By Anne Kingston - Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
Terence Young’s 13-year crusade for greater regulation of prescription drugs has lead to proposed legislation, tabled in Parliament today, that will give Health Canada greater power policing unsafe health products in the marketplace. Young, the Conservative MP for Oakville, Ont., joined Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, in a press conference this morning to introduce the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act. The legislation will be known as “Vanessa’s Law,” after Young’s 15-year-old daughter, Vanessa, who died in 2000 of a heart attack caused by Prepulsid, a prescription drug later removed from market.
If passed, the legislation will set new standards for prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vaccines, gene therapies, cells, tissues and organs, and medical devices (“natural health products” will not be affected). The legislation’s objectives include introducing mandatory reporting of adverse drug reactions from healthcare institutions, which includes hospitals and other facilities yet to be determined. This is a major change. Currently only manufacturers are required to submit reports of adverse reactions; it’s believed only a tiny fraction are reported, and it can take years for Health Canada to remove a dangerous drug from the market. The new legislation will also impose stiffer penalties on unsafe products and enable swifter regulatory action, such as a product recall or label change. The agency will be able to recall unsafe products; impose new penalties for unsafe products, including jail time and new fines of up to $5 million per day, up from the current $5,000; provide the courts with discretion to impose even stronger fines if violations were caused intentionally; compel drug companies to revise labels to clearly reflect health risk information; and compel drug companies to do further testing on a product, including when issues are identified with certain at-risk populations such as children.
Some of the new measures, such as increased fines and penalties, will become law immediately upon Royal Assent. Other changes to the Food and Drugs Act cannot come into force until supporting regulations are published.
At today’s press conference, Young, who militated for plain-language drug labelling introduced in June, and who has also advocated for an independent drug regulatory arm (currently drug approval is based on data supplied by the drugs’ manufacturers), expressed optimism: “It is difficult to overstate the impact this bill will have for Canadians who take prescription and over the counter drugs,” he said. “It represents a quantum leap forward in protecting vulnerable patients and reducing serious adverse drug reactions. It is absolutely necessary to reduce deaths and injuries caused by adverse drug reactions, seventy percent of which are preventable, and will serve Canadians extremely well.”
Initial reaction from drug-safety experts is cautiously optimistic. “My impression is generally favourable, says David Juurlink, a Toronto physician with Sunnybrook Hospital and a scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. “If the elements are enacted it would represent a considerable step forward from the status quo—which is pretty bad.” Some elements are more enforceable than others, he says: “I’m glad hospitals will have to report adverse reactions; it’s impractical to expect every family doctor to report every adverse reaction they see, though I hope they report it anyway.” He dismisses the notion that we’ll see drug company executives behind bars. ”Lawyers make deals to prevent that,” he says. ”People who go to jail sell marijuana in the street.”
The legislation is only useful if the adverse effects reports are used by Health Canada in “a meaningful, thoughtful and deliberate way,” Juurlink says, adding that he hopes the proposed legislation will increase transparency within the agency: “I don’t know what the heck happens behind the walls of Health Canada,” he says. “It’s an inscrutable black box. Their MedEffects data base is garbage. Hopefully the adverse-effects reports they receive will be sufficentially detailed to draw inferences from them. But would be nice if we knew what Health Canada was going to do with tsumani of reports they are going to get.”
Health Canada claims they’re ready for the influx: ”An influx would be a great thing for our scientists,” says David Lee, director, Office of Legislative and Regulatory Modernization, in an interview with Maclean’s. “They’re ready for that. We’ll be able to organize how information comes in and streamline that. We will do that in conversation with doctors and hospital pharmacists; that will make us more efficient.” As for changes to the agencies systems or staffing, there are no plans right now, he says: “We will be monitoring resources in department.”
Dr. Supriya Sharma, a senior medical adviser and assistant deputy minister, says that the new law will provide more “tools” for Health Canada to use. There will be no “magic number of adverse reactions that tip the balance” of a drug coming off the market, she says: “We have to look at the entirety of information. If a product issue comes up, we look at benefits and risks. Do the risks outweigh benefits? For example, with a cancer drug you’ll except higher level of risk than something used to treat a cold.” Under the proposed law, the agency could compel drug companies to provide information, something it couldn’t do before, she points out.
Lee says some new tools will be really helpful with “populations we can identify.” Not everybody taking a drug is in the same place, he says, citing a drug people might be taking for acid reflux where there’s lots of options. “But others, for example small children, are taking it for obstruction, a very serious condition. So do you make it available for those whose will be of great benefit but we have to put controls around risk. But if it’s a light indication for use we’ll take a more aggressive stance. This gives us tools to really act decisively.” It’s a fitting–and poignant–example. For it was an acid reflux drug taken for a non-serious indication and known to be a danger that killed Vanessa Young.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:34 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Stock markets could be in for a positive week after a string of reports, capped off by strong recent jobs data, showed that the U.S. economic recovery is firmly on track.
A government report Friday reported that 203,000 jobs were created during November, adding to strong manufacturing and housing reports, better than expected third-quarter economic growth and improving consumer confidence.
On Thursday, traders will look at the U.S. retail sales report for November for further reinforcement on whether the Federal Reserve thinks the economy is strong enough to start cutting back on a key area of stimulus.
“If you believe these jobs numbers, you would think this would reflect better consumer spending in the month of November when these jobs gains took place,” said Andrew Pyle, associate director of wealth management at ScotiaMcLeod in Peterborough, Ont.
“If these numbers are correct, then we should see a very healthy November retail sales number.”
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 8:32 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – At least two more key Conservatives got gold-embossed business cards, contrary to long-standing government rules against fancy stationery.
Tony Clement was given his gold cards shortly after being promoted to Treasury Board president in the May 2011 cabinet shuffle, following the election of a Conservative majority.
And colleague Laurie Hawn, an Edmonton MP appointed temporarily to a cabinet committee looking at cost-cutting, got his own set of gold-embossed cards at the same time.
The Arms of Canada on both sets of cards was highlighted in gold foil.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:13 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper leaves today for South Africa to join leaders from around the world who are paying final respects to Nelson Mandela.
