15. 11. 2018
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RCMP found Travis Vader’s fingerprint and DNA on beer can found in missing couple’s SUV

RCMP found Travis Vader’s fingerprint and DNA on beer can found in missing couple’s SUV

EDMONTON — Accused killer Travis Vader’s fingerprint and DNA were on a beer can found in Lyle and Marie McCann’s SUV, RCMP say in newly released court documents.

Two dozen RCMP officers posed as criminals to build the case against Vader, who’s accused of the murders of the St. Albert couple, missing since 2010.

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Related

  • RCMP paid informant for Travis Vader information: court documents

  • Vader’s lawyer alleges Crown stayed charges to buy time to build ‘circumstantial case’

  • Crown calls Vader case a ‘disclosure fiasco’; Defence seeks to have murder charges dropped

  • Charges stayed against Travis Vader in McCann murders

    Three played major roles in the fabricated plot designed to draw in the prime suspect and coax damning evidence from him; 20 more made cameo appearances. All pretended to be part of a criminal organization looking to recruit Vader, according to documents that became public Monday when a judge granted a request from several local news organizations, including Global Edmonton, to lift a publication ban. The documents have not been presented or proven in court.

    In part, the documents read like a sort of laundry list of leads and theories to tie Vader to the 2010 crime.

    A paralegal working with the lead prosecutor even made a “things to do” list. On it was a note about Sheri Lynn Campbell, who used to share a home with Vader and whom he described to RCMP as his alibi.

    Text messages between the pair indicate that Campbell told police Vader was at the home from 2 a.m. on July 2, 2010, to 2 a.m. July 3, the day the McCanns were last seen as they gassed up their motorhome in preparation for a trip to B.C.

    READ MORE: The disappearance of Lyle and Marie McCann

    Two days later, the burned-out motorhome was found at a campground near Edson. Then, on July 16, the Hyundai Tucson SUV the couple had been pulling was found concealed about 25 kilometres east of the town. Inside, RCMP found the beer can, Marie McCann’s blood and Lyle McCann’s hat with a bullet hole in it. They say Vader used the couple’s cellphone at about 2 p.m. that day.

    READ MORE: Evidence ties Travis Vader to missing St. Albert couple’s SUV: Crown summary

    Vader was arrested on July 19, but he wasn’t charged with the murders until April 2012. The bodies of the McCanns have never been found.

    In March 2014, a month before his trial was to begin, Crown prosecutor Michelle Doyle stayed the charges, citing a huge gap in disclosure provided by the RCMP to the defence. Doyle said she was confident Vader would be convicted, but was concerned he may not receive a fair trial. Nine months later, the stay was lifted and the first-degree murder charges applied again.

    Vader is fighting to have the case thrown out, accusing the Crown of trying to buy more time to collect evidence. A judge is expected to rule on the abuse-of-process claim at the end of the month. If Vader’s trial goes ahead, it is scheduled to start March 7.

    READ MORE: ‘It appears that the police rushed to a judgement’: Vader’s lawyer 

    The paralegal jotted notes about the disclosure set-back, writing “2 years fought to keep in Vader. MD feels betrayed.”

    The documents released Monday also recount evidence from a man who said Vader gave him a “gold ruby ring” that belonged to the McCanns. The man said Vader took it from the motorhome and kept it at a cabin near his father’s place, along with “a lot more stuff.”

    The documents reveal that, as well as mounting the sizable undercover case, RCMP paid a jailhouse informant for information against Vader.

    In a sworn affidavit among the documents, an RCMP sergeant said as many as 10 undercover operations are going on in Alberta at any given time, lasting from several weeks to several years, with some remaining open indefinitely.

    It’s a dangerous job, said the sergeant, who coordinates undercover operations in Alberta.

    “I am aware of situations where suspects or targets have clearly indicated the intention to kill an officer upon discovery of an undercover operator’s true identity.”

    In one case, an operation was terminated because the suspect became suspicious, the sergeant said. RCMP intercepted audio of the suspect’s girlfriend reading newspaper coverage of the Jason Dix murder trial, when he realized he was the target of the same strategy used against Dix.

    RCMP spent months on an elaborate, undercover “Mr. Big” operation to gather evidence against Dix for the 1994 deaths of Tim Ordzyk, 33, and James Deiter, 24, whose bodies were discovered at a paper recycling plant in Sherwood Park. RCMP first thought they had been electrocuted, but both had been shot in the head three times.

    Dix spent nearly two years in jail and the case was eventually thrown out because of lack of evidence. He sued the Crown and RCMP for malicious prosecution and was awarded $765,000 in 2002. The case remains unsolved.

15. 11. 2018
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Manitoba Ombudsman report leaves questions unanswered in dam purchase

Manitoba Ombudsman report leaves questions unanswered in dam purchase

WINNIPEG —; The Manitoba government was not justified in an initial attempt to buy $5 million in flood-fighting equipment from a specific contractor without bids from others, the province’s ombudsman said Thursday.

