LONDON – Intense media scrutiny of Meghan Markle’s extended family has left a sour taste for many Canadian tourists and expats observing wall-to-wall coverage of the impending royal wedding.The voracious appetite for tidbits on the upcoming nuptials came as a shock to British Columbia tourists Karen and Bill Chandler, who say they were blindsided by reporters during a tour of Windsor Castle on Wednesday.Rather than recounting the grand splendour of the historic home to more than 900 years of royals, the couple’s biggest memory was of journalists and camera crews preparing to cover Saturday’s nuptials.“It’s crazy up there, it’s just crazy,” Bill Chandler exclaimed Thursday after visiting the historic town where Prince Harry will wed Markle, about an hour and a half from London by car.“They’re right in your face.”The retirees didn’t expect their weeklong whirlwind through London to include a glimpse into the media circus surrounding the much-hyped union of Prince Harry and his California fiancee, but it’s a unique memory they will take back with them to Victoria on Sunday.It’s certainly given Karen Chandler a much more sombre view of what could be in store for Markle once she officially joins the royal family.“Just wandering through the castle I was thinking about how the press had affected Diana’s life — they ruined it,” she says.“Just the hounding. (But) I believe she probably is better equipped than Diana was, much better equipped.”A palpable backlash against unflattering stories about Markle’s family history — and in particular her 73-year-old father Thomas Markle — appeared to take root Thursday as the bride announced he will not walk her down the aisle as planned.“I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health,” Markle said in a statement released by Kensington Palace.The elder Markle is said to be recovering from an operation to clear blocked arteries after suffering a heart attack last week.It was the latest turn in a gossip-fuelled saga that turned sadly dark in recent days. Of late, Thomas Markle has been mired in scandal over photographs of wedding preparations that were reportedly staged.At least one outlet appeared to step back from mining estranged family members for dirt Thursday, with “Good Morning Britain” reportedly dropping Markle’s sister-in-law Tracy Dooley from their wedding coverage.The morning TV show was widely reported to have hired Dooley and her kids as TV correspondents for its rolling coverage of the ceremony, despite the fact they were not invited and were believed to have had little contact, if at all, with Markle.And on Tuesday, the same TV show featured a blistering attack on half-sister Samantha Markle, when Piers Morgan accused Markle’s half-sister of being a media “vulture.”History student Clarissa Fehr of Leamington, Ont., says she’s been turned off by relentless gossip coverage of the “Suits” actress — a successful biracial, divorced American who is challenging royal traditions on many levels.“A lot of it just terrorizes her character,” the 22-year-old exchange student says of the coverage she’s observed.“It’s all about her history and what she did to be successful, but then in reality it’s kind of what everyone has to do to be successful.””Fellow exchange student Lauren Johnston agreed, also invoking the tragic death of the late Princess of Wales, who died in a Paris car crash in August 1997.“I feel like the Meghan situation can turn into a Diana situation,” says the 19-year-old Johnston, studying media and communications on an exchange with her school in Abbotsford, B.C.“We saw what Princess Diana had to go through back when she got married and all the health problems that she had, which is unfortunate.”Canadian-born academic Susan Rudy points to a seeming preoccupation with socio-economic class in the British media, detecting an underlying narrative in which Markle is cast as a woman escaping a dark history.“It’s a sad story and she’s ‘escaped’ that, that’s part of the class story — that if you escape that, that’s to be applauded, instead of: What would you lose if you lose contact with a particular group like a class-based group?” says the London, Ont.-born Rudy, who moved to London in 2011.However, not all British media is like that, she’s quick to add.“The thing I like about Britain is that there’s an educated press here — the Guardian, particularly, a person can count on for actual information and facts,” says Rudy, a senior research fellow in the English department at Queen Mary University of LondonStill, there appears to be ravenous demand for salacious stories, notes Johnston, an aspiring journalist.“I’ve looked online at job opportunities here versus Vancouver … and print journalism and newspapers here are really prominent, which I think differs from Canada, as well,” she says.“They’re printing newspapers every day so they just need content constantly.”
OTTAWA – An editorial in the latest Canadian Medical Association Journal says the Trudeau government’s plan to legalize marijuana will put young people at risk by setting 18 as the benchmark minimum age for buying pot.The article says cannabis has harmful effects on young brains, noting that the association recommends the legislation restrict the amount and potency of pot available to those under the age of 25.The Liberal legislation sets 18 as the basic age for purchase and consumption, but allows provinces to raise that to coincide with their age limits for alcohol consumption.The editorial says regular use of cannabis by young people can hurt developing brains.The government says the purpose of the legislation is to protect public health and safety, but the bill falls short of this objective, the editorial argues — especially when it comes to young people.It also predicts that the legislation will result in a substantial increase in impaired driving, particularly among the young.“Simply put, cannabis should not be used by young people,” says the editorial, which appears under the name of Diane Kelsall, the journal’s interim editor-in-chief.The article also opposes a provision in the bill which would allow for personal cultivation of up to four marijuana plants, each no more than one metre in height.“Allowing personal cultivation will increase the risk of diversion and access to cannabis that is not subject to any quality or potency controls,” it says.“This is not consistent with the act’s goals of establishing strict safety and quality requirements for cannabis and restricting its access to youth.”The editorial says the legislation should not become law.“The government appears to be hastening to deliver on a campaign promise without being careful enough about the health impacts of policy…. If Parliament truly cares about the public health and safety of Canadians, especially our youth, this bill will not pass.”The legislation and an accompanying bill tightening up laws against impaired driving are being debated in the House of Commons and the association’s position is playing a role.“Medical evidence indicates marijuana impacts brain development up to age 25 and we believe it affects brain function after that,” Conservative MP David Anderson said during debate on Monday.“This government seems to think that 18 is OK. The public disagrees, all polls show that.“How is the government going to address this issue seriously of young people being exposed to this drug prior to when they should be?”
