By macleans.ca - Friday, May 17, 2013 - 0 Comments
Canadians remember Cree politician who blocked Meech Lake accord
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 6:56 AM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Voters in British Columbia go to the polls today in what was…
VANCOUVER – Voters in British Columbia go to the polls today in what was the provincial New Democrats’ election to lose.
It was the Liberals’ to survive — early polls suggested the best they could hope for was to save their party and prevent a rout in a province known for not just voting governments out of power, but sending them into political purgatory.
If that was the case, then both of the province’s main political parties appear to have succeeded in a hard-fought four-week election campaign.
New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix ran a populist campaign, appealing to voters’ desire for change after 12 years of Liberal rule. There was a lot of water under the government bridge, a fact Dix reminded the electorate of as doggedly as he avoided missteps.
“They didn’t have to run a great campaign. As long as they didn’t screw up then the election was probably going to be theirs all along,” says Hamish Telford, a professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley.
By Nancy Macdonald - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 10:08 PM - 0 Comments
Seven years after Queen of the North tragedy, families see measure of justice
It was, perhaps, the best-known rumour in B.C.
Just days after the Queen of the North sank, on March 22, 2006, killing Shirley Rosette, 43, and Gerald Foisy, 45, word began to spread that Karl Lilgert, the officer in charge of the ferry, had been on deck with his former lover. What exactly the pair had been doing was the source of speculation and innuendo.
The story was made all the more appalling when, for years, it seemed Lilgert, with the help of his union, would not pay for his careless actions.
First, the B.C Ferry and Marine Workers attempted to delay BC Ferries investigators from talking to Lilgert and its crew. When asked to testify at an inquiry into the fatal collision, Lilgert, with the union’s help, stonewalled. The Ferry and Marine Workers threatened labour unrest if Lilgert was sanctioned for refusing to co-operate.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM - 0 Comments
‘The people of Labrador wanted change,’ candidate says of victory over Peter Penashue
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Conservatives urged Labrador voters to overlook spending rule violations and return incumbent Peter Penashue to Ottawa as a cabinet minister — an offer they answered with a resounding No.
Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones won the federal byelection Monday in Labrador, recapturing a traditional Grit bastion and handing the Harper government its sole byelection defeat in a Tory-held seat.
The riding became vacant when Penashue quit due to campaign overspending and ineligible contributions during the 2011 election. He finished a distant second.
Jones, a former provincial Liberal party leader and 17-year veteran of the legislature, vowed that she would be a strong voice for Labrador who wouldn’t dodge tough questions.
By Dirk Meissner and Vivian Luk, The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 7:55 PM - 0 Comments
The leaders of British Columbia’s two main political parties sprinted to get their message…
The leaders of British Columbia’s two main political parties sprinted to get their message out Monday, one day before the finish line would deliver one of them an election victory.
New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix was to campaign for 24 hours straight, making 15 election stops during his 1,700- kilometre tour as far north as Prince George.
He planned to continue his efforts to woo voters until 7 a.m. Tuesday, an hour before polls open.
Liberal Leader Christy Clark also had a long day ahead, with 10 events scheduled until Monday night in her home riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.
For Clark, the last full day of campaigning was similar to the first, as she warned voters about what the New Democrats could do to the provincial economy.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 7:50 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – The navigating officer in charge of the Queen of the North passenger…
VANCOUVER – The navigating officer in charge of the Queen of the North passenger ferry the moment it struck an island off the northern British Columbia coast seven years ago, sinking and leaving two passengers missing, has been convicted of criminal negligence causing death.
The jury, which heard nearly four months of testimony, had been deliberating since Tuesday. On Monday afternoon, they returned to court to ask the judge questions related to whether Lilgert directly caused the deaths of the couple.
Lilgert will be charged next month.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM - 0 Comments
In temperature and politics, the Arctic has never been hotter. As other nations try to get in on the action, Canada is gearing up for a fight.
