VANCOUVER – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will personally reveal today what Canada has offered to provide the United Nations in terms of troops and military equipment for peacekeeping missions.The moment will mark Canada’s first tangible step back into peacekeeping since the Liberals promised last year to provide the UN with up to 600 troops and 150 police officers.But like that commitment, which stopped short of committing to any specific mission, Trudeau’s announcement is also expected to be missing some key details.Sources say the government has put several offers on the table for the UN’s consideration, including the deployment of helicopters to help in Mali, and a transport plane in Uganda to assist different missions in Africa.It is also reportedly ready to provide a rapid-reaction force in the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria; assist the UN’s new police mission in Haiti; and send trainers to help other countries get better at peacekeeping.But UN and Canadian officials are said to still be hammering out many of the details, such as when and how those offers would be employed.Trudeau’s decision to personal reveal Canada’s offer during this week’s peacekeeping summit in Vancouver nonetheless sends a message that the government is intent on delivering on its promise to help the UN.The prime minister’s announcement will be one of a number of highlights during Wednesday’s meeting, which is being attended by representatives from 80 countries involved in peacekeeping.Retired lieutenant-general Romeo Dallaire will help roll out a new set of commitments for the international community to sign onto aimed at preventing the use of child soldiers and better protecting children in conflict.The UN released a report last month that found more than 8,000 children were killed or injured in conflicts around the world in 2016 and thousands of children had been recruited or used by warring factions.Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie is also scheduled to deliver a keynote address on preventing and better addressing sexual violence in armed conflict.After long ignoring the issue of sexual violence in war, the international community has in recent years stepped up its efforts to end rape and other sexual crimes in conflict zones and to hold perpetrators to account.But the UN has also struggled with revelations that peacekeepers themselves have either sexually abused or exploited the very people they were meant to protect in a number of countries.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan kicked off the two-day Vancouver summit on Tuesday by noting that not only did Canada help invent peacekeeping, but 120,000 Canadians have worn blue helmets or berets over the years.Yet Sajjan also reminded delegates, including foreign dignitaries, military officials and civil society actors, that peacekeeping has changed since Canada was among the top troop-contributing countries in the 1990s.And he said it is imperative that the international community adapt to ensure the UN can respond effectively in what are increasingly complex and dangerous environments and conflicts.“Today, it’s rare to see UN peacekeepers monitoring a ceasefire between two countries. Today’s missions are often undertaken in areas of ongoing conflict. Places where there is not much peace to keep,” he said.“It’s more about protecting civilians and working to build a peace in a hostile environment where belligerents are not identified. In the face of this extraordinary and evolving challenge, we must ask ourselves: What can we do better? What must we do differently?”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.
TORONTO – The cheers of Toronto fans rang out and fireworks and flares were set off at the city’s BMO Field after Toronto FC’s 2-0 win against the Seattle Sounders, taking the MLS Cup.Beaming spectators who spilled out of the stadium say the win was extra sweet after Toronto lost the final last year to the Sounders in penalty kicks after a scoreless game.“That game was redemption at its finest,” said Silvio Mazzulla, who was watching Saturday’s contest with his family.“TFC played huge, there’s no reason why we can’t go back to back next year, so we’ll see what happens.”Ernesto Gaita, who was also at the MLS Final last year, said that Toronto played a strong game to clinch the title this year.“It was a long time coming,” said Gaita, who said the loss last year was hard to watch.“They deserve it, the fans deserve it and the city deserves it, so I’m happy for them and it was a great game to watch.”Vik Narula pointed out that losing last year during penalty kicks was especially painful, and said Toronto did well to make sure that it wouldn’t happen again.“This year they realized from the start that the other team was playing heavy defence, so they moved their team up and tried to get that early-on goal,” said Narula.Toronto played a dominant game, seizing control of the contest right from the start and keeping possession for over 60 per cent of the first half.A goal in the 67th minute by Jozy Altidore and a goal in stoppage-time by Victor Vazquez sealed the win on home turf.The victory on Saturday night marks Toronto FC’s first ever title in the MLS.