North Carolina-based company Kidde, along with Health Canada and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, have recalled nearly 500,000 smoke detectors that might not be able to detect smoke.This recall involves two models — PI2010CA and PI9010CA — of Kidde dual-sensor photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms manufactured between Sept. 10, 2016, and Oct. 13, 2017. Model numbers can be found on the back of the units.“A yellow cap left on during the manufacturing process can cover one of the two smoke sensors and compromise the smoke alarm’s ability to detect smoke,” Health Canada says.Around 40,000 units of the affected products were sold in Canada, while around 452,000 units were sold in in the U.S. The alarms were sold from Nov. 1, 2016, to Jan. 25, 2018.Kiddle says that as of March 7, they haven’t received any reports of incidents or injuries related to the defected smoke alarms.Click here for instructions on how to find out if your smoke alarm has the yellow cap.Anyone with the affected smoke alarms can register for replacements online or by by calling 833-551-7739.Kidde also recalled 38 million fire extinguishers last year. They had a design flaw that could have prevented them from working and parts of the extinguisher could detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.
EDMONTON – A caribou researcher says Alberta’s decision to suspend portions of its draft plan to help the threatened animals recover is the first major test of the federal Species at Risk Act.The province has sent Ottawa a letter that raises concerns about the socio-economic impacts of the recovery plan.“It’s a bit surprising and dramatic but it’s actually not, really,” said University of Montana biologist Mark Hebblewhite, who is part of a science advisory group on boreal caribou for Environment Canada. “Not just myself, but lots of other people have seen a showdown like this coming.“Caribou to me are the biggest national test case of the Species at Risk Act in Canada. To date, we have had very inexpensive species-at-risk problems. This is not an inexpensive species-at-risk problem.”Alberta’s draft plan is designed to help threatened woodland caribou recover in 15 different ranges.The province plans to spend more than $85 million in the next five years to restore caribou habitat by eliminating seismic lines, building birthing pens and bringing in other measures. It has already invested $9.2 million and the estimated cost over the next 40 years is more than $1 billion.“Caribou recovery cannot occur without an infusion of federal funds to restore habitat necessary to ensure population growth,” said the letter from Environment Minister Shannon Phillips to federal counterpart Catherine McKenna.Phillips said the province will suspend consideration of conservation lands pending further review and the outcome of a socio-economic impact study.A scientist in Edmonton said he’s seen similar responses on caribou from past Alberta governments.“When you see governments start to move to any real efforts to conserve caribou, they run up against this enormous task,” said Stan Boutin, a professor at the University of Alberta.“The reality of it is that things have been changed so much —particularly in Alberta because of our activities — that fixing the problem now is going to cost an enormous amount of money, probably would mean jobs and all of the bad things government doesn’t want to deal with.”The federal government should have done an independent socio-economic analysis at the same time as scientific analysis under the Species at Risk Act, Hebblewhite added.“The bill is here and now they’re all, ‘That’s a lot of money,’” he said. “It’s a little too late to fix the problem easily.“Asking the federal government for money … is actually kind of reasonable. It’s just going to ripple across the country.”Other provinces have started to raise similar concerns about how to pay for saving caribou.Earlier this month, the Quebec government said it would be too expensive to try to save a small herd whose habitat has been decimated by human activity. The province estimated it would cost $76 million to help the 18 remaining animals in the Val-d’Or herd, with a slim chance of success.An emailed statement from McKenna said the federal government is committed to protecting caribou.“We’re working with provinces, including Quebec and Alberta, as well as stakeholders and Indigenous communities, to address challenges facing this iconic species,” said the email.It added that Ottawa earmarked $1.3 billion over five years in its recent budget to expand protected areas and help endangered and threatened species.Ottawa is set to publish a report in April on steps being taken by provinces to protect critical habitat.If it’s determined that boreal caribou or critical habitat are not being protected, the federal government could impose a cabinet order that would allow the act to be applied on provincial lands.It would prohibit any development, such as oil drilling and forestry, that could harm the animals.“Any attempt by the federal government to do so will be subject to a decade of litigation,” said Shaun Fluker, an environmental law professor at the University of Calgary. “By then the caribou could very well be extirpated from Alberta.”— Follow @cderworiz on Twitter
HUMBOLDT, Sask. – About 2,500 hockey fans chanted “go Broncos go” one final time today for a 19-year-old described as “the classic underdog hockey player.”Jacob Leicht was one of 16 people who have died after a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos and a truck collided last Friday at a rural intersection north of Tisdale.His funeral was held today at the rink in his hometown of Humboldt.Family friend and former coach Shaun Gardiner says Leicht wasn’t a big player, but what he lacked in size he made up for in hard work.Three of Leicht’s teammates were at the service — one receiving applause as he was brought in in a wheelchair.His mother, Celeste Leicht, says people should help one another and asked the audience to do one final thing for her son.She asked for 11 chants of “go Broncos go” followed by the blowing of horns and noisemakers for 11 seconds to honour her son’s jersey number.
