Govt wants to freeze accounts of ILFS auditors 21 others

first_imgMumbai: In more troubles for the auditors of the crippled IL&FS–Deloitte and BSR, the corporate affairs ministry Tuesday moved the NCLT seeking to freeze their bank accounts along with those of 21 others who are impleaded in the main petition in the one of the largest fraud cases. This comes even as the NCLT is yet to pronounce its verdict on the ministry plea seeking to ban these auditors for their omissions and commissions in the case for five years. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe ministry counsel said he wants their accounts frozen as an interim measure till the tribunal delivers on its demand to ban these auditors for five years. Seeking to restrain their activities by freezing their accounts, ministry counsel Sanjay Shorey said the tribunal can allow these individuals to withdraw a certain amount say Rs 1 -2 lakh every month based on their requirement like it had done in case of IL&FS former directors. He explained that the move is based on the fact that the ministry doesn’t have the powers to halt the operations of these statutory auditors Deloitte Haskins & Sells, and BSR Associates which is an associate of KPMG, and they should be allowed to access money to meet only operational expenses till the order of their ban is passed. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostBut the tribunal did not offer any interim relief saying these auditors have moved the NCLAT challenging the tribunal order to implead them and prosecute them at the appellate tribunal, which will hear the matter on August 19. “Hence, we will only hear your arguments and not pass any order today,” the tribunal bench comprising VP Singh and Rajesh Sharma added and adjourned the matter to August 28. To this, Shorey pointed out that the tribunal has the powers to give an interim relief to attach the accounts, otherwise the coffers will be empty by the time the NCLAT verdict comes in. “Moreover, the objective is to ensure that if fraud has indeed taken place, there should be something realisable from the parties to the fraud,” he added. It can be noted that after NCLT had stayed its own order to prosecute the auditors on July 25 for four weeks to allow the auditors to appeal in NCLAT, the auditors approached the appellate tribunal. The NCLAT would hear the pleas of auditors on August 19.last_img read more

Read More »

HFCL bags 2467 crore order for building Defence communication network

first_imgNew Delhi: Domestic telecom gear maker HFCL on Tuesday said it has bagged Rs 3,329 crore order from state-owned BSNL to build and maintain communication network of Indian army under Network for Spectrum project. The project is to be completed within 18 months. “HFCL has received its largest ever purchase order worth Rs 2,467 crore from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for turnkey development, operations and maintenance of communication network for Indian Army,” HFCL said in a statement. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe project has an additional operations and maintenance component of Rs 862 crore for 10 years, which takes the total value of contract to Rs 3,329 crore, the statement said. “We are proud to have been awarded this prestigious Project. This advanced next generation network would be very critical communication Network for Indian Army,” HFCL Managing Director Mahendra Nahata said. The project will connect various locations of Indian Army, while integrating all existing and legacy communication set-up with advanced internet protocol based network to offer secure transmission of voice, data, video and multi-media. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”Besides augmenting revenue growth, this project shall add to the company’s profitability and cash flows. The O&M component, at the same time, shall contribute to the profitability of the company over a fairly long term,” Nahata said. The defence ministry and Department of Telecom (DoT) had signed a pact in 2009-10, under which the former had agreed to vacate 25 MHz of 3G spectrum and 20 MHz in the 2G band in phases. In return, the DoT had committed to set up an exclusive defence network for its communication services. BSNL has been assigned the task to set up this network. The government in May 2018 nearly doubled the budget to Rs 24,664 crore for the NFS project from around Rs 13,000 crore allotted earlier.last_img read more

Read More »

Assam Govt parties announce legal aid to needy left out of NRC

first_imgGuwahati: With just four days left for the publication of the NRC on August 31, the Assam government on Tuesday said it will provide free legal aid to “needy” people whose names do not figure in it, as it sought to assuage the fears of bonafide Indians who apprehend losing citizenship.Besides the government, the state’s ruling BJP and opposition Congress have also come forward to assist bonafide Indians who are kept out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Non-governmental organisation- Centre for Justice and Peace (CJP)- of civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad has also volunteered to navigate the complex issue of citizenship after publication of the final NRC. The promise of legal assistance comes in the backdrop of apprehension voiced by people who fear they could be left out of the NRC, which many in Assam consider a protective shield for the indigenous people so they are not confined to detention camps or deported to Bangladesh. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe Assam government on Tuesday promised it will make necessary arrangements to provide legal aid to such people through District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA). Those left out of the NRC will not be detained “under any circumstances” until the Foreigners Tribunals declare them foreigners, said Assam’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Kumar Sanjay Krishna. Noting that under the provisions of the Foreigners’ Act, 1946, and Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1964, only Foreigners Tribunals are empowered to declare a person a foreigner, the statement said. “Therefore, non-inclusion of a person’s name in NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as foreigner”. For the benefit of those whose names do not appear in the final NRC, appeals can be made under Section 8 of Schedule to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. The Centre has extended the time limit for filing of appeals from 60 days to 120 days and necessary amendment made to the Foreigners’ (Tribunals) Amendment Order, 2019. Two hundred foreigners tribunals are being set up shortly for hearing the appeals filed at the designated foreigners tribunals, which will be notified by the state government very soon, the statement said. Another 200 foreigners tribunals will be set up soon and effort is being made to establish them at convenient places so that filing and hearing of appeals are done smoothly and efficiently, he said. The process of updation of NRC is being conducted by the Registrar General of India. The Supreme Court is monitoring the exercise. It is for the first time since 1951 that the NRC is being updated in Assam to identify bonafide residents and deport illegal immigrants. When the draft NRC was published on July 30, 2018, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40.7 lakh people from it. The draft NRC included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applications. In the list published in June 2019, over a lakh more people were excluded. Assam has seen a huge influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century. BJP state president Ranjit Dass has said the party’s 40 lakh workers have been directed to approach the district legal aid societies in their respective areas to assist those whose names are not included in the NRC. He asked people not to panic but approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals within 120 days. “There are legal aid societies in each district. People must take their help to resolve their issues. If the issues are not resolved there, people have the legal option to approach the High Court and later the Supreme Court,” he said.last_img read more

