Four stories in the news for Monday, March 26———FEDS READY TO RUSH DEMOCRATIC REFORM BILLSAfter more than two years riding the brakes on a raft of promised reforms to election laws, the Trudeau government is preparing to put the pedal to the metal to get them in place in time for the 2019 election. With Elections Canada generally needing a year to implement changes to election rules, that leaves the government with just seven months to pass at least three bills — one of which hasn’t even been introduced yet, and another that’s been parked at the introductory stage for 16 months.———PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU TO EXONERATE CHIEFS IN PARLIAMENTPrime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to exonerate six First Nations chiefs who were executed by B.C.’s colonial government more than 150 years ago. The exoneration will happen in the House of Commons this afternoon. The chiefs were hanged after a deadly confrontation with white road builders during the so-called “Chilcotin War of 1864.” The Tsilhqot’in have long disputed the government’s authority to execute the chiefs as criminals, arguing the confrontation was an altercation between warring nations.———STUDY LOOKS AT CHANGES TO ALBERTA’S BOREAL FORESTA new study suggests half of Alberta’s boreal forest could disappear in just over 80 years due to wildfires and climate change. The research, published today in the journal Ecosphere, looks at how vegetation could change based on the current rate of carbon emissions and climate change. It simulated wildfire using a model from Natural Resources Canada and data from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute to determine what vegetation might grow back under future climates.———JUNO AWARDS TAKE UPBEAT TONE IN VANCOUVERIt was a night of positivity at the Juno Awards as the stars of Canadian music focused on celebrating the upsides of life. Host Michael Buble set the tone by announcing his wife’s third pregnancy — but other performers were quick to grab the tide of optimism. Gord Downie’s brothers accepted a posthumous award for the singer. And the Barenaked Ladies, who were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, performed with former bandmate Steven Page for the first time in nearly a decade.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Trent Butt goes on trial in St. John’s for the first-degree murder of his five-year-old daughter Quinn.— Federal innovation and employment minister participate in a question-and-answer session with students and entrepreneurs in Montreal.— Joshua Boyle, who was held hostage in Afghanistan, is to appear in Ottawa court, via video link, on sexual assault and other charges.— The Senate national security committee hears witnesses on Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act as it relates to Canada’s borders.— Women on the Hill gathering and reception in honour of International Women’s Day.— Police hold gun amnesty news conference in Regina.— Alberta government to announce funding to support women and children fleeing family violence.— Provincial court criminal trial continues over the MV Marathassa bunker fuel spill in Vancouver’s English Bay in April 2015.———
TORONTO – As Toronto police investigate a string of high-profile shootings, a war of words is brewing in the force’s upper echelons, with the mayor and chief on one side and the head of the police union on the other.It all goes back to a letter that Global News reported was written by veteran investigator Sgt. Mark Hayward and addressed to Mayor John Tory. The sergeant accuses Tory of being a direct contributor to the city’s gun violence by cancelling a police anti-violence strategy in 2016, the news outlet reported.Hayward says the controversial program known as TAVIS provided police a crucial tool in keeping violent street gangs at bay. He also calls Chief Mark Saunders “a puppet on strings,” which he says are being pulled by the mayor, according to Global News.In response to the letter, police have launched an internal investigation and Saunders has promised that the officer — whom he does not name — will be disciplined if they are found to have committed misconduct.In a statement Friday night, Saunders said there are “conflicting points between what has been reported in the media and what our investigation has uncovered,” but he did not expand on what those points of conflict are.He said TAVIS was cancelled as part of a modernization effort that included 32 recommendations from members of the public as well as “highly trained members of the service.”Hayward declined to comment on Saturday, citing the internal investigation.Tory released his own statement on Saturday, saying he supports Saunders and the city’s police services board “100 per cent.” The mayor’s statement blames the head of the police union for what he calls “a dangerous set of tactics.”Mike McCormack “could be a partner with us in our fight to rid our streets of the gun violence we’ve seen recently,” Tory said, adding, “Unfortunately, he has chosen not to be.”Tory accuses McCormack of holding up shift schedule changes that would allow the city to “deploy more officers where we need them.”McCormack did not mince words in responding to the mayor’s statement, calling it an attempt to distract from the surge of shootings that has gripped the city in recent weeks.“He’s deflecting towards me. Well, I got big shoulders — so be it,” McCormack said in a phone interview Saturday.“But that’s really not helping the dialogue.”Regarding Tory’s allegation that McCormack had held up changes to shift schedules that would have helped the force deploy more officers where they are needed, the union head was equally blunt.“You can’t deploy officers you don’t have,” he said.“We just don’t have the resources, and the mayor knows that.”He said hundreds more officers are needed to deal with the issues the city faces.
