By Donna SmithAPTN National NewsTORONTO–The two Toronto police officers involved in the 2008 shooting of a 28-year-old First Nations man are scheduled to testify Tuesday at the coroner’s inquest looking into the death.Byron Debassige was shot in the chest by police in a city park after he had stolen two lemons from a food market.Debassige, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was chased by the store owner. Debassige then pulled out a knife with a three-inch blade and threatened the store owner.Police, responding to a report of an armed robber, found Debassiage drunk and signing in the park and wielding a knife. They shot him after a confrontation.Debassige’s family issued a statement saying they hoped the inquest would give them some answers.“We are sorry this day had to come. Byron’s death was senseless. It is our hope that the coroner’s inquest can help us in answering questions about Byron’s death,” said the email@example.com
By Jorge Barrera and Kenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–Federal bureaucrats once directed Bruce Carson, a former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper now under an RCMP investigation, to the $5 million water pilot project for First Nations unveiled this week by Ottawa and Ontario.The Ottawa-based water filtration company Carson promoted, however, would likely not qualify for the pilot project announced Tuesday because it sold a different type of system than what was outlined in guidelines announced by the federal Aboriginal Affairs department.The department also changed the way bids will be considered for the pilot project from what was described to Carson in an email written by a department official last year.The pilot project aims to test technologies and try new ways to improve water quality on four selected Ontario communities. Alderville First Nation, Lac Seul First Nation, Munsee-Delaware First Nation and Zhiibaahaasing First Nation were selected to participate.Despite repeated requests by APTN National News to discuss the apparent change in the program, Aboriginal Affairs refused to discuss the announcement and the pilot project’s guidelines.According to information that was released by the department, the pilot project will favour bids from water filtration firms providing “point of entry” water systems that treat all water entering homes and are installed in a heated enclosure outside the building.Carson was lobbying Aboriginal Affairs officials on behalf of H2O Global Group and H2O Pros, which only sold point-of-use water filtration systems that treat water after it enters the house and before it reaches the tap.In discussions with the department, Carson referred to H2O’s product as “point-of-entry” filtration systems.The Prime Minister’s Office asked the RCMP, the Lobbying Commissioner and the Ethics Commissioner last March to investigate Carson after an APTN National News investigation into Carson’s ties to the water company and his lobbying efforts at the department. The company had a financial arrangement with Carson’s fiancée at the time, Michele McPherson, who was a former Ottawa escort.The systems sold by the company, which has since gone out of business, were eligible for the pilot project and the department was considering inviting H2O Pros to bid on the pilot project, according to a Feb. 17, 2011, email from a department official to Carson.“H2O Pros may be on the list of potential vendors invited to bid on this pilot-project,” wrote Lysian Bolduc, a senior infrastructure engineer for the department.Carson and H2O Pros were at the time trying to convince the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga, near Belleville, Ont., apply for department funding to install between 50 and 100 water filtration systems in the community.On Wednesday, March 16, 2011, Carson forwarded Bolduc’s email to a Tyendinaga band official with the note, “fyi-bc.”About two hours later, Tyendinaga Chief Donald Maracle phoned Patrick Ku, manager of technical services in the federal department’s Toronto branch asking him if H2O Pro was the “supplier of choice” for the department.“I received a call from Chief Maracle…10 minutes ago. He asked if H2O Pro is (the) supplier of choice,” said a March 16, 2011 email from Ku to three other officials that was obtained under the Access to Information Act. “I explained to him that (the department) does not endorse H2O Pro as the company to install their equipment in Tyendinaga.”The department has also changed the process for selecting firms to take part in the project. According to Bolduc’s email to Carson, which was written following a meeting between the former political PMO aide and department officials, a “pilot-project team” of federal and Ontario officials would pick the firms from a list compiled after a tendering process.“The pilot-project team is currently in the process of preparing a list of potential technologies and vendors,” wrote Bolduc. “Final technologies/vendors selected for evaluation through pilot-testing would be chosen by the project team through a tendering process that will consider both technical merit and anticipated life-cycle costs.”A few months after the email and following the eruption of the Carson scandal, which preceded the May 2 election, Aboriginal Affairs issued a press release announcing Ottawa and Ontario were launching three-year pilot project. But the July 6, 2011, press release stated that it would be up to the selected First Nations communities to pick and choose the companies it wanted to work with.“The First Nation communities selected for participation in this pilot project will be responsible for commissioning appropriate design and technology solutions for their communities through a request for proposals process,” said the release at the time.In Tuesday’s announcement, however, the selection process changed. Now, a committee with representatives from the selected First Nations, the federal Aboriginal affairs department and Ontario’s ministry of environment would select the winning bids.“Selecting appropriate design and technology solutions for these communities through a request for proposals (RFP) process conducted collaboratively with representatives from the First Nation communities, Ministry of Environment of Ontario and AANDC,” said the release.Joe Kim, spokesperson for Ontario’s environment ministry, said “no solutions have been excluded from consideration.”Kim confirmed the initial plan was to select companies from a list.“It was later decided that an open, transparent bidding process would be better,” he said.Kim said the First Nations would still have final say on who gets the winning bids, but Ontario and Ottawa officials would assist them with the technical review of the proposals.The pilot-project will also accept bids for improving existing infrastructure, new water trucks and pre-fabricated water treatment plants, along with “other approaches deemed appropriate,” according to the department’s statement.Kim said Ottawa had the lead on the file and that the province was primarily providing technical firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail.com
APTN National NewsA family hoping to find who is responsible for the murder of a loved one has reached out to an unlikely source: accused serial killer Shawn Cameron Lamb.Calray Bruyere wants to know if Lamb killed her cousin Fonessa.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler has this story.
