Violent protests prevent N.B. doctor, nurses from leaving Haiti

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An emergency room nurse and doctor from Woodstock, N.B., and a nurse from Halifax say they are safe but have no idea when they will be able to leave Haiti as violent protests continue in that country.

« We’re all safe and we’re not worried about our safety, as long as we don’t leave the property we’re on now, » said Dr. Heather Dow. 

The latest demonstrations in Haiti were triggered by frustrations over the country’s high unemployment rates and skyrocketing prices.

Dow, along with Cathy Davies and Rachel Blaquiere, travelled to Haiti to provide free medical aid in small villages and towns. But the protests are preventing their departure, which was scheduled for Wednesday. 

« We’re a bit stressed because we have obligations at home that we’re probably not going to be able to meet if we don’t get home soon, » Dow said. 

Protests and demonstrations began Feb. 7, on the anniversary of the overthrow 33 years ago of dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier. 

Dow said that despite President Jovenel Moise’s promises of improvements, things have gotten worse. 

‘Complete shock’

In an interview with Shift New Brunswick, Davies, from Woodstock, said they had no idea this would happen because nothing like it had happened when they were there at the same time last year. 

« This came to us as a complete shock when it all began, » she said.

A nurse and doctor from Woodstock, along with a nurse from Halifax, are stuck in Haiti during the sixth day of violent protests there. Cathy Davies, Rachel Blaquiere and Dr. Heather Dow travelled to Haiti to provide free medical aid in small villages and towns. 9:07

The women, along with the medical team they travel with, were able to reach a small clinic in the mountains that day but encountered roadblocks, and someone threw a gas bomb at them.

« We had to go through a dirt path he knew of to get back to our house, » she said. « And our driver had a gun too. It was something that I don’t want to go through again. » 

Roads blocked

Blaquiere, formerly of Woodstock, N.B., is part of a medical team that can’t leave Haiti because of violent protests over inflation and unemployment. (Submitted)

The three are staying at the home of Dr. Emilio Bazile, who lives in Ottawa but returns to the country three or four times a year to deliver medical care. They have accompanied him on many of those trips.

His home is four hours from Port-au-Prince, where the only international airport is located. Dow said entrances to the capital have been blocked and there are roadblocks throughout the city. 

« There’s a lot of demonstrations with rock throwing and tire burning, cement-barricade building and clashes with the police that have left many injured and several killed, » Dow said. 

She said they’ve heard people at the barricades are asking for money to let people through, and sometimes hold people for ransom to make their point to the government about how unhappy they are. 

Seeking help

Cathy Davies, an emergency room nurse from Woodstock, said she is hoping and praying the trio can safely leave Haiti soon. (Submitted)

The women said Bazile has been trying to use his contacts to arrange a safe way for the women to leave the country. More calls were being made to the Canadian Embassy to see if they could help. 

« Right now with the roads blockaded there’s no way to get to Port-au-Prince, » said Dow. 

Davies said another friend is working with his contacts to arrange a flight from another airport if they can there. 

« Our concern right now is getting home safely, » she said. « We’re hoping and praying this gets resolved and we get home to our respective families soon. »   

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Class size, teacher hiring part of new education consultations, leaving one teachers union wary

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Class sizes and hiring rules could be in for changes under the Ford government, which has just launched consultations with education unions and trustee associations.

However, the head of Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario called the talks “concerning and disturbing.”

Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario.
Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.  (Jim Rankin / Toronto Star)

The government began discussions with teacher unions on Wednesday by “highlighting the $15-billion deficit, the need to reduce that deficit and … leading to potential cuts in education,” said ETFO president Sam Hammond.

“Make no mistake, they are talking about removing” class-size caps in elementary school and especially for full-day kindergarten.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement that the government is “modernizing the way we fund education in a responsible manner and we are eager to hear the innovative ideas of educators and sector partners.”

Read more:

Sex-ed curriculum ‘doesn’t talk about consent enough,’ Thompson says

Sex-ed rollback, launch of snitch line, created ‘chill’ among teachers, court hears

Violence in Ontario schools prompts call for more front-line staff

Also up for discussion is the rule known as “Regulation 274” — the bane of principals and school boards that argue they can’t hire the best fit for any position because the rules force them to choose supply teachers with the most seniority for long-term and permanent positions.

Put in place to curb nepotism and liked by the unions, it has nonetheless caused troubles for members who lose seniority as they move from board to board.

Minister of Education Lisa Thompson during question period in the Ontario Legislature, July 18, 2018.
Minister of Education Lisa Thompson during question period in the Ontario Legislature, July 18, 2018.  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)

Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, struck a more conciliatory tone than his elementary counterpart, saying “We are absolutely prepared to engage in consultation with this government and can offer, as we have in the past, solutions to some outstanding problems with the hiring regulation.

“Understandably, we remain committed to protecting locally negotiated class size limits that respond to local circumstances and support student achievement as well as the staff complement that provides for excellent and unique programming around the province.”

