Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron A century later the

first_imgCapt. Roy Brown had ordered the young airman not to engage the enemy, but Lt. Wilfrid “Wop” May — a school chum from Edmonton — couldn’t help himself.It was April 21, 1918 — a century ago this Saturday — and the two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes were about to match wits with the deadliest ace of the First World War, Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron.As the engines of primitive German and British warplanes snarled in the skies over the Somme River in northern France, May joined the fight, only to have his guns jam as Richthofen’s all-red Fokker triplane closed in from behind for what would have been his 81st kill.“Brown saw that his buddy was in trouble,” says Don Brodeur, Brown’s grandson and a retired Royal Canadian Air Force pilot with more than 6,000 hours of flight time in fighter jets.“Richthofen broke some of his own cardinal rules … He followed May for too long, which is why Brown got on top of him.”As May flew fast and low over the French countryside, skimming over the scars left by trenches and bomb craters, Brown pitched his plane into a dive and aimed his machine-guns at Richthofen, firing bursts at long range.“(Brown) wound that Camel up to 190 miles an hour, which was no mean feat,” says David Bashow, editor of the Canadian Military Journal and a retired lieutenant-colonel who served 36 years with the RCAF.“That aircraft was particularly unstable at high speeds.”What happened next has long been the subject of an intense debate, even as the world marks the 100th anniversary of the storied dogfight.May escaped as Richthofen broke off to the right to avoid Brown’s blasts and rising terrain, but that manoeuvre brought him within range of Australian Corps machine-guns on the ground.Soon after Brown fired on the scarlet fighter aircraft, Richthofen crashed in a sugar-beet field, where he died from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was 25.The Royal Air Force credited the 24-year-old Canadian, originally from Carleton Place, Ont., with the combat victory — his 10th.However, the results from autopsies performed on Richthofen’s body raised questions about who fired the fatal shot.Over the years, some historians and forensics experts have suggested the orientation of Richthofen’s wounds indicated the .303-calibre bullet must have been fired from the ground and not from Brown’s guns, which fired the same type of ammunition.“Over time, the Australians made a very compelling case for one of their troops on the ground,” says Bashow, an associate professor at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., and a former fighter pilot who logged 2,400 hours in the supersonic CF-104 Starfighter.“(Brown’s) flight-path geometry just does not work.”However, Brown’s grandson disagrees, saying the more plausible explanation is that Brown fired a lucky shot.“There is only one record,” Brodeur said in an interview from his home in Victoria. “Both Canada and the U.K. attribute the shooting down of the Red Baron to Capt. A. Roy Brown. That’s a fact to this day.”As well, Brodeur says his interpretation of what happened — as seen through the eyes of an experienced fighter pilot — has led him to conclude Richthofen’s aircraft would have been practically inverted for the Australian theory to make sense.“In movies, you see aircraft rolling in a dogfight, but it’s a waste of time,” says Brodeur, who flew several types of jet fighters and was a member of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic squadron.“It looks good in Hollywood films, but it’s not something you do in an air-to-air fight.”Rob Probert, president of the Roy Brown Historical Society in Carleton Place, says there was nothing to be learned by examining Richthofen’s downed plane because it had been damaged by artillery shells and quickly stripped by souvenir hunters.“Brown was officially credited with the kill, and 100 years later that still stands,” Probert says.“The problem here in Canada is that there hasn’t been a group championing Roy Brown’s story, until our group came along. We’re just trying to make sure the story doesn’t get lost over time … It’s part of the Canadian psyche not to brag about our heroes.”Appropriately, the society will gather Saturday in Carleton Place, to fete the man they say brought down the Red Baron.Regardless of who fired the fatal shot, one thing is for certain: Were it not for Brown’s superior skills as a pilot and leader, one of the most celebrated aerial battles of the war would never have happened.“I think he was a hero for sure — he never lost a man under his command,” says Probert, who is part of a local effort to have a statue of Brown installed across from town hall in Carleton Place.“It can’t be refuted that Brown caused this battle to happen.”After the dogfight, Brown went to a nearby aircraft hangar to see Richthofen’s body.“His face, particularly peaceful, had an expression of gentleness and goodness, of refinement,” Brown later wrote.“Suddenly I felt miserable, desperately unhappy, as if I had committed an injustice. With a feeling of shame, a kind of anger against myself … I could no longer look him in the face. I went away. I did not feel like a victor … If he had been my dearest friend, I could not have felt greater sorrow.”Brown, who was in poor health and complained of being on the verge of a nervous breakdown, was later transferred to a flight training unit. He was badly injured in a crash on July 5, 1918, when his engine quit soon after takeoff.Unlike Richthofen, whose martyrdom continues to be commemorated in books, movies and, of course, the perennial Peanuts cartoon, Brown’s legacy is largely muted in Canada.“He didn’t really speak about his exploits,” says Tim Cook, First World War historian at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.“We don’t have a whole lot of military heroes from the past who still resonate today. It has something to do with our national character. It has something to do with how we view war and peace. And, perhaps, there’s the sense that Canadians are not always the best at backslapping and elevating their heroes.”Brown moved to Stouffville, Ont., after the war. He died of a heart attack in 1944 at the age of 50.He is buried in Toronto, but his grave remained unmarked until a few years ago.last_img read more