Ólafur Grímsson, the jovial, globe-trotting president of Iceland, likes to tell the story of his first state visit to Russia 11 years ago, when he asked to meet with Vladimir Putin to talk about the Arctic. The snow-haired Icelander was told that such esoteric matters would be best discussed with local authorities in Kamchatka and Murmansk, thousands of miles from the Kremlin. These days, says Grímsson with a chuckle, Putin himself gives speeches at Arctic conferences—and sends emissaries to Iceland to personally invite Grímsson to attend.
In temperature and in geopolitics, the Arctic has never been hotter. The ice cap is melting rapidly; new shipping lanes are opening up, as are previously inaccessible reserves of oil, gas and minerals. It is estimated that one-fifth of the world’s petroleum reserves lie in the Arctic. Whether these riches will be developed and transported, under what conditions and by whom, are high-stakes questions that are growing in urgency for governments and industry around the world. Some projections say a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean could occur by mid-century. “For the first time in human history we will witness the creation of a new ocean,” Grímsson told a conference in Washington last month. And the rest of the world wants in. Last summer, a Chinese-owned icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, sailed from Shanghai to Iceland. The purpose of that expedition was ostensibly to research how the melting of the sea ice creates extreme weather patterns in China. But China is also building cargo ships to sail across a polar route this decade using the ice-free summer months, cutting the distance to Europe and America.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – A witness who has delivered bombshell testimony at Quebec’s corruption inquiry is…
MONTREAL – A witness who has delivered bombshell testimony at Quebec’s corruption inquiry is admitting he told a lie on the stand.
Gilles Cloutier returned to Quebec’s corruption inquiry this morning with a message: that although he had testified that he was the owner of a home in Quebec’s Charlevoix region he was, in fact, renting it.
The former political organizer admitted that he lied about owning a house used to entertain clients for Roche, an engineering firm.
He chalked it up to a misplaced sense of pride.
By Rosemary Westwood - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 10:45 AM - 0 Comments
Vintners from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia are embracing effervescence
Maclean’s tells the story of Canadian wine from coast to coast in words and pictures in Wine in Canada: A Tour of Wine Country. Look for it on newsstands now. Or download the app now. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek:
Break out the made-in-Canada bubbly. Champagne isn’t just for drenching champion athletes, New Year’s revelry and the French anymore. Producers at home are challenging the famed region’s monopoly on the finest sparkling wine.
Nestled among the rolling green hills of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley near the Gaspereau River, Benjamin Bridge is part of the new wave of Canadian vineyards creating a buzz with high-calibre bubbles.
Last year a $75 bottle of its 2004 brut reserve stunned some of the country’s most discerning palates in a blind tasting—they preferred it to a $250 bottle of Louis Roederer 2004 Cristal (yes, that Cristal, from one the world’s top champagne houses).
In 2011, L’Acadie Vineyards—also from the Annapolis Valley—won a silver, the only medal awarded to a North American vineyard, at an international competition for sparkling wines held, where else, in France. And the Okanagan’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery won the “best bottle fermented sparkling wine” at the 2010 International Wine and Spirits competition in London. With a growing list of Canadian wineries chasing that bright and delicate zing, competition for the top national sparklers has become fierce. It may not be champagne, a name reserved for wines made in that region, but it sure tastes like it. And Canadians are lapping it up.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 5:30 AM - 0 Comments
NORDEGG, Alta. – An evacuation order has been issued to two small Alberta communities…
NORDEGG, Alta. – An evacuation order has been issued to two small Alberta communities due to wildfires.
Emergency alerts have been issued for Nordegg and Lodgepole because two separate fires are burning within a few kilometres of each community.
The fire near Nordegg, which is 200 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, has been burning for several days and residents have been on a one-hour evacuation notice since Thursday.
Duncan MacDonnell with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development said crews had the fire contained, but officials were still poised to issue an evacuation order if the blaze broke through any containment points.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 5:29 AM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – After tonight, astronaut Chris Hadfield might become a more typical social-media user…
MONTREAL – After tonight, astronaut Chris Hadfield might become a more typical social-media user and start posting pictures of mundane subjects — like food.
The Canadian space veteran is scheduled to return to Earth this evening after a five-month stay on the International Space Station.
