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Pot demand does not decrease – Canada News




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In the weeks before the cannabis became legal over Canada, Toronto was once the thriving network of weed dealers all but disappeared.

Nearly 80 pot shops that advertised as dispensaries had closed their doors massively and called for warnings that anyone who violated Ontario's new sales laws would be prevented from obtaining a legitimate private credit in the future.

Mark Sraga, the city's chief investigator for the Department of Municipal Licensing and Standards, said that only about a dozen dispensers were open during the days immediately before October 17 – the day marijuana was legalized nationwide.

But when the word came that there was a lack of cannabis supply that led the government to attract the number of licenses in just 25 provincial areas and quench them via lottery, Sraga said that pot business began to cut back.

Today, Sraga said that a team of nine city personnel closes dispensing every week, only to see new operations run up in their place. He said at least 21 illegal business sites are in business today and cite their persistent presence as evidence that legalization has not yet come close to meeting one of the federal government's primary goals.

"The national strategy was to eliminate the legal market for cannabis," Sraga said in a telephone interview. "For me, there has been a failure on the political issue because the illegal market is thriving."

The faces of Canada's illegal cannabis market are as varied as the legal regulatory systems currently being developed across the country, experts say. Noting unlicensed dispensers is not widespread in each province.

But preliminary figures support the critics' claims that the abolition of penalties for recreational use of cannabis is not enough to stun out black market activity.

Data compiled by Statistics Canada show that consumers spent $ 1.48 billion on cannabis products over the past three months in 2018. However, the agency reports that 79 percent of the money was spent on the illegal market.

Michael Armstrong, a professor in the Brock University who has studied the business side of legalization, said the numbers paint a nuanced picture when they are broken down by the province.

In provinces that have made legal purchases more feasible, such as Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Alberta, legal cannabis sales were between 29 and 39 percent of market activity, Armstrong said. But in Ontario, where the pot could only be bought legally online until April 1, the legal market share was only 13 percent during the quarter.

The situation was worse in British Columbia, he noted and noted the province's only legal store and the internet sales operation took only four percent of the cash consumers spending on cannabis during the quarter.

There, as in Ontario, dispensations that have largely existed in the black market situation before legalization, once again worked well.

Last week, the provincial security minister announced that a nationwide executive law that was introduced in the fall would start ramping up their efforts to make the dispensers close to their doors.

Mike Farnworth said the 44-member team would not immediately close unlicensed potteries but instead inform operators of new licensing rules for marijuana sales in the province.

"I think right now what they've done is what you can call education, visit illegal operations and let them know (the team) is up and running," says Farnworth.

The police in Ontario have taken a more aggressive approach, where 10 forces across the province tie in to shutter speed.

Ontario Provincial Police It. Insp. Jim Walker said the various police stations have formed a joint working group that has made at least 44 arrests since its activities kicked into high gear in January.

Led by the PPP, the Joint Working Group has acted on intelligence as the province's government gathered on the cannabis black market during the year before legalization, he said.

Walker, who is deputy head of the board's law enforcement agency, said that while illegal online transactions and pop-up stores are emerging with increasing frequency, dispensers still make up the bulk of the team's work.

Illegal stores are still very lucrative, Walker said, adding officials with the workgroup has dismantled companies that bring in daily totals up to $ 20,000.

"There is a reason why individuals are doing it and it is not for the improvement of society," he said. "That's because of the significant amount of money to be made."

However, Armstrong questioned the effectiveness of the police strategy and noted that it was likely that the proprietor would operate underground rather than stop operating altogether.

"If you turn them off, you won't close the demand, you close the only vendor," he said. "Shutting down dispensers is an important step when there is a legal option. Until there is a legal option, I see it as a huge waste of police resources."

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April 17, 2019 / 5:24 am | Story:
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When Prince Edward Island voters go to the polls next week, they will make their choice without any contribution from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Although polls suggest that Wade MacLauchan's ruling liberals need all the help they can get to stay, sources near the campaign say they have not supported their federal colleagues – a sign Trudeau's single rock star status on the island has become a political responsibility.

Previously, Trudeau was always a popular visitor to the island, both as a liberal leader and as a prime minister. His public events usually attracted large crowds of followers who were anxious about themselves or a handshake.

But as candidates knock on doors before Tuesday's election, the voters who answer that it is necessary to withdraw from the prime minister, say campaigners and insiders – both liberals and conservatives – who talked to The Canadian Press provided anonymity to freely discuss the situation on the island.

