Pro-pipeline protest convoy approaches Ottawa after rolling across country

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A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolls into Ottawa Tuesday for a mass protest against federal energy and environmental policies that has also become a magnet for extremist, anti-immigrant elements.

A couple of hundred vehicles are expected on Parliament Hill as part of the United We Roll convoy, which began in Red Deer, Alta., on Valentine’s Day and made its way east over four days with stops for rallies along the way.

« The core message is we need immediate action for our pipelines to get in the ground, to get to tidewater and to the rest of Canada, » said lead organizer Glen Carritt, the owner of an oilfield fire and safety company in Innisfail, Alta.

The protesters want the Liberal government to scrap the carbon tax and two bills that overhaul environmental assessments of energy projects and ban oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia. Carritt said participants also are unhappy about the government’s recently signing a non-binding United Nations compact on global migration.

Carritt said Canada’s borders « need to be controlled » by Canada and its citizens, not the United Nations.

Another convoy was originally created by a group that called itself Canada Action, which cancelled the plan and refunded thousands of dollars in donations after that effort became associated with extremist elements in the Yellow Vests Canada movement.

Organizers change name

Carritt originally referred to his convoy as a « yellow vest convoy » but renamed it United We Roll after it too was linked to people spewing hateful rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants.

« After much consideration, we have decided to make this convoy about being inclusive and supporting Canadians first and foremost, » Carritt wrote on the protest’s GoFundMe page in late January. « Our new name is United We Roll! Convoy For Canada! »

Some trucks in the convoy display the signature yellow vest garment on their front grilles, but Carritt stresses the rally is open to anyone fed up with the federal government — as long as they aren’t violent.

« Everybody’s involved, » said Carritt. « It doesn’t matter — you can wear a yellow vest or blue coveralls or black hardhat or suit and tie. Everybody that’s peaceful is welcome. »

Jason Corbeil, another organizer, renounced any association with a Sault. Ste. Marie, Ont., yellow vest group that had claimed online to be part of the convoy. The blog of one of those organizers includes calls for specific politicians to be executed, refers to immigrants as « sub-human » and argues women don’t belong in politics.

The ‘United We Roll’ convoy of semi-trucks set out from Red Deer, Alta., on Feb. 14, headed to Ottawa to draw attention to the energy sector and the need for pipelines. (Jeff McIntos/Canadian Press)

Corbeil said the convoy does not condone hate and is about uniting people.

Evan Balgord, the executive director the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, however, is warning that the convoy is giving a platform for hate.

« This convoy is a Yellow Vests Canada convoy, and any well-meaning pro-pipeline individuals involved are in fact legitimizing and breathing oxygen into the broader Yellow Vests Canada movement, which spreads hate, conspiracy theories and death threats targeting Muslims, politicians and other Canadians, » he said.

Counter-protests expected

Indigenous Solidarity Ottawa is planning a demonstration near Parliament Hill Tuesday to counter the convoy’s protest, condemning what it calls « pro-pipeline, far right and outright racist » rhetoric.

Saskatchewan Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall is planning to speak at the convoy’s Parliament Hill event Tuesday. She said she is pleased to participate and that the organizers have made clear the protest is about pipelines and energy policy, not hate.

« I see everyday Canadians who are out speaking out strongly in support of Canadian pipelines and their jobs, and I want to be there to say I appreciate what they’re doing, » she said.

The rally could bring much of downtown Ottawa to a standstill over the next two days, with street closures planned around Parliament Hill to make room for the 200 or more semi-trailers, pickup trucks, cars and buses expected. While the United We Roll group is largely made up of people from Western Canada, a group of like-minded protesters from Eastern Canada is to join up with them in Ottawa.

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Toronto parents pay the highest child care fees in the country. Elsewhere in Canada, provinces are capping the burden

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More than half of Canadian provinces are using fee caps to rein in parents’ galloping child-care costs, but Ontario isn’t one of them, according to a national survey being released Thursday.

“For the first time in five years we are seeing movement, with more provinces using public policy to make child care more affordable,” said study co-author David Macdonald of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Jessica Dumelie and her daughters, one of whom is almost 3 and the other who is 18 months. Dumelie and her husband will be paying $3,400 a month for child care when Jessica returns to work next year.
Jessica Dumelie and her daughters, one of whom is almost 3 and the other who is 18 months. Dumelie and her husband will be paying $3,400 a month for child care when Jessica returns to work next year.  (Richard Lautens / Toronto Star)

“But these bright spots are overshadowed by the fact that fees in Canada remain astronomical, outpacing inflation in most cities,” added Macdonald, senior economist for the left-leaning think tank.

Toronto parents continue to pay the highest median fees in the country, with infant care topping $1,685 a month or $20,220 a year, says the centre’s fifth annual report on child-care affordability.