But the 35-page report from Charlene Paquin also says that, in the end, the NDP government followed the rules.

The report neither completely clears nor condemns the government in a controversy it has faced since 2014.

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RELATED: Report raises questions over provincial spending on flood fighting equipment

The issue flared when Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton tried to get approval for water-filled barrier tubes called Tiger Dams for flood-prone First Nations communities in the Interlake region north of Winnipeg.

An anonymous whistleblower complained to the ombudsman that Ashton pushed to have the contract awarded to a company run by a friend, who has contributed money to both Ashton’s and the NDP’s election campaigns.

In the end, the contract was put up for open bidding, but was never awarded. The First Nations communities went to the federal government to get the equipment.

RELATED: Manitoba premier welcomes probe into contract

The ombudsman’s report says senior public servants were concerned with Ashton’s attempt to sole-source the contract and pushed to have other equipment considered.

“Individuals we spoke with … indicated that departmental staff did not agree with waiving a competitive procurement process,” the report reads.

“However, as noted previously, the department was directed by the minister … to draft a submission that proposed an untendered contract for Tiger Dams.”

Government rules allow for contracts to be awarded without open bidding in sudden emergencies or when a specific product is needed and there is only one supplier.

“In this case, we did not review any evidence that the … requirements for ‘sole-source’ procurement were met,” Paquin wrote.

The report leaves questions about the actions of Ashton and other politicians largely unanswered, because the ombudsman does not have the power to investigate members of the legislature.

RELATED: Manitoba ombudsman to look at First Nations flood-fight purchasing

A government source, with first-hand knowledge of the discussions, told last year that Ashton made the request to the provincial Treasury Board, which insisted on open bidding.

The matter went to cabinet and Premier Greg Selinger initially backed Ashton’s request, said the source, who would only speak on condition of anonymity.

Selinger said last year he insisted on a full discussion by cabinet and Treasury Board, and then directed the contract be put up for bidding.

Ashton said First Nations communities asked specifically for Tiger Dams, which are distributed by only one company in Manitoba.

“They put forward what they wanted and needed,” Ashton said Thursday.

The ombudsman’s report does not delve into cabinet discussions at the time, but notes that some five weeks passed between when Treasury Board called for open contract bidding and when Ashton’s deputy minister agreed.

“We’ve all learned … we probably should have gone to tender right away. But I want to stress that our government makes no apologies for the intent of what we were doing,” Ashton said, referring to the need to help flood-prone communities.

Kelvin Goertzen, house leader for the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, said the premier should remove Ashton from cabinet.

“The NDP tried to override the civil service,” he said.

“The premier has to decide whether or not this is the kind of direction he wants within his government.”

15. 11. 2018
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Iran sanctions and others a burden for Canada

Iran sanctions and others a burden for Canada

OTTAWA – Canada’s pending decision to lift sanctions on Iran will likely spark cheers at the country’s foreign ministry because the ever-expanding program has posed legal and staffing burdens.

A briefing note prepared for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describes internal problems associated with one of Canada’s few foreign policy sticks — the sanctions imposed on nine countries, including Iran, North Korea and Russia.

The note was obtained by under the Access to Information Act.

Canada is expected to follow the world in lifting sanctions on Iran because it has complied with a landmark deal with six leading world powers that is aimed at preventing it from developing a nuclear bomb.

WATCH: Trudeau says he’s ‘pleased’ with Iran nuclear deal


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Canadian sanctions are imposed under two separate regimes: the United Nations and its own Special Economic Measures Act, or SEMA.

SEMA has proven problematic for officials at Global Affairs Canada because the number of countries facing sanctions under it has jumped to nine from two since 2010, the memo says, creating a heavy workload and legal headaches.

This has resulted in “greatly increasing the compliance burden for the private sector and creating resource and potential litigation challenges” for the department.

“As these procedural regimes have started to mature, foreign courts have begun to demand that increased procedural fairness be present in the listing and delisting of persons under such sanctions,” it says.

“It is likely that Canadian courts will demand the same procedural fairness in the event that any of Canada’s sanctions are challenged in court.”

A separate briefing note, also written for Trudeau last fall, says it is likely that Canada will be in a position to lift its Iranian sanctions “as early as winter 2016 and as late as summer 2016.”

READ MORE: U.S. imposing new sanctions on Iran for ballistic missile test: Obama

With Iran found to be in compliance with the nuclear deal as of last weekend, it would appear that the lifting of sanctions is imminent.

Trudeau has said Canada will also restore diplomatic relations with Iran, but the prime minister indicated Monday his cabinet will set the timing of that decision during an upcoming meeting.

Trudeau said he was pleased that “quiet diplomacy” led to successful negotiation of the Iran deal and would move it “towards respecting international expectations.”

Speaking to reporters at a cabinet retreat in New Brunswick, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said his fellow ministers would soon decide whether and how to lift the economic sanctions still in place.