Officials in the Prime Minister's Office confirmed on Tuesday that no one in the provincial liberal camp has requested a campaign visit from Trudeau, and no trip to the island is planned.

"It would be crazy," said a senior P.E.I. Liberal operational. "We wouldn't want them here."

Tuesday's voyage to the polls promises to attract one of the most interesting races as voters in Canada's smallest province have seen in recent memory thanks to a dramatic nail in support of the Green Party who has changed the political landscape, primarily in the island's central rides.

A vote released before the snap March 26 ballot suggested that Greens led the progressive conservatives led by leader Dennis King, who has only been working since early February. The Liberals, who have been in power for the past 12 years, hit third.

When Trudeau was last in the province in the weeks before the election, he made a job announcement and participated in a liberalized fundraiser. But a small group of protesters also appeared – a common feature of the prime minister's public events elsewhere in Canada, but a rarity for Trudeau in P.E.I.

PMO officials say Trudeau prefers to clear out provincial campaigns, even though he lent his support to a provincial town-selection effort in Ontario in 2016. And he visited P.E.I. on behalf of MacLauchlan's Liberals in 2015, before becoming prime minister.

His luck seems to be at least partly the result of the SNC-Lavalin controversy.

For months, Trudeau has withdrawn from persistent questions of allegations by former Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould that he and others in the PMO were attempting to interfere for political reasons in a criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering company in connection with its operations in Libya. Trudeau and his officials have been denying something wrong in a steady way.

However, since voters often do not set up differences between federal and provincial parties of the same name, they have won voters during the campaign – especially at the beginning, when the SNC mounts were most busy – often unpleasant for Iceland Liberals.

Some voters express anger and frustration with how Trudeau and his government have dealt with the deal, while others are only disappointed with their record as prime minister, both liberals and conservatives say.

The last time P.E.I. The voters went to the polls in a provincial election in May 2015, just five months before deciding their federal votes. Stephen Harper was still in power and deeply unpopular in P.E.I. thanks in part to his conservative government's cutbacks to employment insurance, federal job reductions, and lingering anger over his speech years earlier in a "defeat culture" in Atlantic Canada.

Next, there were Progressive Conservatives who squirmed at the door in the face of the Prime Minister's unpopularity.

This time it is the other way around.

"As much as Harper injured things last time, Trudeau helps now," said a conservative insider, who spoke frankly on terms of anonymity – a sense echoed by others, including liberals who recall the anti-Harper feeling that fills the sailors.

"We are in the contest of life," one said. "And he (Trudeau) is not what he used to be."


April 17, 2019 / 5:18 am | Story:
254191

Jason Kenney and his United Conservatives channeled the assault by an angry voter to float to a majority government in Albert's election on Tuesday and move Rachel Notley's NDP to the history books as a single government.

The UCP, which was formed two years ago by a merger of the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Parties, held its rural and Calgary seat and took back many of the breakthrough NDP winners in those regions in 2015.

"What a great day for the province of Alberta," Kenney told jubilant supporters after driving into a stalled event center at Calgary's Stampede Grounds in a blue pickup truck.

"Today, our great province has sent a message to Canada and the world that Alberta is open to business."

UCP led or was elected in 63 out of 87 places on Tuesday night. The NDP held the other 24. A handful of places were too close to the call and will have to wait for completion until outside election campaigns are counted later this week.

Notley's NDP held much of its traditional base in Edmonton, which it swept four years ago. But prime ministers and backbenchers went down somewhere else.

When she spoke to supporters at her headquarters in Edmonton, Notley noted her government achievements and said she would continue to be the leader of the NDP.

"We have fundamentally changed politics in this province forever," she said.

"It has been an honor to serve as your premier and it will be an honor to serve as the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition."

Notley said she had congratulated Kenney and "assured him that we will do everything we can to ensure that the transition to a new government is smooth and productive."

"I wish him and his government well. We all do. We must." Because we all love Alberta, "she said, her family behind her on stage supporting" Rachel! Rachel! "

Kenney, who won his riding in Calgary-Lougheed, is a former federal conservative cabinet minister under Stephen Harper.

He takes the best job after winning a job, job, job and a promise to wipe out anyone who opposes Albert's oil and gas industry, especially Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Kenney has called it the "Trudeau-Notley Alliance" – a partnership he says has made Alberta a doormat for Trudeau and other oil industry enemies in return for only a weak and yet unrealized promise of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the West Coast.

