New Delhi: India has asked Pakistan to provide “unimpeded” consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav in an environment free from the “fear of intimidation” and reprisal, in sync with the ruling by the International Court of Justice in his case, official sources said on Friday. Earlier this week, Pakistan sent India a proposal offering consular access to Jadhav on Friday. On Thursday, India sent a communication to Pakistan making clear its position that the consular access must be “unimpeded” and should be in the light of the judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Official sources said Pakistan’s response to India’s communication is now awaited. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The External Affairs Ministry on Thursday said it was evaluating Pakistan’s offer of granting consular access to Jadhav in the ICJ judgement in the case. There were reports that Pakistan had put some conditions to grant consular access to Jadhav. One of the conditions reportedly was the presence of a Pakistani official when the Indian prisoner is allowed to meet Indian officials as part of the consular access. Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017 following which India had moved the ICJ. Following the ICJ order, India has asked Pakistan to grant full consular access to Jadhav at the earliest in “full compliance and conformity” of the world court’s verdict. In its 42-page order, the court, while rejecting Pakistan’s objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav. The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.
Shimla: The ruling BJP and the Congress in Himachal Pradesh are at loggerheads over the issue of relaxation in restrictions on the purchase of land in the state.While the ruling party is in favour of easing the norms, the Congress has decided to oppose changes in the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972. Vice-president of state BJP Ganesh Dutt said they were in favour of making some ‘practical and genuine’ amendments to the law, allowing erstwhile agriculturists of the state to buy land without permission. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’On the other hand, Congress state general secretary Vikramaditya Singh said no relaxation in the law would be allowed and their party would move a motion in the Vidhan Sabha in the monsoon session against any such attempt. Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act bars the transfer of land to non-agriculturists, Himachalis or non-Himachalis without permission from the state government. However, sub section 2 (g) gives non-agriculturists the right to purchase a house or land for building a house from the Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority without permission. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KCommenting on the issue, Dutt said, “The BJP is of the view that those people whose ancestors were agriculturists and owned agriculture land but sold it before the implementation of the Act in 1972 to start some other business, should be allowed to buy land without any permission.” The BJP state vice-president said there were several non-Himachali bureaucrats who were not even agriculturists but had purchased several bighas before the implementation of the Act. But being agriculturists on paper, they and their heirs could buy land without permission, he said, adding that they should be barred from buying land after making proper changes in the law. The BJP leader also accused the Congress of making changes in the norms for its own convenience from time to time. He alleged that the Congress had allowed its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi to purchase land for a house in Chharabra on the pretext of security concerns. So, an amendment should be made to the law, he said, adding that the Congress always started making a hue and cry whenever the BJP tried to bring “genuine changes” in the law. On the other hand, Vikramaditya Singh said the BJP should rise above the party lines and support the Congress motion in Vidhan Sabha against any attempt to make changes in the law. Interestingly, both Vikramaditya and Dutt had flayed former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi for their demand to allow outsiders buy land in Himachal Pradesh by withdrawing Section 118 of the Act. Both leaders said the law was enacted to save forests, tribal customs and interests of small farmers. Section 118 of the tenancy act was entirely different from Article 370 of the Constitution under which a special status were given to Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
Washington: The Kashmiri Pandit community in the US held a rally applauding the Indian government’s decision to revoke the Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.The Indian government on August 5 revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.Joined by other members of the Indian-American community, Kashmiri Pandits held the rally last week in front of the CNN headquarters in Atlanta in support of the abrogation of Article 370. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”The rally highlighted the fact that these temporary articles related to Jammu and Kashmir needed these modifications as these were highly discriminatory against almost all Kashmiri minorities (such as Shias, Dalits, Gujjars, Kashmiri Pandits, Kashmiri Sikhs)…,” said Subash Razdan, Atlanta resident of Kashmir ancestry and a former president of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA).At the rally, Kashmiri Pandits told personal stories of their hapless exodus and yearning to go back to their homeland which they left in 1990 due to militancy. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”All those present believed that under this new freedom courtesy of the Modi Government, India’s Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and other minorities will now have a better chance to be equals before the law!” Razdan said.Meanwhile, Overseas Physicians of Kashmiri-Origin in a letter to the editor in chief of Lancet magazine Dr Richard Horton said that they are deeply disappointed that his recent opinion published on August 17 omits many relevant facts, and thus represents an intellectually dishonest analysis of a complex geopolitical issue.”We request that the Lancet immediately retracts the editorial, or publish a viewpoint that includes a more thorough set of facts and analysis on Kashmir…,” the letter said.It also said that the Lancet “has no locus standi to question the initiatives undertaken by a secular, sovereign and democratic nation to solve the Kashmir conundrum.
