London: Australia great Glenn McGrath on Tuesday termed Steve Smith’s absence from the third Ashes Test as a huge loss. “Him missing the Headingley Test will be a massive loss for Australia. He has been a standout in this series and he looks like he’s batting in different conditions to everyone else,” McGrath was quoted as saying by BBC. In a big blow to Australia, Smith was ruled out of the third Ashes Test against England beginning on Thursday. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhWith a turnaround time of three days between the two Tests, it was always going to be tough one for Smith to be ready in time and recover from concussion. Cricket Australia on Tuesday confirmed that he has been ruled out of the Headingley Test, reports ESPNcricinfo. Smith, who had struck twin centuries in the Ashes 2019 opener, which Australia won in Birmingham, was on 80 not out on the fourth afternoon of the Lord’s Test when he was struck in the neck by a steep 92.4mph (148 kmph) bouncer from Jofra Archer following which he had to leave the field. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe 30-year-old had initially passed a concussion test and returned to complete his innings before he was eventually dismissed for 92. He woke up with a headache and some dizziness on the final day of the drawn Lord’s Test and mandatory subsequent testing revealed his condition had deteriorated. “I’ve no doubt that if things had been left to Steve Smith he would have said he was fine to bat on the final day, but head injuries are taken a lot more seriously now and rightly so,” McGrath said. “I’m still backing Australia, of course. I think England still have a lot of worries in their top order and with three Tests to go and Australia leading 1-0, England have to win at least two. “England will be buoyed by Archer coming in and doing as well as he did, but there’s a long way to go in this series yet,” the legendary pacer added. Australia lead the five-match series 1-0 after winning the first rubber by a massive 251 runs, largely due to Smith’s heroics with the bat. The second Test here at Lord’s was a draw.
Los Angeles: Supermodel Kendall Jenner has revealed why she slipped out quickly from brother-in-law Kanye Wests recent Sunday Service. She was too nervous on spotting Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt at the Service.”He was there. I think he’s been a couple times, but that was the first time that I was there when he was there. And, I literally left early,” Jenner confessed to Jimmy Fallon, on his popular show, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”, according to a report in “hollywoodlife.com”. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaPitt surprised all when he turned up at West’s Service on September 1. Although the “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” actor has been to West’s Service before, this was the first time he was around on the same day that 23-year-old supermodel Kendall was around.”I just saw ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ and it was so good and he just gets better with age so I was like ‘I gotta go. Isn’t there a saying ‘don’t ever meet your superheroes?’ I just love him so much I’m going to leave it at that,” she explained to Fallon.
Mumbai: Amid reports that ruling BJP and Shiv Sena are hardening their positions on sharing of seats to contest the assembly polls, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that the saffron alliance is “inevitable” and it will return to power once again. Speaking at a function here, Thackeray lavished praise on Modi for nullifying Article 370, and gave a call for construction of grand Ram temple in Ayodhya and introduction of Uniform Civil Code. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”PM Modi has provided leadership and direction to the country which has immense capacity to progress and develop. I thanked Modi for abrogating Article 370 (which provided special status of Jammu and Kashmir) and the ‘Chandrayaan-2’ mission… Now the nation awaits the construction of a Ram mandir in Ayodhya and (introduction of) Uniform Civil Code,” said Thackeray. “Kashmir is an integral part of India and it will remain so. Modi has proved this in deed and not just in words,” he added. Thackeray said the country was also proud of ISRO scientists for manoeuvring the ambitious moon mission.