Read More »

Saying no to sexual advances hurt Thandies career

first_imgLos Angeles: Mission: Impossible 2 star Thandie Newton says her career suffered because she declined sexual advances of Hollywood producers. Newton has featured in big projects such as Mission: Impossible 2, Crash and The Pursuit of Happyness. The Bafta-nominated star has extended her support to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. However, Newton feels she has been held back because she wouldn’t sleep with people in powerful positions to get ahead in her career, reports metro.co.uk. In the past, the star had claimed that she was once sexually abused by a casting director during her teens. She said that she found it difficult to move past, as she felt ‘worthless’ for a long time.last_img read more

Read More »

Ponzi scam ED attaches assets worth Rs 278 cr of Telanganabased firm

first_imgNew Delhi: The ED on Tuesday said it has attached assets worth Rs 278 crore in connection with its money laundering probe in an alleged ponzi scam involving a Telangana-based multi-level marketing group. In a statement, the agency said residential plots, apartments, farm houses and commercial buildings located in Delhi and Noida and bank deposits in the accounts of Pawan Malhan and Anita Malhan, the main promoters of the firm EBIZ.COM Pvt Ltd, their family members and associates have been attached as part of a provisional order issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ At present, Pawan Malhan and his son Hitik are under custody of the Telangana Police in the case, it said. The total value of the attachment is Rs 277.97 crore and the assets include 29 immovable properties purchased at a cost of Rs 34.60 crore and bank deposits amounting to Rs 242.25 crore lying in 124 accounts maintained in the name of the accused directors and the firm, according to the statement. The ED said the company and its promoters “fraudulently collected about Rs 1,064 crore from around 12 lakh subscribers”. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Directors of the company “cheated the common public by propagating false promises of earning quick and easy money and inviting gullible public to become members of their pyramid scheme in the guise of direct selling multi-level marketing network by introducing worthless products like free computer education packages, suit lengths among others”, the agency said. The purpose of introducing sub-standard and over-priced products was only to masquerade their pyramid fraud as a direct-selling product company, it added. To lure more gullible investors, they extensively advertised their commission model in which very high commissions were paid to existing members for enrolment of new members in the down links of the pyramid structure, the ED said while describing the modus operandi of the alleged ponzi scam. Investigation revealed that funds were fraudulently collected from the gullible investors as deposits towards membership in the scheme through a chain of agents spread across the country, it said. “The funds collected were illegally diverted into the personal accounts of the directors, their family members and other associates under various heads including dividends, high salaries and incentives,” the agency alleged. It said the funds collected from the subscribers were “layered” into the personal accounts of family and close associates and then invested in movable and immovable properties in order to conceal them. The central agency filed a case under the PMLA based on an FIR filed by the Telangana Police.last_img read more

Read More »

Seven former Bloc MPs want to call their new party Quebec Debout

first_imgOTTAWA – The seven MPs who left the Bloc Quebecois earlier this year over differences with Martine Ouellet’s leadership have the name they want for their new party: Quebec Debout.They say their goal is to return to the Bloc’s original mission, which was to defend Quebec’s interests in Ottawa and to let provincial sovereigntist parties in Quebec handle the independence issue.MP Rheal Fortin says he hopes to have the name registered with Elections Canada in a week.The word “debout” is loosely translated as “standing up” and is often used by sovereigntist politicians to convey the message of defending Quebec’s interests.The seven MPs quit the Bloc caucus in late February and cut all ties to the party earlier this month just two days after Ouellet accused them of spreading “fake news.”They have repeatedly accused Ouellet of constantly zeroing in on independence instead of defending Quebec’s interests on the federal scene.Ouellet, meanwhile, has refused to resign despite criticism of her leadership style, which has been described as controlling and uncompromising.last_img read more

