The 9 faces at the centre of the Jody Wilson-Raybould, PMO affair

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This week, the House of Commons justice and human rights committee held an emergency meeting to probe allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office applied pressure to the minister of justice to help the Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution in a bribery case.

During that meeting, Liberal, Conservative and NDP MPs sparred over which witnesses would appear before the committee. Nine key names came up in that debate; some are high-profile political figures, while others are more obscure to anyone outside the Ottawa bubble. Here’s a who’s-who list for the upcoming committee hearings.

Jody Wilson-Raybould

Wilson-Raybould, the former justice minister sent to Veterans Affairs in the recent cabinet shuffle, resigned from cabinet days after the Globe and Mail quoted anonymous sources saying members of the Prime Minister’s Office tried to get her to help Quebec construction giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution on bribery and fraud charges through a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), sometimes referred to as a remediation agreement.

SNC-Lavalin is before a court in Montreal, charged with fraud and corruption in connection with payments of nearly $48 million to public officials in Libya under Moammar Gadhafi’s government and allegations it defrauded Libyan organizations of an estimated $130 million.

During the political firestorm that followed the report, Wilson-Raybould refused to comment on the case, saying she was still bound by solicitor-client privilege. She has since retained former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell as counsel to advise her on what she is allowed to say publicly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has publicly stated that the allegations in the Globe and Mail report are false.

Gerry Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary

Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gerry Butts. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Gerry Butts, Trudeau’s most senior adviser, did — according to the lobby registry — meet with officials from SNC-Lavalin early in 2017. Both the NDP and the Conservatives want Butts to appear at committee. The Liberal majority on the committee, however, voted down a motion that would have made this possible.

Cameron Ahmad, a spokesman for Trudeau, told the Globe and Mail that Butts had spoken to Wilson-Raybould about the SNC-Lavalin case. Ahmad went to say that Butts told Wilson-Raybould to take the issue up with Canada’s top civil servant, Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General Nathalie Drouin

Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General, Nathalie Drouin. (facebook.com/JusticeCanada)

Drouin was appointed in June 23, 2017, and worked under Wilson-Raybould. She was one of three names put on the witness list by the Liberal members of the committee. The New Democrats also want Drouin to appear but the Conservatives have left her off their witness list. Drouin has not been lobbied by SCN-Lavalin on issues related to justice since the time the Liberals came to office.

Justice Minister David Lametti

New Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

He’s Wilson-Raybould’s immediate successor as both justice minister and attorney general of Canada. In the Trudeau government, he served first as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade. He was moved to the position of parliamentary secretary to the minister of innovation, science and economic development in January of 2017, a position he held until his promotion to minister in the Jan. 14, 2019 cabinet shuffle.

Lametti has stated many times that neither he nor his office were directed to take any specific actions by the Prime Minister’s Office. All three parties want Lametti to appear as a witness before the Justice committee.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the Privy Council of Canada

Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council. (Julie Ireton/CBC)

Wernick is Canada’s most senior public servant and an adviser to the prime minister. All three parties on the justice committee want him to appear as a witness. According to sources that spoke to the Globe and Mail, Wernick reprimanded Wilson-Raybould for a series of critical remarks she made in speeches about the Liberal government’s reconciliation efforts last fall.

In a Nov. 29 speech in to the provincial cabinet and Indigenous leaders, Wilson-Raybould said:

« Thinking that good intentions, tinkering around the edges of the Indian Act, or that making increased financial investments — however significant and unprecedented — will in themselves close the gaps, is naive. Transformative change and new directions are required. »

Wilson-Raybould’s chief of staff Jessica Prince

Chief of staff to former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. (twitter.com/jesshwprince)

As the former justice minister’s chief of staff and policy adviser, Prince would have worked closely with Wilson-Raybould. Prince was put on a list of desired witnesses by the Conservative Party, but not by the Liberals or NDP. She may be able to shed light on what, if anything, Wilson-Raybould was told by the PMO.

Public Prosecutions Director Kathleen Roussel

Public Prosecutions Director Kathleen Roussel. (ppsc-sppc.gc.ca)

Roussel was appointed to her position in June of 2017. As the director of public prosecutions she is responsible for the management of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. The Conservative members of the justice committee have requested that she appear and give testimony; the NDP and Liberals have, so far, not requested her presence.

