New Delhi: The National Housing Bank’s direction to housing finance companies to desist from providing loans under subvention scheme will lead to increase in interest cost for homebuyers and aggravate the liquidity crunch faced by real estate developers, according to two apex bodies of the realty industry. Worried over frauds by builders, the National Housing Bank (NHB) has asked housing finance companies (HFCs) to “desist” from offering loans under interest subvention scheme wherein real estate developers pay pre-EMIs (equated monthly instalments) on behalf of homebuyers for a certain period. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe direction has been issued by the NHB in view of several complaints of frauds allegedly committed by certain builders using subvention schemes. When contacted, CREDAI President Satish Magar said, “It should not have been done. This will increase the interest cost for homebuyers as builders were paying EMIs on behalf of customers for certain period. There was not much harm from this scheme”. He, however, ruled out any negative impact on housing sales and liquidity situation of developers. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostBut, NAREDCO President Niranjan Hiranandani is of the view that this move will further affect the project funding. “In the aspect where it seeks to control frauds, it is obviously welcome, although the side effect will be further drying up of project funds,” he said. The real estate industry is “desperately” looking for the government support to come out form the liquidity crunch, Hiranandani said. He stressed the need for alternative funding sources for the developers. Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said, “This will definitely put even more strain on many developers’ already precarious liquidity situation.” In order to attract more buyers for their projects and also raise funds for their construction, Puri said many real estate developers had resorted to offering various subvention schemes. “In these schemes, the developer basically took it on himself to repay the home loan amount on behalf of the buyer for a certain agreed period. In some cases, buyers were also taken for a ride if they didn’t read the terms and conditions carefully,” he added. Gulam Zia, executive director (valuation & advisory, retail & hospitality) of Knight Frank India, said the transaction volumes may come down in metro cities in the absence of the subvention scheme. “Subvention schemes are offered by reputed and A-grade developers on whom financial lenders had enough confidence. About 10-12 per cent of home loan market in top-8 cities were subvention schemes,” Zia said, adding that it was one of the most important schemes used by developers to induce purchase by homebuyers for under-construction properties. Ozone Group CEO Srinivasan Gopalan said, “This is good in the long run for developers. However, we do not appreciate any abrupt change overnight. This throws the entire planning out of gear.” He added that the subvention scheme had a lot of advantages to the customer as well as the financial risk on construction delays was wholly on the developer. Bengaluru-based Salarpuria Sattva group Managing Director Bijay Agarwal said buyers who were attracted to properties merely based on lucrative schemes would be discouraged. “In the long term, this maybe a good initiative from the government. It may bring stability among homebuyers and stop speculation,” he added.
Dehradun: The Congress and the BJP have urged the Uttarakhand government to take action against the officials responsible for allegedly issuing misleading sex-ratio figures for Uttarkashi, saying it had ruined the district’s image throughout the country.Official sex ratio data released for Uttarkashi recently said between April 1 and June 30, there were 216 deliveries in 133 villages of the district and all of them were boys. In a statement on Thursday, state Congress spokesperson Pradip Bhatt said it seemed from the data that there were only 133 villages in the district. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Bhatt pointed out that the same data also spoke about the birth of 180 girls in 129 other villages of Uttarkashi, which he said was ignored by the district administration. If the data is viewed in totality, he said it revealed that there were 961 deliveries in the district during the three-month period, out of which 468 were boys and 479 were girls, whereas 14 died. The Congress leader said the improvement in the sex ratio was completely lost sight of by the authorities while releasing the data. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KBhatt urged Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to immediately dismiss the officials for releasing only one part of the data, which he alleged was misleading. BJP state executive member Lokendra Bisht has also demanded stern action against the officials responsible for issuing the “misleading” sex-ratio figures for Uttarkashi. In a memorandum to the chief minister on Wednesday, Bisht said the sex ratio data, which showed that not a single girl child was born in over 100 villages, was misleading and ruined the reputation of the district in the entire country.
New Delhi: Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj passed away on Tuesday night, AIIMS sources said. She was 67. The senior BJP leader was brought to AIIMS at 10:15 PM and was straight away taken to the emergency ward. She had a kidney transplant in 2016 and had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha polls earlier this year for health reasons.