APTN National NewsThe massive tailings pond breach that washed over 10 million cubic litres of waste water into creeks and lakes in northern British Columbia has had a devastating affect on so many.APTN’s Tina House just returned from the front lines where politicians are trying to calm the frayed nerves of local residents and First Nations.
Kenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsOTTAWA – With time running out and feeling insulted, an Algonquin mother in Ottawa has taken it upon herself to ensure her son gets a Gladue report written before his sentencing next month for armed robbery.The mother has begun fundraising the money needed to pay for a private company to write the report in Ottawa because she said she never heard from the Ontario government’s writer in Nation’s capital since Justice Ann Alder ordered one for her 16-year-old son on Feb. 5.Her son’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Mar. 23.“I don’t know what he’s doing but it takes a few seconds to just pick up the phone, dial a number and leave a message,” said the mother who APTN National News can’t identify because her son is a young offender.She’s referring to Chad Kicknosway, a writer employed through Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto (ALST) who is funded by Legal Aid Ontario.“I gave (Kicknosway) a call and he has not called me yet. Sentencing is coming up and I don’t think he’ll have the time to interview everyone and write the report. I want a good report for my son,” she said.Instead of waiting, she decided Wednesday evening to start fundraising in her home community of Lac Simon First Nation in Quebec.She’s hired IndiGenius, a company in Ottawa that has been writing Gladue reports for about seven months and earned the praise of judges and lawyers.A Gladue report examines an offenders history, such as where they came from, what they have been through and basically what may have led to them to the courts. They’re known as the Gladue principles. Often judges learn of trauma due to colonization and residential schools. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1999 that judges must apply the principles and look for alternatives to incarceration at sentencing.It was a matter of luck but several months ago when her son was first appearing in court IndiGenius co-founder Mark Marsolais was there too and met the mom and son. “Mark has been there from the very beginning. He cares and I know he can get the report my son needs,” said the mom, adding she tried to go with IndiGenius from the get-go but was told she had to go with Kicknosway. It turns out the mother and son found themselves in the middle of a behind-the-scenes battle with Legal Aid and IndiGenius, a private company that writes Gladue reports.Legal Aid had been funding IndiGenius since the summer but slowly began shutting the door on using the private company. That’s because last fall it commissioned ALST to provide a Gladue writer in Ottawa as part of an increase in funding across the province to provide more Gladue reports.ALST, led by Jonathan Rudin, has been a leader in writing Gladue reports in Ontario for more than a decade. APTN tried to reach Kicknosway for more than a week with no success. A spokeswoman for Legal Aid said he works out of the Wabano Health Centre but the receptionist there not only didn’t have a number for him but didn’t know who he was. He’s supposed to have been working there since September.The mother went to Wabano this week looking for him and left a letter saying she didn’t want to wait any longer and wanted IndiGenius to do the report.APTN reached out to his superior at ALST who said Kicknosway wouldn’t be commenting.“I don’t want to get into a fight into who is doing what. That’s not our interest. We’re just doing reports when we’re asked to do reports by the court,” said Rudin, who is called upon by many lawyers across the country to speak on the issue of Gladue principles. “We’re just going to do the work we’re asked to do.”Rudin declined to comment on the mother’s case and said they’d discuss it with her.“This is something we’re going to work out,” he said.He’s also going to find out why the mother never heard from Kicknosway.For the mother, it’s just a matter of getting a report done by the person she wants. “I’m really frustrated they don’t want to use Mark (Marsolais). They’re trying to make us go through (ALST), she said.According to Legal Aid there’s a protocol for who does the Gladue reports in Ottawa. They’ve asked Ottawa courts to order reports through ALST.“That’s the first stop. That’s where we want people to go first,” said Nye Thomas, director general of policy and strategic research at Legal Aid. “If (ALST is) unable to write a report for some reason … and there is another report writer, say IndiGenius, available we’ll fund that organization to write a report.”Thomas was then asked what if a client or a parent doesn’t want to use Legal Aid’s “first stop” for any reason, can they go with a company of their choice to get a Gladue done?