Kenney has pledged to kill Albert's homemade coal tax, fight the federal coal tax in court and do what he can to help federal conservative defeat Trudeau in federal October voting.

"There is a deep frustration in this province, a feeling that we have contributed massively to the rest of Canada, but everywhere we turn to being blocked and stuck," Kenney says.

In a statement, Trudeau congratulated Kenney and said that he will work with the new government to create jobs, build infrastructure, and grow business.

"Together, we will address issues of importance to Albertans and all Canadians, including … taking decisive action against climate change while marketing our natural resources."

When Kenney is sworn in, Canada will have no premieres from women.

Notley's NDP attempted to win a second mandate after winning a 54-sided majority in the 2015 scandalous 44-year-old Progressive Conservative Dynasty.

For the past two decades, the NDP had never been able to choose more than four members of the legislature and had been shut down by Calgary since the 1980s.

The interest in the 2019 election was high because leaders launched personal attacks while promoting their platforms as the best drawing for Albert's fragile economy.

Almost 700,000 people voted in advance on polls, well above the record 235,000 that made in 2015.

The province, once a money-making dynamo thanks to the high oil prices, has been struggling for years with weak returns on royalties, reduced drilling activity and higher unemployment.

Kenney argued that Notley's government made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more rules, and minimum wage increases.

Notley said, in turn, that Keny's plan to freeze spending and drive more personal care options would have a profound impact on students and patients.

Notley also tried to make Kenney's character a problem. A number of his candidates ceased or apologized for previous comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.

At the campaign's margin, the centerist was Alberta and liberal parties. Both chose single members to the legislature four years ago, but failed to win any seats this time.

Albert's party leader Stephen Mandel lost in Edmonton-McClung and Liberal Leader David Khan failed to win in Calgary Mountain View.

Kenney now draws attention to a spring summer sitting and a platform that includes regretting most of the signature elements over the past four years of NDP changes, starting with the regional coal tax on fossil fuel heat and gas at the pumps.

He has promised to cancel the NDP increase on corporate tax and lower it to eight percent. The minimum wage for young people should be cut. Agricultural protection and compensation plans for farm workers must be abolished and replaced. A $ 3.7 billion plan to rent railway vehicles to transport more oil should be interrupted.

The climate change program must be dismantled in favor of a plan to tax the emission intensity for larger greenhouse gas operations. A large medical lab in Edmonton, part of a plan to consolidate testing, will not move on. Changes in overtime pay should be rolled back.

An extensive review of the curriculum is also expected to remain.

Kenney plans to shoot a shot over the bend of B.C. government on its first day in the office. He has said he will proclaim a law passed by Notley's government, but never exclaimed.

The bill gives Alberta the power to reduce the oil streams to B.C. in retaliation for their resistance to expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

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April 17, 2019 / 5:15 am | Story:
254190

Some of Albert's NDP members say the party has changed the province for the better and believes it will be an effective opposition.

On Tuesday, Albertan's Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party chose a majority government after taking back many of the breakthroughs NDP wins in the 2015 election.

Foreign Prime Minister Rachel Notley said she would continue to be the leader of the NDP.

An advisor who helped drive the NDP campaign said Notley and the party changed the shape of Albert's policy after the surprise of power four years ago.

"It ended a 44-year-old dynastic political climate that you have in Alberta," says Sally Hausser.

"Even this choice showed – obviously not the result we would have liked to have seen – but it is very much that NDP is here to stay, which is very much positive."

Hausser said that NDP could raise more money, bring out more volunteers, place more ballots and grow the party.

"Going forward, you will see that the NDP continues to struggle for exactly the same things they struggled before."

Hauls listed economic diversification, climate leadership, child poverty reduction, and a strong education system such as some of Notley's improvements.

"One thing that has been clear in the campaign and during its time in the government – she is a fighter and it is always a fun thing to have resistance," Hausser said.

Other NDP members re-elected Tuesday said they also continue to fight for the Albert they believe in.

"Many Albertans gave us a very strong direction that they want us to fight for things that Rachel ran on the platform," said Sarah Hoffman, NDP's former health minister, who was in her Edmonton seat.

"I have a feeling that it will be one of the most effective opponents we have ever seen in Albert's history," she said.

Former Education Minister David Eggen, who since 2004 has served as a legislative member of Edmonton, said he is proud of NDP's record.

