OTTAWA – After four decades, the federal government is getting rid of rules that turned away would-be immigrants with intellectual or physical disabilities, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Monday.The government will no longer be allowed to reject permanent resident applications from those with serious health conditions or disabilities.Most of those impacted by the policy have been economic immigrants already working and creating jobs in Canada, but whose children or spouses may have a disability, Hussen said.“The current provisions on medical inadmissibility are over 40 years old and are clearly not in line with Canadian values or our government’s vision of inclusion.”He cited the case of a tenured professor at York University who was denied permanent residence because his son had Down syndrome, and another case of a family that came to Canada and started a business, but were rejected because of a child with epilepsy.“These newcomers can contribute and are not a burden to Canada,” the minister said. “These newcomers have the ability to help grow our economy and enrich our social fabric.”The changes will amend the definition of social services by removing references to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services.Ottawa is also tripling the cost threshold at which an application for permanent residency can be denied on medical grounds.That will allow immigrants with minor health conditions that have relatively low health and social services costs to be approved for permanent residency, such as those with hearing or visual impairments.Of the 177,000 economic immigrants admitted to Canada every year, about 1,000 are affected by the medical inadmissibility policy. The changes are expected to dispense with a majority of those cases.There have been calls to repeal the policy entirely, including from the House of Commons citizenship and immigration committee, which studied the issue last year.Liberal MP and committee chair Rob Oliphant said he had hoped government would announce a full repeal. But more work must be done to determine the full cost implications to the provinces, he said.“We at committee could not get good cost data,” Oliphant said.“Right now (Hussen) is going to have to look at this, the minister of health will have to look at this, the provinces and territories are going to have to look at this and hopefully in a year or two they are going to recognize that this is not a significant cost.”But Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel says she believes the costs could indeed be high. She was critical of government’s decision to move ahead with changes before any concrete data has been developed to determine the costs to the provinces and territories.“My concern is that the federal government is downloading costs to the provinces without a real plan to deal with that and that seems like something they should have done and considered before they made this announcement.”Hussen said Ottawa will pay the costs of the changes announced Monday, but remained unclear about whether that would mean additional money in health or social services transfers.“We will reflect on these changes to see the impact that they will have. We have to wait and see what the numbers will be before I can answer that question, ” Hussen said.Meanwhile groups that have been advocating for a full repeal of the policy are expressing disappointment over the changes, which they say don’t go far enough.James Hicks, national director of the Canadian Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), called the changes mere “tweaks.” His organization wanted a full repeal of the medical inadmissibility provisions.“While today’s announcement should make it easier for some persons with disabilities to come to Canada, it falls far short of legislative reform that we had expected.”Felipe Montoya, the university professor whose case was cited by Hussen, welcomed the changes, but added he feels they fall short of what many advocates and individuals have pushed for:“We recognize this timid move in the right direction, but will be relentless in calling for what should have been done today and not in some indefinite future — full elimination of this discriminatory policy.”The changes are expected to come into effect June 1.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the changes would take effect immediately.
ALBERTA (660 NEWS) — Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel is challenging new legislation that has made him ineligible for this year’s election.He–along with several other Alberta Party members–has been banned from running for public office after failing to file mandatory financial paperwork on time. In a statement, the Alberta Party says Elections Alberta notified Mandel that his financial return was late following his nomination as the Alberta Party candidate for Edmonton-McClung.Mandel is asking the Court of Queen’s Bench to overturn a five-year ban, preventing him from running for office. Now he is using his own dime to take the matter to court.During a press conference, Mandel shed some light on what went wrong when he failed to file his financial paperwork on time. Elections Alberta barred Mandel from running in the election for five years after he blew the deadline.According to Mandel, his CFO Brian Heidecker was responsible for filing the paperwork and assumed he had done it.“I regret that we are in this situation and I appreciate the importance of the rule of law and getting paperwork in on time,” he said. Mandel was reluctant to throw Heidecker, his former CFO who has since resigned, under the bus.“My CFO was sick, he had to resign, he was the head of the party’s fundraising. He had to resign because he was not well,” he stated. “As a result of that he missed some of the dates and that’s part of the reason we’re here today.”Initially, Mandel claimed there was confusion about the deadlines stating, “based on our interpretation of a July 2018 letter we received from Elections Alberta, we believe we have filed within the required deadline.” However, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Drew Westwater of Elections Alberta maintains that communication on that front was very clear.“We feel we are very clear in our communications with the candidates and the stakeholders in the political process,” Westwater said.“He received several pieces of communication from us upon registration and prior to the filing deadlines reminding him of the dates for the filing deadlines and the requirements for filing — he received those prior to the deadline.”READ MORE: Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel ineligible to run in 2019: Elections AlbertaWhile Westwater concedes that nomination contest reporting and requirements are brand new for this election, Elections Alberta posts, conducts candidate meetings, meetings at party conferences, and candidate conferences for all the parties upon request.He also pointed out that they post guidelines on Elections Alberta’s website for all parties, candidates and third-party advertisers in addition to sending letters to people who register to inform them what the rules are, so they are aware of them.Mandel and other Alberta Party members who were also deemed ineligible are appealing to the court. They will be required to explain why they missed the deadline and the court will decide if they have a legitimate reason or valid concern for not meeting the deadline.‘We hope our efforts will clarify the rules, which will benefit all candidates as well as the democratic process,” Mandel explained what he hoped would come from the court challenge. “We don’t want to see good candidates discouraged from running because they aren’t sure about the rules.”It’s the first time this legislation for candidate requirements has been tested and it’s unclear how the Court of Queen’s Bench will rule.“The purpose of the legislation is to have openness and transparency in all election financing matters,” Westwater said. “So all parties, candidates and third-party advertisers are required by the legislation to disclose publicly all their contributions and expenditures for election purposes.”When asked what would happen if he wasn’t able to run for a seat in the election Madel responded: “We don’t believe that is going to happen.” He said there was no plan ‘b’.He plans to fund his own legal defense but said the party would help other candidates deemed ineligible with legal costs should they chose to contest the decision.Mandel, the former Mayor of Edmonton, was elected party leader last year and is the candidate in the Edmonton-McClung riding.
