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Canada ‘vulnerable’ to threats, warns outgoing navy commander

HALIFAX – The outgoing head of the navy says Canada is vulnerable and needs to work even more closely with the United States to improve the maritime security of North America.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said the government should look at investing in sensors to improve maritime surveillance and the information-sharing relationship between Canada and the U.S.

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READ MORE: Canada, U.S. to share border security data

Norman, who will hand over the navy to Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd on June 23, said the sensors could take a variety of forms, such as an underwater sensor network or land-based radar.

“At the moment we’re vulnerable,” said Norman during an exclusive interview recently with onboard HMCS Windsor as it sailed roughly 57 metres below sea level off the coast of Halifax.

“There are a number of threats and the question is: Are we prepared to simply accept the threats and the implications of them? Or do we want to do something about it? Do we want to know what’s going on?”

Those threats could include drug trafficking in the Caribbean, illegal migration, or “potential military threats in a circumstance that perhaps people don’t like to think about,” said Norman.

READ MORE: Hackers attacking Canada’s ‘critical infrastructure’ and it’s only going to get worse

He said Canada has been “fairly lucky.”

“We’ve been able to avoid any real situations that either have embarrassed the country … or have actually threatened the security of Canadians,” said Norman, who starts his new role as second in command of the Canadian Forces on Aug 5.

“But that doesn’t mean that the potential for those things happening isn’t real… As senior military officers, our responsibility is to provide advice beyond just being lucky. You don’t base strategy or policy on, ‘We’ve been lucky so far’.”

WATCH: Trudeau, Obama announce new pre-clearance agreement for Canada-U.S. border 

Norman says such sensors would bolster what he called “maritime domain awareness” under the NORAD agreement. Established in 1958, NORAD is the joint U.S-Canada command providing aerospace warning, air sovereignty and defence for North America.

Norman’s comments come as the Defence Department undertakes a review of the future of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Ken Hansen, a professor at the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said working more closely with the United States is imperative because it’s impossible to defend Canada on our own, given its size and population.

“If a serious threat was to develop, we would have absolutely no choice but to call on the Americans for help,” said Hansen in a recent interview.

“That means that they have to trust that we’re doing a reasonable job and not just, as Donald Trump says, freeloading.”

Hansen also agreed with Norman about investing in sensors.

READ MORE: Big changes could be coming to the Canada-U.S. border

“You need intelligence and you need surveillance systems to get that intelligence and to shape and coordinate what we do and where and when,” said Hansen. “You can build a trust relationship by being smart about where you put your resources.”

Norman said investing in a sensor system is important, but it may not be seen as urgent in the context of the defence review currently underway.

“Do I see us having as a result of this defence policy review an explicit mention of improving the underwater sensor network in and around North America? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see what happens,” said Norman.

“But it’s a growing concern from a maritime defence perspective and it’s something we need to think about going forward.”

SFU student under investigation for sex assaults

Police are now investigating a male student at Simon Fraser University after three female students reported being sexually assaulted.

In a statement, SFU says administration is aware of three allegations of sexual assault that were made last semester by female students against one male student.

The victim of the first assault reportedly felt so traumatized she left campus and moved back home.

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The second assault reportedly happened off campus during winter break. That student reported the incident to campus security, who urged her to go to the police.

No details have been released about the third assault.

In a statement, the university said:

As soon as university personnel became aware of these allegations, the university took action to support the students concerned without interfering with the police investigation. In addition, both the RCMP and the university conducted safety assessments. Measures were taken to ensure the safety of the campus community.

The man who is the subject of these allegations is no longer on campus.

The University of British Columbia has unveiled its draft sexual assault policy after a number of female students alleged last November that the school had delayed acting on numerous complaints about a male PhD candidate.

READ MORE: Man arrested at UBC person of interest in prior sexual assault

Sara-Jane Finlay, UBC’s associate vice-president of equity and inclusion, told the Canadian Press the policy could be amended to include a new stand-alone process for sexual assaults after the public consultation period wraps in the fall.

The committee expects to meet in October to redraw the policy based on public feedback, with the final version going to the board in December.

