A British Columbia man has been confirmed as Canada's second case of H7N9 bird flu.
The unidentified man and his wife are believed to have contracted the virus during a recent trip to China.
They are the first North Americans known to have been infected with this virus.
B.C.'s deputy provincial health officer says the positive test result was confirmed late Thursday by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
But Dr. Bonnie Henry says the province does not expect to see more cases associated with this event.
She says none of the couple's contacts have become ill, and if they were going to, they would have by now.
The couple returned to Canada on Jan. 12 and became ill a couple of days later. Both have since recovered.
Premier Jim Prentice says he and his cabinet ministers will cut their pay by five per cent to set a tone of self-sacrifice as Alberta deals with billions of dollars in lost oil revenue.
"This is the kind of leadership that Albertans expect from their elected officials in these challenging times," Prentice told a news conference at the legislature Thursday.
Prentice said the reduction will kick in Sunday.
With the change, cabinet ministers will now make $190,950 a year, down from $201,000.
Prentice will make almost $207,000, down from $217,750.
The premier said he will ask his whip George VanderBurg to bring forward a motion next week to the legislature committee that handles pay to pass a similar measure for government backbenchers and opposition members.
If the other MLAs accept the cut, it would reduce their annual pay by $6,700 to $127,300. If accepted by all 87 legislature members, the savings would total about $600,000, Prentice added.
He said the five per cent was selected because it was "a reasonable number."
Prentice signalled last week that reductions were coming from his team as he crafts a financial plan to be presented next month that he says will fundamentally restructure Alberta's economic model with an eye to getting off the roller coaster of volatile oil resource revenues.
Oil prices have plunged from more than US$100 a barrel last summer to less than $50 a barrel today, siphoning billions of dollars from the treasury.
Prentice has said many ideas are on the table, including a sales tax and changing the 10 per cent flat on income. He has ruled out changing oil royalties, which critics have said are too low.
He has also said he will talk to the public sector unions given that they are, on average, the highest paid in Canada.
Prentice was asked if Thursday's announcement was to pave the way to asking the unions for a similar five per cent cut.
"Discussions with the public service have begun (but) we have not put specific measures on the table," said Prentice.
He said the pay for deputy ministers and other senior civil service bureaucrats are also in play.
"The discussions will involve everyone who is paid by the citizens of Alberta," he said.
Wildrose Leader Heather Forsyth said Prentice did not go far enough.
"Today’s announcement amounts to window dressing. It does not go near far enough to achieve savings or signal a change in culture," Forsyth said in a news release.
"MLA wages should also immediately be rolled back by a full eight per cent to where they were before the PCs rewarded themselves with an extra $11,000 in the fall of 2012," she said.
She said cabinet pay should be cut by 30 per cent and adjusted for inflation to 2008 levels.
Liberal Leader Raj Sherman said the savings achieved by the pay cut will not fix the "revenue imbalance caused by years of the PC government's sense of entitlement, waste, mismanagement, and over-reliance on volatile resources to pay the daily bills."
He said the Tories have raised their wages over the last seven years, and given the largest tax breaks in the country's history to the top one per cent of wage earners.
"I have consistently said that MLAs are in a conflict of interest when it comes to setting their own pay," he said. "It should be set independently. Alberta Liberals have repeatedly proposed legislation to establish a citizens panel that is comprised of our real bosses, the people of Alberta, to determine the salaries of their elected representatives."
Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, took to social media to condemn Prentice's announcement as cynical bargaining.
"Prentice (is) setting up for (an) attack on public sector wages, even though MLAs have enjoyed far bigger wages and increases than front line workers," wrote McGowan.
Union leaders have said their wages have risen to reflect inflation in Alberta's recent hypergrowth economy, adding that while their wages have gone up five per cent relative to the rest of Canada, private sector wages have soared 25 per cent.
Alberta's teachers, under legislation passed in 2013, received a three-year wage freeze retroactive to September 2012.
The announcement and the financial deliberations are set against a backdrop of an expected spring election.
Prentice has refused to confirm voters will go to the polls a year earlier than dictated by law, but has said his economic plan requires a mandate from the people.
