New Delhi: A 64-year-old motor mechanic and his wife were mowed down on Monday by a dumper truck in Northwest Delhi’s Jahangir Puri, police said. The deceased were identified as Hukum Chand and Beena Devi (55), residents of Karan Vihar in Kirari, the police said.The incident took place at around 6 am when Chand, his wife and their two children were returning Delhi from Himachal Pradesh, according to police. “They got off the bus at a prepaid booth counter near the Outer Ring Road. When they were crossing the road, a dumper truck bearing a Haryana registration number hit them,” said Vijayanta Arya, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northwest). Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDevi died on the spot and Hukam Chand succumbed to his injuries in the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital. The truck driver fled the spot, leaving the vehicle behind, the officer said. A case under section 279 (rash driving) and 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at Jahangir Puri police station, police said. Chand was a motor mechanic and Devi was a housewife. “We went to Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh and were returning to home along with my sister. We got down from the Haryana Roadways bus near prepaid booth. My parents were following me when I was crossing the road. Meanwhile, a speeding truck came there and fled after mowing them down,” said Rakesh Kumar (33), the elder son of Chand. The couple is survived by five children — two sons and three daughters. “The auto drivers, who were present in the area helped us. They made the truck driver to stop his vehicle and also took my parents to the hospital. My two sisters live in Delhi and one in Himachal,” Kumar, who works in a bank, added.
SUDBURY, Ont. – Police say a 55-year-old Sudbury, Ont., man is in hospital after being rescued from a sinkhole.Spokeswoman Kaitlyn Dunn says police got a call late Wednesday morning about a homeowner looking at a hole in the ground by his fence when the ground gave way and he fell in.Dunn says when officers arrived, they found the man was being crushed as soil in the hole shifted.She says officers found a blanket, extended it down the hole to the man and were able to pull him to safety.Dunn says the man was in hospital being treated for undetermined injuries.She says city workers have stabilized the sinkhole.
TORONTO – The Canadian Paediatric Society has issued guidelines to help doctors discuss the complexities of gender identity in children with their parents and caregivers.The online resource will help pediatricians answer common questions posed by parents, including explanations about the differences between sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.“More and more, parents are asking us when and how gender identity typically develops in children, what is considered typical behaviour, and what they should expect at certain ages,” said CPS president Dr. Mike Dickinson, noting that it’s common to confuse gender-related terms.Dickinson said families are increasingly coming to pediatricians with questions and concerns about their children’s gender expression and their sexual orientation, but not all of these doctors are well enough informed about the issue to provide answers.“For a lot of them, this was not something that was necessarily covered while they were in medical school or in their pediatric training, and they are being approached by families and by youth with questions about this,” he said from Miramichi, N.B., where he practises.“So we wanted to put out a primer for our members, but also something that might be helpful to the public at large, informing people about some of the basic issues, some of the basic terms used, with gender identity and gender expression a starting point for people to at least be able to have some discussions around this issue with their patients and their families.”Gender development is often associated with puberty and adolescence, but children begin showing interest in their gender early in life, the CPS says. Although every child is unique and may develop at a different pace, most children have a strong sense of their gender identity by the age of four.The guidelines outline how gender development evolves, depending on age, and advises parents how to best support their children throughout the process. The resource document also features a list of external resources that may be helpful to parents of transgender and gender-diverse children.Annie Pullen Sansfacon, co-founder and vice-president of Gender Creative Kids, said having a resource guide for doctors “is really, really good because there are still a lot of families who are struggling with this concept around gender identity and supporting their children.”“And to have (a profession) like pediatricians who are coming out with a statement, I think it’s very helpful,” said Sansfacon, a professor of social work at the Universite de Montreal.Dickinson said that as society becomes increasingly accepting of individuals expressing their gender in different ways, there’s a tendency for children to be more comfortable coming forward about their own experience at “younger ages than they used to, because they feel that they can and that they can do that safely.”However, discouraging children from expressing a gender can make them feel ashamed, the CPS says. Particularly during the teenage years, “these are kids who are at risk of being the victims of bullying and also at risk of things like anxiety and depression,” Dickinson added.“The message that we want to send to pediatricians … and to families is that we want the children to feel loved and accepted regardless of their gender identity or their gender expression, and that we want kids to grow up feeling safe and secure, with confidence and self-esteem.“We want to be able to encourage both parents and I guess society as a whole to be open to the fact that there are these individuals amongst us and often they are our children and our youth,” he said, “and they need our love and support and guidance.”Online: https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/—Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
OTTAWA – The federal ethics watchdog is examining the actions of Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc over the granting of a controversial clam fishing licence.The office of conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mario Dion said Friday that confidentiality requirements limit it to revealing that a probe into LeBlanc’s conduct in relation to an unspecified licence began May 11.However, The Canadian Press has independently confirmed the investigation concerns a multimillion-dollar licence to fish Arctic surf clam in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Conservative MP Todd Doherty has been pressing the Liberal government for weeks about how Five Nations Clam Co., won the licence.The deal, which ended a monopoly on the Arctic clam fishery held by Clearwater Seafoods since 1999, was supposed to offer 25 per cent of the catch to local Indigenous communities as a way of promoting reconciliation and economic growth.The company, it turns out, has ties to the Liberal party and several sitting Liberal MPs, including LeBlanc himself.Court documents also suggest it may not have met some key eligibility requirements in the government’s tender process when the deal was announced.The minister should never have been involved in the deal, insists Doherty, who asked the ethics commissioner to investigate.Doherty fears the possible ramifications of the deal, as well as the message he believes it sends about how the Liberal government is managing a vital East Coast industry.“I think Canadians deserve for us to be questioning and fighting for answers,” said the B.C. MP, who plans to resume his broadsides against the Liberals when the House resumes on Tuesday.“Up until recently there was consistent rules and regulations and now it just appears that if you’ve got some … connections within the party and within the cabinet, those rules aren’t going to be applied, and that’s what we’re seeing with this.”The government issued an expression of interest, calling for proposals from Indigenous organizations in Quebec or one of the four Atlantic provinces, properly licensed and majority-owned by Canadians.Proposals representing multiple Indigenous communities would be given priority, the tender indicated.On Feb. 21, LeBlanc announced the deal had been awarded to Five Nations, describing the company as “comprised of First Nations from Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.”In fact, at the time, the company only had two Indigenous partners: the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick and the Nutashkuan Innu in Quebec.The Miawpukek Band in Newfoundland, which had submitted its own proposal, has launched a court challenge alleging LeBlanc breached his duty of fairness in awarding the licence to Five Nations.Court documents show LeBlanc not only knew Five Nations did not have confirmed partners in P.E.I., Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, but also indicate that even as he was approving their bid, he was urging the company to quickly rectify the problem.