New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday alleged a “land scam” in Haryana’s Faridabad claiming that “forested common land” has been illegally acquired by companies associated with Patanjali Group.Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged that the BJP government in Haryana has helped the group in acquiring 400 acres of “forested common land” which can otherwise not be used for either farming or commercial use. He claimed that the state government has ordered consolidation of the land on Aravalli Hill range, though consolidation of holdings is only allowed for agricultural land and not forested land. He alleged that a company with a revenue of Rs 60,000 gave advances worth Rs 15.50 crore to buy the land.
New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is awaiting sanction from different organisations to prosecute 123 government employees, including IAS officers and those working in central probe agencies like CBI, ED and Income Tax Department, for over four months for their alleged involvement in corruption. Of the total accused, the highest of 45 are from different state-run banks. According to norms, sanction for prosecution has to be decided within four months. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCA total of 57 cases involving these officers are pending sanction for prosecution from different government organisations, according to latest data by the probity watchdog. The highest number of eight cases is pending with the Ministry of Personnel, which acts as the nodal department for anti-corruption matters, followed by five each with the Ministry of Railways and the government of Uttar Pradesh. Separate cases involving an additional superintendent of police of the Central Bureau of Investigation, assistant director of the Enforcement Directorate and an Income Tax officer are also awaiting sanction for prosecution, the data updated till April showed. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsA total of 15 cases, involving 45 employees, are pending with State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Punjab National Bank, Allahabad Bank, Syndicate Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce, it showed. “In seven cases involving 16 officials of Department of Personnel & Training, Corporation Bank, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and Syndicate Bank, the Commission agreed with the departments/organisations that sanction for prosecution is not necessary. However, final action taken/decision is awaited,” the CVC said. Two such cases involving corrupt employees are pending with Union territories, Department of Revenue, Defence Ministry, Ministry of Food and Supply, and Health and Family Welfare Ministry, it said. One case each involving corrupt staff is awaiting sanction for prosecution from the state governments of Chhattisgarh, J&K, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, it said.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Thursday approved a rehabilitation programme under which identified manual scavengers will be provided with one time cash assistance of Rs 40,000, concessional loans of up to Rs 15 lakh and credit-linked capital subsidy of Rs 3.25 lakh. The programme also includes skill development training of up to two years for manual scavengers, having a stipend of Rs 3,000 per month, a government statement said.”The rehabilitation programme for manual scavengers, proposed by the Social Welfare department, was approved by the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal,” it said. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkThe programme includes one time cash assistance of Rs 40,000 to identified manual scavengers, loans of Rs 15 lakh at concessional rates of interest for projects and credit linked back-end capital subsidy up to Rs 3,25,000. The number of identified manual scavengers in Delhi was found to be 45 during a state monitoring committee meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, in September 2018. They were confined mostly to Shahdara, North East and East Delhi districts of the national capital, said the statement. The district magistrates were directed to frame proposal for rehabilitation of manual scavengers under Section 13 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013, during the meeting.
Kolkata: Passengers and daily commuters faced a lot of trouble on Monday due to the strike called by the app cab owners and drivers.It is alleged that the strike supporters assaulted some app cab drivers who were providing services and also forced the passengers to deboard the cabs. According to sources, on Monday morning, strike supporters gathered at different locations such as Howrah, Sealdah and Esplanade. It is alleged that a cab driver in Esplanade was assaulted by strike supporters and they forced a woman to get off from the cab. The strike supporters reportedly broke the mobile phone of the driver as well. In Sealdah station area, strike supporters almost resorted to hooliganism and forced the app cab drivers to stop providing services. They also allegedly blocked the way of a commercial car which was hired by a department of the state government. Passengers alleged that while the strike supporters were resorting to hooliganism, the police did not take any action to prevent them from assaulting the drivers and obstructing services. But sources informed that several strike supporters have been detained across the city. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersThis apart, passengers had to cough up huge amount of money to reach their destinations by booking app cabs. On Monday, app cab commuters witnessed that the fare has been increased three fold compared to the normal fare. Also taking the advantage of the strike, no refusal taxi drivers also increased fares. The state government had taken several measures to counter the effect of the strike. A lot of busses plied across the city to help commuters reach their destinations. Several passengers faced harassment while travelling in the crowded buses, but they reached their destinations due to the effort by the state Transport department. The strike will be continued on Tuesday also moreover a section of no-refusal taxi drivers and owners is likely to back the strike. This may add to commuters’ trouble for another day.
Gaya (Bihar): Six children in Bihar’s Gaya district are suspected to have died of Acute Encephalitis (AES) in a week, an official said on Tuesday. Of the 23 children admitted to Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH) from July 2 till date, six have died, a health officer said here. ANMCH Superintendent V.K. Prasad told IANS that the deaths were suspected to be caused by AES. “However, nothing is formed as of now as the reports are still awaited.” Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu Four children suspected to be suffering from AES were in critical condition, Prasad said. More than 160 children died from AES in Muzaffarpur and surrounding districts of Bihar last month. Most of the dead children were under the age of seven years. According to the Bihar State Health Department, more than 700 children have been affected by AES this time in 20 of the 38 districts. Meanwhile, a child was admitted to the hospital on Monday night after he tested positive for Japanese Encephalitis.
