Month: October 2019
New Delhi: A first-ever thematic global fair will be organised here in October to promote cooperative-to-cooperative exchange of trade and technology and showcase India’s products and services from the sector in the international market, officials said Thursday. The India International Cooperative Trade Fair (IICTF) will be hosted at Pragati Maidan from October 11-13. Additional Secretary (Economic Diplomacy & States) in the Ministry of External Affairs Manoj K Bharti announced about the fair in the presence of ambassadors, diplomats and representatives of various embassies here. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar “This will be the first time that India will be hosting an international cooperative fair and we are expecting a large participation from various foreign countries. The purpose is to promote cooperative-to-cooperative trade, domestically and internationally and also showcase India’s products and services from the sector to a global market,” he said at an event held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan. Sandeep Kumar Nayak, managing director of the National Cooperative Development Corporation, said the NCDC is organising the event with governments of Telangana and Haryana as prime state partners, besides IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited), Indian Potash Limited (IPL) and Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited) as cooperative sector partners. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot Finance Narendra Modi is set to be sworn in as the prime minister for a successive second term in the evening, and he is expected to inaugurate the fair. “This event will allow various cooperatives from around the world to trade with each other directly, unlike in other fairs. India will be looking to get technology from other countries, from agriculture and food processing to other fields. Besides, India will get an opportunity to sell its own products and services to foreign countries,” Nayak said. The fair will also see exhibition and sales promotion, cooperative-to-cooperative meetings, business-to-business meetings, Incredible India exposition, thematic sessions and technology seminars. Among the focus areas would be agriculture, dairy, fisheries, rubber, coconut, wine, technology and textiles, Nayak said. High Commissioner of Guyana David Goldwin Pollard, who attended the event, said, “Our country is officially called Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and we would like to explore opportunities to partner with India for this fair.” Bharti said the groundwork for organising this fair has been prepared for nearly a year. Nayak said two roadshows have already been held abroad to promote the show — Bangkok in March and Ho Chi Minh City in April — and another one will be done in Johannesburg in June.
New Delhi: The CBI has registered a corruption case against former Arunachal Pradesh CM Nabam Tuki’s brother Nabam Hari and others in relation to PWD contracts that were awarded to a company belonging to Hari’s wife in 2005 when Tuki was the PWD Minister.The probe agency had in December 2017 registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) in the matter, after the High Court of Guwahati had directed the probe agency to look into allegations of up to 11 contracts awarded to Mary Associates, run by Nabam Mary, sister-in-law of the former Arunachal Pradesh CM. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahWhile Tuki is not named in the FIR, the CBI has named his brother Hari, Mary and two other officials of the PWD in the case, alleging that contracts to construct residential buildings for Kendriya Vidyalaya in Umroi Cantonment of Shillong were awarded without following the appropriate procedure. The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that the accused had exploited a loophole in the procedures of awarding contracts and through Taba Tedir, then Executive Engineer(EE) and Kuru Sera, then Superintending Engineer(SE), had issued multiple work orders as a workaround to issuing a tender for the job. Also Read – Prohibitory orders lifted from Mumbai’s stir-hit Aarey ColonyAs the Arunachal Pradesh PWD followed the CPWD Manual at the time, a clause in that allowed SE-level officers to award contracts not exceeding Rs 3 lakh and EE-level officer to award contracts not more than Rs 1 lakh, without calling for a tender. The construction of the above-mentioned residential buildings was pegged at over Rs 1 crore and as a way to bypass the mandatory provision for calling a tender for such a job, Tedir and Sera divided up the job into multiple work orders not exceeding their prescribed limit under the CPWD Manual and issued them to Mary Associates. Further, the CBI has alleged that there are no records available to show the reasons as to why the works were awarded to Mary’s firm without inviting a tender. Moreover, the probe agency said that Mary’s firm had written a letter to Tedir, describing her firm as a local contractor with “good experience” in construction work, before beginning construction of Phase-I of the project. Tedir had then awarded the work orders to Mary Associates acknowledging the firm’s experience in construction work. However, the CBI has alleged that Mary Associates was, at that time, registered to run a business of electrical goods, hardware, motor parts, lubricants, and agri-equipments. It was not enlisted as a civil contractor with PWD and did not have the requisite license or expertise to execute large construction works, the agency said in its FIR.
New Delhi: Bharti Airtel will seek shareholders’ approval for a waiver of recovery of excess remuneration paid to company chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and CEO Gopal Vittal in 2018-19, the telecom company said Sunday. According to the regulatory filing, Mittal’s remuneration in 2018-19 was Rs 21.19 crore more than the ceiling of 11 per cent of the company’s net profit. Vittal was paid Rs 8.87 crore in excess of that limit in the last fiscal. Bharti Airtel will seek the approval at its annual general meeting to be held on August 14 in New Delhi, the filing said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”…the approval of the members of the Company be and is hereby accorded to ratify and confirm the waiver of recovery of the excess remuneration amounting to Rs 211.90 million paid to Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman for the financial year 2018-19,” Bharti Airtel said. According to the rule, total managerial remuneration payable by a public company to its directors, including managing director and whole-time director, and its manager in respect of any financial year shall not exceed 11 per cent of the net profits of that company. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostTotal remuneration paid to Mittal was over Rs 31 crore and Vittal was paid Rs 20.9 crore against the ceiling of around Rs 9.8 crore and Rs 12 crore respectively for 2018-19. Bharti Airtel’s revenue and profit have been eroding due to a fierce tariff war after the launch of services by Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio. The standalone revenue of Airtel dropped to Rs 49,608 crore while the net loss for the financial year ended on March 31, 2019, was at Rs 1,829 crore against a net profit of Rs 79.2 crore for the previous year. “…the financial performance of the Company in the financial year ended March 31, 2019, did not meet expectations and it is possible that the Company may also have inadequate profits in coming years,” the company said in a notice.
