Friday, March 27th16.8°C

22 months for pet killings

A Calgary man who abused, starved and killed a dog and cat was sentenced to 22 months in jail Friday and is banned from owning a pet for the rest of his life.

Nicolino Camardi, who is 19, has been in custody since he was arrested last May and is being given 16 months of credit for time served.

"I accept that there is rehabilitative requirement in a fit sentence of a very troubled and severely addicted young man," said Justice George Gaschler.

"There is also a need for close community supervision of Mr. Camardi who is at risk of relapse and consequent further criminal and violent behaviour."

Camardi pleaded guilty in December to wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.

The Calgary Humane Society began an investigation in January 2014 after a dog was found dead with tape around its muzzle and a dead cat was discovered with tape covering most of its face.

An examination at a veterinarian's office determined the dog had suffered chronic malnourishment before its death. The cat had been strangled and had injuries to its head, tail and hind limbs.

The humane society says the sentence reflects the serious nature of the offences.

"This is a horrific and violent crime that got the attention of the city and beyond in a way that animal cruelty has not before," said Brad Nichols, manager of animal cruelty investigations.

"This was the case that citizens put their foot down and said, we are not going to tolerate animal abuse. This was the most complex animal cruelty case that we have ever investigated."

The Crown prosecutor had asked the court to impose a "new high-water mark'' in the sentencing but this sentence falls short of the three years he had requested.

"Perspective is important here. This, to my knowledge, is the highest sentence in Alberta ever received for an animal cruelty case," said Gord Haight.

"My submission, quite simply, was the facts demanded it. This was certainly the most serious case of animal cruelty that I had ever prosecuted before."

Camardi was also handed three years of probation and was ordered to attend counselling for anger issues, drugs and alcohol.

He remained silent as the sentence was read in court. Earlier this week he did offer a brief apology.

"I just want to say I understand what I did. It was horrible,'' he said. "I know that I can do it (change) and am really sorry for the things I've done. The public and everyone has a right to feel the way they do."

Heather Anderson from the Daisy Foundation, a group that fights for stiffer penalties for animal abusers, was disappointed.

"It's pathetic that our justice system does not see that these animal abuse cases need to have much higher penalties. It's just not right," Anderson said choking back tears.

"It's time that something happened and people started speaking out on behalf of these animals."

The Canadian Press


Long gun registry destruction

A divided Supreme Court of Canada says the federal government has the right to order the destruction of Quebec's federal gun registry data — but all three Quebec judges on the court disagreed.

By a 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court upheld an earlier Quebec Court of Appeal ruling that sided with the government on its controversial decision to abolish the federal registry for long guns in 2011.

The ruling is a win for the Conservative government, and it also exposes a legal divide over the powers of the provinces versus those of the federal government on the country's highest court.

In a dramatic show of solidarity, all three Quebec judges on the Supreme Court — Clement Gascon, Richard Wagner and Louis LeBel — put their names on a dissenting opinion.

With Ontario's Rosalie Abella concurring, the minority of four upheld the legal right of the provinces to make laws in relation to property and civil rights.

They lost to the majority, which ruled that the order to destroy the data was a lawful exercise of Parliament's legislative power to make criminal law under the Constitution.

"In our view, the decision to dismantle the long-gun registry and destroy the data that it contains is a policy choice that Parliament was constitutionally entitled to make," wrote Thomas Cromwell and Andromache Karakastanis for the majority, a group that included Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

The Harper government and the Supreme Court have clashed recently, notably over the high court's decision to reject the government's nomination of Quebec judge Marc Nadon to its ranks.

The Supreme Court also rebuked some core government policy, saying Parliament does not have the power to reform the Senate, or prevent a Vancouver safe-injection drug site from staying open to treat addicts over the objection of the tough-on-crime Conservatives.

But in this case, the high court — notwithstanding the objections of its Quebec jurists — sided firmly with the government in its long-standing policy of wanting to kill the gun registry.

It firmly upheld the notion that as long as the government operates within the law, it is free to enact whatever policies it deems appropriate.

The Harper government abolished the registry for long guns in 2011 as part of a long-standing campaign promise — a controversial political move that also emphasized Canada's rural-urban divide.

The federal government ordered the provinces to destroy all the data they collected for the registry, something the Quebec government challenged in the courts.

Liberal MP Stephane Dion, the party's intergovernmental affairs critic, chastised the Conservatives for not allowing Quebec to keep its gun-registry data.

