CALGARY – A fatality inquiry into the death of a peace officer in Alberta five years ago focused strongly on the mental health of the killer on its opening day Monday.Rod Lazenby was a retired RCMP officer who was responsible for enforcing bylaws in the Municipal District of Foothills south of Calgary.The 62-year-old died in 2012 after being sent to Trevor Kloschinsky’s rural property on a call about dogs. An autopsy found Lazenby was strangled and had 56 cuts and bruises to the face, head, neck, body and back. He also suffered numerous internal injuries.Kloschinsky told officers he had apprehended a dog thief. He was charged with first-degree murder, but was found not criminally responsible because a mental disorder meant he didn’t understand that what he was doing was wrong.Doctors testified at his trial that they found him “actively psychotic.”RCMP Sgt. Ryan Singleton faced a number of questions at the hearing, which included Lazenby’s sister and daughter as well as a representative of the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers.He testified that there was a note on Kloschinsky’s file indicating mental-health issues and the municipal district had made it clear that no one should go to the property without RCMP backup.“It was the MD of Foothills … telling RCMP that they weren’t going to do this and therefore giving them the heads up that we may be requesting your assistance,” said Singleton.“They weren’t going to go out and deal with Mr. Kloschinsky by themselves … on a one-on-one basis without RCMP presence.”Singleton said there hadn’t been any previous indication that Kloschinsky was dangerous.“We had no indication of him being violent. We were dealing with a person who believed his dogs were being stolen.”Singleton said it’s probable that Lazenby, who wore hearing aids, may have turned them down before the attack because of the din created by the barking dogs.“I don’t think Mr. Lazenby knew what was coming.”The Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers held a news conference Monday to call for more collaboration between police agencies, improved access to personal protective equipment and better training.“The training that we get currently is based on different levels of community police officers,” said president Terri Miller. “The three levels that we have don’t get the same amount of training and we want to try and standardize the training.”The group is also recommending officers be trained in how to deal with people experiencing mental-health problems.Jamie Erickson, who was vice-president of the association when Lazenby was killed, hopes the inquiry will push forward changes.“We want to make sure our peace officers are safe.”A fatality inquiry may recommend how to prevent similar deaths, but cannot make any findings of legal responsibility.“The recommendations from the inquiry, although they’re non-legally binding, will provide an opportunity to make those necessary changes to ensure the safety of bylaw and peace officers in Alberta and in other jurisdictions across Canada,” said Dawn Rault from the Department of Economics, Justice and Policy Studies at Mount Royal University.The inquiry is scheduled to run until Friday.— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
STRATHMORE, Alta. – A woman charged after a critically injured dog was found tied to a car was confronted by animal rights protesters when she made her first court appearance Tuesday.Melinda Harris, 40, is accused of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.On July 2, a police officer was stopped by a driver who had seen a dog on a leash being dragged behind a black car down a highway east of Calgary.The car, with the injured dog tied to it, was found in a field later that day. Police said the dog was suffering from injuries consistent with having been dragged. RCMP took the dog, believed to be a border collie cross, to an emergency veterinary clinic, but the animal had to be euthanized.Heather Anderson from the Daisy Foundation, a group that fights for stiffer penalties for animal abusers, confronted a smiling Harris outside of the Strathmore courthouse, east of Calgary, during a break.“How can you be joking? Your dog just died. I don’t find anything funny about this,” Anderson said. “I want to know why the dog didn’t end up at a vet.”Harris replied it wasn’t her fault and said her boyfriend had tied the dog to the hitch of her car.“I drove away to get gas,” Harris said.Her car ran out of gas and she left on foot to get help, she said.“He was in pain and I knew he was dying and I ran for help,” Harris said.“Shut up. I didn’t tie my dog up and I wouldn’t never had done that to my dog. Am I laughing about my dog? No, I’m crying every day.”Harris waited for most of the day for her named to be called in court. She was told that the Crown was amending the charge against her but it wasn’t clear what the new charge will be.Harris, who now lives in Mackenzie, B.C., has been ordered to return to court Sept. 5.RCMP have issued an arrest warrant for True Underwood, 20, who is also charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.Anderson founded the Daisy Foundation in 2006 after a 19-year-old man was charged with animal cruelty when a dog named Daisy Duke was dragged up and down the street in Didsbury, Alta.“It really reminded me of Daisy Duke and when she got killed. Dragged behind the vehicle by someone who was supposed to love her. It was way too familiar for me,” Anderson said outside of court.“Obviously the poor thing died and he suffered. It’s pretty sad.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