Kolkata: Nearly a month after Sajal Kanjilal, a passenger, was dragged to his death by a Kolkata Metro train with his hand stuck between its sliding doors, a girl commuter on Tuesday complained that the Metro train she was travelling in, started moving with her shoulder stuck outside the doors.According to a social media post by the victim, Aatreyee Bhattacharya, the incident took place at the Park Street Metro station on Tuesday morning, the very station where the previous accident had occurred. However, the Kolkata Metro Railway authority refuted the charges. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”@RailMinIndia I was going to die today, thanks to you. My shoulders were stuck on the doors, and I felt the metro starting to run. Again? @metrorailwaykol how many more before you take a step,” tweeted Bhattacharya. Minutes after her tweet, the Kolkata Metro Railway authority came into action and started scrutinising the CCTV footage of the Metro station. According to sources, the incident took place at the Park Street Metro station when the rush of passengers was less. The Kolkata Metro Authority claimed that no such incident took place. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”We have thoroughly scrutinised the CCTV footage of the station. But there was no such incident,” said Kolkata Metro Railway Chief Public Relation Officer Indrani Banerjee. She reiterated that the Metro police personnel have been asked to keep a close eye on passengers trying to force their way into the rakes at the last moment to avoid any untoward incident. This apart, a penalty is also there for passengers who are caught getting into the train forcefully. Hours after complaining on social media, the girl deleted her tweet. The incident reminded of 66-year-old Kanjilal who eventually died after being dragged through the tunnel between Park Street and Maidan Metro stations last month. The passenger count of Kolkata Metro Railway has increased during the first four months of this financial year (2019-20) in comparison to the same period of 2018-19. During this period, from April 1, 2019 to July 31, 2019, the Metro Railway carried 698.49 lakh passengers in comparison to 690.60 lakh passengers carried in the same period of the previous financial year (2018-19), registering an increase of 7.89 lakh commuters.
Kolkata: Jadavpur University (JU) on Thursday kicked-off tree audit on its main campus to create a data bank of the variety of flora inside the sprawling campus.The move, which is the first ever initiative on the part of the varsity comes in the wake of allegations from members of Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association that some trees have been cut down inside the main campus. “We have began the process of tree audit in the campus. There will be scientific mapping of the trees and the species will be classified along with their names . We will also demarcate the trees that have medicinal value. GPS technology is being adopted for the exercise” said Snehamanju Basu, Registrar of JU. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe JU campus abounds in trees of various species but scientific method of plantation has hardly been followed. “The mapping and zone wise categorization will also help us in adopting a scientific method of plantation on future,” a senior JU official said. The mapping will be done based upon latitude and longitude. “We will prepare a list , name the various species and demarcate the place in the map with exact locations of the trees. We will put up a display board along with the scientific name and medicinal value, if any,” said Soumyajit Biswas, deputy director (eastern region) of National Medicinal Plant Board which is executing the work for the census. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayJUTA members in the middle of July had presented photos of two chopped off tree planks to the university authorities and had alleged that trees are being chopped down keeping the varsity in the dark. They had alleged involvement of a section of employees of the varsity in connivance with a racket in the illegal act. There are mahogany, mango, arjun, sirish, krishnachura and many other trees inside the 58 acres of land in the main campus of JU.
Srinagar: Most phone lines in Kashmir will be restored over the weekend and schools will reopen next week, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said on Friday while announcing the easing of restrictions in a phased and “orderly way”. Offices of the Jammu and Kashmir government in the Valley functioned normally on Friday and the attendance in many offices was “quite high”, Subrahmanyam said at a press conference. He said there has been no loss of life or major injury since restrictions were imposed on August 5, when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 was revoked and the state bifurcated into two Union Territories. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “…There will be easing of restrictions in the next few days in an orderly way,” Subrahmanyam told reporters here, adding that steps would be taken keeping in view the evolving situation as well as the cooperation of the people in maintaining calm and peace. “Schools will be opened after the weekend area-wise so that children’s studies do not suffer,” he said. Telecom connectivity, a major point of concern, will gradually be eased and restored in a phased manner keeping in mind the constant threat posed by terrorist organisations in using mobile connectivity to organise terror actions, Subrahmanyam said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Asked about the restoration of telephone lines, he said, “You will see gradual restoration from tonight and tomorrow onwards. You will find a lot of Srinagar functioning tomorrow morning. BSNL takes a couple of hours to get back to action. Exchange by exchange they will be switching it on. Over the weekend, you will have most of these lines functional.” Twelve districts in Jammu and Kashmir out of 22 were functioning normally while there was limited night-time restrictions only in five districts. “After today’s Friday prayers, immediate reports suggest that things have gone off quite peacefully right throughout the state,” he said. “We have prevented any loss of human life despite concerted efforts by terrorist organisations, radical groups and continuing efforts by Pakistan to destabilise the situation,” he said. As restrictions on the movement of people are removed area by area, movement of public transport will be allowed in these areas too, the senior official said. “It is expected that over the next few days as the restrictions get eased, life in Jammu and Kashmir will become completely normal. This is already visible on the roads as the roads are full of regular traffic and we expect to an increase in the coming days,” he said. Preventive detentions, he said, are being continuously reviewed. Appropriate decisions will be made based on law and order assessments, he added. Subrahmanyam said the administration appreciates the fact that the cooperation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is critical in helping maintain peace and public order. “Focus is that, at the earliest, normalcy returns while ensuring that terrorist forces are given no opportunity to wreak havoc as in the past,” he said. The chief secretary said the government had taken steps to ensure there was no shortage of essentials and medicines during the period of restrictions. The free movement of Hajj pilgrims was also ensured. He answered only a few questions before ending the press conference.
New Delhi: A court here on Friday extended, till Monday, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s CBI custody in the INX media case. Additional Solicitor General K.M. Natrajan, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation, sought five more days custody of Chidambaram, whose present remand ended on Friday, saying that extensive interrogation of the accused was conducted and he was confronted with documents and witnesses but further time was required to continue the investigation. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Chidambaram’s counsel opposed the remand application but both sides were apprised that if the remand order is challenged in the apex court, it would only be taken up there on Monday. In view of the submissions, the judge extended Chidambaram’s CBI custody till Monday. The CBI had, in 2017, registered a case alleging financial irregularities, to the tune of Rs 305 crore, in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance given to INX Media in 2007 when Chidambaram was Union Finance Minister. Following the FIR filed by the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a case of money laundering against him.
