Toronto and Montreal among world’s most expensive cities: new report

Living in Toronto is almost as expensive as living in Paris, and Montreal isn’t far behind. But it’s New York City, Zurich and Geneva that are three of the world’s costliest cities. That’s according to UBS’s latest Prices and Earnings survey, which examines prices, wages and earners’ purchasing power in 71 cities worldwide.

So where can you get the most bang for your buck? Well, it depends on what you’re after.

Time off

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  • Cheaper gas, costlier food, clothing: Welcome to the new normal, Canada

  • Top 10 most expensive cities to buy gas in North America are all in B.C.

  • Vancouver Island resort named most expensive hotel in North America

  • 90% say life in Toronto is increasingly difficult for average people

If work-life balance is most important to you, Paris is the place to be. Workers there put in around 35 hours per week, thanks to new government regulations, and enjoy an average of 29 days of paid vacation per year. Those who work in Hong Kong put in over 1,000 more hours than their Paris counterparts and only get 17 days paid vacation days.

Other cities where you can be paid to take a month or more off include Dubai and Rio de Janeiro (30 days), Dublin and São Paolo (31), Luxembourg (32), and Manama (34).

In some places, legal holidays can make a big difference. Bangkok, for example, averages only nine days of paid vacation but has 16 days of legal holidays so that brings the total of time off to around 25 days or five weeks. São Paulo has the highest combined amount of time off, with an average of 50 days, or around 10 weeks.

READ MORE: Are unlimited holidays the key to work-life balance?

Employees get an average of 18 paid vacation days in Montreal and 19 in Toronto. Those are the two Canadian cities on the list.

WATCH: Toronto may be expensive, but the majority of people surveyed last year said it’s worth it. Alan Carter reports. 

Of the American cities in the study, the average worker in Chicago and Los Angeles has the least amount of paid vacation a year (14 days).

On average, though, the survey states that a typical workweek around the world is over 40 hours, with over 4.5 weeks of paid vacation.


Looking to make a lot of dough? Head to Zurich, Geneva or Luxembourg.

Montreal comes in 11th on wage levels list, behind L.A. and Chicago. Toronto is in 15th place, behind London and Brussels.

In Nairobi, Jakarta and Kiev, the lowest-ranked cities, workers receive only around five per cent of average gross earnings in Zurich.

Cost of living

Zurich is the most expensive city in the survey, with a cost of living that’s 185 per cent higher than that of Kiev, the least expensive city on the list. Zurich residents have to pay four-and-a-half times more for the food than those in Kiev.

READ MORE: Cost of living, economy among most important issues in upcoming election, says new poll

Fun fact: the price of a haircut is most expensive in Oslo and 20 times higher than in Jakarta, which is the cheapest place to get your locks tended to.

Canadian cities like Vancouver and Calgary are notorious for their high cost of living. However, they were not included in the UBS index, which has been published every three years since 1971.

Here are some more highlights:

You can read the full report below.

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UPDATE: Mudslides northeast of Pemberton cause evacuation order, power outages

An evacuation order has been issued for several homes northeast of Pemberton because of mudslides, as high water flows caused havoc through the Squamish-Lilloet Regional District on Sunday.

Properties between 9270 to 9280 Portage Road are under the evacuation order, along with Lot 1, DL 1548 Portage Road.

The largest impact was felt just north of Birken, 30 kilometres northeast of Pemberton, where two large mudslides have isolated hundreds of people between the community and D’Arcy, another small community on the shore of Anderson Lake.

Global News was given a photo of one of the mudslides, which appears to show a home almost completely submerged.

WATCH: Mudslides and flooding force evacuations northeast of Pemberton

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Russell Mack, Director for Squamish-Lilloet Regional District Electoral Area C, says there is no one in the area unaccounted for.

“We’re still waiting for the slide to stabilize,” said Ryan Wainwright, SLRD Emergency Program Manager.

“We’re still hearing rocks rumbling down, so it’s going to be a wait and see as to when that slide is stable enough for people to start working on it.”

Several power lines have fallen down and all areas from Pemberton to D’Arcy were without power for several hours today. While power has since been restored to Pemberton, there are still 254 customers between Birken and D’Arcy without power.

It’s unknown when the road will be reopened, and power is not expected to be the area until Monday at 5 p.m.

