Starkey Hearing Foundation to Help New Orleans Hear the Big Game

first_imgStarkey Hearing Foundation will conduct a service mission in New Orleans Saturday, Feb. 2, the day before the professional football championship game.Starkey Hearing Foundation is dedicated to bringing understanding among individuals and communities by providing the gift of hearing. On this mission, the foundation will continue fulfilling its commitment to provide 100,000 hearing aids to people in need annually, and 1 million by 2020, as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).The Foundation’s team of audiologists and staff will fit each of the more than 100 pre-selected recipients—including 12 local musicians—with their own customized, digital hearing device. Hearing is so important to the playing and enjoyment of music, and music is the pulse that drives New Orleans culture, which is why this mission will take place at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in the Musician’s Village.Musicians’ Village is one of the most recognized post-Katrina rebuilding efforts of the New Orleans Area Habitat For Humanity (NOAHH). This project, spearheaded by New Orleans natives Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis, was created as a way to preserve the local music and culture.Celebrity and professional athlete volunteers commonly assist at the Foundation’s missions where they witness the life-changing impact of this cause and support recipients as they are fitted with their new hearing aids. As part of the mission, recipients also receive audio testing, counseling and instruction on how to care for their new devices, all courtesy of Starkey Hearing Foundation.“Music plays a significant role in New Orleans’ heritage and culture and I’m delighted to return to this area to give the gift of hearing once again,” said Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. “Watching somebody light up as they hear music clearly again is an incredible experience and sharing that moment is something you never forget.”Starkey Hearing Foundation’s New Orleans Mission is one of dozens conducted each year by the Foundation, both domestically and internationally. Hearing missions are the primary way Starkey Hearing Foundation realizes its goal: So the World May Hear. As a CGI member, the Foundation has pledged to fit 1 million hearing aids to individuals in need by the end of this decade.According to Starkey Hearing Foundation, hearing loss is pervasive, affecting 34 million Americans – or one in 10. Yet, with the help of a hearing device, hearing loss can often be corrected in a majority of cases, giving an individual the opportunity to better connect with their family, the community and the world around them.More information about the foundation’s work can be found at Starkey Hearing Foundation’s website, as well as via Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter pages.last_img read more

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George Clooneys Fiancee To Investigate Human Rights Violations In Gaza

first_imgGeorge Clooney’s fiancee Amal Alamuddin has been appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate purported Gaza violations.The United Nations Human Rights Council announced today the appointment of three members to its independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on 13 June.In a statement released this afternoon, the Council’s President, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), announced that the human rights body appointed Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom), Doudou Diène (Senegal) and William Schabas (Canada) to serve as members on the international Commission. Mr. Schabas will also serve as the Commission’s Chair.The Commission aims to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible. It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults.At least 1,948 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict, along with 67 Israelis, according to figures cited by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).In addition, some 425,000 people are seeking shelter either in UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) facilities, government shelters or with host families.Around 11,855 housing units in Gaza have been destroyed or severely damaged by Israeli attacks, and another 36,000 have suffered damage, according to OCHA.The Council had decided – by a vote of 29 countries in favour, with 17 abstentions and a sole negative vote by the United States – to launch the inquiry at its emergency meeting on 23 July.The same resolution requested that the Commission present a written report to the Human Rights Council at its session in March 2015.Appointed to the Commission today is Ms. Alamuddin, a London-based British-Lebanese lawyer, specialising in international law and human rights. She has worked at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and as legal adviser to the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.Mr. Diène was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance from 2002 to 2008. He also served as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire from 2011 to 2014.Ms. Schabas, a professor of international criminal law and human rights, served on the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission until 2004. Mr. Schabas was also a member of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in Human Rights.last_img read more

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Caitlyn Jenner Attends StarStudded Voices On Point Gala

first_imgMore than 400 guests attended the fourth annual Voices on Point gala in Los Angeles on Saturday night to support higher education opportunities for LGBTQ students.Caitlyn Jenner speaks onstage during the Point Foundation’s Annual Voices On Point Gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Credit/Copyright: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Point FoundationCaitlyn Jenner presented the Point Horizon Award to two Point Alumni, Rhys Ernst, Co-Producer for Amazon’s “Transparent,” and Zach Zyskowski, Producer on ABC Family and Ryan Seacrest Productions docuseries “Becoming Us,” and Producer on CBS’ perennial hit “Big Brother.”The evening celebrated the accomplishments of Point Foundation (Point) scholarship recipients, and included musical performances from Grammy Award-nominated singer/songwriter Stacy Barthe, Tony Award winner and star of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Sara Ramirez, American Idol, Top Five Finalist, Rayvon Owen, and singer/songwriter Joey McIntyre.The event, held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, was the most successful Voices on Point event to date for Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship- granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit.Celebrity appearances at Point Honors included Amy Landecker; Camryn Magness; Connor Franta; Gavin Macintosh; Greg Louganis; Hayden Byerly; Our Lady J; Ray Santiago; Sherri Saum; Teri Polo; Bradley Whitford; Utkarsh Ambudkar and more.The program opened with remarks from Teri Polo and Sherri Saum, stars of the ABC Family’s groundbreaking series, “The Fosters,” which made network television history this season when two characters shared the first teen same-sex kiss. Saum remarked, “While there is still much work to be done on the road to true LGBTQ equality, the Point Scholars and Alumni we will hear from tonight… make crystal clear one very inspiring point – the future of LGBTQ rights is in very good hands.”Five-time Olympic medalist Greg Louganis introduced Caitlyn Jenner, noting that they had last seen each other eight months ago. “But it wasn’t until tonight that I had the pleasure of meeting the incredible woman she is today—and she’s just as strong, courageous, tenacious, smart and beautiful as ever. “While presenting Ernst and Zyskowski with The Point Horizon Award — an honor given to inspirational young leaders who have advocated for the LGBTQ community — Caitlyn Jenner commended the two award recipients for their work, “helping to change public perceptions of the trans community and the entire LGBTQ community.” In her remarks Jenner referred to the LGBTQ community as “…a big extended family that, thankfully, I have been welcomed into.” She continued by saying that she was, “…honored to be presenting the Point Horizon award to two members of her LGBTQ family.”During Zyskowski’s acceptance remarks, he spoke of what organizations like Point Foundation mean to the LGBTQ community and particularly to young students. “I wouldn’t be making television if Point had not seen promise in me when I was only 16 years old, and at that moment in time, producing television was only a distant dream. I know what it is to feel alone in your own community, to feel that no one loves you for who you are. I want to show a whole generation of people that you are not alone. You can be who you want to be. You can love who you want to love. Any dream is within reach. You are all so very beautiful.”Following Zach’s moving remarks, Ernst began his own powerful speech about the support Point provides. “People often ask me how I got to where I am now and how I got involved with ‘Transparent.’ One way of telling that story is to say ‘I was a Point Scholar.’” Noting Jenner’s public transition, Ernst concluded, “The trans civil rights movement is underway, but there are huge obstacles still ahead. Trans people need our allies more than ever. I want to thank my supporters, friends, allies, and the continued work of the Point Foundation for building the way to a better future for all.”Throughout the night, other Point scholars and alumni shared their own moving, personal stories, reflecting on Point’s ability to empower promising LGBTQ students through financial assistance, mentoring and leadership development programs and opportunities. Since 2001, Point has invested more than $18 million in the education and support of Point Scholars.“The feelings of friendship and support that surround us here tonight are what we hope to bring to more LGBTQ students,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation said, “We are so grateful that a new member of our community — Caitlyn Jenner — joined us to recognize the challenging journey and inspirational accomplishments of Point Scholars and so many LGBTQ students.”A number of Point’s 85 current scholars and some of the Foundation’s 214 alumni joined celebrities onstage and shared with the audience their inspiring stories about the challenges overcome in pursuit of a higher education degree.HBO and Wells Fargo served as the Presenting Sponsors for Voices on Point. Hilton Worldwide served as Premier Sponsor. Principal sponsors included Lowenstein Sandler, Time Warner, and Toyota Financial Services. The Advocate served as the National Media Sponsor, and Frontiers L.A. served as the Local Media Sponsor. Friends of Point supporting the evening included Barefoot Wine.last_img read more