As excitement on social media about the Aug. 21 solar eclipse heats up, experts are urging people to take good care of their eyes when they enjoy the spectacle in Canadian skies.Ralph Chou, a University of Waterloo optometry professor and president of the Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, says that staring at the sun for more than a few seconds will cause harm. He says the eye feels no pain so it will be too late to look away from potential retina-burning solar rays before a person notices they’ve done potentially-permanent damage.“The problem with the back of the eye is that there’s no pain sensors, so all this damage can occur without you even knowing about it until it’s far too late … the next morning they wake up and the photo receptors at the very centre of their vision are damaged and they suddenly realize they can’t see their faces in the bathroom mirror,” he said. The person will have to wait an anxious three months to know whether the damage is permanent, Chou said.Regular sunglasses just won’t cut it during the direct viewing for an eclipse because they allow in thousands of times more sunlight than is safe to reach your eyes. NASA says special solar eclipse glasses should be marked with the “ISO 12312-2” international safety standard on the label. Make sure there are no scratches on the lenses.These glasses cost only a few dollars but are becoming hard to find as we inch closer to eclipse date.This week, Amazon pulled potentially shady glasses from its site and issued refunds to customers who had already purchased them. In an email to buyers, the company said it could not get confirmation from the supplier that the glasses came from a recommended manufacturer.“We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse,” the email said.The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable sellers of solar eclipse glasses on its website. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, some universities and science centres will be distributing free eclipse glasses at viewing parties across Canada. Science museums and stores that sell telescopes may also have stock left.With ads for eclipse glasses for sale on Kijiji and social media it can be hard for armchair astronomers to track down where they were made and whether they meet the standards recommended by NASA.The Canadian Press asked the University of Toronto to test two pairs of eclipse glasses using an ellipsometer. The machine sends a wave of UV and visible light though the glasses’ lens and uses a sensor to measure how much of the light makes it through.The first pair, bought at one of the stores on the American Astronomical Society list, blocked out more than 99.9 per cent of UV and visible light. The pair was labelled as conforming to the ISO 12312-2 standards for direct observation of the sun.The second pair, purchased online did not have the ISO mark and did not perform as well. It let through more than 0.1 per cent of visible and UV light.The ISO standard allows a maximum of 0.0032 per cent of light to be allowed to pass though. The equipment used could not give a sensitive enough reading to verify if the glasses conformed to the standard.In both cases, the machine was not able to determine if the glasses met the ISO 12312-2 standard. Both pairs did let through less than one one-thousandth of the light that you’d see with the naked eye.“Results show us that the two sets of glasses are most likely safe for observing the sun,” said Herman Wong, a University of Toronto engineering and photonics PhD student who tested the glasses. He said the machine found that there was almost zero transmission of light that passed through the lenses, but added that there’s really no way to know if they meet NASA recommendations, especially if they are not labelled.“They are not standardized by any means so use at your own risk,” he said.Chou, who has travelled as far as Africa and Asia to view more than 25 eclipses in person, says you shouldn’t let fear deter you from enjoying the event as long as you take precautions. He said he gets an emotional rush when seeing the sun’s corona, which appears differently every time.“There are some times when you get sort of a uniform halo around the sun. There are other times when you get these spectacular elongated streamers of corona shimmering in the sky around the sun,” he said.“This is sort of the giant astronomical clock at work and it’s just the way the universe ticks, or at least the solar system ticks as you see the movement of the earth around the sun.”———On the web:Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s list of solar eclipse events in Canada: http://rasc.ca/solar-eclipse-2017American Astronomical Society list of reputable eclipse glasses sellers and manufacturers: http://bit.ly/2hZzB7JFor more safety tips, visit NASA’s dedicated solar eclipse safety website: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety———Follow @marygazze and @lucastimmons on Twitter
VICTORIA – Victoria is the latest Canadian city to move ahead with a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags.Councillors have given third reading to a bylaw that would fine businesses $100 if they sold or provided plastic bags.Adoption of the bylaw is expected in early January and, if approved, it’s to effect in July, with enforcement beginning in 2019.Businesses would be required to ask customers if they need a bag, and charge 15 cents for a paper bag, or $2 for a reusable one.Bags used for packing bulk foods, dry cleaning or prescriptions would still be provided.The Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo voted earlier this month to stop using plastic bags, but delayed further action while it determines if it has the authority to impose a ban.Montreal is banning single-use plastic bags on Jan.1, and a website using content from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association says three communities in Quebec, two in Manitoba and one in Alberta already prohibit their use.B.C.-based Greener Footprint Society, which focuses on waste reduction in Canada, says Canadians use between nine billion and 15 billion plastic bags every year, enough to circle the Earth more than 55 times.Fraser Work, Victoria’s engineering and public works director, says the bag ban in the B.C. capital has broad support.“There’s a lot of people in the city that are really excited about a move to rid ourselves of the millions of plastic bags that are going into the community and the hundreds of thousands of which are ending up in the landfill,” he says.Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday says there are better options than single-use plastic.“We would be really encouraging the reusable bags that can handle up to 100 uses or more,” says Loveday.Vancouver has not banned plastic bags, but as part of its 2040 Zero Waste Goal, it is drafting a strategy aimed at reducing or ending the use of single-use bags, coffee cups and takeout containers.A final report on the zero waste strategy is due before council in 2018.
