Monthly Archives: July 2019

Liberals rethinking leaders debate over ticket costs, lack of French

WATCH ABOVE: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was in Edmonton Wednesday night, looking to make gains. Shallima Maharaj was there.

EDMONTON — The federal Liberals are threatening to pull out of a leaders debate on foreign policy later this month over concerns that it won’t be bilingual as promised.

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The debate on foreign policy comes as the campaign has focused on the Syrian refugee issue in Europe, a matter Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau talked about during an event in Toronto Wednesday morning, and then again hours later in a campaign rally speech to supporters in Edmonton.

In a letter sent to the organizers of the Munk Debate on Wednesday, the co-chairs of Trudeau’s campaign team said they were reviewing whether to take part in the debate on Sept. 28.

The letter says that organizers promised the debate would be bilingual as a condition of Liberal involvement.

When Liberal officials looked over the format for the debate, they felt there wasn’t enough time allocated to debate issues in French. One campaign official said it looked like 15 to 20 per cent of the debate would be in French and the debate moderator was a uniligual anglophone.

“We agreed in principle, under the presumption that this was a bilingual debate; however, this is clearly not a bilingual debate,” the letter says.

Liberal officials also say they were concerned with the $95 per ticket price tag to get into the debate audience, as well as preferential treatment for Munk members, leading to what the letter described as an “exclusive list of Canadians” who would be able to attend.

“We cannot accept that,” reads the letter, signed by campaign co-chairs Katie Telford and Dan Gagnier.

“The days of political leaders auditioning in front of the country’s wealthiest elite are behind us. Debates should be open to all Canadians, regardless of where they live or with whom they associate.”

Telford and Gagnier wrote that Trudeau would only take part in the debate if organizers met their concerns “in a material way.”

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Georgia mother’s terrifying 911 call: ‘My children are trying to kill me’

WATCH ABOVE: Two brothers from Snellville, Georgia were arrested on Saturday after allegedly trying to drug and kill their parents for insurance money. Blayne Alexander reports.

Two Snellville, Georgia brothers have been arrested after allegedly trying to kill their parents.

In a shocking 911 call to police on Saturday, Yvonne Ervin is heard speaking to an operator about her two sons attempt to drug her and her husband.

“They’re trying to strangle us and shoot us,” Ervin said while hiding in an upstairs bedroom.

“They beat me up, they beat him up,” she also said.

Her husband was in the garage trying to honk the car’s horn to get the attention of neighbours.

“And they put Xanax in our food,” Ervin added.

Xanax is a drug mostly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Side effects include dizziness and drowsiness, which Ervin mentions in the phone call.

“We didn’t understand why we were so sleepy, but that’s why,” she said about her and her husband’s condition.

Ervin’s children were arrested and identified as Cameron Ervin, 17, and Christopher Ervin, 22. Neighbours say the brothers are respectful individuals.

Police said it looked like the two men had a plan to try and cover up the attempted murder due to the fact officers smelled a strong natural gas odor when they arrived on scene.

“Based on the evidence that has been gathered thus far, it is apparent that the brothers launched a plot to kill both of their parents,” police said in a press release.

The mother said she believes her sons were after the family’s insurance money.

Ervin has since been released from hospital while her husband remains in stable condition.

Both brothers are scheduled for a preliminary court hearing on Friday.

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Winnipeg Transit delays could last until December

WINNIPEG — The city has apologized for the short notice transit riders were given in a massive reduction in bus services that could now last several months.

At a press conference Thursday officials announced a back log of broken buses had left it with no choice but to reduce the number of available buses on certain routes until December.

The City first broke the news to the public in a tweet around 7 pm Wednesday night.

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“I would like to apologize to Winnipeg Transit users and customers for the short notice of these service changes,” CAO Doug McNeil said.  “We could have managed the impact to citizens…much better.”

Amanda Klassen says delays earlier this week left her behind schedule by more than two hours.

“Bus fees keep going up every year, and they keep cutting things on us,” the frustrated rider said.

Transit says a key issue is the city has one of the lowest number of available spare buses out of any transit service in the country.  But that they also went into this week “optimistic” they could handle it’s fall schedule.  On Tuesday, 15 buses broke down, some due to an emissions systems issue, and Transit says that’s when it became clear they could not handle the load.

“We decided instead of proceeding with unplanned service interruptions, to provide advance notice, as much as we could,” Dave Wardrop, Director of Winnipeg Transit, said.

But the union representing both drivers and mechanics said they’ve been warning this could happen for months, if not years.

“They are high maintenance coaches and we didn’t allow for that extra service requirement,” John Callahan, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said.

Routes with frequent or alternative transit service will have some service reduced in an effort to minimize overall disruption to the Transit system. No further solution was offered to solve the problem, beyond the reduction in services.

The city will release their revised fall transit service schedule Friday at 4 a.m. and the revised schedule will remain in effect until December.

Routes most likely to be affected include:

Morning rush hour:

17, 21, 22, 25, 29, 34, 44, 46, 54, 55, 58, 66, 75, 78, 137, 160, 162, 163

Afternoon rush hour:

11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 25, 26, 29, 41, 44, 46, 55, 58, 75, 77, 183

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#Elxn42: Race in Mount-Royal riding heats up

WATCH ABOVE: The battle for the riding of Mount Royal was in full swing Wednesday night.

MONTREAL — Liberal candidate Anthony Housefather opened his campaign headquarters in the Mount-Royal riding Wednesday night.

At the same time, Conservative candidate Robert Libman was handing out food baskets for Rosh Hashanah.

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“The riding has been Liberal for 75 years but everyone feels that we are on the cusp of a historic breakthrough and we can pull this off,” Libman told Global News.

READ MORE: Clash of the titans – two political foes battling it out for coveted federal seat

A few blocks away, Housefather supporters crowded into the Côte-Saint-Luc mayor’s campaign headquarters.

About 200 people came out to show their support for Housefather’s campaign; including EMSB Chair Angela Mancini, NDG Mayor Russell Copeman and representatives from various cultural groups in Montreal.

“The other campaigns in this riding are trying to win one particular group. We are working for the support of every community in Mount-Royal,” Housefather told the cheering crowd.

Polls show the Conservatives aren’t too far behind the Liberals in Mount-Royal with five and a half weeks left in the campaign.

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Australian principal fired for building ‘calm down’ cage for autistic child

An Australian principal had a cage-like structure built in a Canberra school as a “calm down” space for a student with autism. The principal has since been fired and “won’t be going back to a school.”

The details of the cage are outlined in a report released this week after an independent inquiry into the matter.

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The 2m x 2m x 2m structure, which had a self-closing door and a latch, was constructed in March by an independent contractor and dismantled 14 days later. The 10-year-old autistic boy it was built to contain was placed in the structure once by staff during that time.

READ MORE: Ontario couple turn to crowdfunding to help expand school for people with autism

The principal used $5,915 in school funds to have the cage built “without input, consultation or approval” from the school board. It was the principal’s decision to install the cage, which was removed after a complaint was filed.

The report notes that support services are available to schools, including behaviour specialists and counsellors, but the principal did not make a request for such assistance before the “inappropriate” structure was installed.

The name of the school was not released in order to protect the child’s identity.

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