OTTAWA – The Prime Minister’s Office has called in an independent investigator to look into unspecified allegations against a senior staffer, but the workplace harassment policy that governs all federal public servants does not technically apply to PMO employees.“That said, we are absolutely informed by it,” Kate Purchase, communications director for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Thursday.News of the policy vacuum comes after Claude-Eric Gagne, Trudeau’s deputy director of operations, confirmed he is on a leave of absence during an independent investigation regarding allegations that came to the attention of the PMO.In a statement late Wednesday, Gagne said he challenges the veracity of the allegations but is co-operating fully with the third-party investigator, who has given him the opportunity to explain his side.“I hope that the process will succeed as soon as possible.”Gagne said he would not comment any further to avoid undermining the process he has agreed to participate in.He has been on leave since Nov. 1, within a day of the PMO becoming aware of the allegations.Purchase also said she could not comment on the nature of the allegations.Calling in a third party to examine allegations of workplace harassment is one of the steps that can come into play under the policy governing those who work for the federal government — including ministerial staff.The accompanying guidelines spell out in great detail what happens next, including the need for an independent investigator to be provided with a written mandate, assess the credibility of witnesses and submit a final report.The policy also allows for the occasional need to hire an investigator from outside the public service, which is what Purchase said the PMO has done.At the moment, that Treasury Board policy does not officially apply to those who work in the PMO. But that is about to change.The Liberal government introduced legislation last month aimed at giving workers and their employers a clear course of action to better deal with allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment.Purchase confirmed the legislation proposed in Bill C-65, which has yet to be debated in the House of Commons, would apply to PMO staffers too.Departmental officials have said it could take at least a year before all the rules come into effect.For now, Purchase said that in addition to modelling their response on the Treasury Board policy, the PMO tells all its employees the minute they are offered a job that they need to follow the open and accountable government document Trudeau issued when the Liberals took office in 2015.That document does not specifically mention workplace harassment, but does spell out the conduct expected of his ministers and their staff.“As public office holders, exempt staff members are expected to act with honesty and uphold the highest ethical standards so that public trust in integrity, objectivity and impartiality of the government is conserved and enhanced,” the 107-page document said.“Specifically, exempt staff members must . . . in the conduct of their personal affairs, including their use of social media, conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring the Minister’s office into disrepute,” it said.TVA, the French-language television network which first reported news of the investigation into Gagne, said the allegations involve inappropriate behaviour.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
HALIFAX – A Halifax-based military policeman facing a sexual assault charge says a female officer didn’t object at any point during sex he believes was consensual.Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre took the stand in his own defence Thursday at his military court martial hearing.MacIntyre has pleaded not guilty to a sexual assault charge resulting from an alleged incident on Sept. 27, 2015, at a Glasgow, Scotland, hotel during a Royal Canadian Navy exercise.The complainant told the five-man military panel Monday that she told MacIntyre “No,” several times as she was forced to continually remove his hand from her lower extremities “10 to 15 times.”On Thursday, defence lawyer David Bright asked his client: “What if anything can you say about her saying ‘no, no, no’?”“She never said no to me once,” MacIntyre replied.Bright asked whether the woman said, “Stop, you are hurting me.”“She didn’t say that,” said MacIntyre.“What can you say as to your thoughts on whether (the complainant) was consenting to sex between the two of you?” Bright asked.“I thought she was consenting,” MacIntyre said. “She was consenting.”Bright asked whether the complainant was so drunk that she couldn’t consent.“Absolutely not … I thought she was consenting,” said MacIntyre.MacIntyre denied sneaking into the complainant’s hotel room. He repeated much of what he told police during a videotaped statement on June 28, 2016, that had been played in court on Wednesday.He said he knocked on the officer’s door while looking for a black jacket that contained his room key, identification, and close to $1,000 in Euros. He said he was panicked because he couldn’t find it at the restaurant where he and the complainant had been drinking earlier with other Forces members.MacIntyre said the officer let him in and he found the jacket which had been left near the bed earlier, after he and another female officer had escorted the complainant back to her room.He said he used the washroom and soon after ended up lying down with the complainant as they chatted.MacIntyre said they fell asleep for about two hours. He said they woke up close to each other and then took their clothes off before having sex.The female officer made a formal complaint in March of 2016. The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, testified Monday she awoke to find MacIntyre in her bed and didn’t know how he had gotten into her room.She said she didn’t want to have sex, but he eventually penetrated her while she lay on her stomach. The complainant said she believes she “just froze.”In earlier testimony Thursday, the naval officer in immediate command of the unit said the female officer only offered a “partial recollection” of an alleged sexual assault, and did not want to proceed with charges.He said he met with the complainant and another officer who had been with her and MacIntyre earlier.“There was no firm recollection; they admitted that there was a large amount of alcohol consumed,” he said under questioning by Bright.The commander said he asked the female officer a number of times whether she wanted to proceed with a formal complaint and she said no because she didn’t want her husband to know about what happened.He said he did not approach MacIntyre about the allegation.“I wasn’t comfortable and because it was a partial recollection,” he said.He told the court that he formed no conclusion at the time as to MacIntyre’s guilt or innocence. Still, he ended up redeploying him because of the complainant’s obvious discomfort.He said she was looked withdrawn and wasn’t eating.The officer said he informed his superior officer, who supported his plan to send MacIntyre ahead of the small team to the next port of call.During cross examination, prosecutor Maj. Larry Langlois asked the witness what he meant by partial recollection.“The things she mentioned she was clear about — she had no hesitation about those things?” Langlois asked.“There was some I think,” the witness replied.“So the information you received was sufficient to take some action?” asked Langlois.“It was sufficient,” the commanding officer replied.The defence also presented a series of witnesses who testified to MacIntyre’s character, describing him as honest, trustworthy, and a good husband and father.MacIntyre is scheduled to be cross examined by the prosecution on Friday.
Canada Post says protesters blocking mail from flowing in and out of one of the country’s busiest postal hubs are violating a court order.The protesters rallying outside of the facility in Mississauga, Ont., are largely members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees acting in solidarity with postal workers who were legislated back to work last week.The back-to-work legislation was passed on Monday following about five weeks of rotating strikes from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.CUPE says 19 protests are scheduled this weekend at facilities across the country, allowing workers to enter, but not letting mail out of the plants.The Ontario branch of that union says the protesters have been served with an injunction, but they still plan to protest in solidarity with the postal workers.RELATED: B.C. labour groups rally against Canada Post back-to-work legislationThe injunctions were granted by courts in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, prohibiting anyone from obstructing or interfering with people or vehicles entering or exiting its facilities.
