Canada Newswatch

The CKA Canada Newswatch is a companion to our in-house Canada News system.
The Newswatch is a collection of various Canadian news feeds in one convenient location.


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Daily Canada Newswatch

Submit News to CKA News Shawn Atleo appointed to lead new round of talks with BC First Nations - CBC.ca
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 04:50:08 GMT

CBC.ca

Shawn Atleo appointed to lead new round of talks with BC First Nations
CBC.ca
Former Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo has been named to head B.C.'s first Shqwi qwal for Indigenous Dialogue. The announcement was made by B.C. Premier Christy Clark on Thursday at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, ...
'I'm not the Indian Prime Minister': Atleo responds to secret education agreement ...APTN National News
BC's Clark appoints Shawn Atleo to help improve dialogue with First NationsThe Globe and Mail
Former national chief of Assembly of First Nations named to post in BCThe Province
Times Colonist -Turtle Island News
all 17 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Friday, Oct. 31: Trinity Western University's controversial student covenant ... - Vancouver Sun
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 04:02:42 GMT

CBC.ca

Friday, Oct. 31: Trinity Western University's controversial student covenant ...
Vancouver Sun
Re: Lawyers must reject TWU law school, Opinion, Oct. 29. In commenting on the Trinity Western University student covenant, Thomas Berger is guilty of what politicians call ?spin.? He claims TWU's covenant involves a ?disavowal ? of the rightful place of gay ...
BC lawyers vote down Christian law school in referendumCTV News
Law Society of BC votes against TWUNews1130
Trinity Western law school: BC Law Society members vote to reverse approvalCBC.ca
Langley Times -The Province -The Globe and Mail
all 34 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Province threatens ride-share service Uber
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:59:57 Z
Ride-sharing service Uber faces “significant consequences” if it tries to resume operations in Vancouver without proper provincial approvals, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Thursday. His comments came as rumours swirled that Uber — booted out of B.C. in 2012 — would offer its services to Vancouver commuters beginning Friday.
Submit News to CKA News Province spent $181 million on health workers? overtime last year
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:59:21 Z
B.C. spent $181 million in overtime for health workers in 2013, a sector in which unions have raised concerns about understaffing for years. The health care system has, for too long, been run on the backs of employees like nurses who work long hours, too many days in a row, charged Gayle Duteil, president of the B.C. Nurses’ Union.
Submit News to CKA News Container truck drivers pushed out of new port licence system to receive transition payments
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:58:07 Z
Container truck drivers shut out of the new Port Metro Vancouver licensing system aimed at reducing their numbers will be eligible for transition payments of up to $15,000, the port has said in a letter to the industry. The amount, however, is being called inadequate compensation by a spokesman for the owner-operator drivers, considering the size of investment they put up to get into the old system.
Submit News to CKA News Incentives to oil, gas sector hit $1.25 billion: B.C. auditor general
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:57:49 Z
British Columbia’s auditor general says doing business with the oil-and-gas industry has cost the province’s coffers about $1.25 billion in royalties even before the product has been pulled from the ground. The incentives to be paid to the industry were just some of the issues highlighted by auditor general Carol Bellringer in her 2013-2014 summary of B.C.’s financial statements. Bellringer says the government gives the oil and gas industry financial incentives to develop the sector which have risen to $1.25 billion in the last five years and will be discounted from royalties when oil and gas is actually pulled from the ground.
Submit News to CKA News Shawn Atleo becomes Canada?s first ?Shqwi qwal?
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:57:14 Z
Shawn Atleo has listened to grandmothers in the Arctic, heard the concerns of the youth in his home village of Ahousaht on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and felt Ottawa’s cold winters and its harsh politics, making him ideal for the new British Columbia position of Shqwi qwal.
Submit News to CKA News Richmond Mountie pleads guilty to breach of trust
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:57:04 Z
A Richmond RCMP officer with a history of assault has pleaded guilty to breach of trust in Richmond Provincial Court. Const. Kenrick Whitney was facing charges of theft under $5,000 and breach of trust for alleged crimes that took place while he was on duty.
Submit News to CKA News Perjury trial hears of alleged meeting between Mounties in Dziekanski case
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:56:48 Z
A former RCMP officer’s perjury trial heard allegations Thursday that the four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death gathered for a private meeting in the weeks before testifying at a public inquiry.
Submit News to CKA News Vancouver political parties all promise to reveal campaign donors before Nov. 15
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:55:42 Z
But only Green party and Cope have agreed to also reveal the amounts paid by those donors.
Submit News to CKA News Blatchford: Jian Ghomeshi case not one to be tried in the court of public opinion
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:53:02 Z
If I were smart, I’d just shut up and stand by as the mob carries off Jian Ghomeshi to what increasingly appears may be his right and proper fate. I don’t even know the guy. I only occasionally heard the […]
Submit News to CKA News Video of dishevelled man playing street piano gets nearly two million hits
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:38:05 Z
By Chris Purdy EDMONTON — All she knows is that his name is Ryan and he plays the piano like an angel. Roslyn Polard was on her way home from a work meeting last week in downtown Edmonton when she […]
Submit News to CKA News Fisher: Canadian fighter jets in skies over Iraq but won?t drop bombs before weekend
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:28:23 Z
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — The Royal Canadian Air Force began flying over Iraq Thursday, but CF-18 Hornet fighter jets will not begin dropping bombs or firing missiles until this weekend, according to senior military sources at National Defence Headquarters in […]
Submit News to CKA News Conservative government tax breaks benefit some, but not all (with video)
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:18:02 Z
The Conservative government announced a multibillion-dollar package of tax breaks Thursday for families that includes income-splitting for couples with kids, expands the monthly Universal Child Care Benefit, and boosts the child care expense deduction.
Submit News to CKA News BC First Nations chief and family paid more than $4.1M over last four years - National Post
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:16:23 GMT

National Post

BC First Nations chief and family paid more than $4.1M over last four years
National Post
OTTAWA ? An elderly B.C. First Nations chief and his ex-wife, along with one of their sons and a grandson, received more than $4.1-million in remuneration over the past four years. Shuswap First Nation Chief Paul Sam, 80, gets a tax-free salary that has ...

and more »
Submit News to CKA News Coquitlam school district out $800,000 for one day?s work
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 03:07:55 Z
The Coquitlam school district says it is out approximately $800,000 after it agreed to pay teachers for their first day back to work, even though the provincial government won’t be compensating the district for that day. Coquitlam board chairwoman Melissa Hyndes said the board decided to pay teachers for the day because it was the right thing to do, even though the board will have to find savings elsewhere in their budget to cover the cost.
Submit News to CKA News Jian Ghomeshi dumped by PR firm over ?lies,? sources say
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:04:00 EDT

Jian Ghomeshi was dumped by Navigator, the high-profile crisis management firm retained to protect his public image, because the company believed Ghomeshi lied to them, sources have told the Star.

“He lied to the firm,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.

According to the sources, until late Sunday night, Navigator was “buying (Ghomeshi’s) story” that it was a jilted ex-girlfriend who had manufactured lies that Ghomeshi was abusive. One source said the former CBC radio star had convinced the firm that there were no other allegations and there was nothing to be “concerned” about.

Then, as the Star reported between Monday and Thursday that at least eight women were making serious allegations of assault or sexual harassment against Ghomeshi, the firm decided at a series of meetings that it could not represent someone who, in their opinion, had lied.

News that Navigator, as well as publicity firm Rock-it Promotions, was parting company with Ghomeshi came Thursday, the same day a ninth woman went public with her allegations.

The Star was not able to determine if Rock-it dropped Ghomeshi for the same reason. A source with knowledge of the Rock-it situation said that the firm, which had been with Ghomeshi for two years (Navigator was a recent hire) was disappointed as more and more allegations surfaced.

“Here was a guy (Rock-it) believed in, and it didn’t turn out that way,” a source told the Star.

Both companies issued releases Thursday afternoon announcing they had cut ties with Ghomeshi, but neither said why.

Generally, firms that do public relations or crisis communications work ask that the client disclose all relevant information so that they can manage difficult situations with full knowledge of all details.

The Star’s stories revealed much more information than the firms or CBC were aware of. The stories included allegations of sexual harassment of two CBC employees and allegations of beating, choking and in some cases biting by six women Ghomeshi met over the past decade, including Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere. The Star is continuing to investigate allegations from more women.

Ghomeshi, who was fired by the CBC on Sunday, wrote in a brief statement on his Facebook page on Thursday: “I intend to meet these allegations directly.”

Rock-it has been with Ghomeshi since at least 2012, when it helped him promote his high school memoir, 1982. Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, a principal of Rock-it, was running interference for Ghomeshi this summer when the Star was asking about allegations of abusive conduct by him toward women, sources say.

Goldblatt-Sadowski and her team were working with two lawyers from Dentons LLP in Toronto, the firm that has launched Ghomeshi’s $55-million defamation suit against the CBC. Dentons did not answer a request for comment from the Star on Thursday.

“Going forward, Rock-it Promotions will no longer be representing Jian Ghomeshi,” said a statement from the firm, a relatively small agency whose association with Ghomeshi had helped it grow over the years. Rock-it did not respond to questions from the Star.

Navigator is a firm known for helping high-profile individuals and companies perform damage control at difficult times. Navigator issued a statement Thursday saying “the circumstances of our engagement have changed and we are no longer able to continue.” Officials say they have a policy preventing them from discussing current or former clients.

The news comes as a second woman with allegations of violence against Ghomeshi publicly identified herself.

In a piece for the Huffington Post Canada, titled “Why I Can’t Remain Silent About What Jian Did to Me,” lawyer and author Reva Seth wrote about an incident more than 10 years ago when Ghomeshi was the host of CBC television show Play. She alleges that after a dinner date, Ghomeshi grabbed her by the throat, pulled down her pants and violently penetrated her with his fingers.

“My sexual interactions until then had always been consensual, enjoyable and fun,” she wrote. “I remember he gave me some weird lines about how he couldn’t tell if I was actually attracted to him or not, and somehow this was meant to explain his behaviour … He acted like it was all totally normal and came to the door to watch me go down the stairs and get into the cab.”

Seth wrote that one of the reasons she decided to come forward was that she feels Ghomeshi has a “pattern that has certainly escalated since I knew him.”

According to the Huffington Post piece, Seth first met Ghomeshi at a Loblaws on the Danforth in 2002, when she was 26, and agreed to go for dinner with him a few days later. She wrote that they hung out a few times over the summer, never doing much more physically than kissing.

The incident Seth described happened on a Sunday night, she wrote, after the two had a drink and smoked some pot. Seth wrote that Ghomeshi became “super angry, almost frenzied and disassociated.”