Agat (US): Long after clergy sex abuse erupted into scandal in the United States, it remained a secret on the American island of Guam, spanning generations and reaching to the very top of the Catholic hierarchy. For decades, abusers held the power in a culture of impunity led by an archbishop who was among those accused. Anthony Sablan Apuron was convicted in a secret Vatican trial and suspended in 2016, after which restrictions he supported on the reporting of abuse were eased. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USMore than 220 former altar boys, students and Boy Scouts are now suing the U.S. territory’s Catholic archdiocese over sexual assaults by 35 clergy, teachers and scoutmasters, hoping to finally see justice. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, estimating at least 45 million in liabilities, and survivors have until Aug. 15 to file for a financial settlement. Thousands of pages of court documents reviewed by The Associated Press, along with extensive interviews, tell a story of systemic abuse going back to the 1950s and of repeated collusion by predator priests. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsSeven men have publicly accused Apuron of sexual assaults they endured as children, including his own nephew. The archbishop, now 73, denies the allegations, but in April the Vatican revealed that Pope Francis had upheld the findings of a secret church trial that he was guilty of sex crimes against children. “He believed he was untouchable, more powerful than the governor,” said Water Denton, a former U.S. Army sergeant who alleges he was raped by Apuron 40 years ago as an altar boy. “But it was me against him, and I had nothing to lose.” Though Apuron has been removed from public ministry and effectively exiled from Guam, he remains a bishop and receives a monthly USD 1,500 stipend from the church. The Guam archdiocese said it did not know where Apuron is, and his lawyer declined repeated requests for comment. The AP found he recently registered to vote in New Jersey, but residents at the address he listed said he doesn’t live there and they don’t know him. To this day, no member of the Catholic clergy on Guam has ever been prosecuted for a sex crime, including Apuron. Secret church files that could have helped provide evidence for prosecutions are alleged to have been burned. And unlike dozens of archdioceses on the U.S. mainland, Guam has yet to issue a list of priests whom the church deems credibly accused of sexual assault. Despite church law that requires bishops and archbishops to maintain records on sex abuse allegations, the new archbishop, Michael Jude Byrnes, said his predecessor left him nothing. He couldn’t explain why, but said he had heard rumors of “a big bonfire” outside the chancery before Apuron left. “It’s horrific,” Byrnes said. “The sins of the fathers are left to the children. … It’s important for the Church of Guam to confront, in a good way, the evil that we found, and to acknowledge it, and to own it.” Catholicism is deeply engrained in the culture of Guam’s indigenous people, known as Chamorros. Four out of five Guamanians are Catholic. Many streets on this former Spanish colony of 165,000 are named for bishops and priests including some now accused of sexual abuse. Brothers Tomas and Ramon De Plata have filed suit alleging abuse by more than one priest. In March 1964, the brothers say, Apuron then a seminarian in his late teens was at a sleepover in the rectory. Around midnight, Ramon says, he walked into the priest’s bedroom looking for the bathroom and saw Apuron and another priest engaged in sex acts with a boy from his school. Ramon says the future archbishop got up from the bed and placed a hand on his shoulder. “He was calling me to join them,” recounted Ramon De Plata, now 65 and retired from the U.S. Army. “I said, ‘Don’t touch me!'” Denton says he dreamed as a 13-year-old altar boy of becoming a priest, just like Father Tony. So he felt privileged when in the spring of 1977, Father Tony invited him to spend the night before Sunday mass in the squat concrete block rectory. He says he woke up face down on bed, his legs spread, and the priest on top of him. “I yelled, I screamed, and I begged Father Tony, ‘Please stop! Please stop!'” Denton, now 55, recounted.