Parents in Mississauga, Hamilton and Kitchener pay $1,490, while median infant fees in Vancouver are $1,400 a month, according to the study, which surveyed fees in licensed centres and homes in 28 cities across the country last summer.

Spaces for preschoolers (age 2-1/2 to 4), which make up more than half of the 717,000 licensed spots for young children in Canada, are still the most expensive in Toronto with median monthly fees of $1,150. Preschool fees in Brampton, Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham, London, Kitchener and Ottawa follow close behind at $1,000 a month, the report says.

Quebec, Manitoba and PEI enjoy the most affordable child care in the country, thanks to long-standing provincial fee caps. The median monthly cost for all age groups in Quebec is less than $200, while median monthly preschool fees in Manitoba and PEI are $451 and $586 respectively, the report notes.

But the recent introduction of fee caps in Newfoundland, British Columbia and Alberta are starting to make a difference for parents in those provinces too, Macdonald said. For the first time, median fees for preschoolers in St. John’s and Edmonton went down last year, the report says.

Read More:

Child care costs just $10 a day for these B.C. families — and it’s changed their lives

Alberta expanded a $25-a-day pilot project launched in 2017 from 22 centres to 122 locations last year.

B.C.’s new fee-reduction initiative has lowered parent costs by $100 to $350 a month in participating centres. And the NDP government rolled out its promised $10-a-day program in 53 centres last fall.

As part of a 10-year plan launched in 2012, Newfoundland introduced operating grants in 2018 to centres that agreed to cap daily fees at $44 for infants, $35 for toddlers and $30 for preschoolers.

“Almost half of the spaces surveyed in St. John’s in 2018 were participating in the Operating Grant Program, which is reflected in the more than $100 drop in median monthly fees since 2017,” the report says.

In all cases, provinces used federal funding to cap or reduce fees, the report notes, adding such collaboration “can hopefully create a foundation for improving child-care affordability in the future.”

But in Ontario, where the previous Liberal government had planned to introduce free preschool starting next year, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have promised a child-care fee tax rebate instead.

Toronto parent Jessica Dumelie, 30, who is on maternity leave with her second child, is bracing for the financial fallout when she returns to her health-care job next January.

Monthly child-care costs for her daughters, who will be 18-months- and almost 4-years-old when she goes back to work, will be $1,750 and $1,650 respectively and easily eclipse her family’s mortgage payments.

Fortunately, the whopping $3,400 monthly child-care bill will drop when Dumelie’s older daughter starts kindergarten in the fall of 2020. But Dumelie and her husband, who works in finance, will still be paying more than $2,000 a month for toddler and after-school care.

“We were very excited about the possibility of free preschool for our younger one,” said Dumelie, a member of parent group Toronto East Enders for Child Care. “But now that doesn’t look like an option.”

She’s not sure how the tax rebate would work or even if her family would qualify.

In the meantime, Dumelie said her family is “making sacrifices” and putting money aside to pay for child care when she returns to work.

“Costs are wild,” she said. “We’ll just have to find some way to make it work.”

Thursday’s report also takes a closer look at child-care costs in Quebec, where about two-thirds of centres and home daycares are publicly funded with fees set at $7 a day and the rest are private businesses that charge “market” rates.

Since the mid-2000s, Quebec has offered parents who use private centres a child-care tax rebate to help cover the cost. But even with the tax rebate, parents in those centres pay fees that are between two- and three-times higher than those in publicly-funded programs with a set fee, the report notes.

At an annual cost of about $800 million a year, Quebec’s child-care tax rebate clearly isn’t as effective as set fees when it comes to parent cost, Macdonald said.

Quality in Quebec’s private centres isn’t as high as in $7-a-day programs either, added the report’s co-author Martha Friendly, citing recent research in that province.

“Since we have been doing these studies, the fees (across the country) have continued to go up, up, up,” said Friendly executive director of the Child Care Resource and Research Unit.

“What this report found is that in provinces that set fees, it has an effect in the centres covered by the policy. But it doesn’t have an effect on market-fee centres,” she said.

The experience in Quebec shows Ontario would be making a mistake if it introduces its promised child-care fee rebate, added Friendly.

“We are moving from free child care — the most affordable — to a mirage,” she said. “You don’t create accessible, affordable and quality child care by sending (parents) a cheque or giving them a tax rebate.”

Laurie Monsebraaten is a Toronto-based reporter covering social justice. Follow her on Twitter: @lmonseb

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Hundreds attend Edmonton information session on future plans for contentious Bighorn Country

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The second of four public information sessions on Bighorn Country was held at the Polish Hall in Edmonton Saturday afternoon.

“We want it to be very low-key. We’re here to listen to people,” said Rick Blackwood, assistant deputy minister of Environment and Parks, Strategy Division. “We’re trying to make sure that we’re giving people the opportunity to learn more about the proposal and ask questions.”