We are declaring emergency now A transcript of final cockpit communications

first_imgHALIFAX – The following is a transcript of the final conversations Sept. 2, 1998, involving the crew of ill-fated Swissair Flight 111, air traffic control centres in Moncton, N.B., and Halifax, as well as the crews of two British Airways Speedbird flights and a Virgin Airlines plane in the area at the time of the emergency situation (times in parentheses are p.m. ADT):Swissair 111 (9:58:15.8): Moncton Centre, Swissair one-eleven heavy good, uh, evening level three-three-zero.Moncton controller (9:58:20.4): Swissair one-eleven heavy, Moncton Centre, good evening. Reports of occasional light turbulence at all levels.Swissair 111 (9:58:26.1): Moncton, Swissair.(Extensive communications between Moncton Centre and other aircraft. Unintelligible squelch covered by United Flight 920.)Moncton controller (10:14:12.0): United nine-two-zero heavy, Moncton Centre. Good evening, occasional light turbulence reported at all levels. Other aircraft calling, say again.Swissair 111 (10:14:18.0): Swissair one-eleven heavy is declaring Pan Pan Pan. We have, uh, smoke in the cockpit. Uh, request immediate return, uh, to a convenient place, I guess, uh, Boston.Moncton controller (10:14:33.2): Swissair one-eleven, roger . . . turn right proceed . . . uh . . .you say to Boston you want to go.Swissair 111 (10:14:33.2): I guess Boston . . . we need first the weather so, uh, we start a right turn here. Swissair one-one-one heavy.Moncton controller (10:14:45.2): Swissair one-eleven, roger, and a descent to flight level three-one-zero. Is that OK?Swissair 111 (10:14:50.3): Three-one-zero. (Unintelligible words obscured by a noise. Possibly the noise associated with donning oxygen masks.) Three-one-zero . . . one-one heavy.Moncton controller (10:15:03.1): Swissair one-eleven, Centre.Swissair 111 (10:15:06.6): Swissair one-eleven heavy, go ahead.Moncton controller (10:15:08.6): Uh, would you prefer to go into Halifax?Swissair 111 (10:15:11.6): Uh, standby.Virgin 12 (10:15:15.9): Moncton, Virgin twelve will be standing by.Moncton controller (10:15:17.3): Virgin twelve, roger, standby.Swissair 111 (10:15:38.4): Affirmative for Swissair one-eleven heavy. We prefer Halifax from our position.Moncton controller (10:15:43.8): Swissair one-eleven, roger. Proceed direct to Halifax. Descend now to flight level two-niner-zero.Swissair 111 (10:15:48.7): Level two-niner-zero to Halifax, Swissair one-eleven heavy.BAW Speedbird 214 (10:15:58.3): And, uh, Swissair one-eleven heavy, from Speedbird two-one-four, I can give you the Halifax weather if you like.Swissair 111 (10:16:04.1): Swissair one-eleven heavy, we have the, uh, the oxygen mask on. Go ahead with the weather.BAW Speedbird 214 (10:16:10.4): OK, it’s the three hundred zulu weather was one-zero-zero at niner knots, one-five miles, scattered at one-two-zero, broken at two-five-zero, plus seventeen, plus twelve, two-niner-eight-zero, over.Swissair 111 (10:16:29.8): Roger, Swissair one-eleven heavy. We copy the, ah, altimeter is two-niner-eight-zero.Moncton controller (10:16:38.6): Swissair one-eleven, you’re cleared to ten thousand feet and the Hal . . . altimeter is two-nine-eight-zero.Swissair 111 (10:16:41.7): Two-niner-eight zero, ten thousand feet, Swissair one-eleven heavy.Moncton controller (10:16:52.5): And Swissair one-eleven, uh, can you tell me what your fuel on board is and the number of passengers?Swissair 111 (10:16:58.3): Uh, roger, standby for this.BAW Speedbird 1506 (10:17:15.5): Speedbird one-five-zero six is at Tusky listening out.Moncton controller (10:17:19.3): Speedbird one-five-zero-six, roger.Moncton controller (10:18:19.3): Swissair one-eleven, you can contact Moncton Centre now one-one-niner-point-two.Swissair 111 (10:18:24.4): One-one-niner-point-two for the Swissair one-one-one heavy.Moncton controller (10:18:31.0):Roger.Swissair 111 (10:18:34.3): Moncton Centre, good evening. Swissair one-eleven heavy, flight level two-five-four descending flight level two-five-zero on course Halifax. We are flying at the time on track zero-five-zero.Halifax controller (10:18:46.8): Swissair one-eleven, good evening. Descend to three thousand the altimeter is two-nine-seven-nine.Swissair 111 (10:18:51.8): Ah, we would prefer at the time around, uh, eight thousand feet, two-nine-eight-zero, until the cabin is ready for the landing.Halifax controller (10:19:00:9): Swissair one-eleven, uh, you can descend to three, level off at an intermediate altitude if you wish. Just advise.Swissair 111 (10:19:07.2): Roger. At the time we descend to eight thousand feet. We are anytime clear to three thousand. I keep you advised.Halifax controller (10:19:14.5): OK, can I vector you, uh, to set up for runway zero-six at Halifax?Swissair 111 (10:19:19.4): Ah, say again latest wind, please.Halifax controller (10:19:22.1): OK, active runway Halifax zero-six. Should I start you on a vector for six?Swissair 111 (10:19:26.3): Yes, uh, vector for six will be fine. Swissair one-eleven heavy.Halifax controller (10:19:31.0): Swissair one-eleven, roger. Turn left heading of, ah, zero-three-zero.Swissair 111 (10:19:35.1): Left, ah, heading zero-three-zero for the Swissair one-eleven.Halifax controller (10:19:39.5): OK, it’s a back course approach for runway zero-six. The localizer frequency one-zero-niner-decimal-niner. You’ve got thirty miles to fly to the threshold.Swissair 111 (10:19:53.3): Uh, we need more than thirty miles. Please, ah, say me again the frequency of the back beam.Halifax controller (10:19:59.5): Swissair one-eleven, roger. You can turn left heading three-six-zero to lose some altitude, the frequency is one-zero-niner-decimal-niner for the localizer. It’s a back course approach.Swissair 111 (10:20:09.5): One-zero-niner-point-niner, roger. And we are turning left to heading, ah, north. Swissair one-eleven heavy.Halifax controller (10:21:23.1): Swissair one-eleven, when you have time could I have the number of souls on board and your fuel onboard please for emergency services.Swissair 111 (10:21:30.1): Roger. At the time, uh, fuel on board is, uh, two-three-zero tonnes. We must, uh, dump some fuel. May we do that in this area during descent? (Note: Two three zero tonnes represents the current gross weight of the aircraft, not the amount of fuel on board.)Halifax controller (10:21:40.9): Uh, OK, I am going to take you . . . Are you able to take a turn back to the south or do you want to stay closer to the airport?Swissair 111 (10:21:47.0): Uh, standby short, standby short.Swissair 111 (10:21:59.1): OK, we are able for a left or right turn towards the south to dump.Halifax controller (10:22:04.2): Swissair one-eleven, uh roger, uh turn to the ah, left, heading of, ah, two-zero-zero degrees and advise time when you are ready to dump. It will be about ten miles before you are off the coast. You are still within about twenty-five miles of the airport.Swissair 111 (10:22:20.3): Roger, we are turning left and, ah, in that case we’re descending at the time only to ten thousand feet to dump the fuel.Halifax controller (10:22:29.6): OK, maintain one-zero-thousand. I’ll advise you when you are over the water and it will be very shortly.Swissair 111 (10:22:34.4): Roger.Swissair 111 (10:22:36.2): (Du bisch i dr) emergency checklist (fur) air conditioning smoke? (Translation: You are in the emergency checklist for air conditioning smoke?)Halifax controller (10:22:42.9): Uh, Swissair one-eleven, say again please.Swissair 111 (10:22:45.3): Ah, sorry, it was not for you. Swissair one-eleven was asking internally. It was my fault, sorry about.Halifax controller (10:22:50.8): OK.Halifax controller (10:23:33.1): Swissair one-eleven continue left heading one-eight-zero. You’ll be off the coast in about, ah, fifteen miles.Swissair 111 (10:23:39.2): Roger, heading left one-eight-zero. Swissair one-eleven and maintaining at ten thousand feet.Halifax controller (10:23:46.3): Roger.Halifax controller (10:23:55.7): You will, ah, be staying within about, ah, thirty-five, forty miles of the airport if you have to get to the airport in a hurry.Swissair 111 (10:24.03.9): OK, that’s fine for us. Please tell me when we can start, ah, to dump the fuel.Halifax controller (10:24:08.8): OK.Swissair 111 (10:24:28.1): (Background phone). Ah, Swissair one-eleven. At the time we must fly, ah, manually. Are we cleared to fly between, ah, ten thou . . . eleven thousand and niner thousand feet? (Sound of autopilot disconnect warbler).Halifax controller (10:24:28.1): Swissair one-eleven, you can block between, ah, five thousand and twelve thousand if you wish.Swissair 111 (10:24:45.1): Swissair one-eleven heavy is declaring emergency; (10:24:46.4 second voice overlap) Roger, we are between, uh, twelve and five thousand feet. We are declaring emergency now at, ah time, ah, zero-one-two-four. (Possible intercom sound toward end of transmission).Halifax controller (10:24:56.0): Roger.Swissair 111 (10:24:56.5): Eleven heavy, we starting dump now, we have to land immediate.Halifax controller (10:25:00.7): Swissair one-eleven, just a couple of miles, I’ll be right with you.Swissair 111 (10:25:04.1): Roger. (Sound – probable autopilot disconnect warbler).Swissair 111 (10:25:05.4): And we are declaring emergency now, Swissair one-eleven.Halifax controller (10:25:08.6): Copy that.Halifax controller (10:25:19.2): Swissair one-eleven, you are cleared to, ah, commence your fuel dump on that track and advise me, ah, when the dump is complete.Halifax controller (10:25:43.0): Swissair one-eleven, check you’re cleared to start the fuel dump.Swissair 111 (10:25:49.3): (Unrecognizable noise, followed by silence)last_img read more

