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France presidential vote gets underway, results could spark ‘Frexit’

Amid heightened security, French voters began casting ballots for their next president Sunday in a first-round poll that's seen as a vote on the future of Europe.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 12:26 pm

Erin Moran who played Joanie Cunningham on ‘Happy Days’ dies at 56

Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, died Saturday at age 56.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 11:57 am

Hurricanes comeback falls short, Pats win game two in overtime, tie series at one

The Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a two goal deficit to force overtime in game two of the Eastern Conference Final, but couldn't complete the comeback.
Author: Matt Battochio
Posted: April 23, 2017, 6:38 am

Edmonton Oilers beat San Jose Sharks, advance to 2nd round of NHL playoffs

Two breakaway goals less than a minute apart Saturday night proved to be the difference as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 and advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 6:30 am

Global BC wins five RTDNA journalism awards

Global BC was recognized with five awards at the B.C. regional Radio Television Digital News Assocation (RTDNA) Awards on Saturday night.
Author: Jill Slattery
Posted: April 23, 2017, 5:00 am

BONOKOSKI: Conservative candidates need to step up to the front

News flash! There is a leadership race underway within the Conservative Party of Canada.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 4:31 am

Saskatchewan Rush clinch first in West after 15-10 win over Toronto

Head Coach Derek Keenan notched his 122 career win as the Saskatchewan Rush beat the Toronto Rock 15-10, and clinched first place in the National Lacrosse League's West Division.
Author: Claire Hanna
Posted: April 23, 2017, 4:17 am

Habs eliminated in first round after Zuccarello scores twice for Rangers

Mats Zuccarello scored two goals in an 11:05 span in the second period to lead the New York Rangers to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarter-finals Saturday.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 3:12 am

Here are some of the best signs from the March for Science rallies

These March for Science signs deployed humour and wit to convey cutting messages about the importance of science.
Author: Rahul Kalvapalle
Posted: April 23, 2017, 2:47 am

Rigaud officials trying to stem the tide of worst flooding since ’98

The town remains in a state of emergency after about two dozen residences were evacuated and another 300 were flooded.
Author: Billy Shields
Posted: April 23, 2017, 1:44 am

‘Frap from hell’: Starbucks baristas vent about labour-intensive Unicorn Frappuccino

Want to make your barista's day? Order a plain old black coffee.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 1:13 am

Bank of Canada governor 'happy' to see plan for GTA housing market

BoC Economy 20170412

Measures to cool the housing market in the Greater Toronto Area have received a warm response from Canada's central banker, who said Saturday it should have some effect on runaway housing prices.

Posted: April 23, 2017, 12:28 am

'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents waiting out flood - CTV News

CTV News

'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents waiting out flood
CTV News
Firefighters and police officers made the rounds Saturday checking on people in Rigaud, Que. who decided to stay in their homes despite the recent flood. The small town, located west of Montreal near the Ontario border, declared a state of emergency ...
Rigaud floodwaters could begin to recede Sunday, Quebec officials
Flood waters stabilize in Rigaud, citizens praying for a dry SaturdayMontreal Gazette

all 34 news articles »
Posted: April 23, 2017, 12:01 am

Canadian who joined ISIS added to U.S. most-wanted terrorist list

Once thought killed while fighting alongside ISIS forces in Iraq, a Calgarian is now one of the United States' most-wanted terrorists.
Posted: April 23, 2017, 12:01 am

Edmonton police seek 2 'people of interest' in dead toddler case -

Edmonton police seek 2 'people of interest' in dead toddler case
Edmonton police are asking for more help from the public in identifying two people of interest regarding a dead toddler who was found Friday in the north end of the city. Police released a photo Saturday afternoon of a man and a woman. In the photo ...
EPS still searching for family of dead toddlerCTV News
Edmonton police release pics of people they say might help in dead toddler caseTimes Colonist
Police release photos of people of interest in case of toddler found dead near church [Photos]Edmonton Sun
all 25 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 11:39 pm

2 arrested in Edmonton dead toddler case

Edmonton dead toddler people of interest 1

Two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a toddler who was found in north Edmonton on Friday.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 11:34 pm

Surrey's Vaisakhi parade draws record attendance in massive celebration of diversity and inclusion - Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Sun