She didn’t do anything after the alleged attack because “it didn’t seem like there was anything to do,” she wrote, noting she was sharing her story now in the hopes that it will help others.

There is currently no police investigation into the allegations against Ghomeshi because no one has complained, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair told reporters Thursday.

“When these crimes are committed, we need a complainant,” said Blair. “We need someone to come forward and say, ‘This is what’s happened to me,’ and we will investigate that and we will do that as quickly and compassionately as we possibly can.”

On Thursday, Ghomeshi’s profile vanished from the websites of two Canadian speakers bureaus, Keynote Speakers Canada and Speakers’ Spotlight. A cached version of the Keynote Speakers profile says: “Known for his charm, wit and sense of humour, Jian Ghomeshi is a renaissance man for the 21st century . . .

“He tailors his talks to the audience, environment and objectives of your event and blends opinions and ideas with storytelling, personal anecdotes and lessons learned from experiences throughout his life.”

Topics Ghomeshi would touch on at an event, according to Keynote Speakers, include rethinking the Canadian identity and art, activism and media.

A cached version of the Speakers’ Spotlight website notes: “As warm and witty as he is sharp and serious, Ghomeshi brings class and craftsmanship to each and every engagement, whether he’s delivering a cultural keynote, hosting an event, or interviewing a person or panel of people.”

Neither Keynote Speakers nor Speakers’ Spotlight immediately returned requests for comment. As of Thursday evening, Ghomeshi was still featured on the website for All-American Speakers Bureau in the U.S.

Ghomeshi, who has already been dropped from hosting the Giller Prize literary awards on Nov. 10, cancelled late Wednesday afternoon a speaking engagement about arts and culture that he was set to deliver on Nov. 7 in Prince George, B.C., hosted by a local newspaper.

With files from Wendy Gillis

Kevin Donovan can be reached at 416-312-3503 or kdonovan@thestar.ca .

Submit News to CKA News B.C. First Nations chief and family paid more than $4.1M over last four years
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:50:03 +0000
The figures were provided this week by disgruntled Shuswap members who are challenging in next month?s election a family that has ruled for more than three decades
Submit News to CKA News Justin Trudeau joins byelection campaign in Whitby-Oshawa
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:43:40 EDT

While Stephen Harper was unveiling his family-friendly tax measures in nearby Vaughan, Justin Trudeau joined the byelection campaign trail in Whitby-Oshawa where a new poll shows the Liberal candidate trailing the Conservatives.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes is one of six candidates vying for the long-held Tory seat that became vacant after Jim Flaherty’s sudden death in April at age 64.

The boost from Trudeau will be welcome for the local entrepreneur after a new Forum Research poll showed former Whitby Mayor Pat Perkins with an early lead in the Nov. 17 vote.

Trudeau, in unofficial campaign mode himself given next year’s federal election, came out swinging Thursday night, telling a large partisan crowd at Caesar-Chavannes’ campaign office that Harper’s income-splitting plan is misguided and benefits Canadians who need it the least.

“Think of about a single mother earning one income. Working to send her kid to school, buying groceries and gas, and still trying to put money away for her kid’s university (education), or her own retirement,” Trudeau told the audience.

“Mr. Harper thinks she should be the one paying, so people who make double or triple what she does can get a $2,000 tax break. That’s just wrong,” Trudeau said, to boos and cries of “shame” from the audience.

Flaherty’s name runs deep in the area. The former Ontario Conservative cabinet minister was first elected as an MPP in Durham-Centre (which later became Whitby-Oshawa) in 1995, and he held the seat until he jumped to the federal scene in 2006.

His wife Christine Elliott is the Progressive Conservative MPP for the riding, and is also a leadership candidate for the provincial party.

Forum Research has Perkins in front with 41 per cent support, followed by Caesar-Chavannes at 32 per cent and 15 per cent for NDP candidate Trish McAuliffe.

The poll was conducted Monday. A total of 894 people were randomly selected for the interactive voice response telephone survey of eligible voters in the riding. The results are considered accurate, plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Submit News to CKA News Vancouver entrepreneur concocts an eyebrow-raising idea (with video)
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:42:30 Z
A specialized beauty bar proves a success
Submit News to CKA News Vancouver mayoral candidates debate issues of race and discrimination
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:37:50 Z
Vancouver’s mayoral candidates tangled over tough issues including discrimination and workforce inclusion in a Thursday afternoon debate in Chinatown. A crowd of nearly 200, about two-thirds of whom were visible minorities — many Asian, came to SUCCESS, a multicultural service agency, to hear how candidates from COPE, NPA and Vision, and a trio of independents, would address issues of importance to them.
Submit News to CKA News Harper unveils controversial marquee tax relief - The Telegram
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:32:11 GMT

Financial Post

Harper unveils controversial marquee tax relief
The Telegram
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pressing ahead with income splitting for families with children younger than 18 ? a multibillion-dollar Conservative election promise from 2011 that critics have said would benefit too few Canadians. Prime Minister Stephen ...
Conservative government tax breaks benefit some, but not all (with video)Ottawa Citizen
Reaction to income splitting plan.CHCH News
Income splitting announcement is Harper using the politics that got him electedNational Post
Toronto Sun -Macleans.ca -The Globe and Mail
all 204 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Poor oversight, bad management to blame for Ornge disaster
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:30:48 -0400

A lack of oversight by the Ministry of Health, systemic operational issues and poor management were to blame for the ultimately deadly mess in the Ornge air ambulance system, an Ontario legislative committee has concluded.
Submit News to CKA News Prince Charles donates to families of slain Canadian soldiers
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 02:21:10 Z
Prince Charles has made what is being described as a substantial donation to the families of the two Canadian soldiers killed recently in separate attacks.
Submit News to CKA News Canadian government sacrificing military spending for budget surplus
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:19:04 EDT

OTTAWA—As the Conservative government doles out pricey good-news announcements thanks to a looming budget surplus, newly released public documents show it continues to shortchange the military.

Public Accounts of Canada for 2013-2014 reveal for the third consecutive year, spending on military equipment, weapons systems and infrastructure declined significantly.

That spending is down roughly $1 billion from a high point of $3.8 billion in 2010-2011.

The documents show the government failed to spend $763 million of its allocated funding this past fiscal year for those types of large-scale initiatives even as Canada flexes its military muscle overseas.

Canadian CF-18 jet fighters and CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes are currently in Kuwait and are expected to join a U.S.-led coalition’s bombing campaign against the Islamic State within days.

The Public Accounts documents reveal the Conservatives have held onto more than $7 billion in approved spending across a spectrum of departments.

The unspent Department of National Defence money goes into the government’s general coffers, as do the funds from other departments and agencies. But one defence expert says the unused Defence Department money comprises a quarter of the budget surplus.

“It’s provided a major contribution towards the surplus,” said David Perry, an analyst with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.

Since 2007-2008, the average amount that the government has underspent is 23 per cent of the allocated funds. Over the last three decades, the average was 2 per cent.

“It’s astounding that we’ve seen seven years of this degree of underspending,” Perry said.

“This is completely uncharted territory over the last seven years in terms of the inability for the Department of National Defence to make use of the money the government is giving them.”

Joyce Murray, the Liberal defence critic, accused the government of using the Defence Department as a “giant piggy bank to fund their election campaign promises and buy some votes.”

“You look at how so much of the military has been starved for funds, they struggle to hire health professionals for soldiers with PTSD, for example, and yet now we have the government announcing tax initiatives for the rich.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an income-splitting tax break for parents on Thursday. The measure allows the higher-earning parent of children up to 18 years of age to transfer as much as $50,000 of income to the lower-earning spouse for tax purposes.

The government is also boosting the universal child care benefit — $160 a month for kids under six, up from $100, plus a new monthly benefit of $60 for children aged six through 17, effective in 2015.

The two measures combined will cost $3.1 billion in 2014-15 and $4.5 billion in 2015-16.

The Conservatives have long condemned the previous Liberal government for being stingy with the military, an accusation Murray suggested is hypocritical.

“Their priorities are clear and they don’t match the rhetoric,” she said.

Perry said the Conservatives have also failed to make decisions about big-ticket defence projects that include fighter jets and shipbuilding. Those initiatives would have been partly paid for by the $763 million and would create jobs and stimulate the economy.

“Decisions haven’t been taken on big files, so DND can’t spend the money,” he added.

Submit News to CKA News Kenyan police come to Canada for training in dealing with sex crimes
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:08:44 -0400
Activists say such sex crimes are an epidemic in Kenya
Submit News to CKA News Canadian Ebola vaccine to be used in largest human trial
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:48:00 -0400
An experimental Canadian-made vaccine is one of the leading contenders in the unprecedented race to develop a tool that will stop the deadly Ebola epidemic.
Submit News to CKA News Former Saskatchewan junior football player gets 3 years for drug, weapon charges
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:42:27 -0400
Adrian Charles, who used to play for the Saskatoon Hilltops, was convicted in April of possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing a controlled substance
Submit News to CKA News Further reading on last Wednesday and the challenge ahead
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:35:40 +0000

What to make of what happened on Parliament Hill and what should happen now?

The post Further reading on last Wednesday and the challenge ahead appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Submit News to CKA News Senate still out $45000 for Patrick Brazeau's expense claims - The Globe and Mail
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:33:04 GMT

Toronto Star

Senate still out $45000 for Patrick Brazeau's expense claims
The Globe and Mail
Newly released government spending documents show the Senate is still out $45,940 from the scandal over living expenses and travel claims. Patrick Brazeau is behind the outstanding balance, a Senate spokeswoman said. Three senators ? Mr. Brazeau, ...
The Gargoyle: Senate expects to recoup last of improper expenses from Patrick ...Ottawa Citizen
Senate still out $45K for questionable expense claimsCTV News

all 15 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Senate still out $45,000 for Patrick Brazeau?s expense claims
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:32:20 -0400
Newly released government spending documents show the Senate is still out $45,940 from the scandal over living expenses and travel claims.
Submit News to CKA News Manitoba ministers agree to truce with Premier Selinger
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:21:29 -0400
Jobs and Economy Minister Theresa Oswald said Thursday that she and her colleagues have agreed not to discuss their concerns publicly any more, pending another meeting with Mr. Selinger
Submit News to CKA News Photos: Colourful views of Burnaby cranberry harvest
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:20:37 Z
Photographer John Preissl visited Mayberry Farms in Burnaby to watch the cranberry harvest in action. The berries are dry-harvested and the majority are sent to the U.S. to be turned into juice and sauce.
Submit News to CKA News Perjury trial hears of alleged meeting between Mounties
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:10:24 EDT

VANCOUVER—A former RCMP officer’s perjury trial heard allegations Thursday that the four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death gathered for a private meeting in the weeks before testifying at a public inquiry.