“It depends that’s all I can say. The policy allows for certain exceptions but depends on the specific facts,” he said.He then said that question was better suited for ALST but when pressed on the issue of ALST being a contactor and Legal Aid provides the funding he confirmed there is a choice.“We want people to go to ALST as our first choice and if ALST is unable to do it and then you have lots of different reasons why they are unable to do it, including potentially the clients or the family’s choice,” he said.When it comes to the specifics of this mother’s case Thomas said due to privacy he couldn’t speak to it.Marsolais would like to know why lawyers keep telling him Legal Aid won’t fund reports through IndiGenius.“If there’s a choice then why have so many lawyers, in the last couple of months, kept telling us they can’t go with us?” he said.“And clients do. They specifically ask for us. We’re getting a lot of calls. Word has spread about the quality of our work.”Regardless, Marsolais is interviewing the mother’s son Tuesday and intends to have a report completed before sentencing.The cost is between $1,500 to $2,000. “I’m just so relieved Mark is going to do it,” said the mother. email@example.com@afixedaddress
Brandi Morin APTN National NewsEDMONTON –The chief of an Alberta First Nation said his community is struggling to find solutions to a soaring prescription medication problem.Chief Charles Weaselhead said after a meeting with Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose this week that a lack of resources is holding the Blood Tribe back from getting people the attention they need.Weaselhead, who attended a symposium in Edmonton that focused on prescription medication, said in the last six months there have been 40 overdoses and 20 deaths related to the use of Fentanyl, a potent and dangerous drug disguised as Oxy80s.He said they are struggling to find access to proper treatment beds and detox facilities for community members.“That in itself compounds the issue of people who are ready to go to treatment and it’s not there,” he said.Ambrose met with various stakeholders to discuss ways of tackling the issue. She said the improper and recreational use of prescription drugs is threatening the health and safety of communities across the country.“Substance abuse and prescription drug abuse are very serious and complex health, social and economic issues and as such cannot be addressed or resolved in isolation,” said Ambrose.The federal government will fund $13 million over the next five years to undertake 1,000 annual pharmacy inspections across Canada.Rona Ambose announcing $13 million for pharmacy inspections. Photo APTN/Brandi MorinThe initiative is to help curb the increasing use of highly addictive pain prescription medications that are sold illegally on the streets.According to a 2013 international products control survey, Canada is now the second largest per capita consumer of prescription opiates.The 2012 Canadian Alcohol and drug use monitoring survey indicated that close to 1 million youth reported having used prescription drugs in the last 12 months. A large number of youth reported accessing prescription drugs at home in their own medicine cabinets.Weaselhead said what his community needs are resources to help people.“We do have a big problem and if we don’t find those beds, if we don’t find detox for them I’m afraid they’re going to go back to their habits. And we’ll continue to see over doses, we’ll continue to see the deaths and the number will continue to climb.”Alberta Health Services (AHS) have been working closely with the Blood tribe and First Nations/Inuit Health Services.AHS medical health officer of health for southern Alberta, Dr. Karen Goodison said while accessing resources is a challenge, addressing the situation is considered a top priority.The AHS currently distributes a take home Naloxone Kit that serves as an anti-dote for reviving individuals who are overdosing.“We will continue to build capacity for our community support and wrap around services, this needs to be a collective approach,” said Weaselhead.Blood Tribe chief Charles Weaselhead sitting down with Health Canada Minister Rona Ambrose. Photo APTN/Brandi Morin (Chief Charles Weaselhead speaking in Edmonton. Photo APTN/Brandi Morin) Weaselhead said that Blood tribe officials continue to work to provide information to members focused on intervention and treatment for prescription drug abuse.In April, Health Canada announced it will invest $13.5 million dollars over the next five years to First Nations communities across the country to enhance prevention and treatment capacity specifically for prescription drug abuse.This will include crisis intervention teams that provide First Nation communities with counseling and other supports.In addition Health Canada launched national TV ad campaigns to help equip parents with information on how to talk to teenagers about prescription drug use.They also urge all Canadians to take their unused medications back to their local pharmacy when they’re no longer firstname.lastname@example.org
Iman Kassam APTN National NewsA chief in the Northwest Territories is asking a nearby town to stop serving booze at community events.A recent event saw nine people taken into custody.But the chief and mayor don’t see eye-to-eye.
