Jez Littlewood, an assistant professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said automated emergency braking technology could help reduce collisions caused by distracted or drunk drivers but noted that it was not yet advanced enough to stop someone intent on harming others.“The technology as it currently exists cannot stop a determined driver from overriding the system,” he said.Such technology is required in the European Union for certain vehicles, Littlewood said, and expanding its use could help.“If this technology is applied to all vehicles then, over time, it would mitigate the chances of having higher casualty numbers,” he said.“But we have to accept that this is something in the medium-term timeframe because even if it is applied to all new vehicles, you are still going to have extensive number of older vehicles for many years.”Ross McKenzie, the managing director of the University of Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research, also noted that there are limits to the current technology.“You have the issue of ice or snow conditions — you could have a snow-covered bumper and the sensors wouldn’t work at all,” McKenzie said. “So the robustness and reliability still has some evolutions to go through in development, because you have to make it work in all kinds of driving conditions.”He added that other issues include consumer acceptance and the time it would take for regulators to make such technology mandatory.While there isn’t one solution that will prevent vehicle attacks in the future, Littlewood said cities also have a role to play in pedestrian safety.“It really comes down to not thinking about it so much within a security or counterterrorism context, but thinking about it within a public safety context,” he said.“It could be bollards, barriers or obstacles that reduce the likelihood of cars mounting sidewalks by accident and DUI incidents as well.”After Monday’s attack that began when a van mounted a sidewalk in north Toronto, the city installed temporary concrete barriers — or jersey barriers — around Union Station as a precautionary measure.City spokeswoman Wynna Brown explained that work on permanent physical security measures around the major transit hub has been underway since last year and plans had already been in place to install “interim mitigation measures” this spring.“The discussion that is being had now is whether the jersey barriers will come down or remain in place until the interim mitigation measures, which are designed to fit in with the streetscape, are installed within the next month or so,” she said.Claire Nelischer, a project manager for Ryerson University’s City Building Institute, said there is an increased focus in Toronto on street safety, with some areas installing planters to separate vehicle traffic from cyclists and pedestrians.“People are recognizing that many of our streets are very unsafe just by nature in the way that they are designed and the way that they operate,” Nelischer said.But she cautioned that imposing structures such as the concrete barriers installed in front of Union Station were not what she wanted to see.“Those big, really impenetrable, heavy, large objects, they not only create physical separation in the urban environment, but they also alert people moving around the city to this idea that it’s an unsafe place to be,” she said.“We really need to be looking for design solutions that allow for vibrancy and maintain the quality of life we’re experiencing in the city.”
CHARLOTTETOWN – A P.E.I. man found guilty of molesting his three stepdaughters has had his conviction overturned after an appeal court found problems with the length of time it took to get videotaped statements from the girls.The appeal court said the trial judge failed to hear evidence about whether the time gap between the alleged sexual touching and assaults and the girls’ statements could be considered reasonable.The man was convicted last year of seven sex-related offences and two counts of assault and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.In a ruling this week, the appeal court found one girl, who was between seven and 10 years old when the alleged offences took place, gave her video statement more than four years after the last incident, while the two others gave their statements 22 months to four years later.It found the trial judge admitted the video statements as evidence before hearing evidence on timing. The decision says the onus was on the Crown to prove the video was made in a reasonable time, but the trial judge did not hear evidence to support that argument.“He had no evidence on many of the factors he had to consider before making his ruling on admissibility,” Judge John Mitchell wrote on behalf of the three-judge appeal court. “At the time the trial judge ruled on the admissibility (of one) video recorded statement, he did not know when the video was made and there was no evidence to explain the delay.”The alleged assaults occurred between 2005 and 2011, when the girls were between the ages of seven and 15. Their identities are protected under a publication ban.The appeal court acknowledged that video statements are used to protect young victims of sexual assault from any trauma associated with testifying at a trial, while preserving their recollection of events and “the discovery of the truth.”But the judges cited several cases involving children that relied on video statements made months after alleged offences. In one, a mother and child waited 20 months before making a statement because they thought the matter was being handled internally at the girl’s school. The judge ruled that was not reasonable.However, the judge in another case ruled a three-year delay was acceptable because the young girl feared the accused would hit her mother, as he had previously, if she told authorities.In the P.E.I case, the appeal court said there was evidence that the girls feared their stepfather, who had separated from their mother six months before the video statements were given.The decision noted one of the complainants remained in touch with him until weeks before the statements were made.“There are also photographs and videos tendered into evidence showing the complainants frolicking in a pool with the accused and all seemed happy,” the decision says.The judges also found some discrepancies in the girls’ account of the timing of when the alleged offences occurred.The Crown did not respond to a request for comment on whether it would pursue a new trial.