New Delhi: Greetings from well-wishers make him feel “74 years young”, Congress leader P Chidambaram, in jail on charges of corruption, said through his family on his birthday on Monday, and added that his thoughts on the day are on the economy. Birthday wishes for Chidambaram, who is in judicial custody in Tihar jail in connection with alleged corruption in clearances given to INX Media when he was finance minister, came from his party colleagues as well as his son Karti Chidambaram. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The veteran Congress leader thanked everybody and said his spirits had lifted higher. “I have asked my family to tweet on my behalf the following: “My family have brought me greetings from friends, party colleagues and well-wishers. I am reminded that I am 74 years old. Indeed I am, but at heart I feel 74 years young. Thank you all, my spirits have been lifted higher,” he said on Twitter. In another tweet, he said his thoughts today are about the country’s economy. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday “… Just one statistic tells the story. Export growth in August was -6.05%. No country has achieved GDP growth of 8% without exports growing at 20% a year,” he said. “May God bless this country,” he added. His party colleague Jairam Ramesh said Chidambaram is going through an “agnipariksha” and will come out of it vindicated. “Today PC turns 74. It is an agnipariksha he is going through but he will come out of it vindicated. I have worked very closely with him since 1986 and it has been a great privilege and education doing so. My thoughts are with him,” he tweeted. Party leader K C Venugopal also sent his greetings on Twitter. “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional. I am sure that the vendetta politics can’t defeat you. Happy Birthday to P Chidambaram.” The Mahila Congress referenced tennis ace Rafael Nadal. “Following his US Open victory, Rafael Nadal said, ‘The emotions sometimes are impossible to control and I tried to resist but it was difficult,’… Happy Birthday to @PChidambaram_IN ji”. In a letter to his father on his 74th birthday, Karti informed his father about events since he was was put in jail and used the opportunity to take swipes at the BJP government. “You are 74 years old and no 56!!! can stop you,” Karti wrote to his father as he wished him on his birthday. Chidambaram has been lodged in Tihar jail since September 5 by a Delhi court in connection with the INX Media corruption case. “…your birthday is not the same without you with us. We miss you, and your absence tugs at our hearts, and we wish you were back home to cut the cake with us. But of course, in today’s day and age, turning 74 is nothing compared to turning 100 days old,” Karti said in the letter. The BJP government, he added, celebrates its “unpropitious second innings” and couldn’t have possibly found a better time to silence his father. Chidambaram has been lodged in Tihar Jail since September 5 by a Delhi court in connection with the INX Media corruption case.
VANCOUVER – Two men convicted of perjury in connection with a notorious stun-gun encounter at Vancouver’s airport will have their appeals heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.The court announced Thursday in Ottawa that it would hear appeals from Const. Kwesi Millington and former corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson. As is customary, the court gave no reasons for its decision to hear the cases.Millington was sentenced to 30 months in prison for testimony he gave to an inquiry examining the October 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski, who was jolted several times with a Taser at in the arrivals area of the airport.Robinson was sentenced to two years less a day, one year of probation and 240 hours of community service.They were found guilty of colluding to make up testimony, but the two other officers with them that night were acquitted of the same allegations in separate trials.Glen Orris, the lawyer for Millington, said Thursday that the decision from the Supreme Court is his client’s first break in the decade-old case.“They obviously wanted to hear the argument that we are advancing, that the verdict basically was unfair and not based on the evidence,” he said in an interview from VancouverOrris said the high court has set a tentative date of Oct. 30 for the appeal.Dziekanski’s mother said in a telephone interview from her home in Kamloops, B.C., that the decision wasn’t what she wanted to hear.“I just want this to be over and done with, then I could cherish the memories still,” she said. “I don’t think I could ever let go … but I try my best, I keep myself busy.”She said the news was especially difficult just days after Mother’s Day. She said in the six years she and her son were separated while she was living in Canada and he was in Poland, he would always call her on Mother’s Day.“It is very hard for me,” she said, crying. “Even after 10 years almost, he’s gone and there is no justice for my son.”A bystander’s video played at the public inquiry and viewed millions of times on social media showed four RCMP officers approaching a troubled Dziekanski at the airport and within minutes he was jolted and lay dead on the floor.The officers told the inquiry they perceived Dziekanski as a threat when he picked up a stapler.The inquiry’s commissioner, Thomas Braidwood, said in his 470-page report that the officers approached the scene as if they were responding to a “barroom brawl.” He said they failed to reassess the situation when it became clear they were dealing with a distraught traveller who didn’t speak English, rather than the drunk, violent man they’d anticipated.Millington, who fired the Taser, and Robinson, who was the senior officer at the scene, were found guilty of colluding to make up testimony presented at the inquiry.The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the perjury convictions of both men.