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Jamie Foxx To Host And Perform At The Grand Prix Royale

first_imgPrime Experiences is pleased to announce the launch of the inaugural Grand Prix Royale, the premiere Grand Prix Event, featuring Academy Award and Grammy Award-Winner, Jamie Foxx, as special host and performer on Friday, October 23.The Prime team has a combined experience of over thirty years dedicated to creating unique experiences combining glamour, sophistication, elegance and excitement.“Formula 1 is the richest, hottest, fastest and sexiest single seater sporting event in the world, and the Grand Prix Royale is the only event that brings the Grand Prix experience under one roof,” said Amanda Gunville, founder of Prime Experiences.The Grand Prix Royale will take place at The Palm Door on 6th, located in the heart of Austin’s historic entertainment district. This exclusive experience will feature gourmet food, a well curated, luxury item auction and entertainment like no other.Prime Experiences has chosen to partner with RISE School of Austin, a school dedicated to the highest quality early childhood education for all children – gifted, traditional and developmentally delayed. Prime Experiences Partner and Formula 1 industry expert, Paul Jordan expressed “a strong desire to expand the reach of the Grand Prix Royale to benefit the Austin community” to do so, a portion of the proceeds from the night, including those of the auction will be donated to the RISE School.“The Grand Prix Royale isn’t just about a big party – it’s about finding a way to help those in need by joining forces to improve education,” said Foxx. “Trust me, I will be challenging everyone in the audience to give back to the children of Austin.”“In keeping with our tradition of giving back, I am very proud to have found a charity partner in RISE School of Austin,” said Gunville.Partnering with The Zella Company for design, production and execution of this event will set the bar for the future Grand Prix events in Austin and around the world.A-list celebrities, Formula 1 personalities, key influencers and local Austin business leaders will be treated to an exquisite VIP event including bottle service, open bar, entertainment and food and a charity auction supporting RISE School of Austin.The Grand Prix Royale will take place from 7pm-2am. Find out more here.last_img read more

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Sofia Vergara And Buca Di Beppo Launch Meatballs 4 Niños

first_imgEmmy-award winning actress and St. Jude celebrity ambassador, Sofia Vergara will once again join forces with Buca di Beppo, the authentic, family-style Italian restaurant, for the second installment of Meatballs 4 Niños, a charitable campaign that supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.Sofia Vergara & Buca Di Beppo to kick-off second installment of Meatballs 4 NinosMeatballs 4 Niños launched nationwide Sept. 26, 2016.Sharing a common mission, Vergara and Buca are dedicated to making an impact, boosting awareness and raising funds to support St. Jude. Drawing upon its commitment to the family experience, Buca di Beppo will donate $1 to St. Jude for every lunch and dinner meatball meal purchased.As a St. Jude celebrity ambassador, Ms. Vergara is passionate about health and wellness for children and families. Because of supporters like Buca di Beppo, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.“We’re honored to be partnering again with Sofia to raise money for such an important organization,” said Robert Earl, chairman and founder of Planet Hollywood International. “St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does everything possible to save the lives of children fighting cancer, and they freely share their research breakthroughs with other doctors around the world, which helps save kids in communities everywhere. Every donation matters, so why not help raise money for pioneering research and treatments for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases while enjoying a meal.”“It means so much to me that one of my favorite restaurants is supporting a cause so dear to me,” said Sofia Vergara. “We were able to help so many families with the success of the first ‘Meatballs 4 Niños’ program, it’s an honor to be able to help even more families in need! I hope everyone will visit Buca di Beppo to experience their amazing meatballs and support St. Jude.”Made from the highest-quality ingredients and slow-cooked in fresh marinara sauce, Buca di Beppo is best known for their half-pound, mouth-watering meatballs, which are made fresh daily.To make reservations or to find the closest Buca di Beppo location, please click here.last_img read more

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SANDRA OH MAKES HER TRIUMPHANT RETURN WHEN SEASON 2 OF KILLING EVE

first_imgKilling Eve TORONTO – Beginning March 28, Bravo delivers a nationwide freeview packed with highly anticipated new and returning series, including the second season of the critically acclaimed, award-winning drama, KILLING EVE, airing exclusively on Bravo in Canada, day and date with the U.S.. Additionally, the all-new irreverent drama IN THE DARK and the new movie series CHRONICLE MYSTERIES starring Alison Sweeney (DAYS OF OUR LIVES) debut, along with all-new episodes from Season 17 of fierce fashion competition series PROJECT RUNWAY.The Bravo freeview is available through participating television service providers across the country, including but not limited to Bell, Bell Aliant, BellMTS, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Shaw Direct, Telus, Videotron, and participating members of the CCSA. In addition, subscribers and non-subscribers alike can sample select Bravo programming during the freeview period online at Bravo.ca, via the Bravo GO app, and on demand via set-top box with participating TV providers.See below for premiere dates and descriptions for new and returning series available during Bravo’s freeview. All dates are subject to change. Visit Bravo.ca to confirm local broadcast times. IN THE DARK * Series Premiere* (13 episodes x :60)Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning April 4IN THE DARK follows Murphy (Perry Mattfeld, SHAMELESS), a hard-living, hard-drinking, disaffected twenty-something with a penchant for cigarettes and casual sex – she’s also blind. Murphy lives with her supportive best friend, Jess (Brooke Markham, Dude), and – more reluctantly – her trusty guide dog, Pretzel, whose presence she resents. Her parents own a guide dog school, a venture they opened hoping it would give Murphy a job with some purpose, but so far it’s just another place where she sleeps off her hangovers.Murphy’s life comes crashing down when she stumbles upon what she’s sure is the lifeless body of her closest friend, Tyson (Thamela Mpumlwana, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY), the sweet teenager who she befriended after he saved her from a violent mugging. When the police arrive and there is no body to be found, and with Murphy not exactly sober, they aren’t especially inclined to investigate. Murphy is devastated, and is only held back from spiraling downward even further by her resolve to learn what happened to Tyson. Murphy is determined to find the truth, no matter the risk… even if it means she has to sober up a little.IN THE DARK also stars Rich Sommer (GLOW), Casey Deidrick (DRIVEN), Keston John (BOSCH), Morgan Krantz (YOU’RE THE WORST), Derek Webster (RAY DONOVAN), and Kathleen York (OUTCAST).IN THE DARK is from CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television, in association with Red Hour Films, with executive producers Corinne Kingsbury, Jon Collier, Ben Stiller, Jackie Cohn, Nicky Weinstock, and Michael Showalter. The series is distributed internationally by CBS Studios International.KILLING EVE Season 2 (8 episodes x :60)Sundays at 8 p.m. ET, beginning April 7Starring Golden Globe® winner Sandra Oh, the first season of KILLING EVE was the most-watched television program in its timeslot for specialty networks among total viewers, making it Bravo’s #1 new series last broadcast year, and a Top 10 series on Canadian Entertainment Specialty channels. Season 1 was voted one of the best shows of 2018 by Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Vanity Fair.Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer (THE WHITE PRINCESS) return as MI6 operative Eve and psychopath assassin Villanelle in this story of two women, bound by a mutual obsession and one brutal act. In the second season, the action picks up just 30 seconds after the end of the final episode of Season 1. Villanelle has disappeared and Eve is left reeling, having no idea if the woman she stabbed is alive or dead. With both of them in deep trouble, Eve has to find Villanelle before someone else does… but unfortunately, she’s not the only person looking for her.Produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd for BBC America, the series is based on the Codename Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings and is executive produced by Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Gina Mingacci and lead writer Emerald Fennell. Sandra Oh and Francesca Gardiner are co-executive producers. Elinor Day serves as series producer. Damon Thomas returns to direct and is also executive producer, with Lisa Brühlmann and Francesca Gregorini also directing.Viewers can catch-up on Season 1 of KILLING EVE online at Bravo.ca, via the Bravo GO app, and on demand via set-top box.PROJECT RUNWAY Season 17New episodes continue to air Thursdays at 10 p.m. ETThe iconic fashion competition continues as new, supersized 90-minute episodes of PROJECT RUNWAY air Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET. This season, as the fashion industry evolves, so does the runway with a new design aesthetic and additions to the judging panel: supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss joins as host with former PROJECT RUNWAY champion and celebrated CFDA fashion designer Christian Siriano as the mentor. ELLE Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia returns as a judge, along with famed fashion designer Brandon Maxwell, and journalist and former Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth.CHRONICLE MYSTERIES *Movie Series* (3 x 1:20)Movies Premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET beginning April 7The CHRONICLE MYSTERIES stars Alison Sweeney as Alex McPherson, a novelist and podcaster who loves the chase of solving any puzzle or mystery. Set to inherit the local paper, The Harrington Chronicle, from her uncle, Alex returns to the small town where she spent her summers growing up.CHRONICLE MYSTERIES: RECOVERED – Sunday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ETAlex returns to the small town where she spent her summers as a girl to record the next episode of her true crime podcast about the cold case of childhood friend, Gina DeSavio, who disappeared 20 years prior. Alex teams up with the Harrington Chronicle’s editor (Benjamin Ayres, SAVING HOPE), who reluctantly agrees to help her retrace Gina’s last steps. When Alex links her inquiries about Gina’s disappearance to a recent murder, she quickly realizes that she might just be the killer’s next target.CHRONICLE MYSTERIES: THE WRONG MAN – Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ETIn a new edition of her true crime podcast, Alex finds herself investigating the three-year-old murder of a woman whose body was only recently discovered.CHRONICLE MYSTERIES: VINES THAT BIND – Sunday, April 21 at 9 p.m. ETThe latest edition of Alex’s true crime podcast leads her and most of the Harrington Chronicle staff to nearby Macklin, where they investigate the suspicious death of a vintner. Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisementcenter_img Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitterlast_img read more