New Delhi: A 15-year-old boy was murdered in Outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri area. Police claimed that they have apprehended the juvenile in the case.The reason behind the incident seems to be a petty issue and further investigation is going on in the case. Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer) Seju P Kuruvilla said that the incident came to light on Saturday. Both accused and deceased had a scuffle on the petty issue. “The accused attacked the boy with the knife resulting in his death,” police said adding that after investigation they apprehended the juvenile. The deceased lived with his family in Sultanpuri area. He was studying in a school. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”After the attack, he was rushed to hospital where the boy was declared brought dead by doctors,” police said. The probe is going on in the fact that in the past, whether both accused-deceased had any scuffle. A case was registered under appropriate sections of IPC. Case registered against Cop In another incident, Delhi Police has filed a case against officers of Adarsh Nagar police station for allegedly ill-treating a third-year law student, officials said on Sunday. In his complaint, the complainant said that on August 25 at around 1:15 pm, he got a call from Adarsh Nagar police station regarding three persons, including his nephew Amar, having been arrested. When he reached the police station and asked why they have been arrested, the police started thrashing him. The investigation is going on from different angles.
HALIFAX – The trial resumes today for a former medical school student charged in the death of another university student whose body has never been found.A jury heard last week that William Sandeson was panicked and incoherent as he tried to clean up around a man’s blood-covered body in his Halifax apartment.Justin Blades testified that he was visiting a mutual friend across the hall from Sandeson when he heard a gunshot on Aug. 15, 2015.Sandeson is accused of murdering 22-year-old Taylor Samson, a fellow Dalhousie University student, during a deal to buy 20 pounds of marijuana.Blades told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury his life changed the night he saw a pool of blood, bloodied cash, drugs and a body slumped over a chair, bleeding from the head.Defence lawyer Eugene Tan has questioned Blades on his recollection of the night, referring to a statement he gave police in 2016 in which he said he didn’t believe Sandeson was the shooter.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Researchers studying higher rates of gastrointestinal illness in Inuit communities have a message for all Canadians: wash your water bottles and storage containers.“People don’t really think about it,” said Sherilee Harper, co-author of the study recently published in the journal “Environmental Science and Pollution Research.”“You know, it’s just water going into the container so you don’t think to clean it regularly. I have to tell you, after we did the study I certainly clean my water bottle more often than I did before.”The University of Guelph research team took samples from drinking water stored in 104 containers at 76 homes in the tiny Inuit community of Rigolet in Labrador. It has a population of around 300.The water had typically come from one of several treated dispensing units installed by the province in areas with high-risk water systems. Those units include reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light for purification.But more than one-quarter of the home samples first taken in Rigolet in 2014 tested positive for bacteria suggesting fecal contamination, said lead researcher Carlee Wright.Those rates of contamination jumped 13 times higher when smaller containers or “dippers” were used to scoop out water for drinking.“Water that would have been initially clean when they collected it from the station can get recontaminated if the containers themselves are not clean,” Wright said.“We tested stored water from almost all the households in Rigolet and found that about a quarter of them had indicator bacteria in them which indicates possible fecal contamination.”Such contagions may help explain higher rates of reported cases of vomiting, diarrhea and other illnesses linked to longer term health effects such as bowel disease, Wright said.“We did find rates of enteric illness or acute gastrointestinal illness to be over 2.4 cases per person per year,” she said of Rigolet.That’s two to six times the rate for similar illnesses in other parts of Canada and countries such as the U.S., Chile, Argentina, Cuba, China, Poland and Italy, said Harper.Rigolet resident Charlie Flowers said he and his family had always blamed such bouts on a stomach bug “or some food not agreeing with us.”“It didn’t even occur to us that the water we were drinking could be the culprit.”Flowers, 34, has lived in the Rigolet area all his life. He said his family uses tap water for cleaning but prefers water from the community dispensing unit for drinking and cooking.“From time to time when we’re out on the land, or when the water dispensing unit is shut down for repairs, we will collect water from brooks, melted snow, homemade wells or even store-bought water,” he said in an email exchange.“We prefer the taste of the water from the dispensing unit to that of the tap water, as it has a clearer colour and doesn’t have the chlorine taste that tap water does.”Flowers first raised the question of whether storing water collected from the dispensing unit, installed in 2014, could pose health risks.Wright said that query helped launch the study, which was very much a community effort. Public education is key, she stressed.Posters went up in Rigolet once the results were in urging residents to wash containers and dippers in a bleach solution to be thoroughly rinsed out after. Stickers were offered for storage containers as a reminder to clean them once a month or more.Wright said the results are relevant far beyond Inuit and other remote communities.“If you have a water cooler in your house or a water pitcher in your fridge, I think these same sorts of principles and messages about cleaning containers, they still apply to everyone.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.
