New Delhi: The ED will soon take possession of a land worth Rs 64.93 crore in Panchkula, allotted to the Congress party promoted Associated Journals Limited (AJL) by the Haryana government in 2005, after a quasi-judicial authority under the anti-money laundering law recently approved its order, the agency said Wednesday.It alleged that the plot was illegally reallotted by former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda to AJL by “blatantly misusing his official position”. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCThe central probe agency has issued a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on December 1 last year for attaching the plot located at C-17, Sector-6 in Panchkula. On the same day, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a charge sheet against Hooda and others for allegedly using fraudulent means to allot land to the AJL. The AJL is controlled by senior Congress leaders, including members of the Gandhi family. The group runs the National Herald newspaper. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations”…Since the value of plot fraudulently allotted to the AJL has represented proceeds of crime, the ED has attached plot under the PMLA Act,” the ED had said in a statement. Now, the ED said Wednesday, that the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA “has held that defendants have committed the schedule offence, generated proceeds of crime and further found that the properties attached are proceeds of crime beyond any doubt and thereby ordered for confirmation of the provisional attachments order”. With this approval, the ED is empowered to take possession of the land and erect its authority signage over the plot that disallows any trespass or activity by anybody over the asset. However, the plot can be finally transferred to the government exchequer once the trial in the case concludes in favour of the agency, officials said. The agency said the plot was allotted to AJL first in 1982. But the same was resumed back by the estate officer of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) by an order in October, 1992 as AJL did not comply with the conditions of allotment letter, it said. “However, Hooda blatantly misused his official position and dishonestly allotted the said plot afresh in the guise of reallotment to the AJL at original rates plus interest in violation of necessary conditions and policy of HUDA by an order of August 28, 2005 for Rs 59,39,200,” the ED charged. The actual value of the property is about Rs 64.93 crore, it said.
Rahul loyalists Scindia Deora quit Congress posts amid leadership confusionRahul loyalists Scindia Deora quit Congress posts amid leadership confusion
October 20, 2019October 20, 2019
New Delhi: The spate of resignations within the Congress continued on Sunday with Rahul Gandhi loyalists Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora resigning their posts in the party, weeks after the Lok Sabha poll debacle. While Scindia resigned as AICC general secretary for Western Uttar Pradesh, Deora resigned as Mumbai Congress chief; both took moral responsibility for the party’s poor electoral show in their respective areas. “Accepting the people’s verdict and taking accountability, I had submitted my resignation as General Secretary of AICC to Shri Rahul Gandhi. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu “I thank him for entrusting me with this responsibility and for giving me the opportunity to serve our party,” Scindia tweeted. Deora said he is looking forward to play a role at the national level to help stabilise the party. He recommended setting up of a provisional collective leadership comprising three senior Congress leaders to oversee the party’s city unit till the Maharashtra assembly polls, due later this year. “We all will have to get ready for roles that these times demand,” he said, adding political realities have changed since the Lok Sabha poll results were declared on May 23. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps, 20 launch pads along LoC Taking on the BJP-Shiv Sena and negating the impact of the ‘Vanchit Aghadi’ is a challenge for the Congress in Maharashtra, a statement issued by Deora’s office on Sunday said. Deora had expressed his desire to quit after meeting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on June 26. “The same has been conveyed to All India Congress Committee general secretaries Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal,” the statement said. Deora was appointed president of the Mumbai Congress before the Lok Sabha polls and he had replaced Sanjay Nirupam. “I had accepted MRCC presidentship in the interest of uniting the party. I felt I should also resign after meeting Rahul Gandhi,” he said. Gandhi quit as Congress president and informed about it via Twitter on Wednesday, but the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, is yet to decide his successor. “I have suggested a three-member panel (to oversee the city party unit) and I am being consulted by leaders to identify names. I look forward to play a national role to help stabilise the party. Needless to say, I will continue to guide and unite the Mumbai Congress,” Deora said. Deora unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha election from Mumbai-South constituency, but lost to Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant. Indian Youth Congress president Keshav Chand Yadav too had resigned Saturday, taking moral responsibility for the poor electoral show. A number of middle-rung leaders have resigned their posts in the Congress, but top leaders have refrained from quitting after Gandhi quit as Congress president. The party’s top leadership, which is now looking for a replacement for Gandhi, will have a new team once the new Congress chief is appointed and some more resignations are likely to pour in till then.
Respect for Dhoni will always remain sky high KohliRespect for Dhoni will always remain sky high Kohli
October 20, 2019October 20, 2019
Manchester: A “mentor without being assertive” was how Virat Kohli Monday described Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose seamless transition from a two-time World Cup winning skipper to just another player in the team earned him “sky-high respect” from his successor. Playing in his last World Cup, Dhoni has been a mentor to all the current players including the skipper himself, and all of them are fiercely loyal towards the former skipper. “From the respect point of view for MS, it’s always going to be sky high, especially in my eyes, because I know how difficult it can be to make a transition from captaining also,” Kohli’s reply to a question on the former skipper was filled with admiration. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together “It’s not easy to be another player in the side after captaining it for decades and therein lies Dhoni’s greatness. Being a mentor but without being assertive, which the team acknowledges.” The batting mainstay took over the Test reins from Dhoni in December 2014 and the limited overs captaincy in January 2017. “You know, within the same team, just playing as a player after being captain for so many years and still not being too assertive or too pushy in anything. He gives you space to make your own decisions and to actually discover yourself, so I think that’s been his biggest quality,” Kohli said. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open Getting Dhoni’s inputs is pure gold and a privilege that he has enjoyed as a skipper, according to Kohli. “At the same time, I go ask him anything, he’s there giving me advice and he’s never shying away from that. So yeah, he’s been outstanding and I’m delighted that I have been able to play for so many years alongside him.” There is a sense of gratitude in him as well as the likes of Rohit Sharma, all of whom Dhoni had backed to the hilt as skipper despite initial failures. “The respect will always be there because of the opportunities that he gave us and the faith that he showed in us and the way he’s handled the whole team in transition over so many years. “And now we are the ones who are taking Indian cricket forward,” the eloquent skipper said. Dhoni’s international retirement has been a hotly debated topic but Kohli felt that the focus should be more on “MS the personality”. “We understand the importance of that process (of transition). So I’m glad you asked about MS, the personality, because a lot has been in focus otherwise,” the skipper said. The respect that the current Indian team has earned is because of how Dhoni built it, said the skipper. “When a person has done so much for the team you have to appreciate and acknowledge how he’s handled and taken the respect for Indian cricket so high all over the world. We are all very grateful for what he’s done for Indian cricket and for us.” Kohli paid an emotional tribute on Dhoni’s 38th birthday and said that the former skipper is in a happy and comfortable space. “… And he’s always been in a very happy, jovial mood all the time whenever we see him. Yesterday again was a very happy moment for him, for the whole team, to see a smile on his face and he’s in a very comfortable, very happy space at the moment,” Kohli said, speaking about the birthday celebrations. After winning the 2011 World Cup on home soil, Kohli had famously said “Sachin Tendulkar carried Indian cricket for 21 years and it’s time that we carry him on our shoulders”. He later said that it was impromptu. Asked if something similar could be on the cards if India win this World Cup and he responded, “I didn’t prepare that one in 2011 so I’m certainly not going to write anything down,” he quipped.