Canadian companies won’t be able to compete for Iranian contracts until the sanctions are lifted, giving a leg up to their American counterparts. Dion suggested cabinet would make a decision quickly so as not to disadvantage Canadian companies.

WATCH: Lifting of Iran sanctions could further fuel oil’s slide, loonie drop

It may take longer, he said, to reopen the embassy in Iran.

“That’s something also that we’ll have to do step by step, how to re-engage with Iran when all the links have been cut,” Dion said.

“It cannot be done overnight, but the prime minister said very clearly during the campaign that this is something that we want to do properly in a timely fashion.”

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said the government should be wary about lifting sanctions on Iran, because it has not been trustworthy in the past.

“Let’s remember that once those sanctions are removed that Iran is going to flood the market with cheap oil, which has a huge effect on the Canadian economy as well,” she said.

The deal that Iran forged with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany, is expected to provide it an estimated $100 billion in sanctions relief.

14. 05. 2019
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Ontario doesn’t think health funding formula needs changing for aging population

Ontario doesn’t think health funding formula needs changing for aging population

TORONTO – As the country’s health ministers prepare to meet in Vancouver, Ontario is already saying decisions on changing the health care funding formula should be left for another day.

During last year’s election campaign, the Trudeau Liberals promised to negotiate a new health accord with the provinces and territories, including a long-term deal on funding.

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British Columbia Health Minister Terry Lake says B.C. and the Atlantic provinces are not satisfied with the current funding formula because it doesn’t recognize the higher costs borne by provinces with aging populations.

But Ontario wants the provinces, territories and federal government to focus on what they want in a new health care accord at the meeting that begins on Wednesday and talk about the distribution of funds at a later date.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins says scientific and policy experts are divided on the health cost impacts of an aging population, which he insists are “not at all clear.”

Hoskins says a change in the health funding formula would “essentially be a wash” for Ontario, so it’s in a unique position to look at any increased burden on the system from the growing population of aging baby boomers.

“The evidence points to the contrary, that it does not necessarily, and is not creating a tsunami of increased health care costs,” he said.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, who will join her counterparts Thursday for the second day of their talks, said she hopes the provinces and territories aren’t “too distracted” by the specifics of the federal health transfers.

“Making sure we agree on where the changes need to be made,” said Philpott. “Injecting more money into the system isn’t always the way to go, and isn’t always the best way to be able to drive change.”

Ontario also wants to set up a working group to look at the issue of out-of-province coverage of air ambulance services, which are not covered under reciprocal agreements between provinces that allow Canadians to get most medical services anywhere in the country using just their health card.

“This, I think, is clearly a natural extension of that (reciprocal agreements),” said Hoskins. “It’s part of the emergency acute process of making sure someone gets the health care attention that we would want them to get.”

Also on the health ministers’ agenda this week is physician-assisted-dying, after the Supreme Court of Canada last week gave the federal government a four-month extension to come up with new legislation dealing with the issue. The provinces may also have to pass legislation of their own.

“My perspective as minister and also a physician is that it needs to be one option among many,” said Hoskins. “It needs to be embedded in our overall approach to palliative and end of life care.”

Ontario has been working on doctor-assisted-dying since the Supreme Court struck down the old law a year ago, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons has drafted guidelines for doctors on how best to handle the issue, added Hoskins.

“We’re in the middle of some pretty intensive consultations with Ontarians, crisscrossing the province to get their direct input and advice as to what this should look like,” he said.

14. 05. 2019
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UPDATE: New ferry to sail between Vancouver and Victoria delayed

UPDATE: New ferry to sail between Vancouver and Victoria delayed

UPDATE: A passenger ferry service that’s set to connect Vancouver and Victoria won’t be setting sail until next spring —; at the earliest.

The new Clipper was supposed to begin travelling between the two harbours in the next couple of months, but now the Seattle-based company is delaying the launch while it searches for the right vessel to handle the challenging conditions in the Salish Sea. 

Previous story: 

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VANCOUVER – A new ferry service linking Vancouver and Victoria is being planned now that FRS, a global ferry and shipping group, has acquired a majority interest in Seattle-based Clipper.

Clipper, which operates Clipper Vacations, currently runs a high-speed Victoria Clipper ferry service from Seattle to Victoria, and from Seattle to San Juan Island.

With the acquisition, Clipper says it will add a new hub in Vancouver to connect with Victoria.

FRS says the acquisition will also allow it to launch a new ferry service from Florida to Cuba, pending government approval.

Both companies say further details about new hubs in Vancouver, Florida and Cuba will be revealed in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“By acquiring Clipper, we are expanding our presence in the North American market, bringing with us our long history of operational acumen and connection to the European tourism market,” said Gotz Becker, the CEO of German-based FRS.

“Clipper has an impressive track record in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, and will now serve even more of the Canadian market with a new Vancouver service.”

