Kingsbury returns to moguls podium with 1st victory at Mont-Tremblant


​Canadian Mikael Kingsbury landed back on top of the podium Saturday, winning gold at a moguls World Cup race after a disappointing performance a week earlier.

Kingsbury, the reigning Olympic champion, scored 86.73 points on his home course to rebound from a fifth-place finish last week in Lake Placid, N.Y., that halted his perfect start to the season.

WATCH | Mikael Kingsbury finishes 5th:

Kingsbury finished fifth in New York on Friday, the first time in five events that he’s failed to win on the World Cup circuit. 1:29
The victory was the first for the Deux-Montagnes, Que., native at Mont-Tremblant.

Japan’s Ikuma Horishima was second with 85.02 points while Dmitriy Reikherd of Kazakhstan was thing with 83.42.

On the women’s side, 2018 Olympic silver medallist Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal won bronze. Perrine Laffont of France won the event while Australia’s Jakara Anthony took silver.

Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was fourth.

Laffont scored 75.51 points for her seventh moguls World Cup victory.


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Canada vs. Finland: 5 keys to a quarter-final victory


Fresh off Monday’s 2-1 setback to Russia — its toughest test at this year’s world junior hockey championship — Team Canada’s potential path to the gold-medal game doesn’t get any easier, starting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The 3-1-0 Canadians face elimination against Finland, which defeated the former 5-2 in pre-tournament action in Vancouver on Dec. 23 and went 2-2 in the preliminary round. Three years ago, the host Finns also downed Canada 6-5 in the quarter-finals.

« We’re going to come out hard, » Canada forward Morgan Frost, who with seven points shares the tournament scoring lead with American Ryan Poehling, told reporters. « We want revenge against them. I don’t think you’ve seen our best yet. »

Here are 5 keys to a Canadian victory at Rogers Arena:

Tippett’s lethal weapon

Possessing an NHL-level shot, Owen Tippett has had scoring chances of late but hasn’t found the back of the net for Canada since the second period of its tournament-opening 14-0 drubbing of Denmark, which was shut out in each of its four round-robin games.

A return to form by the 2017 Florida Panthers draft pick — he has 19 goals and 33 points in 23 games for the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads this season — would make Canada’s top forward line of Cody Glass between captain Max Comtois and Tippett even more potent.

More of the same from Mikey

Michael DiPietro, who stood out versus Russia with a 29-save performance, has turned aside 66 of 69 shots for a .957 save percentage in three games, one year after being a late cut at Canada’s selection camp.

Canada’s Michael DiPietro raised his save percentage at the 2019 world juniors to .957 with a 29-save performance against Russia on Monday night. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Tops in the Ontario Hockey League this season with a 2.20 goals-against average, DiPietro stopped 13 of 15 shots in the pre-tourney loss to Finland.

« He’s our rock back there. He’s always calm in high-pressure situations, » says Canadian left-winger Jaret Anderson-Dolan.

Special teams

Canada’s power-play and penalty-kill units continue to be a work in progress. Finland scored two power-play goals and a pair shorthanded tallies on Dec. 23, while the Canadians failed to convert three chances when up a man against Russia.

Canada ranks seventh among the eight quarter-final teams with a 20 per success rate with the man-advantage and fifth on the penalty kill (76.92 per cent).

Secondary scoring

Much of Canada’s goal production since its tournament opener has come from the top forward line of captain Max Comtois, Cody Glass and Owen Tippett, along with MacKenzie Entwistle.

Morgan Frost has yet to notch an even-strength goal since his hat trick against Denmark while Jaret Anderson-Dolan and 17-year-old Alexis Lafreniere have one goal for the tournament.

Canadian forward Morgan Frost, pictured here scoring one of his three goals versus Denmark on Dec. 26, is due for another outburst in Vancouver. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Ontario Hockey League standouts Barrett Hayton (15 goals in 20 games for Sault Ste. Marie) and Nick Suzuki (20 goals in 28 contests) for Owen Sound have yet to score at this year’s world juniors. Noah Dobson is the lone Canadian defenceman to find the back of the net.

Opening the scoring

Canada has scored the first goal in each of its four games at this year’s world juniors and won three times.

In the last seven meetings between Canada and Finland, the team that scored first prevailed six times. On Jan. 2, 2016, the Canadians scored first in Helsinki and dropped a 6-5 decision.