Read More »

Nova Scotia Liberals block attempt to have bureaucrats discuss web breach

first_imgHALIFAX – Liberals on the Nova Scotia legislature’s public accounts committee have again blocked attempts to have officials from the Internal Services Department appear to discuss what the government maintains was a breach of the province’s freedom of information web portal.Progressive Conservative committee member Tim Houston moved a motion Wednesday to have senior bureaucrats appear before the committee, but was voted down by the Liberal majority.It was the third time the Tories have tried to get witnesses to appear on the issue.Liberal member Gordon Wilson says it’s important the province’s auditor general Michael Pickup conclude his investigation of the matter before any potential examination by the committee.But Houston says there’s nothing preventing the committee from hearing testimony and he believes the Liberal government simply doesn’t want to talk about the state of security around its computer systems in public.A 19-year-old man was arrested after a dramatic raid on his family’s home on April 11, after it was alleged he downloaded 7,000 documents from the public website, but police dropped the case earlier this month saying there was no criminal intent and “no grounds to lay charges.”Both the Opposition Tories and NDP say the onus has shifted to the government to take responsibility for what the auditor general has warned were lax security measures around the portal.The web portal is still not back in operation after being taken down six weeks ago.last_img read more

Read More »

Massive raids across Ontario make major dent in Toronto gang police

first_imgTORONTO – Hundreds of police officers descended on nearly 80 homes across Ontario in a co-ordinated raid that left a major hole in a sophisticated and growing Toronto-based street gang with tentacles across the province and Western Canada, Toronto police said Thursday.Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said 120 people were arrested during the raids that occurred between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. in six cities, including Toronto and Sudbury, Ont., and netted a significant amount of drugs, including the deadly opioid fentanyl, cocaine and heroin, as well as weapons.The investigation — dubbed Project Kronic — was launched in May last year and targeted the Driftwood Crips street gang.Saunders said police laid more than 660 charges that include criminal organization offences, attempted murder, trafficking firearms, kidnapping conspiracies, robbery and drug trafficking.“These are thugs that are trying to intimidate neighbourhoods and gain control and participate in unlawful activity,” Saunders said at news conference Thursday afternoon.“There is a growth in occupying territory. Before they controlled the area of Driftwood (in northwest Toronto) and only the area of Driftwood. Now as we can see in this particular investigation, they have the ability of reaching into further areas of the country.”Police allege the gang is a criminal organization with cells in various communities in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.“The Driftwood Crips has been one of the older gangs in the city of Toronto,” he said. “They go far back to when I was in the homicide squad running investigations, and they’re involved in murders back then.”The primary goal of the investigation, the chief said, was to identify the gang’s leadership and its members, figure out who supplied drugs and weapons and “solve historical serious crimes.”He alleged the Driftwood Crips have a clear, ranked structure with a number of leaders controlling separate cells, even some who run operations while incarcerated.“We allege that a member of the Driftwood Crips was supplying a large quantity of fentanyl and cocaine to a network of dealers in the Sudbury area, which include a member from Hells Angels,” Saunders said.Saunders said further details of the investigation will be released at another news conference on Friday.last_img read more

Read More »

Screening scrapped in Victoria as group cancels fibbing filmmakers contract

first_imgVICTORIA – Mounting protests against a filmmaker who planned to charge higher admission to white men attending the screening of his movie have led a Victoria theatre society to cancel its contract to show the film.Blue Bridge Theatre Society president Evan Roberts says the society will cancel its facility rental agreement with Shiraz Higgins of Made You Look Media to show “Building The Room.”Higgins used the false name Sid Mohammed when he announced a so-called justice-pricing model to charge white men as much as $20, while others would pay $10 based on the purchasing power of individual groups and “price discrimination.”Roberts says Blue Bridge Theatre Society does not believe in any form of prejudicial pricing.He says the contract was cancelled because Higgins breached the deal by unveiling the pricing model without the society’s knowledge or consent.In a news release, Roberts says the society regrets the effect the decision will have on the artists involved in making the film but it can’t support what it considers irresponsible actions.The society says it must distance itself from the “illegitimate pricing scheme” to preserve the faith of its audience members.“Making this announcement without the knowledge or consent of (the society) has resulted in a storm of negative response aimed at Mr. Higgins and (the theatre society),” the release says.Higgins, 27, admitted last week that he felt “silly” for using a false name to promote what he calls justice pricing, but said he was concerned about a backlash that could risk his safety.Although the two-tiered admission was lowered to $15 for white men, Higgins stood by the concept, saying it represents “an important piece of overall conversation that is happening in society right now.”He said he’d heard from women who said they pay more than men for goods and services, including hair cuts and hygienic and cosmetic products.The 70-minute documentary-style movie “Building the Room” is a behind-the-scenes look at comedians putting on a stand-up show. It was scheduled for a screening in Victoria on Thursday night.last_img read more

Read More »