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy

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Quebecer barred from leaving Dominican Republic after alleged attempted sexual assault on 7-year-old girl

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A 69-year-old Quebecer is under investigation in the Dominican Republic, after police say he tried to have sex with a seven-year-old girl « with her father’s consent. »

Yvon Joseph Ghislain Gaudet was arrested on New Year’s Eve in a hotel in Sosua, in the province of Puerto Plata, on the northern part of the Caribbean island.

Dominican Republic National Police also arrested the girl’s father in a nearby hotel.

He had apparently taken his daughter to Gaudet’s room, according to a press release by the police force.

Gaudet has since been released from custody because « no one in the family was willing to press charges, » said Rosaria del Carmen García, an officer in charge of public relations for the region.

The seven-year-old was under the sole care of her father, García told CBC News, because her mother has died. Her older sister refused to press charges against the father or Gaudet.

The girl has been taken to a safe place, García said.

While Gaudet is no longer under arrest, he is not allowed to leave the country while police continue their investigation. His cellphone and computer have been seized.

Gaudet is originally from Quebec and is a former journalist with Radio-Canada.

In an email, Global Affairs Canada told CBC News it is « aware of a Canadian citizen under investigation in the Dominican Republic. Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed, » said spokesperson Richard Walker.

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Fact Check: Scheer compares Trudeau debt to parents leaving ‘unpaid credit card bill’ to children

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In a speech at an Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Convention Saturday morning, Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer criticized the spending practices of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.

“He has increased Canada’s debt faster than any peacetime prime minister in Canadian history,” Scheer asserted. While the debt-to-GDP ratio throughout Canadian history isn’t entirely clear, spending by the Canadian government has notably increased since Trudeau took office.

WATCH: Carbon tax ‘not a price’ on pollution: Scheer






Global News previously assembled a database to track government spending, which revealed that the Liberals have made nearly 9,000 spending announcements since Trudeau took office two years ago, far surpassing the 7,300 spending announcements made during the four years of the Harper majority government.

The combined value of the Liberals’ spending announcements has reached CAD$34.27 billion so far, versus the $45.15 billion combined value for four years of Harper spending announcements.

“No one would leave an unpaid credit card bill to their children, but that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing,” Scheer continued during his speech.


READ MORE:
When it comes to cheque hand-outs, the Trudeau government easily tops Harper’s record

Scheer’s comments seem to stem from a report published by the Fraser Institute in 2017, stating that Trudeau is on track to be the be the largest accumulator of debt among prime ministers who took office in times of economic stability and minimal global conflict.

On the flip side, however, some experts have noted that many estimates regarding Canada’s federal debt do not take into account the government’s current assets. Global News reported in March that while our federal market debt hit $1 trillion this year, this number is offset by almost $380 billion in assets, bringing the total of the country’s net debt to a more manageable $651 billion.

WATCH: Federal government’s market debt tops $1 trillion






According to documents prepared by RBC based on government projections, Canada’s net debt is expected to rise to $730 billion by 2023. Between 2016, the first full year Trudeau held office, and 2023, the year RBC’s projections end, the federal net debt will have increased by a potential $1 billion over that seven-year period.

The seven-year-period prior to 2016 saw a comparable net debt accumulation of approximately $1 billion as well. It’s important to note that Conservative leader Stephen Harper took office in 2011, and held office for three terms.


READ MORE:
Trudeau government reveals the 2018 federal budget

In addition to discussing the spending practices of the Trudeau government, Scheer pledged to do away with Trudeau’s carbon tax, pledged to continue challenging the prime minister during Question Period in the House of Commons, and encouraged Ontario Conservatives to make Trudeau a “one-term prime minister.”

The next federal election will take place in November 2019.

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

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Peel police sergeant charged with assault after allegedly leaving three victims with minor injuries

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A Peel Regional Police sergeant was arrested and charged with multiple counts of assault on Friday.

Badal Kaushal, a 19-year veteran, is facing three counts of assault and one count of assault with a weapon, police report.

According to the seven-month-long investigation by the Peel Regional Police Professional Standards Bureau, Kaushal was charged with two counts of assault and one of assault with a weapon in relation to an incident that happened while Kaushal was on duty in May 2017 in Brampton. Two female victims, 44 and 33, respectively, sustained minor injuries.

Kaushal was also charged with one count of assault for another incident in July 2017, when he was on duty. The victim, a 53-year-old man, suffered minor injuries.

Peel police launched the investigation after someone came forward with the allegations in March, constable Harinder Sohi said. Kaushal was suspended with pay.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 17 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton.

Stefanie Marotta is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @StefanieMarotta

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Dishes That Let You Experience Local Without Leaving Your Hotel

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AMSAZ_P331 Main Bluespoon Chefs Table

Chef Sander brings an artful sense of humor to the food at Bluespoon Restaurant & Bar in Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. Pictured here is Sander’s Pigeon, a dish inspired by his cycle to work one morning.