Organised by Allure Art, an exhibition titled ‘Tres Maestros’, which is an amalgam of representational art, at a time which has been dubbed as a slowing down period for exhibitions, is destined to become a landmark show of the Capital.Consisting of the works of a formidable triad of artists – Niren Sengupta, Nupur Kundu, and Niladri Pal – this exhibition at the Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre is guaranteed to appeal to every class of viewers from July 22 to 26, 2019. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe representational art from these palettes will have another plus point in their large size formats, which will allow viewers to enjoy the works of these senior artists. Once again, through this exhibition, viewers will be reminded of the vivid details of their strong points as they appear on a gallery wall, and is made known through a common medium of acrylic on canvas. This tripartite pictorial engagement will not be a rehash of old works by these artists, but will sport a collective of fresh canvases that dazzle with the brilliance of colour applications, triggering liberating moods and definable strokes. It is tactile and subliminal, pictorial and perspective-ridden, thoughtful and playful, bearing a strong narrative, knitting them into a holistic yet distinct arrangement. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardWhile the works of senior artist Niren Sengupta will bear a sensory quality suggestive of the solidity of form, through their squared chunkiness, the instant appeal of his works will come from his colour palette choices, as also the astute placements of his forms that suggest an entertaining theatricality. Ranging from sombre browns to eye-catching blues and greys and ochres, the vision is drawn towards the central plane, of spatial sparseness amidst the accents of colour blocks, orchestrating on the peripheral surrounds. Coming to the works of artist Niladri Pal, the viewer will not be burdened with the task of abstract interpretation, but only up to a point. His flowing images of the youthful female figure central to space has a strong realistic format The stark features of the faces is fleecily covered with dubs of pinks and blues, violets and crimson, ably contrasted against a plain backdrop which too, is dotted with whimsical baubles of colour daubs. The works of artist Nupur Kundu will make your eye travel into deep depths as also expand the vision to take in the panoramic view.
New Delhi: The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has decided to allow professional boxers to compete in amateur tournaments sanctioned by it, bringing itself in sync with the stand taken by world body AIBA. The decision was taken at a BFI Executive Committee meeting on Thursday and is applicable with immediate effect. The national championships for men are scheduled to be held in October, followed by the women’s tournament and both the events might see participation by pro boxers for the first time. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”…in the recently concluded Executive Committee meeting it was discussed and decided that since the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is allowing such relaxations, BFI too allows similar relaxations for such boxers to participate in the State/National or Inter-Department tournaments,” stated a letter from BFI Secretary General Jay Kowli to all member states and units. “This decision will be applicable with immediate effect and all boxers who have played professionally in the past can seek relief under this note,” the letter, which is in PTI’s possession, added. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterIt also states that the concession will not be extended to boxers who are participating in tournaments organised by “unauthorised” bodies. The BFI did not specify further but it is learnt that stance is meant for boxers who registered to compete in events organised by the terminated Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), which has unsuccessfully tried to get the status of being the official body to run the sport in the country. “Such Boxers will still need to apply to BFI through their respective BFI Member Unit/s for a ‘No Objection Certificate’,” the letter stated. The latest move opens the doors for boxers, who are plying their trade in the pro circuit to compete in the amateur events here even at the departmental level. India’s most prominent crossover to the pro side has been Vijender Singh, who is currently competing in the US circuit. However, he is unlikely to return to the amateur events despite the concessions now. The AIBA allowed professional boxers to compete in the Olympics months before the 2016 edition in Rio de Janeiro and even organised a qualifying tournament for them.