TORONTO – Patrick Brown’s quest to regain the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives cleared a key hurdle Wednesday when the 39-year-old politician, who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations, received the party’s stamp of approval for a run in the spring election.A party nomination committee tasked with vetting all Tory leadership candidates announced that Brown and three others vying for his former job — Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Tanya Granic Allen — had been approved for the contest. Caroline Mulroney, another leadership hopeful, had already been approved by the committee.Brown thanked his supporters Wednesday and vowed not to let them down in a statement posted on social media after the party’s decision was announced.“This is about a movement to get Ontario back on track,” Brown said on Twitter. “I want to finish the job that we started. The People’s Guarantee (election platform) is our path to victory and … I am the only candidate in this race that stands behind our plan.”Progressive Conservative members will start voting for the new leader on March 2, with the winner to be announced March 10.Brown’s presence in the race adds an unpredictable element that will make next week’s final leadership debate in Ottawa important, McMaster University political science professor Henry Jacek said.“The debate will be fascinating,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how (the other candidates) treat him.”In this political environment, Jacek said, Brown still has a chance to win the race.“We have to think that a lot of those people on the membership list joined up for the party to vote for him,” Jacek said. “They still may be there and most of them may still be loyal to him.”Brown’s departure as party leader and his subsequent bid to reclaim the post have plunged the Progressive Conservatives, who had been leading in the polls, into turmoil.The Barrie, Ont., politician abruptly resigned as leader on Jan. 25 after CTV News reported allegations of sexual misconduct against him he has emphatically called false. The Canadian Press has not independently verified the allegations.Brown has also been dogged by allegations of mismanagement and corruption, which have led one Tory legislator to file a complaint with Ontario’s integrity commissioner.He has further been accused of exaggerating membership numbers after an internal audit found the party has about 67,000 fewer members than the 200,000 Brown had previously taken credit for.He was also expelled from the party caucus by interim Tory leader Vic Fedeli on Friday, just hours before Brown announced he would seek to reclaim the leadership.Brown has denied all the allegations against him and vowed last week to continue to fight to clear his name.Meanwhile, some of his competitors in the leadership race said they were focused on their own campaigns.Ford, who had criticized Brown’s decision to step into the leadership competition, said he wasn’t concerned that the controversy surrounding Brown will drown out the other candidates and their ideas“I’m zeroed in and zoned in on Kathleen Wynne,” Ford said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m zoned in on becoming the premier of this province and changing it and making sure we start respecting the taxpayer.”The former Toronto city councillor also said he will continue to highlight how he differs politically from Brown.“If they want Liberal-lite, if they want someone that believes in the carbon tax that is going to kill businesses … if they want to continue on with the sex ed curriculum and they want to be taxed to death, well, he’s your guy,” Ford said.Elliott issued a statement on the committee’s decision that did not mention Brown.“Now is the time for our party to move forward,” she said. “I remain the only candidate in this race with the ability to unite our members, and the experience to win the next election.”Mulroney and Granic Allen were not immediately available to comment.
OTTAWA – The father of a police officer who was gunned down in Quebec is angered and disappointed by the Liberal government’s firearms bill, saying there is nothing in the legislation that would have prevented his son’s death.Michel LeRoux’s son Thierry was shot dead in February 2016 by a man who then took his own life.In a letter this week to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, LeRoux says the current laws are flawed because they allowed his son’s killer to have firearms despite a history of violence and psychological troubles.Under the current application and renewal process, personal information helps determine whether someone is eligible for a firearms licence. In addition, “continuous eligibility screening” means criminal behaviour can be flagged for the federal chief firearms officer for review and possible investigation.Federal statistics show 2,223 firearms licences were revoked in 2016, with mental health concerns figuring in 424 of these.The federal bill introduced last month would expand the scope of background checks on those who want to acquire a gun. Instead of just the five years immediately preceding a licence application, personal history questions would cover a person’s entire lifetime.The government says this measure will help keep guns out of the wrong hands.LeRoux, who met Goodale last November, says in his letter that while the step is welcome, it would not have changed anything in his 26-year-old son’s case, since authorities allowed the killer to have guns despite being aware of his mental-health troubles.Goodale is deeply sorry for LeRoux’s loss and wants to carefully consider LeRoux’s letter before responding, said Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for the minister.Goodale would also like to talk to provincial counterparts and others about the notion of requiring medical professionals to advise authorities about people with mental illness who are likely to put the lives of others in danger, Bardsley added.LeRoux says police had many interactions with his son’s killer and even confiscated his weapons at one point, only to return them due to what LeRoux considers a gap in the law.“Do you really think that maintaining the status quo is in the public’s interest?” he says in the letter, made available to The Canadian Press.There is still time to “bring in significant amendments” to the bill that would help protect the public, LeRoux adds.Bardsley said the government looks forward to hearing feedback from a wide range of witnesses during the committee hearings and that it is “open to constructive proposals to strengthen the bill.”The legislation has been criticized by other gun-control advocates as too weak, while some firearms owners have called the bill an attempt to revive the ill-fated long-gun registry.Under the legislation, gun retailers would be required to keep records of firearms inventory and sales for at least 20 years — a measure intended to assist police in investigating gun trafficking and other crimes.The bill would also require the purchaser of a hunting rifle or shotgun to present a firearms licence, while the seller would have to ensure its validity.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