"The court spoke, so we'll respect the decision," he said.

"From a political perspective, I would agree that it's very bad federalist to not co-operate with the province in giving the data. It would not have been difficult for the Conservative government to do so."

The issue of firearm registration is a political hot potato for the Harper Conservatives, who see rural long-gun gun owners as a core political base.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently created a stir when he said guns provide "a certain level of security" to rural residents who live far from police stations.

The Liberal government created the gun registry in 1998 in response to the murder of 14 women at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique in 1989. They were targeted by a gunman because of their gender.

The gun-control lobby pushed for greater regulation.

Alberta opposed the federal government's right to create a gun registry, but the Supreme Court dismissed that argument in a 2000 ruling.

The Conservative government has maintained that the registry was wasteful and intrusive.

On the legal issue at play in this case, it justified the destruction of its data, saying it was no longer useful and would be harmful to public safety.

The Supreme Court said it was not its job to weigh in on such debates.

"We add this; to some, Parliament's choice to destroy this data will undermine public safety and waste enormous amounts of public money. To others, it will seem to be the dismantling of an ill-advised regime and the overdue restoration of the privacy rights of law-abiding gun owners," the majority ruling stated.

"As has been said many times, the courts are not to question the wisdom of legislation but only to rule on its legality."

The court also rejected the Quebec's argument that the destruction of the data amounted a violation of the principle of "co-operative federalism" — a concept that describes the network of federal, provincial and regional government co-operation on a myriad of issues.

Quebec's argument was based on the fact that the registry was a co-operative effort between the federal government and the provinces.

The dissenting judges said a "co-operative scheme" between the provinces and Ottawa can't be "dismantled unilaterally" by one of the parties.

"To conclude otherwise would be to accept a one?way form of co?operative federalism," the minority wrote.

"The regulation of long guns and the use of information about them fall primarily within the provinces' power to make laws in relation to property and civil rights."

The Canadian Press

Literacy lags in Nfld.

Two years ago, Linda Richards read at a Grade 3 level and was unemployed after being laid off from her home care job in St. John's, N.L.

She was 53 and had struggled for years with labels on medications, grocery lists and client reports. She grew up with three brothers and eight sisters and remembers the embarrassed frustration of falling behind in school. She failed a couple of grades and left classes after Grade 11 to help care for her sister's son.

Richards said it was frightening to start the adult basic education class that has vaulted her to a Grade 10 reading level. But she has not looked back and, in a province that ranks almost last for literacy in Canada, she wants to spread the word about what's possible.

"I never stop reading," Richards said in an interview. "I want to help people not to be afraid. There's always someone out there to help you learn."

An international literacy report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2013 found that Canada ranked just above average among 24 participating countries and regions.

Among provinces and territories, Yukon, Alberta, B.C., Ontario, Manitoba, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia were above average among those aged 16 to 65, according to the report. Trailing behind were Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador and, finally, Nunavut.

"Our skills are more in the hands and of the land," said Caroline Vaughan, executive director of Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador. Off the urbanized northeast Avalon Peninsula where St. John's and most major businesses are based, the focus traditionally has been more on fishing than formal learning, she added.

"It's a question of how do we transfer some of our skills and build strengths in the academic area."

The brain drain as young, educated people leave the province for work has also affected literacy rankings, Vaughan said.

Literacy N.L. is an umbrella group that helps co-ordinate programs across the province. But its own future is uncertain as federal funding dries up and it awaits news of whether the province will support it.

"Otherwise, we'll be closing our doors April 30," Vaughan said.

Advanced Education and Skills Minister Clyde Jackman said the picture is brighter for younger people, especially those aged 16 to 24 who meet or exceed Canadian and OECD averages. That said, the province has spent almost $77 million on adult literacy programs since 2003.

"While we are seeing success in some areas, we still have significant challenges in literacy and numeracy. However, these are challenges we are aware of and are addressing," he said in an email.

Rob McLennan, director of employment services at Stella's Circle in St. John's, often meets adults struggling with basic reading who wish they'd received more help in school. Many who summon the courage to return to the classroom battle apprehension and almost zero self-confidence, he said.

"It is a social justice issue and it is all about inclusion. You are excluded from so much if you don't speak the language."

