New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday agreed to hear a PIL seeking identification and deportation of all illegal immigrants and infiltrators including Bangladesh nationals and Rohingyas.A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta took note of submission of lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay that his plea, which was filed in 2017, be listed for an urgent hearing. “It would be listed for hearing on July 9,” the bench, which also comprised Justice Deepak Gupta, said. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!Upadhyay, in his plea, has also favoured the Centre’s stand to identify and deport to Myanmar around 40,000 illegal Rohingya Muslims staying here. The plea has sought a direction to the Centre and the state governments to identify, detain and deport all illegal migrants and infiltrators, including Bangladesh nationals and Rohingyas. “The large-scale illegal migrants, particularly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have not only threatened the demographic structure of bordering districts but have seriously impaired the security and national integration, particularly in the present circumstances,” the plea said. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedThe plea alleged there was an organised influx of illegal immigrants from Myanmar through agents and touts facilitating illegal immigrants Rohingyas via Benapole-Haridaspur and Hilli (West Bengal), Sonamora (Tripura), Kolkata and Guwahati. “This situation is seriously harming the national security of the country,” it said. The apex court is also seized of a separate plea of two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, and the plea said that Rohingyas had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there. Former RSS ideologue and Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan leader K N Govindacharaya had also moved the Supreme Court seeking to intervene in the pending PIL filed by Rohingyas. He had opposed the plea of two Rohingya refugees saying they are a burden on country’s resources and pose a serious threat to national security.
Beijing: China’s economy grew at its slowest rate in nearly three decades in the second quarter, according to an AFP survey of analysts, hit by the US-China trade war and weakening global demand. The world’s second largest economy expanded 6.2 percent in April-June, the poll of 10 economists predicted ahead of the official release of gross domestic product figures Monday. The reading would mark the worst quarterly growth in almost three decades but stay within the government’s target range of 6.0-6.5 percent for the whole year. The economy grew 6.6 percent in 2018. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepBeijing has stepped up support for the economy this year but the moves have not been enough to offset a domestic slowdown and softening overseas demand for its toys, gadgets and electronics. Policymakers are likely to take further action, analysts say, with Premier Li Keqiang presiding over a state council meeting Wednesday that pledged to lower tariffs and step up tax rebates for exporters. “The existing tariffs on exports to the US are having an impact on China’s economy,” said Steven Cochrane, chief APAC economist with Moody’s Analytics. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs”Industrial production and exports are also weak, with shipments to the US declining significantly,” he said. Beijing pushed forward a raft of stimulus measures earlier this year to cushion the impact from its cooling economy, increasing spending on roads, railways and other big-ticket infrastructure projects, and tax cuts worth 2 trillion yuan ( 297 billion) kicking in from April. The policies buoyed the economy in March and brought in 6.4 percent growth for the first quarter, but it proved no more than a short-term panacea. Industrial output surged 8.5 percent in March before tumbling in April and dropping to five percent growth in May, the slowest increase since 2002. The build in infrastructure investment has also retreated from the first quarter, coming in at 4.0 percent in January-May, sharply down from years of near 20 percent expansion. China’s 1.3 billion consumers have remained a bright spot. “Consumption is holding up relatively well, possibly reflecting the effects of income and value-added tax cuts,” said Tommy Wu of Oxford Economics. Sales of big-ticket items such as cars have not held up, though, with sales down 12.4 percent in the first half of the year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Analysts widely expect Beijing will step up with further easing in coming months, with Cochrane tipping new measures heading into 2020. “This will include lower real interest rates for small firms, further reserve requirement ratio reductions, and ongoing infrastructure spending,” he said. The overall downward trend gives President Xi Jinping little room to fight back forcefully against the US, which is using tariffs as leverage to try to force China into opening up its economy. Washington and Beijing have hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than 360 billion in two-way trade and damaging manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific. US President Donald Trump and Xi agreed to revive negotiations when they met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on June 29. Top US and Chinese negotiators held phone talks on Tuesday but it remains unclear if the wide rupture that has formed since talks broke down in May can be patched over.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government will develop the Anganwadis like the high-end playschools, asserted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday. The Chief Minister also launched a programme for the distribution of smartphones for around 10,000 Anganwadi workers. “There is a perception that Anganwadis are merely centres for providing food to children. Children would come, they will be given food and sent back. Now an Early Childhood Care Curriculum is being introduced so that Anganwadis provide the kind of care and education that is provided at the expensive playschools. Even the poor will have access to the facilities that the rich do. Anganwadis will now be developed into playschools,” said the Delhi Chief Minister. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe smartphones being provided are aimed at reducing the administrative burden of Anganwadi workers and improving the efficiency of the department. According to the officials, this step will also help to maintain a real-time monitoring mechanism of the status of all centres. This will be a major step towards enhancing the quality of Anganwadis in the city. “Whenever governments have to provide electronic appliances to people on a large scale, ordinarily they provide substandard products. But we are providing you high-end phones, ones that ministers, IAS officers use. You don’t have to worry about the data charges either, the government will take care of it. Earlier you would have to maintain 11 or 12 registers monthly at each Anganwadi. Now using this smartphone, you will be able to enter everything into our database and the government will directly have access to that information. This is a digitisation of the entire Anganwadi sector that will not only benefit you but also the department” said CM Kejriwal. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsStressing on his government’s commitment to the welfare of Anganwadi workers, the chief minister said, “I recall that many of you had come to us with the low salary problem. We could have hiked your salary then as per the norm by 10 percent to 20 percent, which was also what you had demanded. Instead, we had hiked your wages by 100 percent. Delhi’s Anganwadi workers may now be the highest-paid in the country.” The Cheif Minister said that whenever someone talks about electricity, water, schools, hospitals, Mohalla clinics, people across the country vouch for the work being done in Delhi. It is my dream that soon Delhi should also be known as the state where Anganwadis are the best. The same system was running for the last 70 years and had run government schools to the ground. “But over the last five years, it was the same set of individuals who turned around the schools of Delhi. We didn’t replace the teachers or Principals, we just gave them a better environment to work in. Now the same 10,000 Anganwadi workers who were neglected by earlier governments will turnaround the Anganwadis of Delhi,” said the Chief Minister.