All parties are busy signing up candidates.
A 21-year-old man being sought by police after escaping custody appears to have been taunting police online.
RCMP say Solomon Toutsaint ran away from the courthouse in Black Lake, Sask., on Jan. 21 while officers were taking several people in custody to their court appearances.
Since then, RCMP say it appears Toutsaint has been posting updates on his Facebook page saying "Catch me if you can lol" and "Imma bad boy."
Sgt. Cory Niedzielski of the Stony Rapids detachment says Toutsaint is "sort of treating everything a little bit like a game."
However, Niedzielski says the posts and information being supplied by the public may be giving investigators some idea of where Toutsaint might be.
The officer says Toutsaint would have to be using a Wi-Fi connection or someone’s home connection to be posting.
"We don't have cellphone service up here," he says. "So these posts are not mobile in nature, like how you could be driving down the highway and posting something, and you could be between one place and another place.”
Niedzielski says that raises the possibility that someone has allowed Toutsaint into their home to use their computer briefly.
The RCMP considers Toutsaint to be non-violent, adding he faces two counts of break and enter.
He is described as aboriginal, five feet nine inches, about 150 pounds, with a slender build, short black hair and brown eyes.
A group is using Winnipeg's boil-water advisory to highlight the ongoing struggles of the First Nation that supplies the city with its drinking water.
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, which provides Winnipeg with water through an aqueduct, has been under a boil-water advisory for 17 years. Chuck Wright said it's time Winnipeg residents learned more about the cost of their drinking water.
"I really hope that the inconvenience of only a day and a half of an E. coli scare that it will create more empathy for the many, many First Nations, not just Shoal Lake 40, that have been under boil-water advisories and without adequate drinking water for so many years, sometimes decades," he said.
Wright and a few others handed out bottled water Thursday in downtown Winnipeg, plastered with the label "Boil Water Advisory Day Count — Winnipeg: 1.5, Shoal Lake 40: 6,205+" to raise awareness about the reserve.
Winnipeg's boil advisory was issued on Tuesday after routine testing found coliform and E. coli at extremely low levels in six of 39 water samples. Although subsequent tests Wednesday came back clean, the city is testing once again before lifting the ban. An update is expected later Thursday.
Shoal Lake, on the Ontario-Manitoba boundary, was flooded and essentially made into an island so Winnipeg could tap its water. For years, the community has lived under a boil-water advisory while calling for the construction of an all-weather road.
"While clean drinking water is still in the air, in the public mind, we wanted to come out and remind Winnipegers of this disparity," Wright said. "We hope, as a response, people will contemplate more where their water comes from and what our responsibility is through our relationship to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation."
Throughout the boil-water advisory, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman has urged residents to remain calm while the city continues to test the water.
Businesses and residents were told that tap water was safe for bathing and laundry, but were advised to boil it for at least a minute before drinking it.
Most coffee shops and restaurants were open, although some menu items were not available. Schools were also open, but some warned students to bring bottled water because the water fountains were closed. It was business as usual at city pools.
Hospitals saw no sign of a spike in illness, and surgeries and other services went on as usual.
Timing, it is said, is everything. Just don't say that to Joel Ifergan.
A lottery ticket the Quebecer purchased in May 2008 turned out to have all the winning numbers, leaving him thinking he had hit a $13.5-million jackpot.
There was just one problem — he technically purchased the ticket seven seconds past the deadline.
Ifergan's bid to get his hands on the windfall reached the end of the road today when the Supreme Court of Canada announced it would not hear his case.
Ifergan alleged the transaction was concluded on time and that the lag of the Loto-Quebec terminal is what cost him the massive payout.
He lost his initial legal challenge in Quebec Superior Court in 2012 and again at the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2014.
A Cape Breton fisherman should be given a 15-year prison sentence for killing a man he said enraged him after cutting his lobster traps and threatening to burn his home, the Crown said Thursday.
Sentencing arguments are being delivered in the case of Joseph James Landry, who was convicted by a jury in November of manslaughter in Phillip Boudreau's death.
