News of a warmer spring will warm weary, frozen Torontonians


A sunny thought, as you bundle up to chip the ice off your walkway for the umpteenth time this month: Environment Canada is projecting a warmer than usual spring.

There’ll be a few more weeks of winter pain first, but then ….

“Our outlook for March and April is showing milder than normal,” says David Phillips, senior climatologist with the government department.

“We may have to be patient, because we can’t say when in March that’s going to begin. It could be in the second week. You can’t just pick a date and say, ‘Shed the parka and balaclava and take the snow tires off! Spring has sprung.’

“But, right now, (the climate models are showing) spring is coming, and, certainly, it will be better than what we saw last year.”

April 2018 is likely frozen in the memories of many Torontonians. It was the coldest on record; a cruel trick on the salt-stained masses. Then, bizarrely, it was followed by a May that sizzled. The average temperature in April was 3.4 C. The average May temperature rocketed to 17.2 C.

“It absolutely was like winter to summer. I’ve never seen anything like that and I’ve been at this 50 years,” says Phillips.

“We’ll have spring this year. We won’t go from slush to sweat. I wouldn’t bet my pension on it, but I’m not just saying that to make people feel good.”

An average March high temperature is about 5 C, while April tends to be about 12.5. Phillips says that when the projection is for a temperature to be warmer than normal, that usually means an increase of about 1.5 C; not dramatic, but enough that people should notice.

“But, I wouldn’t take the lawn furniture out just yet,” says Phillips, noting that we’re likely still in for a few more bouts of “shoveling, plowing and pushing” before the crocuses appear.

The Weather Network doesn’t release its spring forecast until later this month, but Doug Gillham, a meteorologist there, cautions that “winter is by no means finished with southern Ontario.

“Once we get toward the first week of March, (the) first two weeks of March, it’s going to feel like winter. Instead of these back-and-forth swings, we think the cold will lock in at least through mid-March.”

A hint of warmer weather, even if it’s only on the horizon, will be welcomed by Torontonians longing for a brrrr-eak after a brutal four-week stretch of bracing cold, snow storms and freezing rain.

At Pearson Airport, 77.6 cms of snow has fallen since Jan. 15. Typically, an entire winter brings 108.5 cms of flakes.

We’ve received about three-quarters of a year’s worth of snow in four weeks.

Causing that, says Gillham, is the massive amount of severe Arctic air that has western Canada in a bitter deep freeze. It has spread widely, and, in the Toronto area, it is meeting warm moist air, surging up from the Gulf of Mexico. The Arctic air is dense and doesn’t like to give way.

“We’ve been the battle zone,” says Gillham. “You bring that warm air and run it into the cold air; that’s how you can effectively make a lot of precipitation.”

New Toronto Raptor Jeremy Lin, arriving in the aftermath of a storm Wednesday, couldn’t resist tweeting, “This Canada weather not playin’ around.”

It may sound odd, given what this city has shivered through, but this has actually been a warmer February than usual.

The average high so far has been 1.5 C, where, historically, the average high for February is minus 0.4 C. Gillham said the current number is skewed by a couple of warm days — Feb. 4 hit 12.7 C, for example — and a few daily highs that occurred overnight.

Phillips said a good indicator of the kind of month February has been so far in Toronto is that we’ve already had 22 hours of freezing rain spread over five days. Typically, we have seven days of freezing rain, totaling 35 hours, over an entire winter.

And this month isn’t likely to get more pleasant.

“You might as well write off February as being more winter-like. I just don’t see melting going on,” Phillips says.

While Torontonians like to complain about the weather, he says that, if there was an award for the worst winter in Canada so far, it would likely go to the nation’s capital.

“It’s almost as if every storm made a bee line for Ottawa,” he says. “Ottawa has had truly a tough winter. Every month has been colder than normal. We can’t say that in Toronto. They’ve had a record amount of snow. They had more snow in January than Toronto has had all winter: 104 centimetres of snow, a record for January.”

At midweek, 250 cms of snow had fallen in Ottawa this winter, compared to 98 in Toronto.

It’s been a crazy few weeks for dramatic weather, and Environment Canada warnings from coast to coast. On Wednesday, Phillips said he got a call from a media outlet in Winnipeg that was effectively looking to gloat because Manitoba was the only province not experiencing extreme cold or snow alerts.

Even ever-mild Victoria, B.C., where Phillips says “people don’t even own shovels,” had tee-times interupted. That city has already set a February record for snow with 68.3 cms.

“We had so much Arctic air across the country, and, what was most unusual, was that we had winter storm warnings or snowfall warnings for Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto at the same time,” said Gillham from The Weather Network.

“The cold has been severe in the Prairies and that Arctic air has been spreading west into B.C. and east into the Great Lakes. It’s just a remarkable air mass that has been very persistent.

“A lot of people a month ago were saying, ‘Where’s winter?’ Now they’re saying, ‘Make it stop! When’s it going to end?’ ”

Paul Hunter is a reporter and feature writer based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @hunterhockey


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Most Canadians trust media, but a similar share worry about fake news being weaponized: survey – National


Nearly three-quarters of Canadians profess trust traditional media, but the same share admitted to be worried about false information, and fake news being weaponized, said a poll released by a global communications firm on Thursday.

