Atlantic provinces hope to coax more foreign students to stay after graduation

first_imgMONCTON, N.B. – A program that helps international students to stay and work in Nova Scotia will be adopted by the three other Atlantic provinces as they try to grow their population.Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Atlantic Canada has a retention rate for skilled immigrants that “hovers at around 60 per cent,” compared to rates of 90 per cent or higher in Ontario and Alberta.Hussen said the region-wide extension of Nova Scotia’s “Study and Stay” program will act as a compliment to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project announced in 2016 that connects immigrants and companies.“It is very explicitly about retaining people here,” Hussen told a news conference following a meeting Tuesday of federal politicians and Atlantic premiers in Moncton, N.B.“Atlantic Canada has never had a problem attracting skilled immigrants — the problem is retention, so they come here and they don’t stay.”Such programs are key because they involve companies in helping to establish local roots for skilled immigrants and their families, he said.“We know that will vastly improve the retention rate,” Hussen said. “I think it’s great because it addresses a real challenge that is a little bit more acute in Atlantic Canada than the rest of the country.”In Nova Scotia, Study and Stay provides targeted support and services for up to 50 international students during their final year of post-secondary studies.The program includes career mentoring and access to employment-related events and workshops, and there is also a subsidy to help local employers offset the cost of hiring students for a work-term after they graduate.Karen Casey, Nova Scotia’s deputy premier, said the program had received over 700 inquiries from international students, of which 49 students were selected for participation.“We are looking each year to add more numbers to that,” said Casey. “I think those numbers demonstrate first of all that there is an interest and second that we can make this work for international students.”Federal officials said the pilot program would be adapted to meet the specific needs of the other Atlantic provinces.Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan said it’s essential for all the Atlantic provinces to focus on measures that will grow the population, which in turn would help the economy to grow.“What we are really talking about here is relationships,” said MacLauchlan, pointing to a so-called bio-cluster of companies created on the Island, and its use of skilled immigrants.“It’s remarkable how many of those are driven by the talent, the knowledge and the relationships that have come from people that have come first to our region to study,” he said.Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the Atlantic Immigration Pilot had so far designated more than 900 Atlantic Canadian companies to employ skilled foreign workers and international graduates.LeBlanc said the program had recruited over 1,300 immigrants to the region and more than 1,100 of those had received job offers and are able to apply for permanent residency.Tuesday’s meeting also included a discussion on Ottawa’s inclusion of Atlantic Canada’s Ocean Supercluster as part of its $950 million superclusters initiative.The Ocean Supercluster is to utilize the combined talents of companies working in areas such as marine renewable energy, fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, defence and shipbuilding.The ministers and premiers also announced they will lead a trade mission to China in November 2018 to advance business and educational trade ties.– By Keith Doucette in Halifaxlast_img read more


Conservative defence critic questions plan to send Canadian peacekeepers to Mali

first_imgThe Conservative defence critic is questioning the Trudeau government’s decision to send peacekeeping troops to the troubled West African nation of Mali.A senior government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed late Friday night that Canada will dispatch an aviation task force to Mali as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, in a move defence critic James Bezan said raises more questions than answers.“Why did it take them so long to make this announcement and is this in Canada’s national interest or is this in the Liberals’ interest?” Bezan said. “Are they making this announcement because of all the criticism they’ve received for breaking the promise of deploying 600 troops and 150 police officers on UN missions, when we’re at the lowest levels in history?”The government source said the task force will be in Mali for up to 12 months and an official announcement on the deployment will be made Monday.In terms of troop numbers, Canada is currently at a historic low for participation in peacekeeping missions. Canada had a total of 43 peacekeepers deployed around the world at the end of December, the most recent UN numbers indicate, down from 62 in November.The decline, largely the result of a reduction in the number of Canadian police officers deployed to Haiti, means Canada has fewer peacekeepers in the field than at any point since the 1950s.Bezan said the Conservatives want to see Canada involved in more peacekeeping, including in Ukraine. But he said it must be in the national interest and in some cases, it may be preferable to fight under Canadian instead of UN command.“We know that this is incredibly dangerous,” Bezan said. “We support our troops and know they are completely capable of doing it. But we are hesitant about putting our troops in harms way under UN command.”He said peacekeeping decisions should not be made based on nostalgia about blue helmets.“There is concern about how we are going to keep the peace when we have insurgencies, terrorism, failed states and multiple different missions going at the same time and no answers of how this is in Canada’s national interest,” he said.Mali has been in turmoil since a 2012 uprising prompted soldiers to overthrow the country’s president. The power vacuum that was created led to an Islamic insurgency and a French-led war that ousted the jihadists from power in 2013.However, insurgents remain active and the UN has seen its multinational peacekeeping force in the region suffer more than 150 fatalities since its mission began in 2013.Francois Audet, who studies Canadian humanitarian policy and international relations at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, said there are four million people in need of aid in the country, many of whom are inaccessible to civilian aid workers because it’s too dangerous.The role of peacekeeping operations is to develop secure zones to permit civilians to reach those populations, he said.Audet said the country has been made more dangerous in recent years with the arrival of armed factions in the months and years after the toppling of the Libyan regime in 2011.“It’s a dangerous country for civilians and especially for western interests,” Audet said in a French-language interview. “So if you’re a development or aid organization, your access outside of the big cities like Bamako is extremely difficult, if not impossible.”He said Canada’s entry into the conflict is “very late.”“It’s not too late, but it’s very late,” Audet said. “And since (the Liberals took power), our allies have exhausted themselves, so we need a system of change where each country needs to take their part of the responsibilities.”In November, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made pledged during a peacekeeping summit in Vancouver to offer six helicopters and two transport aircraft, plus their associated pilots and support personnel, as well as a 200-strong quick reaction force to the UN.— With files from Nicole ThompsonNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously said Francois Audet studies Canadian humanitarian policy and international relations at the Universite de Montreal.last_img read more