REGINA – Teepees came down at an Indigenous protest camp on the grounds of the Saskatchewan legislature on Monday, and protesters say more will be brought down on Tuesday.The Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism said in an email late Monday that teepees would be coming down throughout the day Tuesday, and there would be a round dance for supporters and campers at sunset.On Friday, a judge ordered that the Justice For Our Stolen Children Camp be dismantled after the government applied for a court-ordered eviction.The campers have been protesting racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children in care since late February.There had been 15 teepees in the camp at one point, but that number was down to 10 by Monday morning. At least two of the teepees came down after the court order, while others were taken down for the annual Treaty 4 Gathering taking place in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., this week.Regina police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said in an email earlier Monday that the department had been in talks with the province and protesters, and Chief Evan Bray “expects a resolution in the near future.”No deadline was specified in Justice Ysanne Wilkinson’s order to take the camp down.Protester Richelle Dubois said Monday it was “disheartening” to see the number of teepees shrink.“It shows the province’s true colours and how they feel about First Nation children and communities,” she said.Robyn Pitawanakwat, a spokeswoman for the camp, said earlier in the day that protesters were still undecided about where to go from here, and they held several meetings over the weekend to discuss their options.“We’re hopeful — hopeful that there’s still a future for our cause and there’s still a future for our children,” Dubois said.Lawyer Dan LeBlanc, who represents the protesters, wasn’t immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for the provincial government declined to comment further on the future of the camp.Pitawanakwat said spirits have been good at the camp and people have been united since the court order. She said the focus should be on the issues they’ve brought forward, rather than bylaws and permissions.— Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court is to rule today on whether immigration detainees have the right to challenge their detentions in person before judges.Migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can now only challenge their detentions through an immigration tribunal, whose decisions are subject to only limited judicial review.The case centres on a Pakistani man, Tusif Ur Rehman Chhina, who was granted refugee protection in Canada in 2006, but was later detained after authorities learned he had a criminal record.He failed in 12 attempts to the Immigration and Review Board to be released and was eventually deported to Pakistan, but his lawyers have continued to pursue the case.The federal government argued that extending the right to direct hearings before judges to migrant detainees would create uncertainty in the legal processes involving these decisions.The Justice Department has argued that the current system offers a comprehensive and expert process by an independent, quasi-judicial board that provides a meaningful review.The Canadian Press
“Who rescued who?” is a question often pondered by those who know the joy of rescuing a pet. This question was the impetus of a powerful short film that is opening the Sonoma International Film Festival in Sonoma, Calif. this week.Video: Le Sauvetage (The Rescue) — #rescuefilm“Le Sauvetage” (The Rescue) is a six-minute film produced by Peter McEvilley, award-winning filmmaker and composer whose credits include The House Bunny, Last Vegas and Alias, and starring the Olate Dogs, winners of America’s Got Talent. The film is a magical tale about life, love, and finding our true destiny….with a little help from a furry friend.Sponsored and produced by Halo, Purely for Pets, Ellen DeGeneres’ natural pet food company, Le Sauvetage will open the Sonoma festival on April 2, an honor and exciting opportunity to showcase pet rescue and adoption. The film has also been selected to appear at the Court Metrage, Festival de Cannes in France this May.In 2012 the Olate Dogs shot to stardom when they won the America’s Got Talent grand prize. These sweet, funny, talented dogs and their entertaining owners and handlers captured hearts across America. But there’s more to their story.Many of the Olate Dogs are rescue dogs themselves. Family patriarch, Richard Olate, developed his act on the streets of his native Chile when he was a poor boy of just 12. He rescued stray dogs and trained them to be part of his amateur show. He worked hard for years to realize his dream of becoming a professional dog act. Today, Richard and his son, Nicolas, and wife, Rebecca, continue to save dogs from shelters and train them to become part of their professional troupe.Halo, known for its philanthropic efforts to promote rescue and adoption, admired the Olate Dogs and their dedication to rescue. Steve Marton, Halo’s CEO and Executive Producer of Le Sauvetage, wanted to find a unique way to draw attention to the special bond we share with animals.“We see this film as an entertaining yet meaningful way to show how companion animals add value to our lives,” he said. “Producer Peter McEvilley did a phenomenal job conveying this extremely important message by combining his creative story telling and film making capabilities.”Because the Olate Dogs love Halo natural pet food, it seemed the stars aligned to bring the two groups together to do great things for homeless pets.Halo has a track record of promoting rescue and adoption through film. The company sponsors all three episodes of Shelter Me, a PBS special dedicated to showcasing shelter dogs and the incredible lives they lead. Halo also sponsored the Humane Society of the United States’ video campaign, “Meet My Shelter Pet,” a series of videos featuring celebrities and their adopted pets.The Olate Dogs will also perform at the Sonoma festival. And, in keeping with the film’s mission, Halo and Freekibble.com will donate 10,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew to local Sonoma animal shelter, Pets Lifeline.To view the film and for more information, click here.Source:PR Newswire
Rufus Wainwright, Natasha Lyonne and Andy Rourke from The Smiths were just a few of the several hundred supporters at the LilySarahGrace (LSG) fund “Color Outside the Lines” benefit last week at Jack Studios in New York.Rufus Wainwright, Natasha Lyonne and Andy RourkeCredit/Copyright: Mike Coppola/Getty ImagesThe evening launched the organization’s “Color Outside the Lines” fundraising campaign based around original drawings from more than 40 artists in film, television, music and visual art that were specially created for LSG. Wainwright performed “Hallelujah” and Rourke performed a DJ set during the evening that honored Charles Best, Hans Tullmann and Whoopi Goldberg for their significant contributions and dedication to arts education.Additional guests included Artist Carole Feuerman, Poppy King, Photographer Mark Seliger, Actress Rebecca Blumhagen and many more. LSG provides underfunded schools with supplies and educational tools to teach their curriculum through the arts. For more information, please visit www.lilysarahgrace.org.
