MumbaiGoa highway shut for traffic due to heavy rains

first_imgMumbai: Mumbai-Goa national highway in Maharashtra has been shut for traffic since Saturday morning due to flood in the Jagbudi river in coastal Ratnagiri district following heavy rains, police said. Torrential rains since Friday night have triggered a flood-like situation in some parts of Thane, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts. An official said the river water gushed on the highway near Khed in Ratnagiri district this morning. Savitri and Amba rivers in Mahad and Pali in Raigad district are also in spate following which traffic at Nagothane and on Khopoli-Pali road has been suspended, he said. Personnel of disaster response force and police are deployed in those areas to avoid any untoward incident, the official added.last_img

Court frames charges against Sengar others for murder of Unnao rape survivors

first_imgNew Delhi: Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar and other accused, including three UP policemen, were charged by a Delhi court Tuesday for the alleged murder of Unnao rape survivor’s father in judicial custody, reported PTI. The court also framed charges against Sengar, others for allegedly assaulting him and framing him in the Arms Act case in 2018.The 19-year-old complainant in the Unnao case accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar and others of gang-raping her at his residence on June 4, 2017. The case was handed over to the CBI after the complainant’s father died in a hospital days after he was allegedly beaten in police custody at Sengar’s behest. The MLA was arrested on April 13, 2018 on orders of the Allahabad High Court. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details On July 28 this year, a speeding truck collided head-on with a car in which the complainant, her lawyer and two aunts were travelling. The aunts died and the complainant and lawyer were severely injured. It was found later that the licence plate of the truck was blackened, which gave way to speculations of a conspiracy behind the “accident”. A day after the accident, Uttar Pradesh Police arrested the driver and cleaner of the truck. (With inputs from Indian Express)last_img read more

Yediyurappa inducts 17 Ministers in first Cabinet expansion

first_imgBengaluru: More than three weeks after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister, B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday expanded his ministry by inducting 17 ministers into his Cabinet. This is the first Cabinet expansion after he assumed office on July 26 and proved his government’s majority on the floor of the Assembly on July 29. The new Ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan here. They include former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, two former deputy Chief Ministers — K S Eshwarappa and R Ashoka, independent MLA H Nagesh and Laxman Sangappa Savadi, who is not a member of the Assembly or Council, and MLC Kota Srinivas Poojari. Others sworn in were: Govind M Karajol, Ashwath Narayan C N, B Sreeramulu, S Suresh Kumar, V Somanna, C T Ravi, Basavaraj Bommai, J C Madhu Swamy, C C Patil, Prabhu Chauhan and Shashikala Jolle Annasaheb, who is the only woman Cabinet Minister. Karnataka can have a maximum of 34 Ministers, including the Chief Minister.last_img read more

Gangraped minor girl tonsured paraded in Bihar

first_imgPatna: Members of a panchayat in Bihar’s Gaya district “punished” a gangraped minor girl by tonsuring her head and parading her through the village, a police officer said here on Wednesday. The 15-year-old girl was kidnapped by residents of her village on August 14 and gangraped, sources in the police headquarters said. The girl narrated the incident to her parents who then approached the local panchayat for justice two days later. However, the members of the panchayat accused the girl of making unfounded allegations against the accused, who enjoy clout in the area, and punished the minor by tonsuring and parading her through the village, they said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The incident came to light when the victim and her parents lodged a telephonic complaint with the office of the Director General of Police a week after the panchayat’s verdict. Six people, including five members of the panchayat, were arrested on August 26 after recording the statements of the victim and her parents, Mohanpur SHO Ravi Bhushan said. Gaya Mahila Thana in-charge Ravi Ranjana said the arrested persons have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days after being produced before a designated court while the girl’s statement was recorded before a magistrate after her medical examination. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K She said the girl is yet to recover from the trauma but has been able to identify one of the accused. Meanwhile, the state women commission has shot off a missive to Gaya police chief, demanding speedy justice to the victim besides summoning the five panchayat members. “It is a very serious matter. We have asked the Gaya SSP to ensure that the accused are awarded strict punishment and the victim gets justice. We have asked the five panchayat members to appear before us and explain why such an inhuman treatment was meted out to a minor girl,” State Women Commission Chairperson Dilmani Mishra said.last_img read more