But a defence lawyer immediately attempted to cast doubt on the Crown’s star witness — whose former spouse is related to one of the officers — suggesting the passage of time has caused her to mix up key dates and events.

Benjamin (Monty) Robinson is one of four officers who confronted Dziekanski the night the Polish immigrant was stunned with a Taser and died at Vancouver’s airport in October 2007.

He is is accused of lying at a public inquiry looking into the death.

The Crown’s theory is that the officers colluded before speaking to homicide investigators immediately following Dziekanski’s death and then again before the inquiry, fabricating a story to justify their actions.

Janice Norgard, who once lived with a cousin of Const. Bill Bentley, testified that Bentley, Robinson and the two other officers involved in the case met at her home in late January or early February of 2009.

The Crown alleges the officers held the meeting to prepare their testimony. Bentley was the first officer to testify, appearing at the inquiry on Feb. 25 of that year.

Norgard said she was in the process of separating from Bentley’s cousin, Brian Dietrich, who by then wasn’t living at their house in Richmond, south of Vancouver, full time.

She testified Dietrich told her Bentley and the other officers needed to use her kitchen for a meeting. Within a day or two, the officers arrived and Bentley introduced her to Robinson, Const. Kwesi Millington and Const. Gerry Rundel, she said.

Norgard said she went upstairs to work, returning only once during the meeting to get some coffee. She saw the officers alone, without Dietrich, though she did not hear what they were talking about, she said.

Norgard said she didn’t think of the meeting again until last summer, after reading a news report that Bentley had been acquitted of perjury. Bentley was the first of the four officers to stand trial.

“One of the things that was mentioned was he had been acquitted because the judge felt there was no evidence of the officers ever meeting, so I realized that I had evidence they had met and that I needed to come forward,” said Norgard.

Defence lawyer David Crossin suggested Norgard’s timeline was incorrect.

While Norgard insisted she and Dietrich were no longer living together by the time the meeting happened, Crossin showed the court affidavits from Norgard and Dietrich’ separation proceedings, in which she said Dietrich didn’t move out until March or April.

Crossin suggested the meeting actually occurred in May of that year, as much as two months after Robinson, who was the final officer to appear at the inquiry, had wrapped up his testimony.

“That is incorrect,” replied Norgard.

Bentley and Millington had both moved to Ontario by then. Flight records indicate Bentley flew to Vancouver for the inquiry on Feb. 15, while Millington arrived on Feb. 18.

Prosecutors haven’t said when they believe the officers colluded before speaking with homicide investigators shortly after Dziekanski’s death.

The Crown’s theory is that the officers’ initial statements and notes contain similar errors when compared with an amateur video that captured Dziekanski’s death. The Crown argues the only way to explain those similar errors is that the officers must have colluded.

Const. Kwesi Millington, who fired the Taser, is scheduled to stand trial beginning next week.

Const. Gerry Rundel was also set to stand trial this fall, but the case was delayed at the request of the Crown and isn’t expected to be heard until the new year.

The Crown is appealing Bentley’s acquittal. The appeal is also scheduled for the new year.

Submit News to CKA News Ottawa rejects proposal for committee to oversee spy agency
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:08:16 -0400
Government calls proposal to create a committee to oversee the foreign-focused electronic spy agency CSEC ?needless and duplicative?
Submit News to CKA News Video: L?Occitane flagship brings Provence to Vancouver
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:01:53 Z
A touch of Provence has landed in Vancouver with the opening of the new L’Occitane flagship store on Robson Street. Kristina Tsiriotakis, the brand’s National skincare expert, talks about what shoppers can find in-store, skincare must-haves for Vancouver skin and more.
Submit News to CKA News Reevely: Epic waiting lists for developmentally disabled can't be cleared in a year
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:00:02 Z
Clearing the enormous waiting lists to get help for people with lifelong developmental disorders is too complicated and difficult to do in just a year, the provincial government says, rejecting advice from a committee of MPPs saying it should try. The shortage of group homes and treatment programs has seen parents who can’t manage their […]
Submit News to CKA News Premier Christy Clark?s communications director fined $500 for failing to de-register as a lobbyist
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:58:03 Z
Premier Christy Clark’s communications director has been fined $500 for failing to de-register as a lobbyist.
Submit News to CKA News Government health care spending, and how much seniors account for
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:45:54 -0400
How provincial and federal on health care spending compares, and why seniors account for little of the annual spending increase
Submit News to CKA News Ottawa police told to use extreme caution in targeted traffic stops
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:41:36 Z
Police who shot at and Tasered a man after pulling over his vehicle last weekend were likely conducting "soft traffic stops" of specific individuals, a request made by the RCMP after the shootings at the National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill.
Submit News to CKA News Canada's air force orders more smart bombs for war on ISIL
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:33:37 Z
The Canadian military has ordered more smart bomb kits as it prepares for a campaign in Iraq that could last six months or longer.
Submit News to CKA News Montreal toddler born deaf hears sounds of music
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:23:18 Z
Then came a magical moment when the boy heard his first song. It was at a Saint-Jean-Baptiste party, where 'Ma Baker' by Boney M blared through the speakers. An astonished but smiling Auguste turned his head to the sound. The music stopped and Auguste impatiently signed “again,” the music cut in and a grinning Auguste jumped up and broke into a happy dance with his father.
Submit News to CKA News ?The darkest time for Islam,? Calgary-born Muslim doctor says
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:12:25 -0400
Allan Maki talks to Dr. David Liepert, a Calgary-born anesthesiologist and Muslim who condemns extremists who kill
Submit News to CKA News Q producer who alleges Ghomeshi threatened to ?hate f?? her says she complained to boss in 2010
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:11:37 +0000
'Arif?s comment to me was ? "He?s never going to change, you?re a malleable person, let?s talk about how you can make this a less toxic work environment for you"'
Submit News to CKA News Ex-archbishop sex offender plans to clear his name - Winnipeg Sun
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:07:51 GMT

Winnipeg Sun

Ex-archbishop sex offender plans to clear his name
Winnipeg Sun
A lawyer for a former archbishop recently convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy nearly 30 years ago says he has "fresh evidence" that could clear his name. Kenneth (Seraphim) Storheim is set to appear before the Manitoba Court of Appeal on Friday.
Lawyer for former Winnipeg archbishop has new evidence in sex assault appealCBC.ca
Lawyer for former archbishop wants to file new evidence in sex assault appeal580 CFRA Radio

all 19 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Province renews talks with Lubicon Lake Band - Peace River Record Gazette
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:06:40 GMT

Peace River Record Gazette

Province renews talks with Lubicon Lake Band
Peace River Record Gazette
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice announced Thursday that the province has renewed land claim talks with the Lubicon Lake Band. QMI Agency photo. Tweet · Bookmark and Share. Change text size for the story. Print. Report an error. Premier Jim Prentice has ...
Province renews talks in century-old northern Alberta land claimEdmonton Sun
Prentice reboots talks with Lubicon band chief over Alta. land claimCTV News
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice reboots talks with Lubicon band chief on land claimInnisfail Province
Bridge River Lillooet News
all 46 news articles »
Submit News to CKA News Canada?s job market underperforming for years: Goar
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:05:27 EDT

There is a strange discrepancy between the official unemployment rate and the joblessness Canadians experience. It has been there since the recession ended in 2009.

Job seekers can’t pinpoint what’s wrong. But they know Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s worse out there than Ottawa’s number crunchers think.

Economists have tried to explain the gap between the unemployment rate (currently 6.8 per cent) and the signals Canadians are picking up. They point to the large pool of discouraged workers (people who have given up job-hunting and are no longer counted); people who have been looking for work for so long that they have fallen off the radar screen; people getting by with part-time jobs, short-term contracts and low-wage survival jobs. Some analysts have urged policy-makers to look beyond the headline-making jobless rate.

Now a senior economist at the Toronto Dominion Bank has gone a step farther. Randall Bartlett has created an index that takes into account all of the unpublished or under-reported data that StatsCan, the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve collect to measure the health of the job market. He calls his yardstick the Canadian Labour Market Indicator.

It confirms what Canadians have been saying. “The Canadian labour market is currently experiencing more weakness than is implied by headline unemployment rate alone and has been for nearly two years. Contributing to this weakness are elevated levels of labour underutilization (job seekers who don’t fit StatsCan’s criteria), involuntary part-time employment and long-term term employment.

“Going forward we plan to continue publishing the TD labour market indicator as needed to provide additional context around our market analysis,” Bartlett says.

That is welcome news to the bank’s clients, the economic journalists who receive TD publications and those who visit the website of the bank’s economics department. But it is information all Canadians need.

Statistics Canada, the federal finance department or the department of employment and social services should be providing it.

None of these agencies has made any move to do that. Instead the finance department incorporated unchecked job vacancy data from Kijiji into its economic outlook, leading policy-makers to believe a severe skill shortage existed. The government budgeted $300 million to solve the problem, which turned out to be a statistical mirage.

The employment department launched an “examination” to find out whether Canadians receiving jobless benefits were actively searching for work. Federal officials showed up unannounced at people’s homes, hand-delivering a request to appear at an employment insurance (EI) interview.

Statistics Canada, constrained by successive budget cuts, kept churning out employment figures Canadians didn’t believe.

If Ottawa can’t come up with a credible gauge of the performance of Canada’s labour market, it should at least adopt Bartlett’s indicator (with the bank’s consent). All of his data are from public sources. He explains his methodology clearly. He is a bright young economist — a BA in mathematics, MA in economics and professional credentials as a certified financial analyst — with experience in the federal finance department and the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

What stands in the way is politics. It serves the interests of the Conservative government to keep using an employment barometer that shows no real problem in the labour market. It allows cabinet ministers to claim job-seekers just aren’t trying hard enough to find work; they’re not properly trained; they’re not sufficiently mobile; or they’d rather collect EI than earn a living. It makes the recovery look stronger than it is, enabling the Tories to campaign for re-election on their record of creating jobs and improving voters’ lives.

But sooner or later — preferably sooner — the nation will have to admit the truth. The nature of work has changed profoundly in the post-industrial era. Contract work has replaced permanent employment. Jobs are short-term, part-time and sometimes precarious. Wages don’t always provide enough income to live on. Some parents need two — even three — jobs to make ends meet. Ottawa is not measuring — let alone coming to grips — with any of this.

It will take hard work and co-operation among governments, employers, educators and workers to reconnect talent and opportunity in a globalized, digital, rapidly changing economy. The process starts with up-to-date tools.

