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Why Kevin O'Leary is a gift to Kathleen Wynne: Cohn - Toronto Star

Toronto Star

Why Kevin O'Leary is a gift to Kathleen Wynne: Cohn
Toronto Star
Alternative facts are the disruptive innovation of politics — less factual than the facts, but just enough truthiness to make the sale and club the competition. TV personality Kevin O'Leary is running for the federal Conservative party leadership, but ...
Ontario premier, cabinet ministers, trade open letters with O'
Kevin O'Leary challenges Premier Kathleen Wynne to call an electionToronto Sun
It's Time For Kathleen Wynne To Consider Stepping AsideHuffington Post Canada -Standard Freeholder -BayToday -Prince George Citizen
all 18 news articles »
Posted: January 24, 2017, 10:01 am

Trump's simplistic talk on NAFTA ignores the threat of disruption: Don Pittis -

Trump's simplistic talk on NAFTA ignores the threat of disruption: Don Pittis
The concept behind the North American Free Trade agreement is wonderfully simple. In a similar way, U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign promises on NAFTA are clear enough for any fool to understand. But when you take those two simple ideas and ...
Canada can forge ties with Trump while sticking up for values: HajduCTV News
Trump withdraws from TPP, but offers Canada hope on NAFTA, Keystone pipelineThe Globe and Mail
Canada signals possible US trade deal that excludes MexicoToronto Star
Toronto Sun -National Observer -680 News -Calgary Herald
all 333 news articles »
Posted: January 24, 2017, 10:01 am

Car crashes into Surrey McDonald’s golden arches after shooting 

A dark-coloured SUV crashed into the golden arches outside the McDonald's on 96 Avenue near Prince Charles Boulevard.
Author: Jon Azpiri
Posted: January 24, 2017, 7:10 am

Okanagan College creates designer chocolate

Chefs from the school's culinary program have designed two exclusive chocolates.
Author: Doris Maria Bregolisse
Posted: January 24, 2017, 6:38 am

Chinese births shoot up after one-child policy eased

Married couples are allowed to have two kids as of last year.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 6:29 am

Almost one-third of B.C. investors don’t know what they’re paying their advisers: study

With RRSP season approaching, the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) is trying to make it easier for everyday investors to better understand the fees they're paying their financial advisers.
Author: Jon Azpiri
Posted: January 24, 2017, 6:21 am

Lethbridge Fire asking city for 2 new stations, cites population growth

Fire officials say the west side station has the same staffing levels today as it did when it was first built in 1980 to serve a population of 4,000.
Author: Joe Scarpelli
Posted: January 24, 2017, 6:12 am

Rex Tillerson only barely approved as U.S. secretary of state

The Foreign Relations Committee has historically voted overwhelmingly in favour of the nominee.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 5:57 am

Man dropped off at Beltline health centre after being shot in the head: Calgary police

Calgary police are investigating after they said a man was dropped off at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre Monday evening suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.
Author: Phil Heidenreich
Posted: January 24, 2017, 5:40 am

B.C. foreign buyers tax really did yank down Vancouver home prices: BMO

"We have enough history now to distinguish the clear divergence between Vancouver (down) and Toronto (still straight up)."
Author: Jesse Ferreras
Posted: January 24, 2017, 5:34 am

Winnipeg Jets’ short win streak ends against Anaheim Ducks as Ondrej Pavelec suffers first loss

The Winnipeg Jets suffered their first loss in their last three games with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at MTS Centre.
Author: Russ Hobson
Posted: January 24, 2017, 5:04 am

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi says city’s study of Olympic bid on track

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi says there is a lot to do, but enough time to do it, in determining whether the city should bid for another Winter Olympics.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 4:48 am

Appointment of Mi'kmaq, black women to Nova Scotia courts 'a huge step' - The Globe and Mail

Toronto Star

Appointment of Mi'kmaq, black women to Nova Scotia courts 'a huge step'
The Globe and Mail
Nova Scotia has appointed the first Mi'kmaq woman and the third black woman to the provincial and family courts, in what the province's Premier calls a “huge step forward” for ethnic diversity on the bench. Legal aid lawyer Catherine Benton becomes ...
Nova Scotia appoints 2 new judges, takes 'step forward' for diversity in courtsToronto Star
First Mi'kmaq woman named to
2 new judges increase diversity on Nova Scotia
CTV News -Local Xpress
all 6 news articles »
Posted: January 24, 2017, 4:40 am

Calgary's Langevin Bridge to be renamed Reconciliation Bridge - The Globe and Mail

Calgary Herald

Calgary's Langevin Bridge to be renamed Reconciliation Bridge
The Globe and Mail
Calgary is changing the name of one of its historical bridges in an effort to recognize a dark stain on Canada's history – the decision to remove aboriginal children from their homes and force them to live in residential schools, where many suffered abuse.
Langevin Bridge is now called Reconciliation Bridge after council
Calgary city council votes to rename Langevin Bridge to Reconciliation BridgeCalgary Sun
Calgary's Langevin Bridge renamed Reconciliation Bridge640 Toronto News
MetroNews Canada
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Posted: January 24, 2017, 4:38 am

BC NDP Leader John Horgan calls for party unity amid carbon-tax tussle - The Globe and Mail

BC NDP Leader John Horgan calls for party unity amid carbon-tax tussle
The Globe and Mail
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan acknowledges his party has grappled with its carbon-tax policy but says it has come to a stable position ahead of the May provincial election thanks to a new generation of MLAs and Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's ...
2017 British Columbia election: Cariboo North riding
Horgan introduces the NDP's Cariboo-Chilcotin candidateWilliams Lake Tribune
BC Liberals defend donation downpourMerritt Herald

all 4 news articles »
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:49 am

Former Liberal MP Andrew Telegdi dead at 70

Liberal 20080227

Andrew Telegdi, who served on Waterloo city council and then served as MP for Kitchener-Waterloo for 15 years, has died. He was 70.

Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:46 am

Uninsured traveller faces medical bills after Thailand crash that killed friend - CTV News

CTV News

Uninsured traveller faces medical bills after Thailand crash that killed friend
CTV News
A Vancouver woman is facing thousands of dollars of medical bills after being injured in a car crash that claimed the life of her friend in Thailand. Nezabravka (Nezi) Borislavova and long-time friend Alexandra (Ali) Lambert, both in their early 20s ...
Vancouver woman killed, Calgary woman injured in Thailand traffic
Vancouver woman dies, friend barely survives Thailand jeep accidentVancouver Sun
One Vancouver woman killed, another seriously injured in car accident in
640 Toronto News -Phuket Gazette -Coconuts Bangkok -GoFundMe
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Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:43 am

Police investigating alleged assault of female reporter covering Women's March - CTV News

CTV News

Police investigating alleged assault of female reporter covering Women's March
CTV News
Police said an investigation was underway into the alleged assault of a female reporter at the Women's March in Edmonton Saturday. Sheila Gunn Reid, a contributor to the conservative online media group called The Rebel Media, was at the Women's March ...
Compassionate left? Don't make me laughToronto Sun
Rebel reporter accuses man at rally of assaulting
Video shows hipster punching camera at Women's MarchDaily Mail
Huffington Post Canada -Brandon Sun -The Sun
all 8 news articles »
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:18 am

200,000 litres of crude oil spilled in Saskatchewan

About 200,000 litres of crude oil has been spilled onto agricultural land in southeastern Saskatchewan after a pipeline leak.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:18 am

Pierre Lemieux Pledges To Repeal Transgender Rights Bill C-16 In Name Of Free Speech

OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Lemieux is lashing out at what he calls “chronic political correctness,” saying Canadians shouldn’t be forced to refer to transgender individuals with gender-neutral pronouns or face fines and other penalties.

“Freedom of speech in Canada is under attack,” Lemieux said in a news release Monday. “Protection from discrimination is entirely different from not wanting to be offended. Chronic political correctness is strangling free and respectful debate in Canada and it has to stop.”

