Liberals line up behind Justin Trudeau’s handling of SNC-Lavalin allegations


There is some tension in the ranks as the drama plays out — one MP called the situation “appalling” and condemned Trudeau’s criticism of Wilson-Raybould for her alleged inaction in flagging any improper pressure.

But another MP seemed to capture of the mood of many as he downplayed the potential political impact, noting he had encountered no reaction from constituents during this break week spent in the riding. “I’m not at all convinced this is a tipping thing,” the Toronto-area MP said.

In fact, he said, the issue may play to Trudeau’s advantage in Quebec, where there are concerns that a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin would exact a steep financial penalty on the Quebec firm and with it, job losses.

On Thursday, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, chair of the Commons justice committee that will hold hearings into the affair, floated the idea that Wilson-Raybould was replaced by Quebec MP David Lametti as justice minister because of language.

“There’s a lot of legal issues coming up in Quebec and the prime minister may well have decided he needed a justice minister that could speak French,” Housefather said in an interview with Montreal radio station CJAD.

“The idea that she was shuffled because of this unproven allegation to me is quite ridiculous,” Housefather said.

The MP for Mount Royal said it was “fairly clear” that Wilson-Raybould was “unhappy” at being shuffled but said those decisions are always the prime minister’s prerogative.

“The prime minister has the undisputed right to choose who is in what cabinet position, and there’s millions of reasons that people can be shuffled from one position to another,” Housefather said in the radio interview.

Wilson-Raybould has not yet spoken on the matter, citing solicitor-client privilege. But in the letter announcing her resignation, she said she was seeking the advice of former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell “on the topics that I am legally permitted to discuss in this matter.”

Conservative and New Democrats have urged Trudeau to waive privilege, giving Wilson-Raybould freedom to speak if she wants.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen, whose motion to call the former attorney general and key political staff was struck down by Liberals on Wednesday, said pressure might be the only thing to convince Liberal members of the justice committee to call Wilson-Raybould to answer questions about the affair.

“Canadians are really concerned about this. They are maybe having flashbacks to the sponsorship scandal and days of denial and insider corruption,” he said. “If that continues to be the reaction, then that pressure will build, and I think that’s the only thing that will crack open the lid.”

Caucus sources said the prime minister sought to reassure MPs during a teleconference call from Winnipeg on Tuesday, hours after Wilson-Raybould’s sudden resignation. The call was for MPs only, not staff.

Trudeau told his caucus that Wilson-Raybould’s resignation was a surprise, reiterated what he’d said publicly, and assured them “that ‘guys, we’re OK here, we’re absolutely confident that nothing untoward or nothing outside of what we could do was done,’” according to one caucus source.

“He said just keep your powder dry and this will all sort itself out,” the MP said.

The MP said Trudeau was “confident that we’re OK,” adding that many MPs recognize that “he needs our help and support now.

“There are a lot of newcomers in caucus who haven’t been through this kind of thing before. It’s been a lot of rainbows and unicorns and this is the first bit of rough water that we’ve faced, but people believe in Trudeau. They know him to be a good person, an honest person. He’s a principled guy.”

On the other hand, the MP said, “nobody knows” what Wilson-Raybould is thinking but in the dispute over whether there was pressure, “most are thinking it is an issue of interpretation.”

However, the MP was not critical of Wilson-Raybould, and suggested it’s not unusual for a rookie minister not to have a lot of allies in caucus because they’re new to Ottawa and suddenly land busy jobs.

“She was there to make a difference, not really to make a lot of friends.”

Another MP said it’s obvious the Prime Minister’s Office is concerned about how the caucus would react, because in addition to the Tuesday conference call there were followup phone calls by PMO officials the next day to caucus members.

The MP said Trudeau was clearly seeking to shore up support with his call.

“I could feel he was under stress, but he sounded sincere, thoughtful. There was no cockiness. Sometimes he can be cocky and shoot from the hip, but there was no cockiness,” the MP said, adding that it was a “confidence-building call.”

The MP, who has since spoken to others as well, said it was clear that many MPs are giving the prime minister “the benefit of doubt.”

He ascribed support for Trudeau to the “level of affection and loyalty towards the prime minister.” There would be “no comparison” to whatever might be felt toward Wilson-Raybould, he said.

That MP suggested the dispute is the result of perceptions and signals crossed: “A message given and a message received will always be different.

