Archive for November 2018

Town officials in Swan River have declared a state of emergency in the town north of Winnipeg, due to an ice jam that is stretching more than a kilometre long.

Mayor Glen McKenzie said the state of emergency was called around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, as ice made its way on to properties in low laying areas in the town.

“There’s about 12 to 15 homes that are directly affected by this flood,” McKenzie said.

Fire crews and volunteers have been working through the night sandbagging, and breaking up ice on the Red River. McKenzie said he has never seen an ice buildup like this in Swan River.

“I’ve been around a number of years, we’ve had issues with flooding before,’ McKenzie said. “This is the first time we’ve been affected by ice in my time.”

Officials said they will be checking throughout the day, to see if water levels have dropped.

Lance Jacobson/Submitted


Heavy equipment is also being used to break up ice. McKenzie said water levels have been inconsistent in the past twelve hours, and there are no sings that levels will drop anytime soon.

RELATED: Fire officials work around the clock sandbagging near Clandeboye, Manitoba

“They go up a little bit, then come back down.”

Town officials will be holding a meeting Sunday to evaluate the current situation, and find relievers for people who have been sandbagging throughout the night.

“People have been on the go for a number of hours, and they’re starting to tire out,” McKenzie said.

In the meantime officials are advising anyone in the area to stay away from the river.

Bombardier continued to face criticism Sunday for a dramatic increase in compensation to its senior executives last year and a public relations expert said the company’s efforts at damage control so far won’t be enough to make the issue go away.


If the aerospace company hopes to quell the negative publicity it has received, it should follow up on the announcement that board chairman Pierre Beaudoin would scale his compensation back to 2015 levels, said Marjorie Wallens of MJW Communications.

“Beaudoin’s pay cut is a step in the right direction, but the rest of the top executives should follow his lead,” she said.

READ MORE: Bombardier CEO asks directors to hike back his pay amid a public outcry

Public outrage has mounted since it was revealed last week that Bombardier provided a nearly 50 per cent increase in compensation to Beaudoin and five executives in 2016 compared to the previous year while it received hundreds of millions of dollars in government subsidies and laid off thousands of employees worldwide.

In 2016, Bombardier(TSX:BBD.B) received a US$1 billion investment from the Quebec government in exchange for a 49.5 per cent stake, and in February, the federal government pledged $372.5 million in repayable loans to the company – a far cry from the US$1 billion it had been asking Ottawa for since 2015.

Compensation for Beaudoin and the Montreal-based manufacturer’s top five executives was US$32.6 million in 2016, up from US$21.9 million the year before.

WATCH: Trudeau defends Bombardier bailout after execs take home millions in raises

The head of Bombardier’s human resources and compensation committee issued an open letter Saturday explaining the company’s compensation policies and called it “inappropriate” to compare the 2016 compensation to that of the previous year because some of the executives did not start at the beginning of 2015.

Bombardier’s public relations and human resources teams were in a no-win situation in defending the salary increases, Wallens said in an interview Sunday.

“They’re asked to defend something, which from the public’s point of view, is indefensible,” she said. “The only thing they can say is that they want to stay competitive internationally.”

Bombardier’s damage control efforts over the weekend appeared to do little to calm the waters.

A crowd of about 200 people descended on the company’s Montreal headquarters on Sunday, chanting in French “shame to Bombardier!”

WATCH: Demonstrators protest outside Bombardier HQ over CEO bonuses

Jessica Lacombe, a teacher, carried a sign that read “I’m still waiting for my invitation to Bombardier’s shareholders’ meeting.”

She said the company’s actions are especially hard to take after years of government austerity that have included cutbacks to health and education.

“If it’s private money they can do what they want, but now it’s public money,” she said. “It’s our taxes, it’s our money.”

WATCH: Signing off on subsidies like Bombardier is not in line with my values: Bernier

Bombardier has refused to say if the other executives would follow Beaudoin’s lead but the opposition Parti Quebecois is poised to try to force the company’s hand.

The PQ says it intends to present a motion in Quebec’s legislature this week calling on all of Bombardier’s executives to renounce their 2016 compensation increase.