Merideth Tall, who founded Clipper, will remain as CEO and retain minority ownership of the company.

“Combining with FRS will allow us to expand our travel products and services to provide many more options for our customers that will now include Vancouver and Cuba,” said Tall.

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14. 05. 2019
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Protesters rally outside Kinder Morgan hearings

Protesters rally outside Kinder Morgan hearings

BURNABY, B.C. – First Nations and environmentalists had one question for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the start of National Energy Board hearings on the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

“You said no. Where are you?” asked Audrey Siegl of the Musqueam Indian Band, to a cheer from a crowd of protesters gathered outside a Burnaby, B.C., hotel on Tuesday.

“Stand with us if you’re going to stand with us. We need more than just words.”

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Trudeau promised on the campaign trail in June to engage in a “new open process” for all pipelines. He said in August that would apply to existing pipelines and that the Trans Mountain process “needs to be redone.”

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has said the government will soon announce changes to the pipeline approval process. But he said the plan will include a transition period for projects currently under review and no proponent will be asked to return to square one.

As hearings began on Kinder Morgan’s US$5.4 billion proposal to triple the capacity of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline, activists urged Trudeau to immediately halt the review and implement the changes.

“After 10 years of the long, dark night of the Harper regime, for the first time there was reason to hope for change,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“We call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow through on those promises.”

The hearings will last for 10 days in B.C. and will wrap up in Calgary next month. Municipalities, environmental groups, First Nations and residents who live along the pipeline route will deliver final arguments.

The energy board streamlined the review process to meet time limits set by the previous Conservative government. The changes mean interveners are not allowed to cross-examine Kinder Morgan representatives and instead they had to send in written questions. The company answered a portion of those questions.

Karen Campbell, a lawyer with Ecojustice, said the “incredibly broken” process does not consider the potential impacts of the project on climate change.

Two First Nations announced Tuesday they were dropping out of the review. The Neskonlith Indian Band and the Lower Nicola Indian Band had been scheduled to present arguments but said they would not attend.

“We’re not going to take part in a process that has a predetermined outcome,” said Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band.

National Energy Board spokeswoman Tara O’Donovan said the written question-and-answer process was determined to be the best way for participants to review and test the evidence.

She added that upstream and downstream impacts of projects — including climate change — were outside the scope of the board’s legislated mandate.

“The NEB’s hearing process is fair and it’s no less rigorous in this process than it has been in the past.”

The cities of Surrey and New Westminster, Musqueam Indian Band and ocean scientist David Farmer delivered arguments to the three-member panel on Tuesday.

Anthony Capuccinello, representing Surrey, criticized the energy board for “falling asleep at the wheel.”

“You have heard, through the submissions and argument of Trans Mountain, a story — a story applauding the expertise of the board’s advisers, a story full of self-serving statements expressing how fair this process has been,” Capuccinello said.

“Sadly, that story is a fiction.”

He said Kinder Morgan should compensate his city, 45 kilometres east of Vancouver, for the costs associated with the existing pipeline.

James Reynolds, representing the Musqueam Indian Band, said the NEB should dismiss the project because the Crown has failed to fulfil its duty to consult with the Vancouver First Nation.

The band’s traditional territories include Burrard Inlet and the south shore of the Fraser River and the project will significantly infringe their right to fish, he said.

The board is set to inform the federal cabinet in May whether it approves the project. Cabinet will then have three months to make its decision.

— Follow @ellekane on 桑拿会所.

14. 05. 2019
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Canada’s NHL teams in danger of missing playoffs for the first time since 1969

Canada’s NHL teams in danger of missing playoffs for the first time since 1969

Just one year ago, fans across the country were celebrating as five of seven Canadian teams (sorry Toronto and Edmonton), headed into playoffs, with the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames advancing to the second.

Now heading into NHL all-star break, Canada’s seven teams are looking at a bleak second half of the season as they all sit outside a post-season spot.

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WATCH: Flames Dennis Wideman sends linesman to ice with hit from behind

Famed hockey analyst Don Cherry doesn’t see April getting much better with only the Vancouver Canucks or Montreal Canadiens having a shot at reaching the playoffs.

“I think Vancouver will make it and the Canadiens will be knocking on the door,” Cherry said Wednesday. “At one time we had six (Canadian teams) in. I’d love to see six in, but I don’t think it will happen.”

Canada hasn’t seen the Stanley Cup come home in 21 years. If a Canadian team doesn’t make the playoffs this spring it will be the first time that has happened since 1969-70.

As the 2016 NHL All-Star weekend is set to take place in Nashville this weekend and here’s where Canada’s teams sit before the break.

Vancouver Canucks

Teammates celebrate with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton (27) after he scored a goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders in New York, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Record: 20-19-11 (51 points)

Western Conference standing: 11th

Daniel Sedin has led the way for the Canucks with 21 goals, 44 points. The Vancouver Canucks are the closest Canadian team to making the playoffs at just two points back.

