‘You can smell crude in the air’: Train carrying oil derails near western Manitoba village


CN Rail is working to clean up an oil leak after nearly 40 train cars carrying crude oil derailed near a village in western Manitoba early Saturday morning.

CN crews are responding to the derailment, which occurred at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning near St. Lazare, about 300 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, a spokesperson from the railway said. 

« You can smell crude in the air. That’s really concerning, » said rancher Jayme Corr. The derailment happened on his property, about 10 kilometres south of St. Lazare, in the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie.

« There’s oil leaking, and where they’re sitting is [near] a water lagoon, » he said.

The derailment happened around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. As of Saturday afternoon, crews were still on scene. (Riley Laychuk/CBC )

Emergency personnel woke Corr up around 5 a.m. Saturday to alert him to the derailment, which happened just under two kilometres from his home.

No injuries or fires reported

Initial reports are that approximately 37 crude oil cars have derailed and that there is a partial leak of crude oil, Jonathan Abecassis, a media relations director for CN, wrote in an email to CBC.

« A perimeter has been set up around the area to facilitate site access. There are no reports of injuries or fires, » he wrote.

« CN crews will be conducting a full site assessment to determine how much product has spilled and exactly how many cars are involved. First responders are on location. »

CN’s environmental team has started cleaning up the area.

Corr said his cattle have since been moved away from the area, but he’s concerned that his main water source for the summertime will now be contaminated.

The train derailed about 10 kilometres south of St. Lazare, in the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

The rancher says he thinks a derailment like Saturday’s has been a long time coming.

« It seems to be the trains go faster, they’re longer, heavier, and the maintenance is getting less and less, » Corr said.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent investigators to the site of the derailment. 

‘It’s discouraging’

Jean-Paul Chartier, a rural municipality of Ellice-Archie councillor, said staff from the local fire department are on the scene of the derailment, assisting CN crews.

« They’re trying to do their best to get everything contained, and trying to get the traffic going, and trying to clear whatever debris there is, » Chartier said.

Trains frequently run through St. Lazare, and Chartier said he’s thankful the crash didn’t occur closer to the community. In areas of the village, there are houses just hundreds of metres from the tracks, and 30 to 40 trains can travel past each day, he said.

« Every time they come through, you think of the tragedy that happened in Quebec, » he said, referring to the Lac-Mégantic, Que., rail disaster, which killed 47 people after a freight train loaded with fuel exploded.

« It’s discouraging. Like you look at it everyday and you say ‘hopefully it’s not today and hopefully it doesn’t ever happen.’ But you’ve always got it in the back of your mind. »


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New Manitoba court for people with FASD could be game changer: experts


Lawyers and judges say a new court set to open in Manitoba specifically for people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder could be a game changer.

« If you have somebody who can’t read, can’t write, physically cannot connect cause and effect, there has to be a way to address a sentence that they will understand, » said Winnipeg defence lawyer Lori Van Dongen.

« That is just common sense. »

Van Dongen said people with the disorder are often set up by the justice system to fail. The legal world has been slow to adapt to their challenges — whether it’s bail conditions they can’t adhere to or a list they are unable to read, she said.

When a fetus is exposed to alcohol it can cause brain injury and the impacts range from mild to severe. Only some people show physical signs, but most people with the disorder see and understand the world differently.

They struggle to understand the consequences of their behaviour and many are impulsive. They follow others easily and have drug or alcohol problems. Without the proper support they often end up in front of a judge and behind bars.

It’s not known how many people in Canada have the disorder, because it can go undetected and is difficult to diagnose. But Health Canada says it’s the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability in the country.

Research suggests that up to one-quarter of inmates in federal corrections facilities could have the disorder. A 2011 study out of Stony Mountain Institution in Manitoba found the rate was 10 times greater in the federal prison than in the general population.

Mary Kate Harvie, a Manitoba provincial court judge, said it was clear a long time ago that changes had to be made so people with the condition could be treated fairly in the legal world.

In 2004, she was involved in creating a program that helps young people get a diagnosis and connects them to community supports. It also gives lawyers and judges more information about issues an accused offender might have because of the disorder.

Challenges linked to criminal behaviour

The program has had more than 1,200 referrals, has done more than 400 assessments and helped get almost 300 kids diagnosed.