“So the message given by the PMO, obviously there was a message given about this: Are you doing this? What’s this? What are the consequences? That’s appropriate conversation. Message received: Could be pressure. Message received after the divorce papers are filed, after you find out there’s a girlfriend, after you find out all those things: Oh, I was being pressured.

“To me this looks like revisionist feelings.

“She hears it when she’s justice minister one way then when she’s demoted and looking at her career and her reputation and all that stuff she hears it differently, and says why was I demoted, maybe I didn’t do what they wanted me to do, maybe I was being pressured.”

The MP had spoken to about half a dozen other MPs, and said, “I’m hearing the benefit of the doubt going to the prime minister.”

But not all Liberals are on board. One MP called the situation “appalling” and said the government’s poor handling of the controversy has only highlighted issues of arrogance, running roughshod over MPs and the problems of centralized decision-making in the prime minister’s office.

“There is a great political risk because it all attacks the credibility and character of the leader. He’s not coming across well, not at all,” the MP said.

He said prime minister’s strategic decision to publicly declare that the onus was on Wilson-Raybould to flag any improper pressure only invites her to fight back.

“Why would you put her into a situation where you’ve ruffled more feathers, caused more irritation, caused anger, a bit of anguish? What do you expect her to do?” the MP said.

And there have been public expressions of support for Wilson-Raybould from her former cabinet colleagues.

In a statement to the Star Thursday, Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, said that Wilson-Rayboud’s advice was “invaluable as a candidate and member of our team.”

“Her dedication to fundamental change in Canada’s relationship with First Nations is unparalleled — she will continue to be a strong voice and I hope to continue working with her on these critical issues,” Bennett said.

Toronto-area MP Jane Philpott, the President of the Treasury Board, took to Twitter earlier in the week to post a picture of her with Wilson-Raybould and an encouraging note: “You taught me so much — particularly about Indigenous history, rights and justice … I know you will continue to serve Canadians.”

Bruce Campion-Smith is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @yowflier

Tonda MacCharles is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics. Follow her on Twitter: @tondamacc

Alex Ballingall is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @aballinga


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Broken-down train causes major morning delays on Kitchener GO line


A broken-down train on the Kitchener GO line caused major delays and serious headaches for commuters on Monday morning.

Metrolinx said a train broke down just west of the Acton GO station at around 6:30 a.m.

Frigid weather creating operational delays for TTC, GO Transit, UP Express

It’s an area where GO trains only operate on one track.

The most significant delays were felt west of the incident in areas around Guelph and Kitchener.

The Malton 8:33 a.m. train was cancelled and the Georgetown 7:14 a.m. train had only six cars.

Metrolinx said delays were starting to ease at around 8 a.m.

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


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Olderbrother Is a Gender-Neutral Fashion Line Making Saffron the New Black | Healthyish


This story is part of the Healthyish 22, the people changing the way we think about wellness. Meet them all here.

Bobby Bonaparte and Max Kingery, the duo behind the fashion line Olderbrother, could give a TED Talk on the nightmarish impact the garment industry has on the environment. But they would rather not. Instead, they quietly construct their whimsical unisex clothes from sustainably harvested fabrics like organic Japanese cotton and use vivid dyes made from almost exclusively edible pigments. In conceiving each season’s limited-run colorways, they draw inspiration from ingredients that are animating the wellness world at that particular moment—fiery-orange turmeric, golden saffron, the muted earth tones of healing mushrooms—and spend months of R&D figuring out how to best translate those hues to evocative, relatable garments that integrate seamlessly into people’s lives.

“We’re not looking at a Pantone book and asking, “What’s pretty this season?” Kingery explains. “Just the idea that these are natural dyes might spark interest, but we want to transcend that, explore things that people have a specific relationship with. We want people who love chaga mushrooms to see a chaga-dyed shirt and get amped.”

By limiting production and declining to repeat most colors from season to season, Olderbrother blends the principles underpinning both the Slow Food movement and hypebeast streetwear culture. “Keeping things seasonal helps to make them more special,” Bonaparte says. “If you want a coffee sweatshirt from a year ago, you’re kind of out of luck. We have too much exploring to do; we’re really just scratching the surface.”

Bonaparte and Kingery both grew up in Portland, OR—who would’ve guessed!—but sunny Los Angeles is home for them now. Below, the duo walks us through some vibe-y scenes from their production facility and brand-new Venice Beach retail store.


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Fast Casual Restaurants’ Recipes: Make the Food That You Just Spent Your Whole Lunch Break Waiting in Line For | Healthyish


This story is part of the Healthyish 22, the people changing the way we think about wellness. Meet them all here.