OTTAWA – “They were talking generally there about a much, much higher mass arrival situation — not what we’re dealing with. What we’re dealing with is definitely a very high, steady increase of numbers and it is obviously taxing our agencies and our borders, but we are able to redeploy resources and personnel as needed and able to deal with the situation as it unfolds.” — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, CBC’s The House, Aug. 6, 2017.———Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen was warned by his officials that irregular crossings across the Canadian border could be on the rise this summer, which would require him to rethink the way the Liberal government is handling the situation.But the minister said what his officials were talking about in the briefing note, which the CBC obtained under the Access to Information Act, was not the increased stream of asylum seekers crossing into Quebec from the United States in the last few weeks, but a “mass arrival” scenario.Are the asylum-seekers in Quebec really outside the realm of massive, irregular arrivals as the minister suggests?Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below).This one earns a rating of “no baloney.”WHY IT MATTERSThe previous Conservative government encountered a scenario in 2010 when the MV Sun Sea, a ship carrying 492 Tamil migrants who intended to claim refugee status, was intercepted off the B.C. coast. Another vessel, the MV Ocean Lady, had arrived with 76 Sri Lankan migrants the year before.The Conservative government responded with a crackdown on so-called irregular arrivals, including legislation aimed at helping them respond more quickly — and more aggressively — should the situation happen again.If today’s government considers the asylum seekers in Quebec part of a mass arrival, it could use that legislation to respond — but the provisions are widely considered to be a blunt instrument.THE FACTSOver the past few weeks, the number of people passing illegally into Canada from the U.S. near the border crossing in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que., has risen steadily, and is now about 250 or 300 people every day.Many of the asylum seekers are originally from Haiti and decided to make a move after the U.S. government said it might end a program that granted them temporary protection from being deported after a deadly earthquake struck the impoverished island nation in 2010.There have been reports that many were motivated by false rumours that getting into Canada would be easy.Another motivating factor is the Safe Third Country Agreement that Canada has with his southern neighbour, which prevents anyone who tries to enter Canada from the U.S. at an official border point from making an asylum claim, requiring them to do so in the U.S. So, asylum-seekers enter Canada at unofficial crossings instead.The Liberal government has been under some pressure to suspend the deal to allow the border crossers a safer entry into Canada.The Liberal government does not think the situation has reached the point where there is a need to do anything more than move people through the existing process, but Hussen said he will revisit things if the numbers keep rising.The Conservatives handled things differently.In 2012, they brought in changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow the public safety minister to declare any group of two or more asylum seekers part of an “irregular arrival,” either because they cannot be examined “in a timely manner,” or the minister suspects human smuggling was involved.The asylum seekers become “designated foreign nationals,” which means automatic arrest and mandatory detention, potentially for months on end, and, even if their claims are validated, further restrictions including a five-year ban on becoming a permanent resident.Vic Toews, who was then public safety minister, retroactively designated several groups of Romanian asylum seekers — a total of 85 people — to be “irregular arrivals” in December 2012.Not all of their asylum claims ended up being heard. The Immigration and Refugee Board said about half the claims were abandoned or withdrawn and while the Canada Border Services Agency believes the majority have left the country, they cannot say for sure.THE EXPERTSThe Canadian Press interviewed immigration experts who see a big difference between mass, irregular arrivals like the B.C.-bound ships and the recent surge of people crossing into Quebec.That is why they do not believe the Liberal government would — or should — invoke the controversial provisions the Conservatives brought in.“They were effectively designed to help border officials contend with very large arrivals . . . particularly for folks where it may be difficult to identify and separate who is genuine from who is not and who might be a security risk,” said Sharry Aiken, an associate professor at Queen’s University who specializes in immigration and refugee law.“(It was) also to serve as a deterrent to organized and orchestrated international criminal organizations that underpin the smuggling operations,” she said.Steven Meurrens, a Vancouver-based immigration lawyer, said he does not think that is the case here.“I wouldn’t think that travelling domestically in the United States to the Quebec border is something that requires that big an organized crime element,” he wrote in an email.Jamie Liew, an assistant law professor at the University of Ottawa, said the irregular arrival provisions give the minister such broad discretionary powers that the Liberal government could likely find a way to apply them here if they wanted to.“It’s extremely easy to meet this legal threshold,” said Liew, who specializes in immigration and refugee law.Liew said the Liberals are not the ones who brought in the provisions, but noted they are also not doing anything to get rid of them.“I think they like the idea of having it in their back pocket, to be able to deal with mass movements of people,” she said.She thinks, however, that this would be politically difficult.“I think there is growing understanding in the public that these people are leaving for very legitimate reasons,” she said.“They’re fleeing persecution in their country, they’re leaving the United States where they are not being treated fairly, and so to treat them as quasi-criminals through this legislation by detaining them immediately upon the border may be seen as problematic.”On Thursday, Public Safety Canada confirmed the Liberal government does not believe the asylum seekers cannot be examined in a timely manner or that human smuggling is involved.