QUEBEC — The parents of a man behind the deadly Quebec City mosque attack have issued an open letter questioning the severity of the minimum 40-year sentence handed down to their son last week.READ MORE: Mosque killer Bissonnette sentenced to life with no parole for 40 yearsAlexandre Bissonnette, 29, received his sentence Friday for killing six men and injuring six others at the Islamic Cultural Centre mosque on Jan. 29, 2017.His parents, Raymond Bissonnette and Manon Marchand, say in the letter released Monday that the sentence is the harshest imposed in Quebec since the death penalty was abolished in 1976.They say the Crown’s request for six consecutive life sentences, which would have prevented their son from seeking parole for 150 years and guaranteed that he end his life behind bars, amounted to circumventing the abolition of the death penalty and would terminate all hope of rehabilitation.Meanwhile, Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot concluded a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment for the 29-year-old.Bissonnette’s parents say he suffered psychological and physical bullying during his years in school that had “devastating effects” on his personality.“If we really want to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, it seems to me that the solution is not to lock someone up forever, but rather try to better understand and prevent bullying, which is a serious societal problem that continues to make victims among our young,” the letter reads.His parents say people who commit serious crimes should still have the possibility to apply for parole after 25 years — a “glimmer of hope” they say would encourage rehabilitation.“Unlike other countries, Canada has chosen an open-door policy, welcoming people from all over the world and giving them hope for a second chance in life,” the letter says. “Why deny convicts even the faintest hope?”Legal experts have said Bissonnette’s sentence is likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.However, it has been denounced by survivors of the attack and other Muslim community members.Boufeldja Benabdallah, president of the mosque that was attacked, said last week that community members were stunned by the decision and felt the judge was more concerned about the dignity of the killer than that of the victims and their families.Bissonnette pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder after he walked into the mosque during evening prayers and opened fire. The murder victims were Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.— By Daniela Germano in EdmontonThe Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Advocacy organizations and citizens are denouncing the Quebec government’s secularism legislation, saying it turns religious minorities into second-class citizens.The bill tabled today would ban the wearing of religious symbols for many public sector employees, including teachers, prosecutors, judges and police officers.Amrit Kaur, a teaching student who wears a Sikh turban, says the bill could ruin her chances of teaching in Quebec’s public school system and force her to look for work in a private school.She says the proposed legislation sends the message that people who wear religious symbols are second-class citizens and that teaching isn’t an inclusive profession in Quebec.Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith and the National Council of Canadian Muslims have also spoken out against the bill, saying it targets religious minorities and runs counter to fundamental Quebec and Canadian values.The English Montreal School Board has already said it will refuse to comply with any legislation restricting the wearing of religious symbols.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — The British Columbia Court of Appeal has set aside a $1.7-million damage award to a Vancouver Island couple who a lower court had said were ruined through the “malicious” actions of the Canada Revenue Agency.Tony and Helen Samaroo were operating a restaurant, night club and motel in Nanaimo in 2008 when they were charged with 21 counts of tax evasion for allegedly skimming $1.7 million from their businesses.They were acquitted of all charges in provincial court in 2010 in what the judge hearing the case agreed amounted to the Crown using “voodoo accounting” to support its case, and the couple then sued for malicious prosecution.A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled last year that the Samaroos were the victims of an “egregious” prosecution based on an unfounded theory and suspicion about the alleged tax evasion.But in a decision released Tuesday on behalf of the three-judge panel, Justice David Harris says the trial judge was wrong to base his analysis on the idea that tax evasion can’t be proven without also proving exactly how it was done.As a result, Harris says the judge dismissed some relevant evidence as “mere hypothesis,” instead of recognizing there was a reasonable and probable cause to launch a case.Because the analysis was faulty, Harris says it’s unnecessary to look at whether the trial judge erred in his conclusion that the Crown was motivated by malice or the investigator for the Canada Revenue Agency acted for an “improper purpose.”“When the correct legal test is applied properly to the elements of the offence, with a correct onus of proof in a claim of malicious prosecution, and viewing the issue objectively, the Samaroos cannot succeed in showing that there was an absence of reasonable and probable cause to initiate and continue the prosecution,” the decision says.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada has been butting heads with some of its closest allies over the extent to which rising white supremacy at home and abroad poses a global threat, federal insiders say.The quiet but at-times-controversial diplomacy has come as Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, gearing up for a federal election campaign this fall, try to portray Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and his party as soft on white supremacy and so-called alt-right views.During last month’s G7 meeting of foreign ministers in Dinard, France, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland met with stiff resistance from some fellow attendees over the language she wanted to use in a joint communique, The Canadian Press has learned.Freeland wanted the G7 to issue a joint statement after the mosque shootings that killed 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, but “it didn’t end up going out because we couldn’t get agreement from all other countries about white supremacy and Islamophobia,” said one Canadian official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations.Prior to that meeting, Freeland spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, where she singled out white supremacy as the greatest security threat facing the world — remarks that later sparked a clash with a Conservative senator during testimony before the upper chamber’s foreign affairs committee.When the ministers met in France in early April, some of her counterparts pushed back against Freeland’s assertion that white supremacy now poses broader threats, the official said.On Islamophobia and the threat of white nationalism, Canada “tends to be the country that speaks the most about these issues and pushes the hardest to get the language included in communiques.”Said a second Canadian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity: “These are obviously important issues for us and something we’ve been trying to speak up about at home, but also abroad.”The communique said the G7 was “deeply concerned about resurgent forms of racism, and discrimination, including anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiment and the targeting of Christian minorities, leading to violence worldwide.” It pledged to combat “manifestations of hatred” and affirmed “the benefits of faith and inclusion should be recognized and leveraged as a strength for humanity.”The sources were reluctant to discuss who was pushing back against Freeland. When pressed, the first source said: “If you were to suggest the U.S. has demonstrated it was at odds, at times, with the G7 or other Western groups, then that wouldn’t be a false assumption.”After the Christchurch shootings, U.S. President Donald Trump was widely criticized for playing down the connection to white supremacy, saying it was not a rising danger despite the gunman’s lengthy online manifesto.A November 2018 report by the U.S. Justice Department found hate crimes across the U.S. had risen for the third consecutive year in 2017.In Canada, Statistics Canada reported a sharp increase in hate crimes in 2017 — 2,073 incidents, up 47 per cent over the previous year and largely due to an increase in hate-related property crimes. Incidents targeting Muslims, Jews and black populations accounted for most of the national increase, especially in Ontario and Quebec.Trump’s fissures with the G7, which were on full display when the president hurled Twitter insults at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after last year’s leaders’ summit in Quebec, were visible again this month when Canada and Japan joined the French-German Alliance for Multilateralism, the U.S. conspicuous by its absence.The alliance aims to defend the world’s post-Second World War political architecture, including the G7, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization — all institutions that Trump has publicly derided.Trudeau welcomes the leader of one of the alliance’s core members, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to Ottawa this weekend. Japan hosts the G20 leaders’ summit in June, and both leaders are expected to take part in the G7 summit in France in late August — likely Trudeau’s last foreign event before the expected federal election call.In an April 12 fundraising speech in Mississauga, Ont., Trudeau signalled clearly that he plans to attack Scheer hard on what he considers extremist views.