Surrey's Vaisakhi parade draws record attendance in massive celebration of diversity and inclusion
Vancouver Sun
The annual Surrey Vaisakhi Parade drew hundreds of thousands off participants Saturday. Jason Payne / PNG. Share Adjust Comment Print. Surrey's Vaisakhi Day Parade has exploded into a massive celebration of diversity and inclusion that flies in the ...
Surrey's Vaisakhi Day Parade draws record 400000 people, say
Up to 400K people expected to attend 2017 Surrey Vaisakhi
Hundreds of thousands attend Surrey Vaisakhi parade, including Christy Clark and John (blog)

all 11 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 11:05 pm

Vibrator thief told sex shop clerk she had HIV before lunging at him with needle

A woman found guilty of two thefts and threatening with a needle will have her day of reckoning at the Sudbury Courthouse on May 2, whether she is physically in court or not.
Posted: April 22, 2017, 10:49 pm

Justin a 'disaster' as PM: O'Leary - Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

Justin a 'disaster' as PM: O'Leary
Toronto Sun
Kevin O'Leary has been loudly vying to be Canada's prime minister. But would the Shark Tank and Dragon's Den star serve as a Member of Parliament and potentially a member of cabinet if he cannot win his party's leadership? The outspoken businessman ...
O'Leary: not all
Kevin O'Leary woos Conservatives in
Conservative leadership hopeful Kevin O'Leary speaks in KelownaSalmon Arm Observer

all 8 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 10:43 pm

82-year-old fisherman drowns after boat tips in BC lake -

82-year-old fisherman drowns after boat tips in BC lake
An elderly fisherman died after a small fishing boat tipped over in an Okanagan-area lake on Friday. Emergency responders were called to Yellow Lake — about 30 kilometres south of Penticton — around 1:20 p.m. after hearing reports that two fishermen ...
Drowning at Yellow
Man dead after drowning in Yellow

all 7 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 10:37 pm

Afshin Maleki Ighani, attempted-murder suspect, arrested on Canada-wide warrant -

Afshin Maleki Ighani, attempted-murder suspect, arrested on Canada-wide warrant
RCMP have arrested a man wanted in relation to a shooting in the Okanagan after issuing a Canada-wide warrant for him. On Wednesday evening, a man was shot in the area of Station Street in Oliver. Mounties said he sustained non-life threatening injuries.
RCMP arrest attempted murder
Shots fired as RCMP arrest wanted manSalmon Arm Observer

all 15 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 9:04 pm

Vic Toews under fire for conflict of interest: Ethics commissioner

Canada's former public safety minister has had his wrist slapped by the federal ethics commissioner for violating conflict of interest rules — and a democracy watchdog wants the Canadian Judicial Council to review the matter.
Posted: April 22, 2017, 8:39 pm

Long lines in Montreal as French expats head to the polls -

Long lines in Montreal as French expats head to the polls
The pivotal, and unpredictable, presidential election in France is drawing thousands of eligible voters to polling stations in Quebec. Voters in France head to the polls on Sunday. But for citizens outside the country, Saturday was their last chance to ...
French expats look to vote against political extremism as foreign polls openCTV News
Eager French nationals wait for hours to vote in MontrealMontreal Gazette
Montrealers line up to cast votes in French presidential electionToronto Star

all 7 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 8:37 pm

Long lines in Montreal as French expats head to the polls

Advance polling French election

The pivotal, and unpredictable, presidential election in France is drawing thousands of eligible voters to polling stations in Quebec.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 8:34 pm

March For Science 2017: Canadian Scientists Protest Trump To 'Return The Favour'

Hundreds of scientists gathered on Parliament Hill and in at least 17 other communities across Canada Saturday, rallying in support of their American counterparts who say they're facing mounting attacks against science.

Science advocate Katie Gibbs said she felt like she was returning a favour. Nearly five years ago, she was in the same place, doing almost the same thing.

march for science ottawa
University of Ottawa students Stephanie Woodend and Abby Dalton, participate in the March for Science on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, part of a global gathering to promote and advocate for science on Earth Day.

In July 2012, she helped organize the "Death of Evidence'' rally, protesting cuts to science programs under the former Harper government.

That march paved the way for the advocacy organization that she now heads up, Evidence for Democracy.

The March for Science, which coincides with Earth Day, took place in more than 500 cities around the world — with about 18 scheduled in cities across Canada.

“They were really supportive of us. So now, it's our turn to return the favour to them.''
— Katie Gibbs

Gibbs said that when Canadian scientists felt threatened, they got a lot of support from their U.S. counterparts.

"I'm not sure if people really know that,'' she said. "We worked really closely with the Union of Concerned Scientists in the U.S., for example. They were really supportive of us. So now, it's our turn to return the favour to them.''