— With files from

Canadians on edge as Orlando shooting reverberates north of the border

TORONTO – Claire McIntosh was looking forward to attending one of the many parties slated for Toronto’s upcoming gay pride festival, the largest in North America – until she saw the carnage unfold at a gay Orlando nightclub.

The Toronto resident said Sunday’s horrific mass shooting that left 49 dead made her think twice, given that the shooter appeared to have targeted the LGBT community.

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    “People are saying I should phone and make sure they have extra security because who knows, that could be a target too,” said McIntosh, who nevertheless isn’t changing her plans.

    “Definitely in the back of your mind (you think) there could be followup here at pride events.”

    The shocking tragedy has left some Canadians fearful of similar attacks north of the border – at concerts, theatrical performances or movies where crowds of patrons gather in confined, dark spaces.

    READ MORE: Orlando shooting: Critics say buying assault rifles in Florida way too easy

    But that doesn’t mean residents of Canada’s most populous city, which is constantly bustling with events, should be dissuaded from going out, insisted 28-year-old Corrine Luxon.

    Even before Sunday, Luxon said she was still reeling from a deadly club shooting in Toronto that killed a 23-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman last summer. But she refuses to give into fear.

    “It definitely gives me pause to go out just because that can happen,” said Luxon.

    “It’s really frightening, it’s really frightening. But I think people have to go out and live their lives and do what they want.”

    The Orlando massacre has spurred operators of some of Canada’s biggest theatres, nightclubs and entertainment venues to assure patrons they’re determined to protect them.

    READ MORE: Orlando shooting: survivor Luis Burbano feels guilty for getting out

    Pride organizers have pledged increased security, while Cineplex Entertainment, which runs 163 movie theatres across the country, said “the safety and security of our employees and guests is our top concern.”

    Meanwhile, a spokesman for the musical theatre giant Mirvish Productions said its stage crew and front-of-house managers underwent a security training session just two weeks ago with the company’s consultants. John Karastamatis said the training included how to handle a gunman. But in the event of such an emergency, the consultants would take the lead.

    “This is their specialty, it is not ours. And we hope we never have to deal with something like this, that nobody does, but this is when they take over. They’re on call 24 hours a day.”

    Otherwise, Karastamatis said Mirvish venues are also monitored by two unarmed security people. He doesn’t believe any theatres in Canada have armed security guards.

    READ MORE: Orlando shooting: Teen killed in attack called mom after being shot

    “If it becomes the standard we would certainly look at it, but it is not,” he said.

    “We’re doing as much as is possible in the theatre business at this point and as much as is being done in London and New York and other places where the population is much, much larger and the chances of something happening are much greater.”

    McIntosh said she considers herself to be an observant person, but will be extra careful when she goes out to any events with large crowds.

    “Make sure you look for exits. Make sure you’ve got a clear way to get out,” she said of her plans.

    “I just try to be really aware of what’s going on around me and stay near an exit if I can. I don’t know what else I can do.

    “There’s only so much.”

Gordie Howe to lie in repose at Joe Louis Arena ahead of funeral

DETROIT – Old hockey gloves, jerseys and framed photos were displayed on one side of Gordie Howe‘s flower-draped coffin, friends and family members were seated on the other. Standing nearby were some of hockey’s biggest names – Wayne Gretzky, Scotty Bowman and Steve Yzerman to name a few – who swapped stories and shared memories of the man known as Mr. Hockey.

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    “Somebody said it best this morning that (Jean) Beliveau, the Rocket (Maurice Richard) and Gordie – they were the three people that probably could change a hockey rink into a cathedral,” Gretzky said. “And when you walked in, it was more like a church today. It’s really special.”

    READ MORE: Gordie Howe: Mr. Hockey honoured in Saskatchewan legislature

    The Joe Louis Arena doors opened Tuesday morning for the 12-hour public visitation to honour Howe, who died Friday at age 88.

    A steady stream of fans and well-wishers shuffled slowly down a red carpet towards Howe’s coffin for the chance to say goodbye to the man many consider to be the greatest player ever.

    “There won’t be another equal to Gordie Howe in my mind,” said Red Wings fan Jim McIntyre of Chatham, Ont. “In my mind, he was the king of hockey and he was also a prince of man.”