Kolkata: The BJP activists on Monday put up road blockades and squatted on railway tracks at multiple places in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas as part of the 12- hour bandh called by the party in protest against alleged attacks on its leaders, police said. Shops and other business establishments chose to remain closed during the day, causing inconvenience to many. A fresh scuffle reportedly broke out between the police and the saffron party workers at Lakuthi area and Barackpore-Barasat Road, when protesters tried to break police barricades and move forward. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja According to a senior officer at Barrackpore Police Commissionerate, a few Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and policemen were injured in the melee. Local sources said Naihati-Chinsurah ferry services were also affected in the district as the agitators demonstrated at the jetties. The BJP on Sunday called for a 12-hour bandh call in Barrackpore constituency in the wake of alleged attacks on its party leaders, including MP Arjun Singh. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Singh has claimed Barrackpore police commissioner Manoj Verma struck him, causing a gash on his head, while he along with his party members were holding a “peaceful protest” at Kankinara in the district over alleged “capture” of a party office by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists. In the northern fringes of Kolkata, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh was reportedly heckled by the ruling party supporters on Friday. On the same day, Bongaon North MLA Biswajit Das, who recently switched to the saffron party from the TMC, was also allegedly assaulted by miscreants, while he was on his way to the Assembly. Meanwhile, Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Monday paid a visit to the Barrackpore MP, who is recuperating at a private hospital, and expressed concern over the law and order situation in the state. “I was in Delhi, I cut my visit short to visit Arjun Singh this morning as there had been a serious incident. I am worried at the moment,” Dhankar said.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The pipeline feud between British Columbia and Alberta is escalating, as Premier John Horgan is threatening Rachel Notley with legal action should she enforce Bill 12.Political Scientist David Moscrop with Simon Fraser University says it’s not unusual for provinces to “fight,” but admits this particular case is uncommon.“This is a bridge beyond what we’re used to, and it’s probably going to sour interprovincial relationships between the government of British Columbia and the government of Alberta for some time,” he tells NEWS 1130. “And keep in mind this is as good as it’s going to get. This is with two NDP governments. Imagine if you have one NDP government and one UCP government for instance.”Related ArticlesAlberta passes legislation to cut off oil supply to BC at any timeKinder Morgan suspending all non-essential spending on Trans Mountain pipeline expansionCritics want big banks to stop backing the Trans Mountain pipelineIf the legislation gets Royal Assent, Bill 12 would effectively give Alberta power to cut its oil supply to BC. It’s designed, Moscrop explains, in such a way that Notley could use it for “precision strikes.”“They could ban very specific shipments without having to ban everything, and they could do it case by case, and they could ban a little bit as an opening salvo.”However, he points out the provincial government would effectively have to negotiate doing so with industry stakeholders.“I can’t imagine the oil and gas companies are going to be super pleased with having contracts restricted, and shipments restricted. It’s going to cost them money, even if you say, ‘Well look it’s a little bit of short-term pain for long-term gain.’ I suspect though every party at this point will be circumspect at what they do, but here’s the thing. If Alberta decides to use [Bill 12], then BC’s going to sue and then we’re off to the races. So you know, it could escalate very quickly.”The likelihood of Alberta enforcing the new bill? Moscrop says it’s hard to say at this point, but admits it’s possible.The BC government has come under fire for delaying the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion since it announced it was restricting bitumen shipments pending environmental reviews. Moscrop says the dispute could not only sour relationships between BC and Alberta, but could also put strains on its relationship with others.“You’d probably have to look at have to look at it case by case,” he says. “It sours the relationship with the federal government a little bit.”However, he says this probably improves things with Quebec, where he says observers may be looking at this situation as a test of what the federal government can force provinces to do. “And what provinces can get away with when they disagree with the federal government and another province.”Bill 12 and BC gas pricesMeantime, experts say Alberta cutting off its oil supply to BC will certainly have an impact on gas prices on the Lower Mainland which have already broken records.“A couple of things to keep in mind, and I’m using April as an example,” explains Dan McTeague with GasBuddy.com. “It’s really critical that people understand this. In the month of April, Vancouver imported 900,000 barrels of gasoline. There’s 159 litres in a barrel, so you can imagine a situation where some 60,000 barrels of product like gasoline and diesel or even jet fuel are somehow interrupted.“That wouldn’t just mean potentially half of the gas stations no longer supplied in the Lower Mainland, it would also mean Parkland would be affected as its crude supply of lighter crude will also be affected.”He says if the pipeline is blocked 100 per cent, even American refineries would also be impacted.“They bring in about 30,000 barrels of heavy oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline almost daily, so there is really no positive out of this and the pain will be felt both in terms of a lack of product as well as much higher prices.”Horgan has threatened that his government would sue should Alberta move forward with its new legislation. His threat came the same day the federal government announced it would offer financial protection for Kinder Morgan’s investors in the pipeline expansion dispute, a move he believes puts unnecessary taxpayers’ money at risk.
SALMON ARM, B.C. – A elderly man is missing following an overnight mudslide in the southern Interior of British Columbia.RCMP say local fire officials responded to the slide in the community of Tappen north of Salmon Arm on Saturday.One home was completely enveloped by the slide with others possibly being partially damaged.In a news release, Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says family members confirmed the 76-year-old man was last known to be inside the home that was buried in the slide and he has yet to be located.Shuswap Search and Rescue crews have been activated and are working to enter the home to search for the man.Police say tactical evacuations of several residences are complete and road access to approximately 100 homes has been blocked as a result of the slide.