Irans Hassan Rouhani orders lifting of all nuclear RD limits

first_imgTehran: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ordered all limits on nuclear research and development to be lifted, the country’s third step in scaling down its commitments to a 2015 deal with world powers. His announcement came shortly after the US hit the Islamic Republic with further sanctions, the latest in a series of punitive measures including an embargo on Iranian oil exports. Iran and three European countries — Britain, France and Germany — have been engaged in talks to reduce tensions and save the nuclear deal that has been unravelling since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May last year. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USBut late Wednesday, Rouhani made good on a declared intention to take another step away from the multilateral deal signed with the permanent five United Nations Security Council powers and Germany (P5+1). “I, as of now, announce the third step,” he said on state television. “The atomic energy organisation (of Iran) is ordered to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development,” he said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHe referred to “expansions in the field of research and development, centrifuges, different types of new centrifuges, and whatever we need for enrichment”. Iran in July abandoned two other nuclear commitments: to keep its stockpile of enriched uranium below 300-kilogrammes, and a 3.67-percent cap on the purity of its uranium stocks. Rouhani had earlier on Wednesday told a cabinet meeting: “I don’t think that… we will reach a deal”. But the Iranian president had also said Tehran and the European powers had been getting closer to an agreement on a way to resolve burning issues. “If we had 20 issues of disagreement with the Europeans in the past, today there are three issues,” he said. French President Emmanuel Macron, meeting Trump last month in France, encouraged him to offer economic incentives for Tehran and dangled the possibility of a summit between the US and Iranian presidents. Trump made clear Wednesday that he was still interested in meeting Rouhani when the Iranian leader visits New York for the annual UN General Assembly. “Sure, anything is possible,” Trump told reporters. But Rouhani has already ruled out a summit without sanctions relief, and on Wednesday the Trump administration issued its third set of sanctions on Iran in less than a week. In the latest salvo, the Treasury Department put on its blacklist a shipping network of 16 entities, 10 people and 11 vessels that it said was selling oil on behalf of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force. The network sold more than USD 500 million worth of oil this spring, mostly to Syria, benefitting both President Bashar al-Assad and militant Lebanese allies Hezbollah, the Treasury Department said. A US official said that the move showed Washington’s position on relaxing sanctions — and warned that more would come. “We can’t make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers,” Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran, told reporters. Iran has said it will resume full compliance with the nuclear deal if it reaches a deal with France on a USD 15-billion credit line, which Tehran would repay once it resumes oil exports. The US is currently trying to block such shipments with unilateral sanctions. Hook stopped short of criticising the credit line itself, saying there was no “concrete” proposal. Speaking days after a trip to France, deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi ruled out renegotiation of the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “Returning to full implementation of the JCPOA is subject to receiving USD 15 billion over a period of four months, otherwise the process of Iran reducing its commitments will continue,” said Araghchi, quoted by the state news agency IRNA. Hawks in the Trump administration adamantly oppose any easing of pressure, saying their goal is not only to contain Iran’s nuclear programme but to curb the clerical state’s influence across the Middle East. Iran had long threatened to carry out a third set of nuclear countermeasures by Friday unless other parties to the deal offset the effect of US sanctions in return for its continued compliance. Tensions rose significantly in July since Iran took the first two steps away from the nuclear deal and seized a British-flagged tanker — the Stena Impero — in the Strait of Hormuz for “failing to respect international maritime rules”. But some members of the crew of this Swedish-owned tanker have been released, Stockholm said late Wednesday. “A part of the crew of the Stena Impero… has been released,” Sweden’s foreign ministry said in a message to AFP, without giving details of how many of the crew had been freed.last_img read more