HUMBOLDT, Sask. – Darcy Haugan was remembered Saturday not just as the head coach of the Humboldt Broncos, but as a family man who led by example on and off the ice.Haugan, who was 42, was one of the 16 people who died on board a bus that was carrying the junior hockey team to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask., on April 6.The bus and a semi-truck collided at a rural intersection north of Tisdale.Thirteen others were injured.“Today marks just over a week since a terrible tragedy struck this community. In the wake of this crash 16 people have left the earth before their time, 16 families are grieving with the memory and countless lives have been changed as a result of this event,” said Haugan’s brother-in-law Adam George at the service at Elgar Petersen Arena where the Broncos play their games.“Since his death there have been so many stories shared about his life. There’s no point in me standing before you and telling more stories about Darcy. This building is already full with them.”Haugan was a devout Christian who would pray before work in his office and before bed with his sons Carson, 12, and Jackson, 9.His friend, Pastor Sean Brandow, was the chaplain for the Broncos. He said Haugan was far from perfect, but he was a good man.“Darcy always sought to do what was right. He didn’t always do it, but he sought to do it. He wanted to do it,” Brandow said with a chuckle.“He wanted to communicate better. If you’ve ever tried to talk to Darcy, sometimes it would be like trying to talk to a squirrel in a roomful of nuts,” he said.“He’s over here and then you’re watching a video about Seinfeld and you don’t know where he’s going to go next.”Amanda White said she was the “tag along little sister” when her older sister, Christina, started dating Haugan. She eventually moved with them to Haugan’s hometown of Peace River, Alta., and the two of them just clicked.“I wasn’t sure there was a man on this earth that was good enough for my big sister. I was so proud to walk into the arena and having coach Darcy Haugan being my brother-in-law,” she said.“Darcy was an amazing part of our family and we will forever hold him close to our hearts. Forever in our hearts. I’ll always love you Darc.”Seven players wearing Humboldt Broncos jerseys, including one in a wheelchair, were sitting in the crowd as were former players from the North Peace Navigators where Haugan had been head coach.George said Haugan was a good family man, and a coach and mentor off of the ice.“As a coach we know that what happens on the ice is not nearly as important as when players took their skates off outside. He worked hard to lead the young men in his care to become people who live their lives with integrity.”Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
HALIFAX – Somewhere in Halifax, a large statue honouring British commander Edward Cornwallis — founder of the historic port city — is gathering dust.In a move that made international headlines, city council ordered the statue cut from its downtown pedestal and hauled away this winter amid a heated debate over Cornwallis’s role in a bloody conflict with Nova Scotia’s Indigenous people in the mid-1700s.Local resident Beth Anne MacEachen says the statue should never have been erected in the first place.“He didn’t deserve that type of notoriety,” she says. “To celebrate him is not what we should be doing.”But the source of MacEachen’s disdain for Cornwallis extends beyond his sordid deeds in Canada.Cornwallis, as it turns out, was no friend of Scottish Highlanders, many of whom would later emigrate to Nova Scotia, which is Latin for New Scotland.“I don’t think Nova Scotians realize that what happened with the Mi’kmaq was part of a second wave of Cornwallis’s cruelty … It wasn’t taught in school,” says MacEachen, a descendant of Scottish immigrants and president of The Scots North British Society, based in Halifax.“If they knew about Cornwallis and what he did to their great, great, great grandparents (in Scotland) … then more people would be up in arms about this monument.”Almost a third of Nova Scotia’s residents can trace their roots to Gaelic-speaking settlers from the islands and Highlands of Scotland, according to the provincial government’s Office of Gaelic Affairs. To this day, about 2,000 residents still speak Gaelic, and the language is taught at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton.Still, it’s a safe bet most Nova Scotians have no idea what Cornwallis did before he founded Halifax with a group of settlers and soldiers in June 1749.“He, as a figure, is not someone I would want to celebrate, knowing my history,” says Allan MacMaster, member of the provincial legislature for the Cape Breton riding that shares its name with the Scottish city of Inverness.MacMaster, whose ancestors came from the Highlands to Nova Scotia in the early 1800s, says the British had engaged in the systematic “ethnic cleansing” of Gaelic Highlanders for hundreds of years, and Cornwallis was part of that deadly drive.In 1745, four years before Cornwallis arrived in Halifax, he was dispatched to Scotland to help crush a rebellion led by Roman Catholic Scottish leader Charles Edward Stuart, later known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.And on April 16, 1746 — 272 years ago Monday — British soldiers killed as many as 2,000 Jacobite warriors in a decisive battle at Culloden.But the killing wasn’t over.British troops pushed farther into the Highlands to hunt for fleeing rebels.Cornwallis led 320 soldiers to “pacify” an area of northwestern Scotland. Properties were looted and burned, livestock was driven off, crops were destroyed and some Jacobite families were burned alive in their homes.“They had full permission to plunder, burn and destroy through the western part of the Highlands — the part of Scotland where many of the ancestors of the people of (Nova Scotia’s) Inverness County and Antigonish County and eastern Pictou County come from,” MacMaster says.The details of Cornwallis’s terror campaign are detailed in a journal kept by Michael Hughes, one of his soldiers.“What Cornwallis did (in Nova Scotia) to the Mi’kmaq was no different than the attitude that was shown to the Gaels in Scotland,” says MacMaster, whose grandfather’s first language was Gaelic.While the story of Cornwallis’s grim tour of duty in the Highlands is not well known in Nova Scotia, his ugly legacy remains raw in Scotland.After his statue was removed on Jan. 31 in Halifax, Scotland’s national newspaper, The Scotsman, carried a story that described the lieutenant-general’s harsh treatment of the Mi’kmaq, as well as his previous orders to “plunder, burn and destroy” in western Scotland.John Reid, a history professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, says Cornwallis’s punitive campaign went on for months.