OTTAWA – The Liberal government is heading into the second half of its mandate with a number of big legislative priorities they are eager to move through Parliament.And they are ready to curtail debate if they think the opposition parties are dragging their feet — especially since the will of the increasingly independent Senate is becoming harder to predict.“We know that there’s going to be vigorous debate and there is going to be partisanship and politics on many ideas,” said Cameron Ahmad, a spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “It’s how our system works, but at the same time I don’t think it’s necessary for every single issue to be framed around partisanship.”This spring, the Liberal government backed down on part of its plan to alter the ins and outs of parliamentary procedure, abandoning some of the more controversial reforms that the Conservatives and New Democrats had been battling for weeks.Still, House leader Bardish Chagger warned at the time this would come with a cost, telling her political rivals that since they could not agree on other ways to speed things along, the Liberals would be ready to impose time allocation — a heavy-handed tactic that limits debate.That remains the case as MPs return to Ottawa this week, especially since the Liberals want to act quickly on priorities such as the legalization of marijuana, a tougher law on impaired driving and the new National Security Act.Other big goals for the fall include political financing reforms and an air passengers bill of rights.“We’re looking forward to debating everybody, but if it comes to a point where we’re seeing obstructionism as we saw on certain occasions in the last session, time allocation is a tool that could be used,” said Ahmad, who stressed they have not made up their minds to use it.“It’s a case-by-case analysis.”NDP House Leader Murray Rankin said he was disappointed with the approach, especially since the Liberals had joined the NDP in criticizing the previous Conservative government of prime minister Stephen Harper for imposing time allocation so often.“The real reason they are doing it is because their legislative output, as compared to just about any recent Canadian government, has been limited,” he said. “So it’s not a surprise they feel they’re compelled to use the strong-armed, anti-democratic techniques that both the Liberals and the NDP opposed when Harper was in power.”The Conservatives, meanwhile, are planning to focus a lot of their energy on stirring up more opposition to the Liberal government’s proposed tax changes for small businesses, a topic that is expected to dominate question period in the House of Commons this week.“The Conservative caucus will begin deploying every parliamentary tool possible to fight this,” said Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre, who is framing it as a tax increase on small businesses and family farmers.Poilievre said he is planning to introduce a motion at the House of Commons finance committee Tuesday, asking that all other work be set aside so the MPs can study the Liberal government’s plan to end tax provisions used by a growing number of small businesses.The proposed changes have sparked a revolt by doctors, lawyers, farmers, financial planners, home builders, shop owners and other incorporated small business owners — as well as Liberal backbenchers, who have been getting an earful from constituents throughout the summer.Finance Bill Morneau released the controversial, three-pronged plan in mid-July, which includes restricting the ability of business owners to lower their tax rate by sprinkling income to family members in lower tax brackets, even if those family members do no work for the business.He also proposed limiting tech use of private corporations to make passive investments in things like stocks or real estate and limiting the ability to convert the regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are typically taxed at a lower rate.Poilievre said he wants the committee to study the changes before the consultation period ends Oct. 2.Ahmad noted the Morneau said he wants to gather a variety of opinions on the changes, but does not plan to alter his overall approach.“We fundamentally believe that the system needs to be made more fair and one way to do that is to ensure that certain people don’t get advantages that others don’t, just because of their income,” he said.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
Highlights from the news file for Monday, Dec. 18———EMERYS PLEAD GUILTY TO DRUG-RELATED CHARGES: Prominent pot activists Jodie and Marc Emery have been fined and placed on probation after pleading guilty to a number of drug-related charges in a Toronto court. Marc Emery, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Pot,” pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana for purpose of trafficking, trafficking marijuana and possession of proceeds of crime more than $5,000. Jodie Emery pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana for purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000. Three others with ties to the Emerys pleaded guilty to similar charges. All other charges against the Emerys were dropped and the judge accepted a joint recommendation for sentencing the couple. Each must pay a $150,000 fine plus a $45,000 victim surcharge and spend two years probation with conditions to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and not to participate, directly or indirectly, in any illegal marijuana dispensaries.———SEVERAL KILLED AS TRAIN DERAILS ON BRIDGE IN WASHINGTON STATE: An Amtrak train making the first run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass Monday south of Seattle and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise. Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at about 130 kilometres per hour derailed on a route that had raised safety concerns. At least 50 people were hospitalized, more than a dozen with critical or serious injuries, authorities said. An official briefed on the investigation said that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track about 64 kilometres south of Seattle. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. A local official had raised concerns about the safety of the new bypass as recently as two weeks ago at a public meeting. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured. No fatalities of motorists were reported.———BUSINESS LEADERS URGE PM TO JOIN NEW U.S.-FREE TPP: More than a dozen top business leaders are telling Justin Trudeau it’s time for Canada to immediately join the revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership that no longer includes the United States. An open letter to the prime minister from 18 chief executives comes after last month’s decision by Canada to withhold support from what appeared to be a breakthrough agreement by the 11 remaining TPP countries to sign a newly configured version of the Pacific Rim trade pact. Trudeau angered allies such as Australia and Japan at the APEC summit in Vietnam when he said Canada needed to address issues such as autos and culture before moving forward. The Business Council of Canada organized the letter to Trudeau and it represents a range of sectors, including natural resources, manufacturing, transport, food and financial services. The letter doesn’t specifically mention the ever-present threat of a U.S. withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement but says trade diversification is more important than ever.———PRISON SEGREGATION LAW FOUND UNCONSTITUTIONAL: An Ontario judge says isolating a prisoner for more than five days in a process known as administrative segregation is unconstitutional. Superior Court Justice Frank Marrocco ruled Monday the system lacks proper safeguards. However, Marrocco says banning the practice immediately could be disruptive and dangerous, so he suspended his ruling for one year to give Parliament a chance to fix the problem. At issue are sections of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that allow a warden to order administrative segregation when an inmate is at risk of harm from others, or poses a risk to the security of the prison. Inmates spend 22 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact. The provisions require the warden to have the placement decision reviewed within five days of ordering an inmate placed in solitary but only the warden can change the decision. Marrocco says the law is lacking because it doesn’t mandate an effective and independent review of segregation decisions.