Ron Russell announced today, July 6, that health issues will force him to temporarily step aside as minister of Transportation and Public Works. “I have been diagnosed with cancer of the bowel. I will be undergoing further tests and then surgery in the near future,” said Mr. Russell. “These developments will preclude me from active duty in cabinet. This is a very busy time in the Department of Transportation and Public Works and, obviously, those responsibilities require a minister’s full attention. My attention will be diverted for the next while.” Mr. Russell said that he will continue to hold the positions of deputy premier and government House leader. “I am optimistic that I will be able to return to full capacity before too long. My spirits are good and I have a great deal of support from my colleagues, friends and family,” he added. “Ron has earned the respect and support of Nova Scotians of all political stripes,” said Premier John Hamm. “His stellar service and loyalty to his province are an example to all of us. On behalf of all Nova Scotians, we wish him a successful treatment and a speedy recovery.” The premier announced that Michael Baker will serve as the acting Minister of Transportation and Public Works, in addition to his existing responsibilities, during Mr. Russell’s absence. Mr. Russell also confirmed today that he will not be re-offering in the next provincial election. He has been the MLA for Hants West since 1978. “I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences over the past 27 years,” said Mr. Russell. “I’ve worked alongside so many terrific people and I will look back over my career with a great deal of fondness. I have been very, very fortunate and I am most grateful.” “This will bring to a close one of the most significant political careers in the province’s history,” noted Premier Hamm. “Ron Russell’s accomplishments and service are in a league of their own. It’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing them. Nova Scotia owes a huge debt of gratitude to Ron for his enormous contribution to our province. I am very grateful, as are all of his colleagues, for all of the wisdom and guidance he’s given so many of us over the years.” Ron Russell was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1978 and re-elected in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1998, 1999 and 2003. He has been Speaker of the House on three separate occasions. He holds the distinction of being the first MLA to be elected Speaker by his legislative peers. His cabinet duties have included responsibility for the departments of Environment and Labour, Consumer Affairs, Health, Housing and Municipal Affairs, Transportation and Public Works, for Human Resources, and the Public Service Commission. Mr. Russell has been deputy premier, chair of management board, registrar general, solicitor general, provincial secretary, chair of Priorities and Planning Committee, chair of Treasury and Policy Board and government House leader.
The trip to cottage country in the Tatamagouche area will be smoother and safer after the completion of a paving project tendered by the Department of Transportation and Public Works. The tender involves repaving on Route 311 from the intersection of Matheson Brook Road for 7.6 kilometres to the intersection of Trunk 6 at Tatamagouche. “This is a busy route in the summer, not only with cottage goers, but also with lumber trucks,” said Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Transportation and Public Works. “No matter what you drive, this project will make your trip more comfortable and safer.” The Department of Transportation and Public Works’ highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from district offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.
Residents of the Town of Pictou and Lyons Brook, Pictou Co., will soon have improved wastewater collection and treatment thanks to investments through the Canada-Nova Scotia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund. Improvements include the design and construction of a new wastewater treatment facility and collector sewer for the Town of Pictou. More than 1,600 households and 300 businesses on the municipal wastewater collection system will have their wastewater treated to a higher quality. About 130 households in Lyons Brook and surrounding area will also be converted from malfunctioning on-site sewage systems to a municipal collection and treatment system. Federal and provincial funding of $5,095,684 was announced today, Aug. 24. The Town of Pictou and the Municipality of the County of Pictou will fund the balance of the $9.64-million project upon formal acceptance of the agreement and environmental assessment approval. “Infrastructure is the foundation of our economic progress and a necessity for a high quality of life,” said Peter MacKay, Minister of Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “We know that by joining forces with provincial and municipal governments, we can find creative solutions to help communities build the infrastructure they need.” “Our government is committed to ensuring that health and safety issues are addressed in each and every community throughout Nova Scotia,” said Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “Investing in municipal infrastructure projects such as today’s wastewater improvements is an essential factor in building a better quality of life for Nova Scotians.” The infrastructure program supports community infrastructure improvements, such as water, wastewater, and solid waste management. “We are extremely pleased that our federal and provincial partners are investing in our new wastewater treatment facility,” said Joseph Hawes, mayor of the Town of Pictou. “There is no question that this project will contribute to a cleaner environment in our community.” “The federal and provincial funds will enable us to participate in this important wastewater project,” said Allister MacDonald, warden for the Municipality of the County of Pictou. “This project will have significant benefits for the health of our community and will make a real impact on the quality of life of our residents.” The $111-million, six-year, Canada-Nova Scotia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is administered by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities are also members of the management committee.