“With the involvement of Cornwallis, among others, there certainly was a great deal of violence after the battle of Culloden,” he says.“The reality is that they were doing more than killing rebels, though the evidence is pretty sparse … But it’s reasonably clear there were some elements of random killing.”However, MacMaster stressed that recalling Cornwallis’s brutal behaviour in Scotland should in no way diminish what he did to the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia.Though the Mi’kmaq had initially greeted Cornwallis with hospitality, he quickly asserted British control over the region and signed a treaty with Maliseet chiefs — leaving the Mi’kmaq as the sole Indigenous group opposed to colonial rule.The Mi’kmaq declared war on the British, attacking military, shipping and trade targets.On Oct. 2, 1749, Cornwallis and his military council approved an infamous proclamation to “take or destroy the savages.” The decree promised a reward of “ten Guineas for every Indian Micmac taken, or killed, to be paid upon producing such savage taken or his scalp.”In recent years, there has been a spirited debate in Nova Scotia over Cornwallis’s legacy, as activists repeatedly staged protests at the foot of the statue to denounce the former governor as a genocidal tyrant.As for his bloody campaigns in Scotland, those gruesome stories are adding a new dimension to the public discussion.Later this month, on April 21, near the rural community of Knoydart, N.S., hundreds of people are expected to gather at a coastal cairn that commemorates those killed at the Battle of Culloden.The cairn, erected in 1938, pays tribute to Angus MacDonald, Hugh MacDonald and John MacPherson, three men who fought for Clan Ranald Regiment and are now buried near the monument.The ceremony has been held every year since 1982.“If you go along the coast in Antigonish County, you’ll see (Scottish) place names like Arisaig, Moidart, Knoydart,” says MacMaster. “Those are the very places where Cornwallis was plundering, burning and murdering.”Despite Cornwallis’s ignominious past, Halifax city council voted last fall to launch a special advisory committee that will provide advice on what to do with Cornwallis commemorations, as well as make recommendations for honouring Indigenous history.“There is no commitment to any course of action on the statue at this point,” Shaune MacKinlay, spokesperson for Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, said last week in an emailed statement. “This will be determined at a later date by council with the benefit of the recommendations from the committee.”MacEachen says if the Cornwallis statue is returned to public view, it should be accompanied by displays that offer historical context.“The statue does have a place in Halifax’s history, but I do not feel that Cornwallis deserves to be commemorated with something like a park,” she says.“We could tell people why he came here and where he had come from, instead of just celebrating the man. I don’t think this man deserves to be celebrated at all.”
HALIFAX – Protesters had a minor scuffle with a member of a Calgary-based group with controversial views on immigration Friday evening during a gathering the group held in a downtown Halifax park after it was refused three indoor venues.The National Citizens Alliance had arranged to meet in Victoria Park, after being told they were no longer allowed to host a town hall at a Royal Canadian Legion in Halifax.Three or four members of the alliance gathered near the park, while more than two dozen protesters loudly chanted their opposition to the group’s views.Reporters watched as several members of the alliance retreated across the street toward the entrance area of the Lord Nelson Hotel, where protesters followed them.One protester argued with an alliance member while another wrestled a sign out of his hands and tore it to pieces.Flanked by police, the two sides engaged in a shouting match before the alliance members walked away to an unknown location.“We definitely showed them that Halifax won’t stand for xenophobia and Islamophobia,” said activist Jessica Dueling after the men left. “We showed them that we stand together as a community today, that we stand with all our neighbours.”The National Citizens Alliance had been set to host its meeting at a legion branch in Halifax’s north end Friday evening, but the event was cancelled by the legion on Thursday.“The original booking was made by an individual for a private function. When RCL Branch 27 learned that the booking was intended as a town hall meeting for the National Citizens Alliance, the booking was cancelled,” Valerie Mitchell-Veinotte, executive director of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command, told Global News.The alliance promotes the idea of “integration” of new arrivals into what it calls the “basic cultural norms of Canada,” as well as a belief that political correctness threatens Canada’s identity and culture.The group was recently banned from participating in the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, whose organizers apologized on Sunday after the NCA walked in its parade.“We apologize to anyone who may have felt unsafe at the Grand Street Parade because of this political party’s attendance and derogatory messaging,” organizers of the week-long festival in Kentville, N.S., said in a statement.Stephen Garvey, leader of the NCA, said on Thursday that he rejects the characterization of the alliance, adding that no one in his party made hateful comments or uttered any hate speech.Garvey added his group doesn’t tolerate racism, and argued that his organization was taking part in the parade just like other political parties were. The NCA is not an officially registered party but has committed to running candidates in the 2019 federal election.“They’re the ones dividing people,” he said. “If we offended people, that’s their problem, not ours. As far as we’re concerned, we probably added some nice spice to the festival.”Garvey said the group wanted to host a town hall at the Halifax legion to clear up the confusion that has plagued it since it made headlines with its role in the apple blossom festival.Among the group’s core tenets is the goal of implementing a “strong no-nonsense immigration policy that puts the well-being and safety of the Canadian people first and implementing a temporary pause and substantial reduction in immigration.”