The former Ontario MP, who was defeated in the 2015 federal election, pledged to scrap Bill C-16 if he is elected Tory leader and forms government. The Liberal legislation, currently in front of the Senate, extends protection to the transgender community through the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act by recognizing gender identity and gender expression as grounds for discrimination.

Lemieux refused to say why he is opposed to using alternative pronouns such as ‘they’ in the singular form to refer to a trans person if they request it. “This isn’t about me,” he told The Huffington Post Canada.

pierre lemieux
Pierre Lemieux speaks in the House of Commons in 2012.

But Jack Fonseca, a senior political strategist with the social conservative Campaign Life Coalition, said he believes Bill C-16 will bring “raw persecution” of Christians and people of other faiths.

“It is a draconian law that requires people to say certain words that they don't believe in — that even contradicts their conscience,” he told HuffPost. “If you believe that there are only two sexes, male and female, and you are required to affirm the philosophical idea that there are multiple genders… you are being required to violate your conscience and, in some cases, your moral beliefs and religious beliefs.”

“Freedom of speech in Canada is under attack."

The Liberal party, the NDP and a majority of the Conservative caucus in the House voted in favour of C-16. Of the 40 Tories who stood opposed, only two have become leadership candidates: Saskatchewan MPs Brad Trost and Andrew Scheer.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the bill aims to ensure equal protection to trans and gender-diverse Canadians under both human rights law and criminal law.

“This bill is not about limiting freedoms, but expanding them for all Canadians,” she told HuffPost in an email. “Discrimination undermines an individual’s freedom to build a stable and successful future and deprives us all of their participation in our society.”

jody wilson raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould responds to a question on April 14, 2016 in Ottawa.

In the Commons last October, the minister noted that with this bill, the government was saying “loudly and clearly that it is time to move beyond mere tolerance of trans people. It is time for their full acceptance and inclusion in Canadian society.”

'A sword for militant radical activists'

Fonseca, however, insisted that the bill, rather than being a “shield” for those who identify as transgender, will instead become “a sword for militant radical activists to go after Christians and make them pay for opposing this ideology.

“If this dangerous bill is passed, we will see Christians’ lives ruined,” he said. “We will see them lose their jobs, their homes. Their reputations will be destroyed. We will see Christians be buried under ruinous financial debt as a means to silence them and send an example to others…. We will see people being jailed.”

While Lemieux believes the law’s goal is to intimidate Canadians, he told HuffPost he doesn’t think it will lead to incarceration.

In his news release, however, he quoted University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson saying just that: “It is wrong to jail someone for holding different attitudes or beliefs, or for simply refusing to use specific words on demand in a free society.”

jordan peterson
Jordan Peterson speaks at the University of Toronto.

Peterson garnered national headlines last fall when he spoke out against the use of alternative pronouns such as ‘they,’ ‘ze’ or ‘zir’ for trans individuals.

Peterson told HuffPost he believes the legislation could land someone in jail if they refuse to pay a fine or penalties such as legal costs and are subsequently held in contempt of the court.

He and Lemieux both pointed to a comment by Ontario Chief Human Rights Commissioner Renu Mandhane that refusing to address a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity would be discriminatory if it occurred in a public area covered by the code, such as a university setting.

“This is as true today for non-binary gender pronouns like 'they' as it was for the evolution of the feminist movement..."

On its website, the commission states that using “right terms” can be used to affirm identities and challenge discriminatory attitudes, while “wrong ones” can disempower, demean and reinforce exclusion.

“This is as true today for non-binary gender pronouns like 'they' as it was for the evolution of the feminist movement and the use of the term “Ms” or a married woman’s maiden name.”

While the Ontario Human Rights Code, like Bill C-16, does not specify the use of any particular pronoun or other terminology, the Ontario Commission specifically states that provincial law recognizes “misgendering” as a form of discrimination.

The federal legislation speaks only about gender identity and expression, although Wilson-Raybould noted that courts across the country have been interpreting "gender identity" and "gender expression" for many years and in hundreds of cases.

“We will look at all Canadian jurisdictions, including Ontario, for guidance on how to interpret these terms,” she wrote.

The government’s news release defines “gender identity” as a person’s sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum, while “gender expression” is how a person publicly presents their gender, such as through their dress, hair, makeup, body language and voice.

Lemieux calls it 'forced speech'

As prime minister, Lemieux said, he would strike a new legislative committee and ask Peterson to review all laws governing speech.

“My message is quite clear: In Canada, we celebrate free speech not forced speech,” he said.

Egale Canada, a charity that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) human rights, did not return requests for comment.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 2:17 am

Bandits targeting Toronto pot shops at alarming rate: Cops

Masked bandits armed with guns, knives and pepper-spray are robbing marijuana dispensaries across the city at an alarming rate.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:49 am

Victims of former priest's abuse need Anglican Church to apologize: minister

Ralph Rowe Apology 20170123

A long-awaited public apology from the Anglican Church for the rampant sexual abuse perpetrated by former priest Ralph Rowe in the 1970s and 1980s will be vital in helping victims heal, Canada's Indigenous affairs minister says.

Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:44 am

Quebec class action lawsuit seeks damages for solitary confinement - CTV News

CTV News

Quebec class action lawsuit seeks damages for solitary confinement
CTV News
A class action lawsuit has been certified in Quebec that alleges federal prisons are abusing a practice known as “administrative segregation,” which the lawsuit's backers call “solitary confinement.” Former federal inmate Arlene Gallone is representing ...
Quebec woman suing over solitary confinement 'hell'Toronto Star
Montreal woman who spent 6 months in solitary sues federal

all 4 news articles »
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:32 am

'She gambled away Ryan's life': Calgary mother ruled criminally negligent in son - Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

'She gambled away Ryan's life': Calgary mother ruled criminally negligent in son
Toronto Sun
CALGARY — An Alberta judge says a Calgary woman who treated her son with holistic remedies before he died of a strep infection “gambled away” his life and is guilty of criminal negligence causing death. Justice Kristine Eidsvik also issued a judicial ...
Tamara Lovett's refusal to take Ryan to a doctor ended her son's lifeCalgary Sun
Judge rules Tamara Lovett guilty of criminal negligence causing her son's deathEdmonton Journal
Tamara Lovett verdict: Calgary mom guilty of criminal negligence causing death640 Toronto News
Brandon Sun
all 9 news articles »
Posted: January 24, 2017, 1:26 am

Montreal-area pit bull to be euthanized after attack on young boy

A recent dog attack on a seven-year-old Montreal boy shows the importance of the city's new anti-pit bull bylaw, a borough mayor said Monday.
Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:31 am

Trump Protest Set For Tax Day As Activists Hope To Retain Momentum

Millions of protesters around the world marched to promote women's rights this weekend in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday.

Now, activists are looking to their next target — Trump's tax returns.

Trump promised during the campaign he would release his tax returns after he was done being audited. But now, his advisor Kellyanne Conway says the president has no plans to release anything, according to The Washington Post.

Trump is the only major party nominee to not release his tax returns since 1976.

Protesters, looking to galvanize momentum after a successful weekend, called for anti-Trump demonstrations on April 15 — a day which is usually the filing deadline for U.S. tax returns (since it falls on a Saturday this year, taxes are actually due on April 18).

Trump claims no one cares about his taxes. The next mass protest should be on Tax Day to prove him wrong.

— Frank Lesser (@sadmonsters) January 22, 2017

I ENDORSE THIS 100%. This is the next march. This is the next demonstration. Please RT, everyone. Every city.

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 23, 2017

Pssst. April 15 is a Saturday, and someone hasn't released his taxes yet. What do you think about marching again? #TrumpTaxesMarch

— Tim Eldred (@TimJEldred) January 23, 2017

I totally support this: Next mass protest day is Tax Day. Now known as Show Us Your Taxes Day.