Harper will attend a public memorial for Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg, as well as his lying in state in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Harper will be joined by three of his predecessors, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Kim Campbell who were invited to fly on the prime minister’s plane.
Former Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean will also be joining Harper’s delegation.
Mulroney spearheaded Canada’s efforts to free Mandela from prison and pressure South Africa to end apartheid, while Chretien was prime minister when Mandela was granted honorary Canadian citizenship in 2001.
Mandela died on Thursday at the age of 95.
His body will lie in state from Wednesday through Friday.
A state funeral for the former South African president is planned for next Sunday.
By The Associated Press - Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 9:44 AM - 0 Comments
Jay Z easily led Grammy Award nominations announced Friday with nine, but left-of-center rappers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar were among a group of new stars who took many of the major nominations.
Macklemore and Lewis’ gay marriage anthem “Same Love” was among song of the year nominees and the Seattle rap crew joined Los Angeles rapper Lamar with seven nominations apiece, including best album and best new artist of the year. Pharrell Williams had four major nominations among his seven and Justin Timberlake also had seven.
Macklemore and Lewis dominated a nominations TV special from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles that also included performances by nominees Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lorde and Robin Thicke. They opened the show with a colorful, high-energy version of their hit “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz, and immediately picked up a song of the year nomination for “Same Love.”
Two nominations later, Ben Haggerty, the rapper known as Macklemore, was noting it was a “very surreal moment,” during an on-air interview with host LL Cool J. “It’s like we’re not supposed to be here, but we’re here with LL Cool J.”
Recording Academy favorites Timberlake and Jay Z teamed up for two nominations apiece, but they only had one major nomination between them this year and that came for Jay Z’s participation on Lamar’s album of the year nominee “good kid, m.A.A.d city” instead of his own “Magna Carta … Holy Grail.”
Williams, who seemed to be everywhere in 2013, is up for producer of the year and faces himself in three categories, including record of the year for “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk and “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke, and album of the year entries “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk and Lamar’s “good kid.”
Drake and sound engineer Bob Ludwig were next on the nominees list with five apiece.
Joining Lamar, Macklemore and Lewis and Daft Punk in the album of the year category were Sara Bareilles’ “The Blessed Unrest” and Taylor Swift’s “Red.” Swift is among five acts with four nominations apiece along with Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Lorde and Kacey Musgraves. British musicians James Blake and Ed Sheeran round out the best new artist category with Musgraves, Lamar and Macklemore and Lewis.
Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” Lorde’s “Royals” and Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” join “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” are up for record of the year. The Lorde and Mars entries also are up for song of the year with Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason,” Katy Perry’s “Roar” and “Same Love.”
Perry said of “Roar” in an emotional moment before a pre-taped performance: “I didn’t think that it would take on such a life of its own, and so I hope that the song has inspired you guys and it will bring out that kind of self-strength that you need a little bit to go through your days when they get a little bit hard.”
Jay Z and Timberlake teamed for two nominations: best rap/sung collaboration for Jay Z’s “Holy Grail” and best video entry “Suit & Tie.” Jay Z is competing against himself rap/sung with “Part II (On the Run),” featuring his wife, Beyonce, also nominated. And he’s up for best rap performance for Tom Ford. He also grabbed a best music video nomination for “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” and again teamed with Timberlake in that category for their video for “Suit & Tie.”
Timberlake picked up a handful of nominations in pop categories, including pop vocal album of the year for “The 20/20 Experience.” Other nominees in that category include Lana Del Rey’s “Paradise,” Lorde’s “Pure Heroine,” Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
“The Heist,” “good kid” and “Magna Carta” are also on the best rap album list with Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” and Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” which was mostly shut out of the nominations. West also got a nomination for best rap song for “New Slaves.”
There were six rock album of the year nominations, meaning there was a tie in the category. Nominees were Black Sabbath’s “13,” David Bowie’s “Next Day,” Kings of Leon’s “Mechanical Bull,” Led Zeppelin live album “Celebration Day,” Queens of the Stone Age’s “… Like Clockwork” and Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s “Psychdelic Pill.”
Swift’s “Red” is up for country album of the year with Jason Aldean’s “Night Train,” Tim McGraw’s “Two Lanes of Freedom,” Blake Shelton’s “Based on a True Story …,” and Musgraves’ “Same Trailer Different Park.” The country newcomer also faces herself in the country song of the year category where she helped pen her own “Merry Go `Round” and Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart.”
The major nominations were an acknowledgement of 2013′s top hit-makers. “Get Lucky,” “Blurred Lines” and “Royals” took turns ruling the pop radio airwaves this year. Macklemore and Lewis had two hits — “Same Love” and “Thrift Shop” — that led to nominations.
And Lamar seemed like he was everywhere, managing to keep his profile high with a number of hits, guest appearances and moments of bravado that helped voters forget his album came out 14 months ago. Lamar called himself the greatest rapper in the game earlier this year, calling out Drake and several others in verse, and voters mostly backed him up.
West may have suffered the most from the large hauls of Lamar and Macklemore and Lewis. His “Yeezus” is already making many year-end lists, but had no hits and spawned controversy among some listeners.
Others who might consider themselves snubbed are 2013′s most visible country stars Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, who were both shut out.
The show featured some of the year’s top songs. Lorde performed a starkly different version of “Royals.” Swift performed her hit “I Knew You Were Trouble” in a performance pre-taped in Australia. And Thicke, T.I. and Earth, Wind & Fire teamed on “Blurred Lines.”
Among those celebrating nominations:
@TheGRAMMYs !!!! THANK YOU!!!
— Bruno Mars (@BrunoMars) December 7, 2013
HOLY SHIT!!! I’M NOMINATED FOR A GRAMMY w/ CLARITY!!!!!!
— Zedd (@Zedd) December 7, 2013
Humbled and honored by the 2 nominations from @TheGRAMMYs I'm at a loss for words, thank you
— Daniel Platzman (@DanielPlatzman) December 7, 2013
The Grammys will be handed out Jan. 26. To check out the official nomination forms, see below:
By The Associated Press - Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 8:17 AM - 0 Comments
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – An Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett currently held by actor Ryan O’Neal is worth an estimated $12 million, an appraiser told a jury Friday.
