Alberta man has brand new house demolished after court finds he built it without proper permits

A brand new house in the village of Carmangay, Alta. was torn down in just hours Thursday morning, after a court order was issued to demolish the home.

The village claims the Carmangay man who built the house did so without the correct permits.

READ MORE: Readers react with acceptance, vitriol after town tears down Alberta man’s house

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    Kym Nichols, the mayor of Carmangay,  said a development permit was taken out, as was a building permit, but the building permit was for a garage, not a house.

    “He just figured he could build however he wanted, to build wherever he wanted to build,” Nichols said.

    The homeowner was then issued several stop work orders in addition to orders from bylaw officers and RCMP to cease construction.

    After the homeowner failed to comply, Nichols said she felt she was left with no other choice than to take the matter to court.

    “We went to court to get a court order to get him to stop building,” she said.

    “He continued to build and continued to ignore the court order.”

    Members of the community told Global News the man built the house himself.

    A new house in Carmangay is reduced to rubble after the town issued a court order to demolish the home.

    Christina Succi / Global News

    “He was hand-digging the basement at first, then I seen him slowly put the concrete up, the walls up, the roof go on,” village resident Jan Haake said.

    Neighbour Wyatt Dahl sympathizes with the property owner, but agrees with the town’s decision.

    “It’s a shame that his hard work and money went into this,” Dahl said. “But the law is there for a reason.”

    Nichols said the homeowner was given ultimatums to move the structure or dismantle it. The court order stated three separate deadlines were set to comply, none of which were met.

    “This was absolutely the last resort,” Nichols said. “None of us wanted to see it come to this.

    “We were hoping he would comply at some point.”

    Global News was unable to speak to the homeowner and he was not on the premises when the demolition began.

    Carmangay is about a 45 minute drive northwest of Lethbridge and about an hour and 45 minutes southeast of Calgary.

Ziferblat’s ‘coffee office’ model charges for time, not food

On a Monday afternoon, the narrow street outside the Ziferblat cafe is quiet; but inside, the 6,000-square-foot coffee shop is packed with dozens of customers.

The cafe first opened in Manchester, England in 2014, and now serves around 12,000 customers per month. Part of its recipe for success: all of the cafe’s food, drinks and 100 MB of wifi are free.

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“When we first opened this, we were terrified,” recalls Ben Davies, the cafe’s marketing manager. “But I think this is something that isn’t currently provided.”

Here’s the catch: The cafe’s name, Ziferblat, is Russian for “clock face.”

Ziferblat’s customers only pay for the time they spend: six pence, or around 10 Canadian cents, per minute.

READ MORE: Addicted to coffee? Your DNA may be to blame, study suggests

They check-in and check-out, like a hotel. And during their stay, customers can eat and drink as much they like.

An array of fresh, locally-baked cakes, cookies and sandwiches are spread across a table buffet-style. There’s also tea, espresso and coffee machines, and customers are encouraged to help themselves.

“We have had some people who come in here with a spoon and eat two full chocolate fudge cakes. But generally they’re few and far between. And normally they don’t come back,” Davies laughs.

He says their average customer spends 83 minutes here. And most consume far less than you might expect.

“The fact that you have the free choice makes you not want to ‘take the mick,’ or take the entire jar of biscuits,” says customer Luke Halliwell, while sipping a latte and playing a board game with a friend.

“I just have a few (biscuits), because I’m here to relax and enjoy my time.”

Ziferblat’s real secret to success isn’t the customers who play cards or catch-up with friends; it’s the people who come here to work.

Web designer Mark Butler’s head is buried in his laptop. He comes here five days a week; He used to work from home, he says, but “you get cabin fever and you miss human contact.”

So he tried working in traditional cafes; “In a coffee shop you tend to get that vibe where the staff, after half an hour, are glaring at you, waiting for you to buy something else. Whereas it’s a lot more relaxed here. And the wifi is better.”

READ MORE: Caffeine doesn’t tamper with heartbeat, study suggests

Unlike some coffee shops, Ziferplat has no minimum spend. And once you’ve paid for five hours, the rest of the day is free.

In the United Kingdom, around 16 per cent of workers are self-employed. In Canada, freelancers represent around 10 per cent of the workforce. And the number continues to rise.

“You see a lot of people working freelance nowadays,” says Davies, who estimates that half their business comes from customers who use it as an office.