WASHINGTON — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney gave a heartfelt eulogy Wednesday at the state funeral for former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, something he also did for former president Ronald Reagan and Reagan’s wife, Nancy. Here are some key moments that helped forge Mulroney’s close political and personal ties in the U.S.The Shamrock Summit: The March 1985 meeting in Quebec City between Mulroney and president Ronald Reagan would come to symbolize a key turning point in the relationship between Canada and the United States, with two gregarious leaders of Irish descent belting out “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and visibly enjoying each other’s company. The meeting itself would provide a foundation for a number of major bilateral agreements on shared security, the environment and cross-border trade, eventually culminating in the North American Free Trade Agreement.Free Trade: Before NAFTA, there was CUSFTA — the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which eventually in Canada came simply to be known as free trade, or FTA. The agreement, which went into effect in 1987, codified one of the most important and lucrative trade relationships in the world, eliminating a range of trade barriers over the course of a 10-year period. Mulroney staked the future of his Conservative government on the agreement, which became a central issue in the 1988 federal election. It would also comprise the foundation of the deal that the following decade would include Mexico, bear the signature of George H. W. Bush and come into effect in 1994 as NAFTA.Acid Rain: By the modern-day standards of climate change, the notion of corrosive precipitation might seem quaint by comparison, but in the early 1980s it was a dominant environmental issue. The 1991 acid rain accord between Mulroney and Bush was focused on reducing the level of pollution, much of it from the U.S., that eventually found its way into Canadian rivers, lakes and forests. The original 1991 agreement was updated in 2000 to include ground-level ozone. A 2016 report by the International Joint Commission marking the 25-year anniversary of the accord found significant declines in the amount of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, particularly in the U.S., from 1990 levels.NAFTA: Arguably one of Mulroney’s singular achievements as prime minister, the continental — and controversial — trade accord created what he described Wednesday as “the largest and richest free trade area in the history of the world.” Designed primarily as a way to facilitate trade between the three countries, the agreement eliminated a wide array of export tariffs as well as non-tariff trade barriers, liberalizing trade in agricultural products, autos and textiles, while protecting intellectual property rights, establishing environmental and labour safeguards and setting up tools for resolving trade disputes.NAFTA 2.0: As one of Canada’s most powerful emissaries south of the border and a personal friend of U.S. President Donald Trump, Mulroney was enlisted by the federal Liberal government last year to help navigate the shoals of an administration that promised American voters it would either renegotiate or do away entirely with an agreement that had come to be seen as detrimental to certain U.S. interests. The former prime minister was an integral part of the “Team Canada” approach that saw political leaders and governments in Canada set aside partisan concerns to ensure negotiators were able to present a united front in their talks with U.S. and Mexican counterparts. The fruits of their labour, known in American circles as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but in Canada as the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement, “new NAFTA” or NAFTA 2.0, was signed by the three countries on Nov. 30. The Canadian Press
TORONTO – Toronto police have laid more charges in an investigation into allegations of sex assault at an all-boys’ private school in Toronto.They say five youth have now been charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault. They are facing sex assault and assault charges for an incident at the school that was caught on video. Four of them are already accused in a separate incident at St. Michael’s College School.READ MORE: How the St. Michael’s College School sex assault scandal unfoldedPolice say they have investigated eight separate incidents at the school so far, and they don’t expect further charges. However, a seventh teen has been arrested in connection with incidents at the school. The boy, 15, reportedly turned himself into police. According to police all of the incidents allegedly took place in the fall of this year.READ MORE: 7th St. Michael’s student arrested: reportsIn mid-November, St. Michael’s College School’s administration said it received a video of an assault that took place in a boy’s washroom at the school. CityNews has viewed the video and it shows an underwear-clad teen being slapped and splashed with water by several boys. Another video of a separate incident shows a group sexual assault in a school locker room that involved a broomstick.Two top school officials resigned in wake of the scandal. The school’s principal Greg Reeves and board president Jefferson Thompson both resigned. St. Michael’s has since established a “respect and culture” review panel that’s set to report its findings by the summer. READ MORE: St. Mike’s principal, board president resign amid student sex assault scandalREAD MORE: Exploring the power dynamics in locker rooms
EDMONTON — A charity that runs cross-country ski programs for Indigenous youth is expanding across Western Canada.Spirit North, which was founded in 2009, started in four First Nation communities in northern Alberta to improve the health and well being of Indigenous youth through outdoor sport and play.“We gradually expanded our footprint out from there,” said Beckie Scott, an Olympic medallist who runs the charity. “In the last four years, we began working in the south of Alberta — in the Morley area as well as Tsuut’ina.”With the help of a federal government grant, they added three communities in B.C. in 2018. Another grant will allow the program to further expand in B.C. and into Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the coming year.Scott, who first made a name for herself in 2002 when she captured Olympic gold in Salt Lake City, initially joined the program as an ambassador after retiring from competition following a silver medal win at the 2006 Turin Olympics. She also became a leading international voice to root out doping in sports.Her contributions to sport led to her appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada last week.In an interview with The Canadian Press prior to the announcement, she said she spent some time searching for her next role.“I was really inspired and intrigued by the idea of sport for development — the concept that sport could be something other than high performance and Olympics,” said Scott. “I was very interested in … the idea that it could be used to make a difference for people, especially kids.”During her time as an ambassador with Spirit North, she said she saw its value and ended up taking over as the charity’s chief executive officer last year.The program, which fits with several of the calls to action for reconciliation, creates opportunities for Indigenous children to benefit from outdoor sport.“We bring a fleet of cross-country skis and boots and poles — all the equipment necessary — to the school and then operate the program all day long, trying to get every kid out on skis,” explained Scott. “It’s a really play-based approach so it’s fun, it’s supported, it’s learning and skills.”Scott said each community tailors the program to its needs, deciding how many times a week to run it and bringing in volunteers for support.“We talk a lot about healthy lifestyles, about mental health also — you know how physical activity and sport really make you feel better on the inside and help you deal with frustrations and stress you might be experiencing,” she said.They are operating in 33 communities across Alberta and B.C. and another six will get started in Saskatchewan and Manitoba early in the new year.During a panel discussion at the Banff Mountain Film Festival earlier this year, the principal of one of the schools involved said it has had a positive effect.