Data headed to the Urban Planning Committee shows traffic-calming measures in Edmonton’s Prince Charles neighbourhood have been effective in reducing vehicle traffic and city staff are recommending some changes be permanent.

High vehicle traffic, high speeds and concerns for pedestrian safety brought changes to the neighbourhood in July 2015. Curb extensions were installed on 124 Street at 119 Avenue and 120 Avenue as well as at 122 Street and 119 Avenue.


RELATED: Traffic pilot projects have some Edmonton residents fuming mad

“We have kids that try to access, from the east, to the park… that would literally have their lives at risk every time they cross the street,” said Ron Jacob, the president of the Prince Charles Community League.

“[124 Street] was a major street and it’s not a major street. This is a residential street so, yeah, there was a lot of anger.”

Traffic barriers were also installed at 124 Street north of 123 Avenue to remove access between the neighbourhood and Yellowhead Trail. The trial measures were to be observed and then assessed for at least one year.

Since the traffic calming measures have been installed, vehicle traffic has fallen dramatically:

At 118 Avenue and 124 Street: from 6,800-7,600 vehicles a day pre-trial to 3,900 vehicles a day post-trialNear Prince Charles Park: from 6,500-6,800 vehicles a day pre-trial to 2,100 vehicles a day post-trialSouth of 123 Avenue: from 6,700 vehicles a day pre-trial to 900 a day

Jacob said the changes have been “incredible.”

“The street is now almost quiet. It’s refreshing. The two sides of the community have fused together now,” he said.

Andy Nadema has lived in the neighbourhood since 2001 and has three young children. He said the changes have been “the best thing the city ever did.”

“Since they closed it, it’s been very quiet. It’s been a nice change,” he said.

“The kids, I let them venture off a lot more, still in eyesight, but at least you don’t have to worry about a car racing by.”

Traffic speeds along 124 Street just north of 120 Avenue have also fallen, going from 63 km/h to 52 km/h.

Many residents support the measures but some also say more needs to be done to mitigate shortcutting through the neighbourhood.

“They need to put stop signs down [124 Street] so people stop using it,” said Ryan Shire, who has lived in Prince Charles for two years.

Jacob said there is talk of raised intersections to curb the speed of motorists travelling through the neighbourhood.

“There’s still folks who are using 124 Street and then the avenues, like 120, 121 or 122 to go to 127 Street on the west side or vice versa,” he said.

Support for the barriers south of the Yellowhead Trail received mixed reviews – while 85 per cent of residents surveyed were comfortable with the measure, 58 per cent of respondents in the business community did not approve.

READ MORE: Edmonton communities split over traffic calming measures 

City staff are recommending 124 Street and 123 Avenue be permanently closed and for curb extensions at 124 Street and 119 Avenue and 120 Avenue to be permanently constructed. They are also recommending the installation of a traffic light at 122 Street and 118 Avenue along with extension of the southbound left turn lane on 124 Street and 118 Avenue.

Administration is also recommending temporary measures at 122 Street and 119 Avenue be removed.

A map showing recommendations from city administration.

Courtesy/City of Edmonton

The issue heads to the Urban Planning Committee on Wednesday.

POTOMAC FALLS, Va. – President Donald Trump brought Sen. Rand Paul to his Virginia golf course on Sunday, planning to discuss health care with the outspoken critic of the failed plan to repeal and replace so-called Obamacare.

The outing to Trump National Golf Club came hours after Trump tweeted that talks on replacing the law have been going on and “will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.”

He added that anyone who thinks the effort is dead “does not know the love and strength in R Party!”


White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Trump would be golfing and talking policy, including health care, with Paul and budget director Mick Mulvaney.

Trump vanquished Paul in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. The Kentucky senator came out strongly against the House GOP legislation, and its collapse humiliated Trump in the early days of his administration.

READ MORE: Massachusetts city considers call for Donald Trump impeachment probe

Trump and aides had argued for a vote in the final hours of negotiations around the bill, but Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan ultimately agreed to pull it, rather than face a loss if it had been put to a vote.