“The situation at Lacolle does not currently meet the threshold for designation as an ‘irregular arrival,’” spokeswoman Karine Martel wrote.THE VERDICTAiken said Hussen’s comments suggest he was keeping his options open should the asylum numbers keep climbing, but he was likely thinking in terms of changes to the Safe Third Country Agreement.“It is still a trickle, in relative terms, if you look at the situation facing many countries on the front lines in Europe,” said Aiken.For this reason, Hussen’s statement contains “no baloney.”METHODOLOGYThe Baloney Meter is a project of The Canadian Press that examines the level of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Each claim is researched and assigned a rating based on the following scale:No baloney — the statement is completely accurateA little baloney — the statement is mostly accurate but more information is requiredSome baloney — the statement is partly accurate but important details are missingA lot of baloney — the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truthFull of baloney — the statement is completely inaccurateSources:— https://lop.parl.ca/About/Parliament/LegislativeSummaries/bills_ls.asp?source=library_prb&ls=C31&Parl=41&Ses=1&Language=E#a15— http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2012/2012-06-29i.asp— http://meurrensonimmigration.com/first-designation-of-irregular-arrival/— https://refuge.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/refuge/article/viewFile/39616/35895— With files from Stephanie Levitz— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Former British Columbia Health Minister Terry Lake has jumped from politics to the medical marijuana industry.Lake, who says he will continue to live in Kamloops, B.C., has accepted the post of vice-president of corporate social responsibility with Quebec-based Hydropothecary.The 60-year-old veterinarian, who was health minister from 2013 until he left politics earlier this year, says protecting young people is his biggest priority as the federal government moves to legalize marijuana in 2018.He says cannabis can have a negative impact on the developing brain and he’s concerned that many young people are using marijuana of unknown quality and with undetermined levels of THC, the main mind-altering ingredient in pot.Lake says legalization will not only set a minimum age for marijuana use, but it will also ensure a higher quality of the drug.He believes medical marijuana has the potential to displace other medications like opioids.Hydropothecary’s website says the company, incorporated in 2013, combines artisanal growing techniques and quality production with the highest levels of customer service, privacy and satisfaction.The company says it is a licensed producer and distributor of medical marijuana under Health Canada regulations. (CHNL)
TORONTO – Ontario will create safe zones around abortion clinics to protect women who seek their services and the health-care workers who perform them, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said Wednesday.Naqvi said the zones, which will extend 50 to 150 metres around Ontario’s eight abortion clinics, are designed to protect women who choose to access the services. The zones are spaces where advising a person to refrain from getting an abortion, anti-abortion protests and intimidation or interfering with a woman’s ability to access the services will be banned, he said.The ban will also automatically apply to 150 metres around the homes of abortion staff and health professionals who provide the services. Anyone who violates the safe zones would faces up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, fines range from $1,000 to $10,000 and up to a year in jail.Naqvi introduced the legislation to create the zones Wednesday.“Our government firmly believes that the choice to access abortion services is a deeply personal one,” Naqvi said. “Patients have the right to access abortion services safely and securely with their privacy maintained, free from any intimidation or interference.”Naqvi said over the past several months, the government has heard reports that anti-abortion protests have increased across province. In Ottawa, staff at the Morgentaler clinic and police have reported escalated protests which have prevented women from accessing the clinic.Those activities can’t jeopardize the safety and privacy of patients and workers, Naqvi said.“While I strongly support everyone’s fundamental right to freedom of expression, our laws must balance that right with keeping people safe,” he said.Naqvi said the government began preparing the proposed legislation this summer after looking at similar laws in British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.Sarah Hobbs Blyth, executive director of Planned Parenthood Toronto, said the safety zones will help women access safe and legal abortion services.“The safe access zone bill protects choice no matter what comes of anti-abortion tactics now or in the future,” she said. “Health equity cannot be achieved within the four walls of a clinic alone. It begins first with getting to the clinic.”Anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition said the proposed bill tramples free speech protections entrenched in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.“Bubble zone legislation isn’t about protecting women and abortion staff workers from violence, because there is no evidence of such violence,” said Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition in a statement. “This is about silencing peaceful pro-life witnessing and preventing women from having access to alternatives.”Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown issued a statement before Naqvi made his announcement Wednesday, declaring that he is pro-choice but he also accused the government of wanting to re-open divisive social debates.“Kathleen Wynne has an agenda,” Brown said. “That agenda is to re-open debates about divisive social issues. No one wants this. I don’t want it. … Let me be very clear: I am pro-choice. That includes protecting women exercising their rights from intimidation or harassment.”Naqvi said the proposed law is about safety, not opening up a divisive social debate.“Let me be very clear, ensuring women’s safety is not a divisive issue,” he said. “It may be a divisive issue in the Conservative caucus but you can ask any of these advocates, unfortunately women are being harassed, are being threatened, are being intimidated, for merely exercising their right to get health care services.”