“It’s something that is impacting our residents quite severely,” says Wainwright. He says emergency stations have been set up in D’Arcy and Pemberton to assist with people affected.

View this post on Instagram

So much for making it to the lake. Road and power lines washed out.

A post shared by John Thomas (@jhthomas70) on Sep 20, 2015 at 12:33pm PDT

The South Coast experienced rain and high winds this weekend, and the BC River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for the Sea to Sky Corridor, along with the North Shore and Howe Sound. That advisory has now been ended.

A flood warning has also been issued for the Sea to Sky Corridor, and there are unconfirmed reports that flooding has blocked the Lillooet River Forest Service Road.

In addition, five vehicles on the Squamish River Service Road were lost due to mudslides.

In the Squamish valley, several hikers became trapped by washed-out roads. Squamish search and rescue was called in to take one stranded group out after RCMP received a distress call on Sunday.

Residents in the region who have been affected are asked to contact Wainwright at 604-698-6442.

WATCH: Flooding in Squamish:

Several fundraisers have been launched for victims of the slides. You can make donations at the Pemberton hardware store and cash donations are being accepted at the Pemberton Scotiabank.

An online fundraiser has been set up for one of the victims. Those who are interested in donating can go here.

Global News has a crew near the town of Birken

NDP candidate Pat Martin apologizes for “intemperate language” during campaign

WARNING: The following story contains explicit language

WINNIPEG – Pat Martin says he regrets the language he has used on the campaign trail in recent days and has offered an ‘unreserved apology’ to his fellow candidates.

In a story on the Huffington Post Saturday, the NDP incumbent for Winnipeg Centre called Liberal candidate, Robert-Falcon Ouellette a “political slut” and accused his wife of being “afraid she’ll have her hubcaps stolen if she ventures too far into the riding.”

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The comments follow a debate earlier in the week where the NDP MP  could be heard muttering “son-of-a-bitch” following questions from the Green Party candidate Don Woodstock.

In a statement Sunday night, Martin wrote:

Over the last few days I have used some intemperate language that I regret. I would like to offer an unreserved apology to my fellow candidates and to anyone else who may have taken offense to the tone and content of these remarks.

I hope we can move past this and return to having a healthy discussion of the issues affecting Winnipeg Centre voters.

Ouellette finished third in the Winnipeg mayoral race in 2014. In the HuffPost article, Martin was also quoted as saying:

“He is full of shit, frankly. I mean, who do you think you are? You show up, and three years later you are going to be the mayor of Winnipeg. And that doesn’t work out, so, that’s okay, I’ll be the member of Parliament?”

Martin’s campaign adviser said the NDP candidate would not be speaking further to his comments, saying the apology and the statement made over the weekend “stand”.

Elderly woman killed, two others seriously injured in 6-vehicle collision – Toronto

TORONTO – An 81-year-old woman was killed and two others seriously injured following a multi-vehicle collision in Scarborough Sunday night.

The crash happened around 8 p.m. at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Ellesmere Road.

Police said a total of six cars were involved in the collision, after a 65-year-old man driving a 2005 Honda made a left turn from Ellesmere onto Midland.

A 19-year-old man driving a Mercedes westbound on Ellesmere then collided with the Honda as it was turning, according to police.

Following the initial collision, police said a 20-year-old man driving a Lincoln MKT SUV westbound on Ellesmere also struck the Honda.

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Two other vehicles behind the Honda were struck by the other colliding vehicles while they were waiting their turn to proceed northbound on Midland.

Police said the 65-year-old-man and a passenger in the front seat of the Honda were taken to hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

An 81-year-old woman, who was in the right-rear seat of the Honda, suffered life-threatening injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The area was closed for several hours for the investigation but reopened to traffic just after 4 a.m. ET. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活222tips杭州龙凤, or by texting “TOR” and your message to CRIMES (274637).

Fatal floods in U.S. expose delicate balance in polygamous towns

SALT LAKE CITY — The secluded polygamous towns tucked between stunning red-rock cliffs have survived for more than 100 years, despite Utah and Arizona’s efforts to dismantle them and expose abuses.

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After at least 12 women and children were killed by flash floods, two of the fathers of the victims made a rare public plea for Utah to leave them alone, laying bare authorities’ delicate dance between investigating abuses and alienating the very people they’re trying to help in the isolated communities of Hildale and Colorado City on the Utah-Arizona line.