Millennials opting for Ola Uber not that a big factor for current

first_imgGuwahati: Millennials opting for ride hailing services like Ola and Uber may not be that strong a factor for the current slowdown in auto sales and a detailed study is needed to arrive at any conclusion in the contrary, according to a top official of the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India. Ownership pattern in India still has not changed and people purchase cars with an “aspirational aspect”, MSI Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) Shashank Srivastava told PTI in an interview here. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalOn Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said change in mindset of millennials, who now prefer taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber instead of committing for monthly installments to own a car, was among one of the many factors responsible for the slowdown in the automobile sector. “The Ola and Uber factor may not be strong to contribute to the current state of slowdown. I think we need to watch and study it more before arriving at such a conclusion,” Srivastava said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostHe further said, “Ola and Uber came into existence during last 6-7 years. In this period, the auto industry also saw some of its best times. So, what happened only during last few months that the downturn became so severe? I do not think it is only because of Ola and Uber,” Srivastava said. He gave the example of the US market, where Uber is a big player and the car sales in the last few years are robust. “India, 46 per cent of the car buyers are first time users. It is an aspirational behaviour. People may use public transport like Ola and Uber to go to offices on weekdays, but still they buy a vehicle for the weekend outings with the family,” Srivastava explained. “The pattern of ownership in India has not changed yet. We have to watch on a longer period to see if there is a structural change in buying pattern,” he added. Srivastava said there are many reasons for this downturn in the auto market such as liquidity crunch, increased prices of products due to regulatory issues, higher taxes and rise in insurance rates. He also said the government’s measures announced last month to tackle the slowdown is not sufficient and those are helpful for long term health of the industry as they basically addressed the sentiments of the customers. According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic vehicle sales in August declined by 23.55 per cent to 18,21,490 units from 23,82,436 units in the same month last year. From April to August period, the sales have fallen by 15.89 per cent to 97,32,040 units from 1,15,70,401 units in the year-ago period, SIAM had said. Srivastava said MSI has launched new versions of its various product range and the company is hopeful of some positive results during the forthcoming festive season. When asked if the company regrets the lukewarm response from the government in handling the situation and absence of any stimulus package, Srivastava said: “The government knows the exact situation. I believe they have to take care of the entire economy. I am sure they will do the best for the economy and the industry.” MSI’s domestic sales in August dipped by 34.3 per cent to 97,061 units from 1,47,700 units in the same month lat year.last_img read more

Ontario premier calls Trumps withdrawal from climate change agreement appalling

first_imgTORONTO – Ontario’s premier is joining a growing number of politicians condemning Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate-change agreement.Kathleen Wynne says the U.S. president’s rejection of the 190-country agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is appalling and shows he is abandoning his responsibility to fight the biggest threat currently confronting the world.Wynne’s criticism on Friday comes after the federal environment minister called Trump’s decision disappointing and suggested the president was costing the U.S. a key opportunity to profit from the inevitable growth of clean-tech initiatives around the globe.Wynne says co-operation between sub-national governments has become even more important after Trump’s announcement, and she pledged to continue to work with other leaders, particularly U.S. governors, to combat climate change.“It’s really appalling to me that the president of the United States would abdicate his responsibility in the face of the greatest threat confronting humanity,” Wynne said Friday, at an event in Barrie, Ont. “The reality is the whole world needs to be involved in fighting climate change.”A group of mayors from communities in the Great Lakes region issued similar criticism Friday.“The decision is short sighted, ill advised, and not in the best interests of the people of the United States, Canada, or the world,” said the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a coalition representing 130 Canadian and United States mayors and their communities of over 17 million people.Ontario’s Liberal government launched a cap-and-trade program this year, which puts caps on the amount of pollution companies in certain industries can emit and allows polluters to buy allowances at auction or from other companies that come in under their limits.Ontario is expected to join the Quebec-California carbon market next year.Ontario’s four-year climate change action plan is funded by cap-and-trade revenues of between $5.9 billion and $8.3 billion, which will go to green initiatives such as social housing retrofits, an electric vehicle incentive program and public transit.Since Jan. 1, cap and trade has added 4.3 cents per litre to the price of gasoline and about $80 a year to natural gas home heating costs, in addition to indirect costs that will be passed onto consumers.The Liberals have been criticized in recent months for high electricity rates in the province, something the Progressive Conservatives seized upon during a byelection campaign in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., that resulted in a Tory win Thursday night.Wynne said Friday that she knew the race was going to be a tough one for her party and wished the winner — Progressive Conservative Ross Romano — well.The Liberals had held the seat from 2003 until December, when former Liberal cabinet minister David Orazietti stepped down.Romano won with about 40 per cent of the vote, followed by NDP candidate Joe Krmpotich with 33 per cent and Amaroso trailed behind, with 23 per cent.last_img read more