“Please take next steps with proponent #6 (Five Nations) and ensure that additional Indigenous communities are quickly confirmed,” LeBlanc wrote in a handwritten scrawl on the final approval document.In its proposal, Five Nations was forthright in admitting it did not yet have partners from the three other Atlantic provinces and was not yet incorporated. Indeed, the company was not officially registered in Nova Scotia until Dec. 13, 2017, records show — well past the Nov. 22 proposal deadline to submit proposals. The company was not registered in New Brunswick until Feb. 28 of this year.Five Nations is partnered with Premium Seafoods, a non-Indigenous Nova Scotia company whose president is Edgar Samson — the brother of Liberal MP Darrell Samson. A recently added Indigenous partner, NunatuKavut, is headed by former Liberal MP Todd Russell.Doherty has also drawn ties between the deal and LeBlanc himself: The Five Nations proposal said it would be headed up by Gilles Theriault, who is cousin to the minister’s wife.“We believe that there are some serious enough questions that Canadians on all sides of the country should be worried about this,” Doherty said.“I’m not saying which proposal was the strongest, but I don’t think Five Nations was the strongest by any stretch — and to be awarded this contract just from a stroke of a pen from just who you know and, perhaps, who you’re related to, is pretty shocking.”LeBlanc’s office would not make him available for an interview, but the minister has repeatedly defended the decision to award the licence to Five Nations as part of the government’s efforts to develop a renewed relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples.“The minister made his decision to allow for increased Indigenous participation in the fishery and we reject any insinuation to the contrary,” said LeBlanc spokesman Vincent Hughes.Big players in the fishing industry are also upset over the deal.The Fisheries Council of Canada, which represents 100 fishing companies across the country, accused the government of unilaterally taking 25 per cent of the Arctic clam quota away from Clearwater without consultation or due process.That decision has created a sense of instability in the fisheries sector, council president Paul Lansbergen told a news conference in Ottawa.“Taking away long-standing licences and quotas does not respect past investments and has eroded the sector’s confidence to invest and could undermine conservation efforts,” Lansbergen said.Clearwater, meanwhile, was doing all it could behind the scenes to hold on to its monopoly.Court documents show the company secretly offered to give up two of its four licences to an Indigenous group, but only if it could maintain control over the harvesting, processing and marketing of any seafood caught under those licences.“If the policy objective is to diversify ownership, we are committed to finding constructive solutions,” Clearwater said in a letter to LeBlanc in May 2017.“If it is to satisfy those who seek to grow their interests at our expense, then we have a problem.”— Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter
EDMONTON – A former information technology executive has been charged for allegedly defrauding his employer of more than $8 million.“In the fall of 2016 police received a report of fraud from the organization after employees reportedly discovered a series of fraudulent invoices,” Edmonton police said Tuesday in a release.“Officers determined more than $8 million in funds had allegedly been defrauded between March 2011 and June 2016.”Police said Jim Gladden, 38, turned himself in and has been charged with fraud over $5,000, laundering proceeds of crime and use of a forged document.The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and Alberta Justice Department officials helped in the investigation.Last summer, the Alberta Motor Association sued Gladden, alleging he used some of the money to buy lavish homes and vehicles.The lawsuit alleged that Gladden authorized fake invoices and wired payments to various banks in the United States and China.A judge agreed to freeze his bank accounts and assets, including a vacation home in Scottsdale, Ariz., a boat, two Porsches and a Maserati.Documents show an Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench judge last February endorsed a judgment in the lawsuit against Gladden for $10.2 million.The Alberta Motor Association issued a terse statement Tuesday about the charges.“We are pleased that an arrest has been made in the case of fraud that was perpetrated against AMA,” the organization said.“As the matter is before the criminal court, we will not comment further.”The motor association has nearly one million members and advocates for traffic safety, provides road-side assistance and sells auto, home and travel insurance and travel packages.An affidavit filed in court last year by chief operating officer, Michelle Chimko, said the organization became suspicious of Gladden when he remained away from his office for many months and failed to show up for meetings.
WASHINGTON (NEWS 1130) – If Donald Trump deploys the big bomb during upcoming NAFTA negotiations, and threatens to blow up the continental trade agreement, a unit within the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be assigned to try disarming it.The Canadian government has created an election-style nerve centre to handle White House-related challenges and officials who describe its operations say it has about eight regular staff: two former trade officials, two senior PMO officials, an ambassador, a writer, a cabinet minister, and it’s run by a young staffer with a reputation for staying cool while smothering political fires.The most blistering inferno it’s preparing to confront is a scenario where the president threatens NAFTA. Everybody involved anticipates the threat level from Trump will rise with the heat of negotiations.A well-connected Washington lobbyist milling about last week’s talks said a Trump pullout threat is virtually assured: “Almost 100 per cent.” Trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said it’s a logical play for the president: ”The threat of withdrawal is his key negotiating leverage.”However one former U.S. trade official says the president has shown himself too eager to play his best card. He said the president has weakened his hand with an April tactical error, when he threatened to blow up NAFTA four months before negotiations started.Robert Holleyman said Canada and Mexico got a valuable heads up on what would happen next: the business community panicked, lawmakers were miffed, and Washington made clear it preferred saving NAFTA.”It was, at a minimum, terrible timing,” said Holleyman, Barack Obama’s deputy United States Trade Representative.”You do that at the 11th hour in the negotiation — not at the throat-clearing stage… I suspect President Trump will be unable to play that card again. And if he does play it, it won’t be as strong as it would’ve been… The Canadians and Mexicans will say, ‘You… will face a huge backlash in your own Congress.”’Congress definitely holds some power: It could refuse to cancel the law implementing NAFTA, which would set up court fights between the various parties including the president, industries, and possibly lawmakers.It’s the job of that Ottawa unit to prevent that messy scenario.The Canada-U.S. unit resembles, in several ways, a campaign war room — though its members hate that term. It gathers data on key constituencies — for instance, it collects American politicians’ opinions on issues and plugs them into a database.It plans outreach efforts. It co-ordinates rapid response.All the relationship-building in recent months involving ministers criss-crossing the U.S. for hundreds of meetings would be deployed in the event of a crisis. For example: Should Trump try ending NAFTA, instructions might quickly go out to Canadian minister X to call U.S. state governor Y to lobby friendly Washington official Z.That order would come from the centre.The idea for a dedicated unit came before Trump’s inauguration, from PMO officials Gerald Butts and Katie Telford, longtime Ontario provincial political officials who