“Andrew Scheer conveniently fails to call out alt-right conspiracy theories. Andrew Scheer fought against a non-binding motion to denounce Islamophobia. And Andrew Scheer has proudly spoken at the same rallies as white nationalists,” he said. “Is that leadership? Is that someone who will govern for all Canadians?”Scheer’s spokesman Brock Harrison said Trudeau is simply “wrong” in his characterization, pointing to more than a dozen occasions dating back to last summer in which the Conservative leader denounced hate and intolerance.Two days before Trudeau’s speech, Scheer told a press conference that he “100 per cent” denounces anyone who “promotes white nationalism, promotes any type of extremism.” During question period that same day, he called the accusations “typical Liberal smear tactics” that were using “the very real threat of hatred and racism in this country” to distract from the scandals plaguing the government.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
NESTLÉ JUICY JUICE, Feeding America and celebrity mom and anti-hunger advocate Samantha Harris celebrated the kickoff of the JUICY JUICE Fruit for All Project at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank on May 31, 2012.Samantha Harris and Feeding AmericaThe program is designed to help alleviate summertime childhood hunger by delivering up to 35 million pieces of fresh fruit to children and families at risk of hunger nationwide. Until August 31, one piece of fruit will be provided to hungry kids and their families each time JUICY JUICE is purchased.“I’ve always felt passionately that no one should have to suffer from hunger, but now that I am a mom, I know how devastating it would be to struggle to provide healthy meals for my kids,” said Samantha Harris. “I’m delighted to be involved in a program that will help provide nutritious fruits that are so critical to a child’s development.”An estimated 16 million American children are food insecure and live at risk of being hungry, particularly in the summer months when they are out of school and away from federally assisted school meal programs. Food pantries, soup kitchens and other charitable food assistance organizations report seeing an increased need for food assistance for children during summer months.“The Fruit for All Project is a natural extension of the JUICY JUICE vision, which is to provide at least one full serving of fruit per serving,” said Rob Case, president of Nestlé’s Beverage Division. “We’re thrilled that through the Fruit for All Project, we’re able to broaden that commitment by partnering with supportive organizations and providing fruit servings to those in need.”Surprisingly, America’s battle against hunger is not about having enough food; the real problem is of equity, distribution and access to food. Juicy Juice will become part of the solution this summer by supporting the harvesting and transportation of fresh, nutritious fruits, helping to mitigate the loss of more than six billion pounds of produce that are wasted each year in America. In addition to contributing with Juicy Juice purchases, families can volunteer at their local food bank or visit Juicy Juice’s Facebook page to complete challenges like games, quizzes and puzzles to earn even more fruit donations.“We’re honored JUICY JUICE is partnering with Feeding America to help provide up to 35 million pieces of fresh produce to those in need,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “This partnership will drive a significant increase in the fresh fruit distributed through our National Produce Program while at the same time engaging families to join in the fight against hunger within their own communities.”The Fruit for All Project complements Nestlé USA’s ongoing commitment to fighting hunger in partnership with Feeding America. Since 1990, Nestlé has donated more than 250 million pounds of food and beverages, including Juicy Juice, to regional food banks nationwide.To learn more, find the food bank nearest you or earn fruit donations for people in need, visit FruitForAllProject.com.
This September, Amy Childs is joining in the Great British Bag-athon and clearing out her wardrobe to fill up bags full of unwanted things.The goal is to raise 1 million bags of unwanted things for the British Heart Foundation during the month of September.Amy Childs says: “I’m thrilled to be supporting the Great British Bag-athon and had a big clear out so that I could donate as many bags of unwanted things as possible to my local shop. This is a cause close to my heart as my cousin had open heart surgery when she was born, so I have seen firsthand the fantastic work the BHF funds.“I’d like to encourage everyone to set aside some time this September and help raise bags of unwanted things for the Great British Bag-athon. Those unwanted killer heels can help give heart disease the boot.”If you’d like to follow in Amy’s footsteps and donate bags of your unwanted things to the Great British Bag-athon, find out more here. Every bag you fill is a bag full of life-saving research.Source:
Tibet House US has announced that the 13th Annual Benefit Auction, in conjunction with renowned auction house Christie’s, will take place on Thursday, December 3, 2015.Proceeds from the auction will benefit Tibet House US and The Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey.This year’s Honorary Chair Committee includes Philip Glass, Petra Nemcova, Yoko Ono Lennon, Sandra & Eric Ripert, Martin Scorsese, Trudie Styler & Sting, Uma Thurman, Jann Wenner & Matt Nye, and Arden Wohl.Charitybuzz will return as the event’s online auction partner. The Tibet House US auction will be live from November 24, 2015, to December 3, 2015, at www.charitybuzz.com/TibetHouse.Auction Highlights Include:Rare Items & Opportunities: two tickets to meet Sting at his one-night-only benefit concert at Carnegie Hall and attend a post-show gala dinner at The Plaza Hotel; the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in an autobiographical musical with professional Broadway actors, produced by Apples and Oranges Studios; a behind-the-scenes look at New York Fashion Week with supermodel Petra Nemcova; a private food and wine tasting for seven people by Le Bernardin’s world-renowned chef Eric Ripert and Wine Director Aldo Sohm at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar; a shopping spree at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen; a personalized voice message from Hugh Jackman; a walk-on role in a major Hollywood motion picture, internships at Def Jam and Rolling Stone magazine, a ride to the destination of your choice on a private Millennium Jet and additional items from Ethan Hawke, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.Adventures & Exotic Trips: A eight-day adventure for two hosted by Aqua Expeditions and GeoEx, which includes four nights exploring the scenic Mekong river life of Vietnam and Cambodia aboard the Aqua Mekong luxury cruise vessel and a three-night luxury stay before or after the cruise; wildly luxurious African adventures from EXPLORE, highlighting the best of Botswana, Victoria Falls, the Ultimate South African Safari and/or Cape Town; a ten-day exotic trip to Bali for two; a magical journey to the Gobi desert in Mongolia with Nomadic Expeditions; a Peruvian Amazon cruise for two on Delfin Cruises; a seven-day stay in Tibet at the Norden Travel’s The Norden Camp.Contemporary Art & Photography: Rare artwork by Christo, Ross Bleckner, Danny Clinch, Shepard Fairey, Milton Glaser, Herb Green, Bob Gruen, Elliott Landy, Sheila Metzner, Ben Morea, Michele Oka Doner, Ed Ruscha, Patti Smith and Peter Tunney.Fashion & Jewelry: Pieces by Erickson Beamon, Paula Crevoshay, Darlene de Sedle, Mara Hoffman, Pamela Huizenga, Me + Ro, Paula Mendoza, Doyle Mueser, OSKLEN, Jill Platner and Arden Wohl.Tibet & Beyond: Antique and ceremonial objects, Tibetan rugs, sculptures, and other global finds.For more information regarding this year’s Auction, please contact Lynn Schauwecker at 845.688.6897 (ext. 7523) or visit www.tibethouse.us.