"It is difficult during an economic downturn for any government. But we chose to continue building – building schools, building infrastructure and building the social infrastructure that we need to reflect on a modern society here in Alberta," he said.

"I am very, very proud of what we have achieved."

The egg said that NDP will now keep the government account.

"UCP must know that to govern responsibly, they must represent and reflect what we are and who we are as Albertans in 2019," Eggen told reporters after Notley's concession language.

"I will keep that expectation to them every day."

The egg said he continues to support Notley as a party leader.

"Notley is the best that beats leadership and governance in this province for 100 years, frankly," he said. "I have never worked with anyone so competent and with such vision and leadership."


April 16, 2019 / 8:17 pm | Story:
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UPDATE: 8:15 pm

Premier Rachel Notley and her NDP government are one, clear from the saddle Tuesday by Jason Kenney, whose United Conservatives won a majority in Albert's election.

The UCP, formed two years ago by a merger of the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Parties, claimed the lion's share of the countryside and led or had captured many sites in Calgary.

Notley's NDP held its traditional base in Edmonton, which it swept in 2015, but lost in many of the surrounding municipalities, rural horse riding and Calgary constituencies captured four years ago.

Kenney, who won his riding in Calgary-Lougheed, is a former federal conservative cabinet minister under Stephen Harper.

He will take the best job after successfully exploiting voter anxiety over Albert's sluggish economy with a job, job, job announcement and a pledge to wage war against anyone who opposes the oil and gas industry, especially Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Kenney has called the "Trudeau-Notley Alliance" partnership he says has made Alberta a doormat for Trudeau and other oil industry enemies in return for only a weak and yet unrealized promise of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the West Coast.

Kenney has pledged to kill Albert's homemade coal tax, fight the federal coal tax in court and do what he can to help federal conservative defeat Trudeau in federal October voting.

Trudeau was asked in Kitchener, Ont., Earlier Tuesday if he was worried about his climate plan, Kenney should win.

"We have chosen to appreciate pollution all over the country and there are conservative politicians who use the taxpayers' money to fight a price on court pollution," he replied.

"They use your dollars to try to free up pollution again, which doesn't mean."

Trudeau said the federal government would continue to work to grow the economy and manage climate change smartly.

When Kenney is sworn in, Canada will be back to nine female premieres.

Notley's NDP attempted to win a second mandate after winning the jerking 44-year-old Progressive Conservative Dynasty in 2015 by winning 54 seats in the 87-team.

For the past two decades, NDP had never been able to choose more than four MLAs, and had been shut down by Calgary since the 1980s.

The interest in the election was high because leaders launched personal attacks while promoting their platforms as the best drawing for Albert's fragile economy.

Almost 700,000 people voted in advance on polls, well above the record 235,000 that made in 2015.

The province, once a money-making dynamo thanks to the high oil prices, has been struggling for years with weak returns on royalties, reduced drilling activity and unemployment over seven percent in Calgary and Edmonton.

Kenney argued that Notley's government made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more rules, and minimum wage increases.

Notley said, in turn, that Keny's plan to freeze spending and drive more personal care options would have a profound impact on students and patients.

Notley also tried to make Kenney's character a problem. A number of his candidates ceased or apologized for previous comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.

At the campaign's margin, the centerist was Alberta and liberal parties. Both chose single members of the 87th place legislature last time but lost across the board in early returns.

Albert's party leader Stephen Mandel lost in Edmonton-McClung.

Kenney now draws attention to a spring summer sitting and a platform that includes regretting most of the signature elements over the past four years of NDP changes, starting with the regional coal tax on fossil fuel heat and gas at the pumps.

He has promised to cancel the NDP increase on corporate tax and lower it to eight percent. The minimum wage for young people should be cut. Agricultural protection and compensation plans for farm workers must be abolished and replaced. A $ 3.7 billion plan to rent railway vehicles to transport more oil should be interrupted.

The climate change program must be dismantled in favor of a plan to tax the emission intensity for larger greenhouse gas operations. A large medical lab in Edmonton, part of a plan to consolidate testing, will not move on. Changes in overtime pay should be rolled back.

An extensive review of the curriculum is also expected to remain.

Kenney also plans to shoot a shot over the bend of B.C. government on its first day in the office. He has said he will proclaim a law passed by Notley's government, but never exclaimed.

The bill gives Alberta the power to reduce the oil streams to B.C. in retaliation for their resistance to expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.


UPDATE: 8:05 pm

United Nations Conservative Party Jason Kenney has won Alberts majority government elections.