The Edelman Trust Barometer found 71 per cent of Canadians saying they’re increasingly concerned about fake news, with the share of worried respondents having climbed six points from last year.

Some of this anxiety may come from a lack of understanding about what “fake news” really is, Edelman CEO Lisa Kimmel told Global News.

WATCH: Edelman Trust Barometer

“What it’s now evolved to, that term, is if people don’t like coverage by the media, then it’s coined as fake news. The president of the U.S., who anytime there’s negative coverage around him, just terms it and deems it fake news,” she said.

This share is on par with the rest of the world, as 73 per cent of respondents in the 27 countries surveyed by Edelman reported their concerns about the weaponization of “fake news.”

Anxiety about the future may be driving an increase in news engagement among Canadians.

WATCH: Trump says public ‘loves’ border patrol, but ‘fake news’ does not

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The share of Canadians who claimed to consume news every day was 42 per cent, up 11 points from 2018.

Meanwhile, the share of people who have disengaged from the news has fallen from 54 per cent to 33 per cent.

Traditional media may be seeing an uptick in trust — but the opposite is true of social media.

In every market surveyed — Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific, Middle East and African regions — social media was considered the least reliable source of information.

In the U.S. and Canada, social media commanded the trust of only 34 per cent of respondents.

Who do Canadians trust most? Their employers, apparently

“It’s not surprising, given the fact that fake news has been disseminated over social media, that social media is now the least trusted source for general news and information,” Kimmel explained.

However, it’s important to note that while trust in media rose in Edelman’s latest report, media organizations remained the least-trusted institutions among those polled in the survey.

In Canada, approximately 61 per cent of men and 53 per cent of women indicated that they trusted their media.

That was higher than the average of all 27 countries that were surveyed — there, 50 per cent of men reported trust in media, compared to 45 per cent of women.

See the full results of the poll here. 


Edelman conducted an online survey of over 33,000 people in 27 countries. 

The margin of error was considered three ways.

There was a “27-market global data margin of error” which showed a margin of 0.6 per cent among the general population, 1.3 per cent among respondents considered the “informed public” and of  0.8 per cent among a “global general online population.”

There was also a “market-specific data margin of error” of 2.9 per cent among the general population and 6.9 per cent among the informed public.

Finally, there was an “employee margin of error” of 0.8 per cent across 27 markets, and an additional “market-specific” margin of error of anywhere between 3.2 and 4.6 per cent.

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


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Trudeau denies news report that his office pressed former justice minister to drop SNC-Lavalin charges


OTTAWA— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adamantly denied an explosive story Thursday that senior PMO officials pressed the former justice minister to seek mediation instead of pressing criminal charges against a high-profile Quebec engineering company, SNC-Lavalin.

“The allegations in the Globe story this morning are false,” Trudeau told reporters Thursday. “Neither the current nor the previous attorney-general was directed by me or anyone in my office to take a decision in this matter.”

But the statements are unlikely to quell the uproar that broke after the Globe and Mail reported Thursday that Jody Wilson-Raybould was shuffled out of the job after she refused requests to direct the independent public prosecution office to negotiate a remediation agreement which would have resulted in the firm avoiding criminal liability for actions it said were taken by individual employees.

Read more:

Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleads guilty for role in hospital bribery

SNC-Lavalin blamed a teenage refugee for its poor performance. Here’s the real story

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer rejected Trudeau’s denial as “words written by a lawyer.” He said the report brings up questions about whether officials in Trudeau’s office, and even potentially the prime minister himself, tried to influence Wilson-Raybould over the SNC-Lavelin prosecution.

“The allegations that are in the media today raise the idea that Jody Wilson-Raybould lost her job for refusing to bow to pressure from the prime minister’s office,” Scheer said, accusing the prime minister in French of “hiding something.”

“It’s up to the prime minister to come clean on this,” he said.

During his press conference earlier Thursday, Trudeau said three times in English and twice in French that no one in his PMO directed Wilson-Raybould, or her replacement David Lametti, a Quebec MP, to take “any decision whatsoever” in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution.

Asked what efforts were made to influence her decision, Trudeau said: “At no time did I or my office direct the current or previous attorney general to make any particular decision in this matter.”

Trudeau side-stepped a direct answer to another question about the the nature of discussions between his office and Wilson-Raybold, saying, “We have a tremendous positive working relationship with all members of our cabinet.”

Asked how Canadians can believe the Liberal government’s claims of never politicizing the judicial system — which it has repeated in the Meng Wanzhou extradition case and to questions about the trial of vice-admiral Mark Norman who is charged with leaking cabinet secrets — Trudeau insisted that “we have been consistent that Canada is a country of rule of law that respects the independent judiciary and always will.”

“It’s something we have stood up for on the international stage, it’s also something we ensure on the domestic stage.”

According to the report, SNC-Lavalin sought to avoid criminal fraud and corruption charges based on allegations it paid millions in bribes to win government business in Libya between 2001 and 2011.

Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould declined comment through a spokesman after the story broke Thursday.