In November, Alberta’s environment minister announced plans for eight new parks covering 4,000 square kilometres in the Bighorn area, along the eastern edges of Banff and Jasper national parks.

READ MORE: 9 government officials harassed amid Bighorn Country park plans: Alberta environment minister

Residents and area officials have raised concerns about how the project might affect oil and gas exploration, the forestry industry and off-road vehicle use.

The issue became contentious and the in-person sessions were replaced by telephone town halls.

READ MORE: Bighorn Country information sessions cancelled over allegations of intimidation, bullying

Over 100 people attended the Edmonton information session Saturday.

The first meeting was held Friday night in Drayton Valley, with two more to be held in Red Deer and Sundre next week.

“One of the reasons the original sessions were cancelled was because there was some concern about safety,” Blackwood said. “We’ve been able to do a lot of work with our team, find venues and develop processes to ensure safety is addressed. But we were also responding to what we were hearing from stakeholders.

“They wanted to talk to us face to face so we felt it was really important,” he added.

Blackwell said the safety concerns were addressed through increased security and managing the flow of people in and out of the room.

The Bighorn plan is supported by 37 former, top provincial biologists in a letter sent to the premier earlier this month.

“People are very passionate, which is exactly what we expected,” Blackwell said. “This is a piece of real estate and an area of land that people have a lot of vested interest in, either from an industrial perspective or a recreational perspective so it’s really good for us to be able to hear those opinions. We heard a lot of really good comments.

“We’re here to listen, we’re not here to sell anything,” Blackwell said emphasizing the plans for the area are still being tweaked.

“We’re asking people direct questions: if you were to shape it, what would you like to see? Give us specifics,” Blackwell said.

People can also review the proposal and weigh in on the project through an online survey.


The Alberta government said on Jan. 23, that “engagement has already reached more than 30,000 people, as well as municipalities, recreation groups, small businesses and industrial operators.”

“After we’ve been able to give them a much higher degree of understanding — the temperature has gone down a bit,” Blackwell added. “It’s been really helpful having a face to face dialogue.

“The area of the Bighorn has been of intense interest since the ’80s and we have to make sure that we get it right.”

with files from Emily Mertz

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

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Canada ranked 3rd best country to live in – National

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For the fourth year in a row, Canada is ranked the top country to live in when it comes to quality of life.

According to the 2019 Best Countries Report, our northern nation took home the winning score based on our health care, public education, safety, solid job market and politically stable landscape.

WATCH BELOW: Canada’s new food guide: 5 things you should know






Overall, Canada was ranked the third best country in the world after Switzerland, which was ranked number one, and Japan at number two.

The report also listed Canada as number two when it comes to citizenship, based on factors like human rights, the environment, gender equality and religious freedom.

Another category we ranked highly in? Best countries for women. Canada came third, just behind Sweden and Denmark, respectively.

READ MORE: 11 of the most popular places to visit in 2019

The annual project, led by U.S. News & World Report, BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, evaluates “80 countries across a range of categories, from economic influence and military might to education and quality of life, to capture how nations are perceived on a global scale.”

While Canada fared well across several boards, the U.S. slid in a few categories.

WATCH BELOW: Much of Canada stuck in a deep freeze






The U.S. was ranked the eighth best country — the same spot as last year — but the study noted that “the world’s level of trust in the U.S. continues to decline” with the nation now ranking number 27 for “perceptions of trustworthiness.”

“Perceptions of the U.S. as a country that cares about human rights have also fallen,” researchers said in a statement.


READ MORE:
Nova Scotia distillery wins award for best gin in the world

Still, the U.S. came in first place when it came to the global ranking of perceived power, followed by Russia and China. Canada was rated number 12 in that category.

Laura.hensley@globalnews.ca

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

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Ontario is holding a lottery for cannabis stores on Friday. Here’s what the rest of the country tried and how it turned out

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However, there’s one major outlier: British Columbia. The entrenchment of black- and grey-market cannabis operations in B.C., as well as the sluggish rate of legal cannabis store openings, means the province has a chimera of private and public sale systems that’s been difficult to leverage.

“They have a quasi-legal illegal market,” Osak said. “They have a couple of publicly owned stores and now, recently, a couple of private (ones). So they have a mixed bag of everything.”

A lot of questions about Ontario’s cannabis licensing system remain unanswered, Osak said, especially when it comes to late penalties.

Retailers are required to submit a $50,000 letter of credit as part of their application. If they aren’t open by April 1, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario can take $12,500 of that. Retailers who still aren’t open by April 15 will lose another $12,500. What isn’t clear is whether stores that have passed all of the necessary inspections and trained their staff appropriately could suffer these penalties if they’re faced with an unreliable supply of weed and are forced to close.

“This whole process is clouded in uncertainty,” Osak said.