Advertisement Exactly when The Handmaid’s Tale was due to return has remained a mystery, up until this point. Now, Hulu has confirmed a release window for the second season of the show.The news was revealed by Hulu via the official The Handmaid’s Tale Twitter channel. The announcement was made alongside a brief teaser video, confirming that season 2 is currently in development as well as hinting that there is “no turning back.” The video, and the announcement, can be seen below.Exactly what will come with the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale has been the topic of much debate. The first season built upon the core story of Margaret Atwood’s original novel to great effect, and fans have been confident about the success of season 2 after it was revealed that Atwood is working on Handmaid’s Tale season 2 in a creative capacity.Although there are some changes between The Handmaid’s Tale novel and series, the largest obvious differences are generally to do with the scope of the show. The first season covered the main plot of the novel, and perfectly matched with Atwood’s overall themes, but exactly how the story can be propelled forward without the assistance of source material has been an intriguing question for fans. Given that some key characters will be returning for Handmaid’s Tale season 2, it’s clear that the second season of the show is going to be full of surprises.Whatever season 2 has in store, fans will likely be happy as long as the quality of the show’s first season carries over into the second. The Handmaid’s Tale was a standout success when it came to viewer reception and critical reception alike, and the show made history by gaining Hulu the honor of being the first streaming service to win the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy. Although continued success is never guaranteed for any show, expectations are high for The Handmaid’s Tale season 2.The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 arrives next spring.By Rob Gordon with files from Hulu Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 is set to premiere on Hulu in the spring of 2018. The show’s first season was one of the standout television moments of 2017, and fans have been eagerly awaiting news about the future of the dystopian series. The show reportedly gained the largest viewership figures of any Hulu original program, resulting in Hulu renewing The Handmaid’s Tale for a second season.No turning back. Season 2 of The #HandmaidsTale returns April 2018, only on @hulu. pic.twitter.com/yPcPQY8hxJ— The Handmaid’s Tale (@HandmaidsOnHulu) November 14, 2017 Login/Register With: Facebook Twitter
Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Twitter Advertisement Login/Register With: TWEETSFirst day of filming on Sonic, in Ladysmith, BC, starring Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Neal McDonough and Tika Sumpter. First Avenue has been turned into Main Street, USA, with fake restaurant and post office fronts, complete with blue mailboxes and American flags. #SonicMovie pic.twitter.com/W7XZykc212— Kelly J. Crawford (@keldruzod) September 14, 2018By Susan Gittins | Hollywood North Buzz Ladysmith, BC is ready for its closeup as Green Hills, Montana, in the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.Filming in the Vancouver Island town began last Friday inside the Ladysmith Inn. Tomorrow is the first day out on the Main Street.What’s Sonic about? Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and his pals Tails and Knuckles team up to stop Dr. Eggman Robotnik’s plan for world dominaton.Cast: James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Jim Carrey.James Marsden is Tom Wachowski, a sarcastic cop who befriends Sonic.Jim Carrey is Dr. Eggman Robotnik.Paramount’s live-action/animated Sonic has budgeted $7 million for the Ladysmith shoot.“We searched all over B.C. and have chosen Ladysmith as our hero town for our movie,” location manager Abraham Fraser told the Nanaimo News Bulletin.