Recent Canada-Finland matchups

  • Dec. 26, 2017, Buffalo: Canada 4, Finland 2 (Taylor Raddysh, two points)
  • Jan. 2, 2016, Helsinki: Finland 6, Canada 5 (Mitch Marner, two goals; Brayden Point, two points)​
  • Dec. 29, 2014, Montreal: Canada 4, Finland 1 (Sam Reinhart, two goals)
  • Jan. 4, 2014, Sweden: Finland 5, Canada 1
  • Jan. 5, 2012, Calgary: Canada 4, Finland 0 (Quinton Howden, two goals)​
  • Dec. 26, 2011, Edmonton: Canada 8, Finland 1 (Jonathan Huberdeau, goal and five points; Mark Stone, three goals)


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Videotaped apology hailed as victory in struggle against hate speech


When Mohamad Fakih first received the video, he watched it alone; he wanted to make sure it was acceptable to show his kids. Then, the prominent Muslim-Canadian businessman gathered his wife and three boys and, together, the family watched the taped apology that took them more than a year of turmoil and thousands of dollars in legal fees to obtain.

In the two-minute clip, Ranendra “Ron” Banerjee — a man the family has never met — apologized to Fakih for making “defamatory and disparaging” comments about him and his popular restaurant chain, Paramount Fine Foods. Banerjee admitted to saying Paramount only let in patrons who were “jihadist” and have raped their wives “at least a few times.” But, as he said in the video publicly released Monday, he now realizes it was wrong to attack Fakih simply because of his religion and that “such hate has no place in Canada.”

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When the video ended, Fakih turned to his oldest son and asked him what he thought. “It’s good,” the 14-year-old said slowly. “But it’s not right.”

Fakih agrees. This long-awaited apology — provided as part of a Dec. 7 settlement agreement in a defamation lawsuit Fakih filed against Banerjee last year — marks an important victory not only for him and his family, but also for the broader struggle against hate speech and rising Islamophobia in Canada.

But the ordeal has also taken a significant financial and emotional toll on Fakih and his family. While the settlement is important, it is just one small step, he said; mere days before Banerjee’s apology, Statistics Canada reported that 2017 saw a record number of hate crimes across the country, with the majority targeting Muslim, Black and Jewish communities.

“It’s one step forward, but it’s only the beginning,” Fakih said. “I realize that there could be another (incident) tomorrow, with somebody else, and it could be one of my staff or one of my friends.”

Fakih’s legal battle against Banerjee began on July 20, 2017, when the anti-Muslim agitator showed up outside a Mississauga location of Paramount Fine Foods with online provocateur Kevin Johnston, another fixture at anti-Muslim rallies in the GTA. They were filmed making remarks Fakih alleges to be defamatory and the videos were widely disseminated online, including on Johnston’s website,

Fakih sued them both in August 2017 and while his lawsuit against Johnston is still ongoing, Banerjee asked to settle after an interim ruling by the Superior Court of Justice that rejected his attempts to quash the lawsuit this spring.

Banerjee had previously argued he went to Paramount because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was attending a fundraiser there and he wanted to protest the federal government’s $10.5 million payout to former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr. Therefore, he said, his comments were relating to a matter of public interest.

But in June, Justice Shaun Nakatsuru ruled the lawsuit should proceed because Banerjee’s comments “involve hallmarks of hate” and do not relate to a matter of public interest — a decision legal experts described as precedential because it made clear legitimately hateful expression could not be protected simply by claiming it was made in the public interest.

Anti-Muslim agitator Ranendra (Ron) Banerjee, left, reads an “unqualified” apology to Paramount Fine Foods owner Mohamad Fakih in a screengrab from a video released Monday. Fakih is seen right in a May 16, 2018, file photo.
Anti-Muslim agitator Ranendra (Ron) Banerjee, left, reads an “unqualified” apology to Paramount Fine Foods owner Mohamad Fakih in a screengrab from a video released Monday. Fakih is seen right in a May 16, 2018, file photo.

In addition to his “unqualified apology” to Fakih, which Banerjee made both in writing and video, the settlement also included a confidential cash payment and “consent to judgment” of $100,000 — meaning Banerjee will be liable for that amount if he ever makes similar comments against Fakih, his family or Paramount again.

