New Delhi: Diversified ITC expects its stationery business to get back to double digit growth from December after dropping to single digit in the last six months due to economic slowdown and floods affecting sales, according to a senior company official.The company, which sells stationery primarily through its Rs 1,500-crore Classmate brand, is focussing on innovation of new products to push sales and tide over the current slowdown and overcome challenges during the off-season period from July to October. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”The segment is not insulated from economic slowdown. There is primarily downtrading and postponement of purchases. In the last six months, in the context of the economy, we have grown in high single digit. It is not in double digits anymore,” ITC Ltd Chief Executive, Education and Stationary Products Business Division, Shailendra Tyagi told PTI.Usually, he said, “When school sessions starts, students buy in bulks. What we are seeing is postponement in such purchases now”. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostAlso, when slowdown happens what gets hit is the rough notebooks which are used for tuitions or and other rough work, he said.Tyagi said due to floods in many parts of the country, which had forced closure of schools, sales were impacted as well but once the situation gets normal and schools reopen, sales will pick up.Expressing optimism of getting back to double digit growth, he said, “In the last six months, growth had come down for various reasons but by Decmber we should go back to double digits. The season for stationery starts from December (with the beginning of school sessions in different states). We are anticipating we should be able to grow back to double digits”. He said ITC is also focusing on product innovations to drive the growth.”When the industry is growing, you grow anyway. If we have accelerate further we have to take the route of product innovation so that what we bring to the table is differentiated,” Tyagi said.Recently, the company had launched its Classmate Pulse 3D Notebook, which provides “an immersive experience” through a 3-dimensional cover, enabled through a lenticular board.It had also introduced Classmate Pulse interchangeable notebooks, offering students the option to repeatedly change covers of the notebook and have a different cover whenever desired.The company had also brought the Classmate Pulse Selfie notebooks, allowing personalisation of notebooks with a selfie on the cover.
Jaipur: Former Union Minister Kalraj Mishra will take oath as Rajasthan governor on Monday. Mishra will reach Jaipur by a state aeroplane on Sunday evening and will stay at the Raj Bhawan’s guest house, an official statement said. He will take oath as state governor on Monday at 1.10 pm, it said. Mishra, who was recently appointed as Himachal Pradesh governor, has been shifted to Rajasthan. Seventy-eight-year-old Mishra will succeed former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who recently completed his five-year tenure as the Rajasthan governor.
OTTAWA – A federal proposal that would allow prosecutors to suspend criminal charges against companies in certain cases of corporate wrongdoing has been quietly included in the Trudeau government’s 582-page budget legislation.In fact, its inclusion was so discreet, even one Liberal MP studying the legislation was caught by surprise.The government intends to move forward with an amendment to the Criminal Code to create an optional tool for prosecutors that’s sometimes referred to as a “deferred prosecution agreement.”Such agreements are designed to encourage more companies to come forward to self-report corporate crimes and to identify individuals for prosecution. If it lives up to its end of the bargain, the company as a whole would avoid facing serious criminal charges, which could include bribery, corruption and insider trading.The change, however, has raised concerns among lawmakers, including Liberals, on the House of Commons finance committee, which has been analyzing the broader budget bill.A few members of the all-party committee said they were first made aware of the change only after it was brought to their attention during the testimony of a senior Justice Department official late last Tuesday night.The explanation by Ann Sheppard, a senior counsel in the criminal law policy section, prompted many questions from members who recommended the provision on the deferred prosecution agreement be removed from the legislation because it was such a significant change that they thought it warranted more thorough study.Some also called for the provision to be studied by the House of Commons justice committee, which they argued has more expertise when it comes to changes to the Criminal Code.Liberal MP Greg Fergus told the committee at last Tuesday’s hearing that he was concerned the change appeared to be designed to give those implicated in white-collar crimes “a little slap on the wrist.”“I do have some serious questions about this,” said Fergus, who said while he had read through most of the large budget bill before the committee hearing, he hadn’t seen the deferred prosecution provision.“It seems we’re letting those with the means have an easier time of it than those who don’t have the means.”In her explanation, Sheppard described the regime as a new tool that would give prosecutors discretionary power to seek an agreement with a company accused of economic crimes when it’s in the public interest. The charges against the firm would be stayed pending the successful completion of the agreement, she said.The legislation lists 31 qualifying offences, including bribery of a foreign public official, municipal corruption, fraud, theft, forgery and insider trading. The government calls the proposed system the “remediation agreement regime.”An agreement would still compel a company to co-operate by, among other things, admitting responsibility and paying monetary penalties.However, by avoiding criminal prosecution, the company would still be eligible to compete for sometimes-lucrative public contracts in Canada and abroad.Last fall, Ottawa held public consultations to explore whether to introduce such a regime.The idea was also mentioned in Ottawa’s February budget, which said the government intended to introduce legislation for deferred prosecution agreements in the near future as another way “to hold corporate offenders to account.”But the change is considered so significant that some finance committee members, including NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault, urged the government to take more time to debate the change separately. The Liberals, he said, have refused to split the bill.Dusseault said in an interview that he sees potential positive and negative consequences from the change, but added it’s hard to tell when the committee was only given 15 minutes to debate the change at around 9:45 p.m. last Tuesday night.Making an amendment to the Criminal Code requires a lot of careful attention and finance committee isn’t the best place to do it, he said.“Certainly, I think it was made to be made quietly,” said Dusseault, who added that governments sometimes tuck contentious changes like this one into large budget implementation bills.During last week’s hearing, Conservative MP Dan Albas also called for the change to be examined separately from the budget legislation or to be studied by the justice committee.“This is a fundamental departure from the way we handle the Criminal Code,” Albas said.David Taylor, a spokesman for Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, said the agreements are a way of holding corporations accountable while protecting “innocent third parties” such as those who stand to lose jobs, pensions or investments in the event of criminal sanction.“They could also result in faster compensation for victims,” Taylor said.