The first Andaz hotel opened on London Liverpool Street in the 2000s, in a building built in 1884. The impetus: host guests with a kind of authenticity that can’t be fabricated. Now, the Andaz brand boasts 17 locations across the globe. Each property offers guests immersive experiences through exceptional dining, locally inspired interiors and art installations, and unparalleled hospitality. Andaz hotels and resorts envelope you in the senses of the eclectic culture from each neighborhood the moment you arrive. One of the best ways to arrive a tourist and depart a local? Eat the food. Chefs and mixologists eager to excite the palates and minds of guests in unexpected ways have put modern, inventive spins on classic dishes. From elevated grits in Savannah to a pepper reimagined in Mexico, here are four culinary specialties that reflect the flavor of each city. No doubt you’ll leave more inspired than when you arrived.

Andaz_Savannah

At Andaz Savannah, chef Cummer puts an unexpected and elevated twist on classic shrimp and grits with homemade truffle butter.

SAVOR A SOUTHERN STAPLE IN SAVANNAH

Chef Chris Cummer grew up in Louisiana and Texas, and was introduced to grits early in life. However, his discovery of the shrimp-and-grits combo, a quintessential southern staple, didn’t happen until he began his career at a restaurant in southern Louisiana. The key to making them great? Source locally. Now, at the helm of Andaz Savannah’s 22 Square restaurant, he uses Georgia-grown corn that is dried and stone milled, with fresh, sweet Georgia shrimp from local shrimp boat “Papa T.” But chef Cummer credits his current variation of the dish to the many stops along his culinary career. From Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey and NYC, and now in Georgia, each stop is represented in the dish, from the seasoning of the shrimp to the techniques and ingredients used. To elevate the flavor profile, and include an ingredient not commonly paired with the dish, he uses a homemade truffle butter. Because what’s more Southern than more butter?

Andaz_Maui

The Modern Mai Tai at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort has been thoughtfully concocted to maximize its tropical appeal.

TASTE THE TWIST ON A CLASSIC IN MAUI

If you’ve ever been anywhere in Hawaii, you’ll know of the Mai Tai. This fruity cocktail is claimed to have originated in 1944 at Trader Vic’s and is a Polynesian treat widely enjoyed on the islands. The bartender team at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort takes this to heart. In true Andaz fashion, they’ve put a twist on the traditional libation with aged Martinique and Jamaican rums, fresh lime, toasted almond orgeat, and orange curacao. (The original Mai Tai showcases the rums and citrus with a subtle hint of toasted almond.) At this Andaz resort, the Modern Mai Tai features fresh local Maui pineapple and a dark Jamaican rum float. Depending on your style–– classic or newly curated––you may have a favorite. Or perhaps you’ll try both as you sit back, relax, and soak up the view of pools and palm trees at Bumbye Beach Bar.

Andaz_Mexico

Chef Torres of Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya uses local ingredients to reinvent the traditional poblano pepper recipe, a favorite dish of his grandmother’s.

TURN UP THE HEAT IN RIVIERA MAYA

At Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, the newest Andaz resort, chef Ernesto Torres created his signature dish, the Poblano Pepper, to honor his grandmother’s culinary traditions from the state of Veracruz. Growing up, he recalls his grandmother preparing the delicious dish for special events. Typically, the pepper is stuffed with meat. But chef Torres grew up along the Caribbean Sea and wanted to incorporate this element of his story into the dish. This noteworthy menu item at Casa Amate features shrimp and includes local flavors of the region such as peppers, chili, olives, goat cheese, and capers. In lieu of pomegranate, he garnishes it with choconostle, a native ingredient which comes from cactus (nopal) and is commonly used to prepare salsas and moles. If these flavors are new to you, then welcome––you’re experiencing the local culture at its finest.

AndazAM_P326 Bluespoon Dessert Art

Dessert doubles as art at Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, where chef Sander calls upon a local art installation as his inspiration.

GET CREATIVE IN AMSTERDAM

At Bluespoon Restaurant & Bar in Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, the menu showcases the light, colorful––and in true Dutch form, humorous and highly creative––work of chef Sander Bierenbroodspot. Take Sander’s Pigeon, for example. This signature dish is made of beetroot, petit legumes, cabbage, crispy leg, and mushroom, and was inspired by chef Sander’s bike ride to work one day, in which he had an encounter with one of Amsterdam’s notorious pigeons. There’s a Video Art Dessert inspired by a video art installation: Cristina Lucas’ « Abstraction Licking », a Dutch twist on Mondrian, which calls upon the party lifestyle of Amsterdam. To get the full taste and scent experience, it is meant to be eaten in a certain order, and guests are encouraged to eat with their hands. Finally, Martin’s Blossom in the Snow is a cocktail inspired by the passing of winter to spring, therefore it has the look and comfort of winter, but it’s actually a super-light cocktail buzzing with citrus and floral tones. Consider this a meal that exceeds all expectations.

VISIT ANDAZ.COM TO BOOK YOUR EXPERIENCE AT ANDAZ HOTELS & RESORTS.

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