The engineering company claims the executives responsible have left the company and it has since overhauled its ethics and compliance rules. This past week, the company’s former CEO Pierre Duhaime was sentenced to house arrest over a separate bribery scandal tied to the construction of a Montreal hospital. Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleaded guilty and will serve 20 months of house arrest.

The Liberal government changed the law last year to what allow “deferred prosecution agreements” and allow remediation agreements to be reached.

In June, Conservative MP Dan Albas slammed it saying the change “gives, effectively, large corporations a ‘get out of jail’card” for offences such as money-laundering.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau defended the move as a way to protect jobs and the economy, and noted that it is similar to the approach taken by the United States and the United Kingdom.

“We recognize that when organizations are found to be offside with the laws, they should be held to account, and they should be held to account for their actions in a way that ensures we protect Canadians,” Morneau said.

He said the revised approach was a “prudent way to ensure that we have companies pay the price for any wrongdoing in a way that allows us to ensure that our economy continues to be successful and that the people who are legitimately responsible for the bad behaviour pay a price, as opposed to people who aren’t, such as people who are unwittingly employed by firms that have had that bad behaviour.”

Liberal MP Mark Miller, whose riding encompasses the Quebec engineering and construction giant’s headquarters, defended the PMO officials as well as the former justice minister on Thursday after the story broke. “I’m confident that the Prime Minister’s office at all times acted legally and ethically,” he said, adding it was never discussed in Quebec caucus.

Miller also called Wilson-Raybould “one of the most principled and ethical people I’ve met in the last three years.”

When Trudeau gathered with his cabinet ministers for a retreat in Sherbrooke, Que., last month, he sidestepped questions about why Wilson-Raybould was removed as justice minister.

“Jody Wilson-Raybould has been a hard-working minister and has been a great person. We have given her a very important job that I know she is going to do well,” Trudeau said.

Asked specifically whether she was moved for “speaking truth to power” too often, Trudeau would only say, “we have a great team of very strong ministers who have stepped up time and time again to serve this country.”

That’s the very language Wilson-Raybould used in a lengthy letter penned after the shuffle that laid out her achievements as justice minister.

In that letter, she said the role of attorney general “demands a measure of principled independence.

“It is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference and uphold the highest levels of public confidence,” she wrote.

“As such, it has always been my view that the Attorney General of Canada must be non-partisan, more transparent in the principles that are the basis of decisions, and, in this respect, always willing to speak truth to power. This is how I served throughout my tenure in that role,” she said.

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

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

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


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Paul Dewar says goodbye | CBC News


Paul Dewar, the former Ottawa Centre MP who spent his last days working to empower young people to change their communities for the better, has died at the age of 56.

A letter from Dewar was posted on his Facebook page after his death on Wednesday.

Here is his letter.

Dear Friends,

The time has come for me to say goodbye. While I have left this place physically, I have some final words I’d like to share.

I want to say thank you. My whole life was filled with the kindness of the people of Ottawa, but never did I feel the true depth and generosity of your love more than this past year. You were a constant source of comfort and solidarity for me and my family. I am so grateful for all that you have done.

I told you that I thought my illness was a gift and I genuinely meant that. In this time in between, I got to see the wonder of the world around us. This reinforced my belief that inherent in our community is a desire to embrace each other with kindness and compassion.

In my time on this earth, I was passionate about the power of citizens working together and making a difference.

I wanted a Canada where we treat our fellow citizens with the dignity, love and respect that every one of us deserves.

I wanted a world where we reduced suffering and increased happiness. A world where we took better care of each other.

I had the privilege to travel and see that despite our many unique differences, we are all ultimately driven by the same desires for community, belonging and fairness.

It is easy sometimes to feel overwhelmed by the gravity of the challenges we face. Issues like climate change, forced migration and the threat posed by nuclear weapons. It’s hard to know how to make a difference.

The secret is not to focus on how to solve the problem, but concentrate on what you can contribute – to your country, your community and neighbours.

Start from a place of compassion and be grateful for all that Canada has to offer – especially the natural beauty that surrounds us, and the music that brings us so much joy.

True change can only come when power is transferred to young people unburdened by cynicism. That’s why I used what energy I had left this year to create Youth Action Now. Hopefully, it will help unleash the power of the young people in our community to make a real difference. I hope you will be inspired to be a part of that project and continue my work.

Ottawa, don’t stop now. Let’s show our strength together. Let’s embrace the vision of Algonquin elder William Commanda for an authentic and organic future, rooted in the wisdom of the Indigenous people upon whose land we reside.

Let’s exemplify how to save our biosphere, right here, with the protection of our beloved Ottawa River and Gatineau Park.

Let’s make more art. Let’s play more. Let’s embrace each other in these days of cynicism and doubt.

Let’s welcome those who need a safe home. Let’s empower those who have been left behind.

Let’s nurture and grow with peace, love and unity. Let’s join hands and hearts to see the beauty in ourselves through the soul of our city.

In the stoic stillness of my journey,
I have found my way to peace.
May you keep building a more peaceful and better world for all.
Let this sacred ground be a place for all.
Let the building of a better world begin with our neighbours.
May we dream together.
May we gather our courage and stand together in moments of despair,
and may we be bound together by joyous celebration of life.
We are best when we love and when we are loved.
Shine on like diamonds in the magic of this place.