“The regime would not apply to individuals who are involved in criminal conduct. A main purpose of the regime is to create an incentive for corporations to come forward and disclose wrongdoing, so that those responsible can be held to account.”Prosecutors, who would decide whether a company is eligible and who would negotiate the terms of an agreement, would be operating at arm’s length from the government, he added.“There would be rigorous judicial oversight. Each remediation agreement between a prosecutor and an organization would have to be approved by a court before it could come into effect.”Daniel Lauzon, a spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau, insisted in an email that every line of the legislation refers to the budget measures. He argued it should be seen as a whole and, therefore, all measures should be should be studied as part of the overall plan.When it comes to the government’s proposal to amend the Criminal Code, a senior official for one of Canada’s most-powerful business organizations said it’s “quite supportive” of the plan.“It’s intended to make sure, obviously, that the guilty are punished and dealt with severely and that the company reforms its practices and makes sure it doesn’t happen again,” said John Dillon, senior vice-president of policy and corporate counsel for the Business Council of Canada.The key, Dillon added, is for the company to avoid taking a substantial hit, which could, at the end of the day, hurt shareholders and employees.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The jury at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial deliberated without reaching a verdict Monday over whether he drugged and molested a woman more than a decade ago in a case that already has helped demolish the 79-year-old comedian’s good-guy image.A conviction could send Cosby to prison for the rest of his life, completing the stunning late-life downfall of one of the most beloved stars in show business.Jurors got the case around 5:30 p.m. and met for about four hours before knocking off late Monday night, with deliberations set to resume in the morning.The fast-moving case went to the jury of seven men and five women on Day 6 of the trial after closing arguments gave differing portrayals of what happened between Cosby and Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate.Defence attorney Brian McMonagle told the jury that Cosby and Constand were lovers who had enjoyed secret “romantic interludes,” insisting the 2004 encounter was consensual. McMonagle said that while the comedian had been unfaithful to his wife, he didn’t commit a crime.Prosecutors countered by saying “fancy lawyering” can’t save Cosby from his own words — namely, his admission about groping Constand after giving her pills he knew could put her to sleep.“Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic. It’s criminal,” District Attorney Kevin Steele said.Before asking to go back to their hotel Monday night, jurors wanted to see a portion of Cosby’s decade-old testimony from a civil suit filed against him by Constand.They told the judge they wanted the “full context” of Cosby’s testimony about the pills he gave to Constand, which he had described to her as “friends.”“I have three friends for you to make you relax,” Cosby said he told Constand, according to a deposition transcript reread to the jury Monday night.After the prosecution took five days to outline its side, the defence case consisted of just one witness, a detective, and six minutes of testimony earlier in the day. Cosby did not take the stand, ending days of suspense over whether the jury would hear directly from him.Legal experts said testifying would have been a risky move that could have opened the TV star to withering cross-examination about some of the 60 or so other women who have accused him of drugging or molesting them.He is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each one punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.The black comedian once known as America’s Dad for his portrayal of kindly Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” suggested recently that race could have played a role in the case against him. The jury included two black members.McMonagle, in his closing argument, tried to sow doubt about Constand’s story, saying it had evolved during her interviews with police. He also pointed out that Constand telephoned Cosby dozens of times after the alleged assault. Constand told the jury she was merely returning his calls about the women’s basketball squad at Temple University, where she was director of team operations and he was a member of the board of trustees.“This isn’t talking to a trustee. This is talking to a lover,” McMonagle said of one call that lasted 49 minutes. “Why are we running from the truth of this case — this relationship? Why?”Cosby’s wife of 53 years, Camille, was in the courtroom for the first time in the trial. She was stoic during the defence argument but left when it was the prosecution’s turn. She sat in the front row, across the aisle from Constand, who didn’t react to McMonagle’s two-hour closing but smiled at the end of it.Constand, 44, testified last week that Cosby gave her three blue pills and then penetrated her with his fingers against her will as she lay paralyzed and half-conscious. She denied they had a romantic relationship and said she had rebuffed previous advances from him.She sued Cosby after prosecutors in 2005 declined to press charges. Cosby testified over a decade ago as part of that lawsuit, eventually settling with her for an undisclosed sum. His deposition was sealed for years until a judge released parts in 2015 at the request of The Associated Press, prompting a new set of prosecutors to take a fresh look at the case and charge him.McMonagle told the jury that Cosby’s freedom is at stake now, not just his finances. “This is not a civil case about money, money, money. We’re talking about all the man’s tomorrows,” he said.In the prosecution’s closing argument, Steele said that Cosby’s lurid statements from 2005 helped corroborate Constand’s allegations. Steele also reminded jurors about a telephone conversation in which Cosby apologized to Constand’s mother and described himself as a “sick man.”“This is where all the fancy lawyering can’t get you around your own words,” Steele said.In his 2005 deposition, Cosby said he obtained several prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s and offered the now-banned sedatives to women he wanted to have sex with.He also said he gave Constand three half-tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl before the “petting” began. Prosecutors have suggested he drugged her with something stronger — perhaps quaaludes.The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done.___For more on Cosby, including trial updates, historical photos, videos and an audio series exploring the case, visit: http://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial
OTTAWA – Starting Aug. 31, transgender Canadians can indicate on their passports that they don’t identify as either male or female.It’s the latest step in the federal government’s plan to eventually allow individuals to identify their sex as ‘x’ — that is, unspecified — on passports and other government-issued documents that typically allow people to tick only “m” or “f.”Until documents with an ‘x’ option can be printed, the government will allow people starting next Thursday to add an observation to their passports, stating that their gender should be identified as ‘x.’Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says his department will be the first to introduce the interim measure, part of a government-wide initiative to make all government-issued documents gender neutral.The initiative stems from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to better reflect the gender diversity of Canadians.Hussen says all Canadians should be free to “express their gender as they choose.”“By introducing the ‘x’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression,” he said in a statement Thursday.