“It’s so exciting to be a part of Spirit North,” said Jeff Horvath, who works at the Grade 5 to 12 school on Tsuut’ina Nation in Alberta. “The impact is really great. What we really want to do is ignite passion in our young people.“It’s nice to enjoy the children being children because so often our kids are put in situations that no children should be dealing with.”Scott said they get great feedback from all the schools where the program operates.“We see so many success stories and hear so much from teachers in terms of the way that they have observed students who come out of their shells or who aren’t performing academically or are struggling in the classroom, and they see them blossom when they are out in the schoolyard with their skis on,” she said.“We’ve had kids tell us ‘this program has made me want to come to school, it made me feel like I can be good at something, like I belong, like I’m included.’”— Follow @cderworiz on Twitter.Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A Montreal man charged with inciting hatred online against Jews had his bail conditions tightened Monday to ensure he stays away from Jewish schools and synagogues.Robert Gosselin made a brief court appearance at which the conditions were officially added.The 55-year-old Gosselin was charged with two counts of uttering threats and one count of inciting hatred in relation to posts on the Facebook page of the Journal de Montreal newspaper. Among the messages was one that threatened to “eliminate Jews by killing an entire school of Jewish girls.”Gosselin’s new conditions were added after members of Montreal’s Jewish community raised concerns that specific protections of its institutions and places of worship were not spelled out.David Ouellette of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said his organization’s legal team had raised the issue with prosecutors.“There was a lot of concern within the community that these conditions had not been imposed from the beginning,” Ouellette said. “We’re very satisfied that these conditions have been imposed today.”He noted the anti-Semitic threats were made just days before the Oct. 27 attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, which raised anxiety levels in the community.Gosselin was represented by a new lawyer Monday who requested the case be postponed to Mar. 4.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will try to put the SNC-Lavalin affair behind him today by acknowledging mistakes were made and promising to do better in future.But while he’ll adopt a more conciliatory tone, well-placed sources say Trudeau will continue to insist there was no unethical or illegal behaviour involved. Rather, he is expected to attribute the controversy to a breakdown in trust and communications between his office and former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the statement Trudeau is scheduled to make at an early morning news conference today.Trudeau’s government has been reeling for the past month since allegations first surfaced that Wilson-Raybould was improperly pressured to stop a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin and was punished for her refusal to give in by being moved out of the justice portfolio to veterans affairs in an early January cabinet shuffle.She resigned from cabinet shortly after the controversy erupted. Her close friend and cabinet ally, Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, resigned in solidarity on Monday, saying she’d lost confidence in the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.Along the way, Trudeau’s principal secretary, longtime friend and trusted adviser Gerald Butts, also resigned.Butts testified before the House of Commons justice committee Wednesday, methodically and calmly rebutting explosive testimony from Wilson-Raybould the week before that she was relentlessly pressured last fall — and even received veiled threats about her future as justice minister — to intervene in the criminal trial of the Montreal engineering giant.Wilson-Raybould maintained the pressure was exerted to convince her to reverse a decision by the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, to pursue a criminal trial of SNC-Lavalin on charges of bribery and corruption related to contracts in Libya.She said Trudeau, his senior aides, the clerk of the Privy Council and Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office all wanted her to direct Roussel to negotiate a remediation agreement, which would have forced the company to pay stiff reparations while avoiding a possible criminal conviction that could threaten its financial viability and the livelihoods of its 9,000 Canadian employees. While the pressure was inappropriate, Wilson-Raybould said it was not illegal.Butts countered that all they wanted was for Wilson-Raybould to seek a second opinion from an eminent retired judge so that the government could demonstrate it had seriously considered all legal options, given the jobs that were potentially at stake. He maintained all involved recognized that the final decision was the attorney general’s alone and no one crossed the line into applying inappropriate pressure.Butts also laid the groundwork for the approach Trudeau is expected to take today.“A breakdown in the relationship between the former attorney general and the prime minister occurred,” he told the committee. “That breakdown coloured the unrelated events of the fall of 2018 in a negative light for many of the people involved. As the main point of contact in the PMO for the former minister of justice, I take responsibility for it.”Insiders believe Butts offered a credible counter-narrative that now allows the prime minister to say both sides thought they were doing the right thing but a breakdown in communications between them led to the rupture.In owning some responsibility for the mistakes, the sources said Trudeau will essentially be offering a way for Wilson-Raybould and Philpott to walk back their professed loss of confidence in the government, rejoin the Liberal team and move on with the heavy agenda he hopes to accomplish before Canadians head to the polls in October.Both former ministers have said they intend to continue as part of the Liberal caucus and both have been nominated to run again for the Liberals this fall. However, should they persist in saying they have no confidence in Trudeau’s government, the source said Liberal MPs would likely demand they be kicked out of caucus and Trudeau would refuse to allow them to run for the party again.Wilson-Raybould showed little sign Wednesday of relenting. Opposition members of the justice committee are pushing for her to be invited back to respond to Butts’ testimony and she indicated in a statement that she’d be happy to do so.Opposition parties also have no interest in letting Trudeau portray the controversy as a family dispute that can be fixed and forgotten. They will doubtless continue asserting that the affair amounts to political interference in the criminal justice system and demanding that all other officials named by Wilson-Raybould be called to testify.Moreover, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has requested that the RCMP investigate the matter and the federal ethics commissioner is conducting his own investigation into it — either of which could yet add fuel to the SNC-Lavalin fire.Joan Bryden , The Canadian Press