    Howe was a star forward for the Red Wings during much of his NHL career, which started in 1946 and ended in 1980. Howe, born in Floral, Sask., played 32 pro seasons and won both the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer and Hart Trophy as MVP on six occasions.

    But he could do much more than score. Howe was quick with an elbow and was as tough as nails. Opponents crossed him at their peril.

    It was in stark contrast to his style off the ice. Howe was soft-spoken, friendly and had a gentle demeanour.

    “Wherever I go – anywhere in the world – and people talk about the Red Wings, they talk about Gordie Howe,” Yzerman said. “They really do.”

    Howe set NHL marks with 801 goals and 1,850 points. Those records were eventually eclipsed by Gretzky.

    “He’s the nicest man I ever met,” said Gretzky, his voice cracking with emotion. “I’ve been lucky in my lifetime. I got to be part of hosting the Queen, my wife and I got to meet Pope John Paul, I got to light the torch at Vancouver at the Olympic Games and they’re all great honours.”

    “But when the boys asked me to be a pallbearer today, it was pretty special.”

    READ MORE: Gordie Howe: Public welcome at funeral, visitation in Detroit

    Bowman was also among the pallbearers along with former Detroit Tigers outfielder Al Kaline.

    A few dozen fans lined up outside the arena 90 minutes before the opening to be among the first to pay their respects. Others wrote messages of sympathy on two large banners outside the entrance.

    Inside the arena, with soft red light shimmering against a black backdrop, the four Stanley Cup banners Howe won with Detroit in the early 1950s were displayed with his retired jersey banner.

    Howe’s No. 9 was also projected on the arena floor and two screens ran slideshows of old photos.

    “He always felt a need to perform each and every game and each and every practice,” said Gretzky, who attended with his father Walter. “That’s what separated Gordie Howe. That’s why he was Gordie Howe.”

    “He had a definite ambition that he was going to be the best player every night and every year and that’s how he lived. He never changed.”

    Red Wings fan Bud Somerville spent the night on a folding chair outside the rink so that he’d be the first in line. The 60-year-old from Westland, Mich., said he was a teenager when he first met Howe at the old Detroit Olympia arena.

    “He’s always been my favourite player, just nobody compared to him,” he said. “He was the greatest ever. They call Gretzky the greatest, but Mr. Hockey is the greatest.”

    Howe’s funeral, which will also be open to the public, is set for Wednesday at Detroit’s Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

    “My favourite Christmas ever was getting a Red Wing No. 9 jersey when I was five years old,” said Gretzky, whose famed No. 99 was a tribute to Howe. “It’s still the best Christmas present I ever got.”

Overall cost of Edmonton’s downtown arena goes up $7M; Katz to foot bill

When the deal for Rogers Place was signed several years ago, the city posted the all-in cost as $606.5 million. A recent update on the city’s website pegged the price tag at $613.7 million.

The city stresses the cost difference – $7.2 million – will not be paid for by taxpayers.

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    READ MORE: Edmonton city council approves final arena funding model

    It explained there were changes to the project’s scope: improvements to the Community Rink (being paid for by MacEwan University, which will be using the rink) and improved connections between the casino building and the hotel (being paid for by the Katz Group.)

    Since the work is happening at the same time as the arena construction, the costs are being included in the overall price tag.

    “Everyday citizens, they won’t see a difference,” Rick Daviss, executive director of the Downtown Arena Project, said. “The cost increases, yes. We are getting a better facility with a higher value, but that’s all being funded by MacEwan or by the Katz Group. And so the city contribution remains as it was.”

    READ MORE: Edmonton city council to debate borrowing $32M for downtown arena 

    The downtown arena project still faces a $31.5-million funding gap, unrelated to these two improvements.

    The city was hoping provincial grants would help pay for part of the arena and Community Rink costs, but the funds did not come through.

    Council will vote to tap into the Community Revitalization Levy to make up the difference.

    ROGERS PLACE TOUR: Take a step inside the downtown Edmonton arena  

    Rogers Place is scheduled to open Sept. 10 ahead of the 2016 NHL season.

    The Edmonton Oilers will play their first game there on Monday, Sept. 26 against the Calgary Flames.