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ABSENTIA STAR CANADIAN ACTRESS STANA KATIC ON MEETING JAYCEE DUGARD SHES A

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment TORONTO — In trying to grasp the trauma her “Absentia” character endured while in captivity for several years, Canadian actress Stana Katic reflected on a meeting she had with a real-life victim of such harrowing circumstances: Jaycee Dugard.The Hamilton-born star says she has someone in common with Dugard, who was abducted in June 1991 on her way to school in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Dugard was held for 18 years by Phillip and Nancy Garrido, and gave birth to two daughters in a hidden compound in the couple’s California backyard.The opportunity came up for Katic and Dugard to meet “in a social setting,” the actress said in a recent interview, noting it happened not as part of her research for “Absentia” but “just because.” Advertisement A photo of the two of them together can be seen on Katic’s Facebook page in a post from July 2016.“She’s a beautiful human being,” Katic said during a stop in Toronto to promote Season 2 of “Absentia,” which premieres Wednesday on Showcase.“She is, in so many ways, fully realized. After having come from a situation where her identity was stripped away from her in so many ways, for her to unfold into this authentic and fully realized woman — she’s got a great sense of humour, she’s a good person — I admire her.”Katic said she didn’t use Dugard specifically as a reference point as she crafted her “Absentia” character, former Boston FBI agent Emily Byrne, who is trying to return to “normal” life after being kidnapped and presumed dead during a risky hunt for a serial killer.But she found Dugard’s story left an impression on her.“In no way can I say emulated it or anything like that, because that experience is, to me, I have to completely respect it and protect that,” said the former “Castle” star.“Her ability to recover and her resilience as a human being and the growth that she’s had since that, I honour and respect that woman so much. However, reading her story, hearing about her and meeting her in person, I can’t say that it didn’t leave granules of information for me.”At the start of Season 2, Emily is in a dark place as she tries to bond with the son she had in her former life before she went missing. She’s also researching her troubled childhood at an orphanage and starting to remember snippets from her time in captivity.The new season was shot in Bulgaria and explores themes of identity, finding a sense of self and having dominion over yourself, said Katic, noting it also delves into the lives of other characters surrounding Emily.Overall, Katic feels her character is like Odysseus from Greek mythology and an antihero going through psychological challenges in order to find her way home.“That’s the kind of character that I am drawn to in my own TV and movie-viewing experience,” Katic said.“For instance, I love Tom Hardy in ‘Taboo,’ I love Cillian Murphy in ‘Peaky Blinders,’ and of course Tony Soprano…. Humans are imperfect and so why wouldn’t a female character be … a version of an antihero?” Facebook Twittercenter_img Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Stana Katiclast_img read more

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IDRIS ELBA MARRIES CANADIAN MODEL SABRINA DHOWRE IN A BEAUTIFUL MOROCCAN WEDDING

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebook Twitter Login/Register With: Advertisementcenter_img Advertisement Idris Elba has married Sabrina Dhowre. Later, she changed into a V-neck style embroidered dress with pearls and gemstones and finished with couture lace.Guests wore black tie.The celebrations have been spread out over three days.Friends and family attended a “colours of the Souk” themed dinner the night before the wedding at the Amanjena. On April 27, they will attend an all-white party at the Mandarin Oriental, which will emulate the atmosphere of a festival.Elba met Dhowre in Canada in 2017 while filming The Mountain Between Us. Speaking about their relationship, the Brit previously told People, “Falling in love while making a movie about falling in love is pretty special.”This is the third marriage for Idris. He was wed to Hanne ‘Kim’ Norgaard, with whom he shares 17-year-old daughter Isan, from 1999-2003, and to Sonya Nicole Hamlin for a brief period in 2006. He also has a son, Winston, with ex-girlfriend Naiyana Garth.By Susan Devaney ~ British Vogue Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre are married. The couple, who got engaged in 2018, exchanged vows on April 26 at the Ksar Char Bagh hotel in Marrakesh.Dhowre wore two custom dresses by Vera Wang; while Elba wore a bespoke suit by Ozwald Boateng.For the ceremony, Dhowre wore a classic off-the-shoulder white A-line gown.last_img read more

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SCREENWRITERS CAN PLAY KEY ROLE IN GENDER PARITY ACTORS SAY

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook LOS ANGELES — Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis says achieving gender parity on screen is simple, and it could happen overnight.“Just go through (the script) and cross out a bunch of male first names and put female first names. That’s all you have to do,” Davis told the audience during a panel Saturday at AT&T’s SHAPE media conference in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank.Davis joined fellow actor Mayim Bialik on stage at the conference to discuss how gender parity in media can create social change. The conversation revolved around the need for diversity on screen to break stereotypes and encourage young people to pursue careers they might otherwise have felt were off limits to them. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Geena Davis speaks at the AT&T’s SHAPE: ‘The Scully Effect is Real’ panel with Geena Davis and Mayim Bialik on Saturday, June 22, 2019 in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Mark VonHolden/Invision/AP) Advertisementcenter_img Twitter Login/Register With: Advertisement “Of course, why wouldn’t we need to see people who are like us to be able to imagine what we could become?” Bialik said.The panel was born from a study conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that found women felt encouraged to pursue scientific, medical and engineering (STEM) careers because of “X-Files” character Dana Scully, an FBI agent and medical doctor. Of the women surveyed in the study, 63 per cent of those working in a STEM field said Scully served as a role model for them growing up.Bialik, who also holds a doctorate in neuroscience and recently wrapped her time playing the role of neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory,” said seeing characters like Scully on screen and having real-life mentors is crucial for young women to pursue careers in science, medicine and engineering.“I was raised in a climate where if you didn’t learn things as fast as the boys, it meant that it wasn’t for you,” Bialik said. It’s important “to have a mentor, to have someone that you can see is living the life of a scientist and also has a social life — all the things that the lone scientist in the laboratory stereotype doesn’t give us.”“You’re seeing the full, complicated, amazing woman living life as a scientist,” Bialik said of characters like Scully and Fowler. “That’s what I needed as a young girl that wasn’t there for me.”This doesn’t just apply for gender, either. The panelists said that all forms of diversity on screen are necessary, pointing to films like “Hidden Figures,” which is about the key role a group of African-American women played in the U.S. space program, as leading the way for more complex stories on people of any gender or race.“As much as people think Hollywood is liberal and open-minded and progressive thinking, they’re doing a worse job of reflecting society than the abysmal numbers in real life,” Davis said. “If we show it, it will happen in real life.”Katie Campione ~ The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Playing the beautiful game for a beautiful world

first_imgAPTN National NewsA team of very excited athletes from across the country departed for Europe Wednesday morning to take part in a unique sporting event.The event is a soccer tournament devoted to helping end homelessness.That’s got the players playing from the heart because all of the teams share a special connection to soccer and the streets.APTN National News reporter Rob Smith has this story.last_img

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Atleo Harper offer opposing visions on need to scrap Indian Act