With cameras rolling, the two grief-stricken fathers read statements that pivoted from the loss of their families to what one called “religious genocide” against people who consider notorious, jailed leader Warren Jeffs a prophet of God. Sheldon Black Jr. and Joseph N. Jessop said their families have been evicted from their homes, leaving them scrambling for a place to live “because they will not forsake their religious beliefs.”

READ MORE: At least 16 dead in flash floods that hit southern Utah

Utah seized the trust that holds most of the group’s homes and property a decade ago amid allegations of mismanagement, and state-appointed managers recently began evicting people after residents refused to pay $100-a-month occupancy fees for years, depriving the trust of more than $4 million.

Officials say religion has nothing to do with the evictions, but leaders acknowledge that government officials are usually shunned in the community. Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox said his welcome when he visited the town after the devastating flash floods was an encouraging sign.

“If there’s a silver lining that’s coming out of this, it’s that they’re letting us help,” he told lawmakers.

Polygamy is a legacy of the early Mormon church, and while the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the practice over a century ago, tens of thousands of people in radical offshoot sects throughout the western U.S. still believe it brings exaltation in heaven. One of those groups settled in the red-rock outpost in the early 1900s, hoping its remoteness would shield them from official, prying eyes.

In the years since, the two states straddled by the twin polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, developed a long history of unsuccessfully trying to stamp out polygamy.

A 1953 raid in the area, then known as Short Creek, turned into a public relations disaster for Arizona authorities after news photographers’ pictures of children being torn from their mothers’ arms stirred up public sympathy. The raid also left scars that still linger for families in the two towns.

As the decades passed, Utah authorities shied away from prosecuting consenting adult polygamists in favor of trying to build trust and investigate serious allegations of things like underage marriages. The turmoil increased after Jeffs took over. In 2008, there was another raid, this one in Texas, that briefly removed hundreds of children from their families. But this one also turned up solid evidence that Jeffs had married underage girls he considered brides and he’s now serving a life sentence behind bars in Texas.

WATCH: Amazing footage shows 2 cars being swept away by flooding, residents react

Nevertheless, Jeffs wields considerable influence in Hildale and Colorado City, with about 6,000 of the 7,700 residents still considering him their leader. In town, you can often tell his followers by their prairie-like outfits and distinctive hairdos.

In recent years, Jeffs’ edicts have grown increasingly bizarre, and with the help of faithful leaders on the ground, he’s excommunicated a growing number of people from the sect.

While some ex-members have left the remote red-rock outpost, others have chosen to stay and open long-neglected lines of communication with the outside world. Parents who were ordered by Jeffs to pull their children out of public school have now returned them to classrooms.

The towns have been divided along religious lines. While the tragic flooding briefly eased those deep divisions during the early search, they soon snapped back into place.

These days, other polygamists are turning to the courts to make the case that they should be free to marry who they choose. Kody Brown and his four wives, known for the TV show “Sister Wives,” won a landmark victory when a federal judge struck down key parts of Utah’s law banning plural marriage, removing the threat of arrest for those families.

Utah is appealing the ruling, but some advocates say de-criminalizing the practice could help bring more polygamists out of the shadows. Typically, the people in Colorado City and Hildale avoid outsiders and run from cameras, but those habits changed in the immediate aftermath of the flood, including the grieving fathers’ news conference. The two men also expressed their gratitude for authorities’ help with the search, but it remains to be seen whether the disaster will bring any long-term changes.

©2015The Canadian Press

Pope meets with Fidel, Raul Castro, misses out on dissident greeting – National

HAVANA – Pope Francis flies to eastern Cuba on Monday for the next leg of his pilgrimage after having met with both Raul and Fidel Castro but missing out on an encounter with Cuban dissidents.

The Vatican stressed that no official meeting had been planned with the dissidents. The Vatican embassy in Havana did make calls to some leaders “as a sign of attention to these people,” the Vatican spokesman said, but in the end the dissidents were prevented from reaching the cathedral where the greeting was planned.

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The Castro meetings went off without a hitch.

READ MORE: In New York, chance to see pope in Central Park like hitting the lottery

The Vatican described the 40-minute session with Fidel Castro at the former president’s home as “informal and familial,” with an exchange of books and discussion about big issues facing humanity, including Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment and the global economic system.