Officials suspect algal toxins in deaths of three dogs who played in

first_imgFREDERICTON – Health officials are trying to determine what killed three dogs who suffered convulsions and vomiting almost immediately after playing in the Saint John River.New Brunswick’s provincial veterinarian, Jim Goltz, said Thursday he is awaiting results from tests on two of the dogs to see if their sudden deaths were caused by exposure to toxicity from a possible blue-green algal bloom.He said both dogs had seizures and other signs of neurological disease before they passed away within a half hour after playing in the river and likely ingesting the water.Officials are examining two popular recreational sites on the river to look for possible algal blooms.“We don’t yet know what killed the dogs, but we do suspect the possibility of blue-green algal toxicity and this is being investigated as one of our primary considerations,” he said.“In the interim, we’re advising people not to let pets or children in water that has a green scum on it … and we’re also advising people to stay clear of the sites on the Saint John River where the deaths of the dogs occurred.”Goltz said his laboratory received two of the dogs, but there were no immediate signs of what may have caused their deaths. Samples are being examined and tested for toxins at a specialized lab in Halifax, he said.Two small dogs were together at Carleton Park near Fredericton on Sunday when they began experiencing difficulty breathing and became disoriented moments after coming out of the water. Their owner, Jeff Wilhem, said on his Facebook page that his pets — Sookie and Peekaboo — passed away a short time after playing in the water at the Carleton beach.“Sookie died in my arms within minutes, and Peekaboo died about an hour later. There was nothing the vet could do,” he wrote, adding that an autopsy was being done. “Please keep your children and pets away from the beach.”Another dog — an eight-month-old Australian shepherd named Nike — died suddenly Friday after playing in the river at a Hartt Island campground, about 10 kilometres away from Carleton Park.Owner Shawn McFadden said Thursday that the puppy was happily playing in the river for about 20 minutes, got out and went back to the family’s trailer when she started convulsing and vomiting before he rushed her to the veterinarian.“I tried to bring her to the animal hospital and she died on the way, within a half hour,” he said. “It was your classic seizure, like convulsing, eyes rolling and she went limp and it was quite something.”McFadden said they are awaiting test results to try to identify the cause, but that could take a couple of weeks. He added that he didn’t notice anything unusual on the water’s surface and the family has been going there for years with their dogs without incident.“It’s never been an issue and there was no reason to suspect anything,” he said. “For us, it’s just a waiting game to find out what happened.”Goltz stressed that they have not yet confirmed the deaths are linked to algal toxicity, but he is advising people to keep their pets and children out of water near the two sites and anywhere where there is a green scum on the water’s surface.According to the province’s website, blue-green algae are photosynthetic bacterial organisms that occur naturally in lakes, rivers and wetlands. Depending on conditions, they can quickly form a bloom and produce toxins.Goltz said exposure to a toxin can cause a host of symptoms in dogs since there are so many different species of the bacteria that produces the toxins. They can include excessive salivation, weakness, staggering, difficulty breathing, seizures and death. They can all occur within minutes of exposure, he said. In people, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, numbness and abdominal cramps, amongst others.Goltz said he’s only seen one dog fatality in the province linked to algal bloom toxins. In 2010, a five-and-a-half-month-old Labrador retriever suffered hyper-salivation, red and rolling eyes, staggering and vomiting before laying down and dying, all within a half hour of being in the water.Paul Bradley, a spokesman for the Health Department, said crews planned to visit and assess the two sites to determine if they need to take water samples for testing.He said there are 14 sites with confirmed algal blooms, mostly in provincial lakes.– By Alison Auld in Halifaxlast_img read more


Air freshens in parts of BC as provincial park evacuated due to

first_imgKAMLOOPS, B.C. – A lightning-caused fire in southern British Columbia that the BC Wildfire Service says went undetected because it was initially obscured by smoke has now charred 69 square kilometres and threatens a popular backcountry lodge.The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued an evacuation order Friday for Cathedral Provincial Park and Cathedral Lakes Lodge, east of Manning Park, along B.C.’s southern border.Erick Thompson, information officer with the regional district’s emergency operations centre, said 44 people, including campers and staff, were required to leave.“This is the second time this month an evacuation order has been issued for Cathedral Lakes Lodge,” the regional district said in a news release, adding the order was issued because of “immediate danger to life safety.”A blaze identified as the Cool Creek fire had already chewed through one square kilometre of timber before it was pinpointed Aug. 15, the Wildfire Service said on its website.Crews were not immediately tasked to fight the fire because it was remote, burning in steep, unreachable terrain and was not immediately threatening properties or infrastructure, it said. Flames kicked up last Thursday but it was several days before visibility improved enough that a plane could assess the situation and crews were assigned.Wildfire officials hoped cooler temperatures and low winds would mean moderate activity on the fire over the weekend but an area closure was imposed covering Cathedral Provincial Park and the lodge.The Cathedral Lakes Lodge was evacuated Aug. 1 when a separate blaze threatened the only road leading to the facility.The Wildfire Service said seven new fires were sparked Thursday and 555 fires were burning Friday in all areas of the province.Sixty of those blazes were considered fires of note, meaning they either posed a threat to people and property or were highly visible. Most were in the southeast part of B.C.Air quality advisories remained for most of the province due to high levels of ultra-fine grit tossed up by the fires.Environment Canada was offering some hope to residents of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley after nearly a week of stagnant, smoke-filled air, but its forecast was not as positive for people closer to the wildfires burning in the Interior region.The weather office said those fine particulates should continue to decline across the Lower Mainland and a smog advisory has been dropped. Cooler temperatures and fresh Pacific air blowing toward the coast are credited for the reprieve, but forecasters said winds over the Interior will pin the smoke there and communities downwind of wildfires will stay shrouded for the foreseeable future.Winds also complicated the battle against many fires, including two with a combined area of more than 1,000 square kilometres southwest of Burns Lake and along the south shore of Francois Lake.Officials said no new homes have been lost since the blaze destroyed three in Lower Post near the Yukon boundary and a trace amount of rain had fallen.Crews were working to keep flames away from the Alaska Highway.(The Canadian Press, CKRW)last_img read more


Alberta leaders renew attacks on final full day of election campaign

first_imgSHERWOOD PARK, Alta. — A day before Alberta voters go to the polls, United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney and the NDP’s Rachel Notley traded attacks over the pipeline issue that has come to define the campaign.“Just one more sleep, one more day before Albertans have an opportunity to vote for change that gets our province back to work and that gets Alberta back on track,” Kenney told cheering supporters outside a campaign office in Sherwood Park, east of Edmonton, on Monday.Kenney, Notley and all other parties knocked on doors and rallied supporters one last time before voting day on Tuesday.In Calgary, Notley donned a hard hat and work boots to tour a pipe fabrication yard.“Through patient and determined action, we have built a durable national consensus on the need for pipelines,” she said.“A strong and growing majority of Canadians support Alberta pipelines, including in British Columbia. And I intend to keep it that way.”She said she’s expecting a federal green light next month for the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would move oilsands crude to the West Coast for export.Kenney has spent much of the campaign criticizing Notley for what he calls her failure to deliver on a pipeline and her failed collaboration with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on energy and climate policy.He has said that if elected, he would set up an Alberta government “war room” to go after pipeline critics in real time and file several legal actions.In Sherwood Park, Kenney reiterated that Job 1 of his government would be to proclaim into law a bill passed by the Notley government giving the province the power to reduce oil exports to B.C. if it continues to impede progress on Trans Mountain.“What we will no longer tolerate are politicians and governments benefiting from our hard work and our resource wealth while doing everything they can to block that wealth and not allow us to achieve our economic potential,” said Kenney.Notley said Kenney’s stance puts the pipeline in jeopardy.“Mr. Kenny is prepared to mess it all up so that he can make headlines. It’s risky. It’s wrong for Alberta,” she said.Notley ridiculed Kenney’s promise to turn off the taps to B.C., saying the province is currently not the major roadblock to Trans Mountain. Rather, the expansion was delayed last year because the Federal Court of Appeal ordered more Indigenous consultation and study into the impact on marine life.“Unless he thinks he’s got one particular judge that he’s going to somehow pull back on their access to gas … it’s just not connected to the real problem,” she said.“And he knows it, but he’s just playing games. It’s irresponsible and Albertans deserve better than that.”Also Monday, Kenney addressed the issue of his Calgary-East candidate Peter Singh. Mounties raided Singh’s auto-repair shop last week and confiscated a computer hard drive and other items.Singh has said he has done nothing wrong.Kenney told reporters that while he has not talked with Singh, he understands police are dealing not with Singh’s son, not Singh.“I’ve learned nothing more than what I’ve read in the media,” said Kenney.“As far as I know, he (Singh) hasn’t been accused of anything.”— With files from Lauren Krugel in CalgaryDean Bennett, The Canadian Presslast_img read more