New York art appraiser Lee Drexler testified in a lawsuit by the University of Texas at Austin against the actor in which the school is seeking to gain possession of the Fawcett portrait for its art museum.
O’Neal contends the artwork was given to him as a gift by Warhol and did not belong to Fawcett when she died in 2009. The “Charlie’s Angels” star left all her artwork to the university; her gift included another version of the Warhol portrait.
Drexler was the university’s final witness in its principal case, which started with opening statements Nov. 25. Her estimate could be used by a jury to award damages if it finds that O’Neal improperly took the artwork after Fawcett, his longtime partner, died.
By The Associated Press - Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 8:11 AM - 0 Comments
BALI, Indonesia – A deal to boost global trade has been approved by the World Trade Organization’s 159 member economies for the first time in nearly two decades, keeping alive the possibility that a broader agreement to create a level playing field for rich and poor countries can be reached in the future.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo shed tears during the summit’s closing ceremony Saturday as he thanked host nation Indonesia, WTO member countries and his wife.
“We have put the world back into the World Trade Organization,” he said. “For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered.”
Trade ministers had come to the four-day WTO meeting on the resort island of Bali with little hope that an agreement would be reached after years of inertia in trade negotiations.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 8:08 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The movers and shakers on Parliament Hill usually know where the bodies are buried.
But deposits of human bones uncovered within sight of the Peace Tower seem to have caught everyone off guard.
Construction workers digging out part of downtown Queen Street have come across yet another burial under the busy road, the third finding of human remains since September.
The excavation is to upgrade old watermains before the Big Dig, a massive tunnelling project for light-rail-transit trains that will rumble for 2.5 kilometres under the city core, dubbed the Confederation Line.
But some pre-Confederation history has been mucking up the process.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 8:06 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – It’s the time when tourists usually begin posing for family photos with the newly strung holiday lights on Parliament Hill.
This year the festive visits will almost certainly be captured by RCMP lenses, too.
The Mounties have recently added new video cameras near pedestrian entrances and a vehicle screening facility along Wellington Street, the boulevard in front of the Parliament Buildings.
The RCMP and its Hill security partners have also bowed to the wishes of the federal privacy commissioner by posting signs on bollards that read: 24 hour video surveillance for security of the grounds.
The notices mark the end of a behind-the-scenes tussle between the commissioner’s office and the RCMP about whether people visiting Parliament Hill should be advised of the unblinking electronic eyes that expand video coverage of the precinct.
By Irwin Cotler - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 9:42 PM - 0 Comments
It is regrettably a rare occasion when members of Canada’s political parties join together in solidarity. As such, when I added my voice to those of Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair, and Elizabeth May as the entire House of Commons paid tribute to Nelson Mandela in the hours after his death, it was yet another manifestation of Mandela’s great capacity to unite.
My involvement in Mandela’s case and cause began when I visited South Africa in 1981 as a guest of the anti-apartheid movement. I met with, among others, faculty and student organizations, leaders of the Black Sash women’s anti-apartheid group, and members of Mandela’s legal team, including Issie Meisels, his Senior Counsel, George Bizos, and Arthur Chaskelson, then his junior counsel. Chaskelson would go on to become president of South Africa’s first constitutional court.
At the time, I was also serving as counsel to imprisoned Soviet dissident Anatoly Sharansky, and the South African Union of Students asked me to speak at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on the topic of “If Sharansky, Why Not Mandela?” For the South African government, Sharansky was a hero in the fight against communism, whereas Mandela was a communist – and terrorist – to be fought against. In fact, Canada also considered Mandela a terrorist at the time.
I was arrested moments after I spoke, because the mere mention of Mandela’s name was a punishable offence in South Africa. While detained, I was summoned to a meeting with Pik Botha, the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs (not to be confused with Prime Minister P.W. Botha). Botha had a picture of Sharansky on his office wall, and he spent over three hours trying to convince me that the causes of Mandela and Sharansky were incompatible, and that South Africa was in fact a democratic pluralist society where black and white citizens were separate but equal. He was not impressed by my argument that both men were fighting for freedom, human rights, and human dignity, but because of the esteem in which he held Sharansky, he encouraged me to tour the country and see the true nature of apartheid for myself.
I did just that before meeting with Botha again at the end of my trip. When he asked for my impressions, I agreed that the country was indeed a plural democracy – but only for white South Africans. For black citizens, I told Botha it was worse than I had thought. South Africa was the only post-World War II country that had institutionalized racism as a matter of law, and I would oppose this racist regime from wherever I was for as long as it was necessary.
Accordingly, when I was asked by Mandela’s lawyers to be his Canadian counsel – and to advocate for him as I had been doing for Sharansky – I was pleased to accept.
Upon my return to Canada, I participated in the public launch of a major anti-apartheid initiative. Some of the Canadian organizations involved were reluctant to reference Mandela lest his supposed associations with terrorism tarnish the cause, but I believed then as now that his personal struggle was inextricably linked to the broader fight against racism and inequality.
Unexpectedly, the links between Mandela’s struggle and that of Sharansky continued as well. As counsel to both, I was asked by the South African government to help arrange a deal whereby it would release Mandela if the USSR would free Sharansky and his fellow dissident Andrei Sakharov. The Soviets declined, seeing in this a South African ploy to burnish their reputation. The South African government then sought to have me broker a new arrangement that would include the release of a Soviet general in South African custody. In the end, the general died in prison, and no agreement was reached.
In 2001, the House of Commons awarded Mandela honorary Canadian citizenship, and I was privileged to in join in the debate. As I said then, Nelson Mandela is the metaphor and message of the struggle for human rights and human dignity in our time. The three great struggles of the 20th century – for freedom, equality, and democracy – are symbolized and anchored in his personal struggle in South Africa. He represents tolerance, healing, reconciliation, and education as a precondition for a culture of peace, and his emergence after 27 years in prison – not only to dismantle an unjust regime but to build and govern a renewed and unified nation – is the ultimate expression of hope and antidote to cynicism.