Advertisement Cirque du Soleil’s decision to go ahead with more performances in Saudi Arabia next month despite international outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is creating a malaise within circus ranks, The Canadian Press has learned.Following stops in Italy, Germany and Croatia, the Quebec-based troupe will pitch its tent in Riyadh from Dec. 17 to 29 in a visit that has been in the works for about a year.Daniel Lamarre, the Cirque’s president and CEO, is scheduled to be in the Saudi capital for the show Toruk, inspired by the James Cameron film Avatar. Twitter But in light of recent events that have sparked an international political crisis, some artists are asking why the Cirque is sticking to its schedule.“The approach is dogmatic, and the message sent by the company is, ‘We are a business, we want to make money and we are an apolitical company,” one Toruk employee, who asked not to be identified because she fears losing her contract with the Cirque, told The Canadian Press.She and another employee decided to share their displeasure after Cirque founder Guy Laliberté last month expressed his own discomfort with the decision to perform in Saudi Arabia last September.Saudi Arabia facing criticismThe Cirque put on a show in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 23 to mark the country’s national holiday, which was before Khashoggi was killed but during a diplomatic quarrel between Ottawa and Riyadh.The Cirque artists said they tried many times to approach the managers of the tour with their concerns, but they got nowhere.In recent weeks, the kingdom has faced intense criticism over the death of Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi Arabia first insisted he’d left the consulate, then said he’d been killed in a fist fight inside the consulate before finally admitting his murder had been premeditated.Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi hit squad — including at least one member of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage — tortured, murdered and dismembered Khashoggi.One of the Cirque’s four pillars, according to its website, is to “act as a responsible agent of change in the community.” But the second employee who spoke to The Canadian Press said the operation can no longer boast of being a change agent.“We no longer think that Saudi Arabia has taken steps to modernize,” he said. “This is a business decision. The Cirque is from now on just a business.”The employee said the decision to perform in Saudi Arabia contrasts with the 2016 cancellation of Cirque performances in North Carolina to protest against a law limiting protections offered to the LGBTQ community.Events ‘created a malaise’Marie-Hélène Lagacé, the Cirque’s senior director of public relations, acknowledged that senior management considered cancelling the Saudi shows despite being bound by a contract.“It would be a lie to say this has not created a malaise,” she said. “We have also had discussions with our employees about it. Reactions surrounding these events are very emotional.”She said the decision to maintain the Saudi dates was “very difficult” but fit with a desire to be consistent across the more than 60 countries where it has shows.If the Cirque pulled out of Saudi Arabia, “we are going to have to do it elsewhere if we want to be consistent,” she said.“How do we justify that we are not going to this country, but we are going to other markets where, potentially, there are other issues that are just as serious?”The employees who contacted The Canadian Press said they will accompany the troupe to Riyadh because they do not want to have their contracts cancelled for the rest of the tour, which concludes in London next June.“For artists who live on contracts, it is hard to know what will be our next job,” one of them said. “And for those who hope to work long-term with the Cirque, this situation could have repercussions on their relationship.”By Julien Arsenault | The Canadian Press Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook
Advertisement TORONTO – (May 23, 2019) – The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (the Canadian Academy) today announced it is accepting applications for the third edition of its Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women. This year, Pinewood Toronto Studios joins the program as a sponsor, along with the continued support of Netflix, The RBC Emerging Artists Project, and Canada Media Fund. Submissions will be accepted starting today until Friday, June 21, 2019.“The Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women was created to deepen the professional development of a select group of highly talented Canadian directors,” said Beth Janson, CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “There is no shortage of compelling female voices in this country; what is in short supply are opportunities to learn the filmmaking trade in a non-academic context. We are excited to introduce a new group of directors to the industry through this program.”Formerly known as the Academy Apprenticeship for Women Directors, the Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women is designed to bolster the professional development of Canada’s women directors. Its activities provide invaluable and engaging hands-on experiences, including an exclusive professional development symposium, an online learning module, and curated on-set placements with high-profile directors and established production companies. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: “Netflix is thrilled to continue supporting this progressive program which provides invaluable opportunities to women directors across Canada,” said Lisa Hamilton Daly, Director, Original Series at Netflix. “As a partner, we support the goal of achieving gender parity and representation in Canada’s screen-based industries.” Netflix’s support of the Directors Program for Women comes from its fund to develop the next generation of Canadian creators and talent.“At RBC, our commitment to the arts includes supporting artists in the earliest stages of their careers and helping them bridge the gap from ’emerging’ to ‘established’,” said Valerie Chort, vice-president, corporate citizenship, RBC, in a statement. “As a returning partner, we know there is tremendous power in diversity and inclusion. Enabling more women directors to share their unique voice and talent adds an important dimension to the storytelling industry.”“We are delighted to partner with the Canadian Academy on this program to support emerging female storytellers,” said Nanci MacLean, President, Pinewood Toronto Studios. “Talent is the life-blood of the film and TV industry and we all need to do more to ensure diverse perspectives and representation across the industry. We look forward to working with these up-and-coming directors and watching their continued success.”“The CMF is delighted to support this program for the third year in a row. Sector development initiatives such as this one are part of the CMF’s broader strategy to increase gender balance in Canada’s screen-based industries,” said Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “I look forward to seeing more of Canada’s extraordinary women directors thrive, as they bring their stories and uniquely female perspectives to our screens.”The 2019 Selection Committee comprises: Tracey Deer (Filmmaker/Director/Writer); Bill Evans (Executive Director, Alberta Media Production Industries Association); Moira Griffin (Producer & Strategist, New Bumper and Paint Productions); Caroline Habib (VP Development, New Metric Media); Christine Haebler (President & Producer, Terminal City Pictures); Kadidja Haïdara (Writer); Floyd Kane; (Showrunner & Executive Producer, Freddie Films); Mark Slone (President, Pacific Northwest Pictures); and Carole Vivier (CEO/Film Commissioner, Manitoba Film & Music).Last year’s cohort includes: Kirsten Carthew (Yellowknife); Alicia K. Harris (Toronto); Kathleen Hepburn (Vancouver); Tiffany Hsiung (Toronto); Halima Ouardiri (Montreal); Kristina Wagenbauer (Montreal); Allison White (St. John’s); and Asia Youngman (Vancouver).The coveted program is now accepting applications and those interested in applying can do so at no cost. The application period is May 23 to June 21, 2019.The Canadian Academy and the Selection Committee of distinguished industry professionals will review the submissions and identify a shortlist of 20 applicants. Those shortlisted will have a video interview with the Academy in early August, with the final eight (8) emerging* women directors of this year’s program announced in late August.For more information on the project and full details on applicant requirements, please visit academy.ca/programs/directors*For the purposes of the program, an emerging director is defined as those who have been working in the industry and have a director credit on the following: no more than one feature length film, and a