TORONTO – The majority of Canadians are concerned about the use of e-cigarettes among youth, with almost 90 per cent backing a ban of the vaping products for those under 18, a national survey suggests.The survey by the Angus Reid Institute, released Tuesday, found that support for prohibiting vaping among minors crossed all age and gender demographics, among tobacco smokers and non-smokers alike.“The one big take-away is that concern about vaping really does focus and centre on the impact on children,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the non-profit polling organization based in Vancouver.In the online survey of 1,500 adults aged 18 and older, 75 per cent of respondents said government should be able to make rules for packaging and labelling of e-cigarettes; 69 per cent agreed promotion and marketing of vaping products should be restricted; and 62 per cent endorsed the idea that flavoured versions should be taken off the market.However, support for a ban on flavoured liquids used in e-cigarettes was not universal. While 58 per cent of those aged 55-plus strongly supported the notion of banning flavoured e-cigarettes, only a third of those 18 to 34 agreed with the idea.“Certainly when we see millennial or younger Canadian respondents saying that they are less inclined to support the ban of fruit and bubble gum and other nice flavours of vaping products, we see that that is something that potentially holds some interest or appeal to them,” said Kurl.“Some of it has to do with what’s marketed to them,” she said, citing the adage “if you create it, people will buy it.”While the proportion of Canadians who smoke tobacco continues to decline — the smoking rate is now about 18 per cent — the survey suggests the prevalence of vaping is on the rise.In 2013, Health Canada reported that 8.5 per cent of Canadians had tried e-cigarettes, a figure that jumped to 13.2 per cent in 2015. The Angus Reid survey conducted last month found 18 per cent of respondents had given vaping a try.The organization also found that younger people and tobacco smokers are more likely to have engaged in vaping or to use e-cigarettes regularly.More than a quarter of those aged 18 to 34 said they had tried vaping, while 14 per cent said puffing on an e-cigarette was routine.Among tobacco users of all ages surveyed, 45 per cent of daily smokers and 40 per cent of occasional smokers reported also using e-cigarettes.Angus Reid also looked at whether Canadians view vaping as being beneficial or harmful.“Part of the existential conversation about e-cigarettes has been … the notion that it would help smokers off-ramp from smoking cigarettes to something less harmful by no longer inhaling tobacco and hopefully eventually quitting,” said Kurl.“Smokers are far more likely to say that e-cigarettes have the potential to do more good than harm,” she said. “If you’ve never tried smoking, never been a smoker, you’re far more likely to say that vaping does more harm than good.”David Hammond, a tobacco control policy expert at the University of Waterloo, said that while many young people have tried e-cigarettes, what should be of most concern is whether they are just experimenting or if they are vaping on a regular basis.“The simple equation is this: vaping may help some people to quit smoking. If it does that, it will have a public health benefit,” said Hammond, commenting on the survey findings.“Vaping may make some youth more likely to start (smoking). There’s a strong association, but most of that is probably the type of kids that do risky behaviours. If you’re going to try one, you’re going to try the other.”Still, that could change.On Tuesday, the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration repeated a warning that e-cigarette use among young Americans has reached “epidemic” proportions.“There’s a large pool of nicotine users that’s being created among kids by these products,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “And some portion of them are at risk of transitioning to and risking addiction to cigarettes.”So the FDA has launched “The Real Cost” Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign aimed at educating kids about the dangers of e-cigarettes, targeting almost 11 million Americans aged 12 to 17 who have used e-cigarettes or are open to trying them.Among those products is JUUL, a high-nicotine e-cigarette that commands 70 per cent of the U.S. market — and was introduced to Canada earlier this month.It’s not yet clear what kind of impact the brand will have on the Canadian market, Hammond said, but the move is significant.“The big question that public health and tobacco control people should ask themselves is are we potentially going to see what appears to have happened in the U.S., which is to say spikes in both e-cigarette use and potentially smoking?”One place to start in order to curb vaping by young people is to ban products with such flavours as peanut butter and jam, cotton candy and unicorn horn, he said.Such products “are probably going to do a lot more to appeal to kids than to help a 50-year-old smoker switch to vaping so he doesn’t die from smoking.”— Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
MONTREAL — Despite low unemployment and a strong economy, Quebec continues to have problems generating wealth and its citizens have less money to save and spend compared with Canadians in every other province, says a new report by Universite de Montreal’s business school.One of the main reasons for the province’s relative poverty lies in its low productivity, said Robert Gagne, co-author of “Productivity and Prosperity in Quebec,” published Monday. His research indicates “one hour worked in Quebec generates less wealth than one hour worked elsewhere in Canada.”Quebec needs to better educate its workforce, stimulate private investment and encourage innovation to catch up with the rest of the country, Gagne said in an interview.Conservative-leaning politicians across Canada, however, make another argument: Quebec suffers from its over reliance on equalization payments.As the provincial election in resource-rich Alberta is set to begin and with a federal election a few months away, Quebecers are likely going to hear a lot more about how they are unduly benefiting from the wealth generated by higher-earning Canadians.Just don’t tell that to Gagne. “I don’t know anyone who says, ‘I won’t make an effort, because either way, we’ll get equalization.’ It’s not true,” he said in an interview.Under the federal government’s equalization program, Ottawa redistributes part of the tax money it collects to poorer provinces to ensure citizens across the country are offered comparable services. Quebec is set to receive more than $13 billion in equalization payments this fiscal year, while Alberta will receive none.One of the main policy proposals of Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, is to make equalization “less generous.” He argues Quebec refuses to develop its oil and shale gas potential and to take other measures to increase productivity because it can count on equalization.Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, who represents a Calgary riding, tweeted over the weekend she was bringing a petition to the House of Commons containing thousands of signatures calling on the Liberal government to review the equalization formula. The petition states, in part, “the government of Canada discriminates against provinces that choose to develop their natural resources while rewarding those who rely on government transfers as opposed to diversifying their economies.”Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party, has singled out Quebec in arguing that the current equalization formula treats his province unfairly. In December he tweeted, “suffering Alberta continues to transfer wealth to a province blocking the source of our wealth,” referring to Quebec’s opposition to a new pipeline on its territory.Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said his government is taking steps to address the productivity gap, modifying the role of the province’s investment agency so small and medium-sized business have capital to invest in manufacturing technologies.He also said his government wants to create a closer link between universities and the private sector in order to have graduates better trained for the needs of the market.“I don’t want to criticize the past,” Fitzgibbon said in an interview Monday, but he added that small and medium-sized businesses in outlying regions are key to the Quebec economy. “And I think we have forgotten the regions. These people need programs, and I think it’s there we need to help, and it’s there we can make a difference,” he said.Premier Francois Legault will have the opportunity to address Quebec’s low productivity with his government’s first budget on Thursday. Despite its relative poverty, Quebec has had several back-to-back balanced budgets with billion-dollar surpluses.Gagne said Canada is a large, decentralized country, and as such it needs a system to redistribute wealth.“If we want Canadians to have comparable services, well then we need equalization,” Gagne said. “The day we don’t have equalization then there won’t really be a reason to have a country. If we don’t want to help each other out, then why should we stay together?”— With files from Pierre Saint-Arnaud Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
AMHERST, N.S. — First of a two-part series on the stunning potential impact that climate change could have on the low-lying, narrow band of land connecting Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada.—John Atkinson stands atop an aging dike, with the rising tides of the Bay of Fundy before him and family farmland behind, imagining the storm that could turn Nova Scotia into a virtual island.“The water can go over this whole flat marsh,” said the 67-year-old landowner, gesturing to the grassy lands near Amherst.“If there were to be one perfect storm … it would be very bad.”This is a potential ground zero of a Canadian climate change disaster, where sea-level communities face rising oceans and await word on a detailed plan and the funding to keep the narrow land link between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick open.The risk isn’t decades away.Rather, the event could occur at any time through a combination of stormy weather conditions, according to emergency officials and coastal geographers watching the area.“The fact is that the right storm occurring at any spring tide at any time of year would be sufficient to put water over our dikes,” explains Jeff Ollerhead, who teaches coastal geography at Mount Allison University in nearby Sackville, N.B.Over the past 69 years, the sea level at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy has risen about 38 centimetres, even as the dikes and coastal land continue to subside.The trend will accelerate under most international climate change scenarios, adding a third of a metre to water heights by 2050, according to studies.Meanwhile, the frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms have tripled here over the past 25 years compared to the past century, according to a 2011 study.Real Daigle, a meteorologist who provides estimates of sea level rise, said all it would take is a once-in-50-year storm at highest tides, with sustained winds gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour and low atmospheric pressure that adds 40 to 50 centimetres to the height of the water.The one comfort is that the rapid pace of the Bay of Fundy tidal rise and retreat — versus areas like the Northumberland Strait, where tide rises are more gradual and sustained — would make the storm’s arrival at the high tide in the basin an unlikely event, he adds.Saint Mary’s University geographer Danika van Proosdij’s research unit prepared maps for The Canadian Press showing risk zones that extend into Amherst itself, floods of businesses and wind turbines on the marshes, and potential damage to 20 kilometres of rail, road and electrical infrastructure.The waters could sweep over the Trans-Canada Highway in lower lying New Brunswick, reaching a waist-deep height for motorists, said Mike Johnson, emergency measures co-ordinator for Cumberland County, Nova Scotia’s westernmost region.He says he’s planning to knock on doors and collect cell phone numbers of about 80 buildings where rapid evacuation may need to occur.“We’ve had two tidal surge events in the past decade that would have been sufficient to overtop the dikes. They simply occurred on a neap (lower) tide and because of that factor the water didn’t come high enough to overtop the dikes,” he said in an interview at his office.A photo he took in the fall of 2015 shows a CN rail train travelling on a dike that is about 8.5 metres above sea level during a tidal surge. The water was just 12 centimetres from the train’s wheels.Amherst Mayor David Kogon and John Higham, the mayor of Sackville, N.B., are pressing federal and provincial governments to quickly find solutions.“Our job is to keep their foot to the pedal,” says Kogon, sitting before a large poster depicting a partially submerged Sackville.