Richards, who last fall won the national Council of the Federation Literacy Award for the province, now reads newspapers, history books and mystery novels. She's working toward her high school diploma and plans to train as a personal care attendant after that to work with seniors.

Her newfound self-esteem is just one of so many changes since she went back to school, she said.

"It makes a world of difference."

The Canadian Press


CBC lays off 244 staff

CBC is slashing 244 jobs from local news services across the country as its plans to shift some of its limited resources to its digital operations.

The cuts include 144 positions from English-language services and 100 jobs on the French side, which include 20 vacant positions and retirements.

Meanwhile, the public broadcaster is adding 80 new digital jobs as it works towards offering a continuous news stream for mobile users.

Jennifer McGuire, Editor-in-Chief of CBC News, announced the English layoffs in a note to staff, which stressed that no stations would close and all local radio programming would be maintained.

The job losses include 37 positions in Alberta, 30 in Ontario and 25 in British Columbia.

McGuire admitted that "local services will be smaller overall" but said the relative size of each region would remain the same.

"It hits just about everything, it hits technical, it hits editorial, it hits management and administration," McGuire said in an interview.

"We're also looking at efficiencies where we find them and we're looking at how we work differently."

Most of the cuts are related to previously announced plans to shorten local supper-hour newscasts to 30 or 60 minutes. McGuire said the shortened newscasts will be introduced in October, as will a plan to broadcast Radio One morning shows on TV.

Shows in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Charlottetown, St. John's, N.L., and the North will be trimmed to 60 minutes, while programs in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Windsor, Montreal and Fredericton will be chopped to 30 minutes.

But that doesn't mean less local coverage, McGuire insisted.

"It depends how you define it. We actually see it as being more, but we're looking at it wholistically," she said, pointing to plans to add one-minute news updates to the TV schedule and boost CBC's presence in Fort McMurray, Alta., and Sherbrooke, Que.

The cuts are part of a five-year strategy announced last June by CEO Hubert Lacroix in a bid to increase digital offerings by 2020.

The strategy included plans to cut up to 1,500 jobs, with roughly 500 positions eliminated over the following 12 to 15 months. Spokesman Chuck Thompson said almost half of the 1,500 cuts have now been made or are in the process of being implemented.

McGuire said some of the 144 positions being cut will be through attrition and retirements, and some staff some could be assigned to the digital side. The moves are expected to shave $15 million from operating costs.

Union leader Marc-Philippe Laurin questioned a plan that he feared would cripple the broadcaster's ability to serve smaller communities.

"According to their 2020 strategic plan, their intention is to move heavily into the digital world but they're effectively dismantling other areas of the company," said Laurin, president of the Canadian Media Guild's CBC branch.

McGuire said the CBC still has more than 1,100 people providing English-language coverage in 29 stations across the country, plus CBC's service in the North. The French service will still boast about 500 people, said Radio-Canada spokesman Marc Pichette.

"The commitment to local is there," she said. "Are we going to do it differently? Yup, we're going to prioritize digital in a way that we haven't traditionally, because that's where audiences are going."

The Canadian Press

Kitty, kitty video goes viral

Note: The Facebook video, previously published on Castanet, had reached over 300,000 views before it was pulled by the owner. 

This could be the ultimate cat video.

A northern Ontario woman who came upon a wild lynx outside her shop captured the encounter on video and posted it online, drawing both awe and ridicule from commentators.

Beth-Ann Colebourne, 31, says the chance meeting happened Tuesday evening outside her nail salon in Terrace Bay, Ont., about 225 km east of Thunder Bay in northern Ontario.

Colebourne says she didn't feel threatened by the animal and made sure she gave it room to get away, but her calls of "Kitty, kitty, kitty" and "What's up buddy, what are you doing?" had some online commentators questioning her sanity.

Despite her invitations of "Hey, Lynx!" and "Come here," the animal appears uninterested in making friends and walks quickly away, looking back several times.

Colebourne, who has two children and describes herself as an animal lover, also posted video of herself chasing a bear away from a crosswalk while she was riding her ATV last summer and was worried about the bear getting too close to some children.

She says she's lived in the northern community for eight years after moving from Toronto, and has seen lots of bears, as well as fox, moose and many other wild animals. But she says lynx are extremely rare in the area.

"People who have lived here all their life have never seen footage or a picture like that, ever, so that was really crazy."

When she saw the lynx outside "just looking" at her, she couldn't resist following it and taking the video, adding she moved slowly so as not to scare the cat and didn't corner or threaten it.