In an interview with the Financial Times published online Sunday, Trump said the bill was pulled because

“I didn’t want to take a vote. It was my idea.”

Still, Trump said that “one way or the other, I promised the people great health care. We are going to have great health care in this country. Now, it will be in one form or another.

“It will be a repeal and replace of Obamacare which is the deal that is being negotiated now.”

It is not clear how a new health care bill will come together, with deep divides among Republicans and little interest in co-operation from Democrats. Since the bill went down, Trump has repeatedly lashed out at members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who contributed to the defeat.

READ MORE: Americans mostly disapprove of Donald Trump’s performance so far except for his handling of the economy

On CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, a member of the caucus, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, responded to those attacks. He said “tweets and statements and blame don’t change facts. And the facts remain the same. When you look at the document, when you look at the legislation, it doesn’t repeal Obamacare.”

Trump told the Financial Times that members of the caucus were “friends of mine.” But he added: “if we don’t get what we want, we will make a deal with the Democrats and we will have in my opinion not as good a form of health care, but we are going to have a very good form of health care and it will be a bipartisan form of health care.”

WATCH: GOP on Obamacare repeal: ‘We’re going to get it done’

The Sunday golf outing was not unusual for Trump, who has visited his golf courses in Virginia and Florida repeatedly since taking office. Sometimes these rounds incorporate official business, like when he played with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida.

For years, Trump railed against Obama when he was in office for golfing. Candidate Trump said if he won the election he’d probably be too busy to golf and would only play with people with whom he was looking to make deals.

Around 1,000 people packed into the London Convention Centre on Saturday for a special gala dinner commemorating the upcoming 100th anniversary of Canada’s victory in the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War.

Next Sunday will mark 100 years since the time when four Canadian divisions began their assault in an attempt to capture the ridge, a key German defensive position. British and French forces had tried to capture the ridge previously, but were unsuccessful.


In the moments leading up to the battle, Pvt. George William Shaw, a bugler with the 3rd Battallion (Toronto Regiment), then about 18 years old, played his Hawkes and Son brass bugle to rally the troops.

Shaw died in 1976, but his bugle lives on as an artifact from the Great War. The historic horn is now in the possession of Shaw’s grandson, David Cunningham, 64, of London, who played it at Saturday’s gala.

Vimy Ridge virtual reality takes visitors to the front lines

Talking about the war, music and sound is very symbolic, Cunningham says.

“Every march, there’s someone there that that was their march — they were in that regiment and they stand up,” he said. “The Air Force guys always stand up and march around the room. There’s something that they really bonded to each other and to the music. It’s just kind of the glue that puts the whole thing together.

“We’re even more remote from the people who sacrificed for World War I,” Cunningham said. “It’s a long time since we’ve been engaged in a conflict where people were making decisions based on, ‘I need to do this because we’re facing an absolute evil.’”

According to Royal Canadian Legion Vimy Branch 145, which hosted Saturday’s event, Shaw’s bugle will be escorted to France by a Canadian Armed Forces Bandsman and will be played during the official 100th anniversary ceremony.

“To manifest being a Canadian in that particular moment can certainly inform the kind of decisions and the kind of people we are today,” Cunningham said of the Vimy Ridge victory and its impact on Canadian identity.

Canadian soldiers parade in front of the Canadian memorial on April 7, 2007, in Vimy to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge.

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Crowds watching King Edward VIII unveil the Vimy Ridge memorial in 1936.

Fox Photos/Getty Images

Canadian machine gunners at Vimy Ridge during the First World War, April 1917.

Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

Canadian soldiers in the trenches at Vimy Ridge during the First World War in 1917.

Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada via

Bringing in the wounded at Vimy Ridge in April 1917

Library and Archives Canada via

More than 50 students from seven programs at Fanshawe College were involved in setting up Saturday’s event, creating, among others, 110 display monuments, three bell tents, 300 burlap “sandbags” for a replica trench, 115 poppy centrepieces, and a 30-minute commemorative video.