OTTAWA – Ali Omar Ader has been found guilty in the kidnapping of Amanda Lindhout in Somalia.The verdict was handed down today by Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith, who presided over Ader’s 10-day trial.Lindhout was a freelance journalist from Red Deer, Alta., when she and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were seized by armed men near Mogadishu in August 2008, the beginning of 15 months in captivity. They were released upon payment of a ransom.But the saga then entered a new phase: a complex, multi-year police investigation involving a scheme to elicit a confession from Ader, the man suspected of making ransom-demand calls.Ader, who speaks some English, developed a business relationship through phone calls and emails with a man who promised to help publish his book about Somalia.They met face-to-face in 2013 on the island of Mauritius, where the business agent — actually an undercover Mountie — says Ader freely spoke of helping the hostage-takers in return for US$10,000 in ransom money.A book contract signing came two years later in Ottawa with the officer and a supposed publisher, all secretly captured on a police video. Again, Ader tells the RCMP he was paid to assist the kidnappers. He was arrested the next day.As the lone defence witness, Ader told the court that he, too, was abducted by the gang and forced to be a negotiator and translator.Ader described being held by the gunmen in an apartment for several months, as well as getting orders from the gang about what to say during calls to Lindhout’s mother, Lorinda Stewart. He told of being beaten, escaping and later surrendering when the hostage-takers made serious threats against his family.Ader said that in Mauritius, he tried to tell the man he believed to be his business agent that he was coerced into helping the kidnappers. But the man wasn’t interested, so he told him what he wanted to hear.Prosecutor Croft Michaelson said Ader’s testimony was “riddled with inconsistencies” and should be rejected.Ader told the true story of his role in the kidnapping in Mauritius, not in the courtroom, Michaelson said. The prosecutor suggested it simply wouldn’t make sense for Ader to confess to something he did not do.Trevor Brown, one of Ader’s lawyers, said it was important to remember the Somalia of 2009 was a chaotic country with no sense of order or security, a place where those with weapons wielded power.The gang that kidnapped Lindhout and Brennan were cruel and unpredictable people “eminently capable” of ordering Ader to help them, Brown told the court.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Less than two months before the election that would make him premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dwight Ball tipped police that the prime suspect wanted for murder in a botched bar robbery could be his daughter’s ex-boyfriend.Ball was then leader of the Official Opposition and preparing for the biggest political moment of his life.According to court documents released Tuesday, he told police on Oct. 8, 2015 — five days after the bar killing — that his tires had recently been slashed and his credit cards fraudulently charged for tens of thousands of dollars.Ball’s daughter, Jade, had also gone to police on Oct. 5, 2015, to report she was being harassed by a drug dealer for about $40,000 allegedly owed by her on-again, off-again boyfriend Brandon Phillips.“Ms. Ball states since the harassment has started, the persons responsible have now been harassing her father for the money, and at one point, bought a car using her father’s stolen credit card number,” according to the documents.Dwight Ball tipped investigators that Phillips could be the masked man shown on TV during a week-long manhunt. A jarring detail had caught his eye: the suspect on security images at the Captain’s Quarters bar in St. John’s was wearing a black windbreaker matching one stolen from Ball.Phillips also lived close to the crime scene where former firefighter Larry Wellman, 63, was killed Oct. 3, 2015, as he tried to stop the robbery. Wellman died of massive blood loss from a single gunshot to the groin.A jury found Phillips, 29, guilty of second-degree murder earlier this month. He is due back in court Feb. 22 for a sentencing hearing.Details leading to Phillips’ arrest, which did not come out during his trial, are part of information related to a search warrant that Ball went to court to keep secret. He has said through his lawyers the documents should be kept private to protect his daughter, who was charged with no crime.Ball argues in his application for a publication ban that his daughter’s “privacy and personal health interests outweigh in importance any right of access to the information” sought by media.Ball was granted an interim publication ban on Dec. 4 until the matter could be heard in provincial Supreme Court. Lawyers for Ball, the CBC and other media agreed Tuesday to a partial lifting of that secrecy.Arguments for keeping remaining details under wraps will be heard when the case is back in court Feb. 12.Ball said Tuesday he and his daughter co-operated with police and only want to protect their most private conversations.“My daughter is an innocent person in all of this,” he said in an interview. “When I made the decision … to go forward with this information it’s because I felt it was the right thing to do as a citizen, as a resident in this province. I would do the same thing again.”Phillips was charged with first-degree murder the day after an apartment located a short walk from the Captain’s Quarters hotel was searched Oct. 10, 2015.Neither Jade Ball nor the premier were called as witnesses at the trial held earlier this fall.Dwight Ball told investigators on Oct. 8, 2015, that his daughter, then 29, had known Phillips for four or five years, and that they moved in together soon after meeting.“Mr. Ball said at that point Jade and Brandon had a very serious drug problem” — particularly opiates, says the document, an Information to Obtain a search warrant. “Mr. Ball paid all outstanding bills they (Jade and Brandon) had. Mr. Ball’s concern was to make them safe.”Ball said Tuesday his family has endured the same drug issues that grip so many others.“Many families face similar challenges around substance abuse in their own lives, and I’ve always supported my daughter.”Ball said she has moved on with her life.“She’s a much different person right now than she was over two years ago. She’s now a new mother — and a good mother, I would say.”Ball said he wasn’t thinking of potential political consequences when he went to investigators.“I took this as my civic responsibility as a resident of this province, thinking about the family of Larry Wellman, a father, a husband. He was the real victim in all of this.”Wellman’s widow, Linda McBay, watched from the back of the courtroom Tuesday as the publication ban arguments played out.“It’s important to me,” she said. “It’s just important.”Less than two months after reporting Phillips to police, Ball led the Liberals to a majority win on Nov. 30, 2015.He was characteristically even-keeled in victory.“I don’t overreact too much in my life,” he told reporters that night. “I try and remain steady as things go.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.