FOR BROADCAST: A new gymnasium, library, cafeteria and music facilities are coming for the students, teachers and staff at G. R. Saunders Elementary School in Stellarton, Pictou Co. The Department of Education has announced that it is making an additional one-point-five million dollars available for renovations to the school. Four-point-five million dollars worth of renovations were previously approved for the school, which has about 370 Grades Primary to 6 students. These improvements had to be scaled back because of increased costs in materials. Now, the project will proceed as intended. Education Minister Karen Casey says she is very pleased the government could make this additional funding available. -30- A new gymnasium, library, cafeteria and music facilities are coming for the students, teachers and staff at G. R. Saunders Elementary School in Stellarton, Pictou Co., thanks to an additional $1.5 million for school improvements. “I am very pleased that we can provide this additional funding for G. R. Saunders school,” said Minister of Education Karen Casey. “We know it will make a difference in the day-to-day life of the students and staff.” In May 2005, the Department of Education announced improvements to the school worth $4.5 million. Increases in the cost of materials resulted in the project being scaled back to remain within budget. The additional funding will allow the project to proceed as intended. G. R. Saunders is home to about 370 students in Grades Primary to 6. In the area served by the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, four new schools have been approved for construction and renovations are underway at six schools, including G. R. Saunders. Two new schools opened in the Amherst area last fall. The province is investing more than $400 million over eight years to build new schools and support extensive renovation work.
Baddeck is celebrating its 100th anniversary and Highland Village is throwing a party. On Thursday, July 3, at the Baddeck fire hall, Highland Village will hold a day of family activities with Spòrs/Fun Gaelic games for children from 10 a.m. to noon. The afternoon will feature cultural demonstrations and crafts — including a céilidh, spinning, and a textile display — from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
The province will donate $400,000 to the Salvation Army’s Good Neighbour Program to help some families to heat their homes this winter. “We know that even with home heating help through the Your Energy Rebate and the Heating Assistance Rebate programs, some people are still finding it hard to manage,” said Ramona Jennex, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “This is another way that government is helping to make life more affordable for Nova Scotia families across the province.” In 2008-09, the province donated $800,000 to the program. About $400,000 was still available this year, however, that is almost depleted. Thanks to donations from the province and others, the Salvation Army, through its Good Neighbour Program, has been able to help more people this year than any other. To date, about 1,500 families received $400 to help them heat their homes. Ms. Jennex applauded the great community work by the Salvation Army and thanked it for its caring and concern for Nova Scotians in need. “Today we celebrate knowing that more Nova Scotian households have been assisted in a very practical manner this winter than ever before,” said Diane Van der Horden, public relations & development director with the Maritime Salvation Army. “We applaud the government’s announcement to stand with us in meeting the needs of those struggling the most to heat their homes. The Good Neighbour Program will now be able to operate for its full period.” The Good Neighbour Program was established in 1997 by employees of Nova Scotia Power. The program assists with all forms of home heating including firewood, coal, oil, propane and electricity. The Your Energy Rebate and the Heating Assistance Rebate programs offer home heating help to make life better for Nova Scotia families.
VICTORIA COUNTY: Seal Island Bridge/Englishtown Ferry The Seal Island Bridge and the Englishtown Ferry have both resumed normal operations. The were limited by strong winds earlier. -30-
Nova Scotia has earned its highest yet long-term credit rating from Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS) in recognition of the province’s return to a balanced budget through strong fiscal discipline and steady improvement over four years. DBRS upgraded Nova Scotia to A (high) with a stable outlook, and short-term credit rating to R-1 (middle), saying Nova Scotia’s fiscal recovery is well ahead of many other provinces. “We kept our commitment to balance the budget while protecting and improving the public services Nova Scotians value most, and avoiding the $1.3-billion deficit we were headed for only four short years ago,” said Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald. “Thanks to the help of all Nova Scotians we now have a stronger foundation to build a better future on.” DBRS says the upgrade reflects “relatively limited erosion encountered during the downturn, along with sustained fiscal discipline and prudent fiscal management demonstrated throughout the period of recovery.” “We are committed to maintaining fiscal discipline as we head into an era of unprecedented opportunity,” said Ms. MacDonald. DBRS reviews credit ratings annually.