(Kenneth Deer, right, had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican in May. Photo courtesy: Kenneth Deer)Paul BarnsleyAPTN National NewsROME— A senior Roman Catholic Church official is considering a request from Indigenous leaders to rescind the 15th century church decrees that formed the legal basis for colonialism.Kahnawake Mohawk Kenneth Deer, a representative of the Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee, which represents the Iroquois Confederacy Council on international matters, was part of a delegation – that called itself the Long March to Rome — that attended the May 4 meeting with senior members of the Catholic Church.The meeting followed a short, face-to-face encounter in Vatican City with Pope Francis.Each Wednesday, the pope greets the public in St. Peter’s Square. There were approximately 20,000 people present on May 4, Deer said.The delegation wanted the meeting on that date because it was the anniversary of one of the papal bulls of discovery, decrees issued by the pope of the day which lent the church’s approval to the colonization of lands because they were “terra nullius” or lands empty of Christian people.The pope appeared on a stage and addressed the crowd.The Long March to Rome delegation was invited to sit on the stage and await their short face-to-face, individual meetings with the pontiff.The delegation issued a press release saying they were seeking revocation of three papal bulls because: “They were the ‘blueprint’ for conquest of the New World; they provided moral justification for the enslavement and conquest of Indigenous peoples worldwide; they are an ongoing violation of contemporary human rights legislation; and other communities currently struggling to save their lands are threatened by modern-day ideologies of inequality anchored in the papal bulls.”The original plan was for representatives of Indigenous nations around the world to assemble in Paris and actually march to Rome to demand a meeting with the pope, raising awareness of the issue as they progressed.But as negotiations with Vatican officials got more serious, the plan was changed. A smaller delegation met in Florence, about 300 km north of Rome, to wait and see if the meeting in the Italian capital would happen.David McKinnon, a Canadian lawyer who now resides in Amsterdam, worked closely with the Indigenous leaders to push for a meeting with the pope. The group had been working towards that day for more than a year.The call finally came the day before and the 11 delegates then made their way south.“The leaders were determined to tell Pope Francis that it was time for the Vatican to own up to its responsibility for legitimizing a genocide committed against Indigenous peoples and to show its good faith by revoking three Papal Bulls of Discovery: Dum Diversas (1452), Romanus Pontifex (1455) and Inter Caetera (1493), still in force today,” the delegation’s press release states.Claiming they carried the weight of 370 million Indigenous Peoples on their shoulders, the delegation says it represented the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, the Assembly of First Nations, representing 634 First Nations from across Canada with 1.4 million citizens from 58 different Indigenous nations, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Umatilla confederacy of the Pacific Northwest, the Yakama, Oglala Sioux, Shawnee, Mapuche, Navajo Diné and Apache Ndee.Kenneth Deer set the scene for APTN National News. He first met with a priest who served as the pope’s interpreter.“When he came up to me I told him we were going to talk about the papal bulls that make up the doctrine of discovery and we want the pope’s support to rescind it because states are still using it today. And right away he got very defensive and said, ‘Well that was a long time ago and we already rescinded them and it’s not necessary to say anything because we’re not using them to dispossess Indigenous people.’ I said, ‘That may be so but states are still using them today in court cases. In the United States and Canada they continue to use the papal bulls to dispossess and disempower Indigenous people,’” Deer told APTN. “So he said OK. When it was our turn to see the pope, the first two were [former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner] Willie Littlechild and [former South Thompson Indian Band Chief] Keith Matthew. And they talked to him about the bulls as well.”Then it was Deer’s turn.“I greeted him and we shook hands and I told him that we want his support to rescind the papal bulls that make up the doctrine of discovery because states are still using it today,” said Deer.“The pope was very kind. He kept eye contact and he was very attentive. And all he said was ‘I will pray for you.’ That’s the only thing he said. And he gave me a little red box with a set of rosaries in it. And that was it.”Then it was time to get down to business.“Right from there, then we got whisked to the little compound in Rome. It’s not in the Vatican City. There’s not enough room,” he said.“The most important part of May 4 was meeting with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. There we met with Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, who is the chair. And that was the key meeting. That was the meeting where we addressed the whole issue of the papal bulls and the doctrine of discovery. That was key. That was the original intent. That was the original appointment,” he said.At first it appeared the archbishop was not going to listen to the Indigenous leaders.“At first when he first started he started giving the usual spiel that the papal bulls are no longer in effect, that they’ve been superseded by other papal bulls and there was no need for us to do anything. Then we interrupted him to do an opening prayer,” Deer said. “Then we did introductions around the table and then we got into the issues. By the time we had done with him he was changing his position. At the end he said, ‘Maybe the Vatican does have to make a statement. We have to consider making a statement.’”That was a very significant choice of words, Deer said.“He didn’t say rescind, he said abolish – a much stronger word – he said we have to abolish the papal bulls and that maybe there should be an apology from the pope,” he added.That was more than the delegation had asked for.“We didn’t ask for an apology. I’m not a big fan of apologies. I need something stronger than that,” Deer said. “Then he said they would need to have further meetings on this to discuss . . . we’d like to discuss what kind of statement he would make. So he was open to that idea. He committed himself to meetings but he wouldn’t commit about when and where because he wasn’t prepared for that when we came in there.”The group feels they got what they travelled to Rome to get.“We thought that was the most significant part of the whole trip was Tomasi saying that maybe we should make a statement,” said Deer.The message has reached the ears of one of the most highly placed clerics in the church. Archbishop Tomasi has been mentioned as a possible candidate to succeed Francis when the time comes, Deer said.