Last year, I returned to South Africa at an important moment in the country’s history. It was both the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC), and the 15th anniversary of the South African constitution, which drew for inspiration on Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In addition to reuniting with anti-apartheid activists and fellow members of Mandela’s legal team, I sought out Pik Botha and met with him again.
In the years since we last spoke, Botha had become the first South African cabinet minister to call for Mandela’s release, he served in Mandela’s government from 1994 to 1996, and he remains a member of the ANC. Indeed, Mandela’s greatest legacy may be his power to convert enemies into allies, building coalitions between diverse – even antagonistic – peoples, races, and identities, and giving expression to his vision of South Africa as a rainbow nation. He accomplished all this without rancour, anger or malice, but with a generosity of spirit and care that has inspired all in South Africa and beyond.
In the days since his passing, not only Canadian parliamentarians but people around the world have set aside their differences and united in recognition and celebration of this brilliant and beloved man. I join all those in South Africa and around the world who mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, and who strive to learn the lessons of his remarkable life. May his memory continue to inspire us and be a blessing for us all.
Irwin Cotler is a Canadian Member of Parliament and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. He served on Nelson Mandela’s international legal team.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM - 0 Comments
QUEBEC – Premier Pauline Marois says her government was more focused in the current session of the legislature than when it was first elected last year.
Marois says her team concentrated on employment and identity and she is pleased with the results.
She indicated some disappointment at being unable to balance the budget as planned but said delaying it until 2015-16 will allow her government to avoid tax hikes and deep spending cuts.
“We committed to controlling government spending and we have done that in an exemplary manner,” she said.
Marois told a news conference on Friday as the legislature began its winter break that she believes the province is headed in the right direction.
She was pleased at new numbers indicating the unemployment rate in the province fell to 7.2 per cent in November from 7.5 per cent a month earlier.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 8:49 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Some Conservative senators are fighting back, defending themselves and the reputation of their maligned institution after taking a year-long drubbing over the Senate expenses scandal.
Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais on Friday became the second senator this week to join the fray, directly challenging a New Democrat MP for advocating abolition of the upper house in a flyer sent to her constituents.
In a letter sent to all parliamentarians, Dagenais referred to Charmaine Borg’s flyer as “a rag” and suggested she’s a whiny, ignorant, powerless Quebec MP who was elected by fluke and stands little chance of being re-elected.
NDP House leader Nathan Cullen said sending such a “offensive” missive to a 23-year-old female rookie MP is “paternalistic, childish, condescending and frankly misogynistic.” He served notice that he will ask the Speaker of the House of Commons next week to condemn Dagenais.
“The letter in question attacks the very legitimacy of a sitting member of Parliament,” Cullen told the Commons.
By Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:19 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – They were a government in waiting — ready to follow their fearless, newly freed leader, Nelson Mandela — except for one major problem.
None of the heady, young members of the African National Congress had any idea how to actually govern a country. Within a few years in the early 1990s, all that would change, thanks to a major training effort by Canada’s International Development Research Centre.
In 1994, when Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, 18 cabinet ministers stood with him — 10 had been Canadian-trained.
“The IDRC was an amazing help to us in shaping the policy environment of the post-apartheid South Africa,” said Jay Naidoo, a leading South African trade unionist who would serve Mandela in several cabinet portfolios, including reconstruction and development and broadcasting.
Canada’s pre-1990s efforts, led by former prime minister Brian Mulroney, to help topple South Africa’s apartheid regime are well known: steadfast political support and sanctions that culminated in Mandela’s release from prison after 27 years.
But Canada played a crucial role in the next phase of South Africa’s collective march to democracy — shedding the vestiges of racist white rule and making Mandela their first democratically elected president in 1994.
During that four-year period, the Canadian Crown corporation helped transform a generation of accomplished ANC freedom fighters into competent public administrators. The training ran the gamut from economic policy, urban migration, heath, women’s rights and HIV.
During that time, Naidoo said Canada offered understanding and support, without trying to “impose a policy agenda on us.”
“My relationship with the IDRC was immeasurably strengthened in the difficult period of transition post the Mandela release when they opened an office here,” Naidoo told The Canadian Press in an exchange of emails.
“When I became the minister of communications under Mandela in 1996, IDRC was a key partner in driving my strategy of closing the digital divide,” he added.
“In that period Canada was a trusted partner of the South Africa liberation movement.”
Mandela himself has specifically recognized that particular Canadian contribution.
In a 1995 letter to the IDRC on its 25th anniversary, Mandela thanked the IDRC for the “critical role” it played in “helping us prepare for the new phase of governance and transformation.”
When he addressed Parliament on his second of three visits to Canada in 1998 — his first as an elected president — Mandela once again thanked the organization and the Canadian International Development Agency.
“Critical areas affecting transformation have benefited, including science and technology; places of learning; our labour laws and our courts,” Mandela said.
Keith Bezanson, the IDRC’s then president, said the work was important because many in Mandela’s circle were consumed with revenge and settling scores.
Up until then, all the levers of power, all the institutions of government had been controlled by white hands.
With the help of Canadian training and education, that changed.
“It was humbling,” Bezanson recalled Friday in an interview.
“We were coming out on the right side of history. Things were happening, and if it worked, we were going to have done what we were set up to do, which was to bring about development.”
Canadians can pay tribute to Mandela, who died Thursday at 95, by signing an online book of condolences at www.commemoration.gc.ca.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed a paper copy of the book Friday on Parliament Hill, saying in a handwritten note that Mandela lived a life for the ages.
Harper is to travel to South Africa this weekend to pay tribute to Mandela, who was granted honorary Canadian citizenship in 2001, on this third and final trip here.
Though Bezanson spent much time with some of Mandela’s closest power brokers, his only meeting with Madiba himself came in early 1992 when he was summoned for a two-hour meeting over tea.
Mandela was closely guarded then because of fears of assassination, Bezanson said.
During that time, he got to ask Mandela the question that so many are asking again today: where did he find the strength to turn the other cheek?
“He said, ‘If we go down that road it will be catastrophic. It will be disaster. It will be blood, upon blood upon blood,’” said Bezanson.
Bezanson pushed Mandela. How could he feel that way after 27 years in prison?