Bengaluru: Indian men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh on Tuesday said that his team will tour Belgium to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers match against Russia. In a favourable draw, the Indian men’s team was on Monday pitted against lower-ranked Russia in the final round of the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers. The men’s team will play back-to-matches against Russia in Bhubaneswar on November 1 and 2 to make it to the Tokyo Games. “First, we will play with Belgium and there is the (Olympic) qualifying round match later. We should not underestimate Russia as well because they have a very good defence. They also want to qualify for the Olympics,” Manpreet said here. Eight-time Olympic champions India are ranked five in the world while the Russians are placed 22 in the FIH world rankings. India had mauled Russia 10-0 during the FIH Series Final in Bhubaneswar earlier this year. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe Indian women’s team, on the other hand, has been drawn against United States of America, and the two sides will take on each other on the same dates as men’s matches in Bhubaneswar. Speaking about the preparations, the women’s team captain Rani Rampal said, “Our team is very well prepared for that match. We are focusing on how to perform well. Our focus is not on the US team but on us, how better we perform.” Rampal said the fitness of the team was beyond anybody’s imagination, which will help them face any team in the world. “We have been playing together for a quite long time and now we have to implement the coordination in the match as well,” she added.
BRANDON, Man. – Manitoba’s New Democratic Party has suffered for years from a “toxic culture” of sexual harassment and bullying where victims have been afraid or unable to seek help, according to a review released at the party’s convention in Brandon.“The atmosphere was overly sexualized, sexist and misogynist, and there was often a different standard for women than there were for men,” Kemlin Nembhard, one of two commissioners who have been examining the issue, told some 200 delegates at the party’s annual convention Saturday.“The span of years that (people we talked to) have been or were involved with the party was really diverse, and yet the patterns in the work atmosphere, in the general culture and environment … were pretty consistent.”The Opposition party set up the commission earlier this year, after several women came forward with allegations they had been subjected to harassment and unwanted touching by former NDP cabinet minister Stan Struthers.One of them, Shannon Van Raes, alleged Struthers put his hand under her skirt and made sexual comments while she was a staffer. Another woman, Joelle Saltel-Allard said when she was a press secretary, Struthers put his hand on her knee and talked about sex acts he would enjoy.Struthers, who left politics in 2016, has rejected interview requests but issued a brief statement in which he apologized for any inappropriate behaviour.The commission’s report does not name any alleged victims or perpetrators, nor would the commissioners say how many people came forward, or how many alleged perpetrators there were. They would only say they had heard from former politicians, party workers at the legislature and others.Nembhard told the convention people told her they felt they had no choice but to put up with harassment and other inappropriate behaviour.“It was generally an atmosphere of fear and loyalty. Fear of certain senior staff members was noted … and then there was the atmosphere of loyalty at all costs (where) one must always remain loyal to the party to the exclusion of all else, regardless of what was happening.”The commission, which examined the party going back more than a decade, including the years when the NDP was in power, also found that:— There was a toxic atmosphere where inappropriate behaviour was enabled by key party members.— There was an “Old Boys club” where some people were excluded from decision-making.— There was pressure to take part in drinking and parties, and inappropriate sexual activity inside the legislative building.— Some women have left the party while others have decided not to enter political life.“If 50 per cent of the population are feeling isolated and can’t participate in the party, that really questions us as a democratic institution,” Nembhard said.The commission made several recommendations, including mandatory anti-harassment and human resources training for politicians and senior staff and a formal process to allow victims to come forward.NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he wanted to enact all the recommendations and the convention delegates voted to adopt them.“I’m apologizing both for the direct harm you experienced, but also for the environment that silenced your voices for too long,” Kinew told the crowd.Saltel-Allard said Saturday she was pleased with the report’s findings.“My goal with coming forward has always been to see change — to make sure no one else has to feel belittled, disempowered or harassed like I did, almost 8 years ago. And I can honestly say that my goal has been achieved!” she wrote on her Facebook page.“Thank you to the Manitoba NDP for finally listening to my story. I can attest that the report findings are accurate.”Kinew took over as party leader last September and has tried to show he has changed in terms of his personal treatment of women.He wrote misogynistic and homophobic lyrics as a rapper more than a decade ago, and later wrote misogynistic social media messages, including one where he asked whether fat women carried avian flu.Kinew also continues to face accusations from a former girlfriend that he assaulted her in 2003. The charge was stayed and later dropped, and Kinew has denied assaulting the woman. But in an interview with The Canadian Press last fall, she stood by her allegation that Kinew threw her across a living room.
HALIFAX – (Liberals-Health)Nova Scotia’s Liberal Party is promising to ensure Nova Scotians have better access to highly trained medical specialists.The party’s candidate for Sydney-Whitney Pier says a Liberal government would invest in recruiting and retaining specialists to reduce surgical wait times.Derek Mombourquette says the Liberals will invest $13.5 million over three years to expand the specialist residency program.He says the Liberals would also add 15 new positions to Dalhousie Medical School, with five positions located in Cape Breton.(The Canadian Press)—(NDP-Health)An NDP candidate in the Sydney area says the Liberal election campaign platform offers nothing for Cape Breton.Sydney-Whitney Pier candidate Madonna Doucette says the Liberal platform fails to invest in what matters most to families, seniors and children in Cape Breton.She says many people in the area don’t have a family doctor due to a lack of spending on primary health care.Doucette says an NDP government would invest at least $17 million in the doctor shortage in Cape Breton.(The Canadian Press)—(Tories-Carbon)Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives are calling on the Liberals and NDP to explain their plans for a provincial carbon tax.The Tories say a cap-and-trade system would burden Nova Scotia families and businesses by making the price of everything from gasoline to home heating fuel more expensive.They say voters should know the plan of each party before heading to the polls on May 30.The Tories say they would not impose a carbon tax in any form on the province.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-Debate)An accountant, a United Church minister and a former Annapolis Valley businessman will square off tonight in a televised leaders debate less than two weeks before Nova Scotians head to the polls.The leaders of Nova Scotia’s top political parties will have 90 minutes to make their pitch on the province’s future.Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil, Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie and NDP Leader Gary Burrill will dole out stump speeches and trade barbs on issues including labour relations, education, health and the economy.The CBC debate could be decisive in determining the province’s next premier.(The Canadian Press)—(N.S. Election Roundup by The Canadian Press)