TORONTO – Having suffered at least four concussions himself, former NHL forward Keith Primeau has a good idea of what injured Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby is going through.Head injuries eventually forced Primeau from the game in 2006. He had tried for over a year to get back in the Philadelphia Flyers lineup but was eventually told that it would be best if he stopped playing.Primeau retired a month later.“If I knew then what I know now, the ultimate decision would have been for me to call it quits earlier,” Primeau said Wednesday. “But there was no chance that I was ever going to do that. How do you convince somebody? You’re playing a little bit of Russian roulette.”Crosby suffered what’s believed to be the fourth concussion of his career Monday night against the Washington Capitals. His return date is uncertain.The time may be approaching, doctors suggested Wednesday, for Crosby to take a hard look at not when — but if — he should return to the game.“When there have been multiple concussions, the chance of having persisting symptoms goes up terrifically,” said Dr. Charles Tator, the director of the Canadian Concussion Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. “So we’re especially careful about helping people avoid further concussions.“If he were an amateur, we would probably tell him to hang up his skates.”Crosby was out of action for almost a year after suffering a pair of head injuries in early 2011. He suffered another concussion last October but only missed two weeks of action.“Everybody heals differently, no two concussions are the same,” Primeau told The Canadian Press from his home near Philadelphia. “There’s just so many variables that go into the decision making (of whether to return). When I look at somebody like Sidney who has had four concussions, I immediately go to, ‘What are you waiting for?’”Dr. Paul Echlin, a primary care sports medicine specialist in Burlington, Ont., and past chair of the London Hockey Concussion Summit, said a fourth concussion is very concerning. At that point, Echlin said, long-term effects need to be considered.“This is a young man’s life … this is a human issue,” he said. “It’s not about whether the Pittsburgh Penguins advance in the playoffs or what the matchups are.”It’s unclear whether Crosby will be able to return for the second-round series or at any point in the post-season.“He’s a world-class player,” said former teammate Tanner Glass, a forward with the New York Rangers. “There’s no way to replace him in your lineup. He’s a leader too. He’s a leader in that room. He’s a guy everyone looks to when times get tough to lead the way. It’s going to be tough to replace (him). You never like to see anyone (get) hurt like that.”Tator said that previous recovery time is an important criterion for a player to consider before making a return.“That’s what we want people to do: wait it out until you get better,” he said. “But the fact that it took him a year to recover (in 2011) means that there was a significant effect on his brain. There was a residual effect.”Another big problem, Tator noted, is that many players suffer knocks to the head in their younger days and don’t count it as a concussion or head injury. For high-collision sports, he’ll often take the number of concussions a player has said they’ve had and double it.“The most important thing is the likelihood of recovery because the likelihood of recovery goes down as the number (of concussions) goes up,” Tator said. “There are lots of players who have had to hang up their skates or hang up their cleats because they didn’t ever get over them.”Making things even tougher for Crosby is that his latest injury came in the heat of a playoff series against an archrival. Primeau said personal pride can sometimes get in the way of clear decision-making.“You feel like you’re against the odds or you’re beating the odds,” he said. “In reality you don’t have the ability to look at the full picture.”Primeau’s advice to any player is to listen to your body and consider long-term health. But that doesn’t make the decision on a player’s future in the sport any easier.“You’re taking a part of who you are and suggesting that maybe that might be the end,” Primeau recalled about his decision to retire. “It’s a very trying experience to say the least.”Crosby, 29, led the NHL with 44 goals this season and was recently named a finalist for the Hart Trophy. He had 11 points in eight playoff games before going down.