— Ali Davis (@Ali_Davis) January 23, 2017

Beau Willimon, showrunner of the dystopian Washington drama "House of Cards," weighed in, offering tips on exactly how to ensure the protests happen.

"The demand is clear-cut: hard- working, tax-paying Americans want Trump to release his tax returns. We want transparency," Willimon wrote.

2. Team up with a local organization in your area that will sponsor. Work with them to get proper permits to ensure a smooth, peaceful event

— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) January 23, 2017

Saturday's Women's Marches likely drew over three million participants in the U.S. alone, according to the statisticians at FiveThirtyEight.

Trump responded to the protests on Twitter, first calling out celebrity protesters, before acknowledging the role of peaceful protest in democracy.

Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2017

Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2017

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Posted: January 24, 2017, 12:26 am

Trump Will Meet Trudeau Within A Month To Talk NAFTA: White House

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet the new U.S. president within the next several weeks, as the incoming American administration talks to its northern and southern neighbours about a revised North American Free Trade Agreement.

A spokesman for Donald Trump confirmed the upcoming discussions as he held his first daily White House briefing Monday and took questions on trade, counter-terrorism and a dispute over him making misleading statements.

The first NAFTA talks could take place in the U.S., Sean Spicer suggested. He appeared to indicate the leaders would visit Trump. However, in Canada, several officials said specifics of a meeting had yet to be nailed down.

"(Trump) discussed on the phone with both leaders his desire to reform (NAFTA),'' Spicer told reporters. "His goal was to have that discussion when they come in person.''

justin trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes addresses a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Dec. 15, 2016.

Spicer said the meetings would happen soon: ''Over the next 30 days or so.''

Trade figured prominently in Trump's first full workday at the White House. The new president officially killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership by formally revoking U.S. participation in the 12-country trade pact.

That multinational agreement had been a pillar of U.S. foreign policy under two administrations, an effort to set American-designed trade standards in China's geographic neighbourhood, and Canada was also a party. However, the deal drew fire from left and right in the last U.S. election and now appears dead.

Trump met business leaders and promised a carrot-and-stick approach: lower taxes and a 75-per-cent reduction in regulations for businesses that stay in the U.S., and tariff-like punishments for businesses that outsource jobs.

Media, Trump team spat over inauguration

Another subplot of the day featured a spat over basic honesty. Spicer admitted he misled reporters on the weekend by exaggerating the number of Washington subway riders on the day of Trump's inauguration.

He said it was an honest mistake and that he had received bad numbers. Spicer did continue to insist that Trump's inauguration crowd was the largest of all time — but he clarified that the claim included live participants, TV viewers and people who watched online.

Attention now turns to NAFTA.

sean spicer
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at the White House on Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

The Canadian government heard a reassuring message in Calgary. A presidential adviser attended a federal cabinet retreat to say Canada need not be "enormously worried'' about trade. Stephen Schwarzman, who leads the president's Strategic and Policy Forum, said the new administration had an "unusually positive'' view of Canada.

"There may be some modifications, but basically things should go well for Canada in terms of any discussions with the United States,'' said Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group investment firm.

The Canadian government has been hoping to escape the ire that Trump directed at other countries during the campaign — he almost never mentioned Canada and in fact brushed off the idea of a northern border wall when asked about it.

"Basically things should go well for Canada."

The Trudeau government has hinted it could even seek to preserve a one-on-one deal with the U.S., should NAFTA fall apart.

"The reality is that we will do what is in Canada's interest,'' said David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., when asked in a December interview about the possibility of an agreement without Mexico.

A former Bush-era trade secretary urged the parties to save the trilateral pact.

U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to sign several executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Robert Zoellick said breaking up the NAFTA zone would be a strategic setback for North America — and he encourages Canada and Mexico to work together, even by sharing information and intelligence during trade talks.

"I've heard some Canadian voices say, 'Hey, remember, we've got the Canada free trade agreement. If you lose NAFTA, we've still got one — (and it's) back to 1988.' I think that would be deeply unfortunate,'' the former U.S. trade representative told a panel discussion last week at Washington's Wilson Center.

He said Canada might also consider aligning itself with any bilateral deal between Trump and the United Kingdom, as it leaves the European Union. He called it an opportunity, at a time other doors are closing: "In trade, if you're not on offence you're on defence. It's better to be pushing open markets as opposed to closed markets.''
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:27 pm

CRA scam adapting to go after former victims a 2nd time, RCMP warns -

CRA scam adapting to go after former victims a 2nd time, RCMP warns
A scam involving offshore fraudsters who pose as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) agents is continuing with a new twist that has them re-engaging with former victims, the RCMP says. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) first warned about the scam in ...
RCMP issues warning about scammersToronto Sun
RCMP Report on New Twist to Old ScamNet Newsledger
New approach to CRA scamCornwall Seaway News

all 4 news articles »
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:20 pm

'Truly tragic violence'; Play in works based on Russell Williams interrogation

A Toronto-based theatre company is developing a play based on the intense police interrogation in which convicted sex killer Russell Williams confessed his crimes.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 11:18 pm

George H.W. Bush Slams 'America First' Slogan As Selfish, Defends NAFTA In 1999 Clip

U.S. President Donald Trump has promised to implement trade deals that put "America first," and said he is even prepared to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement if it fails to do so.

One former president took issue with that sentiment — in 1999.

On Monday, CPAC uploaded archival footage of George H. W. Bush warning Canadians of a growing isolationist movement in his country. The clip, shared on Twitter, was recorded at a conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

Watch the video embedded below:

From the archives: June 1999: George Bush Sr. praises NAFTA, warns Canadians of threat posed by U.S. isolationism & "America First" movement

— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) January 23, 2017

"In my country, some people are using uncertainty and ambiguity at the moment to create a momentum for turning America selfishly inward, away from the world," said Bush, who missed Trump's inauguration due to health issues.

"And even though they deny it, they advocate policies that amount to protectionism and isolationism. Their slogans: 'Come home America,' 'America First' — this is selfish. This is beneath the history of our great country, but it's out there and it worries me, this coalition of left and right."

Canada shouldn't be 'enormously worried': official

The Trump administration has already made clear it will reopen NAFTA and, on Monday, the U.S. formally withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

The Liberal government has been preparing for its new relationship with the White House since Trump's victory in November.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet this month by appointing Chrystia Freeland to foreign affairs, and retired general Andrew Leslie as her parliamentary secretary. It is hoped Leslie will forge connections with a number of fellow former military commanders who got top jobs under Trump.

Freeland said on Monday that Canada is proud of being part of the "very mutually beneficial" NAFTA and has a strong relationship with Mexico, but she added the country's trade ties with the U.S. are "primarily bilateral."

Stephen Schwarzman, an adviser to the Trump administration, said Trudeau should not be "enormously worried" about any overhaul to trade agreements.

Speaking in Calgary where he met with Trudeau and his cabinet, Schwarzman emphasized the U.S. is primarily concerned with trade deals that involve big imbalances.

That still carries some cause for concern for David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., who says the country could become "collateral damage" as Washington resets relationships with some of its trading partners.

"We will co-operate on trilateral matters when it's in our interest and we'll be looking to do things that are in our interest bilaterally," MacNaughton said. "Some of them may be within NAFTA and some of them may not be."

With files from The Canadian Press

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 10:45 pm

Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell using 'self-love' to fight Instagram body-shamers

siera bearchell

How do you fight back against body shaming on social media? For Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell, all you need is love.

Posted: January 23, 2017, 10:06 pm

200,000 litres of oil spills onto First Nations land near Stoughton

Stoughton oil spill

A pipeline leak has spilled about 200,000 litres of oil near Stoughton, Sask. The breach occurred on First Nations land about 140 kilometres southeast of Regina.