“I will not make public comments of this nature in the future,” Banerjee said in his videotaped apology, reading from a sheet of paper. “I hope everyone seeing or reading this apology learns from my mistake.”

In reaction to Banerjee’s settlement, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said that building inclusive communities also means “challenging such hatemongers to ensure that everyone feels safe and secure.”

“At NCCM, we regularly receive reports from Canadian Muslims who are facing similar circumstances of hate directed at them,” Ihsaan Gardee said in an emailed statement. “We commend Mr. Fakih for taking a stand against such bigotry.”

On Monday, Fakih celebrated the settlement by making a $25,000 donation to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a non-profit organization that monitors and studies hate activity. Fakih said he wants to empower other Canadians who may not have access to the same financial resources for combating hate speech through lengthy and costly legal battles.

An immigrant from Lebanon, Fakih has built Paramount Fine Foods into a successful restaurant chain with 70 locations worldwide. He is also known for his philanthropic efforts, which include supporting Syrian refugees and offering to pay for the funerals of worshippers killed in last year’s Quebec City mosque attack.

Fakih said he has wanted nothing more than to be accepted in Canada, but Banerjee and Johnston’s comments made him feel for the first time he wasn’t welcome here. Many friends and family discouraged him from pursuing the lawsuit, he said, but the “comments were so vile, so evil, so hateful that I simply couldn’t not stand up against them and do the right thing.”

In addition to his statements from July 2017, Banerjee has also been previously filmed describing Islam as evil and stating that Muslims should be banned from civilized countries, Nakatsuru wrote in his ruling from June. He also wrote that Banerjee administers several Twitter accounts that have made anti-Muslim statements, including that a dead Muslim is a net gain for humanity and Muslims are rotten from the time they are born. (Banerjee previously testified he “may or may not have written those tweets.”)

Johnston, who recently finished second in the mayoral race in Mississauga, is currently facing a hate crime charge relating to multiple alleged incidents involving online commentary targeting Muslims, according to Peel Regional Police. In his statement of defence to Fakih’s defamation lawsuit, Johnston denied the allegations and said any assertion he has “ever promoted hate is a fabrication.”

Fakih said he’s watched Banerjee’s video several times and while the apology is gratifying, it still makes him angry.

So much damage has already been done, he said. His 4-year-old son was traumatized by an encounter at a shopping mall, where Johnston followed Fakih and his children while videotaping and badgering him about supposed ties to terrorism. “For three nights, he was waking up and saying ‘Who’s that man who wants to hurt my dad?’” Fakih said.

His oldest son also came home from school one day with a picture his friend found online. The photo was photoshopped to make it appear Fakih’s hands and face were covered in blood.

“There is an anger inside of me and I’m sure my son will never forget this story,” Fakih said. “It makes them understand that they need to stand up for the things that we believe in as Canadians.”

Jennifer Yang is a Toronto-based reporter covering identity and inequality. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar


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Bangladeshi community in Calgary celebrates Victory Day with flag-raising – Calgary


Over a hundred people in Calgary’s Bangladeshi community observed the 47th anniversary of their country’s independence war victory on Sunday.

The green flag with a red circle was raised outside city hall as people sang and gave speeches.

Dec. 16 marks a national holiday in Bangladesh that commemorates their victory over Pakistani forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

Ceremony organizer Nasreen Akther said it’s important to show respect for the country and its freedom fighters.

Bangladesh sentences Islamic cleric to death for crimes from 1971 independence war

“We are recognizing all the people who fought for us and who sacrificed their lives for our independence,” she said. “We want to show our children and second generation this history, our heritage and our culture… They’re going to be proud as a Bangladeshi-Canadian.”

Akther said there are 10,000 people in Calgary’s Bangladeshi community, and it’s the first time they’ve raised a flag.

Matinul Yusuf was a Bangladeshi liberation fighter in 1971.

“This is the Victory Day,” he said. “Independence has been done Mar. 26, 1971. Nine months we fought against the Pakistan army [until their surrender in December].”

Mumtaz Uddin Ahmed worked in the Bangladesh Air Force during the war. He called Dec. 16 a day of great significance.

“It was a bloody war where we fought the Pakistanis and lost about three million people who sacrificed their lives,” Ahmed said.

Bangladesh has said Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed an estimated three million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions to flee their homes. Pakistan has disputed the allegations.