Video of the encounter broadcast on Cuban state media showed the 89-year-old Castro chatting animatedly with Francis and shaking the pope’s hand, the pope standing in his white vestments and Castro sitting in a white button-down shirt and Adidas sweat top.

The meeting brought together the leader who shaped Cuba for the last half of the 20th century and Latin America’s first pope, who is credited by many Cubans with opening a path to the future by mediating the warming diplomatic relations between their country and the United States. After his Cuba visit, the pope flies to Washington for his first ever trip to the U.S.

WATCH: Pope Francis draws huge crowds during visit to Cuba

Francis called on Castro after celebrating Mass in Havana’s main plaza on his first full day in Cuba.

READ MORE: Pope to arrive in US Tuesday, to address immigration

In his homily delivered under the gaze of a metal portrait of revolutionary fighter Che Guevara, Francis urged Cubans to care for one another out of a sense of service, not ideology. He encouraged them to refrain from judging each other by “looking to one side or the other to see what our neighbour is doing or not doing.”

“Whoever wishes to be great must serve others, not be served by others,” he said. “Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people.”

It was a subtle jab at the communist system, which even the Vatican spokesman didn’t deny. “The pope doesn’t tend to make explicitly political speeches, but he has some general principles and everyone is free apply their different experiences of life on them,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

Many Cubans complain about the rigidity of the Cuban system in which nearly every aspect of life is controlled by the government, from cultural institutions to block-level neighbourhood watch committees. While the system has softened in recent years, Cubans can be excluded or lose benefits if they are perceived as being disloyal to the revolution.

Cubans are also increasingly concerned about growing inequality, in which those with access to foreign capital live lives of relative luxury while others can barely feed themselves, generating jealousy and division.

“Being a Christian entails promoting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, fighting for it, living for it,” Francis told the crowd.

At one point, Francis was approached by a man who grabbed onto the popemobile and appeared to be speaking emotionally to the pontiff, who touched him on his hand and head before he was pulled away by security agents. Video showed what appeared to be the same man throwing leaflets in the air, and backers of a Cuban dissident group said on 桑拿会所 he was a member of the opposition.

The head of the opposition group Ladies in White said 22 of 24 members of her group who wanted to attend Mass were prevented from going by Cuban security agents. And two other well-known Cuban dissidents said agents detained them after the Vatican invited them to the pope’s vespers service at Havana’s cathedral.

Marta Beatriz Roque and Miriam Leiva said they received invitations from the office of the papal ambassador in Havana but said they were arrested as they tried to travel to the cathedral.

“They told me that I didn’t have a credential and that I couldn’t go to the pope’s event that was taking place there in the Plaza of the Cathedral,” Roque said.

Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that some dissidents were invited to events to receive a greeting from the pope but that he didn’t know why the greeting didn’t take place.

Francis met for an hour with Fidel’s brother Raul, a declared atheist who, perhaps jokingly, has said he likes the pope so much he is thinking of returning to his Catholic roots. Francis thanked the 84-year-old leader for his pardon of thousands of petty criminals before his arrival. Castro presented the pontiff with a huge sculpture of the crucified Christ made of oars by the artist Kcho and a painting of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint.

Francis is due to visit the shrine to the virgin near the eastern city of Santiago on Monday evening, after making a brief stop in the city of Holguin for a Mass.

Associated Press writers E. Eduardo Castillo and Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana and Christine Armario and Andrea Rodriguez in Holguin, Cuba, contributed to this report.

91-year-old dies in Burnaby after being hit by cabin scooter

Police are appealing for witnesses after Julio Chavez, a 91-year-old Burnaby man, was struck and killed by a motorized scooter.

The entire incident was captured on a convenience store security camera on September 11, at the corner of Edmonds Street and Mary Avenue. Chavez leaves the store, gets to the corner and prepares to cross the street.

It’s then that a woman driving a blue cabin scooter hits Chavez on the sidewalk.

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His head hit the pavement hard, and while witnesses and a nearby police officer quickly rushed over to help, Chavez died of his injuries the next day.

Cabin scooters are self-contained motorized vehicles, which can reach speeds of 11 kilometres per hour.

Chavez’s family is sharing the surveillance video of his death in hopes of changing the rules around how these scooters can be used.

“It looks like a small car. It’s completely enclosed, it’s got windshield wipers, it’s got doors. Quite frankly I think they go too fast to be travelling on public walkways,” said Alex Osorio Jr., his grandson.