Posted: January 23, 2017, 9:18 pm

Trudeau Should Follow Trump's Example And Put Canada First

justin trudeau canadian flag
Now-Prime Minsiter Justin Trudeau gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec, Oct. 9, 2015. (Photo: Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States on Friday. His inaugural speech caused great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in Ottawa and other national capitals around the world, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already shuffled his cabinet in anticipation of Trump's nationalist agenda -- but there's more he needs to do. Much more.

The theme of Trump's inaugural speech, like the theme of his campaign and the theme of his administration, is simple: America First.

"From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it's going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families." - President Donald J. Trump

What does 'America First' mean for Canada?

Well, first let's understand what it doesn't mean: it doesn't mean much change. The U.S. approach to foreign affairs and trade has always been "America First." Trump is just using very blunt language.

The fact is, the North American Free Trade Agreement -- the agreement of greatest concern to Canada's government -- is a great deal for U.S. companies and workers. Under NAFTA, the U.S. economy has more than tripled and U.S. GDP has grown by $80 billion as a result of the agreement, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Wharton School of Business quotes the Peterson Institute for International Economics saying the U.S. is "$127 Billion 'richer' each year thanks to 'extra' trade growth fostered by NAFTA." NAFTA-enabled trade creates 200,000 U.S. export-related jobs each year -- jobs that pay on average 15 to 20 per cent more than the manufacturing jobs the U.S. lost under the same agreement, according to Wharton.

In the years since NAFTA, U.S. trade with its North American neighbors has more than tripled, growing more rapidly than U.S. trade with the rest of the world. - Council on Foreign Relations

Three things Trudeau must do now

The reality is, the U.S. has always acted out of self-interest. As it should. If they don't have their own best interest at heart, who will? Well, probably, Canada. Canadian prime ministers often seem to spend more time worrying about the rest of the world than they do about Canadians.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, in his latter years as prime minister, appeared to grow bored with domestic politics and focused his energies on foreign affairs and global diplomacy. His son, too, has shown more interest in global statesmanship than Canadian economics. He's spent his first year in office announcing millions and billions of dollars in Canadian overseas investment on international aid and development initiatives.

Canada should look after itself first. Now's the time.

1. Put Canada First.

It's time for Trudeau to go beyond a cabinet shuffle and use Trump's brutally plain-spoken focus on U.S. self-interest as an opportunity to take a similarly honest and entirely self-interested approach to trade and diplomacy with the world's largest economy. Canada should look after itself first. Now's the time.

2. Use the leverage we've got.

Canada is not as big, rich or powerful as the U.S., but we're not without some leverage. We should use every ounce of it. Any protectionist move by the U.S. to throttle down trade between Canada and the U.S. will hurt the U.S. and cost it millions of jobs. Trudeau should make sure both he and Trump are thoroughly familiar with this leverage, and he shouldn't be afraid to use it. Trump respects tough.

  • Eight million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada, according to the Wharton School of Business. (Nine million, according to the Canadian government.)

  • Canada is the U.S.'s second largest goods trading partner, according to the U.S. Trade Representative, and its goods and services trade surplus with Canada was C$11.9 billion in 2015.

  • Canada is the largest consumer of U.S. export goods in the world (C$280 billion in 2015). Exports to Canada account for 18.6 per cent of all U.S. exports in 2015.

  • Canada is the top customer for 35 U.S. states.

  • Even when the U.S. buys goods from Canada, 25 cents of every dollar it spends goes directly back to U.S. workers who helped produce those goods.

trump inauguration speech
President Donald Trump delivers his speech at the inauguration ceremonies in Washington, U.S., Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters)

3. Prioritize non-U.S. trade growth.

Not surprisingly, since we share an 8,900 km border, the U.S. is Canada's largest trading partner -- accounting for 75 per cent of our exports and two-thirds of our imports, according to the Fraser Institute. Our best interest, however, would be served by reducing our reliance on the U.S. economy where we can.

The Harper government put a priority on developing international trade agreements to broaden our trading relationships. Trudeau should go even further, setting a target for non-U.S. trade and tuning his foreign and domestic policy to achieve it.

A crisis is a time of risk and opportunity. This is such a time. How Prime Minister Justin Trudeau handles this crisis will determine his political fate, his future legacy and Canada's economic well-being. He should seize this opportunity to deal with a U.S. president who speaks his mind, talks bluntly and prides himself on deal-making. This is the time to mirror that behaviour, earn Trump's respect, and improve Canada's economic position in North America and the world.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 8:51 pm

Police investigating alleged assault at Edmonton women's rally

Women's march

Edmonton police say they are investigating an alleged assault said to have occurred Saturday at a rally held at the Alberta legislature in support of the Women's March on Washington.

Posted: January 23, 2017, 8:44 pm

It's Time For Kathleen Wynne To Consider Stepping Aside

Some decisions in politics are easy. It is not hard to oppose Trump and every vile thing he stands for.

In general though political decisions are not often so clear cut. In 2017 -- sooner rather than later -- Premier Kathleen Wynne will have such a decision to make about her future, and in fact the future of the province.

New polling indicates there has been little change in her popularity, or lack there of to be specific. Her approval ratings sit barely into double digits, and show no sign of improving. The decision she faces is fairly obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of politics, or math for that matter.

I'm known to hold unpopular opinions at times -- Friends is better than Seinfeld -- so I have no issues with sharing another one. Premier Wynne has by and large done an excellent job. She put forth a bold platform and won an unlikely majority, at a time when many counted her party out. She has gone about implementing many much needed changes in pressing social issues, education, transit, and the environment.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of the electorate does not care.

I believe a great deal of the negative -- at times visceral -- reactions to Premier Wynne stem in no small part from the fact that she is both a women and openly gay. Women in politics from across partisan divides, are subject to abuse and levels of contempt rarely experienced by their male counterparts. Such vitriol is occasionally even promoted by major media outlets.

However, her dismal approval ratings cannot be laid solely on the denizens of commentville or the local chapter of the "I hate lefties" club. It runs deeper than that.

People in Ontario have seen life get progressively more expensive while their wages have stayed the same or vanished all together. Hydro costs in particular are often cited as what's driving up the cost of living, and driving down the premier's popularity. The Globe and Mail broke down hydro costs recently, showing how little of your hydro bill is actually Wynne's fault. Perception in politics being what it is, I doubt many people are open to that argument though.

Premier Wynne should seriously consider what's at risk in 2018.

In 2015 we saw Canadians embrace a progressive platform and elect a majority Liberal government. Clearly there is an audience for the progressive values Wynne has championed. The Liberal party polls better than the premier, suggesting another win is not out of the question. Particularly if mistrust of Patrick Brown grows, and if his party continues to pack their guns with feet seeking bullets.

Premier Wynne should seriously consider what's at risk in 2018. With a radical conservative agenda taking hold in America, a slightly softer version here could seem palatable to the people of Ontario. Leaving Patrick Brown and his party to unwind much of the progress the Liberals have made.

Hopefully, Premier Wynne has at least considered the option to step aside. She has worked hard to put forth programs meant to benefit all of the people of Ontario, and for that work to continue someone else may need to take the lead.

I suspect Premier Wynne already knows that because after all, that's essentially how she got the job in the first place.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 8:43 pm

Why We Must Maintain Tolerance As A Canadian Value

During a recent visit to my hometown of St. John's, I went to a busy restaurant to meet friends for lunch. The hostess asked my name. "Bolu," I started. After she refused to take my first name, I began with my last name. "O-g-u-n ..." but was abruptly cut off by the visibly irritated hostess. My name was an inconvenience to her -- too foreign, apparently.

Growing up with a Nigerian name in Newfoundland, it was routine to spell my name after I pronounced it. The hostess wasn't impressed. She asked for another, "easier name" -- someone else in my party, perhaps.