Timeline Key dates in the history of the Trans Mountain pipeline

first_imgVANCOUVER – Here are some key dates in the history of the Trans Mountain pipeline and Kinder Morgan Canada’s efforts to expand its capacity:October 1953: The Trans Mountain pipeline begins shipping oil with an initial capacity of 150,000 barrels per day. The project features four pump stations along its 1,150-kilometre route and a marine dock that connects loading facilities on the east side of Edmonton with ocean tankers in Burnaby, B.C.1957: Pipeline capacity is expanded via the construction of a 160-kilometre pipeline loop. The Westridge Marine Terminal is built and commissioned in Burnaby, B.C.Jan. 14, 1985: Trans Mountain’s biggest spill occurs at a tank farm in the Edmonton area. Nearly 10,000 barrels of oil are released.2006 – 2008: The Anchor Loop project adds 160 kilometres of new pipeline through Jasper National Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park between Hinton, Alta., and Hargreaves, B.C. The extension includes 13 new pump stations and modifications to existing stations, increasing capacity from 260,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd.Feb. 21, 2012: Kinder Morgan says it wants to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline after receiving support from oil shippers and will begin public consultations.Dec. 16, 2013: An application is made to the National Energy Board (NEB) to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. Construction is proposed to begin in 2017, with the aim of having oil flow through the expansion by December 2019.November 2014: More than 100 people are arrested after they camp out in a conservation area on Burnaby Mountain, east of Vancouver, to block crews from conducting drilling and survey work related to the pipeline expansion. Most of the charges are later dropped.August 2015: The NEB postpones public hearings after striking from the record economic evidence prepared by a Kinder Morgan consultant who was to begin working for the regulator.Jan. 12, 2016: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says in a written submission to the NEB that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the best interests of both Alberta and Canada.Jan. 27, 2016: The federal Liberal government says pipeline projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion will now be assessed in part on the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the extraction and processing of the oil they carry. Proponents will also be required to improve consultations with First Nations.May 17, 2016: Ottawa appoints a three-member panel to conduct an environmental review of the Trans Mountain expansion project.May 29, 2016: The NEB recommends approval of the pipeline, subject to 157 conditions, concluding that it is in the public interest.Nov. 29, 2016: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sanctions the Trans Mountain expansion, part of a sweeping announcement that also saw approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement but the end of its Northern Gateway project.Jan. 11, 2017: B.C. Premier Christy Clark announces her support for the project, saying Kinder Morgan has met five government conditions including a revenue-sharing agreement worth up to $1 billion.May 15, 2017: The Federal Court of Appeal grants Notley’s government intervener status in a lawsuit filed by municipalities and First Nations against the project.May 25, 2017: Kinder Morgan makes its final investment decision to proceed with the development, now estimated to cost $7.4 billion, subject to the successful public offering of Kinder Morgan Canada.May 29, 2017: The B.C. NDP and Greens agree to form a coalition to topple the Liberal party, which won a minority government in an election earlier in the month. The parties agree to “immediately employ every tool available” to stop the project.May 30, 2017: Kinder Morgan Canada debuts on the Toronto Stock Exchange after a $1.75-billion public offering.June 29, 2017: The B.C. Liberals lose a no-confidence vote, clearing the way for NDP Leader John Horgan to become premier.Aug. 10, 2017: The B.C. NDP government hires former judge Thomas Berger to provide legal advice as it seeks intervener status in the legal challenges against the project filed by municipalities and First Nations.Oct. 26, 2017: Kinder Morgan Canada asks NEB to allow work to begin despite a failure to obtain municipal permits from the City of Burnaby.Dec. 7, 2017: NEB allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass Burnaby bylaws.Jan. 17, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada warns the Trans Mountain expansion project could be a year behind schedule.Jan. 18, 2018: NEB establishes a process to resolve permitting issues between Kinder Morgan Canada and provincial and municipal authorities.Jan. 30, 2018: B.C. government moves to restrict any increase in diluted bitumen shipments until it conducts more spill response studies, a move that increases the uncertainty for Trans Mountain.March 9, 2018: B.C. Supreme Court grants interim injunction aimed at preventing anti-pipeline activists from protesting construction at two terminals in Burnaby.March 15, 2018: B.C. Supreme Court grants indefinite injunction preventing protesters from coming within five metres of two work sites for the project.March 23, 2018: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart arrested at a protest against the pipeline expansion; Federal Court of Appeal dismisses a B.C. government bid challenging a NEB ruling that allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local bylaws.March 27, 2018: City of Burnaby, B.C., says it will file an appeal to the Supreme Court in connection with the Federal Court of Appeal ruling.April 8, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada suspends non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain expansion project and sets a May 31 deadline to reach agreements with stakeholders.last_img read more

Read More »

