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Social services taking over children’s care from Saskatoon Tribal Council

The Saskatchewan government is taking back responsibility for the care of children from the Saskatoon Tribal Council Child and Family Services. Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer said the tribal council has repeatedly refused the ministry access to files for children it serves on reserve.

Harpauer said that means the government has no idea how many children are being cared for or what kind of care they’re receiving.

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    “I’m hoping that they are getting a very good level of care, but I want to be assured,” Harpauer told reporters Tuesday at the legislature in Regina.

    READ MORE: Two-thirds of First Nations children in Saskatchewan live in poverty: advocate

    First Nations agencies are required to monitor and track children in care on reserve and report back to the Ministry of Social Services. The province has what are called delegation agreements with 15 of 17 First Nations agencies.

    The Yorkton and the Saskatoon tribal councils have refused to sign new agreements.

    However, according to the latest report from the provincial auditor, the Yorkton council is working with the ministry and submits monthly reports on children in its care.

    The Saskatoon council is not submitting those monthly reports.

    Provincial auditor Judy Ferguson said last week that “without access to all files relating to children in care, the ministry cannot determine if children are properly cared for and protected.”

    READ MORE: 85 per cent of Saskatchewan children in foster care are indigenous: Stats Can

    Harpauer says there has not been consistent reporting since 2008 and the province has been working in a void “most of time.”

    “It’s not just how many kids,” Harpauer said.

    “With the other agreements and the other agencies that we work with, the other 16 agencies, they allow our quality assurance to go in the agency, randomly take files and ensure that the level of care is to the provincial standard because we believe that all children are entitled to the same level of care in our province.”

    “They will not allow our officials to do that with the files on reserve. They will not allow the children’s advocate to access the files on reserve.”

    Harpauer says years of trying to negotiate a new deal between the province and the tribal council have reached an impasse.

    Federal funding also expired in March.

    Harpauer says officials plan to go to the Saskatoon Tribal Council office on Wednesday to get the files and, if that doesn’t work, the province will have to go through the courts.

    “I’m trying to be very optimistic, but I won’t be shocked if they chose not to (share the files),” Harpauer said.

    The Saskatoon Tribal Council has seven member nations within a 200-kilometre radius of Saskatoon.

    A call to the office for comment was not immediately returned.

    Harpauer said the decision was not taken lightly.

    “It is not about politics, or jurisdiction. It is about the safety and well-being of vulnerable children, and that must be our primary concern,” she said.

Alberta organizes centralized donation program for residents of Fort McMurray

EDMONTON – Alberta is organizing a centralized donation program for residents of fire-ravaged Fort McMurray. The province said it will avoid mistakes from the Slave Lake fire when new clothes ended up in the garbage dump.

Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee said if Fort McMurray receives more donations than needed, items will be redirected to other charities.

Larivee said the province is partnering with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency to co-ordinate donations.

ChangSha Night Net

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  • Air quality advisory lifted for Fort McMurray following wildfire

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    Items still being accepted include gently used furniture, food, bedding, baby food, bottles and formula.

    READ MORE: ‘You’re going to get through this,’ former mayor of Slave Lake tells Fort McMurray

    There has been an outpouring of donations since last month’s fire, which destroyed one-tenth of the city and forced more than 80,000 people to flee.

    A similar show of support followed a fire that destroyed parts of Slave Lake in 2011, but some donations, including new children’s clothing, were later found in a landfill.

    Albertans who want to donate items for Fort McMurray residents can call 310-4455 for instructions.

    People interested in volunteering at the Alberta Wildfire Donation Centre operated by ADRA in Edmonton must register online.

    Donations can also be dropped off in person at the centre, 17306 – 129 Ave. NW, in Edmonton. For a list of the most-needed items, visit the Alberta government’s website.

    Financial donations are still being accepted by the Canadian Red Cross.

EXCLUSIVE: Quebec Cannabis Registry tracks 500 medical marijuana patients

MONTREAL —; The Quebec College of Physicians made it mandatory for doctors and patients to take part in a research study if they wanted access to cannabis. But tracking the use of medical marijuana in the province has proven to be a challenge.