———BARRY AND HONEY SHERMAN MOURNED BY JEWISH COMMUNITY: Members of Toronto’s Jewish community are paying tribute to Barry and Honey Sherman after the billionaire philanthropist couple was found dead in their home. A memorial web page for the Shermans, set up by the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto, has received more than 160 messages of remembrance since Friday, when news of their deaths spread on social media. Mourners posting to the website recalled the generosity of the couple, who for decades supported charitable causes — particularly in the field of health care and within the Jewish community. Apotex Inc. pharmaceutical company Chair and CEO Barry Sherman, 75, and Honey, 70, made numerous multimillion-dollar donations to hospitals, schools and charities over the years. Toronto police say the Shermans’ deaths are being treated as suspicious and homicide detectives have taken over the investigation. Autopsy results showed the couple died from “ligature neck compression.”———EX-SKI COACH DENIED BAIL PENDING APPEAL: Ex-national ski coach Bertrand Charest has been denied bail pending an appeal of his sex-crimes conviction involving his teenage students. The Quebec Court of Appeal heard arguments last Thursday and Justice Martin Vauclair handed down his ruling Monday. Charest was found guilty last June of 37 of the 57 sex-related charges he was facing and a judge recently sentenced him to a 12-year prison term. His lawyers said they had serious grounds for appealing the guilty verdicts and that Charest’s chances of being acquitted or getting a new trial were very good. Last week, a lawyer for Charest proposed $50,000 bail and a $50,000 undertaking on his property and said his client would agree to report to provincial police on a regular basis, abide by a curfew, abstain from working as a coach and stay away from parks and schools. The convictions involved nine of the 12 women who’d accused Charest of crimes dating back more than 20 years. All but one of the 12 were under the age of 18 at the time, with the youngest being 12 years old. With time served in detention since his arrest in 2015, Charest has seven years and 10 months left in the sentence.———INUK WOMAN WITH LIVER FAILURE IMPROVING, FAMILY SAYS: The family of an Inuk woman struggling with acute liver failure is expressing optimism about her improving condition, while urging the rapid end of policies that deny transplants to alcoholics who haven’t abstained from drinking for half a year. Garrett Saunders said in an interview from the transplant centre at the University Health Network in Toronto that his older sister, Delilah Saunders, showed further signs of improvement over the weekend and on Monday. The 22-year-old said the family from Labrador is pleased with the 26-year-old woman’s progress and is increasingly hopeful she won’t require a liver transplant, though that is not yet definitely the case. Meanwhile, Saunders also read a statement from the family that says the Trillium Gift of Life Network needs to change the six-month abstinence rule. He said in the statement that the policy tends to be particularly harmful to marginal and poor groups and may be “preventing them from accessing life-saving care.” The family has said that Saunders, who is a prominent activist for Aboriginal women, was initially told that she didn’t meet criteria for a transplant because she drank within the last six months before she fell ill.———BRITISH COLUMBIA ENDS GRIZZLY BEAR HUNT: Hunting grizzly bears has been banned in British Columbia. The B.C. government says public consultations have made it clear that killing grizzlies is no longer socially acceptable. The spring hunt in the province was scheduled to open in April, but the ban for both resident and non-resident hunters takes effect immediately. Environment Minister George Heyman says First Nations will still be allowed to hunt grizzlies for food, social or ceremonial reasons, or for treaty rights. Heyman says some studies suggest bear sightseeing could have a much greater economic impact than hunting. Green party spokesman Adam Olsen says he couldn’t be more thrilled with the decision. The government estimates there are about 15,000 grizzly bears in the province.———2017 OPIOID DEATHS ON PACE TO HIT 4,000, HEALTH AGENCY SAYS: The Public Health Agency of Canada says at least 1,460 people died from opioid-related overdoses in the first half of this year. And that number is expected to rise as additional data becomes available from the provinces and territories. The federal agency expects the number of lives lost due to opioid-related overdoses in 2017 will surpass last year’s figure of 2,861. PHAC says that if current trends continue, opioid-related deaths could surpass 4,000 by the end of the year. All regions of Canada have been affected, but some have been harder hit than others. The western provinces and territories continue to report higher rates of opioid-related deaths. The data also indicate that illicit fentanyl has played a major role in the crisis, with 74 per cent of deaths involving the opioid, compared to 53 per cent last year.———B.C. WOMAN MISTAKENLY GIVES AWAY DIAMOND RING: A British Columbia woman hopes her charitable impulse won’t cost her a cherished diamond ring. Trinda Gajek was visiting Nanaimo last week when she stopped to ask a young man if he needed some help. The resident of Salt Spring Island says she dumped the contents of her change purse into her hand and gave the man all she had. Gajek says it was only later that she remembered her diamond ring was in her change purse for safe keeping, and she had inadvertently given it away, along with the coins. She says the young man received it honestly, but she’s hoping the ring her children helped her buy will be returned. The ring has a thin band with baguette, or rectangular, diamonds across the top. She says it can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Community Services Centre in Nanaimo.———
MONTREAL – Montreal’s French-language superhospital says it’s looking into a complaint by a patient who says a reputed urologist rebuffed him because he wanted to be served in English.Zbigniew Malysa, a 67-year-old Polish man who has lived in Canada for more than 30 years, alleged in several interviews the doctor, Luc Valiquette, made offensive remarks about his ethnic origin and his difficulties in expressing himself in French.The doctor then allegedly tore up and threw out a colonoscopy form that was intended for the patient.Although Malysa speaks and understands French, he said wanted discussions about his medical care to be conducted in English.Valiquette said the situation had arisen from a misunderstanding and that he’d be in touch with Malysa.Management at the French hospital, known as the CHUM, said a review of Malysa’s complaint is underway.The hospital also noted that while it strives to serve patients in their mother tongue, it is not on the list of public institutions required to offer all its services in English.Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette said the situation, if Malysa’s version of events is true, “is totally unacceptable.”“It’s reprehensible, it’s beyond understanding and it’s a deep lack of judgment — if it all happened that way,” Barrette said as he attended an event in Montreal.Kathleen Weil, the cabinet minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, tweeted that the government “cannot comment further at this time.”“We will continue to follow the case closely,” she said. “If the allegations are confirmed, the entire situation is unacceptable.”