Harvie said the Manitoba Court of Appeal has made it clear that a sentencing judge should consider how challenges faced by someone with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can be linked to their criminal behaviour.

« If people are not showing up to court because they have short-term memory loss, that’s a big difference from someone who is just blowing court off. »

Administrative charges have filled courts, remand centres and prisons with offenders who break curfew or miss a meeting with their parole officer because they struggle with the concept of time, Harvie said.

« We are hoping this project will start to address a number of aspects of that. »

Smaller, quieter courtroom

The court, which is expected to open at the end of February and sit one day a week, is an extension of the original youth program. It will have judges with an understanding about the complexities of the disorder as well as support workers to advise and connect sufferers with community programs.

It will also help obtain a medical diagnosis for anyone who shows signs of having the brain injury — although the wait continues to be long.

This is a really good move for our courts, for our province, for our clients.’– Defence lawyer Wendy Martin White

There will be a smaller, quieter courtroom with fewer distractions and visual images will be used to make sure offenders understand what’s going on.

Defence lawyer Wendy Martin White said she is optimistic that the new court will help her clients and hopes it will divert people from jails and toward community supports.

« This is a really good move for our courts, for our province, for our clients, » she said. « I’m looking forward to seeing where it’s going to be in a year’s time and then in five years’ time. »

Audrey McFarlane, executive director of Canada FASD Research Network, suggests it’s time for a national strategy.

« Right now all the provinces and territories do what they think is best and … they are trying really hard, but Canada needs to also provide additional support, guidance and leadership, » she said.

« Canada, as a whole, has put in very few resources to address FASD. »


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Manitoba woman says she was locked out of her online banking because of deep voice


A Manitoba woman says she was denied access to her bank account because of the tone of her voice and it’s taken days to get the issue resolved. 

Karlii Beaulieu said she realized she was locked out of her account on Wednesday, following a call she’d had with someone from telephone banking the day before. She said she visited a TD branch in person on Thursday and that’s when a bank employee told her there was a comment on her account that said she had a deeper voice, but the name on the account was female. 

She was « a little hurt, to be honest and vulnerable, » said Beaulieu, who lives in Brandon. « There was nothing I could do. »

Beaulieu is transgender. She said she’s told the bank several times. 

Karlii Beaulieu says she got this message when she tried to access her bank accounts following a phone conversation with a bank employee. (Karlii Beaulieu/Submitted)

« It’s so, what is it, unsettling that knowing that people like this are controlling my money, » said Beaulieu.

Beaulieu said she left the bank Thursday thinking the issue had been resolved, but was still locked out of her account on Friday. 

« It’s just really … [a] big inconvenience, » said Beaulieu. 

Geraldine Anderson, manager of corporate and public affairs for TD, said in a written statement that TD wants to get things right for all customers, but that in this case that didn’t happen.

« We recognize voice tone is not necessarily indicative of a customer’s gender, and our processes have been updated to ensure factors are considered holistically during the identity authentication process, » said Anderson. 

« With the recent launch of TD Voiceprint, which is a voice recognition technology available for a number of banking services, once a customer enrolls by recording their unique voiceprint, it can be used to automatically validate the customer’s identity during future interactions. In any situation, if a customer has not been able to authenticate over the phone, we would work with them to identify a solution that meets their needs while protecting their personal privacy. »

The statement also said TD is committed to building an inclusive, barrier-free environment where every customer and employee feels valued, respected and supported.

On Friday afternoon, Beaulieu got a call — and apology — from someone at TD, which she appreciated. But, she said, she still doesn’t have access to her account, and was headed back to a local branch to once again try to sort things out.

« I don’t want to get locked out for calling and having a deep voice, » she said. « There’s been many times where agents have even questioned you know ‘why is your voice deep?’….. It’s been asked so many times and I’m totally OK with, you know, educating people on it, I’m totally OK with explaining myself. What I’m not OK with is someone assuming. »  

Beaulieu said this isn’t the first time she’s been locked out of her account. She hopes by talking about her experience, she can help others.

« I know there are a lot of other young transgender females who don’t know what to do in this type of situation, » she said.  


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Man accused of shooting Manitoba RCMP officer pleads guilty to attempted murder


The man accused of shooting an RCMP officer during series of break-and-enters in western Manitoba has pleaded guilty.

Therae Racette-Beaulieu was charged last August with two counts of attempted murder as well as two counts of break and enter, possession of property obtained by crime and weapons-related offences.