New York: Roger Federer feels as strong as he has “in years” entering the US Open, having put behind him an epic loss to Novak Djokovic in last month’s Wimbledon final. “This is probably the best I’ve felt in years coming into the US Open again, which is encouraging,” Federer said. “I’m ready for the US Open. It’s going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I’m part of that group who can do it.” The 38-year-old Swiss star owns a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles but squandered two championship points in the fifth set and fell 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 13-12 (7/3) after four hours and 57 minutes — the longest singles final in Wimbledon history. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThere’s still a sting for Federer to be the first player since 1948 to lose the Wimbledon men’s final after being one point from victory. But he is hoping to channel the emotions positively at the US Open. “I’ve been there before, had some tough losses along the way. So many great wins, as well,” Federer said. “I was just more upset rather than being sad. I think being upset made me get over that finals much easier than being sad, dwelling over it too much. I was not going to be too down on myself. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”I hope it’s obviously going to help me for here.” Third-seeded Federer opens on Monday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium against 190th-ranked qualifier Sumit Nagal of India. Federer admitted struggling for a couple of days after the Wimbledon final loss but a caravan vacation with his wife and four children left little time for regrets. “I didn’t have that much time thinking about all the missed opportunities,” he said. “Sometimes you have flashbacks — I could have done that, should have done that. Next day you’re having a glass of wine with your wife thinking, ‘The semis was pretty good. Even the finals was pretty good’.”
Berlin: Asian Games gold medallist Jinson Johnson bettered his own 1500m national record while clinching a silver in the ISTAF Berlin event here on Sunday. Johnson clocked 3 minute 35.24 seconds to finish second behind Joshua Thompson of United States at the Olympic Stadium here. The earlier national record in the name of the 28-year-old Kerala runner was 3:37.62 which he had clocked at Nijmegen in the Netherlands in June. He also holds the 800m national record (1:45.65). Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhWith his own national record shattering effort, Jinson also qualified for the World Championships to be held in Doha from September 28 to October 6. The World Championships qualifying time is 3:36.00. “I was expecting to set new national record but did not expect to win the silver. I will now go to Colorado in USA for further training and then to Doha for World Championships,” Jinson said after the event. “I am very happy. But my ultimate aim is to do well in Tokyo 2020.” Jinson had won the 2018 Asian Games gold in 1500m with a time of 3:44.72. ISTAF Berlin is a part of the IAAF World Challenge meetings, the second tier of global one day athletics events.
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Between May and December of last year, Chris Flett went through two life-changing events: his house burned down and he won the lottery.Flett, 34, recalls fetching his daughter from school and rushing home to grab some of his belongings as a forest fire began to threaten his hometown of Fort McMurray.The fire, nicknamed “the beast” for its ferocity and unpredictability, began burning deep in the bush about May 1 and spread into the northern Alberta city on May 3, forcing 88,000 people from their homes for a month or more.In all, almost 2,600 dwellings were destroyed, including Flett’s house in the hard-hit Beacon Hill neighbourhood.Flett, business agent with the International Union of Operating Engineers, went back in early June with some friends to take stock of the damage.“It was incredibly tough to watch everything you worked for in your life to be sitting there and be nothing but ashes.”He dug through the rubble for six straight days in 30-degree heat.“Came out with a couple of pieces of metal and a couple pieces of porcelain, some old tools.”The only thing he could recover of any sentimental value was a piece of a family urn.Flett’s fortunes shifted six months later when he won more than $400,000 in the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation Mighty Millions Lottery 50/50 jackpot.“Disbelief, probably a little bit of fear, happy, sad,” Flett says of his reaction to the win.“It was a roller-coaster of emotions, it really was.”With the cash infusion, Flett didn’t have to make concessions as he planned the rebuild of his home. He was also able to help out his mother, whose home was under-insured, and his younger brother, who had no insurance for the place he was renting with friends.So far, he’s given $35,000 to $40,000 to charities that helped out with the disaster and intends to donate more.Teen Time of Edmonton has been a priority. The charity, which runs Christian summer camps at a ranch north of Edmonton, took in many Fort McMurray evacuees, including Flett, his fiancee and eight-year-old daughter.After months spent at the ranch, in his camper, with friends and lastly in a rented house, Flett and his family are looking forward to settling into their newly rebuilt home in Beacon Hill in June.As the one-year mark since the fire nears, emotions are mixed.“There’s still pain. You still suffer. Every now and then you go to grab something and you realize you don’t own that anymore and that doesn’t exist anymore.“But for the most part, we’ve stayed in a good spot, because we’ve made really good progress.”
