By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – The NDP has suspended a member from its shadow cabinet because of…
MONTREAL – The NDP has suspended a member from its shadow cabinet because of his chronic, long-term failure to pay taxes.
Tyrone Benskin has been stripped of his role as official-languages critic until he pays the $58,000 he owes to the Quebec revenue agency.
The provincial agency has contacted the House of Commons to seize part of his $160,000 MP’s salary because of outstanding tax debts from 2007 to 2011.
The Montreal MP had been an actor in films, including the popular “300,” before being elected in 2011.
Benskin has apologized in a statement.
“In order for our society to be prosperous and fair, each citizen must do their part. I haven’t always done mine and I apologize,” he said.
“Fortunately, I am working on sorting out my situation with the Canada Revenue Agency. I intend to pay back every last cent of the money I owe, as soon as possible.”
He also offered an explanation about why he was so late.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 2:38 PM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – Justin Trudeau says he is satisfied with a Liberal senator’s handling of…
HALIFAX – Justin Trudeau says he is satisfied with a Liberal senator’s handling of an investigation into his expense claims because the senator has stepped away from the party’s caucus.
The Liberal leader said Friday that Sen. Mac Harb did the right thing by deciding to sit as an Independent while an investigation continues into housing allowances.
“This is why I was comfortable and happy with Mac’s decision to step away from the Liberal caucus,” he said. “There are questions to be answered. Mr. Harb and Mr. Brazeau are having their say and they are challenging the allegations, so we will allow processes to take their place.”
Harb resigned from the Liberal caucus after an independent audit found he’d improperly claimed $51,500 in Senate housing allowances.
Trudeau, who met shoppers and office workers as they went about their business at lunch Friday at a mall in Halifax, refused to say whether he thought Harb should step down from the Senate.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 2:37 PM - 0 Comments
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The commercial seal hunt off Newfoundland is being called the…
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The commercial seal hunt off Newfoundland is being called the best in years despite relatively low yields and ongoing protest.
Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, says about 91,000 harp seals were landed this year.
That’s far short of the federal quota of 400,000 but an increase over the last four years.
Pinhorn says the price for the best pelts was also up to about $35 from $28 last year.
Animal welfare groups say the hunt is inhumane despite tighter regulations, and have called on Ottawa to buy out sealing licences.
The province says the hunt is a humane and vital source of income for fishing communities, and it gave a $3.6-million loan to a key processing plant.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a British Columbia judge who…
OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a British Columbia judge who copied most of his ruling in a medical negligence case from the written submissions of the plaintiff.
In a unanimous decision, the justices overturned a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that ordered a new trial in the case.
They also upheld the $4 million in damages awarded to a boy and his mother after he was born brain damaged in May 2001.
The appeal court ordered the new trial because the judge lifted 321 paragraphs of his 368-paragraph decision straight from the written submissions of the boy’s lawyers, mostly without attribution. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:58 AM - 0 Comments
HALIFAX – The Canadian Hurricane Centre is backing U.S. predictions of an active season…
HALIFAX – The Canadian Hurricane Centre is backing U.S. predictions of an active season this year, telling residents in the Atlantic provinces they should prepare.
The Canadian centre said Friday an unusually warm tropical Atlantic Ocean is one of the factors behind the forecast of an active hurricane season, which continues a 15-year period of high hurricane activity.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States is predicting a 70 per cent likelihood of 13 to 20 named Atlantic storms.
It predicts seven to 11 could strengthen into hurricanes and three to six could become major hurricanes.
Hurricane season officially begins June 1. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Qatar has abandoned an effort to…
MONTREAL – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Qatar has abandoned an effort to move the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization out of Montreal.
Baird says on Twitter that the Gulf state has withdrawn its bid.
Qatar had wanted to move the headquarters, starting in 2016.
The organization has been in Montreal since it was founded in 1947.
Qatar’s offer would have needed the approval of at least 60 per cent of the 191 member states.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM - 0 Comments
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The wife of a Canadian trucker linked to a dramatic…
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The wife of a Canadian trucker linked to a dramatic bridge collapse in Washington state says her husband had all the permits he needed and she doesn’t believe he is responsible for bringing the structure down.
Cynthia Scott says she spoke with her husband, Bill Scott, right after he saw the Interstate 5 bridge crash into the Skagit River about 15 metres below.
“He looked in the mirrors and it just dropped out of sight,” she said Friday from the couple’s home on a rural property near Spruce Grove, Alta., just west of Edmonton. “I spoke to him seconds after it happened. He was just horrified.
“They’re saying in the news that he plowed into the (bridge) and I’m going, ‘No, he didn’t plow into anything.’”