“That’s what I’ve heard. And he’s a good friend of the pope, a confidante of Pope Francis. And some of us knew him because he was stationed in Geneva for few years. So he’s familiar with some of us. So I thought that was amazingly significant,” he added.The process of working towards the goal of getting rid of the roots of the colonial era has commenced, Deer said.“The other thing he wanted was to get more information about how states are using the doctrine of discovery today. So we’ll have to send him some documents how the Canadian government is using them in their court cases. And apparently they’ve been using them as recently as last year from what I’m hearing,” he said.Deer acknowledged that the idea gained strength because this pope seems more open to dealing with the matter than his predecessors.“I think the people felt that if there’s a pope that’s going to do anything it’ll be this one,” he said.Deer said Canadian lawyer David MacKinnon worked for more than year to make the meeting happen. Deer praised MacKinnon’s “tenacity in getting the appointment with the pontifical council.”“In the end he didn’t go to the meeting because he wanted us to take the lead,” he said.The Indigenous leaders are now waiting to see if Tomasi will follow through with action.Deer said that when he sees how hard it is to get that second meeting he’ll get a better idea of the church’s email@example.com
The Canadian PressKAMLOOPS, B.C. — Residents of a village in British Columbia’s southern interior are anxious to see what is left of their homes after one of the hundreds of wildfires raging across the region tore through their community, engulfing dozens of properties and forcing people to flee with little warning.Mark Sutherland of the Ashcroft Indian Reserve west of Kamloops said Sunday he had only seconds to escape with his girlfriend and two young children before flames overtook his home.“By the time we got everyone into the cars and we were getting out of the reserve, coming around the bend, (the fire) was already past the house. The next few houses were on fire,” said Sutherland, who used to work on a forestry firefighting ground crew.“It was so fast. Everything was happening so fast.”There is no end in sight as provincial officials expect more gusty winds and hot, dry conditions to fan the flames of the more than 220 fires that have destroyed an area covering at least 230 square kilometres.Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, said the number of people forced from their homes is likely to rise from the latest estimate of 7,000.“The situation around evacuation alerts and orders could be quite fluid,” said Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, on Sunday.“I would anticipate there would be expansions over the next few days.”B.C. has committed $100 million to help communities and residents rebuild, while the federal government is sending aircraft.Christy Clark, the outgoing premier, announced the fund Sunday in Kamloops. She said $600 will be made immediately available by electronic transfer through the Red Cross to people who have registered after being forced from their homes.“We are just, in many ways, at the beginning of the worst part of the fire season and we watch the weather, we watch the wind, and we pray for rain,” she said.“But our prayers aren’t always answered in these things and so we need to be there to support people in the meantime because there are hundreds and hundreds of people who are scared to death right now.”She said the transition team for premier-designate John Horgan’s incoming government has been briefed on the establishment of the fund.Horgan said the outgoing government has been very co-operative and that he would honour the $100 million Clark had committed to, adding that the province would likely provide even more support as the cost of the disaster grows.“Whatever is needed to make sure that people are whole after this, we’re going to make sure that happens,” he said, after meeting with officials in Kamloops.Horgan said he spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Sunday afternoon, who assured him the federal government stood ready to help.“To have the prime minister say the federal government is there for us when we need it is very reassuring,” he said.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Ottawa has agreed to federal assistance.The Canadian Armed Forces are helping residents affected by evacuations and airlift emergency workers and equipment.Three Canadian Armed Forces Griffon helicopters were expected to arrive in Kelowna on Sunday and some larger fixed-wing aircraft are to arrive over the next few days, said Chris Duffy, executive director of Emergency Management BC.Duffy said the aircraft would be on standby and ready to help wherever they were needed, but that they would not be assisting with fire suppression at this time.The hardest-hit regions were the central and southern Interior. There were also major blazes burning in northern B.C. but they weren’t posing as immediate a threat, said Skrepnek.Highway closures trapped Cache Creek resident Jacquie McMahon and her husband overnight Friday on the north side of Lac La Hache, near the 100 Mile House wildfire.“The orange glow on both sides of us was so surreal and it was growing, growing, growing,” said McMahon, whose home was spared in the fire.“I just lost my mom (in March), and mom always told us: ‘Never go anywhere without everything you need.’ ”She added, wiping away tears. “So we had everything we needed. And thank goodness.”A provincewide state of emergency was declared Friday after about 140 new fires ignited and crews grappled with intense winds. The government said the state of emergency allows it to more easily co-ordinate a response to the crisis.On Saturday, 98 new fires sprang up and existing fires grew in size, Skrepnek said.The four biggest fires ranged in size from about 20 to 44 square kilometres and drove thousands from their homes in the communities of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, 100 Mile House, 105 Mile House, 108 Mile House, 150 Mile House and the Alexis Creek area.Dozens of public parks in the Cariboo and Chilcotin region were closed to the public.The province has been marshalling all the personnel it can to battle the flames, protect property and try to keep people safe.The BC Wildfire Service employs more than 1,000 firefighters and all were either deployed or on days of rest. At least 200 contractors backed them up, while an additional 300 firefighters recruited from other parts of Canada and are expected to arrive on Monday and Tuesday.Despite the crews’ efforts, Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta said a fire burning between Ashcroft and Cache Creek had destroyed dozens of buildings, including at least five houses, 30 trailer park homes and two hangars at a regional airport.B.C. has seen 552 fires to date in 2017, about half of which broke out over the past few days. Skrepnek said the province had spent $46 million fighting wildfires this year as of end-of-day Friday.