Over 700 children died in specialised adoption agenciesOver 700 children died in specialised adoption agencies
October 20, 2019October 20, 2019
New Delhi: As many as 776 children, including 124 in Uttar Pradesh, have died at specialised adoption agencies in the last three years, the Women and Child Development (WCD)Ministry said Friday.Responding to a question in Lok Sabha, WCD Minister Smriti Irani gave data according to which the highest number of deaths of children have been reported from Uttar Pradesh. These deaths occurred across 19 specialised adoption agencies in the state. Children legally free for adoption are provided residential care at specialised adoption agency(SAA), which are run by both state governments and NGOs. “As per the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guideline System (CARINGS), 776 children have reported having died in SAAs during the period from 2016-2017 to 2019-2020 (up to July 8, 2019),” Irani said. She said so far, a total number of 10 complaints against SAAs, which were found to be not complying with the Adoption Regulations, have been received by the government.
October 20, 2019October 20, 2019
By opening its airspace after a long spell of closure, Pakistan has allayed much of the stress on several countries–which was primarily induced by Pakistan itself–due to additional costs being incurred in using alternative routes for their flights travelling to other nations. Shortly after Monday midnight, Pakistan in the NOTAM (notice to airmen) issued cancelled its closure of airspace which led to India doing the same and liberating the crucial airspace which connects Europe and Central Asia to Southeast Asia from any curfew. Pakistan’s prolonged closure of its airspace had become a cause for concern considering the losses being incurred by airline companies due to extra fuel consumption in taking a peripheral route as well as pit stops for refuelling. Amidst the sufferers stood Air India posing a cumulative loss of 491 crores till July 2. SpiceJet and GoAir also suffered losses of 30.73 and 2.1 crores until June 20. IndiGo also incurred a gross loss of 25.1 crores till the end of May. This, of course, began since Pakistan shut its airspace following India’s pre-emptive airstrike on Balakot on February 26 in retaliation to the Pulwama carnage. In a fifth notice since the closure on February 26, Pakistan had extended the closure till July 26. In fact, last week they had denied any possibility of opening it till the Indian fighter jets were stationed at forward positions. The delay that Pakistan had enforced on flights accustomed to flying through its airspace was at least 45-90 minutes. That was in addition to fuel and refuelling costs. The delay inflicted by Pakistan was also the reason for the surge in prices of flights active over the pertinent routes which had invariably made air travel costly. A mere diplomatic decision meant to pose a statement from the country which suffered an airstrike from a neighbouring country with the ambition to destroy terror outfits–especially those who had attacked in the first place–ultimately ended up hurting consumers the most. And, as that reality came to the surface, it brought along Pakistan’s actual agenda of taking a U-turn on its decision. Monetary loses by airlines of several countries was definitely a consequence but so was the same incurred by Pakistan itself. The consequential closure of Indian Airspace meant Pakistan had to bear the cost of going around India for its flight destined to Southeast Asia–Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand et al. On top of that, maintenance and refuelling charges that make up a hefty sum for Pakistan earned through the use of its airspace by foreign flights drew a nil which contributed majorly in costing the country around $100 million as per reports. Already in a deep economic crisis and under the constant watch of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it definitely was not the right move to shut its airspace and further cost the country so much money. The relevant question here for Pakistan is why not sooner? It was not that financial loses became visible only after five months. Pakistan had recently avoided getting blacklisted by remaining in the grey list of FATF–which is in itself concerning for the country–and it was clear that it cannot take financial liberty over retaliatory theatrics. Nevertheless, it did before finally calling it off, much to everyone’s relief. Also Read – A compounding difficulty140 days of closure, in common sense, is in itself not sounding very beneficial but given the tension that the neighbouring countries of India and Pakistan had at the time, closure might have seemed like the most logical and immediate move. In retrospect, however, they could have expedited the cancellation of such closure to avoid incurring huge losses. Governance should take precedence and good governance is not going to hurt the economy, especially when it is already under stress. It was not so that India would have carried out successive strikes so the move was singlehandedly aimed at India with byproducts of costing an economic slump. Well, as much as it was meant for India, it backfired to hurt Pakistan more. It is in these matters that diplomacy should be utilised to derive an optimum solution, not a stringent stance. Nevertheless, the move now will benefit all airlines using Pakistan’s airspace and resume business as usual with the hope of no more closures. In the contemporary world, economic interests take precedence and a rigid and non-compliance attitude will only yield loses. The US and China have led by example on that note through their trade war!