The 43-year-old man vanished on June 1, 2013. His body has never been found.
Boudreau's sister spoke of the anguish she felt "knowing his body was left discarded like old bait."
"How do I put into words the reality and cruelty of my brother's death?" Margaret Rose Boudreau said in a victim impact statement before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
The defence is seeking a sentence of seven years, minus 2 1/2 years credit for time Landry has served in custody awaiting trial.
Landry pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. During his trial, the Crown said Boudreau's death was the result of a sustained attack by a three-man lobster fishing crew that included Landry, one of four people charged in the case.
The jury heard that Boudreau's boat, called the Twin Maggies, was rammed three times in Petit de Grat harbour and Landry fired four rifle shots at Boudreau, one of which hit him in the leg.
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court was told that Boudreau was then hooked with a fishing gaff and dragged out to sea before he was tied to an anchor.
Craig Landry, who is Joseph James Landry's third cousin, was previously charged with second-degree murder but that was withdrawn. He now faces a charge of accessory after the fact.
The captain of the Twin Maggies, Dwayne Matthew Samson, also faces a second-degree murder charge. His wife Carla Samson, who owns the lobster boat, faces a charge of accessory after the fact. She is also Joseph James Landry's daughter.
Those three accused have yet to stand trial.
Canada's broadcast regulator is banning the substitution of Canadian advertisements over American ads during the Super Bowl.
The decision won't take effect in time for this Sunday's game, but it could be in place for next year if Bell Media — the rights holder for the 2016 event — waives its rights to switch ads.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says the new rule will be officially in place for the 2017 Super Bowl.
Television networks will, however, still be allowed to simultaneously substitute advertising on programming broadcast over local TV stations, but not on specialty channels.
CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais also warns that penalties could be imposed on broadcasters if the ad switching disrupts programming enough for viewers to complain.
In a speech to a London, Ont., business gathering today, Blais also announced that broadcasters will lose the ability to switch ads, along with mandatory carriage privileges on cable and satellite services, if they shut down transmitters that allow Canadians access to free, over-the-air TV signals.
Blais also announced today that the CRTC is ordering Bell Mobility and Videotron to stop giving their own mobile television services an unfair advantage over other Internet services.
The two companies have exempted their own mobile television services from their standard monthly data charges while content from other websites or apps is counted against a customer's data cap.
Videotron had already indicated it was ceasing the practice by the end of 2014, but the CRTC says it wants proof of that by March 31.
Bell Mobility is being given until April 29 to stop doing it.
A Montreal teenager facing two terrorism-related charges linked to a robbery will have a trial date set next month.
The 15-year-old appeared Wednesday in youth court, where his lawyer was granted a request to postpone proceedings until Feb. 16.
Federal prosecutors allege he committed a robbery for the benefit of an unspecified terrorist organization. Authorities also say the adolescent is charged with planning to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group abroad.
Wearing grey sweat pants and a black-and-grey hoodie, the accused listened quietly as he sat between two guards. His lawyer said his parents were not present because they knew the postponement was coming.
The adolescent will remain detained until the next court appearance.
The teen pleaded guilty to a separate robbery charge in November and was to have a sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
Instead, provincial Crown prosecutor Marie Vauclair told the court a psychiatric report would remain shelved and that a sentence will be rendered only when the federal matter is resolved.
"For now, the facts of the case are inseparable," Vauclair said outside the courtroom.
The RCMP announced the terrorism charges last December and declined to provide any other information about the case pending the ongoing proceedings.
A spokeswoman for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said the teen boy's arrest marks the first time a minor has been charged with trying to leave Canada to commit a terrorist offence since the Criminal Code was amended in 2013.
A federal prosecutor who was also present Wednesday told the court she's considering seeking an adult sentence.
"I advised my colleague in court that I'm presently considering an application ... and that I would advise the court at the next court date," Lyne Decarie told reporters.
According to the Criminal Code, being convicted for committing an offence on behalf of a terrorist group carries a maximum life sentence.
Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the maximum sentence is three years.