“We’re trying to solve that coffee shop office problem. And people do treat us like a co-working space.”

And that “coffee office” — or “coffice” — business is booming. The Ziferblat cafe is now opening branches throughout the U.K. And the business model is being adopted across Europe and North America, feeding the growing appetite from self-employed workers.

World AIDS Day: Saskatoon’s HIV rates more than twice the national average

In conjunction with World AIDS Day taking place on Dec. 1, the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) released a report that reveals the city’s HIV infection rates and what is being done to decrease the numbers.

The Saskatoon Health Region’s updated ‘Better Health For All’ report shows the city’s 2015 HIV infection rates were more than twice the national average, breaking a five-year downward trend:

Saskatoon: 14.6 in 100,000 in 2015Canada: 5.8 in 100,000 in 2014 (latest national data available)

READ MORE: World AIDS Day put spotlight on high Sask. HIV rates

Deputy health officer Dr. Johnmark Opondo said there was a 55 per cent increase in reported cases this year.

“We had come down to about 31 cases a year but last year, we went up to 51 cases,” he said from the Saskatoon Health Region office.

The increase in reported cases is mainly due to people not using clean needles for injection drug use and unprotected sex:

Injection drug use (IDU) accounted for 65 per cent of transmission in 2015Heterosexual sex accounted for 16 per cent of HIV transmission in 2015Male sex with other males also accounted for 16 per cent of transmission in 2015

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    According to the SHR, the key to decreasing infection rates is to educate the public on the importance of regular testing and providing those in need with access to ongoing treatment.

    “You can imagine if we’re able to do this across a large number of individuals who are HIV-infected, we’re reducing the amount of HIV that’s circulating in the community,” Opondo said.

    “This combined effort in testing and treatment probably explains the downward trend in the Saskatoon Health Region.”

    Seven out of 10 HIV-positive individuals identify as First Nation or Métis in Saskatoon, with contaminated injection drug use as the number one cause of infection.

    “We look at the mental health of the people and what is happening to them. Why are they self-medicating and using drugs?” All Nations Hope Network CEO Margaret Poitras asked.

    “It’s all (part) of the trauma that’s come from the residential schools and from colonization.”

    READ MORE: South African HIV vaccine trial could be ‘final nail in the coffin’ for the disease

    She has been working to find the root causes for the high rates of HIV among indigenous people for 17 years.

    However, HIV rates are now decreasing. Only 35 cases of new infections have been reported in 2016 and the Saskatoon Health Region said it believes that is due to an increase in testing, education and long-term treatment.

Protesters rally at Calgary City Hall ahead of Monday’s vote on Chinatown development

Protestors gathered together on Friday to rally against proposed bylaw changes which they believe will erode Chinatown’s heritage and history.

City council will be debating the controversial issue at City Hall on Monday.

If approved, the bylaw changes would alter the density and land-use designation in Chinatown’s Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), effectively paving the way for the construction of a 27-storey building which would be almost double current height restrictions.

The building would be constructed on a parcel of land which is now a parking lot on 3 Avenue S.W. and 1 Street S.W.

Considerable controversy has been caused by a proposed development on a vacant parcel of land on 3 Avenue S.W. and 1 Street S.W.

Global News

Opponents argue the project is too tall for the area just north of Calgary’s downtown core.

“We have height that is four to six stories,” said Terry Wong of the Chinatown BRZ. “This will impose a 30-storey tower, which is five times more than any Chinatown has.”

However, the project’s design architect claims the mixed-use project would revitalize the community and include residential, commercial and retail space.

“It will bring a lot of development into Chinatown, which has not seen any development in the last 30 years,” Manu Chugh said. “It will bring more people into Chinatown.”

The project was originally up for discussion by city councillors in April, but council decided to delay a decision until they had heard from community members and area stakeholders. The City of Calgary then began seeking public input on Chinatown’s future in July.

“The bylaw amendments are a concern because they are developer-driven and are potentially not in the best interests of Chinatown,” a statement on the I Love YYC Chinatown website reads. “In addition, these bylaws have been proposed without adequate community engagement or due process.”

A news release said the rally was being held to “ensure that Chinatown’s unique place as a cultural jewel in Calgary is preserved.”


  • City of Calgary seeks input on Chinatown’s future

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Canadian couple John and Marilyn Tegler killed in Tennessee wildfires

A Canadian couple from Woodstock, Ont. are among 13 people killed in the wildfire-ravaged city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, officials confirmed Friday.