The public conversation on sexual harassment and assault sparked by the allegations against Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein and the #metoo hashtag that saw Canadians of all walks of life share stories of misconduct has been selected as Canada’s News Story of the Year for 2017.The Canadian Press annual survey of news editors and reporters from across the country saw 23 out of 80 votes cast for sexual harassment as the most compelling story of the year, with the ongoing fentanyl crisis coming in second with 18 votes.“No other story this year seems to permeate everyday life for men and women across the social spectrum,” said Joshua Freeman, web journalist for the Toronto TV station CP24.“It cuts to the way that men and women interact with one another on a daily basis and raises questions about how far we think we’ve come versus where we actually are when it comes to sexism, professionalism, and our ability to navigate our own sexual impulses with maturity,” he said.Darren Krause, managing editor of Metro Calgary, said the issue could be “the news story of the decade.”“While it started in 2017, I think it will be one of the most reported issues in 2018,” he wrote.The allegations that emerged this fall against Weinstein, an Oscar-winning film producer, opened a floodgate of similar accusations that spread to Canada and affected virtually every industry, from the arts and sports to politics and law enforcement.Several powerful men, including Gilbert Rozon, the founder of the Just For Laughs comedy festival and Sportsnet baseball analyst Gregg Zaun, were fired or stepped down from their positions amid allegations of sexual of sexual misconduct, many of them dating back years.Rozon did not comment on the allegations, while Zaun, who lost his job after multiple female Sportsnet employees complained about his inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, said he “naively” believed his language was not offensive.As the list of allegations grew, many institutions raced to tackle sexual harassment in their ranks.The union for Canada’s TV and film performers said it would expedite its discipline processes for sexual harassment and assault complaints, while the federal government announced it was embarking on a regulatory overhaul to crack down on harassment in federal workplaces.The year also saw police forces across the country, including the RCMP, review how they handle sexual assault complaints after it was revealed that many were dismissed as unfounded. As a result, several forces reopened cases that had previously been written off.“Whether it’s through the #metoo movement here as well as in the U.S., the tidal wave that we’ve seen has been second to none in terms of women being able to come forward, women using their voices,” said Paulette Senior, president and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.The swell of stories shared by famous and non-famous women alike has helped show the pervasiveness of a problem that has always been difficult to quantify due to low reporting rates, Senior said.That, in turn, has brought a “sea change” in the conversation around sexual harassment and assault, with complainants more likely to be believed now than they would have been even a few months ago, she said.The task for 2018 will be to capitalize on that momentum to bring about systemic change, she said.“We can’t assume that because the conversation is happening, that that means that change is going to happen,” she said. “So it’s about acting now, from conversation to actually making decisions and enacting those decisions.”Sandra Cohen-Rose, president of the National Council of Women of Canada, said stamping out sexual harassment and assault will mean tackling economic imbalances and other mechanisms that leave women vulnerable to abuses of power.“Everybody’s looking for a magic bullet that works and there just isn’t (one),” she said.