“If you’ve had repetitive traumas and the recovery time is longer, you should consider what type of activity you play,” Echlin said. “Because to continue to traumatize yourself, you’re eventually going to get so that you can’t recover. Then your quality of life is substantially reduced.”Dr. Blaine Hoshizaki, a director of the Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, said evidence indicates that people with traumatized brain tissue will be at higher risk of developing neurological conditions as they age.The issue for professional athletes, he added, is balancing the ability to earn a living against the risk of long-term problems.“That’s a really tough equation because for some athletes, this is their life,” Hoshizaki said. “This is not a hobby. To apply a two, three or four-concussion threshold is challenging for the individual. From the medical side, having three concussions would suggest that the individual consider removing themselves from contact sport.“But when you look at Sidney Crosby or most professional athletes, this is a different equation. Therefore to remove themselves from sport is a challenging question. That’s the challenge around professional sport.”———Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
OTTAWA – Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet must regain the confidence of her caucus, seven of the party’s 10 MPs said Wednesday.The party is challenging Ouellet’s leadership after a news report revealed her chief of staff, Louis-Philippe Dubois, allegedly leaked information to the press in order to tarnish a Bloc MP’s reputation.“We learned that Louis-Philippe Dubois was working more against Bloc MPs than for the Bloc,” House leader Gabriel Ste-Marie told a news conference surrounded by six other caucus members.“It was an enormous lack of judgment to have named Dubois as chief of staff. We told her (Ouellet) he didn’t have the competencies and that he didn’t have our confidence.”HuffPost Quebec reported Wednesday that Dubois allegedly tried to sully the reputation of Bloc MP Rheal Fortin by leaking information about him and the law firm where he used to work.In response to the news story, Ouellet fired Dubois and said he had lost the trust of the caucus.Ste-Marie said Fortin, who used to be Bloc leader, is a respected member of the party.“We are with him and he has our full confidence,” Ste-Marie said.The Bloc caucus will meet Thursday morning to discuss the matter.Tensions have been rising in the Bloc since Ouellet was recently named party leader.She has not been elected to the Commons and continues to sit as an Independent in Quebec’s legislature after a long stint with the Parti Quebecois.
CASTLEGAR, B.C. – An official says British Columbia’s provincial state of emergency is expected to be lifted soon as the record-breaking wildfire season begins to wind down.Chris Duffy with Emergency Management BC says he believes the state of emergency will be lifted by the end of day Friday because fire conditions have improved across much of the province.The declaration was originally made in early July as aggressive wildfires ballooned in the province’s Interior, devouring large swaths of land and forcing thousands of people from their homes.At the time, the province said issuing a state of emergency allows for better co-ordination of federal, provincial and local resources to ensure public safety.Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says 1,249 fires have burned across the province since April 1, costing the province more than $510 million for fire suppression alone.The flames have charred more than 11,700 square kilometres, smashing a previous record for land burned set in 1958.Cooler weather and showers have helped crews fight fires in several areas in recent weeks, but Skrepnek says there were still 155 fires burning on Wednesday.“The southeast is our area of largest concern right now, given that it is unseasonably warm and dry in that area,” he saidImproved conditions around other parts of the province have officials re-thinking some of the bans put in place to help with fire suppression, Skrepnek said.Prohibitions on off-road vehicles and campfires could soon be lifted, he said, but British Columbians will have to remain vigilant about watching for fire danger.“Yes, we are moving into the fall now and we are seeing a lot of positive progress out there in a lot of these fires, but we’re still coming off what was an unprecedented summer and we are going to be feeling the effects of that for some time now,” Skrepnek said.