More than 50 notable figures in the entertainment industry have come out as supporters of a bill that would ban the use of bullhooks on elephants in California.Authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Assembly member Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, SB 716 will be heard by the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee on July 14. This bill is also supported by The Humane Society of the United States, the Performing Animal Welfare Society and the Oakland Zoo.Sen. Ricardo Lara said: “It’s time to say adios to devices used to torture elephants in California. Several cities have already taken a stand against this form of abuse and now our entire state must demonstrate leadership. We must protect our elephants and ban this inhumane treatment.”Members of the entertainment industry urge the passage of SB 716 in a petition that will be presented at the July 14 hearing. The petition reads, in part “There is no excuse for treating elephants cruelly for entertainment’s sake. Today, zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and bona fide sanctuaries in California use positive reinforcement and food rewards to train elephants, while providing excellent care. None of them use the bullhook. The worst abuses take place away from the view of the public and law enforcement. The only sure way to protect elephants is to prohibit use of the bullhook.”Supporters include: Bob Barker, Kim Basinger, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Jason Biggs, Jorja Fox, Woody Harrelson, Anjelica Huston, Shirley Manson, Ross McCall, Rose McGowan, Lea Michele, Kevin Nealon, Edward Norton, Nikki Reed, Sia, Ian Somerhalder, Hilary Swank, Lily Tomlin and many more.
RIDE Foundation (Robyn & Italo Dance Events), formed by Pro-Am ballroom dance partners, Robyn Shreiber and Italo Elgueta, has announced that its inaugural gala, DANCE FOR AFRICA, will benefit the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).RIDE was established in 2016 to create one-of-a-kind dance events for difference-making charities, encompassing humane and ecological causes and featuring the talents of compassionate stars of the dance world. The inaugural gala will be held at 6PM, July 23 at L.A.’s Boulevard3 with a program featuring top dance, vocal and artistic performances.Headliners will include Dancing with the Stars’ Karina Smirnoff, indie music duo Alexander Jean Feat. Mark Ballas and BC Jean, Step Up’s Briana Evigan, artist Brian Olsen and vocalist Trenyce Cobbins. Shreiber and Elgueta, renowned in the world of ballroom dance and competition, formed the RIDE Foundation (Robyn & Italo Dance Events) to “create events in which dancers can use their passionate art to impact and support the wonderful charities addressing the world’s needs.”“We are excited to launch our non-profit organization with a gala benefitting African Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit so close to our hearts,” say Robyn and Italo in a joint statement. “Our goal in forming RIDE was to combine our love for ballroom dance with our passion for making the world a better place. We are both extremely impressed with and strongly support the work of AWF, and are honored to make the organization the beneficiary of our inaugural gala,” they add.“We are thrilled that RIDE chose AWF for their inaugural event,” says Craig Sholley, AWF’s Senior Vice President. “AWF’s mission is to ensure that wildlife and wild lands thrive in a modern Africa. As a result of a recent AWF safari experience, Robyn Shreiber’s passion for Africa and AWF’s work has blossomed. We are delighted that Dance for Africa will bring a combination of wonderful exposure to our cause and critical financial support for our important conservation efforts.”The inaugural event will feature a spectacular African-inspired live ballroom dance show produced by Italo, with Dancing with the Stars’ superstar Karina Smirnoff, a Season 13 Mirror Ball Champion, debuting a new solo performance she choreographed in honor of “Dance for Africa.” The Ukrainian beauty will also perform a passionate trio number with Professional World Finalist Justinas Duknauskas and Top Amateur Austin Joson. Karina, a five-time U.S. National Champion, is a strong advocate for environmental and wildlife causes.Indie Duo Alexander Jean feat. Mark Ballas and BC Jean, and Trenyce Cobbins are the event’s special musical performers. Alexander Jean’s debut EP titled “Head High,” released in 2016, debuted at #1 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart, and their power-pop ballad and debut single “Roses and Violets,” also hit #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and #6 on the iTunes overall chart. The duo’s next album is scheduled for release this summer.Vocalist, Actress and Dancer Trenyce Cobbins, will perform three songs written by an African artist. Cobbins, an “American Idol” Top 5 finalist, has become a darling of the theater world, headlining top Broadway musicals and plays, including “Dreamgirls,” and “The Vagina Monologues.”Brian Olsen, whose Art in Action has been making waves around the world for his “rock n’ roll” style of painting on canvas, an explosive and colorful show choreographed to music with audience participation, will open the evening by painting three art pieces in honor of the inaugural gala.Briana Evigan, an AWF Ambassador, will serve as the gala’s emcee. Briana made her major feature debut as the star of the box office hit Step Up 2: The Streets in 2008 and reprised her role in the 2014 installment of the franchise, Step Up: All In.The Africa-themed gala event will feature cuisine, cocktails and décor native to the exotic continent. The evening will also include two raffle winners to an African Safari in Tanzania, as well as a silent auction with one-of-a-kind items.For more info and tickets, click here.