An extensive survey of 903 species of Canadian birds, fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians over more than four decades has found that half of them are in serious population decline.Declining species lost a total of 83 per cent of their numbers between 1970 and 2014, says the report released Thursday by the World Wildlife Fund. Species protected by federal legislation shrank nearly as quickly as those that weren’t.“In general terms, the Species At Risk Act does not seem to have made any difference,” said WWF president David Miller. “There’s an incredible urgency to reverse the decline.”The Living Planet Index could be the most comprehensive assessment of wildlife numbers in Canada.The organization looked at 3,689 different populations of 386 kinds of birds, 365 fish species, 106 different mammals and 46 reptiles and amphibians. It combined more than 400 datasets from government, academe, industry and citizen science using a peer-reviewed method developed by the Zoological Society of London.Overall numbers for all 903 species decreased by eight per cent over the 44 years studied.A total of 45 species were stable and 407 increased. Many of those benefited from large-scale conservation measures.Waterfowl, which increased by 54 per cent, have enjoyed widespread wetland preservation. Birds such as falcons are no longer harmed by DDT and grew by 88 per cent.Others on the increase were generalist species such as deer or geese that live well alongside humans.The survey found a familiar combination of reasons for declining populations: habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and pollution.Miller said it was surprising to find legislation such as the Species At Risk Act, passed in 2004, has done nothing to slow the decline.“What the science says is that it hasn’t made a material difference to the species.”Species listed under the act declined by 63 per cent over the study period. As well, the study suggests the rate of decline may have actually picked up after the act was passed.Part of that is due to the time it takes for action. Miller points out the St. Lawrence beluga was known to be at risk even before the act was passed, yet it took until 2015 for protections to be put in place.“There have been incredible delays in taking the steps mandated under the act.”The legislation may no longer be the best tool to protect wildlife, said Miller. There are too many shrinking species to protect each one individually.“We probably need a different approach,” he said. “The challenges are so complex and have multiple causes. You can’t rely simply on a plan for species. You have to look at a whole ecosystem.”There isn’t, for example, much that can be done to halt the slow disappearance of Pacific killer whales until scientists understand why chinook salmon — the orca’s main food — are declining.It will take networks of protected areas to reverse the trends, said Miller. He noted the survey does show that a collective approach — such as that taken to protect waterfowl — can make a difference.But the breadth and speed of the decline means action must be taken quickly.“Even for us, it’s sobering to see the results,” Miller said.“The declines are exceptionally serious. We need real urgency to take action.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960
TORONTO – Careless drivers in Ontario causing death could soon be fined up to $50,000 as the government plans to introduce tougher penalties that will also crack down on distracted driving.Ontario’s driving legislation currently has no offence for careless driving causing death, with careless driving carrying maximum penalties of six months of jail time, $2,000 in fines, plus demerit points and a licence suspension. But safety and cycling advocates have called for much stronger penalties.Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced Wednesday that the Liberal government will introduce legislation this fall that would help crack down on careless and distracted driving.The proposed legislation would create a new offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm, Del Duca said. It would lead to a licence suspension of up to five years, fines of between $2,000 and $50,000, up to two years of jail time and six demerit points.Last year, 483 people were killed on Ontario roads — 96 of them pedestrians. The changes are about protecting people on Ontario’s roads, particularly vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists, Del Duca said.“Every 17 hours on average we have a fatality on our roads,” he said. “That’s someone’s sister or dad or daughter, gone forever.”Kasia Briegmann-Samson, of Friends and Families for Safe Streets, said it’s a big step in the right direction to create a separate offence for careless driving causing death.“If you’re driving and you hit a garbage can or a post or if you hit a person and kill them, the penalty is not (currently) any different,” she said.Briegmann-Samson’s husband was killed five years ago while riding his bicycle to work. That driver left the scene and so was charged with a criminal offence, not one under the Highway Traffic Act, but the driver was still sentenced to just six months and served 13 weekends, she said.“It’s gut wrenching,” Briegmann-Samson said. “Personally, at the end, after it was all said and done I almost want to say to law enforcement, ‘Why do you even bother?’”The fines for distracted driving would also increase under the legislation from a maximum of $1,000 to up to $2,000 on a second conviction and up to $3,000 for third or subsequent incidents, as well as six demerit points for multiple offences. Offenders would also see their licence suspended for three days on a first offence, seven days after two convictions, and 30 days for third and further convictions.“These proposed changes will make Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to have a licence suspension for those convicted of distracted driving and give us the toughest penalties for repeated distracted driving convictions in the country,” Del Duca said.Novice drivers — those with a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence — would be subject to the same fines, but have harsher licence suspensions of 30 days after the first offence, 90 days after the second, and their licence would be cancelled if they are convicted of three or more distracted driving offences.Fines for drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians would be doubled, from a current maximum of $500 up to $1,000.Briegmann-Samson said she is optimistic about the changes, but notes maximum penalties rarely get handed out.“It will really boil down to how these changes are enacted, how police use these tools to charge drivers and how judges use them to sentence them,” she said.Ontario also announced tough new penalties for drug-impaired drivers earlier this week.Legislation would bring in zero tolerance for youths aged 21 and under, novice drivers and all commercial drivers in Ontario who have a detectable presence of drugs or alcohol in their system.It would increase all monetary penalties and suspensions for impaired driving offences and boost penalties for drivers who fail or refuse to provide a sample for a roadside test.