VANCOUVER – Researchers say an endangered orca’s “tour of grief” is over after she spent nearly three weeks towing her dead calf around the Pacific Ocean.The Center for Whale Research says the killer whale, known as J35, was spotted without her baby while she “vigorously chased a school of salmon” for about a kilometre over the weekend.The centre says J35 appears to be in good health based on telephoto images, in spite of concerns that she may not be able to forage for food while carrying around the carcass.It says there had been reports “from brief sightings by whale-watchers” two days ago of J35 without her calf in the Georgia Strait near Vancouver.The centre says the carcass likely sank to the bottom of the Salish Sea, and researchers may not get a chance to perform a necropsy.J35 was spotted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada while they were searching for another of the 75 southern resident killer whales, labelled an endangered species in both Canada and the United States.Her calf was born and died on July 24, and researchers say she towed it around for more than 1,500 kilometres.
TORONTO – Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa and Saudi Arabia are affecting some people’s ability to perform what’s seen in the faith as a fundamental religious right.They say many currently embarking on hajj, a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, are anxious about their travel arrangements in light of the simmering spat, which has seen the country’s state airline cancel flights to and from Canada.At least one travel agent also says some would-be pilgrims decided not to follow through on their travel plans after tensions between the two countries flared up unexpectedly earlier this month.The diplomatic dispute began when Canada’s Ministry of Global Affairs sent a tweet calling for Saudi Arabia to “immediately release” two women’s rights activists currently detained in jail.The kingdom reacted by severing diplomatic ties, suspending future trade, recalling students from Canadian schools and cancelling the state airline’s operations in Canada.People in contact with hajj participants say the move involving the airline has complicated return travel plans for many, and add that they are anticipating other post-pilgrimage issues.“We are having a lot of problems,” said Syed Ahmed, Operation Manager at King Travel agency specializing in trips related to hajj and other religious occasions. “Almost we can say 25 per cent of people are asking for a refund.”Ahmed said travellers booked with the Mississauga, Ont., agency frequently flew to the kingdom using Saudia, the state airline that previously operated at least two direct routes departing from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.But Saudia cancelled those routes effective Monday, leaving travellers who used their services to reach the country with questions as to how they can return home.Ahmed said Saudia has offered to cover the costs of transferring tickets to other airlines, but said spaces — already at a premium during the hectic hajj season — are extremely hard to find.But logistical arrangements are only part of the problem, according to Imam Syed Soharwardy, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.Hajj, which officially gets under way later this week, looms large in the consciousness of all practising Muslims, Soharwardy said.All followers of Islam with the physical and financial means to make the pilgrimage are expected to do so once in their lifetime, he said. Those who undertake the trip to Mecca seek forgiveness of past sins and hope to draw closer to God.The annual pilgrimage draws people from around the world to Saudi Arabia each year. The crowds, squeezed shoulder to shoulder in prayer five times a day, fill the city of Mecca and surrounding areas to perform a number of physically demanding and intricate rites.Soharwardy said members of congregations spanning from Montreal to Vancouver who are making the trip fear they won’t be in a fit state to deal with the hassles of shifting, uncertain travel arrangements.“Whether the person is a very young man or woman or old man or woman, they get so tired because hajj is not easy,” he said. “Hajj is a very cumbersome, tiring ritual and some people get sick.”Many, he said, also feel anxious about the prospect of travelling on a Canadian passport at a time when open suspicion of Ottawa seems to dominate among Saudi authorities.But Soharwardy said many wary travellers will forge ahead with their plans, saying most have spent years saving up for a once-in-a-lifetime journey or may fear their physical condition could change and leave them unable to go through with the arduous pilgrimage another time.Soharwardy called on the Canadian government to offer support to pilgrims who may encounter difficulties.The Canadian government has maintained talks with Saudi authorities, but has refused to back down on its critical stance against the kingdom’s human rights practices.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said Ottawa would like to improve its relationship with Saudi Arabia, but will not sacrifice Canada’s position on human rights.
CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Next month’s Remembrance Day marks a century since World War I ended, and Maclean’s Magazine has put together an ambitious project to honour each Canadian killed in the fighting.The latest issue has 66,349 different covers — each one with a name and a story, plus one for the Unknown Soldier.Maclean’s Editor-in-Chief Alison Uncles was inspired by the War Museum in Ottawa, moved by a Vimy Ridge display with a wall of lights, each representing a soldier who died.“When you walked closer to the wall, your presence could make the light shine brighter, and that concept just took my breath away. I found it so moving. The idea of the present illuminating the past, and the present interacting in some way with the past,” she said.An online database allows readers to look up the attestation papers of the person whose name is on their cover.“The name that I have is Edgar Charles Drury. He’s the magazine that’s on my desk, and he died April 1, 1916, and he was 26 years old,” Uncles said.“He was born in Wales, he was a farmer, he lists his mother as his next of kin. His mother’s name is Jane, and it’s just so — so personal. Those details are so granular, and moving.”Canadians can also request a special copy be printed, honouring a family member.Uncles said this year, more than ever, it is important to remember and take that moment of silence.“Really take the time to say some names, and understand what a sacrifice it was, and the degree to which that has helped form and shape the Canada that we are honoured to live in today,” she said.“I’ve made that connection with someone who died 100 years ago, and that’s a pretty incredible thing.” Listen to 660’s Audrey Whelan’s full interview with Alison Uncles, Editor-in-Chief of Maclean’s Magazine:Audio Playerhttps://www.660citynews.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/sites/8/2018/10/11/alison-uncles-raw.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
WASHINGTON — Weather in Toronto has thrown a wrench in the foreign-affairs minister’s plans for an international gathering in Washington where world leaders are talking about the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.Chrystia Freeland had been scheduled to attend events throughout the day at the State Department meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, but flight delays kept her away from the morning plenary session, as well as the group photo with leaders from the 79-member coalition.A spokesman for Freeland says she is attending today’s working lunch, as well as this afternoon’s speech by President Donald Trump, before heading to Capitol Hill for a meeting with the chairman of the Senate foreign-relations committee.The U.S.-led coalition is wrestling with Trump’s plan to pull troops out of Syria, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is insisting the administration will not abdicate its leadership role.Trump has suggested he wants to continue to use U.S. resources in Iraq to monitor the situation in Syria, and that American assets can be quickly mobilized if a return to the country is necessary.Pompeo says U.S. tactics may have changed, but the mission to eradicate the group, which is variously also known as ISIL, ISIS and Daesh, has not.The Canadian Press
A self-styled online media personality whose websites frequently air anti-Muslim content has been ordered to pay the owner of a prominent Middle Eastern restaurant chain millions of dollars after publicly accusing him of funding terrorism.Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane Ferguson ordered Kevin J. Johnston to pay a total of $2.5 million in damages for defamation to Mohamad Fakih, the owner and founder of Paramount Fine Foods.Johnston, who operated websites including FreedomReport.ca and recently came in second place in Mississauga’s mayoral race, posted multiple videos attacking Fakih.In the videos, shot in 2017, Johnston made a series of incendiary statements including a claim Fakih was an “economic terrorist” with backing from the Pakistani spy agency.He also alleged restaurant policy barred staff from admitting anyone who wasn’t a “jihadist.”Ferguson says Johnston’s words amounted to hate speech that called for particularly strong condemnation from the court.“In this fractious 21st century — where social media and the internet now allow some of the darkest forces in our society to achieve attention — (issues raised by the case) are numerous and profound, and their impact extends well beyond the borders of this country,” she wrote in her decision released Monday.“Motivated by ignorance and a reckless regard for acceptable norms, the Johnston defendants’ behaviour reflects a contempt for Canada’s judicial process, an abuse of the very freedoms this country affords them and a loathsome example of hate speech at its worst.”Johnston did not respond to a request for reaction to Ferguson’s ruling, and the paralegal who represented him during the defamation suit could not be reached for comment.According to Ferguson’s decision, Johnston and another man shot the video footage on July 20, 2017, while a fundraiser for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was taking place at Paramount’s flagship location in Mississauga.Ferguson said the men repeatedly tried to disrupt the event and made a number of defamatory statements about the restaurant and Fakih, who founded Paramount in 2007 and has seen it expand to roughly 40 locations across Canada.The footage yielded at least eight event videos that contained a number of what Ferguson deemed to be defamatory statements.The videos also featured Paramount’s facade and logo and a photograph of Fakih altered to present him with blood on his hands, Ferguson wrote.When served with notice of the defamation suit, Ferguson contends Johnston doubled down on his claims in a series of new videos in which he described Fakih as a “radical Muslim” who “hates white people.”Tensions escalated in April 2018, she wrote, when Johnston allegedly approached Fakih while he was at a Mississauga shopping mall with his children aged between 13 and four.The resulting encounter, briefly posted to Johnston’s online platforms, left Fakih’s youngest child waking in the middle of the night asking about “the scary man who hates his dad,” Ferguson said in her decision.The other man who appeared in Johnston’s videos and who was originally named in the defamation suit saw the action against him dismissed after he issued an “unqualified apology” for his words and actions.In contrast, Ferguson alleged Johnston repeatedly failed to co-operate with the court process and cast public aspersions on both the case and the judge overseeing it.At one point, her decision said he went so far as to accuse Fakih of launching the suit in league with the woman who ultimately defeated him during Mississauga’s 2018 mayoral race. While the incumbent was re-elected with 76 per cent of the vote, city election results show Johnston took 13.5 per cent of ballots cast and placed second in the contest.Ferguson awarded Fakih damages based on his standing in the community, the seriousness of the defamatory statements, the extent of their publication, the lack of an apology from Johnston and the defendant’s conduct.She accepted Fakih’s contention that both his business interests and personal reputation were impacted by Johnston’s baseless claims.