“If I were in charge of it, it would be underway now. But we’re not, it’s not our money,” says Higham, who joined his New Brunswick counterpart for an interview at his city hall.Higham’s town is also protected by a network of about 26 kilometres of dikes created to protect farmlands, but which now shelter commercial areas and homes. His flood map depicts a provincial ambulance depot as stranded on an island after the inundation comes.If the dikes are brought to new heights and repositioned to resist the rising seas, it wouldn’t be the first time the marshlands were rescued by a combined political effort.In the 1940s, Ottawa created a federal agency that helped fund the rehabilitation of the marshlands.However, the responsibility shifted to provinces in the 1970s, and there have been times over the past 50 years when money has been scarce for needed upgrades, say local farmers.Doug Bacon, a cattle farmer in Upper Nappan, says he spent years fighting for improved aboiteaux — openings in the dikes with sluice gates that allow fresh waters to drain out back to the sea.His home is full of photos of freshwater floods that came over nearby coastal roads and the grazing marshlands over the past two decades, as aging infrastructure was unable to cope with the flow of water.He said Canadian governments should have led a plan for the dike rehabilitation at least a decade ago.“The provincial and federal governments seem very slow to recognize the concerns that we as residents are trying to portray to them,” he said during an interview.The potential costs and next steps remain as murky to Bacon as the often muddy waters of the Bay of Fundy itself.Hopes are now pinned on an engineering assessment that New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ottawa say will “explore viable options to climate change impacts on the Chignecto Isthmus trade corridor” between the two provinces.Kevin Bekkers, land protection manager at the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, says a request for proposals to complete the $700,000 study will go out after April 1, with the goal of completion in 12 to 18 months.“Fast is not the pace I want to go as an engineer. There’s things we need to confirm and this engineering assessment is one of those steps along the journey that has to take place,” he said in an interview.The issues include comparisons of various climate change forecasts and what new technologies are available to increase the height of existing dikes, he said. Even the timeline for how long the solution should last remains uncertain, he said.After options are presented, the governments must agree on the way forward and how much they will spend.A 2016 federal study said possibilities ranged from $90 million to build up the existing dikes to $345 million to completely re-route the highways and railways. All of the options required at least five years.Mike Pauley, the New Brunswick civil servant leading the engineering assessment, said he can’t flatly state the study of the trade corridor will result in upgrades to the dikes.“To say the dikes will never be improved — I think over time, they will. But it may not be part of the outcome we get out of this study,” he said.Meanwhile, Bekkers notes that maintenance is ongoing and solutions for existing dikes continue.For example, a damaged portion of the dike near where Atkinson stood was being re-routed to tie in with higher ground and create more shallow lands in front — known as foreshore — that will absorb the pounding tides.However, Bekkers acknowledges the risk of a tidal surge remains.“We are working with Emergency Measures Organizations and depending on the storm that comes in, there may have to be warnings that go out,” he said.Quite often, Atkinson walks to the shore and notices how the sea tosses up more driftwood than in the past, even as it undermines the giant slabs of rock put in place to protect the dikes.To him, these are nature’s signals that the day of reckoning is drawing a little closer.“We’re keeping our fingers crossed no storm comes. What else can you do?”NEXT: When the dike breaks.— Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Survivors and families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are preparing for what’s anticipated to be a highly emotional ceremony in Gatineau, Que., on Monday to mark the release of a report that names the issue as nothing short of a “genocide.”In the final report, chief commissioner Marion Buller says the that national inquiry had a short time to do its work but within that period, survivors provided “important truths.”“These truths force us to reconsider where the roots of violence lie, and in doing so, to reconsider the solutions,” she writes.“I hope that knowing these truths will contribute to a better understanding of the real lives of Indigenous people and the violations of their human and Indigenous rights when they were targeted for violence.”Canadians live in a country whose laws and institutions perpetuate violations of these rights, Buller adds, noting they “amount to nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide.”“This is not what Canada is supposed to be about,” she says. “It is not what it purports to stand for.”The findings of the federally-funded inquiry are contained within a massive document that focuses on legal issues including policing and the need to effectively respond to human trafficking cases, sexual exploitation and violence, including in the sex industry.It also stresses the need to ensure that failures in policing, health services and child welfare are not brushed off as failures of the past.“The reality is that many of the people who testified before the national inquiry have lived through, and continue to heal from, these policies,” the report says.“Many more people are in current conflict with them.”Throughout the course of its mandate, the inquiry has faced numerous challenges.It was plagued by headlines about staff turnover: two executive directors and its director of research left, and so did lawyers, community-relations workers, and numerous communications staff.A Metis commissioner from Saskatchewan, Marilyn Poitras, abruptly announced her resignation in July 2017, citing concerns about the commission’s structure.In response to Poitras’s resignation, a number of families and advocates called for a reboot of the commission, but Buller maintained the body would remain focused on completing its “tremendously important work.”For its part, the federal government sidestepped calls for a re-set. It’s now looking ahead at the report’s release.Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, who would not speak to the specifics of the report ahead of its public release, said in an interview that the final document is not the end of the journey.The federal government will now have to up its game in terms of “racism and sexism in policing” and all institutions, as well as accelerate progress on child welfare reforms, she said.During the government’s pre-inquiry sessions ahead of the inquiry’s launch, Bennett said the government heard “time and time again” about a legal system that wasn’t working for Indigenous women and girls — from reporting to police, to being taken seriously, to the way searches were conducted, to the charges that resulted or didn’t.Similar issues were raised during the course of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work.The former chairman of the commission that reported on the legacy of Canada’s residential schools, Sen. Murray Sinclair, said his commission heard from numerous women who had been victimized sexually in residential schools who felt they weren’t believed by police.“They were of the view that the officer not only didn’t believe them but he, and it was almost always a male, was disrespectful towards them,” Sinclair said in a recent interview.Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister when the inquiry was launched, said in a recent interview that she anticipates the report will raise the awareness about the ongoing tragedy.She hopes the report and recommendations will be seriously considered, she said, adding there’s no question there are systemic barriers, including racism and bias, in institutions.“There needs to be justice for Indigenous women,” she said.Families of victims, survivors and advocacy organizations, like the Native Women’s Association of Canada, have been calling for years for an inquiry. There has also been a desire for answers on the magnitude of the problem.In 2005, the association created a database tracking cases and produced a 2010 report documenting 582 missing and murdered Indigenous women.In 2014, the RCMP released a national overview and pegged the number at nearly 1,200 between 1980 and 2012.The final report says that despite best efforts to gather information related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, it concludes that “no one knows an exact number.”—Follow @kkirkup on TwitterKristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Three people are dead after a plane crashed in a remote region of northern Quebec.The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton says a Hercules aircraft was dispatched on Friday evening near Lac Boulene to respond to an emergency locator beacon.Search and rescue technicians parachuted to the site where they found three people without vital signs and they were pronounced dead.Capt. Trevor Reid says a fourth person in the plane was still alive and transported by Griffon helicopter to nearby Chibougamau, about 700 kilometres north of Montreal, for further medical treatment.Quebec provincial police say that man was released from hospital and will meet with investigators.They say the families of the three male victims have been notified, but police won’t be releasing their identities for now.Police say the men were friends heading for a fishing expedition in the area.The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it is aware of the incident, which is believed to have occurred around 4:30 p.m., and it is currently assessing the situation.The Canadian Press
CALGARY – As the country’s population grows older, it seems more Canadians are becoming primary caregivers for aging relatives.A new poll from Angus Reid shows that more Canadians over the age of 30 are making this big change in their life, including in the Calgary area.“In Alberta, it’s right on that national average of 26 per cent,” said research associate Dave Korzinski. Korzinski adds it’s especially difficult for lower-income families. The survey found that 28 per cent are worried they and the person they care for can’t afford the care they need.“It’s just little things that the costs really add up. Especially if you’re on a fixed income, it doesn’t take much to through your balance sheet out of whack,” he said. “People are certainly trying to do what they can to keep costs low for lower-income households.”But there’s another issue that’s particularly prominent in Calgary, according to the Kerby Centre.“The number of people of who, you know, have three or four children, two or three of those children move to a different city, move to a different part of the country, move to a different country altogether. And those children who are physically closer, take up much more of the caregiving and the day-to-day [tasks],” said the Kerby Centre’s Keith Calbeck. And on top of that, it’s hard to find the right care.“Changes in the life of an older adult can happen suddenly. You have a medical concern, you have a changed circumstance, a change in mobility, and if you’re an adult child of an older adult, you’re learning this very, very quickly.”He adds that the centre has received dozens of inquiries with the number one issue of finding the best housing options for loved ones’ needs.“People want to live independently as long as possible and that requires certain supports–access to medical and transportation, etc.–that continues for longer than we may have seen maybe 50 or 75 years ago,” said Calbeck.Calgary Seniors‘ Shannon Janewski says she sees this every day.“I hear a lot of people caregiving living separately. They’re trying to have that balance of caregiving or also working or raising their families or things like that,” she said.“People are feeling guilty, too. They’re trying to do as much as they can for the person they’re caring for but they also need to be able to work and care for their families and have time for themselves.”Korzinski says the poll showed the burden of caring for aging parents tends to fall disproportionately on women.–with files from Kenny Mason
Jathar Diamonds and the ALS Therapy Development Institute present the star-studded first annual SneakerBall.MC’d by Billy Costa, the event – which encourages guests to match formal dress with sneakers – will feature special guests such as former NFL Patriot and founder of the Kevin Turner Foundation Kevin Turner, as well as The Blind Side star Quinton Aaron, Baywatch’s Traci Bingham, Breaking Dawn’s Chaske Spencer, and Superbowl champion Anthony Smith.Jathar Diamonds and the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) are looking to exceed all goals and expectations, making the Sneakerball the largest black-tie fundraiser event in Boston.The evening of October 11, 2012 will raise funds for and bring awareness to the devastating and often fatal ALS disease. Jathar Diamonds seeks to raise unprecedented funds from the event, as all proceeds will fund the research conducted at the ALS TDI to find an effective cure for those living with ALS.To find out more, click here.