Voici une déclaration de la ministre de l’Éducation et du Développement de la petite enfance, Karen Casey. « Le résultat du vote d’aujourd’hui est décevant pour les élèves, les parents et le gouvernement. Il s’agit de la troisième tentative de conclusion d’une entente avec la direction du syndicat, après une période de négociation intense et productive. Cette entente incluait une offre salariale juste et démontrait notre disposition à faire des investissements supplémentaires dans les classes. L’entente incluait également une somme de 20 millions de dollars qui aurait servi à améliorer les conditions en classe, et permettait aux enseignants d’avoir voix au chapitre en ce qui a trait à la façon d’investir cette somme. Je veux rassurer les parents et les tuteurs que l’éducation de leurs enfants est une priorité pour le gouvernement. Nous devons maintenant prendre le temps de considérer les prochaines étapes. » -30-
Mr. Bent and the Spicers were recognized earlier this year as outstanding woodland stewards who encourage sustainable woodland management and increase public awareness of the importance of private woodlands. Sept. 23, western region winner, David Bent, will host a field day on his property in Annapolis County Sept. 30, the provincial and central region award recipients, Peter and Pat Spicer of Spencers Island, will welcome visitors to their woodland in Cumberland County. September 24th to the 30th is National Forest Week and two award-winning, family-operated, Nova Scotia woodlots are holding public field days in September to help celebrate. “Our forests provide habitats for our diverse wildlife populations as well as recreational opportunities and economic benefits,” said Natural Resources Minister Margaret Miller. “Everyone is invited to celebrate our forests by sharing in the family fun of these woodlot field days.” Each of the field days will be hosted by a different 2017 Woodland Owner of the Year winner. They will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with award presentations beginning at about 12:30 p.m. Other details are:
New Delhi: The fact that Sasha Rainbow’s short film “Kamali”, about the life of India’s skateboarding star Kamali Moorthy, has qualified for Oscars 2020, is an “unbelievable milestone” for the London-based director. Sasha says Kamali’s story represents an “incredible moment in India”, and she wishes to enter the final race for the Academy Award next year. “Kamali” narrates the story of how single mother Suganthi fought against all odds to raise her nine-year-old daughter Kamali so she can become a skateboarder. The film had its US premiere at the Academy Award-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival, where it screened as part of the Transient Youth programme and won Best Short Documentary. Also Read – ‘Will be acting till I die’ Shot in the coastal town of Mahabalipuram, the over 23-minute film is a tale of determination, hope, passion, dreams and breaking away from the gender struggles. “Even qualifying for the Oscars is an unbelievable milestone and we have high hopes to make it into the final selection. Coming this far has been an amazing journey and I’m feeling so proud of everyone involved already,” Sasha told IANS over an email. “We are already starting to feel the positive effects of making space for diverse stories. Kamali’s story represents an incredible moment in India and shows how massive change can start with just one person. I believe Kamali’s mother Suganthi and others like her are heroes who should be celebrated for her bravery. I believe skateboarding is a symbol of going against the grain, standing boldly in front of society and taking ownership of one’s life,” she added. Also Read – ‘Always looking for that one great love’ Sasha, who won Best Director at the Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival for “Kamali”, has worked across multiple disciplines. She believes storytelling can spotlight communities to showcase role models, and she focuses on films that highlight social causes. The director was in India to direct Wild Beasts’ single “Alpha Female” when she stumbled upon Kamali’s story. “The documentary ‘Kamali’ came about when I flew to India for the first time to film a music video for British band Wild Beasts. It was a song called ‘Alpha Female’ and I had proposed filming Indian girls skateboarding as the theme for the video. “I had seen a photo of Kamali skating barefoot down a ramp and knew she had to be part of the video. Little did I know that it would be her and her mother Suganthi’s first trip out of their fishing village. When Kamali arrived at the skatepark, her eyes lit up as she had never seen such a big skatepark. “Her energy was magical. Kamali and her mother stayed with me and the crew, and speaking with her really opened my mind to what dedication and bravery women take to break the cycle of tradition and repression. Their story needed to be shared, because Kamali is the prime example of a little girl being given the freedom to be herself, and what a delight it is to see.” She says language was a barrier, but “not understanding everything helped us to focus on the depth of Kamali’s relationship with her family”. Looking back at making the film, the New Zealand-born filmmaker said: “It was a completely independent production, so it took a very small team of us with the passion and belief in the project to make the film and turn it into a reality.” Has the story of Kamali and Suganthi influenced you as a filmmaker? “Suganthi said that many people judge her for letting her daughter skateboard. They ask her what will happen if Kamali falls and hurts herself. They warn her she could be risking Kamali’s potential to marry. I remember being so impressed because she had decided after seeing the Paralympics that even losing limbs doesn’t stop people who are driven… That Kamali should follow her passion and be allowed to play as the boys do. “That was really when I realised the power of positive storytelling. Suganthi is a woman with amazing spirit and ability to draw positive lessons from life. She’s my hero.” Now, she wants to take the story to the “mothers and children in India”, as she said: “I’m sure Suganthi and Kamali will be positive role models for anyone else going through abuse or oppression because of their gender”.