“A lot of people consider the Battle of Vimy Ridge the birth of a nation — it’s really when we became a Canadian nation,” said Rob Carver, chair of Fanshawe’s School of Contemporary Media.

Events like Saturday’s gala, Carver says, can help people connect to the past.

“One of the young women who worked on the tent project spoke directly about her great-grandfather [who] had been in World War I, and this gave her a real direct connection to the past. I think making the past real is a big part of it,” he said.

Canada’s victory in the battle earned its soldiers recognition as an elite force, but it came at a cost. Of the 100,000 Canadians involved in the battle, nearly 3,600 died and just over 7,000 were wounded.

“It was a war of positions. It was trenches,” said Lieut.-Col. Roger Vandomme, deputy defence attaché with the French embassy. “Your soldiers had been living in trenches with… lack of comfort — mud, humidity… It’s important to put into perspective and remember the very, very difficult conditions they were living in.”

Freedom, Vandomme said, shouldn’t be taken for granted in a privileged time of many hard-won liberties.

“We have to be very, very careful,” he said. “It is fragile. We have to preserve it. Part of that is to remember.”

– Carl Garnich contributed reporting. With files from .

Gas prices in parts of Metro Vancouver surged to more than $1.40 a litre overnight.

The price of a litre of gas rose as high as $1.429 in parts of Vancouver on Sunday morning, after a nine-cent-per-litre increase on Thursday. A week prior, prices were less than $1.30 per litre.

On Wednesday, fuel analyst Dan McTeague of GasBuddy杭州桑拿 said he suspects the recent spikes are due to the turnaround time for the Phillips 66 Ferndale refinery just south of the border in Washington state being delayed. Speculators are concerned there isn’t enough gasoline with such high demand.

“The problem in the United States becomes a major headache for motorists here in Vancouver, mostly because we are very dependent on outside sources to get our gasoline and our diesel,” he said. “This one refinery happens to produce 160,000 barrels a day. We import well over half of our gasoline here in Vancouver.”

WATCH: Gas prices rising across Canada


McTeague said most gas stations are still making a fair income, keeping in mind they also run convenience stores. In Vancouver, it costs gas stations seven cents to cover their costs; anything above that is going straight into their pocket, but McTeague said they are not at fault for the rising prices.

“[The increase in gas prices] has a lot to do with the economics south of the border, it also has to do with the weak Canadian dollar, and to make matters worse, the taxes we pay here in British Columbia,” McTeague said.

Despite soaring gas prices, February inflation slips to 2%

Not only is gas getting more expensive, in some parts of the city it’s getting harder to find. There is now only one gas station in downtown Vancouver following the closure of the Chevron station on West Georgia Street near Stanley Park on Wednesday.

The Esso station at Burrard and Davie streets is the only remaining gas station in the downtown core.

WATCH: One gas station left in Downtown Vancouver

– With files from Simran Gill and Amy Judd

U.S. backed Syrian forces repelled a major counter-attack by Islamic State militants holding out at the country’s largest dam and in the nearby town of Tabqa, the group and activists said on Sunday.


The dam is a key strategic target in the military campaign to isolate and capture the Syrian city of Raqqa, 40 km (25 miles) to the east and Islamic State’s biggest urban stronghold.

The U.S.-backed group said militants attacked their positions north-east of Tabqa and at an airbase to the south of the town where dozens of their fighters were killed; but the coalition of Kurdish and Arab militias was making slower advances in a village east of the town.

READ MORE: U.S.-backed forces seize Syrian military airport from Islamic State

Jehan Sheikh Ahmad, a spokeswoman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the powerful Kurdish YPG militia, said the militants were stepping up their resistance as SDF forces got closer to encircling the town and the dam.

“Our forces are advancing…(Islamic State )are facing large difficulties and so they are starting counter-attacks,” said the official whose forces have U.S. special forces with them.

WATCH: ISIS training children to be killers

The SDF began an assault to capture the dam and the nearby town almost two weeks ago after the coalition landed some of its fighters on the southern side of the Euphrates near Tabqa, leading to its capture of an air base.