FORT ELLIS, N.S. – On the muddy banks of Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie River, Dorene Bernard is listening for sounds that will let her know the historic waterway is about to change direction.“The wind will pick up, and you’ll start hearing the water and waves coming,” the Mi’kmaq activist says as she walks through the tall grass, carrying a large fan made from an eagle’s wing.The Shubenacadie is a 72-kilometre tidal river that cuts through the middle of Nova Scotia and flows into the Bay of Fundy. But when the world’s highest tides rise in the bay, salt water flows up the river for almost half its length, creating a wave — or tidal bore — that pushes against the river’s current.It’s an unusual natural phenomenon that draws tourists from around the world. It has also helped support the Mi’kmaq for more than 13,000 years.“This is a major highway, a major artery for our people,” says Bernard, a social worker, academic and member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation in nearby Indian Brook, N.S.“Our ancestors are buried along here … It has a very significant historical, spiritual and cultural relevance to who we are.”Before the bore arrives, the river is like glass on this humid, windless day.However, Bernard is mindful that another change is coming for the river and her people.For the past 12 years, a Calgary-based company has been planning to pump water from the river to an underground site 12 kilometres away, where it will be used to flush out salt deposits, creating huge caverns that will eventually store natural gas.AltaGas says the leftover brine solution will be pumped into the river, twice a day at high tide, over a two- to three-year period.The initial plan is to create two caverns about a kilometre underground. But the company has said it may need as many as 15 caverns, which would be linked to the nearby Maritimes and Northeast natural gas pipeline, about 60 kilometres north of Halifax.The storage is needed by an AltaGas subsidiary, Heritage Gas, which sells natural gas in the Halifax area and a few other Nova Scotia communities. It says it wants to stockpile its product during the colder months to protect its customers from price shocks when demand spikes.Drilling for the first two caverns has been completed.After years of consultations, legal wrangling and scientific monitoring, the company’s Nova Scotia-based subsidiary, Alton Natural Gas Storage LP, has said it plans to start the brining process some time later this year.Bernard says her people are not going to let that happen.The $130-million project has been largely on hold since 2014 when Mi’kmaq activists started a series of protests that culminated two years later in the creation of a year-round protest camp at the work site northwest of Stewiacke.“We’re not going to let anyone destroy our water,” Bernard said in a recent interview, declining to elaborate on what will happen if police or security guards try to reclaim the site.“The impacts will be huge. You can’t just put something in your vein and think it’s not going to affect your whole body.”She says the company has consulted with Indigenous leaders, but she insists it has done a poor job of reaching out to the Mi’kmaq people, particularly those who are members of her First Nation.“There was never a public hearing with Alton Gas in our community. Never.”For its part, the company has insisted it has consulted with local Indigenous people, and the provincial government has agreed.More importantly, the company says it has already secured the permits it needs to start pumping water from the river.At the entrance to the protest camp off Riverside Road, a steel gate is covered in placards and a canvas lean-to. A sign that warns against trespassing — installed by the company with the help of the RCMP — has been covered with a blanket.In May of last year, protesters built a tiny, two-storey house out of straw bales and lime plaster. It has a dirt floor, wood stove, bunks and plenty of provisions inside.There’s also a garden. Chickens and geese roam the makeshift squatters camp.On this day, there are only three protesters — they call themselves water protectors — at the site. But some supporters from Halifax later drop by for a visit.“We have a lot of allies, settlers who are supporting this camp — it’s not just the Mi’kmaq,” says Ducie Howe, Bernard’s cousin and a resident of what she calls Shubenacadie Reserve No. 14, the original name for the nearby First Nation.“There’s people from all over who will come. And they’ll keep coming.”Howe says Nova Scotians need to be reminded that the company is operating on unceded Mi’kmaq territory.“We signed peace and friendship treaties,” she says. “We never signed treaties that gave up any part of our lands … Giving out permits? Those are illegal. They didn’t have the right to do that.”Closer to the river, there’s a smaller, flat-topped wooden building that Bernard describes as a truckhouse. The reference is to the 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty, which states that the Mi’kmaq are free to build “truckhouses” along the river to facilitate trade.In the distance, a small hut for security guards sits empty.Company spokeswoman Lori Maclean says some protesters have been served with trespassing notices.“The company is aware of the activity of protesters at the site and continues to engage with law enforcement and the community,” she said in a recent email. “Alton sites are work areas that are open only to Alton staff or approved contractors.”Alton has received the environmental and industrial approvals it needs to proceed, including two environmental assessments and an independent third-party science review. However, provincial Environment Minister Margaret Miller has yet to make a decision about an appeal of the industrial approval filed by the Sipekne’katik First Nation.As for the brine that will be pumped into the river, the company says the peak release on each tidal cycle will be approximately 5,000 cubic metres, which will be mixed in with four million cubic metres of brackish tidal flow.The company says the brine flowing into the Minas Basin “would not be detectable and would be insignificant in terms of the natural fluctuation of salinity the ecosystem is subject to during each tidal cycle.”Alton Gas also says the intake pipe will not suck in fish or small organisms because the water will be filtered through a rock wall, and the intake flow will be low enough to allow all fish to swim away.“The requirements of our monitoring program with provincial and federal regulators will ensure that the brine will not impact the ecosystem,” the company’s website says.Before Bernard and Howe leave the river, the pair stand at the edge of the bank to make an offering through song.The lyrics are sung in the original Ojibwa and then in Mi’kmaq: “Water, I love you. I thank you. I respect you. Water is life.”