Albert's party leader Stephen Mandel has been defeated in the Edmonton-McClung constituency in Albert's provincial election.

NDP leader Rachel Notley has retained his seat in Edmonton-Strathcona in Albert's provincial election.NDP candidate Lorne Dach beat Mandel, who came in third.

Mandel hoped to sit in the legislature for the second time.

He was named Health Minister of the Progressive Conservative Government of Jim Prentice in September 2014, although he did not have a seat.

Mandel won a town lesson the following month, but was defeated in the provincial election in May 2015.

He was elected Albert's party leader in February 2018.

The 73-year-old served as Mayor of Edmonton for three straight terms.


UPDATE: 7: 40 p.m.

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney has retained his place in Calgary-Lougheed in Albert's election.

It is Kenney's first provincial election, a former federal cabinet minister in Stephen Harper's government.

Kenney, who is 50, orchestrated a merger of Albert's Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties in the summer of 2017.

He said at that time it was important to reconcile the Centre's supreme center to avoid voting and defeating the NDP government.

He was elected as the new party leader in the fall of 2017 and became a member of the legislature when he won a village lesson in Calgary-Lougheed on December.


ORIGINAL: 7: 15 p.m.

Polls have closed in the Alberta election and Rachel Notley's governing new democrats hope in the second term over a United Conservative Opposition intent to seize power.

The 28-day campaign is expected to define or, in the case of UCP leader Jason Kenney, redefine Albert's relationship with the federal government and, in particular, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Kenney, a former conservative cabinet minister under Stephen Harper, wagered on what he called the "Trudeau-Notley Alliance".

It is a partnership that he said has made Alberta a doormat for Trudeau and the other oil industry's enemies in return for only a weak and yet unrealized promise of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the West Coast.

Kenney promised to kill Albert's homemade coal tax, fight the federal coal tax in court and do what he can to help federal conservative defeat Trudeau in the federal October vote.

Notley fought back over the campaign. She said she managed to work with Trudeau – or pick fights with him as needed – which led to progress on Trans Mountain, and she expected construction to begin this year.

She said Kenya's promise to challenge Trudeau in court whether everything from the coal tax to the proposed energy sector's regulatory changes was cynical, self-degrading shadow boxing given the collaborative realities of political decision-making.

Trudeau was asked in Kitchener, Ont., Earlier Tuesday if he was worried about his climate plan, Kenney should win.

"We have chosen to appreciate pollution all over the country and there are conservative politicians who use the taxpayers' money to fight a price on court pollution," he replied.

"They use your dollars to try to free up pollution again, which doesn't mean."

Trudeau said the federal government would continue to work to grow the economy and manage climate change smartly.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, whose province is one of three challenging federal coal taxes, said he hoped Kenney would win the election.

"Hopefully today we have another partner with my good friend Jason Kenney," Ford said.

Notley's NDP tried to win a second mandate after crushing the 44-year-old Progressive Conservative dynasty in 2015.

This choice was no longer the progressive conservatives. The PCs were merged with another high start party, Wildrose, to create the new United Conservatives during Kenney 2017.

The interest in the election was high because leaders launched personal attacks while promoting their platforms as the best drawing for Albert's fragile economy.

Almost 700,000 people voted in advance on polls, well above the record 235,000 that made in 2015.

The province, once a money-making dynamo thanks to the high oil prices, has been struggling for years with weak returns on royalties, reduced drilling activity and unemployment over seven percent in Calgary and Edmonton.

Kenney argued that Notley's government made a bad situation worse with higher taxes, more rules, and minimum wage increases.

Notley said, in turn, that Keny's plan to freeze spending and drive more personal care options would have a profound impact on students and patients.

Notley also tried to make Kenney's character a problem. A number of his candidates ceased or apologized for previous comments that were anti-LGBTQ, anti-Islamic or sympathetic to white nationalism.

At the campaign's margin, the centerist was Alberta and liberal parties. Both chose single members to the 87th legislature last time and hoped to get up in the middle.

Each bet their own political Hail Mary to grab the spotlight. The Liberals promised a provincial sales tax and the Albert Party promised to withhold provincial income taxes.


April 16, 2019 / 16:29 | Story:
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Paketleveranserna blomstrar, men Canada Post säger att det kommer att kämpa för att möta sitt statliga mandat för självhållbarhet under kommande år på grund av en fortsatt minskning av brevpost, högre anställningskostnader och miljarder i behövligt kapitalutgifter.