Business group pleased with backtowork legislation for postal workers

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — A group representing Canadian businesses is praising the federal government for legislating postal employees back to work, saying it will help clear hefty backlogs of mail ahead of the busy holiday season.The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said in a statement that it was pleased Ottawa listened to business owners, who described the postal strike as “an emergency for many small firms and for Canadian consumers.”Mail service was scheduled to resume today at noon Eastern after the Senate passed legislation ordering an end to five weeks of rotating strikes by postal workers.Royal assent was granted Monday after senators approved Bill C-89 by a vote of 53-25, with four abstentions.The government deemed passage of the bill to be urgent due to the economic impact of continued mail disruptions during the busy Christmas holiday season.The Canadian Union of Postal Workers issued a statement declaring it’s “exploring all options to fight the back-to-work legislation.”Negotiations had been underway for nearly a year, but the dispute escalated more recently when CUPW members launched rotating strikes Oct. 22.Those walkouts have led to backlogs of mail and parcel deliveries at the Crown corporation’s main sorting plants in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.Dan Kelly, president of the business federation, said 71 per cent of members it surveyed supported back-to-work legislation after two-thirds of small businesses reported they had been negatively affected by the strike.“Back to work legislation is never an easy choice, but it will help salvage the holiday season for small firms and consumers,” he said in the statement. “We’re relieved to see Canada Post back to work and hope the corporation and the union can reach a long-lasting agreement to ensure Canada Post can become a low-cost and reliable option for small business.”last_img read more

Canadian soldiers remains to return to Canada after death in parachute exercise

first_imgOTTAWA — The body of a Canadian soldier who died in a parachute exercise in Bulgaria is returning to Canada tonight.Bombardier Patrick Labrie died after something went wrong in a training jump from a low altitude Monday night.He was from Buckingham, Que., near Ottawa.The Department of National Defence says Labrie’s remains will land at the Ottawa airport at about 8 p.m. and will be met by his commanding officer.The military is investigating Labrie’s death.At least three other soldiers were injured in the U.S.-led exercise, including two Americans, but the Defence Department says those came in separate incidents.The Canadian Presslast_img

New TrudeauTrump opioid plan helps rebuild frayed relations from trade talks

first_imgOTTAWA — The ranking U.S. diplomat on drug enforcement policy is to visit Ottawa in July to kick-start a fresh round of co-operation between the two countries on tackling the opioid crisis.That includes a renewed focus on stemming the flow of fentanyl into the two countries from China, The Canadian Press has learned.The visit of Kirsten Madison, the State Department’s assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, would be the first tangible step forward in the new joint Canada-U.S. effort that hatched out of the June 20 White House meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump.Stamping out opioid overdose deaths, especially in the Rust Belt states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, has been a declared priority for Trump, whose path to victory in 2016 depended on voters in those states.Trudeau announced the new initiative after his meeting with Trump, saying the two countries will work together and in multilateral organizations to find solutions to the crisis while deepening law-enforcement co-operation to combat trafficking.A senior government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the high-level initiative, said Madison’s July visit will start the discussion by reviewing existing co-operation and mapping out new strategies.Only a small amount of illegal opioids enter the U.S .from Canada, which the U.S. readily acknowledges. The biggest source of the deadly drug for both countries is mail and courier packages from China, said the official.Jim Carroll, the director of White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, has also expressed interest in coming to Ottawa to discuss opioids, said the official.The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa said it wasn’t announcing any upcoming meetings between Canada and the U.S. but that the two countries are working closely to combat the opioid crisis and the emerging global synthetic-drugs crisis.A leading health expert questions whether all of the sudden flurry of cross-border meetings will actually lead to any concrete reduction of fatal overdoses in either country.Donald MacPherson, the director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, said the focus on law enforcement — particularly intercepting mail from China — ignores the need for better medical intervention such as “substitution treatment.”Some medical journals suggest using methadone as a substitute to wean addicts off fentanyl.MacPherson is also skeptical that either country can do anything to stem the flow of fentanyl from China.“Fentanyl is a drug-smuggler’s dream. It’s so powerful. It comes in very small packages. It’s very easy to move across borders. It’s hard to detect. It’s changed the nature of the illegal drug market, and possibly forever.”Ben Rowswell, the president of the Canadian International Council, says the initiative has a greater symbolic importance because it is part of the upward arc in bilateral relations from the last year’s bottoming-out after the G7 summit in Quebec, when Trump insulted Trudeau on Twitter.“I take it as a sign that the relationship is operating as it should now, after a year or two of not,” said Rowswell, a retired diplomat who last served as the Canadian ambassador to Venezuela.“It seems we’re taking advantage of this new opening from the United States to normalize the relationship.”Tackling the crisis is clearly a passion of Trump’s. That was on full display during a June 12 White House cabinet briefing that was televised on the U.S. non-profit C-Span broadcaster.Carroll, the U.S. drug-policy chief, told Trump China is starting to take its fentanyl outflow seriously, and that he’s planning to visit the People’s Republic in the summer to follow-up.“Absolutely, they’re now at the table,” Carroll told the president. “They want to talk to us. They’re engaged.”Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health, brought Trump more good news: new data from the Centers for Disease Control that showed overdose deaths falling for the sixth consecutive month versus the same months the previous year.That included drops of 4.8 per cent in New Hampshire, 8.1 per cent in Florida, 10.3 per cent in West Virginia, 18.2 per cent in Iowa, 18.5 per cent in Pennsylvania, and 23.3 per cent in Ohio.Dan Ujczo, a cross-border expert with the Ohio law firm Dickinson Wright, said his state has been devastated by the opioid crisis, particularly in rural and industrial areas that are seen as “Trump country.”As a result,  if Canada and the U.S. find common cause on tackling the crisis it will build a “reservoir of goodwill between the two countries and leaders,” said Ujczo, a trade specialist who paid close attention to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement that spawned the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.“If all politics is local, all trade is personal. Collaboration on issues that are devastating communities in Canada and the U.S. show that we are in this together,” said Ujczo.“While I do not believe that this type of collaboration will move the needle on USMCA, it builds that goodwill for other issues such as (customs) preclearance, migration issues, and serves as a preventative measure from any future tweetstorm.”Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Trace Adkins To Celebrate Special Milestone With The USO