Jimmy Carter And The Elders Visit Myanmar

first_imgConcluding a three-day visit to Myanmar, The Elders are offering their support to the people of Myanmar during this exciting period of transition. They also encourage decision-makers responsible for the implementation of the political reform process to make further progress. This was The Elders’ first visit to Myanmar as a group.Welcoming the work of a range of local and international actors involved in supporting the peace process with ethnic minority armed groups and addressing ongoing violence in Rakhine state, the Elders noted that they anticipate remaining engaged in the country in the coming years.The Elders travelled to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon to meet with President U Thein Sein and other senior officials in the Myanmar government, political leaders, religious leaders and civil society groups including women’s organisations.Commenting on Myanmar’s political process, Jimmy Carter, former US President and Elders’ delegation leader, said: “The Elders have come to listen and give support to all those committed to a peaceful political transition in Myanmar. Our question to everyone on this visit has been: what kind of democracy do you envisage?“We had constructive discussions with President U Thein Sein and members of his government, as well as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, in Nay Pyi Taw. We were impressed by the pace with which reforms are proceeding. Myanmar is becoming a more open society. The release of political prisoners is particularly encouraging. We trust there will be no political prisoners by the end of the year, as the President has pledged.“We have also been struck by the growing contribution and leadership of women in civil society, and yet they are under-represented in the political process. A truly vibrant democratic society cannot thrive without women’s equal status in all aspects of life.”The Elders encourage a comprehensive resolution of the ethnic conflicts in the country including a political dialogue involving all relevant parties.Commenting on the prospect of peace between the government and the ethnic minority armed groups in the border regions Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, said: “I always say that building peace only begins once hostilities cease. This is the start, not the end, of a process.“For Myanmar to reap the benefits of peace, careful attention will need to be given to how the factors underlying conflict are managed, in particular the contest for land and other natural resources.“Although no two conflicts are ever the same, post-conflict societies share at least one trait: their success depends on the abandonment of an adversarial mindset, on addressing common challenges together. Ultimately, no one can want peace more than the Myanmar people.”The Elders call for an end to impunity for the perpetrators of violence against the Muslim community and for the meaningful realisation of the right to freedom of religion.Commenting on the inter-communal strife afflicting several parts of the country Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Deputy Chair of The Elders, said: “A lot of attention has been given to the tensions between people of different faiths in Myanmar, but we have also been struck by the extent of the divisions within religious groups. We have encouraged the religious leaders to work for compassion and tolerance.“It could take decades to overcome the ingrained prejudices promoted by extremist voices in parts of the country. This will require far-reaching cultural changes in all parts of society, including through changes in the education curriculum.“The targeted violence against the Muslim minority in Rakhine state should also be halted as a priority. All people in Rakhine state, regardless of their religion, should see their basic rights to food, education and security fulfilled. No one can afford to ignore these senseless, destructive, repeated acts of brutality.”last_img read more


Cat Deeley Visits Building Young Futures Program In India

first_imgEarlier this year, UNICEF UK Ambassador and global TV personality, Cat Deeley, travelled to India to witness how the futures of adolescent girls are being transformed by the Building Young Futures programme.Cat Deeley travels to India to witness how the futures of adolescent girls are being transformedCredit/Copyright: UNICEF UKThe programme is a Barclays and UNICEF initiative which is empowering young people to fulfil their potential by equipping them with the confidence and financial and business skills they need to build a stable future for themselves and their families.Almost a quarter of the world’s youth are unemployed; and this is clearly seen in India with rising youth unemployment figures significantly higher than adults.Life can be particularly hard for young women as they face the challenge of limited opportunities of employment teemed with discrimination, early marriage, violence and poverty.Cat visited young women in the urban slums of Mumbai and rural villages of Chandrapur to see how the Building Young Futures programme, locally known in India as Deepshikha, is teaching young women that they are equal to men, whilst providing them with the skills they need to overcome the daily challenges and become strong, financially independent women.The programme, which has so far reached 65,000 young women in India, is a collaboration between UNICEF and Barclays. Barclays funds and helps manage the programme whilst their staff help train young women in business and financial skills.In addition, young women, known as prerikas, are equipped with the knowledge they need to run their own training programmes with other girls in their communities, empowering even more young women with the skills and confidence to become financially independent.Find out more about the Building Young Futures programme amd read about Cat Deeley’s visit to India here.Source:UNICEF UKlast_img read more


Prince Charles Talks At Sustainability Summit

first_imgThe Prince of Wales challenged global business leaders to “help save the world” at a sustainability summit last week.The Prince of Wales at the Accounting for Sustainability Annual ForumCredit/Copyright: at the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Summit, His Royal Highness said there would be dire consequences if the current state of affairs continued.“Frankly, the older I get the more and more anxious I become – no matter which way you look at it, the sums just do not add up,” he said.The Prince assured the audience that he had done his part for sustainability by walking to the summit before setting out the steps the finance and accounting community need to take over the coming decade.While he began by stressing the fact that he was not an accountant, The Prince said: “I presume you are not just here out of curiosity as to what I might say next, so I hope I can call on your help to take forward the good work that has been done so far and find ways to make sustainability part of the DNA of every finance leader and accountant on the planet.”Around 250 senior figures from major corporations and future finance leaders, including British supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer, attended the event at the Institute Of Directors in Pall Mall, London.The Prince told the room: “Go out and seek to convince your peers. In this regard, the team of accountants at A4S has highlighted some rather interesting numbers to me.“I understand – and I assume a team of accountants must be right – that if every one of you here in the room today manages to convince just five others to start accounting for sustainability, and then each one of them engages another five each year, in five years’ time we could reach all of the three million accountants in the world!“However, I hate to tell you that for obvious reasons five years is too long – so each of you needs to rush out and convince 10. And then accountants really will be helping to save the world.”The Prince hosted his A4S summit to celebrate its 10th anniversary and the progress it has made since its inception.John Rogers, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Sainsbury’s, said he hoped the summit would create genuine results. He said: “We’ve got some very real, practical tools we would like take forward.”A spokeswoman for the Project said that, historically, accountants have “very much been focused on the financial”.She said: “Increasingly they are looking more and more about how the environmental and social issues can be applied… to really understand how they can look at the link between those different issues and understand what they can do differently”.Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman of A4S, said at the summit: “Over the 10 years since our launch we have worked to dispel the idea that there has to be a choice between making money on one hand and ‘doing the right thing’ on the other.“Making business decisions which are designed to build resilient business models will inevitably lead to a more sustainable economy. However time is not on our side. We have achieved a lot in 10 years but there is still a great deal of work to do.” read more


Hoda Kotb To Host Breast Cancer Research Foundation NYC Symposium And Awards

first_imgThe October Breast Cancer Research Foundation NYC Symposium and Awards Luncheon showcases BCRF as an engine that propels promising research and an empowering resource for worldwide research efforts.The event will be hosted by Hoda Kotb.It is at this event that millions of dollars are announced as being directed toward grants to over 250 BCRF-funded investigators whose research projects are aimed at prevention and a cure for breast cancer. The Foundation’s loyal donors, corporate supporters, and fully funded researchers come together to celebrate the game-changing financial investment that BCRF continues to make in the breast cancer research arena. Each year, one BCRF grantee is honored with the Jill Rose Award for outstanding research excellence and the Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award is presented to a noble individual for their commitment and passion for the cause.Expected guests include Rachel Bay Jones (“Dear Evan Hansen”), Kimiko Glenn (“Orange is the New Black”), Nastia Liukin, Joan Lunden, Emmy Myles (“Orange is the New Black”); Honorary Co-Chairs Leonard A. Lauder, William P. Lauder, Kinga Lampert, Marigay McKee and Rita Wilson; The Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award recipients Jeanne Sorensen Siegel and Herbert J. Siegel for their extraordinary philanthropy and enduring support of BCRF’s mission, saving countless lives; the Jill Rose Award recipient Nancy D. Davidson, MD, from Fred Hutchingon Cancer Research Center for her trailblazing research on epigenetics and resistance to hormone therapies in breast cancer; Event Co-Chairs Roberta M. Amon, Anne H. Bass, Amy Goldman Fowler, Marjorie Reed Gordon, Betsy S. Green, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, Gail Hilson, Aerin Lauder, Marigay McKee, Wendi Rose, Arlene Taub, and Simone Winston.WHEN: Thursday, October 19, 2017WHERE: New York Hilton Midtown 1335 Sixth AvenueNew York, NYFind out more here.last_img read more


