Tolling feasibility study to get underway for Nova Scotia highways – Halifax

HALIFAX – A feasibility study will look at a total of 301 kilometres of Nova Scotia highways to see whether tolling will work for twinning the eight sections of  the 100 series highways.

The study, granted to Atlantic Canada engineering and environmental design company CBCL Limited, is expected to be finished by the end of April.

The following sections of highway will be included in the study:

Highway 101, Three Mile Plains to Falmouth – 9.5 kmHighway 101, Hortonville to Coldbrook – 24.7 kmHighway 103, Exit 5 at Tantallon to Exit 12 Bridgewater – 71 kmHighway 104, Sutherlands River to Antigonish – 37.8 kmHighway 104, Taylors Road to Aulds Cove – 38.4 kmHighway 104, Port Hastings to Port Hawkesbury – 6.75 kmHighway 104, St. Peter’s to Sydney – 80 kmHighway 107, Porter’s Lake to Duke Street, Bedford – 33 km

The map shows the stretches of highway to be included in the feasibility study.

Global News

Information that comes out of the study will be brought to the public through both in-person and online consultations, giving all Nova Scotians a chance to provide feedback before a final decision is made.

The government’s decision to look at tolling as a way to twin the 100 series highways came after the release of the 101, 103 and 104 highway safety studies in April.

Highway 103 has been called the second-deadliest highways in Canada, with 890 collisions occurring in a 274-kilometre stretch, with 22 resulting in deaths between the years of 2007-2012.

“It’s long overdue,” Halifax councillor Matt Whitman said in April. “It’s expensive, but it’s definitely long overdue. We’ve lost too many lives on this highway.”

After the studies came out in April, it was determined that twinning would be the best solution to the safety issues on the highways, but that tax dollars wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of twinning, and that tolling would be the best way to make those major changes.

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Charges laid in arsons, shootings involving staff and students at the Justice Institute of BC – BC

Charges have been laid against two men in connection with a string of arsons and shootings involving students and staff at the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

Chief Supt. Kevin Hackett of the B.C. Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit says 15 victims with links to the Justice Institute of British Columbia were targets in 19 arsons and four firearms related incidents between April, 2011, and January, 2012.

Their homes, vehicles and property were the subjects of multiple shootings and arsons.

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In July 2011, a threatening email was received by the Justice Institute and referenced nine people, all but one of whom had their property targeted in the preceding months.

The RCMP determined the victims were linked and had a connection to the Justice Institute.

Investigators have also found that an ICBC employee had looked up the fifteen victims’ license plates, which provided their personal details.

In January 2012, an arson investigation in Surrey led to the identification of the person who is alleged to have orchestrated all of the offences.

Between December, 2014, and January, 2015, a number of victims received suspicious letters in the mail. One of the letters contained a warning that the attacks would resume in the new year.

Investigators reconnected with the victims to ensure adequate safety until the charges have been laid today.

Two men — 40-year-old Vincent Eric Gia-Hwa Cheung of Langley and 54-year-old Thurman Ronley Taffe of Burnaby — have been arrested and appeared in court today. They will appear in court again on Oct. 1.

Cheung is alleged to be the main orchestrator. He is charged with a number of offences and is believed to have gang ties. Taffe is charged with one count of arson.

The extensive investigation spanned four years and many jurisdictions across B.C., involving hundreds of police officers from several police agencies.

Police says their investigation was complicated by the efforts of the accused to disguise their intent through cunning and misdirection.

The motive of the crimes remains unknown, but police say the victims were all innocent.

Many were at home when the arsons or shootings took place and still feel the emotional impact of these crimes.

Investigators say the public may never know exactly why these people were targeted.

“We know that there are still people out there with information related to this investigation. We ask that the contact us so we can advance the investigation,” says Hackett.

More arrests and charges are expected.

Edmonton commander facing sex charges picks jury trial

(*EDITOR’S NOTE: On Nov. 4, 2016, the charges against Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker were dropped by the Alberta Crown.)

READ MORE: Alberta Crown withdraws sex crime charges against high-ranking military officer 

EDMONTON — A high-ranking military officer accused of sex offences has chosen to have a jury trial.

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Lt.-Col. Mason Stalker, 40, commander of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Edmonton, was arrested in July on 10 charges.

The charges, including sexual assault, relate to alleged incidents involving a military cadet in Edmonton between 1998 and 2007.

“A victim came forward to us in April of this year,” said Francis Bolduc, Commanding Officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service. “He came forward with information and we initiated an investigation that resulted in charges.”

“These are serious and significant charges under the Criminal Code of Canada,” said Bolduc.