WINNIPEG – The Crown has finished calling witnesses in the trial of an alleged Winnipeg letter bomber.Guido Amsel has pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and to various explosives-related charges.He is accused of sending letter bombs to his former wife in 2013 and to two Winnipeg law offices where, in one case, a lawyer was seriously injured and lost a hand in July 2015.The Crown is arguing the trial judge should be allowed to draw links between the various incidents.The defence is arguing the incidents should be examined separately.The judge is expected to rule on the issue Tuesday.It’s not clear if the defence will call any witnesses.(CJOB)
MONTREAL – Quebec’s provincial long-gun registry is set to come into effect on Monday — the one-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting.Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux told reporters on Sunday that gun owners will have one year to register their existing firearms through a “simple, quick, free” process that can be done online.The process requires them to provide a detailed description of the firearm as well as proof of identity.He called the registry “an important tool” that will both prevent and solve crimes by allowing authorities to trace a gun’s ownership.“It will help for suicide prevention, domestic violence prevention, the kind of operation by police forces when they know who is owning what (firearm), where, and how many,” he told reporters in Montreal.Coiteux said the Jan. 29 date was not chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the mosque shooting where six men died, adding that he wants to treat the events separately.“I don’t want to mix the two issues. They’re not mixed in the mind of the government or in my mind either,” he said, adding he’d chosen to speak about the new law a day early to allow Monday to be fully dedicated to commemorative events.The province began plans to establish the log after the Conservative government abolished the federal long-gun registry in 2012.A Quebec judge upheld the constitutionality of the registry last October, after a legal challenge sought to block it on the grounds that it infringed on federal jurisdiction.The National Firearms Association, in conjunction with a Quebec-based pro-gun lobby group, had argued in court that the province was wading into federal territory when it passed its own long-gun registry law in June 2016.Opponents of the registry have also argued that it will be unworkable and costly, as well as ineffective in stopping those who are intent on committing crimes.Coiteux insisted the information was valuable.“Prevention is not a guarantee that nothing will happen,” he said. “But of course we can do more in terms of prevention if we have more information.”He said the registry is expected to cost about $20 million and is within budget so far.The now-defunct federal long-gun registry was created by the Liberals in 1998 in response to the murder of 14 women at Montreal’s Ecole polytechnique in 1989. They were targeted by a gunman because of their gender.Heidi Rathjen, a survivor of the massacre and spokesperson for gun control advocacy group PolySeSouvient, said the provincial registry is “great news.“We still have people who die from preventable gun violence, and we can do better,” she told reporters at the news conference.She addressed critics of the registry by pointing out that it was only one part of a comprehensive effort that is needed to fight gun violence.“It’s not by eliminating a measure that we do better,” she said.“It’s by looking at what could have been done to prevent the access to firearms for certain individuals that we’re going to move forward and reduce the chances of these events happening again.”
MONTREAL – More than a dozen Canadian cities hosted marches Saturday to call for stricter gun control laws in both Canada and the United States, adding their voices to a global movement calling for change in the wake of a high school shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Fla.In both Montreal and Toronto, several hundred people joined local events in support of the massive March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., which was organized by American students pushing for stricter gun-control legislation in the wake of the tragedy.In one of Montreal’s two marches, hundreds of protesters swayed together, singing to the tune of “Glory, Hallelujah,” before setting off towards the city’s U.S. Consulate.They also seized the opportunity to ask Ottawa to ban assault weapons such as the AR-15 — the rifle allegedly used in the deadly Florida shooting on Feb. 14.Ellen Gozansky Malka, a Montrealer now living in Parkland, told the crowd that two of her children were at the school during the shooting and saw things no child should see.“Our children should never fear going to school, and they should never jump at the sound of a book falling on the floor,” she said to applause.A few blocks away, a slightly smaller event was organized by 11-year-old elementary school student Lexington Vickery, who led about 150 cheering classmates and supporters on a raucous march in support of American students.“Its about making them feel better, and making them feel more supported and working to help them so they can have more courage to go to the government and get their gun legislation,” the sixth-grader explained in an interview beforehand.In Toronto, marchers carried signs protesting both gun violence in the United States and recent shootings that have plagued the city as they marched from a downtown square to the U.S. Consulate.Joan Howard, whose son Kempton was shot to death in 2003, said that while Canada doesn’t experience mass shootings on the same scale as the U.S., it’s hardly immune.She pointed to several high profile Toronto shootings, including one where two people were shot and killed outside of a bowling alley — one of the victims was allegedly targeted, and the other was described by police as a bystander.“Look how much shooting we have of innocent people, (such as) those near the bowling alley,” said Howard, who calls herself a member of the zero gun violence movement.“These are innocent people. My colleagues are innocent, my son, all these kids are innocent.”Bodil Geyer, who organized the march in Vancouver, said hundreds of people showed up despite a fake Facebook event showing the wrong time.“We had a great turnout, all things considered,” she said.Geyer said the real event page was also peppered with pro-gun comments she believed were generated by bots or international users, because the grammar was often incorrect and some messages were threatening.While the march was largely a show of support for the American gun control movement, Geyer said gang violence in Surrey also makes it a local issue.All of the speakers at the Vancouver event were students, said Geyer, who represents both Democrats Abroad Vancouver and March On Vancouver.“The crowd was amazing, they were awe-inspired, everyone was quite emotional listening to these kids,” she said.Tens of thousands of people were expected to attend the march in Washington, D.C., with smaller gatherings to take place in hundreds of cities across the world.Rallies were also planned in most major Canadian cities, including St. John’s, Ottawa and Calgary.Melissa Hennig, a survivor of the Oct. 1 mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, joined about 150 people for a rally outside the Alberta legislature in Edmonton.“While I don’t know the ins and outs of assault rifles, I can tell you what it’s like to be on the other end of one,” the Edmonton-area woman told the crowd. She said it’s difficult to talk about the “terror, confusion and panic.“I can tell you something more needs to be done — something more than thoughts and prayers.”— With files from Ben Singer and Nicole Thompson in Toronto, Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton and Amy Smart in Vancouver