had used the approach before on top issues.”This is the unit that spends 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, thinking about this — trying to anticipate every possibility,” said one official.”The U.S. file is… so super-hot that you can take the slightest thing and turn it into a huge story that’s in every newspaper in North America. It’s really important to have the right person (handling it).”Enter Brian Clow.He was chief of staff to Chrystia Freeland when she was trade minister, but that’s not the principal reason he was brought in. What senior officials like was his penchant for staying cool, and working fast, in the Liberal election war room in 2015.Clow would not speak for this story.But someone who trained him in working war rooms was happy to share some thoughts about him and the job. It was Warren Kinsella who brought the modern campaign war room to Canada in 1993, modelled on Bill Clinton’s 1992 run, and who also authored, ”Kicking Ass In Canadian Politics.”Kinsella demands three attributes from war-room staff: Keeping your mouth shut about the war room. Working fast. Doing thorough research.These campaign operations shape news coverage by providing key components of a story, quickly, to journalists operating in a tougher environment of 24-hour news and declining research budgets: quotes, facts, and people willing to be interviewed.”(Clinton aide James) Carville told me, ‘The media atom has split.’… You can’t just take (reporters) out to lunch and spin them and the story appears two days later,”’ Kinsella said.”(A war room is) basically a newsroom.”It also provides a central hub so different offices are in contact, and don’t contradict each other. The Canada-U.S. unit includes the PMO’s Butts and Telford, Freeland, ambassador to Washington David MacNaughton, and writer Michael Den Tandt.Kinsella was impressed with his speed, cool, and ability to pump out video content while he worked on the 2007 and 2011 Ontario Liberal campaigns.The Trump mission is infinitely harder, Kinsella said.Kinsella joked that in elections all his job entailed was pulling pins from grenades and lobbying them. This team must prevent explosions, while working with thousands of officials, multiple government departments, two countries, industry groups, one global economic superpower, and an unpredictable president.The unit got to conduct early test runs.When Trump complained about Canadian dairy and lumber, and threatened a NAFTA pullout, it handled the response. The Canadian side kept the temperature down; it responded to heated rhetoric with statistics and telephone calls, and things quickly cooled down.”They can’t declare war on Trump,” Kinsella said. ”In this situation you can’t throw hand grenades — we’re David, they’re Goliath.”NAFTA negotiations last week offered a glimpse of the unit’s work.The U.S. government began by complaining about Canada’s historic trade surpluses. Canadian officials were later in the lobby, handing out fact sheets showing a trade deficit.”We used to call those ‘heat sheets,” Kinsella explained. He’d have his team slip them under hotel-room doors while reporters were sleeping, so they might shape the next day’s news.”You build an incremental case,” Kinsella said.”That’s how you win a campaign.”
REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has introduced his final throne speech in the legislature before his upcoming retirement in January. Here’s a look at some of the promises in the speech:— Amend the Privacy Act so that people who have had intimate images shared without their permission can sue for compensation in a civil action.— Raise the corporate tax rate back to 12 per cent from 11.5 per cent to match other western provinces.— Repeal legislation that allows up to 49 per cent of a Crown corporation to be sold without it being considered privatization.— Bring in new mandatory referrals for organ donations.— Introduce legislation so non-Catholic parents can send their children to separate schools by invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian charter.— Introduce legislation for the sale and distribution of marijuana.— Introduce legislation so that Saskatchewan Government Insurance can offer coverage to ride-hailing companies such as Uber.— Introduce a program to let seniors with household incomes under $70,000 defer the education portion of the property taxes on their home.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Memorial University is calling in an outside investigator amid allegations of sexual harassment at its medical school.“There have been several concerns raised about the faculty of medicine’s learning environment that are extremely troubling to me as dean,” Margaret Steele, the dean of medicine, said in a letter to faculty.“These concerns have included allegations of bullying, intimidation, harassment and sexual harassment.”A spokesman for the St. John’s, N.L., school, wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the allegations Wednesday, but said the university’s president had agreed to Steele’s request for an outside investigator.“Dr. Steele learned of the allegations earlier this month and immediately and proactively contacted the Sexual Harassment Office,” said spokesman David Sorensen. “As per the provisions of the sexual harassment and sexual assault policy, a request was made for a unit assessment of the faculty of medicine.”Steele’s letter, sent last week, outlined concerns that had “come to my attention.”“I contacted the sexual harassment advisor, Rhonda Shortall, indicating the incidents and concerns raised may be of a sexual nature and may constitute sexual harassment under the sexual harassment and sexual assault policy.”In her letter, Steele said the unit assessment would focus on the faculty of medicine’s policies so that they are in alignment with the university’s harassment and sexual assault policy, and also on the culture and learning environment in relation to reporting incidents.“I am committed to a learning environment free of bullying, intimidation, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Steele.Steele’s revelations come as the faculty faces scrutiny by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.The college issued a notice of intent last spring to withdraw accreditation over allegations of intimidation involving faculty and students, giving the faculty two years to fix its problems.Sorensen said the latest concerns aren’t related to those raised by the college.He said the university intends to announce the name of the independent assessor within the next two weeks, along with the terms of reference for the investigation.“We won’t be making any comment about the nature of the complaint or complainants until the review is completed,” Sorensen said.— By Keith Doucette in Halifax
MONTREAL – The three-year-old boy who died after an overnight home fire in Quebec was a “ball of energy” and the light of his mother’s life, a relative said Tuesday.Police have not released the child’s name but Keven Diamond, a cousin of the child’s mother, identified him as Thomas Livernoche.Diamond said the entire family was reeling from the loss of the playful little boy.“He was a ball of energy,” he said in a phone interview.“It was hard to get him to stop moving and playing and being happy.”Police said the fire broke out just after midnight in a single-family home in Trois-Rivieres, midway between Montreal and Quebec City.The child’s parents were both treated for shock and cuts from broken glass that were sustained when they climbed out a window.Trois-Rivieres police spokesman Luc Mongrain said the child’s father went up to the second floor to try to save the boy.“The father tried everything (to rescue the child),” Mongrain said.“He went upstairs but it was impossible to get back down. They (the father and the mother) climbed out the window but were unable to get the child out.”The work of firefighters was complicated by temperatures of -28 C.The cause of the fire is under investigation.Diamond said both parents were hurt in the fire, with the father sustaining serious cuts and burns on his head when he broke through the glass with his face.Diamond, who has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the funeral expenses, says the family is low-income and that his cousin, Johannie Livernoche, had returned to school in the hopes of getting a better job.He’s hoping to spare her an additional financial burden as she mourns her son.“(Thomas) was her reason for living,” he said. “For many in the family, he was their little angel.”He says a funeral director has already approached him to offer the family a reduced fee.Anything raised beyond funeral expenses will be given to help the family, he said.