The Elders today called on all political, military and civil society leaders in Zimbabwe to work together towards free and fair elections and a peaceful, inclusive transition following the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe.They urged all stakeholders to implement immediate socio-economic measures to address urgent issues that affect ordinary Zimbabweans’ welfare and provide relief to their pain and suffering. Zimbabwe’s neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries must do all they can to support a successful political process that respects human rights and returns stability and growth to the country.Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said: “The period between now and the 2018 election is critical both for reconciliation and organised transition in Zimbabwe. All stakeholders should come together and engage in serious debate on a future vision and public policy.”Graça Machel, co-founder of The Elders and a former freedom fighter in Mozambique, said: “The departure of Robert Mugabe offers a huge and rare chance for the people of Zimbabwe to chart a new course towards a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive future. This will only succeed if civil society activists, human rights defenders, independent media, religious organizations and academia are engaged on the type of transition to be chosen. Zimbabwe must look to the future, but also deliver justice to those who have suffered in the past.”The Elders agree that upcoming elections in 2018 are a crucial test of Zimbabwe’s new leaders’ commitment to democracy and political reform. All state institutions, especially the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, must put transparency and integrity at the heart of their work. This is particularly important regarding the ongoing Biometric Voter Registration process, which must deliver a credible electoral roll to restore confidence to the voting system.
DoSomething.org, the largest organization for young people and social change announces “Feeding Better Futures” in partnership with General Mills.Video: Feeding Better Futures with AnnaSophia RobbFeeding Better Futures looks to address hunger relief and sustainable agriculture issues by championing the ingenuity of today’s youth. The new campaign launches today with a PSA starring actress, AnnaSophia Robb, who steps into “The Anti-Food Waste Kitchen” to show how thoughtful food consumption choices today can solve food access issues now and in the future.Today, 842 million — nearly 12 percent of the world’s population — struggle with hunger, including 13 million kids and teenagers in America. By 2050, it is projected there will be 9.2 billion people on the planet and recent estimates suggest food production will need to increase by 70 percent to feed everyone. These alarming facts are why DoSomething.org is activating it’s over 5.6 Million young members to help make a change.“At DoSomething, we know that young people are more aware today than ever before, and we also recognize how important it is for young people to have a voice in the creation of long-lasting change,” said Aria Finger, CEO & Chief Old Person, DoSomething.org. “We’re thrilled to partner with General Mills for the launch of Feeding Better Futures. Together we will empower young innovators and encourage them to showcase new perspectives on ways we can address the global issue of food security, starting in their own backyards.”General Mills has been active in hunger relief and sustainable agriculture for years, as a leader in promoting environmentally and socially responsible practices across its supply chain, as well as providing resources to food insecure communities. With the launch of the General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholar Program, the company seeks to elevate the fresh thinking of today’s young innovators.“General Mills’ mission is to serve the world by making food people love, and to do that for another 150 years, we must protect the resources we all depend on,” said Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer for General Mills. “We’ve seen it time after time, small steps lead to big ideas and even bigger impact. We believe hunger is something we can solve for — if we work together.”Actress and social activist AnnaSophia Robb is supporting the initiative by filming a PSA. Robb steps into the “Anti-Food Waste Kitchen” where she shows how to use one simple ingredient in multiple ways. The fun video encourages young people to think about how we consume foods and offers solutions for how to repurpose food beyond the kitchen.“Almost 13 million young people don’t have access to the food they need,” says actress AnnaSophia Robb. “I’m excited to be partnering with DoSomething.org to build awareness around this topic and encourage other young people to take action. It’s my hope that through Feeding Better Futures my generation can create real solutions that can turn this issue around!”Young people can sign up for the campaign at Dosomething.org/food or by texting FOOD to 38383. Those who take a photo of a food issue, upload it to the site, and suggest a solution their community could use will be entered for the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship from DoSomething.org.Young people also have the opportunity to amplify their impact by applying for the General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program, where they will be asked to share a short video that explains a solution for an issue they have identified in one of two categories: hunger relief and sustainable agriculture. A General Mills panel of hunger relief and sustainability experts will review the video submissions and select five finalists. From these five finalists, General Mills will engage the public’s help in selecting a grand prize winner who will receive $50,000, as well as a mentorship with an industry leader and the opportunity to share their program at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival. The remaining four finalists will each be awarded $10,000 each to grow their programs.
