15. 06. 2019
Verdasco ousts Nadal in first round of Australian Open

Verdasco ousts Nadal in first round of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia – Rafael Nadal lost to Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the Australian Open, an unprecedentedly early exit at Melbourne Park for the 14-time Grand Slam winner and a reversal of their epic, 5-hour, 14-minute semifinal here six years ago.

Fernando Verdasco rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the last two sets, recovering a break in the fifth as well, claiming a 7-6 (6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, only his third victory in 17 matches against his fellow Spanish lefthander.

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Nadal won his only Australian title in 2009 after beating Verdasco in the semifinals. His only other first-round exit in a major was at Wimbledon in 2013 when he lost in straight sets to No. 135-ranked Steve Darcis of Belgium.

“It’s a hard and painful loss,” the fifth-seeded Nadal said.

Verdasco went for everything on his ground strokes, ripping 90 winners against only 37 for Nadal as he worked to the extremes to unsettle his former No. 1-ranked rival.

“To win against Rafa here coming from two sets down is unbelievable,” the 32-year-old, No. 45-ranked Verdasco said. “I think I played unbelievable – the fifth set from the break that he made me, I just started hitting winners. I don’t know how, just, you know I was closing the eyes and everything was coming in and I keep doing it and I was doing well.”

A winning service return from Verdasco ended the match in 4 hours, 41 minutes.

“Well I think 2009 was maybe the only day in my life that I hit 4, 5 hours,” Verdasco said, looking at the clock beside the court to compare it with their semifinal meeting. “It was 35 minutes shorter today – I didn’t want to make it longer.”

There were two upsets on the women’s side, with No. 2 Simona Halep and seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams losing in the first round.

Halep, the 2014 French Open finalist, lost 6-4, 6-3 to Zhang Shuai for her third first-round loss at Melbourne Park in the past five years, but giving the No. 133-ranked Chinese qualifier her first win at a Grand Slam after 14 losses.

After the match, Zhang broke into tears when asked about breaking the drought.

“I think in my life, it’s the best tennis,” she said. “To win against a top-two player, I’m so happy, so excited.”

Williams lost 6-4, 6-2 to Johanna Konta, her eighth first-round loss at a major.

The upset results took some focus off the match-fixing allegations that have overshadowed the first two days of the season’s first major.

No. 2-ranked Andy Murray began his bid for a drought-breaking title at the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 win over Alexander Zverev, checked to see there were no urgent calls from home, and had to answer questions immediately about the reports.

“I just think that it should be tennis that does a better job of explaining … (players) shouldn’t have to read it in the press,” Murray said. “You have to be proactive I think with things like this and go and speak to the players rather than them reading about it in the newspapers or listening to it on the TV or the radio.”

The BBC and Buzzfeed News published reports Monday alleging match-fixing had gone unchecked in tennis. The reports alleged 16 players, all ranked in the top 50 at some stage and half of them playing at the Australian Open, had repeatedly raised suspicion because of their results and had been flagged with tennis authorities, but had not been sanctioned. No players were identified.

The governing bodies for tennis rejected the claims, and highlighted the fact five players and an official had received life bans after investigations from the Tennis Integrity Unit which was set up in 2008.

Murray, like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, thought authorities could be doing more to combat the potential for corruption. Murray also said it was “a little bit hypocritical” for tournaments – including the Australian Open – to be sponsored by betting firms.

Murray has the reached the final four times in Australia but lost every time, including last year to Djokovic. Murray had Amelie Mauresmo, a new mother, back in his coaching corner this week and was happy not to get any mid-match news from home. He has said he’ll leave immediately if his wife, Kim, goes into labour in London with their first child.

No. 13 Milos Raonic followed up his win over Roger Federer in the final of the Brisbane International tune-up event with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Lucas Pouille.

Joining him the second round will be No. 8 David Ferrer, No. 10 John Isner and No. 18 Feliciano Lopez.

On the women’s side, No. 3 Garbine Muguruza beat Anett Kontaveit 6-0, 6-4 and No. 7 Angelique Kerber had a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over Misaki Doi .