Here’s a look at how the rest of Canada has handled brick-and-mortar cannabis stores and how they’ve fared since legalization:

Read more:

Ontario’s cannabis retail lottery will have just 25 winners. But is it a smart approach, or a golden ticket to nowhere?

N.B. cannabis retailer lays off staffers as ‘operational needs’ become clear

Toronto council opts in on pot shops just as Ontario limits number to 25 because of supply shortage

British Columbia

The process: While B.C. isn’t limiting the number of private cannabis retailers, applicants must go through several steps in order to officially obtain a licence, including paying an application fee of $7,500 and receiving approval from their local government or Indigenous nation.

What worked: In B.C., most cannabis users who couldn’t go to the only provincially owned store in Kamloops had to buy from the provincially operated online store in the first two weeks of legalization. It proved immensely popular, with reports that the province was low on stock just 24 hours after launch.

Private retailers came a few weeks later, with Tamarack Cannabis Boutique in Kimberley being the first out of the gate.

What didn’t: Regulations have limited stores to selling products exclusively from the provincial wholesaler. As a result, stores cannot carry cannabis-based creams and edibles; Tamarack owner Tamara Duggan said those were some of the most popular items at her Kimberley store.

The roll-out of stores in other municipalities has been much slower, with businesses complaining that the licensing process is overly complex. In Vancouver, a hub of cannabis use where several illegal stores are still in operation, three months passed before the first two private retailers opened their doors — to long lineups from enthusiastic customers.

Jaclynn Pehota, a regulatory consultant for Evergreen Cannabis, said the process for private licensing is “not particularly intuitive or user-friendly,” and many small businesses may not have had the resources to get through.

Alberta

The process: Alberta has taken a relatively hands-off approach to selling weed, similar to their privatized system for liquor stores. Applicants looking to open a storefront must secure approval from municipal authorities and submit to an application process (which includes background checks) from the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC).

There is no cap on the number of stores allowed within the province, although the AGLC expected to see around 250 store applications within the first year of legalization. However, privatization doesn’t extend to the internet: The only legal website to buy weed in Alberta is the AGLC-run albertacannabis.org.

What worked: Alberta had 17 storefronts open on Oct. 17. The Edmonton area alone had a dozen ready to go on legalization day, while Calgary had two. There are several possible reasons why the provincial capital outpaced Cowtown so quickly, including an existing medical cannabis industry (Aurora’s headquarters are based in Edmonton) and relaxed public consumption laws. Albertans also have a healthy appetite for bud: Nova Cannabis, a chain with stores across the province, pulled in $1.3 million in sales within the first five days of legalization.

What didn’t work: As with other provinces, Alberta’s brick-and-mortar stores and albertacannabis.org found themselves starved of weed just a month after legalization. In late November, the AGLC announced a moratorium on granting new store licences until supply issues could be resolved, saying it had only received 20 per cent of the cannabis it had ordered from licensed producers.

Several stores, including Numo Cannabis in northern Edmonton, had to close for weeks due to a lack of weed, while Urban Canna, a small chain in Calgary, found itself unable to open at all during the first month of legalization. Some Alberta municipalities have also vetoed pot stores, and Calgary has found itself bogged down with appeals against cannabis stores within city limits.

Atlantic Canada

The process: In Nova Scotia, the government-run Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) is the only authorized pot seller. On legalization day, the crown corporation opened 11 cannabis boutiques inside existing liquor stores, one stand-alone cannabis shop in Halifax and online sales.

What worked: When the shops opened in cities and towns around the province on Oct. 17, there were long lines as clerks handled almost 13,000 transactions and sold more than $660,000 in products. Those lines persisted at some locations for several days.

NSLC spokesperson Beverly Ware said in an email that the corporation was “very pleased with the implementation” and that it answered the public’s demand for local producers shortly after legalization. There weren’t any local licensed producers in the province on Oct. 17, but two have since received the green light from Health Canada.

What didn’t work: Several NSLC cannabis stores closed early because of shortages.

As in Nova Scotia, the rest of Atlantic Canada opted for government-run cannabis retailers. New Brunswick’s retailer, Cannabis NB, faced similar supply challenges to the NSLC and recently laid off more than 60 employees from its 20 stores.

Cannabis NB spokesperson Marie-Andrée Bolduc told The Canadian Press that it was difficult to say whether the supply problems were linked to the layoffs.

“The decision is representative of normal new retail industry operations and long-term fiscal responsibility,” Bolduc said in an email.

Quebec

The process: The Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) runs 12 stores across the province, including three in Montreal and two in Quebec City. Customers can also purchase cannabis from its website.

What worked: The 12 stores were open by legalization day, and the website was live. The province’s website reported 53,300 online transactions and 84,850 in-store transactions in the first week of operation.

What didn’t work: Plagued by supply shortages, the stores are now only open Thursdays to Sundays. In addition, some customers reported receiving products with a unit weight lower than what was indicated on the packaging, according to the SQDC’s website.