A year after August deluge flood cess comes into effect in KeralaA year after August deluge flood cess comes into effect in Kerala
October 18, 2019October 18, 2019
Thiruvananthapuram: A one per cent “flood cess” on goods and services has been imposed in Kerala from Thursday to mobilise additional revenue for the rebuilding of the flood-hit state, which suffered a massive destruction in the August deluge last year. The CPI(M)-led LDF government was eyeing to generate an additional revenue of Rs 600 crore annually through the “Kerala Flood Cess”, which would be in force for the next two years, official sources said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The amount mobilised through the new cess would be used to provide funds for the reconstruction and rebuilding exercise and for paying compensation to those affected by the floods, which had claimed over 300 lives and left many homeless. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council had recently allowed the southern state to levy the additional cess on goods and services transacted within its boundaries. Presenting the budget for the 2019-20 fiscal in January, state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac had announced the one per cent flood cess for goods coming within the GST tax brackets of 12, 18 and 28 per cents and a 0.25 per cent cess on all goods coming under the fifth schedule of GST, including gold, silver and platinum ornaments, on the value of supply for a two-year period. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Though the new cess would lead to a price hike of over 900 commodities, essential ones like rice and vegetables are not expected to be affected as those fall under a lower GST bracket. The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti (KVVES), an umbrella organisation of traders, observed Thursday as “black day” against the state government’s decision to levy the flood cess, saying it would impose an additional burden on them. The state Hotel and Restaurant Association also urged the government to exempt the food served in hotels and restaurants from the cess. Slamming the LDF government, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the decision to go ahead with the new cess, despite public protest, was a “challenge” to the people. The cess would be an additional blow to those who were yet to come out of the ravages caused by the flood, he said. “It will result in inflation and impose an additional burden of Rs 1,200 crore on the people,” the Congress leader added. However, the finance minister warned that those who raise prices in the guise of the flood cess would face stringent action.
October 18, 2019October 18, 2019
Mumbai: Kalki Koechlin describes her decade-long journey in Bollywood as “mercurial”; navigating through ups and downs and looking for calm in the unstable industry. Having made her debut with Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D in 2009, the actor went on to star in several acclaimed films, from Shaitaan, Margarita With A Straw, Waiting to the recent Gully Boy. “These ten years have been mercurial, lots of ups and downs. I don’t think there has been a stable moment. It’s all or nothing. There were years I had five releases and there were years I had none,” Kalki said. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaThe actor says with time the mediums for an artiste have grown and she is making the most of it. “I’m now doing web, podcast, theatre and films. There seems to be a lot on the platter. At the end of the day, I am not so concerned about the medium. I’m concerned about the content and what kind of challenges I can bring for myself. “There’s so much stereotyping that happens that you’ve to really be like ‘ok, can I do this in a different way?'” Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod KhannaA part of the challenge was when she was offered the second season of Netflix India Original ‘Sacred Games’. The show came her way when she was going through some changes in her personal life and was in the middle of dubbing for one of her other web series. Having seen and liked the first season, directed by Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, Kalki felt “pressured” when she got an audition call. “I did the audition but didn’t get a callback for three weeks. I thought it’s gone, I didn’t get it. Then I got one call, saying one more audition. When you don’t get a call back, you’re like ‘hmm ok’ and then when you do, there’s no feedback as well,” she said. “They just want to see it again so you don’t know what that means. I wore a different saree for the second audition, I think that worked. It was one of those typical ashram saree, organic one and I think that did it,” Kalki further added. On the show, the 35-year-old actor will be seen playing Batya Abelman, an apprentice of Guruji, played by Pankaj Tripathi. To understand her character, Kalki had several rounds of discussions with Kashyap who directs portions featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Ganesh Gaitonde and Neeraj Ghaywan, who helms the present day track of Saif Ali Khan’s Sartaj Singh. But on set, Kalki observed her co-star Tripathi to pick up the nuances. “I was following Pankaj and he didn’t know. I used to literally copy his walk behind him, his gestures. Luckily when I was shooting that portion, I didn’t have much to do, I am just there in the background, so I used to watch him a lot.” “He tells all these stories so I used to listen to his stories and try to imbibe some of it. Batya is his apprentice also, so there was this need… I didn’t want to copy him but be completely influenced by him.” Kalki describes her character as someone who’s complicated, very sincere in her belief system but added “one can never escape their past”. The show starts streaming from August 15.
SDMC Commissioner issues advisory to control vectorborne diseasesSDMC Commissioner issues advisory to control vectorborne diseases
October 18, 2019October 18, 2019
New Delhi: The Commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Varsha Joshi has issued yet another advisory reiterating the need to prevent and control vector-borne diseases in Delhi.She has called for prevention of mosquito breeding at source and made it clear that a reduction in this respect is the only effective tool for prevention and control of these diseases. “Prevention and control have become essential as there is no specific treatment against Dengue and Chikungunya. Vector mosquitoes breed mainly on the artificial collection of clean water in desert coolers, uncovered storage containers and old tyres. During the rainy season, the possibilities of accumulation of water increases,” Joshi Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murdersaid. The SDMC Commissioner also said that a pointed effort needs to be made in schools, colleges, offices and workplaces with respect to spreading awareness about the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases. Joshi said that various agencies in the health sector have reported mosquito breeding in different parts of Delhi and have also expressed deep concern over this issue. As part of the advisory, the Commissioner has requested heads of all Educational Institutions and offices to ensure that overhead tanks and other water containers are kept properly covered with a Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingslid. She has also asked that officials of the SDMC be provided with access to these overhead tanks so that they can check for possible instances of breeding. Joshi has asked residents to switch to coolers designed by the National Centre for Disease Control which prevents mosquito breeding. She added that heads of offices nominate nodal officers to ensure compliance of advisory and proper prevention and control of water-borne diseases across their complex. She reminded residents that failing to ensure clean and hygienic premises despite several warning might lead to legal repercussions as per the provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation by- laws.