Roussel is the official who informed SNC-Lavalin that the company was not going to be invited to negotiate a remediation agreement. Less than two weeks later, the company filed for a judicial review of that decision.

According to sources that spoke to the Globe and Mail, Roussel’s decision provoked a debate at senior levels of government over how to proceed.

Senior adviser to Trudeau on Quebec issues Mathieu Bouchard

Senior adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Quebec issues. (twitter.com/mbouchardmtl)

According to the federal government’s lobby registry, Bouchard met with officials from SCN-Lavalin more than a dozen times between early 2016 and late 2018.

Both the NDP and the Conservatives want to speak to Bouchard. The PMO has not said whether Bouchard spoke to Wilson-Raybould about the SNC-Lavalin case..

Senior policy adviser to Trudeau Elder Marques

Elder Marques, senior adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (LinkedIn)

Marques was moved from his position as chief of staff to Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains in the fall of 2017 to take up his role in the PMO as a senior adviser. Marques was lobbied by SCN-Lavalin at least a half dozen times in his position as chief of staff to Bains and in his PMO role.

The Conservatives have asked for Marques to appear before the Justice committee. So far, the PMO has not said whether Marques has spoken to Wilson-Raybould about the SNC-Lavalin prosecution.

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Was the Eaton Centre gunman in a ‘dissociative state’? Nearly seven years and two trials later, a jury is set to decide

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After a second trial almost identical to the first, a jury is once again deliberating whether Christopher Husbands murdered two men and injured several other people when he opened fire in the Eaton Centre food court in 2012, or whether he was in a “dissociative state” while shooting and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions.

Husbands, 29, admitted he was the gunman in the shooting at the landmark downtown Toronto mall at 6:22 p.m on June 2, 2012. Nixon Nirmalendran, 22, and Ahmed Hassan, 24, died from gunshot wounds. Connor Stevenson, 13, who was at the food court with his mother and sister, survived after being shot in the head. The shooting and subsequent chaos, during which a pregnant woman was trampled, was captured on surveillance video from the mall.

Christopher Husbands, seen here in a courtroom sketch from June 4, 2012.
Christopher Husbands, seen here in a courtroom sketch from June 4, 2012.  (Tammy Hoy / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The jury at Husbands’ second trial was told he had been tried once before. But it did not know he was initially charged with first-degree murder, that he had been convicted on two counts of second-degree murder by the first jury in 2014 nor that he had been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 30 years. His jury was also never told it was a judge’s mistake that resulted in the Court of Appeal ordering a new trial.

The mistake — which resulted in a number of appeals — occurred while potential jurors were being questioned about bias. Instead of allowing the defence request to use “rotating triers” — where two different people from the jury pool assess each new juror — the trial judge, Superior Court Justice Eugene Ewaschuk, imposed “static triers,” where the same two people assess all twelve jurors.

Since the Crown did not appeal the first jury’s finding of second-degree murder, Husbands could not be charged with first-degree murder at his second trial. As such, he faced the lesser murder charges in addition to charges of aggravated assault.

The defence of not criminally responsible presented by Husbands was the same as in the previous trial, though this time it was supported with more expert witnesses, including Boston-based psychologist and PTSD expert Dr. Mark Miller.

In his closing address, Husbands’ lawyer Dirk Derstine argued his client is not criminally responsible for the shooting because he was in a dissociative state where his body did things his mind could not control.

Husbands, who testified to having been physically and sexually abused as a child growing up in the Regent Park neighbourhood, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a violent attack in February 2012. He told the jury he was ambushed at an apartment, tied up with duct tape, beaten, pistol-whipped and stabbed two-dozen times by six men. Husbands testified his attackers that night included Nixon and Nisan Nirmalendran — two men who were in the food court on June 2, 2012.

On the day of the shooting, Husbands claimed he was temporarily “holding” a loaded gun for a person known as “Gaza,” who was concerned about being stopped by police in the Entertainment District.

Husbands and his then-girlfriend went to SportChek to buy rollerblades, and then picked up burgers to take away. It was when his girlfriend went to get sushi that Husbands saw the Nirmalendran brothers and three other men.

