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Edmontonians gather to honour victims of Pittsburgh massacre, support Jewish community – Edmonton

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Edmontonians filled the Beth Israel Synagogue in the city’s west end Monday night to commemorate the victims of a shooting massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend and to condemn hatred.

“We’ve been outraged at this vicious anti-Semitic attack,” Steve Shafir, president Jewish Federation of Edmonton, told Global News. “As a community, unfortunately, the Jewish community is the most targeted religious minority in Canada in terms of anti-Semitic attacks.

“But something this heinous really does shake us.”

Shafir said even though the attack happened in another city, it’s being felt by Edmonton’s Jewish community because “it was an attack on who we are.”

“Tonight’s a chance for the community to get together and reflect on what’s happened, to help us really soak in the events of the past few days, to express our emotions and to come together as a community as a whole and to grieve.”

The memorial was attended by various politicians and leaders of various religious communities.

Candles were lit in memory of the 11 victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa. Joyce Fienberg, a Toronto-raised woman, was among the victims.

READ MORE: Confirmed in a Toronto temple, she was shot and killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue

Robert Bowers, the man accused of the killings, made his first court appearance earlier on Monday and learned prosecutors will seek the death penalty in his case.

Authorities in the U.S. have alleged he expressed hatred of Jews during the rampage and later told police, “I just want to kill Jews” and “all these Jews need to die.”

READ MORE: Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect makes 1st court appearance; likely to face death penalty

Watch below: Videos from Global News’ coverage of the shooting massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue.


Mayor Don Iveson spoke at the Edmonton memorial Monday night and told attendees that while Alberta’s capital is a safe place, “Edmonton is not immune from hate crimes.”

“We saw swastika graffiti this past summer, two synagogues were threatened in the last year and groups espousing hatred somehow do operate still here in our city,” he said.

“However, I am comforted, as I hope you are as well, by how many Edmontonians have stood up, refusing to give such groups any platform in our community.”

READ MORE: Edmonton swastika graffiti to be condemned at rally, Notley says such hateful acts ‘not to be tolerated’

Watch below: On Aug. 6, 2018, Premier Rachel Notley said she was glad to hear some Edmontonians had planned a rally to condemn the swastika graffiti that had recently been discovered in the southwest part of the city.






“Almost a year ago, on a wet, cold October evening, Edmontonians from all walks of life and faiths, demonstrated their warmth in supporting our Muslim community in Sir Winston Churchill Square, one day after the lives of police officers and civilians were threatened in a violent way in downtown Edmonton. Leaders from our interfaith community attended in solidarity. Tonight, we gather once more with community leaders and representatives from many faiths.”

Shafir said the Edmonton Police Service reached out to the city’s Jewish community immediately following the Pittsburgh massacre.

“They were proactive in terms of making sure that we didn’t need anything, or if we did, that they could support us and they were steadfast in their support for providing or diverting front-line services to monitor our institutions on a bit more of a regular basis in the immediate aftermath of what happened.”

READ MORE: Police presence in Jewish communities across Canada to be increased following Pittsburgh shooting

Shafir said his community has gratefully accepted the offer from police.

“This should not ever happen to anybody for any reason whatsoever,” he said. “Whether it be a random act of violence or a targeted killing such as this toward any group, being Jewish, because of the colour of somebody’s skin or because of the way that they relate in terms of gender identity.”

–With files from The Associated Press

© 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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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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