In the news today June 15

first_imgFive stories in the news for Friday, June 15———HIGH COURT TO RULE ON RELIGIOUS LAW SCHOOLLawyers, religious groups and private universities are awaiting today’s landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision involving a proposed Christian law school in British Columbia. The case hinges on whether law societies in B.C. and Ontario can refuse to license graduates of the law school at Trinity Western University, which requires all students to agree to a community covenant prohibiting sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. The societies say the covenant discriminates against LGBTQ people, while the university maintains it has a right to freedom of religion as a private institution.———UP ALL NIGHT ON PARLIAMENT HILLAs Thursday night turned into Friday morning, MPs continued to vote on a seemingly endless series of motions aimed at compelling the Liberals to divulge details of their planned carbon pricing scheme. Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said his goal was to make the government “as uncomfortable as possible until they tell the truth” about how much more Canadians will pay for everything from groceries to gasoline because of the carbon price. The Conservatives had lined up more than 200 votes on the government’s main spending plan.———YOUNG SISTERS SHOT AT TORONTO PLAYGROUNDTwo sisters, ages five and nine, were seriously injured during a “brazen” daylight shooting at a playground in Toronto’s east end, authorities said Thursday. Toronto police Det. Sgt. Jim Gotell told reporters at the scene that the girls were rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children and both are expected to survive. He said at least seven shots were fired and investigators believe the intended target was a man who was among the 11 children in the playground. Earlier in the evening, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters that both girls required surgery, and called those behind the shooting “cowards.”———SENTENCING SCHEDULED IN VICIOUS SEXUAL ASSAULTA southern Alberta man is to be sentenced today for a vicious sexual assault on a woman who spent weeks in a coma and was forced to learn how to walk and talk again. Denzel Dre Colton Bird pleaded guilty last fall to striking the then-25-year-old woman from behind with a metal pipe in 2016, dragging her into an alley and sexually assaulting her. Bird will be sentenced for aggravated sexual assault and an additional charge of break and enter. The Crown is requesting 20 years in prison, while the defence has argued that Bird should receive an additional six years on top of the time he’s already spent in custody.———HAILSTORM HITS SOUTHERN PRAIRIESParts of southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba were pounded by hail and heavy rain in a storm that included tornado warnings in some areas. There were reports of baseball-size hail as Environment Canada says a supercell moved through the region Thursday, creating favourable conditions for the heavy weather. The storm knocked power out in some communities and concerns about lightning prompted officials to temporarily halt a CFL game in Winnipeg between the Blue Bombers and the Edmonton Eskimos.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Statistics Canada releases the Canada’s international transactions in securities for April and the monthly survey of manufacturing for April— Saskatchewan Corrections Minister Christine Tell and RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki announce two RCMP crime reduction teams in Regina.— Trial date to be set in Ottawa for former hostage Joshua Boyle, who faces assault charges.— Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Minister Carla Qualtrough participate in the steel cutting ceremony for the Royal Canadian Navy’s first of two joint support ships in North Vancouver.last_img read more

Read More »

BC chickencatching company denies neglect cruelty accusations

first_imgVANCOUVER – The head of a British Columbia chicken-catching company under investigation for alleged animal neglect and cruelty says his employees have not done anything wrong.Elite Services president Dwayne Dueck says in a statement that the company, which loads birds onto crates for processing, follows all animal welfare guidelines according to industry standards.Dueck says the company is fully co-operating in the investigation.Marcie Moriarty of the BC SPCA has said investigators are examining claims of animal cruelty involving Elite Services and a farm in Abbotsford following the release of video footage allegedly showing hens stuck in mounds of feces and packed into wire cages with dead birds.The SPCA previously recommended charges be laid against Elite Services after video emerged last year allegedly showing workers throwing, hitting and dismembering chickens.The company responded to that video by saying six staff members had been fired and some remaining employees would be required to wear body cameras while on duty.last_img read more

Read More »

Alberta minister Shannon Phillips says bill C69 inadequate in current form

first_imgOTTAWA – Alberta’s energy minister urged senators Wednesday to amend federal legislation that would overhaul energy project reviews.Environment Minister Shannon Phillips tried to make Alberta’s case to the Senate that Bill C-69 can’t be passed in its current form.After meeting with nearly 50 senators Phillips told reporters it’s “fair to say” the bill will not pass unless changes are made.“Senate caucus groups, they are getting an earful from Albertans and Canadians, and they’re in a mood to ensure this legislation works for Canadians,” Phillips said.The bill, which is under consideration in the Senate, would create a new Impact Assessment Agency and replace the National Energy Board with the Canadian Energy Regulator.It introduces new timelines and specific steps that companies and governments will have to take in order for new energy projects to go ahead.Alberta supports the federal government’s intention to modernize the assessment process and its goal of having greater confidence in the regulatory system, Phillips said.But she said there have been a number of recent failures and delays in approving major projects and her province needs certainty that Albertans can go to work.Alberta is looking for more clarity in the legislation, she said, including on review timelines, and wants clearly spelled out that downstream emissions — from the burning of fossil fuels—would be excluded from reviews.The federal government has set aside $74.6 million to pay for the transition to new impact assessment and regulatory processes, according to supplementary estimates tabled Wednesday.The new process is intended to broaden impact assessments to consider health and socio-economic factors in addition to environmental ones, create an early engagement phase, and strengthen partnerships with Indigenous peoples, the document said.Phillips said senators have an “appetite to intervene” on the piece of legislation before them by matter by making amendments to the legislation.Caroline Theriault, a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, said the government consulted other levels of government, industry groups and Indigenous partners, for over two years before the legislation was passed by the House of Commons.“Greenhouse gas emissions are inherently an area of shared jurisdiction. As we have stated consistently, our approach will recognize Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan and the means by which emissions are managed,” said Theriault.Phillips did not meet with McKenna today, but said she is well aware of Alberta’s concerns.“This is too important to get wrong and we will work with who ever wants to work with us to make it right.”last_img read more