LONGUEUIL, Que. — David Saint-Jacques is set to return to Earth on Monday after more than six months aboard the International Space Station.The Canadian astronaut will join NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko aboard a Soyuz capsule that’s expected to land just before 11 p.m. ET.Saint-Jacques’ mission began ahead of schedule on Dec. 3, when he was part of the first crewed Soyouz mission following a rocket mishap that forced a spacecraft carrying two astronauts to abort and make an emergency landing last October.The Saint-Lambert, Que., native will set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days.Saint-Jacques, 49, took part in a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk in April and a “cosmic catch” of SpaceX Dragon cargo using Canadarm2 — the first time a Canadian astronaut has operated the robotic arm to perform the feat.The engineer, astrophysicist and family doctor also oversaw numerous science experiments and had numerous discussions with kids across the country during his mission.In his final days, Saint-Jacques said he was refamiliarizing himself with the Soyuz craft that has been parked for the duration of their stay and will take them home starting Monday afternoon. He tweeted over the weekend the craft was in fine form despite being parked for six months.“It will take a few hours but we’ll fall back to Earth — literally,” Saint-Jacques explained to reporters last week. “After crossing into Earth’s atmosphere, the parachutes will open, we’ll land in Kazhakstan and be picked up by Russian team and taken to the airport where we’ll return to Houston to be reunited with our families.”The married father of three young children said he’s looking forward to seeing his family again.Saint-Jacques told reporters last week that he’s aware of the physical challenges that await after six months in zero gravity — that includes blood circulation problems, muscle pains and an elongated spine that will return to normal. That could mean trouble walking and moving around for a while.Saint-Jacques’ recovery is first and foremost on the minds of Canadian Space Agency officials.“A big aspect for us here at the agency is to prepare his return in the next few weeks — rehabilitation, physical reconditioning, adapting back to life at 1G,” said Gilles Leclerc, the agency’s director of space exploration.Saint-Jacques is expected to take part in a news conference on Friday from Houston and will return to Canada in mid-July to visit the agency, just south of Montreal.As for the next mission, Leclerc said negotiations are underway to have another member of the corps serve aboard the International Space Station before 2024.—By Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.The Canadian Press
At least 10 people have been killed in an extremist attack in Somalia including a prominent Somali-Canadian journalist and her husband.Mogadishu-based independent radio station Radio Dalsan confirmed to The Associated Press that Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman died in the attack Friday.A Somali official says the attack started with a suicide car bomb blast and then gunmen stormed a hotel in the port city of Kismayo.Global Affairs Canada has not confirmed the deaths but says it is aware of a bombing in Somalia and is working to get more information.Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto.The Somali Journalists Syndicate says Naleyeh was the producer, presenter and founder of Integration TV.It says she had recently returned to Somlaia from Canada, where she attended school and worked as a journalist on TV programs in Toronto.Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she is sad and shocked to hear about her death.“I am so sad and shocked to learn of the tragic death of @HodanTV and her husband Farid in a terrorist attack, along with other victims of this hate-fuelled violence,” Horwath said on Twitter. “Hodan’s endless positivity and her love for people was inspiring.”Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamic rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack.— with files from AP The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A dental hygienist stripped of his licence as a sexual abuser because he treated his wife has lost his bid to have the punishment overturned.Ontario’s Divisional Court decision upholding the “harsh” punishment for Alexandru Tanase comes even though regulators have proposed allowing hygienists to treat spouses as dentists may do.“There is no other case of any dental hygienist anywhere in Canada who has been found guilty of sexual abuse for treating his wife,” the court said in its ruling. “It is indeed unfortunate that the (discipline committee) elected to proceed with the complaint.”A disciplinary hearing arose after a complaint to the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario from a colleague, who had spotted a June 2016 Facebook post from Tanase’s grateful wife, identified as S.M., about the care he had provided her.Evidence before the discipline committee was that S.M. feared dental treatment and had had no care for several years when she became platonic friends with Tanase in 2012. He soon provided her with free in-office treatment.In mid-2014, court records show, they became romantically involved and he stopped treating her because of the blanket ban on sexual relations between health-care professionals and their patients. The province enacted the zero-tolerance policy in 1993 to protect patients from exploitation. Consent is irrelevant.While working at a clinic in Guelph, Ont., a colleague told Tanase that dental hygienists were allowed to treat their spouses. In fact, the college approved a spousal exemption in September 2015 but the legislature never adopted the rule — as it has done for dentists.Based on his erroneous understanding of the law, Tanase began again treating his otherwise treatment-averse fiancee, and continued doing so after they married in early 2016.The discipline committee ruled it had no choice but to find Tanase had violated the ban on sexual relations with a patient — even though the patient was his spouse and the sex consensual — and therefore subject to mandatory licence revocation.“You have paid a heavy price,” the committee said. “We sincerely hope to see you again as an active member of the dental hygiene profession.”Tanase appealed to the courts, arguing the law violated his constitutional rights.In its ruling, the Divisional Court panel said Tanase posed no danger to the public, and expressed sympathy for the couple given that he cannot practise for at least five years.The panel noted a previous case in which the college took no action against a female hygienist who treated her husband in light of their pre-existing spousal relationship and questioned why the Tanase complaint had gone forward. The court also said it seemed unfair that dentists can treat their spouses but hygienists can’t.Nevertheless, the panel ruled the licence revocation as a “sexual abuser” and “stigma” of having details of his discipline posted on the college’s public website were constitutional and did not amount to cruel or unusual punishment. Current law and previous legal decisions upholding the validity of the sex ban and mandatory punishment for a violation had tied its hands, the court said.“Unless and until the Ontario government approves the regulation put forward by the College of Dental Hygienists to enact a spousal exemption, the mandatory revocation and ancillary relief imposed by the discipline committee as they pertain to spouses must be upheld,” the panel said.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Miley Cyrus has taken to twitter to support a new indy film that challenges censorship laws in the US.Miley Cyrus Free The NippleOn Wednesday (Dec. 11), the 21-year-old singer tweeted to support the Free the Nipple campaign by posting a photo of herself holding a large, fake nipple over her left eye. Miley, who is known for her edgy style is now speaking out on behalf of the film, FREE THE NIPPLE. The singer recently wore a provocative campaign t-shirt at an after party for Jingle Ball and has since tweeted several times to fans and with Cosmopolitan.Miley Cyrus Supports Free The Nipple CampaignOther celebrities like Kellan Lutz, Russell Simmons and Rumer Willis have shown support by tweeting as well.The film FREE THE NIPPLE poses the question “What is more obscene… A murder or a nipple?” The indy film comes from debut director, Lina Esco who wanted to challenge the backwards censorship laws in America. The controversial film, which stars Lola Kirke, Monique Coleman, Casey LaBow and Janeane Garofalo is based on the true events of two women who ignite a revolution to fight the backward censorship laws in America. The story explores why there is so much controversy over a woman’s nipple while an American child will see over 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders on Network TV before they turn 18.In an ironic twist, the movie is facing NC-17 censorship from the MPAA, thus Miley and other celebrities have gotten on board to raise awareness and funds for the cause via www.fundanything.com/freethenipple.