Carol Goar’s column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Submit News to CKA News Judge set to rule on Moncton shootings
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:04:56 -0400
Bill passed in 2011 allowing for consecutive sentences for multiple murders could see Justin Bourque in prison until he is 99
Submit News to CKA News Metal panel found on Pacific island may have come from Amelia Earhart plane
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:01:06 -0400
A group trying to solve the Amelia Earhart mystery has new reason to think a piece of aluminum found on a Pacific atoll came from her lost plane.
Submit News to CKA News Improv Games co-founder Willie Wyllie a champion for teens
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:58:40 -0400
Hard-working Ottawa lawyer spent much of his life working to promote and keep alive the Canadian Improv Games

Canadian Editorial/Opinion Newswatch

Warning: MagpieRSS: Failed to parse RSS file. (Undeclared entity error at line 56, column 54) in D:\Hosted Sites\canadaka.net\www\includes\rss_fetch\rss_fetch.inc on line 238 Submit News to CKA News Jian Ghomeshi dumped by PR firm over ?lies,? sources say
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:04:00 EDT

Jian Ghomeshi was dumped by Navigator, the high-profile crisis management firm retained to protect his public image, because the company believed Ghomeshi lied to them, sources have told the Star.

“He lied to the firm,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.

According to the sources, until late Sunday night, Navigator was “buying (Ghomeshi’s) story” that it was a jilted ex-girlfriend who had manufactured lies that Ghomeshi was abusive. One source said the former CBC radio star had convinced the firm that there were no other allegations and there was nothing to be “concerned” about.

Then, as the Star reported between Monday and Thursday that at least eight women were making serious allegations of assault or sexual harassment against Ghomeshi, the firm decided at a series of meetings that it could not represent someone who, in their opinion, had lied.

News that Navigator, as well as publicity firm Rock-it Promotions, was parting company with Ghomeshi came Thursday, the same day a ninth woman went public with her allegations.

The Star was not able to determine if Rock-it dropped Ghomeshi for the same reason. A source with knowledge of the Rock-it situation said that the firm, which had been with Ghomeshi for two years (Navigator was a recent hire) was disappointed as more and more allegations surfaced.

“Here was a guy (Rock-it) believed in, and it didn’t turn out that way,” a source told the Star.

Both companies issued releases Thursday afternoon announcing they had cut ties with Ghomeshi, but neither said why.

Generally, firms that do public relations or crisis communications work ask that the client disclose all relevant information so that they can manage difficult situations with full knowledge of all details.

The Star’s stories revealed much more information than the firms or CBC were aware of. The stories included allegations of sexual harassment of two CBC employees and allegations of beating, choking and in some cases biting by six women Ghomeshi met over the past decade, including Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere. The Star is continuing to investigate allegations from more women.

Ghomeshi, who was fired by the CBC on Sunday, wrote in a brief statement on his Facebook page on Thursday: “I intend to meet these allegations directly.”

Rock-it has been with Ghomeshi since at least 2012, when it helped him promote his high school memoir, 1982. Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, a principal of Rock-it, was running interference for Ghomeshi this summer when the Star was asking about allegations of abusive conduct by him toward women, sources say.

Goldblatt-Sadowski and her team were working with two lawyers from Dentons LLP in Toronto, the firm that has launched Ghomeshi’s $55-million defamation suit against the CBC. Dentons did not answer a request for comment from the Star on Thursday.

“Going forward, Rock-it Promotions will no longer be representing Jian Ghomeshi,” said a statement from the firm, a relatively small agency whose association with Ghomeshi had helped it grow over the years. Rock-it did not respond to questions from the Star.

Navigator is a firm known for helping high-profile individuals and companies perform damage control at difficult times. Navigator issued a statement Thursday saying “the circumstances of our engagement have changed and we are no longer able to continue.” Officials say they have a policy preventing them from discussing current or former clients.

The news comes as a second woman with allegations of violence against Ghomeshi publicly identified herself.

In a piece for the Huffington Post Canada, titled “Why I Can’t Remain Silent About What Jian Did to Me,” lawyer and author Reva Seth wrote about an incident more than 10 years ago when Ghomeshi was the host of CBC television show Play. She alleges that after a dinner date, Ghomeshi grabbed her by the throat, pulled down her pants and violently penetrated her with his fingers.

“My sexual interactions until then had always been consensual, enjoyable and fun,” she wrote. “I remember he gave me some weird lines about how he couldn’t tell if I was actually attracted to him or not, and somehow this was meant to explain his behaviour … He acted like it was all totally normal and came to the door to watch me go down the stairs and get into the cab.”

Seth wrote that one of the reasons she decided to come forward was that she feels Ghomeshi has a “pattern that has certainly escalated since I knew him.”

According to the Huffington Post piece, Seth first met Ghomeshi at a Loblaws on the Danforth in 2002, when she was 26, and agreed to go for dinner with him a few days later. She wrote that they hung out a few times over the summer, never doing much more physically than kissing.

The incident Seth described happened on a Sunday night, she wrote, after the two had a drink and smoked some pot. Seth wrote that Ghomeshi became “super angry, almost frenzied and disassociated.”

She didn’t do anything after the alleged attack because “it didn’t seem like there was anything to do,” she wrote, noting she was sharing her story now in the hopes that it will help others.

There is currently no police investigation into the allegations against Ghomeshi because no one has complained, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair told reporters Thursday.

“When these crimes are committed, we need a complainant,” said Blair. “We need someone to come forward and say, ‘This is what’s happened to me,’ and we will investigate that and we will do that as quickly and compassionately as we possibly can.”

On Thursday, Ghomeshi’s profile vanished from the websites of two Canadian speakers bureaus, Keynote Speakers Canada and Speakers’ Spotlight. A cached version of the Keynote Speakers profile says: “Known for his charm, wit and sense of humour, Jian Ghomeshi is a renaissance man for the 21st century . . .

“He tailors his talks to the audience, environment and objectives of your event and blends opinions and ideas with storytelling, personal anecdotes and lessons learned from experiences throughout his life.”

Topics Ghomeshi would touch on at an event, according to Keynote Speakers, include rethinking the Canadian identity and art, activism and media.

A cached version of the Speakers’ Spotlight website notes: “As warm and witty as he is sharp and serious, Ghomeshi brings class and craftsmanship to each and every engagement, whether he’s delivering a cultural keynote, hosting an event, or interviewing a person or panel of people.”

Neither Keynote Speakers nor Speakers’ Spotlight immediately returned requests for comment. As of Thursday evening, Ghomeshi was still featured on the website for All-American Speakers Bureau in the U.S.

Ghomeshi, who has already been dropped from hosting the Giller Prize literary awards on Nov. 10, cancelled late Wednesday afternoon a speaking engagement about arts and culture that he was set to deliver on Nov. 7 in Prince George, B.C., hosted by a local newspaper.

With files from Wendy Gillis

Kevin Donovan can be reached at 416-312-3503 or kdonovan@thestar.ca .

Submit News to CKA News Justin Trudeau joins byelection campaign in Whitby-Oshawa
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:43:40 EDT

While Stephen Harper was unveiling his family-friendly tax measures in nearby Vaughan, Justin Trudeau joined the byelection campaign trail in Whitby-Oshawa where a new poll shows the Liberal candidate trailing the Conservatives.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes is one of six candidates vying for the long-held Tory seat that became vacant after Jim Flaherty’s sudden death in April at age 64.

The boost from Trudeau will be welcome for the local entrepreneur after a new Forum Research poll showed former Whitby Mayor Pat Perkins with an early lead in the Nov. 17 vote.

Trudeau, in unofficial campaign mode himself given next year’s federal election, came out swinging Thursday night, telling a large partisan crowd at Caesar-Chavannes’ campaign office that Harper’s income-splitting plan is misguided and benefits Canadians who need it the least.

“Think of about a single mother earning one income. Working to send her kid to school, buying groceries and gas, and still trying to put money away for her kid’s university (education), or her own retirement,” Trudeau told the audience.

“Mr. Harper thinks she should be the one paying, so people who make double or triple what she does can get a $2,000 tax break. That’s just wrong,” Trudeau said, to boos and cries of “shame” from the audience.

Flaherty’s name runs deep in the area. The former Ontario Conservative cabinet minister was first elected as an MPP in Durham-Centre (which later became Whitby-Oshawa) in 1995, and he held the seat until he jumped to the federal scene in 2006.

His wife Christine Elliott is the Progressive Conservative MPP for the riding, and is also a leadership candidate for the provincial party.

Forum Research has Perkins in front with 41 per cent support, followed by Caesar-Chavannes at 32 per cent and 15 per cent for NDP candidate Trish McAuliffe.

The poll was conducted Monday. A total of 894 people were randomly selected for the interactive voice response telephone survey of eligible voters in the riding. The results are considered accurate, plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Submit News to CKA News Canadian government sacrificing military spending for budget surplus
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:19:04 EDT

OTTAWA—As the Conservative government doles out pricey good-news announcements thanks to a looming budget surplus, newly released public documents show it continues to shortchange the military.

Public Accounts of Canada for 2013-2014 reveal for the third consecutive year, spending on military equipment, weapons systems and infrastructure declined significantly.

That spending is down roughly $1 billion from a high point of $3.8 billion in 2010-2011.

The documents show the government failed to spend $763 million of its allocated funding this past fiscal year for those types of large-scale initiatives even as Canada flexes its military muscle overseas.

Canadian CF-18 jet fighters and CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes are currently in Kuwait and are expected to join a U.S.-led coalition’s bombing campaign against the Islamic State within days.

The Public Accounts documents reveal the Conservatives have held onto more than $7 billion in approved spending across a spectrum of departments.

The unspent Department of National Defence money goes into the government’s general coffers, as do the funds from other departments and agencies. But one defence expert says the unused Defence Department money comprises a quarter of the budget surplus.

“It’s provided a major contribution towards the surplus,” said David Perry, an analyst with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.

Since 2007-2008, the average amount that the government has underspent is 23 per cent of the allocated funds. Over the last three decades, the average was 2 per cent.

“It’s astounding that we’ve seen seven years of this degree of underspending,” Perry said.

“This is completely uncharted territory over the last seven years in terms of the inability for the Department of National Defence to make use of the money the government is giving them.”

Joyce Murray, the Liberal defence critic, accused the government of using the Defence Department as a “giant piggy bank to fund their election campaign promises and buy some votes.”

“You look at how so much of the military has been starved for funds, they struggle to hire health professionals for soldiers with PTSD, for example, and yet now we have the government announcing tax initiatives for the rich.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an income-splitting tax break for parents on Thursday. The measure allows the higher-earning parent of children up to 18 years of age to transfer as much as $50,000 of income to the lower-earning spouse for tax purposes.

The government is also boosting the universal child care benefit — $160 a month for kids under six, up from $100, plus a new monthly benefit of $60 for children aged six through 17, effective in 2015.