Bangladesh Islamic leader indicted on war crimes charges for role in 1971 independence war

Ahmed said the Bangladesh Air Force was formed in September 1971 with three aircraft: a helicopter, a DC-3 Dakota airliner and a Twin Otter plane.

“Bombs were dropped by hand,” he said.

“The main fuel dams at Chittagong and Dhaka were destroyed by the Air Force with these three aircraft,” Ahmed added. “When the Pakistanis got absolutely frustrated, they attacked India on Dec. 2, and that was the time the Indians retaliated. One attack in Dhaka, air fuel was destroyed and the Pakistanis lost their morale.”

On Dec. 16, 93,000 Pakistani soldiers laid down their weapons and surrendered, he said.

– With a file from the Canadian Press

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


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Mikael Kingsbury fights off food poisoning for 51st World Cup victory


Canadian freestyle skier Mikael Kingsbury shrugged off food poisoning enroute to his 51st career World Cup victory on Saturday with a gold medal in moguls in Thaiwoo, China.

Kingsbury, from Deux-Montagnes, Que., won with a final-run score of 90.31, his fifth-straight victory in China.​

Ikuma Horishima of Japan was second with 87.68 and Kazakhstan’s Dimitriy Reikherd was third with 86.92.

Watch highlights from Kingsbury’s golden run:

After battling food poisoning, Mikael Kingsbury prevailed to top the World Cup field for moguls gold in Taiwoo China. 1:03

« It was a very tough day for me, » said Kingsbury, who earned his fifth-straight victory in as many starts in Thaiwoo since 2016. « Yesterday I got very sick and I was not feeling very well. Today I woke up with a little bit of energy, just enough to come and ski.

« I did a few mistakes in the first final round, but I learnt from those mistakes and I was able to put my best run and I managed to get my fifth win here at Thaiwoo. »

This is the third time the Canadian freestyle skiing team has competed in World Cup competitions at this venue, where several competitions will be held in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

« I don’t know what it is about this place, » said Kingsbury. « It appears to be a run that suits me well. There’s also the fact that the level of competition here is high, as it is elsewhere. Skiers like Dmitriy [Reikherd], Ikuma [Horishima] and Ben [Benjamin Cavet of France, who finished fourth on Saturday] push me to do my best. »

Late comeback

Kingsbury, who lost six pounds of body weight due to the illness, is coming off a Lou Marsh Trophy win as Canada’s top athlete for his incredible 2018 season.

After getting the top score in qualifications, Kingsbury settled for second place behind Horishima after the first run of the finals, but bounced back in the end to capture the gold.

The 26-year-old won his first Olympic gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February, along with two Crystal Globes for finishing first in moguls and tops among all freestyle skiers on the 2017-18 World Cup tour.

Dufour-Lapointe top Canadian woman

The win marked Kingsbury’s 75th medal on the FIS circuit. He already owns the record for most career wins.

The other Canadian skier in the men’s finals, Brenden Kelly, finished 10th.

On the women’s side, the event was won by American Jaelin Kauf with a score of 83.08, while Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was the top Canadian with a fifth-place finish (72.79).

Dufour-Lapointe’s showing stands as her best single moguls result since finishing fifth at the World Cup in Tazawako, Japan in February 2017.


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Calgary Stampeders’ victory rally downtown Tuesday – Calgary


The Calgary Stampeders will be the toast of the town Tuesday as the city holds a celebration rally for the 2018 Grey Cup champions at Municipal Plaza.

Beginning at 1 p.m., fans will be able to enjoy some giveaways and congratulate their team on the win.

“Dress warmly in your red and white, and bring a food bank donation,” a city press release said Sunday. “Food trucks will be on site, as well as the Stampeders merchandise trailer, offering official 2018 Grey Cup Championship merchandise.”

Rick Zamperin: Grey Cup victory cements Calgary Stampeders’ legacy

The Stampeders’ mascot Ralph the dog, the Outriders cheerleaders and some other guests will be in attendance.

There will be road closures to help accommodate the crowds: Macleod Trail northbound between 9 and 6 Avenue and 8 Avenue between Macleod Trail and 1 Street S.E.

These streets will close to vehicle traffic between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The city said CTrain and bus services will continue as usual.