Seeing them put Husbands, already fearful and paranoid, into a scenario from his worst nightmare, Derstine said. He argued that if Husbands had been after revenge, he knew where to find the brothers.

The Crown disputes how serious Husbands PTSD was at the time of the attack and maintains Husbands faked his dissociative symptoms which fall at the “extreme end” of the scale and would be extremely rare.

The Crown’s expert witness Dr. Peter Collins testified Husbands did not appear to be acting in the disorganized and robotic manner he would expect in a dissociative state — including when he “executed” Nixon Nirmalendran at point-blank range as he lay on the floor.

Instead, the Crown argues Husbands, who was armed with a loaded gun, intended to kill Nixon and Nisan Nirmalendran as revenge or “street justice” for their attack on him.

“The video tells the story perfectly clearly. It tells a very powerful story of an intentional murder. It was not the result of any fear. It was not the result of a spontaneous act because of a loss of control. It was not because of his PTSD,” Crown John Cisorio said in his closing address to the jury.

Nixon Nirmalendran never said “shoot him” as Husbands claimed he heard, nor did he did see Nisan Nirmalendran appear to reach for a gun, Cisorio said, adding there is no evidence Nisan Nirmalendran had a gun on him.

“This is not a situation where the group approached him and confronted him and he reacted on impulse to a threat,” Cisorio said. “It was Mr. Husbands who was the threat.”

Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati

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Firefighters extinguish Agincourt Recreation Centre blaze after 39 hours – Toronto

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Authorities say a fire that started at Agincourt Recreation Centre on Thursday evening was put out Saturday morning after nearly 39 hours.

Toronto firefighters began battling the fire when it broke out just before 5 p.m. Thursday at the building near Sheppard and Midland avenues.

At its height, the blaze was as a three-alarm fire, but because of difficulties battling the flames, the rotation of equipment and crews was at a five-alarm level.

With that designation, there were 22 to 25 emergency vehicles on site.


READ MORE:
Toronto firefighters battling major fire at Agincourt Recreation Centre

No one was injured in the blaze, but the building has significant damage.

“It’s fairly extensive, but the best thing is property we can rebuild. Nobody was hurt,” said Toronto fire Capt. Scott Harrison.

Late Friday night, heavy machinery was also brought in to tear away parts of the building to expose any remaining hot spots.

Heavy machinery was brought in Friday night to tear away parts of the roof and expose hot spots.

John Hanley / Global News

A drone was also used in the firefighting efforts to help pinpoint heat signatures.

Extreme cold temperatures and the thickness of the roof made it hard for crews to put out the fire.

The Agincourt Recreation Centre is the second busiest facility in Scarborough, with nearly 3,000 registrations for more than 400 different courses in the winter session, City of Toronto spokesperson Brad Ross said.

Officials said they plan on moving those programs to other city facilities.

The Ontario fire marshal is now on scene investigating the cause of the fire.


READ MORE:
1,500 Toronto residents displaced after 6-alarm high-rise fire in St. James Town

Christiaan Ter Stege from the Fire Marshal’s Office told reporters that while the exact cause is under investigation, some witnesses told him the fire may have begun in an equipment room on the second floor of the facility.

“Once we can determine the area of origin, we’re going to start to look at potential ignition causes,” Ter Stege said.

He said most of the damage is also in that area of the building.

“Obviously, with equipment rooms, we have an HVAC system, pump generation stations,” Ter Stege said.

“We want to make sure if we have electricity there, it’s a potential cause for ignition so we’re going to examine those points.”

WATCH: Toronto firefighters battle major fire at Agincourt Recreation Centre






—With files from Nick Westoll

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Art murals at Peterborough Regional Health Centre spark positive memories for patients – Peterborough

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For the last three years, Terrence Edwin Staples has been a patient at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s C3 inpatient unit. Staples used to sing with his father growing up on the family farm — a memory triggered by a new mural painted on the wall in his hospital unit.

“It cheers you up to see all these paintings. When my daughter came from Montreal today to visit me, it was really something,” said Staples.

The Art School of Peterborough executive director Jenni Johnston says that was the goal.