READ MORE: Pot activist calls Quebec’s Cannabis Registry a form of medical extortion

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“It’s not that easy to set up this kind of project,” said Dr. Mark Ware, investigator at the MUHC’s Research Institute.

Quebec is considered a world leader when it comes to research on medical marijuana. It’s been just over one year since the Quebec Cannabis Registry first saw the light of day, and only a fraction of doctors who have applied are now authorized to prescribe pot, mostly in private clinics.

“We’re waiting for permission and approvals to extend recruitment to all publicly associated clinics across Quebec,” said Ware, who is planning to present his preliminary findings in Poland later this month.

Only 23 physicians are approved to authorize the use of medical marijuana, out of the 160 who have applied. The registry is now tracking 505 patients, and in the long run the goal is to have at least 3,000.

“I think the conclusion that we have is that it’s working,” insisted Ware. “We’ve been on a steady recruitment curve ever since we began.”

But the registry has also proven to be time-consuming for doctors and patients who typically have to spend hours filling out surveys on the different strains, symptoms and side effects of marijuana.

READ MORE: Pot dispensaries are sprouting up all over Canada. Here’s why.

“For some clinics this is a burden, especially if they’re recruiting a large number of patients. They need to be seen in follow up: the patients are seen every three months for the first two years,” said Ware.

Santé Cannabis is the largest clinic of its kind in Quebec, and employs a third of doctors who are taking part in the registry.

“There are dissuasive elements to the registry,” said Adam Greenblatt, executive director of Santé Cannabis.

“It’s a very strict guideline but hopefully once we see the registry take off in public clinics that will no longer be an issue.”

The goal is to widen access to physicians in all public medical clinics such as CLSCs, but first Quebec’s Health ministry needs to agree.

READ MORE: Colorado pot report: More adults smoking weed, not kids

Many stakeholders expect that the federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana will increase access for both medical and recreational users. But Quebec’s College of Physicians worries it could compromise the entire cannabis registry, considering it’s now compulsory.

“Personally, my fear is that opening the market and diminishing the price and difficulty of access to cannabis in general —; it may be a barrier to the registry,” said Dr. Yves Robert, secretary of the Quebec College of Physicians.

“Patients will probably have more facility to access cannabis without having to have a prescription.”

Your Manitoba: June 2016

Your Manitoba June 30; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Jeff Vernaus

Your Manitoba June 30; Pleasant Valley, Man.

Submitted by: Larry & Nancy Cruikshank

Your Manitoba June 30; Hwy 59, Man.

Submitted by: Liz Griffin

Your Manitoba June 30; St. Andrews, Man.

Submitted by: Mary Blonski

Your Manitoba June 30; Carman, Man.

Submitted by: Lori Wiebe

Your Manitoba June 28; Oak Hammock Marsh, Man.

Submitted by: Neil Longmuir

Your Manitoba June 28; Webb Lake, Man.

Submitted by: Norbert Collette

Your Manitoba June 28; St. Malo, Man.

Submitted by: Melody Smith

Your Manitoba June 28; Nopaming Prov. Park, Man.

Submitted by: Daryl Kruk

Your Manitoba June 28; Hecla Island, Man.

Submitted by: Arnold Baysa

Your Manitoba June 24; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Priscilla Kerr-Hatae

Your Manitoba June 24; Ste. Anne, Man.

Submitted by: Martin Gabbs

Your Manitoba June 24; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Tim Reisdorf

Your Manitoba June 24; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Linda Caldwell

Your Manitoba June 24; Oak Hammock Marsh, Man.

Submitted by: Mark Rootes

Your Manitoba June 22; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: John Dalebozik

Your Manitoba June 22; Oak Hammock Marsh, Man.

Submitted by: James Urchenko

Your Manitoba June 22; Portage la Prairie, Man.

Submitted by: Larry Parker

Your Manitoba June 22; Clearwater Lake, Man.

Submitted by: Andre Brandt

Your Manitoba June 22; Riding Mountain National Park, Man.