New Delhi: Disqualified Aam Aadmi Party legislator Kapil Mishra and party women’s wing chief Richa Pandey joined the BJP on Saturday. Speculations about Mishra joining the Bharatiya Janata Party were doing the rounds since he started criticising AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after being removed as a minister in May 2017. He grew close to many Delhi BJP leaders and often shared stage with them. Mishra and Pandey joined the BJP at the party office here in the presence of vice-president Shyam Jaju and Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari, former Union minister Vijay Goel and leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder Terming the occasion an “emotional moment” for him, Mishra accused the AAP of taking a U-turn from its principles and anti-corruption stand of the ‘India Against Corruption’ movement, from which it was born. “I was feeling helpless for the past few years due to the murder of the anti corruption movement, lies and manipulations of the party I was in,” Mishra said. “Joining the BJP, I feel like a man who has finally reached the shore.” Welcoming Mishra and Pandey into the BJP fold, Tiwari said: “I hope they will serve Delhi by following the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and philosophy of Deendayal Upadhyaya and Syama Prasad Mookerjee.” Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings Jaju, who is the incharge of the Delhi BJP, said Mishra had expressed his desire to join the party when Kejriwal sought “evidence” of the surgical strikes. Taking a dig at the chief minister, Mishra said the AAP chief was seen with Congress leaders like P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and NCP’s Sharad Pawar, against whom party volunteers once faced police lathis while protesting. The former minister said he would work to end the “negativity” in Delhi by helping the BJP win the assembly polls due next year. Earlier this month, Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had disqualified Mishra under the anti-defection law after he campaigned for the BJP the during Lok Sabha election. Mishra, who was elected from Karawal Nagar, has challenged his disqualification in the high court. Pandey, who headed the AAP’s women’s wing and was a spokesperson, said the AAP born out of search of “alternative politics”. “I realised the alternative politics I was seeking was not there at the Rouse Avenue (AAP headquarters), but it is here in the BJP,” she said. “Aam Aadmi Party has become a ‘khas’ (special) party of ‘khas’ people.” Pandey said she had spoken against the BJP and its leaders as an AAP leader, adding that now she felt like a “wayward person who has managed to reach back home”. Kapil Mishra’s mother, Annapurna Mishra, who is a senior BJP leader and former east Delhi mayor, was also present at occasion. “My mother used to argue with me, but I could not understand. It’s true you realise the worth of your parents’ wisdom after getting knocked down,” he added.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has attached assets worth over Rs 3 crore in Delhi, Punjab and Goa in connection with a money laundering probe linked to an online drug trafficking case. The federal probe agency has issued a provisional order, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), for attachment of immovable and movable assets of people identified as Amit Kohli, Diwakar Gupta and others here and the two other states. The total value of the attached properties is Rs 3.14 crore, it said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Enforcement Directorate filed a criminal case against the accused on the basis of a complaint filed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. “The accused persons were involved in illegal online export of prescription drugs and psychotropic substances after taking online orders from US-based clients and the orders were being delivered through the post office,” the ED said in a statement. It said several properties and bank accounts belonging to the accused, their relatives and a firm, Ad Buildwell Pvt Ltd, have been identified. “The accused have acquired ten immovable properties in Delhi, Goa and Punjab and also deposited money in their bank accounts disproportionate to their legal income during the period 2003-2008.
While many people use social media profiles for professional use, over 40 per cent Indians agree that they could get fired from their jobs for controversial content on their social media channels, new research has found. Worryingly, despite being a hotbed for personal information and photos, more than half of users in India have at least one dormant social media account, with 41 per cent admitting they have not even thought about deleting inactive accounts or giving them a clear out, said the study released recently. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”We have all seen high profile celebrities and public figures whose objectionable social media posts have emerged light years later, damaging their reputation, but this issue can affect anyone,” said researchers. More than a quarter admitted to only deleting posts after a crisis and 25.7 per cent confessed to posting negative content about their current workplace. For the study, researchers studied the attitude of Indians towards maintaining social media hygiene. The study revealed that 21.4 per cent Indians worry that content on their social profiles would negatively affect career/job prospects. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardOn the positive side, the study also revealed that 46.9 per cent social media users in the country prefer to keep personal and work life separate. The research involving 1,000 adults in India showed that of those aged 16-24, 31.4 per cent agree that social media content is important to their career prospects, compared to 24.6 per cent of those aged 35-44. Despite this, Indians still have a lot of unsavoury content on their current social media channels, which is ‘Not Safe For Work’ – comment that can be perceived offensive, wearing an embarrassing outfit, drunken behaviour, sleeping in a pavement or pub, swearing, vomiting, wardrobe malfunction, engaging in a fight, among others, the study revealed. Shockingly, 25.3 per cent admitted they have no idea how to change their privacy settings on social media and over a third said they have not done anything to change privacy settings despite knowing how to. This is especially important considering that 21.2 per cent know someone whose career or job prospects have been negatively affected by social media content they have posted.