MONTREAL – The Canadian Space Agency is working to develop robotic arms as its contribution to a small lunar outpost to be built by international partners in the next decade.Earlier this week, the American and Russian space agencies signed a statement long-term space projects, which focus on the so-called deep space gateway.The small space station would be placed in orbit between the Earth and the moon.“For Canada, the challenge right now is to identify what our contribution could be to humanity’s next step in human exploration,” said Gilles Leclerc, the Canadian agency’s head of space exploration.“We are defining what Canada will do in the next 30 years in space.”Canada and the world’s space agencies are committed to the International Space Station until 2024.The next destination would be the lunar station — a platform to serve as a staging point to travel to the moon’s surface and eventually, further away.“The ultimate destination for all partners … is Mars,” Leclerc said.A natural fit for Canada’s contribution would revolve around robotics.Leclerc said there are three possibilities: robotic arms, moon rovers and space mining — technologies Canada already develops and could be useful.Concept studies have started on two robotic arms that will help build and maintain the mini-station.MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. of B.C. has been awarded a $2.75 million contract to work on the new Canadarms.Paul Fulford, MDA’s product development manager, said the current concept involves an eight-metre manipulator arm and a smaller one-metre arm.“The CSA are asking that we explore the notion of a small multi-purpose arm — one that could work inside the space station and possibly on the surface of the moon as well,” he said.Fulford said the new robotic arms could be operating on the lunar outpost in the 2020s, which would help get a Canadian astronaut to the moon.Leclerc said the future of the station will depend on the means of transportation to get back to the moon. NASA is developing the Space Launch System (SLS), a giant rocket developed with deep space travel in mind.The SLS would be topped with an Orion capsule with a crew of four.A tentative plan would see an SLS rocket travel around the moon unmanned in 2019 and another after that to come within three years — this time with astronauts.“There’s going to be at least three missions to construct the deep space gateway from 2020 to 2026,” Leclerc said, after which the station would be manned.Canada’s newest astronauts, Jennifer Sidey and Joshua Kutryk, started basic training last month and space flight is at least five years away.Fellow astronaut David Saint-Jacques is scheduled for a six-month visit to the ISS in November 2018 and colleague Jeremy Hansen could see his own mission between 2020 and 2024.Leclerc said Canada is also looking at commercially-built capsules by companies like SpaceX to transport its corps.It comes as the federal government works on a new space strategy, following consultations earlier this year by Canada’s Space Advisory Board.It released a report suggesting Canada’s space industry has “lost ground” with rapidly changing environment and substantial space investments by other countries.The board made several recommendations, including one that space be designated as a national strategic asset.
VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s addictions minister has tasked health authorities to move quickly to scale up use of an injectable drug that could save the lives of chronic substance users who haven’t responded to treatment with oral medication.Judy Darcy said hydromorphone is urgently needed for people struggling with addictions and B.C. would be the first place in North America to use it as part of clinical practice.“If we’re going to save lives and prevent people from being poisoned from toxic drugs on the street we need to provide alternatives and this is an alternative that has been proven by evidence to work,” she said Wednesday.Darcy was responding after the B.C. Centre on Substance Use released a report providing doctors with guidelines on hydromorphone, which is used at the Crosstown clinic in Vancouver, where some patients addicted to heroin receive injections of pharmaceutical heroin under supervision.Suboxone and methadone are the first- and second-line medications to treat substance use disorder but Darcy said hydromorphone would be another option for people who’ve failed with those treatments.“We’re asking health authorities to give us plans about how to implement this,” she said. “We’ll be waiting to hear back from them on an urgent basis about what that looks like.”The results of a groundbreaking trial in 2016 involving Crosstown patients showed hydromorphone, or pharmaceutical heroin, is equally effective at treating heroin addicts who don’t respond to methadone or suboxone.Cheyenne Johnson, a nurse and clinical director at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, said the Crosstown study of 202 participants suggests hydromorphone must be made available to more people through clinics and pharmacies, the same as for methadone.“This being a new and emerging model in B.C., what we want to do is work with the health system and evaluate and monitor the expansion of this program to see what works and where the gaps are and address those,” she said.The B.C. Centre on Substance Use guidelines propose a continuum of care including counselling, detox or withdrawal management services, then oral medication through to injectable treatment.The guidelines also include information on when patients are eligible for treatment, how to provide adequate dosing and monitoring and when to do urine drug tests.While pharmaceutical heroin is also effective for some chronic substance users, prescribing it comes with regulatory hurdles because doctors must apply to Health Canada for individual patients who use the drug that’s imported from Sweden.