"I felt like a kid in a candy shop, you know when you see a really cool animal at the zoo or something," she said. "So I just walked up to him and talked to him."

Not everyone thought it was so cool.

"You're lucky that lynx didn't feel like playing," posted someone named "Illusive."

"It's all fun and games right up until you lose your face," added Igor Rebenko.

"What am I doing? I am not eating your face off right now that's what I'm doing!" posted "supbrotv."

A few people came to her defence.

"In Canada, dangerous wild animals are often treated as cute and cuddly little critters as shown in this video. We just don't get scared like normal people," wrote Marcel Gagne.

Colebourne says she understands why people might think her actions are crazy, but the negative posts don't bother her.

"It's just who I am," she says, adding those who know her have dubbed her "the crazy cat lady whisperer."

"It's embarrassing but it's hilarious at the same time. It's funny to me."

By Thursday afternoon, Colebourne's video had been viewed more than 40,000 times on YouTube, but was no longer accessible on the site later in the day. The video was, however, still available on Colebourne's Facebook page, where it had been viewed more than 126,000 times.

Colebourne also posted on Facebook later on Thursday that she had been offered "a contract with royalties from a major media centre" and called her newfound fame a "really neat and crazy experience."

The Canadian Press

TSB confident in Cdn safety

The chief aviation investigator for the federal transport watchdog is reassuring people boarding flights on major Canadian airlines not to worry about the psychological well-being of their pilots.

"I don't have any concerns, I'll fly on any airline in Canada," said Mark Clitsome, director of air investigations with the Transportation Safety Board, in the wake of the fatal Germanwings crash in France.

"But we have not had a major airline with this type of incident that I'm aware of, and I've been here 20 years."

Prosecutors in France concluded on Thursday the co-pilot of the commercial airliner deliberately rammed the jet packed with 150 people into the French Alps, killing everyone on board.

Clitsome said in an interview that people shouldn't have pilot-related safety concerns, because the circumstances of the European tragedy are "very, very, very highly rare."

He said he's "absolutely" confident in current protocols, noting Canada's safety record is excellent and the aviation accident rate is declining, especially in comparison to other accident rates around the world.

The federal government moved swiftly on Thursday to shore up airline policies, directing that all Canadian airliners carrying passengers must have two crew members in the cockpit at all times.

Clitsome noted there's always room for improvement, and said the board has formulated an ongoing watch-list, "but none of them touch on what happened in France." That indicates the psychological well-being of pilots has not been a realm of concern, he explained.

There have been occasional cases where a pilot who owns a private plane has taken to the sky and then taken their life, but never endangered anyone else, he said.

Commercial pilots in Canada undergo rigorous training before and after they're hired. Health and wellness testing varies and tends to occur as part of the employment process, Clitsome said. Either a government inspector or company conducts testing to ensure they're safe to fly.

Airlines must follow the Canadian Aviation Regulations and also take direction from International Civil Aviation Organization.

But there's no standardized psychological testing, said John McKenna, president of the Air Transport Association of Canada, which represents 80 regional and local airline carriers including Porter Airlines and Sunwing.

"That's a delicate issue. To go into someone's private life is not an easy thing as far as laws are concerned, as far as regulations are concerned," he said.

"And it's very delicate in terms of employee morale. So I don't know how they go around that."

He expressed faith that Canada's policies represent a safety culture unparalleled around the world.

"If you see something odd, be it technical or behavioural, you're asked to report it," he said, adding the government has in place a specific safety management systems.

"It's very thorough and if somebody is behaving oddly, it will be reported."

Bob Connors, general manager at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, also said that while training centres watch people, there's no formal screening process from the start.

"So as people go through training, and we see things that we have concerns about, we'll address them," he said.

Air Canada, said in a statement that it conducts behavioural assessments when it first hires its pilots. They are examined medically every year, and twice annually after age 60.

Paul Howard, communications director for the Air Canada Pilots Association, said it's too early to draw conclusions about whether new health-related measures should be considered.

"If that crash had taken place in Canada, we would want to be part of that investigation," he said. "It doesn't do for anyone to be speculating on this stuff."

The Canadian Press

2 must always be in cockpit

Effective immediately, any Canadian airline carrying passengers will be required to have two crew members in the cockpit at all times, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Thursday.