Organizers of the U.S. events portrayed the march as political but not partisan, promoting the understanding of science as well as defending it from various attacks, including proposed U.S. government budget cuts under Trump, such as a 20 per cent slice of the National Institute of Health.

march for science ottawa
Protesters participate in the March for Science on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Earth Day 2017.

"We've been quite successful in getting a lot of science changes happening in government,'' Gibbs said. "So what's happening in the States right now echoes where we were five years ago.''

"It sort of feels like, 'Oh, do we really have to keep fighting this?''' she added.

In Halifax, protesters turned up near city hall to show their support for evidence-based policy-making, some carrying signs like "Defiance for Science,'' and "Without Science, It's Just Fiction.''

"Everywhere you look, we're balancing climate change against the economy, which is just nonsense ... The environment is way too important.''
— Richard Zurawski

Richard Zurawski, a meteorologist-turned-city-councillor who helped organize the event, said it is imperative that politicians combat the creeping influence of pseudo-science at all levels of government.

"If we don't support our science, we're going to lose it,'' he said. "Everywhere you look, we're balancing climate change against the economy, which is just nonsense ... The environment is way too important.''

march for science ottawa
Scientists protest in Ottawa for the March for Science on Earth Day 2017.

In Ottawa, Gibbs warned that, in spite of progress under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration, Canadians aren't entirely out of the woods yet. She said American scientists faced similar issues under George W. Bush, but thought they were in the clear when Barack Obama took office.

"For me, it's really been that reminder that it's not enough to have a government today that's for science,'' she said. "We're really focused on trying to get as much safeguarded as we can. So, to actually try and get protections for scientists legislated.''

With files from Adina Bresge in Halifax and The Associated Press
Posted: April 22, 2017, 7:46 pm

Catholic school funding decision could extend beyond Sask.: professor -

Catholic school funding decision could extend beyond Sask.: professor
The decision of a Sask. judge which states the province must stop funding non-Catholic students who attend Catholic schools could extend to Alberta and potentially Ontario, says one professor. Kent Donlevy specializes in constitutional, human rights ...
Court ruling threatens studentsMoose Jaw Times-Herald
Saskatchewan court ruling could mean shakeup for Alberta Catholic schoolsEdmonton Journal
Saskatchewan ruling on Catholic schools could have far-reaching consequencesThe Globe and Mail

all 27 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 7:28 pm

Catholic school funding decision could extend beyond Sask.: professor

Kent Donlevy

The court decision that the province of Saskatchewan should not be funding non-Catholic students to attend Catholic schools could have an inter-provincial effect, says one professor.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 7:28 pm

NDP government would pay for drug coverage, Andrea Horwath says - Toronto Star

Toronto Star

NDP government would pay for drug coverage, Andrea Horwath says
Toronto Star
Party leader unveils $475-million proposal that would see Ontario cover cost of “the most commonly prescribed essential medicines.” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speaks to reporters Saturday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre after unveiling ...
Horwath Promises Ontarians Universal

all 5 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 5:47 pm

Liberals Aim To Cut Number Of 'Chronic' Homeless In Half

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are aiming to halve the number of the hardest-to-help homeless and experts say it's a move that may be key to ending homelessness in the country.

The upcoming national housing strategy looks to cut by 50 per cent the number of "chronic'' homeless — many of whom won't go to shelters and may be harder to reach through traditional support systems — and "episodic'' homeless, those who find themselves on the street repeatedly.

Government estimates peg the number of chronic and episodic homeless at 25,000, meaning the Liberals expect that 11 years from now, federal spending will have cut that number to 12,500.

The target suggests that the federal government is open to new ways of dealing with homelessness.

canada homelessness
A homeless person sleeps on a snow covered sidewalk on December 23, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Liberals' second budget in March showed that they wanted to get money directly to cities and service providers without having to deal with provinces.

Some of those measures were clear, like giving the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., more money to dole out directly to local governments. Others were less obvious, like a promise to maintain $4 billion in funding agreements to housing providers without detailing how the money would be spent.

"With the money that they're investing, we could achieve a lot more.''
— Tim Richter, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness

"It's pretty clear that the government is investing money differently,'' said Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

"If they're setting the kind of ambitious goals that they're setting, they have to be more directed, more targeted, and they're going to have to be creative and make their dollars really stretch.''

As for the cut to chronic and episodic homelessness, Richter thought the estimated impact was pretty conservative: "With the money that they're investing, we could achieve a lot more.''