Maharajganj (UP): A foreign national has been arrested here for entering the country on the basis of fake travel documents, a senior immigration official said on Wednesday. Shefer Kayani of Iranian origin was arrested on Tuesday evening in Sonauli area as his visa papers and passport were found to be fake, Sonauli check post immigration officer Mithlesh Kumar said. A case has been registered against the foreign national under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and under The Foreigners Act. The Intelligence Bureau has been notified, he added.
The United States has fired the opening shot in the latest softwood-lumber war against Canada, with the Trump administration announcing its first batch of duties on imported wood in the neighbourhood of 20 per cent.The move was expected: the deep-rooted dispute over lumber pricing between the two countries has led to once-a-decade trade skirmishes over the issue, resulting in American duties, then the inevitable court battles, and ultimately negotiated settlements.What wasn’t expected Monday was the enthusiasm with which the new American administration flung itself into the lumber hostilities, touting its incoming countervailing duties as an example of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tough, America-first trade posture.Trump underscored the impending move by announcing it to a gathering of conservative media on the eve of the expected announcement. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also highlighted it in an interview.Then came a statement that said U.S. Customs will begin collecting cash deposits from Canadian logging companies because they receive a range of subsidies — most of them around 20 per cent.What comes after the countervailing duties is a study of possible anti-dumping duties, followed by a final determination by the U.S. Commerce Department as early as Sept. 7, and one of three possible outcomes: an agreement, a surprise retreat from the U.S. government or potential years-long court battles.It will all play out amid the backdrop of a bigger trade file: the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.America’s lumber lobby applauded the announcement.“We are pleased with this initial outcome and are looking forward to the (next, anti-dumping) duties expected to be announced June 23,” said Zoltan van Heyningen of the U.S. Lumber Coalition.“Since this is an ongoing matter, we are limiting our comments to our press release.”A late-evening statement from the U.S. administration accused companies of benefiting subsidies ranging from three per cent by J.D. Irving Ltd., to 12.82 per cent for Resolute FP Canada, Ltd., to 20.26 per cent for Canfor Corp., to a high of 24.12 per cent for West Fraser Mills, with most others coming in at 19.88 per cent.Duties will be collected retroactively, too — the U.S. says it will gather them for the previous 90 days. Industry analysts expect the combined duties, Monday’s and the upcoming ones, to range between 30 and 40 per cent.In Canada, pressure will mount on the federal government.The government has adopted an a understated, under-the-radar approach to dealing with Trump. But now as it responds to the U.S. move, it must juggle ongoing softwood negotiations, upcoming NAFTA renegotiations, and a frustrated industry at home.There are already requests for it to provide financial help for Canada’s forestry sector. A government source said conversations are underway, but there won’t be an immediate announcement on that front.The Canadian government will wait to see the details of various punitive measures before calculating the aid amount. It took the federal government more than a year to announce the first of two aid packages after duties were imposed in 2001.It first gave more than $300 million in late 2002 and then $1.5 billion in November 2005, with $900 million for loan insurance to help financially strapped exporters that had more than $5 billion tied up in duties.“(The aid determination) really can’t be made until we’ve seen what the rate and penalty will be,” said an official who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.Quebec Economic Development Minister Dominique Anglade urged Ottawa to help forest companies, but said Monday the province will act immediately: “Day 1, we will be there to support the industry,” she said in an interview.Meanwhile, Ontario named former federal trade minister Jim Peterson as its chief softwood lumber negotiator on Monday. He joins former federal cabinet minister David Emerson who represents B.C. and former U.S. ambassador Raymond Chretien who is Quebec’s negotiator.Unifor president Jerry Dias called on Ottawa to respond to the duties to avoid a repeat of the situation when 15,000 were laid off within months of a combined duty of 27 per cent being imposed in the early 2000s.“It’s hard to exaggerate the impact tariffs will have on hundreds of small communities. The federal government needs to have a plan in place and act swiftly,” he said in a news release.However, provinces aren’t in total agreement about financial support.British Columbia has said it is cautious out of fear that assistance will be construed by the Americans as unfairly helping the Canadian industry. B.C. producers such as West Fraser Timber and Canfor are in a stronger position to weather a U.S. trade battle because they have purchased sawmills in the U.S. and expanded exports to China.In Central Canada, sawmills tend to be smaller, don’t have as much cash flow to pay duties and are therefore more at risk of closing, experts say. That’s why Ontario and Quebec producers have been pushing Ottawa to provide loan guarantees to help them pay duties and stay in business.
TORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $9 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.However, the guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in the Prairies.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on June 7 will be approximately $12 million.
MONTREAL – Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has described U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement as “nonsense.”In his opening address to a gathering of world mayors Tuesday, Coderre criticized Trump’s move to distance the country from the landmark climate agreement.But he added the decision only furthers the resolve of local politicians to fight climate change.“I’d like to thank President Trump because of his nonsense,” Coderre said. “Because in Canada, in Quebec, in Montreal, we believe we should build bridges, not walls, and we will make sure in our own declaration that the mayors of the world will take our responsibility.“And if there are some people who don’t want it, we’ll make it happen and, trust me, the mayors will be able to deliver the accord of Paris.”The Paris agreement was signed by 195 nations in December 2015.Trump said earlier this month he intends to withdraw the United States from the agreement unless it can be renegotiated.Coderre said fighting against climate change forms the consensus among decision-makers.Also addressing the Metropolis World Congress, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said he was disappointed by the U.S. stance but added he is happy to see numerous American states and cities taking a stand to continue the fight against climate change.The 12th edition of the congress runs until Thursday and includes 1,000 delegates and some 140 mayors from around the world.Coderre is the current president of the organization.
TORONTO – YouTube is putting a bigger bet on its most successful Canadian creators with a channel dedicated to promoting local talent.The video streaming platform unveiled “Spotlight Canada” on Monday, a curated page that highlights some of the nation’s standout videos. It’s the first time a country has been singled out with its own curated content section.The debut of the page features a selection of past viral hits, including astronaut Chris Hadfield’s collaboration with the Barenaked Ladies from space, the Tragically Hip performing “Bobcaygeon” in Kingston, Ont., last summer, and a selection of trending music videos from Canadian artists. There’s also a section highlighting indigenous musicians and one for “Canada’s favourite YouTube creators.”Another feature called “Creator on the Rise,” which debuts Wednesday, unearths the hottest Canadian clips on YouTube each week. The selection is chosen by algorithms that factor in view count and subscriber growth.YouTube says the entire page will be refreshed each month with a new slate of videos.It’s a pilot project, but Marie Josee Lamothe, a managing director at YouTube’s owner Google, says it makes sense to select Canada as the testing ground for championing homegrown content.Some of the world’s biggest YouTube stars, including breakout creators Lilly Singh, AsapScience and Gigi Gorgeous, transcended the country’s borders and racked up millions of views on their viral clips.“The objective is to showcase Canada’s top stars, but also to help discover emerging Canadian talent,” said Lamothe.“What we want to do is bring a focus to the diverse Canadian voices that create this content.”YouTube says recent data has shown a notable increase in viewership for Canada.In the first half of this year, the amount of time Canadians spent watching YouTube videos jumped by 30 per cent compared to the same period last year.Within that same window, watch time for Canadian channels soared 230 per cent in India, 70 per cent in the U.S. and 60 per cent in Australia.Lamothe says for those reasons alone it makes sense for YouTube to invest more in content from Canada.Google has already opened a 3,500 square-foot facility at the downtown Toronto campus of George Brown College aimed at giving creators the tools they need to make their videos better, like green screens and other high-end technology.“It’s important to promote our own local talent,” added Lamothe. “(This is) a big, fast-growing fan base that is worth supporting.”—Follow @dfriend on Twitter
TORONTO – Hudson’s Bay Co. has struck a deal to merge its German department stores with its biggest rival in the European market.The Toronto-based retailer, which owns Galeria Kaufhof, announced Tuesday an agreement with Signa Retail Holdings, the Austrian-based brand behind Karstadt, a competitor department store in the market.HBC chief executive Helena Foulkes said the deal will earn HBC $616 million that will be funnelled into reducing debt.“It has been a tough German market and that has been true for every player in the market, so this deal allows both of us to be stronger together,” she told The Canadian Press.“We have an opportunity to create a much better retail business.”The deal, she added, will set the stage for the company to turn its attention to North America.