CALGARY – Ryan Straschnitzki spent an hour at his second home Tuesday.The 19-year-old Albertan, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, spent an hour practising sledge hockey at the Winsport Centre in Calgary under the watchful eye of former national team member Chris Cederstrand.“It feels like when you’re on the ice you have nothing to worry about so I just like being out here and having fun,” said Straschnitzki.“It’s pretty exciting. I mean, you’re learning a new way to play the game and I’m enjoying it so it’s good. I’m still working on it and hopefully I’ll get better,” he added.Sledge hockey is one of the more popular events at the Winter Paralympic Games. It became an official event in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.Instead of skates, players use double-blade sledges that allow the puck to pass beneath. Players use two sticks, which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting.“It’s the balancing for sure. The sled and the way you move is a lot different so that’s something I’ve got to work on,” he said.“I’ll just keep practising sledge to hopefully get good and long term make the Olympic team and win a gold medal, but for now I’m just out here having fun.”Cederstrand, who retired from the national team 18 months ago, said Ryan is getting the hang of it pretty quickly.“He came out and he picked it up amazingly quick and he’s a kid willing to put in the time and effort, so the sky’s the world for him in sledge hockey,” Cederstrand said.“It obviously takes a lot of work and practice but Ryan’s got that drive and ambition to do that, so we’re hoping for the best for him.”Sixteen people died April 6 when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos to a playoff game collided with a semi-trailer at a rural intersection. Thirteen others, including Straschnitzki, were injured.Cederstrand said combined with Ryan’s work ethic, playing sledge hockey should do wonders for his long term recovery.“I think it’s absolutely amazing for him. I know what it’s like to be a young kid aspiring to play hockey for a career. As a young kid playing junior hockey, the ice is your second home,” he said.Cederstrand was all over the ice, whipping his sled around and firing pucks into the net. It’s what Straschnitzki is aiming for.“He’s insane. The turns, the shots. It’s something I want to do some day.”Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
MONTREAL – The Quebec government has just spent $1.6 million to replace the word “Amerindian” and modify other Indigenous content in history textbooks that had been introduced only two years earlier.Amid controversy over the price tag, First Nations leaders say the changes were an essential gesture of respect.“Indian has been a term being used for decades, if not centuries, and we have to look around us and understand that the world is evolving, and so are the references made to our peoples,” Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, said in an interview.He said “Autochtones” in French or “Indigenous peoples” in English are the accepted terms today. “Any notion that we would be ‘Indians of the Americas’ — which is what Amerindian tends to imply — is totally false and needs to be corrected.”The province authorized the contentious 2016 print run before the province’s curriculum had been formally approved and is now stuck with the bill for reprinting the textbooks in French and English.The books were for a Quebec history course introduced in 2016 for students in Grades 9 and 10. That course, drafted under the previous Parti Quebecois government, already had detractors. They said it reflects a rigid nationalist ideology and diminishes the role of non-francophones in Quebec history.Education Department spokesman Bryan St-Louis said in an email that in addition to the references to Amerindians or Native Americans being replaced with terms such as “First Nations”, “Inuit” and “Indigenous,” other Indigenous history content was modified.For example, images depicting Indigenous people in a stereotypical way were changed, biographies of Indigenous historical figures were added and more attention was paid to the Indigenous role in key historical events.St-Louis was unable to say how many books had to be destroyed and reprinted.The First Nations Education Council, which took part in the Education Department’s history course consultations, has defended the textbook changes against criticism that the expense was excessive.“In this case, the review allows for much more than a debate on semantics; it also allows for a much-needed rectification of proper history instruction,” the council said in a statement. “We believe that mutual understanding and establishing the facts are paramount in a context of reconciliation.”Picard said terminology issues should not be taken lightly, noting the francophone majority would not accept being decribed by the outdated term “French-Canadian” in official materials.He acknowledged that language is constantly evolving, even within Indigenous societies. He gave the example of the word “band,” which is increasingly being replaced by “First Nation” to describe the governance system.“Many communities still use that term (band), which is really related to the Indian Act itself which has been criticized left and right,” Picard said. “But I think we’re just coming up with common terms that would be acceptable to all.”History teacher Robert Green called the revisions a good first step, noting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gave clear guidelines to the provinces for what should be reflected in the high school courses.Green, who teaches at Westmount High School and heads a committee seeking changes to the history curriculum, said other minority groups, including English-speaking Quebecers, still receive short shrift.“The current curriculum doesn’t reflect the values of an inclusive, democratic society,” Green said. “It sends a message that if you are not a member of the francophone majority, you’re a second-class citizen whose history doesn’t count or doesn’t matter.”