While discussions with industry partners continue, the channel aims to offer classic Canadian programming in various genres (drama, documentary, children’s and youth, performing arts) from both the big and small screens dating from as far back as 1995. By opening the door to rights clearances, Canada’s producers, unions, guilds and rights holders have each played an essential role in bringing this project to light.The channel will be managed by BBTV, the world’s largest Multi-Channel Network (MCN) and the third-largest video property in the world. Deluxe Toronto will oversee the digitization of the catalogue, preparing all content for high-quality YouTube video playback.“This is Canada’s industry working together to bring back cherished and valuable content for Canadians and the world to enjoy – on all platforms, anytime, anywhere,” says Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “With the support of Canada’s audiovisual industry, the CMF is uniquely positioned to lead this innovative and forward-thinking project that both connects us to our past, and builds a legacy for tomorrow.”“YouTube is where the world comes to watch, and we are excited about the potential for this initiative to both preserve Canadian cultural history and share incredible Canadian content with new audiences both at home and around the globe. This will be a fantastic opportunity to make these iconic Canadian films and television accessible to all,” said Sam Sebastian, Google VP and Managing Director, Google Canada.“There isn’t a better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, than by making Canada’s diverse Film and TV content available for everyone to enjoy,” says Nick Iannelli, Senior VP Deluxe Toronto. “The pleasure we’ve had in helping to create some of these programs can now continue to be shared for generations to come.”“Canadian cinema has long been renowned for its quality and originality, and we’re pleased to be supporting this initiative aimed at helping audiences discover—or rediscover—great Canadian content from the recent past,” said Carolle Brabant, Telefilm’s Executive Director. “This initiative aligns perfectly with our commitment to building audiences, at home and abroad, for Canadian content on multiple platforms, anytime, anywhere. It’s also a wonderful way to celebrate Canada’s 150th!”“This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, help revive well-loved Canadian film and television programming and share it with viewers at home and abroad,” says Reynolds Mastin, President and CEO, CMPA. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the CMF and our members to help make this vision a reality.”“The AQPM is pleased to partner on this innovative project and looks forward to helping promote extraordinary Canadian film and television, from the French-language market, with Canadians and world audiences alike,” says Hélène Messier, President and CEO, AQPM. “It’s more than another channel; it’s a guiding light to what our audiovisual industry has accomplished.”About the Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit http://www.cmf-fmc.ca/.About Google CanadaGoogle’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a global technology leader, Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. With over 800 Googlers across four offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, Google Canada’s engineers work on products used by millions of people worldwide everyday including Chrome & Chrome OS, Gmail, Google’s mobile apps and Google’s Ads and commerce infrastructure. Google Canada’s sales teams work across every industry in Canada with businesses of all sizes to grow their business online and make the most of the web. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Google Canada announced today they have entered into a new partnership to launch a YouTube channel for iconic Canadian film and television content from years gone by. The project is in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.Working closely with Canada’s film and television producers, unions, guilds and rights holders, the YouTube channel is being developed by the CMF and Google Canada, with support from Deluxe Toronto, BroadbandTV (BBTV), as well as the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and L’Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM). Telefilm Canada is also a key partner in this endeavor, providing financial and promotional support.In collaboration with industry partners, the CMF plans to give beloved stories back to Canadians by creating an online hub that showcases and celebrates iconic Canadian films, television and talent. The channel will also be an opportunity to test new business models for catalogue content, while generating worldwide exposure and stimulating demand for Canadian content, particularly with young audiences, who access media primarily via connected and mobile devices. Advertisement Twitter Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Advertisement
Login/Register With: Sage Paul is a fashion designer and co-founder of Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator. (Westend Studios) Paul, who identifies as an Urban Dene woman, is the artistic director and founder of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. Advertisement The inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto kicked off Thursday evening, showcasing new and upcoming designers.The entire event will take place over four days, each day culminating with a runway showcase inspired by the traditional phases of the moon. Thursday was dubbed New Moon.“This is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was in college,” said Sage Paul. Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitter Lesley Hampton is a First Nations fashion designer based in Toronto who is showing her Fall/Winter 18 collection, ‘Lithium,’ at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)
Facebook Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Bannon has said the movie is aimed at exposing ties between Huawei, which he describes as the “greatest national security threat” to the United States, and China’s communist government, which he maintains is “the greatest existential threat the West has ever faced.”He’s also been clear that his objective is to stiffen U.S. President Donald Trump’s resolve to shut Huawei out of development of next generation wireless networks over fears the telecommunications giant is controlled by the Chinese government and its equipment could be used to spy on or sabotage other countries.The film is to be released next month by New Tang Dynasty Television, part of the Epoch Media Group that is closely associated with the Falun Gong spiritual movement and includes the pro-Trump and vehemently anti-Beijing newspaper, The Epoch Times.The 54-minute movie follows fictional Chinese-Canadian journalist Jane Li as she reports on Canada’s arrest of the chief financial officer of Huaxing Hi-Tech; along the way she “exposes the company’s ties” to the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese military, according to a New Tang Dynasty news release.The film features a Canadian cast, including Eric Peterson of “Street Legal” and “Corner Gas” fame.A trailer for the movie, replete with ominous soundtrack, shows Peterson — playing a character named James MacAvoy and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Canada’s former ambassador to China, John McCallum — meeting with a detained Canadian named Michael.In real life, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been detained in China since December, accused of espionage shortly after Canada detained Meng, who is wanted by the U.S. on charges of fraud related to evasion of American sanctions on Iran.The trailer also shows Peterson telling someone who looks remarkably like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Chinese “just arbitrarily sentenced a Canadian to death. There’s no telling where this retaliation will end.”In the New Tang Dynasty news release, Bannon calls the movie “a seminal and timely work exposing the inner workings” of the Chinese Communist Party and Huawei.