Gabrielles Angel Foundation To Host Angel Ball 2018

first_imgGabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research announced today that they will honor Dottie Herman, Douglas Elliman CEO; Monte Lipman, Founder and Chairman of Republic Records,Avery Lipman, Founder and President of Republic Records; and Harvey Spevak, Executive Chairman & Managing Partner, Equinox at Angel Ball 2018 on Monday, October 22nd at Cipriani Wall Street.The evening will be emceed by Queer Eye host Karamo Brown and will feature a show-stopping performances by the legendary Morris Day and The Time and recording artist Julia Michaels. Additional performers and presenters will include Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, DJ Kiss, Star Jones and many more surprises. In addition, guests will be treated to an exclusive interactive installation by artist Fer Da Silva, which will be on display at Cipriani Wall Street.The highly-anticipated annual black-tie benefit is hosted by Grammy-nominated songwriter Denise Rich and her daughters Daniella Rich Kilstock and Ilona Rich Schachter. The evening honors the memory of Gabrielle Rich Aouad and benefits Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, which funds the best and brightest early career scientists whose research focuses on finding less toxic treatments for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other related blood cancers.“I made a promise to my daughter, Gabrielle, that I would not stop funding research until we find a cure for cancer,” said Denise Rich, “Dottie, Monte, Avery and Harvey have all used their enormous influence to help raise awareness and much needed funds for cancer research and it is an honor to recognize this incredible group of entrepreneurs and philanthropists.”Sponsors for the event include celebrity jeweler Lorraine Schwartz, Porsche Cars North America and ALECIA.Camilla Olsson, Michèle Rella, Ofira Sandberg and Lorraine Schwartz will serve as the Gala Chairs, alongside Honorary Chairs Amy and Brian France.Simon de Pury will lead the event’s live auction which will include a not-yet-available 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept; the opportunity to throw the ceremonial First Pitch at Yankee Stadium and incredible jewelry by Lorraine Schwartz.For more information about the Angel Ball and Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, visit read more


Canadian Actress Stana Katic previews new thriller Absentia and opens up about

first_img Login/Register With: Following her highly publicized exit from ABC’s long-running Castle, Stana Katic returns on Amazon’s psychological thriller Absentia, bringing another resilient cop to life — with a twist!On her new series, the 39-year-old actress plays Emily Byrne, a presumed-dead FBI agent who returns six years after being kidnapped, only to be framed for murder. Though Katic is playing another cop, the star says this character is very different from Kate Beckett, whom she portrayed from 2009 until her untimely exit in 2015, ahead of what was supposed to be a season 9 renewal for Castle, which was subsequently canceled less than a month after her ouster. Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Below, EW goes in-depth with Katic about her new project and about her Castle exit.ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it about Absentia that really attracted you to this project?STANA KATIC: I liked the idea of telling a story about an anti-hero survivor. First of all, one of the things that I said when I spoke to my agent, and they were like, “Oh, yeah, what do you think about doing next? What kind of story should be on the lookout for?” I said, “Listen man, the mom thing, no.” And they’re like, “Why?” And I know that’s horrible to say in one capacity, however, the issue with playing mom and girlfriend in a lot of stories is that that is a character that doesn’t actually drive the story in any way. And I was like, “I don’t wanna have the character that’s not a part of the actual story line, that’s relegated into the backdrop of it. I wanna be an active member in how a story is told, even if it is an ensemble piece.” And, often times, in the past, characters that have had that kind of role in a story, the main quality is that they worry. That’s it. They’re worried about their kid, who is going through the journey of the story, or they’re worried about their love or partner, who is going through the journey of the story. And then I read [Absentia], and I thought, “Oh, this is really interesting,” because Emily had all of those roles packaged into one person, and she’s still a badass, and she’s still an active member in storytelling.What I was concerned about was that this would be more of a stereotype, or a storytelling tool instead of a fully fleshed out, complex, beautiful female character. And what I ended up getting instead was someone that had all of those qualities and then some. And I was like, “Oh, this is exciting. This would be really wonderful to play.” That said, I’ve also done reading about women survivors of World War II and the Holocaust, and so forth, and I thought it takes extraordinary amount of grit to come out the other end of something like that, and to actually be able to live life again fully, to embrace it. And I thought that would be an interesting world to explore. So, those are some of the elements.Then I got offered the opportunity to be a part of it as [an executive producer] as well. And, I’ve had that title in the past, but this time they have welcomed me to the discussion table for development on the project, for even the editing process, and so on. It’s a whole new experience sitting at the producers’ table, and it’s so exciting to be a part of that element of storytelling, especially now, right?  I think, as a woman in Hollywood today, it’s a wonderful opportunity to be invited to the table, and it behooves me to take that seat.Talk about Emily as a character. How does she compare to a character like Kate Beckett? And what is she dealing with emotionally during this story?Kate was awesome. I loved playing her, but … Twitterlast_img read more