COLWOOD, B.C. – A man who was drunk and speeding when he ran into a police cruiser, killing an RCMP officer, says he would take her place if he could.Kenneth Fenton told a sentencing hearing Friday that his selfish and irresponsible actions resulted in the death of Const. Sarah Beckett.“I’m heartbroken for the pain I’ve caused to Sarah’s family,” Fenton told B.C. provincial court.“I fully accept the responsibility for what I’ve done and accept the punishment I deserve today in this courtroom.”Fenton pleaded guilty in May to impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.“I never wanted to hurt anyone or leave children and a loving husband without a wife and a mother,” he said. “From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry for this tragedy.”The court has heard Fenton, 29, had three times the legal blood-alcohol limit in his system when he ran a red light and hit Beckett’s cruiser broadside in a suburb of Victoria in April 2016. The speed his truck was going was estimated at up to 90 kilometres per hour in a 50 km-h zone.Fenton’s lawyer Dale Marshall submitted 33 character reference letters on his client’s behalf.“The tragedy has affected many, many good and innocent people,” Marshall said, adding Fenton comes from a solid family and is taking responsibility for his actions.His father, Ken Fenton, told the court his son is “not a monster” and will deal with the tragedy for the rest of his life.In a letter submitted to the court he said his son, who is also known as Jacob, has a three-year-old boy.“Jacob is a loving father, son and brother.”He said his family’s grief cannot compare with the pain and suffering that Beckett’s family has endured since her death.Kenneth Fenton’s mother, Marilyn Fenton, said in a letter that the death of Beckett, a married mother of two young boys, was heartbreaking.“We send our deepest condolences and prayers daily,” she said.Marshall told the court the stigma of the tragedy has also had an impact on Fenton’s parents, who have endured name calling, spitting and vandalism at their local business.Fenton was verbally attacked in the parking lot of the courthouse after his appearance last month, he said, and one man suggested that Fenton should kill himself.The Crown has asked for a three- to five-year sentence for Fenton, while his defence says a three-year sentence would be more appropriate. The Crown has also asked that Fenton be prohibited from driving for between eight to 10 years, while the defence says the prohibition should be five years, starting at the time he’s sentenced.Crown attorney Tim Stokes said Fenton’s remorse is a mitigating factor in his sentencing but the court must consider he originally denied drinking the day of the crash and did not immediately admit he has an issue with alcohol.“We know that’s clearly wrong,” said Stokes. “There’s a question to Mr. Fenton’s credibility. He clearly does have a struggle with alcohol.”Fenton said in his statement he is no longer drinking, has been receiving counselling and he’s hoping to become a better person.Beckett had recently returned to the West Shore RCMP detachment from maternity leave when she was killed.Her husband, Brad Aschenbrenner, told court last month that he lost the love of his life and the mother of their young sons, Lucas and Emmett.The hardest thing after his wife’s death was telling six-year-old Lucas “mommy wasn’t coming home,” Aschenbrenner said.His youngest son was two when his mother died and “will have no memory of her at all,” he told the court in his victim impact statement.Fenton is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Kenneth Fenton would be sentenced at the hearing and that it was in B.C. Supreme Court.
CANMORE, Alta. – A climber who was injured in a tumble down an Alberta mountain has been rescued after spending the night on a rocky ledge.Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section says in a post on Facebook the climber was among a group that had summited Little Sister mountain near Canmore late on Saturday.The post notes that during their descent, the climbers used a rock horn as an anchor, and had inspected some pre-existing slings around it.The first climber rappelled down to another anchor, but as the second climber was coming down, the rock horn collapsed and she began to fall down the slope and came to rest part of the way down.She suffered torso and head injuries but remained mobile, and the climbers were able to descend to a large ledge where they remained until the morning.A helicopter rescued them Sunday.