“It really allows us to focus on North America, where I see a tremendous amount of opportunity to create real operational improvements,” she said.Beyond the merger of Karstadt and Galeria Kaufhof, the deal will also involve the European arm of HBC’s Saks Off Fifth brand, Hudson’s Bay in the Netherlands, Karstadt sports stores, Signa’s Galeria INNO stores and both companies’ food and catering businesses.The agreement will also include the creation of a 50-50 real estate venture with 3.25 billion euros in assets.HBC will nab a 49.99 per cent interest in the combined businesses, while the new company will be led by Stephan Fanderl, Karstadt’s chief executive.HBC’s operations in North America have come under fire in recent months, in part because of outspoken stakeholder Jonathan Litt.The chief investment officer and founder of activist investor Land & Buildings Investment Management has complained that HBC is really a real estate company, not a retailer.Foulkes said at the company’s annual general meeting in June that the company was looking at selling certain properties, but was not in a hurry to sell everything quickly.On Tuesday, she said “everything is always on the table,” but that now she is focusing on “driving the banners that we do have…I do see a lot of opportunity to get more value out of them.”Following news of the European deal, Litt said in a statement the $8.71 cash and implied asset value Foulkes expected confirms his feelings that HBC’s real estate value is “likely more than double that of its current share price of $10.78.”“We urge the HBC board to remain vigilant in monetizing assets as long as the company’s shares continue to trade at a material discount to net asset value — as the shares do today — including selling HBC’s remaining interest in the European business, after synergies are realized, in the near future,” he said.HBC bought Kaufhof from German retailer Metro AG in 2015, years before Foulkes joined the company with ambitious plans to turn around weak sales and sizable losses.Signa made an unsolicited offer late last year to buy HBC’s German operations, but withdrew it earlier this year after it was rejected by the HBC board because it undervalued the business.Then, in July, HBC confirmed it was in talks again with the company.HBC said the deal it has struck is still subject to regulator approval in Europe and is expected to close within the next 90 days.The company’s shares closed down nearly two per cent to $10.58 in Tuesday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Companies in this story: (TSX:HBC)
OTTAWA — When she was 17 years old, Liz was coerced by a Children’s Aid worker into having an abortion and being sterilized at a northwestern Ontario hospital, she says — an experience she’s carried for 40 years.“It was a matter of me almost (being) cornered, if you will, by my worker at the time saying, ‘You better have an abortion because if you don’t, either way, we are going to take that child from you’,” Liz says.New research shows the forced sterilization of Indigenous women is not just a shameful part of Canadian history. Reports from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the territories suggest it is still happening.Tubal ligations carried out on unwilling Indigenous women is one of the “most heinous” practices in health care happening across Canada, says Yvonne Boyer, a Metis lawyer and former nurse who is now a senator for Ontario.She was first contacted by Liz (who asked not to have her last name published, so she could talk freely about something so personal) in 2017 after a news story detailed research Boyer produced with Metis physician and researcher Dr. Judith Bartlett. Their report detailed how Indigenous women were coerced into tubal ligations — the severing, burning or tying of the Fallopian tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus — after childbirth in the Saskatoon Health Region.Boyer now wants the Senate to study the scope of the issue nationally, making it the focus of her first address to the upper chamber.“If it’s happened in Saskatoon, it has happened in Regina, it’s happened in Winnipeg, it’s happened where there’s a high population of Indigenous women,” Boyer says in an interview. “I’ve had many women contact me from across the country and ask me for help.”Some Indigenous women interviewed for the report also felt pushed into signing consent forms for the procedures while they were in active labour or on operating tables, Boyer says, noting a class-action lawsuit against the Saskatoon Health Region was launched in 2017 by two of the affected women.Each claimed $7 million in damages. Now about 60 women are part of the lawsuit, she adds.