first_img(Protestors from Six Nations, Ont., and Barriere Lake, Que., demonstrate oustide the Crown-First Nations Gathering in Ottawa Tuesday. APTN/Photo)APTN National NewsOTTAWA–In speeches to open the Crown-First Nations Gathering in Ottawa Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo painted starkly differently visions of the paths ahead for Canada and its Indigenous population.Their two speeches diverged significantly over the issue of the Indian Act.While Harper called the Indian Act a tree with roots too deep to be uprooted at the moment, Atleo compared the 136 year-old legislation to a boulder blocking the path of First Nations.Harper said his government had no plans to scrap the Indian Act, choosing instead to find “creative ways” to work within and outside the over century-old legislation.“Our government has no grand scheme to repeal or unilaterally re-write the Indian Act. After 136 years, that tree has deep roots. Blowing up the stump would just leave a big hole,” said Harper.Atleo, however, said the legislation needed scrapping because it was “a painful obstacle to re-establishing any form of meaningful partnership. Atleo said the legislation, enacted in 1876, was a “complete abrogation” in the partnership between First Nations and Canada.“Like a rock that sits in the middle of the road, a boulder that blocks the path of collaboration, remains the Indian Act,” said Atleo. “Along with the age-old structures and policies that administer it and steadfastly resist change.”Their speeches also diverged on the pace needed for change.Harper spoke of incremental change.“There are ways, creative ways, collaborative ways, ways that involve consultation between our government, the provinces and First Nations leadership and communities,” said Harper. “Ways that provide options within the Act, or outside of it, for practical, incremental and real change.”Atleo spoke of urgency.“We need only to look at Attawapiskat, Marten Falls, Pikangikum and St. Theresa Point, among dozens of other communities, on reserve or in our cities, to see the impact of broken promises, the pain of broken lives, the tragedy of lost opportunity,” said Atleo. “Our people cannot wait.”Both leaders, however, said they believed Canada and First Nations had reached a new stage in their relationship.Harper declared a “new day” had dawned.“In past conversations, we have talked about symbolism and respect and trust. Certainly in the past lack of trust on both sides has held us back,” said Harper. “But this is a new day.”Atleo said the relationship had reached a “historic” moment.“Today must mark the beginning of renewal, the beginning of realizing our shared potential foretold in the visions of our ancestors,” said Atleo. “The step we take today, recalling the words of my late grandmother, and ability to see one another, is the first step,”The two leaders also highlighted the damage Canada had done to First Nations.Harper said Canada’s relationship with First Nations had been tainted by events like the Indian residential school system which was “an explicit attempt to destroy Aboriginal culture.”The prime minister said one of his “most rewarding days in office” was when he delivered the government’s apology for residential schools in the House of Commons in 2008.“Every relationship has its ups and downs, moments of consensus and of disagreement,” said Harper. “I believe it is important to build a narrative of any relationship based on its highest points.”Atleo said the damage inflicted on First Nations have left many First Nations sceptical of any goodwill the federal government may offer.“I understand those feelings, I respect that scepticism. It would be disrespectful of the suffering of our peoples over two centuries of agreements follows by broken promises,” said Atleo. “It is well past time that we began to undo the damage of the (Indian)Act…From it grew the reserve system, the tragedy of residential schools and offensive prohibitions on our cultural and spiritual practices, a breach of faith that has devastated families and communities ever since.”Harper, however, stuck to the theme he had developed in media interviews in the run-up to the gathering saying that his government was focused on incremental steps, not grand leaps.Harper said his government would continue with the so-called Joint Action Plan with the Assembly of First Nations which targets education, economic development, accountability and treaty relationships.“We have only just begun,” said Harper.Atleo continued his theme to “smash this status-quo” and propel First Nations people into a new realm.“Our people can make an enormous contribution to Canada if we tackle these obstacles,” said Atleo. “Next must come new fiscal relationships…We struggle under layer upon layer of wasteful bureaucratic interference, useless and expensive controls are piled upon our people squandering tax dollars and frustrating change.”last_img read more

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Ottawa developing Canadian definition of UNDRIP says Liberal minister

first_imgAPTN National NewsNatural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Thursday the Liberal government is in the process of developing a “Canadian definition” of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).However, Carr did not say how this Canadian definition would be implemented or whether it would be contained in possible legislation on UNDRIP and its application to federal laws.“I would say the government is in the process of providing a Canadian definition of the declaration,” said Carr, during testimony before the Commons Aboriginal affairs committee.Carr said the result of the process would be “comprehensive” and would provide greater clarity “of these definitions,” in reference to the UNDRIP principle of “free, prior and informed consent.”Carr’s appearance before the committee occurred hours after NDP MP Romeo Saganash introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons to harmonize Canada’s laws with UNDRIP.UNDRIP was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 and enshrined rights that “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world,” according to the document.While Saganash’s bill received an endorsement from Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett was non-committal about her government’s support for the proposed law.news@aptn.ca@APTNNewslast_img read more

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Language Keeper The last fluent speaker of Stólōs Indigenous dialect in race

first_imgAudio Playerhttp://aptn.ca/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/07/Elizabethspeaking.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Above: Phillips speaks the phrase “simple language for beginners” in Upriver HalkomelemIt seems like yesterday to Phillips that a group of Stó:lō elders would gather to speak Upriver Halkomelem and record what they knew in a dictionary. It was a time when she could have long conversations on the phone with friends without speaking a word of English.But those elders’ deaths came in rapid succession – more than 20 in the last two decades.Those elders were all a decade or two older than Phillips, who was always the youngest one in language groups, but she got invited to attend before she was an elder because of her unique ability to speak fluently even after residential school.Several years ago, an elder named Elizabeth Herrling who was working to record the language in stories died at 93, which is when Phillips stepped up her work to record it.Above: a torch lighting story told by HerrlingSadly, Phillips is now left with no one to have real conversations with, but she still thinks in Halkomelem and communicates as much as she can with speakers who are learning, including her daughter Vivian.“I try my best not to lose it, because I can’t have conversation,” she says.“But I text in Halkomelem.”Phillips pauses, then bursts into laughter at the notion.“The phone is always trying to correct me!”Strang Burton, a linguist, and Phillips sit outside of the elders home.PreservationMost of the languages probably are going to come to a place where people aren’t speaking them fluently.”– Strang Burton, linguistJoining in on her laughter is Strang Burton, who works for the Sto:lo Shxweli language program and UBC’s linguistics department.Phillips and Burton have been working together for nearly two decades and they switch easily between having serious, quiet conversations and laughing jovially together. Burton calls her “Siem,” a Halkomelem word that, in English, loosely means “respected one.”Together, they’ve recorded many stories and other language material. Burton got the idea to do a language ultrasound on Phillips when he saw other linguists using the equipment on Mandarin and Japanese.“I thought, well, let’s do it for Halkomelem, because people were having trouble with the sounds of Halkomelem,” he says.Burton believes it to be the first time the technology has ever been used on an Indigenous language in Canada.He said he hopes it will allow people who are teaching the language in local schools to improve their pronunciation of the language, which is notoriously tricky.He plans to impose the ultrasound images with external videos he’s taking of Phillips’s mouth so that others can see how her mouth and tongue move as she’s speaking. cmckenna@aptn.ca@CaraMcK Linguists record ultrasound video of Phillips speaking.But, after decades of work, Burton is realistic about the prospects of a severely endangered language like Upriver Halkomelem truly being saved.“Most of the languages probably are going to come into a situation where people aren’t speaking them fluently,” he says. Time is Ticking“For people to become really fluent again, that requires something social to happen.”– Strang BurtonThe reality in British Columbia is a bleak one – the province is home to more than half of Canada’s 60-odd Aboriginal languages, and almost all of them are in danger of disappearing.The languages are a crucial part of culture, ceremony and connection. Many Indigenous words can’t be translated accurately into English.In the Canadian Liberal government’s first federal budget earlier this year, it was announced that $5 million per year would be siphoned into supporting the country’s Indigenous languages, in comparison to more than $2 billion for French.“Considering the number of First Nations languages there are in Canada, it’s not a lot,” Burton says.“If there were just one First Nations language in Canada, I guess that would be a lot.”More funding is certainly needed to continue crucial work to preserve languages, but Burton says, more than that, fluent speakers like Phillips are needed to pass the languages along. And they’re dying off at a worrisome rate.“For people to become really fluent again, that requires something social to happen,” Burton says.“Which is happening maybe a little bit.”But the small changes are not enough. Burton says, what is realistic, is that people can experience the language through stories about people’s lives and traditional practices. That’s what he’s trying to do through his current work with Phillips and previous work with other elders.“Without a Native speaker to go to for subtle translations and things, you’re never going to be sure you’ve got it exactly right,” he says.“But with the resources we have, probably if people get together and they want to speak, there’s enough stuff that they could access in the archives to help them have a real conversation.”center_img An outside view of Phillips’s home.Burton believes the community is positive, and he has seen many children learning the language through school programs, which is hopeful to Phillips.Many years ago, before Phillips’s own mother passed away, she asked her daughter Vivian to live with her, which has helped her to become proficient in the language and pass it down to her own children.“That’s quite an honour because that was so forbidden, you know,” she says.“A lot of our people were punished because they spoke their language.”It’s a painful subject to breach, and Phillips gets distracted mid-thought when she notices an eagle flying above her. She smiles at the reminder of strength and power.“They always seem to know what’s going on,” she says. Elizabeth Phillips reads aloud words in her Indigenous language.Cara McKenna APTN National NewsThe Stó:lō people are named in their language after the Fraser River, which is the community’s lifeblood and flows through their picturesque territory southeast of Vancouver, B.C.Just a few generations ago, dozens of people spoke the nation’s language of Upriver Halkomelem.But in the last decade, almost all fluent speakers have died.There is just one elder left who early in life had to fight to keep her language, and is now trying to pass it on before it’s too late.The Knowledge HolderI try my best not to lose [my language], because I can’t have a conversation.”– Elizabeth Phillips, Stó:lō elderWhen Elizabeth Phillips was a child, she was put into St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission. She was forbidden to speak the language that both of her parents spoke to her as a baby.Phillips was a loner at the school and supervising nuns became concerned that she wasn’t associating with other children enough.While other children played, she would stand alone at the outside gate, staring out at the Fraser River and thinking in her language.“And I guess that’s what saved me,” she says now, sitting outside her home in the Fraser Valley.Phillips’s small red house stands in stark contrast to rolling green hills and clear blue sky. Nearby is the Fraser.‎Part of Sto:lo Nation’s traditional territory near Chilliwack, B.C.Inside, three linguists from the University of British Columbia are bustling around her kitchen and setting up an array of ultrasound equipment as Phillips observes the elaborate set up.Phillips laughs good-heartedly when one of the linguists explains that she’ll need to put some goopy ultrasound gel under her chin.It might be the first time anyone has done an ultrasound on her mouth, but the experience of being recorded by academics is not a new one for Phillips.At 77, she’s the last known fluent speaker of the Stó:lō Nation’s Upriver Halkomelem language (also called Halq’eméylem) – a Salish dialect that’s related to two other Halkomelem dialects, but distinct to the Stó:lō people.last_img read more