My love to you always,


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TSB to share updates on B.C. train derailment at Tuesday news conference


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will release more details about a deadly train derailment in B.C. at a Tuesday morning news conference.

The conference, which will be held in Calgary at 11 a.m. MT, will be live streamed on

3 Calgary men killed in CP Railway train derailment near Field, B.C. identified

The crash on Monday near the Alberta-B.C. border killed the train’s three-person crew, including Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer. All three men were from Calgary.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) freight train was heading west when it went off the tracks, plunging into the Kicking Horse River just east of Field, B.C., at about 1 a.m. MT.

WATCH: Aerial footage shows the extent of the damage after a fatal train derailment near Field, B.C.

According to CP Rail president and CEO Keith Creel, the derailment happened between the Upper and Lower Spiral Tunnels, which were built in the early 1900s to accommodate the steep grade change on the stretch of railway.

“This is a tragedy that will have a long-lasting impact on our family of railroaders,” Creel said.

He added that recovery of the derailed cars will be “complex and challenging given the remote location and extreme weather.”

WATCH: Several damaged train cars lay beside the highway near Field, B.C., after a fatal train derailment

The circumstances that led to the derailment are being investigated by the TSB.

Sixteen cars of a CP Rail train derailed on Jan. 3 in the same area. No one was injured in that derailment.

— With files from 

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


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Your Ward News editor, publisher convicted of promoting hatred


But hey, go big or go home, right?

Or go, perhaps, in the case of James Sears, to prison. Along with fellow bucket of slime LeRoy St. Germaine.

The editor and publisher, respectively — by which I mean no respect at all — of Your Ward News were on Thursday convicted of wilfully inciting hatred against women and Jews in their piggy little rag.

“In cases of this nature, ordinarily a custodial sentence would be sought,” Crown counsel Jamie Klukach said afterwards.

Cases of this nature are rarely pursued and even more rarely successfully prosecuted. For good reason. Criminalizing free speech is inherently antithetical in a democratic society. It’s a bludgeon, not worth wielding in the freewheeling mosh pit of opinion.

But the hate law exists, under Section 319.2 of Canada’s Criminal Code. This is believed to be the first conviction in Canada for promoting hatred against women. (Women were only added to that section in 2014, under then-prime minister Stephen Harper.)

“There is an overreaching and unrelenting depth of hate”’ in the publication’s content, Judge Richard Blouin observed in brief remarks before releasing his decision. “You both wholly intended to promote hate.

“If this doesn’t qualify as hate, I don’t know what will. I find you both guilty.”

Of course Sears sneered and snorted, as he had throughout the judge-alone trial, in which he did not take the stand but nevertheless made his feelings obvious, by expression and gesture. As if the whole thing was a farce, his paper itself a farcical and sophomoric tab intended as crude satire.

Crude, there is no doubt.

So Sears assumed the posture of persecuted martyr, reaching for the most sacrosanct of divine analogies.

“I have to say that 2,000 years ago, a man very similar to me was hauled up on hate speech charges by the Pharisees,” Sears, 55, told reporters outside the courtroom later. “Two thousand years later, I’m being hauled on hate speech charges and we are going to be crucified very soon.”

Christ. On. A. Cross.

Jesus was tried and condemned, by the way, for claiming to be king of the Jews, a crime of treason against the Roman Empire. Not a word of hatred is to be found in scripture.

But why let facts or history get in the way of megalomania?

“Jesus suffered way worse than we have,” Sears continued. “I consider it an honour and a blessing to suffer for the same crime that Jesus suffered for, which was hate speech.”

Reporter: You’re comparing yourself to Jesus?

Sears: “Yes I am. I’m prepared to be crucified.”

Hate speech laws, Sears added, are “arbitrary” and neo-judicial. “What I said would not have been considered hate speech 30, 40 years ago.”

Your Ward News, which is distributed free to — it’s claimed — more than 300,000 households in southwest Ontario, mostly in Toronto’s east end, is a rancid hate-tract of anti-Semitism and misogyny. Jews are depicted, in words and caricatures, as controlling world finances. Hitler is glorified. Holocaust denial runs rampant across its pages. Women are demonized for castrating men in contemporary culture: “satanic whores,” “FemiMarxist c — ts,” chattel; and rape non-existent, “speeding tickets on the seduction,” as Sears — who was convicted sexually assaulting two female patients in 1992, his medical licence revoked — wrote under his alternate pseudonym of Dimitri the Lover.

Sears also blamed feminist ideology and toxic vaccines for the van attack along north Yonge St. last April.

“I don’t think the things we write are hurtful,” Sears argued. “We write about all sorts of groups. Two test groups were chosen (for trial). But any particular group could come after us. The most complaints I ever received were from Christians who complained that us depicting Jesus Christ in a threesome with two women was sacrilegious and blasphemous. I received more hate from Christian groups for portraying Jesus as a stud than I have from any Jewish or women’s groups.”

I do not like quoting Sears. I do not like quoting from Your Ward News — which Canada Post is now forbidden to deliver. But there’s no getting around it.