Manchester: Former India opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth has compared the Virat Kohli-led side to the dominant West Indies team of the 1970s, saying most opponents are worried about facing the ‘Men in Blue’. Srikkanth made the comments following India’s crushing 89-run win over Pakistan here on Sunday. “This is starting to feel a little like the West Indian teams of the 1970s, where the opposition would start the game with a psychological disadvantage. Teams are worried about facing India and how they will cope with them, which immediately puts them on the back foot,” Srikkanth wrote in his column for the ICC. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ Medvedev India seem to be on a roll in the tournament having outplayed South Africa, Australia and Pakistan. The game against the arch-rivals was also a test for K L Rahul, who himself said that he was nervous about opening the innings in an ODI as he had not done it for a while. Playing in place of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul rose to the occasion with a solid half-century. Rohit Sharma made a match-winning 140 but Srikkanth felt Rahul’s knock of 57 was more significant. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’ships “Everyone knows how good a batsman Rohit Sharma is but for me the more important innings against Pakistan was from KL Rahul. Going into the game, the biggest question mark about this India team was how they would cope without Shikhar Dhawan,” he said. “The fact the top three all got runs, that Sharma and Rahul put on more than a hundred for the first wicket and that Virat Kohli got more runs, is huge for India going forward in the tournament,” he added. Another positive for India was Kuldeep Yadav being back to his best, taking the important wickets of Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam. “Prior to this (game), the one bowler who had been a little bit of a concern was Kuldeep Yadav, who didn’t seem to have found his form. However he was brilliant in this game, particularly the dismissal of Babar Azam which was a sensational delivery,” he said. “That leaves India with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep all bowling well, what more can they ask for? It is a little like England, at the moment everything seems to be going right and the fans should be very happy,” he added. Srikkanth said Pakistan erred in opting to field and seemed a team which was struggling to cope with pressure. “It felt like there was more pressure on Pakistan, who had built this up to be a huge game, whereas India and Rohit, in particular, were able to treat it like any other match. That is vital in a World Cup. You cannot put too much pressure on yourself because of who the opposition is. “The one slight worry was Bhuvneshwar’s injury but they have six days before the next game against Afghanistan so that will give him the chance to get back fit again. In the moment it was obviously a blow for India, but in some ways it worked out well for them because it meant we got more of a look at Vijay Shankar and he did well,” added Srikkanth.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra Chief Ministers Relief Fund has disbursed Rs 106 crore to 10,582 people for medical requirements in the past 10 months, a senior official said Saturday. The official added there was no dearth of money in the CMRF but those wanting to donate were welcome. “A total of 10,582 needy people have been given a sum of Rs 106 crore in the past 10 months for various medical procedures. Since Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took over in 2014, the total amount disbursed is Rs 553 crore and the number of people benefitted stands at 56,000,” a senior functionary of the CMRF’s medical assistance cell said. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana The official pointed out that the total amount disbursed between 2009-14, when the Congress-NCP government was in power in the state, was Rs 40 crore to 16,000 people. The Fadnavis government had also raised the amount of financial help from Rs 25,000 initially to Rs one lakh and further to Rs three lakh, the official said. “The present government has incorporated a few more categories to the financial assistance scheme. Apart from heart surgeries and cancer, help can also be availed for liver, heart and bone marrow transplants,” another official said. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah On Friday, Mission Muskan, a joint initiative of the Rotary International and Chief Minister Medical Assistance Cell organised a fund-raiser at the Bombay Stock Exchange, after which a cheque of Rs 3 crore was handed over for the CMRF to Amruta Fadnavis, the CM’s wife. Suresh Chokhani, Mission Muskan chairperson, said apart from the Rs 3 crore that was handed over, another Rs 7 crore will soon be deposited in the CMRF. Rajiv Singal, a trustee of Manav Kalyan Kendra which runs a few charitable hospitals in the city, appreciated the efforts of the Fadnavis government, adding that a request made by him for help for a child’s surgery last month was acted upon immediately.