The federal government imposed the emergency directive in the aftermath of the Germanwings plane crash in France.

"If you're carrying passengers, this is going to apply to you," Raitt said in a surprise announcement outside the House of Commons.

Raitt said the directive requires two members of the cabin crew — not necessarily both licensed pilots — to be on the flight deck at all times.

"All we're saying is there must be two members of the cabin crew on the flight deck at all times."

The move comes after Air Canada and Air Transat announced similar policy changes earlier today regarding the number of people required in the cockpit. Raitt said both Air Canada and WestJet would be implementing the change immediately.

Investigators revealed today that the pilot of the airliner that crashed in the French Alps earlier this week was locked outside the cockpit.

French investigators have concluded that the co-pilot deliberately crashed the Germanwings plane, killing all 150 people on board.

Air Canada said in a statement that it would not discuss flight deck protocols and access because they involve security measures.

The airline also said that when pilots are initially hired they undergo a behavioural assessment.

They also receive recurrent medical exams every year — twice a year after the age of 60, it added.

The Canadian Press

CSIS has better things to do

Many demonstrators are flattering themselves when they publicly fret about coming under the scrutiny of security services, says a former spymaster.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service had the resources to monitor only those threats "in the red, high-risk, high-probability zone" when he served as the agency's assistant director of intelligence earlier this decade, Ray Boisvert said Thursday.

"That meant that we had no time to even consider looking at any sort of lesser evils that were emerging out there," Boisvert told the House of Commons public safety committee, which is studying a sweeping new security bill.

Boisvert, now a security consultant, said he takes "great offence" to commonly voiced concerns that the legislation would effectively place legitimate protest under the CSIS lens, adding that groups and individuals "should not flatter yourself to that degree."

Boisvert and David Harris, another retired CSIS officer, backed a legislative proposal that would allow the spy agency to actively derail terror plots — not just gather information about them.

The powers would give CSIS flexible options to handle threats, Harris told the MPs. "These can be very important in moving decisively when there may be a risk situation developing," said Harris, also a private consultant.

Under the bill, CSIS could take clandestine measures that violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as long as a judge approves the actions.

The provisions would conscript judges into the "dirty business" of spying, said Ziyaad Mia of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association.

"It turns the role of the judiciary completely upside-down," he told the committee. "This is not the role of judges in our system."

The Conservatives brought in the 62-page security bill following the murders of two Canadian soldiers just days apart last October. There was no direct link between the attacks in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., but it appears both assailants were inspired by extremist thinking.

The bill would also make it easier for police to limit the movements of a suspect, expand no-fly list powers, take aim at terrorist propaganda on the Internet and dismantle barriers to sharing security-related information.

The NDP opposes the legislation. The Liberals plan to support it, but outlined several proposed changes Thursday, including creation of a full-fledged national security committee of parliamentarians.

The Canadian Press

Debate on troop withdrawal

Proposed NDP amendments to the federal government's motion to expand its mission in the Middle East will seek to end most of Canada's military role as soon as possible.

MPs are currently debating the Conservative proposal to extend the current mission for as long as another year and expand it to include airstrikes in Syria.

Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson says Canada has a responsibility to confront the threat posed by the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

But the Opposition New Democrats say Canada can be involved in that fight in ways that don't involve dropping bombs or training foreign fighters.

Their amendments call for the Canadian Forces to stop taking part in airstrikes and training as soon as possible and for the government to shift its focus to humanitarian and diplomatic efforts.

But they don't rule out a role for the military altogether, proposing military support for the transportation of weapons to help the fight against ISIL.

The Canadian Press

8 years for butt injections

A woman who injected industrial silicone into the buttocks of customers as an illegal cosmetic procedure has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

With credit for time already spent in custody, the sentence means Marilyn Reid has five years and three months left to serve.

Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly says Reid "wounded, maimed, disfigured and endangered" the lives of her victims.

She says Reid was neither authorized to perform cosmetic surgery, nor was she authorized to give injections, but she did both.

Reid, who is from Newmarket, Ont., held her head in her hands and looked down at the floor as she sat in the prisoner's box while Kelly discussed the details of her case.

The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to eight counts of aggravated assault in January.

Court heard that Reid used syringes attached to a caulking gun to inject silicone into women's buttocks in hotel rooms or their homes between April 2011 and May 2012.

All but one victim suffered serious health consequences — four almost fatal. Some had to undergo repeated medical procedures and long periods in hospital.