Angel MooreAPTN NewsThe Kingsclear First Nation in New Brunswick is divided.Not by politics or any particular issue – but by a highway.For years cars have been speeding through the community – and the route has now turned deadly.On September 7, a 27-year old mother was killed trying to get across.Now the community is vowing to hold a vigil at the site until the province helps to make the crossing firstname.lastname@example.org@angelharksen
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Amazon said today that it received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico hoping to be the home of the company’s second headquarters.The online retailer kicked off its hunt for a second home base in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs and spend more than $5 billion on construction.Proposals were due last week, and Amazon made clear that tax breaks and grants would be a big deciding factor on where it chooses to land.Amazon.com Inc. did not list which cities or metro areas applied, but said the proposals came from 43 U.S. states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, three Mexican states and six Canadian provinces.Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Halifax and Calgary are some of the Canadian cities that submitted proposals.Besides looking for financial incentives, Amazon had stipulated that it was seeking to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to more than 740,000 square metres in the next decade.Generous tax breaks and other incentives can erode a city’s tax base. For the winner, it could be worth it, since an Amazon headquarters could draw other tech businesses and their well-educated, highly paid employees.In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie has endorsed Newark’s bid, saying the state and the city are planning nearly $7 billion in tax breaks. Detroit bid organizers have said its proposal offers Amazon the unique chance to set up shop in both the U.S. and Canada. Missouri officials proposed an innovation corridor between Kansas City and St. Louis rather than a single location.The seven U.S. states that Amazon said did not apply were: Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.Ahead of the deadline, some cities turned to stunts to try and stand out: Representatives from Tucson, Arizona, sent a 21-foot tall cactus to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters; New York lit the Empire State Building orange to match Amazon’s smile logo.The company plans to remain in its sprawling Seattle headquarters, and the second one will be “a full equal” to it, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in September. Amazon has said that it will announce a decision sometime next year.
VANCOUVER – Bravo pasta sauce fans are stocking up on the product that’s reappeared in some Giant Tiger stores after Kraft Canada announced it would bring the recently discontinued sauce back for a limited time following social media outcry.While stores say they’re quickly running out of the pantry staple, die-hard fans hoping to buy a lifetime supply shouldn’t fret because more shipments will arrive soon.“My phone has not stopped ringing for the last two days,” said Richard McKay, owner of a Giant Tiger store in Sudbury, Ont.The store received about 4,000 cans on Nov. 27, which McKay said he put out on the floor that morning. By the evening, there wasn’t any left.It’s a similar scene in many of the other Giant Tiger stores reached by The Canadian Press. Employees said some customers would leave with one or two, while others bought in bulk.A Toronto-area store worker said their location received 144 cans on Tuesday and had less than two dozen left by Thursday morning.A Brampton, Ont., store employee said the initial 128 cans their location received and promptly sold out of was a test and they’re awaiting a “by far” bigger shipment for January.On Kraft Canada’s Facebook page, one Facebook user posted a photo showing a tower of more than a dozen flats of the sauce stacked that she said was in her home.“I’ll fill up my whole room with it,” she said in the accompanying post, asking the company to bring it back permanently.About 180,000 cans were shipped to Giant Tiger stores in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I., said Alison Scarlett, a Giant Tiger spokeswoman, in an email. Certain stores in western provinces also received shipments, she said.Some home cooks expressed frustration at how quickly the product sold out at nearby locations, especially when the company first announced the sauce would arrive in stores Dec. 10 rather than late November.Kraft Canada did not respond to a request for comment, but the company answered consumer gripes on its Facebook account.The sauce’s return is a limited time offer and individual stores determine whether to stock it, the company said, encouraging sauce seekers to scour their local Giant Tiger’s flyers to find out when it’ll be available again if it’s currently sold out.Scarlett said some stores have sold out, but the company is doing its best to replenish supplies quickly.McKay said he expects to receive another shipment by Dec. 10. He initially ordered 6,000 cans, but is now trying to get even more.Though, McKay added, he’ll continue to limit customers to 12 cans per person.The discontinued sauce returned after a Welland, Ont., man started an online petition, saying Kraft Canada’s decision left him with beloved family recipes he’ll no longer be able to make.Nearly 11,000 people signed the petition urging the company to bring back the sauce and Kraft Canada announced in mid-November that it would make the product available for a limited time at Giant Tiger stores.It has yet to make a commitment to permanently reinstate the sauce, despite continuing consumer pressure.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.
OTTAWA – One of the world’s largest short-term rental websites is inviting the Trudeau Liberals to create a regulatory regime for the burgeoning industry — something its critics have long advocated and raising pressure on the government to set rules in the market.Airbnb’s budget proposal to the House of Commons finance committee asks the federal Liberals to avoid forcing “old and outdated rules” for traditional hotels onto Airbnb hosts, pushing instead for a simple-to-understand regime.In its five-page submission, the company bluntly says: “We want to be regulated” — a step beyond last year’s request for the government to apply a “light” regulatory touch.“We think as a platform our hosts should pay taxes. I know people get shocked when we say that, but we do. We think we should be contributing,” Alex Dagg, Airbnb’s public policy manager in Canada, said in an interview.“We just need to figure out what are the appropriate rules in place to do that and how can we facilitate that.”The submission leaves the Liberals with mounting requests and offers from online service providers themselves to set some regulations around their work, including applying sales taxes, all of which the government has thus far shied away from.Quebec, British Columbia and a handful of cities have enacted rules and struck deals to get tax revenues from bookings on Airbnb, which is one of the few services of its kind to negotiate tax agreements with Canadian governments. Quebec’s deal netted the province about $2.8 million over the first six months of the tax agreement.In April, a Liberal-dominated Commons committee urged Ottawa to make online service providers based outside the country collect and remit sales taxes as part of a series of recommendations to help Canada’s small businesses compete online.In late May, the national broadcast regulator released a report calling on the federal government to pry more commitments — monetary or otherwise — from online streaming giants like Netflix and Spotify and consider new internet levies to fund Canadian content.Federal officials have told groups that they are looking at how to tax and regulate online service providers, but don’t seem to have a clear idea of how to do it.The Hotel Association of Canada said Thursday the Liberals should require online businesses to also hand over detailed information on all home-renting activity so tax authorities have a list of all short-term rental hosts and can force those with high earnings to pay taxes like hotel chains.The industry group argued it wasn’t interested in targeting the casual home owner who rents out a room or unit for a few nights a year, instead putting a bull’s-eye on hosts who rent out multiple homes or units for months on end as part of a larger commercial operation.“We are not against Airbnb and we’re not against the competition. Competition is, in fact, a good thing. What we’re looking for here is fairness and a level playing field,” said Alana Baker, the association’s director of government relations.Airbnb says there are some 80,000 people who offer places to rent in Canada, and they earn on average about $5,500 annually.— Follow @jpress on Twitter.