Read More »

Group behind the proposed Schooners CFL franchise closer to land deal

first_imgMichael MacDonald, The Canadian Press HALIFAX — A plan to establish a CFL franchise in Atlantic Canada took a big step forward Saturday when Schooners Sports and Entertainment announced it had struck a tentative deal with a key property owner in the Halifax area.The business group confirmed it had signed a letter of intent with Canada Lands Company outlining a potential deal that would see a multi-use sports and entertainment hub built on the Dartmouth side of Halifax harbour.CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, who was on hand for the announcement in Dartmouth, said he was thrilled with the agreement.“I feel that we’re closer than we ever have been to making this dream a reality,” Ambrosie told about 100 boisterous CFL supporters, some of them wearing jerseys and goofy hats.Anthony LeBlanc, one of the group’s founding partners, said a scaled-back, $130-million “community stadium” in Shannon Park would be made available for youth, amateur and recreational sports for about 300 days each year.“I’d say we’re about 90 per cent done for … the proposal to go to (the Halifax Regional Municipality) and to the province,” he told the crowd.LeBlanc confirmed talks with Canada Lands had taken longer than expected, which is why the group has yet to submit a formal proposal to the local or provincial governments.“When you’re looking at the acquisition of land, it takes time,” LeBlanc told the crowd. “People have been questioning why they haven’t heard much since November.”LeBlanc said he was reluctant to predict when that proposal would be submitted.A final decision on the project is expected by the end of June.LeBlanc has said the Atlantic Schooners are expected to start playing in 2020 in Moncton, N.B., while a new stadium is being built in Dartmouth. Moncton Stadium has 10,000 permanent seats but could be expanded to 20,725 with temporary seating.The proposed Dartmouth facility, which would include a sports dome for the winter months, would also be made available to local schools and community groups for daytime weekday use, he said.To help get those events organized, Schooners Sports also announced it had signed a formal partnership with Sport Nova Scotia, a non-profit group that advocates for more than 50 provincial sport organizations.Jamie Ferguson, CEO of Sport Nova Scotia, said the arrangement is unusual.“We’re going to be able to program this facility for all of the days that the CFL team is not using it — or there aren’t any large events, like concerts,” he said. “This agreement will give us the opportunity to get more kids in the game.”Bruce Bowser, another Schooners Sports partner,  said the group’s evolving proposal would be more focused on community involvement.“From the day our discussions started, it wasn’t just going to be about football — it was going to be about community, and making it a destination,” said Bowser, who grew up in Shannon Park, now an abandoned neighbourhood that was once dominated by military housing.“We think this will be a reason for people from across the country to come out here.”LeBlanc said the latest version of the stadium plans calls for 12,000 permanent seats for community events, with an option to add another 12,000 seats when the proposed Atlantic Schooners compete with other CFL teams.“Our desire is to have this thing humming for 365 (days a year),” he said.Ambrosie, who was in Dartmouth to conclude a cross-country tour promoting the CFL, encouraged football fans to push decision-makers to support the Schooners proposal.“Give them a big bear hug, don’t let them go until they say yes,” said Ambrosie, a big man who played nine seasons in the CFL. “Eventually, they are going to have to succumb to your will.”last_img read more

Read More »