“It’s not that I’m Christian or godly,” he recalled Mandela telling him. “I’m just a realist. It’s the only path forward. All other paths are destined to fail. So don’t call me saintly. Just credit me with being a realist.”
“That left an indelible impression on me, that I carry to this day.”
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:17 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Conservative government has introduced new legislation aimed at protecting consumers from unsafe medications and reducing adverse drug reactions.
The Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act is known as Vanessa’s Law in honour of the late daughter of Conservative MP Terence Young.
The 15-year-old died of a heart attack 13 years ago while on a prescription drug for a stomach ailment. The medication was later deemed unsafe and pulled from the market.
Young, MP for Oakville, has been fighting ever since for a more stringent Canadian drug-monitoring system.
Under the new legislation, the government now has the power to initiate mandatory recalls for unsafe drugs and to demand reports from health-care institutions on adverse drug reactions.
The bill also allows the government to impose tough new penalties for unsafe products, including jail time and new fines of up to $5 million a day instead of the current $5,000.
Drug companies must also revise labelling to provide details on health risks, and to do further testing on medications when they are shown to pose dangers to some consumers, especially children.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose told a news conference that Canadians deserve to have confidence that the medicines they use are safe.
By Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:10 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Nelson Mandela is being remembered in Canada for his wisdom and fearless fight against racism. As it turned out, Canada also occupied a special place in Mandela’s heart in later years.
The man known affectionately as “Madiba” died Thursday at age 95. Mandela never forgot the support he received from Canada _ and from former prime minister Brian Mulroney _ in his epic fight for freedom, said Stephen Lewis, Canada’s former United Nations ambassador under Mulroney.
“It’s fair to say that Mandela was deeply attached to Canada,” recalled Lewis, who visited Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, numerous times between 2001 and 2009 in South Africa.
All Mandela ever wanted to talk about was Canada, and Mulroney, said Lewis.
“He had a tremendous affection and regard for our former prime minister who did do a really major job in the work to overthrow apartheid and have Mandela released,” Lewis said in an interview.
“And Mandela never forgot that. He always saw in Canada an ally that he trusted and, in a way, loved.”
Mulroney broke ranks with other western leaders in the 1980s to lead the fight against the apartheid regime that included strict economic sanctions. He said with Mandela’s passing “a precious light has gone out in the world,” but that his spirit would live forever.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is expected to attend Mandela’s funeral next week, said the world had lost one of its great moral leaders and statesmen.
“He demonstrated that the only path forward for the nation was to reject the appeal of bitterness,” said Harper, who described Mandela’s forbearance as “legendary.”
Mulroney called him one of the giants of our time.
“Let us remember though, that nothing can extinguish the flame of freedom he lit in South Africa. Nothing will dim the power of his message of tolerance, of integrity, and statesmanship,” Mulroney said in a statement.
“That his legacy will continue to nourish the spirit of everyone who struggles for justice and freedom anywhere. That the dream of Nelson Mandela will never die.”
Mandela’s spirit melted away partisan bickering in the House of Commons on Thursday night as members of all parties united in silence to honour his memory.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called Mandela an intelligent man who cared for his people.
“The light that he brought to the world will continue to shine long after him.”
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Mandela offered hope and inspiration to millions, “and will forever occupy a place in the hearts, minds and imaginations of people across the globe.”
Mandela touched Canadian soil for the first time in the summer of 1990, just months after his release from 27 years of imprisonment. On his third and final visit to Canada in November 2001, then prime minister Jean Chretien bestowed honorary Canadian citizenship on him.
On Thursday night, Chretien called that “a great moment of my life,” one that allowed Canada to properly honour a man who inspired the world.
The former Liberal prime minister fondly recalled setting up a meeting in Toronto between Mandela and the late, legendary Canadian jazz pianist and composer, Oscar Peterson.
“It was very moving,” Chretien recalled. “They knew of each other well.”
When Mandela was in a room with other world leaders, Chretien said, he was the centre of attention.
“Nobody paid any attention to any us _ it was all for Nelson Mandela.”
Mandela and Alberta Premier Alison Redford also shared an enduring bond.
As a lawyer before entering politics, Redford worked with Mandela in the early 1990s to help build South Africa’s legal system and lay the groundwork for the first all-race elections that led to Mandela becoming president.
“He listened to people and he didn’t always react immediately. He absorbed a lot of information and he understood that the best perspective you could get from people was from people that lived an experience,” she said in an interview.
“It wasn’t always from experts and it was always from people who were partisan and involved in politics. It was talking to people who were having life experiences and learning from those experiences how to do things better.”
In later life, Mandela never lost his curiosity about Canada, said Lewis.
He inquired about Canadian party politics and had an enduring interest in probing “the intensity of our opposition to apartheid.”
Former Liberal prime ministers John Turner and Paul Martin also praised Mandela’s legacy in separate statements Thursday night.
Turner said the world has lost a ”great man of history” and that Mandela’s contribution to peace in South Africa ”was a beacon to the world.”
Martin added that Mandela ”harnessed the power of his own personal sacrifice to help free a nation of the need to hate.”
Other reaction to Mandela’s death from all corners of Canada streamed onto social media.
On Twitter, former Liberal leader Bob Rae called Mandela a truly great man who was simple and direct.
“Disciplined, passionate, caring, funny, courageous, compassionate, generous” were some of the other words Rae used to describe Mandela.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Mandela’s life will continue to serve as a beacon for change.
“There are few people who have done more to inspire the world than Nelson Mandela, and I am deeply saddened to learn of his death,” Wynne said in a statement.
Junior foreign affairs minister Deepak Obhrai, born and raised in Tanzania, also offered some of the federal government’s initial condolences, and heartfelt personal reflection.
“As I grew up Tanzania became independent and the southern states in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe as you call it today, South Africa, were mired in complete anti-apartheid based on race,” he said.
“I grew up in a country that was fighting and it had a tremendous impact on my life to say that it is very important to fight for dignity and human beings.”
^_ with files from Dean Bennett in Edmonton, Terry Pedwell in Ottawa and Will Campbell in Toronto
By Emily Senger - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:59 PM - 0 Comments
Twitter just got a whole lot scarier. Horror author Stephen King has signed up, with a bio that lists him simply as “author” and links to his website.