OTTAWA – It is too early to begin claiming the pendulum is in danger of swinging too far the other way when it comes to concerns over sexual misconduct on Parliament Hill, as young political staffers remain especially vulnerable to abuse, says Labour Minister Patty Hajdu.“We’re not there yet,” Hajdu said in an interview.“I would say that we would be there when I would talk to young staffers and they wouldn’t have any experience of harassment or sexual violence or when staffers would tell me that no, there is no one they are uncomfortable getting into an elevator alone with,” she said.“These are the kinds of stories that I am hearing from young staffers — that there is a whisper network on the Hill,” she said. “They do know which MPs to avoid and which MPs, when they’ve had too much to drink, are kind of ‘gropy’ and which are not.”She also said that if male politicians, who still have most of the power, are beginning to question where the limits are, it’s a good thing.The Canadian Press surveyed current female MPs from all political parties last month to find out the extent to which they had been the targets of sexual harassment, assault or misconduct of all kinds, including during their time in elected office.More than half of respondents to the voluntary, anonymous survey — 58 per cent — reported having personally experienced one or more forms of sexual misconduct during their time in politics, but the results also suggested the problem is much bigger.Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they had either witnessed, or been told about sexual misconduct targeting another woman, including a staffer, page, intern, House of Commons employee or MP.Thirty-eight of the 89 female MPs participated in the survey.Hajdu said she did not want to minimize the experiences of any of her colleagues, but noted they have a lot more power when it comes to standing up for themselves than the people who work in their Parliament Hill, constituency and ministerial offices.The Liberal cabinet minister said these staffers are often young, inexperienced and in jobs considered precarious at the best of times.The fact that their employer, who might be the perpetrator, is an MP or senator makes things even worse.She said staffers are worried about getting a reputation for causing problems and they also often have a sense of party loyalty that can make it even harder for them to do something about their situation.“Many staffers talk to me about their reluctance, even when they experiencing harassment, to go forward with a complaint about a member of Parliament that is on their team, so to speak,” Hajdu said in an interview.“So there’s another layer in politics that prevents people from coming forward,” she said.The Liberal government introduced legislation last November to tighten harassment regulations in federal workplaces, which would also apply to parliamentarians and the people who work in their offices.The changes would merge separate labour standards for sexual harassment and violence and subject them to the same scrutiny and dispute resolution process. They would also allow anyone unhappy with the process to complain to the federal labour minister, who could investigate.Hajdu said the proposed legislation, known as Bill C-65, would give more power to staffers, including by making sure they have access to a neutral third party to examine their complaints, so that they are not forced to rely upon the MP who employs them.“If the person isn’t comfortable going forward to their MP, there would be a third-party designate available,” she said.Jane Hilderman, the executive director of Samara Canada, which has surveyed MPs as part of its work on civic engagement, said it would be challenging to determine the scope of the problem among staff.“Staff have such a critical role in our democratic system, but are so behind-the-scenes that we end up taking them as part of the furniture and not actually asking them about their direct experience that they have,” she said, adding that the lack of a central body for staff would make it hard to do so.— With files from Joan Bryden— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
WAGMATCOOK, N.S. – Nova Scotia has become the first province in Canada to open a superior court on a reserve that will incorporate Indigenous restorative justice traditions and customs.“We can’t just talk about reconciliation. We have to act on it,” Mi’kmaq Grand Keptin Andrew Denny said Thursday during an opening ceremony at Wagmatcook First Nation in Cape Breton. “That’s why this court is here today.”Nova Scotia Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy called the court “groundbreaking.”“We believe that this is the first time in the history of this country that a superior court has sat in this context,” he told the crowd of Indigenous chiefs, judges, politicians and community members. “Nobody else has done this. No other province in Canada.”The court’s opening, which fell on National Indigenous Peoples Day, is significant in a province with a dark history of failing Indigenous Peoples.“Nova Scotia is the province that failed Donald Marshall Jr.,” Kennedy said. “Our justice system, this justice system, we did that great wrong. But it is Donald Marshall’s legacy that inspires us to do better.”Marshall was a Mi’kmaq man who was wrongly convicted of murder. He served 11 years in prison.“A justice system steeped in racism let Donald Marshall Jr. down at every stage,” Nova Scotia Chief Justice Michael MacDonald said.“We cannot, judges, ever forget that. Those who work in our justice system can never forget that.”The Nova Scotia Judiciary said the court in Cape Breton will house a provincial court and the family division of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.The creation of the court is in line with a 1989 Marshall Inquiry recommendation calling for more provincial court sittings on Nova Scotia reserves, as well as calls to action outlined in the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report.“This is truly an historic day for the Mi’kmaq and the province of Nova Scotia,” Wagmatcook First Nation Chief Norman Bernard said.“It’s an example of reconciliation with Indigenous people through the courts and will reflect Mi’kmaq values.”The Wagmatcook courthouse inside the Wagmatcook Cultural and Heritage Centre offers programs including a Gladue court, which refers to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that requires courts to take Aboriginal circumstances into account when handing down a sentence.It also offers a healing and wellness court, dedicated to Indigenous offenders who plead guilty or accept responsibility for their actions and are at a high risk to reoffend.“This court program will look at the underlying factors that contribute to the person coming into conflict with the law,” the judiciary said on its website.“The sentencing process is delayed approximately 12 to 24 months to allow time for the offender to proceed through this healing plan.”Judge Laurie Halfpenny-MacQuarrie, the presiding judge at the new court, said that in 2015 she became fed up with issuing non-appearance arrest warrants for people from the Wagmatcook area who were forced to travel to Port Hawkesbury for proceedings — an hour’s drive away.She said she met with local Aboriginal chiefs in April 2016 to discuss solutions for the issue, and the idea for the Wagmatcook First Nation courthouse was born.“We discussed what that would look like, and it would be a court that’s philosophy would be Indigenous law, and applying that here at a local level,” Halfpenny-MacQuarrie said in an interview before the ceremony Thursday.Halfpenny-MacQuarrie said they wanted to ensure the court would be a full-service legal centre in the community, with spaces for legal aid, Crown attorneys, interview rooms and holding cells, as well as housing the Indigenous legal programs.The court will sit once a week on Wednesdays.