For the third year in a row, Window World, America’s largest replacement window and home remodeling company, was the national presenting sponsor of the St. Jude Presents John Rich & Friends Concert, held on Tuesday, June 3.The following day, Window World was the title sponsor of the Window World Pro-Am at the 57th annual FedEx St. Jude Classic PGA TOUR event at TPC Southwind. Both events benefitted St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.The St. Jude Presents John Rich & Friends Concert was a moving evening of music, hope and inspiration, featuring talent from John Rich, Big & Rich, Clint Black, Randy Houser, Deana Carter, Cowboy Troy and a surprise appearance by Robby Krieger, guitarist for The Doors. A live auction was also held, with proceeds going to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.The festivities continued Wednesday at TPC Southwind with the Window World Pro-Am Tournament. More than 350 amateur and professional golfers were paired to field teams of four, with pro Harry English with team members Dan Mullally, Jackie Drake, Jim Sweeney and Tino Martinez taking the No. 1 spot with a score of 53. Spectators were on hand to watch the action, as well as witness the Window World “Art from the Heart” event. Throughout the afternoon, 13 St. Jude patients hand-painted messages of hope on specially-constructed windows at the 11th hole. The window art will be auctioned off later this year at Window World’s annual national sales meeting, with 100% of the proceeds to benefit the hospital.“This week is an opportunity for many groups, including country stars, PGA TOUR players, the Window World Family and friends of St. Jude to interact with patients and come together in support of the great work the hospital does every day for these children,” said Tammy Whitworth, CEO of Window World.For additional information about the FedEx St. Jude Classic, click here. For more information regarding Window World Cares, visit www.WindowWorldCares.com.
GLAAD, the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, has announced the nominees for its 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, and Wells Fargo.The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to accelerate acceptance of the LGBT community.Among the nominees: Academy Award nominees Carol and The Danish Girl; Golden Globe nominee Grandma; Film Independent Spirit Award nominees Appropriate Behavior and Tangerine; FOX’s hit drama Empire and Netflix’s Sense8, Master of None, Orange Is the New Black, and Grace and Frankie; Amazon’s Transparent; HBO’s Bessie; ABC’s 20/20 for its groundbreaking Diane Sawyer interview with Caitlyn Jenner; E!‘s I Am Cait, TLC’s I Am Jazz, both reality programs headlined by transgender people; CBS’ The Bold and The Beautiful; The New York Times for its “Transgender Today” series; ESPN’s SportsCenter; Essence Magazine; and Troye Sivan for his debut album Blue Neighbourhood.Spanish-language nominees include Ricky Martin for his new album A quien quiera escuchar. Also nominated was Telemundo morning show Un Nuevo Día, which received nominations for its interviews with Patricia Velásquez, the supermodel and actress who came out this year, and with transgender advocate Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen and his supportive mom, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Univision’s Al Punto was nominated for its story about transgender people in the military; and Univision.com for its article profiling couples instrumental to achieving marriage equality nationwide. CNN en Español earned six nominations for its coverage of LGBT issues. This year, GLAAD added Local Television Interview to its Spanish-language categories to recognize the increasing coverage of LGBT stories by local affiliates across the country.“For nearly three decades, the GLAAD Media Awards have propelled inclusion in media and driven LGBT acceptance forward,” said GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis. “This year’s nominees have raised the bar for creating thoughtful and diverse LGBT images and storylines, deepening audiences’ understanding of LGBT people and accelerating acceptance across the world.”For the first time in nearly a decade, the GLAAD Media Awards will be televised exclusively on Logo in a one-hour special premiering in April 2016.“Logo is honored and proud to partner with GLAAD to celebrate the people and media who best represent the LGBT community,” said Chris McCarthy, General Manager of VH1 and Logo Networks.GLAAD announced 101 nominees in 20 English-language categories and 46 Spanish-language nominees in 11 categories. In the English-language categories, cable networks earned 27 nominations, broadcast networks garnered 18 nominations. Streaming services received seven nominations (compared to three last year). Netflix picked up five nominations, including its third for Orange Is the New Black. Other Netflix nominees include first-time nominations for Sense8, Grace and Frankie, Master of None, and Tig. Amazon Instant Video received its second nomination for Transparent and a Special Recognition nod for This is Me, the Emmy-nominated short films created by Rhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker.For a complete list of the nominees please visit: www.glaad.org/mediaawards/nominees.The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in Los Angeles on April 2, 2016 at The Beverly Hilton, and in New York on May 14 at the Waldorf Astoria New York. Special Honorees for each city will be announced in coming weeks. The 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards nominees were published, released, or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2015.