The astronaut best known for having shared stunning pictures from space says what he’s really looking forward to now is the aroma of a rich cup of coffee, and other such delights.
“One of the things I miss here is the smell of food,” Hadfield said during his final news conference from space, last month.
“The rich aroma of a coffee or the smell of something that’s in the oven and the textures of food,” he said.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 10:19 AM - 0 Comments
The federal byelection in Labrador boils down to a choice: a former cabinet minister…
The federal byelection in Labrador boils down to a choice: a former cabinet minister who says he’ll wield influence in Ottawa, versus Liberal and NDP challengers who say they’ll chart a new course for political change.
It has also been cast as the first test of how fledgling Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair stack up on the campaign trail.
Henry White, who runs Bert’s Barber Shop in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, knows how he’ll vote.
By Nancy Macdonald - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 5:41 PM - 0 Comments
Who is going to win? Depends which pollster you trust
Just weeks ago, pollsters in B.C. believed the SoCreds’ 1991 demise could be repeated this spring. Its Liberal heirs would be similarly routed, some predicted, reduced to a handful of seats.
With days to go before British Columbians head to the polls, it’s still far from clear how exactly they plan to vote. But that Liberal rout, it’s become clear, is no longer in the cards.
The yawning, 20-point lead the NDP once held over the governing Liberals has evaporated. But by how much depends on which polling outfit you trust.
An Angus-Reid poll for the Globe and Mail-CTV released yesterday had it halved, giving the NDP a nine-point edge.
But a Forum poll for the National Post released a day earlier put the NDP and Liberals in a dead heat: 43 per cent, compared to 41 per cent for the Liberals.
Then Ipsos-Reid came in down the middle, putting the NDP lead at six per cent.
So who’s right? Who knows. Remember that Wild Rose majority Alberta pollsters were predicting just three days before Albertans instead handed the majority to the Conservatives? Pollsters were similarly oblivious to the Orange surge that gave Quebec to the NDP in 2011, and the Liberal rout next door, in Ontario in that same election.
As response rates to telephone surveys have plummeted, polls have become increasingly unreliable. Pollster Allan Gregg blames the profession for having “fallen in love with the sound of its own voice,” and rushing out flimsy results.
So B.C.’s 2013 election is down to the wire. Or not. Whatever happens Tuesday, pollsters won’t be blamed for getting it wrong. With results all over the map, one at least will have to have got it right.
As for the race, it’s been a weird one. The NDP opted to run a “positive” campaign, à la Jack Layton. This has allowed the public, once so desperate to flog the Liberals for their many sins to have forgotten what it was they were so mad about in the first place.
Both the Conservatives and NDP have had to turf candidates for conduct unbecoming, though the NDP is inexplicably standing behind one, who once labelled Chinese-Canadians “chinkasaureses,” and was repeatedly caught padding her resumé.
The premier, an incredibly polarizing figure in B.C., has somehow been able to keep the conversation firmly turned to jobs and the economy, and has starkly defined the choice: four years of sound fiscal management with the Liberals’ free enterprise coalition, or runaway social spending that would send the B.C. back to its darkest era.
Christy Clark has done this despite playing fast and loose with claims of having balanced the budget, and a face-palm worthy gaffe as the campaign was in full swing—running a red on a dare from her son with a reporter along for the ride.
Adrian Dix, by flip-flopping on the twinning of an existing pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, played into Liberal fear-mongering, scaring off centrist voters. The NDP leader is also pledging to put fracking to an environmental review, kill at least one mining proposal that has government support, and reverse the go-ahead on a new all-season resort in B.C.’s Kootenay region. Small wonder the Liberals have dubbed him Mr. Nix.
But there are some areas in which he is inclined to say yes. His party is promising new spending totalling $2 billion, including $210-million per year on a “family bonus,” for low- and moderate-income families and $100-million a year to hire more teachers (in a province which continues to see declining enrolment).
And yet Dix, who’s shown no interest in balancing the budget, somehow continues to present a moderate face. He’s gone to lengths to dampen organized labour’s heady expectations, at least for the short term, and has burnished his business credentials by making inroads in Vancouver’s business community.