“We’ve been slow to expand hydromorphone,” Johnson said. “The evidence from our perspective is very clear that hydromorphone is an evidence-based treatment option and we have to expand it across the province.”The high rate of addiction in the province has placed a heavy burden on communities dealing with crime, public disorder and health costs, Johnson said.More than 1,800 people died of overdoses in B.C. between January 2016 and July 2017, many of them involving the painkiller fentanyl.Over 40 people took part in the report, including drug users, family members, community advocates, physicians and researchers from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, where prescription heroin has been used for addiction treatment.They included Jordan Westfall, president of the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs, who said treatment needs to be accessible for people who need help during an opioid epidemic.“The awareness of this situation in the public’s mind has to continue,” he said, adding any funding concerns “need to go out the window” for an issue that involves a health crisis.“Ultimately, it’s up to people who use drugs to speak up about this, and not let pressure off the government,” said Westfall, who is a former drug user and has a master’s degree in public policy.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
HALIFAX – Fisheries officials have seized three tonnes of lobster amid tensions over the Indigenous fishery in Nova Scotia.The lobster was seized Monday at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans confirmed Friday.“An investigation is currently underway into the sale of fish not harvested under commercial licence. As part of our investigation … a seizure of lobsters was made,” DFO said in a statement.The airport is a major lobster-shipping hub, with $187 million in seafood and lobster exports in 2016.The seizure follows protests organized by fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia who say Indigenous fishermen are using their food, social and ceremonial fishery as cover to illegally sell lobster out of season.Indigenous fisherman can trap lobster outside the commercial lobster season, but they can’t sell it.Last week, federal authorities confirmed they had seized more than 300 illegal traps, most of them in St. Marys Bay, but it remains unclear who owns the gear.Tensions among lobster fishermen have been rising ever since the protests started in September. Earlier this month, a drydocked boat owned by a non-Aboriginal fisherman was torched, followed a few days later by a boat owned by a Mi’kmaq man.“DFO will continue to work with all participants engaged in the Nova Scotia lobster fishery to ensure an orderly, safe, and sustainable environment for all harvesters,” the department said in its statement Friday, adding it would make no further comment.The ongoing dispute stems from a September 1999 ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that confirmed First Nations have sweeping fishing and other treaty rights but left lingering questions about the limits.The decision also said Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy bands in Eastern Canada could hunt, fish and gather to earn a “moderate livelihood,” though the court followed up with a clarification two months later, saying the treaty right was subject to federal regulation.Most First Nations in the Maritimes and Quebec have since signed interim fishing agreements with Ottawa, which has spent more than $600 million providing Indigenous bands with boats, equipment and licences.But those interim agreements remain just that — temporary fixes that are now the subject of negotiations that have dragged on for almost 10 years.A senior federal official has said the negotiations are making progress, but Bruce Wildsmith, legal adviser to the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, has suggested some First Nations may be getting impatient with the pace of talks.The federal government says the court decision made it clear that a “moderate livelihood fishery” for Indigenous people must be conducted under federal regulations to ensure conservation of the resource.Wildsmith has said that issue has yet to be resolved at the negotiating table.(The Canadian Press, Global)
WINNIPEG – The University of Winnipeg has put out a call for an Indigenous artist to create a podium for special events such as convocation.The university has $15,000 to spend on a piece that reflects the location of the university on Treaty 1 territory and on the homeland of the Métis.“We understand that Winnipeg, in particular the heart of Winnipeg where we are, has been a meeting place for many different nations for thousands of years,” said Jarita Greyeyes, the university’s director of community learning and engagement.The funding was provided by a donor who wants to remain anonymous, she said.The university is committed to incorporating Indigenous culture, she said, which includes changing how things operate and also how certain things look.At the most recent convocation, Indigenous students were given the opportunity to wear a sash designed by Anishinaabe artist Destiny Seymour based on patterns found in ancient pieces of pottery unearthed around Winnipeg.A new Indigenous-designed podium is an important step towards recognizing the value of Indigenous knowledge, Greyeyes said. It will also be a powerful symbol for Indigenous students to see their culture reflected at the university’s most important events.“I think it would have meant a lot to my family to see that symbolism and those teachings that our family really lives by and appreciates,” Greyeyes said, reflecting on her own University of Winnipeg convocation.“It would be great to see some of those things represented in those major ceremonies on campus.”Proposals must be submitted by July 27.