first_img19.ELLEN’S GAME OF GAMES19CRIMINAL MINDS19.MARVEL’S INHUMANS TORONTO, June 4, 2018 /CNW/ – With the core television season now at a close, CTV revealed today that it is the most-watched Canadian television network in primetime for 17 years in a row. With an impressive four new series in the list of the country’s Top 10 most-watched programs of the year, the network is #1 across all key demos in daytime, primetime, and late-night. CTV ends the 2017/18 season with an overall average audience that is 48% larger than its closest competitor with A18-34, 43% for A18-49, and 38% with A25-54.For the eighth year in a row, CTV delivered the most-watched new television program of the year among A18-49 and A25-54 with YOUNG SHELDON. CTV owned the Top 4 new programs of the season with total viewers and all key demos, including YOUNG SHELDON, THE GOOD DOCTOR, and STATION 19. Instant viewer favourites, YOUNG SHELDON ended its inaugural season as the second most-watched series overall in Canada with all key demos, while THE GOOD DOCTORranks among the Top 3 programs overall for total viewers and A18-34.In addition, once again, flagship CTV series solidified their position as top performers in the 2017/18 season. THE BIG BANG THEORY was Canada’s most-watched series for the eighth year in a row, more than any other series on record, while GREY’S ANATOMY remains a Top 10 program after 14 life-saving seasons, and even experienced growth across all key demos. THIS IS US was the #1 sophomore series in the key demos and reached a series-high audience for its post-SUPER BOWL episode. As home to TV’s biggest events including the SUPER BOWL, the ACADEMY AWARDS®, the GOLDEN GLOBE® AWARDS, THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS, and THE EMMY® AWARDS, CTV has 51% more live viewers than its closest competitor. In 2018, SUPERBOWL LII was the biggest television event of the year while the ACADEMY AWARDS was the most-watched entertainment event of the year.A look at the 2017/2018 Canadian Television Report Card:Canada’s Top New Programs, 2017/2018YOUNG SHELDON had the most-watched debut season for a comedy series on record for total viewers.With YOUNG SHELDON and THE GOOD DOCTOR, CTV delivered the Top 2 new programs overall with total viewers and across all demos.THE GOOD DOCTOR and STATION 19 are Canada’s top new dramas, with THE GOOD DOCTOR seeing audience growth throughout the season, up double digits from the premiere to the season finale.CTV’s original four-part original series THE INDIAN DETECTIVE was the #1 Canadian debut.Canada’s Top Returning Programs, 2017/2018THE BIG BANG THEORY is the #1 series with all demos for eight years in a row.THIS IS US is the most-watched sophomore series in the key demos, and ranks in the Top 5 with all key female demos, and is #2 among female millennials.GREY’S ANATOMY is a Top 10 program and consistent viewer favourite, showcasing growth this past season in all key demos.Currently in its fifth season, MASTERCHEF CANADA continues to rank in the Top 20 in all key demos.CTV EVENING NEWS is the #1 choice for news across Canada.ETALK continues to pace ahead of its Canadian competitor, including total viewers (+32%), A18-34 (+49%), A18-49 (29%), and A25-54 (+18%).Canada’s Top Event Programming, 2017/2018SUPERBOWL LII was the most-watched event of the year with total viewers and across all key demos.The ACADEMY AWARDS is the #1 entertainment event of the year with total viewers and across all key demos.THE EMMY® AWARDS ranks within Canada’s Top 10 most-watched events of the year and experienced 6% growth with total viewers and 16% growth with A25-54 over last season’s broadcast.THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS ranks among Canada’s Top 5 most-watched entertainment events of the year and experienced double-digit growth with total viewers (+20%), A18-49 (+23%), and A25-54 (+19%).The GOLDEN GLOBE® AWARDS ranks within Canada’s Top 3 most-watched entertainment events of the year with total viewers and all key demos.Numeris data also confirmed that CTV has six or more of the Top 10 programs in total viewers and all key demos. In addition, CTV has more Top 20 programs in key demos than all other competitors combined with 14/20 in the A18-34 demo alone.Canada’s Top 20 Most-Watched Programs(CTV Series in BOLD) 7.BIG BROTHER CANADA (Global)7.BIG BROTHER CANADA (Global)7.GREY’S ANATOMY RankA18-34RankA18-49RankA25-54 15.THE GIFTED15NCIS (Global)15.HNIC PRIME EAST (CBC) Advertisement 8.STATION 198.ROSEANNE8.BIG BROTHER CANADA (Global) 9.HNIC PRIME EAST (CBC)9.STATION 199.STATION 19 Advertisement Facebook 4.SURVIVOR (Global)4.THE GOOD DOCTOR4.THE GOOD DOCTOR 11.STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (Space)11STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (Space)11.BULL (Global) 5.GREY’S ANATOMY5.GREY’S ANATOMY5.THIS IS US 13.MASTERCHEF CANADA13HNIC PRIME EAST (CBC)13.NCIS (Global) 17.BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (City)17ELLEN’S GAME OF GAMES17.MASTERCHEF CANADA 1.THE BIG BANG THEORY1.THE BIG BANG THEORY1.THE BIG BANG THEORY 16.LUCIFER16MARVEL’S INHUMANS16.ELLEN’S GAME OF GAMES 3.THE GOOD DOCTOR3.SURVIVOR (Global)3.SURVIVOR (Global) .Source : Numeris, 2017-18 BYTD (Sep 18, 2017 – May 6, 2018). Primetime M-Su 7p-11p. Live Viewers based on A25-54 AMA. Regularly scheduled program minimum 5 airings per program. CTV Top 20 records incorporate data beginning in 2004; Audiences prior to August 31, 2009 are based on BBM Nielsen Media Research Mark II meters.About CTVCTV is Canada’s #1 private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV has been Canada’s most-watched television network for the past 17 years in a row. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada’s premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, digital, and Out-of-Home. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network’s website at LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment 2.YOUNG SHELDON2.YOUNG SHELDON2.YOUNG SHELDON 18.CRIMINAL MINDS18WILL & GRACE (Global)18.DESIGNATED SURVIVOR Login/Register With: 10.ROSEANNE10THE GIFTED10.STAR TREK DISCOVERY (Space) 14.MARVEL’S INHUMANS14BULL (Global)14.WILL & GRACE (Global) 6.THIS IS US6.THIS IS US6.ROSEANNE 12.BULL (Global)12MASTERCHEF CANADA12.THE GIFTED Advertisement 20.DECEPTION20THE WALKING DEAD (AMC)20.9-1-1 (Global) Twitterlast_img read more



first_img Facebook Advertisement Swan’s filmography includes plum roles in Marvel’s Inhumans, Ballers, Smallville and Graceland. But she’s breaking new ground and having the time of her life in Jenny’s coroner scrubs — and in lifting the character beyond the usual crime procedural clichés. Advertisement Jenny Cooper isn’t a real person, but you wouldn’t know it from the way Serinda Swan talks about her.“I love Jenny’s strength,” Swan says. “I love her weakness. I love her exploration of who she is.”The Vancouver-born actress portrays Dr. Jenny Cooper on Coroner, the CBC’s Toronto-shot crime procedural based on the series of books by British novelist Matthew Hall. Coroner — which premiered earlier this month —follows the personal and professional exploits of Dr. Cooper in the aftermath of her husband’s unexpected death. Vancouver-born actress Serinda Swan stars in the CBC drama Coroner.center_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more