“As far as I’m concerned, these should be a motor vehicle.”

While Burnaby RCMP are asking any witnesses to contact them to help in their investigation, the Chavez family grieves.

“Anybody he saw in trouble he would try and help out to the best of his ability, said Osorio Jr.

“He loved everybody, and to him, everybody loved was family.”

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Emmys 2015: Big wins for Viola Davis, Jon Hamm, ‘Transparent,’ ‘Veep’ – National

LOS ANGELES – Long-standing barriers fell at Sunday’s Emmy Awards as Viola Davis became the first non-white actress to claim top drama series acting honours, Jon Hamm finally won for “Mad Men,” and “Game of Thrones” overcame voters’ anti-fantasy resistance to claim the most trophies ever in a season.

An emotional Davis, who won for her portrayal of a ruthless lawyer in “How to Get Away With Murder,” invoked the words and spirit of 19th-century African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

“I can’t seem to get over that line,” she quoted Tubman as saying.

“The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis added. “You cannot win Emmys with roles that are simply not there.”

“Empire” star Tariji P. Henson, another black nominee in the category, stood and applauded Davis’ win. Other African-American actresses who prevailed Sunday were Uzo Aduba and Regina King, who won for supporting performances.

WATCH:  ‘It doesn’t end here’: Viola Davis after historic Emmy win

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READ MORE: Canadians win early Emmys for work on ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Game of Thrones’

“Mad Men” star Hamm claimed the best drama actor Emmy that eluded him seven times before. He bypassed the steps to the Emmy stage, scrambling onto it on his stomach.

“There has been a terrible mistake, clearly,” said Hamm, who played troubled ad man Don Draper in the series that ended its run without adding another best-drama trophy to its haul of four previous wins.

It lost to “Game of Thrones,” which became only the second so-called “genre” series, after sci-fi drama “Lost,” to win. The blood-soaked fantasy saga won a combined 12 Emmys on Sunday and at the previous creative arts awards, eclipsing the nine-awards record set by “The West Wing” in 2000.

With a total of 26 Emmys since it became eligible to compete in 2011, “Game of Thrones” is tied with “Hill Street Blue” and “The West Wing” as the most-honoured drama series ever.

Peter Dinklage nabbed the best supporting drama actor award for “Game of Thrones,” which also won writing and directing trophies. Tracy Morgan, the actor-comedian seriously injured last year in a car accident, made a triumphant return to reveal “Game of Thrones” the best drama series.

WATCH: Emotional Tracy Morgan makes triumphant public return at Emmy Awards

READ MORE: Stars discuss migrant crisis as films reflect refugee issues

Host Andy Samberg noted that the 67th Emmys coincided with the 67th birthday for George R.R. Martin, whose novels are the basis for “Game of Thrones.” A smiling Martin was in the theatre audience to accept the congratulations, and was onstage for the big win.

On the comedy side, political satire “Veep” claimed the top series award that had gone to “Modern Family” for five consecutive years.

Jon Stewart is gone from “The Daily Show” but not forgotten by Emmy voters, who gave the late-night show the best variety talk series award Sunday over two hosts who have moved on, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman.

Stewart, who left the “Daily Show” earlier this year, warned the theatre audience that the perils of leaving TV include no applause or free food.

“To everybody on television, I just want to tell you, cling to it as long as you can,” joked Stewart, who’s turning over “Daily Show” to Trevor Noah.

Besides Colbert, who left his Comedy Central show to become host of CBS’ late-night show, the tough competition included another channel alum, John Oliver.

“Transparent” emerged as an early winner, capturing a best comedy actor trophy for Jeffrey Tambor and a directing award for its creator, and giving both winners a chance to pay tribute to the show’s trangender themes.

“I’d like to dedicate my performance and this award to the transgender community. … Thanks for letting us be part of the change,” said Tambor, who plays a man journeying toward womanhood.

Jill Soloway, who based the series on the life of her own “moppa,” as she calls her parent, used her directing trophy acceptance speech to ask for equal rights for transgender individuals.

“It is legal in the majority of U.S. states to refuse to rent to trans people,” she said, saying the country has a civil rights problem that must be addressed.

Aduba won the supporting actress in a drama trophy for “Orange is the New Black,” which was switched under academy rules this year from comedy competition. Aduba won a guest actress award last year for her portrayal of the character known as “Crazy Eyes” in the series.