first_imgTrace Adkins will reach a special milestone with the USO this spring – his tenth entertainment tour in thirteen years.To celebrate, the country music star will take part in a ten-day, three-country trip to the Middle East and Europe (For security reasons, country names and tour dates cannot be released at this time).Adkins is scheduled to perform approximately five acoustic shows and four full band performances at nine bases in three countries over the span of just ten days. In celebration of the Grand Ole Opry’s 90th anniversary and its May partnership with the USO and MusiCorps as part of Cause for Applause – a nine month celebration highlighting countless important causes and charities – Adkins will also bring a treasured Grand Ole Opry tradition with him on his USO tour.Adkins is far from a stranger in supporting troops and military families. He first volunteered with the USO in 2002 and became one of the first entertainers to travel to the Middle East. Over the past 13 years, Adkins has participated in nine USO tours and traveled to seven countries – visiting, entertaining and creating #USOMoments for more than 43,218 troops and military families. Among the countries he has visited with the USO are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait and the U.S.Adkins’ trademark baritone has powered countless hits to the top of the charts and turned albums into Platinum plaques – selling over 10 million albums, cumulatively. When he is not in the studio working on his new album, the 6’6″ megastar can be seen shooting an episode of NBC’s “Night touring the globe or Shift,” or on location for his new film “Road Runner.”
”I can’t believe I’m about to go out on my tenth USO tour,” said Trace. “It feels like just yesterday when I first went out. No matter how many times I go out, or which countries and bases I visit, it never gets old. As long as they are out there serving our nation and sacrificing their lives… I’ll continue to tour with the USO.”The USO’s “Every Moment Counts” campaign invites Americans to join Trace Adkins in honoring, saluting and creating moments that matter for our nation’s troops and their families. The campaign, much like this tour, centers around the countless every day moments – from family dinners and date nights to children’s births and bedtime stories – that our troops and their families selflessly sacrifice due to their commitment and service to our country. To learn more visit USOmoments.org.last_img read more

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi gives thumbs down to provincial budgets cuts to

first_imgThis is after the government boosted the fund to great fanfare in 2015 by $11 million. David Eggen, who was culture and tourism minister in 2015 said at the time: “The success of Alberta’s cultural industries sector, particularly our film and television industry, is an important piece in our move toward a more diversified, sustainable economy … We have only begun to tap into the incredible potential of this industry.”According to Bill Evans, executive director of the Alberta Media Production Industries Association, that $11 million was a one-time addition and the new budget actually added new media funding. But he said in a statement Friday that the net drop of $3 million is “not good news for our industry. However, considering the current economic climate, it’s not as bad as we were expecting.”Alberta Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda, in a statement on Friday, confirmed the $34 million slated for the fund includes a “one-time” $5 million through the Capital Investment Tax Credit, which he said will support film and television production and fund two new pilot grant programs supporting interactive digital media and post-production, visual effects and digital animation.“Alberta’s cultural industries play a significant role in the government’s plan to diversify the economy and we continue to look for opportunities to support the sector,” he said.AMPIA is part of a group of contributors to Alberta’s film industry that has been lobbying hard in recent months, saying Alberta needed to make changes quickly to take advantage of the fact that Canada’s current production centres, Toronto and Vancouver, are operating beyond capacity.Beyond the size of the fund, the group is lobbying against a funding cap on the fund’s production grant, which provides incentives for film and TV projects. The fund can contribute up to 30 per cent of all eligible Alberta expenses, but is capped at $5-million per project.In the past, there was flexibility in the fund for ongoing series that continued to employ workers and generate economic activity. In 2014, changes were made to the fund by the then Conservative government that prevents new television series from applying more than once, which is not favourable for higher-budget fare and ongoing television series.Calgary-based Nomadic Pictures, which co-produced AMC’s Hell on Wheels and co-produces FX’s Fargo, set up production of its sci-fi series Van Helsing in Vancouver rather than Alberta in early 2016, at least in part because of the cap.IATSE local president Damian Petti said Friday he, too, is disappointed in the budget, but the film union leader also called for an entirely new model that would rely more on tax credits, an incentive that lowers the amount of tax owed the government used in many jurisdictions in Canada and elsewhere to attract film shoots.“The industry has been struggling,” he said. “The model is becoming antiquated. It’s time for a tax credit, which has been a proven success story in other jurisdictions. The fund has severe limitations compared to a tax credit. So, there is disappointment as the community hoped we could overcome the limits to the cap. (But) we’re an outlier. We’re the only jurisdiction not to have a labour-based tax credit.”Petti also said he believes the government wants to support the film industry.“The minister met with stakeholders. Minister Miranda wants to work with industry so industry needs to unite and work with the ministry. I believe that is a sincere offer.”Evans from AMPIA points out that film and TV production generated $262 million in economic impact compared to $2.2 billion in B.C. He said his group “will continue to advocate for a change in the way the provincial incentive program works … ” but he worries film jobs and investment will leave the province.Nenshi stressed the film industry in Alberta is a key to diversifying the economy.“As I’ve said many, many times, filmmaking is not a nice, fun-to-have industry, it’s an industry that needs to grow significantly in Alberta because it supports a lot of jobs and a lot of good jobs,” he said. “It’s very, very difficult for us to grow that industry if we can’t be competitive with funding in the way that other jurisdictions in other provinces are.”In other culture funding, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts received a $5 million increase in funding that had been promised earlier.With files from Annalise Klingbeil and Eric Volmers, Postmedia Facebook Twitter Login/Register With: Advertisement Calgary’s mayor is panning an Alberta provincial budget that on Thursday cut funding to the Alberta Media Fund used to entice film and television projects to shoot here.“I’m very disappointed, and this is one that requires more analysis, but it looks like the province has rejected our request to increase the Alberta Media Fund,” Nenshi told reporters Thursday. “That’s about bringing filmmaking into the province and instead of increasing the fund from $36.8 million to $50 million, they seem to have cut it … which is really strangling a very important industry in a growth phase, here in the province, very early on. That’s a very bad thing.”A “budget highlights” section on the Alberta government website pegs the fund for next year at $34 million, a drop from nearly $37 million. Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