MONTREAL – The mother of a Quebec boy who was mauled by a pit bull-type dog last week says the rules regarding dangerous dogs need to be better applied and enforced.“If it’s either by law or by forbidding that breed of dog, somebody needs to do something,” Cleothilde Lefebvre-Bergeron said Monday. “But no amount of laws will (matter) if no one is looking for people who are infringing the laws, it’s pointless.”She was on her way home from the park with her son Hugo Giroux, 2, when a pit bull bolted toward him, unmuzzled and with no owner in sight in Gatineau’s Aylmer district.“He went straight to the stroller, it happened so crazy fast,” Lefebvre-Bergeron said. “I remember my son saying in French ‘a dog!’ and he bit once and I pulled him away and he went at it again, so I pulled (the dog) down and put all my weight on it.”The dog got away from Lefebvre-Bergeron and Gatineau police later found the animal. They are investigating whether charges should be laid.Lefebvre-Bergeron said the dog bit her son in the face, injuring his upper lip and left cheek.She said she also learned from police the dog was staying with the owner’s parents.“It got away, I have no clue how,” she said. “But there was no one to be seen with the dog, he was completely free in the street.”The attack comes as Quebec recently adopted tough new rules for dangerous dogs, but left out legislation targeting specific breeds.Following Montreal’s new administration that also reversed a controversial pit bull ban, the province’s public security minister said there wasn’t enough scientific consensus to warrant targeting specific breeds.The initial bill was tabled in 2017 following a handful of dog attacks, including the mauling death of a Montreal woman in her own backyard and an attack against a girl just south of the city.But the province decided that breed-specific rules would be problematic from an identification standpoint, noting that the city of Ottawa doesn’t apply a provincial pit bull ban in Ontario because they say it’s difficult to enforce.The province did move ahead and pass a bill targeting potentially dangerous dogs. Lefebvre-Bergeron noted that Gatineau has several laws about dangerous dogs on the books, but she has questions about enforcement.The dog is currently residing with the SPCA in Gatineau area and Le Droit newspaper reports the dog will be evaluated this week to see how dangerous it is.In the meantime, she said Hugo is recovering.“My son is doing better, he’s really a trooper,” she said. “He started arguing with his brother again, so that’s a good sign.”The boy is being followed by doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to ensure the wounds heal properly, but there will a scar on his upper lip.His mother’s quick actions saved him as did Hugo himself — his parents suspect he used his left arm to protect himself.“He could have lost an eye, he could have died,” his mother said. “He was strapped in, there was not much he could do.”
OTTAWA — New research shows Export Development Canada provides 12 times as much financial backing to oil and gas companies as it did to clean technology companies over the last five years.The findings by lobby group Oil Change International show that the federal government’s export financing agency provided $62 billion to oil and gas companies between 2012 and 2017, compared to the $5 billion offered to the clean tech sector.Patrick Derochie, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence, says Canada cannot claim to be a climate leader when it is funnelling billions of dollars to keep spewing carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.The United Nations World Meteorological Association says the amount of carbon and other climate-changing gases trapped in the earth’s atmosphere hit new records in 2017.The federal Liberals repeatedly say clean technology is a $26-trillion opportunity that Canada is taking advantage of but environment groups believe Canada is working against itself by spending more money to encourage pumping oil out of the ground.The report comes the day after Ottawa extended new tax credits to companies who invest in new equipment and machinery, including clean tech equipment, all while admitting that some of that investment will encourage the production of more emissions.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Michele Torre, a Quebec man convicted in 1996 for his role in a Mafia-linked conspiracy, appears to have run out of options to stay in Canada and is scheduled to be deported to his native Italy Friday night, his lawyer said.Stephane Handfield said his client arrived at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport around 5 p.m., and barring a last-minute intervention by the federal public safety minister, he will be on a flight to Europe in a few hours.Canada’s public safety minister has intervened at least four times in Torre’s case to stop his deportation, Handfield said. But he has received no indication Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale will be issuing a stay this time, Handfield said in an interview.Handfield said he emailed Goodale’s office Friday morning but “received no response” from the minister or his aides.Torre, 66, received his permanent residency to Canada in 1967. He was convicted in 1996 in a cocaine-importation conspiracy linked to the Cotroni crime family and served part of a nearly nine-year prison sentence.In 2006, Torre again found himself swept up by police during a massive operation aimed at dismantling Montreal’s powerful Mafia. He spent nearly three years in custody but was ultimately acquitted. Since 2013, federal authorities have sought to remove Torre for “serious criminality and organized criminality.”Torre and his family claim it is unfair to deport him so long after his last conviction, which now dates back 23 years. They argue he should be allowed to stay on humanitarian grounds since he has lived in Canada so long and his wife, children and grandchildren are here.He was on the verge of being deported in 2016 before a ministerial reprieve arrived 90 minutes before his flight. He was then given a two-year temporary residence permit. After that expired, the Canada Border Services Agency scheduled a deportation date, this time for Feb. 28, but Goodale’s office intervened again — on the morning of his scheduled flight — and granted a reprieve.Handfield said that on March 11 the CBSA gave Torre another deportation date, scheduled for March 22.The lawyer decried the plan to have his client accompanied by three CBSA agents on the flight to Italy, which he claims will single him out for interrogation by authorities upon arrival.“When you see someone escorted by three people when he arrives in his country of origin, what do you think?” Handfield said. “We worry about his arrival. What will be the attitude of the Italian customs officials?”A spokesman for Goodale’s office said the minister cannot comment on an individual case.Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
A mother and four of her children were killed in a house fire on a northern Ontario First Nation on Thursday, leaving the remote community struggling to deal with the tragedy.There was no immediate word on what caused the early morning fire on the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.Chief Donny Morris said every member of the community of roughly 1,000 was affected.“We are in utter disbelief,” he said in a statement. “Today, our community mourns this tragic loss.”Sam McKay, a spokesman for the chief and council, said the victims of the fire were a single mother and four of her children – aged six, seven, nine and 12.The woman had another older daughter who was away when the blaze broke out, he said, adding that three of her children were adopted.“Most everybody is in shock right now,” he said in a telephone interview from the community that is also known as Big Trout Lake. “It’s devastating.”RoseAnne Archibald, Ontario Regional Chief of the Chiefs of Ontario, said others must act as the community grieves.“As I continue to reflect on this tragic situation, it is with a sad heart that I realize that this preventable and unnecessary tragedy is affecting yet again another First Nation community,” she said in an statement.“While we mourn now, we will be looking to seek solutions, with all parties to prevent any future unnecessary deaths of First Nations citizens due to fire.”Archibald also said she had been in touch with Morris, who had asked community members not to post pictures of the fire or speculate on its cause on social media.Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents a collection of Indigenous communities in northwestern Ontario, said a team of crisis and support workers will be sent to the community.“Our prayers are with the victims, their families and the entire community during this difficult time,” Fiddler said in a statement.Both federal and provincial politicians offered their condolences.“I offer my support in this time of unbelievable grief,” MP Bob Nault said in a written statement. “In the coming days, I know community members will bring strength and support to each other as they work to overcome this tragedy.”Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued a joint statement with the community’s representative at Queen’s Park, Sol Mamakwa, saying they joined with the people of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug in their grief.“Our thoughts and our hearts are with the surviving family members, their friends, and the community,” they said. “We hope they find solace and strength in community, and feel an outpouring of love from across the province.”