More artists have been announced for next week’s WE Day California.Announced today, Paula Abdul, Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter, Laverne Cox, Evan Goldberg, Jessie J, Xzibit and more will be joining Alessia Cara, Lily Collins, Bryan Cranston, Josh Gad, Tyrese Gibson, Selena Gomez, Alicia Keys, DJ Khaled, Demi Lovato, Miss Piggy along with other Muppets, Lilly Singh and other previously announced presenters, speakers and performers for WE Day California on April 27, 2017 at The “Fabulous” Forum.WE Day, an international series of inspiring stadium-sized educational events, supported by National Co-Title Sponsors The Allstate Foundation and Unilever, will bring together 16,000 students, inspirational speakers and world-renowned performers to celebrate the students commitment to taking action on local and global societal issues such as bullying, clean water and poverty.“I am so thrilled to join We Day again. It is always such an honor to appear in solidarity with teens, and to be able to share a stage with so many incredible voices united,” said actress and activist, Rowan Blanchard.The full list of speakers, performers and presenters announced to date is available on the WE Day California event page.More than a one-day event, WE Day is connected to the free, yearlong educational program WE Schools, providing schools and community groups with curriculum, educational resources and action campaigns. The program is designed to enhance a school’s existing social initiatives or spark new ones. WE Schools encourages students to further their curricular learning, develop life skills for success beyond the classroom and become change-makers in their communities.In the 2015/2016 school year, students and teachers from across California participated in remarkable social change. Over 875,000 youth were inspired to take steps to improve the world through WE Schools, raising more than $825,500 in support of local and global organizations.You can’t buy a ticket to WE Day — students earn their way by taking action on one local and one global cause of their choice. WE Day is free of charge to students and teachers, thanks to the generous support of National Co-Title Sponsors The Allstate Foundation and Unilever. The Allstate Foundation believes good starts young, and is committed to empowering America’s youth with the strength, confidence and leadership skills to step us as leaders and achieve success in their lives. Unilever is committed to creating a bright future for tomorrow’s leaders by encouraging everyone to take small steps toward making sustainable living commonplace.WE Day is supported by Co-Chairs Stephanie Argyros, President and CEO, Argyros Group; Stephanie Swedlove and Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman, Participant Media and Chairman of the Skoll Foundation; Mike Cahill, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, City National Bank; and Magic Johnson, President of Basketball Operations, Los Angeles Lakers.Anyone can find their place with WE and commit to making a change in the world. The first step is to take the WE Pledge at WE.org. By taking the pledge, participants are joining the WE Community and making a commitment to live WE every day. For every pledge taken on WE.org, $10 will be donated to local and global programs.
Morley Builders, one of the preeminent leaders in the construction industry, will receive the Builder of the Year Award for their commitment to building holistic communities that incorporate innovative, high-quality residential and affordable housing developments and commercial projects. Habitat For Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) will honor Sugar Ray Leonard, Luc Robitaille, and Morley Builders at its 2017 Los Angeles Builders Ball to be held on Thursday, September 28 at the historic Beverly Hilton.This annual event celebrates outstanding individuals and companies that share Habitat LA’s commitment to revitalizing and transforming the landscape of Los Angeles. In addition to recognizing Habitat LA’s counterparts in the building, real estate and other related industries, this event also raises funds and awareness for the nonprofit’s Building a Greater Los Angeles campaign to help empower low-income families by building strength and stability through homeownership.The 2017 Los Angeles Builders Ball is made possible by the generous support of sponsors including: City National Bank, Edison International, EY, Hollywood Sierra Kitchens, La Cienega Design Quarter, Los Angeles Magazine, the Lelia Fund, Proskauer, Southern California Gas Company, Zurich and many more.The evening’s honorees will be recognized for their continued dedication to improving Los Angeles. The 2017 honorees are:“Sugar” Ray Leonard, who will receive the Dream Builder Award in recognition of his commitment to helping those in need both as an individual and through the vast efforts of the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation. Luc Robitaille, Los Angeles Kings President, who will receive the Foundation Builder Award in recognition of his significant contribution and leadership in creating intentional change in the Los Angeles community with the Kings Care and Echoes of Hope foundations.Featured at the Los Angeles Builders Ball will be a VIP reception, followed by dinner, a live fund-a-need and special musical performance by Grammy nominated and platinum-selling R&B group, En Vogue.Past honorees include: Magic Johnson, Bernards, Quincy Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Mauricio Umansky, Delta Air Lines, Bank of America and Trammell Crow Company.Habitat LA has built, renovated or repaired nearly 800 homes locally, helping to transform the lives of more than 4,000 Angelenos. By 2020, Habitat LA has a goal to invest $100 million into revitalizing neighborhoods and increasing access to affordable homeownership and home repair opportunities. This investment will benefit the local economy by building strong and stable homes in partnership with families, individuals, volunteers, municipalities and donors, which will bring strength and stability to local communities throughout greater Los Angeles.2017 Los Angeles Builders Ball Committee: Co-Chair, Raul Salinas, AlvaradoSmith Co-Chair, Maria Salinas, ProAmerica Bank Michele Blay, Sedgwick LLP Connie Calderon, AlvaradoSmith Linda Evans, Xerox Corporation Terri Haack, Terranea Resort Lisa Collins-Nash, Waste Management Brad Cox, Trammell Crow Company Lalo Diaz Travers, Cresa Michael Flad, City of South Gate Carl Jordan, U.S. Bank John Manganiello, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Michelle Meghrouni, Southern California Gas Company Jesse Nunez, Los Angeles Dodgers Araceli Villegas, Ringstar SportsFind out more here.