Police lay 330 charges and arrest 33 during Queens homecoming weekend

first_imgKINGSTON, Ont. – Police say they laid hundreds of charges during Queen’s University homecoming celebrations in Kingston, Ont., over the weekend.They say 307 of the 330 charges were under the Liquor Licence Act for violations such as having open alcohol, underage drinking and public intoxication.Police say officers seized three kegs during the celebrations on Friday and Saturday.The number of charges was almost double the 166 laid last year and higher than the 203 handed out in 2015.Thirty-three people were arrested — 30 for public intoxication and three for breach of the peace — up from 19 in each of the two previous years.Police Chief Gilles Larochelle described it as a “very busy weekend” for his force.“I am extremely proud of their efforts to ensure public safety and order, balanced with restraint and appropriate enforcement,” Larochelle said Monday in a release.The university cancelled its fall homecoming in 2008 after police made 140 arrests on a variety of charges as thousands crowded Kingston’s streets.Homecoming returned in 2013 and had seen fewer arrests and charges until this year.last_img read more

QuickList October inflation rate for selected Canadian cities

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s national annual inflation rate was 1.4 per cent in October, Statistics Canada says. The agency also released rates for major cities, but cautioned that figures may have fluctuated widely because they are based on small statistical samples (previous month in brackets):_ St. John’s, N.L.: 0.8 per cent (1.5)_ Charlottetown-Summerside: 1.1 (2.3)_ Halifax: 0.8 (1.2)_ Saint John, N.B.: 1.6 (1.7)_ Quebec: 1.0 (1.0)_ Montreal: 1.1 (0.9)_ Ottawa: 1.2 (1.5)_ Toronto: 1.7 (2.1)_ Thunder Bay, Ont.: 0.8 (1.4)_ Winnipeg: 1.5 (1.4)_ Regina: 2.2 (2.0)_ Saskatoon: 2.3 (2.0)_ Edmonton: 1.3 (1.1)_ Calgary: 1.4 (1.4)_ Vancouver: 2.4 (2.3)_ Victoria: 1.6 (1.7)last_img

Exhibits released to media in trial of man accused of killing offduty

first_imgHALIFAX – Key videos at the trial of a Halifax man accused of killing an off-duty police officer have been released to the media, including one showing a man wheeling a compost bin that was allegedly used to dump Catherine Campbell’s body.The Crown has alleged Christopher Garnier strangled the Truro, N.S., police constable at a north end Halifax apartment on Sept. 11, 2015, and used a green bin to dispose of her body near the Macdonald Bridge.One surveillance video from a nearby business shows a blurry image pulling a green bin towards the McCully Street apartment, and then away from the area minutes later.Another surveillance video released to the media Friday was captured inside the Halifax Alehouse, where Garnier and Campbell had met hours earlier, and shows what a police officer described as a man and a woman embracing and dancing.Also released were photos from inside the apartment — including what a forensic officer described as suspected blood droplets — a diagram of the apartment, and a large overhead map of the neighbourhood.The 29-year-old Garnier has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body.The exhibits were presented this week at the trial, which got under way in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Monday before a seven-man, seven-woman jury.The trial resumes Monday.last_img read more