Five stories in the news for Friday, July 12———VOTERS NEED CONVINCING ON CLIMATE: TRUDEAUPrime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Thursday that he has more work to do to sell Canadians on further actions to fight climate change, pointing to new premiers elected on vows to fight his government’s agenda. Trudeau addressed the issue at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, where he took part in a one-on-one conversation in front of union representatives. The prime minister said it’s clear from public-opinion polls that most Canadians are concerned about the environment and want measures to protect it. But that desire isn’t always reflected in their votes, he said, when voters “turn around and elect climate-denying provincial premiers right across the country from the Rockies to the Bay of Fundy.”———FORCES FACING CHALLENGES WITH JUSTICE SYSTEMCanadian military prosecutors and police have dropped several cases and are changing the way they lay charges as they wait for the Supreme Court to decide whether the military-justice system is constitutional. Seven criminal cases in the system have been abandoned and more than 30 others are either in limbo or have seen reduced charges, according to officials. More than half the cases involved sexual-assault allegations. Military police have also started turning to a lesser charge for what one official called “lower-end” sexual assaults to keep cases in the court-martial system and referring more serious cases to civilian authorities. The moves follow a lower court’s bombshell ruling in a sexual-assault case last September that found military tribunals are not equivalent to a trial by jury for serious civilian offences such as murder and sexual assault.———EVIDENCE TO BE RELEASED IN WRONGFUL CONVICTIONA federal Justice Department report that led to the release of a Halifax man wrongfully convicted of murder is expected today. Lawyers for 63-year-old Glen Assoun say the release of hundreds of pages of documents means the public is going to learn information never put before juries and judges. A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge agreed to release the report after a case launched by The Canadian Press, CBC and the Halifax Examiner. Assoun was wrongfully convicted of slitting Brenda Way’s throat on Nov. 12, 1995 — sending to him to a federal prison where he’d suffer beatings, heart attacks and depression for a crime he’s now exonerated of.———TRY AGAIN ON CHATEAU LAURIER, MCKENNA ASKSEnvironment Minister Catherine McKenna wants the owners of the iconic Chateau Laurier by Parliament Hill to come up with another plan for an addition to the historic hotel even after Ottawa’s city council approved the controversial expansion. McKenna is the Liberal MP for Ottawa Centre and the senior minister for the Ottawa area. “We are building for the next 100 years and I believe there is still time for common sense to prevail and for the community and the private sector owner to come together to achieve an outcome in which everyone can take pride,” she said in a statement after a second city council vote in two days supported the expansion plan. The national historic site sits across the Rideau Canal from Parliament Hill and is just outside McKenna’s riding.———THE NEW INVASION OF QUEBEC: WILD TURKEYSThey arrived a few years ago — three-foot tall, bare-headed visitors that would occasionally stare intently at residents from their balconies and yards. The wild turkeys frankly unnerved some citizens of St-Sauveur, a picturesque town in the Laurentians region north of Montreal, says Jean Beaulieu, the town’s general manager. “They were in people’s yards, on their cars, and there were people who were scared to leave their homes because they can be aggressive, especially when they have their young,” Beaulieu said in a phone interview. Once hunted near extinction, wild turkeys are an increasingly common sight in southern Quebec, thanks to warmer winters and a successful conservation and relocation program that has brought their numbers back from the brink.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Advance polls for July 15 election in the riding of Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park. The vote for this riding was not held during the April 23 provincial election because of the death of Green candidate Josh Underhay just days before the election. Other advance polls on July 6 and 8.— CP, CBC and the Halifax Examiner are expected to receive preliminary assessment that led to Glen Assoun’s bail and exoneration in murder of Brenda Way after successfully arguing for release of records.— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi meet with workers at the Trans Mountain Edmonton Terminal.— Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and the Manitoba Metis Federation highlight a first-of-its-kind initiative for the Métis Nation.— The federal minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna, will announce support for climate action by the City of Winnipeg. ———The Canadian Press