READ MORE:
Peterborough ‘Mombassadors’ put their kids to work, raise $3,000 for PRHC

“I saw the difference from when it was just drawings on the wall to, as soon as the paint hit, patients were more vocal with us. They loved the flowers, but as soon as we painted the farmland, we got stories about what happened in their past, where they grew up. It was very evident that it was making a difference instantaneously,” said Johnston.

The painting started in mid-October and wrapped up at the end of November. Sixteen art students volunteered for the project, which took 400 hours to complete.

“We decided to treat each hallway with a different theme so the first, entering into the unit, we have flowers; it’s a nice kind of feel walking through the garden. We then went onto the other hallway, taking on a farm. We also incorporated the city,” explained Johnston.


READ MORE:
PRHC introduces new Smilezone area in pediatric outpatient clinic

Andrew Dodgson, unit manager of the C3 inpatient unit, says the murals help ground and relax patients, especially those who have dementia.

“People who live in a world of dementia, it gets very narrow so if you’re walking down a hallway that is all one colour or very bland, there is no interaction,” explained Dodgson. “They don’t see themselves belonging. When they enter an area and see fields or trees or shops, all of a sudden they have something to relate to. They get more relaxed, not pacing around.”

For Staples, the colourful murals have triggered happy memories.

“I think the staff and the workers here do a tremendous job, and they give you first-class care,” said Staples.

Based on the success of this project, the hospital says it’s hoping to partner with the Art School of Peterborough again in the near future.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Le premier centre d’art flottant au monde s’installe à Paris

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Fluctuart, nouvelle barge dédiée à l’art urbain, s’amarre cette semaine sur les berges de Seine, au pied du pont des Invalides. Ouverture prévue au printemps.

Son entrée en Seine va faire du bruit. Le futur voisin du Faust et du Rosa Bonheur, Fluctuart, est le lauréat de l’appel à projets 2017 «Réinventer la Seine». Le chantier naval avait débuté à Dieppe en juin dernier, avant que la structure ne soit mise à l’eau en octobre. Ce bâtiment flottant, respectueux du développement durable et innovant, accueillera un centre d’arts. Une nouvelle façon de vivre et de travailler dans ces 1000m² pour 43 mètres de long, aux parois transparentes et espaces modulables. En plus d’être ouvert à tous et gratuit, Fluctuart est le premier centre d’art urbain en France et premier centre flottant au monde. Rien que ça! Par urbain, l’espace entend exploiter toutes les facettes d’un mouvement en constante mutation, avec une mise en lumière du street art et du graffiti.

Dans la cale de l'architecture écoresponsable, la Seine entre.
Dans la cale de l’architecture écoresponsable, la Seine entre. Seine Design

L’architecture du navire a été conçue à l’image de ses artistes, «créative, ouverte au monde, engagée et dans son époque» par Gérard Ronzatti, à qui l’on doit l’hôtel flottant et restaurant OFF Paris Seine. «Fluctuart est avant tout un lieu en perpétuel mouvement à la fois artistique et festif, entre découvertes et rencontres» annonce Nicolas Laugero Lasserre, un des associés fondateurs. «Aujourd’hui, on a envie de croire en l’idée d’un art pour tous – ce qui ne veut pas dire un art médiocre. Cette quête d’un art accessible à tous est inscrite dans l’ADN du mouvement avec des artistes engagés et en phase avec leur époque» considère-t-il.

Fluctuat nec mergitur!

Actuellement sur les flots rouennais, la construction va voguer sur la Seine au rythme de croisière en direction des quais parisiens. Dès son amarrage ce dimanche 20 janvier au soir, l’aménagement des espaces va débuter car l’arrivée des artistes est prévue pour mars. L’ouverture sera printanière. Fluctuart a tous les atouts pour devenir le nouveau spot tendance de la saison. Le navire superpose trois niveaux: la cale (où se trouveront un atelier, un lieu d’exposition et des bureaux), le pont principal (une architecture mobile, flexible pour différentes exploitations, au style industriel) et une terrasse supérieure avec vue panoramique. Ce rooftop, ouvert été comme hiver grâce à la présence d’une marquise, espère être le nouveau rendez-vous festif des berges avec son propre bar à cocktails. Concerts, afterworks et soirées sont programmés. Une offre de restauration «goûtue et healthy» sous forme de bento sera assurée en journée comme en soirée et à grignoter face aux œuvres.