Jan Lisiecki rescues TSOs Glenn Gould tribute from nonsense

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement The evening’s emcee was actor Colm Feore, explaining fluidly in both official languages how the various bits of music consisted of a tribute to Glenn Gould. (SUPPLIED PHOTO) Login/Register With: Advertisement Facebookcenter_img Peter Oundjian (conductor), with guests Jan Lisiecki (piano), and Colm Feore. Roy Thomson Hall, Sept. 22 and 23, 2017.Although the music was well performed, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s tribute to Canadian icon Glenn Gould made no sense whatsoever until pianist Jan Lisiecki had the Roy Thomson Hall stage to himself in the closing minutes of the evening.Lisiecki’s short, solo encore on Friday night conjured up Gould instantly in a way the preceding two-plus hours had failed to do. He played the Aria from J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The simple little movement that closes this monumental opus is the window through which Gould continues to step into the hearts of millions of people around the world. Because his last album was a redo of the Goldberg Variations, it was also the window through which Gould exited into the afterlife at the age of 50. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitterlast_img read more

TORONTO ENTREPRENEUR BRINGING AFRICAN FASHION TO THE MAINSTREAM

first_imgAdvertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Facebook The Nigerian designer first launched ÖFUURË five years ago, and since then has amassed an Instagram following of over 139,000 fans, including some of the music and fashion industries’ biggest names. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment A young Toronto-based designer is bringing the beauty of African prints to the world with her colourful collections of swim wear, boots, and dresses that will brighten up even the dreariest of Canadian winters.At just 22 years-old, fourth-year Ryerson student Tehilah Abakasanga’s clothing brand ÖFUURË has been taking the fashion industry by storm.Now she’s back in the city for a month-long pop-up at 2581 Yonge Street, which will last until December 29. Twitterlast_img read more

Environment ministers talk water

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe annual Canadian Council of Environment Ministers meeting has just wrapped up in Yellowknife.The Council is made up of environment ministers from each of the provinces, territories and the federal government.This year’s meeting was a chance for leaders to address common concerns facing water quality throughout Canada.But there is still much work needed on a trans-boundary water agreement between the provinces and the territories situated along the Mackenzie River Basin.last_img

Gwichin sign onto NWT devolution deal

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe government of the Northwest Territories is one step closer to devolution.The Gwich’in Tribal Council is the latest Aboriginal group to sign on to the agreement in principle that would give the territory province-like powers over land and resources.APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier has this story.last_img

The politics of being Aboriginal Part I

first_imgPART I PART II PART IIIAPTN InvestigatesA Winnipeg research firm has broken new ground.For the first time, a polling firm has surveyed First Nations and Metis people to find out their support for various political parties.APTN Investigates reporter Melissa Ridgen has an exclusive look at the results and what it all means to the major political parties.last_img

Ottawa continues legal fight against St Annes Indian residential school survivor over

first_img( St. Anne’s Indian residential school. Photo/National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.)Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsOttawa is continuing its court battle against a residential school survivor who attended the notorious St. Anne’s Indian residential school.The survivor, known only as H-15019, wants a new compensation hearing without federal lawyers present because they previously suppressed evidence to discredit the  claim.A hearing on the case is scheduled for Wednesday in Toronto before Justice Paul Perell.St. Anne’s, which was located near Fort Albany First Nation in Ontario’s James Bay region, was one of the most notorious residential schools throughout the dark history of the institutions. An OPP investigation launched in the 1990s led to several convictions. The school, which closed in 1976, was home to an electric chair that was used on children who attended there. Children from Attawapiskat attended the school.Ottawa’s lawyers are asking the court to dismiss H-15019’s application, known technically as a request for direction (RFD), according to recent submissions filed with the Ontario Superior Court. Ottawa says the application for a new hearing should be rejected because it is “premature.”  The submission argues the survivor has not exhausted all possible appeal avenues under the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) created by the multi-billion dollar Indian residential school settlement agreement between Ottawa, the churches and survivors.“Claimant H-15019 has not exhausted the re-review process of the IAP, such that this request for direction is premature,” said Ottawa’s response submission. “In support of the processes of the IAP as well as the rights of Claimant H-15019 thereunder, Canada has signaled its consent for claimant H-15019 to seek a re-review decision…Canada asks this honourable court to dismiss the remaining preliminary relief sought by the claimant.”Ottawa argues that if the court orders a re-hearing on the grounds requested by H-15019 it would result in a “material amendment” to the Indian residential school settlement agreement.The federal government is also opposing H-15019’s request federal lawyers involved on the file submit affidavits explaining why they suppressed evidence, including the contents of an OPP criminal investigation, during the IAP hearings that resulted in the St. Anne’s survivor losing out on compensation.“Canada specifically contests any suggestion that particular federal officials are required to provide affidavit evidence in respect of this matter, and submits that the claimant has not established grounds to compel such evidence,” according to Ottawa’s submission.H-15019’s lawyer, Fay Brunning, said she would be fighting Ottawa’s move to dismiss the RFD. She said her client does not want to go through another IAP hearing with federal lawyers and adjudicators who violated his rights.“My client wants court supervision and public accountability by those persons who violated his rights,” said Brunning, in an emailed statement. “These hearings are about very serious child abuse in religious institutions. My client has suffered enough and he wants the justice system to uphold his rights, even against (Justice Canada).”Since the beginning of the IAP process, federal government lawyers used false narratives of the school, which omitted references the OPP’s criminal investigation and convictions, to defeat abuse claims filed by residential school survivors.The records shows Justice Canada had evidence of the OPP investigation before the IAP hearings began, but yet never disclosed them during IAP hearings.Even after the Ontario Superior Court ordered Ottawa in January 2014 to turn over the OPP evidence it held, federal lawyers continued to use the false narratives in H-15019’s case and used it to discredit the survivor’s story.“During final submissions for the IAP claim…on July 25, 2014, (Justice Canada) relied upon the pre-2014…report and source documentation…and argued that the claimant’s story was improbably and not reliable,” according to one of Brunning’s filings on behalf of H-15019.During this time, federal lawyers had in their possession proof a priest, who was one of the subjects named in H-15019’s claim, was a “serial sexual abuser.”Weeks before this happened, the Ontario Superior Court was again compelled to issue a follow-up order in June 2015 and told Ottawa to summarize and reverse redactions on the 12,000 documents it previously released following the 2014 ruling.NDP MP Charlie Angus, in who’s riding includes Ontario’s James Bay region, said Ottawa’s decision to continue the legal battle against the St. Anne’s survivor made a “mockery” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s words to survivors at the closing ceremony of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.“It’s a travesty of justice,” said Angus. “I am really disturbed by what we seen since the beginning (with) the collusion of the Justice department in protecting perpetrators and suppression of evidence, undermining a legal process that is supposed to bring justice for the survivors.”jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