He’s not unlike Stephen Harper, a plodder, methodical in his approach. He didn’t marry until his 40s. His approach to politics is equally deliberative. Just as Harper has slowly moved the country to the right, a Premier Dix could eventually push B.C. several clicks to the left. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll know Tuesday whether British Columbians are willing to let him take them there.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 1:12 PM - 0 Comments
Senator said his legacy would be his family
OTTAWA – Doug Finley, the organizational “pitbull” behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rise to power, built a reputation in conservative circles for mercurial temper, implaccable calm, fierce loyalty and prodigious work ethic.
Finley, 66, died Saturday after a battle with colorectal cancer that the media-shy campaign general had shared openly with the world in his last months.
He is survived by his wife Diane Finley, a senior federal Conservative cabinet minister, his daughter Siobhan by a previous marriage, and three grandchildren.
By macleans.ca - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 5:13 AM - 0 Comments
- What’s happening with the Backbench Spring?
- Why is the opposition looking so upbeat these days?
- Is Canada cracking down on international tax cheats?
John Geddes, Nick Taylor-Vaisey and Aaron Wherry take on the issues of the day. Hear them out, then have your say in the comments below.
By Charlie Gillis - Friday, May 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM - 0 Comments
Remember that lawsuit Brian Burke dropped on foolhardy commenters who helped spread the nasty rumour that he had an affair with a TV anchor and fathered her child? Okay.
Now, do you remember the doubly foolhardy blogger who admitted that he didn’t take down the offending material when asked, and didn’t see what “the big deal” was? Yeah, that guy. A journalism student, if you can feature it.
Well, here’s what happens when you start publishing rumours about people’s personal lives without first running “Canadian libel law” through Google:
I am new to the world of journalism and mistakes occur when people are new to something. Everyone is fallible, and I now understand that I made a mistake by posting a rumour online.
Hopefully, Brian Burke and Hazel Mae will read this and understand how I feel, and what my intentions were. I want to sincerely apologize to them for any personal or professional damages my actions may have caused them.
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM - 0 Comments
Is the Liberal leader B.C.’s comeback kid?
For the past year, the B.C. Liberals, mired in scandals of their own doing, have been polling at least 20 points behind the NDP. Last week, the ground suddenly shifted. A Forum Research Inc. poll put the Liberals just four points behind the NDP. Later that day, Angus Reid released similar results, putting the Liberals seven points behind the NDP. And with that, the provincial election which, for the better part of a year, had been looking like a cakewalk for the NDP’s Adrian Dix, started to resemble a comeback tale for the ages for Clark’s Liberal team.
With just five days remaining before British Columbians head to the polls, it remains hard to imagine that Clark might actually close the gap. Crucially, Angus Reid puts the Liberals 10 points behind the NDP in the vote-rich ridings of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Still, no one ever imagined the race would get this close, nor that Clark, whose two-year tenure has been marred by controversy and scandal, would perform as well as she has in the last four weeks.
Here are the 10 reasons for the Liberal surge:
1. Clark’s highly effective campaign
The Liberals have managed to frame the conversation on fiscal and economic issues—taxes, government spending and major projects like pipelines, liquefied natural gas and fracking—on which they are strong. That makes the NDP, who promise to increase taxes and government spending, show little to no interest in balancing the budget, and oppose resource mega-projects look like a risky choice. The NDP can’t seem to play their advantage, and turn the conversation to health care and education.
2. The NDP’s decision to come out against Kinder Morgan
Dix, worried about bleeding votes to the B.C. Greens, came out against the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion two weeks ago. It was a disastrous choice.
Green Party support remains unmoved. And it’s given Clark room to claim that resource development will come to a standstill under Dix—who also opposes Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline plan—killing jobs and wrecking B.C.’s shaky economy.
Dix’s stunning flip-flop has also alienated centrists, and is forcing those considering parking their vote with the Conservatives to think again.