OTTAWA – The federal minister in charge of a decade-long housing strategy says the plan will be based on a “right to housing” as he faces criticism the Liberals are watering down the pledge.Characterizing housing as a human right was meant to provide recourse — either through tribunals or the courts — to anyone wrongfully denied an apartment or home for reasons such as ethnicity, religion, or gender identity.It was also to put pressure on governments to maintain their housing commitments and ensure a future federal government couldn’t easily cancel the 10-year, multibillion-dollar national housing strategy unveiled in November.The Liberal government’s first thoughts on the rights legislation are contained in a recently released discussion paper that coincided with the start of consultations.The NDP accuse the Liberals of touting the right to housing as “an empty slogan,” saying the document shows the government doesn’t intend to follow through fully on the pledge.Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says the Liberal plan rests on a human-rights based approach.“These investments (will) reduce homelessness and take 500,000 Canadians out of housing that is either unaffordable or is inadequate, and that will be based on the right to housing,” Duclos said Monday in the House of Commons.The four pillars of the rights proposal are inclusiveness, helping those in the greatest need; accountability, requiring regular reporting to Parliament about national housing efforts; participation, through the creation of a national housing watchdog; and non-discrimination, eliminating systemic issues that prevent people from finding a home.Consultations on the proposal close June 1. The legislation is expected to be introduced later this year.The national housing strategy takes $26 billion in promised new spending to go with previously promised funding and expected cash from provinces, territories and the private sector that combined to push spending over $40 billion.All the spending is supposed to happen over the next 10 years, much of it after the 2019 election.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated the total amount of federal spending in the national housing strategy as $26 billion.
ST. PAUL, Alta. – It was a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious find.A first-edition hardcover book of “Mary Poppins,” published in 1934, is back in an Alberta public library after 40 years.Dwayne Olson with the library in St. Paul, a town northeast of Edmonton, says the book was taken off the shelves in 1978 and replaced with newer versions.The copy was recently donated back to the library after being discovered at a local thrift store.“I was surprised,” says Olson. “It’s in pretty good shape.”The book was the first of eight in a series by P.L. Travers about a magical, umbrella-toting nanny that spawned a Disney movie and stage musicals.Olson says the library’s copy is a bit faded. And it’s spine needs to be fixed.He’s not sure how much it’s worth, but it’s not for sale.“To have this book in our library, I mean, it’s priceless,” says Olson, “especially for people to look at and see it and kind of go, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’”The book is being displayed in a locked glass cabinet with other old texts.People can ask to see the book, but they won’t be allowed to check it out.“It doesn’t leave the library,” says Olson.