It’s a pretty humble description for the best-selling author of more than 50 books.
King made his debut with two tweets:
My first tweet. No longer a virgin. Be gentle!
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 6, 2013
On Twitter at last, and can't think of a thing to say. Some writer I turned out to be.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 6, 2013
If King is looking for Twitter inspiration, he may want to take a tip or two from R.L. Stine, the author who writes the Goosebumps series and other scary stories for kids. Stine is also a prolific tweeter who uses the social media service to tell stories, talk about upcoming projects and tweet links about monkey brains.
Close-up picture of a primate brain. Enjoy your lunch. http://t.co/RX3hH68YfS
— R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) November 19, 2013
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:43 PM - 0 Comments
CAMROSE, Alta. – A judge has ruled there is enough evidence to send a man to trial on charges of attempting to kill two Mounties in rural Alberta.
Sawyer Robison, 28, remains out on bail and is to appear in Wetaskiwin court on Jan. 14 to set a trial date. He also faces several weapons charges.
His lawyer, Brian Beresh, expects it may take a year or longer for the case to get to trial. But he said his client is eager for it to start.
“He’s looking forward to the day when he can establish his innocence,” Beresh said Friday following the court decision in Camrose.
Details from the preliminary hearing, and Judge David Plosz’s reasons, are subject to a publication ban.
Robison was arrested following a standoff on his family’s farm near Killam, about 160 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, in February 2012.
RCMP said at the time that four officers had gone to execute a search warrant on the farm, about 160 kilometres southeast of Edmonton. Two of the officers walked into a house on the property and shots were fired.
Constables Sheldon Shah and Sid Gaudette were struck, but made it back outside. They later underwent surgery and survived.
Police said they believed Robison was inside the house during the shooting, then drove off in a pickup truck.
Officers later found his uncle, Bradford Clarke, dead in the home and no one else inside.
Three days later, Robison was arrested peacefully on a rural road in the area after his parents made an emotional public plea asking him to come forward to police.
Months later, Mounties also charged Robison with second-degree murder charge in relation to his uncle’s death.
That charge was dropped during a preliminary hearing.
Alberta Justice said at the time that the Crown had reviewed new evidence from the RCMP related to Clarke’s death and determined there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction on the murder charge.
By Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:30 PM - 0 Comments
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Ottawa and Newfoundland and Labrador will spend almost $500,000 on a pilot project to offer seal meat at stores in Canada and overseas in the new year.
Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea visited a boutique Friday in St. John’s, N.L., that sells seal skin coats and boots to announce Ottawa will contribute almost $292,000 to help expand markets for meat.
She dismissed protest from anti-sealing groups that criticized the use of public money to prop up the waning commercial sealing sector.
“It’s not a matter of dollars and cents,” Shea told a news conference. “This is a matter of principle for us. This is an industry that has been around for a long time.
“We’ve responded to everything that the anti-sealing organizations have thrown at us. And we know that we have a humane hunt.”
The province will contribute the remaining $206,000 for the pilot project. It will involve the bulk processing and marketing of seal meat from a federally approved plant in Fleur de Lys, N.L., said Shannon Lewis of the Atlantic Seal Development Association.
He said the industry group will work with government officials, the private sector and the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland to develop the new products.
The plan is for a broad campaign starting next year to offer frozen and vacuum-packed seal meat for wholesale and in ‘niche market’ stores in Canada and overseas.
Lewis said target areas include Vancouver, Toronto and other cities along with northern communities and “Asia-specific” markets that already buy seal meat. The pilot project is expected to create about 20 jobs. If it goes well, it will then be up to private interests to invest in more expansion, Lewis said.
“We feel very confident that this is going to be the future of the industry.”
He said all ages of gray, hooded and harp seals can be used to offer a highly nutritious food source.
“We feel it’s a product the world needs to recognize and be educated on.”
The announcement comes after a World Trade Organization ruling last week upheld Europe’s ban on imported seal products, citing public moral concerns for animal welfare.
Ottawa has steadfastly defended Canada’s commercial seal hunt and plans to appeal the WTO decision.
Animal welfare advocates called the trade ruling a major victory that respects aboriginal hunts.
Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International Canada, said public funding to promote commercial seal products throws good money after bad.
“It’s a completely futile attempt to invest taxpayers’ money in propping up a dead industry,” she said from Montreal. “We know that global markets for seal products are closing, they’re not opening. The recent decision by the World Trade Organization, if anything, confirms that.”
Shea said the WTO findings should be of concern to all its members and, by appealing the ban, Ottawa is standing behind thousands of families that rely on commercial sealing. She said Ottawa has so far spent close to $500,000 fighting the European Union’s 2010 embargo.
Newfoundland Liberal MP Gerry Byrne said the real question is why the federal government did not fight the ban or seek related compensation in negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe.
The CETA deal, if finalized, is not expected to take effect for two years. It would open up lucrative European seafood markets for the province’s troubled fishery.
Shea said it was decided that the WTO process was the best forum for challenging the EU seal products embargo.
Byrne said it’s a misguided strategy. Even a victory at the WTO would not compel the EU to reopen its markets and would likely mean a modest fine as the embargo continues, he said.
“Gail Shea and the Harper government she is a part of failed us miserably.”
Countries with bans on imported seal products include the U.S., Mexico, Russia and Taiwan.
A European Union court last year upheld Europe’s embargo, saying it fairly harmonizes the EU market while protecting the economic and social interests of Inuit communities.
The commercial seal hunt off Newfoundland last spring landed about 91,000 harp seals, up from 69,000 the year before, but far short of the federal quota of 400,000.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 2:50 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq is raising a ruckus in social media circles after posting a photo of a freshly killed polar bear on Twitter with the caption: “Enjoy!!”
And she did so while in Moscow where she is celebrating the 40th anniversary of an agreement on the conservation of polar bears.
Aglukkaq, an Inuk who was raised on the land, was relaying a message from someone in Arctic Bay, on Baffin Island, who boasted this week that his cousin had “caught his first polar bear” and included a photo of the dead, glassy-eyed carnivore.