3. The disastrous Conservative campaign
After last week’s debate, the tweet, “Cummins went full Gran Torino” was trending on Twitter—a reference to the 71-year-old B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins’ cranky incoherence during the April 29 leader’s debate. Again and again, Cummins, the only leader to rely on notes, repeated that the Liberals and NDP would “tax British Columbians to oblivion,” whatever that means. (“It’s possible,” said one observer, “that the only thing written on those notes was ‘Taxes = Bad.’ ”)
Cummins has had to fire four candidates since the campaign began; and the party, who saw support hit record levels ahead of the campaign, is looking more and more like a hopeless bunch of cranks. Potential Conservative voters have been running home to the Liberals ever since the writ was dropped.
4. Debate performance
Ahead of the debate, the media narrative said that Dix just had to show up, and not embarrass himself. He did both those things, and media commentators gave him the edge coming out of the debate. But the B.C. media are used to Clark’s slick communications skills. Regular British Columbians are not. They saw something very different on April 29. Dix, who began the debate with a shaking voice, often looked terrified, even when leaning stiffly against the podium, an apparent attempt to appear relaxed. (Some in the Liberal war room were playing a drinking game, knocking back every time Dix rested against his lectern.) By contrast, Clark, a former radio show host, looked polished, at ease and was quick to pounce.
Dix may not have fumbled; but only one leader looked electable that night. Polls released later that week confirmed that the televised debate had changed a lot of minds.
The bookish NDP leader has what one analyst has dubbed a “charisma deficit.” Clark’s best assets, meanwhile, are “her personality, her optimism, her attitude,” says the University of the Fraser Valley’s Hamish Telford.
The Clark campaign has been regularly tweeting photos of the premier in hard hats, hands dirty, all smiles. It’s cheesy stuff, but it works. Dix, who was recently photographed in a goofy bowler hat in historic Barkerille, has been running a cautious, defensive campaign, limiting scrums to one a day, and restricting media access.
It took his campaign almost four weeks to finally grant Maclean’s a 10-minute interview—after near-daily rescheduling and endless dickering over when and where the interview would be conducted and how the article would be framed.
The Clark campaign had the premier on the phone within days. They had no questions nor qualms about the tone of the interview or the article itself.
6. Attack ads
Voters may claim to hate attack ads. But research shows they have their desired impact on voting behaviour. From the start, Clark’s team has been running brutal attack ads against Dix. Yesterday came the release of yet another—a clip from the televised leader’s debate where Dix was asked a question about “memogate.” (Thirteen years ago, when he was B.C. premier Glen Clark’s chief of staff, Dix backdated a memo in an attempt to protect the premier from conflict-of-interest charges. Clark, it was alleged, had traded a renovation to his East Vancouver home from an applicant for a successful casino license.)
“It was my mistake, I take responsibility,” Dix said. “I was 35 years old.” It was a cringe-worthy line—at 35, he was neither young nor inexperienced, and the Liberals pounced, including the clip in a new online attack ad.
7. Being forthright
Where does Dix stand on the labour code? On fracking? On liquefied natural gas? On balancing the budget? Who knows? Details, Dix says, will be revealed after the vote, raising suspicion, and providing further ammo for the Liberals.
Clark’s obsessive faith in liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the province’s salvation may seem tiresome. But at least voters know where she stands on the issue.
Dix, despite insisting he wouldn’t run negative campaign ads, began doing just that three days ago, attacking the Liberals for “years of scandals,” and of “mismanagement and misleading voters.” All fair game—though after months of making hay of his “positive” campaign, it seems a little disingenuous to suddenly reverse that promise. With less than a week to go, look for the NDP to get even more aggressive.
8. The economic climate
Dix may have won endorsements from noted environmentalists like Tzeporah Berman by opposing both proposed pipelines through B.C., pledging to maintain moratoriums on tanker traffic, promising environmental reviews on fracking and calling into question LNG—one of the few bright spots in B.C., beyond the condo market. But it’s a hard sell to regular British Columbians in this economic climate, particularly when Dix is also promising major spending increases. Even support for the Keystone XL pipeline is growing in the U.S., amid polls showing that people’s desperation for jobs outweighs their concerns for the climate.