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Concerned about methylmercury at Muskrat Falls Eat less fish says Newfoundland Liberal

first_imgAPTN National News With people on hunger strikes and many more protesting the expected flooding of the Muskrat Falls reservoir in Labrador over concerns of toxic levels of methylmercury, a Liberal MP for St. John’s East says he has a solution to calm everyone’s fears.MP Nick Whalen said when flooding occurs and methylmercury (MeHg) levels rise with the water people should stop fishing.Whalen made that statement on Twitter responding to NDP Leader Earle McCurdy’s comments to media that the government needs to make it mandatory to clear vegetation and soil from the hydroelectric project.“That is ridiculous. Just measure MeHg levels, eat less fish while MeHg are too high, and compensate,” he tweeted on Sunday.APTN called Whalen’s Ottawa office for comment but a spokesperson said he wasn’t immediately available and hoped to return the call later Monday.But Whalen’s tweet, and subsequent comments made on Twitter were already making the rounds.Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus accused Whalen of mocking Indigenous people who have strongly opposed the project and future concerns over poisoning.“Liberal @nickwhelanmp mocks indigenous people facing mercury contamination #muskratfalls. Tells them to eat less fish. Nation2nation???,” he tweeted Sunday.The tweet also started a long conversation on Twitter about treaty rights and Aborginal rights.Clint Davis, vice-president of TD Bank’s Aboriginal business group,  wrote; “How do u compensate for loss of Aboriginal right to fish?”The planned flooding has spurred the #MakeMuskratRight movement.Innu and Inuit leaders occupy the offices of Nalcor, the Crown corporation spearheading the Muskrat Falls project 30 kilometres west of Happy Valley Goose Bay.Billy Gauthier, an Inuk artist is in his second week of a water-only hunger strike along with two others who are consuming only broth.At a rally attended by about 100 people on Sunday in Ottawa, all three said they were willing to die to ensure that the Muskrat Falls project does not harm their ability to live off the land now and in the future.On Friday, protesters ignored court ordered injunction of blocking the gates to the Muskrat Falls construction site and formed a blockade around it.Supporters of the project believe the lower Churchill River near Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador would free the province from volatile, oil-fired energy costs.news@aptn.calast_img read more

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Identities of two Mikmaq Warriors on RCMP threat list revealed