I informed her that the rest of my friends had names that would be of similar difficulty to pronounce; they were of Iranian and Pakistani origin. With this, she grew more irritated. Eventually my fiancée gave a shortened version of her first name to the hostess, which she accepted.

Does "Bolu" seem so hard to pronounce that it doesn't deserve a chance?

This unwillingness to accept an unfamiliar name is extremely at odds with the Canada I know and the warm province of Newfoundland and Labrador in which I grew up. Though the behaviour of the hostess was not blatantly racist nor xenophobic, it was certainly culturally insensitive and wholly inappropriate.

Many individuals with foreign-sounding names do not, and probably should not, expect most Canadians to master the pronunciation or spelling of their names. However, I did expect the hostess to make the effort to attempt my name. Even in a busy restaurant, this would take a matter of seconds. I understand that it can be awkward to mispronounce a name that one isn't comfortable with. However, I felt that to not even try and worse, to cut me off while I was spelling my last name -- the last name of my ancestors; the name my fiancee is soon to proudly adopt -- was insensitive and disheartening.

Though the food was enjoyable, I got up from the lunch table with a sour taste in my mouth. Afterward I asked to speak to the manager -- who was, in fact, the hostess. She explained that the "Canadian culture" she grew up in did not prepare her to pronounce a name such as mine, and suggested that I should go by a pseudonym should I wish to prevent a similar instance in the future.

Does "Bolu" seem so hard to pronounce that it doesn't deserve a chance? (I had already shortened from "Boluwaji")

Should I blame my parents for choosing to give their son a Nigerian name?

Should I deny my ancestry and go by a pseudonym such as "Bob" at this restaurant?

At a later date, the owner of the restaurant called to apologize.

Issues about race, ethnicity and culture have presented themselves in many arenas in Canada -- from the niqab rhetoric in the last federal election to Conservative Party MP Kellie Leitch's proposal to screen immigrants for so-called "anti-Canadian values."

I am proud of my name, which means to wake in the name of the Lord.

There is some evidence that Canadians are not holding on as tightly to multiculturalism as in the past. In a CBC-Angus Reid poll from last fall, 68 per cent of Canadian respondents agreed that minorities should do more to fit in with mainstream Canadian society.

There can be endless debate about just how much residents of Canada should be free to practice their religion, speak in their mother tongue or express other manifestations of their culture, compared with how much they should be expected to assimilate to the mainstream. These issues can be controversial and complicated.

But does this mean that my name -- not a John or Ken or Frank -- is not welcome here? Something that is so personal as a name needs to be changed or amended in order to be more Canadian?

But what's in a name, anyway? Some people are named after a living or deceased family member, while others are given a unique name. Names may have cultural importance and many immigrants choose a name that reflects their ancestry. I am proud of my name, which means to wake in the name of the Lord.

Indeed, a name can say a lot about a person. When the hostess refused to say my name, it said a lot about her. While addressing the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress on October 9, 1971, Pierre Trudeau remarked that "a society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance... Canada must continue to cherish human values: compassion, love and understanding."

As our neighbours to the south head into uncharted waters after the inauguration of a president who used division as a campaign tool, I sincerely hope, and indeed believe, that in Canada, tolerance and acceptance will continue to be a shining star of our great nation.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 6:30 pm

Rebel Media Reporter Sheila Gunn Reid Says She Was Hit At Edmonton Women's March

Edmonton Police are investigating a claim by Rebel Media that a female reporter was assaulted by a male protester during a women's march in Edmonton this weekend.

Two other protesters, however, have come forward to defend the man identified by the right-wing online publication.

Rebel posted a video of an altercation involving Alberta bureau chief Sheila Gunn Reid, who was covering the protest outside of the provincial legislature Saturday.

Rebel later offered a $1,000 reward, on a website called, for name of the man in the clip. The site now identifies the man as Dion Bews — a name not yet verified by police. It's unclear if a cash prize has been claimed.

In the clip, Reid tries to ask the protester a question, but he doesn't answer.

"Go away," he says. "Get out of my f*cking face. I will break your f*cking camera."

The protester then throws a punch that appears to connect with the camera.

"With all the strength his weak little beta arms can muster up, he winds up and bashes it into my face," Reid says in the video.

the rebel womens march
A man identified as Dion Bews captured in Rebel Media's video. (Rebel Media/YouTube)

The reporter is also shown calling out witnesses, who she says failed to protect a woman from assault. The video shows one unidentified woman speaking to Reid after the incident, asking her to remain calm.

"This little loser, he just struck a woman at a women's rally, was able to escape justice and arrest," Reid says.

The Rebel Media did not return The Huffington Post Canada's request for an interview before publication.

Witnesses dispute claim

Two witnesses, seen in Rebel Media's video, took to Facebook to dispute Reid's version of events on Sunday.

Tiana Barnes and Ezra James say Reid wasn't hit.

"He just hit the camera off the tripod," says Barnes in the Facebook video. "[He] didn't actually assault her in any way."

"Had she been hit, there would have been a reaction," James adds.

Both witnesses are hoping their video stops the spread of "false information," and brings attention back to women's rights.

Ezra Levant on the incident

Rebel Media's Ezra Levant spoke out on the organization's website and Twitter, calling the man a "NDP extremist."

Rachel Notley: one of your NDP extremists & supporter of @ProgressAlberta, punched your enemy @SheilaGunnReid in the face. Will you disavow?

— Ezra Levant (@ezralevant) January 23, 2017

The incident also caught the attention of Jason Kenney, currently running for the leadership of the Alberta PC party.

"Very disturbing to see a woman punched in the face at Edmonton protest yesterday," he tweeted.

Very disturbing to see a woman punched in the face at Edmonton protest yesterday. I condemn such hatred & violence.

— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) January 23, 2017

And Laureen Harper, wife of former prime minister Stephen Harper, took to Twitter to charge that the "sisters helped the guy slither away."

Loved the part in the video where the women helped @SheilaGunnReid to safety. Oops, I meant where the sisters helped the guy slither away.

— Laureen Harper (@LaureenHarper) January 23, 2017

The media organization is now collecting donations, citing security concerns.

"I’m sending her to public events with a professional security guard," wrote Levant on the site, saying it will cost $40 per hour, plus the cost of travel.

Charges have not yet been laid in the case.

The Canadian Press photographer on scene

A news photographer working for The Canadian Press was on the scene of the alleged assault. Levant asked why none of his photos were published.

"A photojournalist for Canadian Press, who caught the whole thing, buried the story."

Canadian Press Editor-in-Chief Stephen Meurice said the wire service did not suppress the story.

"The Canadian Press does not have any pictures of the alleged altercation between the protester and the Rebel Media reporter. The photographer who was covering the protest for us, Jason Franson, did not have a good view of the apparent altercation," he said in a statement.

"CP did not publish those photos as they did not have any news value on their own. There was no 'suppression' of the story, as Rebel Media maintained."

With files from The Canadian Press.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 6:28 pm

Patient Demand For Health Care Is Eric Hoskins' Biggest Problem

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins has many big problems on his hands. He's locked in a protracted dispute with Ontario's doctors. He's got angry nurses to deal with. His own health-care bureaucrats have given him dismal approval ratings. He's got to support a premier who's ridiculously unpopular. And probably a whole host more.

However, the biggest problem of all is one that he refuses to talk about: that is the fact that demand for health care continues to grow, with no end in sight.

He's tried to avoid talking about this issue by attacking those who provide those services instead. It's an old political tactic -- attack the person, not the issue. It even works at times. But after a while, people catch on and realize that the issues that are dear to them are not improving.

Let's look at a couple of recent attacks that Hoskins made and see some potential outcomes.

He made headlines a while back suggesting some specialists were "overbilling" the OHIP system. He pointed to a radiologist who reads 300 diagnostic scans a day as an example. Even Globe and Mail health reporter Andre Picard tweeted out wondering if this was good care.