BC herring fishery ends for another season controversy over catch continues

first_imgDirk Meissner, The Canadian Press VICTORIA — Commercial fishing boats on the B.C. coast have returned to their home ports after a successful spring herring roe fishery in the Strait of Georgia off Vancouver Island, but opponents of the catch are already gearing up for next season.The threat of overfishing and the impact a herring population collapse could have on British Columbia’s marine ecosystem, particularly chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales, has conservation, environmental and some Indigenous groups demanding an indefinite suspension of the fishery.“It’s just a matter of time before the Strait of Georgia herring collapses and all those boats are forced to wait at the dock,” said Ian McAllister, executive director of Pacific Wild, which called for the suspension of the roe herring fishery this year.“If you left that 20,000 tons of herring in the water it could be the catalyst to rebuild stocks to allow chinook salmon to recover, to allow the starving southern resident killer whales to have enough food.”But Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists say the herring population in the Strait of Georgia is the healthiest it’s been in almost 70 years, which is the major reason it approved a roe fishery this year.“I’m looking at a time series that goes back to 1950,” said Neil Davis, the department’s resource management director. “They’re as high as they’ve been in that whole time series.”Herring roe is a sushi delicacy in Japan, but the tiny silver fish is also ground into food for farmed salmon and other fish, as well as fertilizer. Herring also feed the marine ecosystem as a diet staple for salmon, seals, sea lions, sea birds and humpback whales.The Fisheries Department heard the concerns of conservation and citizens groups about over fishing of herring and protecting the marine ecosystem, but the scientific data and meetings with industry and local advocates resulted in the decision to open a roe fishery, Davis said.“Other things feed on herring: seals, sea lions, salmon, who in turn are prey for things like killer whales,” said Davis. “That’s one concern we’ve heard from a number of groups. My response to that is that our first job in managing the resource is to make sure we’re managing it in a fashion that’s sustainable and conserves the resource long term.”Commercial roe fisheries on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the central coast, and off the Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert coasts were not held this year due to insufficient stocks.But Fisheries and Oceans projected a spawning biomass in the Strait of Georgia for 2019 of about 138,000 tonnes and set the total allowable catch for commercial fisheries at just under 29,000 tonnes. The total catch to date in the Strait of Georgia roe fishery for both seine and gillnet fishery combined is about 15,800 tonnes, Fisheries said Wednesday.Commercial fisherman Darrel McEachern of Maple Ridge said the season went well for him.“We got ours. We were pleased. DFO does a good job, what else can you say,” he said.McEachern, 72, said he has been fishing herring since 1973 and this spring they were abundant and the roe catch will be profitable. He said he spent about seven days aboard a 17-metre gillnet packer chasing herring in the Strait of Georgia with other members of his family.Grant Scott, president of Conservancy Hornby Island, said he could see the seine boats and gillnetters pulling in herring last month from his home on the island, about 200 kilometres north east of Victoria.Scott said the community celebrates the arrival of the herring with a festival in March, but he views the fishing fleet with concern.“This is the last one of the five or six major spawn areas really from Alaska to Mexico,” he said. “To think they are managing the last one the way they managed the other five, and it all resulted in over-fishing and the eventual collapse, we just find it sad and a tragedy.”He said 75,000 people signed a petition calling for an end to the herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia.Scott said the disappointment of this year’s roe fishery will not deter his group from pushing for changes during the coming federal election campaign and prior to a new herring season.“We’re going to write an alternate, truly ecosystem-based herring management plan that we hope to have put together by scientists that we want to present to the public next year when DFO brings out their herring forecast,” he said.Jaclyn Cleary, head of the Pacific region’s herring stock assessment program for Fisheries and Oceans, said there are differing opinions, even among scientists, about whether there should be a fishery for forage species, such as herring.She said much of the debate she heard this year from people opposed to the herring fishery involved comments about the connections between herring and declining salmon populations.“We know the importance of herring for chinook based on diet studies,” Cleary said. “We also know that adult herring aren’t in the Strait of Georgia year round. If the science were that simple there wouldn’t be a debate. It’s not that simple. We don’t see these clear relationships between chinook biomass and herring biomass in the Strait of Georgia.”Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said there was no commercial herring fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island and her Indigenous groups has suggested on ongoing closure for the next three to five years to allow stocks to rebuild.last_img read more

Read More »

Canada introducing digital charter to combat hate speech misinformation

first_imgPARIS — The federal government says it will launch a new digital charter that will dictate how the country will combat hate speech, misinformation and online electoral interference in Canada.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement today in Paris during a speech at the VivaTech conference, an international summit that brings together startups and technology leaders.The announcement was short on details, which Trudeau says will be revealed in the coming weeks.Prime Minister of #Canada, @JustinTrudeau, calling for tech leaders and governments, to rally together against online terror.This follows, the #ChristchurchCall that was introduced yesterday at @Elysee.#VivaTech pic.twitter.com/ABpBiQ8GNZ— #VivaTech (@VivaTech) May 16, 2019But the prime minister says he’s confident the proposed framework will restore the faith of citizens while holding platforms accountable.Trudeau met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier in the day and held a working lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron.He was set to meet Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales later Thursday.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Read More »

Latest right whale deaths in the Gulf of St Lawrence alarming expert

first_imgHALIFAX — A marine biologist says the recent deaths of four endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is alarming, given that the massive mammals are just arriving in Canadian waters.Boris Worm, a biology professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says the sudden spate of deaths stands in sharp contrast to last season, when no right whales were lost to ship strikes or entanglements.Worm says innovative measures taken last year — including real-time tracking of the animals — were key to helping the whales avoid collisions with boats or getting trapped in fishing gear.He says it will be important to learn if Fisheries and Oceans Canada has made any changes to this year’s mitigation measures.The department says the cause of death for one of the whales was not linked to a ship strike or entanglement, but there is still work to be done to determine what happened to the others.On Tuesday, the department reported that one dead whale had been spotted near New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula, and another had been found west of Quebec’s Iles-de-la-Madeleine — bringing the total number of right whale deaths this month to four.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Read More »