Thalidomide survivors say they were belittled by Disability Minister Kent Hehr

first_imgOTTAWA – Members of a thalidomide survivor group allege that patients were belittled in a face-to-face meeting with Kent Hehr, the federal minister for persons with disabilities.Fiona Sampson, a thalidomide survivor in the meeting, said Hehr degraded patients with his remarks.She said he apologized this fall after a letter was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office.The survivors are calling on the federal government to honour a pledge to compensate them with a lump sum payment of $250,000 and increased annual pensions.They say patients have received lump sum payments of $125,000 each, noting they are struggling to make ends meet due to the extent of their disabilities.In December 2014, the House of Commons passed a unanimous motion with a commitment to provide “full support’ to Canadian thalidomide victims who were born with physical disabilities due to the effects of the drug during pregnancy.last_img read more

NAFTA Ministers set to attend longerthanexpected round in Montreal

first_imgWASHINGTON – The ministers leading the negotiations for a new NAFTA will be in Montreal for a longer-than-expected round of upcoming talks.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, American Robert Lighthizer and Mexico’s Ildefonso Guajardo will attend the closing of the round on Jan. 29.The Montreal talks were originally scheduled to run Jan. 23-28, but are now set to begin Jan. 21.The ministers face some pressure to make progress in the negotiations.The current schedule of talks ends in March, and after that Mexico will be embroiled in an election campaign, followed by legislative elections in the U.S.Signs that the process could become snared in electoral politics were illustrated today on Twitter: the presidential candidate for Mexico’s ruling party tweeted that his country will never pay for the border wall, which U.S. President Donald Trump says will be funded by profits from a new NAFTA.last_img read more

Baby dies in car after father forgets to bring child to Montreal

first_imgMONTREAL – Montreal police say a six-month-old baby boy has been found dead by his father who forgot him in the car while he was at work.Police says the father went to a daycare in Old Montreal around 5:30 p.m. Friday to pick up his son.But police say daycare workers told the father they had not seen the boy all day.They say the man then realized that he forgot to drop the boy off in the morning and instead left the child in the car.First responders tried to resuscitate the baby, but he was declared dead at the scene.A coroner was dispatched and the child’s parents, who suffered nervous shock, were transported to hospital.last_img

Officers decry offensive limits on pot use planned by RCMP other forces

first_imgOTTAWA – Some police forces are implementing nonsensical and downright offensive policies that prohibit or severely limit off-duty cannabis use, says a national association that represents front-line officers.The critical comments come as the RCMP and the Toronto police service both eye a rule that would bar cannabis use by members within 28 days of a shift.The Calgary police service’s policy is even stricter, forbidding the vast majority of officers from consuming marijuana during their down time once recreational use of the drug becomes legal Oct. 17.Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, wonders why certain forces are treating cannabis differently than other legal products — such as alcohol and prescription drugs — that can cause impairment.“Effectively what they’re saying is, we don’t trust police officers to make the right decision when it comes to reporting for work fit for duty,” Stamatakis said in an interview. “And I just find that to be an offensive approach.”There has been no meaningful consultation on the drafting and implementation of cannabis policies for officers, which vary drastically from force to force, Stamatakis said.“You want to create policies that are relevant and effective and that apply to the vast majority of your members, not policies that are designed to cater to the exception rather than the rule.”The Ottawa and Vancouver police services are among those with permissive policies that will allow off-duty cannabis use with no time restrictions, as long as officers show up ready and able to do their jobs.In contrast, the national police association has been told the RCMP policy would forbid cannabis use by officers 28 days before work.“It’s effectively an outright prohibition,” Stamatakis said.The Mounties said as recently as last week they were still working on a policy. The force had no additional comment Tuesday.The Toronto Police Association, which represents officers in Canada’s largest city, says while it is aware the municipal police service has drafted a cannabis-use policy, it has not yet seen a copy.“We are aware the draft policy may contain a 28-day waiting period before a member can report for duty after consuming cannabis,” association president Mike McCormack said Tuesday in a statement.“Once the TPA receives an official version of the policy dealing with this topic we will perform a legal analysis of its content for compliance with our collective agreements, legislation, human rights, case law, etc. and make a decision about any further action we may take at that point in time.”Workplaces across the country — particularly those with a role in ensuring public safety — are grappling with rules on cannabis use as legalization looms.Impairment, including impairment as a result of alcohol, opioids, cannabis or any other legal or illegal drug, is prohibited in all federal workplaces, the government says. The Treasury Board Secretariat has asked federal departments and agencies to update their codes of conduct and related policies to reflect cannabis legalization.Like the RCMP, other federal public-safety agencies are scrambling to get their pot-use policies in place. Both the Correctional Service of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency said they were finalizing rules for employees.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