It's an old political tactic -- attack the person, not the issue.

There's only one problem with this. Hoskins very well knows that radiologists DON'T ORDER SCANS. If you have a cough, and fever, and you go to see you family doctor, your family doctor will listen to your lungs and determine if a chest X-ray is needed. Similarly, if you have severe stomach pain and are in hospital, it is the attending physician who orders the CT Scan, NOT the radiologist. So it's not like they are clearly referring patients to themselves and promoting their own business.

Further, let's say that whoever this radiologist is decides "I don't need the grief of being picked on, I'll only read 150 scans a day." Hoskins then has no one to attack, the radiologist works less and there's no story about him "overbilling" the health-care system. Perfect solution, right? Just what Hoskins wants.

The problem is that the 300 scans are going to come in anyway (because people keep getting sick, and need the tests). So now, on the second day, the radiologist will have not only the 150 he didn't read from the day before, but another 300 to deal with. On the third day he'll have 300 that he hasn't read yet, and yet another 300 coming in, and so on. The only possible result will be significant delays in patients getting test results, and thus delays in patients getting care.

Similarly, Hoskins has been known to attack ophthalmologists for doing too many cataract surgeries. Now in this case, it is true that they decide whether someone should have surgery or not. But does Hoskins really think that the ophthalmologists are doing surgeries before they are needed? If so, why hasn't he referred them to the College of Physicians and Surgeons for discipline? Why hasn't he referred them to the fraud department of the OHIP if he feels they are billing inappropriately?

The fact that Hoskins has NOT used those processes is very telling.

The simple answer is that he knows that, for the most part, these doctors are billing appropriately, and are dealing with patient demand as best as they can. Even with that, there are parts of Ontario where the wait list for cataract surgery is two years.

I'm not saying there aren't doctors who do inappropriate things, there sadly are, but there ARE processes to deal with them, and the fact that Hoskins has NOT used those processes is very telling.

Unfortunately, the problem of patient demand is not limited to just the need for diagnostic testing and cataract surgery. I'm on the Ontario Doctors Discussion Forum, a private Facebook page where physicians talk about medical politics, but also about some truly tragic stories (with patient identifiers removed of course) coming out of Ontario's health-care system. Recent examples include:

  • A 14-year-old boy who has attempted suicide, and is deemed psychiatrically to be a high risk to himself. Attending physician was unable to find a psychiatric facility for him (despite 2.5 hours on the phone over a 24 hour period) and is considering transferring him to Winnipeg or even Calgary.

  • A 20-year-old patient with an unstable back fracture (one that could sever the spinal cord) forced to wait for 20 hours in emergency until a hospital could be found to take her (unknown how long it took to actually get the surgery to stabilize her spine).

  • Discussion about what to do when a psychiatrist has left a hospital, and there is no replacement, with a multitude of critically ill patients left without the specialized care they need.

  • Countless stories of hospitals "pushing" patients out the door to try and alleviate a bed crisis.

  • Numerous attempts to find a colleague to consult on a patient who needs urgent specialized care, because the usual referral network is too bogged down to help and so on.

I confess I'm puzzled why the leadership of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) hasn't advertised these types of situations. They've chosen instead to tell people to look both ways before they cross the street. While I appreciate that's good advice, the OMA would be better off actively advocating for improvements in the health-care system, since that is what their membership so clearly is being frustrated by.

However, as these kind of stories become more and more common, the growing awareness that something is seriously, and fundamentally wrong with the health-care system is sure to envelop Minister Hoskins this year. Maybe then he'll stop playing politics, and actually work in true partnership with all health-care workers, to deliver the improvements our health-care system so badly needs.

If not, the voters will surely let him know in 2018.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 6:05 pm

Cadaver dog became 'frantic' while searching for human remains on Garland farm, triple-murder trial hears

garland farm

A cadaver dog with the Calgary Police Service indicated he had found human remains in several areas on Douglas Garland's property days after a five-year-old boy and his grandparents disappeared.

Posted: January 23, 2017, 5:16 pm

Kevin O'Leary Responds To Kathleen Wynne's Open Letter: 'You Are Clearly Out Of Touch'

The war of words between Kevin O'Leary and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne continues.

The latest contender in the federal Conservative leadership race shared a Facebook post on Monday slamming Wynne as an "incompetent" politician.

"Look at Ontario, if this province were a company it would have been forced to declare bankruptcy ages ago," O'Leary wrote.

oleary wynne
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne criticized Kevin O'Leary's comments about her province's auto sector in an open letter. (Photo: CP/Getty Images)

"If you were the CEO of one of my companies I would have fired you long ago."

Click here to read the full letter.

The "Shark Tank" host also bashed Wynne for Ontario's skyrocketing hydro prices — an issue for which she has personally taken responsibility — and accused her of "bankrupting" the province with her government's policies.

"If you were the CEO of one of my companies I would have fired you long ago." — Kevin O'Leary to Kathleen Wynne

O'Leary then suggests Wynne should call a provincial election if she thinks her performance has been acceptable.

"Unfortunately, we both know you won’t do that though when you are sitting with a 16% approval rating in the polls," he wrote, referring to numbers from an Angus Reid Institute poll released in December.

"But I promise, it would be a very popular decision if you did."

O'Leary enters 'the den'

O'Leary's post comes just a day after Wynne sent an open letter his way. The premier criticized the businessman's proposed policies and railed against comments O'Leary made about Ontario's auto sector.

"Your policies so far suggest that serving society’s most well-off should be the sole role of government," Wynne wrote in Sunday's message. "I see things differently. I want an economy that keeps growing, creating and attracting good jobs."

O'Leary officially jumped into the Tory leadership contest last week, ending months of speculation about his political aspirations. He joins an already crowded field of 13 other candidates.

His jump into politics, at least, has impressed the premier.

"I respect anyone who is willing to enter the den," she wrote.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 5:04 pm

Trump-friendly lawmaker: Forget NAFTA, let's do one-on-one deal with Canada

A well-connected U.S. congressman is calling for the United States to work out a one-on-one trade deal with Canada instead of updating the three-party North American Free Trade Agreement, citing economic differences within the region.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 5:00 pm

Where Is Your Outrage, Citizens Of B.C.?

women march vancouver
Thousands of people gather for a women's march and protest against U.S. President Donald Trump, in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/CP)

On Saturday, it felt good to be one of thousands marching in B.C. to challenge the misogynist rhetoric of a narcissistic president. It was cathartic to walk with so many whose protest was displayed on signs philosophic and poetic all around the planet, from Alaska to Antarctica.

But today, when I think about what is happening in our own province, I wonder when we will see thousands take to the streets to protest the egregious actions of the B.C. Liberal government and Christy Clark?

While big money gets to feast at her table, children with learning disabilities struggle to keep up with lessons in mouldy portables, waiting for the crumbs she was so "excited" to promise.

While 914 dead bodies pile up in morgues, she ignores the health crisis in our streets, refusing the common sense solutions suggested. 

While people are turned away from clinics and waiting in emergency rooms starts at three hours, she flits around the province meeting with billionaires who benefit from tax cuts.

There are over 146 examples of the B.C. Liberals' callous disregard for ordinary citizens in this province.

While youth who have aged-out of care die alone on the street, and while teens in government care  "fall" out of windows in hotel rooms, she grins at more funding-by-photo-op events.

And lets never forget that there is an entire generation of students who were subjected to overcrowded classrooms and decreasing resources while, for 15 years, her government spent millions in attacks on the constitutional rights of teachers. 

This list could go on and on. There are over 146 examples of the  B.C. Liberals' callous disregard for ordinary citizens in this province.

But, where is the outrage?

People around the planet are afraid that Trump will reverse all progress to mitigate the effects of climate change, while here in BC, alarm bells warning about increasing fossil fuel emissions with LNG are largely ignored.