The judge noted that he’d examined the entirety of YWN’s 22 editions because defence lawyers maintained the contents should be assessed “contextually.”

Blouin wrote, “When all 22 issues are examined, one is left with unfocused and absurd opinions, contradictory messages, and scattershot ramblings.”

And those are hateful, beyond any reasonable context.

Klukach: “He found the material was clear and obvious hatred.”

No room for equivocation at all.

Still, a tall assignment for the prosecution, as Klukach explained, “because the level of intent that the Crown has to prove is extremely high. It’s not enough that the material is hatred but the perpetrator has to have intended to promote it. So ordinarily they turn on issues of proof of intent.”

Most famously, the hate law section was invoked to secure convictions against Alberta school teacher Jim Keegstra in 1994 (overturned on appeal but reinstated by the Supreme Court of Canada) and Holocaust-denying pamphleteer Ernst Zundel in the 1980s (deported to Germany in 2005.)

Germaine, 77, arrived in court late, hastily whipping off a black do-rag.

“I got nothing to say to you,” he told reporters. “What’s to be disappointed about? The judge had a decision to make, he made it.

“No regrets at all.’’

Court is to return for sentencing on April 26. It is believed, however, that Germaine, who professes Indigenous heredity, will seek what’s called a Gladue report, whereby Aboriginal background may be taken into account in sentencing.

That’s rather rich, given that race, gender, ethnicity and sexual designation are all fodder for Your Ward News bile.

“This went on for years,” said Bernie Farber, former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, who sat in on the proceedings throughout. “I was portrayed as an evil Jew for years. If there’s going to be meat behind this kind of a decision, I would hope that there would be time served in jail. That is the kind of thing that gives a message.”

Farber noted that he had brought a complaint against Your Ward News three years ago. “It took this long to get a final decision. That tells us we need to have better policing on this issue. We used to have anti-hate units in various police forces across this country. They have been done away with.”

If Your Ward News isn’t crushed — and it’s unclear if the paper can continue to publish — like-minded periodicals will simply pop up elsewhere, says Farber.

He points to other far-right hate groups such as the Proud Boys, the Incel movement — a bizarre alt-right offshoot, self-described as “involuntarily celibate” that justifies violence against women — and the Yellow Vest movement exported from France as ideologies that have taken root via hate propaganda unchecked.

“This decision tells haters of all kinds that you will be accounted for, that there is justice here.”

Also taking heart from the decision were Warren and Lisa Kinsella, who have brought a civil lawsuit against Sears and Germaine. Both men were acquitted of uttering threats against the political consultant couple.

“The judge correctly found here this isn’t free speech,” said Warren Kinsella. “It’s hate propaganda. It is the most foul and vile expressions of hatred against women and Jews and members of the LGBTQ community that you can find. This is worse than anything — Keegstra, Zundel, all of them.”

And they’re normalizing hate speech.

“They’re no longer on the fringes,” warned Kinsella. “They’re now at the centre of power. A white supremacist is the president of the United States.”

Jesus wept.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno


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«Fake news»: une définition s’impose


Depuis les élections américaines de 2016, les fake news font constamment les nouvelles… mais personne ne s’entend sur leur définition. Pourtant, il est aujourd’hui essentiel de mieux caractériser cette contamination de l’espace public qui menacerait la démocratie.

[…] L’Assemblée nationale française a voté le 4 juillet 2018 une loi anti-fake news. Il s’agit, plus précisément, d’interdire « toute allégation ou imputation d’un fait dépourvue d’éléments vérifiables de nature à la rendre vraisemblable ». Pourtant, l’article 27 de la Loi de juillet 1881 interdit déjà « la publication, la diffusion ou la reproduction […] de nouvelles fausses, de pièces fabriquées, falsifiées ou mensongèrement attribuées lorsque, faites de mauvaise foi, elles auront troublé la paix publique, ou auront été susceptibles de la troubler ». L’amende peut atteindre 45 000 euros (68 500 $).

Mais que veut interdire précisément le gouvernement français ? « L’actualité électorale récente a démontré l’existence de campagnes massives de diffusion de fausses informations destinées à modifier le cours normal du processus électoral par l’intermédiaire des services de communication en ligne », dit l’énoncé de la politique. Dans les faits, cette nouvelle disposition réglementaire changera peu de choses en temps normal, mais en période électorale et préélectorale (trois mois avant le déclenchement des élections), elle permettra à une autorité gouvernementale (le Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel, ou CSA) de bloquer une nouvelle […].

Il est intéressant de noter que le terme fake news est inexistant dans la loi 799 adoptée en juillet dernier. Pourtant, il est utilisé 55 fois dans le texte qui a servi à sa rédaction intitulé Les manipulations de l’information : un défi pour nos démocraties. On peut y lire l’extrait suivant : « Fake news est l’expression la plus communément employée, y compris en français, où elle est parfois traduite par “fausses informations” alors qu’il faudrait plutôt parler d’informations falsifiées, contrefaites ou forgées. »

Plusieurs observateurs estiment que les fake news ne sont qu’un vieux vin dans une nouvelle bouteille. Il est vrai que la tromperie a toujours fait partie de l’arsenal des belligérants. Mais abaisser les fake news au statut de simples « fausses nouvelles », c’est ignorer le caractère sans précédent des réseaux sociaux capables de contaminer l’espace public de façon continue et massive. En diffusant quotidiennement des millions de mensonges, y compris depuis les plus hauts niveaux des autorités politiques, les fake news affectent sérieusement l’exercice de la démocratie. Pour paraphraser René Lévesque, être informé n’est pas suffisant pour être libre ; il faut être bien informé.

