By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – A huge boil-water advisory affecting 1.3 million people in Montreal, described by local officials as unprecedented in the recorded history of the city, was lifted late Thursday.
City officials ended the two-day-old advisory at 10:15 p.m., after tests concluded the water quality was fine.
Mayor Michael Applebaum said the warning had been issued as a precaution after an abnormal drop in levels inside a filtration plant under renovation.
“You can drink the water,” Applebaum told a news conference.
“If you open your tap and see it’s a little bit brown, just let the tap run for a bit.”
Applebaum said the city is now trying to determine what happened to cause the water volume to drop at the Atwater plant, the second-biggest in the country.
The mayor was making his first public appearance in days. He had planned to take the week off while mourning the death of his brother following a lengthy illness. Applebaum thanked the media and public for respecting his family’s privacy.
Officials had feared the water might be contaminated by sediments that trickled into the system. They said the tests confirmed Thursday that it was free of e-Coli and other serious bacteria.
Locals had been venting their frustration for two days. Many found relief in dark humour about the state of affairs in their scandal-plagued city.
One lengthy La Presse newspaper column bitterly decried the quality of governance in the city, before concluding with a joke: at least the mayor doesn’t smoke crack.
The advisory, which followed repeated subway disruptions and reports of corruption in the city, resulted in a flurry of comments on Twitter. Many struck a humorous note: “Even the water is corrupt in Montreal,” tweeted a number of people, including Marcel Carrier.
There were also jokes that drew parallels between brown envelopes, like the kind being described at the Charbonneau inquiry, and the brown water.
The incident started at the west-end Atwater station. It was shut down around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday after levels dropped, causing sediments to enter the supply.
City officials had said from the start that the advisory was a preventive measure. They said Montrealers were able to drink the water after it had been boiled for a minute.
“We have no indication that any citizens were affected by drinking the water that circulated,” said Christian Dubois, the municipal public-safety director, earlier Thursday.
“But we’re not taking any risks.”
The advisory resulted in a surge in demand for bottled water. Several Montreal grocery stores said they were running out.
One major grocery chain said the demand for bottled water underwent an astronomical increase _ by about 25 to 50 times _ since the advisory came into effect.
The company told The Canadian Press that it had sent 40 trucks to Montreal carrying a total of one million water bottles to deal with the demand.
Montreal did not wind up distributing bottled water because there was no need, according to city officials.
“There isn’t a water shortage,” said city spokesperson Valerie De Gagne.
“Water-filtration plants are working at full capacity.”
The city was still preparing for the worst mid-day Thursday, preparing a “gameplan” in case the advisory had been extended, she said.
The impact was being felt at coffee shops, which had to turn away customers. It also prompted a more urgent call to action among advocates for the homeless.
One youth shelter, Dans la rue, recognized the potential impact on the poor.
“As soon as (the shelter’s team) learned about it, they went to get large water bottles,” said group spokeswoman Dorothy Massimo.
The shelter, which serves about 150 meals per day, uses water coolers.
Massimo said the shelter had enough water to last another day.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:48 PM - 0 Comments
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 says the company that made the automated calls assured the party that it was following the rules.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:44 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The chief of staff to embattled Mayor Rob Ford was escorted by security from city hall premises Thursday amid swirling allegations the mayor had been caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine.
Mark Towhey, one of Ford’s closest advisers whose background is in crisis management, refused to explain his sudden departure after more than a year in the position.
“I am no longer the chief of staff,” Towhey said as he left the building. “I did not resign.”
Ford himself remained silent again Thursday before leaving city hall late in the afternoon.
His office also did little to explain why the mayor was replacing Towhey, who had been his adviser when he ran for the office.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:43 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged for the first time Thursday that “perhaps” he could have responded more quickly to the news that his trusted chief of staff had footed the $90,000 bill for Sen. Mike Duffy’s disallowed housing expenses.