What words will it take to shake the citizens of B.C. out of their apathy?

On Saturday, parents around the world marched with their children, future citizens,  who will inherit the world we leave them, while here in B.C. the fact that one in five children lives in poverty seems to not be enough to demand more of a government whose "families first" campaign slogan rang hollow.

We seem to be dazzled by the ads promising us a world of opportunities while all around us the suffering of the sick, the poor, the disabled and the elderly at the hands of Christy Clark's crew barely registers acknowledgement.

The seed for Saturday's march was planted by Teresa Shook, a grandmother who refused to allow her despair about Trump's election victory to lull her into apathy. She wrote on her Facebook page: I think we should march.

What words will it take to shake the citizens of B.C. out of their apathy?

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 4:59 pm

'No reason to believe' Dunphy violent, officer tells inquiry

The Newfoundland police officer who says Don Dunphy aimed a rifle at him before he shot him three times saw no conflict in sending an email explaining his actions to the lead RCMP investigator.
Posted: January 23, 2017, 4:52 pm

Montreal woman who spent 6 months in solitary sues federal government

Arlene Gallone

A Montreal woman is suing Correctional Service Canada, claiming prison guards kept her in solitary confinement too long.

Posted: January 23, 2017, 4:41 pm

Boy Annoyed At Trudeau Town Hall Will Get A Baby Brother Named After Prime Minister

FREDERICTON — A photo of a boy looking exasperated while sitting behind the prime minister has been making the rounds on social media, even giving Justin Trudeau a laugh, but the boy's family wants to set the record straight about the circumstances.

Abdel Kader Al Shaikh was photographed covering his hands over his eyes with his head tilted towards the ceiling as he sat in the front row of Trudeau's town hall in Fredericton last week.

The Canadian Press photo struck a chord with social media users, with some interpreting the boy's expression as frustration with the prime minister.

boy trudeau town hall
Abdel Kader Al Shaikh attends a town hall meeting with Justin Trudeau during a visit to the Cultural Centre in Fredericton, N.B. on Jan. 17, 2017. The boy, who was there with his family, was irritated by his noisy two-year-old brother. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Trudeau had a more light-hearted take on the scene, joking that as a former teacher, he's used to speaking in front of an audience of squirming children.

"I haven't seen faces like these kids' since I taught math class,'' Trudeau wrote in a tweet that generated thousands of likes. "Thanks New Brunswick!''

I haven’t seen faces like these kids’ since I taught math class. Thanks New Brunswick!

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 17, 2017

While Trudeau's former students may have grimaced in math class, 10-year-old Abdel Kader was eager to hear what the prime minister had to say last Tuesday, his father said in an interview aided by an interpreter.

Hassan Al Shaikh said he and his wife, Radia, along with four of their seven children waited for two hours to see Trudeau, even letting some of the kids skip school so they could see their "hero'' in person. The family holds Trudeau in the highest esteem, Hassan Al Shaikh said, as the "only leader in the world'' who welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms.

abdel kader al shaikh
Abdel Al Shaikh, 10, holds his two-year-old brother Omar in their family's home in Fredericton, N.B. on January 21, 2017. (Photo: Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press)

"(I'm) so grateful for all of the Canadian people ... who received (our family) with amazing hospitality,'' he said. "While other countries closed their borders ... Canada was the only country that opened the doors and opened the hearts for the Syrians.''

Abdel Kader watched intently as Trudeau took questions from the audience, but he kept being distracted by his two-year-old brother, Omar, who cried and made noise while the prime minister was speaking, according to the boys' father.

"Abdel Kader tried to make his brother be quiet. He was saying to him, 'Please listen, listen, listen,'' Hassan Al Shaikh said. "When he gave up, he put his hands on his head and said, 'Oh my god, I am here listen!'"

Hassan Al Shaikh said that he and Radia were horrified to learn that a photo of the sibling squabble had somehow made its way to the prime minister. The parents feared their son had offended Trudeau and that his gesture could even invite punishment for the whole family, based on their "bad memory'' of living under the Syrian government.

Family plans to name new baby after prime minister

Eventually, it was made clear that the prime minister was amused by the image, and Hassan Al Shaikh said he was heartened by Trudeau's "democratic reaction.''

The Al Shaikhs just passed their one-year anniversary in New Brunswick, and they're expecting an addition to their brood any day now.

At their children's request, they plan to name the boy "Justin Trudeau Al Shaikh."

Radia Al Shaikh said she hopes Trudeau will give them his blessing to welcome the baby into the family's new home with a fittingly Canadian name.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 4:35 pm

Trump Official: Trudeau Shouldn't Be 'Enormously Worried' About Trade Reset

CALGARY — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau need not be "enormously worried'' about a looming overhaul in U.S. trade policy under Donald Trump, an adviser to the new administration said Monday, as the Liberal government held a cabinet retreat aimed at finding its bearings in the shifting Canada-U.S. relationship.

Stephen Schwarzman, who leads the president's Strategic and Policy Forum, said Canada is well regarded and will be in a good position should there be a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"There may be some modifications, but basically things should go well for Canada in terms of any discussions with the United States,'' said Schwarzman, whom Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has described as a "longtime good friend.''

Schwarzman — the CEO of the Blackstone Group investment firm — met privately with Trudeau and with ministers as part of the two-day retreat in Calgary.

stephen schwarzman
Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman is interviewed on the Fox Business Network in New York on Feb. 27, 2014. (Photo: Richard Drew/AP via CP)

Trump has famously promised a new trade relationship with the world focusing on American interests — indeed, he made good on one part of that promise Monday by signing an order removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Schwarzman said the Trump administration is more concerned with agreements in which there are big trade imbalances, which is not the situation with Canada.

International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said it was good to have someone at the "top of the pyramid'' hear from ministers.

"There may be some modifications, but basically things should go well for Canada in terms of any discussions with the United States."

"I think we have someone who has a very deep understanding of the relationship between the United States and Canada,'' he said after the daylong meeting.

The Trudeau government is looking to mitigate the risks of the unpredictable new U.S. administration, from promoting the well-connected Freeland from her previous International Trade post to rethinking its approach to trade.

David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, has suggested bilateral agreements outside of NAFTA are a possibility as Canada tries to avoid suffering economic harm through a potential border tax or unfavourable trade agreement changes.

It is vital to have a good economic relationship with the U.S., he said. And while some matters may be dealt with inside the controversial Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement, which Trump has promised to revisit, others may be better handled outside it.

On Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested Trump will meet with both Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the next month or so to talk about how best to proceed on renegotiations.

david macnaughton
David MacNaughton, Canadian Ambassador to the United States, speaks to reporters at a Liberal cabinet retreat in Calgary, Alta. on Jan. 22, 2017. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Blowing up the agreement might not necessarily have to happen, he hinted.

"Now, if they come in and express a willingness to (renegotiate), you could negotiate it within the current parameters and update it through the existing structure,'' Spicer said during his first official media briefing as press secretary.

"If they don't and he decides to pull out, then we will have to go back to the drawing table in the future.''

The danger, MacNaughton warned, is that Canada becomes "collateral damage'' as Washington takes aim at what it sees as predatory trading partners.

"We will co-operate on trilateral matters when it's in our interest and we'll be looking to do things that are in our interest bilaterally,'' MacNaughton said. "Some of them may be within NAFTA and some of them may not be.''

Freeland notes bilateral relationship

Freeland said Canada has a strong relationship with Mexico and is happy to be part of NAFTA, but noted its dealings with the United States are mostly bilateral.

Trump's policies are expected to have an impact on a host of cabinet portfolios, but ministers did their level most to project a business-as-usual signal on their way into Monday's meeting — notably Finance Minister Bill Morneau, whose federal budget is expected next month.