Earlier this month, actor Tom Hiddleston spent several days living £1 per day in support of Live Below The Line, which raises money for charities including UNICEF UK. Here are some of Tom’s thoughts about the challenge.I took on the challenge of living on £1 a day out of compassion and a desire to understand the constraints and conditions of those less fortunate, who don’t have a choice. For me it was about voluntarily experiencing even the smallest fraction of the hunger, as well as the discipline required, to subsist on such a small amount. The world’s poorest families, all over the world, face such malnutrition that their growth and development is held back.Here’s the thing. I haven’t really ever lived below the line – not below the poverty line. I still live in a nice house in London, with running water and a roof over my head, with gas and electricity. Clean drinking water comes rushing out of the kitchen tap. My surroundings are still comfortable. But the children who live below the poverty line have none of these things.Conversely, I live a very active, very blessed life. It wasn’t always thus: everyone starts at the bottom. I have worked hard since I left school to get to where I am now. But even that statement alone is a declaration of good fortune. My parents had sufficient income, not only to feed me regularly and to feed me well, but also to send me to good schools. To state the obvious: education is power. It always has been; it always will be. I’ve been very, very lucky. It has given me an emotional and physical strength, which anyone who has lived below the line, for a long time, doesn’t have.Most of us are physically active. I am propelled through my life by an unceasing supply of energy: three square meals of nutritious food (eggs, oats, meat, fish), but also coffee, tea, bananas, smoothies, organic vegetables, fresh fruit, chocolate, biscuits. If ever I feel drained there is always energy within easy reach. Like most people, I rush about. I dash in and out of town for meetings. I’m on the move all the time. When I am working as an actor, it is first and foremost a physical act, on stage or on set. I was lucky, that when I took this challenge on, I wasn’t doing physical action, stunts and battle sequences.Live Below The Line made me think about food in an entirely different way. I had to plan better, to budget better. I didn’t waste a penny, or a crumb. It was a test of mind and will power. It was a test, simply because I am unused to being hungry. In order to stay within my budget I had to think carefully, and pay more attention when cooking my own meals. I had to cook my own meals and not buy food on the go. When you only have a 1 kg bag of rice, you take care not to burn it. When you only have two eggs per day, you take care to cook them right.I enjoyed cooking during my Live Below The Line week more than I ever have. I enjoyed the meals I made for myself, more than I enjoy the food I would normally buy on the go – a coffee, a sandwich, lunch at a café, or a take-away.Through this challenge I learned the importance of preparing food carefully. I learned to be grateful for every single mouthful. I understood how wasteful I used to be.I’ve seen the difference UNICEF can do first-hand, at every level of care for malnourished children, in Guinea in West Africa. I undertook the Live Below The Line challenge to raise awareness and support UNICEF in their commitment to save the lives of the poorest children in the world.Ultimately Live Below The Line has taught me gratitude, on a level far beyond the intellectual. This week, if you have done the same, you have my greatest respect.Please visit Live Below the Line to pledge your support.To read the full blog, click here.
Rock and roll icon and artist Ringo Starr joined today in the national #GivingTuesday movement by donating twenty-five autographed jackets to be sold on eBay in support of WaterAid beginning on Tuesday, December 3.Ringo Starr joined today in the national #GivingTuesday movement by donating twenty-five autographed jackets to be sold on eBay in support of WaterAid Credit/Copyright: PRNewsFoto/WaterAidThe hand-signed Timberland cotton khaki jackets will be available on eBay beginning at 10am PST on December 3, with bidding continuing through Friday, December 13. Online shoppers also have the option of purchasing the jacket outright through eBay’s “Buy it now” feature.Video: Ringo Starr autographed jackets to benefit WaterAid on #GivingTuesdayAll proceeds will benefit WaterAid, the largest international nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives through improved access to safe water, toilets and hygiene education.“I believe in my heart that everyone should have clean water,” Starr said. “Two thousand kids die every day from the lack of safe drinking water and it’s time to say ‘enough’! That’s why I am asking people to join me in showing the world we care this holiday season by supporting WaterAid’s work to help the world’s poorest communities gain access to clean water.”The customized Timberland jackets feature prominent prints designed and autographed by Starr, and are available in men’s sizes medium, large and extra-large. Shoppers who choose to purchase their jacket using the “Buy it now” option on Tuesday, December 3 will have their donation matched by a long-time supporter as part of the organization’s matched-giving #GivingTuesday campaign.“#GivingTuesday is all about inspiring people to take action and support the charities and causes they care about,” noted WaterAid Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships, Annie Bonner. “We are thrilled that Ringo Starr has once again chosen to support WaterAid and our work to empower poor communities in their efforts to achieve access to clean water and toilets. It’s about making a real difference in people’s lives, and this initiative lets everyone be a part of that.”Support from committed partners like Ringo Starr is critical to WaterAid’s work. In addition to helping WaterAid provide life-saving water and toilets, these partnerships allow WaterAid to reach even greater audiences with the important message that we all have a role to play in making clean water and toilets available to everyone, everywhere.Source:PR Newswire
Here’s your chance to have dinner with Steven Tyler at his table at the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party dinner on March 2, 2014.Watch up close as Steven auctions off 7 days at his beautiful home in Maui as a part of the live auction, among other amazing items. This highly anticipated event is hosted by Sir Elton John and David Furnish in Los Angeles, CA.Tickets include a cocktail reception, an incredible dinner by renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay beginning promptly with the Oscar telecast, an exciting live auction and an exciting performance after the telecast by Ed Sheeran!Proceeds from the auction go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. To find out more or make a bid, click here. The auction ends on February 25.
