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‘I believed something was wrong with me’: Edmonton man calls for conversion therapy ban – Edmonton

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Kevin Schultz voluntarily spent four years in conversion therapy, a program that claims to change an individual’s sexuality from gay to straight.

Schultz said he entered the program because he believed something was wrong with him.

“I am from a very religious background. There was no room for gay people within the church,” Schultz said. “This homophobia that was all around me was internalized as well.”

LISTEN BELOW: Conversation therapy survivor Kevin Schultz speaks with the 630 CHED Afternoon News

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Speaking on the 630 CHED Afternoon News, Schultz said the underlying assumption of conversion therapy is that no one is born gay.

“Everyone is born straight, something has happened that made us gay,” said Schultz. “So if you could find what the cause was, you could fix it… (as if) you’re broken.”

Schultz said he tried to ignore his feelings, getting married to a woman and having three kids.

“I didn’t really accept that I was gay until I left conversion therapy. I thought that I was just struggling with same-sex attraction,” Schultz said. “I (had) to find a way to be normal. I saw myself as sick, and here was a solution.”

Schultz said he tried very hard to convince himself conversion therapy was working.

“I had a family dependent on me. I didn’t want to put them through what I knew would happen if I came out. I wanted to find a way to be a straight man,” said Schultz. “When I look back on my life before I came out, (what I remember most) is being very lonely.”

An online petition is calling on the Trudeau government to implement a nationwide ban on conversion therapy.

Since its launch in September, the petition has garnered more than 3,000 signatures and is set to be presented in the House of Commons in January.


READ MORE:
Petition to ban conversion therapy across Canada gains steam, survivor says it’s ‘long overdue’

Edmonton-Castle Downs MLA Nicole Goehring is working on a private member’s bill to institute a ban in Alberta.

“We support the request that the feds ban this, but we’re looking at an Alberta perspective. We know that (conversion therapy) is discriminatory and causes harm,” Goehring told 630 CHED.


READ MORE:
Alberta NDP to introduce bill banning gay conversion therapy

“We’ve heard loud and clear from the LGBTQ+ community that this is a ban that is long overdue and absolutely needs to happen now,” said Goehring. “We’re still in the process of working on the language (of the bill) because we want to get it right.”

Schultz recalls the night he left conversion therapy as the “happiest and scariest moment of (his) life.”

“There was someone in the group that said he was hallucinating and hearing voices. (To me), it felt like he needed to be in an emergency room. But instead, the leader of the group said: ‘You’re being plagued by a demon, and we need to pray this out of you.’”

Schultz walked out the door and drove home. He recalls it as the moment he knew he had to come out.

“It felt like this huge burden had been lifted. But I was also terrified,” he said.

It’s now been 10 years since Schultz left conversion therapy. He has been married to his husband for seven years.

He said he is hopeful legislation will move forward.

“I just want (LGBTQ) people to know you are not alone. There is a whole community waiting for you. We know how good it is on this side.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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