The March budget set the financial backbone for the national housing strategy, which detailed $11.2 billion in spending on affordable housing over the coming decade.

With new initiatives announced this week to help deal with the cost of rental units, the strategy to be released this fall will say how the Liberals expect to spend tens of billions in new and existing programs between now and April 2028.

Strategy will aim to help a million people

Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has said the goal of the strategy is to help a million people.

The key to meeting the government's homeless reduction targets will be in the final policy design and spending programs the provinces and federal government agree to, said Stephen Gaetz, director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

Internal government modelling estimates that over the next decade, 500,000 people could be lifted out of "core housing need,'' meaning they spend more than one-third of their before-tax income on housing that may be substandard or doesn't meet their needs.

The expectation is that the biggest effect will be among renters, where federal dollars could cut in half the number of renters in core housing need.

vancouver homeless
A man packs his belongings shortly after an eviction notice to leave tent city at Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, in October 2014.

A further 500,000 would be lifted out of homelessness, or prevented from becoming homeless over the course of the next 11 years based on the effects of existing government programs. The same represents an aggregate of those the strategy could help, which means there may be some double-counting as people move along a continuum of housing.

By putting out the numbers now, the Liberals hope to push the provinces to agree to new ways of funding homelessness initiatives.

"The advantage of making these numbers public now is that we can better structure those conversations and ensure that, at a minimum, we achieve the objectives that we have already communicated,'' said Duclos spokeswoman Emilie Gauduchon-Campbell.
Posted: April 22, 2017, 5:39 pm

'We don't blame you': Wisconsin farmers on Trump's blast at Canada's dairy industry -

'We don't blame you': Wisconsin farmers on Trump's blast at Canada's dairy industry
With a single letter mailed from a milk processing company in Wisconsin this month, the Sauer family learned their dream livelihood as third generation dairy farmers was suddenly in jeopardy. The notice, from their milk processing company, told the ...
Opening shot coming this week in fifth softwood lumber war between Canada-USCTV News
Supply management is unfair to Canadian consumersToronto Sun
Lawrence Solomon: Trump just might make us put on our big-boy pants and make Canada great againNational Post
Toronto Star
all 71 news articles »
Posted: April 22, 2017, 5:14 pm

Groups on both sides of assisted-death debate want more transparency

Larry Worthen

Advocates on both sides of the medically assisted dying debate say the Nova Scotia Health Authority should be more transparent about patients who apply to end their lives.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 4:44 pm

Body of toddler found near Edmonton church

Edmonton police homicide section was investigating the suspicious death of a male toddler found Friday.
Posted: April 22, 2017, 2:25 pm

LEVY: Ontario NDP supports campaign against Israel

First it was the federal Green Party under Elizabeth May. Now it's Ontario's Dippers.
Posted: April 22, 2017, 2:23 pm

Quebec towns hit by flooding could see water recede Sunday: officials

Quebec Floods 20170420

The floodwaters that have forced hundreds of people from the homes west of Montreal could begin to recede as early as Sunday, said Quebec public security officials.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 12:19 pm

Trump Scrambles For A Win -Any Win, Really - As He Nears 100 Days

As President Donald Trump barrels toward his 100th day in office, the administration is returning to the primary ethos of his campaign: Just win.

Really, any win will do, as long as the veneer of progress comes with it. But the problem for Trump and congressional Republicans is that they’re still far off from “winning” on any number of legislative fronts. If anything, Trump’s desire to achieve a flurry of victories next week risks several high-profile setbacks.

The White House’s primary focus still appears to be the revival of health care reform discussions, with administration officials pushing forcefully for a vote on refined Obamacare repeal and replace language in the upcoming week. But House GOP aides, themselves highly eager to get something out of their chamber, acknowledged that they’re not yet at the point of whipping votes ― there isn’t even legislative text to consider.

President Donald Trump is expected to drop a major tax reform next week. Photo: Getty

The White House continued to tout what it framed as solid progress, suggesting on Friday that Senate Republicans were also entertaining health care legislation. But Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who was rumored to be in discussions with House conservatives, said no such talks had taken place, and a top Senate GOP aide threw cold water on the idea that they’d have their own bill.

“We’re not drafting anything,” the aide said. “We’re looking at and reviewing the language of the House bill, but nothing beyond that.”

As health care reform remained in limbo, Trump also announced he would drop a major tax reform plan next week, saying it would include “massive” cuts. But as Reuters reported, “the news came as a surprise to lobbyists and congressional aides who had no idea what Trump’s announcement might include.” Indeed, few Republicans on the Hill expect tax reform to happen anytime soon, not only because it is predicated on health care’s passage but also because Trump has not embraced leadership’s border adjustment proposal.

