A handful of university students have completed the construction of a greenhouse in Nunavut to grow cheaper food for the locals.
Ben Canning, a Ryerson University student, just returned from Naujaat where he helped build the igloo-like structure in a week.
Locals had been skeptical about the project, the 20-year-old Canning said, viewing it as "more white people" coming to help them. But once the students began toiling away on the greenhouse, he said their skepticism melted away.
Now the locals have dubbed it the "green igloo," said Canning, 20.
"They started to make it their own and that really put a smile on my face," he said in an interview Friday.
The "green igloo" is a geodesic dome, a modular sphere made with triangular polycarbonate panels. The team of four students will head back to Naujaat in March to complete construction on the inside of the dome and set up the hydroponic system needed to grow the plants.
Then in April, they will plant food, including tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes. Nieto has begun organizing a women's collective that aims to bring women together on a regular basis in a cooking club using the greenhouse's bounty. And Grades 9 and 10 students from Tusarvik School will also use part of the greenhouse for their studies.
The final week of exterior construction was the culmination of two years of work for Canning and Stefany Nieto, both business students at the school's Ted Rogers School of Management. They wanted to tackle a social issue affecting Canadians, and after some research, settled on food scarcity in the North.
Food is outrageously expensive in places like Naujaat, which changed its name from Repulse Bay on July 2. It is difficult to produce locally so much of it comes in by boat or plane.
"The cost of food is a major problem," Naujaat's mayor Solomon Malliki told The Canadian Press this summer, adding that four apples cost him $13.
Starvation is a real threat in places like Naujaat, located on the Arctic Circle in central Nunavut.
The greenhouse-building team is part of Enactus, an international organization that connects students, professors and business experts with the goal of using entrepreneurial action to raise living standards.
Nieto went to Nunavut for a month in August to prepare for the greenhouse's construction. She said they've lined up a local woman to run the greenhouse full-time — although they are still working on finding grant money to be able to pay her salary.
The project, known as Growing North, is a non-profit operation and, if all goes well, they hope to expand to nearby communities in the next few years.
"I'm so, so excited and the community seems to have really embraced it," said Nieto, 21.
It wasn't an entirely smooth build. Construction was delayed a month because the ship with all their supplies had to wait for the thick sea-ice to melt. And, like any construction site, problems arose.
Canning said they only had access to two drills, a problem that can be easily solved for most Canadians with $60 and a trip to the local hardware store.
But that $60 drill, Canning said, sells for $450 in Nunavut. So they were stuck with two drills, tossing it back and forth as needed to screw the greenhouse together. It got done, even after a snowstorm dropped about 45 centimetres one day.
"It was hectic, but it worked," Canning said.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is spitting mad about reports that the Prime Minister's Office played a role in vetting Syrian refugees.
The Conservative government ordered a review of some cases this summer as a result of intelligence reports that warned of possible security threats.
A CTV News report, citing unnamed sources, says the Prime Minister's Office was actively discouraging the Department of Citizenship and Immigration from accepting Sunni or Shia Muslims.
Trudeau says the PMO was making sure it could take political advantage of those families that were being accepted, something he calls "disgusting."
He says a Liberal government would "absolutely not" prioritize religious and ethnic minorities.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the audit was ordered simply to ensure the most vulnerable were being selected without compromising national security, and insists his staff members were not involved in the selection process.
Of the 11,300 Syrian refugees the government has committed to resettling since the start of the Syrian war, the vast majority are being resettled by private groups, mostly churches.
But the June audit was carried out only on government-assisted refugee cases, including those already in Canada and those still in the queue, forcing a halt to processing those files for several weeks.
Harper and Tom Mulcair are both releasing their campaign platforms today — the Conservative leader in Richmond, B.C., and the NDP leader in Montreal.
A teenage boy was given a conditional discharge today after being convicted of extortion and possessing child pornography he obtained by threatening a young girl on Facebook.
The boy, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was 16 at the time of the offences in 2012.
He was convicted of the offences, as well as possession of pornography for the purpose of distribution, on April 2 by Judge Anne Derrick.
In her written verdict, Derrick said it was alleged that he created two fake Facebook accounts and reached out to two teenage girls, luring them into a friendship with the fictitious characters.
The Crown said the boy then decided to kill off one of the fake characters and used the other fictitious Facebook persona to tell the girls that she killed herself by cutting her throat, which prompted the girls to both attempt suicide.
The Crown alleged that the boy said he would reveal one of the character's true identities if one of the girls sent him a topless selfie, which she did only to be threatened that he would publish them if she didn't send more.
In her sentence, Derrick released the teenager on condition that he live with his parents, and stay off computers and social media for two years unless for school work. He was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service and must not have any contact with the victim.
The political debate over the plight of Syrian refugees has re-emerged in the election campaign, with media reports that suggest the Prime Minister's Office temporarily halted their entry into Canada, citing potential security threats.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's opponents quickly accused him Thursday of once again trying to whip up public safety fears ahead of the Oct. 19 vote. Harper, however, insisted later in the day that political staffers were never part of the refugee approval process.
The PMO ordered a security review in June of government-assisted refugee cases from Syria after U.S. intelligence reports suggested the foreigners could pose a risk to that country.
Following a few weeks of delay, the process was eventually restarted after no threats were found. The audit did not affect the processing of privately sponsored files.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair pulled no punches Thursday, calling the decision to halt the process "a shame on Canada." He also demanded that Harper apologize.
"We learned today that Stephen Harper intervened personally to stop the arrival of Syrian refugees," Mulcair said at a campaign stop in Toronto, where he also reminded his audience about the stunning September images of lifeless, three-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi.