He entered guilty pleas to one count of attempted murder, as well as to breaking and entering, stealing firearms and theft of a motor vehicle in Brandon provincial court on Thursday morning. He was 18 years old at the time of his arrest.

Cpl. Graeme Kingdon was shot near Onanole, Man., a town about 220 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, just south of Riding Mountain National Park, on Aug. 29, 2018. RCMP said Kingdon and another constable had arrived at a report of a break-in at a rural property near Onanole at about 9:30 p.m. when shots were fired.

Kingdon suffered a fractured skull in the shooting, while the other officer was not injured physically.

The shooting sparked a massive manhunt that ended the next afternoon in Neepawa, Man.

Three other men from Portage la Prairie — Tommy Edward Beaulieu, 21, Shane Donovan Beaulieu, 30, and Delaney Marcus Houle, 23 — were also charged in alongside Racette-Beaulieu with two counts each of breaking and entering, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and weapons-related offences.

Houle and Shane Beaulieu were previously granted bail, while Tommy Beaulieu was denied bail and remains in custody. All three have yet to enter pleas and are due in court again in February.

Racette-Beaulieu has been in custody since he was arrested in August. He has no prior convictions in adult court in Manitoba

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March.


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Rescuers parachute onto frozen Manitoba lake after finding missing pilot


A missing 71-year-old pilot was rescued after being found stranded and dehydrated on a frozen Manitoba lake.

RCMP were notified Sunday evening, around 6:45 p.m., that the pilot failed to arrive at a camp on Sisib Lake, in the province’s Interlake region.

The man had left the town of Ashern, Man., that morning for the camp, about 175 kilometres north.

RCMP and Canadian Rangers arrived at the site on snowmobile, where SAR techs had set up a tent to provide medical treatment to the dehydrated pilot. (RCMP)

RCMP contacted the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., which sent a Hercules search plane to the area. In the early morning hours of Monday, searchers spotted a small fire on Pickerel Lake, west of Sisib.

A search and rescue team with the Canadian Armed Forces was unable to parachute to the site due to poor weather conditions, so the RCMP sent out a snowmobile patrol.

A Hercules aircraft, sent out to fly over the area, found a small fire on the lake. (RCMP)

During the 45-kilometre ride to the site, the weather cleared and two search-and-rescue techs dropped to the site just after 6:30 a.m.

The pilot was in good spirits but suffering from dehydration, RCMP said. The SAR techs set up a tent and provided medical treatment to the pilot, who told them he encountered mechanical issues that left him stranded.

RCMP and Canadian Rangers arrived by snowmobile around 2:30 p.m. Monday to help. A couple of hours later, the SAR techs and pilot were picked up by a helicopter.

« It’s a good story and nice to put out a story with a happy ending, » said RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Julie Courchaine, who stressed the important of the partnerships the RCMP have with the other rescue agencies.

« That’s a huge area with lots of lakes, lots of isolated areas, so it really requires us working together like that. It’s neat to see how well it worked. »


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Amish arrivals: Old ways are new again in quiet Manitoba town


Months after the first Amish families in Manitoba started arriving in the town of Vita, the sight of their horse-drawn buggies rolling down the highway still draws crowds to the windows.

« People are always quite excited to see them, » said Eva Dyck, who owns Eva’s Restaurant along the town’s main highway. « I think it has brought people out from the surrounding areas to see if they can catch a glimpse of the buggies driving by. »

Last year, signs warning drivers about the black buggies started appearing along the roads, and local officials installed hitching posts in town for the Amish to tie up their horses. In April, a group of 11 families began arriving by charter bus from southern Ontario, which until recently had been the main home for Canada’s Amish population.

The Amish community in Vita, Man., a town of 500 people 120 km southeast of Winnipeg, is the first in Canada to settle west of Ontario, according to a professor who studies the issue and the new Amish transplants.

The Amish moved west in search of new farmland. In the same vein, other Amish communities have moved east in recent years into other parts of Canada, including P.E.I. and New Brunswick.

Much like Old Order Mennonites, the Amish live simply, eschewing modern conveniences that tie them to the wider world, and mostly relying on their own power and that of their animals for work and transportation.