The RCMP has been cracking down on people allegedly trying to go abroad to participate in jihadist activities. One of three men arrested in Ottawa this month allegedly was seeking to leave the country to take part in terrorism.
The Harper government is about to introduce new laws which the prime minister says are designed to help authorities stop planned attacks and prevent terrorists from travelling and recruiting others.
The overhaul of the terror legislation is in response to the October 2014 attacks in which two soldiers — one at the National War Memorial and the other in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. — were killed in broad daylight.
The mother of a woman whose DNA was found on Robert Pickton's property says the serial killer should be charged with murder, arguing human remains returned to her represent new evidence.
Michele Pineault said an official with the B.C. Corners Service met with her last September and gave her fragments from two vertebrae belonging to her daughter, Stephanie Lane, who was 20 when she vanished in January 1997.
Lane is among six women whose DNA was found on Pickton's farm but whose cases did not result in any charges.
Pineault said prosecutors told her at the time that Lane's DNA was found in a freezer, which wasn't enough to proceed with charges. She said she was never told about the bone fragments' existence.
"I was told that .. if there had been more (than DNA), it would have been enough to charge him," Pineault hold a news conference in Vancouver, holding a pair of small plastic bags containing her daughter's remains.
"I want Robert Pickton charged with my daughter's murder."
However, it quickly became apparent that no new charges will be laid.
The B.C. Corners Service said in a statement that the remains were known to police during the original investigation and "do not represent new evidence."
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said prosecutors also knew about Lane's remains when they made their decisions about charges. He repeated the criminal justice branch's long-standing position that Pickton will not be prosecuted for additional murder charges.
Pickton was arrested in 2002, setting off an exhaustive search for human remains on his farm in Port Coquitlam, east of Vancouver.
Investigators found the remains or DNA of 33 women.
Pickton was eventually convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, and prosecutors then stayed another 20 murder charges because the serial killer had already received the maximum sentence under the law. A 27th murder charge involving a woman referred to only as Jane Doe, whose remains were found on the property, was dropped.
No charges were ever laid in the deaths of six other women, including Lane, whose remains or DNA were found on the farm.
Pineault said getting her daughter's remains opened up painful wounds.
"I have no words," said Pineault, who was wearing a shirt emblazoned with a photo of Lane.
"They told me that she was very safe in a storage locker. She should have been at home years and years and years ago."
RCMP said in a statement that the force turned over the victims' remains following the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2010 upholding Pickton's conviction.
The coroners service said it could not explain why Lane's remains were not returned as soon as the agency received them from the RCMP.
"The B.C. Coroners Service has apologized to the family of Ms. Lane, and does continue to extend its sincere apologies for any further stress caused them by the delay," the statement said.
The province's attorney general, Suzanne Anton, said in a written statement that the current chief coroner has implemented "safeguards to prevent similar instances."
Pineault said Lane had a son, who was just eight months old when his mother vanished.
"She was very exuberant, happy," Pineault said.
The federal government has so far spent nearly $700,000 fighting a disgruntled group of wounded Afghan veterans in court— a revelation that on Wednesday rekindled a political controversy the Conservatives had hoped was behind them.
During question period, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to cast the ongoing court battle as the legacy of a flawed policy that was foisted on Parliament nine years ago by Paul Martin's Liberal government.
"The government is defending a decision of the previous government, supported by all parties in the House of Commons," Harper said, referring to the new veterans charter, which the Conservatives have championed since coming to office in 2006.
"Since the previous government imposed the new veterans charter, it has enhanced veterans services and programs by some $5 billion — opposed by the Liberals and NDP."
In response to a written question posed by the opposition, the Department of Justice said it spent $694,070 in legal fees, while National Defence spent $3,231. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau used the cost to demand in the House that the lawsuit be dropped.
Liberal veterans critic Frank Valeriote described the government's response as "hypocrisy," noting that the issue for ex-soldiers is not the system itself, but the amount of funding within it.
"It is not the new veterans charter that is the problem, it's adequacy of the funding given to those programs and the sufficiency of the awards given to our veterans through the application of the charter," Valeriote said.