While Harper talked tough with NATO on Arctic US believed PM all

first_imgBy Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper personally warned NATO’s secretary general to keep the alliance out of the Arctic or risk increasing tensions with Russia, according to “confidential” U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by APTN National News that also reveal American diplomats believe the prime minister is more bark than bite on northern sovereignty.During a Jan. 13, 2010, chat following an Ottawa lunch session, Harper “cautioned” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that the alliance had no “role” in the Arctic and warned continued attempts by some member nations to involve NATO in the region would increase tensions with Russia, one cable said.Harper told Rasmussen that the push for NATO’s involvement in the Arctic was coming from nations who wanted to exert their influence in a region where “they don’t belong,” the cable said.Climate change induced thawing of the Arctic has triggered speculation that a scramble by nations to get a piece of the resource-rich region could lead to conflict, requiring NATO involvement.A separate cable on the Harper government’s Arctic focus, however, concluded that the prime minister’s strong Arctic sovereignty rhetoric was purely for domestic political purposes since it was rarely followed by concrete action. The same cable also said Canada could do little to assert its interests in the Arctic without U.S. help.APTN National News obtained hundreds of confidential and secret U.S. diplomatic cables from whistleblower website WikiLeaks.CBC-Radio Canada also obtained the same batch of cables.WikiLeaks also recently dumped over 2,000 unclassified diplomatic cables on its website.A gathering of Arctic Council member countries is set to begin Thursday in Nuuk, Greenland. Canada, the U.S., Russia, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark are scheduled to meet and sign an international search-and-rescue treaty and see Sweden take over as council chair. Canada will take over the chair in 2013.Canada will be represented by Nunavut Conservative MP Leona Aglukkaq, who was health minister in the previous Harper government, in place of defeated former foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also expected to attend.Harper sees the Arctic Council, which is not geared for military matters, as the primary vehicle to deal with issues between Arctic-bordering nations, according to the cable describing Harper’s conversation with Rasmussen.“PM Harper contended that it is not like Antarctic, in that the Arctic is inhabited and largely delineated by defined national territory,” the Jan. 20, 2010 cable said. “It should not be a center for future conflict; practical issues such as search and rescue are addressed by the Arctic Council.”Harper said he doubted Arctic-bordering nations would ever engage in a shooting war, according to the cable.He said the push for NATO involvement in the region was coming from alliance members who were acting in their own interest to exert influence in a place far from their current reach, according to the cable.“He commented that there is no likelihood of Arctic states going to war, but that some non-Arctic members favoured a NATO role in the Arctic because it would afford them influence in an area where ‘they don’t belong,’” the cable said.Robert Huebert, University of Calgary’s associate director of military and strategic studies, said Harper was either alluding to the European Union’s Arctic ambitions or France and Britain.“Really, he is referring to the EU, that is my reading…he is doing multi-level diplomacy, letting people know he is pissed off with them,” said Huebert, one of the leading experts on Canadian Arctic security and sovereignty. “If not, then probably the French…the British have also been pretty assertive, but not to same degree as the French.”The EU has tried and failed to get permanent observer status on the Arctic Council, and will likely make another attempt during the latest meeting, said Huebert. China is also looking at permanent observer status.“I don’t see the Canadians seeing any upside to having increased European participation. There are enough Europeans that have the Arctic border,” said Huebert. “The Europeans and the EU, as it develops its Arctic policies, are increasingly in opposition to Canadian interests.”The thawing Arctic and the gradual opening up of the Northwest Passage will allow easier access to previously unreachable resources and senior NATO officials, including former secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, have said this could force NATO to play a role.Last October, Adm. James Stavridis, supreme NATO allied commander for Europe, told the Guardian that the thawing of the Arctic could lead to conflict.His comments came as academics gathered for a NATO-sponsored conference on “Environmental Security in the Arctic Ocean” at Cambridge University, which Huebert also attended.Much of NATO’s Arctic-conflict musings swirl around Russia’s stake in the region amid a looming dash for resources.Harper told Rasmussen that he did not believe that Russia had any claim to a “sphere of influence,” but that it was important NATO keep an “open door” policy, the cable said.Harper also told Rasmussen that Canada had a “good working relationship” with Russia on the Arctic, and NATO would just make things worse.“According to PM Harper… a NATO presence could backfire by exacerbating tensions,” the cable said.In a separate cable, sent a day after the cable outlining the Harper’s discussion with Rasmussen, U.S. ambassador David Jacobson wrote that the prime minister’s rhetoric on “Arctic sovereignty” was little more than talk and primarily aimed at attracting votes.Tracing the birth of the use of the Arctic as a handy political weapon to former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin’s dust-up with Denmark over Hans Island, Jacobson wrote that Harper has consistently used it as a campaign issue.“The persistent high public profile which this government has accorded ‘Northern Issues’ and the Arctic is, however, unprecedented and reflects the PM’s views that ‘the North has never been more important to our country,’ although, one could perhaps paraphrase to state ‘the North has never been more important to our Party,’” wrote Jacobson, in the Jan. 21, 2010 cable.Jacobson also notes that some of Harper’s more big ticket, 2006 election promises on the Arctic, such as the armed ice breaker and underwater ocean sensors, have yet to come to fruition. He speculates that this likely reveals a gap between words and actual intentions.“That the PM’s public stance on the Arctic may not reflect his private, perhaps more pragmatic, priorities, however, was evident in fact that during several hours together with Ambassador Jacobson on January 7 and 8, which featured long and wide-ranging conversations, the PM did not once mention the Arctic,” the cable said.Huebert said the government could be making a decision on the ocean sensors as early as this summer.Jacobson goes on to write that Canada has little leverage anyway on the Arctic without the American’s backing.“Canada places great import on its Arctic partnership with the United States…Not only is that partnership materially significant for Canada, which benefits greatly from American resources invested in Arctic science and in defense infrastructure, but also Canada has much to gain from leveraging the status and standing of the United States,” the cable said.“If the two countries can find bilateral common-ground…the chance for Canadian success is much greater than going it alone against the interests of other countries or groups of countries.”Huebert said Canada needs to increase its investment in the Arctic if it wants to avoid being seen as a “paper tiger” by the Americans and the world community.“If Canada is going to say that Canada has control of the Arctic, you have to have the ability to back it up,” he said.jbarrera@aptn.caThe CablesDownload (PDF, Unknown)Download (PDF, Unknown)last_img read more


OPP officer cleared of assault charge stemming from incident with Aroland First

first_imgBy Donna Sound APTN National NewsOPP officer cleared of assault charge stemming from incident with Aroland First Nation manAn Ontario judge also found OPP Const. Brian Bellefeuille not guilty of public mischief.The charges stemmed from an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit( SIU).Gary Megan, who alleged he was manhandled by the officer, said still wants to see justice done.“I want him to be held accountable for him slamming me to the floor for no good reason,” said Megan after the verdict came down May 3.“I was grounded to the cement floor of jail cell while my hands were handcuffed behind my back,”  he said.Megan also does not want anyone else to go through what he did.Megan, 42, was arrested for public intoxication outside The Blue Lagoon bar in Geralton, Ont., as he was waiting for a cab home.Megan was injured and had to be taken to hospital.Megan testified in court that “he was knocked out.”Megan had to return to the hospital a second time where he had to get a CT scan and it was discovered he had a serious injury to his face and bone around his eye.“The next day my eye is swollen shut, my face is purple and my eye and my cheekbone is cracked,” Megan said.Megan said this incident has really affected him. Now, if he sees a police officer, he will wait unit the officer leaves before he gets out of his vehicle.“I will never feel the same towards cops, I am scared for my wife and kids now too.  I almost feel like they will be targeted now as a result of complaining to the SIU,” he said.Megan said he thinks the incident stems from an obscene gesture he gave to another officer.During the April 8 trial Bellefeuille, who pleaded not guilty, defended his actions saying Megan resisted arrest.“He absolutely did not resist arrest,” said his wife Delia Okees.She also said there is video to prove this.Megan is from the Aroland First Nation in northern Ontario.Aroland First Nation Chief Sonny Gagnon said he’s not happy with the outcome.“I am appalled by this matter.  Our First Nation has major concerns about what happens when First Nations people call 911 for help,” he said.The SIU is the agency that probes incidents involving police where serious allegations against them are called.Gagnon is calling for a system-wide review of police services because of the rising number of serious complaints in Northern Ontario.The OPP has confirmed to APTN National News that constable Bellefeuille had been suspended, with pay. It is likely he will be reinstated to his duties now that he has not been found guilty of the charges against him.dsound@aptn.calast_img read more


Federal prison corporations selling of moccasins drums for revenue exploitative says CreeMetis