People in cars and trucks rolled into the wildfire-ravaged city of Gatlinburg on Friday to get a first look at what remained of their homes and businesses, and a mayor raised the death toll to 13, including a woman who died of a heart attack during the firestorm.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters also increased the number of buildings damaged, saying it now approaches 1,000.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Firefighter records terrifying drive through heart of Gatlinburg blaze

“I can’t describe to you the feelings we have over this tragedy,” he said during a news conference with the governor and U.S. senators.

WATCH ABOVE: Officials announce 2 Canadians among dead in Tennessee wildfires

Local officials, bowing to pressure from frustrated property owners, said they would allow people back into most parts of the city Friday morning. Residents have to pass through a checkpoint and must show some proof of ownership or residency, Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle said.

“The city is not implying that private property is safe,” she said. “People may encounter downed powerlines or other hazards.”

WATCH: Tennessee firefighter captures dramatic video as he drives through Gatlinburg wildfire

Among those anxiously waiting to return was Tracy Mayberry. He and his wife, 12-year-old son and five dogs have bounced between hotels since they were forced to evacuate their rental home Monday night. They were struggling to find a place to stay Thursday as many lodges began to discontinue the special rates for evacuees.

“It feels like Gatlinburg is more worried about how to rebuild than they are about their people,” he said.

The dead included a Memphis couple who was separated from their three sons during the wildfires. The three young men — Jared, Wesley and Branson Summers — learned that their parents had died as they were recovering in the hospital.

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“The boys, swaddled in bandages with tubes hanging out and machines attached, were allowed to break quarantine, and were together in the same room, briefly, when I confirmed their parents’ death,” their uncle Jim Summers wrote on a Facebook page set up for the family. “Their injures pale in comparison with their grief.”

Seventy-one-year-old John Tegler and 70-year-old Marilyn Tegler, and May Vance, who was vacationing in Gatlinburg and died of a heart attack after she was exposed to smoke. Identities for the other victims have not been released.

In communities near Gatlinburg, there were signs of normalcy. In Pigeon Forge, the Comedy House rented an electronic billboard message that said it was open. A hotel flyer urged guests to check out the scenic Cades Cove loop: “Take a drive and remember what you love about the Smokies!”

READ MORE: 4 dead as devastating wildfires rip through Tennessee resort towns in Great Smoky Mountains

Dollywood, the amusement park named after Parton, will reopen Friday afternoon after it was spared any damage.

The Associated Press was allowed access into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Thursday. A forest of bare trees standing amid a scorched landscape could be seen along with fire crews sawing up a tree stump.

In Gatlinburg, the center of the devastation, officials there hope to open the city’s main roads to the public by Wednesday.

WATCH: Gatlinburg man desperate to find his missing family

Authorities searching the charred remains of homes and businesses said they expected to finish by nightfall Friday.

Despite recent heavy rains, fire officials warned people shouldn’t have a false sense of security because months of drought have left the ground bone-dry. Wildfires can rekindle, they said.

The trouble began Monday when a wildfire, likely caused by a person, spread from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into the Gatlinburg area as hurricane-force winds toppled trees and power lines, blowing embers in all directions.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Gatlinburg man desperate to find his missing family

“We had trees going down everywhere, power lines, all those power lines were just like lighting a match because of the extreme drought conditions. So we went from nothing to over 20-plus structure fires in a matter of minutes. And that grew and that grew and that grew,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said.

More than 14,000 residents and visitors in Gatlinburg were forced to evacuate, and the typically bustling tourist city has been shuttered ever since.

Deputy Park Superintendent Jordan Clayton said the initial fire on area called Chimney Tops, which is a double peaked ridge line about 4 miles away from Gatlinburg, was caused by a person or people. It’s near the end of a popular hiking trail and there were people on that trail on Nov. 23 when the fire started, as there are almost every day.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire kills 3, forces thousands to abandon homes

“Whether it was purposefully set or whether it was a careless act that was not intended to cause a fire, that we don’t know,” Clayton said. “The origin of the fire is under investigation.”

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping investigate the cause.


Mattise reported from Nashville, Tennessee. Associated Press writers Rebecca Yonker in Louisville, Kentucky, and Kristin M. Hall in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

Nanaimo mill shooter sentenced to life in prison, no parole eligibility for 25 years

The man behind a deadly shooting at a Vancouver Island sawmill was sentenced to life in prison without any eligibility for parole for 25 years on Friday.