The two measures combined will cost $3.1 billion in 2014-15 and $4.5 billion in 2015-16.

The Conservatives have long condemned the previous Liberal government for being stingy with the military, an accusation Murray suggested is hypocritical.

“Their priorities are clear and they don’t match the rhetoric,” she said.

Perry said the Conservatives have also failed to make decisions about big-ticket defence projects that include fighter jets and shipbuilding. Those initiatives would have been partly paid for by the $763 million and would create jobs and stimulate the economy.

“Decisions haven’t been taken on big files, so DND can’t spend the money,” he added.

Submit News to CKA News Perjury trial hears of alleged meeting between Mounties
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:10:24 EDT

VANCOUVER—A former RCMP officer’s perjury trial heard allegations Thursday that the four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death gathered for a private meeting in the weeks before testifying at a public inquiry.

But a defence lawyer immediately attempted to cast doubt on the Crown’s star witness — whose former spouse is related to one of the officers — suggesting the passage of time has caused her to mix up key dates and events.

Benjamin (Monty) Robinson is one of four officers who confronted Dziekanski the night the Polish immigrant was stunned with a Taser and died at Vancouver’s airport in October 2007.

He is is accused of lying at a public inquiry looking into the death.

The Crown’s theory is that the officers colluded before speaking to homicide investigators immediately following Dziekanski’s death and then again before the inquiry, fabricating a story to justify their actions.

Janice Norgard, who once lived with a cousin of Const. Bill Bentley, testified that Bentley, Robinson and the two other officers involved in the case met at her home in late January or early February of 2009.

The Crown alleges the officers held the meeting to prepare their testimony. Bentley was the first officer to testify, appearing at the inquiry on Feb. 25 of that year.

Norgard said she was in the process of separating from Bentley’s cousin, Brian Dietrich, who by then wasn’t living at their house in Richmond, south of Vancouver, full time.

She testified Dietrich told her Bentley and the other officers needed to use her kitchen for a meeting. Within a day or two, the officers arrived and Bentley introduced her to Robinson, Const. Kwesi Millington and Const. Gerry Rundel, she said.

Norgard said she went upstairs to work, returning only once during the meeting to get some coffee. She saw the officers alone, without Dietrich, though she did not hear what they were talking about, she said.

Norgard said she didn’t think of the meeting again until last summer, after reading a news report that Bentley had been acquitted of perjury. Bentley was the first of the four officers to stand trial.

“One of the things that was mentioned was he had been acquitted because the judge felt there was no evidence of the officers ever meeting, so I realized that I had evidence they had met and that I needed to come forward,” said Norgard.

Defence lawyer David Crossin suggested Norgard’s timeline was incorrect.

While Norgard insisted she and Dietrich were no longer living together by the time the meeting happened, Crossin showed the court affidavits from Norgard and Dietrich’ separation proceedings, in which she said Dietrich didn’t move out until March or April.

Crossin suggested the meeting actually occurred in May of that year, as much as two months after Robinson, who was the final officer to appear at the inquiry, had wrapped up his testimony.

“That is incorrect,” replied Norgard.

Bentley and Millington had both moved to Ontario by then. Flight records indicate Bentley flew to Vancouver for the inquiry on Feb. 15, while Millington arrived on Feb. 18.

Prosecutors haven’t said when they believe the officers colluded before speaking with homicide investigators shortly after Dziekanski’s death.

The Crown’s theory is that the officers’ initial statements and notes contain similar errors when compared with an amateur video that captured Dziekanski’s death. The Crown argues the only way to explain those similar errors is that the officers must have colluded.

Const. Kwesi Millington, who fired the Taser, is scheduled to stand trial beginning next week.

Const. Gerry Rundel was also set to stand trial this fall, but the case was delayed at the request of the Crown and isn’t expected to be heard until the new year.

The Crown is appealing Bentley’s acquittal. The appeal is also scheduled for the new year.

Submit News to CKA News Canada?s job market underperforming for years: Goar
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:05:27 EDT

There is a strange discrepancy between the official unemployment rate and the joblessness Canadians experience. It has been there since the recession ended in 2009.

Job seekers can’t pinpoint what’s wrong. But they know Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s worse out there than Ottawa’s number crunchers think.

Economists have tried to explain the gap between the unemployment rate (currently 6.8 per cent) and the signals Canadians are picking up. They point to the large pool of discouraged workers (people who have given up job-hunting and are no longer counted); people who have been looking for work for so long that they have fallen off the radar screen; people getting by with part-time jobs, short-term contracts and low-wage survival jobs. Some analysts have urged policy-makers to look beyond the headline-making jobless rate.

Now a senior economist at the Toronto Dominion Bank has gone a step farther. Randall Bartlett has created an index that takes into account all of the unpublished or under-reported data that StatsCan, the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve collect to measure the health of the job market. He calls his yardstick the Canadian Labour Market Indicator.

It confirms what Canadians have been saying. “The Canadian labour market is currently experiencing more weakness than is implied by headline unemployment rate alone and has been for nearly two years. Contributing to this weakness are elevated levels of labour underutilization (job seekers who don’t fit StatsCan’s criteria), involuntary part-time employment and long-term term employment.

“Going forward we plan to continue publishing the TD labour market indicator as needed to provide additional context around our market analysis,” Bartlett says.

That is welcome news to the bank’s clients, the economic journalists who receive TD publications and those who visit the website of the bank’s economics department. But it is information all Canadians need.

Statistics Canada, the federal finance department or the department of employment and social services should be providing it.

None of these agencies has made any move to do that. Instead the finance department incorporated unchecked job vacancy data from Kijiji into its economic outlook, leading policy-makers to believe a severe skill shortage existed. The government budgeted $300 million to solve the problem, which turned out to be a statistical mirage.

The employment department launched an “examination” to find out whether Canadians receiving jobless benefits were actively searching for work. Federal officials showed up unannounced at people’s homes, hand-delivering a request to appear at an employment insurance (EI) interview.

Statistics Canada, constrained by successive budget cuts, kept churning out employment figures Canadians didn’t believe.

If Ottawa can’t come up with a credible gauge of the performance of Canada’s labour market, it should at least adopt Bartlett’s indicator (with the bank’s consent). All of his data are from public sources. He explains his methodology clearly. He is a bright young economist — a BA in mathematics, MA in economics and professional credentials as a certified financial analyst — with experience in the federal finance department and the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

What stands in the way is politics. It serves the interests of the Conservative government to keep using an employment barometer that shows no real problem in the labour market. It allows cabinet ministers to claim job-seekers just aren’t trying hard enough to find work; they’re not properly trained; they’re not sufficiently mobile; or they’d rather collect EI than earn a living. It makes the recovery look stronger than it is, enabling the Tories to campaign for re-election on their record of creating jobs and improving voters’ lives.

But sooner or later — preferably sooner — the nation will have to admit the truth. The nature of work has changed profoundly in the post-industrial era. Contract work has replaced permanent employment. Jobs are short-term, part-time and sometimes precarious. Wages don’t always provide enough income to live on. Some parents need two — even three — jobs to make ends meet. Ottawa is not measuring — let alone coming to grips — with any of this.

It will take hard work and co-operation among governments, employers, educators and workers to reconnect talent and opportunity in a globalized, digital, rapidly changing economy. The process starts with up-to-date tools.

Carol Goar’s column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Submit News to CKA News Sanctuary remains a last guard against state power: Salutin
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:53:00 EDT

What is this — the Middle Ages? A Toronto church has given sanctuary to a Hungarian Roma family who came here as refugees. They were rejected on a virtual technicality and the Harper government wants them deported. They’ve lived at the church for two years. Before that they spent a year with Catholic monks. It’s not a cathedral, and Quasimodo didn’t swoop out of the bell tower to scoop them up. It’s on a leafy street. They don’t want it named in case the feds decide to rush it or hatemeisters target it.

When I drove up the other day, Timea Daróczi was smoking outside. It’s the closest she gets to taking a walk. Her husband Jozsef Pusuma and six-year-old daughter Lulu have taken over the minister’s study. The congregation, who prayed a lot before diving in, raised enough to put in a bathroom. Their fridge is in the men’s choir room. The barber and dentist come when needed. It’s all good, everyone says. I think good is the operative term.

How did it come to this? People wonder how religion-based groups like the Muslim Brotherhood became prominent in the Arab world, where secular-nationalist regimes like Nasser’s Egypt were once the norm. But gradually those authoritarian governments narrowed the range of social programs, diverted resources to military and security, and repressed opposition. Only the mosques were too deeply rooted to effectively contain. So they responded to needs like poverty or education and became sites where opposition was voiced — sanctuaries in a way, for better and worse. Of course we’re not the same; but stifled social or political impulses will seek expression — sometimes via religion.

Our current government has reduced basic services (like Chretien-Martin before it). In the case of refugee claimants, they’ve restricted access to health care and are doing the same to welfare. They’ve applied pressure to the screening process and been “incredibly effective,” says Toronto Life, with “Hungarian claimants declining by 97 per cent.” The numbers seeking asylum here from everywhere have reached a “historic low.” Jason Kenney visited Hungary and said, pretty clearly, that Roma refugees aren’t wanted (Toronto Life again). Current minister Chris Alexander won’t budge on the brutal procedures. Compassionate considerations need not apply. He gets this year’s Peter Kent award for pitiless pandering when he should know better.

You can say: wait for an election and vote these guys out. But by then Jozsef and Timea may be gone. They’ve had a ton of positive media. None of it got them beyond the church property, much less to a McDonalds up the street, which Lulu longs for. That’s why the churches act. They can do no other. It’s in their DNA, at least some of them. It’s also in their scriptures, or some of those.

This brings us to the role of religion in this affair. Is sanctuary an act of religion, or politics, ethics, or something else? I’m happy to call it religious, on the assumption that religion can penetrate almost any aspect of life. Back in the days of Quasimodo, the church was sometimes the source of opposition to political power, when it wasn’t trying to exercise that power itself.

Same thing with ISIS. I’m not with those who say it’s a perversion of Islam, I think it’s a version of Islam, though a highly perverse one. The noble journalist-scholar Rami Khouri was here Wednesday and said ISIS is an outfit of misfits. If they weren’t in Syria they’d be with some cult on a mountain top. Theologian Richard Niebuhr had the final word on this conundrum. He said religion makes good people better and bad people worse. Cases in point: sanctuary and ISIS.

Some words are just too broad and flexible to use seriously. Religion is one; terrorism, another. Harper and the RCMP insist last week’s shootings were terrorism. Tom Mulcairtook the bait and said they weren’t, possibly alienating voters inclined to see every traffic jam in Ottawa now as terror related. Justin Trudeau was more, Yah, whatever. He saved his powder for the real battles, which will be over how many more rights can be jettisoned and oppositional voices shut down — like the refugee process and the rights that used to attend it.