Saskatchewan

The process: Operators for 51 retail cannabis stores were selected through a two-step process that combined an open request for proposals and a lottery.

Applicants that made it through the first screening phase, which looked at financial and inventory systems, were entered into the lottery to be eligible for a permit. Independent consulting firm KPMG monitored the process, according to the province’s website.

What worked: The advance planning meant a few stores were open on legalization day, The Canadian Press reported at the time.

What didn’t work: Not all of the 51 stores were open by then. Currently, only 17 are in operation; the rest are working through the permit process, and more should be issued in the coming weeks, according to a government spokesperson.

Manitoba

The process: A request for proposals went out in November 2017, looking for four initial companies. The province announced the successful retailers in February 2018.

The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA) regulates, licenses, inspects and audits the industry, while the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) is in charge of processing and distribution, according to the province’s website.

The private sector operates all 16 retail locations across the province, including two in First Nations communities and 10 in Winnipeg, according to the government’s website.

What worked: In December, the province announced the private retailers were largely playing by the rules so far and none had been fined since legalization, The Canadian Press reported.

What didn’t work: MBLL said in October it expected supply shortages to last at least six months, as the province, along with others, is not receiving as much cannabis as it needs.

In December, the RCMP seized all cannabis from the Winnipeg-based company Bonify, saying they believed illegal cannabis had entered the market.

Nunavut

The only way to buy is to order online from private retailer Tweed, which doesn’t have any stores in Nunavut. The government did not immediately respond to a request for more detail.

Yukon

The government operates one cannabis shop in Whitehorse, as well as an online store. The government did not immediately respond to a request for more detail.

Northwest territories

The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission regulates the distribution of alcohol and cannabis through mail order, an online store and five brick-and-mortar locations. The government did not immediately respond to a request for more detail.

With files from Joseph Hall, Kevin Maimann, Omar Mosleh, Taryn Grant, Cherise Seucharan and May Warren

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‘Living the Newfoundland dream’ for 8 years, St. John’s trainer must now leave the country

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Like so many other Newfoundlanders, Machel Rayner had to leave the province for work.

It was September and the personal trainer had accomplished a goal of his own: he received permanent residency in Newfoundland and Labrador, the province he’s called home for eight years.

However, there was one more thing he had to do.

Rayner needed to find a good paying job. One that could support him, his two younger siblings, and his mother back in his home country of Jamaica.

But that one move — temporarily relocating to Halifax for work — put him at odds with the rules of the Newfoundland and Labrador government immigration program, which insisted that he stay put inside the province. The expulsion threw his life. and the lives of his family, into flux. 

« I was distraught. I was weak in the knees, » Rayner, 31, said in an interview Wednesday.

« I cried at the airport. I … feel as if I let everyone down. »

Love of Newfoundland

Nearly a decade ago, while working at a Sandals resort in Jamaica, Rayner was approached by a couple from Newfoundland who sold their province as a place where the charismatic Rayner could live and thrive.

Intrigued, he applied to do his undergrad at Memorial University and was accepted.

Machel Rayner, seen in a CBC story from 2011, was known for his singing and dancing when he worked at Tim Hortons in the Aquarena in St. John’s. (CBC)

The province upheld all his expectations, he said.

I had to think on my feet as I have been doing since I was 19, sending them to school right through since Kindergarten. I have to find a way to keep providing for them– Machel Rayner

« Everyone here is friendly. They go out and beyond to make sure that I’m comfortable here, » he said.

« The university professors, they are as helpful as they possibly can and it’s always a first name basis, which is quite a bit difficult for me, » Rayner laughs. « Because back home it’s all sir and madam. »

Rayner’s contagious laughter, positive outlook, and big smile caught the attention of CBC cameras in 2011, while he was working behind the counter at Tim Hortons at the Aquarena in St. John’s.

Machel Rayner holds a photo of himself from his Memorial University convocation. It’s one of many items he is packing into storage as he leaves the province behind. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

He would sing and dance for customers to brighten their day.

After completing his degree in kinesiology at MUN, Rayner brought his positive outlook to the gym, where he sang and danced for clients looking to improve their physical fitness.

He was « living the Newfoundland dream, » taking chilly walks along the edge of the North Atlantic with his Newfoundland dog Jam Jam and giving a hearty nod and « whattaya at, b’y? » to anyone who passed by.

Cash-strapped in the city

But after his employer cut one of the fitness programs Rayner taught at a local gym, he suddenly found himself losing out on $10,000 a year — or about 25 per cent of his annual income.

« With that reduction in income, I was financially stifled. I couldn’t meet my bills with my regular livelihood and also take care of my diabetic mom back home, » Rayner said.