“Run by a radical cadre of the Chinese Communist Party, China’s Communism today is the greatest existential threat the West has ever faced,” Bannon says. “Huawei, the technology and telecommunications arm of the CCP and the People’s Liberation Army, is the greatest national security threat we have ever faced, as it is already in the process of a global tech domination via 5G and 6G (wireless networks).”Bannon told Bloomberg earlier this month that he hopes the film will be screened for Trump at the White House.“The central issue in the 2020 presidential campaign is going to be the economic war with China: manufacturing jobs, currency, capital markets and technology,” he told the news agency. “Huawei is a key part of that and this film will highlight why it must be shut down.”Joan Bryden ~ The Canadian Press Advertisement Advertisement PHOTO: Steve Bannon/Jakob Reimann via Flickr OTTAWA — Canada plays a starring role in a soon-to-be-released film aimed at exposing China’s bid for world domination through technology — produced by one-time Trump strategist Steve Bannon.The film, “Claws of the Red Dragon,” is fiction, but “inspired by” Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and China’s subsequent retaliatory measures, including the detention of two Canadians for alleged espionage and death sentences meted out to two other Canadians convicted of drug crimes. Login/Register With:
By Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsIt started with a Tweet here, a blog posting there.Then, on Wednesday, a blogger for a Saskatchewan newspaper reposted the Wikileaks hoax about Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan’s imagined diary and things went a little crazy.The original posting was made by The First Perspective, a First Nations news website, on Friday. It was titled “What the Wikileaks says about the Minister and Indians” and written by “Obidiah, Investigative Reporter.”The posting claimed that Wikileaks, the whistle-blower website, had uncovered Duncan’s diary and proceeded to list the entries in an obvious tongue-in-cheek tone, but without any indication it was a joke.“Aug. 9, 2010: It was bad enough being secretary under (former Indian Affairs minister Chuck) Strahl, now I gotta suck up to all those chiefs…Some of whom make a hell of a lot more than I’m gonna make on this job,” the posting said. “The annual pow wow at Black Sun Dog is coming up. I really don’t look forward to sitting cross-legged for an hour….”A search on The First Perspective website showed that Obidiah is classified under “humour, satire,” but it seems the joke was lost as it started to spread.On Monday, a user named Nanauq Tweeted, “anyone else read this about INAC Minister John Duncan?”At least one blogger, Little Miss Kwe, wrote a point by point analysis of the faux-Wikileaks story.“I think the writer deserves a big credit for sharing the ‘leak,’” wrote Miss Kwe. “Thank you First Perspective.”It may have faded into background cyber noise if not for Chris Tyrone Ross, blogger for the Regina Leader-Post blog RezXtra, which republished the original item Wednesday morning as a straight news story.Suddenly, mass emails began flying, some forwarded to reporters, and Facebook users began sharing it on their pages. Outrage spewed from comment strings.While the buzz began to grow, The First Perspective pulled its original posting. Shortly after 9 a.m. local time Wednesday, the website said it had removed the item “at the request of the Minister of Indian Affairs.”One Facebook user, Cal Amyotte, claimed it was a censorship.“Canada is a fascist police state. Ordering an article removed that reveals the truth,” wrote Amyotte.The story was then a click away from going nuclear.Kevin Blevins, deputy editor of the Leader-Post, said the Duncan diary story was in line to get cycled to the front of the newspaper’s website when he received a call from an APTN National News reporter.“It was on a list to be put on our homepage this afternoon, and then I got another call from a person at APTN,” he said.The story remained online, but was amended with a large editor’s note indicating the piece was meant to be humorous.Ross blamed The First Perspective for not being clearer about its intent. He also issued an apology to Duncan.“I ran it on-line only because I believed The First Perspective was a legitimate newspaper and in that original article it didn’t mention anywhere it was a satirical article,” wrote Ross, in an email to APTN National News. “My apologies to Mr. Duncan.”Despite numerous attempts, The First Perspective publisher James Wastasecoot did not return phone calls.Prominent alternative media website Censored News also posted the item briefly before pulling it, according to its publisher Brenda Norrell.“I got it sent to me through a contact who saw it from an email list they are on,” wrote Norrell, in a Facebook message. “So this is all over the place now… Many times, with the Internet, people never read the rest of the story. Some people will go on thinking forever that he said these things.”Duncan’s office issued a statement Wednesday saying the “article in no way reflects the thoughts or feelings of Minister Duncan.”Spokeswoman Michelle Yao said “the article is completely incorrect and not true…I have written the site administrator to clarify to its readership that the article is pure fiction.”Duncan underwent heart surgery in December and was briefly replaced by Heritage Minister James Moore.Duncan is recovering well and has assumed his responsibilities, said Yao.firstname.lastname@example.org
APTN National NewsThe federal government is revising their plans for the Nanisivik research station on Baffin Island in Nunavut.Nanisivik was originally proposed in 2007, when debate about Canada’s Arctic sovereignty was in full force. Now, the project has been scaled back dramatically, and one MP is saying it was little more than political opportunism to begin with.APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier talks to MP Dennis Bevington about the hopes for Nanisivik and what this says about the state of arctic sovereignty.