I look forward to constructive criticism says PM ModiI look forward to constructive criticism says PM Modi
October 18, 2019October 18, 2019
New Delhi/Kochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he welcomed “constructive criticism” and there should be enough space in public life for “differing streams” to listen to each other’s point of view.There should be continuous dialogue in society irrespective of differing views, the Prime Minister asserted. People with differing views do not have to agree on everything but there must be “enough civility in public life for differing streams to be able to hear each other’s point of view…,” he said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsHe was addressing the Malayala Manorama News Conclave in Kochi via video link from the national capital. “Here I am, at a forum where perhaps I do not have many whose thought process is similar to mine but there are enough thinking people whose constructive criticism is something I greatly look forward to,” Modi told the gathering, which included several Opposition and BJP leaders. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, Congress’ Shashi Tharoor, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPM’s Mohammed Salim and TMC’s Mohua Moitra were among those present at the event. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayModi said his address at the conclave had generated “great curiosity”. It is usually believed that public figures prefer to be on forums whose thought process matches with the person’s own world view because there is a lot of comfort in being among such people, he said. “Of course, I also cherish being among such surroundings but, at the same time, I believe there must be a constant and continuous dialogue between individuals and organisations irrespective of one’s thought process,” he said. The organisers, Modi pointed out, had selected ‘New India’ as the theme of the conclave. “Critics will ask you — are you also speaking the language of Modi ji now? I hope you have your answers ready for that,” the prime minister said. With agency inputs
Police Commissioner inaugurates new building of New Usmanpur police station flags offPolice Commissioner inaugurates new building of New Usmanpur police station flags off
October 18, 2019October 18, 2019
New Delhi: The Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik on Friday inaugurated the new building of New Usmanpur police station and flagged off All Women Patrol of Eastern Range.According to Delhi Police, new Usmanpur police station came in existence in the year 1999. “With the passage of time, senior officers felt the need for a new building for police Station New Usmanpur,” police said.The vision led to the construction of the new building of the New Usmanpur police station. According to police, the building has a library, yoga cum gym room, recreation room and mess/canteen. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The library contains books related to police, different laws and competitive exams. Apart from barracks, IO rooms, there is provisions of investigation wing,” police said. Adding further, the city police stated that a Skill Development Centre is also running in the police station under PMKY initiative for the youth of weaker sections of the area. Lots of trained youth from this centre got their job or have become self-dependent. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East) Rajendra Prasad Meena said that moving ahead, a step forward to ensure the safety and security of the girls and the women, “All Women Patrol teams of Eastern Range” has also been flagged off by the CP Delhi. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”All Women Patrol teams of Eastern Range will perform patrolling near girls schools, colleges, parks and other vulnerable places to encourage the sense of security among the girls and women,” police added. The women patrol teams will also ensure legal action against eve-teasers and anti-social elements. Recently CP Delhi Amulya Patnaik inaugurated DCP office complex of Outer-North district at Samaipur Badli police station. According to Delhi Police last year the construction of important building projects have been completed with constant review and liaison work with the concerned executing agencies and civic bodies. It includes four police stations and 312 staff quarters.
BC wildfires burning out of control provincewide state of emergency declaredBC wildfires burning out of control provincewide state of emergency declared
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
ASHCROFT, B.C. – British Columbia is under a province-wide state of emergency as wildfires that have forced thousands from their homes show no sign of abating.The BC Wildfire Service says in a tweet that 138 new wildfires sprang up on Friday alone, consuming dozens of buildings.Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the extraordinary measure of declaring an emergency is necessary to co-ordinate the crisis response and ensure public safety.Stone says wildfire activity is expected to increase with hot, dry weather predicted in the coming days, along with thunderstorms forecast for many parts of the province.The BC Wildfire Service rates the fire risk as high to extreme in much of the province and Environment Canada says daytime maximum temperatures will reach the mid to upper 30s in some regions through the weekend.The last time the province declared a state of emergency was in 2003. That was also because of wildfires.
Feds say lack of airstrips infrastructure slowed hurricane evacuationsFeds say lack of airstrips infrastructure slowed hurricane evacuations
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
OTTAWA – Federal ministers expressed sympathy Monday for the hundreds of Canadians affected by Hurricane Irma as well as their worried families back home, even as they sought to explain why more wasn’t done earlier to help them.The government expected most Canadians needing assistance in the Caribbean to have been evacuated by commercial flights by the end of the day, including 90 from Turks and Caicos and 150 from St. Maarten.Some humanitarian assistance was also being readied or already on the way to the region, with the expectation that much more would follow in the coming days, weeks and even months.A special team from Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence is in Antigua to determine what help is needed after the region endured the one-two punch of hurricanes Irma and Jose.But Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the top priority was helping those Canadians affected by the hurricanes, which together caused widespread destruction across the Caribbean.“We are working very, very hard to bring you home,” Freeland told a briefing via conference call from Toronto, where she planned to meet many of the returning Canadians at the airport later in the day.“We are very aware of how frightening, how worrying this situation is and I am not going to rest until everybody is back and safe.”Officials said they had received requests for assistance from 368 Canadians, though they acknowledged there may have been others who hadn’t yet been able to get in contact with Global Affairs.Air Canada and WestJet flights were scheduled to arrive Monday.The government’s move to action Monday followed a storm of criticism over the weekend from family and friends of those trapped by the hurricanes, who questioned why more wasn’t done sooner.Many noted that the U.S. and several other countries had deployed their militaries to evacuate citizens and wondered why Canada hadn’t done the same and was instead relying on commercial airlines.One of the Canadian Armed Forces’ massive C-17 transport planes is scheduled to ferry humanitarian supplies to the region later this week and will be available to evacuate any stragglers.But Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole called on the government to send various military aircraft immediately to countries where commercial airlines were having difficulty operating.Liberal ministers maintained there was no shortage of aircraft thanks to the commercial airlines; the problem, they maintained, was with having enough space to land the planes.“From the beginning, the airlines have been available,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said at Global Affairs headquarters in Ottawa.“The main problem has been the availability of the airstrips on which to land and in some cases permission to leave with passengers. So I can understand people saying: ‘Hey, where are the airplanes?’”Kimberley Babin, whose boyfriend was teaching in St. Maarten when Irma hit, was among those who said they felt abandoned by the government over the weekend.Babin welcomed the news Monday that her boyfriend was scheduled to return on a WestJet flight, but believed the government’s spring to action was largely the result of pressure from friends and family.“When it came down to it,” she said from her home in Niagara, Ont., “it was more (the friends and family members) that were the instrumental key players in helping our own loved ones.”St. Maarten, located on the Dutch side of an island divided between French and Dutch control, was devastated by the hurricane.An estimated 70 per cent of the homes were damaged or destroyed by Irma and four people died, according to the Dutch government.One of the big mysteries over the weekend was why an Air Canada passenger plane that had arrived in Turks and Caicos several days ago wasn’t allowed to leave with evacuees.Local authorities had safety concerns as the airport was badly damaged by Irma, Garneau said, but the plane was scheduled to leave late Monday after Canadian officials negotiated its departure.“I certainly understand how (the Canadians still in the region) are feeling stressed and I can understand how their relatives are feeling stressed,” Garneau said. “But quite often there is a logical explanation.”Global Affairs said its emergency centre had processed 2,140 calls and emails as of Monday morning; officials said there have been no known Canadian fatalities from the storms.— with reporting from Nicole Thompson in Toronto.— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.