EDMONTON – Alberta’s lone NDP member of Parliament is calling it quits.Linda Duncan, the three-term representative for Edmonton Strathcona, announced Tuesday she will not run in next year’s general election but will stay in the job until the writ is dropped.“This is not my retirement day,” Duncan said. “I still have a full year (of work) that I fully intend to put in.”Duncan said it has been rewarding fighting for constituents and on behalf of her caucus on issues ranging from the environment and agriculture to rail safety and recently imposed U.S. steel tariffs.But she said the pace and commute between Alberta and Ottawa has taken its toll after 11 years and, at 69, it’s time to focus more on family and travel while still speaking out on important issues.“Over the next year, I’ll decide what to do but certainly my big priority is (to) get a dog … and I just want to spend way more time with my family,” she said.“I spent a lot of my life away working, and my brother and my niece are my No. 1 priority.”Duncan was first elected in 2008 and has worked in a variety of critic portfolios, currently in international development and environment.She narrowly defeated Conservative incumbent Rahim Jaffer in the 2008 election, but was re-elected by healthy margins in 2011 and 2015.Along with politics, her life has been dedicated to the law and the environment.She founded the Environmental Law Centre in Edmonton in the early 1980s and has worked as an international environmental law consultant, helping Indonesia, Bangladesh and Jamaica set up rules for environmental enforcement.She also worked as assistant deputy minister with the Yukon government.Recently, she has been walking a fine line politically while Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh publicly spar over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.Notley has been vociferously advocating for the line to get more oil to the B.C. coast and boost Alberta’s bottom line. Singh is opposed to the project.Duncan has declined to wade into the spat, but did say the pipeline is not top of mind for her constituents.Singh thanked Duncan for her work.“Linda’s passion and knowledge as a defender of the environment and Indigenous rights will continue to inspire me, and all New Democrats,” Singh wrote on Twitter.Duncan said being at the heart of the political process has been fulfilling, but also occasionally frustrating compared to being an independent advocate.“Before I was elected, I could phone up any government office and ask questions,” she said. “Now I can’t do that. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives, they insist that you go through the minister’s office and have someone political on the call.“That has been my greatest frustration because it puts a blockage with me actually helping my constituents.”Duncan is one of a number of recent federal NDP caucus members who say they are moving on.On Monday, Irene Mathyssen, NDP MP for London Fanshawe, announced she will not seek a fifth term. Last month, longtime NDP Hamilton Centre MP David Christopherson announced he will not seek re-election.Other departures include former leader Tom Mulcair and B.C. MP Kennedy Stewart, who is running to be mayor of Vancouver.Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir was expelled from caucus earlier this year after an investigation found evidence to support harassment complaints.
HALIFAX – “Anyone who was there was involved, even with little things. We were supposed to go down to our wharfs every day and look hard to see if we saw anything … and there was a sense of a kind of mysterious grief because of course we didn’t know any of these people, but there they were dying on our doorsteps in a particularly awful way.”“Meeting the loved ones and families of those who died — they made the people who died real. Before that, we had this strange feeling of grief, but we didn’t know who we were grieving for. But as we met people it made it more real and in the process we met so many people … and wonderful relationships grew up in many, many ways. It became a valuable experience, something that taught you things about the human race you hadn’t thought about before.”– Budge Wilson, author of “After Swissair,” who lived in Northwest Cove, N.S., near the crash site.—“It’s certainly something that everyone in this community will never, ever forget. I live by and look at the water everyday so it’s always there. I always wonder if it had happened in the daylight hours to see that image would have just been horrific. It’s bad enough to hear it.”“The tragedy of it all it just makes you feel so sad and you look at things differently, you look at the ocean differently. I couldn’t walk on the beach for a year and I love my beach here, but I just couldn’t go down on a beach and walk with the same feeling I had.”– Veronica LeBlanc, an organizer of the Swissair memorial event who lives in Bayswater and heard the plane crash in waters near her home.—“The reality of it was when we came across the first debris field, we knew it was highly unlikely that there would be survivors.”“It was almost part of the healing process to take family members out and get to talk to them. I wouldn’t change anything, but after five years it was time for me to back away from it and try not to think about it.”– John Campbell, owner of the Sou’Wester restaurant in Peggy’s Cove, N.S., who went out searching for survivors the night of the crash and took families out to the site for several years after to spread the ashes of their loved ones.—“It has sharpened my understanding of what is really important and it doesn’t have to be a just a horrific tragedy like this. It’s the relationships — meeting people for the first time, and just how wonderful that is. It makes the life that you live, especially as you get older, just that much more precious and meaningful. That was 20 years ago, that just gets better and better and better.”– Fisherman Bob Conrad, who recovered the remains of 14-month-old Robert Martin Maillet and went onto forge relationships with several families of those lost in the crash.
TORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $5 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.However, the guaranteed $1 million dollar prize was claimed by a ticket holder in British Columbia.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Sept. 5 will be approximately $7 million.
OTTAWA — The Ontario government is refusing to follow the federal Liberals’ lead with a controversial tax change related to passive investment income in personal corporations.Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office has maintained the change was about ensuring wealthy people didn’t start tiny corporations just to get a better tax rate than people in the middle class.The federal tax change was part of Morneau’s package of reforms last year, which he eventually watered down following a backlash from small-business owners and incorporated professionals, such as doctors and lawyers.In its fall economic update today, the province’s Progressive Conservative government says it will introduce new legislation to reverse a plan by its Liberal predecessors to parallel the federal changes in Ontario.Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s fall update says implementing the measure in the province would increase taxes on small businesses by about $160 million per year by 2020-21.Other provinces have also been skeptical about Ottawa’s plan. Last summer, finance ministers from Manitoba and Saskatchewan said they intended to press Morneau to find out how complicated it would be if their provinces ultimately decided against implementing Ottawa’s plan.The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Jurors in a double murder trial have been told fingerprints of the accused were found on duct tape that was wrapped around a Calgary mother’s face and neck.Edward Downey, 48, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie and her five-year-old daughter Taliyah Marsman in July 2016.Sgt. Jodi Arns told court three partial prints invisible to the human eye were found on the sticky side of the tape, but one could not be analyzed because of poor quality.She testified the two other prints were a match to Downey’s left forefinger.Baillie’s aunt cried in the courtroom gallery as Arns held up strips of the silver tape arranged in rows beneath a plastic sheath.The trial has heard Baillie was found dead on the evening of July 11 in her basement apartment, stuffed into a laundry hamper in her daughter’s closet.Arns testified that tape was wrapped around Baillie’s lower face and neck. She said Baillie’s wrists were also bound with tape.The fingerprint analysis was done while an Amber Alert was issued for Baillie’s missing daughter.“There was an urgency to developing and doing the comparison,” Arns told court Friday.Taliyah’s body was found three days later under some bushes in a rural area east of the city. Court has heard both mother and daughter died of asphyxiation.The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says the federal government won’t cut corners to speed up a full review of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.The government bought the pipeline for $4.5 billion last summer only to have the Federal Court of Appeal strike down Ottawa’s approval of it.The court said Canada failed to meaningfully consult with First Nations and that the National Energy Board failed to examine how the project would affect the ocean ecosystem.Ottawa is now consulting with Indigenous groups and the board has been reviewing the marine effects.The board is to have its report ready by Feb. 22.“They are on schedule,” Sohi said Thursday in Calgary, where he was making a solar-panel announcement.“I give regular updates to the cabinet … on how we are … making sure the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion moves forward in the right way, dealing with the issues the court has identified.”Sohi said he has lived in Alberta for 34 years and understands that oil and gas workers are desperate for the project to move ahead.“We need to make sure that we are not cutting corners. We owe it to Alberta. We owe it to Alberta workers. We owe it to Canadians that we don’t get into the same situation that we got into the last time, which is very unfortunate,” he said.“The way the process works is that the NEB will make a recommendation to my department and once we conclude our (Indigenous) consultations there’ll be a new report prepared for the cabinet to reconsider the decision.”Sohi said he has consulted with 40 Indigenous groups so far and will be going back to British Columbia in a couple of weeks.The issues he is hearing about are related to land-title rights, protection of water and fish, oil-spill response and marine safety, he said.Sohi declined to give a timeline on when to expect a new recommendation from the federal cabinet or whether any action will be taken before the next federal election due later this year.“I am not in a position to comment on that because my focus is fixing what has been broken and making sure we are moving forward on this project in the right way.”The Trans Mountain expansion would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to the B.C. coast for export to overseas markets.— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A defence lawyer asked a female police officer in Winnipeg how no one could have seen a male colleague point a shotgun at her on two occasions when many people were around.Former officer Leroy Gold is on trial on charges of pointing a firearm and uttering threats stemming from two alleged encounters with Const. Danielle Prefontaine in 2016.Prefontaine testified that in May of that year she was in a parking garage at police headquarters when Gold pointed the gun at her groin and uttered, “Boom, right in the crotch.”Six months later she said she was in a room at police headquarters when Gold pressed the gun against her rib cage and said, “I know what you need.”Defence attorney Richard Wolson told court both incidents happened during a busy shift change and questioned how no one could have witnessed it or heard the two speak afterwards.He suggests Gold make a joke about his colleague filing overtime and she got angry.The defence is to call witnesses Thursday afternoon.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $50 million jackpot in Friday night’s Lotto Max draw.There were also two Maxmillion prizes of $1 million each up for grabs, but again no winners.The jackpot for the next Lotto Max draw on June 4 will be approximately $55 million, and there will be four Maxmillion prizes.The Canadian Press