Canadas defence spending questioned at NATO parliamentary meeting

first_imgThe Canadian Press HALIFAX — Canada’s deputy minister of national defence held fast to the government’s stance on defence spending, despite some pointed questioning about Canada’s commitment during a NATO parliamentary meeting in Halifax.U.S. congressman Michael Turner, the acting chairman of NATO’s defence and security committee, questioned Jody Thomas about whether Canada intends to table a plan for meeting the two per cent of GDP standard for defence spending that was agreed to by alliance members in 2014.Thomas stuck to the Liberal government’s line, saying Canada intends to increase its defence budget by 1.46 per cent by the end of 2024.She also reiterated that aside from its financial commitment, Canada believes it contributes to the alliance in a “qualitative” way through its participation in several NATO operations.But Bob Stewart, a member of the United Kingdom delegation, reminded Thomas that Canada agreed to the commitment along with the rest of its partners in 2014.Stewart, a Conservative MP, says Canada’s current spending on defence is “not enough,” and getting to two per cent is crucial to strengthening the alliance.last_img read more

I came here knowing I had it all to learn MacAulay reflects

first_imgOTTAWA — The morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Canada’s solicitor general Lawrence MacAulay was yanked out of a gathering of justice ministers in Nova Scotia. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York City.As he walked into a private room teeming with RCMP officers, a second plane careened into the complex’s south tower. The deadliest domestic terrorist attack in American history.“Honestly, you would not believe it was true,” MacAulay recalls.The Prince Edward Island member of Parliament was a cabinet minister in Jean Chretien’s Liberal government back then, responsible for Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He had been an elected MP for 13 years at that point. He has been re-elected in every election since and, on Nov. 21, marks his 30th anniversary as an MP.Sitting in his Ottawa office overlooking Parliament, MacAulay eyes well up and his voice weakens he remembers the stark events of that day.“To this day it’s emotional for me to talk about this,” he confides.Told by Chretien to get to Ottawa right away, a police escort took him to the Halifax airport, where he was stunned to see the runway transformed into a “parking lot of 747s.”Once their small plane was in the air, the pilot announced it was one of just five planes in North American airspace flying at that moment — two others were the U.S. president’s Air Force One and a decoy.“We thought we might die,” MacAulay said. “You just wonder every second what might happen. I mean, you don’t know … That was a tough day, I can assure you.”Over his 30 years in federal office, MacAulay has travelled the world as a cabinet minister in numerous portfolios, sat on the government backbench, and survived his party’s crushing loss in 2011. Now 72, he’s returned to the cabinet as minister of agriculture.Despite having been part of some of Canada’s biggest national political moments over the last three decades, the farmer-turned-politician turns to stories about his home province of P.E.I. when asked to recall his most memorable milestones.His eyes sparkle when talking of work that saw the white sandy beaches and forest trails of Greenwich Park become part of the national parks system. This cemented the eastern region of the Island, which he represents, as a tourist destination.He all but takes credit for the continuation of the ferry service from his riding to Nova Scotia — once the only way to travel to or from the Island before the Confederation Bridge.