Pour admirer l’exposition permanente, tous sur le pont. Documents, archives et œuvres emblématiques témoignent de l’histoire et la richesse de l’art urbain. En parallèle, trois grandes expositions (monographique, collective, itinérante) temporaires annuelles sont prévues pour suivre les tendances du genre. Hétéroclite et plurimédia, le lieu de vie évolutif n’hésite pas à mettre l’art en perspective avec des supports digitaux et autres technologies. Sur les cimaises de ce centre peu traditionnel, les artistes émergents comme confirmés, choisis par un comité artistique dont C215 fait partie, peuvent dévoiler leurs œuvres. La première exposition itinérante est consacrée aux travaux de l’artiste urbaine Swoon. Pris dans le flux, les créateurs en résidence ponctuelle ou non, vont donner des ateliers d’initiation pour tous les âges et des conférences. Pour surfer sur la vague de l’art urbain jusqu’au bout, Fluctuart compte même ouvrir une librairie spécialisée. Invader, Futura 2000, Shepard Fairey et les autres pourraient y trouver leur nouveau terrain de jeu.

Fluctuart. Pont des Invalides (VIIe). Ouverture au printemps 2019. Entrée libre.

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‘Happy tears’: Friday marks 1st payday for reopened Sydney call centre

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Spirits were high at the Sydney Call Centre on Friday for the first payday under new management.

Hundreds of people were laid off just weeks before Christmas after their former employer, ServiCom, went bankrupt.

The call centre reopened on Jan. 2, after being purchased by Iowa businessman Anthony Marlowe, who was in Sydney, N.S., Friday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For Sandra Bonnar, who was celebrating her birthday Friday, the paycheque was a much-appreciated present. It’s the first pay she’s received since Nov. 10.

« When I opened my bank account this morning, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is really happening … we’re back,' » she said.

Bonnar said she was one of the lucky ones because her husband has full-time work. Over the past several weeks, she did what she could to help out some of her co-workers who are single moms.

There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday marking the first payday at the reopened call centre. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Donna MacDonald said it was an « unbelievable relief » to return to work.

« There was tears, but they were happy tears today, » she said.

If the experience taught MacDonald anything, it’s that she can count on her co-workers and community for support.

« Whether it’s just a talk, or a cup of coffee, or [you] need somebody’s shoulder to cry on, everybody was there for everybody, » she said.

Sydney Call Centre owner Anthony Marlowe said he planned to treat his new employees to drinks on Friday night. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Marlowe is impressed by his new employees.

« It’s very touching the loyalty that the workers have had to their work family, » he said. « I’ve seen nothing like it. »

Marlowe hopes to grow that family. He’s signed a nine-year lease on the building and has plans to expand from the current 480 employees to as many as 700 in the future.

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New Edmonton centre one stop shop for veterans’ services – Edmonton

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For many of Canada’s veterans, the transition into civilian life can be difficult.

Edmonton’s veterans are getting help connecting to mental and physical health supports in the area. The Edmonton Veterans Service Centre was launched in December 2018, and offers veterans affordable transition housing and assistance in the search for jobs.

“If somebody comes in and they are in immediate need for food services then we can provide them with food cards, grocery cards,” Debbie Lowther, chair and co-founder of Vets Canada, said.

READ MORE: Are the Liberals really turning their back on veterans?

“If they are in need of getting to a medical appointment, we have bus tickets here on site. We can provide services like emergency housing.

“If somebody comes in today, we can have them housed tonight,” Lowther said.

Retired Maj. David Blackburn is an injured veteran who served as an armored officer until 2011.

He says the issue for members leaving the military is the loss of identity.

“They are a highly skilled demographic but they don’t recognize what that skill set has to offer.”

Blackburn transitioned from an armored officer into four different jobs: health care contractor, environmental consultant, heavy equipment operator for landfills and now consults with veterans to find their next career.

“When you leave the military — whether you’re leaving from an injury or an illness or you’re leaving because you’re at the end of a contract — you’re losing that identity that you’ve had,” Blackburn said.

Since 2016, Calgary based non-profit Prospect Human Services has connected almost 1,200 transitioning military members, veterans and their families to find work through their employer network.