OTTAWA – The advent of the #MeToo movement in Canadian politics has cabinet ministers speaking publicly — and young staffers, quietly — about the open secret of predatory, sexualized behaviour in political Ottawa.Many describe the so-called whisper network, where staff members secretly share stories and trade advice on which politicians to avoid, or who to reach out to for some informal support.Women in politics deserve better, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel forcefully told the House of Commons this week.“Using the whisper network, the gossip chain that we use to tell each other when we see something or hear something, can no longer be seen as the main way to manage incidents of harassment,” Rempel said.“It is a privileged system that does nothing to protect victims, nothing to empower them to come forward to report abuse, nothing to prevent violence, and nothing to prevent vexatious complaints from being made.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among many others, have said dealing with sexual misconduct on Parliament Hill demands changing the culture and the rules, something that will take time.Eager for change, a number of women in Canadian politics are seeking out creative solutions to fill in the gaps in the interim.A Toronto-based organization called the Young Women’s Leadership Network is designing an online tool kit aimed at helping political parties — and the many young people who volunteer for them — prevent and address sexual violence on the campaign trail.“It will actually lead to young women staying involved in politics instead of just leaving,” said Arezoo Najibzadeh, co-founder of the organization.The tool kit, which is being developed in consultation with those who have directly experienced sexual harassment, including in politics, will provide tips on how to keep volunteers safe while out on the campaign trail, build trust and make sure they are supported in the event of trouble.Najibzadeh said in-person training, which the organization hopes to start offering to campaign managers, staff and volunteers in Toronto by the end of April — in time for the Ontario election — will complement the online tool kit.A Manitoba senator has also decided to take matters into her own hands.Independent Sen. Marilou McPhedran has set up a confidential email address (confidential(at)mariloumcphedran.com) where anyone who has been an employee, intern or volunteer at the Senate since 2006 can speak directly to her, or be referred to a lawyer she is hiring through her own office budget.McPhedran, a human rights lawyer who has chaired inquiries into sexual abuse patients, said survivors of sexual assault or harassment typically want to get a sense of closure, but they also want to stop the person who harmed them from doing it to anyone else.“They want the institution to stop the ways the institution has been enabling the abuse of power,” she said.She wants to give them a means of sharing any information that could bring about that goal, but in a confidential way that might not even end up naming the person accused of inappropriate behaviour.“If we are going to make genuine, lasting change, then we need to understand better what has happened before,” she said.“We don’t have to identify anyone, but the information that survivors have is something that they may wish to be sharing, but they don’t have a safe environment in which to share it,” she said, noting the extent of disclosure would be entirely up to the person who decides to reach out.Meanwhile, the MPs studying proposed legislation to strengthen harassment regulations in federal workplaces, including Parliament Hill, will also invite staffers, interns and even their colleagues to share their stories behind closed doors.The details are still being worked out, but the House of Commons human resources committee has agreed to devote one meeting, to be held in camera, to allow those “with lived experience of workplace harassment or sexual violence” to appear and have their privacy protected.The proposed legislation, known as Bill C-65, would apply to all employees working for parliamentarians, too, but there is a separate code of conduct aimed at addressing allegations of harassment between MPs that could also be getting a revamp.The procedure and House affairs committee unanimously passed a motion Thursday to create a sub-committee to handle the task.The code was reviewed last fall, but Liberal MP Filomena Tassi, the government’s deputy whip, said things have changed so much in the past few months that it is time to dig deeper.The #MeToo movement, the recent cases involving Canadian politicians and a survey of female MPs by The Canadian Press have all helped to shift the landscape, Tassi said.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
It appears Calgarians just aren’t as romantic anymore according to Amazon. The online retailer tracks sales of romance novels, relationship help books, romantic movies, jewellery and other adult-themed products for cities of over 80,000 people, then ranks them on a per capita basis. Calgary didn’t even make the list of top 20 Canadian cities despite landing in 10th last year and sixth in 2016. Victoria, B.C. made the top of the list for a sixth consecutive year followed by Abbotsford and Whitehorse. Fort McMurray was the top rated city in Alberta at fifth, while Spruce Grove, Sherwood Park, Grand Prairie, and Airdrie also made the cut.
WASHINGTON, United States of America – A curious thing has unfolded since the release of details about a Russian campaign to interfere in U.S. politics, with a secretive unit that allegedly had 80 employees, a $1.2 million-a-month budget, and impersonated real Americans by stealing their personal information.It involves the reaction of the president of the United States.Since an indictment sheet revealed these details Friday, Donald Trump has tweeted about it at least 14 times. He’s blamed the FBI and the news media. He’s scolded his national-security advisor. He’s even used the Florida school shooting to argue that he’s being wronged.One thing he hasn’t done: Voice displeasure with Russia.His reaction stands in sharp contrast with some members of his own party who sound disturbed by this alleged Russian election interference. It has Democrats questioning his motives. He’s being condemned by survivors of the Florida shooting.It has also drawn news headlines like, “We’ve Just Hit A New Presidential Low,” from the Washington Post, “Trump blames everyone but Russia,” from CNN, and “Trump Quiet In A U.S. War On Meddling,” on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times.Trump’s first tweet after Friday’s indictments was enthusiastic — he claimed his own exoneration. That’s because the charge sheet said some Americans who interacted with the Russian information campaign did so unwittingly, and a senior Justice Department official added that there was no evidence this unit’s work swayed the 2016 election result.By Saturday evening, he expressed frustration.Trump tweeted about the school shooting that left 17 people dead, and linked it to his own plight: “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign — there is no collusion. Get back to the basics.”Then came a gusher of tweets Sunday morning.He chided his top national-security official, H.R. McMaster, who this weekend said it’s now “incontrovertible” that Russia interfered in the election: “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians,” Trump said.He insisted he never called Russian election-meddling a hoax: “I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’”Some people find his reaction abnormal.On ABC, his former campaign ally, Chris Christie, said: “The president should be staying out of law-enforcement business.” On NBC, Sen. James Lankford was asked whether the president’s reaction bothers him: “It does,” Lankford replied. “Because Russia’s clearly tried to advance their agenda into the United States.”Some students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., expressed bewilderment, including Aly Sheehy who tweeted: “17 of my classmates are gone. That’s 17 futures, 17 children, and 17 friends stolen. But you’re right, it always has to be about you. How silly of me to forget.”The president’s reaction was in stark contrast with another politician who allegedly benefited from Russian information campaigns.Sen. Bernie Sanders was also mentioned in the indictment sheet.Special counsel Robert Mueller alleges that a Russian operation called, “The Translator Project,” had instructions to go after all sorts of American politicians, Democrats and Republicans, to sow discord in the U.S. — with two exceptions: Trump and Sanders.Sanders sounded like he was taking it seriously.He acknowledged, in an interview on “Meet The Press,” that when his Democratic primary campaign appeared lost, Russians flooded Facebook pages to spread negative messages about the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton. He said a member of his team even reached out to Clinton’s campaign to opine that something weird was happening.Sanders said it’s imperative American leaders confront Russia about this.“What we have to say to the Russians (is), ‘You are doing something to undermine American democracy; you are not going to get away with it. This is a major assault. If you do that there will be severe consequences.’”He questioned the president’s own approach. While Trump has closed some Russian diplomatic buildings in the U.S. in a diplomatic tit-for-tat, he has also been reluctant to enforce sanctions, avoided criticizing Russia, and has even said he believes Vladimir Putin when he claims Russia didn’t meddle.“I think (it’s) one of the weirdest things in modern American history,” Sanders said.“This is a huge deal. And that we don’t have a president speaking out on this issue is a horror show, and we have got to bring Democrats and Republicans together despite the president, to go forward to protect the integrity of American democracy.”The president also bashed the news media this weekend and accused it of exaggerating the Russia story.The media bashed back.A Washington Post column headlined, “We’ve Just Hit A New Presidential Low,” said: “Imagine how history would have judged Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, if he had taken to the radio airwaves to declare that Tokyo was ‘laughing their asses off.’ Or if George W. Bush had stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn and launched a name-calling tirade against the Democrats…”“(Trump’s) self-absorption is such that he cannot see beyond his own fixation, which is that all of this has no meaning beyond the legitimacy of his own election. Moscow must indeed be laughing.”