Crown prosecutors had argued that Reid preyed on the vulnerable for profit and asked for a sentence of 10 to 12 years.

Reid's defence lawyer asked for a sentence of about two and a half years — roughly equal to the time Reid has already spent in custody.

At a sentencing hearing, Reid apologized to the court, saying she didn't realize the consequences of what she was doing.

She said she "never meant to harm anyone.''

The Canadian Press

Real 'Get Hard' no joke

Lee Steven Chapelle had heard of "Get Hard," a new flick about a white-collar criminal prepping for a prison sentence, but was surprised to learn it was a comedy.

In the movie, opening Friday, Will Ferrell plays a desperate millionaire who seeks expert advice on how to survive behind bars.

Chapelle is a real-life prison consultant, based in Ottawa, who works with the soon-to-be incarcerated and their families to ensure their time in jail is as safe, productive and brief as possible.

He has spent roughly 21 years total in prison. He was first convicted at 16 and would eventually end up in a dizzying number of minimum, medium and even maximum-security facilities.

Now, Chapelle is an author and active advocate for inmates' rights. He says he only takes on clients he believes are sincere in their desire for rehabilitation.

"That's probably counter-productive to running a business," he says, "but that's my feeling."

Chapelle spoke with The Canadian Press about some of the most common misconceptions about life in prison and how to adapt:


Collective wisdom seems to suggest that freshly incarcerated individuals should testify to their tenacity by attacking someone, anyone, right away.

"If you're a person who's built to be able to do that, great," says a chuckling Chapelle.

But such aggressiveness will only make it harder for inmates to campaign for parole later.

Instead, he recommends that those new to prison mind their own business and find other ways to prove their "savvy and experience."

"The reality is, whatever they're going to do to you, they're going to do," he says.


Chapelle confirms that rape can be a chilling reality of prison, but he argues that it doesn't occur the way most people think.

"I advise people not to accept favours because that's potentially the opening that leads down that road," he explains.

"It's not so much a violent gang approaching you in the shower — that doesn't fly.

"It's more about ... 'You don't have anything, let me help you,' and the next thing you know you're being manipulated."


Chapelle was a middle-class kid who stirred minor trouble as an adolescent before being convicted at 16 of a property crime.

"My parents thought: 'OK, tough love, we're going to leave you in this detention centre,'" he says, recalling his two-month stint. "By the time I came out, I was completely anti-establishment.

"That triggered a hell of a long ride for me. When I went in, I was praying to God and saying I needed to change my life. When I left, 16 years old, I felt like the toughest thing in the world."


Although Chapelle says the threat of the shiv is real, he finds the popular notion of carefully orchestrated acts of violence doesn't usually align with reality.

"We tend to envision a standoff in the yard," he says. "But for the most part, the real violence happens spur of the moment, over domestic stuff.

"It's always out of the blue, the last person you'd expect, and it develops in a moment. It's: 'You used my toothbrush!' Or: 'You stepped on the floor where I just cleaned!'"


Particularly irksome for Chapelle is the idea that Canadian jails are somehow less bleak than prisons elsewhere.

"We have our highest inmate population total in the history of Canada right now and the infrastructure is busting," he says.

"You're sleeping with your head by a toilet because there's three or sometimes four to a cell. Canadian jails are not soft."


Recently on "The Good Wife," Matt Czuchry's smooth lawyer Cary Agos prepared for jail time with a prison consultant, who advised him to find a Caucasian buddy on the inside.

Chapelle says reality isn't so black and white. As a prisoner, he considered himself an honorary member of the Black Inmates & Friends Assembly and the Native Brotherhood.

If anything, he says, religion divides. But even those lines eventually fade.

"As time goes by, you realize, 'Hey, we're all being treated like (trash),'" he says.

"It kind of promotes unity."

The Canadian Press

Why we lie about money

More than half of Canadians admit to telling lies about their financial situation.

A new poll by BDO Canada Limited and Ipsos-Reid reveals 51 per cent of us are not truthful with family, friends and co-workers about our finances.  

The survey found 36 per cent fib about their finances to protect loved ones, and 22 per cent do so out of pride.

British Columbians lead the pack in their deception, with 61 per cent admitting to “not always telling the truth” about their financial situation.

Atlantic Canadians are most likely to be truthful.

Men are also more likely to lie, as are middle-aged Canadians.