Winnipeg Jets know their man ahead of NHL Draft

WINNIPEG —; In just 10 days the Winnipeg Jets will get to use the second overall draft pick they won in the NHL Draft Lottery.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff discussed the club’s plans for the draft and without saying who they’ll pick, Cheveldayoff indicated they know who they’ll take with the number two overall selection.

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“The list I think is getting pretty much in ink,” said Cheveldayoff. “I think you’re still doing some due diligence. You can’t watch anymore hockey with it, so the evaluation on the hockey side is essentially left to video or whatever which you’ve done a lot of already. Unless something really dramatically makes a shift that you just don’t see and obviously you saw some crazy things in the NFL draft this year. Yeah our minds are very set.”

Of course the Toronto Maple Leafs could throw a wrench in the Jets plans by taking somebody other than Auston Matthews with the first overall pick. And the Jets had a good sit down with the possible number two selection Patrik Laine.

“We had a good interview with him. He’s got a good sense of humour. He’s someone that’s obviously is confident. We talked a lot about just him as a person, his family, obviously the year, a variety of different topics.”

Regardless of who the Jets pick, they believe they’ll be getting a player who can play in the NHL right away.

“The players at the top end of the draft look like they’re ready to step in.” said Cheveldayoff.

RELATED: Heritage Classic pre-sale tickets start next week

Cheveldayoff also addressed the rumours that Jacob Trouba, who will soon be a restricted free agent, is on the trading block.

“I’m not trying to trade anybody.” Cheveldayoff said. “I think in this game there’s a distinct possibility that anybody can get traded. We’ve got some good young players here. We’ve got two of them that are up for contracts in Trouba and (Mark) Scheifele and we’re going to do our best to get those contracts done in the books. So trying to trade him ? No.”

The first round of the 54th NHL Draft is on June 24 in Buffalo, N.Y.

WATCH: Jets G.M. Kevin Cheveldayoff discusses the NHL Draft, Patrik Laine and Jacob Trouba

Young cancer survivor preparing for Manitoba Marathon ‘Super Run’

WINNIPEG —; With each stride, Courtney Mitchler moves a step closer to her goal.

“I want to run further and reach the mile I want to reach,” said the Hedges Middle School Grade 8 student.

RELATED: Winnipeg students get a leg up on Manitoba Marathon training

But not long ago, she faced a much bigger challenge.

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Courtney was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 when she was just 11. Doctors discovered a tumor after her appendix burst.

“I didn’t know what it was at first,” said Courtney.

“I was very terrified. I didn’t know if I was going to live.”

It was a dark moment that Courtney, now 13,  says she maneuvered with a bright outlook.

“I think staying positive and being happy is a better thing than being upset all the time,” Courtney said.

RELATED: Meet the volunteers keeping young Winnipeg marathoners on track

Within weeks, Courtney had surgery to remove the growth. She joined the Hedges Middle School Running Club once she got back on her feet. The group is one of 100 participating in this year’s Manitoba Marathon Champions in Training program. The goal is to introduce kids to an active lifestyle.

The Hedges Middle School runners will race in Sunday’s Super Run, a 2.6-mile fun run.

“She just wants to stay healthy,” said Kim Mitchler, Courtney’s mom. “She wants to get her six-pack back. She’s a very determined girl.”

RELATED: Winnipeg students surprised with new running shoes

Not just to help herself but also others. Courtney runs an annual fundraiser for cancer research. In two years, she’s raised more than $3,000.

“You can go through some trials in life and that can drag you down or you can go through some trials and come out a stronger person,” said Hedges Middle School Running Club leader Rowland Hayward. “I think she’s come out a stronger person.”

A role model for those running the same race — on or off the course.

North Shore Mountains hit with light snow in the middle of June

Most people on the Lower Mainland may be craving sunshine and flip flop weather, but Mother Nature has different plans.

A light dusting of snow was reported on the North Shore Mountains this afternoon.

Grouse Mountain told Global News a total of four centimetres of snow fell on top of the mountain today.

They posted a picture of snow covering parts of their guest welcome area with a caption saying, “Mother Nature seems a little confused this morning.”

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Meanwhile, Cypress Mountain posted a picture of the Olympic rings against the backdrop of a ski slope covered with a light dusting of snow.

Meanwhile, staff at Mount Seymour joked about opening their season in mid-July since they are currently experiencing a good accumulation, which is steadily building their snowpack.