SCOOP: Trump #tax plan likely will NOT include controversial border adjustment plan, senior official tells Bloomberg's @JenniferJJacobs

— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) April 21, 2017

Once hopeful for a bill being passed by August, Republicans now expect that action will take place well beyond then.

The one “accomplishment” that Trump and Congress actually need before the first 100 days ends is a government funding bill. But even that feat may be more modest than Republicans had hoped. A senior GOP aide told The Huffington Post on Friday that the possibility that Congress would have to pass a short-term funding bill next week to extend current spending, instead of a larger omnibus bill that would fund new priorities, was “not insubstantial.”

Congress has already passed multiple continuing resolutions to extend a government funding deadline that first began in October. In December, Trump implored Republicans to pass another CR so they could write a more conservative funding bill. Another short-term funding bill would mean Congress still needs more time, even after these extensions. And even if Republicans were able to get an omnibus spending bill done next week, it would likely include few wins for Republicans.

The administration hopes to use the government funding bill to secure money for the president’s infamous border wall. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has offered Democrats $1 in disputed Obamacare subsidy funding for health insurance companies for every $1 in wall funding. But both Democratic and GOP aides told HuffPost this week that they expected money to go only toward border security and not physical wall construction. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) office scoffed at Mulvaney’s offer.

“The White House gambit to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, in order to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall that the President said would be paid for by Mexico is a complete non-starter,” said Schumer’s spokesman, Matt House. “The U.S. government is supposed to take care of its citizens and, according to the President, Mexico is supposed to pay for the wall. If the administration would drop their 11th hour demand for a wall that Democrats, and a good number of Republicans oppose, Congressional leaders could quickly reach a deal.”

And so, the White House is staring down the possibility that it could hit the 100-day mark in the midst of a government shutdown — or, less severe, with few legislative accomplishments for the president to champion. Trump seemed to brush off the severity of the latter when he spoke to reporters on Friday afternoon.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s next week,” he said of health care. “Next week doesn’t matter.”

But it’s clear that the possibility of a bare legislative cupboard is bothering Trump. He has bemoaned the arbitrary nature of the 100-day mark and preemptively criticized the media for its coverage of it. And he’s continued spending copious amounts of time holding public signing ceremonies for executive orders.

Those orders, however, are largely if not wholly symbolic, often just directing federal agencies to review current practices and then eventually draft a memo to Trump recommending changes.

The “Buy American” order that Trump signed this week, for instance, directs federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of the government’s current efforts to favor U.S. firms in the procurement process ― in which the government spends hundreds of billions per year buying goods and services from private companies. Then, the agencies will make recommendations to the secretary of Commerce within 150 days, and the secretary will write a report for the president.

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 11:16 am

Identity of asylum seekers key to Regina woman's human smuggling case: lawyer

Michelle and Victor Omoruyi

Prosecutors will have to prove that Michelle Omoruyi, the Regina woman charged with human smuggling, was not providing humanitarian-type aid to asylum seekers or trying to help members of her family, says a Vancouver lawyer.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 9:42 am

Canadian entrepreneurs The Young Astronauts shine bright among stars of new media game

The Young Astronauts

With offices in Toronto and Los Angeles and clients like Ariana Grande and Nike, a media production company called The Young Astronauts has been on a rocket ship ride to the stars.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 9:00 am

1 dead, several sent to hospital after Greyhound bus crash near Quesnel, B.C.

grehound crash quesnel

One person is dead and at least seven others have been sent to hospital after a Greyhound bus crashed in B.C.'s Cariboo region.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 3:15 am

Cougars spotted on SkyTrain tracks in Port Moody

cougars skytrain

The animals tripped an alarm early Friday morning.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 2:55 am

CBC broadcaster Rex Loring has died at age 91


Legendary CBC broadcaster Rex Loring, best known for his work on World Report, has died.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 1:06 am

Canadian jets intercept Russian bombers, 1st time since 2014


Canadian fighter jets have intercepted Russian bombers off Canada's northern coast for the first time in more than two years, as relations between Moscow and the West continue to worsen.

Posted: April 22, 2017, 12:31 am

After son's suicide, father pushes for assisted dying for mentally ill

Graham Clayton

Adam Maier-Clayton of Windsor, Ont. fought for years to raise awareness about what he saw as a need for assisted dying for anyone with the severe health issues like his.