minimum of two pieces of content, including; short films, digital series, and music videos.About Academy of Canadian Cinema & TelevisionThe Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is the largest non-profit professional arts organization in Canada. We are dedicated to recognizing, advocating for, and celebrating Canadian talent in the film, television, and digital media sectors.Our more than 4,500 members encompass industry icons and professionals, emerging artists, and students. Collectively, we deliver professional development programs and networking opportunities that foster industry growth, inclusion, and mentorship.The Canadian Academy produces Canadian Screen Week. This annual celebration of excellence in media features a multi-platform, national program of events and celebrations, and culminates with the Canadian Screen Awards: Broadcast Gala.For information on membership and programming visit academy.ca.About NetflixNetflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.About RBCRoyal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 84,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 16 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 33 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at rbc.com/community-sustainability.About Pinewood Toronto StudiosPinewood Toronto Studios is the destination facility for domestic and international film and TV producers shooting in Toronto. Recent productions include It: Chapter Two, Shazam!, The Christmas Chronicles, A Simple Favor, Molly’s Game, The Expanse, and Star Trek: Discovery. The contemporary 330,000 square foot (29,600 square metres) purpose-built production lot is located on a 33.5-acre (13.5 hectares) site, minutes from downtown Toronto. Its 11 purpose-built stages, including one of North America’s largest purpose-built sound stages – the 46,000 sq. ft. (4,274 square metres) Mega Stage – are soundproofed, clear-span, and equipped with power and supporting infrastructure to accommodate productions of all sizes and budgets. Last year, Pinewood Toronto Studios broke ground on a new expansion which will add another 200,000 square feet (18,580 square metres) of production space to the Studios, featuring new sound stages and support space.About The Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit cmf-fmc.ca. Twitter
(NDP MP Romeo Saganash. File/APTN)Jorge Barrera APTN National News OTTAWA–Ottawa’s historic adversarial posture on Indigenous rights proves institutional racism exists and it’s linked to the racism faced by Indigenous people on the streets of Canada’s cities, says Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash.The country’s problems with racism were again highlighted last week when national news magazine Maclean’s reported Canada had a bigger race problem than the U.S. The ensuing debate over the magazine’s reporting echoed a controversy that flared in 2001 when former Assembly of First Nations national chief Matthew Coon Come said Canada was afflicted by institutional racism.Saganash said Coon Come was right then and the current grand chief of the James Bay Cree Nation of Iiyuuschee is still right.“The Aboriginal people of this country are the only group that are subjected to that treatment of having the government of Canada as an adversary throughout the history of Canada,” said Saganash, who is MP for Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik. “It is the only group subjected to that, so yeah, of course Matthew Coon Come is right. It is institutionalized and it has to stop.”At the time, Coon Come faced a backlash from then-Indian Affairs minister Robert Nault who demanded the former AFN national chief apologize for his remarks.Nault, who was a minister in the Liberal Chretien government, is again seeking to run under the Liberal banner in Kenora, Ont. In an interview with APTN National News last week, Nault said he still stood by his belief racism in Canada is not institutional, but rather individual.“(Nault) is a pretty good demonstration that successive Liberal and Conservative governments over the past 150 years will not change, will not be able to address the fundamental issues of Aboriginal rights and Aboriginal title,” said Saganash. “Having Robert Nault come back for the Liberals is saying, ‘we are giving you more of the same.’”The current federal Aboriginal Affairs minister is refusing to be drawn into the latest version of the racism debate in Canada.Newly appointed NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic Niki Ashton pressed Valcourt on the issue during question period Monday.“Canadians are finally talking about the horrific levels of racism faced by Indigenous people in cities like Winnipeg and elsewhere…From health care to police protection to employment and education, Indigenous people are too often treated as second-class citizens. That treatment as second-class citizens often has a direct correlation with government policy put forward by this federal government,” said Ashton. “Instead of being part of the problem, will the minister of Aboriginal Affairs commit to working with Indigenous communities and Canadians to put an end to racism that Indigenous people in Canada face?”Valcourt, however, ducked the question and didn’t even use the word “racism” in his response.“Our government believes that Aboriginal people should have the same quality of life, the same opportunities and the same choices as all other Canadians,” said Valcourt, in response. “That is why we continue to work and to take concrete actions on priorities that we share with First Nations and Aboriginals, such as on economic development, good governance, skills training, and on advancing treaty negotiations and reconciliation and we will continue in that vein.”Saganash said he isn’t surprised Valcourt is refusing to address the issue of racism.“I think it’s because they don’t know how to deal with it, it is so deeply institutionalized,” said Saganash.Saganash said one way to eradicate institutionalized racism from federal policies is to ensure the country’s laws comply with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Saganash has put forward a private member’s bill to do that and it is scheduled to come up for its first debate on March 12. If the bill fails to pass a vote on second reading, it will die. Saganash said he hopes the bill will at least make it through second reading so it can be studied at the House of Commons committee level.“We have to make the declaration into law in this country,” said Saganash. “It will have positive impacts…If we make sure every piece of legislation introduced in Parliament is in compliance with the UN Declaration there will be no need to challenge any legislation.”Saganash plans to hold an information session on his private member’s bill on Feb. 23 and he plans to invite Valcourt and his parliamentary secretary Mark Strahl. Saganash said the meeting will also be open to the public.Bill C-641 faces a tough road with the Harper government which has said it considers the declaration “aspirational’ after initially refusing to endorse it at all. At the UN, Ottawa’s diplomats are constantly fighting to dampen the impact of the declaration, especially its article on free, prior and informed consent, whenever it surfaces during international discussions, said Saganash. Just last October, in Rome, during meetings of the Committee on World Food Security, Canadian diplomats inserted a full page into a final report explaining that it saw the section on free, prior and informed consent as a matter of “meaningful consultation.”During a panel on reconciliation held on Jan. 7 in Massey College, Saganash said the actions of Ottawa’s diplomats “erode confidence and trust” in Canada.“Genuine reconciliation is not possible when such far-reaching and prejudicial conduct continues to take place,” said Saganash.email@example.com@JorgeBarrera