MEMBERTOU, N.S. – The 78-year-old Mi’kmaq elder cradles the grainy photo of his lost daughter laminated on his smart phone — a reminder of his hope to find her one day.It’s black and white, but Virginia Sue Pictou’s brown eyes sparkle, and her father Robert James Pictou has added the lines, “Forever in my heart.” He keeps a full-sized version propped up at breakfast each morning.The Nova Scotia-born Pictou was brought to a medical centre in Bangor, Maine, by police after being beaten on April 24, 1993.But as doctors briefly turned their attention to a shooting victim in the trauma unit, she quietly left, never to be seen again, family members say.“To me, as a father, every time the subject comes up, it’s just like it happened yesterday. It’s all there,” the father said during an interview while attending the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Cape Breton.“How is she going to rest in peace, could somebody explain that to me?”The family testified at the hearings at Membertou First Nation on Wednesday morning, repeating their account of how they suspect Virginia died violently, and talking of their hope state police will one day locate her remains and make arrests.Virginia had seven small children at her home in Easton, Maine, two of whom perished in a 1990 fire.Francis Pictou, 52, testified Wednesday he’s convinced Virginia left the hospital to return home to be with her five remaining children because she didn’t wish to leave them with her violent husband.Agnes Gould, the oldest sister, testified that Virginia repeatedly experienced domestic violence and had frequently come to her seeking shelter.Robert John Pictou, a 54-year-brother, told the commission he’d read a police record describing her beating by her husband and brother-in-law on a main street of Bangor on the day she went to the hospital.Like other families who’ve spoken before the inquiry during its cross-country hearings, the siblings say they’re determined to continue their search for information on her case.“We followed every lead we could. We searched fields. We searched swamps. We talked to family. We did investigations, we hired private investigators. It’s gone nowhere,” said Robert John Pictou.Searches undertaken by Aboriginal families that go on for decades — sometimes across borders — have been a frequent theme at the inquiry as it has crossed the country.On Wednesday, the inquiry’s commissioners said 900 people have registered to tell their story, and signalled they will be asking Ottawa for an extension and more money to hear the cases.Gould said she’d like others to hear and be inspired by their resolution during the 24-year quest.“As we always say, our case is one in a thousand,” she said during the inquiry.As the family spoke, the commissioners released an interim report that called for the provinces, territories and federal government to create a national police task force to handle requests from families and survivors to reopen cases and review investigations.Commissioner Michele Audette said she has repeatedly heard of cases where police forces are failing to adequately respond to cases that have involved missing or murdered aboriginal women.A spokesman for the Maine State Police didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment in the Pictou case.However, Robert John Pictou said that the investigation is one among 50 on a cold-case list, and added that a victim’s advocate from Maine is in contact with the family.The brother said having a joint national task force in Canada would be welcomed by his family, as it might be able to work with American agencies in cases of Aboriginal victims.“As it stands right now, we have zero information on our missing sister. That unfortunately is not unusual,” he said.The history of murdered and missing Mi’kmaq women in the United States goes back for generations, as Mi’kmaq and Maliseet band members cross for work, marriage and family ties.One of the cases that led to the push for the national inquiry was the 1974 death of Aboriginal activist Anna Mae Aquash, a Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia.She was killed during a period of protests by the American Indian Movement and prosecutors allege she was murdered on orders from AIM, because the group believed she was an FBI informant.Her family struggled for years to have investigations re-opened, and to have her body repatriated and buried in her home community.Francis Pictou said for siblings and parents, the lost women are never forgotten and simply recovering their body and bringing it home would be a source of closure.“We know in our hearts, we know she’s gone,” he told the inquiry.“Even if it feels like an endless lead, go after it,” he said. “You might regret it later that you didn’t go after that one possibility.”Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.
MONTREAL – While it is generally accepted that Montreal is experiencing a period of economic prosperity not seen in a generation, the city’s mayor appears to be having a tough time ensuring he’ll secure a second mandate.Opinion polls suggest incumbent Denis Coderre, 54, and relative newcomer Valerie Plante, 43, are in a statistical tie ahead of Sunday’s mayoral election in Canada’s second-largest city.Coderre, a former federal Liberal cabinet minister, boasts of 150 cranes in the sky representing $25 billion of investment; tens of thousands of new jobs; an unemployment rate virtually equal to Toronto’s; and record numbers of tourists.But that is somewhat offset by the image many people have of Coderre as an arrogant, strongman-type leader who makes hasty decisions.Plante, who became leader of Projet Montreal last December, has forced her opponents to admit she has run an excellent campaign and in the last few months has closed what was a massive gulf in the polls.“We say Coderre hasn’t smiled enough and hasn’t seemed happy in this campaign,” said Richard Bergeron, the founder of Plante’s party but who is now with Team Denis Coderre for Montreal.Patrick Cigana, who has been with Projet Montreal since its founding in 2004 and was its director general from 2011 to 2015, said campaigns are about hearts, not minds.“Honestly, I never believed that politics was about convincing (people) — it’s about seducing, almost,” he said. “You know, charming people.”Plante, he explained, has been able to connect with citizens and, no matter where she goes, people want to take photos with her.“We owe a lot to our leader and to the personality of our leader,” Cigana said.Coderre is known outside Montreal as the man who rejoiced and took responsibility for helping stop TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline project, which he said would have created an unsupportable risk to the province’s waterways.Canadians also know him as the man who dumped billions of litres of raw sewage into the same waterways in order to give time and space for repairs to the city’s underground infrastructure.Cigana said Projet Montreal can be compared to the left-leaning party of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.“I almost consider them like a sister party,” Cigana said. “We also like Mayor (Naheed) Nenshi of Calgary.”Russell Copeman, a former political opponent of Coderre and now a city councillor and borough mayor with the mayor’s team, said he is “mystified” the race is so close.“I think we’ve had trouble selling (our) message,” said Copeman, who will be named deputy mayor if Coderre wins Sunday. “My own view is that too many people thought this was going to be a cakewalk … potentially even within our own party.”Copeman rejects the characterization of Coderre as a egotist who doesn’t listen.“I understand his strong personality — some people can find it off-putting,” Copeman said. “But this urban mythology that he listens to no one and doesn’t adjust his point of view is just not true.”Earlier this week, Coderre defended himself against the accusations of arrogance.“Listen, to be arrogant is to be determined,” he said, adding it’s not easy running a city with a $5-billion budget and 28,000 employees. “Sometimes you have to have somebody who can take the heat and can make a difference.”Despite the personality issues, Coderre has brought tangible benefits to Montrealers since his election in 2013.He kept his promise to name an inspector general to oversee the awarding of city contracts and he reduced the percentage of the budget dedicated to salaries and benefits to 44 per cent from 51 per cent in his first mandate, saving millions.Coderre also fought and won more power for the city from the provincial government and has been able to bring federalists, Quebec sovereignists and former political foes into his team.But for all those successes, Coderre should know how unpredictable campaigns can be — because he almost lost to a virtual unknown last time around.Insiders in the city’s municipal circles say if the 2013 race had been just a few days longer, the city would have had its first female mayor: Melanie Joly, currently Canada’s heritage minister.“Try to imagine,” Bergeron said. “(Joly) knew nothing of municipal politics and had (virtually) no team. She was rising (in the polls) every two days. If the election campaign was 10 days longer she would have been mayor of Montreal.“An electoral campaign offers its own logic.”Projet Montreal has also brought benefits to Montrealers, particularly regarding its methods of redesigning sidewalks and alleyways to make room for flowers and other plants. The greening strategy used in the boroughs the party governs is being propagated across the island of Montreal.Plante has been accused of magical thinking, however, with regard to some of her campaign promises.Her estimate of $6 billion to build a proposed 29-stop subway line is described by Copeman as “magic wand time.”She wants the stops on her “pink line” to be named after women and members of minority communities who have contributed to the city.It’s easy to promise things — very easy,” Bergeron said. “It’s easy to make people dream — I did it three times,” he said of his unsuccessful mayoral runs with Projet.But Bergeron warned that while Montrealers want to dream, they need to recognize what it has taken to get where they are — and how easy it is for it to end.He described how Montreal went through a similar period from about 1987 to 1992 when there was a building spree of office complexes and skyscrapers.“And then nothing for 25 years,” Bergeron said.“When you are in a period of prosperity it creates the illusion of easiness — it’s so obvious to everyone how easy it is. It’s not. The conditions for prosperity have limits. It’s very hard to relaunch the economy and very easy to destroy it.”