« So, I had to think on my feet as I have been doing since I was 19, sending them to school right through since kindergarten. I have to find a way to keep providing for them. »

Rayner had already saved enough money to bring his younger brother Shaquille, 23, to the province, where he’s currently studying to be an electrical engineer at the College of the North Atlantic.

Machel Rayner, 31, and his brother, Shaquille, 23, pose in front of an iceberg perched in the chilly North Atlantic ocean. (Submitted)

His youngest brother, who is 21, is set to arrive next year.

Rayner needed to find money to fulfil the wish he made his mother eight years earlier to get his little brothers to Canada.

« I wasn’t thinking. I was just thinking about how to provide for my family because if my income is cut, there’s a ripple effect on everyone else. »

He didn’t have any luck securing a higher paying job in Newfoundland, but Rayner did get an offer in Halifax.

« I was hesitant in going because Newfoundland is home, » Rayner said.

« This was a temporary move because my other brother is coming. I have to prepare for him and be here when he arrives. »

Axed from N.L. program

By leaving the province for work — albeit temporarily — Rayner said he was automatically removed from the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program.

While it wouldn’t discuss the case, the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour said that the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Immigration Agreement requires immigrants to live and work in this province as they pursue permanent residency.

The certificate is granted to people who have skills that the province can use to address specific economic development and labour market needs.

Federal immigration and refugee protection regulations require that people « must intend to reside » in the province which nominated them.

Machel Rayner is leaving behind his three-year-old Newfoundland dog named Jam Jam. (Submitted)

Without the program, Rayner either has to leave the country voluntarily within two weeks and start the process over again, or appeal — and run the risk of being banned from Canada for a minimum of one year.

The appeal hearing is too risky, Rayner said. Instead, he is leaving his younger brother, his fitness clients and dog behind.

« I never had a pet in my life, » he said. « I truly am going to miss my Newfoundland dog. She meant a whole lot to me. »

Packing 8 years of memories

If Rayner was told about the stipulation, it simply slipped his mind, he said, adding he originally applied for his residency three and a half years ago.

On Wednesday, Rayner and his brother Shaquille packed a small storage unit in St. John’s full of Rayner’s things. His framed diploma from Memorial University perched atop a pile of possessions collected over eight years.

Working two jobs and seven courses, Shaquille will shoulder the family financial burden — for now.

It was something I did wrong, by not reading the fine print.– Machel Rayner

« All my mom has been doing is praying that I don’t return [to Jamaica] and that there’s some sympathy, » Rayner said.

« But it will [end] up on my little brother now to continuously send $100 back home so they can eat for two weeks. »

It’s on me, Rayner says

In recent years the Newfoundland and Labrador government has put a big push on immigration.

With more citizens dying than being born, the population is dwindling and is in desperate need of a boost.

A provincial Liberal immigration action plan released last year indicated the province has a « roadmap » to welcoming 1,700 newcomers annually by 2022.

Machel Rayner had hoped to bring his mother to Newfoundland and Labrador with him and his two brothers. It’s a promise he still wants to keep. (Submitted)

Now, one of their long-time residents is leaving.

Rayner may have worked on the beach at a Sandals resort, but he grew up in one of Jamaica’s toughest neighbourhoods, Trench Town in the capital of Kingston.

He doesn’t know how long reapplying to come back to Newfoundland will take or if he’ll ever be allowed back, but remains his upbeat, optimistic self.

He’s not jaded by his experience. Nor does he blame the province.

« It was something I did wrong, by not reading the fine print. And I will just have to see what’s the best route to come back. »

The Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour did not accept CBC’s offer for an interview with the minister, citing privacy concerns over discussing specific cases.

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Botanica Restaurant Column: We Left Our Dream Jobs to Open a Restaurant Across the Country | Healthyish

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Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling are two editors-turned-restaurant-owners in L.A. Their first restaurant, Botanica, is an airy all-day cafe in Silver Lake and a strong contender for most healthyish restaurant in America. We’ll catch up with Emily and Heather regularly for stories, recipes, and dispatches from the front lines of a women-led, vegetable-first kitchen.

The power went out during our first-ever New Year’s Eve dinner. Our restaurant Botanica was a mere six months old, and we were booked solid and eager to please (NYE = high expectations). Suddenly the emergency lights flicked on, turning the low-lit dining room into a fluorescent box. Music stopped mid-beat. The kitchen was cloaked in complete darkness, and equipment whirred to a halt. Before we had time to panic, our staff sprang into action: Line cooks seared lamb kabobs on a small backup stove. Spouses and partners brought dozens of balloons to cover the emergency lights’ obnoxious glare. One friend dropped his holiday plans to play guitar on our patio; another brought her stereo to stream music inside.

As co-owners of an ever-growing, always-changing, beautiful beast of a restaurant in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, we are often asked why we did it. Why did we leave our “dream jobs” (we’re both former food and lifestyle journalists) for the heavy-lifting, micro-managing, and sleeplessness of the restaurant industry? In this column, we’ll try to answer that question by giving you a peek into our crazy lives, from how we deal with power outages to how we stock our market to our favorite cooking techniques.