READ MORE: NHL player pleads guilty to killing grizzly bear in B.C. without a proper licence

The Nashville Predators beat the Canucks 2-1 on Tuesday. A bad line change allowed James Neal to score the winner and the mental  mistakes have piled up for Vancouver costing them several precious points in the past few games.

Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller, center, of Switzerland, reacts after allowing New Jersey Devils right wing Lee Stempniak (20) to score a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Record: 21-24-3 (45 points)

Western Conference standing: 13th

The Nashville Predators topped the Flames 2-1 Wednesday, leaving them eight points out of the playoffs. Calgary has struggled on the road this season going 7-14-3 overall. They currently sit second-last in the Western Conference.

The goaltending for the Flames has been questionable, allowing 3.00 goals against per game, good for second-worst in the league. They have struggled on special teams as well, with a power play  of 13.9 per cent and penalty kill  of 4.3 per cent, both the worst in the league.

Edmonton Oilers

Nashville Predators’ Petter Granberg (8) and Edmonton Oilers’ Justin Schultz (19) collide during second period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday January 23, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

Amber Bracken,

Record: 19-26-5 (43 points)

Western Conference standing: 14th

The media hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t have been higher for the 19-year-old centre, who scored five goals and seven assists in his first 13 games. On Nov. 3 McDavid broke his left collarbone in a game against Philadelphia and isn’t expected back in the lineup until Feb. 2.

The Oilers have also struggled on the road this season with a record of 6-16-4 and have decreased production from star forwards Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turns away as the New Jersey Devils celebrate a first period goal.

Jonathan Kozub / Getty Images

Record: 22-24-3 (47 points)

Western Conference standing: 12th

The Winnipeg Jets downed the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday but still sit eight points out of a playoff spot. The Jets’ two best players — Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien — are both unrestricted free agents and seem to have been a distraction for the team this year.

With three teams between Winnipeg and the wild-card spot they will have make a serious run down the stretch to be in the playoff hunt.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens’ David Desharnais, left to right, Brendan Gallagher and Andrei Markov leave the bench following their 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets after NHL hockey action, in Montreal on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Record: 24-22-4 (52 points)

Eastern Conference standing: 11th

The Habs continued their downward slide losing 5-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday and have lost two straight games. Goaltender Carey Price, the reigning NHL MVP, is still injured and if he can’t get back on the ice soon, the playoffs may be out of reach for the Canadiens.

Ottawa Senators

San Jose Sharks goalie Alex Stalock, right, is beaten for a goal on a shot from Ottawa Senators\’ Bobby Ryan, not seen, as Mark Stone (61) watches during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in San Jose, Calif.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Record: 23-21-6 (52 points)

Eastern Conference standing: 12th

The Sens are three points out of a wild card spot in the East. Ottawa lost to the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday and have now fallen to 23-21-6.

Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond was a standout as a rookie for the Senators going 20-1-2 late in the 2015 season, but has struggled in the 2015-2016 season. He is just 3-5-2 with a 2.96 goals-against average and has faced nagging injuries.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs\’ defenceman Roman Polak reacts as his team trails 6-2 to the New York Islanders during third period NHL hockey action, in Toronto, on Tuesday, December 29, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Record: 17-22-9 (43 points)

Eastern Conference standing: 15th

The Leafs are now 17-22-9 and tied for last in the NHL. They have been dreadful losing nine of their last 10 games (1-7-2), and have been outscored 31-11 during the stretch. One bright spot is James Reimer, who is having a solid season in net maintaining a 2.10 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

Perhaps Steven Stamkos who becomes a free agent July 1 could turn the Leafs fortunes around if he lands in Toronto next year.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated that six Canadian NHL teams reached the playoffs last year when only five reached the post. Global News apologizes for the error.

*With files from the Canadian Press

14. 05. 2019
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Alberta asks federal health minister for permission to dive into poppy industry

Alberta asks federal health minister for permission to dive into poppy industry

LETHBRIDGE- With the oil industry in a major slump, the prospect of a multi-billion dollar industry in Alberta seems too good to be true.

However, thanks to renewed efforts, it is a reality that could soon be within reach.

“Canada has the potential here to be a major world player in regards to the pharmaceutical industry,” said Melody Garner, president of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.

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Poppies are used for the production of pain-killing prescription drugs. Countries like Australia and France have taken advantage of the crop and now enjoy thriving pharmaceutical industries.

READ MORE: Growing poppies for medicine

Canada is the only G7 country that does not cultivate poppies on a large scale, it requires approval from the Federal minister of health.

Garner said a pharmaceutical industry on Alberta soil will do wonders for the economy.

“The 300 jobs we see out of the gate just with the processing plant is only the start, and that’s why this is so important,” she said. “This is going to provide value added services and resources to our region for years and generations to come.”

API Labs in Lethbridge has been researching and testing the crop for years now and says southern Alberta is an ideal place to set up shop.