The Amish in Vita put orange reflector triangles on the backs of their buggies to warn other drivers on the highways. (Cameron MacLean/CBC)

« We are overwhelmed almost in seeing that people in the 21st century here are making a livelihood the way our forefathers did in the 19th century. That is quite an eye opener, » said Edward Penner, a councillor for the rural municipality who helped the Amish settle in the area.

New farmers

The desire to become farmers, coupled with the high price of farm land in southern Ontario, motivated the move to Manitoba, said Edward Miller, one of the recently arrived Amish men.

The 30-year-old smiles and waves when a CBC reporter pulls into his driveway. He and his family have just returned from his brother-in-law’s house in their black buggy with an orange, reflective triangle on the back to warn other drivers there’s a slow-moving vehicle ahead.

As Miller unhitches his horse from the carriage, his wife and his six children go inside their two-storey home, which Miller and other community members built themselves.

Edward Miller lives with his wife and their six children in this house just outside of Vita, Man. (Cameron MacLean/CBC)

A herd of young cows stands in a fenced-in pasture, beside a tall, narrow building that serves as a henhouse and a place to store their water tank.

Miller wears dark blue coveralls and a straw hat over his curly red hair. A thin beard covers his face except for his upper lip, in the traditional Amish style.

Amish people don’t allow photos or recordings of themselves, because their faith considers pictures to be sources of pride, which is antithetical to their values of humility and simplicity. But Miller is happy to talk about what brought his family to Manitoba.

Back in his parent’s community near London, Ont., most of the families made a living making various products to sell, but Miller wanted a different life.

« We kind of thought it was good for the young people to work on a farm, because in a shop, the father isn’t at home as much with the children, » he said. « If the children want to be out there [in the fields] with Dad, that seems to work good. »

These young cows will be sold to dairy farmers in the area once they are fully grown. (Cameron MacLean/CBC)

The land Miller and the other Amish purchased has never been farmed, so they have spent the past summer weeding, clearing brush and pulling out boulders, all without the aid of machines.

Miller’s parents wanted his family to stay in Ontario, but he says land prices made purchasing a farm impossible.

« They weren’t really too happy. We didn’t really want to [move away], but there was no way we could farm back there. Any farm would cost you a million dollars. »

The families live on properties scattered over about 10 square kilometres. They started looking for property in the area about two years ago, when Penner said a group of Amish showed up on his doorstep.

Edward Penner, councillor for the rural municipality of Stuartburn, Man., helped the Amish settle in when they moved to the area. (Cameron MacLean/CBC)

Penner sold some of his own property to the Amish, and housed some of them while they explored other options. They have continued purchasing properties that come up for sale, in preparation for at least three more families expected to arrive in the spring of next year.

Before then, the families already here will have to survive their first winter on the Prairies. By placing their water tank in the loft above their chickens, Miller hopes their body heat combined with the force of gravity will keep their water from freezing.

« I don’t know what’s going to happen when it goes down to minus 40, » he said.

All heat in Miller’s home is provided by burning wood in a stove. (Cameron MacLean/CBC)

Emergency compromises

Without cars or telephones, the Amish rely on others to help them travel long distances or to make phone calls in an emergency.

In late October, Miller’s brother-in-law Tobias suffered a brain bleed and needed to be rushed to hospital. His wife ran to a neighbour’s house to call an ambulance, and he was taken to hospital in Steinbach and later Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg for emergency surgery.

Tobias temporarily lost some of his cognitive functions and had difficulty recognizing family members and everyday objects, but slowly he’s bouncing back.

« That was pretty scary, but he’s coming along good, » Miller said.

When it comes to modern medicine, the Amish will use it when necessary to save someone’s life.

« Who’s going to define the line that it’s not in the religion to help someone? » said Chris Hershberger, Tobias’s brother.

Instead of covering medical expenses through the public health system, however, the Amish choose to pay for their care out of pocket. Other members of the Manitoba community, as well as people in communities in Ontario and the United States, pooled money together to pay Tobias’s hospital bill.

Miller uses this machine to spread manure over his fields. (Cameron MacLean/CBC)

Hershberger and his family live on a farm about half a kilometre away from Miller. Whereas Miller’s home is two storeys, Hershberger’s is a low single-story structure made from concrete blocks, with soil piled up around three sides for insulation.

A gas-powered generator sits just inside Hershberger’s front door. Although the Amish choose not to take power from the grid, they will generate their own if needed. The family has a fridge and freezer to preserve food when they are away from home — and to keep ice cream from melting, Hershberger says.