If you’ve bought a grain bowl anytime in the past few years, you know that fast-casual restaurants across the country are thinking about their sourcing in all kinds of innovative ways, and we’re all eating better as a result. We tapped three fast-casual chefs and restaurant owners for their recipes that are as good for the planet as they are for your lunch.

Farm Burger’s Sunnyside Burger with Salsa Verde

When Jason Mann was a rancher, he noticed that most of the buyers for grass-fed beef were fine-dining restaurants looking for specific cuts, inevitably leaving farmers with lesser-known cuts that they couldn’t sell. Mann found the solution to this dilemma in the humble burger. Farm Burger—which launched in 2010 and now has 12 locations—sources local grass-fed whole cattle that are broken down in-house. Here, burgers (like the ever popular Sunny Side) are ground from a « whole carcass blend » that includes anything from chuck to flank to sirloin. Offal goes into specials, and fat is rendered to create tallow butter that the burgers are cooked in. Jamie Ager, a fourth-generation farmer at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in North Carolina which sells to Farm Burger, calls the restaurant’s approach « a more holistic way of looking at the market. »


What’s better than a griddled burger with the crispiest exterior? One that comes sandwiched between a vibrant tomatillo salsa and topped with a runny fried egg. Most domestic grass-fed beef includes cattle that also eat some grain; the meat is not too lean or “grassy” and makes for a very satisfying burger. This recipe is from Farm Burger.


Homegrown’s Grilled Chicken with Quinoa and Matcha Dressing

After working at Per Se and Gramercy Tavern, Michaela Skloven wanted to bring that same sourcing-obsessed mentality to the fast-casual space. When she became the executive chef at Homegrown, a sandwich shop that launched in Seattle in 2009 and now has eight locations, she started a half-acre organic farm to grow produce—like the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes that go into this chicken and avocado bowl. Homegrown staff are invited to spend time working on the farm so they can see first-hand where the food comes from. « The more respect they have for the food, the less likely people are to do something like throw away a tomato, » Skloven says. « That’s how we change the whole food landscape. »

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The dressing on this bowl is a green goddess 2.0, with matcha adding an earthy undertone to the whole dish. Ceremonial is the highest grade of matcha and is made for drinking from the youngest tea leaves. Culinary matcha is still high-quality but has a more robust flavor, allowing it to shine through when combined with other ingredients. This recipe is from Homegrown.


Cava’s Black Lentil and Harissa-Roasted Veggie Bowl

Hearty, nutrient-heavy, and endlessly versatile, lentils were a staple for Dimitri Moshovitis, who grew up in Greece. So back in 2006, when he cofounded Cava (which now has 74 locations across the East Coast, California, and Texas), Moshovitis saw them as an obvious base for the Mediterranean spot’s bowl-centric menu. He came across black beluga lentils from Timeless Natural Food, a company based in rural Montana, and was impressed by the varietal’s rich flavor. But he was more excited to learn that these lentils are enriching the nutrient density of large swaths of land in Montana, a state whose agriculture has historically been dominated by cereal grains that can deplete the soil. Win-win.

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This filling, endlessly riffable bowl is perfect with roasted sweet potatoes, but any hardy vegetable you have on hand would be just as delicious. Try delicata squash, cauliflower, or eggplant. This recipe is from Cava.



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Tory says subway relief line construction could be sped up by two years, open by 2029


Mayor John Tory says city and TTC staff have found a way to speed up construction of the relief line subway by at least two years, meaning it would open by 2029.

But the expedited work would require adding an additional $162 million in this year’s TTC capital budget. According to transit agency staff, the total cost to speed up the work would be $325 million spread out over two years.

Mayor John Tory says city and TTC staff have found a way to speed up construction of the relief line subway by at least two years, meaning it would open by 2029.
Mayor John Tory says city and TTC staff have found a way to speed up construction of the relief line subway by at least two years, meaning it would open by 2029.  (David Rider / Toronto Star file photo)

“I know while the date that we’re talking about here in the late 2020s still sounds far away, the bottom line is that the faster you get on with these projects and everything you can do to speed them up, the sooner people are going to be able to ride on that transit, the sooner we’re going to have real relief that people have talked about for decades,” said Tory at an announcement Thursday at Pape subway station.