Submitted by: Gen Dupas

Your Manitoba June 20; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Neil Longmuir

Your Manitoba June 20; Minisino, Man.

Submitted by: Ronald Felnhofer

Your Manitoba June 20; Laurier, Man.

Submitted by: Faye Soucy

Your Manitoba June 20; Langruth, Man.

Submitted by: Drenna Rhodes

Your Manitoba June 20; Deception Bay, Ont.

Submitted by: Nancy Mann

Your Manitoba June 15; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Patricia Timms

Your Manitoba June 15; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Therese Sibilleau

Your Manitoba June 15; Netley Creek, Man.

Submitted by: Steven Woloshyn

Your Manitoba June 15; Headingley, Man.

Submitted by: Tracy Lucier

Your Manitoba June 15; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Barb Johnson

Your Manitoba June 13; Norris Lake, Man.

Submitted by: Lena Schou

Your Manitoba June 13; Falcon Lake, Man.

Submitted by: Kelly Megarry

Your Manitoba June 13; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Sandra Roy

Your Manitoba June 13; Winnipeg Beach, Man.

Submitted by: Catherine Sproat

Your Manitoba June 13; Morden, Man.

Submitted by: Dell Friesen

Your Manitoba June 9; Portage la Prairie, Man.

Submitted by: Elton

Your Manitoba June 9; southern Manitoba.

Submitted by: Wendy Zibresky

Your Manitoba June 9; Netley Creek, Man.

Submitted by: Trevor & Cheryl

Your Manitoba June 9; Neepawa, Man.

Submitted by: Charlie Webb

Your Manitoba June 9; Meleb, Man.

Submitted by: Kevin Hurrie

Your Manitoba June 6; Lakeland, Man.

Submitted by: Thelma Hanneson

Your Manitoba June 6; Haywood, Man.

Submitted by: Corrine Bernard

Your Manitoba June 6; Big Whiteshell Lake, Man.

Submitted by: Helena Osborne

Your Manitoba June 6; St. Andrews, Man.

Submitted by: Tomek Malczewski

Your Manitoba June 6; Neepawa, Man.

Submitted by: Megan Stokes

Your Manitoba June 3; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Sharlene Garlinski

Your Manitoba June 3; Riding Mountain National Park, Man.

Submitted by: Nykola Dudeck

Your Manitoba June 3; Interlake, MB

Submitted by: Leslie Mehner

Your Manitoba June 3; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Elva Giesbrecht

Your Manitoba June 1; Rosenort, Man.

Submitted by: Rhonda Friesen

Your Manitoba June 1; Carman, Man.

Photo Submitted by: Tracy Vandermeulen

Your Manitoba June 1; Riding Mountain National Park, Man.

Submitted by: Nykola Dudeck

Your Manitoba June 1; St. Adolphe, Man.

Submitted by: Gilles Desrosiers

Your Manitoba June 1; Delta, Man.

Photo Credit: Linda Dahling

Your Manitoba June 2; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Randy Fridfinnson

Your Manitoba June 2; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Jeff Vernaus

Your Manitoba June 2; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Solange Lagassie

Your Manitoba June 3; Laurier, Man.

Submitted by: Gloria Desjardins

Your Manitoba June 8; Pinawa, Man.

Submitted by: Cindy Stonebridge

Your Manitoba June 8; St. Georges, Man.

Submitted by: Angela Papineau

Your Manitoba June 8; St. Jean Baptiste, Man.

Submitted by: James Kochie

Your Manitoba June 8; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Shelley Fedoruk

Your Manitoba June 8; Oak Hammock Marsh, Man.

Submitted by: Neil Longmuir

Your Manitoba June 10; Morris, Man.’

Submitted by: Jennifer Rhymer

Your Manitoba June 10; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Priscilla Kerr-Hatae

Your Manitoba June 10; Haywood, Man.

Submitted by: Cecile Furet

Your Manitoba June 10; Fraserwood, Man.

Submitted by: James Yablonski

Your Manitoba June 14; St. Norbert, Man.