TORONTO – A classroom program aimed at teaching Canadian elementary and high school students how to detect fake news in an era in which almost anyone can publish information is under development, groups behind the initiative said Tuesday.Called NewsWise, the idea is to enhance general news literacy among students aged nine to 19, an increasingly important skill set when so many readily accessible news accounts are unreliable or simply fabricated.“Fake news accelerates distrust in our institutions, including distrust of the trained media who spend so much time trying to hold the powerful to account,” David Walmsley, editor of The Globe and Mail, said in a statement. “This initiative provides an arena to engage a younger audience and to ensure they’re equipped with the skills to identify reliable sources of information.”The fake news issue gained global prominence with the U.S. election that saw Donald Trump become president. Trump has been especially vocal in denouncing highly visible news outlets for purveying, in his view, false information.Social media have become a key means for spreading news, with the difference between real, mistaken and deliberately fake information often hard to discern. Canada has not been immune to the false news phenomenon.Mark Busser, who teaches courses on fake news and conspiracy theories at McMaster University, said there has been a lack of instruction on recognizing quality news sources, on differentiating satire from staight reporting, or separating investigative journalism from click bait. The literacy initiative should be beneficial, he said.“Students of this generation, who are smart and want good information, tend not to be able to identify the most well-reputed news outlets,” Busser said. “It’s becoming a more confusing landscape for all citizens who are trying to identify what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s worthwhile.”Two organizations, CIVIX and the Canadian Journalism Foundation, said they would work with academics and journalists to develop the curriculum for about 1.5 million Canadian students. CIVIX, a national charity focused on getting youth engaged in civics, stressed the importance of reliable news sources to a functional democracy.“Giving young Canadians an understanding of the role journalism plays in our society and the know-how to find and filter information is essential in nurturing an informed citizenry for the long term,” said Taylor Gunn, the group’s president.Social media such as Facebook and Twitter that allow easy and free access to news from a huge variety of sources have also contributed to the financial pressures facing traditional journalism outlets, who strive to present accurate information in an increasingly crowded news-scape.Google Canada, part of the worldwide information behemoth that has come under fire from some mainstream news organizations for making their product widely available at no cost to consumers, is providing $500,000 to fund NewsWise.John Fraser, head of the National NewsMedia Council, praised the literacy initiative.“Making sure young people understand the importance and value of responsible journalism is, almost by definition, a good thing,” said Fraser whose organization deals with public complaints about newsmedia articles. “It is also adroit of Google to affirm its commitment to credible information and the social responsibility of tech giants in these uncertain times.”The current plan is to roll out NewsWise ahead of the Ontario election, slated for early June, other pending provincial elections, and the federal election due in 2019.In an online blog post, Gunn and the foundation’s Natalie Turvey said the explosion of social-media platforms has changed how news is consumed and shared — but knowledge about how reliable news is generated can be woefully lacking.“We need to help Canadians better understand how quality journalism is produced and how to determine which sources of information are reliable,” Gunn and Turvey wrote. “News literacy skills are essential to this process.”
REGINA – The old saying that the only constant in life is change may best sum up the coming year in Saskatchewan politics.The governing Saskatchewan Party, the Opposition New Democrats and even the seatless Liberals are to elect new leaders in the coming months, and that could affect the decade-long political status quo in the province.Opinion polls in recent months have suggested the gap of support between the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP has narrowed considerably, especially after last spring’s tough-medicine budget. And the governing party is losing Prem=ier Brad Wall, whose personal approval ratings have continued to score high, to retirement.“The type of leader that the Sask. Party needs is essentially a Brad Wall without the negative aspects of the Brad Wall legacy,” says Joseph Garcea, who teaches political studies at the University of Saskatchewan.“To some extent, they need a Brad Wall without baggage.”Garcea pointed to last spring’s budget, which raised the provincial sales tax and included cuts to libraries that were later reversed following public protests.He also cited ongoing controversy into a $21-million land purchase west of Regina. The auditor general found the government overpaid for the land and did not follow proper procedures. That prompted an RCMP investigation.The NDP is hoping to capitalize on the controversies and sees an opening with Wall’s departure.“For the last 10 years, the premier — Brad Wall — has been the brand of the Sask. Party and … with him stepping down and a new leader taking over, it’s going to be very different, I think,” says interim NDP leader Nicole Sarauer.Garcea says a lot will depend on how much each party can unite following the leadership campaigns, which can often be divisive. He also says the spring budget could help shape voters’ minds for the 2020 election.As for Wall, he has some advice for whoever takes over: stay humble, avoid rigid ideology and admit mistakes, such as the library cuts.“Be humble and be pragmatic,” he says.“We’re a free-enterprise party. We believe in markets. But we also have to respect that Saskatchewan people aren’t really interested in ideology … they’re interested in results and they’re also interested in a government reflecting their priorities.”Wall also suggests his party should avoid getting into debates over socially divisive, federally governed issues such as abortion.Three of the leadership candidates running to replace Wall recently talked about their anti-abortion views to a group called Right Now, which is dedicated to electing anti-abortion politicians.One candidate, Ken Cheveldayoff, told The Canadian Press that abortions should be allowed only for women whose lives are in jeopardy and not for victims of sexual assault. He later walked back from that stance and said any sex assault victim has the right to make the choice to have an abortion.Wall said provincial leaders should stick to provincial matters.“There will be (some people) that are interested in socially conservative or socially liberal issues, and that’s fine. But at the provincial level, where we don’t really have jurisdiction over these things, I don’t understand why we would … focus any great deal of resources on these issues ….“We do have a lot more to do with the economy and with health,” he said. “Let’s focus on those. I think that’s reflective of the priority of the vast majority of Saskatchewan people and that would be my advice.”Wall, who announced his resignation in August but is staying on until his successor is chosen at the end of January, says he has yet to line up a new job.“When the new leader is chosen … I’m going to probably take a it of a break, but I’ll be looking for work in earnest thereafter.”