CHARLOTTETOWN – The Green party has pulled off an unprecedented electoral victory in P.E.I., doubling its standings in the legislature and potentially signalling a surprising shift in the political landscape of Canada’s smallest province.The upstart party increased the number of its MLAs on the Island to two from one in a byelection Monday following the resignation of a Liberal cabinet minister last month.Hannah Bell, the 48-year-old head of a businesswomen’s association in Charlottetown, easily defeated the Liberal, NDP and Conservative candidates, suggesting a breakthrough for the party that elected its first MLA just two years ago.“Against the odds, we totally knocked it out of the park,” Bell said in an interview the morning after a late night of celebrating her win. “It’s absolutely astounding and shows the real appetite for change.”Bell captured 35.3 per cent of the vote in the Charlottetown-Parkdale byelection, according to unofficial results from Elections PEI. Liberal Bob Doiron took second place with 28.5 per cent, Melissa Hilton of the PCs came in third with 26.9 per cent of the vote and New Democrat Mike Redmond captured 9.3 per cent.Because of the nature of P.E.I.’s small ridings, Bell won with just 768 votes.Bell — the executive director of the PEI Business Women’s Association — joins leader Peter Bevan-Baker as the second Green party member in the 27-seat P.E.I. legislature following his election in May 2015.The byelection was called to fill a seat left vacant when former education minister Doug Currie announced he was leaving politics to explore other professional opportunities. Premier Wade MacLauchlan quickly dropped the writ, prompting the opposition to question whether he was trying to catch them flat-footed.Don Desserud, a political science professor at the University of Prince Edward Island, said the Green win was likely linked to several factors, including a dissatisfaction with the governing Liberals over the prospect of school closures, the growing appeal of Bevan-Baker and a respect for Bell and her business background.“They like the Green party leader, they like the policies he stands for and they like the way he’s carrying himself in the house,” he said.“For the third parties, they usually win a seat and that’s it. So winning two seats is remarkable.”The victory makes it the second Green caucus in the country after B.C., where the Liberals were later defeated in a confidence vote, allowing the New Democrats to form a minority government with support from the Green party.Andrew Weaver, the B.C. Green leader, called Bell’s win a “tidal shift.”Federal Green Leader Elizabeth May said the win represented a growing acceptance of the party as a viable alternative to traditional political parties.“The growing success of Green parties in Canada and around the world signals an exciting trend — voters are increasingly looking to Greens when it comes to strengthening democracy, fighting for those less fortunate, and leading the way to a sustainable future,” May, who campaigned in P.E.I., said in an email statement.However, Desserud said a byelection win may not mean people are ready to abandon their traditional voting habits in a general election in a province where there has only ever been three seats that were not red or blue. He added that the voter turnout was about 60 per cent, which “doesn’t indicate to me there’s a great movement of anger” against the current government.“If you look at (the last general) election results across the province, the Greens did very well in this riding and well in the Charlottetown ridings, but in deep rural P.E.I. ridings they did not do so well,” he said.“Their problem is to translate that into general support in a provincial election.”Still, Bell sees her win is part of a widening trend across the country.“This is a continuation of that story of slow, steady change,” she said, noting a poster in her office that says, ‘Gentle pressure, relentlessly applied.’“We now have two caucuses in the country and it feels very small, but it feels very big.”David Coon, the New Brunswick Green leader and the party’s sole member in that province’s legislature, pounced on the win Tuesday as a sign “the winds of change are blowing across the Maritimes.”Bell, who lives with her 10-year-old daughter and mother in the riding, said she would likely continue to serve as finance critic when she takes her seat in the house, which may not happen until the spring if the legislature breaks soon.— By Alison Auld in Halifax
Seven stories in the news for Friday, Dec. 1———BASEBALL ANALYST FIRED FROM SPORTSNETGregg Zaun has been fired from Sportsnet due to alleged “inappropriate behaviour and comments” toward female employees. Rick Brace, president of Rogers Media, says they received complaints from “multiple female employees at Sportsnet regarding inappropriate behaviour by Gregg Zaun in the workplace.” Zaun has not yet commented on his dismissal.———BILL MORNEAU AGAIN AT CENTRE OF FIERCE DEBATEFinance Minister Bill Morneau found himself fending off fresh Opposition broadsides during another tumultuous question period — one that was so turbulent, a Conservative MP was booted from Commons for heckling. Morneau remains at the centre of an ethics controversy and the latest questions concerned revelations that his father sold off about $1.5 million shares in their family-built company right before the minister made a major 2015 tax-change announcement.———LATEST JOBS NUMBERS OUT TODAYStatistics Canada will release the latest employment data today, which will reveal whether the economy continued to churn out new jobs in November. Last month’s jobs report showed employers added more than 35,000 new positions in October, with most of the growth coming from full-time work. Even with that gain, the national unemployment rate ticked up to 6.3 per cent from 6.2 per cent due to more young people entering the labour force.———CANADA NOT TALKING ABOUT JOINING US MISSILE DEFENCEA senior Canadian general says there have been no talks about joining the American ballistic-missile shield program. Chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance’s comments come amid swirling questions over Canada’s potential involvement in ballistic-missile defence, particularly given concerns about North Korea missiles. Vance told The Canadian Press that officials are preparing for what are expected to be in-depth talks with the U.S. about upgrading Norad.———KATHLEEN WYNNE WRAPS UP CHINA TRADE MISSIONPremier Kathleen Wynne has wrapped up a trade mission to China saying the trip secured nearly $2 billion in agreements between Ontario and Chinese companies. Speaking from Shenzhen, China, Wynne told The Canadian Press that those agreements will create more than 2,000 jobs in Ontario. The premier and business delegates from the science, tech, agri-food and automotive sectors met with Chinese businesses throughout the week.———APPEAL COURT TO RULE ON REAL ESTATE CASEThe Federal Court of Appeal is expected to rule today on whether Canada’s largest real estate board must open up access to home sales data to its realtor members, which it could then share with the public online. The decision is expected to affect how other real estate boards provide services to customers on the internet. Last April, the federal Competition Tribunal ruled that the Toronto Real Estate Board prevented competition and stifled digital innovation by prohibiting its realtor members from posting sales data on their websites.———CANADA JOINS HIGH ARCTIC FISHING BANAn international agreement deal has been reached to prevent commercial fishing in the High Arctic for at least the next 16 years. The deal covers Arctic seas at least 200 kilometres away from the shores of any coastal states. That’s an area about the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Countries that have signed on include the five nations with Arctic coastlines, as well as China, Japan, South Korea, the European Union and Iceland.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— In addition to the latest jobs numbers, StatsCanada will release gross domestic product data for the third quarter.— The National Bank of Canada will release fourth-quarter and year-end results.— Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo maker BRP Inc. will release third-quarter results.— A hearing will be held in Toronto into a lawsuit filed against Harvey Weinstein by an Ontario actress.— MPs Mary Ng and Shaun Chen hold a news conference in Toronto to discuss the prime minister’s upcoming trip to China.— Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will make an announcement regarding the protection of the Great Lakes.