Emmys voters didn’t give up their fondness for choosing the familiar over the groundbreaking in other categories as well.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was honoured as best lead comedy actress for “Veep” for the fourth time. Allison Janney of “Mom” and Tony Hale of “Veep” were repeat winners for supporting comedy acting honours.

Janney, who plays a dysfunctional parent, thanked series producer Chuck Lorre for creating a deeply flawed character and “thinking of me to play her.”

“This is nuts,” said Hale, thanking his show’s writers and lauding his fellow nominees: “You make me laugh hard.”

“Olive Kitteridge,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, nearly swept the limited series categories, with six trophies including the top award and lead acting honours for Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins and a supporting award for Bill Murray.

King of “American Crime” won supporting actress honours for a limited series. “Inside Amy Schumer” won for best variety sketch series.

“The Voice” won a best reality series trophy, breaking the hold that “The Amazing Race” long had on the category and snaring an award that always eluded “American Idol.”

Samberg kicked off the ceremony with a video in which he made elaborate fun of the overload of TV programs available.

“So many shows, so little,” he sang, before entering a “TV viewing bunker” to binge-view on all the nominated shows. A bearded, shaggy-haired Samberg emerged to boast to contenders Jon Hamm and Kerry Washington that he had them and everyone else covered.

Appearing on stage, groomed, Samberg touched briefly on the political scene.

“Sure, Donald Trump seems racist,” he said. “What else?”

HBO dominated the Emmys with 43 awards, followed by NBC with 12, Comedy Central and FX Networks with eight awards each, ABC with six and Amazon with five.

©2015The Canadian Press

10 ridings the Conservatives need to win to finish with the most seats

In sports, it’s often said that defence wins championships.

The Conservatives certainly hope that holds true on election night.

When the Conservative Party won 166 seats in 2011, it did so with 39.6 per cent of the vote. While it could go back to those heights, most polls conducted in the last month have had them between 28 and 32 per cent (except an Ekos poll released Thursday that put the Conservatives at 35.4 per cent).

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And so, Stephen Harper’s road map involves less winning in new places, and more holding on to regions where his party won last time.

In this respect, they have a few advantages. Many of Canada’s 30 new electoral districts are in places where the Conservatives have traditionally done well, including Ontraio’s “905” belt, and the suburbs of Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

And with both the Liberals and the NDP doing well in the polls, there’s the potential of vote-splitting on the left.

READ MORE: 10 ridings where strategic voting might decide the election

Even so, the Conservatives are anything but locks to finish election night with the most seats. Analysis by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) projects the Conservatives to win 114 seats, compared to 117 for the NDP and 106 for the Liberals.

See the LISPOP map below: 


Click to explore the latest seat projections in your riding

Leaning Conservative
Leaning Liberal
Leaning NDP
Bloc Québécois
Leaning Bloc Québécois
Too Close to Call

Note: “Leaning” indicates a 5% to 10% lead. “Too Close to Call” indicates a difference under 5%. Courtesy of Lispop桑拿按摩.

The Conservatives could lose 15, 20, or even 25 seats they won by small margins in 2011—in the GTA south of York, Prince Edward Island, Vancouver Island, and a few other places—and still finish election night with the most MPs.

But if they lose these 10 ridings, they’d be in serious trouble.

1. Central Nova

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Central Nova

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 55.3 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

The Conservatives won 14 seats in Atlantic Canada in 2011, yet it’s unlikely they will get that many in this election. They received 37.9 per cent of votes then, but haven’t eclipsed 26 per cent for the region in any poll since Aug. 11.

However, they still hope to do well in rural seats in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick—Central Nova being a prime example. Held by the MacKay family for 39 of the last 44 years, it’s an open riding following Peter MacKay’s decision to leave politics.

Fred Delorey, a longtime staffer for the Conservatives, hopes to retain the seat for the party. In a Mainstreet/Postmedia poll of this riding released this week, Delorey led Liberal candidate Sean Fraser, a lawyer, 36 to 30 per cent.

2. Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Bécancour-Nicolet-Saurel

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 43.9 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

The Conservatives have shown in all three of their victories under Harper that they don’t have to win many seats in Quebec—but they would like to hold on to the five they won last election, all but one of which were clustered to the south of Quebec City.

Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis has been held by Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney since 2006, and his vote total has been remarkably stable in all three wins, all between 44 and 46.4 per cent.