HALIFAX – A court has dramatically reduced a cardiology researcher’s record-setting, $1.4 million judgment for damages from a workplace battle at a Halifax hospital.In a decision released Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal reduced Dr. Gabrielle Horne’s damages to $800,000.It said the lower figure better represents the “loss of reputation and loss to her research career” after a personality conflict torpedoed her heart research.Horne was researching “the mechanical differences in the hearts of patients who have stable and unstable heart muscle problems” at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.But her relationship with the director of the hospital’s Heart Function Clinic was “strained,” and he successfully pushed to have her privileges varied to restrict her access to the clinic’s patients, the appeal court said. A medical advisory committee found her “poor interpersonal relationships with some colleagues could indeed expose patients to harm.”As a result, she couldn’t conduct her research and the entire research program folded.Horne sued the QEII and Capital Health (now part of the Nova Scotia Health Authority) in 2006.In 2016, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury found health officials acted in bad faith, and awarded the $1.4 million judgment, believed to be the largest sum ever awarded for a loss of reputation and career lawsuit.Horne has said her lawsuit originally sought damages that would fund a plan to rebuild the research program, but at the end of the 33-day trial, the judge decided the jury wouldn’t be able to consider those damages.The appeal court dismissed Horne’s appeal of the scope of damages, as well as the health authority’s own appeal of liability.The appeal ruling detailed the personality conflicts behind the dispute — and how officials turned against Horne.“We are satisfied that Capital Health’s bad faith caused significant and lasting damage to Dr. Horne’s reputation,” the three-judge panel wrote.“Just as being unethical afflicts the core of a lawyer’s professional integrity, being termed a risk to patients pierces the heart of what is expected of a physician. It is hard to imagine a more vital blow to a medical professional’s station. We are further satisfied that the consequences will follow Dr. Horne well into the future.”
OTTAWA – Federal New Democrat MPs closed ranks around embattled leader Jagmeet Singh on Wednesday as they blamed a steep learning curve for many of the trials and tribulations that he has experienced since taking over the party last fall.But with the next federal election looming, the question hovering over Singh is whether he can find his footing — and get his caucus on his side — in time.The most recent challenge to Singh’s leadership came this week after several caucus members publicly chastised him for punishing veteran MP David Christopherson, who broke ranks with his party to support a Conservative motion.The motion condemned the Liberal government’s new policy forcing groups that apply for funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program to affirm, among other things, their respect for a woman’s right to an abortion.While a longtime supporter of a woman’s right to choose, Christopherson said he couldn’t support what he believes is an unconstitutional policy that requires churches and other religious groups to disavow their beliefs to qualify for funding.Singh nonetheless removed Christopherson as vice-chair of the powerful procedures and House affairs committee — a move criticized by caucus members, some of whom took the unusual step of complaining in public.After Singh recanted his decision late Tuesday by announcing that Christopherson had been reinstated, NDP MPs sought to put the episode behind them on Wednesday.Among them was former leadership contender Charlie Angus, who had told the Globe and Mail on Tuesday that the decision to punish Christopherson had stunned caucus members and showed “a lack of respect.”In an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday, Angus welcomed Christopherson’s reinstatement, even as he and others played down talk of a rift between Singh and his MPs.