Rick Salutin?s column appears Friday. ricksalutin@ca.inter.net

Submit News to CKA News Where's the outrage over racist treatment of Olivia Chow: Honderich
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:52:00 EDT

This can no longer go unremarked upon or unchallenged.

The incidents of anti-immigrant, anti-female and anti-Chinese invective levelled against Olivia Chow during the mayoral campaign are simply outrageous.

They do not reflect well on a city that prides itself on its diversity and tolerance. But nor can we afford to ignore or fail to condemn such behaviour in the naïve hope it will go away.

The height came just two days before election day when The Toronto Sun ran a cartoon of Olivia Chow that was nothing short of appalling. It depicted her in a Mao suit, with slitty eyes holding up the coattails of her deceased husband Jack Layton.

In my view, it is both racist and sexist.

However, it seems such a depiction is just fine to the new emperor of Canadian journalism, Paul Godfrey, whose Postmedia company just announced the purchase of all 175 of Sun Media’s English-speaking newspapers.

Before dealing with the cartoon, it is important, however, to set the scene.

On the very day last March when Chow first announced her candidacy, the invective started. “I got a huge number of emails that were racist, sexist rants,” she recalls. And that flow continued online throughout her campaign.

Then on Sept. 23 at a mayoral debate at York Memorial High School, she was openly taunted from the floor. “She’s Chinese,” said one. “She’s not Canadian,” yelled another. “Go home. Go back to China,” said a third.

First, these hecklers were wrong. Chow is “proudly” Canadian and she hails from Hong Kong, not communist China.

This kind of unsavory taunt surfaced again Oct. 1 at another debate. And again, Chow was forced to reply. “I am a proud Torontonian . . . a proud Canadian.”

That a major candidate with a long, celebrated career in public office would even feel compelled to provide such a defence seems almost unthinkable in 2014.

The other two major candidates were eventually unequivocal in their condemnation of the hecklers’ message. “I want to make it very, very clear I don’t condone that,” said Doug Ford. “I’ve received that in my family . . . I don’t condone that whatsoever.”

For his part, John Tory said, “I just think any slur issued by anybody in this city of that kind is unacceptable . . . It is not the way we live here.”

At about the same time, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam revealed she too had been taunted in an email for her gender and sexual orientation. Other instances of racial, religious or ethnic attack also surfaced.

Towards the end of the campaign, both on talk shows and letters-to-the-editor pages, concerns were raised by many about this distasteful facet of this long campaign.

Which brings us directly to the cartoon.

The image of Chow in a Mao suit, holding a coat labelled “Jack Layton” standing on a skateboard can surely only be interpreted to imply she is a Chinese commie woman who is attempting to ride to victory on the coattails of her beloved husband. Chow immediately labelled the cartoon both “sexist” and “racist.” Many online citizens agreed.

Now I am the first to argue that freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have. And editorial cartoons often stretch that freedom to its very limit, which is a good thing. We must have as free and open a discussion as possible.

But even cartoons are usually limited by three factors: potential libel, accuracy, and taste. To me, the Sun cartoon utterly failed the third test of good taste and only served to further inflame a very delicate situation.

But Paul Godfrey, longtime city politician and now Canada’s leading newspaper honcho, has decided to go public, supporting both the cartoon and cartoonist Andy Donato. “I do not believe he crossed the line of good taste on this cartoon.” Godfrey wrote online in response to a blogger.

Godfrey goes on, “People who enter all forms of public life may from time to time not like what a cartoonist produces . . . I have learned from personal experience to smile and move on.”

Really?

Should we now accept that a cartoon that makes fun of a candidate’s ethnic background and mocks her gender passes the test of “good taste”? Should we see such a cartoon as a legitimate expression of free speech? Is this the standard of journalism Godfrey sees as acceptable in his huge chain of newspapers? Is this kind of depiction now acceptable journalism in Toronto?

To somehow suggest Olivia Chow should simply “smile and move on” in the face of such a low-handed cartoon misses the point entirely.

One would have thought our society has moved beyond the point where prospective candidates should be subject to racial or sexist attacks. This is not what Toronto is about.

And civic leaders, opinion leaders — even newspaper proprietors — should be joining forces to say this kind of electoral discourse is unacceptable.

Toronto — and Olivia Chow — deserve better.

John Honderich is chair of the board of Torstar Corp.

Submit News to CKA News Author Reva Seth accuses Jian Ghomeshi of assault
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:09:00 EDT

A second woman has revealed her identity while describing allegations of abuse against her by former CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi.

Reva Seth, author of the book The MomShift and lawyer, wrote an account of her experience with Ghomeshi in a blog post published by Huffington Post Canada on Thursday, making the total number of women accusing him of being violent towards them nine.

In 2002, Seth, then 26, met Ghomeshi when she was starting a new job at city hall and a masters program at Osgoode Hall Law School. Upon first meeting him at a grocery store, she found him “funny and charming,” and started seeing him casually.

She writes that over the course of a summer, they attended a couple of parties together and watched a movie at his house.

“I was seeing other people and I’m pretty sure he was also.”

Seth says she and Ghomeshi never discussed anything related to BDSM and had “only casually fooled around — a bit of kissing.”

However, on one such evening, which “started out fine,” after they had a drink and smoked some marijuana, Ghomeshi’s behaviour suddenly changed, she writes.

“Suddenly, it was like he became a different person,” she writes. “He was super angry, almost frenzied and disassociated.

“Jian had his hands around my throat, had pulled down my pants and was aggressively and violently digitally penetrating me with his fingers,” Seth recounts. “When it was over, I got up and it was clear I was really angry. My sexual interactions until then had always been consensual, enjoyable and fun.

“He gave me some weird lines about how he couldn’t tell if I was actually attracted to him or not,” she writes about what happened afterwards. “And somehow this was meant to explain his behaviour.”

Seth says she called a cab and left right away, and Ghomeshi walked her to the door “like it was all totally normal.”

She debated coming forward for fear of “judgment, online trolls, the questioning of all your other choices,” as well as possible assertions that her experience was not bad or happened too long ago.

Seth also believed if she came forward, that she would be “eviscerated” because she had willingly gone to Ghomeshi’s house, drank and smoked marijuana with him, and had a sexual past.

She had decided to not see Ghomeshi again, ignoring his calls and messages over the following weeks, and not to involve the police.

Seth was moved to come forward with her story after hearing Lucy DeCoutere speaking on CBC’s The Current about her “remarkably similar experience” with Ghomeshi. DeCoutere, who played Lucy on Trailer Park Boys, first detailed her allegations against Ghomeshi to the Toronto Star, along with seven other women who have asked not to be identified.

In a brief Facebook post Thursday, Ghomeshi thanked his supporters and said he will not be speaking with the press about the allegations, but that he intends to meet them head-on.

Shortly before any allegations became public, CBC fired Ghomeshi, who had worked for the public broadcaster for 14 years. They announced on Thursday that they were hiring a third-party company to investigate allegations against Ghomeshi.

On Thursday afternoon, Ghomeshi’s crisis communications firm Navigator and PR agency rock-it promotions both stated that they would no longer be representing him.

Ghomeshi filed a $55-million defamation and breach of trust lawsuit against the CBC on Monday, in which he alleged his former employer had made a “moral judgment” about his sexual preferences, including bondage and rough sex, which he described in a Facebook post on Oct. 26.

RELATED:

Eight women accuse Ghomeshi of violence, sexual abuse or harassment

Chief Blair: No investigation until a victim comes forward

Submit News to CKA News Analysis: 20 lessons from the Rob Ford era
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:02:00 EDT

Among many other things, the Rob Ford era was highly educational. Here are 20 things the past four city hall years taught us.

1. Our accountability laws put too big a burden on regular people.If a Toronto politician seems to have overspent the campaign spending limit, nothing can be done unless a resident asks a city committee to approve an audit. If a Toronto politician seems to have violated conflict-of-interest law, nothing can be done unless a resident files a lawsuit. If a Toronto politician seems to have breached council’s ethics code, nothing can be done unless a resident files an integrity complaint. It doesn’t have to be this way.

2. Municipal controversies fade easily. Parliament and the provincial legislature each have a question period that allows the opposition to hold the government’s feet to the fire. Toronto’s council has no forum like it, leaving it to the media to try to find novel ways to keep pertinent questions alive. The city council of London, England, has a 10-times-yearly “mayor’s question time.” Toronto could benefit from something similar.

3. Simple works.Ford’s transit mantra, “subways, subways, subways,” was empty even by the standards of political slogans. Because of it, though, even people who ignore local politics know him as The Subways Guy. Wouldn’t have happened if he had given a bunch of eloquent pro-subway policy speeches.

4. Toronto is a divided city. There’s no other way to read the map of election results in 2010 and 2014. The results reveal stark divides between rich neighbourhoods and poor neighbourhoods, between the inner portion of the city and the suburbs of the northeast and northwest. They aren’t vanishing just because the new mayor is more polite than the old one.

5. No transit vote is final until the transit is actually built.Until there are real-life voters riding real-life trains, municipal and provincial politicians can and will revisit the big decisions they just made.

6. People don’t always trust the media.Two well-known reporters reported in the country’s largest newspaper that they saw a video that clearly showed the mayor inhaling from a crack pipe. Half the population didn’t believe the video existed — and when someone produced a low-quality fake that purported to show how easy it was to produce a high-quality fake, that video went viral as some sort of proof of something.

7. People believe what they want to believe. When the news of the crack video broke, thousands of people immediately concluded Ford was the victim of an elaborate hoax conspiracy. When the news of his tumour broke, thousands of other people immediately believed Ford was the perpetrator of an elaborate hoax conspiracy.

8. Yes, your government can keep big secrets from you. Ford’s addiction problem was discussed around city hall long before there was enough proof for the Star to print an article. Had Ford not shown up impaired to a military ball, and had Councillor Paul Ainslie not been there and willing to go on the record, the secret could have remained hidden much longer.

9. You can’t get rid of a mayor.In a municipal party system, a caucus mutiny would likely have forced Ford to step down. If he were the premier or the prime minister, he would surely have had to go before he brought his entire government down. Because he is the mayor, in a system without council impeachment or voter recall, he could stay as long as he pleased.

10. You can fight city hall. Regular people successfully persuaded councillors to reject budget cuts and a waterfront overhaul backed by the mayor, plus a casino proposal backed by wealthy corporate interests.

11. Municipal literacy is poor. Almost nobody knows what powers the mayor actually has. Too few know who their councillor is. Thousands of Torontonians wrongly believe Ford was elected on the strength of support in Vaughan and Mississauga, which are not part of Toronto at all, because that's what they think when they hear Ford got votes in “the suburbs.”