Global BC meteorologist Mark Madryga says seeing light snow on the North Shore Mountains in the middle of June is rare, but not unheard of.

“Last few Junes we have not really seen this, but typically in June, we get these cool spells where big troughs of low pressure sit over us and the freezing level comes down,” says Madryga.

“We have also had some lightning, heavy showers and hail in parts of Metro Vancouver.”

Temperatures at YVR reached nine degrees today, but no new record low temperatures were recorded.

Meanwhile, a special weather statement has been issued for the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt and for Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton via Allison Pass, where an unstable air mass is expected to cause showers to turn into wet snow this evening.

Amounts are expected to be generally light, but near the Coquihalla Summit and over the Allison Pass amounts of 10 to 15 cm are possible through Wednesday morning.

Drivers are being warned that roads could be slippery and they should exercise due caution.

A Global BC viewer in Anahim Lake has also sent in a picture of their house covered in close to 40 cm of snow this morning, while temperatures dipped below zero.

But there is good news on the way. Madryga says while we are in for another cool night in Metro Vancouver tonight and only a slightly warmer night tomorrow, it will warm up again by the weekend.

Lethbridge firefighters’ stellar water recovery record highlighted during rescue training

The Lethbridge Fire Department is making a splash at William Pearce Park in Riverstone as 23 firefighters take part in a three-day dive training certification course.

The specialty training, which started Monday, is only offered every three years to local water rescue teams who take part in recovery operations.

Crews learn a number of skills to help with search and rescue operations, as well as evidence retrieval for law enforcement agencies.

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The instructors teach the course around the world, and the Lethbridge department specifically has a stellar record when it comes to successful dives.

“What I love about Lethbridge, and we have Medicine Hat here as well, is they are always striving to be the best they can be; they don’t shortcut,” instructor Andrea Zaferes said. “More divers die trying to find bodies than long-term drowning victims have been saved. That’s a really bad number, so they [Lethbridge Fire Department] have never not found the body they were looking for, ever. There are very few teams who can say that.”

Riley Mclaren is new to the dive team and said the specialty training was a great experience.

“One of the things I was looking forward to the most is just adding another dynamic to the job,” Mclaren said.

“We are lucky enough here to be firefighters and paramedics, and I’m happy now to be on the water rescue team and add that different facet to things we already do.”

READ MORE: Search and water rescue team recover body from Henderson lake

The training will continue Wednesday with more diving in Henderson Lake.

Zaferes also had tips for the general public when it comes to water rescue, including that it is not a good idea to go in the water after someone if you are not a trained lifeguard as it could lead to another rescue mission.

Other tips included marking the bank with two items to identify where a person went in the water, and designating a “water person” when at the river or lake and identifying them by a card worn around the neck. She suggested switching that person out every 15 minutes.

For more information on water rescue and a printable version of the watch card, you can click here.

Rainbow flag at US Embassy ‘disrespectful’, Jamaica AG says

Jamaica’s attorney general says a decision to fly the rainbow flag at the U.S. Embassy following the Orlando gay nightclub massacre is an affront to the island’s anti-sodomy laws.

READ MORE: ‘Blood was everywhere’: Orlando shooting survivors recall scenes of terror

On her social media accounts, Marlene Malahoo Forte condemned the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history but says she found the Kingston embassy’s decision to fly the rainbow flag “disrespectful of Jamaican laws.”

The attorney general described this as her personal view.

WATCH: Orlando shooting survivor Patience Carter speaks with media

Orlando shooting survivor describes being held hostage by gunman: Part 3

02:04

Orlando shooting survivor describes being held hostage by gunman: Part 3

02:52

Orlando shooting survivor describes being held hostage by gunman: Part 2

02:04

Orlando shooting survivor describes being held hostage by gunman: Part 1

01:32

‘The guilt of feeling lucky to be alive is heavy’: Orlando shooting victim reads emotional poem



On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy said it is flying the rainbow flag “in solidarity with the victims who were targeted for being members of the LGBT community.” U.S. embassies across the globe have also been flying the pride flag following the Sunday violence.

Jamaica has longstanding laws criminalizing sex between men. Stigma against LGBT citizens is common.

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