CHARLOTTETOWN – A referendum law that could see the cradle of Confederation become the birthplace of proportional representation passed Tuesday, more than a year after Justin Trudeau struck the option from potential national reforms.P.E.I. legislators approved the Electoral System Referendum Act on Tuesday evening, laying out what Attorney General Jordan Brown describes as a “fair choice” that will “determine the electoral future of the province.”The question in the bill — “Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system to a mixed member proportional voting system?” — may also boost the system’s national exposure, alongside British Columbia’s preparations for a mail-in referendum on the issue this fall.The Island vote poses a simple “Yes” or “No” option, with political scientists predicting a tight battle over the outcome.Proponents are arguing P.E.I. is fertile ground for an early win for the system, depending on when a provincial election is held.One key argument is small jurisdictions like P.E.I. — where one of two parties often holds a lop-sided majority — don’t have sufficient checks on the government.“I think our electoral system is an 18th century system and we need to bring it into the 21st century,” says Leo Cheverie, an advocate for a “Yes” vote.However, opposition groups are now starting to form with sharply differing views.Opponents like Dr. Gary Morgan, a veterinarian in Mill River, P.E.I., says he fears his province will become a “battlefield and bellwether for people who want this electoral reform for regions in Canada.”“It’s a threat to rural voice in Prince Edward Island … in western P.E.I., we have five members representing us in the legislature and that would be down to two.”A “No” vote would mean the continuation of 27 legislature seats chosen by the first-past-the-post method, while a “Yes” creates a system of voters choosing 18 legislators in redrawn electoral districts and also casting province-wide ballots for nine others from lists parties create.The “list” seats would be assigned proportionately based on the popular vote each party received on the second part of the ballots.Under the terms of the referendum bill voted on Tuesday, members of the legislature must still briefly reconvene to approve a referendum commissioner. The bill says a victory for the “Yes” side will require a majority of votes cast in the referendum ballot in at least 60 per cent of the electoral districts.Mixed member proportional representation won a majority of the votes in a 2016 plebiscite on the Island, but Liberal Premier Wade MacLauchlan set the results aside due to a low turnout, promising he’d offer another referendum in the next general election.Political scientist Don Desserud says it’s too early to predict an outcome in Round 2.“The polling numbers are pretty evenly split … so it’s going to be interesting to see in an actual election how that plays out,” said the University of Prince Edward Island professor.Cheverie is already working behind the scenes, and predicts much of the campaign will occur through one-on-one chats among Islanders.The P.E.I. Proportional Representation Network website is using grassroots organizing methods, inviting participants to “share ideas,” and “if other citizens think it’s a good idea, they will join you and make it happen,” through online chat groups.“We’re in a new phase where we’re trying to have more people from bottom up taking action,” he said.Marcia Carroll, director of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities, says she’s returning to the campaign in hopes of bringing people with disabilities into politics.“This has stirred something political in me deeper than I realized I had,” said Carroll. “We’re ready to go again … that’s the way we work. We don’t give up.”However, Desserud says the “No” side has the quiet support of the majority Liberal and Conservative politicians on the Island, and the emergence of Morgan’s group is a sign the opposing forces are marshalling.Morgan, a former Progressive Conservative candidate in the 1990s in western P.E.I., says he expects to form alliances with urban voters who object to voting for a candidate not actually based in their riding.“I don’t see the connection between the at-large member of the legislature and democracy,” he said.Desserud also says that the campaign structure created by the Liberals in the referendum bill has helped level the playing field, by restricting off-Island donations, keeping individual donations to $1,000, and setting up public funding for both sides to draw on for advertising.“I’m watching this with fascination to see what they (the Liberals) are doing … Are they just very, very confident that when the ‘No’ supporters get organized by a regular election campaign that this will kill it?” says the professor.Brown says the referendum bill — and the governing Liberals — are unbiased.“I have looked at all the different systems. They all have their pros and cons. Whatever Islanders want I’m more than fine with,” he said.Restrictions on outside donations and the role of provincial politicians are quite reasonable, he adds.“A fulsome debate should be enabled through a system that both promotes the sharing of ideas and education … and regulates that same process so that no wealthy or outside individual can disproportionately sway the will of the voters,” he said.James Aylward, the leader of the Tory opposition, said in an interview he is also staying neutral in the vote.“I’m not going to state my preference one way or the other,” he said. “I don’t think it should be the responsibility of elected members of the legislature to push their will on the electorate.”Peter Bevan-Baker, leader of the Green Party, said he voted against the referendum bill based on its lack of public consultation, but added, “it’s been improved immensely from its original draft.”Bevan-Baker said he suspects the government’s willingness to sit through a long session to pass the bill is a sign they’re holding open the option of a fall election, with the referendum on the ballot.“Perhaps we will be making a little bit of history,” he says.Trudeau had promised to abolish the first-past-the-post federal voting system during the 2015 election, but later abandoned the plan. The prime minister argued that consultations across the country revealed that Canadians were not clamouring for change.In B.C., a campaign asking voters whether they want to switch to proportional representation or keep the first-past-the-post system will start on July 1, with voting by mail-in ballot running from Oct. 22 to Nov. 30.— By Michael Tutton in Halifax