READ MORE: Canadian Forces officer charged with sexual assault 

A justice official says a preliminary hearing in the case is to begin Aug. 2.

No trial date has been set.

Stalker has been suspended from his post pending the outcome of the court case.

With files from Global News

©2015The Canadian Press

EXCLUSIVE: Ineligible? 9-year-old football player penalized after being deemed ‘too heavy’ – Montreal

DOLLARD-DES-ORMEAUX – A kids football team said it has been unfairly targeted after it had to forfeit four games due to a post-game weight check.

The atom-level Sunnybrooke Chiefs were enjoying a 4-1 season, winning its last game against the Châteauguay Raiders 42-0.

Afterwards, coaches said their season unravelled due to what they claim was an unfair complaint by their opponent.

“They asked us to look over the registration papers,” said coach Bryan Spence.

“There was a clerical error made by the registrars.”

That error listed the weight of nine-year-old running back Shekai Mills Knight at 111 lbs. –  just one pound over the threshold to be eligible to carry the ball or play defence.

According to his mother, Mills Knight’s real weight is 101 lb. and it had been recorded incorrectly at the weigh in.

“All of a sudden, they want to look at our contracts,” said Earl Foronda, Sunnybrooke Park director.

“We play five games and there’s no problem.”

What does regulations, weight or eligibility mean to a nine-year-old child?

“Well, there’s no point in playing when I lost my position…so, I don’t know,” Mills Knight told Global News.

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It’s an especially heavy blow to the team, because he also plays middle linebacker.

“I didn’t want him to play. But he asked me ‘give me a chance,’” said Nesta Mills, the boy’s mother.

“I didn’t want to give him a chance, but it turns out he loves it.”

Châteauguay coaching staff refused an interview with Global News.

They’re contention is that the league enforces the rules, not the teams, and the weight rules exist for safety reasons.

According to Jean-Charles Meffe, Executive Director of Football Quebec, teams are responsible for making sure clerical errors don’t exist on their rosters.

An appeal has been lodged with the federation that governs the leagues.

A decision is expected later this week.

Fiorina’s GOP debate performance leads to surge in support, scrutiny – National

What a difference a debate makes: Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina has seen a major bump in support following last week’s CNN debate and now sits second, behind front-runner Donald Trump.

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The former Hewlett-Packard CEO and the sole woman in the race for the Republican nomination saw a 12-percentage-point jump in support, rising from 3 per cent support before the debate to 15 per cent, according to a national CNN/ORC poll released Monday.

The poll of Republican and Republican-leaning voters was conducted between Sept. 17 to 19, the three days following the debate.

READ MORE: What you need to know about GOP debate star Carly Fiorina

The increased show of support can be attributed in part to her strong performance and her show of force against outspoken Trump, who dropped to 24 per cent support from 32 per cent in the previous CNN/ORC poll conducted between Sept. 4 to 8.

But it was also Fiorina’s first time speaking to a primetime audience, having been at the earlier debate for less popular candidates in the last round. The primetime CNN debate was watched by 23 million people, while Fiorina’s showing in the so-called “Happy Hour” debate on Aug. 6 was viewed by just six million people.

Fiorina’s rise also came as Ben Carson, securely in second place going into the debate, faltered.

READ MORE: Muslim shouldn’t be president, says Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson

The former neurosurgeon dropped from 19 per cent in the earlier CNN/ORC survey to 14 per cent — one point below Fiorina — after what many saw as a weak performance in his second debate.

Rounding out the top four candidates, those with double-digit support, is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who was also seen as one of the more formidable performers on the stage last Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, California.

Fact-checking Fiorina

Being in the spotlight is also puts Fiorina’s credentials and beliefs under the microscope. Now that she’s seen as a serious contender in the race, although primary and caucus season doesn’t get underway until February and it’s still another 413 days until Election Day, her comments are subject to much more scrutiny.

Two comments she made during the debate have been debunked, although her right-wing base may not see it that way.

Taking on a personal tone, Fiorina discussed the 2009 death of her stepdaughter, Lori Ann, who struggled with substance abuse and bulimia.

“We must invest more in the treatment of drugs. I agree with Sen. [Rand] Paul. I agree with states’ rights. But, we are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. It’s not.”

But as the Washington Post. later reported, a 2010 study published in the widely respected medical journal The Lancet found marijuana is less dangerous than harder drugs and even alcohol.

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s 桑拿会所 Q&A #AskTrump backfires in hilarious fashion

The second comment to stoke controversy was one the 61-year-old candidate made about Planned Parenthood and a series of undercover videos purporting to show doctors discussing the sale of fetal tissue for profit and which fuelled a successful Republican-led Congressional vote to defund the organization for one year.

“Anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain,” Fiorina said during the debate.

The series of videos she was referring to were put out by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress.

READ MORE: 4 things to know about an anti-abortion group’s Planned Parenthood videos

The videos (even the ones claimed to be unedited) are manipulated. But the footage Fiorina described was not taken during the Planned Parenthood stings and its circumstances surrounding it are in question.

“The Center for Medical Progress says the source of the footage is the Grantham Collection, an organization that hopes to stem abortion by promoting graphic images of the procedure. We don’t know the circumstances behind this video: where it came from, under what conditions it was obtained, or even if this fetus was actually aborted (as opposed to a premature birth or miscarriage).”

Planned Parenthood, an organization the provides abortions as well as sexual and women’s health care, including cancer screening, does collect and provide fetal tissue for research. But, it can only legally receive minimal money for costs associated with the collection, storage and transport of the materials.

There’s also the question the sale of HP printers to Iran while Fiorina was at the helm of the Fortune 500 company and while U.S. companies were prohibited from doing trade with the Islamic Republic.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, she said she had no knowledge of the sale because it was a third-party company that was responsible for the deal.

Fiorina, on the campaign trail, has been critical of the deal the Obama administration struck to ease sanctions on Iran in exchange for the Iranian government curbing its nuclear ambitions and opening up to international inspections.

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Donald Trump’s Twitter Q&A #AskTrump backfires in hilarious fashion – National

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took to 桑拿会所 Monday to host a question and answer session, and it appears it didn’t go so well.

“#AskTrump Send me your questions to answer live from @桑拿会所NYC later this afternoon,” Trump tweeted.

It didn’t take long for the hashtag to begin to trend worldwide.

Some social media users used the time to ask Trump more serious questions, which he responded to.

While others took the time to call Trump out on past controversial comments or to poke fun at the GOP candidate with ridiculous questions.

Here’s a look:

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‘These students have so much to offer’: Edmonton teacher showcases inner city school on Instagram

EDMONTON — One positive moment; that’s what teacher Dan Scratch hopes to document each and every day of this school year.

Scratch teaches at Inner City High School in Edmonton. The school, which sits north of the city’s downtown, is a not-for-profit that provides educational programming outside a traditional high school environment to high-risk youth, or, as Scratch describes them, “at-promise youth.”

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“It started off with a conversation I had with a few other educators who teach in similar environments in different cities,” said Scratch, a social studies teacher. “We talked about how we’re constantly talking about the negative stereotypes our schools receive in the public, what an inner city school is traditionally like.

“We wanted to kind of break that narrative and talk about some of the more positive things students do here.

“What are some stories of individual students doing great things in their lives? Overcoming the barriers they’re overcoming and just what we do here at Inner City that makes us unique compared to most traditional schools.”

“Just coming to school, for a lot of students, is a huge success,” added Scratch. “They value education, they want to come to school to better improve their lives and give a positive life for themselves. I wanted to honour that with our students and show the greater public, if we could, that these students have so much to offer the community.”

So, Scratch started an Instagram account to do just that.

“I wanted to tell a story through pictures because I think it has more of an emotional appeal to people when they see a picture of a student working hard in class, or they see a picture of staff coming together to put on this program for students.”

The @innercityhigh Instagram account will feature one positive moment in the class or school every school day this year. The students have total creative control over the photos. They even get to edit the caption and choose the filter used.

“They’re getting really into it,” said Scratch. “Each day, they’re asking, ‘how many likes did it get?’ that kind of thing.

“It’s a nice thing to see. When people comment on the photo, I tell them the positive feedback there. It’s a little uplifting, and it’s nice for them to hear those kinds of stories.”

He has also created a project on Make Something Edmonton called ‘One Positive Moment.’ He hopes the project will encourage more people to check out the Instagram account, follow the class’ progress, and include the students in any community events or initiatives they think would be a good match.

In a blog post, Scratch explained further why he decided to start the Instagram account.

“I want to show people that my students are not just victims of a society that has neglected and abandoned them, but that they are positive community members, philosophers, artists, gardeners, and some of the most caring and compassionate students I’ve ever worked with,” he wrote.

Check out the Inner City High Instagram account here.

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Bank of Canada governor addresses dropping commodity prices in Calgary

CALGARY – Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz spoke to a Calgary audience on Monday afternoon, saying dropping commodity prices should not deter long-term investments in the resource sector.

The head of the central bank delivered the keynote address at Calgary Economic Development’s 2016 Economic Outlook.

Poloz said investment decisions made years ago by players in the commodities sectors were no mistake, even though prices have dipped in recent months.