Kevin Addison was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the attack that killed Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern, his former colleagues, at the Western Forest Products mill in Nanaimo on April 30, 2014.

Addison was also charged with attempted murder in the wounding of Tony Sudar and Earl Kelly.

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    During a three-week trial in September, the Crown argued that Addison was motivated by revenge after he was laid off by the company and not rehired two years later.

    But Addison’s defence lawyer said his client’s violent actions were the result of his severe depression and that he never intended to kill anyone, and should be convicted of manslaughter instead.

    READ MORE: B.C. mill shooter was depressed: defence lawyer

    It took the jury only 24 hours to return a guilty verdict for Addison.

    WATCH – From the archives: Guilty verdict in a Nanaimo mill shooting that left two people dead and two others injured. Catherine Urquhart has more on the decision and reaction.

    Today, the judge said Addison’s conduct has shocked and dismayed the residents of the city, province and country, calling what happened “an ambush in a workplace, where people were going about their daily affairs.”

    The court also heard from the families of Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern about how the shooting changed their lives.

    Michael Lunn’s daughter, Marley, said her dad was her hero.

    “My dad said life goes on,” she said. “We will go on. I will remember him always.”

    Lunn’s daughter-in-law, Kendra, said many families were torn apart by the violence committed by Addison.

    “Nanaimo lost its innocence,” she said. “Workplace violence needs to end.”

    -With files from the Canadian Press

Things get heated as Trump, Clinton aides spar at post-election forum

The fight between the Hillary Clinton camp and the Donald Trump camp doesn’t seem to be stopping, despite election day being nearly a month behind us.

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and Clinton’s director of communications, Jennifer Palmieri, raised their voices and lashed out against each other during a round table discussion at Harvard University Thursday night.

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READ MORE: Angry New Yorkers refuse to pay $1M per day for Trump security

The round-table, a post-mortem on the election, has become a tradition every four years.

The topic that sparked the heated exchange? The so-called alt-right movement and Trump’s support from white supremacists.

Palmieri at one point called on a speech that Clinton gave in late August, denouncing the alt-right movement.

Palmieri claimed that Trump helped elevate white nationalist views by bringing on Steve Bannon, a former top executive at Breitbart長沙桑拿 who will be Trump’s chief strategist.

READ MORE: House Democrats implore Trump to drop Steve Bannon 

At one point during the discussion, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, called Clinton’s staffers “bitter” over their election loss.

 “If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant strategist, a brilliant tactician, I am glad to have lost,” Palmieri said,

She added that she “would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”


Conway then shot back, “Are you going to look at me in the face and say I provided a platform for white supremacists?”

Palmieri answered yes.

Conway responded, “How about, it is Hillary Clinton? She doesn’t connect with people. How about you have no economic message?”

Palmieri said that Trump spoke to people in the country “to an underlying cultural anxiety about change in a way we were just not willing to do.”

Trump’s team, meanwhile, defended their candidate and their campaign. David Bossie, the deputy campaign manager, said that Trump had a “unique ability to go past the media and speak directly to the American people.” He also defended Bannon, calling him a “brilliant strategist” and a “really terrific guy.”

The Clinton team argued that they faced the challenge from the start of running in a year when voters wanted change —; as they tend to do after one party holds the White House for eight years.

Friday morning, Conway discussed the heated exchange, saying the accusations of “race-baiting” were false.

“I took that personally, and I know that’s not true,” Conway said on CBS’s This Morning. “President-elect Trump has denounced every single element of that awful movement. He’s never met these people. He doesn’t ask for their endorsement.”

The round table also offered a behind-the-scenes perspective for the campaigns, with Clinton’s aide saying interference from the FBI‘s director cost her the White House.

Clinton aide Robby Mook zeroed in Thursday on letters sent in the waning days of the campaign by FBI director James Comey related to his agency’s examination of Clinton’s email accounts. Without those letters, Mook said, Clinton would have won.

He called the focus on Clinton’s emails during the campaign one of the “most over-reported, overhyped, over-litigated stories in the history of American politics.”

Conway, said one key tactical move that helped Trump was the decision to stop looking at national polls and instead focus on state polls, particularly in swing states.