The relief line would connect the eastern end of Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) at Pape to Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) at Queen St. downtown, and is considered critical to relieving crowding pressure on the existing network. Early estimates indicate it would cost at least $6.8 billion. It is currently not funded.

Read more:

Editorial | Relief line must be the top priority for Toronto’s subway system

Opening relief line before Yonge subway extension ‘makes sense,’ Ontario transportation minister says

TTC Chair Jaye Robinson, who joined Tory at the event, said the completion of the subway could be sped up by accelerating design work, property acquisition, and utility relocation, and advancing the purchase of the machines and technology required to construct the line. TTC staff said construction could begin as early as 2020.

The mayor’s announcement came as the provincial Conservative government is moving ahead with plans to take over all future TTC subway construction, a development that could take the relief line out of the city and transit agency’s hands.

Tory, who backed a council decision to enter into talks with the province about the subway takeover, said it was “grossly premature” to assume any outcome of those talks and in the meantime the city has a responsibility to move ahead with building transit.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr


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Fallen Vancouver Island firefighter honoured with full line of duty service


Hundreds of people turned out in foggy Port Alberni weather for an honour guard procession to pay tribute to a fallen firefighter.

Carla Kulczycki died earlier this month at the age of 46 after a 16-month battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form a brain cancer associated with her work as a firefighter.

Thousands attend funeral for RCMP officer killed in crash

Friends and colleagues remembered her Sunday as a team player and someone who was heavily involved in both the department’s social activities and the community.

“She’s a dedicated, hard-working, loyal person who she just got it done and she was there for everybody all the time and she’s going to be deeply, deeply missed,” said Const. Jennifer Maher with the Saanich police.

WATCH: Thousands attend funeral service for RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett in Colwood

“Carla was a teammate. She was the champion of the underdogs, she was the person who you could call on for anything, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. She wanted to make a difference in her life and she certainly did,” said Jeannette Badovinac, a Port Alberni teacher.

University of Lethbridge researchers studying glioblastoma, the brain cancer that killed Gord Downie

Kulczycki was a 16-year veteran of the Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department and was given a full line of duty service.

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


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Residents living in Regina’s older homes warned of lead pipes and water line connectors – Regina


Some Regina residents are voicing concerns after receiving letters alerting them of water connections to their homes containing lead and the potential health risks.

Dena Hudson has lived in her early 20th century home in the Cathedral neighbourhood for 21 years. She received her letter in late November 2018.

While lead is nothing new, Hudson is just one of nearly 4,000 residents who received letters as part of the city’s push, prompting residents to take action.

Stantec Consulting recommended to remediate contaminated water lines

“We can’t replace 4,000 services immediately so what we need to do is make sure public health is protected,” director of Water, Waste and Environmental Services for the city of Regina, Pat Wilson said.

The city started replacing its lead pipes nearly a decade ago, a common issue in neighbourhoods built before the 1960’s, but it’s not replacing pipes on private property.

“The city is responsible for the portion from the property line, the curb box or the valve box, out to the main and then the owner is responsible just like anything on the property for the portion that goes from the curb box to the house,” Wilson said.

Classes to resume at Robert Thirsk High School Wednesday after frozen water line issue

Because the heavy metal is linked to neurological effects, the city is paying for those at risk to get their water tested.

“We provide two options for testing, we can come in and do a full test which involves leaving the water stand for six hours and then we take the first draw of water and test that. We can also provide an opportunity for folks to take a sample themselves,” Wilson said.

Adding, it can sometimes be difficult to know what material might be in the home because there may have been repairs or partial replacements in the past.

“Folks can have a copper system inside all of their pipes inside may be copper, but they still have some lead in the service connection,” Wilson said.

VSB vote to re-pipe and install water refilling stations after lead concerns

Upon receiving the letter, Hudson collected a sample of water herself and took it to the provincial lab for testing, and within a week she received her results.

The test showed 14.4 micrograms of lead per litre of water, which is above the accepted standard of fewer than 10 micrograms per litre.

“I think what I was more concerned about was my children,” Hudson said. “Because they grew up in this home- they arrived here when they were one and three years of age and they’ve been drinking that water for 20 plus years.”

Hudson has since installed a water filtration system which is eligible for a rebate and the city is also giving away filters to anyone who has a city service connection that is lead, or test results which show high levels of lead.

EPCOR attempting to get ahead of new guidelines regarding lead in Edmonton’s drinking water

So far, the city says it’s handed out 350 filters and is replacing around 100 connections per year, hoping to be lead-free by 2050.