12. It’s possible: people can care about local government.Lots were paying close attention to city hall even before the crack scandal. Mostly to Ford’s other outrages, no doubt, but also to policy. Will the interest evaporate when the mayor is more normal?

13. He-said, she-said journalism doesn’t cut it. Many news reports gave equal credence to the false assertions of the mayor and the true assertions of others. Media “balance” shouldn’t mean letting evident inaccuracies go unchallenged.

14. Bigotry is alive and well. The mayor of a city whose motto is “diversity our strength” shunned the gay community and used racial slurs to describe Jews, blacks and Italians; much of the population barely shrugged. Muslim candidates’ signs were defaced with racist graffiti. A mayoral candidate born in Hong Kong faced a racist newspaper cartoon, racist Facebook comments, racist comments at debates. Toronto is an accepting city on the whole, but there’s a long way to go.

15. Council is actually important. Councillors can be doormats for the mayor. They don’t have to be. This council made important and difficult decisions the mayor didn’t like.

16. …but any popular mayor can control council. As a councillor himself, Ford was mocked and ignored by his colleagues. When he became mayor, many of the people who couldn’t stand him lined up for key roles in his administration. Ford could have easily dominated the legislative agenda had he been more interested in policy and more conciliatory.

17. The “weak” mayor exercises power in hidden ways. Ford asked high-ranking bureaucrats to accompany him on his constituent visits. They did. Ford asked high-ranking bureaucrats to order unscheduled road repairs outside his family’s office. They did. Toronto has a “weak mayor” system, but legislative power is far from the only power.

18. Toronto’s non-government leaders are exceedingly cautious. The only significant corporate figure who was openly critical of Ford, even after he became an international laughingstock, was Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke — a new-in-town American. Community groups were quiet about Ford’s slurs. Hard to imagine the response being the same in, say, New York.

19. Early narrative is hard to shake. The Fords were masters at establishing their own version of events before others could establish theirs. Even when the truth eventually emerged, the first version, the Ford version, was what a lot of people remembered. Who ever saw the video that eventually showed Ford was not actually hit by a cup of thrown juice he claimed had injured him?

20. All politics is personal. Ford has earned the loyalty of thousands of people by simply returning their phone calls and showing up at their doors. Ford opponents who criticize his time-management decisions have a point — but they are also missing the point. Making people feel like they matter matters.

Submit News to CKA News Former cemetery worker sentenced to life in prison for brutal murder
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:12:00 EDT

A judge sentenced a 25-year-old man to life in prison Wednesday for the brutal murder of Anthony “Koko” Chang last year.

Chang, a peaceful Buddhist father of two, was stabbed to death in broad daylight outside his North York home last September. He was stabbed 31 times, hit in the head with a brick and strangled.

Kimnarine Maharaj pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last week.

“An innocent 62-year-old hard working family man lost his life at the hands of Mr. Maharaj over a senseless dispute,” said Justice John McMahon when delivering his sentence. “He was a small older gentleman who was completely innocent and unarmed when he was brutally attacked.”

The murder came two days after a minor collision between Maharaj’s truck and Chang’s scooter. Chang agreed to let Maharaj, a Mount Pleasant Cemetery worker, pay him out of pocket for around $1,000 for damages, allowing him avoid going through insurance.

When Maharaj came to Chang’s home the morning of Sept. 12, the court was told neighbours heard a loud argument.

Maharaj then violently attacked Chang, stabbing him 31 times, and then fled. It was Chang’s adult son who found his father in a pool of blood.

“Not only is this murder senseless, it has destroyed the Chang family,” said McMahon.

Chang was married with two adult children. He worked as an interpreter for Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board and volunteered at a temple in his spare time.

Maharaj was arrested two days after the murder. He had no prior criminal record and was employed as a small-engine mechanic at Mount Pleasant cemetery. Maharaj’s wife was pregnant at the time.

She gave birth one week after his arrest.

McMahon called the violence “explosive,” albeit out of character, and sentenced Maharaj to life in prison and with no parole for 12 years.

Once he is granted parole, he will be deported back to Trinidad, where he was born, said his lawyer.

Submit News to CKA News Murder, mayhem and the case for an early vote: Tim Harper
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:41:38 EDT

OTTAWA—Stephen Harper is about to get a bump in public approval.

It comes with the turf for a leader after a period of national trauma, which then manifests itself in flag-waving, resolve and defiance.

The prime minister earned this expected bump.

His partisans would have cheered his vow that we will not be intimidated, but others saw a side of Harper rarely on display, as he embraced political adversaries, teared up at Nathan Cirillo’s funeral and told MPs to seek help if they felt stress after last week’s events.

It won’t be a huge bump, but it might be as good as it gets for this prime minister.

The question is what he will do with it.

Last week’s murder of two Canadian soldiers and the assault on Parliament have dramatically improved the odds on an early federal election.

The support for a leader in crisis is not sustainable, however, says Frank Graves, the president of EKOS Research, who this week published an analysis in iPolitics, based on data collected before last week’s events, entitled, “Fear fades — values endure.”

Graves, who has tracked this phenomenon on both sides of the 49th parallel, says the window of goodwill remains open for about 90 days.

“Any thaw in the public’s perception of the prime minister is something I think (Conservatives) will look at very carefully,’’ he said this week.

The case for a winter campaign can be easily made and Harper was making it himself Thursday in Vaughan with a splashy announcement of family-first tax cuts that will cost federal coffers almost $26.8 billion through the 2019-20 fiscal year.

For those reading the tea leaves, most of the measures take effect in this tax year. But those eligible for the enhanced child payments will find an extra $420 per child in their mailboxes in July 2015, about three months before the fixed election date.

So why earlier?

Conservatives have more money and campaign experience and, fixed election dates notwithstanding, they control the timing.

Most pollsters and analysts agree that the Conservatives have a built-in five-point electoral cushion in any campaign through a combination of a deeply committed base that will vote and voter suppression techniques.

Harper would catch Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau flat-footed with an empty policy book. Liberal protestations to the contrary, Trudeau is not ready for a national campaign, particularly if he is being scrutinized as a potential prime minister while Conservatives are carpet bombing the airwaves with attack ads highlighting many of his ill-considered public musings.

The Conservatives have good news to deliver in a fall economic update and a budget.

Support will harden for Harper’s decision to join with allies in airstrikes on Islamic State militants in northern Iraq and there will be no definitive verdict on whether they have been a success or failure if he goes to the polls in the winter.

If he goes in the winter, Harper will be able to escape the drip, drip, drip of Mike Duffy’s trial set to begin in early April.

Yes, there would be blowback if Harper goes this route. He will face heat for ignoring the fixed date, for forcing Canadians to campaign in the winter, for trying to avoid any Duffy revelations.

Those charges will likely find oxygen for about two news cycles before Liberals and New Democrats will have to hunker down and fight a campaign.

A wild card, Graves believes, will be Harper’s legislative response to last week’s tragedies, because his data indicates Canadians have come to the conclusion that past post-9/11 adventures with enhanced anti-terror powers “were ineffectual, perhaps even counterproductive.’’

Canadians believe there is no such thing as a “zero-risk” environment, Graves wrote, “and some of the things we’d done in the interest of safety may have magnified risk and damaged the basic freedoms which underpin the miracle of the late-20th century liberal capitalism in North America.’’

What Canadians feel right now — shock, anger or defiance — is not what they will be feeling in the foreseeable future.

That’s what makes today’s debate so crucial for Harper, Trudeau, Opposition leader Tom Mulcair — and the country.

Security decisions that overreach now will endure, but support for those measures will not.

Neither will an uptick in popularity for Harper endure.

This prime minister is facing an uphill climb to re-election, but if he and his strategists believe this is as good as it gets, we will be campaigning with the sound of snow crunching beneath candidates’ boots.

Tim Harper is a national affairs writer. His column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. tharper@thestar.ca Twitter:@nutgraf1

Submit News to CKA News Harper?s ?income splitting lite? is still a bad idea: Editorial
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:32:46 EDT

So welcome to the 2015 federal election campaign. Prime Minister Stephen Harper – tie and glasses off, smiling his best campaign smile – kicked it off on Thursday with a package of tax changes he said will benefit every Canadian family with kids. Who can resist?

In fact, the centrepiece of Harper’s big “family” announcement was a watered-down version of a badly flawed policy that was pooh-poohed by even the Conservatives’ most successful finance minister, Jim Flaherty. Still, Harper was bound and determined to bring in some form of income-splitting, which the Tories have been promising since 2011, and he’s done it just in time for the benefits to kick in for next year’s election.

The best that can be said about the limited type of income-splitting announced by the prime minister is that it will cause less damage than the plan he originally wanted to bring in. It will allow couples with children under 18 to transfer up to $50,000 of income to the spouse with the lower income for tax purposes, thereby cutting their overall federal tax bill.

The new twist is that the government will cap the benefit at $2,000 a year. That means couples with one high income earner won’t reap the windfall that the original plan would have given them. And it will cost the government less in foregone tax revenue.

But income-splitting will still leave most families out. Single parents (accounting for as many as 28 per cent of families, by some estimates) will get nothing. Couples with relatively similar incomes won’t benefit either. Only couples that fit the stereotypical model of one high earner and one who doesn’t work outside the home, or has a low salary, stand to be significant winners.

Independent analysts haven’t studied the new plan, but a study by the C.D. Howe Institute of the original scheme concluded that 85 per cent of families “would gain no benefit whatsoever.” No wonder critics on both the left and the right – as well as Flaherty himself – say income-splitting is fundamentally unfair.

The government has tacked on two more measures to ensure that all families will benefit. One is an increase in the Child Care Tax Deduction by $1,000 a year. The second is a boost in the monthly child care benefit from $100 to $160 a month for kids under 6, and a new benefit of $60 a month for children 6 through 17.

Both are a grossly inadequate response to the national crisis in child care, but by sprinkling new benefits around the government can claim to be giving something to everyone. And by amazing coincidence the cheques will start flowing in the middle of next year. Harper’s social policy may be flawed, but his political instincts are as sharp as ever.

Submit News to CKA News Stephen Harper announces $3B of tax breaks for families with children
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:39:48 EDT

OTTAWA—With an election on the horizon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is moving to put more money in the pockets of Canadians through a $3-billion boost in family tax breaks.

The overhaul of family taxation, announced by Harper in a mini-budget at a campaign-style event in Vaughan, includes a limited form of income-splitting, increased monthly baby bonus payments and an expansion of the tax deduction parents can claim for child care expenses.