Mikmaq nations want Aboriginal and Treaty rights addressed as pipeline hearings continue

first_imgThe Canadian PressSAINT JOHN, N.B. – Mi’kmaq communities in New Brunswick say they remain “deeply concerned” about the effect the proposed Energy East pipeline will have on their Aboriginal and Treaty rights.Chief George Ginnish, of the Eel Ground First Nation, made the comment on behalf of nine Mi’kmaq communities at the National Energy Board hearings in Saint John, N.B., Wednesday.Ginnish says the communities are concerned about the impacts on watersheds and water crossings as well as on traditional fisheries and on species such as Atlantic salmon.He says there are also concerns about increased tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy.Ginnish says unless those concerns are “meaningfully addressed,” the Mi’kmaq will not consent to the pipeline crossing its territory.Officials with Energy East say they are committed to ongoing consultations with First Nations groups in order to address their concerns.The hearings are taking place as Environment Minister Catherine McKenna urged Canadians to have confidence in the evaluation process of large-scale energy projects like Energy East.McKenna declined to comment directly on new revelations surrounding the National Energy Board, the body responsible for conducting consultations on TransCanada’s proposed pipeline project.The National Observer revealed last week that the NEB’s chairman and two of its commissioners met with ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest in January 2015 while he was acting as a consultant to TransCanada.The NEB, which initially denied the meeting had taken place, apologized to the online news site and called it an honest mistake.NEB spokesman Craig Loewen said there was no ill intent behind its initial denial.The federal regulator had asked to meet with Quebec representatives from a wide range of groups: municipal associations, chambers of commerce, mayors and a former premier.The exercise was in an effort to learn how to engage with the province, said Marc-Andre Plouffe, an NEB director at its Montreal office.Plouffe said the board wasn’t aware of any ties Charest had with any particular company.With the board’s credibility under fire, McKenna told a news conference in Halifax that Canadians must have faith in the system.“We must have confidence in our system, we must have confidence in our institutions, and we must ensure we have decisions that are independent,” McKenna said, adding the Liberal government is committed to reviewing the environmental assessment process rigorously.A spokesman for Charest at McCarthy Tetrault law offices where he works was unavailable for comment Tuesday.NEB hearings began Monday in New Brunswick with promoters of the Energy East project reassuring the public about the safety of the 4,500-kilometre pipeline that would see crude oil transported from Alberta to Eastern Canada.Hearings move to Montreal from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 and to Quebec City from Oct. 3 to 7.The board must submit its report by March 2018 after which the federal cabinet will have the final say on the project.last_img read more

Thunder Bay police rejects First Nation leaders call for RCMP probe of

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe acting chief of the beleaguered Thunder Bay police force rejected a call from First Nation leaders for the RCMP to step in and investigate three waterway deaths in the city.Thunder Bay police acting Chief Sylvie Hauth said during a press conference Wednesday that she did not believe it to be “practical” or “necessary” to call in the Mounties.The Ontario government has said only Hauth, as acting police chief, has the power to call in the RCMP.Hauth became acting chief after the Ontario Provincial Police charged Thunder Bay police Chief J.P. Levesque with obstruction of justice and breach of trust after he allegedly disclosed confidential information about the city’s mayor Keith Hobbs.First Nation leaders have said the local Indigenous community has no confidence in the Thunder Bay police or the OPP to investigate the deaths of Indigenous people.Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Grand Council Treaty 3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh and Rainy River First Nations Chief Jim Leonard last week called on the RCMP to investigate the deaths of: Tammy Keeash, 17, who was living in a group home and found dead in the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway on May 7; Josiah Begg, 14, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on May 18; and Stacy DeBungee, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on Oct. 19, 2015.The chiefs could not be immediately reached for comment.Hauth said the OPP completed a review of how the city police handled the DeBungee investigation on May 15. The Thunder Bay police said earlier Wednesday there were no plans to release the report.The Thunder Bay police botched the handling of DeBungee’s death investigation, according to private investigator David Perry, a former senior Toronto homicide detective. Thunder Bay detectives shut the file on DeBungee, declaring it to be accidental, before the conclusion of an autopsy examination.Perry discovered DeBungee’s debit card was used after his death and that his identification cards were strewn on the river bank near where he was found mixed in with the identification material of another individual who has not yet been found.Hauth said the OPP review now also extends to the Keeash and Begg deaths.Serious questions still remain around the deaths of three of seven First Nation youth who were the subject of a coroner’s inquest which ended in June 2016. Five of the seven youth died in Thunder Bay’s waterways and three of those deaths were found to be “undetermined” by the coroner’s jury.Perry told APTN it’s highly possible foul play may be behind some of these river deaths.The Thunder Bay police now says it is investigating whether Indigenous youth are being targeted. jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