After twenty years of sold out Christmas tours and five celebrated holiday albums within as many years, saxophonist Dave Koz has done his share – and then some – to help to make the season bright.Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary ChristmasThis year he has reassembled his original holiday lineup – pianist David Benoit, trumpeter Rick Braun and acoustic guitarist Peter White – for the making of Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas, an album that features brand new recordings of classic Christmas songs.The September 29, 2017, release of Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas on Concord Records sets the stage for Koz and this same lineup to go back on the road in late November for the 2017 holiday season.“If you had asked me twenty years ago, I would never in a million years believed that we’d be doing Christmas tours two decades later,” says Koz. “But here we are, still doing it, and it’s going as strong as ever! So with twenty years under our belts, it seemed like a great reason to celebrate, and that’s why we decided to include the original cast of our Christmas tour. It’s our chance to go back to the very beginning and celebrate the relationships that this whole journey was built on.”Additionally, in the spirit of coming together and giving to those in need, Dave Koz has teamed up with The Salvation Army to help hurricane survivors within the specific LGBTQ communities by donating proceeds from the aforementioned. The Salvation Army’s mission is to serve people in need without discrimination and will use the gift to provide practical emergency relief and long-term recovery to hurricane survivors in partnership with and by referral from LGBTQ advocacy and service organizations in the disaster-affected areas.“The survivors of these tragic hurricanes and those within the LGBTQ community, will be suffering for months perhaps years later and I hope that my contribution will help them to rebuild some part of their lives,” said Dave Koz.“We’re very grateful that Dave Koz will support survivors of the recent hurricanes through The Salvation Army. We want to thank him for his kindness and his generosity to people who will need our help to rebuild and restart their lives. Millions of people will be affected by the hurricanes and we’ll be there to serve all who come to us with need. The Salvation Army is in communities all over the affected areas helping people for the long term and his gift helps us do that,” said Chaz Watson Territorial Executive Director of Development for Salvation Army.In addition to the brilliant instrumental synergy of Koz, Benoit, Braun and White, Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas also includes a stellar lineup of guest vocalists: Selina Albright, Javier Colon, Kenny Lattimore, Gabriel Orengo and Jeffrey Osborne. In addition, several of the tracks are enhanced by the West European Symphony Orchestra. This confluence of instrumental, vocal and orchestral talent creates the peaceful, familial, home-centered vibe that everyone seeks at holiday time.“This is the kind of record that really sets a mood and stays with that mood,” says Koz. “The feeling and the image I get when I listen to it, is that quiet time after dinner when the kids are asleep, the fireplace is crackling, you’re enjoying an eggnog and you’re gazing at the tree with all the lights and trimmings. This music is perfect for that moment. It’s just a very chill, very beautiful collection of songs for that very peaceful time during the season.”The album talks about the world in general, but especially at Christmastime. “People are different at this time of year,” says Koz. “Christmastime brings out the best in everyone and we all look at the world with childlike joy and tend to appreciate things more. We often hear people say – why can’t it be like Christmas all year ’round.”Album highlights include; Orengo brings his expressive vocals to the Jose Feliciano classic “Feliz Navidad.” Koz calls the arrangement “a completely novel way of interpreting the song. Gabriel does this sort of Bruno Mars type of vocal delivery that’s so expressive and so in the moment.” Selina Albright’s heartfelt vocals bring a retro sensibility to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” but at the same time, “she has all the dexterity of a modern pop singer,” says Koz. “She takes it to another level, but never overdoes it. Her version sounds so true to what the song is all about.” “O Tannenbaum,” one of Koz’s all-time favorites, creates an opportunity for plenty of interplay between himself and his three bandmates. “At the end of the track, there’s a musical conversation that came about organically.”Indeed, home for Koz and his bandmates is any place where they feel a positive connection. It may be in your town, or even in your living room. “Oftentimes,” he says, “because we’ve been going back to some of the same venues over the course of twenty years for the Christmas tour, these places feel like our home – even if it’s just for two hours in one night in December. Likewise, the songs on Dave Koz and Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas are all very important to those of us who recorded them. We’ve poured a lot of love and care into each song, and hope fans are filled with warmth, kindness and Christmas Spirit.”Dave Koz’s Christmas store features exclusive items to celebrate the 20th Anniversary Christmas album, including signed CDs, socks and a 7″ picture vinyl where fans can get a personal Happy Holidays intro from Dave. More here.
The Elders warned today that new nuclear doctrines and defence rhetoric from the United States and Russia risk a dangerous escalation of tensions that threaten the foundations of global multilateral security infrastructure. They expressed their concern at the review of nuclear posture recently announced by the United States that raised the prospect of “low-yield” nuclear weapons and a possible nuclear strike in response to a non-nuclear threat. The Elders also voiced their alarm at the claims in President Vladimir Putin’s state of the union address that Russia has developed a new array of nuclear weapons delivery systems designed to avoid detection. More fundamentally, The Elders warned that provocative statements from the two sides weakened existing nuclear non-proliferation agreements, and the prospects for their renewal – and that this sends a dangerous signal to other nuclear powers and those with aspirations to secure nuclear weapons for themselves. Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and former United Nations Secretary-General, said: ”The United States and Russia have a particular responsibility as the world’s largest nuclear powers to work together to maintain and strengthen the arms control agreements that have obtained from before the end of the Cold War. Any political or strategic shifts that risk lowering the threshold for nuclear war are dangerously short-sighted, especially in the current climate of geopolitical tension.” Martti Ahtisaari, Elder, Nobel Peace laureate and former President of Finland, added: “The optimism many of us felt about the prospects for significant multilateral nuclear disarmament after the end of the Cold War has sadly faded in today’s era of mistrust and rivalry between the two main nuclear superpowers. But the need for responsible action to sustain and strengthen disarmament and arms control processes is greater than ever. I urge the leaders of Russia and the United States to work together in the common interests of peace and humanity.”