“But the most gratifying thing that you can do (is) probably — a single mother on the 20th or 21st of December, to be able to tell her that she’s going to receive her EI cheques before Christmas,” he says, “because you know for sure that’s all that person has.”MacAulay was first elected in 1988, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative Pat Binns — who would later become premier of P.E.I. — in an election fought on the merits of Brian Mulroney’s Canada-U.S. free-trade deal.While knocking on doors during that campaign, MacAulay remembers one windy morning when he came upon a home with about 14 half-ton trucks parked outside — a sign the place was filled with local fishermen, who often feel the sting of regulatory decisions made by Ottawa.“I knocked on the door and a lady opened the door, and I said who I was, and she said, ‘Oh my. There’s a bunch of people in the other room who would love to see you’, ” MacAulay recalls. “I can assure you I wasn’t too brave walking down the hall to meet those fishermen. I figured they’d be pretty tough to deal with.”Years later, he came upon the same woman who had opened the door that day. She remarked that whatever he’d said to the fishermen, it seemed to have worked out for him. A lot about his job in Ottawa has changed over the years, he says, holding up his smartphone and remarking that he couldn’t have purchased it for a million dollars when he was first elected.“I came here knowing I had it all to learn. And in my view, it’s a university on world affairs changing basically on a daily basis,” he said. “If you want to stay around, you have to be able to use the social media, you have to be able to deal with the changes that take place.”MacAulay has had some close elections. In 1997 he won by 99 votes, and in 2000 by a couple of hundred. But in 2015 he soared to an 11,000-vote margin.He is known for attending virtually every birthday party, anniversary, wake, funeral or event in the district when he’s not in Ottawa. And when he’s away, his wife Frances attends in his stead.Being “straightforward and honest” is the key to success as a politician, he says — a rule that led MacAulay to a rare personal admission in the House of Commons in 2016.During an emotional statement paying tribute to a clergyman from P.E.I. who’d recently died, MacAulay shared a story of how the clergyman had helped him battle alcohol addiction before his life in politics.That history was not difficult to acknowledge, he says, although it’s not something he has addressed publicly in detail.Pausing for a moment, MacAulay says he wishes all governments would do more to help those battling addictions. After many years sober, he says it’s a fellowship of support he has received over the years that has helped him live a “a totally free life.”“I could walk in front of a trailer truck or I could take a drink of rum if I wished. But you know, I’m not sure which result would be the worst.”So why, after 30 years of balancing constituency work in P.E.I., high-stakes politics and gruelling cross-country travel, does he wish to continue?“Because I like it,” he says. “You can do things that help your own area and that helps the people. And that’s about all there is for me in this world to do.”— Follow @ReporterTeresa on TwitterTeresa Wright, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

SNCLavalin CEO Neil Bruce retires Ian Edwards named interim CEO

first_imgMONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. says chief executive Neil Bruce is retiring from the company and returning to his family in the United Kingdom.Ian Edwards, the company’s chief operating officer, has been named interim chief executive effective today.Bruce is expected to remain an adviser to the board until the end of the year.SNC also says that the board of directors has asked Edwards to undertake a review of the strategic direction of the company.A Quebec judge ruled last month there was enough evidence to send SNC-Lavalin to trial over charges of fraud and corruption. The company has pleaded not guilty.WATCH: SNC-Lavalin heading to court  The Canadian Press The engineering and construction firm has been at the centre of a political controversy following accusations by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould that top government officials pressured her to overrule federal prosecutors and negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement with the company.last_img read more