The SDF has been waging a multi-phased offensive since November to isolate Raqqa, with backing from the U.S.-led coalition taking territory to the north and east of the province.

Fear of collapse

Hundreds of families with their cattle, property, motor bikes and vans continued on Sunday to flee from villages under Islamic State control.

The U.S.-backed forces say at least 7,000 people have taken shelter in their areas since the campaign to capture Tabqa.

Many are also fleeing air strikes on civilian areas in Raqqa province that have left dozens dead according to activists and the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

READ MORE: U.S.-led air strikes against ISIS killed 229 civilians in nearly 3 years: Pentagon

Last month strikes believed to be conducted by the U.S.-led coalition hit a bakery and a local market in Tabqa town with dozens of civilians killed. Another raid that hit a school sheltering displaced people near Raqqa also killed scores.

SDF denies civilians are targeted.

Islamic State and the Syrian government have both said the hydroelectric dam is vulnerable to collapse after strikes by the U.S. led coalition

READ MORE: ISIS’ second-in-command killed by air strike near Iraq-Syria border, Iraqi intelligence says

Syrian officials say that would lead to catastrophic flooding in the cities and towns in the Euphrates valley downstream.

The SDF and the coalition have denied the dam is in danger.

Residents, however, say an SDF attempt last week to relieve the dam’s water levels by opening a canal from the Balikh River that flows into the Euphrates had flooded cultivated agricultural land in several villages.

France‘s polling commission has issued a warning over a Russian news report suggesting conservative candidate Francois Fillon leads the race for the presidency – something which contradicts the findings of mainstream opinion pollsters.

The cautionary note from the watchdog on pre-election polling followed allegations in February by aides of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron that he was a target of “fake news” put out by Russian media including the Sputnik news agency.


Macron takes a hard line on European Union sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis, whereas Fillon has said they are totally ineffective, creating a “cold war” climate that needs to be reversed.

READ MORE: No question Russia meddled in U.S. election, says Nikki Haley

Almost all media in France are drawing on polls that have shown since mid-February that Fillon, a former prime minister, is trailing in third place behind Macron and far right leader Marine Le Pen for the April 23 first round. Third place would mean Fillon’s elimination from the May 7 runoff.

State-run Sputnik carried different findings in a report on March 29 under the headline: “2017 presidential elections: the return of Fillon at the head of the polls.”

It quoted Moscow-based Brand Analytics, an online audience research firm, as saying that its study based on an analysis of French social media put Fillon out in front.

In a statement, France‘s polling commission said the study could not be described as representative of public opinion and Sputnik had improperly called it a “poll,” as defined by law in France

WATCH: Poll finds majority of Americans don’t believe Trump connections to Russia to be a ‘hoax’

“It is imperative that publication of this type of survey be treated with caution so that public opinion is aware of its non-representative nature,” it said.

Brand Analytics’ track record either for political polling or for commercial internet audience measurement outside of Russia and former Soviet territory is unknown.

Sputnik published an earlier online survey by the firm from mid-February which also showed Fillon with a strong lead over Macron and Le Pen at a time when other polls showed Macron’s candidacy beginning to surge with Fillon in third place.

Neither Sputnik in Moscow, nor the company, responded immediately to emailed requests for comment on Sunday.


Richard Burr, head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee which is investigating the Russian hacking during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, said last week that the Kremlin was trying to interfere in the French vote.

The Kremlin denied in February that it was behind media and internet attacks on Macron’s campaign.

Russia has a strong interest in the outcome of the French election since Macron has suggested imposing further sanctions on Moscow if it does not implement its side of a deal to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.

WATCH: French presidential candidate uses hologram to travel campaign trail

Fillon, once the frontrunner for the Elysee before he was hit by a scandal surrounding payments of public funds to his wife and children, dismissed as “fantasy” concerns of Russian interference in the election. Speaking last Friday, Fillon said he would seek a better balance in relations with a country that was nevertheless “dangerous.”

Richard Ferrand, the head of Macron’s En Marche! (Onwards!) party, said in February that Sputnik and another Russian state-run outlet Russia Today were spreading ‘fake news’ with the aim of swinging public opinion against Macron.