À l’évidence, le sens de l’expression fake news ne fait pas consensus. Et le dictionnaire n’est d’aucune utilité pour l’instant. Aucune entrée dans le Larousse illustré de 2018. Rien dans le Robert 2018. Ni dans Termium, la banque de données terminologiques et linguistiques du gouvernement du Canada. Comme si le terme était encore trop nouveau pour être acceptable. Ou qu’aucun vocable ne s’était imposé en langue française.* […] Le terme est défini comme une information « mensongère ou délibérément biaisée », servant par exemple « à défavoriser un parti politique, à entacher la réputation d’une personnalité ou d’une entreprise, ou à contrer une vérité scientifique établie », précise le Journal officiel, jeudi 4 octobre.

Les fake news peuvent-elles exister en anglais, mais pas en français ? Peu probable. Un poisson, une chaise ou un concept philosophique ont leur existence propre, peu importe les langues qui les désignent. […] S’il y a urgence d’une définition en français (et pourquoi pas d’un néologisme adéquat comme « infausse » ?), le concept lui-même n’est pas encore consensuel dans l’anglophonie. Trois auteurs, Edson Tandoc, Zheng Wei Lim et Richard Ling, ont publié dans Digital Journalism une analyse de 34 articles scientifiques ayant utilisé les termes « fake news » entre 2003 et 2017. Ils en tirent dans « Defining Fake News » une typologie en six catégories : la parodie, la satire, la fabrication, la manipulation d’image, l’opération de relations publiques et la propagande. Les auteurs rappellent que le public joue un rôle déterminant dans la dissémination des fake news. « Si les nouvelles sont construites par les journalistes, les fake news sont coconstruites par le public ; leur fausseté dépend beaucoup de sa capacité à percevoir le faux comme réel. Sans ce processus de tromperie, les fake news demeurent dans le domaine de la fiction. C’est quand le public les confond avec de vraies nouvelles qu’elles entravent la légitimité du journalisme. » En effet, les fake news soulèvent avant tout la question de la « vraie » nouvelle, basée sur un caractère inédit mais surtout sur la vérité. […]

Depuis que Facebook est devenu la première source d’information d’un bon nombre de citoyens (44 % des Américains y tirent l’essentiel de leurs informations), il faut rappeler que son contenu n’est pas filtré par des reporters, chefs de pupitre et éditeurs ayant pour principale éthique professionnelle la recherche de la vérité. Même si on a beaucoup insisté sur les erreurs déontologiques (toujours trop nombreuses) et les entorses à l’objectivité des journalistes, ces derniers demeurent en principe guidés par un idéal commun : la recherche de la vérité.

*NDLR : En octobre 2018, la Commission d’enrichissement de la langue française a choisi de traduire fake news par « information fallacieuse » ou par le néologisme « infox ». Ces traductions sont désormais en usage dans l’administration française.


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Negative news overshadowed a strong year of reconciliation for Indigenous people


To assess the progress or lack of it for Indigenous people in 2018 you must go back and look at a few events in isolation.

First the trial of Gerald Stanley for the killing of Colten Boushie was a watershed event for race relations for Saskatchewan. When a visibly all-white jury acquitted Stanley, racial polarization in Saskatchewan came to the surface.

After the verdict was read, Stanley was rushed out the door and the jury took flight. Boushie’s family was upset but violence was never contemplated. Both the accused and the jury could have left the courthouse with much less drama instead of the fear and panic that followed. This action showed the apprehension that exists toward Indigenous people among settler society.

Members of Colten Boushie’s family leave the Court of Queen’s Bench after a jury delivered a verdict of not guilty in the trial of Gerald Stanley, the farmer accused of killing the 22-year-old Indigenous man. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)

The anonymity and convenience of social media allowed racist comments to spread across the province. For Indigenous people it was a stressful time. Parents feared for their children, people avoided rural roads and felt the conversation hush when they entered a rural coffee shop or any other public place.

Later in the year, the Saskatchewan government would introduce legislation amending trespass laws eliminating the need to post private land with no trespassing signs.

Indigenous people saw it as fallout from the Stanley trial that would allow rural landowners to shoot first and ask questions later. It also raised the issue of property rights versus human rights.

On the other hand, Indigenous people continued to grow and develop. We graduated record numbers of students from high school, university and technical training. Rural-urban migration continued, and our standard of living continued to increase.

This is the side of our people that gets lost in the politics of the day. Our people want to earn a living, raise their family and send the next generation into a better world than the one they grew up in.

Also, the rebirth and renaissance of our culture and religion continued to fly under the radar. Powwows brought out increasing numbers of people and sundances and other ceremonies grew in importance.