9. The Canucks early playoff exit
Two years ago, Christy Clark’s government held a referendum on the HST in the middle of the Canucks’ Stanley Cup run. Campaigners had to struggle to be heard through the din. Few tuned in, spoiling door-knocking plans and derailing pro-HST messaging. The harmonized tax, of course, failed on the June 30, 2011, vote.
This week, the city’s beloved Canucks became the first team to exit the playoffs, unceremoniously swept in four straight game by San Jose. All of a sudden, British Columbians are tuning into an election campaign that had, until now, been seen as the second-most important race in town.
10. Polls don’t tell a complete story
Pollsters in recent elections have looked red-faced, notably in Alberta, where they predicted a Wildrose majority in October 2011, only to see the Conservatives returned to power with a comfortable majority. Pollsters similarly didn’t have a clue that the NDP would wipe out the Bloc in Quebec in the 2011 federal election; and the Conservative minority they predicted was actually a comfortable majority for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The Liberals are desperately hoping the Alberta scenario repeats in B.C., where pollsters are still predicting an NDP majority.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 8:52 AM - 0 Comments
In an exclusive with L’actualité, Ghyslain Raza talks for the first time about the infamous video and the dangers of cyberbullying
Almost a billion viewers across the planet know him as the Star Wars Kid, but they’ve never heard him speak, until now.
Ghyslain Raza was a normal high-school student in small-town Quebec back in 2002, a shy 14-year-old who liked to make videos. In 2003, classmates posted one of those videos on the Internet without his knowledge–in it, Raza wields a makeshift light saber, clumsily imitating a Star Wars Jedi knight.
The video went viral, and the Trois-Rivières teen became one of the earliest and highest-profile victims of a massive cyberbullying attack, one that played out among classmates and strangers online.
“What I saw was mean. It was violent. People were telling me to commit suicide,” the now-25-year-old recalls.
By Michael Friscolanti - Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 8:19 AM - 0 Comments
The timing of charges against engineer Robert Wood are just as troubling as the allegations
Two months and three dozen witnesses later, the Elliot Lake public inquiry is still in its early days. But as lawyers continue to sift through the wreckage of last summer’s deadly shopping mall collapse—an absolutely preventable disaster that killed two women and injured 20 others—the evidence is now appallingly clear: so many people made so many mistakes over so many years that it’s amazing the Algo Centre stayed up so long.
The rooftop parking lot (a ridiculous idea to begin with) was poorly designed and defectively waterproofed. Owner after owner used cheap, Band-Aid solutions to patch the ensuing leaks. The city failed to enforce its own bylaws, ensuring that buildings are watertight and structurally stable. And nearly every engineer who inspected the doomed mall failed to recognize that decades’ worth of salty slush and rain had dangerously corroded the steel beams holding the roof deck in place.
Like the warning signs that appeared so obvious, there is plenty of blame to go around.
By Martin Patriquin - Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 1:46 AM - 0 Comments
Government claims Adil Charkaoui spoke of hijacking a plane and a possible biochemical attack
Adil Charkaoui was an al-Qaeda sleeper agent and terror threat who spoke of hijacking a plane and of a possible biochemical attack on Montreal’s Metro system, the federal government contends in startling new documents.
The allegations are the latest salvo by the Department of Justice in a 10-year legal battle against the Moroccan-born Charkaoui. A permanent resident of Canada since 1995, Charkaoui was arrested in 2003 on security certificates and spent 21 months in jail and several years under virtual house arrest, fighting deportation. In an apparent rebuke of Canada’s counter-terrorist methods, a federal judge halted proceedings against him in 2009. Charkaoui left court a free man, triumphantly snipping his court-ordered GPS tracking unit off his ankle on the way out.
Now, for the first time, the government has outlined exactly how it believes Charkaoui, who lives in Montreal, was a grave threat to national security. Charkaoui, who has always maintained his innocence, sued the federal government for $26.5 million in 2010, claiming it had for years unfairly targeted him as a terrorist. In its statement of defence filed last Friday, Canada’s Attorney General’s office lays out some of the government’s evidence against the 39-year-old father of four. Among its allegations: that Charkaoui associated with some of the world’s most notorious terrorists, including so-called “Millennium Bomber” Ahmed Ressam and 9/11 mastermind Zacarias Moussaoui, and attended al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.