What we lie about is fairly evenly split between savings, retirement plans, vacations, credit cards and bills.

“It is understandable that feeling like a failure, or not living up to expectations of parents or family, may be the underlying causes behind these poll results. For these reasons and others, the sooner Canadians realize they are not alone and start talking in a supportive environment the better,” says Donna Mihalcheon a trustee in bankruptcy with BDO Canada in Kelowna. 

Mihalcheon said in a press release: “Self-perceptions and attitudes towards personal finance play such a key role in staying out of, or managing, debt.”

Her belief is that when society starts having open and honest conversation about money, we not only protect ourselves, but others who then see there is no shame in feeling financially strapped and, if needed, getting help.

Cuts to follow Kraft merger?

A merger between H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods is expected to generate about $1.5 billion in cost savings, but the companies say it's too early to say whether they will shutter any of their Canadian operations.

"We'll be looking at all of our operations over the coming months, but for now it's business as usual," Michael Mullen, senior vice-president of corporate and government affairs at Heinz, told reporters during a conference call after the deal was announced Wednesday.

The merger will create a combined company called Kraft Heinz Co., which will own brands such as Heinz, Kraft, Oscar Mayer and Philadelphia, and have annual revenue of about US$28 billion.

The cost savings are expected by the end of 2017.

Ian Lee, a professor at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business in Ottawa, said the deal will likely lead to layoffs as the two companies find ways to share costs.

The cuts will most likely to occur in the companies' head offices or in regional offices, as the companies find ways to consolidate expenses. However, consolidation of manufacturing is also possible, Lee said.

"We don't yet know where the synergies are going to be identified, but chances are there will be some layoffs in Canada," Lee said.

Kraft has three distribution centres and two manufacturing and processing facilities in Canada, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has around 2,000 Canadian employees.

Mullen said Heinz's Canadian operations are based in Toronto and St. Mary's, Ontario. Heinz also has a small office in Leamington, Ont.

3G Capital, which co-owns Heinz along with Berkshire Hathaway Inc, is known for paring down the assets of acquired companies in order to boost profits.

"Every time you put two major public companies together, there are natural synergies and efficiency opportunities associated with that," said Alex Behring, Heinz chairman managing partner at 3G Capital.

After being acquired by 3G and Berkshire in 2013, Heinz announced plans to shutdown a number of plants, including one in Leamington that has been in operation for more than a century.

Around 740 full-time, permanent staff were going to be laid off as a result. Highbury Canco later agreed to buy the plant, saving at least 250 jobs.

3G Capital also owns 51 per cent of Restaurant Brands International Inc., the company formed last year when Burger King bought Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons Inc.

That merger led to about 350 Tim Hortons employees losing their jobs.

The Canadian Press

Gov. peels back strip clubs

Premier Brad Wall says the government is reversing its decision to allow licensed strip clubs because it is concerned about human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

He says he believes it was a mistake to change provincial liquor laws last year to allow partial stripping in bars.

"If by this decision we have inadvertently allowed for even a marginal increase in the chance for human trafficking, it's the wrong decision," Wall said Wednesday.

"Let's make sure we're not allowing any opportunity for organized crime to increase its footprint."

Don Verstraeten owns the Codette Hotel near Nipawin, which is about 150 kilometres east of Prince Albert. The hotel and bar has had strip shows on weekends since the regulations changed in January 2014.

He said under the current provincial law, dancers can strip down to pasties and underwear.

"There's no nudity," he said. "You can see more on HBO."

Verstraeten said he's disappointed by Wall's announcement.

"I'm the only real club that's running right now. Everything is so (above) board, it's a shame."

He said the change will hurt his employees. "There's no need to have all those girls on staff if there's no entertainment here."

Verstraeten, who has worked in Ontario, said Saskatchewan's laws are archaic compared to other provinces.

"Here this is completely tame compared to what I've seen in any other province.

"All of a sudden they're going to take two step backwards," he said. "I don't understand it."

Wall said he wants business owners to know the change is coming so they don't apply for licences from municipal authorities.

He said it will take a few weeks to reverse the regulation.

In January, Regina city councillors voted to reject a proposal for the city's first licensed strip club. The concept had been approved by the city's planning commission.

"I'm sure there will be people who are critical of our decision and some who will be supportive," Wall said. "We needed to confirm that we think we made a mistake and we're fixing it."

The Canadian Press

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