“The serious damage to the plaintiffs’ reputations from the Johnston defendants’ repeated and widely disseminated false statements … may never be able to be undone,” she wrote. “As recognized by the Court of Appeal, given the ‘extraordinary capacity’ of the internet to replicate defamatory statements ‘almost endlessly,’ the truth rarely catches up with a lie.”In a statement, Fakih said Ferguson’s ruling is a triumph over racism and hate speech.“When someone falsely calls you a ‘terrorist’ simply because you are a Muslim, that is Islamophobia,” he said. “This judgment sends a clear message that such Islamophobic comments are wrong and defamatory. I feel vindicated. This decision is an important step towards demonstrating that those who are spewing hate online are going to have to pay.” Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press
Following a rigorous three-month campaign, which saw A-list celebrities, including Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson, join tens of thousands of people in calling for the release of an elephant from a temple in India, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) UK can confirm that Sunder will soon be freed and on his way to a better life.Thanks to an order just issued by Forest Minister Dr Patangrao Shripatrao Kadam, the 13-year-old elephant, who has been kept chained inside a dark shed at Jyotiba Temple in the Indian district of Maharashtra for seven years, is to be moved from the temple and rehabilitated at a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre near Bangalore.Paul McCartney interrupted his Olympic rehearsals to plead for the elephant, and Pamela Anderson was reduced to tears by Sunder’s plight.Sunder, a prisoner of the temple since 2005, has a hole in his ear caused by an ankus – an iron rod with a hook at the end – in addition to scars all over his body and a severely injured eye that’s probably the result of a beating. Two weeks ago, Sunder became violent and uncontrollable in response to the abuse that he has suffered at the hands of his mahout (or handler) and temple authorities, tearing down a pillar and trying to flee his captors. He was subdued and returned to his life in chains.“The difference between Sunder’s cruel life in chains at the temple and his new journey to freedom, love and care is like night and day”, says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. “Daily walks and mental stimulation are essential to an elephant’s mental and physical health. Lack of exercise and years spent standing in one position on hard surfaces amid their own waste often lead to painful and crippling foot ailments and arthritis. We are grateful to the Forest Minister for agreeing to liberate Sunder and let him enjoy things that are natural and important to him for the first time in his life.”The abuse of Sunder highlights the growing scandal over the way elephants used in Indian temples to represent the Hindu god Ganesha are being housed and mistreated. Frequently controlled through beatings and prodded and gouged in sensitive areas behind their knees and ears, they often languish without veterinary care and are fed unsuitable food. Many elephants at Indian temples also show signs of severe psychological distress – such as swaying, head-bobbing and weaving – behaviour not found in healthy elephants in their natural habitats.Source:PETA UK
Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge joined more than 70 SportsAid athletes past and present – including several Olympians and Paralympians – at the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park last week for her first engagement as the charity’s patron.The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of SportsAid, sits in on a SportsAid Athlete Workshop at the Copper Box, in east London, to see how young athletes are benefiting from help from one of her charities.Credit/Copyright: DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.orgWhile the athletes played CP football, badminton, wheelchair basketball and volleyball, and tried their hand at fencing, the Duchess was introduced by SportsAid’s Chief Executive Tim Lawler to 14-year-old badminton player Callum Hemming from Milton Keynes, 17-year triathlete Eliza Cottington from Teddington, 17-year-old boxer Jenna O’Reilly from Eltham, 17-year-old sprinter Kyle Powell from Heston, 16-year-old wheelchair basketball player Megan Wood from Hythe in Kent, 20-year-old judoka Nekoda Davis from London, 17-year-old fencer Rubin Amsalem from London and 18-year-old volleyball player Toby French from Chelmsford.The Duchess even gave volleyball a go herself, playing several rallies with a group of SportsAid athletes including England men’s volleyball squad member Jordan Dalrymple, who is 20 and from London.After this the athletes learnt about social media and media interview techniques from Fiona Cotterill and James Pearce with swimmer Karen Pickering and wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan, got top nutrition tips from Jenny Tschiesche with rower Steve Williams, and later enjoyed the rare chance to ask diver Leon Taylor, rower Katherine Grainger, swimmer Steve Parry and middle-distance runner Danny Crates what it takes to compete at the top of your sport.As SportsAid’s patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge is helping to shine a light on the achievements and potential of young athletes throughout the UK – an inspiring generation who one day hope to represent the nation at the Olympic or Paralympic Games.SportsAid alumnus Sir Chris Hoy welcomed the patronage by saying, “SportsAid played an important role when I was starting out so I know what a huge boost this will be to the young sportsmen and women the charity helps today. As patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will give them the profile they deserve.”Source:SportsAid.org.uk
In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 and throughout the month, the Avon Foundation for Women is proud to be working with Megan Fox to spread awareness of domestic violence.Megan Fox Wearing BraceletShe is partnering to with Avon to spread awareness for the Empowerment Tennis Bracelet, which will donate 100% of the net profit from the bracelet to the Avon Foundation Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative to fund programs to end violence against women.The Avon Foundation is also hosting a series of events throughout the entire month to celebrate women’s empowerment worldwide.“The Avon Empowerment Tennis Bracelet is a simple way to raise funds to help break the cycle of violence against women. In honor of International Women’s Day, I urge you to join me in making a difference by purchasing, wearing or giving the Empowerment Bracelet to help women everywhere live a life free from violence,” said Megan.The bracelet costs only $5, and is available here.