Submitted by: Harold & Ester

Your Manitoba June 14; Riding Mountain, Man.

Submitted by: Laverne Roulette

Your Manitoba June 14; Lake of the Woods, ON

Submitted by: Gail Cabana-Coldwell

Your Manitoba June 14; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Vic Ferrier

Your Manitoba June 14; Ste. Anne, Man.

Submitted by: Martin Gabbs

Your Manitoba June 16; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Les Wilkinson

Your Manitoba June 16; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Jo Smoley

Your Manitoba June 16; Carman, Man.

Submitted by: Brenda Bergsma

Your Manitoba June 16; Lac du Bonnet, Man.

Submitted by: Kathy Short

Your Manitoba June 21; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Sasha Palmova

Your Manitoba June 21; Ste. Anne, Man.

Submitted by: Larry Trush

Your Manitoba June 21; Stonewall, man.

Submitted by: MaryAnn Wollman

Your Manitoba June 21; Dominion City, Man.

Submitted by: Liz Griffin

Your Manitoba June 24; Landmark, Man.

Submitted by: Kathy Short

Your Manitoba June 24; Kenora, Ont.

Submitted by: Janet Cretton

Your Manitoba June 24; Richer, Man.

Submitted by: James Kochie

Your Manitoba June 24; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Wolfgang Boegel

Your Manitoba June 24; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Joe Campbell

Your Manitoba June 27; Hecla Island, Man.

Submitted by: Everlyn Baysa

Your Manitoba June 27; Lake Manitoba, Man.

Submitted by: Michelle Ferguson

Your Manitoba June 27; Winnipeg Beach, Man.

Submitted by: Tyler McPherson

Your Manitoba June 27; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Gisele Fillion

Your Manitoba June 27, Otterfalls, Man.

Submitted by: Greg and Kim Ewchuk

Your Manitoba June 29; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Mark Rootes

Your Manitoba June 29; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: Jeff Williams

Your Manitoba June 29; Ponemah, Man.

Submitted by: Kathy Magnusson

Your Manitoba June 29; Winnipeg, Man.

Submitted by: James Panas


ChangSha Night Net

Edmonton 2016 summer festivals and events

It’s that time of year again when Edmonton turns into festival city. From Improvaganza and Porkapalooza to K-Days and the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, there is no shortage of things to do in Alberta’s capital.

Here’s a list of some of the festivals and events being held in and around Edmonton this summer (and beyond).

June 15 – 25: Improvaganza (The Citadel Theatre)

ChangSha Night Net

Related

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  • Edmonton Fringe Festival celebrates another record-breaking year

  • K-Days 2015 attendance highest in 10 years

    Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre is celebrating the 16th annual Improvaganza, which brings in improv performers from across Canada and beyond. The festival runs for 10 days, offering theatresports matches, specialty shows and social events.

    June 17 – 19: Porkapalooza (Clarke Park)

    Now in its third year, Porkapalooza offers a barbecue competition, food trucks, live musical performances, beer gardens and a kids zone. This year, the festival is offering 8,000 free tickets per day for a three-day concert series, Concert of Hope For Fort McMurray. All proceeds will go to the Fort McMurray Fire Relief Fund. The barbecue festival is also a free event.

    IN DEPTH: Ongoing coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfire

    June 21 – July 17: Freewill Shakespeare Festival (Hawrelak Park)

    Created in 1989 by The Free Will Players, this festival began with a mission to produce the works of William Shakespeare. This season, the festival presents Love’s Labour’s Lost and Romeo and Juliet. There are also a wide range of pre-show events including puppet shows, UnWined date nights and an old-fashioned high tea.

    June 23 – July 5: The Works Art and Design Festival (Downtown Edmonton)

    The Works Art and Design Festival attracts artists from around the world to the heart of Edmonton. Set up in the downtown core, the festival is a free event that showcases over 200 exhibits.

    June 24 – July 3: Edmonton International Jazz Festival (Various Edmonton venues)

    With over 55 events, 250 musicians and seven different stages, the Edmonton International Jazz Festival offers music lovers 10 days of entertainment. Local and international artists will perform on stages throughout the city, including Churchill Square and Old Strathcona.