“The wind that we have and the drier climate that we have – the hot days and the cold nights – actually produce very good conditions for poppy cultivation,” said Glen Metzler, president of API Labs.

Just last week, the office of Premier Rachel Notley wrote a letter to Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, which read in part:

“I am writing to you in support of a research and development opportunity by API Labs….that is looking to grow and process thebaine poppies for pharmaceutical uses…in order for API’s project to move forward, the company requires regulatory exemptions from Health Canada.”

Right now Metzler said it is a waiting game to see if the federal government is sold on the idea.

“I think everyone is just waiting to see if this government is supportive of what we’re proposing,” he added. “If it comes back a resounding, ‘yes’, then I think things could move ahead quite fast.”

API Labs Inc. in Lethbridge have been growing thebaine poppies for research purposes.

API Labs Inc.

API Labs Inc. in Lethbridge have been growing thebaine poppies for research purposes.

API Labs Inc.

API Labs Inc in Lethbridge have been growing thebaine poppies for research purposes.

API Labs Inc.

API Labs Inc. in Lethbridge have been growing thebaine poppies for research purposes.

API Labs Inc.

API Labs Inc. in Lethbridge have been growing thebaine poppies for research purposes.

API Labs Inc.

API Labs Inc. in Lethbridge have been growing thebaine poppies for research purposes.

API Labs Inc.
15. 04. 2019
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Canada left out of international anti-ISIS coalition meeting in Paris

Canada left out of international anti-ISIS coalition meeting in Paris

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan downplayed the news that Canada has been has been left out of meeting of U.S.-coalition defence ministers in Paris this week to review the battle against the so-called Islamic State.

Speaking to reporters in New Brunswick, Sajjan said he wasn’t disappointed at not being invited adding that he has been in regular contact with his coalition counterparts

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“I was very fortunate on actually two occasions, most recently, I’ve been back into the region to get a first-hand look at what is going and talk to the commanders,” said Sajjan. The meeting, set for Wednesday, will include defence ministers from the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands.

“Meetings happen all the time,” Sajjan said. “We are actively participating on a meaningful basis… We’re not just looking at the current situation in Syria and Iraq, we’re actually looking at the overall threats around the world as well.”

READ MORE: Syria says ISIS group killed 300 in attacks in country’s east

A spokesperson for Minister Sajjan confirmed to Global News that Canada had not been invited to the high-level meeting, and the minister is instead focused on a Feb. 11 NATO meeting requested by U.S. Secretary of Defence Ash Carter.

“He’s also been regularly in contact with coalition partners,” said Renée Filiatrault, Sajjan’s director of communications, noting discussions with Brett McGurk, the U.S. Special Presidential envoy for the coalition to counter ISIS and a recent trip to the UK where he met British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

While Sajjan is downplaying the issue, the Liberal government’s decision to withdraw fighter jets from the anti-ISIS coalition may have been a reason for the snub.

Canadian CF-18 fighter jets are still participating in bombing missions in Iraq and Syria, as the new Liberal government examines how to keep Trudeau’s election pledge to end the combat mission.

READ MORE: Mother of Burkina Faso victim urges Trudeau to step up terror fight

Dave Perry, a senior analyst with the Global Affairs Institute, said while it’s unclear why Canada was left off the guest-list he pointed to a speech by U.S. Defence Secretary Carter last week during which he said it was a meeting of the most significant contributors to the mission.

“Each of these nations has a significant stake in completing the destruction of this evil organization, and we must include all of the capabilities they can bring to the field. And I will not hesitate to engage and challenge current and prospective members of the coalition to do more as we go forward,” Carter said at the 101st Airborne Division’s headquarters in Fort Campbell, Ky.

Conservative defence critic James Bezan criticized the Liberal government for their “incoherent” message on Canada’s future with the coalition.

READ MORE: Deaths of seven Quebecers strengthen resolve in terrorism fight: Couillard

“This development demonstrates that the Liberal Party’s policy on fighting ISIS is incoherent, and the decision to withdraw Canada’s CF-18s is seen by our allies as stepping back, rather than standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” Bezan said in a statement.

Perry added that Canada’s absence will limit its ability to be a major player in helping to shape the fight to against Islamic State militants.

“Whatever decisions are taken there we are not going to be a part of it, which is a real shame,” said Perry. “If we’re not present than we can’t be a contributing [nation] to shaping any of those discussions and we are only going to be on the receiving end of whatever those discussions are.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has opposed Canada’s involvement with coalition airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria. As part of an election promise he said Canada will withdraw fighter jets and instead increase training operations, adding to the 69 trainers now already in Iraq.  As of Jan. 19, however, the airstrikes by Canadian fighter jets continue.

15. 04. 2019
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WATCH: Winnipeg Jets left frustrated after one goal loss to Avalanche

WATCH: Winnipeg Jets left frustrated after one goal loss to Avalanche

WINNIPEG – The third time was not the charm for the Winnipeg Jets once again. The Jets still haven’t won three games in a row this season as a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday halted the Jets short two game win streak.