VICTORIA – Investigators on Vancouver Island are treating the deaths of two sailors reported missing last month as homicides.The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit confirmed Friday that human remains found near Ucluelet earlier this month were those of Ryan Daley and Daniel Archbald.Archbald and Daley arrived by boat in Ucluelet on May 13 after an eight-week voyage from Panama and were last seen at the Ucluelet dock on May 16.The major crime unit said their deaths were not random incidents.Insp. Dave Hall said positively identifying Daley, who was 43, and Archbald, who was 37, was a significant step in the investigation and officers can now focus on finding who killed them.Hall said there is no evidence at this time to suggest the case is connected to the disappearance of Ben Kilmer, 41, who vanished from the Duncan area at the same time.Investigators are in contact with the families of all three men and working to determine what has happened to them, he said.“Widespread use of social media and the Internet as sources of information risks drawing linkages that do not exist, or spreading false information that becomes increasingly difficult for police to untangle in their investigation,” Hall said in a statement.Police said earlier Archbald and Daley were last seen May 16 walking from the harbour dock area in Ucluelet, a community of about 1,700 people located about 320 kilometres northwest of Victoria. The two men can be seen on video carrying their backpacks and duffel bags.Ucluelet dockmaster Kevin Cortes, who was the last person to see them on May 16, said they had paid for one month of moorage for the boat.Cortes said Archbald and Daley appeared healthy but tired after a long trip, adding he noticed nothing unusual about them during the three days they spent in Ucluelet.Archbald’s wife Leah Bliss has said her husband bought the boat in Panama about two years ago and was sailing it back to B.C. to start a sailing charter business. She said Archbald was an experienced sailor and the voyage a dream adventure for him.She said the couple have two daughters, aged nine and five, and were living in Squamish, just northwest of Vancouver.Bliss said her husband sounded like he was in good spirits and nothing seemed out of the ordinary in her final phone conversations with him.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version misspelled Archbald.
It’s a family exercise so universally uncomfortable, neither parents nor children dare speak its subject by name: having “the talk.” But nearly one year into the #MeToo movement, these parent-led discussions about procreation are in dire need of an overhaul, say experts.“The talk” can no longer just be about the birds and the bees, said Rachel Giese, Toronto-based author of “Boys: What It Means To Become a Man.”Parents need to do away with such euphemisms and bring the public discourse about gender-based power dynamics into their homes, she said, because failing to address the thorny issues surrounding sex would be doing a disservice to their children — particularly, their sons.“Barely a year into (the #MeToo movement), there has been this backlash emerging, and we’re hearing it in the people who say things like, ‘Boys will be boys.’ Or, ‘This is what all young men do,’” said Giese.“The message that that’s putting out in the world to current young men and to current young women about what should be normal is pretty devastating.”These dinner-table discussions look to be no less difficult as parents work to make sense of a sexual landscape that seems to be shifting beneath their feet, Giese and other advocates said, forcing some fathers to reconsider their own youthful indiscretions within modern conceptions of consent.But as stories about the far-reaching impacts of sexual violence continue to dominate headlines, they said, talking to kids about news events like the sexual misconduct allegations dogging U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh could be a good place to start.In a high-stakes spectacle Thursday, Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford delivered duelling testimonies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about an alleged high-school sexual assault, with control of the highest court in the land hanging in the balance.Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.For many, the emotional she-said, he-said exchange encapsulated the swirling social anxieties that have forged the dividing lines of the #MeToo debate.For proponents of #MeToo, Blasey Ford has become the face of the life-altering impacts of sexual violence and the forces that have prevented women from coming forward.Kavanaugh’s defenders, including the president who nominated him, contend that the dredging up of decades-old allegations is further evidence of the cultural overreach that has eschewed due process in order to advance a political agenda and ruin the lives of those who cross it, effectively putting all men at risk.But Giese, who is raising her own teenager, said concerns about false accusations are not top of mind for the parents she’s heard from on her book tour.“I think there are a lot of parents who really want their boys to be decent young men,” she said. “The most devastating thing … would be to find out that their son participated in an assault or participated in an act of bullying.”She said the messages boys and girls receive as they approach the age of adolescent experimentation instils a double standard that encourages young men to sow their wild oats, while demanding young women be constantly on guard against unwanted sexual advances.While her greatest sympathies lie with the women who live with the lasting trauma of sexual violence, Giese said the “tragedy” of these harms cut across gender.Young men, she said, are socialized to treat women as “pawns” in a performance of masculinity that prizes aggressive sexual behaviour, which, fuelled by peer pressure and intoxication, can lead some to commit acts of violence that will haunt them years later.“I think for young men, putting themselves in a situation where they’re behaving in ways that are cruel and disrespectful … there can be a degree of guilt, regret, a sense that one is only valued for being a bad person rather than a good person.”This shifting understanding of masculinity weighs on Brian Russell, provincial co-ordinator at Dad Central Ontario, a non-profit that promotes paternal involvement in parenting, particularly as the father of three young women.But it’s those same macho expectations that make it all the more difficult to speak openly about these emotionally charged issues, said Russell.“History is showing us that these conversations aren’t happening at the right level, or in the right way,” he said.“I think guys need to be really aware of what boundaries look like, what consent looks like .. and to not just see it from their perspective, but to have a bit more of an empathetic view.”For some fathers, said Russell, the questions raised around consent take on a personal resonance, as men look back on their previous relations with women in a new light.“As a dad talking to his son about these things, where is he putting his own past in perspective?” he said. “I think that the guilt will get in the way, cause discomfort with the topic.”Humberto Carolo, the executive director of White Ribbon, a men’s group that works to end violence against women, said concerns about past behaviour is one of the key barriers preventing men from talking about the #MeToo movement — not only with their sons, but among themselves.While past harms to women cannot be undone, Carolo said fathers can draw from these experiences to prevent their sons from making the same mistakes.In raising his three sons, Carolo said he brings up his own experiences witnessing violence while growing up in Portugal as a way to drive home the need for a culture shift.Carolo said he thinks men are interested in engaging with these issues, but often don’t know how, which is why they need to follow the lead of those who have spoken up about their own #MeToo experience at great personal risk, and put their apprehensions aside in order to set an example for the next generation.As he sees it, “the talk” should not be a one-off lesson in the mechanics of human sexuality, but an ongoing conversation, so parents and children can work together to navigate the #MeToo era.“The vast majority (of parents) are not having the conversations, because they themselves don’t even know how to deal with their own challenges, with their own thoughts around this,” said Carolo.“We have to break that mould because silence is not going to be the solution to this problem.”