Calgary Stampeders defeat Ottawa Redblacks 27-16 to win 106th Grey Cup

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


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‘Finally!’ Third time’s the charm for Stampeders in Grey Cup victory


Edmonton and Calgary football fans set aside their long-standing rivalries Sunday to celebrate bringing the Grey Cup back to Western Canada as the Calgary Stampeders beat the Ottawa Redblacks in the 106th Grey Cup.

“Finally,” said Wayne Anderson, dressed in his Calgary Stampeders jersey while watching the game at Hudson’s on 109 St. on Sunday, “after three years, finally.”

Calgary Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson a champion’s shower after his team defeated the Ottawa Redblacks in the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton on Sunday.
Calgary Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson a champion’s shower after his team defeated the Ottawa Redblacks in the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton on Sunday.  (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

For Calgary Stampeders fans watching their team make a third attempt at taking the Grey Cup home in three years, the third time proved to be the charm as they defeated the Redblacks 27-16.

“We deserve this,” said Estaban Sein, a Stampeders fan living in Edmonton while he studies business at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. “It’s our turn to win.”

Cold weather and frozen turf didn’t seem to dampen any spirits during the 106th Grey Cup, the pinnacle of the CFL season, as both teams delivered explosive plays and fans huddled in the stands, at bars and around televisions to catch the action.

Sunday’s win marks the Stampeders’ first Grey Cup victory since 2014. The Stampeders lost 39-33 in overtime to Ottawa in 2016 before dropping a 27-24 decision last year to the Toronto Argonauts.

Read more:

West is best as Calgary Stampeders capture Grey Cup

Key moments from the Grey Cup

Running back Terry Williams played a vital role in helping Calgary win the CFL title in its third straight appearance, ending their recent Grey Cup misery.

Williams had a record 97-yard punt-return touchdown on a slippery Commonwealth Stadium turf.

Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell — the CFL’s most outstanding player this season after tossing a league-best 35 touchdowns — was the game MVP with two TD passes but also two interceptions. Stampeders receiver Lemar Durant of Vancouver was named the outstanding Canadian with four catches for 30 yards and a TD and a 22-yard run.

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the most valuable player of the Grey Cup. He had two touchdown passes and was 14-of-21 passing for 182 yards.
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the most valuable player of the Grey Cup. He had two touchdown passes and was 14-of-21 passing for 182 yards.  (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa — in its third Grey Cup competition in four years — appeared to score on Greg Ellingson’s acrobatic one-handed grab in the fourth quarter but replays showed the ball hit the turf. The Redblacks ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Calgary 7-yard line with just over eight minutes remaining.

After Ottawa turned the ball over on downs again, Calgary’s Jamar Wall and Tre Roberson followed up with interceptions on consecutive Redblacks possessions. Roberson’s pick came with just 1:22 left in the game.

On top of bragging rights and accolades from fans, Calgary players will receive a $16,000 winner’s share while the Redblacks go home with $8,000 apiece.

Despite declarations of “ABC,” shorthand for the Edmonton sports fan’s mantra of cheering for anyone but Calgary, some Edmonton Eskimos fans who didn’t get the chance to see their home team in the championship adopted their rival team as their own, even just temporarily.

Calgary running back Terry Williams (38) celebrates a punt-return touchdown against Ottawa with defensive back Tunde Adeleke (27).
Calgary running back Terry Williams (38) celebrates a punt-return touchdown against Ottawa with defensive back Tunde Adeleke (27).  (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

One family of Edmonton Eskimos fans loyal enough to live in a house painted green and gold was just happy to see a Western Canadian team take back the Cup.

“Keep it in the West,” said 79-year-old Myrna Greene, who was cheering on the Stampeders from the comfort of her living room inside her Edmonton Eskimos themed house near 93 Ave. and 92 St.

Regardless of the result, most fans left happy just to have been a part of the Grey Cup experience.

“We love the spirit of an Edmonton party,” said Patricia South, cheering on the Redblacks from The Pint on 109 St.. “Edmonton is a great city. People are friendly. We love it. We love coming to Edmonton.”

In the lead up to the 106th Grey Cup championship, Edmonton shut down a section of Jasper Avenue downtown to host a Grey Cup Festival, featuring tube slides, a zip line, bungees inviting all to take part in Grey Cup revelry extending well into the night.

Hours before the game, the Edmonton Eskimos Football Club announced that the 106th Grey Cup had sold out all 55,819 tickets for the championship game.