Messages of protest and support quickly followed Aglukkaq’s post.
“Really?? That is disgusting!” commented one follower.
“I understand the importance but HUGE BOOOO to you for posting the pic,” said another.
The rejoinders were just as spirited.
“Look at all these paternalistic white liberals bashing an Inuk who hunted polar bear for food. #racist #shame,” said one Aglukkaq supporter.
The controversy was magnified by the fact Aglukkaq, who is the current chairwoman of the intergovernmental Arctic Council, is in Russia for a summit of polar bear “range states” to mark the signing of a 1973 conservation convention.
Her office issued a press release Friday saying the meeting participants have “committed to ensuring aboriginal traditional knowledge is integrated into our polar bear management decisions.”
It’s not the first time the Conservative minister has tweaked the sensibilities of environmentalists and animal rights activists.
Aglukkaq, who has a polar bear skin displayed in her ministerial office, according to insiders, has also worn a seal skin coat in the House of Commons and publicly congratulated northern communities on successful whale hunts.
She has also questioned scientific studies suggesting polar bear numbers are threatened, citing anecdotal evidence from her brother in Nunavut.
Aglukkaq responded to her critics over the polar bear photo with a couple of follow-up Twitter postings.
“I will continue to stand up for Inuit and Northern communities who rely on the polar bear hunt,” the minister wrote.
“Polar bears are culturally, spiritually and economically important for northerners.”
Megan Leslie, the NDP environment critic, said in an interview Friday she takes no issue with Aglukkaq defending and promoting traditional ways of life. But she did question the minister’s “judgment and balance.”
Aglukkaq “has been so profoundly silent on climate change,” said the New Democrat.
“Climate change is impacting polar bears and their habitat.”
Moreover, said Leslie, Aglukkaq must recognize that she is “the face of Canada on the environment” to the world.
Leslie pointed to a recent public letter from Prime Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary Paul Calandra that lauded Australia for killing its carbon tax — “basically saying ‘nah nah nah nah nah!’” in Leslie’s words — as another example of Conservatives pushing the buttons of international critics for no discernible benefit to Canada.
“I think (Aglukkaq) needs to put a little more thought into what she’s doing and how she’s presenting that face,” said the NDP critic.
“Is it poking the international community in the eye? I don’t think she necessarily thought that when she hit ‘send,’ but it’s starting to have a cumulative effect.”
The NDP critique elicited a blistering response from Aglukkaq.
“Frankly, this type of thinking highlights that the NDP have no respect for our traditional way of life and that they are more interested in pleasing foreigners than standing up for Canadians,” Aglukkaq said in an email.
“Why shouldn’t a young Inuk man celebrate catching a polar bear, which is our traditional source of food? That animal will be used to feed the entire community. It is something that has been celebrated for centuries and not ashamed of.”
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM - 0 Comments
LAC-MEGANTIC, Que. – Lac-Megantic residents have been given details on how some of the $60 million Ottawa has promised to help the devastated Quebec town will be spent.
A chunk of downtown Lac-Megantic was wiped out in July when a runaway train derailed, exploded and killed 47 people.
Denis Lebel, minister responsible for economic development for Quebec, told a news conference in the town today that $35 million of the $60 million will be used to help local business recover.
Of the $35 million, $20 million will go to reconstruction and $10 million will be spent on directly funding businesses and non-profit organizations.
The remaining $5 million will go to two investment funds to be administered by one or more local organizations.
Lebel also said about a dozen businesses struggling with debts will get payment and interest relief for six months.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Christian Paradis, who represents the Lac-Megantic area in the Commons, were also on hand for the announcements.
By Stephanie Findlay - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM - 0 Comments
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — The streets of South Africa belong to Nelson Mandela. Throughout the country, from Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africans of all creeds and colours are determined to honour the man they call the father of their nation. In the 24 hours after news broke that the beloved statesman has died, the country has gone into Mandela overdrive. Television and radio stations are dominated by Mandela news and tributes. Even the music is dedicated to Madiba, as he is affectionately known in the country. This morning, “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan was playing on the radio, a sorrowful Canadian contribution to the momentous time.
On Friday, the South African presidency said Mandela will receive a state funeral, as it outlined key events that will shape the country’s next nine days as it mourns its former president. Sunday, Dec. 8, will be a national day of prayer and reflection. On Dec. 10, the official memorial service will be held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Then, for three days Mandela’s body will lie at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Finally, on Dec. 15, Mandela will be buried in Qunu, his hometown in the Eastern Cape province. “The outpouring of love that we experienced locally and abroad was unprecedented,” said President Jacob Zuma, “it demonstrates the calibre of leader that was Madiba.”
Free from work on Friday afternoon, South Africans are rushing to commemorate Mandela. Outside Mandela’s home in Houghton, a posh suburb in Johannesburg, hundreds of people have gathered to sing and dance and celebrate his life. Cars are parked helter-skelter on the roads and sidewalks for kilometres. In order to control the rush, police have cordoned off street blocks with yellow tape and wire fencing.
More people—families, teens, and seniors—continue to arrive in bigger and bigger waves as the night goes on. Rarely do you see such diversity in one place in South Africa, a country that, while equal, is still segregated in many ways. Today in Houghton, businessmen in crisp suits stood alongside domestic workers in worn slippers.
South Africans are trapped between mourning for Mandela and celebrating his influential life. “I’m sad but I know he wanted us to be happy,” says Jarryd Webster, a 16-year-old who travelled to Houghton from Benoni, a town East of Johannesburg. “He didn’t want us to mourn his death, he wanted us to rejoice it.”
Many young people were thankful for the profound impact Mandela has on their lives. “We’re the generation that has experienced the most freedom,” says Boitumelo Makoea, an economics student at the University of South Africa in Johannesburg. “We’re here to pay homage to that,” says the 20-year-old, who is dressed in black. “It’s time we let him go, and accept his time on earth has been served.”
Some expressed relief that Mandela is finally resting in peace. “I think he is with God and is free from any sickness,” says Rita Dlongolo, a 42-year-old domestic worker wearing a beige uniform with an apron. “I’m here to pray.”