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:38 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose Party says it has paid a $90,000 penalty imposed…
EDMONTON – Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose Party says it has paid a $90,000 penalty imposed by federal regulators for violating automated phone call rules.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says Wildrose broke the rules in 2011 and before, during and after the April 2012 provincial election.
Wildrose party president David Yager (YAY-ger) says the company that made the automated calls assured the party that it was following the rules.
He declined to name the company, but says the firm had made similar calls for other political parties.
“We chose a vendor that had worked for other political parties, that had been around a lot longer than we have,” Yager said Thursday.
“We felt that we were using a qualified vendor and that it really wasn’t our fault; what we learned is that it doesn’t really matter who the vendor is, ultimately it’s the sponsor that’s liable.”
Wildrose co-operated fully with the commission and will follow the rules in the future, Yager said.
Federal regulations stipulate that automated phone calls must include the name of the party sponsoring the call, as well as an address and contact telephone number.
“We’ve been open and transparent, we’ve co-operated fully, we’re taking our lumps,” Yager said. “I’d just like to say that this is a regrettable event for our party, our members and our supporters.
“It’s not going to happen again.”
The CRTC told the party in April that it was being investigated.
Yager said he hoped the CRTC expands its investigation to look at other Alberta political parties.
“None of the calls we made were compliant. None of the calls I’ve ever received are compliant and I’m not sure that any call ever made by a political party in Canada is compliant and all we’ve asked the CRTC is to apply these regulations even-handedly to other political organizations.”
By Pierre Chauvin, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:03 PM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – A huge boil-water advisory, affecting 1.3 million people in Montreal, will be…
MONTREAL – A huge boil-water advisory, affecting 1.3 million people in Montreal, will be maintained at least until late this evening while frustrated locals find some relief in sarcastic humour about their city.
City officials say the advisory will be in effect until after 9:30 p.m., to allow for the completion of tests, and an update will be issued later.
They say results won’t be known beforehand because of a mandatory 24-hour incubation period until water samples can be tested.
It’s still not clear what caused the day-old advisory, but it has locals irate.
By James Keller, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:02 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – A massive landslide that ripped through a small hamlet in southeastern British…
VANCOUVER – A massive landslide that ripped through a small hamlet in southeastern British Columbia last year, killing four people, was caused by a deluge of rain and a late spring snowmelt that triggered the largest slide to hit the region in at least 12,000 years, a report into the disaster concludes.
The report, released Thursday by the Regional District of Central Kootenay, makes a number of recommendations to ensure the disaster that struck Johnsons Landing last July doesn’t repeat itself, but it also suggests the slide was unprecedented in size and nearly impossible to predict.
The slide struck in the morning of July 12, 2012, sending 320,000 cubic metres of soil, trees and rock down an area known as the Gar Creek channel, hitting several homes at speeds of up to 150 kilometres per hour.
By Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:01 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Maybe offering straight cash for a blood donation is a no-no, but…
TORONTO – Maybe offering straight cash for a blood donation is a no-no, but research suggests that other incentives like free T-shirts and gift cards can boost donor rates without compromising the safety of the blood supply.
Writing Thursday in the journal Science, an international team of economists says countries that prohibit material rewards for blood donors may want to rethink that position, based on recent research.
“For a long time, there has been a sort of aversion to any form of reward, or economic incentive, to stimulate blood donations, based on the idea that this might actually reduce motivation because this is not an altruistic act,” said study co-author Nico Lacetera of the University of Toronto.
There’s also been concern among the World Health Organization and many blood collection agencies that incentives could attract donors who might be more likely to carry transmissible diseases, which could find their way into the pooled blood supply, he said.
By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
CALGARY – An agency offering support to young sex abuse victims and named after…
CALGARY – An agency offering support to young sex abuse victims and named after a former NHL player who himself was molested as a teenager was busy even before it officially opened its doors Thursday.
The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, named for the hockey player who brought to light sex crimes by one-time junior coach Graham James, began seeing children a couple of months ago and 200 kids have already visited the facility, Kennedy said.
The centre brings together police, social workers, doctors, nurses, psychologists and prosecutors in an effort to avoid making child victims constantly relive of abuse.
“I think it’s already successful when we don’t traumatize a kid four to seven times in an interview process,” Kennedy said. “They do one interview and they’re done, so right there that’s a win. What we need to start doing is turning these kids lives around and giving them an opportunity early.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:59 PM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – Quebec’s corruption inquiry has heard its fair share of explosive allegations. The…
MONTREAL – Quebec’s corruption inquiry has heard its fair share of explosive allegations. The latest one is about an actual explosion.