The NDP’s candidate is Jean-Luc Daigle, former Saint-Romuald mayor and Lévis councillor. Should he win, the Conservatives could be hard pressed to keep any of their seats in Quebec.

3. Kanata-Carleton

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Kanata-Carleton

Elections Canada

2011 result (new seat, but based on results in polling stations within the boundaries): 1st place, 53.7 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

The Conservatives won 73 of 106 seats in Ontario last election, their highest number in the province since the 1984 election.

While they expect to lose some in more urban areas of the province, it’s in suburban ridings surrounding Ottawa and Toronto where tight races could ultimately decide the election.

One of them is Kanata-Carleton, a new riding that local media have described as a toss-up seat. Small business owner Walter Pamic will try to hold the area for the Conservatives, but the Liberals have high hopes for Karen McCrimmon, a retired Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel who was the first woman to command a Canadian Forces flying squadron.

4. Peterborough-Kawartha

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Peterborough-Kawartha

Elections Canada

2011 result (new seat, but based on results in polling stations within the boundaries): 1st place, 49.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Too close to call

As goes Peterborough, so does the government: the riding surrounding the city has voted for the party that formed government in all but one election since 1963 (the only exception was 1980). And in provincial elections, the Peterborough-centred riding has elected the party that won the most seats each time since 1977.

There is no incumbent here, because former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro, who had held this riding since 2006, was found guilty last year of violating the Elections Act in his 2008 victory, and sentenced to one month in jail.

And a Nanos poll in the riding conducted earlier this month found the Liberals in first place with 41 per cent of decided voters, followed by the Conservatives at 29 per cent.

However, it only had a sample size of 300—one of the many reasons there’s plenty of debate over which way this riding will go on election night.

5. Vaughan-Woodbridge

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Vaughan-Woodbridge

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 56.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Too close to call

There are nine ridings in the Regional Municipality of York, up from six in 2011, and while the Conservatives dominated this area last time (winning five of six seats, generally by large margins), former cabinet minister Julian Fantino is in tough. 

The riding has shrunk drastically from its previous boundaries, when it included all of Vaughan, and has become more urban in the process.

Fantino’s main competition this election is expected to be Liberal candidate Francesco Sorbara, a corporate debt analyst.

Simply put, this is one of many seats in the “905 belt” around Toronto the Conservatives are banking on. While they don’t need to win them all, Vaughan-Woodbridge will be a good indicator of the party’s overall success on election night.

6. Sarnia-Lambton

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Sarnia-Lambton

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 52.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Conservative

If Vaughan-Woodbridge is emblematic of the type of suburban, “905 belt” riding the Conservatives are banking on winning, Sarnia-Lambton is emblematic of the more rural Ontario ridings the party has to win.

The riding elected a candidate from the party forming government in every election since 1963, the longest such mark in Canada.

But the Conservatives will have to win it with a new candidate, engineering consultant Marilyn Gladu, as three-term MP Pat Davidson is stepping aside.

7. Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 57.6 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Conservative

Last election the Conservatives won six of eight seats in the Winnipeg area, their best result ever.

LISPOP and other forecasters are predicting the Conservatives to do worse this time around—although polling has been relatively sparse in Manitoba this election cycle.

A good indicator of how well the Conservatives are doing will come in this riding, where Steven Fletcher defeated his NDP challenger by 37.4 per cent, or over 17,000 votes.

It was the party’s largest margin of victory in Winnipeg in 2011, the area is suburban, and Fletcher remains popular. If the Conservatives don’t win here, they’re unlikely to take any of the city’s eight seats.

8. Edmonton Riverbend

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Edmonton Riverbend

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 59.4 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

Similar to Winnipeg, most forecasters believe the Conservatives are unlikely do as well this election in Edmonton—where they took seven of eight seats in 2011—but the question is by how much.

Redistribution has changed the boundaries of virtually every seat in the area, and made several that were split between Edmonton and the surrounding area into fully suburban ridings.

One of those new suburban districts is Edmonton West, which has the highest average and median income of all of Edmonton’s ridings (according to the 2011 National Household Survey). There is no incumbent running, and the highest profile candidate is Conservative Matt Jeneroux, a former MLA who lost his seat to the NDP in this year’s provincial election.