HALIFAX – A transgender activist has filed a human rights complaint against the Nova Scotia Department of Health, saying it’s unfair the province covers breast removal surgeries for transgender men, but not breast augmentations for transgender women.Serina Slaunwhite has spent the last year-and-a-half fighting the provincial medicare program after she was denied breast implants in April 2017, on the grounds the surgery is not considered to be medically necessary.She filed the human rights complaint after she felt her concerns went unanswered.“This should be included along with the rest of the surgeries that are publicly funded by the province for sex reassignment surgery …. It’s gender discrimination,” Slaunwhite said Thursday.“Why is that not covered? If you’re going to do masculinization surgeries and breast removal for trans men, then they should be able to do the opposite for trans women.”She said Nova Scotia’s MSI program wouldn’t give her a “clear cut answer.”In an email, Department of Health spokeswoman Tracy Barron said transgender women usually develop breasts through hormonal therapy, which is covered by provincial pharmacare programs, while the only way for transgender men to permanently masculinize their chest is through surgery.“Implants are not covered for any individuals who would prefer larger breasts,” she said.“Breast implants are covered in Nova Scotia for severe congenital or developmental asymmetries and also in breast cancer reconstruction.”But Susanne Litke, a lawyer at Dalhousie Legal Aid Service who represents Slaunwhite, said in many cases breasts grown during hormone therapy aren’t substantial enough for transgender women to feel at home in their bodies.She said this kind of surgery can help transgender women “pass” — a term referring to their ability to be perceived as the gender they identify as — which can, in turn, mean being able to avoid hurtful comments and harassment from others.“It doesn’t always develop the size and volume of breast that they would be comfortable with in terms of the passing issue,” said Litke about transgender women being able to grow breasts during hormone therapy.“When that breast development isn’t enough for the person to be comfortable in their body, then it’s a medical necessity.”Litke said the province’s sex reassignment policy is a “simple regulation” that could be easily changed by the government if they wanted to and that B.C. and Saskatchewan have already chosen to fund breast augmentation surgery for transgender women.“Nova Scotia can take a lead here in Canada, we can be ahead of the rest of the provinces who don’t have the surgeries added,” she said.Without coverage, breast augmentation can cost several thousand dollars.Greater access to this service could also help transgender women avoid gender dysphoria, according to Kate Shewan, executive director of the Youth Project, an organization dedicated to supporting young people struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.Gender dysphoria, recognized by the Canadian Psychological Association, is a condition where people feel a disconnect between how their body appears and how they identify.Shewan said the condition can be mitigated through gender-affirming surgery.“For some trans people, the chest or the breasts can be an area of significant distress or discomfort,” she said, noting that failing to “pass” can result in harassment or violence toward a transgender person.“When you’re experiencing that level of discomfort for an extended period of time … it can cause people to have difficulty interacting in society.”Michael Davies-Cole, a local transgender man and activist, said it would be relatively simple for him to walk into a doctor’s office and get a referral to get a mastectomy or chest masculinization surgery, while transgender women aren’t afforded the same right.He said cisgender people — those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth — don’t realize the kinds of steps transgender people need to take in their everyday lives.“We get up in the morning and we literally spend more time than you can imagine deciding what to wear so we can pass for that day,” he said Thursday.“And the irony is, we’re asked to pass for something we already are.”Slaunwhite and Litke said they are waiting to hear back from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
WINNIPEG – Dane Bourget never thought his life would spiral into addiction.But when his roommate brought methamphetamine into their home, it started a decade-long journey in and out of treatment centres throughout Manitoba.“I tried it one time and then, before you know it, it’s been years,” said the 36-year-old. “I often say I tried meth once for 12 years.”Bourget has been sober since 2014 and now volunteers with a self-help group for people who have struggled with methamphetamine. He has seen how the drug that brought chaos into his own life is taking over the streets of Winnipeg and destroying families.While other regions of Canada are coping with an opioid epidemic, crystal meth has become the drug of choice in Manitoba.The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba says meth use increased by more than 100 per cent in adults and nearly 50 per cent in youth since 2014.The province’s chief medical examiner says meth was involved in 35 overdose deaths in 2017, up from 19 the year before. In contrast, fentanyl was involved in 14 fatal overdoses and carfentanil, a synthetic opiate about 100 times more powerful, was involved in 32.“We are seeing an unprecedented amount of methamphetamine that has come into our city,” said Insp. Max Waddell with Winnipeg’s organized crime unit.The drug is appealing because it’s cheap, available, easy to make and it gets people high for significantly longer — it can last 14 hours while crack cocaine lasts only about 45 minutes.The effects of the drug can be devastating for everyone who encounters it, including police.A Winnipeg police officer was sitting in his patrol car recently when a man suspected to be high on meth threw a propane tank through the rear window of the cruiser. The same day, another man who police suspect was high on meth had to be shot with a Taser after he allegedly assaulted someone with a screwdriver and threw a shovel at a police officer.Another man suspected of coming down off a meth high taped machetes to his hands before calling 911. When officers arrived, he advanced on them yelling that he wanted to be shot. He was taken into custody unharmed.“Methamphetamine makes people very unpredictable and when people are unpredictable that means they are not in control of themselves,” Waddell said. “They become in a state of … psychosis where they are seeing and hearing things that are not real.”Possession charges for meth increased by 890 per cent since 2012, police numbers show.In 2017, more than 12,000 grams of meth was seized by police. In January 2018 alone, more than 5,800 grams was taken off the streets.Police are also seeing a significant increase in other crimes associated with methamphetamine — property crime, drug crime and violent crime all increased in 2017.Police have a strategy that includes enforcement, intervention and education, but Waddell said authorities can’t deal with the situation alone.At Morberg House, a 10-bed transitional housing facility in Winnipeg, nearly every person is struggling with a meth addiction. Founder Marion Willis said her clients are different ages and come from various backgrounds, but they all have an underlying mental-health issue and use meth to cope.Most of the country has acknowledged an opioid crisis, she said. There’s been a federal response and a national fund available so organizations can develop and deliver programs. The same can’t be said for meth.“Its like fighting a war with a water gun,” she said. “It’s very frustrating.”Robert Lidstone was a graduate student dealing with undiagnosed bipolar disorder in 2006 when he first tried methamphetamine.“It had a hold on me,” said the 37-year-old. “Once I became addicted, it was just an incredible battle.”He’s been to treatment a few times and has relapsed, but said it’s vital to support people trying to get clean. For some families affected by meth addiction, the cost of treatment is just too high.“So far the institutional response is not able to catch up,” Lidstone said. “We are falling way behind very quickly because this crisis is moving faster than police and first responders, faster than the health-care system and the addiction and mental-health system.”