“When I came onboard, we never did another national poll,” she said during the discussion, held at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

President-elect Donald Trump backs away from prosecuting Clinton


President-elect Donald Trump backs away from prosecuting Clinton


Clinton says work as citizens doesn’t stop with Trump’s election


Donald Trump announces Hillary Clinton called to concede election

She said a mistake made by the Clinton campaign was assuming the 2016 electorate would resemble the 2012 electorate, which gave Democratic President Barack Obama a second term, when it was closer to the 2014 midterm electorate, which handed big gains to Republicans in Congress.

She also credited Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic primary challenger, for helping “soften up” Clinton and paving the way for Trump’s victory. She said political observers who predicted the race would go to Clinton “ignored the phenomenon known as Bernie Sanders.”

Mook also blamed Clinton’s loss in part on the drip, drip, drip of apparently hacked Democratic emails.

The U.S. government has said Russia was responsible for hacking at least some of the emails released by WikiLeaks, including those from the private account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

“We cannot have foreign aggressors intervening in our elections,” Mook said.

Asked about the reports of Russian-backed hacking, which Russia has dismissed, Conway said, “We just don’t know it to be true.”

*with files from The Associated Press and Reuters 

Coast guard recommends oil be removed from shipwreck off Newfoundland coast

More than 30 years after the cargo vessel Manolis L. ran aground and sank off Newfoundland’s scenic Change Islands, the Canadian Coast Guard is recommending the full removal of the remaining oil from the wreck.

The Liberian-flagged vessel was carrying a load of paper when it went down off the Blowhard Rocks in Notre Dame Bay in January 1985 with more than 500 tonnes of fuel and diesel on board, most of which has already leaked.

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READ MORE: Oil leaking from shipwreck threatens small Newfoundland community

“There is a risk to the environment, most definitely,” the coast guard’s regional director, Anne Miller, said Friday. “That is why we are recommending the removal of the oil.”

Miller said it is too early to say how much removing the fuel would cost, but she said it was “safe to assume” it would take more than the $6 million allotted to conduct last summer’s assessment.

Miller said it was important to note that the report is positive about what was found by the examination and survey conducted by Resolve Salvage of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

She said officials have concluded the wreck, which is in about 82 metres of water, is stable, and that apart from the damage sustained in the grounding there is no other significant damage to the hull and no risk of it deteriorating quickly.

The survey indicated there had been only 10 per cent wastage of the steel in the 31 years since the sinking.

READ MORE: Hundreds of shipwrecks pose environmental threat to Canada’s coasts

“There was concern about an imminent release (of oil), and what we have found from this report is that the vessel is stable on the bottom and the structural integrity of the vessel is sound.”

Miller said the survey estimated anywhere from 113 tonnes to 150 tonnes of oil and diesel is still on board. There were more than 500 tonnes on board originally and Miller said it was lost as a result of the accident and through gradual leakage over time.

Change Islands deputy mayor Larry Hurley welcomed the coast guard’s recommendation.

“We’ve been waiting for that kind of news, and fighting for that kind of news,” said Hurley. “It (the oil) definitely needs to be removed.”

However, Hurley, who is also a fisherman, said he hoped news that the hull of the ship is stable isn’t used as an excuse to delay the oil’s removal.

“We know that the ship’s been there for 30 years and if she was sitting on top of the ocean and nobody touched her for 30 years she’d be in hard shape, let alone at the bottom of the ocean. I just hope this isn’t prolonged.”

READ MORE: Coast guard seals oil leaking from 1985 shipwreck off Newfoundland

Hurley noticed a six-inch band of oily tar around his wharf in February 2014. That was one of several earlier sightings of small oil slicks in the area and several reports of oiled eider ducks and other sea birds.

He said as far as he knows there have been no recent reports of oil sightings in the area of his village, which he said is home to about 200 people during the winter months and swells to around 400 or more in the summer when cottagers return.

Miller said there was no timeline yet for the oil salvage work and in the meantime, the coast guard would continue to monitor the wreck by sea and from the air.

READ MORE: Ship that sank in 1985 likely source of small oil slicks off Newfoundland

She said it would be “ambitious” to expect a cleanup by next summer.

Miller also said the removal of the entire vessel wouldn’t be “practical,” because it would be too expensive. In 2013, the coast guard launched a $50 million operation just to remove the fuel seeping from a U.S. army transport ship that sank off B.C.s remote north coast in 1946.