APTN National NewsOTTAWA–When it came to detailed questions about First Nations children and youth, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt drew blanks.Valcourt faced questions from MPs Wednesday evening during Committee of the Whole in the House of Commons which focused on his department. Many of the questions centered on education, child welfare and youth suicide rates.While Valcourt was more than willing to throw around large dollar figures to defend his government’s handling of the Aboriginal Affairs file, the minister repeatedly came up short when faced with specific questions about issues like per capita student funding for on reserve education, literacy rates, child welfare numbers and on-reserve youth suicide rates.At one point, a frustrated Valcourt, facing a question from an NDP MP about suicide rates, blurted that the fate of First Nations children was not the responsibility of the federal Aboriginal Affairs department.“Given the horrific death rates that we have among children who do not have access to schools, if he can tell us what the national suicide rate is on reserve among young people under his watch?” said NDP MP Charlie Angus, whose Timmins-James Bay riding includes the communities of Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany.“The assertion of the honourable member that these children are under the minister’s watch shows a great misunderstanding by the member of the responsibility of the department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development,” said Valcourt. “These children are first and foremost the responsibility of their parents throughout Canada.”The high rate of suicides in First Nation communities is widely linked to the abject poverty on many reserves, which are federal responsibility, and the continuing aftershocks of the over century-long operation of Indian residential schools, which were created by OttawaAngus responded with a cutting retort.“That is not your responsibility? You are a clown. That man is a clown,” said Angus.Valcourt also drew a blank when asked by Angus about the number of First Nations children, under 14, in the care of social services. Aboriginal Affairs, which funds on-reserve child and family services, is facing a human rights complaint over an allegation it underfunds First Nations child welfare.Valcourt said the department has no responsibility for children in care beyond paying for the services.“As the responsibility is delegated to agencies by the provinces, I cannot give the exact figure of the number of children who are in care tonight. These are figures that I am sure we could gather after the fact,” said Valcourt. “However, as the member knows, this responsibility is to the several agencies and the provinces that administer child welfare services on reserves where there are no agencies.”Angus said Valcourt’s department actually keeps readily available statistics on the issue.“Actually, I got it from the minister’s own documents. The number is 30,000 to 40,000. I think the minister does not have his facts right,” said Angus. “Does the minister not keep track of the number of children that are in care that his government is paying for?”Valcourt said he did not check child welfare figures “every day” and repeated that the department has no obligation for child welfare beyond meeting policy requirements to fund the services.“When the member talks about an obligation, I will remind the honourable member that this is a policy matter. This is a policy decision to reimburse provinces and to fund the agencies,” said Valcourt.Manitoba has made national headlines over its overwhelmed child welfare system which primarily seizes First Nations children and babies. Last summer’s Winnipeg murder of Tina Fontaine, who was in the care of the province at the time of her death, revealed a broken system that housed children and youth in hotels.Valcourt also didn’t deny a suggestion from Angus that Ottawa wants to download responsibility of on-reserve child welfare to the provinces and provincial-level agencies.The minister, whose government has claimed First Nations education to be a priority, also drew a blank when it came to on-reserve literacy and numeracy rates for students.“This is information that I do not have in front of me, but we could provide it to the honourable member,” said Valcourt.“I read it in the (department’s) report,” said Angus. “It was the first time that it ever kept those numbers.”Angus said boys in Ontario First Nations had a literacy score of 21 per cent and a numeracy score of 18 per cent.“I do not know if the minister can name a country in the world where those rates would be lower,” said Angus.Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett took aim at Valcourt over the apparent drop in the number of First Nation and Inuit students accessing the post-secondary student support program. Bennett said in 1997, 22, 938 students were in the program, but that number dropped to 18,729 in 2009.“Can the minister tell us what the current total back log for First Nations and Inuit individuals waiting for support through the post-secondary student support program is? What is the wait list backlog?” said Bennett.Valcourt said he didn’t know because the program is administered at the band level.“This is information that they have and we do not,” said Valcourt.Valcourt said between 20,000 to 22,000 students were currently in the post-secondary student support program.Valcourt also dodged a question about his department sharing information on Indigenous activist with law enforcement and intelligence agencies under the Harper government’s proposed anti-terror law. If Bill C-51 becomes law, agencies like the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP would be able to access Indian status records, which contain geological information, and other personal information held by Aboriginal Affairs.“(Under Bill-C51), will the department be able to proactively share information that is collected on Indigenous activists with security and intelligence agencies?” said NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Niki Ashton.“Last time I checked, I am not responsible for public safety,” said Valcourt.Ashton then brought up the RCMP’s apology for a comparison likening the Idle No More movement to “bacteria” made by one the force’s Aboriginal liaison officers.“The parliamentary secretary to the minister of Public Safety said that it was absolutely abhorrent that anyone would ask the government to apologize for this kind of discriminatory language,” said Ashton. “Does the minister agree with the parliamentary secretary?”Valcourt said the federal government did not share the bacteria view.“Can I do more than just reiterate that the government of Canada does not share the view of that sole employee of the RCMP who has chosen to characterize the movement that way he has,” said Valcourt. “This is not the view of our government and I repeat, we think that the RCMP has appropriately apologized for the statement of that member of the RCMP.”firstname.lastname@example.org@APTNNews
Martha TroianAPTN InvestigatesUniversities across the country are housing hundreds of Indigenous human remains, ranging from small bones fragments to complete skeletons and some from as far back as the ninth century.Repatriation of remains to the communities they originated from is slow but they should be returned, said Ry Moran, the director of the National Centre for the Truth and Reconciliation.Many of those human remains have been with the universities since the 1920s and they are stored in plastic bins, wooden trays and even cardboard boxes, APTN Investigates has learned from a survey of more than 12 universities across Canada.Institutions were asked a set of questions about Indigenous human remains within their institutions and just one, the University of Saskatchewan said they did not have remains.McGill University does not have remains onsite, but since 1987, the 200 skeletal parts belonging to the university have been stored at the McCord Museum in Montreal.“We’ve got this very unbalanced country right now, these materials, humans remains, cultural artifacts are scattered throughout the world, many of them taken without any consent from the community at all,” said Moran.“The communities themselves have been prevented from, and disempowered from creating cultural institutions of their own and that’s by virtue of the Indian Act…so it’s just a real challenge.”Ranging from bone fragments to complete skeletonsOf the 12 universities contacted, the University of Toronto has the highest number of Indigenous human remains, with 550 individuals, all of which are bone fragments.Edward Banning, Professor and Graduate Chair in the Department of Anthropology with the university, stated that the oldest remains are dated to the ninth century with most remains from the 17th century.“Human remains, for spiritual reasons, need to be put at rest and it is completely wrong for any people to have human remains in their institutions,” said activist and artist Christi Belcourt.“People’s bodies need to be respected.”