In celebration of the third annual Giving Tuesday, a movement to create a national day of giving during the holiday season, The Salvation Army is encouraging supporters not only to find a way to give back but also to share their motivations for giving with #RedKettleReason.“Giving Tuesday is about helping people realize the good that we can all do when we share our time, our talents or our treasures to help others,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ron Busroe, community relations and development secretary for The Salvation Army. “We’re inviting people to share their #RedKettleReasons and take a moment to think about the countless reasons there are to give and the impact contributions have on those less fortunate.”During the holidays, nearly 4.2 million people rely on The Salvation Army to provide their families with a warm meal or toys for children on Christmas Day. The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program also provides more than 1 million children with toys and necessary items. In addition to the help provided during the holiday season, donations to the Red Kettles help provide more than 10 million nights of shelter; roughly 58 million meals; and programming such as substance abuse recovery, after-school programs, and emergency shelter for children and families in need year-round. In all, The Salvation Army is able to help nearly 30 million people each year, thanks in large part to people’s generous donations. “The services we provide and the people we help represent millions of reasons to give. That’s what we want people to think about this Giving Tuesday,” Busroe added.For part of its own Giving Tuesday celebrations, The Salvation Army will appear on a variety of national television programs to encourage people to donate to the Red Kettle Campaign and share their #RedKettleReasons. The #RedKettleReasons shared on Giving Tuesday and throughout the season can be seen on RedKettleReason.org, a new website featuring a mosaic of #RedKettleReason photos, videos, tweets and posts collected from the web as well as an interactive map to illustrate the #RedKettleReason conversations happening around the country.So far, diverse luminaries like the Dallas Cowboy’s Jason Witten and recording artist Shawn Mendes have contributed #RedKettleReasons to the 40,000 and growing gallery of inspirational reasons for giving.In support of Giving Tuesday, Papa John’s is offering a Red Kettle Cookie, a unique holiday twist to its popular treat, the Chocolate Chip Cookie. A portion of the proceeds from the cookie will be used to support The Salvation Army’s funding. In addition, Papa John’s will offer 25 percent off every order for those who donate to The Salvation Army through RedKettleReason.org and shares a reason of their own with their following. John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s, will share his own #RedKettleReason for supporting The Salvation Army on Thanksgiving and will challenge his followers to do the same.To give back on this impactful day, make a donation to the Red Kettle campaign at one of the more than 25,000 Red Kettles set up at storefronts nationwide, online at RedKettleReason.org or through the Army’s text-to-give program; by texting the word “KETTLE” to 80888, donors can send $10 to the Red Kettle Campaign.Those looking to donate their time have a number of opportunities from ringing a bell to sorting toys and serving food. Information about these opportunities is available at SalvationArmyUSA.org or at local Salvation Army community centers.From its humble beginnings as a program started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. It provides toys for kids, coats for the homeless, food for the hungry, and countless social service programs year-round. More than 25,000 Salvation Army volunteers throughout the country ring bells and solicit donations to the Red Kettles.
“Albertsons has taken a significant step forward in improving the lives of farmed animals,” said Nathan Runkle, president of MFA. “Albertsons’ cage-free egg commitment will reduce the suffering of countless hens and hopefully inspire other food companies to do the same.“It’s high time the rest of the food industry, including Kroger and SUPERVALU, acknowledged that cramming birds into cages barely larger than their bodies is cruel and has no place in a civilized society. With Albertsons’ announcement, it’s never been clearer that the days are numbered for egg factory farmers who pack birds in cages so small they can’t walk, spread their wings, or engage in other natural behaviors. Any food company that has not yet adopted a cage-free egg policy will find itself at odds with common decency, ethics, and business trends.”To learn more about MFA and its efforts to help farmed animals, visit MercyForAnimals.org. Following yesterday’s story on LookToTheStars.org featuring letters from Joaquin Phoenix and Bob Barker, Albertsons, the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain, announced its commitment to improving animal welfare in its entire supply chain by switching to 100 cage-free eggs by 2025 for all its stores and affiliate locations, including Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Star Market, and Carrs.The move, which will spare countless hens a life of suffering in tiny wire battery cages, has been applauded by the international animal protection organization Mercy For Animals, which gathered more than 65,000 signatures on its Change.org petition.Among other actions, the group also staged protests at Safeway’s corporate headquarters and in front of Safeway locations, coordinated an online advertising campaign featuring kids asking Safeway to go cage-free, and published open letters by TV legend Bob Barker and Academy Award-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix to Albertsons and Safeway’s CEO.The new cage-free commitment by Albertsons follows similar announcements by grocers Giant, Stop & Shop, Costco, Target, CVS, Trader Joe’s, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.Stuffed into cages so small the birds can’t walk, spread their wings, or engage in other natural behaviors, these intelligent, sensitive animals are subjected to unspeakable cruelty and neglect. Many birds become trapped and painfully mangled in the cage wire or under the feed trays and often suffer and die. Dead hens are left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption. Battery cages are so cruel they’ve been banned by California, Michigan, and the European Union.