When we first decided to open a restaurant back in 2014, the food world hardly resembled what it is today. Vegetables had just begun to take hold of America’s hearts, the #metoo movement didn’t exist, and aggression, addiction and perversion weren’t just acceptable, they were proof that you had what it took. We made the jump from writing about restaurants to building one because we wanted to create something that celebrated what we thought was important, not what was already there.

We wanted to change things from the inside out by proving that health, wellness, and nourishment could be incorporated into every aspect of an ambitious restaurant. We wanted to lavish vegetables, fruits, and grains with the attention and respect we thought they deserved (while showering some love on Pacific seafood and sustainably raised meat, too). We wanted to build a business that would respect and support its staff and care genuinely and personally for its guests via hugs and wholesome cookies and copious pours of natural wine.

And, as two women in a male-dominated industry, we wanted to do it on our own and in our own way: by sheer force of will, energy, and optimism (and a lot of hard-ass work).

So: We moved from Chicago to LA, talked friends and strangers into giving us money, built a website to share our recipes, gut-renovated a decrepit 1940s liquor store, pulled together an intensely wonderful crew of staff, makers, and purveyors, and brought Botanica to life.

Today we’re just beyond our year-and-a-half birthday, and Botanica is legitimately thriving. We’ve made it through the insanity of the opening months (nonstop maximum output; self-care regimens down the toilet; living off granola and cold six-minute eggs pulled straight from the walk-in) and now, thanks to our incredible 50-person dream team, have occasional moments to pause, breathe, and eat actual meals.

Perspective is hard to come by in this business. We often get mired in the minute-to-minute drama of broken refrigerators, rancid cashews, and AWOL everything, from dishwashers to dairy orders. Much of our time is spent putting out fires (literally, we’ve put out three), all while maintaining a sense of cool, calm collected-ness so our dining room full of guests feels cared for. Sidenote: On that first New Years, no one complained. Midnight came and went, and the lights were back on for daytime service.

But the upside to owning our own restaurant? It’s huge. It’s no exaggeration to say that we spend every day among the most delicious and beautiful products around. We work with a team of fiercely creative, passionate people devoted to making things—food, natural wine, cocktails, coffee, tea, ceramics, floral arrangements, music—that bring joy.

When we actually stop to think about it, we feel like the luckiest people in the world. (And then we think: Oh man, we need a massage. And we need to follow up with the plumber! And we should add curry leaves to the vadouvan cauliflower dish. And damn, did we order more matcha? And…)

Our goal for this column is to share it all with you: stories, lessons, obsessions, favorite things and, of course, plenty of colorful, healthyish, vegetable-centric recipes. We hope you’ll enjoy (and come see us next time you’re in LA!).

xo, Emily and Heather

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How much Canadians across the country plan to spend this holiday season – National

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How much are Canadians planning to drop on holiday spending this year? It depends on who you ask, of course. But it also depends on where you ask.

A recent survey done by Leger for the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) shows consumers plan to spend $675 on average on everything from gifts to travel to food and entertainment. But the national average conceals significant regional variations.

READ MORE: Are Amazon’s Black Friday deals as good as they seem? We checked

In Ontario, for example, the average projected spend is $805, almost double the $458 Quebecers say they will devote to the holidays.

Here’s the provincial breakdown from the survey:

British Columbia: $688

Alberta: $622

Manitoba and Saskatchewan: $611

Ontario: $805

Quebec: $458

Atlantic Canada: $813

WATCH: Two things you may not know about shopping in the U.S.






Budgeting plans also vary considerably across the country. A majority of Canadians (65 per cent) say they have either an inflexible or at least somewhat firm holiday budget in mind. Albertans, though, are much more likely to say they have a hard spending limit. By contrast, less than two in 10 Ontarians said so.

Share who say they have a “very firm budget”:

British Columbia: 18 per cent

Alberta: 26 per cent

Manitoba and Saskatchewan: 23 per cent

Ontario: 17 per cent

Quebec: 22 per cent

Atlantic Canada: 19 per cent

But intentions are one thing and actual holiday shopping is, sometimes, another. One in three Canadians said they ended up spending more than they meant to last year. Quebecers, though, were most likely to say they managed to stick to their budget.

WATCH: How to avoid impulse spending this Black Friday






Canadians adopting Black Friday — with patriotic flair

The survey also shows that Black Friday has definitively eclipsed Boxing Day as Canadians’ preferred shop-till-you-drop event. Some 40 per cent said they plan to take advantage of Black Friday discounts, while 30 per cent have their eye on Cyber Monday. While 35 per cent are still planning to go deal hunting on Boxing Day, the poll found consumers plan to spend much less than on Black Friday.