« My way of thinking is keeping it in the centre is the right path. One extreme is as bad as the other, » he said.

Horse-and-buggy people

According to the most recent census data from 2011, there are more than 3,300 Amish people in Canada. They began arriving in what was then Upper Canada in the 1820s.

They didn’t migrate beyond that until the last couple of years, when some groups established settlements in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

A Mennonite horse and buggy travels on the side of the road near St. Jacobs, Ont., just north of Waterloo on March 31, 2012. (Adam Gagnon/Canadian Press)

The Amish are a denomination of Anabaptist Christians that broke away from the larger Mennonite church in 1693, and are largely indistinguishable from Old Order Mennonites in terms of their religious beliefs, said Royden Loewen, chair of Mennonite studies at the University of Winnipeg.

« The Amish tend to wear beards without moustaches and the Old Order Mennonites tend not to wear beards. The Amish meet in homes and barns for their church services whereas the Old Order horse-and-buggy Mennonites will have a church, simple church, meeting houses, » he said.

Although Old Order Mennonites are more common in Canada — there are about 9,000 in this country — Amish are more well known. When a group of Old Order Mennonites settled around Gladstone, Man., in 2006, many media reports mislabelled them as Amish.

This is because « the Amish outnumber the horse-and-buggy Mennonites in the United States very significantly, whereas in Canada, it’s the other way around, » Loewen said.

New neighbours

Inside Eva’s restaurant in Vita, three women sit chatting about the new neighbours.

« I’m not sure how everyone feels about them. I have no qualms with them. I like the sound of the clippy-clops coming down the street, » said Alice Brasseur.

Alice Rondeau recalled a scene from earlier in the summer when one of the Amish men tied his horse up outside the laundromat in town. Rondeau was sitting outside drinking coffee, when she noticed the flies starting to bite the horse.

« The horse reared up, broke his lead, he turned around and they’re so smart, he got onto the highway, he looked up and down, and went home and left the fellow here, » she said with a laugh.

A group of women sit discussing the new Amish community in Eva’s restaurant in Vita, Man. From left to right: Eva Dyck, Anne Brasseur, Iris Osadchuk, and Alice Rondeau. (Cameron MacLean)

Although the horse-drawn buggies have provided a new source of entertainment for the locals, their droppings on the town’s streets and highways have caused frustration for some.

« We’ve had a couple complaints about them, about the horse droppings on the road, » said Penner. « We approached the group and they are cleaning up inside the town. Out in the country they’re not, but in the towns or in the streets they clean up after themselves. That has calmed the town down. »

The women in Eva’s look forward to reaping the benefits of the hard work of the Amish when they sell their garden vegetables and baking at next summer’s farmers’ market.

« This way we won’t go to the store and buy it, we’ll go and buy it fresher, » said Iris Osadchuk.

Despite his uncertainty about what the winter will bring, Miller says there are good people in town willing to help out.

« Everybody that met us here in Vita, they were good as pie, » he said.


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Manitoba government recognizes 85th anniversary of Holodomor – Winnipeg


The province recognized the 85th anniversary of the end of the Holodomor with a commemoration Thursday at the Legislative Building.

The Holodomor, a famine and genocide that killed millions in Ukraine between 1932-33, is of special importance to Manitoba due to the province’s large Ukrainian population.

The province is among the jurisdictions around the world that recognizes the genocide each year on Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day.

“We must continue to honour the memories of the lives so senselessly lost and keep shining a light on this very dark chapter in human history,” said sport, culture and heritage minister Cathy Cox.

“It’s only by remembering the past that we can ensure atrocities such as this are never repeated.”

Master of human rights offered by University of Manitoba, first ever in Canada

The commemoration included a gathering at the Bitter Memories of Childhood monument on the Legislative grounds. The statue depicts a starving girl holding five stalks of wheat.

It’s a reference to a Soviet-era law that imposed death or imprisonment on anyone caught taking grain from collective farm fields.

Holodomor survivor Luba Semaniuk.

YouTube / HolodomorSurvivors

“I remember my mother grinding up dried corn cobs and husks, and using that to make soup broth for her children to survive,” said Winnipegger and Holodomor survivor Luba Semaniuk.

“Even though that was all we had, my mother told me to take some broth over to our neighbours, only to find the mother and her two young sons, dead of starvation.