READ MORE: Americans favour independent look into Trump campaign’s ties with Russia: poll

In February, Sputnik announced it would publish weekly French election polls using representative sampling from three mainstream polling firms – IFOP, Ipsos and OpinionWay – alongside an analysis of social media posts in France from Brand Analytics for which it did not disclose its survey methodology.

Separately, Sputnik carried a news report last Friday about Macron supporters being awarded state decorations when he had been a high-level functionary at the Elysee and economy minister in the Socialist government, suggesting this could amount to influence peddling.

It offered no proof that Macron had organized the decorations, which were sometimes awarded by other ministers. In several instances, it cited awards made by the economy ministry, without mentioning that Arnaud Montebourg, Macron’s predecessor, was minister at the time.

The Sputnik report contrasted Macron’s alleged action with a judicial inquiry into an award made when Fillon was prime minister to a billionaire friend who owned a cultural magazine where Fillon’s wife drew a salary.

With the 2017 Juno Awards set to take place Sunday night, a number of awards were presented the night before at a special gala dinner and awards ceremony.

During the event, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences handed out 34 awards in advance of the televised ceremony, including awards presented to The Tragically Hip, Drake and the late Leonard Cohen, who passed away in November 2016.

Cohen received a posthumous award for Artist of the Year, which was accepted by his son, Adam Cohen, who produced the legendary singer/songwriter’s swan song album You Want It Darker.

READ MORE: Juno Awards officials still tight-lipped about mystery performer

In addition, The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem captured the award for Rock Album of the Year, while frontman Gord Downie’s solo project, Secret Path, won awards for Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Recording Package of the Year.

WATCH: Juno jazz nominees square off on The Morning Show


Drake was honoured for the success of his 2016 album Views, awarded the International Achievement Award, while Buffy Sainte-Marie was presented with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award (presented to her by Bruce Cockburn) for her lifelong efforts to promote and enrich indigenous culture.

Meanwhile, a number of first-time nominees took home Junos at the Saturday night gala including: Bit Funk, Bria Skonberg, Jason Dufour, Jazz Cartier, Johnathan Shedletzky/Isis Essery/Jeff Lemire, Jordan Nobles, Kaytranada, Laurence Nerbonne, Mandroid Echostar, Okavango African Orchestra, Quantum Tangle, The East Pointers, The Dirty Nil, The Fretless and William Prince.

The 2017 Juno Awards will air live on Sunday, Apr. 3 at 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET.

A group of Syrian refugees and local supporters has started cooking meals on weekends and delivering them to Halifax shelters as a way of giving back to the community.

Of the Syrian Thanksgiving Group of Nova Scotia’s ten members, eight are Syrian refugees.

Group member Mohammad Al Jokhadar said the idea was thought up by a friend after a Syrian refugee family in Halifax was harassed in a “racist attack” that included racial insults and spitting.

“We’re just maintaining the equilibrium in society, right? So if somebody throws a little bit of negativity, you give them a little bit of positivity to counteract the effect,” he said.

Mohammad Al Jokhadar holds two nearly completed trays of fatteh he helped make with the Syrian Thanksgiving Group of Nova Scotia on April 2, 2017.

Steve Silva/Global News

On Sunday, the third week since the project started, several families came together to cook Syrian foods, which they then delivered to Adsum for Women & Children, Herring Cove Apartments, Metro Turning Point, Phoenix House and Phoenix Youth Shelter.

READ MORE: Syrian refugees upcycle food for new Halifax desserts business

“A lot of my Syrian refugee friends, they come from terrible conditions in refugee camps, and… they know the meaning of poverty and suffering,” Al Jokhadar said.

New Canadians extend their appreciation to Halifax by celebrating Syrian culture

Kathy McNab, a spokesperson for Adsum, said the group’s efforts are appreciated and important to the shelter.

She notes the group fits well into Halifax’s longtime culture of community service, bringing the newcomers full-circle as they begin to give back to their neighbours.