first_img(Suzanne Patles was arrested and charged with mischief on July 9, 2013, after laying tobacco and praying the middle of a highway in New Brunswick during an anti-shale gas exploration demonstration. Photo/Suzanne Patles Faceboook)Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsAPTN National News has identified two of the individuals on a list of 89 Indigenous rights activists considered “threats” by the RCMP following a review of details contained in a recently released report compiled by the federal police force’s intelligence centre.The RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre compiled the list of Indigenous rights activists who posed potential “threats” during Indigenous rights demonstrations as part of an operation dubbed Project SITKA which aimed to enhance the federal police force’s intelligence gathering capacity, according to a report obtained under the Access to Information Act by two Ottawa-based researchers.While the names of the individuals on the list of 89 are redacted in the publicly released version of the Project SITKA report, several key details about possible identities managed to survive the censors.Based on these details and previous reporting on the issue, APTN can report on the identity of two of the individuals on the Project SITKA list. They are Suzanne Patles, a mother of three children who lives in Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia, and Coady Stevens, who is originally from Eskasoni but lives in We’koqma’q First Nation, which is on Cape Breton Island also in Nova Scotia. Stevens is also a father but does not want to publicly reveal the number of his children because he has faced death threats in the past. Both are members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society and were arrested and charged during anti-shale gas demonstrations in Elsipogtog in 2013.“I guess you wear it like a badge of pride. You know you are doing your job right if you are on a government watch list,” said Patles, in a telephone interview from Eskasoni. “It is kind of complicated. Yes, you are being monitored, you are being watched. It is amusing, but at the same time it’s kind of scary because everything you do is being monitored.”Stevens said he feels a bit “nervous” knowing the RCMP put him on the list, but it comes as no surprise.“All the work that I have done must be getting somewhere if I am on the watch list,” said Stevens, in a telephone interview from We’koqma’q. “I see a lot of the social conditions in the community and the bad things happening to our people. Most of the things I do is for the children and the next generation. I try to do work to make their lives better than the lives of this generation.”Coady Stevens in a Facebook photo from March 26.The RCMP’s Project SITKA was launched in early 2014 to identify individuals “willing and capable of utilizing unlawful tactics” during Indigenous rights demonstrations,” according to the intelligence report which was  obtained by Andy Crosby, an Ottawa-based researcher, and Jeffery Monaghan, an assistant criminology professor at Carleton University.The National Intelligence Coordination Centre initially created a list of 313 individuals who posed a potential “criminal threat to Aboriginal public order events.” The list was then reduced to 89 individuals, both non-Indigenous and Indigenous, that met the RCMP’s criteria which was based on background, motivation and rhetoric “to have committed or commit criminal activities” in connection with Indigenous rights demonstrations.The intelligence centre’s report breaks down the list of 89 by regions. Thirty-five of the 89 individuals who made the list were from New Brunswick. British Columbia was next with 16 people, followed by Ontario with 15, Manitoba with 11, Nova Scotia with 10, one from Saskatchewan and one from Prince Edward Island.The high number of individuals on the RCMP list from New Brunswick was primarily the result of the months-long demonstrations against shale gas exploration near Elsipogtog First Nation in 2013. The demonstrations saw heavily armed RCMP tactical units raid a camp, clashes between community members and police, burning police cars and highways blocked by flaming tires. The Mi’kmaq-led fight against the exploration, which they feared would lead to hydraulic fracturing and a poisoning of the area’s water, played a role in the eventual toppling of the Tory provincial government by a Liberal opposition that promised a moratorium on shale gas exploration.The Project SITKA report said a core group of members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society travelled to Elsipogtog from Nova Scotia.The report notes that “two individuals, both from Nova Scotia and who identified as part of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, participated in a national speaking tour” in 2014. The report identifies those two individuals as being “within the project,” meaning they were on the list of threats. The report notes the speaking tour was organized by the Council of Canadians and another individual from British Columbia who is also on the RCMP’s threat list.Patles and Stevens embarked on a speaking tour about the shale gas demonstrations in 2014 organized by the Council of Canadians and Harsha Walia, a migrant justice activist and author who is affiliated with No One is Illegal. Their tour stops matched the places described in the RCMP report.Suzanne Patles and Coady Stevens during one of their speaking tour stops in B.C. on Jan. 24, 2014. Photo//Facebook Dave GoodswimmerPatles was in the thick of the battle against shale gas exploration throughout most of the summer and fall of 2013 and she became one of the Warrior Society’s more high profile spokespeople. She was arrested three times. Patles was first arrested and charged with mischief on July 9, 2013, after laying tobacco and praying the middle of a highway. Then, on July 28, 2013, she was arrested and charged for obstruction, breaching conditions and mischief after the RCMP alleged she was involved in planning a blockade in the woods where several women chained themselves to machinery. Her last arrest came Oct. 17, 2013, during the RCMP raid on an encampment blocking shale gas exploration vehicles.Patles said she never went to trial on any of the charges. She said her charges were dropped.“It was entirely all worth it and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, and I think we were successful in our endeavour, we were able to stop hydraulic fracturing in the province,” said Patles. “And we sent off sparks all across the world.”Stevens was one of six high-profile Mi’kmaq Warriors arrested after the Oct. 17 raid. He said he spent five weeks in solitary confinement following his arrest after the raid. He was freed on Dec. 20, 2013, after pleading guilty to five charges, including assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer. He was sentenced to time served.(RCMP tactical officers scope the situation during Oct. 17, 2013, raid on Mi’kmaq Warrior anti-fracking camp. APTN/File)Stevens said he is still struggling with trauma from his time in solitary confinement. He said it damaged his spirituality and still prevents him from being able to enter into a sweat lodge for ceremony because it is a confined space.“When I got arrested and I was put in the hole and with so many repeated strip-searches, I came so disconnected from my spirituality. When I got out, I wasn’t able to recover spiritually,” said Stevens. “One day I tried to go to a sweat and I was virtually in tears, I was so scared. They kind of took it away…. I have been trying to make sense of my life after those traumatic events that unfolded and what happened in Elsipogtog.”Stevens said the ongoing Native American-led demonstrations in North Dakota against an oil pipeline has again ignited a spark.“With the events unfolding in Standing Rock, with all the people rising up, it is a perfect time to get in right now because the fire is lit in the hearts of people,” he said. “More than it’s ever been.”Walia, who helped organize the speaking tour for Patles and Stevens, said Project SITKA fits a known pattern.“Canada has consistently treated Indigenous resurgence and nationhood as a threat,” said Walia. “Whether it’s ceremony or blockades, criminalization has often been an option of first resort rather than actually transforming policies that continue to sanction theft of Indigenous lands and Indigenous children.”Walia is a public supporter of the Unist’ot’en camp and Defenders of the Land.The Project SITKA report notes that the 16 individuals on the list from B.C. are linked to several groups, including the Unist’ot’en camp, which has dug in along the proposed routes of three pipelines in the province, Defenders of the Land, the American Indian Movement and No One is Illegal, among others.The report’s section on B.C. also notes two individuals on its list travelled from the province to the anti-shale gas demonstrations in Elsipogtog.Steven Kakinoosit travelled from B.C. to Elsipogtog with a group of 10 people after the Oct. 17, 2013, RCMP raid, arriving in New Brunswick in early November. There is nothing in the RCMP document to suggest Kakinoosit is on the list. However, he said it confirms what he’s always believed that Canadian authorities target those who stand up for Indigenous rights.“We are being monitored and harassed because of the fact that we are Indigenous people standing up for our rights,” said Kakinoosit, who lives in Prince George, B.C. “I would even go so far as to say they are doing this because they fear the rise of direct action and front-line workers coming from the inner cities. They realize, just as we do, they are the single most dangerous segment of our population because of the potential they have to rise up.”Elsipogtog First Nation member Brian Milliea, who was involved in the movement against shale gas exploration, said the community had no choice but to fight the prospect of hydraulic fracturing in their territory.“We didn’t choose this fight because we wanted to. We chose this fight because we had to,” said Milliea. “This movement, which the RCMP chose to categorize as violent terrorism and unlawful, was never that. Just like the movement in North Dakota was always peaceful and non-violent. The violence and brutality came when the RCMP brought in members from other districts who wanted to harm unarmed peaceful water protectors.”Milliea was visited in August 2014 by two plain-clothes RCMP officers who said they were from a special task force. The officers wanted to question Milliea about a Facebook post where he called for a protest on New Brunswick Day. The RCMP’s intelligence centre compiled the bulk of its Project SITKA report between April and September of 2014.Project SITKA reportDownload (PDF, Unknown)The Project SITKA intelligence report also focused on several groups linked to the 89 individuals on the list. Some of the main groups identified were the Unist’ot’en camp, Defenders of the Land, Idle No More, the American Indian Movement and the Indigenous Environmental Network.The Unist’ot’en camp is anchored by the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation. The camp has dug in over the past six years in an area along the routes of two proposed liquid natural gas pipelines and a proposed oil pipeline. The camp sits about 66 km south of Houston, B.C., and about 1,000 km north of Vancouver. It has become a pilgrimage destination of sorts for activists because of its steadfast opposition to the pipelines and its off-the-grid sustainability.Dini Ze (Chief) Smogelgem, one of the main spokespeople for the camp, said it comes as no surprise the camp is on an RCMP list.“We’ve been on similar RCMP lists for years,” he said, in an interview with APTN Investigates journalist Rob Smith. “We’ve (seen) many reports, many internal confidential reports leaked to us over the years.”Smogelgem said he’s operated under the assumption the RCMP is keeping tabs on the camp and he expects the pressure to increase in the coming spring.“We’ve known of them spying on us for years…. It is how we live,” he said. “We are expecting a big push from them in the spring to deal with us. As you know, we’re not going anywhere. This is our home.”The intelligence report also names Russ Diabo, a Mohawk policy analyst originally from Kahnawake described in the document as a spokesperson for the Defenders of the Land group. The report does not suggest Diabo is on the list of 89, but he was the only individual whose name escaped the censors.“Spokesperson Russell Diabo has described Canada as being ‘at war with the First Nations people,’” said the report.Diabo, who has tracked the evolution of surveillance by Canadian law, said Project SITKA is just the latest incarnation of the RCMP’s efforts against Indigenous rights movements.“My ideas are a threat because I am challenging state sovereignty,” said Diabo. “I am saying we have pre-existing sovereignty.”Diabo is exploring legal options against the RCMP over his inclusion in the report.The report also claims the American Indian Movement (AIM) is the dominant organization in Manitoba when it comes to Indigenous rights activism.“(AIM) is the most influential organization within the province, with a number of its members organizing or attending events,” said the report. “Several members meet the criteria for this project and are listed as either volatile or disruptive protesters.”Project SITKA included 11 individuals from Manitoba on its list.Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Terry Nelson was involved with opening an official AIM chapter in Winnipeg back in 2013. Nelson said AIM has been active in Manitoba and Saskatchewan since the 1990s.“AIM hasn’t been leading the charge, but it has certainly been working with the young people to get them ready,” said Nelson, a former vice-chair of AIM. “The attitude is different today than it was, and young people can and will take action. Look at what is happening at Standing Rock, they have really powerful support all over the world as a result of their spiritual prayer and peacefulness. Of course, if the Dakota people get killed, it would open up something they are not going to like.”Project SITKA list of groupsDownload (PDF, Unknown)In Ontario, the SITKA report names the Unist’ot’en camp and Idle No More as the two most influential organizations in the province. The intelligence report said pipelines are the main issue among Indigenous rights activist in the province and notes a railway blockade by Mohawks from Tyendinaga in March 2014 launched to call for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women-which the Liberal government announced soon after taking power in the fall of 2015.Prominent activist Clayton Thomas-Muller lived in Ottawa in 2014-when the SITKA report was compiled-and worked for Idle No More at the time. He has also visited the Unist’ot’en camp three times and was involved in fundraising for it. He has travelled internationally on various campaigns over the years.  APTN revealed in 2014 Thomas-Muller was under RCMP surveillance.The Project SITKA report notes some of the subjects on its threat lists from Ontario have “travelled to other provinces and internationally to attend events.”Thomas-Muller said First Nation peoples are “sovereign within the settler colonial state of Canada” which means there is a jurisdictional gray area when it comes to actions on self-determination when it comes to disputes on natural resource extraction.“Canada’s economy is built on the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands and the marginalization of their rights, collective rights that are enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution,” said Thomas-Muller, who is currently a Stop it at the Source campaigner with 350.org. “It is up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to honour their word, lift up the honour of the Crown and honour their legal and fiduciary responsibility.”jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

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Dam partnership has not changed nature of hydro development in Nisichaswayasihk say