NORTH COWICHAN, B.C. – Near the foot of sacred Mount Prevost where Indigenous people say their ancestors first landed on earth lays buried a 2,000-year-old settlement with archeological evidence of ancient tools, homes, hearths and grave sites.The Ye’yumnuts village near Duncan, B.C., is about to become a living Indigenous history lesson where the local school district will use the 2.4-hectare meadow as a place-based classroom.The area, bordered by 500-year-old Garry Oaks, the meandering Somenos Creek and upscale suburban homes, was slated for a private residential development in the 1990s. But work stopped with the discovery of dozens of human skeletons, some curled in fetal positions and included mothers and their children, archeologists said.Two elementary schools and a middle school are within walking distance of the village site and the Cowichan Valley School District has plans for field trips and projects with the elders of the Cowichan Tribes to bring a sense of time, place and reality to Indigenous relations classes that are now part of the school curriculum.“Ancient Greece is kind of academic and far away and a different place,” said school district superintendent Rod Allen, standing in the shade of trees near the creek. “This is right in your backyard, and we live here. That’s what makes it so totally amazing.”Even though the once thriving settlement is currently covered with soil and tall grasses, the story of what lies beneath the ground and its connection to history and people of today provides realistic experiences for students, he said.“It’s a much more enabling, open-ended curriculum now which allows for place-based learning like this, which is just unbelievably authentic,” said Allen. “Kids buy into that. It’s not library work. It’s out in the community and it’s work that matters.”Dianne Hinkley, the land research director for the Cowichan Tribes, said the ground at the Ye’yumnuts settlement had been the subject of almost 25 years of struggle between private developers, governments and the Cowichan people who wanted the burial area protected.The land was finally protected in a deal involving the B.C. and federal governments, but it wasn’t until about two years ago when Hinkley started talking with Brian Thom, an Indigenous culture anthropology professor at the University of Victoria, that the idea formed to use the site as an education tool.“Our boys were in the same class together and we went for the parent-teacher conference thing and Brian got hold of me afterwards and said, ‘Did you see that, they were studying Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt,’ ” said Hinkley.She said she went back to the teacher and asked: “What about Ancient Cowichan? That question got us started in getting involved with the schools.”Thom, who worked on the original archeology dig at the Ye’yumnuts settlement during the 1990s, said the site is more than 2,000 years old and it’s estimated the Cowichan lived there for 600 years, then used the area as a large burial ground for another 600 years.“This is the domestic space,” he said. “This is where people were really living here, eating their foods, bringing things in from the ocean, hunting ducks, getting fish from the creek,” Thom said.Of the almost 500 artifacts found at the settlement, some reveal how far the Cowichan travelled to trade goods, which included dried clams and dried Blue Kamis plants, a starchy local food staple, Thom said.He said a sharp cutting blade found at the settlement originated from polished rock that archeologists discovered came from a volcano in central Oregon. Jade tools that originated from the Fraser Canyon, 600 kilometres away, were also found at the site.“Here we have physical evidence of the extensiveness of Cowichan trade networks,” said Thom.Rosanna Jackson, the school district’s Aboriginal curriculum co-ordinator, said Ye’yumnuts will build partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.“Something like this is the natural balance where the Cowichan people are helping the teachers understand what does it look like to come in,” she said. “What does it look like to be a partner since we all live here, work here, breath here, play here.”
VANCOUVER – Trey Helten has known almost every one of the 50 or so people he has treated for overdoses on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside since February.As a former heroin and methamphetamine user who lived in the neighbourhood for three years before getting clean and returning “to do something positive,” he’s one of many peer support volunteers and workers playing a vital role in stemming the overdose crisis that has devastated the province.Unlike professional workers such as paramedics and firefighters, Helten and many peer support volunteers are dealing with the loss of their friends, with no formalized supports in place.“It would be nice if we had regular access to some sort of 24/7 counselling down here. I just knew one participant who came back from his tent and found his girlfriend dead from an overdose. And he didn’t really have anyone else to talk to. It just encourages the cycle (of drug use),” he said.Helten himself had a tough day recently when a drug user reverted to childlike state, asking his mother why she didn’t protect him from his stepfather, but Helten said he managed to avoid relapsing by phoning his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor.“I walked off shift that day feeling like my eyes were vibrating,” he said. “It had really upset me and I felt like I had a contact high.”Consistently, he has heard that peer support workers and volunteers are more trusted by drug users because they have shared experience. He has also heard they need more support than they’re getting.They are often drug users themselves and are being traumatized again by the scope of loss in their community, he said.“We’ve spoken with a number of peers who’ve subsequently left peer positions or moved on from them just because they can’t cope with the stress they’re experiencing,” McNeil said.“They’re both dealing with the stress and hazards of doing the work that they do while also losing people in their community — friends, family members and so on.”The BC Coroners Service said 1,451 people died of illicit drug overdoses last year in the province.Helten said he wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for safe-injection sites and the peer support workers who helped him. So he wanted to return to the Downtown Eastside after getting clean to do his part.“I was an IV heroin and crystal methamphetamine user, covered in scabs, 160 pounds, jaundiced, yellow eyes, very sickly,” said Helten, 35.“Peer support workers were the only people who treated me like a human being while I was in my addiction.”Helten spends at least five hours a day volunteering with the Overdose Prevention Society and receives a daily $10 honorarium for his work.While he doesn’t expect full pay, Helten said more recognition of the role that peer support volunteers play would go a long way.For him, the ideal would be a scholarship fund or education support. He’d like to be a social worker someday.In the meantime, he’s adding the work he does with the Overdose Prevention Society to his resume.Sarah Blyth, executive director of the Overdose Prevention Society, said peer volunteers are often the first people on the scene, reviving drug users with naloxone and other emergency measures.“They’re the unsung heroes for sure in this crisis,” she said.The Overdose Prevention Society provides them with training, a certificate that will hopefully help lead to future employment and connects them with counsellors when needed. Support is often arranged on an ad hoc basis and the society might help volunteers find housing or veterinarians for their animals.“We do what we can. We get concert tickets, everything else that they deserve, we try to get them time off and we fundraise for them,” she said.Blyth said she’d like to see peer workers recognized in a more formal way.“I think making sure that people have, when everything is said and done, support and opportunities to move up and move forward into employment. Because there’s nobody better, nobody more qualified in this crisis than these front-line workers.”There are some supports in place. In June, for example, the provincial government said its mobile response team had provided critical incident support and training to more than 6,000 people working on the front lines.The 13-member team includes counsellors, psychologists, trauma experts and first responders and it has travelled to 57 communities in B.C.“Workers being exposed to frequent traumatic events may be susceptible to compassion fatigue, trauma, and other stress-related harm. The MRT helps people proactively address the cumulative stress of their jobs during the overdose crisis,” the Provincial Health Services Authority said in a news release.The B.C. government has committed $1.7 million for two years for the team.McNeil said initiatives like the team may fill some gaps, but not all of them. Existing supports tend to vary by organization and by the level of employment the peers have, from volunteers to full-time staff.“We just need more resources.”