Harper conceded that he could have accepted the resignation of former right-hand man Nigel Wright earlier than he ultimately did — four days after Harper and the rest of Canada learned the stunning news about the personal cheque Wright wrote the senator.
Related link: David Tkachuk on Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright and the Senate
Harper has insisted that he was neither informed nor consulted about the arrangement, but until now, he has never explained why the Prime Minister’s Office stood so staunchly by Wright in the days that immediately followed the stunning revelation.
“He should have told me earlier; that’s why I accepted his resignation,” Harper said. “Upon reflection, should I have reached that conclusion earlier? Perhaps.”
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:37 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Fraud was definitely a factor in the rash of misleading robocalls that bedevilled voters in six federal ridings in the 2011 election, but not enough of one to justify overturning the results, a Federal Court judge has decided.
The ruling, released late Thursday, left both sides in the dispute — the Conservative party in one corner, the voters who fielded their calls in the other — claiming victory of a sort.
Though fraud was at play as a result of the robocalls, the scale didn’t justify wiping out the results of voting, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley concluded.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 7:09 PM - 0 Comments
A 103-year-old ban on gay youths joining the Boy Scouts has been lifted following a vote by delegates at the group’s annual general meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
More than 1,400 scout leaders from around the United States voted on the decision, according to the New York Times, with the proposed change garnering the support of more than 60 per cent of voters.
The discussion about whether to the lift the ban on openly gay scout members had been ongoing, with an earlier scheduled vote in February postponed so that 1,400 members could vote in a secret ballot, rather than just the national executive board. The organization’s ban on openly gay leaders remains in place.
The issue has been a divisive one in the organization, as many Boy Scout troops are at least partially funded by Christian groups, which oppose homosexuality. Ahead of today’s vote, opponents and proponents gathered for a rallies in Grapevine in an attempt to sway voters.
The push to allow gay membership had gained some high-profile supporters, including President Barack Obama.
The Mormon church and the Catholic Church — two major sponsors of the Boy Scouts – had said they would not pull support for the organization, as long as the ban was lifted for gay scout members only and did not extend to gay scout leaders.
In March, Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen cancelled a scheduled gig at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree over the organization’s anti-gay policies. Rock band Train also cancelled a scheduled appearance at the same show.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Mike Duffy is blowing off any talk of his voluntary resignation from the Senate amid an expense scandal that has reached all the way to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Duffy spoke out Thursday, his first public comments since resigning from the Conservative caucus last week after it was revealed he had made inappropriate expense claims and then paid them off with a $90,000 “gift” from Stephen Harper’s chief of staff.
A number of Conservative MPs, including Heritage Minister James Moore, have said Duffy should quit his $132,000-a-year appointment.
But the former broadcaster, pursued by a gaggle of reporters and TV cameras out the Senate’s front doors, literally blew out air in apparent exasperation when asked if he felt he should resign.
“I’m doing my job. So I’ll see you at work next week,” Duffy said. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The chief of staff to embattled Mayor Rob Ford was escorted by security from city hall premises Thursday as allegations the mayor had been caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine continued to swirl.
Mark Towhey said he did not resign but his departure had not come as a shock to him.
“The mayor and I spoke about it this afternoon,” Towhey said as reporters trailed him through the underground parking lot.
Towhey refused to elaborate on the conversation or say what advice he had given Ford about the alleged cellphone video.
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM - 0 Comments
CNN has released new information about Stroumboulopoulos, their new Friday night show hosted by the CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos.
“The new talk show will explore the worlds of art, pop culture, politics, tech news and sports, through the eyes and the words of their most interesting figures,” promises CNN. “George Stroumboulopoulos is praised for being a masterful interviewer, whose intimate style keeps guests at ease and audiences intrigued.”
The show, which will have an initial 10-week run, “will bring viewers compelling interviews with Keanu Reeves, Martin Short, Betty White, Bill Maher, Sharon Stone, as well as author Eckhardt Tolle, and filmmaker Werner Herzog among others”
Stroumboulopoulos premieres on June 9th in a good time slot–10:00 p.m., right after Anthony Bourdain’s popular Parts Unknown. Beginning on June 14, however, episodes will air in their regular time slot of 11:00 p.m.