OTTAWA – Health Canada has posted draft regulations designed to allow the federal government to get a better national picture of how many Canadians are getting medical help to end their lives and in what circumstances.The proposed regulations, published in the Canada Gazette, include reporting requirements for doctors and nurse practitioners who receive written requests for medically assisted deaths, as well as for pharmacists who dispense the medications required.And that’s raising concerns that the additional administrative burden could prompt fewer doctors, nurses and pharmacists to get involved in providing assistance in dying, widening the already existing barriers to access.Online consultations are underway until Feb. 13 with the goal of creating final regulations by next summer.Health Canada says it plans to start publishing annual reports as part of a new monitoring system by 2019.Until then, the department says it will collaborate with the provinces and territories to produce interim reports every six months, as it has been doing since June 2016 when Parliament passed legislation allowing Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying.Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the federal government has worked with provinces, territories and stakeholders to develop a consistent reporting approach.“We look forward to receiving thoughtful feedback from all Canadians on the proposed regulations,” she said in a statement Monday.Dying with Dignity Canada said it supports a national monitoring system but it wants Health Canada to work with its provincial and territorial counterparts to avoid duplication and streamline reporting requirements.Cory Ruf, a spokesperson for the organization, said each assisted death case already requires hours of paperwork for clinicians, including reporting to their local coroner, hospital and province. Any increase in that administrative burden could prompt some of the few existing providers to cease their involvement in assisted dying and discourage others from getting involved, he said.“This would widen existing barriers to access facing suffering Canadians who want access to their right to MAID (medical assistance in dying), particularly in rural and remote communities.”
WHITEHORSE – The population of the Porcupine caribou in Yukon and Alaska is growing compared with caribou herds elsewhere in the world, a Yukon government biologist says.Mike Suitor said that of the 13 barren ground caribou herds across Canada’s North, the Porcupine is the only population of caribou that has increased, likely due to favourable environmental conditions.The Yukon government announced Wednesday that an estimated 218,000 Porcupine caribou had been counted in Yukon, up from 198,000 since the last count in 2013.That’s up from 169,000 animals in 2010, resulting in an annual growth rate of 3.7 per cent over the last seven years, the government said in a release.“Globally, most of the caribou herd are in decline or have stabilized,” Suitor said. “The fact that the Porcupine herd is healthy is big news in Canada and also in the United States, especially Canada, because a lot of people depend on them culturally and as a food source.”The animals have been historically important for the Gwich’in First Nation of Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and the Inuvialuit, who live in the Northwest Territories but also use their traditional lands in the Yukon North Slope for harvesting, he said.Warm, wet conditions in recent summers have made for lush vegetation while in the Northwest Territories, for example, caribou have been contending with drought conditions in recent years, Suitor said.Low harvest years like last year, when the caribou failed to reach the Dempster Highway in Yukon and were not available to the village of Old Crow, probably contributed to the herd’s growth, he said.High-resolution aerial photography was used to conduct the latest census last July along the Beaufort Sea coastal plain in the Yukon and Alaska, before the animals were counted through a co-ordinated effort by both jurisdictions.“Most of the caribou were located in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, with 13,136 caribou photographed in Yukon,” the territorial government said in a release.An annual growth rate of 3.7 per cent is similar to the growth seen in the 1970s and ’80s, when the herd was going through its last naturally occurring growth cycle, it says.The 2001 census estimated the herd at 123,000, or almost 100,000 fewer caribou than last summer.“This year’s successful and strong count demonstrates our excellent collaborative management with state, territorial, First Nations and federal partners,” Environment Minister Pauline Frost said in a statement.“This is a level of partnership we should all be proud of, as it exemplifies what can be achieved over time for a larger cause than what we are bound to within our jurisdictions,” Frost said.“The challenge before us will be how we continue to work with all partners for the continued health and conservation of this iconic herd, especially as we have witnessed significant fluctuations in the population of this herd from time to time.” (The Canadian Press, Whitehorse Star)
TORONTO – With cases of flu continuing to rise in Canada, there’s likely a whole lot of “achooing” going on across the country. But ear, nose and throat doctors advise against trying to stifle those sneezes, as such suppression can in rare cases lead to injuries.One of the most serious is detailed in the journal BMJ Case Reports, published online Monday, in which a 34-year-old man from the United Kingdom ruptured his throat after pinching his nose and clamping his mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze.The post-sneeze trauma left the man in pain and barely able to speak or swallow.When emergency care doctors examined the patient, they heard popping and crackling sounds extending from his neck to his rib cage — a sign that air bubbles had found their way into the tissue and muscles of his chest, the authors at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust write.The unidentified man, who was treated in hospital for a week, was advised against repeating such a “dangerous manoeuvre” in the future.“This tear in the throat is incredibly unusual,” said Dr. Douglas Chepeha, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist at University Health Network in Toronto. “In my career, I’ve never seen anything like that.”However, he said there are a number of other injuries that could occur from trying to block a sneeze, though they, too, are relatively rare.Impeding the release of air from the nose and mouth during a sneeze could rapidly increase the pressure in the lungs, forcing the air out and trapping it in the chest between the lungs — a condition known as pseudomediastinum.A suppressed sneeze could also build up pressure in the middle ear, though Chepeha said bursting an eardrum that way is very rare. (To understand the effect, think of popping one’s ears in a descending airplane by breathing out against pinched nostrils to restore hearing.)In the BMJ case report, authors point out that thwarting a sneeze — the body’s attempt to eliminate such irritants as mucus or allergens in the nose — could conceivably rupture an undetected aneurysm, or ballooning blood vessel, in the brain.And it could also cause small surface blood vessels in the eyes and other areas of the head and neck to burst due to built-up pressure, Chepeha said.