By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press - Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM - 0 Comments
Teen was Grade 12 honour student in Coxheath, N.S.
COXHEATH, N.S. – The sudden death of a Cape Breton teen while competing in her first full marathon on the weekend shouldn’t lead people to conclude such exercise is risky for fit young people, an emergency room doctor who knew the girl says.
Dr. Chris Milburn, a long-distance runner who practises at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, said Monday he knew 18-year-old Emma van Nostrand through the running club he leads — the Cape Breton Road Runners.
Van Nostrand, an honour student in Grade 12 at Riverview High School in Coxheath, N.S., was running in the Toronto Marathon on Sunday when she collapsed within three kilometres of the finish line.
Milburn said it’s unclear what happened and an autopsy is pending.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 3, 2013 at 10:58 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – An aide to a Liberal candidate who ran for a Calgary seat…
OTTAWA – An aide to a Liberal candidate who ran for a Calgary seat in the 2008 federal election faces charges under the Canada Elections Act.
Earlier this week, Elections Canada laid two charges against Amandeep Gill for failing provide the chief electoral officer with a campaign return.
“Amandeep Gill, being the official agent of a candidate, did, on or between February 13th, 2009 and April 30th, 2013 … fail to provide the Chief Electoral Officer for the federal general election held on October 14, 2008, with an electoral campaign return … and did thereby commit an offence contrary to … the Canada Elections Act,” the charge sheet says.
The second charge says Gill, 37, “wilfully” failed to submit the electoral campaign return.
Gill worked as the official agent of Calgary Southeast Liberal candidate Brad Carroll, according to Elections Canada spokesman John Enright.
By Charlie Gillis - Friday, May 3, 2013 at 2:09 PM - 0 Comments
Surely we can agree that stuffing the body of a baby into a bag and leaving it on an apartment balcony for a building superintendent to find is an abominable act. And that it shouldn’t much matter—legally or morally—whether the child died after, during or just before birth.
Or should it?
That was the question before the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Levkovic, the latest gut-wrencher to emerge from the legal vacuum left when Canada’s abortion law was struck down in 1988.
The accused, a former stripper then living in Mississauga, Ont., was charged under Sec. 243 of the Criminal Code, which says:
Every one who in any manner disposes of the dead body of a child, with intent to conceal the fact that its mother has been delivered of it, whether the child died before, during or after birth, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. Continue…
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Friday, May 3, 2013 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
With the muzzling of scientists, Harper’s obsession with controlling the message verges on the Orwellian
As far as the government scientist was concerned, it was a bit of fluff: an early morning interview about great white sharks last summer with Canada AM, the kind of innocuous and totally apolitical media commentary the man used to deliver 30 times or more each year as the resident shark expert in the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). So he sent an email off to Ottawa notifying department flaks about the request, and when no response had been received by the next morning, just went ahead and did it.
After all, in the past such initiative was rewarded. His superiors were happy to have him grab some limelight for the department and its research, so much so they once gave him an award as the DFO’s spokesperson of the year. But as he found out, things have changed under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Soon after arriving at his offices, the scientist was called before his regional director and given a formal verbal reprimand: talk to the media again without the explicit permission of the minister’s office, he was warned, and there would be serious consequences—like a suspension without pay, or even dismissal.
By John Geddes - Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 7:31 PM - 0 Comments
On Stephen Poloz’s big day, as he basks in the media attention that comes with being named the next Governor of the Bank of Canada, let’s not resort to words like “dull.” There’s no need for that sort of talk. “Stolid” serves and doesn’t sound nearly as harsh.
Still, there sat Poloz in the National Press Theatre this afternoon, right beside the departing Mark Carney. It was impossible not to sag a bit at the thought of Ottawa reverting to being just a bit more its own cliché. You judge me shallow for dwelling on Carney’s performance style? Show a little pity. Consider those of us who jobs entail listening regularly to what’s intoned by the less, shall we say, dynamic of our current federal cabinet ministers.