A witness Thursday described the frightening methods used to keep an asphalt cartel in place, including the one time his car was blown up when he ran afoul of his fellow schemers.
Gilles Theberge was a director at Sintra, a construction company that was one of four partners in a cartel that controlled the supply of asphalt around Montreal.
He said they conspired to jack up the price 30 per cent higher than what would have been charged under a free-market system.
He said he quit his company after some dramatic events on June 15, 2000.
By Michael Tarm, The Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:48 PM - 0 Comments
CHICAGO – An 87-year-old grandmother took on billionaire Donald Trump. And on Thursday —…
CHICAGO – An 87-year-old grandmother took on billionaire Donald Trump. And on Thursday — she lost.
Jurors sided with the real estate mogul-turned-TV showman in a weeklong civil trial focused on Jacqueline Goldberg’s claim that Trump cheated her in a condo bait-and-switch scheme in a Chicago skyscraper he built.
The federal jury in Chicago returned with a finding in Trump’s favour after deliberating for more than five hours over two days. Goldberg, of Evanston, had sought damages totalling around $6 million.
“He’s obviously very happy,” said Alan Garten, an executive vice-president of The Trump Organization, after talking with his boss — who wasn’t in court. In the wake of the trial, Garten added, “The Trump brand is stronger than ever.”
As the judge read the decision in court earlier in the day, Goldberg showed little emotion herself. But her attorney, Shelly Kulwin, slumped over and buried his head on a courtroom table.
By David McHugh, The Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:47 PM - 0 Comments
FRANKFURT – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said it was “imperative” that Europe’s…
FRANKFURT – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said it was “imperative” that Europe’s leaders create a new agency with powers to restructure busted banks in order to help the region leave its economic and financial crisis behind it once and for all.
In the text of a speech to be delivered in London Thursday, Draghi said the new agency would keep troubled banks from burdening governments through bailout costs — thereby cutting the vicious link that has helped drive Europe’s three-year crisis over too much debt.
The agency, dubbed the single resolution mechanism, would be able to force banks creditors and shareholders to take losses first when a bank goes under — instead of getting the money from taxpayers. European leaders have made a start on strengthening their banking system by agreeing to put the ECB in charge of supervising banks. But they have not yet agreed on how to proceed with the resolution mechanism.
Together with a Europe-wide deposit guarantee scheme, these three measures would form the European Union’s banking union — a key part of the 27-country bloc’s strategy to combat its financial crisis.
By The Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM - 0 Comments
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Two men accused of killing a high school freshman who…
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Two men accused of killing a high school freshman who refused to let go of his iPad were like wild animals ambushing a weak victim, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Michael Samual Solid and Jacob “Jake” Dismont stood in shackles before a judge as Chief Deputy Clark County District Attorney Robert Daskas cited convenience store video he said shows Solid and Dismont planning the fatal robbery. Members of the dead teen’s family wept softly in the courtroom gallery.
Daskas compared Solid, 21, and Dismont, 18, to “lions on the Serengeti waiting to pounce, to ambush the smallest member of a pack.”
Marcos Vicente Arenas, 15, was killed May 16 while trying to hold onto his iPad computer tablet after Dismont grabbed it and jumped into a moving SUV driven by Solid, according to police.
By Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The controversy over alleged interference by the Prime Minister’s Office into a…
OTTAWA – The controversy over alleged interference by the Prime Minister’s Office into a review of Sen. Mike Duffy’s expenses grew Thursday as the Conservative in charge of the probe admitted he got advice from Stephen Harper’s team.
Sen. David Tkachuk, one of a three-member special sub-committee studying Duffy’s housing expenses, told Maclean’s magazine that he spoke to people in Harper’s office — including former chief of staff Nigel Wright — about the issue.
Tkachuk and other Conservatives on the larger internal economy committee are facing allegations they whitewashed a report into Duffy’s expenses.
Also Thursday, Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella said the RCMP’s sensitive and international investigations unit is examining the claims of senators Duffy, Mac Harb and Patrick Brazeau.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Survivors of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St….
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Survivors of abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, N.L. have reached a settlement with the Christian Brothers of Ireland worth more than $16.5 million.
The settlement with the Catholic religious order includes cash plus other assets that must still be approved in court.
Lawyer Geoff Budden represents 90 survivors from Newfoundland out of a total of 422 North American claimants.
He says the money will be distributed according to a court-ordered formula.
Budden says the settlement was reached by a committee of creditors that has worked with the Christian Brothers since its companies sought bankruptcy protection in the U.S.
The Christian Brothers operated schools in the U.S. and the orphanage in St. John’s where several former staff were convicted of sex crimes.