“Many members of caucus voted for him in the leadership race, so he’s got a strong base and we’re a pretty solid caucus,” Angus said. “With Dave Christopherson back on track, we can do the business that we need to do with Jagmeet as leader.”Christopherson similarly emphasized in a statement that Singh has “shown himself to be a strong leader,” and that he has “complete trust in his leadership.”Yet the Christopherson episode was only the latest in a string of controversies for Singh, several of which have involved disagreements with — and criticism from — his own caucus.Singh faced a backlash last week for not taking a stronger stance against the use of violence by Sikh separatists and backtracked last year after saying a judge who speaks an Indigenous language but not French should be eligible for the Supreme Court.Angus also complained in January about the party putting too much emphasis on social media rather than talking to the grassroots — a comment that coincided with the party plastering pictures of Singh’s engagement to girlfriend Gurkiran Kaur on Twitter.Some observers have suggested that Singh, who doesn’t have a seat in the House of Commons and has instead spent much of his time as leader crisscrossing the country, doesn’t spend enough time in Ottawa.They argue that aside from being away from the cameras, which makes it more difficult to get national attention, the distance has created a disconnect between Singh and the caucus.NDP parliamentary leader Guy Caron appeared to acknowledge as much, saying the party is looking at whether Singh needs to have a “larger presence” in the capital.Singh is also still without a director of communications, despite having been in leader for nearly six months, while some have questioned the experience — or lack thereof — of his leadership team.But Caron and others chalked up Singh’s challenges as part of a natural learning curve that many new leaders — including Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair — faced when taking over a party.“With every leader I’ve worked with, I’ve seen moments that come up like this week,” said longtime B.C. MP Peter Julian.“Generally, what I’m most interested in is how we’re moving forward, and we’re getting quite a head of steam in a number of areas. Which means to me that we’ve got to just redouble our efforts to get ready for 2019.”Former NDP national director Karl Belanger nonetheless said that it is imperative Singh and his MPs resolve their issues now if they want to have any hope next year.“As we get closer to the election,” he said, “people are eager to have a sense of where the party’s going and they hope that the kind of problems that we’ve seen in the past few weeks will not become a common occurrence.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.
OTTAWA – Members of Parliament voiced unanimous support Monday for a motion tabled by NDP MP Tracey Ramsey expressing solidarity with the government of Canada in its escalating trade dispute with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The motion reads:That the Housea) recognize the importance of Canada’s long-standing, mutually beneficial trading relationship with the United States of America,b) stand with Canadian workers and communities that directly or indirectly depend on this trading relationship;c) strongly oppose the illegitimate tariffs imposed by the U.S. government against Canadian steel and aluminum workers;d) stand in solidarity with the Government of Canada in its decision to impose retaliatory tariffs;e) remain united in support of Canadian farmers and supply management, which is integral for dairy, chicken, turkey, and egg farming;f) reject disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations and work against efforts to resolve this trade dispute.
TORONTO – The Ontario government says it is moving to ensure people who receive mercury disability payments are properly compensated by retroactively indexing payments to the rate of inflation.The government says more than 200 people in the First Nations communities of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong receive the payments, which have been frozen since 1985.Mercury contamination has plagued the English-Wabigoon River system since a paper mill in Dryden, Ont., dumped 9,000 kilograms of the toxic substance into the river systems in the 1960s.The contamination closed a thriving commercial fishery and devastated Grassy Narrows’ economy.The government said Friday it remains committed to cleaning up the mercury contamination in the English and Wabigoon Rivers.A health survey earlier this year found the health of people living in the northern Ontario communities was “significantly worse” than other First Nations.“Increasing these disability payments will help change people’s lives for the better,” said Greg Rickford, Ontario’s minister of Indigenous affairs.“These payments have been frozen for over 30 years and that is unacceptable,” Rickford said in a government statement.“This is one small part of the work we are doing to address the longstanding challenges faced by people in Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong.”The release said current beneficiaries will receive retroactive payments if they received benefits prior to March 31, 2018.“The requests from people of both communities receiving these benefits … finally comes to reality,” Wabaseemoong Independent Nations Chief John Paishk was quoted as saying.