A native of Sarepta, Louisiana, Trace Adkins is coming home to headline a concert at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 5 during “Muddin’ for the Military” at Muddy Bottoms ATV & Recreation Park.Muddin’ for the Military is presented by SuperATV. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. on July 3 and the park remains open through Sunday, July 6 for the muddiest July 4th weekend event in the country.“This is my hometown,” said Trace Adkins. “It’ll be nice to come back home and see something that’s not only great for the area and the folks who live there, but also puts Sarepta on the map because it’s the biggest, baddest mud park in the country.”Muddy Bottoms and H.O.P.E. Outdoor Adventures have teamed up to host the 3rd Annual Muddin’ for the Military. Proceeds from the event will support Lone Star Warrior Outdoor, which provides all-expenses-paid hunting or fishing trips for wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.“I can’t think of a more fun way to support and celebrate our country’s war veterans than what we’re doing at Muddy Bottoms, the nation’s premier ATV park, over 4th of July weekend,” said Harold Hunt, Owner of SuperATV. “We’ll have a great time doing our duty to raise funds that will be used to reward our troops for the sacrifices they’ve made.”“In addition to the Trace Adkins concert on Saturday, events will be happening all weekend at the park that are sure to create lasting memories for the mud riders who turn out,” said Jeff Drost, Park Manager of Muddy Bottoms. “There will be a huge fireworks show on July 4th at 9:00 p.m., live and silent auctions with proceeds benefiting Lone Star Warrior Outdoor, as well as races with some of the fastest ATVs and SXSs around as part of the Xtreme Mud Racing Series. It will be an action-packed weekend, supporting a great cause.”Tickets for Muddin’ for the Military are on-sale now for $55 a person at www.muddybottomsatv.com; admission is $60 at the gate. In addition to the concert, the entrance fee is good for the entire weekend of mud riding fun.From live music at the giant outdoor amphitheatre and ATV races, to a wide array of mud bogs and miles of trails that are sure to challenge riders of every skill level, Muddy Bottoms is an ATV-rider’s paradise. To stay up to date on everything happening at Muddy Bottoms, like them on Facebook at www.FB.com/muddybottomsatv.
Jack Johnson recently signed the One Ocean, One Island Earth Pledge in support of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.Founded on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, the Polynesian Voyaging Society seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging through experiential educational programs. Covering 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, and 26 countries, the current Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage will highlight diverse cultural and natural treasures and the importance of working together to protect them.Jack along with Nainoa Thompson visited Mālama Honua Charter School this month to share the message of caring for our oceans and Island Earth.You can join the movement, at www.hokulea.com.Source:JackJohnsonMusic.com
Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan, actor/singer Ioan Gruffudd, and Zachary Levi come together at Carnegie Hall on Friday, December 4th to perform at Tim Janis The American Christmas Carol.The American Christmas Carol benefit concert for Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation and The Sarah McLachlan School of MusicThe benefit concert is put together by Music of Hope for Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation, which celebrates and fosters awareness of those living with autism and The Sarah McLachlan School of Music, which provides top-quality, no-cost music instruction in a safe and nurturing environment for at-risk and underserved children and youth.Additional guest performers include Dove Award-winner Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, The Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra, The American Boychoir, and conductors Julien Benichou and Matt Vanzini.Tickets for Tim Janis, The American Christmas Carol will be available via CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800 and at www.carnegiehall.org starting October 16th at 11am. A special 20% fan appreciation discount code will be offered Oct 16 @ 11am, expiring Oct 19 @ 11:59pm. Code: JAN22780Get your tickets here.
On Monday, February 29, 2016, experience An Evening With Neil Young when Fathom Events, Warner Bros. Records and AARP present a special, one-night screening of the critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic musical comedy, “Human Highway,” along with the Neil Young’s concert feature, “Rust Never Sleeps,” in select movie theaters nationwide live at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT / 6 p.m. MT and tape-delayed to 7:30 p.m. PT, HI and AK.The special cinematic event also features an exclusive live Q&A with Cameron Crowe interviewing Young and his eclectic cast, which includes Gerald V. Casale of Devo, Russ Tamblyn and Charlotte Stewart.Audiences will first enjoy “Human Highway,” Young’s 1982 comedy starring Tamblyn, Stewart, Dean Stockwell, Dennis Hopper and Devo, in an all new digital restoration. Then, “Rust Never Sleeps,” the full-length feature about Young’s 1978 concert tour, will give cinema audiences a spectacular set list full of Young’s most popular songs, showcasing classic hits such as “I Am a Child,” featuring Crazy Horse, “Cinnamon Girl,” “Like a Hurricane” and both the acoustic and electric versions of his landmark song “Hey Hey, My My.”Tickets for “An Evening With Neil Young” can be purchased online beginning Friday, January 15, by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network.With multiple GRAMMYs, Juno Awards and many other notable accolades earned during his illustrious career, Neil Young is one of the most influential musicians of the generation. The New York Times described “Rust Never Sleeps” as offering “some of [Young’s] strongest songs, both new and old, in performances as fine or finer than those on his recent, partly live record album of the same title,” and said “the intensity of the singing and playing of Crazy Horse, Mr. Young’s longtime partners for electric-rock projects, is as moving as rock can offer.”John Rubey, Fathom Events CEO, said, “We are proud to present ‘An Evening With Neil Young’ to fans across the nation. Music lovers will get a unique opportunity to experience over three-and-a-half hours of landmark rock n’ roll entertainment from one of music’s most beloved singer-songwriters.”“Neil Young is a singular talent and an icon of American popular music, and we are proud and honored to support this event, knowing full well how much our members will enjoy it,” said Robert Love, editor in chief of AARP The Magazine. “I have many fond memories of seeing Neil and Crazy Horse at the Fillmore East in New York City, solo at Carnegie Hall, and have followed his career since Buffalo Springfield.”