READ MORE: Disabled Edmonton veteran has to prove again his legs are still gone

The range of partnerships between the service centre and Prospects is just one of the many agencies aimed at connecting transitioning military members to veteran-serving organizations.

Debbie Lowther, chair and co-founder of Vets Canada says the centre is the first of its kind in Canada.

“To be able to offer them all of the support that they need in one location is amazing.”

Other partner organizations include the Royal Canadian Legion, Alberta NWT Command and Forces@WORK.

READ MORE: Meet Harjit Sajjan: Canada’s new defence minister and Afghan combat veteran

The Edmonton Veterans Service Centre is located at 12325 97 Street.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Saskatchewan’s Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre receives national award

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Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre in Herschel, Sask., has received a 2018 National Trust Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award and is being recognized as a resilient historical site.

The centre won in the B category, which recognizes organizations with a successful track record of a decade or longer that use historic places or landscapes in ways that illustrate extraordinary significance and bring benefit to a community over a sustained period of time.


READ MORE:
Saskatoon man receives national volunteer award

“Ancient Echoes is honoured to have been recognized for this award,” read a Facebook post by Ancient Echoes.

“We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who have contributed, in one way or another, over the years: our volunteers and sponsors (Museums of Saskatchewan, SaskCulture, Sask Lotteries, Young Canada Works), R.M. of Mountain View #318, our landowners, board members, past and present staff members, donors (Enbridge, the Valley View Tea Room) and all our guests.”

Since 1994, staff have protected the First Nations history in the region.

Another big draw for visitors from all over North America is the fossilized plesiosaur skeletons on site, as well as other marine fossils dating back 65 million years.

Herschel is roughly 140 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Halifax Convention Centre holds open house to celebrate first birthday – Halifax

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The Halifax Convention Centre has left its mark on downtown Halifax and on Sunday the building opened its doors so it could leave a mark on the public.

Jan. 12 and 13 saw the convention centre host an open house to mark its first birthday. More than 1,500 people streamed through the doors over the two-day period to get a glimpse of the inside of the glass and metal behemoth that dominates the city’s downtown core.

“We’re incredibly proud to open our doors and welcome the community to come in and see our space,” said Erin Esiyok-Prime, director of marketing and communications for the Halifax Convention Centre.

“There’s definitely an interest from the community to see our space, check out the different views of the building and just have fun.”

READ MORE: Changes proposed for reporting and oversight of Halifax Convention Centre

Artists from the East Coast Music Association played during the day and Taste of Nova Scotia vendors offered snacks and goodies for visitors.

Built with $169 million in taxpayer funding, the 120,000-sq.-ft. Halifax Convention Centre was part of a massive $500-million construction project, that began in January 2013 and opened several years behind schedule.

Attendees to the Halifax Convention Centre’s first birthday open house were able to take in free music, enjoy snacks and tour the building.

Alexander Quon/Global News

The entire one-million-square-foot development known as the Nova Centre, includes a hotel, office tower and public plaza.

Although the hotel portion of the facility has yet to be opened, the convention centre has hosted more than 140 events including the Federal Conservative Convention and the 2018 Liberal National Convention.

One of the city’s newest professional sports franchise, a professional soccer team, even chose to reveal their name at the convention centre.

WATCH: Halifax Wanderers named as city’s newest professional sports team






Esiyok-Prime says the centre and its team are proud of the work they’ve done and are happy to help draw national and international travellers to Halifax.

With over 85 events already booked for 2019, the convention centre is set to continue providing a place for conventions and events to be hosted.

“We are not slowing down,” said Esiyok-Prime. “2019 is shaping up to be another amazing year.”

With files from The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Game Centre: Canada loses overtime heartbreaker to Finland

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Eliminated. A word never heard when Canada plays the world junior tournament on Canadian ice.

But that’s what happened on Wednesday.