“These are things that should not be seen or anyone, especially a six-year-old girl.”

A photography exhibit dedicated to the anniversary will be on display at the Legislature until Nov. 27.

WATCH: Ukrainian Christmas: Symbols

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


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Manitoba residents voice concern over decrease in hours of operation at U.S. border crossings – Winnipeg


The drive from Jean Gushulak’s home in Piney, Man., to her mom’s place in Badger, Minn., is around 30 minutes.

But upcoming changes to the operating hours at several Canadian port-of-entry crossings will make Gushulak’s trip home much longer.

“It takes me 30 minutes to get my mom’s, and now it will take a little over an hour to get back,” she said.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says three ports in southeastern Manitoba will have their hours reduced as of Nov. 26.

At the Piney POE, closing time will be changed from 10 p.m to 5 p.m. The South Junction POE will be reduced by four hours, closing at 8 p.m. instead of midnight, and the Tolstoi crossing will close at 8 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. from Victoria Day to Labour Day and then 6 p.m. for the rest of the year.

The Piney and South Junction crossings are separated by just a few kilometres, meaning Gushulak has until 8 p.m. to avoid a major detour.

If she can’t make it in time, she says she’ll have to go all the way to the Sprague-Warroad POE, which would make her trip home around 90 minutes.

Jean Gushulak’s trip home from Minnesota is about to get longer thanks to cutbacks made at several Southeastern Manitoba ports of entry.

Jordan Pearn/Global News

Melanie Parent, deputy reeve of the Rural Municipality of Piney, said many residents in the area head to Roseau, Minn., for grocery shopping, entertainment and health care, as Roseau is home to the nearest hospital.

Many in the area also work across the border.

She says residents were not consulted about these changes.

“We were completely surprised. We had no clue this was going to be happening,” Parent said.

Lisa White of the CBSA tells Global News the decision was made after reviewing the traffic volume at each port.

“This is our nightlife”

Piney’s Sherri Houston said residents go to Roseau to play hockey, bowl and watch movies, among many other activities. Houston worries the cutbacks will keep more people at home.

“This is our nightlife. This could really affect mental health here because it limits what you want to do,” Houston said.

Meetings between residents and border officials will take place on Wednesday in Piney and Thursday in Tolstoi to discuss the changes. The CBSA says they are open to reviewing the plan if they feel major concerns are raised.

Gushulak wants the changes reversed and worries if they go ahead, more could be on the way.

“It just seems like if they just keep cutting, we don’t want to lose our border,” she said.

Watch: Emerson border expansions to improve crossing from United States

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


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Trudeau’s scheme to dismiss some carbon tax plans shows he wants a fight: Manitoba premier


Justin Trudeau’s government is making its case for re-election by pitting itself against the provinces who oppose his carbon tax, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister asserts.

Pallister is disgruntled his made-in-Manitoba green plan got the thumbs-down when other climate plans he deems insufficient, like Quebec’s and Newfoundland and Labrador’s, were approved. 

« The politics in this is evident, » said Pallister​.

« They believe they have a coalition of urban Ontario, Quebec east and B.C., and they think they can win the next election on that basis. I don’t want to sound cynical, but I’ve seen this too many times from Liberal governments. » 

Pallister held court with media Wednesday afternoon to decry what he characterizes as the divisive tactics of the federal government.

He said governments should be working together to fight climate change, not bickering over a « two-tiered carbon tax structure. »

Manitoba being dismissed: Pallister

Pallister said Quebec’s cap-and-trade program is much less stringent than the flat $25-per-tonne price he proposed before he withdrew the carbon tax — a main tenant of his green plan — because Ottawa wasn’t satisfied.

He added Newfoundland and Labrador is receiving concessions for its plan because of its under-construction Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, but Manitoba isn’t being recognized for the clean energy it produces.

Watch Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc explain the backstop on Power & Politics:

‘Climate change is real, people expect their governments to take action,’ says the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. 8:56

« They will not give us consideration for either getting out of coal, which we’ve just done, or our hydroelectric investments, which we’re in the middle of investing, » Pallister said.

« We’re not getting credit for what we’re really doing and Newfoundland is getting credit for something they may do. This does not make sense. »

On Tuesday, the federal government followed through on its threat to slap a carbon tax on the provinces without an adequate emissions pricing plans of their own: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

‘Lack of leadership on pricing pollution’

In a statement Wednesday, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc said the federal government tried to give Manitoba the flexibility to come up with a plan. 