Woman two young children dead after house fire in eastern QuebecWoman two young children dead after house fire in eastern Quebec
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
CAP-CHAT, Que. – Tragedy struck a small town on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula on Sunday, where a 37-year-old woman and her young twins died following an early morning fire.Quebec provincial police said the woman and her two one-year-old children were pronounced dead in hospital after the fire broke out in a residential building in this community almost 500 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.Emergency services were called to the fire at about 4 a.m. Sunday.Police spokeswoman Helene Nepton said there was a brief evacuation involving a dozen neighbours and none were injured.The major crimes unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire. A police spokesperson said they were still on site as of late Sunday afternoon.The head of the town’s fire brigade said about 20 of his men were on site before dawn.“We saw the building was under pressure, there was a lot of smoke in the inside and flames coming out the back,” Carol Dugas said.“We found a lifeless body and the two children after that.”Dugas said the firefighters were shaken by the discovery and that psychological support was offered to them.He said they didn’t find any smoke detectors inside the building, which Dugas said is owned by the city.The mayor of the town of 2,500 said he knew the victim “by sight.”“We sometimes think these things only happen somewhere else,” Judes Landry told The Canadian Press in a phone interview.“It’s always said when it happens in a small community like ours. Everyone knows each other.”Autopsies on the victims will be performed in the coming days.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misstated the location of Cap-Chat.
Trudeau pays visit to Vietnam with trade and human rights on theTrudeau pays visit to Vietnam with trade and human rights on the
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to strengthen ties in the Asia-Pacific region began Wednesday in Vietnam, a fast-growing country with a deep cultural connection for many Canadians.Trudeau landed in the busy capital of Hanoi for an official visit to a country that offers significant business opportunities. However, the pursuit of a more-open trading relationship with Vietnam comes with pressure to have frank discussions about the serious concerns over the communist government’s human-rights record.Trudeau will hold meetings Wednesday with civil society leaders, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Communist Party secretary general Nguyen Phu Trong, before joining President Tran Dai Quang in the evening for a state banquet. On Thursday, he’s scheduled to travel to Ho Chi Minh City to visit the stock exchange, hold a roundtable with business leaders and appear at a university event.He will head to Danang on Saturday for the two-day leaders’ summit for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation bloc, which includes the United States, China and Russia, before moving on to the Philippines to attend the annual meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.At both events, Canada is expected to push its trade agenda forward. It’s already engaged in exploratory trade talks with the ASEAN countries as well as negotiations to salvage the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord, which many believed would fall apart following the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year.When it comes to the members of the 11-country TPP, much of the focus remains on Japan, the world’s third-largest economy.But Vietnam is also at the TPP table and it’s an ASEAN member. This means it could become a key partner for Canada, which is trying to increase its presence in the region.Vietnam, projected to see economic growth this year of 6.3 per cent, features a sturdy consumer base, an emerging business class and an expanding footprint in supply chains.Dominic Barton, the global managing partner of consulting giant McKinsey & Co., said in an interview that the rapid changes in Vietnam’s key cities remind him, in some respects, of what Shanghai went through less than two decades ago.Barton, who also chairs the Trudeau government’s economic growth council, said Vietnam is an example of why Canada must be “motoring ahead” into Asia, particularly with so much uncertainty around the renegotiation of the North American Trade Agreement.“We’ve got to go hard on those Asian relationships,” said Barton, who headed McKinsey operations in Asia and South Korea for nearly a decade.“I think we just have to have irons in many fires.”Dan Ciuriak, a former deputy chief economist for what is now known as Global Affairs Canada, believes an updated TPP pact is closer to fruition than Canada’s potential deals with ASEAN or China.“Vietnam and Japan would be the two biggies for Canada in terms of diversifying trade,” said Ciuriak, who is now the director of Ciuriak Consulting Inc.“So, that’s probably the No. 1 priority for Canada and that’s where I think you’ll see the effort being put in.”Former Quebec premier Jean Charest, who is honorary chair of the ASEAN-Canada Business Council, said Vietnam not only shows real economic potential, it also has strong people-to-people links to Canada.Both countries have French heritages and both are members of La Francophonie, he said in an interview.But Charest said it’s the story of the Vietnamese refugees, or boat people, who came to Canada in the late 1970s that really forged the bond.By 1980, around 60,000 people from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos arrived in Canada after fleeing violence in their homelands. Today, about 240,000 people in Canada have Vietnamese roots.“Certainly, the story of the boat people in Quebec, I can tell you without hesitation that it resonates positively in the minds of Quebecers as being a good example of integration into the broader Quebec society,” said Charest, who added the community is thriving in Quebec.However, when looking at today’s Vietnam, Charest said the promising economy is accompanied by negatives, such as the fact “it is a communist regime and everything that comes with it.”Human Rights Watch calls the Vietnam’s record “dire in all areas” because of the Communist Party’s firm grip on political power. The group also said the government has harassed, intimidated, physically harmed and jailed its opponents.Earlier this week, Conservative Sen. Thanh Hai Ngo urged Trudeau to use his face time with Vietnamese leaders to raise Canada’s “serious concerns” about human-rights abuses in the country.“Vietnam’s record of international human rights violations, its crackdown on rights advocates and its suppression of a growing democratic movement have significantly worsened leading up to APEC 2017,” Ngo said in a statement.“Prime Minister Trudeau must demand greater respect for international human rights standards in tandem with the progressive trade agenda he wishes to promote with Vietnam and other APEC economies.”The Prime Minister’s Office said Canada and Vietnam have a “constructive dialogue” on human rights. Canada has also advocated for the rights of women, freedom of expression, association and religion in Vietnam, it said.— Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
Advocates families speak out in defence of BCs Mental Health ActAdvocates families speak out in defence of BCs Mental Health Act
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