Canada goalie Michael DiPietro, front, lies on the ice as Finland celebrates its overtime victory at the world juniors on Wednesday. Canada is now eliminated from the tournament.
Canada goalie Michael DiPietro, front, lies on the ice as Finland celebrates its overtime victory at the world juniors on Wednesday. Canada is now eliminated from the tournament.  (DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Finland scored with 47 seconds to go in the third period to send the game to overtime, and then defenceman Toni Utunen scored in OT to beat Canada 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

“You don’t plan for things like this, two kind of fluky goals that win a hockey game,” Team Canada coach Tim Hunter told TSN. “We’re all disappointed because we all care. I know it’s here in Canada, but it’s not easy winning this tournament.”

Finland will face Switzerland in Friday’s semifinal.

But that’s it for Canada, who will go medal-less for the first time in the 13 times the country has hosted the tournament for the world’s best junior-aged hockey players.

Ian Mitchell of the University of Denver scored in the second period for Canada. Finland got a lucky bounce to tie the game with 47 seconds to go. Eeli Tolvanen, who had been frustrated all game and all tournament, shovelled the puck at the net, where it bounced off the side of the netting and then bounced off Aleksi Heponiemi’s shin pad past goalie Michael DiPietro to silence the Rogers Arena crowd and force overtime.

“It was one of those bad bounces of the game,” said DiPietro. “Tough one to swallow. Whether it’s a small ounce or a big one doesn’t really matter. We lost.”

Max Comtois failed to score on a penalty shot in the extra frame while defenceman Noah Dobson’s stick broke on a one-timer with the Finland net wide open from his angle. Canada lost possession of the puck as a result, with Utunen the beneficiary.

  • Would-be hero: For the first 59 minutes, DiPietro was the hero.

Fans even chanted “DiPietro” late in the second period after the Canadian goalie made repeated saves to preserve a 1-0 lead. DiPietro, a third-round pick of the Canucks in 2017, was giving Vancouver perhaps fans a taste of what the future might hold.

At the end of the game, his head hanging as he fought back tears, they chanted his name again.

  • The theme: Finland coach Jussi Ahokas played the underdog card, calling Canada the favourite with all the pressure in having to win on home ice. Hunter didn’t mind it at all, saying his players have grown up in an environment that breeds winning hockey.

Canada has won medals the previous 12 times the tournament was held here: Five gold, five silver, two bronze. The last time any team has won back-to-back gold medals was a decade ago, Canada in 2008 and 2009.

The last time Canada failed to make the semifinals was 2016, losing to Finland in Finland.

  • The game: The first period was scoreless as Finland outshot Canada 11-7. The Canadians seemed nervous, as if they felt the pressure of the moment, early in the game. They dropped sticks and flubbed passes, creating easy turnovers for Finland. But the Finns have struggled offensively in the tournament, and DiPietro did the rest.

Ian Mitchell got the only goal of the second period. Morgan Frost started the play in the neutral zone with a steal and spin pass to Barrett Hayton to set up Mitchell, who joined the rush. But again, Finland outshot Canada 12-8 and DiPietro had to make a number of saves, with Nashville prospect Tolvanen his favourite victim.

Two team Finland fans cheer amid a stadium full of shocked team Canada fans after the Finns scored a killer goal in overtime to knock Canada out of the hockey World Junior Championships in Vancouver, B.C.
Two team Finland fans cheer amid a stadium full of shocked team Canada fans after the Finns scored a killer goal in overtime to knock Canada out of the hockey World Junior Championships in Vancouver, B.C.  (Jesse Winter/ StarMetro)

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  • Trends: Canada scored the first goal for the fifth game in a row at the tournament. The first four had come early in the first period. This one case early in the second after a scoreless first period … Canada’s power play, three-for-15 coming in good for seventh in the tournament, did not score in three chances …Canada’s penalty kill, which allowed three goals on 13 shots coming in to be rated fifth, did not allow a goal on two chances.
  • Juggled lines: With Canada struggling a bit offensively against Russia, Hunter juggled his lines coming into the game with right wingers Nick Suzuki and Brett Leason switching lines.
  • End of the line: Maple Leafs prospect Rasmus Sandin and Team Sweden suffered an early exit from the tournament, losing 2-0 to Switzerland. The last time Sweden didn’t score a goal in a world junior game was Dec. 26, 2006, against Canada. Sandin finished the tournament with two goals.

Since 2008, the Swedes are 48-0 in the preliminary round, but 13-15 in medal round games in that time.

Kevin McGran is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @kevin_mcgran

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