Ottawa let Catholic Church off the hook for millions in residential school

first_imgPaul Barnsley APTN InvestigatesThe source of an April 2016 Globe and Mail report outlining a mistake by federal government lawyers which allowed the Catholic Church to escape paying $21 million in obligations to the Residential School Settlement Agreement, now says that number is actually millions of dollars higher.Ron Kidd, of Vancouver, said that of the $54 million various Catholic Church entities had agreed to pay, $37,875,660 has not been paid.Kidd is a former provincial tax auditor, self-appointed church watchdog, and gay rights activist. He has a history of successfully leading anti-discrimination cases that trace back to the early 1990s.He claims to have been instrumental in leading Globe reporters to the original story and then working closely with NDP MP Charlie Angus’ staff to put detailed questions to the government to access more information about the Church’s obligations.“It was triggered by specific events, which is that in 1981 and 1986, the Catholic Church led the opposition to amend Ontario’s Human Rights Act to include gay people on the basis that we were a threat to family values. And I felt that if you really believe that human rights is sacred and divine, the church would be in favour of equality for gay people.”After getting a Certified General Accountant designation in 1990, Kidd worked for the British Columbia government for more than a decade as a tax auditor.He says the paper trail is clear.“I’m being very careful to try to show you in all cases where I got the information. It isn’t a matter that an accountant is saying that the numbers are such and such,” he said.(Ron Kidd) In all, the 50 Catholic Entities who were parties to the settlement agreement committed to pay $54 million. Twenty-nine million was to go “in-kind” contributions to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. An additional $25 million was to go to “best efforts” fundraising. All of the money was intended to pay for programs that would help residential school survivors.Most legal dictionaries refer to “in kind” payments as those that are made through providing “goods, commodities or services” rather than cash.Lawyers differ on what the term “best efforts” means. Some say it’s a higher standard than making a “reasonable effort” to keep a commitment, others say a reasonable effort that can stop short of putting yourself at risk of bankruptcy is sufficient to be able to say you made your best effort.The church entities committed to making their best effort to raise the $25 million but argued that despite those efforts, they did not succeed.Best efforts campaign came up “woefully short” “[Survivors] were supposed to get $25 million, and they got only one million,” Kidd said, adding he questions whether the entities made their best efforts“The Protestant churches were busy fundraising aggressively because the Protestant churches all met their requirements. So from the government’s point of view, the money was coming in from the Protestants, but not the Catholics,” he said.MP Charlie Angus had one staff member working more or less full time on residential schools issues up until last year before Angus began his NDP leadership run. Working with that staff member and the MP, Kidd came up with very detailed written questions to the government in May of 2016.Given the title Q-2052, the question asked the government, among other things: “(i) how much of the $29 million in cash donations owed was given to the survivors, (ii) how much of the $25 million dollars that was supposed to be fundraised, was fundraised, and of that money how much was donated to the survivors, (iii) what was the line by line account for the $25 million of in kind donations, (iv) how much of the total compensation owed was not distributed to survivors, as it was considered an expense, legal cost, or administrative fee of the church, (v) did government lawyers negotiate with other churches in order to waive their legal obligations, and, if so, when did these negotiations occur?”When the government answered several months later, as required by Parliamentary rules, Kidd said he was not impressed.“I was extremely dissatisfied. The question was something to do with how much of the $29 million was payable to the victims and the answer was, it was never payable to the victims. It was payable to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation,” he said.He did not consider that a completely truthful response.“Just by changing the word from ‘paid’ to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation to ‘payable’ to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, the answer became technically correct, but misleading,” he said.The government response did not include the requested detailed accounting of how the entities’ in kind commitment was fulfilled, so Kidd started combing public records.Many of the organizations involved are licensed charities and must disclose certain financial information to maintain their charitable status.“That money was paid on Jan. 11, 2016. And it appears on their 2016 audited financial statements. So I’m looking, to the best of my knowledge, he said, “The Catholic Entities paid $16,124, 340.”Some of the money originally committed was forgiven by the federal government because the church had already paid some money out in lawsuits it had lost. As the Globe originally reported, a March 2016 letter to Kidd from an Indigenous Affairs assistant deputy minister explained that “miscommunications” between government lawyers allowed the church to escape paying its commitment in total.“Although the Globe and Mail correctly reported that the results of the court case was that the Catholic Church was let off the hook for $21 million dollars. This statement tells you that there was an additional reduction to account for payments already made in separate lawsuits,” Kidd said.According to Kidd, The settlement agreement was a court-supervised agreement that was approved by Parliament.Justice Warren Winkler, the judge who ratified the agreement, warned that the federal government was in the unique position of administering an out-of-court settlement in which it had been a defendant and needed to take extreme steps to be open and transparent.“So how can the Catholic Church and the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs do an agreement that reduces it? That’s the first thing, is the legality of it. If they’re really going to do that, they should have brought it to the attention of parliament,” Kidd asked.The best efforts campaign came up woefully short.APTN Investigates asked the government to comment on Kidd’s allegations. Rather than providing a departmental official to answer questions, the then Indigenous Affairs department provided a statement.“The settlement agreement required the Catholic Entities to pay $29 million in a cash contribution. Included in this amount was $8.4 million for Indian residential schools abuse claim compensation, which the Catholic Entities paid prior to the settlement agreement,” the statement reads. “The remaining cash contribution was divided among the Aboriginal Healing Foundation [AHF], the Legacy of Hope, the Returning to Spirit charitable organization, and the Catholic Entities’ administrative costs.“The Catholic Entities paid a total of $14.9 million to the AHF. Canada took the Catholic Entities to court over the remaining $1.6 million, which resulted in the Catholic Entities satisfying their remaining financial obligations with a $1.2 million payment to the Legacy of Hope Foundation (as the AHF had ceased operations by that point).”“In this case, the Saskatchewan supervising court determined that the Catholic Entities had met their financial obligations under the agreement.”Gérard Pettipas, the current archbishop of the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan in Alberta did not dispute that the entities had come up short. He was president of the group of 50 Catholic Entities up to the point where the court declared the entities had met their financial obligations.“I know all too well the shortfall of the best effort campaign to raise $25 million. I don’t where he gets this other amount,” Pettipas said.He was not able to respond in detail to Kidd’s questions or allegations.“With the termination of the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] as a commission and with the satisfaction of our obligations, I’ve not been on top of this other than that we made provisions to stay involved because the IAP is still ongoing. So we have a lawyer to stay on top of that,” he said during an interview. “It would take a bit of research for me. It wouldn’t be in my own files.”He explained that the entities originally approached the $25 million fundraising campaign in the same way hospitals or universities fundraise for major projects like new buildings. They hired a company that specializes in those kinds of projects, in this case Toronto-based Ketchum Canada, Inc. (KCI), to run the Moving Forward Together campaign.When the donations did not meet expectations, the cost of paying KCI was consuming most of the money.“We realized as we went through that process that we were not seeing the return. The money we were taking in, little that it was, we ended up spending that on the firm,” the arch-bishop said.Pettipas was asked about the perception amongst many First Nation observers that the Catholic Church was the most reluctant of all the churches when it came to making good on residential schools abuses.“I know,” he said sadly.Asked if he disputed that observation, he qualified his response by saying it was a “personal perception” and that he was not speaking for the church.“No, a lot of what is said about the residential schools, I would say we recognize it was an idea that had gone awry. I believe that when it was entered into it was perceived to be a good idea. This was going educate Indigenous children,” he said.He revealed the long and complex relationship between the church and the federal government with his next remarks and provided a glimpse into some of the reasoning behind the church’s stand in court on residential schools.“I think the Catholic Church and the other churches were into education before treaty. We were already in missions. We had set up schools. Because this is what Christian churches do. We’re into education and healthcare. So you look at education across Canada and really around the world, a lot of it is initiated by Christian churches, he said. “In signing treaty, the federal government was taking on the responsibility to educate the children. And I think the government saw this as a very convenient way to satisfy that agreement – this treaty commitment. And for the churches I think they saw it as a way of being funded to do what they were already doing anyway. I think we got into it thinking this would always be a good thing.”But government gradually took on a bigger role, he said. How big a role has been an area of disagreement in court about liability since the days before the settlement agreement was signed.He acknowledged that past attitudes towards Indigenous peoples were not as enlightened as they could be.“I’m not sure we were as sensitive in generations past about culture as we are now. I think the TRC reports and recommendations have raised it as never before for Canada – even after the Royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples – I don’t think there was the same concern and interest and commitment on the part of people that we have now.”He responded to the allegation that other churches have been more willing to step up and take responsibility by talking about the corporate structure of his own church.“Some of the struggles in the Catholic circles is due to our structure which is very different from the Protestant churches. We didn’t have one entity. There’s no such thing as the Catholic Church in Canada. Even some of our own people find that hard to understand but it’s true,” he said. “The Catholic Church is not a monolith. It’s made up of many dioceses. And so in terms of coming together and putting forth a common voice, a common reaction, it’s not easy to do that because we’re all different. Even when I was president of the Catholic Entities, I was very aware that not every diocese, not every religious order did I represent. There were 50 Catholic entities that were part of my organization but that’s not near the number of Catholic Entities in Canada.”“There were 50 Catholic entities that were part of my organization but that’s not near the number of Catholic Entities in Canada.”Asked if the low donation rate to the best efforts campaign revealed anything about the attitudes of Catholics towards Indigenous people, Pettipas acknowledged there is still work to do.“The entities that I represented, we were onside. We tried to do what we could to make this happen. I do regret that the campaign brought in so little,” he said. “When finally this story hit the Globe and Mail, I got some interesting letters from people. There were people who were truly embarrassed by our poor showing. This one priest sent me $1,000 out of his own pocket saying ‘I am just so ashamed that we did so poorly on this.’”He said others made local donations rather than to the campaign, which affected the final numbers, but admitted there was resentment in many quarters.“I have heard people say, ‘Well they’re getting all this money from this settlement agreement, why should I give to this?’ One of the things I had to point out to people time and time again is that the monies that we give – the monies that the church was committed to – was not compensation. The government handled compensation. None of our money went to former students. Our money was all for programs for healing and reconciliation,” he said. “Originally, that $29 million was mostly destined for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. The in kind services was for services to Indigenous communities. The [local] chief had to sign off on each one of those, that he and his council felt this service was beneficial to our community.”But there was one other reason which admitted with regret.“There is still in Canadian society a certain suspicion when it comes to our Indigenous people and money, that somehow this is going to go to them and it will be wasted . . . blah, blah, blah. I’m sure you’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it.”Kidd said he will not give up and will pursue the matter. He criticized the federal government and the Assembly of First Nations, who he says did not respond to his requests for help in getting answers.pbarnsley@aptn.calast_img read more