CNN says the show’s first guests will include rapper Wiz Khalifa, actress Ellen Page and Walking Dead comic book author Robert Kirkman.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:42 PM - 0 Comments
A British soldier was killed Wednesday after he stepped off the Woolwich army barracks in southeast London. Horrified spectators looked on as two men reportedly attacked the soldier, hitting him with a car and then using a meat cleaver and knives to stab and cut him. During their attack, the men reportedly claimed to be acting in the interests of Islam, seeking revenge for British military action in Muslim countries.
Here’s what is known:
Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attacks Thursday. In a speech outside 10 Downing Street after an emergency meeting, Cameron said: “What happened in Woolwich yesterday has sickened us all. The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know something like this will only bring us together, make us stronger.” He went on to say that the attack was “a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.”
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:17 AM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when opposition and government MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. Today, QP runs from 2 p.m. until just past 3 p.m. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. Once a week, we’ll feature a guest blogger to sort through the madness. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Read our morning tease to catch up on the issues of the day, and then chime in on Twitter with #QP.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM - 0 Comments
HAMILTON – A second suspect has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, a Hamilton father who took two men on a test drive and never returned.
Mark Smich, 25, appeared in court today in Hamilton.
Lawyer Tom Dungey says Smich will plead not guilty, adding, “We will be defending this case vigorously.”
Smich’s next court appearance was set for June 13, the same day the other suspect in the case is to appear.
Dellen Millard, 27, is charged with first-degree murder as well as forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle. His lawyer has said his client will also plead not guilty. Continue…
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM - 0 Comments
A boil-water order remains in effect for a second day for most of the city of Montreal, and it will remain in effect until at least the evening, as city officials deal with problems at the Atwater filtration plant.
Water test results are expected later Thursday and will take some time to analyze after that, meaning that citizens “will be going to bed” without knowing if the water is safe, reports CTV Montreal.
The boil-water order began Wednesday around 10:30 a.m., after routine maintenance at the Atwater filtration plant — the province’s largest — went wrong. Sediment, which is likely non-toxic and probably doesn’t contain bacteria, was released into the water supply when levels in a reservoir got too low, reports The Gazette. The result was murky water and a boil-water order affecting an estimated 1.8 million residents.
The extended order, which tells citizens to boil any water used for drinking for a minimum of one minute, had Montrealers grumbling Thursday morning.
Notably, Tim Horton’s and Starbucks stopped serving coffee, much to the horror of early risers who used Twitter to voice their displeasure.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM - 0 Comments
An 80-year-old man from Japan has become the oldest person ever to climb Mount Everest.
Yuichiro Miura reached the top of the world’s highest peak Thursday morning, accompanied by his son, Gota.
His achievement pushed 76-year-old Nepalese man Min Bahadur Sherchan out of the record-holding spot. Sherchan climbed Everest in 2008.
However, Miura’s record may be short-lived. Sherchan, who is now 81, plans to attempt another summit beginning next week.
This is Miura’s third summit. He reached the peak in 2003 at age 70 and again in 2008 when he was 75.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 8:18 AM - 0 Comments
This morning, let’s play a fun game. I’m still workshopping its title, but the working moniker is What’s Bob Fife Working on Today? We can’t know, obviously, since we’re not inside the brain of CTV’s Ottawa bureau chief. But the man has been a machine for the past week—well, longer than that, but for this morning’s purposes, let’s stick to the Mike Duffy Affair.
Fife’s broken every major story in the past week that has made headaches, and occasionally migraines, for Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Nigel Wright, the PM’s former chief of staff; and Senator Mike Duffy. Fife’s the guy who told us about the $90,000 personal cheque Wright passed along to Duffy, to cover the repayment of improperly claimed expenses. Fife told us a few other things, too, and then last night reported that two Senators—David Tkachuk and Carolyn Stewart Olsen—ordered edits to a report of the Senate’s internal economy committee.