“If there are 60 women just in the Saskatoon area, there are many more that haven’t come forward in that area and there are many more that wanted to come forward but were too traumatized to,” Boyer says. “There’s many more that have buried those memories.”Alisa Lombard, an associate with Maurice Law — a firm leading the proposed class action — says women from outside Saskatoon Health Region have also reported being sterilized without proper and informed consent. She says she’s heard from others in Saskatchewan as well as Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta.Records and research show the practice was prevalent in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut as well, she adds.Lombard says her firm will raise the issue of coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women at the UN Committee Against Torture this month.In its submission to the committee, Lombard’s firm calls out provincial and federal authorities for not investigating and punishing those responsible for the practice despite having received “numerous reports of numerous cases of forced sterilization.”It also outlines specific steps to combat the practice, including criminalizing forced sterilization through the Criminal Code and having Health Canada issue guidance to health professionals regarding sterilization procedures.“I think any and all attention brought to such egregious human-rights breaches is not only necessary, but it ought to be expected,” Lombard says. “I think upon any kind of inkling that something this terrible is happening, that it is reported and the fact it is reported by so many women … I think our governments have an obligation to look into it deeply and to fix it, mostly importantly.”Canada must ensure the practice stops, says Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott, with policies, education and awareness-raising.“The issue of forced sterilization of vulnerable people, including Indigenous women, is a very serious violation of human rights,” she says, noting it has gone on in Canada for a long time.She also calls what happened to Liz “absolutely appalling and reprehensible.”“The story that you’re telling where not only was apprehension being threatened … that she was forced into not only giving up the baby she was carrying but give up her future unborn children, is frankly a horrifying concept,” Philpott says.Liz remains haunted by what has stolen from her. Sometimes she hears her baby in her sleep.“I’ve had a few dreams … where you could hear a baby crying or you could have a sense of a baby,” she says. “The first time I had it I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. And then another time I had it, it was a boy.”She says it took years before she understood that what happened wasn’t her fault.“You say to yourself, ‘I deserve this, this is my sacrifice, this is my cross to bear’.”—Follow @kkirkup on TwitterKristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press
CALGARY — A judge is giving final instructions to jurors in the trial for a man accused of killing a Calgary woman and her young daughter in 2016.Edward Downey is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of 34-year-old Sara Baillie and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman.Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Beth Hughes says jurors must not be influenced by public opinion and must ignore comments they heard from the courtroom gallery during the emotional three-week trial.The Crown’s theory is that Downey believed Baillie influenced her best friend to break up with him and to decline to work as an escort.The Crown argued Baillie’s daughter was a witness who needed silencing. Downey testified he was in Baillie’s apartment the day she was found dead, but that he was there to buy cocaine from two other men, not hurt anyone.“You must consider the evidence and make your decision on a rational and fair consideration of all the evidence, and not on passion, or sympathy, or prejudice against the accused, the Crown or anyone else connected with the case,” Hughes told jurors Wednesday.Loved ones of the victims often wept as they heard graphic evidence during the trial and there were some emotional outbursts.“Any comments from the public gallery are inappropriate and must be ignored. Your duty as jurors is to assess the evidence impartially.”The trial heard Baillie was found dead in a laundry hamper in her daughter’s closet the evening of July 11, 2016, with duct tape wrapped around her face, neck and wrists. Taliyah was gone.The girl’s remains were found in some bushes east of the city three days later.The trial heard both died by asphyxiation.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — An arbitrator says the firing last summer of Thomas Harding, the train engineer involved in the Lac-Megantic rail disaster, was illegal. He won’t be returning to work, but he will get financial compensation.Harding was acquitted in January 2018 of criminal negligence causing death.He returned to work for Central Maine and Quebec Railway, which took over from the defunct Montreal Maine & Atlantic that operated the line at the time of the derailment. Harding went on sick leave and was supposed to gradually return to work as of July 5, 2018, but on June 27 he received a letter of dismissal.The employer cited his involvement in the Lac-Megantic derailment and said the relationship of trust had been broken.Harding’s union filed a grievance, denouncing the fact his employer did not investigate the situation, as required under the collective agreement. Last week the arbitrator agreed and nullified the firing.The engineer became the public face of the Lac-Megantic disaster after it was revealed he didn’t apply sufficient hand brakes on the oil-laden convoy before retiring for the night.The train began rolling downhill in the early hours of July 6, 2013. It barrelled into the town, derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and destroying part of the downtown.The union asked that Harding be reinstated, but the arbitrator said that considering the circumstances a financial compensation was more appropriate. The amount has not been determined.The Canadian Press