“In your nose itself, you can burst a blood vessel and get a bleeding nose.”Even without being impeded, sneezing has been known to cause injuries, said Dr. Eric Monteiro, an ENT at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.“There have been reports of elderly women who develop brittle bones in osteoporosis, developing vertebral compression fractures as a result of sneezing,” he said Monday in an interview.Some Major League Baseball players have hurt themselves by sneezing, including Toronto Blue Jay Kevin Pillar, who ended up on the 10-day disabled list when a sneeze led to an oblique muscle strain during the 2015 pre-season.So is there a right way to sneeze?Not really, said Monteiro, explaining that sneezing is an involuntary protective reflex that can’t necessarily be controlled.“But I think there is a wrong way, which is trying to plug your nose and close your mouth, which is just generally not recommended because you inhibit the natural process,” he said.“And if you do that, you’re potentially setting yourself up for an injury, notwithstanding the fact that they’re rare.”While doctors may discourage people from stifling a sneeze — whether it’s a dainty achoo or a big honk — Chepeha said people should deliver it into their inner elbows to prevent spreading the flu virus or other air-borne bugs.“Of course you have to cover your mouth, and the absolute best way is to cough or sneeze into your sleeve.”– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, Jan. 16———NORTH KOREA TOLD TO GIVE UP NUCLEAR ARMS: If North Korea wants freedom from sanctions and acceptance from the international community, it must end its nuclear weapons program, Canada and some of its closest partners insisted Tuesday as they kicked off a major international meeting aimed at ending Pyongyang’s ongoing “nuclearization.” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her counterparts from 20 countries — including the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Britain — began the meeting in Vancouver with a unanimous missive to the North Korean government: give up your nuclear weapons. “Our message is clear,” Freeland said. “The pursuit of nuclearization will bring you neither security nor prosperity. Investing in nuclear weapons will lead only to more sanctions and to perpetual instability on the peninsula.” Canada and the U.S. are co-hosting the one-day meeting, which was called in response to concerns about North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic-missile capabilities. The purpose, said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was to increase the “maximum-pressure campaign” on North Korea by clamping down on its efforts to evade sanctions through smuggling and other illicit activity.———LAC-MEGANTIC JURORS SAY THEY ARE AT AN IMPASSE: The jurors at the Lac-Megantic trial told the judge Tuesday they are at an impasse in their deliberations. Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas read a letter in which the jurors asked him what would happen if they couldn’t reach unanimity. The jurors are deliberating the fate of Tom Harding, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre. The three were charged with criminal negligence causing the 2013 tragedy that killed 47 people when a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded. After receiving the letter, Dumas told the lawyers in the case he could “exhort” the jurors to resume their deliberations and to consider the possibility of delivering verdicts on one, two or all three accused. All three men can be found guilty of criminal negligence causing the death, while jurors have the option of convicting Harding on one of two other charges: dangerous operation of railway equipment or dangerous operation of railway equipment causing death. Harding was the train’s engineer, Labrie the traffic controller and Demaitre the manager of train operations. The three men each pleaded not guilty.———TRUDEAU SAYS HE’S OPTIMISTIC ABOUT NAFTA DEAL: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains optimistic that Canada, the United States and Mexico can strike a deal to modernize NAFTA that benefits all three countries. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Trudeau says he believes there’s a good chance negotiations will result in what he calls a “win-win-win.” Trudeau says his government isn’t worrying about contradictory signals from the U.S., which have periodically left the impression that the North American Free Trade Agreement is doomed. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened repeatedly to pull out of the continental trade pact. However, Trump last week calmed markets jittery about the potential demise of NAFTA, telling the Wall Street Journal that he’d “rather keep it” and telling farmers, who are overwhelmingly supportive of the pact, that he’s working hard to improve it. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has said Canada will bring some “creative” new proposals to the bargaining table later this month; Trudeau says his government will stand firm in defending Canadian interests and won’t sign on to “any old deal.”———YOUTH PROGRAM WON’T FUND ANTI-ABORTION PROJECTS: Activities and projects that are considered to be anti-abortion will be ineligible for funding as part of Canada’s revamped national youth volunteer program. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the first phase of the new Canada Service Corps program during a live Instagram video Tuesday, calling it an exciting opportunity to get young Canadians engaged in their country and community. The government is investing $105 million into the program over the next three years, and while it won’t be fully rolled out until 2019, there are already funding applications being accepted for the initial phase. And much like the Canada Summer Jobs program, the Canada Service Corps will not approve funding for any projects deemed not to “respect existing individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” including reproductive rights. Other values listed include the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.———LIBERALS TO ANNOUNCE FOREIGN BUSINESS OMBUDSMAN: The Liberal government is planning to make good on a campaign promise to create an ombudsman with teeth to oversee the conduct of Canadian companies operating abroad. International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champange is to announce the creation of a new position on Wednesday. Government sources say the new position will be a substantive upgrade to the “corporate responsibility counsellor,” which has been widely criticized as a toothless entity for dealing with misconduct complaints against Canadian companies, mainly in the mining industry. One source, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a matter not yet made public, says the new ombudsman will have jurisdiction over more than just the mining sector, but provided no further details. It is not clear how much power the newly created position will be given, such as whether it will be able to compel specific behaviour from companies.