Despite registering 37 shots, the injury ravaged Jets struggled to get pucks through to the Avalanche net. The Avs recorded 21 blocked shots as Joel Armia scored the Jets only goal in the games final minute.

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“Sometimes the puck bounces your way, sometimes it doesn’t.” Blake Wheeler said. “When it rains it pours. Seems like the games we dominate we lose. It’s kinda of a weird thing.”

Carl Soderberg and Jarome Iginla scored goals for Colorado. Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves in the win.

Making his seventh straight start in the Jets crease Connor Hellebuyck made 32 stops in a losing cause.

“It’s hard to put my tongue right on what is the difference.” said Hellebuyck. “I thought we played pretty good. I thought we were blocking a lot of shots and we were paying the price. I guess that’s just how hockey goes.”

“We don’t feel like they’re outplaying us at all.” Mathieu Perreault said. “If you watch that game we had a lot of good chances straight down the slot. A lot of good looks. It’s just for us to bare down and put them in and at the end of the day that’s all it takes.”

The two teams traded chances in the first period. The Jets had the bulk of the chances early while the Avs finished the period strong. There were no goals in the first as Winnipeg outshot Colorado 12-10.

Just 1:16 into the second period the Avs opened the scoring. On a delayed penalty call Blake Comeau let off a slap shot from the point. Hellebuyck stopped the original shot and the rebound as well but the Avs were a third time lucky. Soderberg shoveled in the loose puck for his ninth goal of the season and a 1-0 Colorado lead.

The Avs tacked on another goal with just 17.3 seconds remaining in the middle period. Soderberg spotted Iginla and he rattled it off the crossbar and in. Iginla’s 13th goal of the season gave Colorado a two goal lead headed to the third period. The shots were 16-9 in favour of the visitors in the second.

The Avs came close to going ahead by three in the early stages of the final frame. On a 2-on-1 Hellebuyck robbed Binscarth’s Cody McLeod to keep the Jets within striking distance.

At the midway point of the period Wheeler found himself all alone in front but he couldn’t solve Varlamov either.

With five minutes to go Wheeler saw another glorious chance disappear as he rung the wrist shot off the goal post behind Varlamov.

Then with just 41.6 seconds remaining Perreault fed Armia and he roofed it to get Winnipeg within a single goal. Nikolaj Ehlers had the other assist but the Jets just ran out of time in suffering a 2-1 loss.

“We had enough offence to have a better result in a tight game,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “And both teams battled hard, competed hard on pucks, blocked a lot of shots. There wasn’t a whole lot of easy offence to be had.”

Fresh after getting called up from the Manitoba Moose JC Lipon made his NHL debut playing on a line with Anthony Peluso and Andrew Copp. Lipon provided some energy on the fourth line logging 7:11 of ice time while registering one hit.

Adam Pardy and Patrice Cormier were both scratched.

The Jets homestand continues on Thursday as they welcome back the Nashville Predators for the second time in a week.

WATCH: Paul Maurice and Jets players discuss the 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

15. 04. 2019
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Oilers add to Florida’s sudden woes, top Panthers 4-2

Oilers add to Florida’s sudden woes, top Panthers 4-2

SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida won a fight that everyone knew was coming.

What the Panthers needed more, however, was a win on the scoreboard — which they didn’t get. So a team that was unbeatable for about a month now suddenly can’t beat anyone.

Taylor Hall scored twice and added an assist, Cam Talbot stopped 30 shots and the Edmonton Oilers added to Florida’s slide by beating the Panthers 4-2 on Monday night.

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    Teddy Purcell assisted on both of Hall’s goals and added the clincher with 1:28 left for the Oilers, who built a 3-0 lead and withstood a Florida rally in the final 20 minutes.

    “Pretty good hockey game,” Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said.

    “It went back and forth. We owned parts of the game. They owned chunks of the game. It was good for us to experience that on the road.”

    Jordan Eberle also scored for the Oilers.

    Reilly Smith and Quinton Howden scored early in the third period for Florida, which has dropped four straight since winning 12 in a row. Al Montoya gave up three goals on the first seven shots he faced, and the Panthers had their club-record home winning streak snapped at seven games.

    Since their winning streak, the Panthers have been outscored 16-5 — yet remain in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

    “Half a game again,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s not good enough. We give them a couple of goals, we give them, I don’t know, four or five breakaways tonight. We gave them odd-man rushes. It wasn’t a fun game to coach.”

    Purcell’s goal came when Montoya was heading toward the bench for an extra attacker, then turned back but not in time to make what would have been a spectacular save. Montoya stopped 19 shots.

    “We’ve got to settle it down and kind of re-evaluate how we’ve been playing and what’s going wrong,” Florida’s Nick Bjugstad said. “We can’t overthink it, but we do have to address some things.”