    June 29: Fort McMurray Fire Aid Concert (Commonwealth Stadium)

    Nickelback, Blue Rodeo, Dallas Smith, City and Colour and Dean Brody are just a handful of the artists set to hit the stage at Commonwealth Stadium on June 29 for the Fire Aid Concert in support of the people affected by last month’s devastating Fort McMurray wildfire.

    Watch below: Canadian bands are coming together to raise money to help Fort McMurray and its people get back on their feet

    Tickets, which cost $35, $60 and $99, are still available through Ticketmaster.

    Global Edmonton reporters will be live from Commonwealth Stadium throughout the June 29 evening newscasts.

    READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: Nickelback, Corb Lund, Randy Bachman among Fire Aid concert acts 

    July 1: Canada Day

    Canada Day celebrations will be held throughout the city.

    July 8 – 17: Edmonton International Street Performers Festival (Churchill Square)

    More than 40 acts from around the world will descend on Churchill Square for 10 days this summer for the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival. There’s a little something for everyone with more than 1,500 outdoor shows, be-your-own-busker workshops and late night indoor adult cabaret. This year, there will also be nightly outdoor troupe de jour group shows.

    July 6 – 15: TrackTown Rio 2016 Trials (Foote Field)

    The best track athletes Canada has to offer will arrive in Edmonton this July as the city hosts the Rio 2016 Trials and Canadian Track and Field Championships. The track event will feature the Canadian National Team nomination and selection trials for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    July 8: Global News Hour at 6 on the road at the Edmonton Eskimos game (Commonwealth Stadium)

    Global Edmonton will be on the road for the News Hour at 6 on July 8. Gord Steinke, Margeaux Morin, Jack Haskins and 630 CHED’s Bryan Hall will come to you live from Commonwealth Stadium during the newscast.

    July 14 – 17: Alberta Summer Games (Leduc)

    Leduc will play host to this year’s Alberta Summer Games, which will see more than 3,000 athletes, coaches and officials from across Alberta visit the Capital Region. Athletes between the ages of 11 and 17 will be represented in 14 different sports.

    July 15 – 17: India Film Festival of Alberta (Edmonton and Calgary)

    The 2nd edition of the India Film Festival of Alberta showcases the diversity of Indian cinema to viewers in Edmonton and Calgary. Eleven award-winning movies will be screened in 11 different Indian languages.

    July 22 – 31: K-Days (Northlands)

    One of the biggest festivals to hit Edmonton every summer, K-Days will be back with 10 days of midway fun at Northlands. The festival kicks off with the annual parade through the streets of downtown Edmonton, which Global News will livestream online and broadcast live on-air across Alberta.

    Kent Morrison, Nancy Carlson and Mike Sobel will host the broadcast, which begins at 10 a.m. on July 22.

    This year, Northlands is doubling the entertainment with two stages: the north stage near the bridge to Rexall Place and a new south stage, which will be set up on the infield of the racetrack.

    READ MORE: K-Days entertainment lineup a ‘test’ for Northlands with future up in the air

    July 21 – 30: Taste of Edmonton (Churchill Square)

    Taste of Edmonton has become a summer tradition for many. The festival celebrates all the culinary delights the Edmonton area has to offer. The 10-day event offers food, drinks and entertainment for people of all ages.

    July 22 – 24: Interstellar Rodeo (Hawrelak Park)

    Sam Roberts Band, the Strumbellas and Lord Huron on are the entertainment lineup for this year’s Interstellar Rodeo. The three-day music festival turns the amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park into an intimate concert setting, with a mix of musical genres.

    July 25 – 31: Oil Country Championship (Glendale Golf & Country Club)

    The Oilers Entertainment Group and the PGA Tour have come together to bring a new, professional golf tournament to Edmonton this summer.

    The Oil Country Championship will be played at the Glendale Golf and Country Club from July 25 to 31. The tournament will be an annual stop on the Mackenzie Tour, a PGA Tour affiliate that showcases some of the best up and coming golf talent from around the world.