TORONTO — A controversial figure who ran as a Toronto mayoral candidate has been ordered to pay more than $43,000 in legal fees to Bell Media after her lawsuit was dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court.Faith Goldy had sued Bell over its refusal to air her campaign advertisements on a local television station, but the suit was tossed in October. In a decision on Wednesday, Justice Peter Cavanagh ordered Goldy to hand over $43,117.90 to cover Bell’s legal fees.Goldy — who did not immediately respond for a request to comment — is a former journalist whose mayoral campaign included anti-immigrant policies. She finished third in the Oct. 22 election that returned John Tory to the mayor’s office.Goldy had asked the court to order Bell Media to run her ad on its CP24 channel. Her lawsuit alleged that the broadcaster broke national broadcasting rules and breached her right to free expression by refusing to air it.In his written decision, Cavanagh said Goldy’s complaint should be addressed to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission — not the courts.Bell Media had told the court that it had received over 80 written complaints and requests from a number of groups not to run Goldy’s ads.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Trudeau government is quick to react to the news that the National Energy Board has renewed its approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline.This second approval from the NEB is being called a milestone by the Trudeau government, but it says there is still work to be done.Parliamentary Secretary to Natural Resources Paul Lefebvre still won’t give a timeline for when shovels will be back in the ground for the stalled project, pointing out the there are 16 new conditions being added with this approval.“We will review those conditions and see how we can meet them … Meeting them is a priority,” he said.RELATED: NEB green-lights the Trans Mountain pipeline projectThe Parliamentary Secretary to Natural Resources calls this NEB decision an important milestone #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/XLqZJw7o89— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) February 22, 2019The Court of Appeal rejected Ottawa’s approval of the project last year, after it said the board did not adequately consult First Nations or look at the effects of marine shipping.The board has again given its approval, citing national interest, but also acknowledged the significant environmental risks with the project.The NDP’s Murray Rankin is disappointed and predicting more lawsuits.“We’re not going to take that chance. We’re not going to play Russian roulette with our coastline.”
OTTAWA — A new poll suggests support for Justin Trudeau, his government and his party sank to a new low this month, just six months before Canadians will decide whether to re-elect the Liberals or give them the boot after just one term.But it also provides a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered prime minister, suggesting that support for Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives is soft and could yet dwindle as the Oct. 21 election draws closer.And it suggests the Liberals could rebound if the election plays out as a polarized choice between them and the Tories, squeezing out the NDP and Green party.According to the Leger poll, conducted April 18-22 for The Canadian Press, just 27 per cent of respondents said they’d vote for Trudeau’s Liberals — 13 points behind Scheer’s front-running Conservatives, who, at 40 per cent, were in the range needed to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons.The Tories led in every region except Quebec, where the Liberals enjoyed an eight-point lead with 31 per cent support; the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois were tied at 23 per cent.Nationally, the NDP had 12 per cent support, one point ahead of the Green party; Maxime Bernier’s fledgling People’s Party of Canada registered just three per cent.Only 30 per cent of respondents said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the Trudeau government while 65 per cent said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied — worrying numbers for the prime minister that were reflected across every region and demographic group.Moreover, Trudeau was five points behind Scheer on the question of who would make the best prime minister, with 20 per cent to the Conservative leader’s 25 per cent.Still, when asked if Canada would be better off with a Liberal or Conservative government, 30 per cent chose the Liberals and 25 per cent picked the Tories. Fully 45 per cent said they didn’t know.Among respondents who identified as primarily NDP or Green supporters, a Liberal government was preferred by 48 and 42 per cent respectively, compared to just 18 and 23 per cent who preferred a Conservative government.“That again to me is sort of a yellow light for the Conservatives,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque, adding that Conservative support appears to be “fairly soft.”“Yes, they are in the lead but to what extent that lead is comfortable at this point, I certainly think it’s not.”Leger’s internet-based survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered random samples. It surveyed 1,522 eligible Canadian voters who were recruited from the firm’s online panel. The results were weighted to reflect the makeup of Canada’s population.Trudeau’s popularity has taken a big hit since the SNC-Lavalin affair erupted in early February. He has lost two senior cabinet ministers, his most trusted adviser in principal secretary Gerald Butts, and the country’s top public servant since allegations first appeared that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould felt improperly pressured by the prime minister’s office to halt the criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant.The latest poll numbers are the lowest Leger has recorded for the Liberals and Trudeau since they took power in 2015.The poll suggests potentially more trouble for Trudeau is in store following the election of openly hostile conservative governments in provinces across the country, particularly Ontario and Alberta.Respondents were evenly split overall when asked if their province should be more demanding and contest federal decisions (as 41 per cent said) or do all it can to have an excellent and peaceful working relationship with Ottawa (40 per cent). But a plurality in Ontario and Manitoba-Saskatchewan (which Leger grouped together) and fully 60 per cent in Alberta preferred the more confrontational approach.Moreover, a plurality or majority of respondents in every region except Ontario said their province doesn’t get its fair share from Ottawa. Even in Ontario, opinion was split, with 39 per cent saying