That report reviewed an audit of Duffy’s expenses. The unedited version, which found its way to reporters’ hands, was much more critical of Duffy than the final copy that Tkachuk and Stewart Olsen reportedly had “whitewashed,” or “sanitized,” or whatever else you want to call selective editing. Worth noting is that Stewart Olsen is a former PMO operative. None of this makes things easier for the government.
So, what comes next in this saga? Your best bet is to go ask Bob Fife. Thanks for playing.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The Tory-dominated, closed-door Senate committee studying Mike Duffy’s improper housing expenses deleted a specific reference to his failure to co-operate with auditors before releasing its report to the public.
Duffy, meanwhile, said Wednesday he’s pleased that same committee will be reviewing his expenses once again.
A draft of the internal economy committee’s report from earlier this month, obtained by The Canadian Press, shows the sections of the report that were later dropped.
By The Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:54 AM - 0 Comments
DHAKA, Bangladesh – The defects and errors that led to the world’s deadliest garment-industry accident extend from the swampy ground the doomed Rana Plaza was built on, to “extremely poor quality” construction materials, to the massive, vibrating equipment operating when the eight-story building collapsed, a committee appointed by Bangladesh’s government concluded.
The committee recommended life prison sentences for the owners of the building and the five garment factories that operated there, though the charges they currently face carry a maximum seven-year term. Their report, submitted to the government Wednesday, says nothing about the role that an inadequate regulatory system played in the April 24 collapse, which left more than 1,100 people dead.
The disaster highlighted the hazardous working conditions in Bangladesh’s $20 billion garment industry and the lack of safety for millions of workers who are paid as low as $38 a month. The 1,127 killed at Rana Plaza in the Dhaka suburb of Savar are among at least 1,800 Bangladesh garment-industry workers killed in fires or building collapses since 2005.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:40 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Two suspects charged in an alleged plot to bomb a Via Rail train are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court this morning.
Both 35-year-old Raed Jaser of Toronto and 30-year-old Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal are expected to appear by video.
The two men face several terrorism-related charges in what the RCMP has called the first known alleged plot in Canada directed by al-Qaida.
Jaser and Esseghaier, who were arrested last month, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the charges.
Authorities say the target of the alleged plot was a Via train that runs between Toronto and New York City.
The RCMP stressed that the time of the arrests that there was no imminent threat to the public.
By Sue Allan - Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:40 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The family and friends of a Canadian missing in Australia’s Snowy Mountains region for more than a week are calling for additional manpower to search for the hiker.
The calls came as hopes briefly rose Wednesday of finding Prabhdeep Srawn when “voices” were heard in the search area in the Kosciuszko National Park.
But reports from the site in New South Wales say that poor weather is restricting search teams to the ground.
The 25-year-old Brampton, Ont., man hasn’t been heard from since parking his rental car May 13 in a village near the park.
By The Associated Press - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM - 0 Comments
NEWARK, N.J. – He was a gregarious, spontaneous child, his father said, a handful at times who loved music and playing the guitar.
As an adult he became famous as Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker, his celebrity taking a turn toward notoriety when he was arrested in Philadelphia last week and charged with killing a New Jersey lawyer.
Caleb McGillivary, his real name, claimed that he was “home free” rather than homeless, a traveller by choice with roots in Sophia, W.Va.
“I don’t have any family,” he had said in the television interview in February that gave him to a measure of fame after he intervened in an attack on a utility worker in Fresno, Calif. “As far as anybody I grew up with is concerned, I’m already dead.”
By Heather Scoffield, The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM - 0 Comments
LIMA, Peru – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government deploys a vast early-warning communications system to warn of potential problems on the horizon.
But Harper insisted Wednesday that he learned about his right-hand man bailing out an embattled Conservative senator in much the same way as other Canadians did: by seeing it on the news.