TORONTO — Uber Technologies Inc. says its self-driving vehicles have returned to the streets of Toronto in a modified program after it halted testing earlier this year when one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.The company said Thursday that the limited relaunch of a few vehicles in the Toronto area will have a driver in control at all times and include a second operator as a precaution. The Arizona crash in March happened while an operator was streaming a television show and the vehicle was operating autonomously.Raquel Urtasun, chief scientist at Uber Advanced Technologies Group in Toronto, said in an interview that since the incident Uber has reviewed safety measures company-wide, including at the research group.“Since the tragic incident, ATG has been working, has really been looking at all of our processes and the way we develop the technology.”She said safety comes first and the company has looked to emphasize more simulations in autonomous development.“We have revamped all our offline testing such that we minimize the need for tests on the roads, and instead we leverage all of our data collection processes and we can test and create simulations so that we minimize the risks until the technology is ready.”The Toronto testing will focus on development and data collection for the company’s artificial intelligence systems including map building, more-so than testing the real-world self-driving capabilities of the vehicles, said Urtasun.Self-driving vehicles generally require high-definition road maps to operate and supplement the various on-board sensors. The company says it’s working to build technology that will allow map building in real-time to speed up the mapping process.Uber says it has also restarted testing in Pittsburgh, where vehicles will be operated in a fully autonomous mode with two safety operators, and in San Francisco where drivers will control the car similarly to the Toronto program.The company says it also plans to move its ATG research and development hub a couple kilometres west from its current base in Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District tech hub as it plans to double the size of its AI research team to 100 next year. The growth of the AI research team is on top of plans announced in September to invest upwards of $200 million and hire 200 engineers in its first engineering facility in Canada. The Advanced Technologies Group will relocate to a mixed-use development under construction by RioCan called the Bathurst College Centre.Urtasun said the company hasn’t had problems with recruitment yet despite strong demand in the Toronto technology sector.“This is one of the fundamental problems that, you know, is going to influence the way we live in this century. So everybody’s very excited to be working in self-driving.”Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press
The magazine also cites the average annual household income in Fort St. John of $124,000, saying that it takes just 3.1 years of the average resident’s household income to buy an average home in Fort St. John, valued at $386,000.The magazine said that the city had an unemployment rate in March of 5.7 percent thanks to its oil, natural gas, forestry and agriculture industries.The two Sea-to-Sky Country cities of Squamish and Whistler ranked 2nd and 3rd on this year’s list respectively, saying that the two communities have a large number of recreation attractions, along with fairly high average earnings.Delta and North Vancouver rounded out the Top 5 in B.C.The magazine ranked Oakville, Ontario as the best place in Canada to live, while Lacombe, Alberta has ranked the best place in Western Canada, and 5th overall.The full rankings can be found here: https://www.moneysense.ca/canadas-best-places-to-live-2018-create-your-own-ranking/#. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – MoneySense magazine has ranked Fort St. John as the best place to live in B.C. and the three Canadian territories, and 15th best place to live in Canada.The magazine, which is owned by Rogers Publishing Ltd., cites the city’s low taxes, relative affordability of housing, and amenities as reasons for ranking the Energetic City at the top of the list.The magazine’s Best Places to Live edition ranked 415 cities across Canada for this year’s list, looking at everything from transit access, arts and community, demographics, health, and crime rates, among a host of others.
The Corporation is anticipating phase eight to be placed into service in stages starting in 2020 through the first half of 2022, subject to regulatory and environmental approvals.President and CEO of Pembina, Mick Dilger, says the system expansion will allow Pembina to deliver timely and reliable transportation service solutions for their customers, adding that they are pursuing development with a long-term outlook.“Our strategic footprint continues to provide opportunities to complete staged expansions, enabling us to deliver timely and reliable transportation service solutions for our customers. Our customers continue to recognize the favourable economics in the Deep Basin and Montney areas and like us are pursuing development with a long-term outlook. Further, they appreciate the new markets we are developing such as the Prince Rupert Export Terminal and the proposed PDH/PP facility.”Phase eight will include new 10 and 16-inch pipelines in the Gordondale to La Glace corridor of Alberta, as well as six new pump stations or terminal upgrades located between Gordondale and Fox Creek, Alberta. Phase VIII will enable segregated pipeline service for ethane-plus and propane-plus NGL mix from the central Montney area at Gordondale, Alberta, into the Edmonton area for market delivery.It is expected that the majority of the $500 million capital spending will occur in 2020 and 2021.Pembina says this expansion advances their ultimate vision of having segregated liquids transportation service for ethane-plus, propane-plus, crude and condensate across at least four pipelines between Gordondale, Alberta and the Edmonton area. As well as achieving fully their powered-up market delivery capacity of 1.3 million barrels per day across the Peace and Northern Pipelines, which could be fully realized with a phase nine expansion, currently being engineered. CALGARY, A.B. – Pembina Pipeline Corporation has announced that it has approved an additional expansion of its Peace Pipeline system.Pembina says this system will accommodate incremental customer demand in the Montney area by debottlenecking constraints, accessing downstream capacity, and further enhancing product segregation on the system.According to Pembina, phase eight of the system has an estimated capital cost of approximately $500 million and is supported by 10-year contracts with significant take-or-pay provisions.