Andrea Bocelli brought one of the most successful charity events in the world to Italy, when Celebrity Fight Night left its hometown of Phoenix, AZ for the first time ever last week.Celebrity Fight Night is a star-studded annual charity event presented in honor of its yearly special guest, Muhammad Ali, and has been long supported by Andrea Bocelli. With this inaugural visit to Italy, Celebrity Fight Night eclipsed $100 million raised in its 20 year history, with the weekend’s event bringing in approximately $6 million. Proceeds from the event are donated to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ and The Andrea Bocelli Foundation.From September 3 to 7, 100 philanthropic donors and special guests were guided around Tuscany and treated to the very best arts, entertainment and culture in the region.On September 4, donors attended the Teatro La Pergola, in Florence, where they were served a gourmet dinner and enjoyed a music and dance show of the Renaissance, sponsored by Stefano Ricci, historical and famous maison of Italian luxury fashion.On September 5, at Forte Dei Marmi, Andrea Bocelli performed and honored Grammy-winning composer and producer David Foster, as well as Sophia Loren for her generosity and for her efforts as an Italian ambassador around the world. During the event, which was sponsored by Antico Setificio Fiorentino, Foster was be joined by Reba McEntire, Lionel Richie, John Legend and Ronnie Dunn for a special performance.The charity trip ended on September 7, with a featured gala that was held in the historical Salone dei Cinquecento at the Palazzo Vecchio. Andrea and Veronica Bocelli presented the inaugural Andrea Bocelli Humanitarian Awards on stage to George Clooney and Lionel Richie, who both took to the stage to accept their honors. Maestro Andrea Bocelli, along with the extraordinary orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta, headlined the evening of breathtaking entertainment, incredible auction, and fine cuisine. The elegant décor was designed by the prestigious and refined hand of the Italian fashion brand, and event sponsor, Ermanno Scervino.The auction, which raised nearly $1 million, was hosted by renowned auctioneer, Simon De Pury, and included exclusive items and celebrity experiences such as a dinner with Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal.Additional guests at the gala included Clooney’s fiancée Amal Alamuddin, as well as Celebrity Fight Night Chairman and Founder Jimmy Walker, Host Michelle Hunziker, David & Yolanda Foster, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Roberto & Eva Cavalli, Cheryl Ladd, Ronnie Dunn, Laura Pausini, Leonardo Ferragamo & Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, Mentalist Lior Suchard, and more.The five day experience was sponsored by Stefano Ricci, Ermanno Scervino, Antico Setificio Fiorentino, Roberto Cavalli, Marchesi di Frescobaldi, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emilio Pucci, Officine Panerai, and Maserati.
Lassie, the iconic collie whose latest role is animal ambassador for Save the Children, visited Congress Wednesday to inspire leaders to join her in protecting children from disaster.Lassie joins Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and Save the Children’s Erin Bradshaw in leading a pledge to protect children from disasterCredit/Copyright: Joshua Roberts 2015Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina woke up the nation up to the extreme dangers disasters can pose to children right here in the United States, Lassie made her Hill visit en route to lead Save the Children Prep Rallies at local schools. The events are part of America’s PrepareAthon!, a grassroots campaign for action to get people better prepared for emergencies through group discussions, drills and exercises.Lassie shakes paws with Sophia M. Anwar, a staffer for Rep. Brenda LawrenceCredit/Copyright: Joshua Roberts 2015“Lassie’s devotion to keeping kids safe is well known and she is an amazing addition to Save the Children’s emergency preparedness team. But let’s be frank, Lassie can’t be in all places at all times. We need you all to take leadership in protecting children from disaster,” Erin Bradshaw, director of Save the Children’s Get Ready Get Safe initiative, told attendees at Wednesday’s Capitol Hill briefing.“That means acting now to protect the little ones in your own families as well as every child in the communities you represent across the United States,” she added. “Children are not just little adults and their unique needs must be planned for in advance of a disaster.”Today a majority of U.S. families do not have a strong emergency plan in place and 21 states and the District of Columbia still lack basic requirements for emergency plans in schools and child care facilities, Save the Children experts told attendees. At the same time more than half of U.S families report having been personally affected by disaster.“We simply can’t wait for the next disaster to make sure we’ve done our best to protect our nation’s children,” said Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY). “Take it from my constituents, many of whom struggled to protect their kids from major devastation during and after Hurricane Sandy. There is still much work to be done to protect children and make sure their families get the services they need in times of crisis. I urge my colleagues to join me in making this a priority.”Prep Rallies and America’s PrepareAthon!After leading a pledge to protect children from disaster and posing for photos, Lassie left Capitol Hill for Mundo Verde Charter School in the NoMa neighborhood of Northwest Washington DC.There, Lassie led 90 first-, second- and third-graders in a Save the Children “Prep Rally,” which teaches kids emergency preparedness basics including how to recognize risks, make a plan, and gather disaster supplies. Through interactive demonstrations like the un-telephone game and disaster supplies relay race, children learned critical safety skills that they can take home and share with their families.Thursday, preparedness efforts will continue across the nation and in Washington, where Lassie is slotted to lead another “Prep Rally” at a child care center at the Department of Labor.New Research to Reveal Post-Katrina GapsIn July, Save the Children will release its annual Disaster Report Card in advance of the Katrina 10-year anniversary. The report will detail what progress has been made and what gaps remain for protecting children from disaster since the National Commission on Children and Disasters formed after Katrina made a series of urgent recommendations.Families and caregivers can find emergency checklists and other Get Ready Get Safe resources at www.SavetheChildren.org/checklists.Source:Save the Children
On Monday, May 16th, WhyHunger will host its annual Chapin Awards event to honor social movements changing the world and recognize artist activists making a difference in the fight against hunger and poverty.Honorees will include rock guitarist and Grammy Award-winner Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, receiving the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award; singer-songwriter and Grammy Award-winning artist Kenny Loggins, receiving the ASCAP Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award; and social movement partner Landless Workers Movement (MST), receiving the WhyHunger Chapin Award.WHEN: Monday, May 16, 2016WHERE: The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, Pier 61, NYCTICKETS & INFO: www.whyhunger.org/awards Founded in 1975 by the late Harry Chapin, WhyHunger is a leader in building the movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment. WhyHunger works to support, resources and build the capacity of community organizations and social movements that are changing the systems, policies and institutions that perpetuate hunger and poverty in our world.