———BORDER-CROSSER HOPES TO KEEP FINGERS AFTER FROSTBITE: A 36-year-old man from the small African nation of Togo is waiting to find out whether he will be allowed to stay in Canada, and whether severe frostbite might cost him his fingers. Kangni Fiowole-Kouevi walked across the border near Emerson, Man., the night of Jan. 5, as temperatures dipped below -20 C. He says he paid $700 for a ride from Minneapolis to an area near the border, then walked for about four hours. He had winter clothing, but his gloves were not enough and he suffered severe frostbite before he called 911 and was picked up by police. Fiowole-Kouevi says he hopes his fingers will recover, even though he has bandages on his hands and doctors are still treating him. He says he left Togo to flee religious persecution as a Christian and had his refugee claim denied in the United States. His journey comes a year after two men from Ghana made a similar crossing over the Emerson border and lost their fingers to severe frostbite.———GIRL DIES AFTER BEING PINNED BETWEEN TWO VEHICLES: Grief counsellors were at a north Toronto school Tuesday to help students and staff cope with the news that a five-year-old girl had died after being pinned between two SUVs. The Toronto Catholic District School Board said the girl was walking with her father to their car after school on Monday when the incident took place just before 3:30 p.m. Const. Clint Stibbe said Tuesday that an SUV with no one inside rolled forward and pinned the girl against her father’s Mercedes-Benz SUV. The child was taken to a hospital where she died of her injuries. The girl’s 42-year-old father was also struck by the rolling vehicle and was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The police traffic services division said the investigation was ongoing, and charges, if any, have not yet been determined. Toys and flowers were left in a snowbank near St. Raphael Catholic School on Monday morning.———FEDS TO GET BOOST FROM ECONOMY, TAX CHANGES: After months of battling controversies, Bill Morneau’s spring budget has the potential to blunt some criticism by showing that a return to balanced books could be within striking distance in just a few years. However, it will likely be up to the finance minister himself whether his next spending blueprint includes a long-awaited federal timeline to eliminate the deficit. Despite Canada’s more robust economy of late, the governing Liberals have long said they prefer to remain focused on lifting Canada’s long-term growth rather than rushing to balance the budget — even though they shattered their campaign promise to keep annual shortfalls below $10 billion. The government’s latest forecast projected a $14.3-billion deficit for 2019-20. But experts say a lot has changed since that October prediction, which was based on private-sector projections taken in September. Thanks in large part to the stronger-than-expected economy, forecasters are expecting Morneau’s budget — typically tabled in February or March — to show smaller deficits across the outlook than Ottawa had forecasted just a few months ago.———ICE DANCERS VIRTUE AND MOIR TO CARRY FLAG AT WINTER OLYMPICS: Ice dance darlings Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will carry Canada’s flag into the opening ceremony at next month’s Winter Games in South Korea. The Olympic gold medallists were introduced Tuesday at a news conference in Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was there to mark the occasion. Virtue, 28, and Moir, 30, made their Olympic debut eight years ago on home ice in Vancouver, where they captured a gold medal and became household names. They skated to a silver medal four years ago in Sochi. The duo then took two years off before deciding to make a run for one more Olympic title. They say they will retire after the Games in Pyeongchang. The Pyeongchang Olympics open Feb. 9.———AXE INCREASING BEER TAX, TRADE ASSOCIATION SAYS: A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal government to stop its plan to annually increase a tax on the alcoholic drink. Beer Canada has launched a new campaign calling on Canadians to sign a petition asking Finance Minister Bill Morneau to axe the escalating beer tax. In last year’s federal budget, the Liberal government announced it wanted to annually adjust the beer excise tax by indexing it to the consumer price index with the first inflationary adjustment coming this April. Beer Canada, which represents 50 brewers who make more than 90 per cent of domestic beer consumed in the country, says 47 per cent of the price of beer in Canada is already tax. The association says future tax increases would further hurt an industry facing challenging times as beer consumption is declining in Canada.———
CALGARY – Canadian steel and aluminum producers have dodged U.S. President Donald Trump’s global tariffs but continue to grapple with the uncertainty the debate has created.Aluminium Association of Canada president Jean Simard says the indefinite exemption announced Thursday on the 10 per cent aluminum tariff is a reprieve, but that there’s still too many unknowns to attract any new investment.Simard says he also worries about the fallout of the tariffs in the U.S., which will become the most expensive place to buy aluminum, and how that will hit the buyers of Canadian metal.Canadian Steel Producers Association president Joseph Galimberti says there’s been uncertainty ever since Trump initiated the national security-based tariff investigation and there continues to be concerns over the fallout of the 25 per cent global tariff.He says there’s some comfort in Canada being exempt, but that companies will need to be in close contact with customers as they adjust to the new reality of unpredictability.Peter Warrian, a senior research fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, says the uncertainty could disrupt both short-term sales and long-term investments in an industry that seeks stability.
MONTREAL – Quebec’s top court has overturned a 2015 acquittal of a Montreal-area naturopath in the death of a patient 10 years ago and convicted her of manslaughter.Mitra Javanmardi has also been ordered to stand trial on a charge of criminal negligence causing death, for which she had been acquitted.Roger Matern, 79, died after Javanmardi injected him with a contaminated substance.Javanmardi is scheduled to appear in Quebec court for sentencing on the manslaughter conviction.Matern visited Javanmardi’s clinic in June 2008 following heart surgery that reportedly did not improve his health.According to court documents, Matern wanted quick results and insisted that Javanmardi inject him with nutrients despite her telling him the procedure was not done on a first visit.She eventually acquiesced.During the injection he complained of being hot and then started shivering. His condition deteriorated rapidly while at the clinic and Javanmardi recommended he get a good night sleep.Matern’s condition worsened at home and he only went to hospital the following day, when it was too late.Police who raided Javanmardi’s office following Matern’s death seized vials containing the substance with which she injected him.Analysis discovered one of the vials contained 9.7 million bacteria when the norm for an injectable product is zero.The appeals court ruled the lower court did not properly apply the law to the facts of the case.It highlight several critical elements: the naturopath injected the medication as opposed to delivering it orally; she used the single-dose vial on two previous patients; she derogated from protocol by complying with the demands of a patient; and she didn’t send her patient to hospital despite witnessing symptoms unknown to her.“The (trial) judge therefore erred by not retaining, from the uncontested facts, that the conduct of the accused is blamable … and meets the criteria of criminal negligence,” the appeals court wrote in its ruling Thursday.