I en företagsprognos som tystlagts i parlamentet säger kronbolaget att det förväntar sig att uppnå "blygsamma" vinster på mellan $ 10 miljoner och $ 125 miljoner från 2019 till 2023 – men de kommer att drivas främst av sitt Purolator-dotterbolag, medan basen Kanada Post-segmentet kommer att lägga förluster.

"Även om Canada Post är ekonomiskt lönsamt, kommer den prognostiserade tillväxten i paketpaket inte att räcka för Canada Post-segmentet för att uppnå lönsamhet under hela planens period, och det kommer inte heller att göra Kanada Post ekonomiskt självbärande i på lång sikt ", säger dokumentet.

Den "viktiga strategiska frågan" för Canada Post är att kartlägga en kurs för att uppnå hållbarhetsmål som den liberala regeringen identifierade i början av 2018 efter en översyn av Kanada Posts mandat, säger det och det kommer att krävas att regeringen uppmärksammar det.

Planen behandlar flera prioriteringar från regeringen, inklusive ordern att avsluta programmet Harper Conservatives-era (avstängt under granskningen) för att ersätta dörr-till-dörrleveranser med communitypostlådor.

The document says Canada Post has spent about $4.7 million since last summer to dismantle 2,280 community mailbox sites in 12 municipalities where it had begun but didn't complete the conversion, including removing modules, pads and retaining walls and replacing curbs which had been cut to allow access.

The five-year plan estimates Canada Post will need to invest $3.6 billion to keep up with the growth of e-commerce shipping while modernizing to meet shipper and customer expectations and stay ahead of competitors.

Meanwhile, employee costs are rising, in part due to a rural pay equity ruling last fall identified as the main cause of an estimated $264 million loss in 2018.

The ruling is expected to add $140 million in annual costs going forward.

Canada Post says it expects to have to increase borrowing by about $500 million by 2023 to cover capital needs and to make special employee pension plan solvency payments, expected to start at over $500 million in 2020 and total over $1.8 billion by 2023.

It forecasts a post office sector loss of $22 million for 2019 as total revenue grows 3.5 per cent or $234 million to about $7 billion. It says a 13 per cent increase in domestic parcel volume will be offset by a drop in letter mail activity of about five per cent.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it had no one available on Tuesday to comment on the corporate report.

Postal workers went on rotating strikes in late October, but about a month later the Liberals legislated an end to job action due to a growing backlog of parcels ahead of the holiday shopping period.

In January, Canada Post raised the price for an individual stamp on a letter sent within Canada by a nickel to $1.05, while imposing other increases for mail within the country by between a dime and 35 cents.

The new rates were the first increase since March 2014 and were expected to generate $26 million in new revenues.


Apr 16, 2019 / 4:22 pm | Story:
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The return of oil and gas production following the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire and a colder than usual winter pushed Canada's national greenhouse gas emissions up in 2017 for the first time in several years, a new report says.

The latest national inventory report on emissions, filed this week with the United Nations climate change secretariat, showed 716 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were produced in Canada in 2017, an increase of eight million tonnes from 2016.

The uptick pushes Canada even further away from its Paris climate change agreement pledge to slash emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 by 2030.

Canada needs to get emissions to no more than 511 million tonnes by 2030 to meet its pledge, even though international scientists last year warned the country must have steeper reductions to prevent the impacts of a warming planet from becoming impossible to mitigate.

The report follows one released two weeks ago — made public amid a political battle over the new federal carbon tax — that said Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna defended her government's record on emissions despite the uptick. She said the government's "strongest" measures to fight pollution hadn't been implemented in 2017, including the carbon tax, clean fuel standards and phasing out coal power.

"Canada's climate plan is working, and the overall trend in emissions is downward toward 2030," she said.

The 2017 emissions are two per cent below what emissions were in 2005.

Canada's existing climate change action plan, which includes the carbon tax and subsidies to spur electric vehicle purchases, only gets Canada about 60 per cent of the way to its 2030 commitment. McKenna has previously said she thinks that gap will be closed as people adopt cleaner technology faster than expected.

On Tuesday, Environment Canada officials said the report did not analyze the direct impact of carbon pricing. Four provinces had a carbon price in 2017 — British Columbia and Alberta had a direct carbon tax, and Ontario and Quebec had cap-and-trade systems. BC. and Alberta saw increases in emissions, while Ontario and Quebec saw a decrease.