Child from BC in custody dispute found near UK three years later

first_imgSAANICH, B.C. — A four-year-old girl from Vancouver Island has been found on a small island off the coast of England after allegedly being abducted by her mother more than three years ago, police said Thursday.Police in Saanich, B.C., said Lauren Etchells boarded a flight leaving Canada in 2016 with her young daughter Kaydance, her new partner Marco van der Merwe, and their newborn son, in violation of a court order.Tasha Brown, Kaydance’s other mother, contacted police who say they learned that Etchells travelled with the children throughout Europe and the Middle East, and at some point broke off her relationship with van der Merwe.Interpol published a red notice — an international flag that a person is wanted — and Saanich police received a call on Monday advising that Etchells, her son, Kaydance, and Etchells’ parents had been picked up by police.Police said the group was spotted landing a four-metre inflatable dinghy on the shore just south of St. Catherine in Jersey, a small island in the English Channel, and officers believed they were trying to avoid passport control on U.K. soil.Etchells and her parents pleaded guilty to offences in Jersey and Etchells remained in custody as a result of a provisional arrest warrant for her extradition to Canada, Saanich police said in a news release.Jersey police said in a statement that a 33-year-old woman had pleaded guilty to child neglect and immigration offences, and that a man and woman, both 67, had pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting as well as immigration offences.The two children have been placed in foster care and the process of bringing the girl back to Canada has begun, police said.“We are extremely pleased to report that four-year-old Kaydance has been located and is in the care of the appropriate authorities in Jersey. She is in good health, is happy and appears to have been well cared for,” said Sgt. Julie Fast of Saanich police said in the news release.Etchells has previously denied abducting her daughter, telling the Victoria Times Colonist in 2016 that Brown is not legally a parent to Kaydance.She said they conceived Kaydance through a sperm donor and Brown’s name was taken off the birth certificate when the two were planning a move to Qatar, where same-sex marriage is illegal.The two married in 2012 and separated in 2015, and Etchells said she was given full custody but Brown was fighting for equal custody rights. She said in 2016 she feared that if she returned to Canada, Kaydance and her son would be put in foster care.“I am a good mother who has done nothing but love and care for her children and it would not be in either of my children’s best interests for me to be separated from them,” she told the newspaper in 2016.Van der Merwe also told the newspaper earlier that year that when he boarded the flight in 2016 he did not know Etchells and Kaydance were barred from leaving Canada.Brown said in a statement released by Saanich police on Thursday that she is grateful to learn that Kaydance is in good health and good care.“I am celebrating today,” Brown said, adding that she is meeting with her lawyer and other agencies to bring the child to Canada.“But I can’t celebrate 100 per cent yet. Not until Kaydance is back in Canada.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Court orders women accused of defaming author to share emails online posts

first_imgVANCOUVER — A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded author Steven Galloway access to emails between a woman who accused of him of sexual assault and staff at the University of British Columbia in a test of a provincial law intended to protect freedom of expression.Galloway, who is the former chair of the university’s creative writing department, filed lawsuits against the woman and two dozen others last October, alleging he was defamed by false allegations of sexual and physical assaults made by the woman and repeated by others.The woman and two others applied to have the lawsuit thrown out under the province’s Protection of Public Participation Act that came into effect in March and aims to protect critics on matters of public interest from lawsuits intended to silence or punish them.Although the defamation action is essentially stayed until the dismissal application is dealt with by the court, Galloway had requested access to further documentation that he argued he needed to defend his case against dismissal.In her ruling released Friday, Justice Catherine Murray says she believes it’s the first time a court in British Columbia has been asked to rule on whether a plaintiff like Galloway is entitled to request information and documentation on the cross-examination allowed under the new act and if so, what disclosure he’s entitled to.She ordered the release of emails and documentation the woman provided the university to back up her allegation, as well as screenshots of tweets and Facebook posts made by the other two women who joined the dismissal application and other materials.“I am advised that this is a matter of first impression; no court in British Columbia has yet considered this question,” Murray says in the ruling. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Supreme Court justices hear two cases in Winnipeg meet with Indigenous leaders

first_imgWINNIPEG — Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner says holding hearings in Winnipeg is an important step toward informing people about how the country’s highest court works.Judges from the Supreme Court of Canada are in Manitoba this week to hear cases and to reach out to the public.The nine judges will met with students and Indigenous leaders and hold a question-and-answer session with the general public.They will also hear two cases while in Winnipeg — the first hearings outside of Ottawa in the court’s 144-year history.On Wednesday, it will hear a case that centres on how long is a reasonable time in which to try someone and return with a verdict.On Thursday, the high court will hear a case that deals with French-language education rights in British Columbia.The Canadian Presslast_img read more