Outside of Edmonton West, there may not be a likelier seat in the city for the Conservatives to win—which means if they lose, they’ve likely lost several other Edmonton ridings as well.

9. Cariboo-Prince George

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Cariboo-Prince George

Elections Canada

2011 result (based on current boundaries): 1st place, 56.3 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Leaning Conservative

Conservative MP Dick Harris won each of his seven elections in this riding between 1993 and 2011 by between 15 and 30 per cent.

However, there are several reasons to suggest the margin with be smaller in this election. First, Harris is not running for re-election, with the Conservative candidate now Todd Doherty, who recently served as revenue director at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

Second, the Conservatives are facing a rare challenge from the right: Sheldon Clare, president of the National Firearms Association, is running here as an independent.

Third, polls have generally shown the Conservatives with lower support in British Columbia — between 25 and 35 per cent — than they’ve received in recent elections.

The effect of this among voters in a relatively unique rural riding is unknown. But if the Conservatives can’t win here, it doesn’t bode well for their chances in several other B.C. Interior seats they currently hold, including Kootenay-Columbia, Central Okanagan–Similkameen–Nicola, and South Okanagan–West Kootenay.

10. Delta

Riding boundaries for the electoral district of Delta

Elections Canada

2011 result (new seat, but based on results in polling stations within the boundaries): 1st place, 48 per cent
Current LISPOP projection: Too close to call

Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Conservative MP since 2011 and Minister of National Revenue, decided to run here when her Delta-Richmond East riding was split in two after redistribution.

But the Liberals are fielding a strong candidate in Carla Qualtrough, a lawyer and Paralympian swimmer.

The addition of North Delta, a much more urban neighbourhood than the rest of Delta, to this riding complicates things for the Conservatives.

The Conservatives don’t need to win many seats in Metro Vancouver to finish the night with the most seats—but Delta is likely one of them.

Filipino nurse in Singapore calls locals losers on Facebook, given four months in jail – National

SINGAPORE – A Filipino nurse working in Singapore was sentenced Monday to four months in jail for describing Singaporeans as losers on his Facebook, and subsequently providing false information to police investigators.

Ello Ed Mundsel Bello, 28, pleaded guilty to a charge of promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility under the country’s sedition act, and two charges of providing false information to the police. An additional charge under the sedition act, and another for lying to the police, was also considered during sentencing.

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In a Facebook post on Jan. 2 that received more than 600 hostile replies, Bello called Singaporeans “loosers (sic) in their own country”.

Singapore will soon be the “new Filipino state,” he wrote. He added: “We take their jobs, their future, their women, and soon, we will evict all SG loosers out of their own country.”

The Filipino also stated that he was “praying that disastors (sic) strike Singapore and more Singaporeans will die,” and that he would “celebrate” if this happened.

Following the hostility his comments generated, Bello deleted them and lodged a police report, claiming that someone logged into his Facebook account without permission.

Bello was dismissed from his job at Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital after it was discovered that he had made three other similar online posts in 2014.

In sentencing Bello, district judge Siva Shanmugam emphasized that xenophobic comments had no place in cosmopolitan Singapore as they posed “a threat to our social stability and security”.

“The local-foreigner divide has remained a challenging fault line in our society in recent times,” Shanmugam said.

“Unlike the limited effect and reach of distinct racial or religious issues, this divide affects all and sundry and cannot be regarded as any less delicate or sensitive in the current context,” he added.

The sedition charge is deserving of a three-month jail term, said Shanmugam, who took into account Bello’s status as a first-time offender.

Two counts of providing false information to public officers were awarded a month in jail each, with punishment on these counts running consecutively.

On Aug. 27, Philippine authorities said they respected the decision of Singapore’s court to convict Bello of sedition.

Bello, who was dressed in white and brown prison garb, looked straight ahead as the judgment was read in a relatively empty courtroom.

The maximum punishment for inciting feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of Singapore’s population is a three-year jail term and a 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,555) fine.

For giving false information to the police, offenders face a punishment of up to a year in jail and a fine of 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,555).

Singapore courts have in the past similarly punished offenders for making public remarks seen as seditious and likely to stir racial trouble.

About 40 per cent of Singapore’s population of 5.47 million is made up of foreigners, most of them from neighbouring countries including the Philippines. A large number of Filipinos work in the hospitality, medical and entertainment industries. Singapore citizens’ three main races are Chinese, Malay and Indians.