the province is treated fairly and 37 per cent saying it’s not.Noting that some provincial conservative leaders, including Ontario Premier Doug Ford and incoming Alberta premier Jason Kenney, won election by campaigning against the Trudeau government, Bourque said: “One more variable that Mr. Trudeau will need to consider in the next federal election is the fact that a lot of regional barons have turned people against Ottawa.”On two other issues that might be factors in the coming election, the poll suggest the Liberals are more on side with public opinion.While Quebec respondents were strongly in favour of banning civil servants in positions of authority from wearing obvious religious symbols — as the provincial government has already moved to do — a plurality or majority of respondents in every other region were opposed. That could be to Trudeau’s advantage: He has made the defence of charter rights and diversity a central pillar of his political appeal.However, Bourque said the poll suggests the issue is “not all black and white” given that sizable numbers of Canadians outside Quebec also favour banning religious symbols.Opinion was much more clear cut on the issue of gun control. More than 80 per cent of respondents indicated support for each of three key provisions in the Trudeau government’s Bill C-71: requiring gun retailers to keep detailed registries of all gun sales, extending the police background check on a person applying for a gun permit to include his or her entire life and requiring authorization to transport restricted firearms.And 77 per cent said they were somewhat or strongly in favour of stricter gun control in general while just 17 per cent said they were somewhat or strongly opposed.Joan Bryden , The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Quebec’s order of social workers says its members need more time and less pressure to properly do their jobs.Order president Guylaine Ouimette held a press conference Friday in reaction to the death of a seven-year-old girl who had a long history with the province’s youth protection system.Local police found the girl shortly before noon Monday at a home in Granby, Que., about 80 kilometres east of Montreal. She died a day later in hospital.Two adults — identified by people close to the family as the girl’s father, 30, and his partner, 35 — were arrested in connection with the death.Ouimette did not want to comment directly on the girl’s case because it involved members of the order.But she says social workers are often in conflict between fulfilling their job descriptions and properly caring for young people and families.She says her members work in an industrial-like atmosphere where sometimes half their time is spent on bureaucratic tasks.News of the girl’s death prompted swift reaction from the public and Quebec’s political class, who immediately demanded to know how the girl was seemingly failed by a system designed to protect her.Ouimette is calling for a public commission that will look into systemic problems in the social services system.The Canadian Press
Two bodies believed to be British Columbia murder suspects who were the focus of a massive manhunt have been in northern Manitoba.Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, B.C., were facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of a 64-year-old man. The RCMP have said McLeod and Schmegelsky were also suspects in the shooting deaths of American tourist Chynna Deese and her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler.Here is a look at the three homicide victims:CHYNNA DEESEThe 24-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., was travelling in Canada with her Australian boyfriend, Lucas Fowler, when she died.An online obituary about her says she is survived by her mother, father and seven siblings.“Chynna was a loving free spirit who travelled the world; she had a genuine passion for the well-being of all people,” her obituary reads.“She always had a positive outlook on life and she unfailingly brought joy to all that came in contact with her.”A private celebration of her life was July 27 in North Carolina.LUCAS FOWLERThe father of the 23-year-old from Sydney, Australia, has said his son was having the time of his life and the family was overjoyed when he met Deese.Chief Insp. Stephen Fowler of the New South Wales Police Force told media last month that their deaths marked a tragic end to a love story.His father said his son had saved up his money after working in Sydney so he could travel to B.C. and join Deese there.“Our son Lucas was having the time of his life travelling the world,” Stephen Fowler said. “He met a beautiful young lady and they teamed up, were a great pair and they fell in love.”LEONARD DYCKThe 64-year-old University of British Columbia lecturer, affectionately known as Len, has been described as someone who loved his work.Patrick Martone, a professor in UBC’s botany department, said last month that Dyck’s gruff exterior belied a natural curiosity and enthusiasm.“His passion for learning about bizarre and beautiful organisms that few people ever get to see inspired our students to feel that same passion and awe,” Martone said.Dyck began working for the university as a sessional lecturer in 2003 and completed his PhD the next year.His behind-the-scenes efforts in the department, his field collections and his work with students in the classroom make him irreplaceable, Matrone said.“He held his cards close to his chest, but as soon as you realized how much passion he had for his work, he was so much fun and a joy to be around.”The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – Canada’s annual inflation rate slowed slightly to 1.9 per cent in August under the weight of declining gasoline prices.Inflation was firm enough to stick close to the Bank of Canada’s ideal two per cent target and August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher.Statistics Canada says in a new report that excluding pump prices inflation would have increased by 2.4 per cent.Price growth was also held back last month, compared with a year earlier, by lower costs for traveler accommodation, internet access services and furniture.Consumer Price Index, August 2019: #CPI rose 1.9% on a year-over-year basis in August, down from a 2.0% increase in July, primarily due to lower gasoline prices. https://t.co/goWSFhVnM8 pic.twitter.com/EYvkWsKZOF— Statistics Canada (@StatCan_eng) September 18, 2019The upward pressure on consumer prices, year-over-year, was led by higher costs for airline tickets, mortgage interest and auto insurance.The average of Canada’s three gauges for core inflation, which are considered better measures of underlying price pressures by excluding volatile items like gas, hit the central bank’s target at two per cent.