    READ MORE: Fore! Oilers partner with PGA Tour to bring Oil Country Championship golf tournament to Edmonton

    July 30 – Aug. 1: Heritage Festival (Hawrelak Park)

    Now in its 41st year, Heritage Festival is a celebration of Canada’s multiculturalism. The three-day event gives people the change to learn a little bit more about the 60 countries represented through food, performances and crafts.

    Aug. 4 – 7: Edmonton Folk Festival (Gallagher Park)

    Among this year’s performers at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival are Kaleo, Jason Isbell, The Tallest Man on Earth and Passenger. Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Cat Empire, Fatoumata Diawara, Lisa Hannigan and the Staves are also set to hit the stage at Gallagher Park over the course of the four-day festival.

    READ MORE: Kaleo, Passenger, Mary Chapin Carpenter among 2016 Edmonton Folk Festival performers 

    Aug. 5 – 7: Cariwest (Downtown Edmonton)

    What better way to celebrate Caribbean culture than with a three-day Caribbean arts festival. Cariwest will take over downtown Edmonton for three days this August with colourful costumes, music, street theatre and Caribbean cuisine. The annual parade will be held on Aug. 6 at noon.

    Aug. 6 – 7: Edmonton Airshow (Villeneuve Airport)

    The Edmonton Airshow is back this summer. The event celebrates aviation and its history.

    Watch below: ‘They’re going to love the jets this year’: Edmonton Airshow celebrates aviation

    Aug. 8 – 14: IGLA Championships (Kinsmen Sports Centre)

    IGLA is an international organization devoted to developing and promoting gay and lesbian athletes in swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming. The championships involve a week’s worth of aquatic sports and social events.

    Aug. 11 – 21: Edmonton International Fringe Festival (Old Strathcona)

    The theme for this year’s Edmonton International Fringe Festival is “That was Then, This is Fringe.” Now in its 35th year, the fringe festival brings Edmontonians together in Old Strathcona with 1,600 live theatre performances in more than 40 venues.

    Global Edmonton will once again have seasoned theatre critic Todd James on site to offer reviews of dozens of shows offered at the fringe. You can also catch a glimpse of the festival grounds through the Global Edmonton eye-cam, which sits above the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market building.

    READ MORE: Edmonton International Fringe Festival reveals 2016 theme, ‘That was Then, This is Fringe’

    Aug. 19 – 21: Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival (Louise McKinney Park/North Saskatchewan River)

    The 20th annual Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival will go down in Louise McKinney Park rain or shine. From recreational paddlers to competitive teams looking for a berth at the national level, there is a team for everyone in the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association.

    Aug. 19 – 21: Edmonton Blues Festival (Heritage Amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park)

    The lineup for the 18th annual Edmonton Blues Festival includes a number of renowned artists including Paul James Band, Shemekia Copeland, Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett.

    Aug. 26 – 28: Symphony Under the Sky (Hawrelak Park)

    Symphony Under the Sky returns to Hawrelak Park this year with the music of Simon and Garfunkel, Strauss’ Emperor Waltzes and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. On Saturday night of the concert series, you can catch a movie under the stars. The festival will show Jurassic Park, E.T., Far and Away, The Lion King and Midway.

    Sept. 10: The Mosquers (Jubilee Auditorium)

    The Mosquers is a film festival that attracts talent from across Canada and the United States. The event involves a red carpet ceremony, the screening of the short films nominated for awards, a feature entertainment component and a final award presentation.

    Sept. 9 – 11: Kaleido Festival (Alberta Avenue)

    Kaleido Family Arts Festival is held on Alberta Avenue. Over the course of two days, Alberta Avenue comes alive with performances on rooftops, sides of buildings and back alleys. The festival is free for the whole family.

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.

ChangSha Night Net

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.

ChangSha Night Net

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.

ChangSha Night Net

Related

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  • Orlando shooting: Why LGBTQ pride and gay bars still matter

    “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.

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    “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.”

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    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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    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.”

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    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.

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    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.