15. 06. 2019
Trudeau heads to Switzerland for World Economic Forum

Trudeau heads to Switzerland for World Economic Forum

SAINT ANDREWS, N.B. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will trade the snowy hillsides of a seaside New Brunswick town this morning for the snowcapped Alps of Switzerland, with the national and global economy following him across the Atlantic Ocean.

Trudeau left Tuesday for Davos and the World Economic Forum, which brings together the world’s most powerful and influential political and business leaders, celebrities and activists.

“We’re going to talk about how diversity is a strength and really showcase the fact that Canada has tremendous opportunities and is facing challenges like lots of places, but we have the tools to surpass those challenges in a way that should draw in global interest,” he said before leaving a federal cabinet retreat in Saint Andrews, N.B.

WATCH: Prime Minister Trudeau is tasked with jump starting a slumping economy and stabilizing a falling loonie at the World Economic Forum

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Trudeau will have a chance to give a keynote address on Wednesday, talk about gender parity in his cabinet alongside Melinda Gates and sell his plans for growing the Canadian economy.

READ MORE: Canada not immune to worsening inequality, Oxfam report suggests

Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, said that Davos – like last month’s climate change conference in Paris – is a chance to demonstrate that Canada can show global leadership.

In Paris, Canada signed on with Mission Innovation, a group of 20 countries committed to doubling their support for clean energy development over the next five years and to share the breakthroughs.

“At COP 21 we made a major commitment to Mission Innovation and so that really shows leadership when it comes to clean technology,” Bains said.

The economic and financial realities of everyday Canadians will still hit Trudeau: the parliamentary budget watchdog delivered an eyebrow-raising report Tuesday about the economic risk posed by high levels of household debt.

WATCH: Environmental Minister follows Trudeau to Davos to sell low-carbon economic plan

On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada will deliver a much-anticipated interest rate announcement, likely to come just minutes before Trudeau gives his first speech in Davos.

Trudeau and his cabinet ministers were dogged by questions about falling commodity prices and a declining loonie during their three-day retreat in New Brunswick.

Trudeau would only say Monday that his government would put forward a budget that is “the right one for Canadians.”

READ MORE: Liberal cabinet meets in New Brunswick amid gloomy economic outlook

At a community dinner Monday night where 300-plus people crammed into a rec centre to have some spaghetti and hear Trudeau speak, the prime minister touched on why cabinet was meeting outside Ottawa – “to talk about the challenges that we have before us,” he said – before trying to give it a positive spin by talking about “tremendous opportunities.”

“Canada is an incredible country whose greatest strength we all know are its people,” he said.

“We are hopeful, optimistic, resilient, forward-looking, hard-working, and nowhere is that clearer than right here in New Brunswick and it’s such a pleasure to be working with you and to be surrounded by all of you as we map out a plan to create growth for the middle class, to offer a brighter future to Canadians, and to build, once again, an extraordinary country that we can all be proud of as we celebrate into the coming years.”

15. 06. 2019
Dalai Lama travels to US for medical checkup

Dalai Lama travels to US for medical checkup

DHARAMSALA, India – The Dalai Lama left his home in India on Tuesday to travel to the United States for a medical checkup, although the Tibetan spiritual leader said he has no specific health complaints.

He told reporters before leaving the Himalayan hill town of Dharamsala that he has been going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for regular health checkups for the past nine years.

The 80-year-old Buddhist leader said he had a minor swelling in his right eye. He then removed his glasses and laughed, pointing at his slightly swollen eye.

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  • Strong action on climate change is a ‘human responsibility’: Dalai Lama

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    He said he would have a “thorough medical checkup” at the Mayo Clinic.

    “Then if they find any problems, they can carry out treatment,” he said.

    In September, the Dalai Lama cancelled a series of appearances in the United States on the advice of his U.S. doctors. He was told to rest for several weeks after a medical checkup.

    The Dalai Lama says he is likely to return to Dharmasala in March.

    The Tibetan spiritual leader fled across the Himalayas to India after a failed uprising in Tibet in 1959. He settled in Dharamsala and set up a Tibetan government-in-exile there.

    Beijing accuses him of seeking to separate Tibet from China. But Tibetans and the Dalai Lama say they simply want a higher degree of autonomy under Chinese rule.

14. 05. 2019
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
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
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
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.


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.


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
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
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
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.