HUMBOLDT, Sask. – Brayden Camrud says he’s looking forward to hitting the ice again when the Humboldt Broncos open their season Wednesday night in front of a sold-out hometown crowd.But it’s the bus ride back to Nipawin on the team’s schedule Friday that he’s tried not to dwell on.“It’s a road trip that we never finished,” Camrud said Tuesday. “It’s hard to think about.”The opponent Wednesday night is the Nipawin Hawks, the same Saskatchewan junior A hockey team the Broncos were on their way to play April 6 when their bus and tractor-trailer collided at a rural intersection.Sixteen people, including 10 players, were killed and 13 players were injured. Only two of the survivors — Camrud and Derek Patter — are back on the team this season.On Friday, the team is to hit the road for a rematch in Nipawin.Camrud doesn’t know how he will feel about getting back on the bus or if he will even take the bus at all. He doesn’t think the team will take the same route.“It’s definitely going to be interesting,” he said. “It’s something that never should happen. All these boys should be here with you.”Camrud is not alone in his uncertainty.Broncos head coach Nathan Oystrick said he has no idea what the first trip will be like but thinks it will be emotional.“To even pretend that I know what it’s going to be like, I can’t, because I’m not sure,” Oystrick said. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel.“We’ll get on the bus and go and if something needs to be taken care of, we’ll take care of it then.”Born in Regina, Oystrick spent 10 seasons as a pro hockey player, mostly in the minor leagues. He played 65 games in the NHL for the Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. He was coaching for the Colorado Academy, a private high school in Denver, when he took the Broncos job.Oystrick takes over as coach from Darcy Haugan, who was also killed in the crash. He said he shares Haugan’s values of respect and building good relationships, but he’s trying to bring different aspects to the job.“I’ve said it time and time again, I’ll never be Darcy Haugan. I’m not trying to be Darcy Haugan. I’m trying to be myself,” he said. “I’m trying to bring my own elements here, my own thoughts and ideas. I’m not trying to take his spot, that’s for sure.”This year’s team includes four players who weren’t on the bus but had played some games with the Broncos during the 2017-18 season. The remaining 16 players on the 22-player roster, as well as most of the coaching staff, joined the team after the crash.Michael Clarke, a junior A veteran from southern Alberta, is one of the new players.“For me, getting the opportunity as a 20-year-old to come in and try to follow what that team set as a building block for the teams to come and try to get the younger guys up to that standard that those guys have left for us is obviously pretty special for me,” he said.Camrud, who’s also 20, said he is almost fully recovered physically from the crash.“I had a bad concussion, I had some bleeding in my brain, some loss of feeling in my left arm, I just have some neck problems too but eventually I overcame everything and I’m here now,” he said. “I’d say I’m close to 100 per cent now and good to go.”Emotionally, however, Camrud paused when asked about climbing aboard the bus again.The team played some exhibition games in Peace River, Alta., earlier this month, but they flew to those.Camrud knows a plane won’t always be an option.Junior hockey is about long hours on the bus.“The bus is our second home essentially, you play half your games on the road,” he said. “It’s a safe haven. Just thinking about the reality of it is a lot. Sometimes I just try not to think about it.”
MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister, will become the next leader of the Bloc Quebecois.He officially launched his campaign on Saturday surrounded by artists and members of the provincial and federal sovereigntist parties.A well-known political commentator on Radio-Canada in recent years, Blanchet was first elected provincially in 2008 and served as environment minister in Pauline Marois’ short-lived minority PQ government between 2012 and 2014.He was critical of former Bloc leader Martine Ouellet during her tumultuous term as party leader, and now has the support of nine of the party’s 10 members of Parliament.The 10th, Michel Boudrias, decided last week not to run for the party leadership.If no other candidates come forward before the Jan. 15 deadline, Blanchet will become the new leader of the Bloc Quebecois on Feb. 24.There was one other sour note at Blanchet’s official launch event — no one from Quebec solidaire, the other provincial sovereigntist party, showed up. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A group of Indigenous senators says Jody Wilson-Raybould’s quitting cabinet doesn’t mean the end of reconciliation efforts between the Canadian government and Indigenous Peoples.They also say that her departure is a sign of how much work there is still to do.Wilson-Raybould quit the cabinet earlier this week amid reports that the Prime Minister’s Office tried to get her to head off a criminal prosecution of Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin on corruption charges when she was justice minister.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demoted her to be minister of veterans affairs in January.Sen. Murray Sinclair, who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that examined the history of residential schools in Canada, is one of the eight senators who thank Wilson-Raybould for all she’s done to advance reconciliation.They praise her “personal strength of character, integrity and dedication to modernize the justice system” while she was justice minister.The Canadian Press