Natan Obed wins second term as head of Canadas national Inuit group

first_imgAPTN NewsCanada’s national Inuit organization has re-elected Natan Obed as its leader.The vote was taken Thursday in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.Former Inuk MP Peter Ittinuar and policy analyst Peter Williamson ran against Obed to lead the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), which represents 60,000 Inuit people across Canada.This will be Obed’s second term. The 42-year-old father of two has brought greater profile to the concerns of Inuit as the federal government tries to reconcile with Indigenous people.Before the election, Obed told APTN News the ITK is in the midst of creating a national housing strategy, which will address Inuit homelessness.He has also not been afraid of controversy and has called for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League to change their name.-With files from The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Vancouvers detached homes edge toward buyers market as condos favour sellers

first_imgVANCOUVER – Condo and townhouse sales in Vancouver are firmly in a seller’s market, while the market for detached homes is edging toward a buyer’s market, new figures from The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver suggest.In September, the sales-to-active-listings ratio was 14.6 per cent for detached homes, 42.3 per cent for townhomes and 60.4 per cent for apartments, according to the REBGV.“Downward pressure on home prices does occur when the ratio typically dips below around 12 per cent for a constant period,” said Jill Oudil, board president.For instance, that could mean during a particular month there are three sales for 25 active listings.“When there is a downward pressure on prices, it becomes more of a buyer’s market,” she said.The opposite happens with upward pressure on prices and the creation of a seller’s market, when the ratio stays above 20 per cent for several months, the REBGV said.“I think it’s just a bit of a changing market right now,” Oudil said, adding more house hunters are looking at condos and townhomes due to affordability issues, which reduces the number of people looking for detached homes.The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $1,037,300 in September, up 10.9 per cent compared with a year ago.The demand for condos and townhouses helped push the number of sales in September 13.1 per cent above the 10-year historical average for the month.There were 2,821 homes sold in the region last month, according to the board — up 25.2 per cent from 2,253 in Sept. 2016. Detached homes made up 30 per cent of last month’s sales.Sales slipped 7.3 per cent from the 3,043 homes sold in August.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitterlast_img read more

Quebec to spend heavily to boost digital services throughout the province

first_imgQUEBEC – The Quebec government launched the province’s first digital strategy Wednesday, announcing $1.5 billion over five years to boost the level of internet-based services throughout the province and to help make Quebecers more computer literate.Quebec’s plan includes giving every citizen access to high-speed internet, regardless of where they live, and fully digitalizing all patient health records and have them available online.Premier Philippe Couillard told reporters after his announcement that from now on, Quebec needs to “think, act and interact” differently.Economy Minister Dominique Anglade was present during the announcement and said an additional goal of the strategy is to make Quebec a world leader with regard to information technology training.“At a very high level, the message is we want to make sure Quebec is a leader in terms of digital strategy and digital transformation,” she said.Couillard said his government’s initiative will be positive for all Quebecers, whether they are regular citizens, bureaucrats in government or entrepreneurs.“It is not a luxury, it is not an option, it’s a necessity to elevate Quebec to the same level as other industrialized societies with regards to the adoption of digital technologies,” he said.“It is really the sign of the new world, of a new society that is emerging around us.”Part of the strategy calls on schools and municipalities to increase their digital presence.“It is no longer science fiction to think our children will be trained on how to code,” Couillard said. “Students will take part in activities involving robotics from the time they are very young.”The plan also offers measures to help entrepreneurs with information technologies.About 1,700 small- and medium-size businesses will have access to subsidies for digital projects.The strategy follows widespread public consultation and its implementation will be overseen by a new digital council.One-third of the $1.5 billion outlined had already been announced.Couillard also discussed his plan to give Quebecers access to their medical records online.He played down suggestions the focus on the digital world is a security risk to patient confidentiality.Couillard said having the proper technology is more secure than a paper-driven health system.“There is an illusion that the current way of things is better in terms of security,”he said. “It is not. Having a pile of paper on a desk that can be picked up by anyone is hardly something that is secure.“So with the proper technology and the proper way of doing things, we can reach a much higher level of security than is present today.”Many details of the government’s digital initiatives still need to be released.last_img read more