first_img(Images from products made at the Warkworth Institution’s ‘Native crafts’ workshop. Photos from a product website)Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsA Cree-Metis artist says a federal prison corporation program aimed at Indigenous inmates to produce moccasins and drums for revenue is “exploitative” and needs a serious overhaul.Dawn Marie Marchand, a Cold Lake First Nation and Metis artist, said she was extremely concerned after discovering a corporation run by Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) was producing moccasins and drums, among other items, marketing them as being handcrafted by Indigenous peoples and then selling them to stores.“This is exploitative,” said Marchand, in an interview with APTN National News. “It really shows a lack of respect both for the local nations that are around there, but also for the local artisans that are there and the people who actually do this work and put pride, energy and time into this work. They need somebody to tell them or show them how to do it properly.”Marchand was responding to a report which aired last Thursday on APTN’s political program Nation to Nation describing a prison workshop at the Warkworth Institution, in Campbellford, Ont., which produces an assortment of items marketed as being “handcrafted by Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis people” through CSC’s internal corporation of CORCAN. CORCAN earns tens of millions of dollars in revenue a year by selling inmate manufactured products and services.Cree-Metis artist Dawn MarchandWhile the Nation to Nation report focused on the recording of “racially prejudicial” comments by a top official at a major Canadian think tank involved in developing a training program for Indigenous inmates for CORCAN, Marchand said she was struck by the corporation’s selling of Indigenous-associated items made by Indigenous inmates.She fired off a series of tweets about the issue shortly after viewing the episode online which featured recorded statements from Michael Bloom, a vice president of the Conference Board of Canada, where he made racialized generalizations about Indigenous peoples, Asian people, and the Caribbean community.“This is completely unacceptable,” tweeted Marchand, who goes by the handle @Cree8Dawn. “Firstly the use of Indigenous inmates 2B providing ‘Slave Labour’ for profit in the prison industrial complex.”Marchand, who at one point used the hashtag #DISGUSTING, tweeted that she’s worked for 12 years promoting Indigenous hand crafts as an art form shaped by territory, clan and having #Indigenous inmates make moccasins and dreamcatchers for profit in prison work farms. DO YOU SEE THE CHECKMARK? #DISGUSTING— Dawn Marie (@Cree8Dawn) November 12, 2016“I’m really not pro pan-Indianism and what pan-Indianism is when we try to lump all nations into one specific category. This is, quote, Native American design, when it actually has nothing to do with what we are actually doing,” said Marchand. “If you want to know what our people are doing you need to go to places where you can find it. You have to go to art markets. Challenge yourself to go to a pow wow. You want to see what people are really doing? That’s where you need to go.”Marchand said the attempt at mass production by the prison shop undermines the work of actual artisans who kept the art alive.“When you see this kind of work that has been mass produced in this way it actually creates problems for people who have maintained and kept the spirit of this work alive for many, many generations,” said Marchand. “What bothers me the most is it is being mass produced, meaning it is void of any of the cultural markers, where it’s from, who made it…. These artists that I know, they hand-make and they hand-bead and they do all kinds of work. It takes a long time to do it properly.”The Warkworth Native craft, fur and shearing shop began operating in earnest in 2009 and was designed as an “Aboriginal program,” according to Karl Lech, the program instructor. Lech said it was preceded by a fur trapping course which was discontinued after one year. He doesn’t know why the trapping course was dropped.Lech said the program began by making fur trimmed sheepskin mitts which first sold within the department and then to stores in Ontario. By about 2010, Lech said the stores suggested the workshop expand its products to include moccasins and drums.“They said, hey, this might be an idea for you. The guys might like to try this,” he said. “A lot of them really enjoy doing moccasins. Not only that, it teaches them a lot of hand-stitching techniques too. They get to use scissors, they get to use fur knives. They get to use a lot of different tools.”Lech said it gives the Indigenous inmates a chance to learn skills they could use to start their own business when they get out of prison.“I had a couple of them say, ‘This is really neat, when I get out I’d like to make my family some moccasins,’” said Lech, whose family has been involved in the fur industry for over a century. “It’s perfect, it gives them some tools and they can do it. They can make a little extra money on the side when they get out. They can set up their own business.”Some of the items produced by the Warkworth Institution ‘Native crafts’ workshop. Photo from CORCAN PowerPointGreg Harris was one of those inmates. The Cree man worked in the workshop in 2010 and when he got out the next year he ended up starting up his own store in North Bay, Ont., now known as Native Creations. Harris said he started out with only $1,000, did the rounds of craft shows and built up his business from there. He now purchases products from the Warkworth shop he sells in his store.“Well, it’s not slave labour. They are learning something on the inside and at the same time, when we’re there, we still get paid, but it’s not that much,” said Harris. “It gives us extra money to live on. And, instead of being locked up in your cell all the time, you are making a trade out of it.”He believes the program should be expanded.“It changed my whole life around,” said Harris. “I would be back getting into trouble and getting back inside.”Small drums produced by Warkworth Institution ‘Native crafts’ workshop. Photo crom CORCAN PowerPointInmates working at the shop get paid up to $6.90 a day for their work. Lech said he only allows non-Indigenous inmates to enter the program if he’s exhausted the waiting list.A price list of items produced by the shop from 2014 shows inmates there make about 25 different items, from mitts to drums, to moccasins to dream-catcher key chains. The price list was obtained by Jean-Philippe Crete, a visiting junior fellow at the Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies at the University of Toronto.The shop sells its moccasins, made from cow leather, for $55 a pair, a 15 inch drum, made with Elks skin and cypress wood, for $100 and dream-catcher key chains for $3 each, HST included. Other products include mitts for $70, headbands for $75 and moccasin key chains for $3, HST included.Lech said the price of items is set to recover the cost of materials and tools. The workshop, which can employ up to 11 inmates, produces about 250 pairs of moccasins and up to 60 drums a year, he said.CORCAN’s full slate of products and services is projected to generate about $90 million in gross profits by the end of the 2017 fiscal year.Harris said he re-sells moccasins, which do not include beads, from the CORCAN workshop for $89.95 and the 15 inch drums for $169.Harris said he doesn’t believe he is underselling his competitors in North Bay who sell similar moccasins for $94 with beads.Since it began its expanded product line, the Warkworth shop has sold its products primarily to stores in Ontario in places like Curve Lake, Rama, Six Nations, Gananoque and North Bay along with the Correctional Service Museum in Kingston and the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.It also sold four Inuit hand drums to the Museum of Canadian History in Gatineau, Que. The museum still has two of the drums in stock at its gift shop, said a spokesperson for the museum.Lech said he puts a little tag on products like the moccasins that read, “Handcrafted by Canada’s First Nation, Inuit and Metis people.”CORCAN does not advertise the Warkworth shop’s Native crafts products on its website among its other products and services, which include bunk beds, office stationary and military vehicle repairs.A website hosted out Warkworth does advertise the line of products, but, despite the Correctional Service of Canada banner, it is not an official government website. Lech said the website is out of date and he is not really sure why CORCAN does not advertise its moccasins and drums on the main website.For Crete, he sees the items as products of “pain.” Crete, who is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta, said the items are the result of the “mass incarceration” of Indigenous peoples.“Pain is imprisonment. Pain is losing your right of liberty,” said Crete, who has written papers and given talks about the colonial legacy of the penal system while using the Warkworth shop as one example. “It is problematic that the state is hiring prisoners to reproduce sacred objects of their own culture and selling it to mass markets.”Crete first discovered the Warkworth products while he worked for Correctional Service of Canada. He received an email around Christmas time urging employees to go to national headquarters and purchase gifts to be given under the tree.“So they set up a display at national headquarters and you could go and purchase these items. I found it very curious and a little troubling when I found out CORCAN was also now in the business of reproducing Aboriginal artifacts on mass,” he said.Crete traces the roots of this program to CSC’s reaction to the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1999 Gladue decision. The decision outlined the need for judges, when sentencing, to take into account an Indigenous offender’s specific background and the systemic injustice they’ve faced.Crete said CSC concluded it needed to teach Indigenous peoples their own culture so they would stop reoffending.“That Gladue report got translated in the prison system under a commissioner’s directive,” said Crete. “(Which) identified those needs in Gladue and applied them as specific target points to intervene in punishment.”Marchand said if CSC and CORCAN were really serious about providing programming that creates space for Indigenous culture, it should revive the trapping program.“If you go through the skills of trapping, the skinning, the drying and stretching, that is going to teach you more about being back on the land, learning sustainability, learning how we did things like this. And then you learn how to make your moccasins,” said Marchand. “There is nothing based on the land in supplying some leather and teaching how to do this for a couple of days. It is devoid of the actual land part.”jbarrera@aptn.calast_img read more