TORONTO – A debate that will see Steve Bannon, the controversial former strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, defend the issue of populism in Toronto this week is facing growing backlash, with critics calling for the event to be cancelled.Community groups and some federal and provincial politicians have raised concerns about the Friday event, at which Bannon will argue against conservative commentator David Frum about the role of populism in the future of politics.Several organizations banded together Tuesday to call for the event, part of the Munk Debates, to be called off in light of last weekend’s deadly attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.They said giving Bannon a platform to express extreme views contributes to a climate of hatred that can encourage violence against marginalized or racialized groups.“We’re at an important and terrifying moment as we watch right-wing governments come into power all over the world. The hate we are witnessing is serious — in fact, it is deadly,” said Rachel Epstein of the United Jewish People’s Order.“Opposing this kind of hate and violence and the violence it fosters is not up for debate. And that is why we are asking that Bannon’s talk be cancelled, and if it is not … there would be large numbers of people there, to let him know he is not welcome.”New Democrats at the federal and provincial level have also voiced concerns about Bannon’s planned appearance at the debate.NDP MP Nathan Cullen has said that efforts must be made to ensure people aren’t given platforms to spread hate.“I trust Canadians to be able to reject that but we’ve seen so tragically the effects of those in politics, in public discourse when they spread hate, that others pick up that language and turn it into actions,” he said.That sentiment was echoed by the leader of Ontario’s NDP.“We have enough divisiveness, we have enough hate being spewed everywhere unfortunately here in Ontario, across Canada, through the United States, the last thing we need is another platform for more hate to be spewed,” Andrea Horwath said Tuesday.Debate organizers defended the event, saying it would provide valuable analysis on a pressing issue.“We believe we are providing a public service by allowing their ideas to be vigorously contested and letting the public draw their own conclusions from the debate,” Munk Debates chair Rudyard Griffiths said in a statement.“In our increasingly polarized societies we often struggle to see across ideological and moral divides. Civil and substantive public debate of the big issues of our time helps all of us better understand the challenges we face as a society and what, if anything, can be done to resolve them.”Bannon, former executive chairman of right-wing Breitbart News, was chief strategist and senior counsellor to Trump until August 2017. He was recently dropped from the speakers list at the New Yorker Festival following intense backlash and threats of a boycott by other guests.Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, was a speechwriter for former president George W. Bush and is the author of the recent book “Trumpocracy.” He has previously said the planned debate would be an important discussion.“Liberal democracy is founded on the belief that free people can be inspired to make wiser choices by words and ideas,” he wrote in statement posted on Twitter when the debate was announced.“Mr. Bannon comes to the prestigious Munk platform because he believes his words can persuade people to follow him. I will face him there because I believe democratic ideas can defeat him.”
CALGARY – Organizations that help the homeless and those fleeing domestic violence say they have lost a vital resource with Greyhound’s exit from the West —and they’re not sure how well a patchwork of alternatives will be able to fill the gap.Awo Taan Healing Lodge, a 32-bed emergency shelter for women and children in Calgary, has relied heavily on the bus company over the years, said executive director Josie Nepinak.Many of the lodge’s clients come from rural areas and often public transportation is the only safe option, she said.“They could perhaps be pushed into more vulnerable kinds of situations where they might hitchhike — and I have seen that happen — therefore putting them at greater risk, not only of violence, but potentially homicide as well.”Greyhound wound down all but one of its routes in Western Canada and northern Ontario on Wednesday. Only a U.S.-run route from Seattle to Vancouver remains.Several regional companies have come forward to offer bus services and have taken over 87 per cent of the abandoned Greyhound routes, Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said this week.Garneau said Ottawa will work with the provinces to come up with alternatives to service the remaining routes. As well, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said her department will subsidize bus services to remote Indigenous communities where needed.Nepinak said it’s good new companies are stepping in to handle Greyhound’s old routes, but she admits she’s not familiar yet with what’s out there.She said staff at her organization, and others like it, work flat out, and Greyhound’s exit makes their jobs more difficult.“There needs to be a central place in order to find that information and many of us are so busy.”There is no emergency homeless shelter in Revelstoke, B.C., a picturesque mountain community just off the Trans-Canada Highway.Cathy Girling, who does homeless outreach for Community Connections in Revelstoke, said her group would sometimes purchase Greyhound tickets for people to get to larger B.C. centres for a place to sleep.“I’m not sure where we’re going from here,” she said. “We’re taking it as it goes and seeing what happens.”Revelstoke is now served by Regina-based Rider Express, which has stops along the Trans-Canada between Vancouver and Calgary. The westbound bus stops once daily in Revelstoke at 1 p.m. The eastbound bus comes at 3:25 a.m.There is no bus connection from Revelstoke south to population centres in the Okanagan Valley such as Vernon or Kelowna.“We’re a small community that is already quite isolated,” said Girling. “It adds to our isolation.”In Brandon, Man., Greyhound helped connect people in need with their support networks — whether they be friends, families or social services, said John Jackson, executive director of Samaritan House Ministries.“In Manitoba … the geographical distances between towns and cities is so vast,” he said.“Multiple times we have made arrangements to purchase clients’ bus tickets using Greyhound’s services. The fact that that has gone away is going to leave a very big gap.”Jackson said it’s too soon to tell how helpful alternative bus services will be.“The concern is you need a company that has good infrastructure and is reputable and is going to provide a reliable service.”
LONGUEUIL, Que. – Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques has completed his first ever spacewalk.Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain accomplished the feat in six hours, 29 minutes, with no apparent issues.Saint-Jacques, 49, joins an exclusive group of astronauts by becoming just the fourth Canadian to complete such a mission and the first from the country to do so since 2007.Spacewalkers @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_DavidS make their way to the first work site today, getting accustomed to being outside the station. #AskNASA | https://t.co/cBNqC61h27 pic.twitter.com/0qpKAR0Xp8— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) April 8, 2019He and McClain officially began their spacewalk shortly after 7:30 a.m. EDT according to the U.S. space agency — about half-an-hour ahead of schedule.Their tasks included relocating a battery adaptor plate, upgrading the station’s wireless communication system and connecting jumper cables along the midpoint of the station’s main truss to give Canadarm2 an alternative power source.Saint-Jacques arrived at the space station with McClain and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos on Dec. 3. He is scheduled to return to Earth in June.