Bonnie-Jill Laflin (Sportscaster, TV Personality, Star of “Basketball Wives,” model) joined forces with Napa-based charity Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR) at their annual wine auction on Saturday, July 29th to help raise much-needed funds for animals.Bonnie-Jill Laflin Speaks At WineaPAWloozaCredit/Copyright: Matthew BaumHeld at the Gamble Family Vineyards the event exceeded expectations and raised $1.4 million. Funds raised will help drive JARR’s mission of building a state-of-the-art animal rescue, and sanctuary in the Napa Valley, fund programs and to disaster relief for animals.Laflin emceed the star-studded pet parade led by Mr. Moo, a 200lb pot belly pig, and which also featured an array of adoptable dogs and a once homeless and now glamorous chihuahua called “Honey” adopted by local Kelly Carter of Alpha Omega Winery.The evening included a two-hour grand tasting of the most sought-after wines in the valley, enticing plant-based bites created by Top Chef star, Chef Casey Thompson and a high-energy live auction led by Fritz Hatton, the most foremost wine auctioneer in the US. The prodigious auction lots were all about luxury and opulence and included some of the most unique wines in the country.“Now In its fifth year, the magic of WineaPAWlooza never ceases to amaze me,” said Monica Stevens, Co-Founder, JARR “The culmination of our wine community, spectacular wine, top chefs, animal lovers, staff and volunteers who all come together to support JARR’s mission and better the lives of all animals is truly wonderful.”In attendance were many famous Napa Valley vintners and wine-making notables such as Russell Bevan, Amanda Harlan, Tor Kenward, Julien Fayard, Juan Mercado, Andy Beckstoffer, Shannon Staglin, Will Phelps, Jasmine Hirsch, Larry Fairchild, Mark and Sherri Carter and host of the event, Tom Gamble – all dedicated to the mission of JARR.The most coveted auction lot of the weekend was the “Unique Barrique” a barrel of wine fruit from the 100-point vineyard, Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, made by winemakers extraordinaire, Russell Bevan and Philippe Melka fetched $200,000.The evening concluded with a musical set by Napa Valley-based rock band, Wristrocket.Berkshire Hathaway private jet company, NetJets Inc, was the premier sponsor of the event this year.
Starvox Entertainment Presents Graeme of Thrones The ParodyIn this critically-acclaimed theatrical journey through the Seven Kingdoms, direct from sold out shows in London’s West End, avid ‘Thrones’ fan Graeme just wants to recreate his favourite fantasy saga on stage – aided and abetted by his best friend Paul and the girl he used to fancy at school – Bryony. He doesn’t quite have the same budget as the TV show, or as many cast members, or the performance skill required, but he’s sure George RR Martin would approve – and that’s what matters. But when news reaches them that an influential theatrical producer is in the building, Graeme decides that this could be his big break – as long as nothing goes wrong…Read More Buy TicketsCharming and Funny … Deftly, Daftly reimagined! – The TimesA must for any Game of Thrones fan. – Time Out Original and inventive. – The Times Ticket Prices Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat. 8PMSat. 2PM, 7PM, 10:30PM & Sun. 2PM & 5PM$99.00 | $69.95 | $39.95– See more at: http://www.mirvish.com/shows/graeme-of-thrones-the-parody#sthash.6r9A6KI7.dpuf Graeme Of Thrones The Parody Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Advertisement – See more at: http://www.mirvish.com/shows/graeme-of-thrones-the-parody#sthash.6r9A6KI7.dpuf Advertisement Login/Register With:
By Annette FrancisAPTN National NewsOTTAWA-Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo is calling on re-elected Prime Minister Stephen Harper to immediately move to meet with First Nations leaders and assuage the “fear” and “anger” growing in First Nations communities.“There is a real, I think, fear as well as anger that has to be honoured and respected. That is the reason why real change needs to being to happen in this country now,” said Atleo, in an interview with APTN Tuesday. “Especially with such a fast and rapidly grown youth population.”Atleo says his first step will be to get the prime minister to keep his commitment on education and strengthening the government’s relationship with First Nations.“(Harper) also promised to hold a First Nations-Crown gathering which is something that we’ll look to secure ASAP,” said Atleo. “We really do need to transform the relationship between First Nations and the government and to do so based on our Treaties passed and on our title and rights.”The national leader may face resistance to his agenda from Indian Affairs bureaucrats.A U.S. diplomatic cable from 2009 and recently released by whistle-blower Web site WikiLeaks quotes Indian Affairs officials essentially dismissing the national chief’s agenda.“Nor does INAC expect the election of Shawn Atleo as the new Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations to change the federal aboriginal agenda,” the cable said.The AFN issued a statement accusing Indian affairs of have poor intelligence and analysis.The statement said that Atleo has pushed to have First Nations move out from under the Indian Act, help force the government endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and adopted a national strategy on Treaty implementation “not based on the Indian Act, but based on the original Treaty relationship,” the statement said.Atleo said those sentiments from Indian Affairs won’t deter his commitment to improve the lives for First Nations citizens across this country.“I think officials can say what they choose. I think I’m like any other First Nation across the country,” said Atleo. “I feel strongly about who I am and where I come from and feel strongly about supporting First Nations individuals and First Nations government for a better future.”Atleo says the AFN will continue to education Canadians and political parties about the challenges faced by many First Nations.He says there is a potential for conflict if these challenges aren’t firstname.lastname@example.org
APTN National NewsThe body of a woman from a Saskatchewan First Nation reserve who went looking for love in Nigeria but instead found tragedy has finally been returned home.As APTN National News reporter Delaney Windigo found out, the woman’s death was only the beginning of her heartbroken family’s struggles.