Women who quit alcohol may have an improved health-related quality of life, especially their mental well-being, according to a study unveiled on Monday. “More evidence suggests caution in recommending moderate drinking as part of a healthy diet,” said Michael Ni from the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, included 10,386 people from the FAMILY Cohort in Hong Kong who were nondrinkers or moderate drinkers between 2009 and 2013. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainModerate drinkers meant 14 drinks or less per week for men and seven drinks or less per week for women. The researchers compared their findings with data from a representative survey of 31,079 people conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the US. The mean age of participants in the FAMILY Cohort was 49 years and 56 per cent were women. About 64 per cent of men were nondrinkers (abstainers and former drinkers) and almost 88 per cent of women were nondrinkers. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardMen and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study (baseline). For women who were moderate drinkers and quit drinking, quitting was linked to a favourable change in mental well-being in both Chinese and American study populations. These results were apparent after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, smoking status, and other factors. “Global alcohol consumption is expected to continue to increase unless effective strategies are employed,” said Ni. “Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life.”
The vibrant democracy of India is fortunate to have been blessed with some iconic female leaders who have left indelible marks in contemporary Indian politics, and to its grief, loses another leader of tremendous mettle. It came as a shock to the nation when former Minister for External Affairs and BJP stalwart Sushma Swaraj suddenly departed for her heavenly abode on Monday night. At 67, India lost her to cardiac arrest. Also a Supreme Court lawyer, she was the second woman to hold the office after Indira Gandhi. Ms. Sushma Swaraj is remembered for a number of reasons ranging over several areas of functioning where she dispensed her duty with exemplary grace and utmost efficiency. Not only was she inspiring as a lady leader, she was most endearing in her role as Union Minister for External Affairs when she took the reins in 2014 in the Modi Cabinet. Hailed as the most ‘millennial’ Indian leader of social media, her open-access twitter policy was a platform where she connected with common citizens most extensively. Numerous prominent figures from politics and other walks of life poured in their condolences and many mentioned why she was a stellar leader and will always be remembered. Omnipresent on social media, she was most approachable by the common man. Among all her political accolades and recognitions, the Washington Post even tagged her ‘supermom’. She had an appeal with the young and old alike and when she announced that she would not contest this year’s Lok Sabha election, it did not sit very well with the general public and social media was inundated with response and reactions to that announcement. A most prominent quality of her performance was the humanitarian approach which shone through in any crisis she reached out to address. With extensive technological intervention, digital diplomacy was her tool to further diplomatic concerns. Admired by both critics and fans, Ms. Swaraj was appreciated widely on both sides of the border when she granted a year-long medical visa to a Pakistani girl for an open heart surgery in 2017. Later that year, she granted two more Pakistani nationals medical visas for liver surgeries in India. A remarkable gesture indeed, given India’s equation with Pakistan. And her humanitarian service in official capacity went further across borders. She is remembered for helping out a Yemeni woman married to an Indian in 2015. The woman had tweeted an image of her 8-month-old baby and made a plea for evacuation from the conflicted zone. Her humanitarian aid won her praise from political counterparts, both national and international. In February 2015, she helped out 168 Indians trapped in Basra, Iran. Her popularity on social media was built steadily and she will be remembered by all for her eagerness and relentlessness to help anyone who approached her. For Indian polity, of course, it is an irreplaceable loss.