Posted: April 21, 2017, 11:30 pm

After son's suicide, father continues fight for assisted dying for mentally ill

Graham Clayton

Adam Maier-Clayton of Windsor, Ont. fought for years to raise awareness about what he saw as a need for assisted dying for anyone with the severe health issues like his.

Posted: April 21, 2017, 11:30 pm

Handful of Syrian refugees paid sponsors to come to Canada, evaluation reveals


A handful of Syrian refugees paid their sponsors to come to Canada, a government study published Friday reveals.

Posted: April 21, 2017, 9:02 pm

Donald Trump Is In A Hurry To Negotiate NAFTA Deal Because Of Mexico's Upcoming Election

WASHINGTON — If Donald Trump sounds like he's in a hurry to start renegotiating NAFTA, it's because he is. He says so. The president's team even admits a major reason for the urgency, which can be summed up in four words and they're not Canadian dairy, energy, or lumber.

They are: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

In one year, Mexico will be deep into campaign mode. And the current poll leader is a fiery left-wing nationalist whose party website has listed, as its very top item, the story of how he filed a human-rights complaint last month against Trump.

If Donald Trump sounds like he's in a hurry to start renegotiating NAFTA, it's because he is. (Photo: Shawn Thew/Pool/Getty Images)

This creates some pressure for Trump to get a deal soon or sleepwalk into a minefield of inhospitable options: negotiating in the dying days of the Mexican election, waiting to deal with the next president, possibly Lopez Obrador, or break his promise to revisit NAFTA.

The longtime Mexican politician and three-time presidential candidate, nicknamed AMLO, was in Washington last month to announce his complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about Trump's treatment of migrants, and his plans for a border wall.

He called it embarrassing to see the current Mexican government prostrate before Trump.

"We do not want a relationship of subordination. We will not accept it. Mexico is a free, independent country — not a colony, nor a protectorate," he told a Washington news conference.

andres manuel lopez obrador
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, president of the left-wing political party National Regeneration Movement, listens during an interview in New York, March 14, 2017. (Photo: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"Never will we subordinate ourselves to any foreign government."

Trump's team has made it abundantly clear they would rather deal with NAFTA before that candidate starts delivering that message, every day, to cheering crowds, on the campaign stump. The election is next July.

After that, there are new time challenges, in the form of U.S. midterm elections, coupled with the five-month lame-duck period in Mexico before the new government takes office in December.

Hence the hurry.

Both Trump and his point man on NAFTA have begun pleading with U.S. lawmakers to move quickly. Congress has yet to confirm a trade czar; it's also haggling over details of the legal notice required 90 days before trade negotiations start.

'I am anxious to get it started'

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he's had a half-dozen meetings with the relevant congressional committees. He wants them moving faster, as does the president, and Ross has made clear why: Mexico.

"I am anxious to get it started. Especially with Mexico. Because Mexico has presidential elections coming up next year," Ross told a Bloomberg interview several weeks ago.

"The closer we get to those elections the more difficult it will be for any government to make a deal. I hope we can get going very soon. And I can absolutely assure parties involved that the United States will not be a source of delay."

Clearly, the current Mexican government understands that reality. Nearing the end of its six-year single term, the government has appointed economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo as its lead trade negotiator.

His estimate of the time window to get this done: probably eight months.

His math works this way: U.S. Congress approves the 90-day notice this month, talks can then start as early as late July, and then, by April at the absolute latest, negotiations conclude with a new North American Free Trade Agreement.

"A responsible time horizon would be for us to present a package for approval no later than the first quarter of 2018," Guajardo said recently. "There will be midterm elections in the U.S., for Congress, and a presidential election in Mexico. The worst thing we can do to markets is pile uncertainty atop uncertainty."

That ticking clock is being heard in Ottawa.

Some in government speculate this might be the real reason for the sudden hardening of Trump's language: all of a sudden, he's recycling his old campaign threat to scrap NAFTA entirely, and he's bashing Canada, which just a few weeks ago he sounded pretty happy with.

One Canadian official says it's a negotiation tactic.

Trump isn't suddenly angry at Canada, says the official — he's suddenly in a hurry. He says Trump wants to make Canadians nervous too, and feel pressure to make a deal. But he describes the Canadian attitude thusly: "We have time. And we don't freak out."

Canada's finance minister would have had ample opportunity Friday night to discuss this timetable — Bill Morneau was to attend a Toronto Maple Leafs game in Washington with his Mexican counterpart.