Five stories in the news for Tuesday, Oct. 2___COALITION PARTY WINS MAJORITY IN QUEBECQuebecers charted a new course for their province Monday by giving the seven-year-old Coalition Avenir Quebec a majority mandate. Quebec, Canada’s second most-populous province, has joined the even bigger province of Ontario in voting for change following about 15 years of Liberal governments. The right-leaning Coalition was elected in 74 of the province’s 125 ridings, compared with 32 for the incumbent Liberals. One of the major surprises of the night was the near-disintegration of the Parti Quebecois, which earned just 17 per cent of the popular vote — its worst ever electoral performance — and won just nine seats.___COUILLARD REFLECTS ON FUTURE AFTER ELECTION LOSSPromising to leave the premier’s office with his head held high, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said he’s reflecting on his political future after his party was handed a stunning loss by the Coalition Avenir Quebec. A dry-eyed Couillard spoke with conviction Monday night as he addressed the roughly 50 supporters who gathered at a hotel in his riding, telling them he’d left the province in better shape than when he entered office in 2014. The 61-year old former neurosurgeon touted his government’s accomplishments, which included solid public finances, record-low unemployment and paying down the debt. Couillard was re-elected in his riding, but said he plans to reflect on his political future over the next few days.___LNG CANADA PROJECT GETS GREEN LIGHTInvestors have given final approval for a massive liquefied national gas project for northern British Columbia. The five partners agreed Monday to the $40-billion joint venture that includes gas liquefaction plant in Kitimat on B.C.’s coast and a 670-kilometre pipeline delivering natural gas from the northeast corner of the province. The partners, Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., the Malaysian owned Petronas, PetorChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp., delayed the final investment decision in 2016 siting a drop in natural gas prices.___DAIRY UNLIKELY TO BE CHEAPER IN USMCA ERA: EXPERTSIf you’d hoped your weekly grocery staples — like milk — might soon cost less due to a new trade deal that opens up Canada’s dairy industry, you may be out of luck. Experts say the trilateral agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico is unlikely to bring prices down, but could leave shoppers with more choices in the dairy aisle. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement announced Sunday night will grant an expanded 3.6 per cent market access to the domestic dairy market and eliminate two milk price classes, including the controversial Class 7.___IRREGULAR MIGRANTS HAVE HOTEL STAYS EXTENDEDPeople who crossed the border irregularly and are being temporarily housed in Toronto-area hotels will have their stays extended by four weeks as officials continue searching for a longer-term solution. The hotel rooms were reserved in August as a temporary solution that was supposed to last until as late as Sept. 30. They were expected to release a more detailed, long-term approach for temporary housing of irregular migrants in the interim, but it seems those plans are still being worked out.___ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be a guest speaker at an event hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, where he will discuss the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.— Danny Williams, former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, testifies at the Muskrat Falls inquiry.— The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will hold hearings into family supports and domestic violence in Winnipeg.
OTTAWA — Raj Grewal’s sudden resignation as a Liberal MP was prompted by a gambling problem, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.Grewal, who represented the riding of Brampton East, announced his immediate resignation Thursday, citing unspecified personal and medical reasons.On Friday, the PMO issued a statement saying that Grewal had informed the office earlier this week “that he is undergoing serious personal challenges and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional related to a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts.“Based on these circumstances, we agreed that his decision to resign as Member of Parliament for Brampton East was the right one. We hope he receives the support he needs.”The statement, issued in response to numerous media inquiries, went on to say: “We are not aware of an investigation by the Peel Regional Police. We are aware of inquiries by the RCMP regarding the circumstances that were the subject of a complaint to the ethics commissioner about Mr. Grewal earlier this year.”Ethics watchdog Mario Dion launched a formal inquiry last May after two opposition MPs expressed concerns that Grewal might have been in a conflict of interest when he invited a construction executive — who was paying Grewal for legal services at the time — to official events with Justin Trudeau during the prime minister’s trip to India early this year.The conflict-of-interest code prohibits MPs from using their positions to further their private interests or to improperly further another person’s interests.It’s not clear what prompted the PMO’s reference to the Peel police and a spokesperson for the force declined to comment.“We do not confirm if we are investigating an individual or if there is an active investigation,” said Const. Akhil Mooken. “The only time we would share information on an individual is if charges were laid.”The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Mexican authorities have found the body of a woman near the resort where a missing Quebecer was vacationing.Christine St-Onge hasn’t been heard from since speaking to a member of her entourage on Dec. 4.The male friend she was travelling with returned home a day earlier than planned and died of an apparent suicide.Sgt. Claude Denis of the Quebec provincial police says an autopsy will be performed to confirm the body discovered is that of the 41-year-old St-Onge.He says police have contacted St-Onge’s family to inform them of the latest developments. The body found near a hotel in Los Cabos showed marks of violence.St-Onge, a travel agent from the Montreal suburb of Laval, travelled to Mexico on Nov. 29 with her friend. They were supposed to return to Canada Dec. 6.