    Florida was again without All-Star defenceman Aaron Ekblad, who hasn’t played since taking a huge hit from Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks on Jan. 11. Hendricks was penalized for boarding and subsequently suspended three games for the play, coincidentally returning to the Oilers’ lineup Monday.

    And Florida was waiting for him.

    Fans booed him when he got on the ice, and raised their volume when Hendricks was shown on the scoreboard video screens early in the game. Moments after that, Panthers defenceman Erik Gudbranson squared off with Hendricks — getting at least 11 right-handed punches in, while the Oilers’ forward did all he could just to stay on his feet.

    “That’s what fighting does,” Hall said. “People that want fighting out of the game, sometimes you just need some fisticuffs to settle things down and square off as a team and then we go play hockey. I thought it was a great response by Hendo. He’s the type of guy that thrives on that stuff.”

    READ MORE: Oilers Hendricks suspended 3 games for hit on Ekblad

    Hall opened the scoring not even 2 minutes after the fight ended, taking a pass from Purcell near centre ice after a Florida turnover and coming in on a breakaway. He beat Montoya to the stick side, and Eberle’s goal with 2:08 left in the first gave Edmonton a 2-0 lead.

    Hall struck again early in the second, again getting set up by Purcell.

    Talbot gave up the two quick ones to Smith and Howden early in the third, but settled back into a groove from there and denied two big Florida flurries in the final minutes.

    Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left in the second period with a hand injury that apparently occurred while he was blocking a shot.

    “And it’s going to be a long-term injury,” McLellan said.

15. 04. 2019
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Saskatoon a ‘leader’ with AEDs: MD Ambulance

Saskatoon a ‘leader’ with AEDs: MD Ambulance

SASKATOON – First responders know when it comes to cardiac arrest, every second counts. But according to a new study, if you’re living in a highrise, it could affect your chances of survival.

A study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests high-rise homes are more challenging to get to and the floor you live on matters.

“The increasing number of people living in highrise buildings presents unique challenges to care and may cause delays for 911-initiated first responders,” the study notes.

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    READ MORE: What floor you live on may determine cardiac arrest survival: Canadian study

    Out of the 7,842 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases, survival was greater on lower floors.

    “As more highrise buildings are constructed in urban centres across Canada, the number of 911 calls for emergency medical services in highrise buildings will also continue to increase. Furthermore, over 40 per cent of homeowners over the age of 65 years reside in high-rise buildings,” the report says.

    Building access issues, elevator delays and extended distance from the location of the responding vehicle to the patient can all contribute to delays in response times.

    Troy Davies, director of public affairs and media relations with MD Ambulance Care says Saskatoon’s Heart Safe program tries to prevent that from happening through pushing for more automated external defibrillators throughout the city.

    “We have over 800 businesses in our city that are heart safe and for that particular reason. You can’t get everywhere in that 10 minute window that we usually use. Four to six minutes and you’re talking brain damage,” he said.

    AEDs can be found in businesses, churches and condos in Saskatoon. Davies says the technology is life-changing.

    “Saskatoon is a leader. Twenty lives saved. The last most recent one we had was in August at the airport. TCU Place had a save last year. It’s the way of the future,” he said.

15. 04. 2019
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Residents unhappy with proposed building, now two storeys taller – Halifax

Residents unhappy with proposed building, now two storeys taller – Halifax

A proposed residential building that was not recommended by Halifax Regional Municipality staff partially because it was too tall for the area has returned for approval two storeys taller.

“We are not asking to change the neighbourhood,” said Greg Johnston, an architect for Paul Skerry Associates, which submitted the plan for Mythos Developments Ltd.

He spoke at a public meeting hosted by Districts 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee Monday evening about the design.

The nine-storey building, which would be erected at 6389 and 6395 North Street, would have 106 units.

Halifax Regional Municipality

The Halifax Forum’s Maritime Hall was where the meeting was held; about 150 people attended.

The 75-unit building was previously pitched to be erected at 6395 North Street and reach seven storeys in height.

It was not recommended because it was too tall, among other reasons detailed in a staff report (PDF).

Fast forward to 2016: the developer is now pitching a nine-storey, 106-unit version (PDF), which would be located at both 6389 and 6395 North Street.

“It grew, and it’s far, far, too dense and immense for the lot,” said Joan Fraser, who spoke at the meeting.

She added that, with a school nearby, the potential increased traffic could be dangerous.

The main issue was the size of the building, especially now that it’s even taller.

“We’re not saying ‘no’ to development. We’re just saying: ‘Why are you doing it like this?'” said Pat White. “I feel distrust.”

Johnston said the developer asked the community for feedback and made adjustments to the design accordingly.

Jennifer Watts, councillor for Halifax Peninsula North, said she’s keeping an “open mind” about the project.

The next step for the proposal is for it to be seen by the Planning Advisory Committee, which will make some recommendations; a staff report could be in councillors’ hands in about four to six months, she said.

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