Conservative environment critic Ed Fast said the 2017 numbers prove the Liberals' climate plan isn't working. The Conservatives are heavily critical of the carbon tax strategy and plan to eliminate it if elected in the fall.

"We don't believe you can tax your way to a clean environment," he said.

McKenna has been critical of the Conservatives for not saying yet what they would do to cut emissions, but Fast said Tuesday the Conservative plan will cut emissions and be released in plenty of time for Canadians to judge it before voting day in October.

Emissions went down from electricity generation, small vehicles and the chemical industry, but that wasn't enough to offset the increases in larger vehicle use, residential heating thanks to the cold 2017 winter, and oil production one year after oilsands producers slashed production for two months because of the Fort McMurray fires.

Environment groups say the oilsands' impact on Canada's emissions cannot be overstated. Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, said emissions from the oilsands eclipse those from every province except Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In 2017, oil and gas production and refineries accounted for more than one-sixth of Canada's total emissions. Emissions from production alone were up six million tonnes from the year before.

Stewart said as long as the Liberals try to increase oil exports, they're not going to have much success at bringing down emissions.

"That is the dilemma at the heart of Canadian climate policy," he said. "You can't actually do both."


Apr 16, 2019 / 4:17 pm | Story:
254171

A four-day gap in the whereabouts of a 15-year-old girl is enough to dispute whether she was removed from Canada in 2004 to marry a member of a fundamentalist sect in the United States, a lawyer argued Tuesday at the trial of a former member of the church.

Joe Doyle, who is serving as an amicus curiae or friend of the court to ensure a fair trial, said Crown prosecutors haven't proven that the girl was in Canada when the leader of the sect called James Oler and allegedly ordered him to bring the child to the United States to get married.

Oler is charged with removing the girl from Canada to marry a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which practises polygamy in Bountiful, B.C., and the United States.

He was acquitted in 2017 by a judge who was not convinced Oler did anything within Canada's borders to arrange the girl's transfer to the U.S. But the B.C. Court of Appeal agreed with the Crown that proof of wrongdoing in Canada was not necessary and ordered a new trial.

Oler is self-represented and did not call any witnesses or make a case in his defence.

In his closing argument, Doyle argued prosecutors hadn't accounted for the window when the girl was last seen in Bountiful but then identified by a witness four days later in northern Idaho at a highway rest stop on June 24, 2004.

Doyle raised the possibility that the accused and the girl were potentially already in the United States visiting other communities associated with the fundamentalist sect when Warren Jeffs allegedly called Oler.

Special prosecutor Peter Wilson questioned Doyle's suggestion that Oler and the girl may have already been in the United States in the four-day window, describing his argument on their movements as "fanciful."

"Maybe it did — anything can happen," he added.

Doyle also questioned the credibility of church records seized by U.S. law enforcement officials a decade ago at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas.

The court has heard the girl's marriage was documented by priesthood records kept by Jeffs, the church's president and prophet. One priesthood record describes the phone call that Jeffs made to Oler.

Some of the documentation was incomplete and uncertified, which is contrary to the church's doctrine, Doyle said.

"What is not known about these records and is still not known … is which person or persons prepared them, when were they prepared, what information led to their preparation and where that information came from," he said.

In his closing arguments on Monday, Wilson contended that Oler should have known the girl would be subject to sexual activity following her marriage based on the nature of church doctrine and the role of women in the faith.

Women do not have financial assets and need permission to travel or pursue post-secondary education, former church members told the trial. They were taught that their role within the religion was to be a celestial wife in polygamous marriages and to bear children.

Justice Martha Devlin of the B.C. Supreme Court has reserved her decision and tentatively scheduled a ruling on June 24.


Apr 16, 2019 / 3:13 pm | Story:
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Three boys are facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of a 17-year-old whose body was found in a car in a wooded area in Hamilton, police said Tuesday.

Investigators said they were called to the scene Monday evening on reports of a crash and found the vehicle, which appeared to have left the road.

Officers found the teen inside and tried to revive him but he was declared dead, they said.

Police said the injuries he had were inconsistent with a car crash. An autopsy performed Tuesday showed he died from a gunshot wound, police said.

Witnesses reported seeing three youths fleeing the area, and police said boys matching those descriptions were arrested nearby.

Police said the three were expected in court Tuesday to each face a murder charge.

Investigators said they believe it was a targeted attack and there is no risk to the public, nor are they seeking any other suspects.