SURREY, B.C. — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the prime minister damaged the integrity of Canada’s immigration system when he tweeted two years ago that Canadians will welcome all those fleeing persecution, terror and war.Scheer was asked about illegal immigration today at a town hall in suburban Vancouver held by the Surrey Board of Trade, where audience members applauded his response.He says people crossing the U.S. border into Canada outside regular checkpoints are “jumping the queue” and causing longer wait times for refugees and immigrants going through traditional channels.The federal government says 34,854 refugee claims were made by irregular border crossers between February 2017 and September 2018 and of those 3,142 — or nine per cent — have been accepted.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently warned people to be wary of fear-mongering about immigration, suggesting the issue will be a hot-button topic during the federal election campaign this fall.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s trade minister says the government is expecting Canadian business interest in China to slow amid significant tensions between the two countries.However, Jim Carr also says he is confident Canada and China will eventually work through their differences, allowing economic ties between the two Pacific nations to flourish once again.Carr says his confidence is based on the long and complex trading relationship between Canada and China, which has continued in spite of what he described as a “difficult period.”Ottawa and Beijing have been locked in a diplomatic dispute since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last month at the request of the United States.After her arrest, China detained two Canadians on allegations of engaging in activities that endangered the country’s national security, and sentenced another Canadian to death for drug-smuggling.American authorities formally requested Meng’s extradition to the U.S. last month, and her case is due back in a Vancouver court in March.The Canadian Press
CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The list of Canada’s Greenest Employers has been released and a Calgary school has made the cut.The University of Calgary has joined a prestigious group of Canadian employers recognized for their environmental awareness through various sustainability initiatives.The competition evaluates companies on a variety of criteria including the environmental initiatives they have developed; successes in reducing the organization’s environmental footprint and whether sustainability initiatives link to the employer’s public identity.Congratulations to the 2019 winners of Canada’s Greenest Employers! As national leaders in #sustainability, this year’s #GreenEmployers are setting new standards for mitigating environmental impacts of their operations. Learn more by visiting https://t.co/ZEiVjdsX8n #environment pic.twitter.com/mHy6SIA2pR— CT100 Project (@top_employers) April 15, 2019Some of those initiatives from the University include its Bike Root along with the UBike on-campus rental service, bicycle repair and maintenance clinics.The school also offers a 61-plot pesticide free community garden which is available for staff, students, and members of the community.“We strive to implement programs and initiatives that support a sustainability culture on campus and in the community,” says Associate Vice-President of Sustainability, Joanne Perdue. “This includes our commitment to advancing sustainability education and research, engagement for sustainability, and modelling the way through sustainability practices in administration and operations.”Several other post-secondary schools were named among the Greenest Employers in the country including the University of Alberta, Wilfred Laurier and McGill.Major companies such as the Home Depot, IKEA and Ivanhoe Cambridge which manages CrossIron Mills also made the list.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has more work to do to sell Canadians on his vision for more action to fight climate change.Speaking at the annual meeting of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation in Ottawa Thursday, Trudeau says it’s clear most Canadians deeply care about the environment and want measures to protect it.But this desire hasn’t always translated to voting in governments that will take strong action on climate change, he said.He pointed to the election of “climate-denying” governments across the country over the past few years.Trudeau said his government will do much more on the environment, but emphasized the importance of “bringing Canadians along.”The prime minister said progress had been made on many fronts during his mandate, including the environment, but that the election of a Conservative government this fall would turn the country in the opposite direction.The Canadian Press