MMIWG inquiry gets failing grades in NWACs latest report card

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women has received failing grades all around in the latest report card by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.NWAC released its report card Tuesday morning giving the inquiry failing grades in 10 of 15 categories, such as failing to include families, being transparent and sticking to timelines.The inquiry didn’t receive one passing grade. Read the full report here.“The families of First Nations Inuit and Métis women and girls deserve to be respected by this process,” the report states.NWAC said there needs to be action taken to honour and commemorate women and girls.“Beyond a formal letter indicating that ‘Indigenous women and girls are sacred,’ we have heard very little as to what the Inquiry has planned to honour and commemorate,” said NWAC. “Our stolen loved ones deserve much more.”The report cards comes on the heels of more than 30 advocates, Indigenous leaders and family members issuing an open letter Monday to the chief commissioner of the inquiry, suggesting the process is in “serious trouble.”The group wrote that while it is aware the commission has a difficult challenge, immediate action must be taken to prevent damage and shift the current approach of the inquiry.The letter, posted on the website of Métis artist Christi Belcourt, said people are “deeply concerned” by a continued lack of communication that’s been fostering anxiety, frustration, confusion and disappointment.The inquiry, designed to cost $53.8 million and take two years, is led by Marion Buller, the first female First Nations judge in British Columbia, with four other commissioners, including former NWAC president Michele Audette.The team’s mandate requires an interim report on its work in November, but a growing number of family members and other stakeholders say it’s still not clear when they will get a chance to share their testimony.The commission is set to hold its first public hearing May 29 in Whitehorse, but other community meetings won’t take place until later this fall at the earliest.No other dates have been confirmed for additional hearings, an inquiry spokesperson said in a statement last week, and the commission has yet to develop a database comprising the names of the victims.“There are now about 294 families who have reached out to the national inquiry and identified as wishing to participate,” said communications director Bernée Bolton.“There is an extensive community engagement and communications plan to connect to families and survivors.”Signatories of the letter published Monday say the time frame for the inquiry is “clearly too short,” adding the commissioners should formally request an extension from the federal government.“This will enable you to use the time this summer to seriously consider how the inquiry can be reformatted to address the myriad of concerns being raised widely across the country.”A spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said the minister remains confident that the commission has the appropriate resources and time to conduct its work.For its part, the inquiry said late Monday that the chief commissioner has received the letter and needs some time to “carefully consider the content.”In May 2014, the RCMP documented 1,181 murdered and missing women between 1980 and 2012.A year later, the force said 32 additional Indigenous women had been murdered and 11 more had disappeared since it first reported on the issue. It also cited an “unmistakable connection” between homicide and family violence.– with files from The Canadian Presslast_img read more


Spain set to strip Catalonia of powers over independence bid

first_imgBARCELONA, Spain – The crisis over Catalonia’s quest for independence escalated Thursday, as Spain’s central government prepared the unprecedented step of stripping the wealthy region of some of its self-governing powers after its leader refused to abandon secession.In his latest display of brinkmanship, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont sent a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy just minutes before a deadline set by Madrid for him to backtrack on his calls to secede.Puigdemont didn’t back down, however, and threatened to go ahead with a unilateral proclamation of independence if the government refuses to negotiate.“If the State Government persists in blocking dialogue and the repression continues, the Parliament of Catalonia will proceed, if deemed appropriate, to vote on the formal declaration of independence,” Puigdemont’s letter said in an English translation provided by the Catalan regional government.Spain’s government responded by calling a special Cabinet session for Saturday when it will set in motion Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. That article allows for central authorities to take over all or some of the powers of any of the country’s 17 autonomous regions.Regarded as the “nuclear option,” such a punitive measure takes the standoff to another level. It probably will trigger outrage in Catalonia and could backfire by fostering sympathy for the independence movement, which polls suggest is supported only by about half of Catalans.With a mood of defiance hardening in the Catalan capital of Barcelona and the Madrid-based government adamant that the constitution doesn’t allow for the breakup of Spain, there seems to be no end in sight for one of Europe’s long-simmering disputes.The standoff has intensified since Oct. 1, when Catalan authorities held an independence referendum that Spain’s constitutional Court declared illegal. The national government sent thousands of police to enforce a court order disallowing the balloting, bringing violent clashes that further soured relations.The dispute is increasingly encroaching on the European Union’s political agenda. Catalonia wasn’t officially to be discussed at an EU summit starting Thursday in Brussels, but leaders offered their views. French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his recent support for Rajoy, saying that the summit would be “marked by a message of unity around member states amid the crises they could face, unity around Spain.”European Council President Donald Tusk ruled out any EU role in the dispute, telling reporters on the sidelines of the summit that “there is no room, no space for any kind of mediation, or international initiatives or action.”While polls indicate that Catalonia’s 7.5 million residents are roughly divided over independence, an overwhelming majority wants to settle the issue in a binding legal referendum. Many Catalans have long stressed the region’s differences from the rest of Spain. The latest surge for independence began in 2010, when the constitutional Court struck down key parts of a groundbreaking charter that would have granted greater autonomy for Catalonia and recognized it as a nation within Spain.Article 155 has never been used in the four decades since democracy was restored after the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco. The article leaves it up to the national government to decide what specific measures to take. Officials say Madrid will almost certainly seize control of Catalonia’s regional police to ensure law and order is maintained, along with tightening its grip on the region’s finances.Other measures being mulled are removing Puigdemont’s presidential powers, rescinding regional control over education and schools, calling fresh elections that would dissolve the regional parliament, and taking control of public media that are seen as mouthpieces for Catalonia’s pro-independence ruling coalition.Puigdemont claims the referendum gave him a mandate to declare independence. His government says more than 40 per cent of 5.5 million eligible voters cast ballots, with most favouring independence.So far, however, Puigdemont has only called for negotiations with Spain and international mediators.Andrew Dowling, an expert in Catalan history at Cardiff University in Wales, said any declaration of independence in the Catalan parliament would be merely symbolic without border and institutional controls.Such a unilateral declaration “will see (a) fracture between hard-liners and the pragmatic people in Catalonia, who are already seeing economic fallout,” Dowling said.Spain’s Association of Commercial Registers said Thursday that 971 companies, including Catalan banks, multinationals and midsized businesses, have moved their registered addresses out of the troubled region because of concerns about its future.___Giles reported from Madrid. Associated Press writers Frank Griffiths in London, Lorne Cook in Brussels and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.last_img read more


Bill OReilly dropped by literary agency

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Bill O’Reilly has been dropped by his literary agency.“We no longer represent Bill O’Reilly for future deals,” William Morris Entertainment announced Thursday. “It is our fiduciary responsibility to service the existing deals we have under contract, but we will not be working with him moving forward.”O’Reilly spokesman Mark Fabiani said there was no comment “at the moment.” O’Reilly’s publisher, Henry Holt & Company, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. O’Reilly is under a multi-book contract with publisher Holt, including for at least one more “Killing” book. In May, Holt president and publisher Stephen Rubin told The Associated Press that he was “totally committed to Bill, long-term.”“We have created the most successful adult nonfiction franchise in recent publishing history and we are thrilled to continue it,” Rubin said at the time.According to Holt, more than 17 million copies of O’Reilly’s “Killing” series are in print. The historical books, co-written by Martin Dugard, include “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln.” The most recent book, “Killing England,” was published last month and quickly topped the nonfiction bestseller list of The New York Times, although sales have been lower than with his previous works. “Killing England” was the first O’Reilly book to come out since he was forced out of Fox in April amid numerous allegations of sexual harassment.More recently, The New York Times reported that O’Reilly paid $32 million to a Fox legal analyst to settle a harassment claim. The conservative commentator has denied any wrongdoing, telling the AP in May that he was the victim of false and ideologically driven attacks.last_img read more