“This is a situation where words cannot express how we feel,” said Len Rhodes, Edmonton Eskimos president and CEO and 2018 Grey Cup co-chair in the release.

“Edmonton and the entire nation have set a new standard of how to celebrate the Grey Cup together.”

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was the CFL's most outstanding player in the regular season, as well as the Grey Cup MVP.
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was the CFL’s most outstanding player in the regular season, as well as the Grey Cup MVP.  (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Organizers estimated 500,000 CFL fans from coast to coast arrived in Edmonton to take in the big game, festival, awards and other fantastic events. It is expected to bring an economic boom of approximately $80 million to the local economy by the end of the festivities.

Next year, Calgary will host the 107th Grey Cup at McMahon Stadium.

With files from Kashmala Fida, Nadine Yousif and The Canadian Press

Claire Theobald is an Edmonton-based reporter who covers crime and the courts. Follow her on Twitter: @clairetheobald


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Houston surges to victory in PC leadership race


Pictou East MLA Tim Houston is the new leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives.

Houston garnered 2,496.75 points out of a total of 5,100 after the first round of voting. He required 2,551 points to win the leadership.

Shortly after the result was announced, however, the remaining candidates on the ballot stood down in favour of supporting Houston as the new party leader.

Houston was followed by Cecil Clarke with 1,385.71 points, John Lohr with 692.45 points, Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin with 384.96 points and Julie Chaisson with 140.13 points.

Tim Houston, speaking with voters as they wait their turn in line during Saturday’s leadership convention, has won the party’s leadership. (Michael Gorman/CBC)

Clarke was first to cross over to Houston. He led his supporters across the floor of the venue to shake Houston’s hand and merge his supporters with those of the Pictou County resident.

Clarke, the mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said his decision was based on what’s best for the party.

« I said last night the unity of the party is paramount, » he said. « I believe in bringing this party together. As I just said to Tim, we need to set any campaign differences aside. It’s about the next election. The party is bigger than any one person. Bigger than me, and I am happy to support our new leader, Tim Houston. »

Clarke promotes party unity

Houston called it a joyful moment and said it was very helpful for party unity.

« I think they’re sending a message as well to their supporters and to party members and really to Nova Scotians, » he told reporters.

« I’m totally grateful that that happened. »

He’d been the target of the most prominent attacks throughout the campaign, but on Saturday Houston said he believes that’s all in the past.

« When you’re in a campaign, people have a strategy for a campaign, » said Houston. « That’s over now. The race is over now. We’re caucus colleagues, we’re members of the PC party together and we’ll just get to work. »

Hundreds of Tories descended on Halifax’s Exhibition Centre Saturday to cast their votes and watch the new leader be elected. About 300 people were voting at the event, while there were 8,868 ranked ballots cast by mail ahead of time.

People wait in line for their turn to vote at the Nova Scotia Tory leadership convention in Halifax. (Michael Gorman/CBC)

Each candidate had an opportunity to make a speech to the crowd on Friday night. During the lead-up to the first round of voting, candidates could be seen working the voting line, making one final pitch to uncommitted voters.

The event also included a tribute to outgoing interim leader Karla MacFarlane, who assumed the role when Jamie Baillie was forced to step down after the party found he violated the legislature’s workplace harassment policy.

Karla MacFarlane and her son, Jack, look on as a video tribute is played for the outgoing interim leader. (Michael Gorman/CBC)

MacFarlane said she was honoured to hold the role and humbled by the support, but she was also ready to turn things over to the new leader.

She joked she wouldn’t trade the past year for $1 million — « nor would I do it again for $1 million. »

When it was Houston’s turn to address party members, he called on volunteers for the other campaigns and the thousands of new party members to remain engaged and promised there was a place for everyone within the party.

« We need you to stay involved and to keep going. We have so much work to do, » he said.

« You are on the ground floor of a movement, and I think you can feel it, » he said, before pledging the party would go on to form successive majority governments.

« Won’t stop until Nova Scotia is the leader and the best province in Atlantic Canada and beyond, » he said.

« Change is coming. »

Candidate John Lohr shares a word with a convention attendee ahead of the results of the first round of voting. (Michael Gorman/CBC)

On mobile? Click here to follow our live coverage

Have questions about the leadership vote? Jean Laroche and Michael Gorman took reader questions via Facebook Live Friday. 