VANCOUVER – Frederick Dawe remembers the night about 30 years ago that his six-foot-eight son experienced a psychotic break in the emergency room of a Vancouver-area hospital.“He just lost it. He picked up a couch, swung it around the room, cleaned the room out,” Dawe said. “It took four security guards to hold him down while they gave him an injection.”The month-long hospital stay that followed was one of several where Peter Dawe was kept against his will. Both he and his father say those treatments saved his life.“You’re not of sound mind,” said Peter, now 50. “When you’re in that state you’re not thinking properly.”Dawe and his son are among those speaking out against demands that the British Columbia government overhaul the Mental Health Act to make it harder to involuntarily detain someone for treatment.The Community Legal Assistance Society, a B.C.-based legal advocacy group, published a report last month describing the province’s mental health laws as some of the most regressive in Canada.The report documents a spike in involuntary detentions over the past decade, from about 11,900 to more than 20,000, and chronicles reports of patients being put in solitary confinement, getting strapped to beds or having their clothes removed as a form of punishment.Laura Johnston, who authored the report, said she wants an independent commission to look into the act and recommend changes, including better training for health-care providers and the creation of an independent mental health advocate.But some advocates and family members are defending the mental health policies, saying involuntary admissions are crucial to getting loved ones help during a crisis.Nancy Ford, head of the North Shore Schizophrenia Society, said the only way she could get treatment for a relative with schizoaffective disorder was through an involuntary committal.“He didn’t know who people were. He heard voices. He was paranoid,” she said. “He had all of the symptoms of schizophrenia.”B.C. allows patients to be admitted involuntarily for mental health reasons in order to prevent “substantial mental or physical deterioration,” or for their protection and the protection of others.Involuntary patients may request a panel hearing to review their status and ask to be released, though Johnston said B.C. is unique because it has no regular detention review hearings.Cheryl Zipper teaches a course through the North Shore Schizophrenia Society for family members who have a loved one diagnosed with a mental illness. She said the Mental Health Act is essential for getting people the help they may not realize they need and taking away those powers could mean the death of a loved one.“That’s what’s at stake, because suicide is always looking at us in the face,” said Zipper, who has a relative diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. “If a person is psychotic, they’re really not in command of any kind of rational thinking.”Families benefit from knowing involuntary committal is available as a last resort, Zipper said.“If you’re a family member, you may not need to use it, but you know that it’s there,” she said.“That in itself, I think, is reassuring,” she added. “It gives you hope, and hope is important. Hope is really important for families, because this is really awful.”Jean Fong, a spokeswoman for the B.C. Schizophrenia Society, said prompt medical treatment is crucial, whether voluntary or not, because repeated instances of untreated psychosis can cause permanent damage and lower the likelihood of recovery.“When people with severe mental illness are involuntarily committed, it is because they are unable to make rational decisions on their own behalf,” Fong said in an email.— Follow @gwomand on Twitter
Mauling attack by pit bulltype dog Quebec owner convicted of criminal negligenceMauling attack by pit bulltype dog Quebec owner convicted of criminal negligence
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
LONGUEUIL, Que. – A Quebec judge is suggesting a man whose dog mauled a young girl will be given a stiffer prison sentence than the three years the Crown is recommending.Quebec court Judge Pierre Belisle convicted Karim Jean Gilles on Thursday of criminal negligence causing bodily harm after his pit bull-type dog left a seven-year-old girl with severe damage to her face and cranium in a 2015 attack.Crown attorney Claudie Gilbert said Jean Gilles should be sentenced to three years because of the extent of the girl’s injuries, his prior criminal record and the fact he seemed to have no remorse or empathy.“I’m thinking of a more severe sentence,” Belisle replied. “More than three years.”The judge likened Jean Gilles to “Teflon” because it seemed to him that penalties didn’t have an effect on the man’s behaviour.“It worries me,” Belisle said. “There is a message that needs to be sent.”The judge said the sentence on March 23 would be “severe, maybe even exemplary.”The conviction carries a maximum 10-year prison term.In finding Jean Gilles guilty, Belisle said the accused “acted irresponsibly,” “should have foreseen the consequences of his inaction” and that he didn’t care about the law or the safety of others.Magdalena Biron said the attack in a park left her daughter Vanessa with fractures to the cranium and hand, as well as a cheekbone broken in seven places. She still has scars on her face.Biron had tears in her eyes and clasped her partner Bernard Biron’s hand when she heard the guilty verdictBernard Biron told reporters he was relieved at the verdict but had no opinion on what sentence Jean Gilles should receive.He said Vanessa does not bear any grudges and that she does not want the accused to be given too stiff a sentence.Earlier in the week, he told reporters the attack left Vanessa unable to eat solid food for months.“She had to go to school with a device connected to her veins because her brain was infected,” he said. “Because her skull was crushed in the back and the saliva of the dog infected her system.”In a brief statement on the last day of his trial, Jean Gilles suggested to Belisle his animal might have been provoked.The judge rejected the claim.“That argument is without merit,” Belisle said Thursday. “(Jean Gilles) knew his dogs were dangerous and he didn’t take any measures to prevent them from going after someone.”The dogs — another of Jean Gilles’ dogs was also at the park that day — weren’t wearing collars the day of the attack and were not on a leash, Belisle said. The accused’s property was not adequately fenced in and he didn’t have the ability to subdue the animals, the judge added.Note to readers: This is a corrected version. A previous story had the family name as only ‘Gilles’
Conservatives want committee meeting on security screening over Atwal furorConservatives want committee meeting on security screening over Atwal furor
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
OTTAWA – The official Opposition is calling for an emergency committee meeting about how a man convicted of attempted murder wound up at a prime ministerial event in India.Conservative public safety critic Pierre Paul-Hus wants the House of Commons committee on national security to review the Privy Council Office’s screening practices following Jaspal Atwal’s attendance at a reception this week.Atwal was convicted of attempting to kill Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu on Vancouver Island in 1986.He was also charged, but not convicted, in connection with a 1985 attack on Ujjal Dosanjh, a staunch opponent of the Sikh separatist movement, who later became B.C. premier and a federal Liberal cabinet minister.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office says Atwal’s invitation to a party in New Delhi was revoked as soon as his name was discovered on the guest list.However, Atwal showed up at a reception earlier in the week in Mumbai and was photographed with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the prime minister’s wife.In a statement, Paul-Hus said he wants to know if the director of security operations in the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic arm of the Prime Minister’s Office, screened Atwal.