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The arms-length agency that processes refugee claims in Canada estimated it would need twice as much money as it will ultimately receive to significantly tackle a major backlog in asylum claims, caused in part from an influx of irregular migrants.Documents obtained under access-to-information law show the Immigration and Refugee Board drafted costing estimates in November 2017 showing it would need $140 million annually plus an additional $40 million in one-time costs to finalize 36,000 extra refugee cases every year.That’s how many cases the board would need to complete to cut the backlog and also meet the current intake of new asylum claims.The government ultimately earmarked $74 million to the IRB over two years in last year’s federal budget to address Canada’s refugee backlog, which currently stands at over 64,000.The IRB says in the documents the amount will not be enough to finalize the outstanding claims within two years and that a longer-term strategy is needed to tackle the problem.The documents also reveal employees processing the claims have raised concerns about heavy workloads, problems with their pay due to the Phoenix pay system and have pressed management about when the influx of claims will be considered a crisis.The Canadian Press
CAT LAKE, Ont. — The chief and council of Cat Lake First Nation in northern Ontario have declared a state of public health emergency, citing “profoundly poor conditions of housing.”The declaration lists excessive mould, structural issues and a lack of funds for routine maintenance as causing health issues.Chief Matthew Keewaykapow and Cat Lake’s council says the poor conditions have led to illnesses that include invasive bacterial diseases and lung infections.The community leaders have ordered that the provincial and federal governments step in with an investment plan, as well as an intervention or evacuation plan.The council has also asked Health Canada to provide detailed plans and a timeline for how the issue will be addressed.The remote community of Cat Lake, home to 565 people at the time of the 2016 census, is located several hundred kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A woman says her father’s poor memory, not a desire to skirt the rules, resulted in Canadian authorities cancelling her trusted-traveller card after she allegedly failed to declare several thousand dollars in cash at the border.Mei Dong, a Chinese citizen with permanent-resident status in Canada, is asking a court to rule that she has not breached the law against money-laundering and terrorist-financing.She also wants a declaration that the Canada Border Services Agency acted unlawfully in revoking her membership in the Nexus program, which helps travellers move more quickly between Canada and the United States.The dispute is playing out in Federal Court as the House of Commons considers a bill to create a new watchdog aimed at resolving beefs against the border agency more efficiently.Dong’s allegations have not been proven in court and federal officials have yet to file a response. But her statement of claim says her problems began in August 2018 upon returning to Canada after a family trip to Austria. She was there with her father, who lives in China.Before she left, Dong’s father gave her two envelopes and told her one contained US$3,000 and the other US$6,700.She says her father put US$3,000 in one of the envelopes so she could return it to a colleague back in Canada. The colleague had previously given the money to her father during a trip with her family to China to thank him for generously hosting them.As they were good friends, her father felt he could not accept the gift, and gave his daughter the money when they were together in Europe so she could return it to her colleague.Upon arriving at the Toronto airport, Dong, 36, declared that she was carrying currency worth more than $10,000 in Canadian funds, a requirement under the law.During a secondary customs examination, a border officer asked why she had US$12,735 — more than the US$9,700 she had declared.Dong says the officer seized the currency and her Nexus membership card without giving her a chance to explain. The money was later returned to Dong on condition she pay a $250 fine but her Nexus card was subsequently cancelled.Dong, who worked for a global management-consulting firm at the time, appealed the officer’s actions to the border agency’s internal reviewers, insisting it was all a misunderstanding.She says that due to her father’s “old age and poor memory,” he did not remember he had already placed US$3,000, intended for Dong’s colleague, in the other envelope containing the US$6,700. As a result, he gave his daughter twice the amount he had wanted to return, in two separate envelopes.“As Ms. Dong trusts her father, she accepted what she was told were the amounts contained in the two envelopes without questioning or counting the amount herself,” the statement of claim says.She argues the officer unreasonably refused to exercise his discretion to extend her the benefit of the doubt.In February, the border agency’s recourse directorate rejected her appeal of both the currency and Nexus-card rulings.Dong, however, insists she fulfilled her obligation to report the importation of currency exceeding the legal limit at “every opportunity.”“Ms. Dong never attempted to conceal the amount she was carrying.”—Follow @JimBronskill on TwitterJim Bronskill , The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have decided on a slogan they hope will resonate with voters and best represent their political brand as they roll out their campaign for the October election.A release from the party says “Choose Forward” is the official campaign theme that will be stamped on a series of national ads featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.The party says the ads, which begin airing on television this week, will be part of “a comprehensive and digitally-integrated campaign that also includes featured stories from Canadians.”The ads proclaim that this October “Canadians will have a clear choice to make: Keep moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made, or go back to the politics of the Harper years.”Canadians are expected to head to the polls on Oct. 21.The Canadian Press