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Ontario midwives welcome ‘historic’ victory in pay equity case


Ontario midwives won a “historic” victory in a groundbreaking pay equity case Monday, after a tribunal ruled the government’s failure to proactively monitor midwives’ compensation and regularly negotiate with them over it constitutes discrimination.

The case filed at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario five years ago sought redress, including retroactive pay, for gender-based pay discrimination dating back to 1994, shortly after midwifery became a formally regulated part of Ontario’s public health system.

Lawyers for the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) argued that the profession has been chronically undervalued due to a unique “gendered trifecta” in a field that is primarily staffed by women, is concerned with providing care to women, and deals with a health care issue associated with women.

Read more:

Ontario midwives allege gender-based pay gap, compared to doctors

Midwifery students launch campaign over lack of funding

Midwives from 113 countries kick off convention with march through Toronto

In Monday’s ruling, tribunal chair Leslie Reaume called that description “very apt,” and ruled that there was sufficient evidence to prove gender-based discrimination between 2005 and 2013, but not earlier.

Although the AOM’s application sought a remedy dating back to 1994, policy and communications director Juana Berinstein said the decision felt like a “completely historic win.”

“It feels like a victory for midwives, for women, for equity-seeking groups. It feels like an incredible decision that really talks about systemic discrimination,” she said.

The tribunal has not yet set out any remedies but has directed the parties to negotiate a resolution over remedial pay, damages, and how compensation will be set going forward.

In 1993, the Ontario government used a pay equity analysis to set midwives’ rate of pay at 65 per cent of a community health care physician’s salary. The tribunal ruled that 2005 was the last time the government applied a gender equity lens to midwives’ pay increases.

In 2010, a report commissioned by the AOM and the Liberal government of the time found that midwives should get a 20 per cent compensation bump. The report also warned that “intermittent” or delayed negotiations with midwives were hurting their compensation.

The recommended pay increase was never implemented. Instead the government “unilaterally determined that (community health care) physicians were not appropriate comparators for midwives,” according to Monday’s tribunal decision, thereby abandoning a long-established means of determining fair compensation for midwives.

“This perpetuates the historic disadvantage midwives have experienced as sex-segregated workers. It also undermines the dignity of midwives who now find themselves having to explain why they should be compared to physicians for compensation purposes more than 20 years after this principle was established,” the decision reads.

The implication is that government must regularly take proactive steps to monitor compensation for the impact of gender discrimination on the fairness of pay.

In its application, the AOM said while “male-dominated” community health care physicians’ salaries had increased by 76 per cent since 1993, midwives’ pay increased by only 33 per cent.

“My finding … is that there is sufficient evidence to find that sex was, more likely than not, one of the factors that explains the difference in compensation levels between midwives and CHC physicians,” Reaume’s decision reads.

“While it’s not just about pay, pay is a concrete example of how we are valued in the system,” said AOM president Elizabeth Brandeis. “So it’s hard not to internalize that in terms of midwives seeing their own worth in relation to their medical colleagues and vice versa.”

In its response to the tribunal application, the Ministry of Health argued the case was about “occupational status, not sex.”

Its factum said the pay gap was based not on sex but on “important differences” between the work of community health care physicians and midwives, including the length and cost of physicians’ training and their “broader scope of practice.”

Reaume’s decision notes that midwives’ practice in Ontario has “been expanded to take advantage of their remarkable skill set and to respond to changing health care priorities, underserviced communities and vulnerable patient populations.”

“What makes the position of the (Ministry of Health) even more difficult to accept is that it promotes family physicians and midwives as comparable obstetrical providers, equally competent to care for women with normal pregnancies,” the decision reads.

The AOM has about 1,000 members in the province. Midwifery is a four-year bachelor of health sciences degree and students are trained in reproductive science, physiology and women’s health. Last year, Ontario midwives supported 24,066 births, or 16 per cent of all births in the province.

Katrina Kilroy, president of the Canadian Association of Midwives, said she simply wants the health care system to treat her profession with respect.

“Nobody does the equivalent job of a midwife. We’re on call 24-7. We sometimes work 24 hours straight. We’re with someone on the most painful day of their lives,” she said. “It’s a matter of life and death”

With files from Jacques Gallant

Sara Mojtehedzadeh is a Toronto-based reporter covering work and wealth. Follow her on Twitter: @saramojtehedz


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