But while Canadians are buying into America’s post-Thanksgiving shopping mania, they’re doing so in an increasingly patriotic spirit, the survey suggests.

WATCH: Trump accuses cross-border shopping Canadians of being smugglers






Most respondents (87 per cent) said they believed it was important to buy from a retailer in Canada this season, and more than one in three (35 per cent) said buying Canadian seemed more important this year than it did last year.

“The negotiation of the new [U.S.-Canada-Mexico] free trade agreement seems to have stirred national pride and the importance of supporting retailers in Canada,” RCC president and CEO Diane Brisebois said in a statement.

About the survey:

The 2018 RCC Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted online by Leger 2,504 with a nationally representative sample of males and females 18+ between Oct. 10 and Oct. 22, 2018 using Leger’s online panel Legerweb. The survey was fielded in both English and French. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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

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Escapade : Le Country Lodge

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Le lieu est propice au lâcher-prise pour les parents, non seulement pour détourner leur attention de leurs écrans, mais aussi pour lâcher la bride de leurs enfants, libres ici d’évoluer en toute sécurité grâce à un cadre exceptionnel niché au beau milieu des arbres. Dans une clairière à flanc de colline, sans route à proximité – les voitures sont invitées à rester au parking à l’entrée. Libre alors aux petits citadins en quête d’espace et de grand air d’arpenter les allées du potager en maraîchage bio, ou d’expérimenter la ferme pédagogique en liberté, pour approcher et nourrir chevaux, chèvres, lapins, moutons, poneys et poules, à moins qu’ils ne se retrouvent nez à nez avec un dindon en goguette égaré sur la terrasse de leur lodge. Le domaine en comprend treize (d’une taille de 27 m2, ils peuvent accueillir quatre à six personnes et disposent d’une terrasse de 12 m2), auxquels s’ajoutent neuf cabanes (plus vastes, de 47 à 57 m2, avec une capacité d’accueil de quatre à six personnes plus deux bébés ou enfants, et disposant d’une terrasse de 27 m2) soit vingt-deux hébergements au total, tous conçus en bois. Un matériau de prédilection pour Arnaud, soucieux de rester en harmonie avec la nature et désireux de minimiser l’impact environnemental de son projet.

Du pur glamping, chaque construction étant pourvue de tout le confort nécessaire (cuisine, salle de bains, et WC séparés) pour séjourner en toute autonomie. Aussi faut-il prévoir ses victuailles pour le séjour, chaque hôte devant cuisiner lui-même ses repas. Alors pourquoi ne pas passer dans l’une des fermes environnantes pour acheter un panier de fruits et légumes bio ou du chèvre frais, sur les conseils locavores avisés d’Arnaud ? L’idée n’étant pas toutefois de séjourner reclus dans son lodge, mais bel et bien de goûter à certains moments de la journée aux joies de la communauté.
Des instants précieux de partage à expérimenter notamment dans le lounge. Ce vaste espace commun est lumineux grâce à sa verrière, et convivial grâce à sa cheminée autour de laquelle se rassembler pour boire un verre, pendant que les enfants s’amusent à l’étage dans la mezzanine faisant office de salle de jeux. Avec ses vélos, bottes en caoutchouc et K-Way mis à la disposition des hôtes, avec sa piscine extérieure chauffée, le Country Lodge offre à 1 h 30 de la capitale un lieu loin de toute pollution sonore et visuelle, permettant aux petits urbains de sentir le vent dans leurs mollets, de remplir leurs poumons d’air pur et leur tête de souvenirs. Un séjour riche d’éveil et d’apprentissages sensoriels, à partager avec leurs camarades de classe une fois le bitume retrouvé. Jusqu’aux prochaines vacances ?

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Canadian country crooner Brett Kissel trick-or-treats in Headingley, Man. – Winnipeg

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A special trick-or-treater stopped for candy in Headingley, just outside of Winnipeg, for Halloween this year.

Canadian country singer Brett Kissel posted on social media thanking the Manitoba community for letting his family of five (including the dog) go door-to-door for candy.

Watch: Brett Kissel talks fatherhood






Kissel said he knew being on tour would make the Halloween tradition difficult for his daughters, who are 2 and 1.

But the family parked the tour bus in Headingley and threw on costumes anyway.

“Our bus driver, when we pulled up between Winnipeg and Portage La Prairie, pulled over in a nice subdivision, a nice residential area so we pulled our bus over,” Kissel told 680 CJOB.


READ MORE:
Brett Kissel to sing ‘O Canada’ at the 2018 Grey Cup

Kissel’s family sported Little Mermaid characters. Even his dog got in on the fun.

“I wasn’t dressed like a country singer that’s for sure, I had a big white beard and dressed up like the King of the Sea,” Kissel said.

“The licence plate is true. It genuinely is ‘Friendly Manitoba,’” Kissel posted on social media.

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

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