BELLEVILLE, Ont. – An Ontario middle-school teacher who had sexual encounters with several students and traded nude photos with them has been sentenced to two years in prison.Jaclyn McLaren pleaded guilty on March 7 to two counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of luring, possession of child pornography and making explicit material available to people under 18 and people under 16.Justice Stephen Hunter also set conditions for the 37-year-old Stirling, Ont., woman at sentencing in Belleville, Ont., on Friday.Among those conditions, Hunter ordered McLaren to have no contact with the victims, banned her for 10 years from being in public places where children could be present, and placed her on probation for two years.Ontario Provincial Police originally laid 42 charges against McLaren last year as a result of offences that occurred from 2013 until early 2016 in Tweed, Ont., against young people between the ages of 12 and 15.Six of the eight young male victims were students of McLaren — a French teacher at a school in a community near Belleville — with four of them under 18, and the other four under 16.Court heard that McLaren was blackmailed into sending nude photos of herself after a male student who was using her phone for school purposes in class searched through her personal photos and found one of her exposed breasts.The student showed it to two classmates and after McLaren asked the boys not to tell anyone about the photo, one of them demanded she give him additional photos in exchange for his silence, court heard.One of the teens, none of whom can be identified, said he received photos of her breasts and vaginal area through the image-sharing app Snapchat starting in 2014, when he was in Grade 8, through early last year, court heard. He shared those images with two of the other complainants.McLaren admitted to sending him one image of her breasts while he was 13 and still her student, court heard.Another boy reported receiving similar pictures through Snapchat in the summer of 2014, but the teacher said it was actually a year later, when the boy was 15, court heard.Sometime later, McLaren met the boys on a local trail, where they drank beers before going back to her car for mutual fondling and kissing. She then performed oral sex on both boys back on the trail before leaving, court heard. The boys reported this took place in 2014, while McLaren believes it happened the following year.McLaren performed oral sex on both boys again later on separate occasions, court heard, and one sent her a photo of his genitals.A third student reported trading explicit photos with McLaren starting in 2013, when he was 15. They had sex at her home three years later, just after he turned 18, court heard.A fourth boy later came forward with screen shots of photos McLaren had sent him of her naked breasts, in which her face was also visible, court heard.A fifth teen involved in the case was not a student and McLaren said she was unaware that he was 16 when she sent him a photo of her breasts. She admitted, however, that she did not take reasonable steps to determine his age, court heard.Both the sixth and seventh complainants were students of McLaren when she sent them photos of her breasts, court heard. In one case, she sent a video of herself fondling her breasts, which the then-15-year-old showed to friends at a party, court heard.Last year, an eighth teen was found to have received two photos of her breasts as well as a video of McLaren nude and simulating a sex act, court heard. Again, McLaren said she did not know he was underage but had not made sufficient effort to find out. That boy was 17 and not her student, court heard.(CJOJ, The Canadian Press)
VANCOUVER – A marijuana aficionado in Colorado has launched a program he hopes will make the title of cannabis interpener as familiar as wine sommelier, cheesemonger and chocolatier.Max Montrose, the 29-year-old president and co-founder of the Trichrome Institute in Denver, said he designed the niche curriculum, which teaches students how to become marijuana experts, after he became fed up with the inconsistent quality and improper naming rampant in the blossoming industry.“Imagine going to a bar and ordering a stout and being served a Pilsner,” he said. “That’s what’s happening in cannabis right now.”Montrose defines interpening as the practice of assessing the quality and psychotropic effects of a cannabis flower using only sight and smell.Cannabis has grown increasingly mainstream in recent years. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Five other states plus Washington D.C. have since followed suit, and the Canadian government says it plans to legalize the drug by next summer.Montrose said the word interpening, pronounced in-TER’-puh-ning, comes from a hybrid of “interpreting terpenes.” Terpenes are what give marijuana its distinct aroma, he explained.The courses are modeled after the wine sommelier program. Level one involves a 3.5-hour lecture and costs about C$220, while the second level costs about $335 and includes the lecture as well as a sight-and-smell workshop, followed by a test.For the exam, students must take 10 jars of unlabelled cannabis and identify the five that are unacceptable because of problems like pest and mould and say why, then order the remaining five samples from most stimulating to most sedating.Level three is still being finalized, but so far it is invite only and consists of an essay on the horticulture and history of cannabis as well as dissecting buds and training in hashish, an extract of the cannabis plant, Montrose said.Fewer than half the students who take the test pass, he said, adding that distinguishing between a couple of subtly different strains of cannabis can be as delicate as distinguishing between two feelings in the nose that are millimetres apart.“It is a skill. It’s an art. It’s a science. But it’s definitely something that can be learned,” he said.Andrew Mieure became a level two interpener last year. He owns Denver-based Top Shelf Budtending, which runs high-end, private, cannabis-tasting events, and took the interpening course to improve his understanding of marijuana.Mieure predicted the future of the cannabis industry will be about the all-round experience and not just getting high.