(Christi Belcourt)Memorial University of Newfoundland has the second highest number of Indigenous human remains with approximately 197 individuals, both complete and incomplete.Even though the Rooms Corporation — the home of the provincial museum — is responsible for the remains, they are housed at the university wrote Mark Ferguson, the manager of collections at the museum, in an email.These Indigenous remains date as far back as 7,000 years ago.The University of British Columbia was unable to provide the total number of human remains, stating an analysis would have to be conducted.APTN asked for an estimate, but the institution declined to provide one.Generally, most universities have Indigenous remains ranging from small bone fragments to multiple full skeletons. Remains are also predominantly from the same province the university is located in.For example, the University of Victoria houses remains primarily from Vancouver Island.UVic was unable to provide the number of remains because they are fragmentary and no attempt has been made to identify whether they belong to one or more individuals.In some institutions, the remains come from other parts of a province or country.Of the 63 human remains held by Western University based in London, Ont., one skull is from Nunavut.The University of Manitoba has remains from British Columbia, North Dakota, Florida and even Ghana in its collection.Most Indigenous remains in these universities are stored in plastic bags, then in specialized cardboard boxes and placed on shelves or in cabinets.These remains arrive at these institutions in a variety of ways, such as through archaeological excavations, development projects and construction sites.Some remains are also handed over to the universities after police departments determine they are not of forensic interest.Repatriation slow and recentAlthough some universities are repatriating Indigenous human remains back to their rightful communities, the process has been slow and a long time coming.Recent examples include the University of Winnipeg, who returned 18 individuals in 2017, with six more scheduled in spring 2018. Currently, the university has 145 remains made up of a single tooth to a complete skeleton.Western University returned remains to a nearby Indigenous community in mid-October 2017.The largest repatriation to date was done by the University of Toronto, returning approximately 1,760 remains in 2013. The remains were in most cases from ossuaries, the university said.With approximately 59 First Nation partial remains at its institution, John Danakas, executive director with public affairs at the University of Manitoba said only one request was made by an Indigenous group in the last 27 years for the return of remains.The bones were eventually repatriated in 2002. Danakas stated no other requests have been made since then.Some institutions will either work with one community or several to return remains, as in the case of the University of Alberta, who previously worked with 14 communities across the province to rebury 25 individuals near Lacombe in 2014.“If we don’t do it ourselves it doesn’t get done”“We need to find a new path forward but communities have been so disempowered over the years that we have to ask ourselves if there’s a capacity and that’s really fundamental,” said Ry Moran, referring to whether communities have a place for these remains.“It is now only Indigenous people that can really determine what should happen with this material and new conversations have to be happening across the country.”(Ry Moran)APTN asked the universities what they’re doing to help repatriate more remains.Many said they welcome the opportunity to work with anyone who requests the return of remains but not all institutions have repatriation policies.Lakehead University and UVic are among those that do not have a repatriation policy.For some universities, covering the cost to get some of these returns back to Indigenous communities is not an option.“In terms of the actual cost, that is a burden on the community. They bear the cost of coming down, they bear of the cost of return, they bear the cost of any ceremony that takes place,” said Susan Rowley, the director with the Laboratory of Archaeology at UBC.“That’s something that is very difficult,” Rowley said.UBC will help with the paperwork and any events that might take place on the day remains are returned.“I think history has proven that if we don’t do it ourselves it doesn’t get done,” said Christi Belcourt.“We can say that others should pay for this and they should, but is that the reality of what will happen? No.”email@example.com Follow @ozhibiiige
Laurie HamelinAPTN NewsDavid Dennis from Nuu-chah-nulth Nation in British Columbia has end-stage liver disease and needs a transplant or could die within a month.Although he has willing donors, Dennis is being denied a spot on a provincial wait list because he’s only been sober since June 4, 2019.B.C.’s abstinence policy requires liver transplant recipients have zero alcohol for six months.That’s time Dennis, a 44-year-old father of five, doesn’t have.On Tuesday he and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and Frank Paul Society filed a joint complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. Dennis is the President of the Frank Paul Society.He says the provincial transplant policy is a lethal form of racism against Indigenous peoples.“The question really is about trauma — how do you introduce that idea where you calculate somebody’s trauma?” he says.Dennis also says a number of donors with universal blood type have offered to help.“But to my surprise we haven’t even done a test to see what my blood type is.“They don’t have it on file — so the depths of just how silly this process has been reveals quite a bit about the bureaucracy of this health care system here in Vancouver.”Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the UBCIC is also calling for the abstinence policy to be repealed and for Dennis to be placed on the transplant list.Phillip says intergenerational trauma from colonization must be taken into consideration.“It’s jeopardizing his chance off surviving,” he says.“Indigenous people historically have been acknowledged to have greater issues with substance abuse and alcoholism and things of that nature, and the sense is that if the policy were applied rigidly we would loose a lot of our people.”Phillip had liver disease himself and underwent a transplant 23 years ago.The chief says he’s hopeful B.C. will do the right thing.“I’m optimistic that something good will come out of this,” he says.Dennis says he’s trying to stay positive, but that if he doesn’t win he wants the battle to carry on.“We’re hoping that this case, whether we are around or not, that it continues and that it helps marginalized people in the long run.”He says the most difficult part for him is having to explain to his 5-year-old daughter that he might die.“Getting to that place where she understands that dad might not be coming back — and that is scary as hell,” he says through tears.The B.C. Transplant Society and the Vancouver Coastal Health’s liver transplant team are reviewing Dennis’ firstname.lastname@example.org@Laurie_HamelinEditor’s Note: After this story was published health authorities in B.C. told APTN their abstinence policy for organ transplant recipients had changed earlier this year. Read Laurie Hamelin’s follow-up story, Liver transplant ‘misunderstanding’ means there’s still hope for David Dennis.
The man behind Apple News wants to shake up the travel industry and give travellers a cut of commissions from online hotel bookings.Jochem Wijnands launched TRVL this year. Here are five things you should know about using the online platform.What is TRVL?TRVL is a website that allows travellers to sign up as so-called TRVL agents and search for hotels for their trips or recommend places to stay to others. The agents receive a commission — up to 10 per cent — any time someone books travel through a link they provide.Who can use it?Anyone over 18 can sign up for the service, so long as they abide by the site’s rules.Anyone can message a TRVL agent on the website, without having to sign up, and book a recommended hotel through a link they provide. However, the site is currently blocked in Ontario.Where does the commission money come from?Online booking websites, like Booking.com and Hotels.com, have a built-in portion of the price that typically goes to a travel agent, said Wijnands.Travellers who book online themselves pay that fee but don’t receive the service, he said.TRVL lets its agents recoup that cost by cutting them in on the commission hotels pay to websites that send customers their way.How much does it pay?TRVL agents receive up to 10 per cent of the cost of the hotel booking in payment 30 to 60 days after the trip takes place. So, travellers can recoup up to $20 on a $200 hotel, for instance. However, money earned for each booking depends on the price of the hotel and the percentage of commission TRVL offers.Does it cost anything to book?The service is free to use. TRVL makes its profit by taking a cut of the commission its booking service providers pay.
CONKLIN, Alta. – A worker has been killed in an energy sector accident in northern Alberta.Cenovus Energy Inc., says the accident happened late Tuesday night at its Christina Lake oilsands site, about 350 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.The company says in a release that the death involved a hauling truck and occurred as a drilling rig was being moved.The worker was employed by one of Cenovus’s third-party contracting companies.Officials have not released any other details, including the person’s name.Brett Harris, a Cenovus spokesman, says the drill rig site has been shut down for an investigation.(Companies in this story: TSX:CVE)