Not only was the prime minister not in the loop about Nigel Wright’s decision to give $90,000 to Sen. Mike Duffy, Harper said, he never would have signed off on the deal had he been consulted about it.
He also described himself as “sorry,” “frustrated” and “extremely angry” about the whole mess, which has forced his government onto a defensive footing and threatens its carefully cultivated image as a pillar of accountability and sound financial management.
“I learned of this after stories appeared in the media last week speculating on the source of Mr. Duffy’s repayments,” Harper said at a news conference in Peru, the first time he’s taken questions publicly on the scandal since it broke last week.
By Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 4:55 PM - 0 Comments
HAMILTON – Two men are now facing first-degree murder charges in the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton father who took two men on a test drive and never returned.
Bosma’s remains were later found burned beyond recognition at a farm belonging to one of the suspects. But Hamilton police said they still don’t know why he was killed.
“I don’t have an answer to that question today,” Supt. Dan Kinsella said in announcing the arrest of a second suspect in the case.
By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Two bottlenose dolphins discovered a late 19th-century torpedo during a U.S. Navy training exercise near Coronado Island, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The mammals’ sophisticated sonar detected the object that not even billion-dollar technology could have recognized.
“To train the dolphins, Navy specialists sink objects of various shapes in rocky and sandy undersea areas where visibility is poor. The shapes mimic those of the mines used by U.S. adversaries,” the LA Times said. “A dolphin is then ordered to dive and search. If it finds something, it is trained to surface and touch the front of the boat with its snout. If it has found nothing, it touches the back of the boat.”
At first, Navy specialists ignored the positive response of the first dolphin named Ten because no training devices had been placed in that area.
But after a second dolphin named Spetz gave a positive response in the same area a week later, Spetz was ordered to take a marker down to the object’s site. Human divers were then sent down and found the so-called Howell torpedo in two pieces.
A Rhode Island-based company made only 50 of the torpedos between 1870 and 1889 before a rival company surpassed the Howell’s capabilities.
Before the two dolphins discovered the Howell, only one other example of the torpedo–currently on display at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash.–was known to exist.
“We’ve never found anything like this,” Mike Rothe, who heads the Navy’s marine mammal program, told the LA Times. ”Never.”
By Nicholas Köhler - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 2:41 PM - 0 Comments
Earlier today, when confronted in a Tim Hortons by the CTV reporter Austin Delaney, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was kind enough to offer to tuck him in. “You want me to make your bed for you tonight?” he asked Delaney, who pursued his line of questioning, centred around allegations that the mayor has smoked crack, nonetheless.
This was the backdrop to Councillor Doug Ford’s strangely orchestrated press conference earlier today, which devolved into a tense standoff between Doug and a frustrated city hall press corps.
“If the mayor wants to make a statement, his press secretary will notify the media,” said Doug, the mayor’s older brother, speaking from a prepared statement. “There is no reason for you to be staking out his house and following him around town.” He said this amid the heckling of reporters puncturing his address with questions.
Looking nervous, and speaking in an uncharacteristically halting voice, Doug first announced that “I’m here today because you’ve been asking me for my comment–I’m here to give you my comments.
“I’m not speaking for the mayor. The mayor is my brother, I love him, and he’ll speak for himself.”
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 1:56 PM - 0 Comments
HAMILTON – Tim Bosma was a jokester, a mischievous man with a “crazy laugh,” but most of all he was just a regular guy — and it cost him his life, family and friends say.
There was standing room only in a banquet hall in Hamilton, where hundreds of people gathered to remember the 32-year-old father who was killed after taking two men on a test drive.
Right as the memorial concluded, police announced they had made a second arrest in the case and would provide an update in the afternoon. A 27-year-old Toronto man, Dellen Millard, is already charged with first-degree murder, forcible confinement and theft of a vehicle.
Bosma’s remains were found, burned beyond recognition, on a farm belonging to Millard.