POUCE COUPE, B.C. – August 1st, 2019 Argo Road Maintenance will be continuing maintenance on the South Peace roads for the Region.Caribou Road Services Ltd time working the area spanned 15 years as they shared on their FB Page they successfully battled blinding snowstorms, bitterly cold temperatures, snowdrifts, mud, huge ‘200-year’ flood events, forest fires, droughts, and just about everything in between.The company shares further their gratitude to their employees by acknowledging their hard work and team spirit and sharing ‘We are proud of what we have accomplished together.’ The new contractor Argo Road Maintenance uses social media platforms and can be found on Instagram @argoroads and Twitter @ArgoSouthPeaceTo view the website; CLICK HERE To view Caribou Road Services Ltd post; CLICK HERE
Is your daughter more anxious over maths than your son? Blame gendered stereotypes about mathematics as well as anxiety of both teachers and parents, finds a study. While mathematics is often considered a hard subject, not all difficulties with the subject result from cognitive difficulties. Many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety, apprehension, tension or discomfort when confronted with a maths problem. The study, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, showed that maths anxiety is seen more in girls than boys. The gender gap stems from the gendered stereotypes about the ability to crack maths. Primary-aged children noted that they had been confused by different teaching methods, while secondary students commented on poor interpersonal relations with their math teachers. Secondary students indicated that the transition from primary to secondary school had been a cause of maths anxiety, as the work seemed harder and they could not cope.
New Delhi: It was a cool Thursday morning in the city, with the minimum temperature settling at 18.7 degrees Celsius, normal for the season. Partly cloudy skies are forecast for later part of the day with the maximum temperature settling around 39 degrees Celsius, said a MeT department official. Humidity was 69 percent at 8.30 AM, he said. The maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded at 17.6 and 36.8 degrees Celsius, respectively, on Wednesday.
Shimla: The crunchy delicious Himachal apples will hit the markets nearly three months later. But, there are fears that the next crop could be little distasteful for the BJP.In the election time, trouble is brewing in the state’s apple belt. Hundreds of apple growers duped by the commission agents also called as ‘arthiyas’ are up in the arms against the state government and its bodies – Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) for apathy towards their plights. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Commission agents (middlemen) have not paid nearly Rs 100 crore to the growers in lieu of their produce i.e., apple boxes sold to the outside buyers and traders at different marketing yards, run by the APMC. “The next season is in the offing but farmers don’t have money to buy inputs and undertake orchard operations. This is a crucial time for apple growers. But, poor farmers are making around of the commission agents. Some farmers have turned penniless,” alleged Sanjay Chauhan, a former Shimla Mayor, who is organising farmers’ struggle for their rights. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe state with its Rs 3,500 crore apple economy – which forms 49 per cent of total fruit production in the state, is bound to have an impact on the elections if the growers resort to agitation. Kisan Sangrah Samiti –a body of the farmers backed by CPM leaders, including Sanjay Chauhan, has already given a call for protest in Shimla on April 22. Chauhan has held a series of meetings with the affected farmers at Kotkhai, Rohru and other places —all parts of Shimla Parliamentary constituency. As par Agriculture Marketing Act, the commission agents are accountable for all payments, which accrue to the farmers for the produce sold at the designated marketing places. The commission agents have to take bank guarantees from the wholesale buyers. This is a preventive clause to protect the interests of the farmers. ‘At the fall of the hammer, the buyer has to clear his payments before he takes away the produce. The responsibility lies on the commission agents to pay to the grower. But there is corrupt nexus between the Commission agents, buyers and also those heading the APMCs to dupe the poor growers,” Chauhan says. During state assembly’s budget session, CPM MLA Rakesh Singha and BJP MLA Balbir Verma raised the issue of non-payments for the product to the apple growers. The government admitted that the growers have been left high and dry. The government, however, promised to ensure that all payments and arrears are cleared by March 31, 2019. This has not happened yet. Currently, there are around 91 FIRs registered by the apple growers at different police stations. The amount involved runs in crores. The anger is building-up steadily in the areas known for apple growing. Out of 12 districts in the state, seven are growing apples having more than 1.70 lakh families engaged in the apple cultivation. CPM MLA Rakesh Singha says it’s a new case of farmers distress.The government is not doing anything to stop the loot. The farmers are sole victims.”