In 2015 the release of federal documents by the area’s Liberal MP, Scott Simms, indicated Ottawa had spent $1.7 million over the previous two years to plug oil leaks coming from the Manolis L.

Money was spent on remote operated vehicles, aerial surveillance and cofferdams to trap oil seeping from cracks in the hull.

Traffic troubles: Montrealers face major weekend closures on Turcot, Jacques-Cartier Bridge

There are some major road closures in Montreal this weekend and commuters are being encouraged by traffic officials to avoid the area or take public transport.

Turcot Interchange

Starting Friday, Dec. 2 at 11:30 p.m., there will be a complete closure of the eastbound R-136 (A-720), between the Turcot Interchange and the Ville-Marie tunnel.

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    The ramps from Highway 20 east and the A-15 east- and southbound to the Ville-Marie Expressway will be closed for roadwork.

    “There will be an impact on traffic,” Sarah Bensadoun, Transports Quebec spokesperson told Global News.

     She explained three kilometers of the A-720 east will be torn down between now and next spring.

    She added that crews can’t do the work overnight because a lot of it is very noisy and would disrupt people who live in the area.

    Drivers are being asked to detour via A-15 south and the Bonaventure Expressway.

    READ MORE: Driving in Montreal — less than six clicks in 40 minutes

    Closures will be in effect until Monday, Dec. 5 at 5 a.m.

    There are major closures on the Turcot Interchange starting Friday, December 2, 2016.

    Turcot Interchange

    Jacques-Cartier Bridge

    The Jacques-Cartier Bridge will be closed overnight from Friday, Dec. 2 to Saturday, Dec. 3 and again from Sunday, Dec. 4 to Monday, Dec. 5.

    Lanes will start closing at 11:30 p.m. and the bridge will be completely closed in both directions between midnight and 4 a.m.

    READ MORE: Quebec transport ministry offers unusual solution to deal with noise complaints on Turcot Interchange

    Access will be maintained for emergency services.

    According to traffic officials, the goal of the closure is to ensure safety for users and workers during repairs.

    Other closures will be scheduled in December for additional construction work.

    READ MORE: Route 136 opens as the eastbound 720 closes for good

    A spokesperson for the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) told Global News there are no plans to increase train service to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

    This is the first of 12 to 15 closures of the Turcot Interchange between now and next spring.

Canadian rockers Rush donate $40K to Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research

Veteran Canadian rock trio Rush is making a generous gesture by making a whopping $40,000 donation to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. The fund was set up to honour the Tragically Hip front man, who earlier this year revealed he’s been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund brain cancer research at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital.

During Canadian Music Week in April 2017, Rush will be honoured with the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award, and have announced they’ll be donating $40,000 of the proceeds to the fund.

WATCH BELOW: Gord Downie performs ‘Secret Path’ in Ottawa

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The award, which recognizes Canadian music acts for their philanthropical efforts, is then donated to the recipient’s charity of choice, with Rush members Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson naming the Gord Downie Fund in an announcement on the band’s official website.

READ MORE: Facebook Busts Group Selling Bootleg Gord Downie T-Shirts, Claims Of Charity Donation Apparently Bogus

“We are pleased to direct this generous donation from the Allan Slaight Humanitarian award to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook,” says the band in a joint statement

“Many Canadian families have been affected either directly or indirectly by this terrible disease,” adds Rush. “Through Gord’s courageous efforts this cause is now getting the attention it desperately deserves. As a fellow musician and friend it’s our turn to help support his efforts to fight Brain Cancer now.” 

In an interview with CBC Music earlier this year, Rush front man Geddy Lee revealed he’s a longtime fan of The Tragically Hip, describing the Hip as “certainly one of the greatest bands we’ve ever produced in this country.”

He added: “The first time you listen to one of their records it kind of sneaks up on you. It sounds simpler than it is. There is a particular way the power of those guitars work together.… [They] always sound sinewy and muscular. Then you put Gord’s voice and his lyrics on top of that, and after repeated listening, you really start to love it. It just gets inside you. I think that’s a trademark of the Hip.”

Ontario families file human rights complaints against York school board over allegations of racism

A community group representing seven Ontario families have filed a human rights complaint against the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) on Friday over its inability to properly address incidents of Islamophobia and systemic racism within the institution’s ranks.

WATCH: Islamic groups claim hate crimes against Canadian Muslims have doubled

“The culture that exists relies on the code of protecting their system even if that system is negatively affecting our children,” Vaughan African Canadian Association (VACA) Executive Director Shernett Martin told reporters at a news conference Friday morning in Toronto.