Five stories in the news for Wednesday, April 10———EXPERTS SAY NO GOVERNMENT CAN BRING BACK ALBERTA BITUMEN BOOMCanada’s top energy thinkers as well as international experts warn there’s no pedal any premier can stomp to make that engine rev like it used to. Mark Jaccard, an energy economist at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University, who has advised governments on climate policy and helps write reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says he fears for Albertans who are unwilling to accept a steady oilsands output, with the resulting employment. The University of Manitoba’s Vaclav Smil, one of Canada’s most widely quoted energy analysts, says any move to renewable energy will take decades, not years. The transition, however, may be felt sooner.———ONTARIO RESEARCHER AMONG TEAM UNVEILING PICTURE OF BLACK HOLEAn international team of researchers that includes an Ontario scientist is to unveil the first captured image of a black hole. The team includes Avery Broderick, an astrophysicist and associate professor at the University of Waterloo. The picture was compiled by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, a group of scientists around the world bent on proving the existence of black holes and documenting what they look like despite the fact that they cannot release light. The image was compiled with help from eight earth-based telescopes around the world.———LIBERALS SAY TORIES DISHONEST FOR NOT TELLING CANADIANS ABOUT CARBON TAX REBATESThe federal Liberals say booklets being distributed by Conservative MPs in their ridings that lay out a long list of tax credits Canadians should apply for when they file their taxes have a glaring omission: the new carbon-tax rebate that applies in four provinces. The brochure lists more than 30 tax benefits, from child-care deductions to medical expenses and meal claims for long-haul truck drivers. There is much emphasis on tax credits introduced by the former Conservative government and ones the Liberals eliminated, such as credits for children’s arts and sports programs, and for riding public transit. Nowhere at all is the carbon rebate, which can be worth hundreds of dollars, mentioned.———VANCOUVER MAN FACES NEW MONEY-LAUNDERING CHARGE IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDALVancouver businessman David Sidoo faces an additional charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his alleged role in a college admissions scandal in the United States. In a new indictment from the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts today, Sidoo is accused of wiring about $100,000 in January 2013 from an account in Canada to an account in California. The indictment says the money was in the name of college-prep company The Key, and meant to be in exchange for William (Rick) Singer’s facilitation of a SAT cheating scheme for Sidoo’s younger son. Sidoo, a 59-year-old former Canadian Football League player and well-known philanthropist, was previously charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the scandal. He pleaded not guilty last month and was released by the federal court in Boston on a secured bond of $1.5 million and his travel was restricted to Canada and the United States.———MONTREAL-AREA MAYOR CALLS BILL 21 ‘PEACEFUL ETHNIC CLEANSING’ IN DEFIANT INTERVIEWSuburban Montreal mayor William Steinberg rejected calls for an apology Tuesday and insisted his comments last week equating Quebec’s secularism legislation with “ethnic cleansing” were accurate when taken in context. Steinberg drew the wrath of Quebec’s political class and much of the province’s francophone media last Friday when he likened Bill 21 — legislation prohibiting many public sector workers from wearing religious symbols on the job — to a war crime. In an interview with radio station CJAD, Steinberg rejected the criticism and maintained that his critics were the ones in the wrong. He said the media and politicians should not be focusing on the words “ethnic cleansing” but instead should pay more attention to the content of the bill.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— A 45-year old man is expected to appear in court on impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death from a September 2018 fatal collision involving a scooter. Police laid charges against Rakesh Sidhu, 45, in March and have determined that impairment by cannabis was a contributing factor.— The next date for Wesley Clarkson charged with 10 sexual offences involving girls in New Westminster, Penticton and Naramata will be set today.— Patrick Fox, who was convicted of criminally harassing his ex-wife through a revenge website, appears in court for a bail hearing on charges of breaching his probation order.The Canadian Press
The Alliance For Children’s Rights, Los Angeles’ preeminent nonprofit dedicated to protecting the rights of at-risk children, is announcing the 3rd annual RIGHT to LAUGH comedy event.This year’s event will honor the legendary comedy institution The Second City, with an all-star comedy performance line up including Martin Short, Fred Willard, Patricia Heaton, Rachael Harris and Jeff Garlin. Funds raised will benefit The Alliance for Children’s Rights in their quest to help impoverished and abused children in LA.The RIGHT to LAUGH will take place at the Avalon Theatre, 1735 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 starting with a red carpet cocktail reception at 6 p.m. The Second City, the world’s premier comedy theatre and school of improvisation, has launched some of the most prominent names in comedy from Alan Arkin, Gilda Radner, Steve Carell and Tina Fey to name a few. This year’s RIGHT to LAUGH Award will go to The Second City’s CEO Andrew Alexander.“What The Alliance is to kids in need, The Second City is to comedy in our industry. Laughter makes our world a better place and for that we are proud to salute them,” says Peter Benedek, UTA, Co-Chair of the event.The comedy salute line-up to-date include The Second City Alumni and comedic greats: Martin Short (Jiminy Glick, SNL), Neil Flynn (Scrubs, The Middle), Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Richard Kind (Spin City), Joel Murray (Mad Men, God Bless America), Suzy Nakamura (Go On, Help Me, Help You), Rose Abdoo (Gilmore Girls), David Steinberg (Inside Comedy), George Wendt (Cheers) and Fred Willard (Best in Show), along with other Special Guests Pamela Adlon (Californification), Ed Begley, Jr. (St. Elsewhere), Willie Garson (Sex & the City), Rachael Harris (Hangover), Patricia Heaton (The Middle), Phil LaMarr, Laraine Newman (SNL) and Amy Yasbeck (Wings), with special messages by Steve Carell and other illustrious Second City Alumni. To date, celebrity guests attending the event include Larry David, Selena Gomez and Diane Keaton.Funds raised will benefit The Alliance for Children’s Rights, which focuses on protecting the rights of impoverished and abused children and youth so that they have safe homes, health care and the education they need to thrive. “Laughter for a good cause is hard to resist and we are honored to be a part of something so worthwhile,” Andrew Alexander, CEO of The Second City.The RIGHT to LAUGH sponsors include: CBS, UTA, DreamWorks Animation, Guess?, Symantec, Robin, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, City National Bank, Zoo Productions, Warner Bros., Kymberly Marciano-Strauss & Even Strauss, Kaplan Stahler Agency, Mintz Levin, Janet & Bob Daily, Bill Maher, Tom Bezucha, Larry David, Nathalie Marciano, Gene Stein & Geert De Turck, Michael J. Fox & Tracy Pollan, Sarah & Bill Odenkirk, 495 Productions and Comedy Central.Sponsorship opportunities and tickets for this event are still available. Visit www.kids-alliance.org for details.