“The smell and taste profiles are, a lot of the time, what people enjoy most,” he said. “When you crack open a fresh jar of cannabis and you’re smelling it for the first time, that to me is the beautiful part of being a cannabis sommelier.”Montrose said interpening goes beyond the work of wine sommeliers and beer cicerones because a good interpener can determine the psychotropic impacts a particular strain.“It’s more than just cool and fun. It’s important,” he said.“We’re at a time and place where there’s no quality certification for cannabis and there’s no method to determine the psychoactive effect of cannabis outside of interpening.”Montrose gave the example of a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder being sold a stimulating cannabis variety instead of a sedating one under the same name, which he said could trigger paranoia.Trichome also created the responsible vendor program, which is approved by the state marijuana division, Montrose said.— Follow @gwomand on Twitter
MONTREAL – A Quebec court judge convicted a provincial police officer Friday of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a teenager in 2014.The ruling triggered a strongly worded condemnation from the union representing provincial police officers, who called the decision “incomprehensible and unacceptable.”Judge Joelle Roy said in his ruling that officer Eric Deslauriers was guilty of manslaughter for intentionally discharging a firearm without regard to the life or safety of others.The charge goes back to January 2014, when Deslauriers stopped 17-year-old David-Hughes Lacour in a parking lot after a short car chase in the town of Sainte-Adele Que., about 80 kilometres north of Montreal. Lacour had been driving a stolen vehicle.Deslauriers testified Lacour hit him with his car and, fearing for his life, he discharged his weapon. But Roy found that video evidence proved the car never struck the officer.“The young man had nothing in his hands and the accused had no information that could lead him to believe the teenager was dangerous,” Roy wrote in his ruling.“Was it necessary to shoot twice? The court does not believe so,” he continued. “Video (evidence) is unambiguous … the car did not touch the accused.”The provincial police union released a statement saying its members and the police community were “dumbfounded that a decision like this could be rendered.”It said the “excellent” officer acted in good faith, and he had “barely a few seconds to react.”“It is foreseeable that this event will cause a deep uneasiness in the police community,” the statement continued. “And is likely to provoke in some a disengagement of their professional actions in order to protect themselves from similar circumstances.”Deslauriers is due back in court in January for sentencing arguments and faces a minimum term of four years in prison, but could face the maximum sentence of life in prison.His lawyer said she will contest the constitutionality of the four-year minimum sentence.
VANCOUVER – A medical clinic in British Columbia and a social service agency in Alberta are set to expand their programs to meet the often-hidden and growing problem of South Asians battling addiction to opioids.The Roshni Clinic opened last spring in Surrey to provide services for South Asian clients addicted to alcohol and stimulants including amphetamine and cocaine. But more programs will be offered in the coming months to deal with the use of opioids such as heroin, oxycodone and Percocet, said Dr. Rupinder Brar, an addiction specialist who works at the facility.“Thirty per cent of the population in Surrey is Punjabi speaking,” she said.“There are physicians out there who’ve been there for a while providing services, and I’m sure these patients bring their friend or a doctor may have a translator but it would be nice to expand those services in a way that is culturally sensitive and provide therapy to the family as well.”However, she said immigrant patients urgently need treatment and counselling from health-care providers who speak Punjabi or Hindi, and that’s what Roshni — which means light — will offer them.Brar lauded the Alberta government for providing $560,000 in funding last December for Punjabi Community Health Services in Calgary and said she is hoping for increased resources from the B.C. government.Rimpy Hehar, a registered psychologist with the Alberta social services agency, said starting in March, provincial funding will be used to offer culturally tailored services including counselling and distribution of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone as well as referral to harm reduction services at supervised consumption sites.It’s difficult to know how many people in the South Asian community are struggling with opioid use disorder in the Calgary area, Hehar said.“We’re finding that there is an overwhelming number of people within the northeast region of Calgary who are using opioids,” she said, adding the area is home to a large South Asians population. “People may be less likely to seek help because of keeping issues of the family within the family house.”Providing support to family members who have shouldered the burden of a loved one’s opioid use until finances and relationships may have collapsed will be key, Hehar said.“What we find is that family structure, family support, those can play a huge role in recovery or even the way that addiction progresses within a family setting,” she said.In Ontario, naloxone distribution and counselling are already offered through Punjabi Community Health Services in Brampton and Mississauga, said CEO Baldev Mutta.He said 90 per cent of their clients struggling with opioid addiction are Punjabi Sikhs and services are also available in Hindi, Gujarati and Malayalam, a language mostly spoken in the south of India.Families are offered counselling in every case at the organization, which last year had its annual budget doubled to $180,000 as the opioid epidemic spread, said Mutta, who is also a social worker.Opioid addiction is a big issue among men working in the trucking and taxi industries, he said.