first_imgJustin BrakeAshley BrandsonAPTN NewsNelson House, home to the Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk, sits along the north shore of Footprint Lake, about 700 kilometres north of Winnipeg, 500 from Hudson Bay, and at the convergence of the Footprint, Rat and Burntwood Rivers.For the members of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN), it’s also the epicentre of one of the greatest events to impact their identity and way of life.Their ancestors have made the lands around the convergence of the three rivers their home for thousands of years, where they fished the bountiful waters and hunted and trapped the vast, hilly landscape.The local land-based economy evolved through settlers’ expansion into the area, which included the establishment of North West Company and Hudson Bay trading posts in the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s.One hundred years later a Roman Catholic day school was built, one run by individuals who locals have claimed in recent years sexually abused them. The school was part of the church and state’s wider effort to assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian society.Despite the disruptions to their lives, the Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk still hunted and fished for themselves, their families, kin and community well into the 20th century.But in the 1970s hydro development posed a new threat. One that didn’t target the people, or animals, but rather the thing the people and the animals depend on — the water.Displaced by HydroCarol Kobliski is 53 years old.She grew up on a small island in the middle of Footprint Lake and remembers the day Manitoba Hydro showed up at the door.“They came to our cabin and told my mom and dad they had to move off the island,” she recalled in a recent phone interview with APTN News.Kobliski said her family was offered $2,000 for the loss of their home, and that five other families in the area were forced to relocate to accommodate Hydro’s massive re-engineering of the lands and waters of the region — the Churchill River Diversion (CRD).The CRD effectively increased the output of water from the Churchill River system into the Nelson River. The Missi Falls control structure near South Indian Lake and the Notigi control structure just west of Nelson House control the flow of water out of the Churchill and into the Rat and Burntwood Rivers, which eventually flow into the Nelson.But along the path of these human-made channels and control structures are communities like Nelson House.And families like Kobliski’s.“We all had to move back on to the reserve with no home, nowhere to live, and we were scattered all over the community with relatives,” she recalls. “That’s how I grew up.”“Everything we ate came from the land”Nelson House is also home to Ramona Neckoway, who has been leading the Wa Ni Ska Tan alliance’s sixth annual tour of hydro-impacted communities and helping her people network and learn how hydro development has affected others in the region.Wa Ni Ska Tan means, “to wake up, or to rise up” in Cree, she explained to APTN on the first day of the trip.As such, a big part of the group’s mandate is not only research-oriented, but also advocacy and solutions-oriented, she said. Wa Ni Ska Tan, in working with community members, is exploring ways to help understand and mitigate the impacts of hydro development, whether it’s through funding research or land-based activities in communities, or hosting letter-writing events.At the tail-end of their trip north, Neckoway brings her Wa Ni Ska Tan colleagues to Nelson House.She grew up after the CRD so doesn’t know what it was like to have access to clean drinking water straight out of the lake.Standing on a dock behind her auntie’s house on the edge of the community, Neckoway tells the story, secondhand, of how her family members used to come down the bank to fetch water.Now, she says, her mother, aunties and uncles spend as much time as possible at their family’s camp on the other side of the lake.She’s getting ready to take the Wa Ni Ska Tan crowd there.But before she does, she humbly but honestly shares one reservation she’s having.“I don’t want us to be victimized,” she says somewhat hesitantly, referring to the way media often portrays Indigenous peoples and how those representations are often then internalized.“It doesn’t do us any good if we’re in the [victim] mindset. We need to empower ourselves. And we need people to respect fundamentally that relationship and those views that the elders have about the land and the environment.“There’s a reason why people are so upset here.”Moments later we board a small boat and head across Footprint Lake to the camp.A small log cabin sits about 150 feet in the woods back from the shore. Out front a large wooden deck where three of Necokway’s aunts and two uncles sit chatting with one another and drinking tea.They’ve prepared a meal of fresh whitefish, pickerel and jackfish, fried bannock and coleslaw.Edward Linklater tells APTN a story similar to the ones we’ve heard in other hydro-impacted communities: The water used to be clean, drinkable; the lakes were safe and navigable; the fishing and hunting were bountiful; the people were happier than they are now.But now, he explains, going out on the water is risky, and fishing isn’t feasible for most.The separation of the people from their land and waters has brought grave consequences.“We are losing our language,” Linklater says. Youth have access to Cree language programs in the school, but it’s not the same as land-based learning, he explains.“Even if they speak it, I can’t understand them.”(Elder Edward Linklater, Ramona Neckoway’s uncle, says the separation of his people from the land and water due to hydro development has contributed to his people’s loss of their language. Photo: Justin Brake)Linklater also recalls deaths in the community he attributes to changes in the waters due to hydro.A boat two of his friends were in, both of them fishermen, capsized years ago.“The current was so strong, the boat couldn’t handle it,” he says.“Other people were swept away and their bodies were never found.”Neckoway’s aunt Nina says she wants people in Southern Manitoba and Minnesota, who create demand for and consume the energy Manitoba Hydro generates in the north, to know the true cost of power.She says there was a time when “money didn’t matter” to her people. “Everything we ate came from the land.“But now all the animals are getting sick from the pollution,” she adds, explaining they don’t even eat fish from their own lake due to concerns of mercury. Now they have to travel out of the community to get their fish.Neckoway says hydro development forced her people out of their traditional economy and into one that has had too negative an impact of their well-being.“Maybe capitalism, so to speak, is part of the problem,” she says.While they appreciate the “modern amenities” and want opportunities, she says, “I kind of don’t feel that it should come at the expense of the environment.”Desecration of a sacred siteNeckoway’s family take the Wa Ni Ska Tan members across Footprint Lake to the place where the lake got its name, and also to illustrate how Manitoba Hydro and the province regard the Cree in their pursuit of energy and profits.We arrive at a cliff on the north shore of the lake, not far from the community.As the boat approaches the cliff two circles embedded in the rock come into sight. Inside each circle is what appears to be shape of a footprint.Nisachawayasihk Elder Donald Hart tells the story of Wisahkecahk and how the Cree cultural hero came to leave his footprints on the side of the rock cliff that once rested above the water. But when Manitoba Hydro informed the Nisichawayasi Nehethowuk that the water levels in their lake would rise drastically, there was little regard for the footprints despite concern from elders in the community.In 1976, with the inundation of Footprint Lake, Wisahkecahk’s footprints were underwater.Elders continued in their distress over the desecration of the sacred site, and in 1977 the footprints were cut from the submerged rock face and transported to a museum in Winnipeg. The following year they made their way back to the community, where they were put on public display.It would be a few more years before elders and the community, still unsettled by the flooding and subsequent removal of the footprints, would have the footprints returned to their place on the side of Footprint Lake.“They wanted them back, the people,” Hart explains, “because they figured it might be cursed over there [in the community], you know.”The large piece of rock once cut from beneath the water now sits atop the cliff. And Wisahkecahk’s footprints have been removed from that rock and embedded back into the rock face 10 or 20 feet above their original location, above water.(The footprints of Wisahkecahk were flooded by Manitoba Hydro in the 1970s, then removed from their original location and put in a museum before being re-embedded into a new piece of rock. Peter Kulchyski says the desecration of the sacred site shows a blatant disregard for the Cree’s religious rights. Photo: Justin Brake)In the woods about 50 feet beyond the cliff is the frame of a sweat lodge.Hart says people from his community return to the site for prayer and ceremony.Peter Kulchyski, the professor of Native Studies from University of Manitoba who helped launch Wa Ni Ska Tan and the visits to hydro-impacted communities, likens Manitoba Hydro’s flooding and desecration of the footprints to the demolition of the Sistine Chapel.“They took one of the most sacred sites in the province and they ripped it out and travelled it around, and eventually sent it back to the site, though much higher up than they were,” he later tells APTN by phone.“I think that shows a brutal disregard for the cultural heritage of the Nehethowuk people. We pay lip service to freedom of religion, but actually Aboriginal spirituality apparently doesn’t count when it comes to freedom of religion and we will affect religious sites for money, and have done so.”New relationships, same resultsManitoba Hydro says it has changed its ways since the days of forcing Indigenous people from their homes and flooding their ancestral lands.While they declined an interview for this series, Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen told APTN by email that “much has changed in Manitoba and Canada from [that] time period.“More stringent environmental regulations and licensing requirements are in place today than 50-60 years ago…[which] ensure that all our projects minimize their impact on the natural environment and the people who live there.”The Wuskwatim and Keeyask dams, Owen says, were “developed in partnership with local communities, who have the opportunity to participate in the planning of the projects and to have an equity stake in these projects should they so choose.”But Kobliski says that as a result of Nisichawayasihk’s partnership on Wuskwatim, a 200-megawatt $1.3 billion dam built near Nelson House, her community is facing tens of millions of dollars of debt—to Manitoba Hydro, nevertheless—and no guarantee of a return on their investment.In 2006, after almost a decade of negotiations, Nisichawayasihk signed the Wuskwatim Project Development Agreement (WPDA) with Manitoba Hydro, which gives the First Nation a 33 per cent partnership on the 200-megawatt dam.The cost to NCN was $28 million plus a $56 million loan from Manitoba Hydro itself, to be paid back out of anticipated future profits.But project cost overruns, the U.S. financial crash of 2008 and a decreased demand for export energy have pushed any possibility of windfall profits for NCN into the future.The deal between NCN and Hydro has since been amended twice to protect the community from bearing the immediate financial burden of paying more due to the unforeseen circumstances.But Kulchyski says NCN is “sinking deeper into debt,” and that the restructuring of the agreements were done without community votes.“They’ve just been done between utility and the band council,” he says.Kobliski says the people in her community have not given their free, prior and informed consent to the agreement because “there wasn’t any proper consultation” with the restructuring.She says she’s been seeking answers from Chief Marcel Moody and council, but to no avail.APTN reached out to Chief Moody for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.“No matter what we ask around here it falls on deaf ears,” Kobliski says. “We never get a response back. And it’s been like this for many, many years.”Kobliski also says that not only have living conditions in her community not improved since the band struck the deal with Hydro — they’ve gotten worse.That includes taking into account the $56 million implementation agreement Hydro settled with NCN in 1996 to compensate for the harm caused by the Churchill River Diversion in the late ‘70s.“Ever since 1996, since the money came into our community…we’ve been having a lot of social problems in our community,” she explains.“It was escalating to the point where gang members were coming in here selling drugs. We’ve had a lot of violence in our community, a lot of domestic violence, suicide, sexual assault,” she continues, adding that “for the past 10 years it’s been really bad.”Kobliski is a First Nation safety officer for the band. She’s one of 16 officers who work with the RCMP officers in the community of 2,500, she says.She insists that as someone who checks vehicles coming into the community to enforce alcohol limits she has special insight into how her people are doing in the wake of NCN’s deals with Manitoba Hydro.“I grew up in a community where there was not much alcohol…and now there’s cocaine, there’s crystal meth, there’s marijuana, there’s ecstasy — there’s so much,” she says.“And the violence that we’re seeing in the community, it was so rapid. It’s almost like there’s a crisis going on here. The way I see it, where the money goes, the drug dealers are going to follow the money.Kobliski says trust money from NCN and Hydro’s 1996 implementation agreement has funded important programs in the community and helped build infrastructure.In 2015 Chief Moody told the Winnipeg Free Press, in an interview about restructuring the Wuskwatim deal, that the band is in fact dependent on its deal with Manitoba Hydro to compensate for lack of federal support.“We have no funding at all from the federal government to deal with housing and infrastructure,” he said, explaining his “philosophy has always been that if the government isn’t going to help us we’re going to have to do it ourselves.”But Kobliski points to the community’s drug and alcohol treatment centre—and now a women’s crisis centre currently under construction—as further indicators the prosperity promised by hydro development has not come.She says there have been issues with drinking water in the community, and that some have fallen ill.Some, like herself, don’t drink the water because they don’t trust it.She recalls a childhood memory of elders gathered in her grandfather’s home.“I remember him saying to the elders there that one day we will be buying water in water bottles. I used to wonder what he was talking about, and now I see it.”Kobliski travels 75 kilometres to Thompson every week or two to buy bottled drinking water, something not many community members can afford to do, she says.“The only time we use water that’s coming from Nelson House is to shower with, and to wash our clothes, and to clear our house.”She says her people “were fine the way we were” prior to hydro development in the region.“Everybody helped one another. Nobody had to lock their doors. We didn’t have to worry about our children. And now it’s like everybody’s fighting to survive here. Nobody’s looking out for anybody anymore. There’s so much fear. We’re living in fear of one another,” she continues, laying part of the blame on the band’s leadership.“It’s sad because the way our leaders made it sound when this project was coming through: we’re going to have this, we’re gonna have that, we’re gonna prosper. Well why are our people still living in poverty? Why are our homes still full of mould?”Kobliski also warns that Manitoba Hydro’s messaging about corporate responsibility and First Nation partnerships is deceptive.“It looks good on the outside — they’re painting a good picture of the partnership, but inside the communities we’re all suffering,” she says.“This is our territory”Back on her auntie’s dock in Nelson House Neckoway is clear that her people don’t need sympathy, “because we can confront and contest what’s going on in a dignified way.”But first that requires a public discussion and understanding of the true nature of hydro development in her territory.“My aunt used to tell me stories of my grandfather chasing away surveyors and people at Wuskwatim [Lake] in the ‘50s,” she says.“So my mom grew up as they worked there. And then I was born into the Northern Flood Agreement, my daughter was born into the implementation agreement, and then my grandson inherited the [Wuskwatim] agreement.”(Ramona Neckoway says Nisichaswayasihk Cree Nation’s agreements with Manitoba Hydro over the past 40 years “just keep getting worse and worse despite the narrative that this is an opportunity to be self-determining and self-governing.” Photo: Justin Brake.)“So those four generations, each of them has had their own experience,” she continues. “But three of four of them have inherited—been born into—these realities where each generation has their own agreement.But the agreements “just keep getting worse and worse despite the narrative that this is an opportunity to be self-determining and self-governing. I don’t buy that rhetoric, and I continue to be so opposed to this model that was used up here.“This is our reality, and the fact that you’ve got 40 years worth of agreements, 40 years worth of promises, and we’re not getting any better…now I think we can actually talk about the social consequences of what’s going on,” Neckoway continues.“And to me that’s tied to the loss of land, and the dispossession of culture, of land, of territory, of connections, kinship.”Neckoway points up to the houses on the reservation.“There’s a colonial context behind that,” she says. “This was where people came for church and school, [but] they lived in camps.“People have bought into this idea that this Indian reserve is our boundary — but out boundary is out there,” she continues, pointing across the green waters of Footprint Lake at the hills beyond.“This is our territory. The history’s out there. I can feel my ancestors out here, I can feel that connection.”jbrake@aptn.ca@justinbrakenewsabrandson@aptn.ca@ashleybrandsonlast_img read more