"Spending $700,000 a year to fight vets in court is not supporting our troops," NDP Leader Tom Mulcair fumed during one heated question period exchange with Harper.
"Closing nine veteran services offices is not supporting our troops, either."
The ex-soldiers are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court, calling the charter discriminatory under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it does not provide the same level of benefits and support as the old pension system.
In a statement of defence filed by federal lawyers, the government argues Ottawa has no special obligation or "social contract" with veterans, and that it is unfair to bind the current government to promises made nearly a century ago by another prime minister.
One of the plantiffs, retired major Mark Campbell, who lost both legs in a mine blast in Afghanistan, said he's not surprised at the extent of the legal costs and that he's resigned to a long court battle.
But he said he wonders if the Conservatives realize the political damage they're doing to themselves.
"I'm not sure they're aware of the depth of anger, widespread anger in the community that's out there," said Campbell, who identified himself as a life-long Conservative voter. "I don't think they get how much dismay they are generating with veterans."
Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, called the legal bill "unconscionable" and called on the government to drop the lawsuit and negotiate a settlement.
"That money should have been spent on veterans," Blais said.
"Taxpayers deserve better. I think if taxpayers knew that this government, Stephen Harper, was spending so much on lawyers — government lawyers — to fight the wounded in court, they would appalled."
At issue in the court case is a 1917 pledge made on the eve of the Battle of Vimy Ridge by Sir Robert Borden, who was prime minister at the time, that effectively said the country would not fail to show its appreciation for those who've served.
Although never explicitly codified in law, that pledge has guided the country's policy towards veterans for decades. The government's apparent attempt to abandon it has been central to the recent unrest among veterans.
The government had hoped some of that unrest would be muted by the decision earlier this month to shuffle Julian Fantino out of Veterans Affairs and replace him with Erin O'Toole, a retired air force officer.
O'Toole spoke in the House of Commons this week about the government's "tremendous obligation, recognized as far back as Robert Borden," but he emphasized that the policy was "not frozen in time."
How O'Toole plans to bridge the contradiction between the Conservatives oft-repeated, overflowing public affection for veterans and the reality of the government's legal arguments and actions remains unclear.
For his part, Valeriote dismisses O'Toole's comments.
"They're just wiggle words," he said. "The phrase 'not frozen in time' means he's just looking to abrogate their obligation."
O'Toole wasn't willing to discuss the lawsuit or its costs Wednesday, but did say the issue remains a priority, noting it was the first thing he asked about after taking over from Julian Fantino earlier this month.
A Canadian man has been charged with attempted kidnapping and attempted rape after travelling to the U.S. to allegedly pursue a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Tyler Beavis was arrested last Friday as he was on his way to meet a 14-year-old girl in Kent, Wash., located half an hour south of Seattle, said a spokeswoman with the King County Sheriff's Office.
"Once he came to the airport, detectives followed him to the area of her school, where he was arrested," said Sgt. Jessica Sullivan. "He's currently in the King County jail."
Beavis has been charged with attempted kidnapping in the second degree and attempted rape of child in the third degree and is being held on US$750,000 bail.
The 30-year-old is a resident of Smithville, Ont., located about 100 kilometres west of Toronto.
Police were first alerted to his activities in December, when the King County girl, who is not being named, began chatting online with Beavis on a school-issued laptop.
The girl told Beavis her real age but he kept up the relationship while posing as a 22-year-old himself, Sullivan said.
"He continued to pursue that relationship despite knowing how old she truly was," she said. "They created a plan for him to fly to Seattle and spend the weekend with her in a hotel."
The pair also had a plan to account for the girl's time away from home.
"Their agreement was that she would tell her parents that she had been kidnapped and drugged as an explanation for her absence," Sullivan said.
The teenager's online chats were discovered by school security officials who alerted local police to the relationship, Sullivan said.
King County police then worked with their counterparts in Canada to identify Beavis and confirm he had bought a ticket to fly into Seattle on Friday morning.
Canadian authorities verified he boarded the flight and U.S. police then tracked him once he landed in Seattle, Sullivan said.
Beavis rented a car and drove to a pre-arranged meeting area at which point detectives intervened and arrested him, she said.