« Earlier this month, Manitoba [cancelled] their own plan to price pollution. In making pollution free again, they joined the Harper-Scheer Conservatives who have no plan to fight climate change, » LeBlanc said. 

« We are disappointed with the Manitoba government’s lack of leadership on pricing pollution. As we’ve said all along, if provinces refuse to make polluters pay, we will — and we’ll give the money back to Canadians, » he said.

« We know that making polluters pay is good for the economy and good for the environment, which means that it’s good for the middle class. »

To offset most of the added costs of the carbon tax, annual rebates will be sent to Canadian families.

In Manitoba, the average family will pay $233 more in 2019 as a result of the carbon tax, and get a $336 rebate in the first year of the plan. That’s a net rebate of $104, based on average costs and rebates.

The $20-per-tonne carbon tax, along with the rebate to each Manitoban, will rise every year until the $50-per-tonne target is reached in 2022. 

The federal Liberal government will slap a carbon tax on fuels in provinces and territories with no adequate emissions pricing plans of their own. But how will it work? The National explains. 1:31

Pallister said Wednesday his government would decide within a couple weeks whether it will proceed with a legal challenge. The province may strike out on its own, rather than intervene in the case pursued by Ontario and Saskatchewan, he said.

Propensity to quit

It is Pallister, not Trudeau, who should be blamed for making politically motivated decisions, Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said.

« He shouldn’t be talking about suing people. He should be at the table trying to negotiate something, but that’s not what happened — he walked away. »

NDP Leader Wab Kinew said the carbon agreements Trudeau reached with other provinces shows a desire to negotiate.

« It sounds like the premier gave up too easily, » he said.

Pallister said he has not had formal discussions with Ottawa on the carbon tax since Manitoba’s surprise decision earlier this month to scrap his plan. He said discussions between the governments in recent weeks have centred on assurances Ottawa would still give Manitoba $67 million to help reduce carbon emissions, as previously announced.

The $20-per-tonne carbon tax will result in an approximate cost increase of 4.42 cents a litre for gasoline, 3.91 cents per cubic metre for natural gas and 3.10 cents a litre for propane, according to the federal government.

The carbon pricing scheme Ottawa will impose is not as revenue-neutral as the federal government insists, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is arguing. 2:04


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Manitoba burn survivors share struggles, hope at annual conference – Winnipeg


It was the first time 18-year-old Dawson Blahey from Arborg, Man., shared his life-changing story with a large group.

Blahey suffered third-degree burns to his face, legs, chest and feet after a campfire explosion when he was just four years old.

“My dad was pouring fuel, and it was humid out and it blew up,” Blahey said.

But the large group to whom Blahey spoke on Saturday is one that can understand what he has been through.

Dawson Blahey suffered third-degree burns on his body when he was just four years old.

They are members of the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society, which gathers for an annual conference every year. The society hears from doctors and other health professionals about ways to cope with their injuries, and they also get a chance to share their stories with others in the same boat.

RELATED: Volunteers rally to help family of worker burned in grain elevator fire

“There’s a bond when you can talk to someone else who went through a similar experience,” Mamingwey chair Barbara-Anne Hodge said.

“When you’re burned, there’s physical pain, permanent scars, and to meet with others who have walked that path is very powerful.”

Mamingwey is an Ojibway term meaning “butterfly.”

“A butterfly starts as a caterpillar and emerges out of the cocoon. We apply that to our burn survivors, and the white bandages are the cocoon,” Hodge said.

Blair Lundie came out of those bandages three years ago after he was burned in a high-voltage explosion.

“A panel fell over on a high-voltage system, and the panel arced like a lightning bolt, and I turned away just in time to block the impact,” Lundie said.

Blair Lundie was burned in a high-voltage explosion.

RELATED: Crash in North Dakota covers Manitoba man in hot tar

While he still struggles to deal with his new reality, groups like Mamingwey are a huge help for him.

“They are my support because I can talk amongst them, and they understand what I’m feeling on an everyday basis,” Lundie said.

For Blahey, breaking out of his cocoon for the first time is an experience he doesn’t regret.

“Don’t be scared to talk about it,” said Blahey. “Talking about it is the best thing you can do,”

WATCH: Edmonton-area teen returns from unique camp for burn victims

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


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