“Canadians expect that when the prime minister meets with individuals, whether at home or abroad, there is a process to ensure the proper vetting of individuals to ensure that they do not pose a safety or security risk.”Atwal’s name was apparently put forward by British Columbia MP Randeep Sarai, one of several Liberal members of Parliament in India with Trudeau. Sarai has acknowledged he should have used better judgment, and Trudeau has promised to sit down with Sarai once they are back in Canada.A government official, discussing the matter on condition of anonymity, said guest lists for receptions such as those in India are not vetted individually for security. Those who issue the invites are expected to do their own due diligence to ensure their own guests are safe, the official said.The official also suggested Atwal’s presence was engineered by elements within the Indian government to distance the country from Ottawa, driven by concerns that Canada is not fully committed to a united India.A former senior Conservative government official dismissed that theory.“That is complete nonsense,” said Garry Keller, who served as chief of staff to interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose.How exactly Atwal got to India — given his criminal history — is a legitimate question, Keller said.“And that’s a valid question for the Indians to consider themselves. But the Indians didn’t have control over the guest list at the event. That was ultimately a decision of the Prime Minister’s Office.”Keller, who also worked for John Baird when he was foreign minister, said Conservative MPs would often ask that associates be added to guest lists for events abroad.A roster of those prospective invitees would be forwarded to PMO officials, who would research the names.“What do we know about this person, who are they? Maybe calling the MP back and saying, ‘We’ve got some questions about this individual you’ve submitted,’” Keller said.Then a revised list would go to the RCMP for further scrutiny.Security vetting is “on the back end of the radar” for the current government, Keller said.“The high priority is getting the prime minister out there to meet with people. They’re clearly willing to sacrifice some of the vetting in exchange for that. And, in this case, I think it’s coming back to bite them.”Court records show that Atwal arrived in Canada in 1972 as a teenager, working at sawmills and in the forestry sector until 1986. The next year, Atwal was convicted of attempted murder in the failed assassination.Although sentenced to 20 years in prison, he was paroled in 1992, became a taxi driver and later sold cars for about seven years.A B.C. Supreme Court decision in 2010 on an unrelated matter noted that Atwal “became a top salesman” during his time at dealerships.Atwal has moved in Liberal circles for years, posing with Trudeau before he became prime minister and posting pictures to his personal Facebook page.Elections Canada records show Atwal made a $500 donation to the Liberal candidate in the British Columbia riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells during the 2011 federal election, one which saw the Liberals finish a distant third in the riding.Around the same time, Atwal reportedly became a member-at-large for the Liberal riding association executive. A former Liberal candidate in B.C. told the Vancouver Sun in 2012 that Atwal attended local fundraisers and was well-known for his work with the federal and provincial Liberals.Also in 2012, Atwal was a guest of the B.C. Liberals for their provincial budget speech. Once his attendance in the public gallery became public, the regional director with the party who sent the invite resigned his position and called the invitation an error in judgment.Ashiana Khan, CEO of Surrey radio station Media Waves, said she knew Atwal because he often dropped by the station or called with opinions and news tips. He enjoys being the person who has “all the knowledge of the community,” she said.Atwal is most involved with the B.C. Liberals and federal Liberals, she said, but she has also seen him with politicians from other parties, including the federal Conservatives and B.C. New Democrats. He enjoys posting photos of his encounters on social media, she said.“Some people have that thing in them that they want to have pictures and boast about it,” she said. “It’s not just politicians, he does it with (the) film industry as well. He’s a person who wants to be around celebrities and famous people.”Khan said she never spoke with him about Indian politics, but she was surprised he’d been allowed into the country given his past. He is well-liked by some in the community because he’s a friendly, charming guy, she said.“If I didn’t know anything about his criminal activities back then, then I would say he’s a nice person.”— With files from Mia Rabson in New Delhi and Laura Kane in Vancouver
Feds poised to beef up bill to prevent foreign election interferenceFeds poised to beef up bill to prevent foreign election interference
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his newly shuffled cabinet will focus squarely on next year’s election at a two-day retreat this week — including a hard look at the very laws governing elections.Last spring the government introduced Bill C-76, aimed at preventing foreign interference in elections and regulating third-party advocacy groups, as well as undoing a number of controversial measures passed by the previous Conservative government.But insiders say the Liberals now want to beef up the bill, which was being studied by the procedure and House affairs committee when Parliament broke for the summer.Among other things, the government wants to do more to ensure foreign actors or money aren’t involved in elections, require more transparency for political messaging on social media and prevent political parties from setting up ostensible advocacy groups to support them and help skirt spending limits.Ministers, who will hole up in Nanaimo, B.C., on Wednesday and Thursday, plan to hear from several experts on securing elections against cyberthreats, including Taylor Owen, a professor of digital media and global affairs at the University of British Columbia.Owen co-authored a Public Policy Forum paper, released last week, which proposed options the government could adopt to prevent the use of social media to manipulate election results and spread disinformation and hate that erodes democratic discourse.Among the options:— Require the publishers of online content to identify themselves;— Make internet companies legally liable for the content that appears on their platforms;— Require platforms to clearly identify “bots,” automated social media accounts used to amplify messages;— Reintroduce a non-criminal remedy to investigate and respond to hate speech, along the lines of the anti-hate provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act, repealed in 2013 amid concerns it muzzled free speech;— Require much greater transparency for political advertising on digital media;— Design a “meaningful” way for Canadians to consent to the collection and use of their individual data, which would also apply to databases amassed by political parties.Those proposals go considerably further than C-76. The bill would prohibit foreign entities from spending any money to influence elections and prohibit anyone from knowingly selling election advertising space to foreign entities.On third parties, the bill would also require them to use a dedicated Canadian bank account for payment of election-related spending. It would also limit their spending on advertising, surveys and other election-related activities to $1 million in the two months before an election is called and to $500,000 during the campaign.The Liberal retreat will also focus on the issues that will face the government when Parliament resumes next month and are likely to become election fodder a year from now: the influx of irregular asylum seekers crossing the border from the U.S., the growing provincial opposition to the federal carbon pricing plan and the ongoing negotiations with the mercurial Trump administration to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement.Canada’s ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, will be there to update ministers on the NAFTA talks, from which Canada has been sidelined for several weeks while the United States and Mexico attempt to resolve their differences.Ministers may also get a briefing on Trudeau’s expectations for a first ministers meeting, likely to be held in late October, aimed at eliminating trade barriers between provinces and territories.