The girl wasn't made aware of the police operation and never met with Beavis in person, Sullivan said, adding, however, that her parents were informed about the investigation.
She said U.S. detectives are currently working with Canadian authorities to look into the possibility of other underage victims.
The CTV network says it was "shocked" to learn of the arrest of an actor who appeared on the network sitcom "Spun Out"
Toronto police said Jean Paul Manoux, 45, of Los Angeles was charged Tuesday with voyeurism after two women discovered hidden cameras in a condo they were renting.
Police said they responded to a call last Thursday and spoke to two women, aged 25 and 27, who found concealed cameras and video equipment linked to the Internet.
"Spun Out" is filmed in Toronto and police said they believe there may be more alleged victims, as Manoux's condominium has been rented out in the past.
In a statement posted on its website, CTV said it will work with "Spun Out" producers Project 10 Productions to assist police "in any way possible in their investigation."
CTV also said all future broadcast plans for "Spun Out," including this Sunday’s post Super Bowl sneak peek, have been indefinitely suspended.
Manoux is scheduled to appear in Toronto court on March 11.
His other work includes roles on such shows as "Community," "Suburgatory," "Big Time Rush" and the film "Scary Movie 5."
The entire city of Winnipeg was under a boil-water advisory Tuesday night after routine sampling turned up some potentially harmful bacteria in the municipal water supply.
The city, which has a population of about 700,000, says the move is precautionary after six water samples showed the presence of E. coli and coliform at extremely low levels.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we are issuing it citywide," Mayor Brian Bowman told a hastily called news conference Tuesday evening.
"Hopefully we will find out that these were false positives tomorrow and very soon thereafter we will be able to lift this notice, but we do need to be cautious."
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority initially said the advisory only applied to the area of the city east of the Red River.
City officials say the water samples were part of routine testing and were collected Monday at 39 public locations.
While five of the six positive tests were east of the river, one was in the city's southwest and Bowman said that led the city to expand its warning.
Residents are being told to bring tap water to a boil for at least one minute before using it to drink, make food or infant formula or brushing teeth.
But it is not necessary to boil tap water for other household purposes, such as laundry or washing dishes.
Adults and children who can avoid swallowing water can use it to bathe.
A mother who used a hot clothes iron to punish a child for raiding the family fridge lost her bid Tuesday for a lower sentence.
In upholding the 20-month jail term handed the Toronto resident, who can't be identified, Ontario's top court said it saw no reason to interfere.
Court records show the mother of three, described as having "strong religious convictions," had returned home from work as a nurse to be told by her son that his 10-year-old brother had disobeyed her by taking food from the fridge and eating it.
The boy denied doing so. His mom ordered the older child to get the iron and plug it in.
"She then embarked on a lengthy interrogation of the victim in an effort to obtain a confession from him," according to the Ontario Court of Appeal decision. "No admission was forthcoming."
She then used the iron to scald her hapless child on one arm. When he still refused to confess, she burned the other arm.
Despite being a nurse, she neither provided nor sought any medical assistance for his second-degree burns. A gym teacher at school noticed the wounds and called police.
At trial, a jury convicted her of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. The judge jailed her for 20 months in July 2013.
The mother had wanted the Appeal Court to cut the sentence to five months.
Among other things, court heard the woman, who showed no remorse for her actions, had no prior convictions and was gainfully employed.
A psychiatric report described her as suffering from a personality disorder involving "substantial moral indifference and a striking lack of capacity for self-doubt."
In throwing out her sentence challenge, the Appeal Court rejected her characterization of what she had done as nothing more than "excessive discipline."
"This offence involved an egregious breach of trust, consisting not only of the abuse of a child of 10 years, but also of the recruitment of his older brother to bring the tools of that abuse to his mother, the abuser," the Appeal Court said.
The panel also rejected the argument that the woman, who had immigrated in 2006 from Nigeria, should be given less jail time because the higher sentence means she will likely be expelled from Canada.
Imposing a lesser punishment to avoid immigration consequences would simply not be appropriate given what she had done, the court ruled.
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