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Wall St mixed as investors mull US tax plan TSX dips into

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s main stock index dipped into the red on Thursday as Wall Street was mixed amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s long-awaited tax reform package.The S&P/TSX composite index fell 14.34 points to 16,014.99, with energy leading decliners.On the corporate front, Canadian oil and gas companies that reported quarterly earnings Thursday met with mixed reactions from investors, with shares of Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) down 4.8 per cent (TSX:ENB), while Cenovus (TSX:CVE) rose 2.7 per cent and Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) was up 0.44 per cent at the close.Meanwhile, Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) saw its shares rise more than six per cent amid news the aerospace and transportation company has signed a letter of intent with an unidentified European customer for a firm order of 31 C Series aircraft and options for an additional 30 jets.In New York, major indices were largely static as investors pored over House Republicans’ tax proposals.The broad strokes of the bill include temporarily cutting the top corporate U.S. tax rate to 20 per cent from 35 per cent, a boon to smaller American companies that tend to pay taxes at higher rates than larger firms that do more business overseas. Key as well would be reduction in the amount of interest Americans can deduct on new mortgages, a scourge for homebuilders.The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 81.25 points to 23,516.26, a record high. The S&P 500 index inched up 0.49 of a point to 2,579.85 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 1.59 points to 6,714.94.As expected, Trump also tapped Federal Reserve board member Jerome Powell on Thursday to replace Janet Yellen as Fed Chair when her term ends in February.In other news, Canadian softwood lumber producers learned Thursday they will be hammered only slightly less forcefully as the U.S. government reduced export duties for most Canadian producers after ongoing political talks failed to reach a deal.“There’s a lot out there to digest today,” said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser at Holliswealth. “The markets, I think are taking it in stride, but they’re pretty much flat for the day.”In currency movements, the loonie was trading at an average price of 77.99 cents US, up 0.38 of a U.S. cent.“Today the Canadian dollar is rising on the back of U.S. dollar weakness rather than Canadian strength,” said Small. “The U.S. dollar is not doing a whole lot… That’s because of tax reform.”In commodities news, the December crude contract added 24 cents to US$54.54 per barrel and the December natural gas contract advanced four cents to US$2.94 per mmBTU.The December gold contract nudged up 80 cents to $1,278.10 an ounce and the December copper contract was unchanged at US$3.14 a pound.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

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Softwood lumber Canada takes its complaint to the World Trade Organization

first_imgWASHINGTON – Canada is taking its softwood lumber case to the World Trade Organization, setting in motion a potentially years-long fight against the United States before the international commercial body.The Canadian government announced Tuesday that it requested WTO consultations over American lumber duties, an initial step in eventually establishing a panel for litigating the dispute.A similar battle dragged on for four years at the WTO in the last instalment of the Canada-U.S. softwood dispute, before a temporary agreement in 2006 put the on-again, off-again issue to rest for a decade.It re-erupted this year when the U.S. imposed a series of penalties, arguing that Canada unfairly subsidizes its lumber companies through cheap access to public land. In a letter to a U.S. representative at the WTO on Tuesday, the Canadian government criticized those duties, arguing they were based on bad data and flawed methodology.“The U.S. … decision to impose punitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber producers is unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling,” the Canadian government said in a statement.“We will forcefully defend Canada’s softwood lumber industry.”Canada is also fighting the case through NAFTA’s dispute-resolution system. The lumber fight has added a complex new wrinkle to the ongoing NAFTA negotiations, as the U.S. is simultaneously asking to kill the NAFTA panel system that handles softwood cases.Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. are down about six per cent this year compared with last year, according to federal data analyzed by CIBC.The bank analysts say the biggest loser by far has been B.C. — its exports to the U.S. have dropped 20 per cent, partly due to forest fires. New Brunswick exports have dipped slightly. In Ontario and Quebec, exports have actually increased.But the biggest gains this year have gone to Germany, followed by Austria, Sweden, Romania and Russia. With duties on Canadian lumber and a hot U.S. construction market, CIBC calculates German softwood exports to the U.S. have surged more than 600 per cent this year. Germany alone has filled about half the void left by declining Canadian exports to the U.S.That issue of foreign lumber was one of the major outstanding impediments to a softwood deal.Canada agreed to a limit on exports under the deal, but insisted on a right to surpass that limit in the event of a hot American market, like the current one — so that the rising demand might be filled by Canadians, not Europeans and South Americans.U.S. industry shot down the proposal. Its support is critical. Any deal between the national governments requires industry approval, because the agreement would require that U.S. companies sign away their right to sue for duties.Canadian officials have expressed fear the U.S. industry might seek to repeat tactics of the past: Allow the fight to drag on for years, so duties on Canadian imports push up the domestic price of lumber.last_img read more

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