Pamela Anderson took to the streets of Calais this week with organisations Help Refugees and Refugee Community Kitchen to dish up a nutritious homemade vegan curry and hand out down-free sleeping bags to refugees sleeping rough.PAMELA ANDERSON DISHES UP VEGAN CURRY TO HOMELESS REFUGEES IN CALAISThis action follows the star’s visit to a Dunkirk refugee camp in January, when she joined PETA in handing out warm vegan hats and gloves – along with hundreds of animal-themed activity books and coloured pencils – to children who had been forced to flee their home countries.“I wanted to come and give these people a helping hand and let them know people care. They have lost so much, and I hope a nourishing meal can help make the awful situation they’ve found themselves in a little less awful today. And because it’s vegan, no animals have suffered for it, either”, says Anderson.PETA named Anderson its 2016 Person of the Year for her efforts to encourage vegan eating, for her opposition to circuses that use animals, and for speaking out about fur, among many other actions.
“It was better than I could have dreamed.”This time last week, that dance was just that — a dream. Cohen wanted to put on a show despite her age, but she didn’t have a dance partner. She said she wanted to jive, and jive she did.At 103 years old, Kitty Cohen tore up the dance floor at the VIP Dance Events competition in Mississauga on Sunday, aided by her new partner, pro dancer Blake McGrath.“It was exciting to the point of distinction,” Cohen said, a little breathless, after the performance. Advertisement Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment In an interview with CTV News in July, Toronto’s Cohen, called out to the public: she was on the lookout for someone to spin her ’round the stage.Earlier this week, McGrath — a veteran of So You Think You Can Dance Canada and an internationally acclaimed choreographer — answered her call. Facebook Advertisement
APTN National NewsIs the federal government pushing an agenda to privatize First Nations land? The Department of Indian Affairs has launched a nation-wide tour of reserves on what officials describe as a “special project” aimed at improving economic development on reserves. Critics, however, fear that the feds want to swap Aboriginal Title for business opportunities. APTN National News Vancouver reporter Rob Smith has more. List of 65 First Nations communities selected by Indian Affairs for land privatization study:Draft Indian Affairs letter to chiefs outlining special project to study privatization of reserve lands
APTN National NewsIn this story, we are talking about clients involved in the Independent Assessment Process or IAP. The IAP is a very bureaucratic and complex system set up under the Indian Residential Schools Class Action Settlement Agreement to decide whether the former students deserve to be compensated for physical and sexual abuse they endured in the schools as children – and if so, how much that compensation should be.The IAP deals with those who suffered the most severe harm from the residential schools system. Those who “experienced: sexual abuse, serious physical abuse or other wrongful acts that caused serious psychological consequences.”The IAP is a central element to the story and involves a stunning number of people beyond those Blott and Company lawyers and their clients: it involves many federal bureaucrats, the Assembly of First Nations and many others.An entire new federal government agency was created to make this process work.Called the IAP Secretariat, it reports to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. There are also many Health Canada workers involved in providing health support to former students as they go through the adjudication process. The Justice Department, as always, is heavily involved in any matter that has legal implications for the government of Canada.To add a high-level political twist, on July 11 of this year, the Kainai (Blackfoot) people made Prime Minister Stephen Harper an honorary chief, in recognition of his 2008 apology for residential schools in the House of Commons.Blood Tribe Chief Charles Weasel Head arranged the honorary chieftainship.“My family and I are deeply grateful for this gift and I will carry my Blood name, Chief Speaker, with great joy and pride,” the prime minister said that day.Kainai sources say the words of the prime minister’s apology are seen in their culture as a solemn promise. He will be expected to do what he can to live up to that promise.
APTN National NewsA few dozen Manitoba youth gathered at the first North-End youth forum.The forum hosted break-out sessions and guest speakers all in the effort to hear how the youth view their community and how they want to see it change.As APTN National News reporter Shaneen Robinson explains, these inner city youth are facing many of the same issues Aboriginal young people are facing in urban and rural communities across Canada.