Powwow on Ochapowace Nation. (Alex Soloducha/CBC)

This was supposed to be a year of reconciliation but much of the news indicated otherwise. However, men and women of goodwill from both the settler and Indigenous community stepped up and worked together to improve race relations.

In Saskatoon, we named the new bridge the Chief Mistawasis Bridge in honour of a great leader who worked to build bridges between his people and the newcomers.

Chief Mistawasis Bridge opened this year in Saskatoon. (Graham Construction)

In Regina, teepees went up on the legislature lawn and stayed from February to September. The province demanded that they be taken down and ordered the police to act on it.

The police chief, to his credit, refused to storm the camp and create a legal and public relations nightmare; instead, he met with the protesters and gained their confidence. The camp stayed up and order prevailed. When the camp finally came down, it was the teepee owners who did it and their point had been made.

Court of Queen’s Bench ordered the camp out of Wascana Centre in September. (Glenn Reid/CBC News)

Meanwhile, in October, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations held its election and Chief Bobby Cameron was re-elected along with incumbent Edward Lerat and a retread, Morley Watson.

The big story that ended the year came in under the radar on the Friday before Christmas.

Earlier in the year the chiefs from the Robinson Huron Treaty had taken the government to court alleging that the $4 annual annuity was based on 1850 money and the rate of inflation and the resource revenue that was realized from their land had to be considered.

The judge agreed, stating that treaties are not one-time transactions and must grow to reflect the value of the land and resource revenue. While the judge stated that the First Nations should negotiate with the federal and provincial authorities, they could also have a court-imposed settlement.

This decision is a game changer in Indian Country. Our elders have told us for years now that the text of the treaties is only a part of the agreement and the oral promises as well as the spirit and intent of the treaty must be considered.

This issue will continue to move forward in 2019 and I fully expect that it will change our relationship with the federal and provincial governments.

This column is part of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor’s blog and our FAQ. 


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Take a look at some of the top Canadian news photos of 2018


The Humboldt Broncos bus crash was selected as Canada’s News Story of the Year. (Humboldt Broncos/Twitter)

Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask., when its bus and a semi-truck collided at a crossroads on April 6, killing 16 people and injuring 13.

(Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

The crash made headlines around the world and struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians, uniting the country in grief. It was chosen by Canadian media as Canada’s News Story of the Year.

(Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Canada’s dynamic duo

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir concluded their illustrious careers in 2018, winning their second ice dance Olympic gold medal with a record-setting total score at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

(Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

The iconic Canadian ice dancers were named CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year.

(Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

Toronto van attack

Ten people were killed and more than a dozen injured after a van plowed into pedestrians on a crowded sidewalk in Toronto on April 23.

(Albert Leung/CBC)

Alek Minassian, 26, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, and is set to go on trial on Feb. 3, 2020.

(David Donnelly/CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne were among the high-profile dignitaries who joined the sprawling crowd of mourners at a vigil in Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square to honour the victims of the attack.

(Carly Thomas/CBC)

Toronto Danforth attack

Toronto was struck by tragedy again after a shooting rampage on the city’s bustling Danforth Avenue on July 22.

(Patrick Morrell/CBC)

Reese Fallon, 18, and Julianna Kozis, 10, were killed, while 13 others, ranging in age from 17 to 59, suffered gunshot wounds.

(Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Kinder Morgan protests

The proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline has been one of the most contentious and divisive issues in Canadian politics this year, prompting several protests across the country. 

(Christer Waara/CBC)

Above, two Greenpeace Canada activists are seen scaling one of Kinder Morgan’s drills in Delta, B.C., in May.

In March pipeline opponents held demonstrations in front of the offices of MPs across the country as part of a national day of action against Kinder Morgan.

(Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Historic flooding in New Brunswick

(Trevor Lyons/CBC)

Record-level flooding devastated parts of New Brunswick this summer, washing away roads and destroying homes.

(Shane Fowler/CBC)

The federal government provided support to the province’s flood relief effort, including help from the military.

(Mary-Catherine McIntosh/CBC)

Worst fire season on record in B.C. 

British Columbia was under a state of emergency this summer as nearly 13,000 square kilometres of the province burned, pushing past the record set in 2017.

(Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Tornado rips through Ottawa, Gatineau, Que.

(Kristin Nelson/CBC)

A powerful twister tore through the rural Ottawa community of Dunrobin on Sept. 21, destroying dozens of homes.

The tornado — one of two that touched down in the Ottawa-Gatineau region — had wind speeds reaching as high as 265 km/h.

(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Canada legalizes recreational cannabis 

Canada became the first major Western nation to legalize and regulate the sale of cannabis for recreational use in 2018.

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The world was watching when the country made history with the first legal sale of non-medicinal pot just after midnight on Oct. 17, marking the beginning of what the New York Times dubbed Canada’s « national experiment. » 

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The move to legalize cannabis for recreational use, sparking an entirely new industry wih wide-ranging implications for nearly every facet of society, has been voted The Canadian Press Business News Story of the Year.

(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

B.C.’s giant old growth cedars 

British Columbia’s coastal forests are home to enormous, ancient trees that can reach staggering heights and live for up to 1,000 years. 