The suspects cannot be publicly named because they are underage and police said they will not be releasing any additional details on the case.

The victim's relatives have asked for privacy as they grieve.


Apr 16, 2019 / 1:07 pm | Story:
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Century-old love letters are being returned to a family after they were uncovered by a construction crew working on a historic building in Manitoba.

The slightly yellowed letters were found in the basement of the Paris Building in downtown Winnipeg on April 3.

Workers weren't sure where the letters fell from, but Sonya Berthin, general manager for the company that manages the building, said they were in near-perfect condition in a pile on the floor.

Berthin took them back to her office and started reading, quickly realizing just what a unique find they were.

"It's like reading a romance novel, except knowing this is real life," Berthin said.

The letters from 1918 and 1919 are addressed to a Rebecca (Becky) Rusoff in Winnipeg from a soldier in Halifax named Soko.

In the earlier letter, the man talks about life of as a soldier in Halifax and how he had to build courage to send Becky a photo — although the photo was not located with the letters. Soko writes about how he thinks about Becky all the time and believes she is the perfect treasure.

"Whenever I think of you, I feel a perfect well of tenderness pouring from my heart. I feel I could love you until death."

By the second letter, Soko is baring his soul to Becky.

"It's a funny thing, this love business. It has wrecked this calm exterior I have built around me. It's even painful. I understand the bride's tears at a wedding."

The writer describes about how love is changing him, making him substitute others' names in love songs with Becky's.

But he also shares more information about their relationship before he travelled East.

Soko writes that they have known each other for five years and reflects on her beauty at a party they both attended.

"I love you because I know you. You are not a mystery to me, not an angel, but a girl."

The letter ends with Soko writing that he hopes Becky also has feelings for him.

Berthin said she later learned the writer was Hyman Sokolov, who became a prominent lawyer and journalist in Winnipeg. His love letters appeared to be successful, because he eventually married Rebecca and they had three children.

Berthin has since been contacted by the Sokolov's grandson and said she is working on returning the letters to the family.

"It is nice that these people care and want it, and want to share it with the rest of their family," she said. "So many people let go of history."

No one is quite sure when or how the letters ended up in the basement of the building now run by McCor Management.

Many businesses have called the building home since 1915, including the Western Jewish News, of which Sokolov was the managing editor.

Until 1925, it was the tallest building in Winnipeg.

Berthin said treasures from bygone eras can show up when crews are working on older buildings.

But, she added, this one will stay with her.

"Construction is messy and dirty, and its nice to come across something nice."


Apr 16, 2019 / 1:05 pm | Story:
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Ottawa says it will close particularly dangerous rail crossings and upgrade many others as it moves to improve rail safety.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced Tuesday that Transport Canada will provide $16.5 million for 136 new projects.

That will include improvements to 104 grade crossings and other rail infrastructure across the country.

A news release says the changes will include the closures of grade crossings that present safety concerns.

Transport Canada says grade crossing and trespassing accidents still cause the most rail-related deaths and serious injuries.

Garneau made the announcement in Moncton, N.B., only a few blocks from the site of the July 2016 death of Steven Harel, whose wheelchair became stuck and immobilized at a railway crossing before he was fatally struck by a CN train.

A family lawsuit claimed that Harel waited an "excruciatingly long time" before the train hit and killed him.

Transport Canada is basing the spending announced Tuesday on recommendations from the 2018 Railway Safety Act Review report.

"Rail safety is my top priority," Garneau said in a statement.

"We have taken many steps to strengthen rail safety and will continue working on ways to make our railway system safer for Canadians."


Apr 16, 2019 / 10:01 am | Story:
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Housing advocates want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tweak his government's omnibus budget bill to give greater teeth to the bodies overseeing a new right to housing.

Characterizing housing as a human right is meant to provide a legal remedy — usually through a tribunal — for anyone wrongfully denied a home for reasons including ethnicity, religion, or gender identity.

The budget bill sets into law rules for the Liberals' 10-year national housing strategy and creates two new oversight bodies meant to make sure the spending reduces homelessness.

In an open letter to Trudeau this morning, almost a dozen organizations ask for amendments to give the proposed advocate and advisory council greater powers to investigate and hold hearings on systemic issues in the housing system.

There is a also a push for changes to the budget bill that would require future governments to consider and respond to any recommendations the advocate or council make about the new housing right.

They also want the government to add wording into the bill for the requirement on future governments to have individual housing strategies for Inuit, Metis and First Nations.

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