Calgary mass killer found not criminally responsible a model patient hearingCalgary mass killer found not criminally responsible a model patient hearing
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
The review board is expected to release its decision in a couple of weeks.Read the full statement from the families here. — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Kelly Hunter, whose 23-year-old son Josh was also killed, was furious at the prospect that de Grood could one day be released.“I will never forgive him for what he took from me and my family.”Family members of the victims jeered at the hearing as de Grood’s psychiatrist testified he is a model patient who is committed to his treatment.Dr. Sergio Santana told the review board de Grood has developed insight into his illness and is trying to do the right thing.“He’s not just there going through the motions,” Santana said. “He’s doing everything he can.”The treatment team believes de Grood, who is now 27, will need to stay in the secure hospital for some time but recommends that he be allowed supervised visits to malls for up to four hours and for escorted passes to go out for various courses.It’s possible de Grood could be released back into the community eventually, Santana said. His schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder is in full remission, but there is an increased risk of violence if he slips back into a psychotic state, Santana said.“His progress is good. Eventually there will be a time when reintegration will be possible.”De Grood told treatment staff and his family that he was having flashbacks around the anniversary of the attacks.De Grood was upset last November when another doctor refused to treat him because he didn’t want to draw unwanted attention to his clinic, Santana said. De Grood realizes that the notoriety of his actions will be with him for a long time, he said.“That was a reality check in a way.”De Grood was granted more privileges following the review in April 2017, including being allowed to go for supervised walks on hospital grounds as well as being allowed trips for medical appointments and treatment.Laura Marr, who appeared at the hearing on behalf of the Crown, said she thinks de Grood should be transferred to Alberta Hospital Edmonton.“Away from this community which is still grieving a profound loss from these offences…the loss of children, of brothers and sisters, grandchildren, nephews and nieces,” Marr said.“The grief in this room is palpable and it resonates beyond this room…and it is expressed as anger. It is expressed as outrage.”De Grood was suffering from a mental disorder when he attacked and killed Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Kaitlin Perras, 23, Hunter and Hong in April 2014.The judge ruled de Grood didn’t understand his actions were wrong. He is on medication for schizophrenia and his symptoms had been in “full remission” since July 2014.De Grood has said he heard what he thought was the voice of the devil before the attack and told a psychiatrist that he believed a war was about to begin, signalling the end of the world, when he arrived at the party. WATCH: Greg Perras, father of Katie said there is no reprieve or closure. The review board’s annual hearing is to get an update on de Grood’s progress and determine if he should be granted more freedom at the Calgary hospital where he is housed.De Grood told the board he suffers from survivor’s guilt, “that I’m still around and others are not.”“I am truly sorry for what I’ve done. I pray someday that those who are suffering will find peace.”Marlene Hong’s 27-year-old son Lawrence died after being stabbed four times while he lay sleeping in April 2014. She wept as she and her husband Lorencio told the hearing they can’t move on.“His life was cut short by Matthew de Grood,” Marlene Hong said. “My loss is so unbearable and my heart aches every day.”A report sent to them from the medical examiner was left unopened for a week. Marlene Hong “broke down on just page one,” her husband said.“The hurt has permeated into the everyday fabric of our life. We are broken and irreparable.”WATCH: Greg Perras, father of Katie said the system is broken. CALGARY _ A Calgary man found not criminally responsible for the stabbing deaths of five young people four years ago told a review board he is sorry for what he’s done and will do everything he can to make amends.Matthew de Grood told the Alberta Review Board he wishes the “terrible tragedy” had never happened.“It grieves me knowing the pain, fear and agony I’ve caused. I’ve done a terrible wrong,” de Grood told a hearing Friday. “I desperately wish it had never happened. I take relapse prevention seriously. I will do everything in my power to make amends.”WATCH: Ronda-Lee Rathwell, mother of Zackariah: “I think he’s sorry he’s in the position he’s in now”
She may be a human sacrifice Former PM Kim Campbell on womenShe may be a human sacrifice Former PM Kim Campbell on women
October 17, 2019October 17, 2019
Twenty-six years after she served as Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Kim Campbell is still the only woman to hold Canada’s highest office. And in an honest interview on The Big Story podcast Monday, she wasn’t shy about explaining why-and addressing the question of ‘likeability’ which she says has become something of a code word used to raise questions about women seeking office that aren’t ask of men.“This notion of likability is a terrible kind of catch-22. Because what is used against women who take positions of power and authority, is that supposedly they have lost something,” Ms. Campbell said. “People say, ‘Well if women come into power, they lose their lovely feminine nature.’ And that’s what I think ‘likability’ is a code for-that they somehow have lost some aspect of feminine softness.”“I think the idea is that men are the default category. Their entitlement to be there is unquestioned. So women have to leap over certain hurdles. They have to be feminine. They have to do as Ginger Rogers did-everything backwards in high heels.”Listen to the full interview on The Big Story podcast right here:Audio Playerhttp://media.blubrry.com/thebigstory/p/radio.pmd.rogersdigitalmedia.com/podcasts/thebigstory/tbs_02042019.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on iTunes or Google Play.You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.During her time in public office, Ms. Campbell broke down many doors, becoming the first female justice minister and first female defence minister, before being named leader at a party convention in 1993 following the retirement of Brian Mulroney and becoming the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Canada.Even during her time serving in high-profile positions, however, Ms. Campbell recalled her achievements being credited to her male colleagues.“Sometimes the things that I accomplished were not attributed to me. I remember when my gun control legislation passed, and people couldn’t get over it-that this really remarkably big and comprehensive piece of legislation had got through the commons. And I remember someone saying, ‘Mulroney must have pulled her irons out of the fire.’ Brian Mulroney was great to work for, but one of the reasons he was great to work for was that he left you alone to do your thing and he didn’t pull anybody’s irons out of the fire. But it was like they couldn’t believe that somebody like me could have accomplished that.”And that double standard applied to how her quest-and that of most women seeking high office-was portrayed, she said, recalling the aspersions cast on Hillary Clinton during her 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns that she’s been eyeing the job for more than a decade. Those accusations of naked ambition were familiar, she said.“I remember someone had written and described me as ‘crushingly ambitious’. And I remember saying at (a) speech, ‘whom have I crushed? I’m not aware of having tried to crush or overpower anyone.’ And even in terms of being ambitious, that’s another word that has become a catch-22 for women…It’s frustrating that if you’re successful, then people assume that you must have been crushing, or there must be something unsavoury about how you got there. It’s just ridiculous. I think one of the reasons women are successful in politics is precisely because that’s not how they operate.”Now that the United States has come so close to having a woman serve as president, and at least three women are already seeking the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2020 election, Ms. Campbell pointed to women who have lost, and how even their defeats-like hers in the 1993 federal election-do much to normalize the image of powerful women holding a country’s top position.“Every time a woman takes on a role that has not been held by women before, she may be a human sacrifice. In other words, it may be hard to hang on, but you gradually redefine who gets to do that job.”