The new Family Tax Cut, a major shift that will allow couples with children to reduce what they owe Ottawa by sharing income for tax purposes, is being made applicable to the 2014 tax year. This means a couple could save up to $2,000 when income tax returns are filed next spring.

And the enrichment of the Universal Child Care Benefit is being phased in so that families with a child under age 6 will receive a cheque from Ottawa for an extra $360 next July, several months before Canadians are expected to go to the polls in a federal election.

“We are keeping the promises we made to Canadian families,” Harper said Thursday. “And in addition to that, we are still on track to balance our budget in 2015.”

During the 2011 election, Harper promised to introduce several big-ticket tax breaks once the Conservatives eliminated the $24.9 budget deficit. But the tax changes had to be put off as the deficit persisted through this year.

The most controversial measure announced Thursday is the income-splitting measure being called the Family Tax Cut. It will particularly benefit families with children under age 18 where only one spouse works or where one spouse earns significantly more than his or her partner.

Under this measure, the couple could lower combined income taxes by shifting up to $50,000 of taxable income to the spouse in the lower income tax bracket. Income-splitting is popular among many Conservatives but it has been widely slammed, with critics saying the bulk of the benefits would go to high-income earners while most Canadians would benefit not at all. Even former finance minister Jim Flaherty questioned its fairness.

In response, the government is capping the benefit of the tax break to $2,000 a year per couple. It will cost Ottawa $2.4 billion annually in foregone revenue.

“Concerns have been expressed that too much of the benefit of that would go at very high income levels,” Harper acknowledged. “So that’s why we limited the benefit under this and also expanded other benefits to Canadian families to make sure that all Canadians across the income spectrum benefit from these measures.”

But NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen condemned the tax moves as “incredibly expensive and unfair,” saying the income-splitting provisions would do nothing for single parents or parents with similar incomes.

Also, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an increase in the Child Care Tax Deduction, as of 2015, to $8,000 from $7,000 per child under age 7. For children age 7 through 16, it will rise to $5,000 from $4,000.

As part of this overhaul, the government will as of 2015 scrap the standard Child Tax Credit, a change that will add $400 million to federal coffers in 2014-15 and $1.8 billion in 2015-16.

Overall, the new measures will cost the federal government $3 billion a year. Benefits are expected to go to 4 million families with children, according to the finance department.

Harper, who unveiled the new measures in Vaughan, has been rolling out tax breaks in recent weeks in anticipation of Ottawa balancing its books next year for the first time in half a decade. Some of the new tax goodies will land in the hands of Canadians in advance of the election expected in late 2015.

Income-splitting has been widely slammed as a giveaway for high-income earners in families with one working spouse. A study by the C.D. Howe Institute concluded that 80 per cent of families would see no benefits from income-splitting.

Former finance minister Jim Flaherty raised questions about the wisdom of income splitting, saying he wasn?t sure it would be of overall benefit to Canadian society. Speculation at the time focused on a possible rethinking of the measure by the Conservatives, but Tory MPs reportedly voiced renewed support for the idea, especially since scrapping it would mean backing away from a key 2011 campaign promise.

“We’re opposed to this plan because it would cost too much and not impact the vast majority of those that need the help,” Cullen told a news conference.

And he suggested next year’s federal election was the main motivation in the voter-friendly measures rolled out by Harper. “It’s all political and not economics,” Cullen said.

Harper also announced Ottawa is increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and the Child Care Tax Deduction.

But, as part of this overhaul, the government beginning in 2015 will scrap the standard Child Tax Credit at a savings of $400 million in the 2014-15 fiscal year and $1.8 billion in 2015-16.

Overall, the new measures will cost the federal government $3 billion in the current 2014-15 fiscal year. It rises to $4.9 billion in the following year. Benefits are expected to go to 4 million families with children, according to the finance department. The government also said more families will benefit by substituting an enlarged UCCB for the Child Tax Credit. Low-income families who owed no taxes did not benefit from the Child Tax Credit, whereas the UCCB goes to all families with children, the government said.

The new tax measures were roundly criticized by child-care experts and anti-poverty activists.

Martha Friendly, executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, called it “an outrageous way to spend money.

“Just like the old baby bonus, the UCCB is nothing more than a symbolic recognition of the role of child rearing,” she said. “It’s not enough money to make any difference or to give parents any kind of choice in child care.”

Laurel Rothman of Campaign 2000, a national coalition fighting to end child poverty, said boosting the National Child Benefit and Supplement, which provides funds to low-income families with children, would be a far better option.

Submit News to CKA News Climate change back this winter: Forecast
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:43:45 EDT

The winter temperature in Ontario may be close to normal, or a degree or two lower this year — but it won’t be as miserable as last year.

“Don’t be a shut-in, dress accordingly and be respectful of the weather, and it’ll be over before you can think of it,” David Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist, said on Wednesday.

“I don’t think you should be scared off by this winter. I wouldn’t hibernate or migrate. I would just accept it, enjoy it and embrace it,” Phillips said.

Environment Canada’s official winter forecast will be released on Dec. 1, the beginning of the three-month period the agency officially defines as ‘winter.’

But so far, Environment Canada’s models generally suggest that the winter will be more or less normal, he said.

It will be a winter of “less grumbling, more melting, a few more thaws and not that ice-age-cometh look and feel,” Phillips predicted.

Still, he cautioned, he has seen other models for this winter that are “a bit all over the place.”

“I would still only bet a couple of loonies on it. I wouldn’t bet the family farm or the fishing fleet on it — never should you, in Canada on seasonal forecasts,” Phillips said.

“But I feel very confident in saying most people will find this winter to be less difficult than they found last year.”

Canada’s winter fate will be decided in part by El Niño, the meteorological system that can cause surface water in the Pacific Ocean to warm and brings milder winter temperatures.

Environment Canada and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both predict an El Niño system will develop in early winter, but it may be weak.

If that system is weak or does not appear at all, Phillips said, it could be displaced by colder Arctic air.

Last year, a lingering mass of Arctic air brought Canadians the coldest November to March period since Environment Canada began keeping records in 1948.

“It was cold and it was relentless, and there were no Pacific systems that came to kick it back up North. It just sort of hung out like an unwanted house guest and wouldn’t leave,” Phillips said.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said he expects some of that cold Arctic air to again move south.

“We will see some cold shots once again. But they’ll be quick — they’re going to move in and move out, not sustained, like we saw last year,” Anderson explained.

In Ontario, AccuWeather is predicting a mild, snowy December and a slightly colder-than-normal January and February, with less snow.

That could push storms further east and south, Anderson said, and could mean the East Coast will be hit with heavy weather in the middle and end of winter.

Warmer water near Atlantic Canada could give more energy to storms on that coast, which could reach inland to Western Quebec, Anderson said.

Pacific Ocean currents suggest the weather will be mild and dry in southern B.C., and wetter in northern B.C., he said.

AccuWeather also predicts winter across Canada will not last as long as it did last year, but also won’t end ahead of schedule.

Climate change made last year’s extreme cold particularly unexpected, Phillips said.

“Twenty or 30 years ago, last winter would have just been a roll of the dice. But it’s hard to produce a colder- and snowier-than-normal winter, because of climate change. Our winters aren’t what they used to be,” he said.

“For nature to produce one of those years last year, she was working overtime. It was just downright cruel, and wouldn’t be something you would see that often again.”

For those kept away from skiing, ice-fishing and snowshoeing by last year’s biting cold, this winter will almost certainly be better, Phillips added.

“We’ve never cancelled winter in this country. We have cancelled a few summers, but never winters.”

Wild weather? New research finds some links to climate change

Earth on pace for hottest year ever recorded

Changes in rainfall can affect world politics, says UN-sponsored bookend

Submit News to CKA News Canada?s wild digital frontier needs policing
Wed, 09 Feb 2011 03:08:26 Z
John Ivison: The copyright bill has a number of provisions that are far less favourable to Canada’s performers and creators, who are about to see take a big hit to their pocket-books
Submit News to CKA News Election buzz, stale rhetoric ? Parliament has deja vu all over again
Tue, 01 Feb 2011 11:42:28 Z
John Ivison: If you missed Question Period Monday, don’t worry — you have a golden opportunity to miss it again Tuesday
Submit News to CKA News Death of Personal Responsibility: Think outside the lunchbox
Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:50:39 Z
Neil Seeman: So what should the role of the state be in combating obesity? It’s time to think outside of the lunchbox, and try a whole new idea: healthy living vouchers, or HLVs
Submit News to CKA News Don?t give Quebec a nickel
Wed, 26 Jan 2011 23:57:55 Z
Jonathan Kay: If Harper says no to the Bloc's demands, he will be going to the voters as a man of principle who stood his ground on a subject far more important to this country than corporate tax rates
Submit News to CKA News Stelmach more than a victim of changing attitudes
Wed, 26 Jan 2011 03:38:13 Z
Kevin Libin: Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach bet the fortune of his party’s unparalleled political dynasty on a leadership strategy that failed to pan out
Submit News to CKA News Dave Taylor a mixed blessing for fledgling Alberta Party
Tue, 25 Jan 2011 02:34:30 Z
Kevin Libin: The addition of former Liberal MLA Dave Taylor to the Alberta party gives it a legitimacy boost, but does the outspoken former radio personality fit with the party's post-partisan dreams?
Submit News to CKA News Playing by China's rules
Sun, 23 Jan 2011 19:21:17 Z
Rex Murphy: China has reached an agreement with the Newfoundland government to begin the importation of seal and seal products into its potentially vast market. This is both very good and rare news for Newfoundland sealers
Submit News to CKA News Canada: Nanny AND wimpy state?
Thu, 20 Jan 2011 20:08:14 Z
Before, there actually had to be a violent protest before public institutions caved in and cancelled controversial events. Now, a group of unhinged zealots make a couple of angry phone calls and – poof! – they silence free speech and free assembly
Submit News to CKA News Executives probably not swayed by Liberal tax plan
Tue, 18 Jan 2011 23:54:00 Z
Scott Stinson: It’s a safe bet that Mr. Ignatieff did not win many converts with his tax-increase sales pitch to Canadian executives on Tuesday. This is not a great surprise
Submit News to CKA News Conservatives missed the call for more civilized debate
Mon, 17 Jan 2011 19:58:11 Z
Kelly McParland: The federal Conservatives’ brain trust must have been somewhere else when President Barack Obama delivered his speech in Arizona last week, calling for greater civility in political debate.
Submit News to CKA News Harper's five years: Canadians better off, even if they don't feel it
Sat, 15 Jan 2011 13:21:36 Z
John Ivison: Jan. 23 marks the fifth anniversary of Stephen Harper’s 2006 election victory and in early February, he will pass Lester B. Pearson’s time in office to become Canada’s 11th longest-serving Prime Minister

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