“Many cities have this issue, some cities have considerable more services that they’re needing to replace, we’re interested in any opportunities we have to accelerate that pace,” Wilson said.

Still, with a portion of the pipes left up to the homeowner to replace, which could cost thousands, Hudson says it’s a harsh reality.

“Who can pay for that? A lot of people can’t, it’s a very difficult economic reality.”

Anyone with questions can call the city at (306) 777-7000.


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


Ontario’s elementary teachers are legally challenging the rollback of the modernized sex-ed curriculum because it has caused a “chilling effect” among educators and put students at risk of harm, a court heard Wednesday.

Lawyers for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), a union representing 83,000 educators, say the repeal of the 2015 Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum, and the creation of a website for parents to report non-compliant teachers, was unconstitutional.

Teachers take part in a rally at Queens Park to protest the rollback of the modernized sex-ed curriculum in August. Ontario elementary teachers have taken the government to court over the rollback, saying it deprives students of important information and puts them at risk.
Teachers take part in a rally at Queens Park to protest the rollback of the modernized sex-ed curriculum in August. Ontario elementary teachers have taken the government to court over the rollback, saying it deprives students of important information and puts them at risk.  (Eduardo Lima / Star Metro File Photo)

“This case is not about the curriculum, it’s about the directive and the reporting site,” said ETFO lawyer Adriel Weaver in Divisional Court. She said there’s been a “chill” among teachers making them afraid to teach the 2015 curriculum, which ultimately deprives students of information, putting them at risk.

ETFO lawyers say the directive by the Progressive Conservative government violates the rights of teachers by limiting their freedom of expression, and the rights of students.

The two-day hearing is tackling two separate legal challenges to the province’s rollback of the 2015 curriculum, which included such topics as same-sex relationships, consent and gender identity. The other application was made by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). Both groups want the government directive quashed, but the province, which will make its arguments Thursday, says the applications should be dismissed.

In August, Premier Doug Ford scrapped the 2015 HPE curriculum for elementary grades because some social conservatives felt it wasn’t age appropriate. It was replaced with a curriculum issued in 2010, which contains sex-ed material from 1998. At the time, he warned teachers who did not comply would face repercussions, saying: “Make no mistake, if we find somebody failing to do their job, we will act.” His government also launched a website called, which some critics likened to a snitch line.

ETFO says the reporting website, which is no longer active, had the effect of intimidating teachers, constraining their professional judgment, and ensuring students don’t learn the 2015 curriculum.

The panel of three judges asked the ETFO lawyers if any teachers had been disciplined or if they had any data, or teacher surveys, indicating a chill effect. But they did not.

Prior to proceedings, Cindy Gangaram, a co-applicant in the ETFO challenge, told reporters she has experienced a chill effect, saying the directive “coerces me as a teacher to not teach important topics that had been included in the repealed 2015 curriculum.”

Lawyers representing the CCLA and co-applicant Becky McFarlane, who’s a queer parent of a sixth grader, focused their arguments on the curriculum change. They say the interim curriculum doesn’t include sexual orientation, gender identity and same-sex relationships, which alienates the LGBTQ+ community and violates their constitutional right to equality.

Stuart Svonkin, who represents the CCLA and McFarlane, said the directive is discriminatory against those who are LGBTQ+ because they have been “erased” from the curriculum. When the judges asked if there had been an infringement of rights during all those years when that sex-ed material was taught, from 1998 to 2014, Svonkin replied, “The world has changed … The Human Rights Code has changed.”

His comments were echoed, in part, outside the courthouse by Michael Bryant, executive director of the CCLA.

“The official curriculum in Ontario has been changed — it used to be diverse and now it’s heterosexual only,” he told reporters. “Obviously, this is about homophobia. If the government is going to be homophobic with its curriculum, you can bet the Constitution will have something to say about that.”

According to court documents filed by the province, sexual health topics in school are not matters of constitutional law. Furthermore, their lawyers argue that teachers have a great deal of discretion when it comes to lesson plans and have a duty to teach in a way that’s inclusive of all students, including LGBTQ+.

Outside court, ETFO president Sam Hammond told reporters the province is being hypocritical, by saying teachers have discretion when the government issued a warning to them and created a “snitch line to solicit complaints.”

“Thousands of frustrated Ontarians have called for the reinstatement of the (2015 curriculum), he said. “We have collected thousands of petition signatures calling for the sexual health component of the 2015 curriculum to be restored.”