Heading into the weekend, the nationwide outpouring of emotion will continue. For many, it’s easier to grieve together than alone. Mandela is, yet again, unifying South Africa.
“I believe you can’t be sad if you are here,” says Nkosiyabo Hcube, a 20-year-old marketing student at the University of South Africa in Johannesburg.
“It brings people’s spirits up,” says Hcube of the group celebration. “At the funeral it will be emotional and we will be touched, but for now, this is where it’s at.”
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 11:45 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The drug and extortion cases that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s friend Alexander Lisi is facing will return to court early in the new year.
Lisi’s two criminal cases are both set for Jan. 14 judicial pre-trials, which are case conferences between the lawyers and a judge behind closed doors.
His lawyer, Seth Weinstein, appeared briefly in court today on Lisi’s behalf to set the date for the extortion judicial pre-trial for the same day as the drug case.
Lisi, 35, was charged in October with trafficking in marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Those charges were laid as the result of a Toronto police investigation that was initially launched to look into reports of a video appearing to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Police announced in late October that they had recovered the video and charged Lisi with extortion for allegedly threatening two men charged with gang offences while trying to get his hands on the notorious video.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM - 0 Comments
December 6 is the day of the year that the House of Commons pays much tribute to efforts to end violence against women. That’s because today is the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre that saw Marc Lépine murder 14 young women at the Montreal school.
As vigils dot the nation in remembrance, parliamentarians focus, sort of, for at least this one day, on ending violence against women. Last year, the solemnity of the moment of silence that preceded Question Period was interrupted starkly by the House’s normal proceedings. Ongoing tributes to Nelson Mandela’s passing, punctuated by yesterday’s stirring speeches in the House, may encourage MPs to remain civil a little more than usual.
Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer, which we produced with J-Source. Today, QP runs from 11:15 a.m. until just past noon. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Chime in on Twitter with #QP.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 10:38 AM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she remembers Nelson Mandela as a man of courage and patience amidst the violence of South Africa.
As a lawyer before running for office, Redford worked for Mandela in the early 1990s as they strove to rebuild South Africa’s legal system and lay the groundwork for the first all-race elections that led to Mandela becoming president.
She recalled how they would receive reports of factions on both sides violently attacking one another, trying to undo the process before it began.
“There were times when we were involved in constitutional negotiations where we were hearing about political fighting in townships where people were literally slaughtering each other because they were members of opposing political parties and he always believed that even though he knew that was going on, we couldn’t let that become the agenda,” Redford said Thursday.
“The agenda had to be about constructive, long-term change. He wasn’t doing this for today. He was doing this for the five year olds and the six year olds and the kids that hadn’t been born yet.”
Redford was working for Joe Clark in Ottawa when she first met Mandela when he visited Canada after his release from prison in 1990. Soon after, she went to work for him as a wide-eyed 20-something lawyer.
She has previously told a story of being invited to a New Year’s Eve party with Mandela while working in South Africa.
“I went to this resort and was by myself, and I’m by the pool and the security guy, who I know, comes up to me and he’s with Mandela and he says, ‘Madiba would like you to spend New Year’s Eve with him tonight.’”
Redford joined Mandela at a small dinner for 10 at a nearby hotel.
At the table was his personal nurse, a young woman from Japan. She’d been with him for more than a year, but now she was moving on. But for more than an hour that night, said Redford, the nurse was his whole world.
“The only thing he wanted was for her to have fun on New Year’s Eve,” Redford recalled in a 2012 interview. “He was getting people to come and dance with her and she wasn’t the kind of person who wanted to dance anyway.
“I’ll never forget that.”
In 1994, Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa.
For Redford, her South African experience was the launch point of a period of eye-opening globe-trotting as she created and advised on human rights and democratic systems in some of the most desperate regions of the world: Zambia, Namibia, Vietnam, Mozambique, Bosnia.
Redford said she is still inspired by Mandela.
“He lives here for me in my heart,” she said Thursday, her voice breaking.
“He really does.”
By Julian Beltrame, The Canadian Press - Friday, December 6, 2013 at 9:56 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Canadian economy churned out an additional 21,600 jobs last month, the most since August, although almost all the new workers were part-time and the unemployment rate was unchanged.
The headline increase in employment was almost twice the 12,000 that economists had expected, but the details were unlikely to persuade markets that Canada’s economy shifted to a higher gear in November.
Along with the overwhelming preponderance of part-time jobs, most of the gains came in the less desirable self-employment class. Employers only added 2,500 full- and part-time workers.
Regionally, the agency said only Alberta had a significant increase in job creation relative to its population with a pickup of about 11,000, while Newfoundland and Labrador lost about 2,600 workers. Other provinces experienced only minor changes relative to their populations.
Statistics Canada noted that even with the bigger than expected gain last month, job creation in Canada has settled at an average 13,400 per month so far into 2013, compared to an average of 25,400 for the same 11-month period in 2012.
While the unemployment rate has dropped 0.3 percentage points so far this year, the agency pointed out that was due to a decrease in the participation rate, meaning the labour force grew at a slower pace than the population as a whole.
Analysts believe the economy needs to create close to 20,000 new jobs each month just to keep up with the growth in the labour force, so the pickup this year suggests an economy that is growing, but below potential, a view that is shared by the Bank of Canada.
Earlier this week, the central bank maintained its accommodative one per cent interest rate pointing out that the persistently low inflation rate in the country suggested continued and significant economic slack.
There were a few bright spots in Friday’s labour report. The most notable was the oversized increase of 51,000 new workers in the private sector, a figure that includes part-timers and self-employed. That continues a trend over the past year that has seen almost all the job gains in the private sector.
Meanwhile, the public sector lost about 29,000 jobs during the month.
As well, the agency said employment in the troubled and key manufacturing sector rose by 24,600, although factory jobs are still down 44,000 from a year ago.
Other gainers were the business, building and other support services, which saw 31,000 more workers, and employment in the information, culture and recreation industries rose by about 16,000.
Offsetting the increases, construction and public administration each lost about 18,000 workers in November.
It was also a poor month for youth, with employment in the 15 to 24 age group declining by about 26,000, while all other age categories saw increases.