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Poloz’s address reminded its audience how the Canadian economy had benefited significantly in recent years from rising commodity prices. As an example, he highlighted how the price of copper had tripled while oil and nickel doubled between 2008 and 2010.

“We shouldn’t ignore the resources that we have been blessed with,” Poloz said. “Without those investments (years ago), we would never have been able to capitalize on the higher prices, which boosted Canada’s aggregate income.”

The event marked Poloz’s first public speaking engagement in Calgary since his appointment in 2013.

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His speech comes on the heels of a difficult period for the economy, which contracted over the first two quarters of 2015 and pushed Canada into a technical recession.

The steep drop in the price of crude oil, which closed just below US$47 a barrel Monday after falling from a high of US$107 last year, has been slapped with much of the blame for the shrinking economy. The economy has also been hindered by slower than predicted rebounds in other sectors.

As a result, the oil-price shock forced experts, including the Bank of Canada, to downgrade growth projections for the country.

The gloomier economic conditions have also become a focal point for much political debate in the current federal election campaign.

Business leaders in the oil industry told the central bank earlier this year they would be cutting investments by about 40 per cent because of the steep price drop, which has not recovered as quickly as anticipated, Poloz said.

He added that in recent weeks these companies were still revising their longer-term forecasts for the price of oil.

The resource sector, he said, is still adjusting to the tougher conditions – a process he believes will take “considerable time.”

None of the volatility, however, should deter Canadians from continuing to seek benefits from the country’s resources, Poloz said.

“We’ve adjusted to rising prices – we can adjust to falling ones,” Poloz said in the speech being delivered in a province where, he noted, resources make up more than a quarter of economy.

“While an abundance of raw materials may complicate the management of companies and the conduct of economic policy, it’s far better for a country to have resources than not to have them.”

“Even when prices are falling, as they have been recently, our endowment represents a store of value and a source of future riches.”

Other speakers at the event included Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, ATB Financial chief economist Todd Hirsch and Conference Board of Canada Chief Economist Glen Hodgson.

With files from Global News reporter Melissa Ramsay

©2015The Canadian Press

Sainte-Anne locks in need of overhaul: Mayor – Montreal

SAINTE-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE – Mayor Paola Hawa is calling for some major changes to the locks in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

READ MORE: Residents in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue want to revamp local park

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She complained the locks and property on Parks Canada land have been neglected for decades and she wants changes to be made.

The mayor insisted it’s time to revitalize the area and bring it into the 21st Century.

READ MORE: Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue commuter access to A-40 improved

The current locks opened in 1884 and are the busiest in Canada with close to 16,000 recreational boats passing through annually.

READ MORE: Two Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue overpasses are coming down

Hawa insisted she’s spending hundreds of thousands to revitalize her town and it’s time Parks Canada did the same with its property.

Ryan Adams says covering Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ was ‘incredibly humbling’ – National

Rocker Ryan Adams said covering Taylor Swift’s entire 1989 album was “incredibly humbling” and helped him explore himself more deeply as a musician.

Adams’ version of 1989 was digitally released Monday. Swift released the original album — her first full-blown pop record — last October.

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“It’s actually incredibly humbling to find a connection with someone else’s words and someone else’s songs and to open yourself up and to feel them fully, and find out where those stories take you,” Adams, 40, said in an interview last week.

“It felt no less genuine than any song I’ve ever written for myself.”

So far, Swift’s fifth album has sold 5.2 million units and launched multiple hits, including No.1 hits like “Shake It Off,” ”Blank Space” and “Bad Blood.” Adams’ interpretation of 1989 offers a slowed-down take on her upbeat anthems.

“I got to work different parts of my brain, different parts of my heart and different parts of the musical aspects of my personality,” Adams said of covering Swift’s music. “It’s really its own thing. …It’s not the same record.”

After completing his version, the singer-songwriter-producer played it for 25-year-old Swift before taking it any further. He namedropped Bob Mould as one his favourite musicians, but added in the same breath: “But then I also love all those songs on (Swift’s) Fearless (album). I don’t really have a place where my music begins and ends.”

Adams said he has known Swift for about 4 years and counts himself as a fan.

Adams released his debut album, Heartbreaker, in 2000. His 2014 self-titled record, his 14th studio release, earned him two Grammy nominations earlier this year, including best rock album. He has also found success as a producer for acts like Willie Nelson and Jenny Lewis.

Adams says in 1989 — the year, not the album — he remembers being in love with music and being aware he wanted to make a career out of it.

“I was already collecting albums. By 15, I was skateboarding, I had gotten my first guitar,” he said. “I had my first record player and I remember I got my first couple of real albums that were my own records and I was really excited about them.”

©2015The Canadian Press