(Chris Corday/CBC)

The trees are a symbol of the ongoing battle in the province between environmentalists — who want old-growth trees off limits to cutting — and forestry workers, who want at least some old-growth trees available to logging.

(TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance)

Ken Wu, executive director for the environmental group Ancient Forest Alliance, is seen above with a stump of a Western redcedar measuring four metres across at Gordon River, near Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island. 


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Year in Review: Top 5 news stories for Global Kitchener in 2018 – Kitchener


A house explosion, a brazen daylight shooting, municipal and provincial elections and the ION LRT delays were the biggest stories to emerge in Waterloo region in 2018.

Kitchener home blows up house, body found, man later charged with murder

On Aug. 22, a Kitchener neighbourhood was rocked by an early morning home explosion.

WATCH: Neighbour captures dramatic moments following explosion in Kitchener

A house on Sprucedale Crescent was destroyed and surrounding homes were also damaged.

READ MORE: Death of woman at scene of Kitchener house explosion ruled a homicide by police

The body of 58-year-old Edra Haan was found in the backyard while her husband, Udo Haan, 58, was airlifted to a hospital in Hamilton with critical injuries.

Police later revealed that she was killed prior to the explosion.

WATCH: Residents in Kitchener return to their homes following house explosion

The following day, Waterloo Regional Police declared her death to be a homicide investigation and said they had no clear suspect although they were looking to speak with Udo Haan about the incident.

READ MORE: Udo Haan charged with murder, arson in connection to Kitchener home explosion

On Thanksgiving Day, police arrested Udo Haan at Grand River Hospital. He was charged with first-degree murder, arson with disregard for human life and two counts of arson with damage to property.

Provincial election brings four new MPPs to Waterloo Region

To no one’s surprise, the Liberals long reign of power in the province of Ontario finally came to an end on June 7.

On that night, four of the five ridings in Waterloo region saw new MPs elected.

READ MORE: Mike Harris Jr. wins tight race in Kitchener-Conestoga

A familiar name was elected in Kitchener-Conestoga although it was a different face.

WATCH: Doug Ford’s PCs win majority government in Ontario; NDP in opposition

Mike Harris Jr., son of the former premier of the same name, narrowly won, filling a seat formerly held by PC MPP Michael Harris.

Harris Jr. was appointed as the candidate in the riding by party Leader Doug Ford on April 21, Michael Harris initially announced he would step down for health reasons but was later cut loose by the party on April 21 amid a texting scandal.

READ MORE: Belinda Karahalios returns PCs to power in heavily-eyed Cambridge riding

In other area ridings, NDP candidate Laura Mae Lindo came out on top in Kitchener-Centre while NDP incumbent Catherine Fife held on to her seat in Waterloo. PC candidate Belinda Karahalios won the Cambridge seat, unseating Liberal incumbent Kathryn McGarry while in Kitchener-Hespeler, Conservative Amy Fee won the night’s closest race in the area.

Man gunned down in downtown Kitchener, police chase ensues

Just over a month after the house exploded on Sprucedale Crescent, Kitchener was the scene of another high profile murder that would capture national attention.

On Sept. 20, 20-year-old Isaiah Macnab was gunned down at a picnic table in a parking lot near the New Directions halfway house.

WATCH: Fatal shooting in downtown Kitchener leads police on high-speed pursuit

The shooting, which occurred in broad daylight near the intersection of Pandora Avenue and King Street, would be followed by a police chase.

It would run across several regions before police would lose sight of the vehicle in Mississauga.

READ MORE: Isaiah Macnab identified as victim of ‘targeted’ downtown Kitchener shooting

During the police chase, a Waterloo police SUV would collide with a civilian vehicle leaving the driver and the officer with minor injuries.

Municipal elections brings major change to local council

There were two elections that brought major changes through Waterloo region this year.

A few months after the provincial election, municipal elections were held across the province and there were a few major changes in the region.

READ MORE: Kathryn McGarry unseats Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig

In Cambridge, longtime mayor Doug Craig was ousted by Kathryn McGarry, a former Liberal MP in a move the surprised some. Craig had held the office for 18 years.

The other major change was at the regional level, as Waterloo regional chair Ken Seiling retired after 33 years at the helm.

READ MORE: Karen Redman wins race to replace Ken Seiling as Waterloo regional chair

His replacement, Karen Redman, collected more than 60 per cent of the votes in her battle with former North Dumfries mayor Rob Deutschmann, former Waterloo councillor Jan d’Ailly and local business owner Jay Aissa.

In Kitchener, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic was easily re-elected as was Mayor Dave Jaworsky in Waterloo.

READ MORE: Berry Vrbanovic easily wins second term as Kitchener mayor

But there were also three new councillors elected in Kitchener and all were women.

The additions of Christine Michaud, Margaret Johnston and Debbie Chapman meant that the council is now made up of five woman and five men.

ION delayed yet again

Area residents were left exasperated once again when it was learned that the ION LRT system which was scheduled to launch in December, would be delayed until Spring 2019.

In April, it was announced that the ION trains would not be launched until December 2018.

READ MORE: ION trains delayed, now scheduled for Spring 2019

Initially scheduled to launch in July 2017, the launch is now expected to be almost two years off of the initial launch date.

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


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