"The necessity for us to work together in a collegial fashion with the United States is no different today than it was last year or will be next year,'' Morneau said.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the Trump and Trudeau governments can work together — "he's a businessman,'' she said — even though the U.S. president is a staunch supporter of coal and has in the past expressed doubts about the science of climate change.

catherine mckenna
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna speaks at the Liberal cabinet retreat in Calgary on Jan. 23, 2017. (Photo: Todd Korol/CP)

Renegotiating NAFTA offers a chance to address its flaws, said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff — who takes particular issue with a chapter that allows investors the ability to sue foreign governments.

The group is meeting with other unions Tuesday in Ottawa to gird for the coming talks.

"We're optimistic that something positive can come out of this,'' Yussuff said. "But ... we are dealing with a president who is quite erratic and we are not sure exactly what it is that he wants to do.''

Posted: January 23, 2017, 4:28 pm

Dear Premier Wynne: I Would Have Fired You Long Ago

Dear Premier Wynne,

Thank you for your letter. I have been writing you for a while now and was getting worried you were never going to write back.

I'm getting involved in the Conservative leadership race because I can't stand watching incompetent politicians destroy my country. You and Justin Trudeau are two of them. Rachel Notley would be the third.

kevin oleary
(Photo: Kevin O'Leary)

Look at Ontario, if this province were a company it would have been forced to declare bankruptcy ages ago. Because of your neglectful actions, Ontario is the world's most in-debt jurisdiction. Do you understand how bad that is? You and your policies have all but bankrupted a province that was once an economic powerhouse in Canada. If you were the CEO of one of my companies, I would have fired you long ago.

Your complete disregard for the people of Ontario has caused hydro prices to become completely unaffordable for families, sometimes forcing them to choose between groceries and heat. I am sure you saw the video where one homeowner recently broke down in tears as she tried to explain the current situation to Justin Trudeau. His response was to pass the buck and to say this is an Ontario problem.

Your policies have all but bankrupted a province that was once an economic powerhouse.

Premier, when you publicly took the blame and were forced to apologize to Ontarians because hydro prices have risen out of control, you admitted to "not paying close enough attention to some of the daily stresses facing Ontarians' lives."

What were you paying attention to? What exactly do you think your job is, if not to protect and support the people who elected you? How could you have let this happen?

Do you really think Ontario is going to be competitive with Michigan and other northern states after Trump eliminates regulations and lowers taxes? You're dreaming. Admit it, you did not see him coming and now you are totally caught off guard.

Your answer to everything is to raise taxes, take money from businesses that employ Ontarians and then try and re-invest it yourself. I'm sorry, but you are a terrible investor of taxpayers' money. That's why Ontario is $308 billion in debt.

Premier, you are clearly out of touch.

Harsh words? Sure, but it's the truth. Maybe you should consider leaving some money in the hands of Ontario business owners and entrepreneurs who can use it to grow our economy instead of taxing it all away.

Premier, you are clearly out of touch. But if you really think you are doing a good job, then prove it and call an election tomorrow. Unfortunately, we both know you won't do that, though, when you are sitting with a 16 per cent approval rating in the polls.

But I promise it would be a very popular decision if you did.


Kevin O'Leary

Conservative Party of Canada Leadership Candidate, Ontario taxpayer and your employer until the next election.

This blog originally appeared on Facebook.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 4:01 pm

This Scandal Is About The Prime Minister's Actions, Not The Aga Khan

In light of the prime minister's recent visit with the Aga Khan, a lot of people are asking questions about who the Aga Khan is and what his objectives are. I read with interest a recent piece here on Huffington Post by Riaz Charania, arguing that the Aga Khan's message is important, and also that the scandal surrounding the Trudeau vacation is "Much Trudeau About Nothing."

I agree with the first part, but not the second. This is a real scandal which raises real questions about Justin Trudeau's ethics. It in no way detracts from the charitable work of the Aga Khan. This scandal is about the prime minister's actions, not the Aga Khan's.

aga khan justin trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Aga Khan on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

By way of background, the Aga Khan is the leader of the worldwide Ismaili Muslim community. He advocates for peace, tolerance, and universal education, among other things. He has had a close relationship with successive Canadian governments. The previous Conservative government gave him honorary citizenship and invited him to address Parliament in 2014. During his address, he said the following:

"I happily recall the establishment of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat here in 2008 and the Prime Minister's description that day of our collaborative efforts to make Canada 'the headquarters of the global effort to foster peace, prosperity, and equality through pluralism.'"

In addition to praising Canada and the government in general terms, the Aga Khan explicitly praised the creation of the Office of Religious Freedom, since cancelled by the new Liberal government, saying:

"Canada has responded in notable ways, including the establishment -- just one year ago -- of the Office of Religious Freedom. Its challenges, like those facing the Centre for Global Pluralism, are enormous and its contributions will be warmly welcomed. And surely it will also serve as a worthy model for other countries."

The fact that the Aga Khan had a warm and positive relationship with the previous Canadian government should not suggest that the Aga Khan is partisan in any sense. Like virtually all major religious figures, he works with politicians but operates outside of party politics. Much of his praise for Canada was focused on those common Canadian values which are shared across party lines.

So the first bottom line is that the Aga Khan is greatly admired across the political spectrum.

When Justin Trudeau accepted the use of the Aga Khan's private aircraft, he chose to ignore his legal obligations under Canadian law.

The second bottom line is that the important work of the Aga Khan, and his personal relationship with many Canadians and Canadian politicians, has no bearing on the prime minister's obligation to follow the law. Section 12 of the Conflict of Interest Act says the following:

"No minister of the Crown, minister of state or parliamentary secretary, no member of his or her family and no ministerial adviser or ministerial staff shall accept travel on non-commercial chartered or private aircraft for any purpose unless required in his or her capacity as a public office holder or in exceptional circumstances or with the prior approval of the Commissioner."

Importantly, this section of the act puts the onus on the prime minister not to accept non-commercial travel. For the purposes of preventing conflict of interest, the prime minister has unique legal obligations. It is not the obligation of someone who isn't the prime minister to know these rules -- responsibility for following these unique rules belongs to the prime minister. And these rules are important for ensuring that politicians are not subject to undo influence.

When Justin Trudeau accepted the use of the Aga Khan's private aircraft, he chose to ignore his legal obligations under Canadian law. The Aga Khan broke no rules; it was in accepting the flight that Trudeau broke the rules.

Mr. Charania argued that it is important for political leaders to engage with the Aga Khan, and I agree. That is why the previous government brought the Aga Khan to Parliament, helping all Canadians to hear his message. Those who feel that this scandal is much ado about nothing could well propose that the law be changed -- but while the law is in force, the prime minister is legally obliged to follow it.

If Justin Trudeau feels that this law cramps his style on vacation, then he should propose changes to it that the House of Commons can debate. In the meantime, the prime minister cannot simply behave as if the law does not exist.

It is unfortunate that this scandal of Justin Trudeau's may be how the Aga Khan comes to be known to Canadians, as opposed to through his important charitable work. But this could be fixed if Justin Trudeau simply did the right thing and stood up to take personal responsibility for his own actions. It was his decision to break the rules, and it is up to him, not the Aga Khan, to make things right.

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Posted: January 23, 2017, 3:53 pm

Convicted rapist escapes Kingston facility

David Maracle

A Brantford, Ont., man who raped a 14-year-old schoolgirl in the late 1990s has escaped from a Kingston halfway house, police warn.

Posted: January 23, 2017, 1:27 pm

'Forever in my heart,' mom of Hamilton man with rapid aging disorder says after his death

Devin Scullion and his Mom

"Forever in my heart. Tomorrow will not be the same without you, thank you for allowing me to be your mother," Jamie Madley wrote on social media after the death of her son, Devin Scullion, a Hamilton man with a rare genetic disorder that causes rapid aging.

Posted: January 23, 2017, 12:36 pm

Read Judge William Horkins full decision – Jian Ghomeshi trial

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