The orphanage was shut down in 1990 but several lawsuits are ongoing, including against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of St. John’s.
Budden says news of the settlement is the biggest development in a 13-year legal battle.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:43 PM - 0 Comments
TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. – A woman is recovering following a bizarre accident in which she…
TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. – A woman is recovering following a bizarre accident in which she was run over three times by her own car.
Trois-Rivieres, Que., police say the newspaper delivery woman was making her rounds this week and jumping in and out of her car frequently to drop copies of Le Nouvelliste on subscribers’ doorsteps.
But things went awry during one parking attempt.
Her transmission wound up in “reverse” instead of “park” as she got out. The woman got smacked by the car’s open door as it backed up and ran over one of her legs as she was knocked to the ground.
By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – A Canada-U.S. trade war is apparently looming as Ottawa threatens “retaliatory measures”…
WASHINGTON – A Canada-U.S. trade war is apparently looming as Ottawa threatens “retaliatory measures” against the United States in a continuing dispute over meat labelling.
The U.S. government announced new regulations Thursday on “country-of-origin labelling” (COOL) that would track beef and hogs from livestock right through the meat processing and distribution systems.
Tom Vilsack, U.S. agriculture secretary, said the new rules are aimed at resolving the tense trade dispute between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
“USDA remains confident that these changes will improve the overall operation of the program and also bring the mandatory COOL requirements into compliance with U.S. international trade obligations,” he said in a statement.
But Canada sees little evidence in the new rules of any serious attempt by Americans to resolve the issue.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear an appeal from a former…
OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear an appeal from a former lieutenant-governor of Quebec who claimed royal immunity from criminal charges.
Lise Thibault, who held the provincial vice-regal post between 1997 and 2007, is charged with fraud and breach of trust in relation to hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense claims.
Lower courts have rejected her argument that as the Queen’s representative she is not subject to the criminal justice system on the principle that the Crown can do no wrong.
Thibault is to go on trial next April.
She also faces a civil suit brought by the province.
As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for refusing to hear the case.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:55 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Toronto police say no charges will be laid in the case of…
TORONTO – Toronto police say no charges will be laid in the case of a woman whose purse was taken after she jumped to her death at a subway station.
Police say they interviewed the suspect they had been seeking and it became clear she was dealing with mental health issues. She had been seen on security video.
The purse was taken Wednesday morning after it was left on the subway platform by a woman who jumped in front of a train at College station.
She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Police had asked for the public’s help in finding the woman who walked away with the purse.
Const. Victor Kwong says she was co-operative and police have used the contents of the purse to identify the deceased.
No names will be released.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:26 AM - 0 Comments
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – A 48-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to kidnapping, confining and sexually…
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – A 48-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to kidnapping, confining and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy at a cabin in rural Nova Scotia last fall.
David James LeBlanc appeared in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, where he entered guilty pleas to charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions.
Two other charges — sexual assault causing bodily harm and administering a noxious substance with intent to cause bodily harm — were withdrawn.
The victim’s mother said seeing LeBlanc in court for the first time Thursday was “very difficult.”
“As a mother, I just wanted him to suffer,” she said outside court, her hands shaking. Continue…
By Heather Scoffield, The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:22 AM - 0 Comments
CALI, Colombia – The leaders of Canada and the Pacific Alliance will be sizing…
CALI, Colombia – The leaders of Canada and the Pacific Alliance will be sizing each other up today to see if Canada might be a good fit with the nascent Latin American trade bloc.
Stephen Harper wants to see if it’s worthwhile engaging in yet another round of talks to free up trade and investment.
And the leaders of the Pacific Alliance — which groups Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico — want to know if Canada is serious enough about economic integration to at least partly let go of its trade and investment restrictions and its visa requirements.
The opposition NDP is leery about joining a group when Canada is already engaged in several different trade talks that are dragging on and on, and before a parliamentary committee studying the Pacific Alliance has even reached any conclusions.
But senior Canadian government officials say Canada is still just an observer at the Pacific Alliance and has made no commitment to join as a member. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:20 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says the number of people receiving regular employment insurance benefits…
OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says the number of people receiving regular employment insurance benefits continued to trend down for a fifth consecutive month in March.
It says the number of recipients declined by 1.0 per cent or 5,200 people, to 523,700.
The number of beneficiaries was down 8.1 per cent compared with a year earlier.
All four Western provinces as well as Newfoundland and Labrador reported fewer beneficiaries in March, while there was little change in the other provinces.
To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim and the number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
The number of initial and renewal claims rose by 6,800 or 3.0 per cent to 230,700 in March, partly offsetting a decline observed the previous month.