TORONTO – Toronto’s lack of affordable housing is a pressing problem that should receive some immediate attention from both the provincial and federal governments, the city’s newly re-elected mayor said Wednesday.John Tory cited housing as one of the top priorities for his new term during his first news conference since cruising to victory in Monday’s municipal election.Tory said that while the city has identified several parcels of land that can be freed up for construction of new housing units, he said both the province and the feds can follow suit.“People made it clear that they want to see their governments working together to bring on these changes now … to expedite the increase in the supply of affordable rental housing,” Tory said at the news conference. “These are times that require swift action.”Tory said assistance from higher orders of government would help him fulfil a pre-campaign pledge of building 40,000 affordable units over the next 12 years, adding he plans to make formal requests to the province and Ottawa in the near future.Relations between the province and the city were strained after Premier Doug Ford slashed the size of Toronto’s council in the middle of the municipal election campaign.The move triggered a complex court battle, with one judge ruling Ford’s plan unconstitutional and the premier vowing to use a rarely invoked constitutional provision known as the notwithstanding clause to ensure his vision of a 25-member council went ahead. Invoking the clause became unnecessary after an appeal court stayed the lower-court decision.Now that the municipal campaign is over, Tory expressed optimism that he could work effectively with Ford.He said he and the premier, who came second to Tory in the city’s 2014 mayoral contest, share many of the same priorities. In addition to housing, Tory named transit construction and community safety as areas of pressing concern.“When it comes to economic growth and the attraction of jobs and investment, when it comes to the necessity to continue to build much more transit, when it comes to the supply of affordable housing, I think we will be on the same page in terms of the need to do those things,” he said.“I’ll be looking for a positive outcome to those things as opposed to assuming that there’s going to be any kind of bad relationship or negative start.”A spokeswoman for the provincial body responsible for fielding Tory’s request said the province “is aware of the concerns about the affordability of housing,” as well as concerns that supply has not kept up with demand.“This is why we have committed to cut red tape and reduce approval timelines to increase supply and bring housing to the market faster,” Rachel Widakdo with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said in a statement.“We need to clear the regulatory burden so that we can build a range of housing options that more people can afford,” Widakdo said, citing a plan to build more than 2,000 purpose-built rental units in Toronto.“The government is considering how best to leverage additional surplus lands for housing in the future. We want to make sure that we are using our surplus land in a way that will get value for tax payers and support affordable housing.”The federal body responsible for fielding Tory’s affordable housing request did not immediately respond to request for comment.Tory said he also plans to co-ordinate a meeting with fellow mayors from across the Greater Toronto Area in the first two months of 2019 to see if they can find ways to collaborate on the housing, transit and safety, issues he said are at play in all surrounding communities.Tory’s second term as mayor officially gets underway on Dec. 1, when the new council will also be sworn in.