The province recently wrapped up a public consultation on education issues, which will inform its creation of the next HPE curriculum to be issued for the next academic year. Between September and December, it received 72,000 submissions through web surveys, online comments, and telephone town halls.

At Queen’s Park, Progressive Conservative MPP Paul Calandra (Markham-Stouffville) said the government is “fairly confident” it will win the case.

Calandra noted the Tories consulted the public extensively as it prepares to revamp the health curriculum.

“I never in my wildest imagination thought that there would be 72,000 engagements in the process. It has gone very, very well,” he said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, NDP MPP Terence Kernaghan (London North Centre) said when children see themselves reflected in the curriculum, they “thrive both educationally and socially.”

“By deliberately removing LGBTQ identities and families from the curriculum, the Ford Conservatives put students at risk,” Kernaghan, the NDP’s critic for LGBTQ issues, said in a statement. “Any person, and any parent of a child who’s been a victim of cyber bullying, a survivor of sexual violence, or subjected to discrimination because of their LGBTQ identity, can tell you how devastating it is for a child’s mental and physical health to be denied information, empowerment and a safe space.”

With files from Robert Benzie

Isabel Teotonio is a Toronto-based reporter covering education. Follow her on Twitter: @Izzy74


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New transmission line to cause traffic delays from Pasqua to Swift Current – Regina


Some traffic delays are expected in the coming weeks as SaskPower works on the new Pasqua to Swift Current transmission line.

From Jan. 8 to 11, weather permitting, Highway 2 north of Moose Jaw will have a reduced speed limit of 60 km/hr. There will also be several short traffic stoppages on Jan. 9 to let helicopter string lines across the roadway.

Power outages still affecting several Saskatchewan communities

Highway 1 west of Rush Lake will also see speed reductions from Jan. 14 to Feb. 5, with traffic stoppages scheduled for Jan. 19-21.

Locations near Moose Jaw and Chaplin will also experience temporary delays early in 2019. Details will be announced at a later date.

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


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Chinese line up for Canada Goose jackets despite anti-Canadian sentiment – National


Large crowds have flocked to Canada Goose’s new outdoor wear store in downtown Beijing, its first in mainland China, since its opening on Friday, despite sub-freezing temperatures and a chill in bilateral ties.

A long line of shoppers swaddled in thick winter coats were queuing outside the two-storey store on Monday afternoon, with waiting times for a quick peek at Canada Goose’s 9,000 yuan ($1,300) parkas requiring an hour or more.

Canada Goose staff were seen walking up and down the queue asking shoppers which product they were after and then telling them whether or not they had that in stock.

WATCH: Canada Goose’s stock plummets amidst Canada-China dispute

Ties between China and Canada have turned frosty since the arrest of a top Chinese executive in Vancouver at the request of the United States in December and the subsequent arrest of two Canadians on suspicion of endangering state security.

Canada Goose opened its Beijing store about two weeks later than initially planned. It has made no connection between the delay and the heightened tensions between the two governments, saying earlier this month that the postponement was due to construction work.

On Monday, construction workers were still seen on scaffolding in a cordoned-off area on one side of the store.

Canada Goose opens store in Beijing after construction delay

The Toronto-listed parka maker has made no mention of the Beijing store opening on its Chinese social media platforms, although the store in Beijing’s swanky Sanlitun district is now listed on the company’s global website.

“We are proud of our newest store in China and look forward to welcoming our fans,” Canada Goose said in an email to Reuters on Monday.

“It’s been popular for ages but Beijing didn’t have one, only Hong Kong. So everyone’s come to see it,” said Long Hua, 32, lining up outside the store door with a friend.

A buoyant sales outlook for mainland China has been shaken in recent weeks by some caustic posts on Chinese social media calling for the boycott of Canada Goose products following Canada‘s arrest of Huawei Technologies Co’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.

Shares of Canada Goose have fallen about 37 percent in Toronto trading since Meng’s detention and the ensuing strains between the two countries.

Meng, also the daughter of Huawei’s founder, faces U.S. allegations that she misled multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.

Meng has said she is innocent.

WATCH: Federal government ramping up pressure on the Chinese government to release detained Canadians.

The stakes are high for the maker of high-end goose-down coats, which enjoy significant brand recognition in China’s big cities.

Chinese customers account for more than a third of spending on luxury products worldwide, and are increasingly shopping in their home market rather than on overseas trips.

Earlier this year, Canada Goose opened its first store in Hong Kong.


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