And Carney’s ability to command willing attention—whether on stage in Davos or in studio with Strombo—wasn’t merely diverting. Because it was the charismatic Carney talking, we paid a tad more attention to, for instance, dire warnings about consumer debt loads. Even policy issues that touch that so intimately on the financial lives of most Canadians can’t compete for public attention unless leaders show at least a bit of flare.
Typically, we’d look for those skills in elected politicians. But there aren’t many in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Ottawa with that sort of knack. And now there will be one fewer in the senior ranks of the Canadian public service—though one more at the Bank of England, where Carney takes over next month.
In fact, Poloz lands the top job at the Bank of Canada in the wake of, not just one unusually watchable performer, but two in a row. If Carney was all cool urbanity, his raspy-voiced predecessor, David Dodge, projected an avuncular quality that was powerfully reassuring—a pretty handy trick for a central bank gov.
Now, Poloz, 57, is no slouch. He’s not a Harvard and Oxford man like Carney, but is a respected economist with a PhD from University of Western Ontario. He has deep Bank of Canada roots, having worked there for 14 years, including a stint in the 1990s as chief of research, running the shop Carney calls the bank’s “engine room.” Poloz later joined the federal Export Development Corporation as its chief economist in 1999, before taking over as EDC’s president and CEO in 2011. That put him in close contact with the CEOs of many Canadian exporting companies.
Not surprisingly, he was ultra-cautious at today’s news conference, laughing off some questions until he’s had time to settle into the job, or just avowing that he likes the way Carney has run things. Perhaps his most emphatic answer came late, when Poloz drew on his recent EDC experience to highlight the prime importance of a U.S. recovery, and the resulting boost in demand for Canadian exports, in Canada’s outlook.
“What we’re looking for is that the engine of growth on the demand side gradually shifts into the export side of the economy,” Poloz said, citing the EDC’s recent global export forecast. “It shows pretty strong growth in Canadian exports for next year, on the back of the recovery that we are seeing in the United States in particular, which has been the lacking bit in the story until recently.”
That explicit reference to the perspective he brings from his last job served as a no doubt unintentional reminder that Poloz is an outsider, chosen to succeed Carney over a strong internal Bank of Canada candidate—senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem. Carney was, to my ear at least, at his polished best today fielding the awkward question of whether Macklem will stay on. “Tiff is very much looking forward to working with Steve,” he said in part, lapsing into first names since these are, you know, old pals who get along famously.
Financial market insiders will be arguing for days over what it means that the Conservative government picked Poloz over Macklem. Was it mainly a matter of policy bent, a preference for Poloz’s export orientation? Was it an Ottawa culture issue, a sign that the Harper crew saw Macklem as too much the consummate mandarin?
These can be interesting questions, if you like that sort of thing. (I do.) But for most Canadians, the noticeable part of today’s handoff won’t really be about monetary policy, much less about Ottawa’s arcane inner workings. The change that matters will be how a face and voice, which sometimes, against all odds, actually captured the attention of those who are susceptible to paying attention between elections to the way the country is run, isn’t going to be around anymore.
That’s not the new guy’s fault. He’s there to do a job, and he has the credentials to do it. But with a government in power that controls its own message (and messengers) so tightly, Carney’s ability and willingness not to be boring is certain to be sorely missed.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Stephen Poloz, the former head of Export Development Canada, was named Thursday…
OTTAWA – Stephen Poloz, the former head of Export Development Canada, was named Thursday as the next governor of the Bank of Canada, replacing Mark Carney, whose term ends June 1.
The appointment to a seven-year term follows a lengthy five-month search process set in motion by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty after Carney announced he would step down June 1.
“Stephen Poloz has a long and distinguished career in the public and private sectors with 30 years experience in financial markets, forecasting and economic policy,” Flaherty told a news conference.
“I am confident he has the skills and experience required to lead the Bank of Canada at a time of global economic uncertainty.”