Edmonton’s former police chief says a man charged in a truck attack in the city last year had an encrypted device police couldn’t crack.Rod Knecht was at an international counter-terrorism gathering in Melbourne and told Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald that encryption laws should be changed to allow police to hold terrorists to account.Knecht referred to an attack in September 2017 in which an Edmonton police officer was hit with a car and stabbed with a knife outside a football game.Later that night, a speeding cube van hit and injured four pedestrians as it raced through the city’s downtown with police in pursuit.Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is scheduled to go to trial next year on attempted murder and dangerous driving charges.Police said at the time that an Islamic State flag was found in the car used in the attack, but no terrorism charges have been laid against Sharif.Knecht told the newspaper Sharif had a device police couldn’t get into.“If we could have accessed that device it would have pushed the investigation forward. It would have demonstrated who else was involved, because in situations where it looks like there was only one person involved, oftentimes there was someone else who helped along the journey,” Knecht is quoted as saying.“A lot of times, these people aren’t held to account for killing people.”The newspaper did not specify what the device was.Const. Mike Chernyk was injured when a driver crashed through a barrier, got out of his vehicle, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing him the evening of Sept. 30, 2017. The driver got away.Police set up checkpoints and began stopping cars. That led to a second encounter with the suspect who was driving a U-haul cube van.Knecht said when the U-haul pulled over for the checkpoint, the driver was confronted after he produced identification linking him to the registered owner of the car involved in the attack on Chernyk.The van then sped off toward downtown with multiple police cars in pursuit. It veered into alleys and cross-streets through the downtown amid late-night bar and nightclub goers. Knecht said the truck deliberately hit four pedestrians.“He just started running down people,” Knecht told the newspaper.The following day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a “terrorist attack.”Sharif has been found fit to stand trial on 12 charges. A date has been set for October 2019. He has not yet entered a plea.The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — He bought them for a dollar.Now, “boxes and boxes and boxes” of old audiotape and film that Bert Crowfoot has safeguarded for decades are turning out to be a priceless trove of Indigenous stories, culture and language.“This is a continuation of our oral traditions,” said Crowfoot, who’s helping direct a project to turn a roomful of old interviews, talk, music and movies from a defunct Indigenous media organization into a searchable digital archive.In the early 1980s, Crowfoot worked for a group that had for 20 years produced Indigenous programming for a provincial public broadcasting network.From a studio in west Edmonton, it beamed interviews with Indigenous leaders, stories from elders and talk shows. It also shot abundant video and film.Recordings of the programs were saved, but only in poorly labelled boxes stacked in a back room.In 1982, the society went under. To keep the archive together, Crowfoot bought it for a buck.The old reel-to-reels, VCR cassettes, 16-mm film and floppy discs went into a warehouse. For 36 years, that’s where they sat.“I always walked by and said, ‘Man, we gotta do something with this stuff,” Crowfoot said.Enter the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sound Studies.The institute has long experience in digitizing and organizing sound archives. When a member of the university senate who is also involved with Crowfoot’s Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta heard about that expertise, he put the two together.“I reached out to Bert and we started building this project,” said institute director Mary Ingraham.“Digitizing The Ancestors,” as the project is called, is a mammoth task.Ingraham estimates there are 2,000 reel-to-reel audio tapes and about 1,000 reels of 16-mm film, as well as piles of other defunct and deteriorating analogue media and obsolete computer formats. Just finding the machines to play everything — and people to keep them running — is a challenge.“When was the last time you used a floppy disc?” asked Crowfoot.And that’s the easy part.Once the tape has been digitized, the file’s content, speaker, context, date and keywords all have to be catalogued so that each can be used in a search. Most of that material is in Cree.Ingraham estimates that every hour of analogue-to-digital is followed by five hours of logging. The results, however, are worth it.The archive is an invaluable record of voices that have long passed, said Crowfoot. They tell stories both traditional and personal — tales of residential schools, for example.There’s powwow music and there are country songs. Phone-in shows from remote Indigenous communities. Crowfoot thinks there’s a feature film as well. And it’s priceless evidence of how the Cree language has changed over nearly 60 years.“People talk about Old Cree and New Cree,” Crowfoot said. “Language evolves.”Not all the material will be public. Some has to be treated with sensitivity and will be accessible only to members of the community from which it came.“You can’t put this on Facebook,” said Crowfoot. “It has to be treated with respect.”Ingraham estimates the entire project will cost about $2 million. About $170,000 has been committed from the university and the federal government — money well spent, she said.“I care about our voices and, for me, Indigenous voices have been missing. I care that the next generation has an opportunity to hear and understand.”Other Indigenous media societies with their own archives are now looking at “Digitizing the Ancestors” as a model, said Crowfoot.“Stories are important, images are important. It’s a way of preserving and reviving our culture.”— Follow @row1960 on TwitterBob Weber, The Canadian Press