Earlier Friday, Morneau said he had never discussed, with anyone, the Mexican calendar with respect to NAFTA, because that kind of political strategizing isn't his job. But he acknowledged it might be someone else's.

"That's a good question," he said, when asked Friday about the impending Mexican election. "I suspect there are people in the trade area thinking about what the electoral cycles are and what the timing of those discussions are, optimally, from our perspective."

As for whether Canada should be recalibrating its strategy, based on the toughening language from Trump, he replied: "Not at all."
Posted: April 21, 2017, 8:52 pm

How Canada Is Taking Action To Combat Desertification

This Earth Day, we invite you to take your children outside, into nature, to strengthen their connection with the environment. It is the best way to motivate them to protect it.

The effects of climate change are not always obvious to us. Yet, they are undeniable. It is easier to see the harmful effects in parts of the world with very different geography from Canada: the arid lands, where three billion people live.

Such areas are extremely vulnerable to desertification, land degradation and drought--phenomena exacerbated by climate change.

A community in Senegal at work, restoring land and cultivating nurseries along the country's section of the Great Green Wall (GGW) - a pan- African rural development initiative. Since the GGW was launched a decade ago Senegal has restored 25,000 hectares of land and planted 12 million trees - helping to transform community livelihoods in rural areas. (Photo: UNCCD)

Too often the people who live in these areas, particularly small-scale farmers, are seeing their means of subsistence threatened and their families overwhelmed by water, food and energy shortages. When these shortages go on long enough, they escalate into greater crises: famines, armed conflicts and forced migrations.

In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 75 per cent of the land is degraded and 10 million hectares becomes so every year. For farmers, this represents lost income of more than $4 billion annually. For woman farmers it's even worse, because women often have access only to less fertile land. They also receive less training and financial aid.

Like poverty, desertification affects women and girls disproportionately. Twice as many women and girls suffer from malnutrition as men and boys. Women and girls spend an enormous amount of time providing their families with water: in sub-Saharan Africa, 40 million hours every day. And when conflicts break out, they are more affected by violence and lack of security.

In the next few decades, desertification could create as many as 135 million climate refugees. By 2050, water shortages will affect 52 per cent of the world's people.

(Photo: UNCCD)

More than ever, arid-land populations -- particularly women -- need to prevent the degradation of their land, restore it and make it productive.

On this Earth Day, Canada is proud to re-establish its support for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. It is key to our commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

We want to help affected communities develop resilience in the face of the effects of climate change. We want to improve their food security and stabilize their incomes. We want to enhance the economic power of women and girls and to help build inclusive, stronger and more prosperous economies.

We also want to share our expertise in green technologies with developing countries, particularly with regard to sustainable management of natural resources, climate-smart agriculture and the response to natural disasters.

We join in celebrating Canada's commitment to the fight against desertification, one of our time's major causes of instability.

Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Monique Barbut
Executive Secretary
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

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Posted: April 21, 2017, 8:01 pm

Canadian cities prepare to march for science

Ottawa scientists protest

Nineteen locations across Canada are participating in this Saturday's March for Science, designed to promote and advocate for science.

Posted: April 21, 2017, 7:45 pm

Stayed sex assault charge speaks to 'hugely flawed' system: victims advocate


The head of the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services is speaking out after a sexual assault case in Nova Scotia collapsed following lengthy delays.

Posted: April 21, 2017, 7:18 pm

Bill Morneau Suggests Marijuana Taxes Should Be Low To Push Out Black Market

WASHINGTON — Here's some good news for Canadian pot smokers: high taxes will not join the munchies, the pasties and short-term memory loss as unwelcome side effects of smoking up.

The Canadian government is hinting it wants to keep pot taxes low.

As the feds design taxation policy for soon-to-be-legalized marijuana, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Friday that he will be guided by one main goal: squeezing out the black market.

bill morneau
Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks at The Public Policy Forum Growth Summit in Toronto on April 20, 2017. (Photo: Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press)

He is adamant that maximizing federal revenues is not, and will not be, the priority on pot, suggesting Ottawa favours keeping prices competitive against the street value in order to push the local pusher out of business.

"The driver as we look at taxation in this sector will be, 'How do we tax in a way that makes sure we get criminals out?'... That gives you context for the way we're thinking about it," Morneau said in a roundtable interview.

"The key issue is to make sure we eliminate the black market. It's straightforward. The first issue has to be our focus on that. Which means we are thinking about taxation in the context of how we get at that first objective...

"Revenue maximization is absolutely not our goal."