“They are city and long-haul truck drivers,” Mutta said. “All these youngsters who are between the ages of 21 to about 30, they are into the trucking industry and that’s where these drug dealers prey on them.”Drivers are often offered $5,000 to make a round trip between the Toronto and Vancouver areas in four days, he said.“They say, ‘All the truck drivers do it.’ And they hook them on a mixture of heroin and crystal meth. You just don’t fall asleep and then you crash after about four days and you don’t wake up for two days,” Mutta said.“They keep on driving long distances to make $5,000, only to realize that within six months they are spending more than $2,000 per month on their habit. So now you have not only a problem of taking heroin but in order to sustain your drug habit you become a drug dealer.”Many of the drivers are enticed to make money so they can get settled in Canada as new immigrants but often find themselves facing drug charges without any knowledge of the legal implications, he said, adding families often to end up financially ruined.“Painkillers are becoming rampant because they are relatively cheap,” he said of oxycodone as well as Tylenol 3s that are often mixed with a cola drink.Mutta said he regularly raises the issue of opioid abuse on Punjabi TV and radio programs, but said more community leaders must step up to create awareness about the crisis.“The silence is deafening in our community around it.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
VANCOUVER – Former British Columbia premier Christy Clark has weighed in on the discussion around sexual misconduct in Canadian politics, saying she saw plenty of “frat boy behaviour” during her time in office.Clark, who was the first woman elected premier in B.C., posted Thursday on Facebook that politics is an often “brutally sexist” business.“All of us who have experienced a sexual assault, harassment, or aggressive and unwelcome advances know it’s a damn hard thing to talk about,” she wrote, thanking women who have come forward.“I was involved in politics for 25 years and saw plenty of frat boy behaviour. It made me promise myself that I would do things differently, should I ever get the chance to lead.”Clark declined to expand on the post when contacted, saying she would comment after the B.C. Liberal leadership race that ends Feb. 3.Patrick Brown, a former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, and Kent Hehr, a Liberal MP and cabinet minister, have denied misconduct allegations in recent days.Clark worked behind the scenes in politics before she was elected to the legislature for the B.C. Liberal party in 1996. She served as premier from 2011 to 2017, when her minority government was defeated in a non-confidence motion.In 2016, she revealed in a Vancouver Sun op-ed piece that when she was 13, a stranger pulled her off a sidewalk into some bushes, but she was able to escape. She said she never told anyone about the incident or any of the other “frightening things of a sexual nature” that happened to her as a youth.Advocacy groups commended Clark for coming forward, but they also criticized her track record on women’s issues, arguing she had not increased funding to transition houses and crisis centres after cuts by her predecessor.Clark touted her achievements in the Facebook post, saying her cabinet had a greater percentage of women than any in the previous decade, and she appointed the first women to serve as the province’s attorney general and to lead BC Hydro.“It’s an awful lot harder for sexist behaviour to go unnoticed or be deliberately ignored when there’s a woman in the room,” she said.“What can every citizen do to change it? Elect more women. Yes, make sure they’re qualified — not every woman is better just because she’s female — but if she’s smart and capable, give her the chance.”First ministers also shouldn’t load up their offices and the senior civil service with men, or use gender-balanced cabinets as a facade, she said.“Yes, I get it, most of you are men, but culture change starts at the top and if your ‘real’ cabinet is mostly male, you won’t change a thing despite the window dressing,” she said.“We are watching history being made right now. Politics is a brutal and very often brutally sexist business — one that has historically reduced women like me to a footnote in history. But, thanks to lots of brave women who are making their voices heard, change is FINALLY afoot.”B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said Friday the issues in Clark’s post are pervasive.“I don’t think there’s probably a woman in any walk of life, whether it’s politics or business or community, that doesn’t have a story to tell about either harassment or an unprofessional workplace or an experience they’ve had in their lives,” she said.It’s been extraordinary to see the growing number of women standing up and voicing their experiences, James said, adding that more also needs to be done to generate longer term change.“I’m very proud of being part of a cabinet that is 50 per cent women, but we need to make sure that the environment for women when they’re in these workplaces is supporting them as well. I think that’s the additional piece that we all have to work on, take the momentum that’s going on right now and carry it forward.”Speaking on a teleconference call Friday from Seoul, South Korea, where he is on a trade mission, B.C. Premier John Horgan said his government is committed to gender equality.“There’s not a frat boy sentiment in our group,” he said, adding that the culture of politics has changed in recent years.“In the time I’ve been a member of the legislature, certainly there is an old boys culture to the institution,” Horgan said. “But I believe that’s been changing over the past number of years and will continue to better reflect where we, as a society, want to be and the role of women in our government, in our industry and in our communities.”— Follow @ellekane and @gkarstenssmith on Twitter.Note to readers: CORRECTS spelling of ‘generate’ in para 18.