“Staff cover for each other, defend each other, ignore criticism and fail to follow up on community concerns in order to protect the reputation of the board.”

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The community group says the human rights complaint stems from the school board’s lack of conviction to manage and resolved incidents of racism.

A Markham elementary school principal is currently under investigation by board officials after she was caught posting anti-Muslim content on her Facebook page. She has since been placed on medical leave until the new year.

Meanwhile, the head of equity at the York Region board recently released a scathing letter to senior staff questioning how the investigation is being handled and culture of fear that exists within the board’s ranks.

Ontario Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter just last week requested the board to present an anti-racism action plan by January.

“We have to acknowledge that we have heard an increasing sense of fear among parents and their guardians if they speak up about human rights violations,” National Council of Canadian Muslims board member Abbas Kassam told reporters on Friday.

“The level of fear we are hearing from families is crippling. There can be no trust in the presence of such fear. There’s no public confidence if there is no trust.”

Some of the recommendations included in the human rights complaint include mandatory equity and anti-racism training for senior staff and teachers, implementation of an equity audit, the appointment of an education ombudsman or commissioner and a public issuance of an apology by the board.

“We stand with parents who simply want their children to attend school in a safe and caring environment,” Martin said.

“Our parents speak about their child having racial slurs hurled at them, feeling marginalized, accused of things they did not do simply because they fit a certain stereotype.”

Maryam Monsef apologizes multiple times for saying electoral reform committee didn’t do their job

OTTAWA – Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef has apologized to members of the electoral reform committee for comments she made Thursday in the House of Commons.

Monsef issued the apology during today’s daily question period, much of which she spent on her feet addressing the controversy from the day before.

She says she deeply regrets the words she used and never meant to imply they didn’t work hard, long hours and weren’t focused on their task.

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The minister flabbergasted opposition parties on Thursday with a dismissive, hostile response to the majority report of the opposition-dominated committee, which recommended a new proportional voting system and a national referendum to gauge public support for it.

READ MORE: Committee suggests penalizing political parties that don’t run enough women

Pressed by Conservatives and New Democrats in the House to accept the majority report, Monsef asserted that “the only consensus that the committee found was that there is no consensus on electoral reform.”

She then expressed disappointment that the committee didn’t recommend a specific voting model.

“On the main question on the hard choices that we had asked the committee to make, the members of the committee took a pass,” Monsef told the Commons.

“We asked the committee to help answer very difficult questions for us. It did not do that.”

On Friday, she said: “I’d like to sincerely apologize to the members of this House, to Canadians and to the members of the special all-party committee on electoral reform.”

“In no way did I intend to imply that they didn’t work hard, that they didn’t put in the long hours, that they didn’t focus on the task at hand; Mr. Speaker, I thank them for their work.”

Montreal artists’ wooden mural looks to promote local talent

With the holiday season on the way, two Montreal artists have used the festivities to inspire their most recent artwork.

READ MORE: Espace Verre offers opportunities to learn about glass arts in Quebec

Patrick Monast and Diane Tremblay used different types of wood and branches to depict a village, mountains, a river and the holiday season.

The aim is to promote local artists.

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    READ MORE: Scottish Diaspora Tapestry tells globe-trotting tale of Scots, on display at Atwater Library

    The mural, which was made in a workshop in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, is 8 feet high and 24 feet in length.

    From there, it was transported in five pieces to its location at 1176 Bishop St.

    “We unified the five sections to adjust the texture and surface,” Monast told Global News.

    “It’s important to properly marry the sections together.”

    The artwork was made possible through 50 hours of work by 10 people.

    READ MORE: Montreal artist teams up with SPCA to counter anti-pit bull sentiment

    Since putting the piece up for display, Monast has visited the location to see how many people have stop to observed the work.

    “For artists, it is very important to see the traction that the artwork makes,” Monast said.

    The mural will be in place until the beginning of January, but the length of its stay depends on the weather.

    READ MORE: Syrian refugee photo exhibit portrays 4 families’ new life in Montreal

    Since publishing the mural on Facebook, several businesses have shown interest in having it transferred to their offices once its time on Bishop Street is over.

    “We would be thrilled to see this art piece have a second life,” Patrick Monast said.

    “There’s certainly a second life, but where? Not sure where it will end up.”