Voters must think critically on social media this election to avoid fake

first_imgVANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the federal election campaign continues, one expert says Canadians will continue to see attempts to sway votes, and need to think critically to recognize misinformation on social media.Political scientist Max Cameron with the University of British Columbia says he’s concerned about the impact of so-called “fake news” on democracy, and it will be an issue during the 2019 election campaign.RELATED: Person who posted fake Mercer endorsement ‘not involved on the local campaign,’ Conservatives say“There is an enormous amount of illiteracy and confusion in the public mind around what people consume on social media,” he says.A meme misquoting comedian Rick Mercer that was spotted on a Facebook page for a Conservative candidate this week is just one example of how easy it is to spread false information and quotes, Cameron says.“If it was attempting to be funny, it wasn’t done very well because I think it looked deceptive. A lot of voters are easily deceived.”RELATED: ‘Not true. All fake’: Rick Mercer responds after false quote posted on Conservative Facebook pageHe says people need to be careful about what they share online.“The most obvious takeaway would be – don’t engage in anything that looks deceptive. We are being manipulated by algorithms even when we’re unaware of it. We’re manipulated because we have a predisposition to be manipulated.”Cameron’s advice is not to react or comment with emotion, and to think twice before sharing what could be entirely false.last_img read more

Read More »

Memo Trump prodded Ukraine leader on Biden claims

first_imgWASHINGTON — President Donald Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine’s new leader to work with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden, according to a rough transcript summarizing the call released Wednesday.In the call, Trump raised unsubstantiated allegations that Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor’s investigation of the former vice-president’s son Hunter.READ MORE: White House-released memo of Trump, Zelenskiy conversation“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that,” Trump said to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.The conversation between the two leaders is one piece of a whistleblower’s complaint, which followed the July 25 call.The complaint is central to the formal impeachment inquiry launched Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Michael Balsamo And Zeke Miller, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Read More »

Liam Neeson Supports UNICEF In Preventing Violence Against Children

first_imgUNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson is raising his voice in support of a new UNICEF initiative to prevent violence against children.Video: Liam Neeson says help us make violence against children disappearViolence against children is all too often unseen, unheard and underreported, said UNICEF today, announcing an initiative that urges ordinary citizens, lawmakers and governments to speak out more forcefully to fight violence against children.“As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, I have long followed the issue of violence against children and the devastating impact it has on children, families and communities,” said Mr. Neeson when asked why he had decided to support the initiative. “It was a topic that became increasingly real to me as a child growing up in Ireland and during the filming of Taken, which focuses on one aspect of violence and abuse against children in the form of trafficking and sexual exploitation. In order to address the issue of violence, we need to speak out to highlight the problem and take action. I wanted to do that, and I urge everyone else to do the same.”The initiative builds on growing popular outrage that erupted following horrific attacks against children, such as the October 2012 shooting of then 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan, the fatal shooting of 26 pupils and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 and gang rapes of girls in India and in South Africa in 2013.“In every country, in every culture, there is violence against children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Whenever and wherever children are harmed, our outrage and anger must be seen and heard. We must make the invisible visible.”This is the underlying message as UNICEF launches the End Violence Against Children initiative. The initiative urges people around the world to recognize violence against children, join global, national or local movements to end it and bring together new ideas to focus collective action on this goal. We have the power to fight violence now, says UNICEF, as the organization brings its global voice to add to the many efforts already underway.The initiative was unveiled with a powerful video narrated by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson, who leads the viewer through a series of scenes depicting invisible violence.“This is a 15-year-old girl being gang raped,” he says as the camera pans across an abandoned lot. “This teacher is beating a boy for talking back in class, while the rest of the class watches,” he says as new scenes unfold.“Just because you can’t see violence against children doesn’t mean it isn’t there,” Neeson says. “Make the invisible visible. Help us make violence against children disappear. Join us. Speak out.”The need to take urgent collective action is underlined even by the limited statistics available, which point to the scale and extent of violence. For example, some 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 years experienced sexual violence and exploitation, according to the WHO, and an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, according to a 2005 ILO report.Violence inflicts not only physical wounds but leaves mental scars on children. It affects their physical and mental health, compromises their ability to learn and socialize and undermines their development.A special microsite and a social media campaign outlines ways for children, parents and communities to take action – such as getting involved, getting informed, organizing events and public discussion forums, supporting child victims of violence and working with global and local UNICEF partners.Protecting children is at the heart of UNICEF’s mandate. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that every child everywhere has the right to be protected from all forms of violence.Source:UNICEFlast_img read more

Read More »