"Our current approach on marijuana is failing Canadians."

A new C.D. Howe report puts a price tag on the goal Morneau describes.

It finds that 90 per cent of the illegal market would disappear if pot cost $9 per gram, and governments applied only existing sales taxes, producing $675 million a year in federal and provincial revenues.

But the report concluded illegal sales would retain half the market if governments tried squeezing $1 billion in revenue from the sale of marijuana — and that's the scenario Morneau says he doesn't want.

But don't expect to hear the feds trumpeting Canadians' ability to get high without high taxes. Ottawa's messaging on the issue has been extremely sober, emphasizing the goal of displacing black-market vendors who sell to kids.

"Our current approach on marijuana is failing Canadians," Trudeau told a news conference Friday on Parliament Hill.

"We need to make it more difficult for underage Canadians to access marijuana; we are not doing that right now, the current prohibition does not work, which is why we're going to legalize and control the sale of marijuana ....

"We're going to end the billions of dollars in profits that flow into organized crime and criminal street gangs every year through the sale of this illicit drug."

"The key issue is to make sure we eliminate the black market."

In public, Morneau has avoided any deep discussions about marijuana taxation and its potential revenue impact.

Another thing the government has avoided discussing is the potential consequences of disrupting the criminal market.

A lengthy, detailed piece in Esquire magazine charts how Mexican criminal gangs saw U.S. states starting to legalize marijuana a few years ago, figured that market would soon dry up, and ramped up production of another product: heroin.
Posted: April 21, 2017, 5:15 pm

Illegal Border Crossers Coming To Canada Don't Get Free Pass: Public Safety Minister

For the last time: Asylum claimants who illegally cross into Canada from the U.S. don’t receive an automatic welcome into the country.

That’s the message Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale wanted to send with a statement shared to his website in March.

"To be clear — trying to slip across the border in an irregular manner is not a "free" ticket into Canada," reads the statement, which was recirculated to media this week for stories about a recent increase in illegal border crossers.

"The asylum seekers are apprehended and secured by police or local authorities. Their identities are determined from both biographic and biometric information. Health checks are done. Their records are examined for any immigration, criminal or terrorist flags against both Canadian and international databases," it stated.

asylum seekers canada
Two asylum seekers claiming to be from the Democratic Republic of Congo cross the border into Canada from the U.S. on March 28 near Hemmingford, Que. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Those who can't be identified, are deemed a flight risk or a danger to the public may be detained, according to the statement. Each person appears before the Immigration and Refugee Board to have their claim heard. If their claim is deemed invalid and the person inadmissible, officials start the deportation process.

The number of people stopped by the RCMP after illegally entering Canada rose in March.

New figures released Wednesday by the federal government show the RCMP intercepted 887 people crossing between official border points, up from 658 in February and 315 in January.

Between March 20 and April 16, three out of 135 people intercepted crossing near Emerson, Man. were detained because RCMP determined they were a danger to the public, according to numbers obtained by CBC News.

One of those detainees was charged with assaulting a police officer.

But in a tweet sharing Goodale's statement, Reuters reporter Anna Mehler Paperny pointed out that people aren’t usually interested in being arrested unless they’re serious about seeking refugee status.

statement from Public Safety Minister @RalphGoodale is worth clipping and saving. no one* is here for lulz unless they love being in custody

— Anna Mehler Paperny (@amp6) April 20, 2017

Those who cross in search of asylum also do not get to "jump the queue" ahead of those in refugee camps.

People who cross the border into Canada and those waiting to be resettled from outside the country are processed differently.

Canada does have a target for the number of resettled refugees it wants to accept — the government aims to take in 25,000 in 2017 — but immigration lawyer Ken Zaifman told CTV Winnipeg he thinks Canada has to pick a limit for all refugees.

canada us border
An RCMP cruiser is shown next to the U.S. - Canada border in Hemmingford, Que. on March 5. (Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

"The government has to decide, at the end of the day, there’s a limited number of refugees that Canada can absorb and take and fund," he said.

People who are self-selecting by walking into Canada may have an impact on the total number of refugees accepted from outside the country, he said.

Under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, people who seek asylum in Canada at official crossings can be turned away, because they are obliged to seek it in the first country they enter. But a loophole in the agreement allows people to make a claim if they manage to get into Canada another way.

With files from The Canadian Press
Posted: April 21, 2017, 5:13 pm

Read Judge William Horkins full decision – Jian Ghomeshi trial

Read Judge William Horkins full decision – Jian Ghomeshi trial

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