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Alleged white supremacist kicked out of UCP joined Bernier’s People’s Party

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An alleged white supremacist who was kicked out of Alberta’s United Conservative Party found a new political home in Maxime Bernier’s fledgling People’s Party of Canada — at least briefly.

Adam Strashok’s name has vanished from the membership list on the « People’s Network — Alberta » Facebook page, along with virtually all other evidence of his previously active life on social media.

But a cached version of the page from mid-September shows that he had joined the party and signed up two others.

In Calgary on Friday at a People’s Party of Canada rally, Maxime Bernier said the man is not involved in the party — and white supremacists in general aren’t welcome within party ranks.  

« We want to have people who believe in our philosophy and our principles, and we have a different position on immigration… we’re not for mass immigration but at the same time we’re not anti-immigrant, » he said.

When asked if he has concerns about white supremacists joining his party, Bernier said they do background checks and look at people’s social media before they can be a part of the People’s Network executive. 

« People who don’t share our values aren’t welcome in our party, » he said. « We want to have serious people on the board of our riding association because we’re a serious party. »

Earlier in the day, a party spokesman did not directly answer when asked if Strashok is still a party member and, if so, whether his membership would be revoked.

A spokesperson for the People’s Party of Canada, led by Maxime Bernier, declined to say whether Stroshok’s membership would be revoked. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

« I can tell you he has not been elected to any interim EDA [electoral district association] board and, as far as we know, is not involved in organizing, » Martin Masse said in an email.

In a bid to insulate itself from extremists, the People’s Party is asking all members of its riding associations across the country to sign a pledge promising that they « have done or said nothing in the past and will do or say nothing in the future that would embarrass the party. »

But Masse said that vetting system applies only to riding-association board members, « not to our 32,000 members or to the thousands of people who’ve been attending a meet-up or commenting on Facebook. »

However, he added: « We’ve always been very clear that anyone with extreme views was not welcome in the party. »

Asked again whether the People’s Party would cancel Strashok’s membership should it discover he is still a member, Masse said: « I repeat: We’ve always been very clear that anyone with extreme views was not welcome in the party. »

The Canadian Press couldn’t reach Strashok to ask him about his party affiliations.

‘Extreme views’

Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney last month disavowed Strashok after reports by online media outlets Ricochet and Press Progress revealed he had posted anti-Semitic and white supremacist messages on social media sites and was involved in an online store that sells memorabilia glorifying white minority-rule in Rhodesia, the colonial precursor to Zimbabwe.

Among other things, the store sells T-shirts emblazoned with « Let’s slot floppies, » Rhodesian military slang for « Let’s shoot black insurgents. »

Kenney, who had employed Strashok to run his call centre during the UCP’s leadership contest last year, issued a statement saying he was « shocked and disturbed » by the reports. He said he’d been unaware of Strashok’s « extreme views » and had instructed party officials to revoke his membership.

It appears that at least until last August, when Bernier split with the Conservatives to form his own party, Strashok was actively involved with the federal Conservatives.

Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney disavowed Strashok after reports he had posted anti-Semitic and white supremacist messages on social media sites. (Colin Hall/CBC)

He had served on the executive of the party’s campus club at the University of Calgary and worked for Calgary MP Bob Benzen. He spent a summer working as an intern for Calgary MP Michelle Rempel when she was minister of state for western economic development and posted photos of himself with groups of Conservatives, including Rempel, Benzen and MP Blake Richards.

Conservative party financial records filed with Elections Canada show that Strashok donated $290 to the party in May 2016 and $532 in June of this year. Party spokesman Cory Hann said those donations were the registration fees paid to attend party conventions — the last one held in Halifax in August.

Hann said Strashok’s views « obviously do not reflect the views of our party. »

« These views are not welcome in our party and had we been aware of them, we would never [have] allowed him into our party, neither as a volunteer nor as an intern. »

Hann added that Strashok is no longer a member of the Conservative party « and my understanding is he’s been organizing for Mr. Bernier in Alberta. »

Rempel confirmed that Strashok, who lived in her riding, was hired as an intern in her regional office — to the best of her recollection, in the summer of 2013. His job would have been akin to « shredding photocopy paper, » with access to nothing confidential, she said.

He also served briefly on her riding-association board until summer 2015, when some executive members became aware of some « questionable » social-media posts.

« The minute we became aware of this, he was asked to resign and he did, » Rempel said. « I have a zero-tolerance policy on any sort of anti-Semitic language, like more than zero-tolerance policy. That is completely unacceptable and there is no place for that type of language and I denounce it in the strongest possible terms. »

Benzen said Strashok was an intern in his Calgary office in 2017 after he won a byelection and first became an MP. Strashok helped with research to get him up to speed on federal issues, Benzen said.

« I can tell you there were no indications at all, in either his conduct or his conversation, of the views now attributed to him. Such views are unacceptable and would never have been tolerated had they been known, » Benzen said in an email.

Richards said he’s not familiar with Strashok.

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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