"(Harper) had already done that before he appeared before us to emote, talking about his own family after seeing the body of that little child on that beach in Turkey.
"That is abject behaviour on the part of a Canadian prime minister."
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau called the PMO's refugee move another example of how Harper has reverted to the politics of "fear and division" in order to distract from Conservative failures on files like the economy.
Trudeau said PMO officials had no business interfering in what he called "important processes where lives are at stake."
"Mr. Harper over the past 10 years has ... conflated the interests of the Conservative party of Canada with the actions and role of the government of Canada, which is supposed to serve all Canadians," Trudeau said in Vaughan, Ont., where he outlined his party's plan to commit $2 billion to improve local transit.
Later Thursday, Harper defended the PMO's audit of the Syrian refugee applications.
"Political staff are never involved in approving refugee applications — such decisions are made by officials in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration," Harper said during a stop in Vancouver.
He also reiterated his government's position that keeping Canada secure is a priority.
Earlier in the election campaign, the Syrian emergency materialized as a potentially important ballot-box issue in Canada. After the photos of Kurdi appeared, public pressure mounted and political leaders were peppered with questions on how they would respond to the crisis.
Mulcair has vowed to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015, while Trudeau pledged to resettle 25,000 over the same period.
Harper has promised to bring in an additional 10,000 Syrians, if re-elected.
After facing criticism, the Conservative government has also said it would accelerate the processing of refugee applications in an effort to issue "thousands more" visas before the end of this year.
Some 2,500 refugees have arrived in Canada since the government began opening spaces for Syrians in 2013.
Another political issue that reaches beyond Canada's borders also surfaced on the trail Thursday: the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Mulcair continued his attacks against Harper and Trudeau over their support for the contentious deal, a day after prominent U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton voiced her concerns about the pact.
Clinton said she couldn't support the 12-country initiative because it appears to fall short as a way to create American jobs, boost wages and bolster national security.
As a serious contender for the White House, her stance casts much doubt on the future of a deal that still faces months of intense debate in the U.S. before it can be ratified.
Asked about Clinton's statement, Mulcair replied with: "Be fair now, I said it before she did."
Mulcair has insisted the NDP would not be bound by the "secretive" TPP agreement, which he has repeatedly warned would kill jobs on Canadian soil.
On Thursday, he said the Harper government negotiated the deal in an "incredibly feeble position" because TPP partners were well aware of the upcoming election.
"Everyone around that table knew it and they played him like a chump," said a feistier Mulcair, who also put Trudeau in his cross hairs.
He accused the Liberal leader of following Harper's lead on TPP.
"I try, always, to have respect for adversaries," said Mulcair, who will release the NDP's full platform Friday in Montreal.
"That respect, frankly, is under a great deal of strain these days as I watch two leaders who are willing to sacrifice tens of thousands of Canadian families' livelihoods on a trade deal that they refuse to give the full details of to the Canadian voting public."
Trudeau has remained cautious when asked about the deal, saying he wants to see the full text before stating whether it earns his approval.
When questioned about Clinton's statement Thursday, Trudeau played it safe once again and would not say whether he supported the pact.
"The Liberal party's position is very clear — we are a party that supports trade," he said, before adding how important trade is for jobs and economic growth.
Specifics of the TPP deal have yet to be released to the public in any of the countries that signed the agreement.
In a statement, the Green party bemoaned the fact that the traditional televised English-language leaders' debate hosted by a consortium of broadcasters, scheduled for Thursday, did not come to fruition.
"The debate would have been the perfect opportunity to hold Harper accountable, especially for his backroom TPP deal," said spokesman Julian Morelli. "Instead, we're meant to take Stephen Harper at his word that TPP is a good deal for industry and consumers."
During a Thursday appearance at the Vancouver Board of Trade, International Trade Minister Ed Fast promised to produce a "provisional" text in the next few days that will offer more details about the agreement.
Robinson Chirinos and Roughned Odor hit home runs off Toronto ace David Price as the Texas Rangers opened their American League Division Series against the Blue Jays with a 5-3 victory.
The return of post-season baseball to Toronto after a 22-year absence left a lot to be desired for Jays fans, who also saw sluggers Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista leave the game.
Donaldson was shaken up in the fourth inning when his head hit Odor's knee as he slid hard into second base to break up a double play. Bautista left in the ninth after suffering a hamstring cramp. The team says both players will be in the lineup for Game 2 on Friday afternoon.
Bautista hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays in the sixth inning.
Yovani Gallardo earned the win for the Rangers, his third victory against the Blue Jays this season. Price took the loss.
Toronto's Marcus Stroman gets the start against the Rangers' Cole Hamels on Friday at Rogers Centre.
The CBC has introduced a "bullying and harassment helpline" to hear complaints about inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
The measure is in response to the Rubin report, which lambasted managers for the way they handled alleged misconduct by disgraced radio star Jian Ghomeshi.
Members of a committee working on the report's recommendations announced the phone line in a memo to staff.
The committee says the line will "help ensure a workplace we can all be proud of." They also promise no personal information will be shared with CBC/Radio-Canada or anyone else.
Lawyer Janice Rubin launched the investigation after CBC fired Ghomeshi in October 2014, saying there was "graphic evidence" he had caused physical injury to a woman.
The former radio star has admitted to engaging in rough sex but said it was always consensual.
Rubin's report uncovered a litany of alleged workplace transgressions, including allegations that Ghomeshi belittled colleagues, played cruel pranks and, in a "small number of cases," sexually harassed them.
"Unacceptable behaviour such as bullying and harassment will not be tolerated at any level or location at CBC/Radio-Canada," the memo, signed by Susan Marjetti, Ginette Viens and Monique Marcotte, said Thursday.
"If it does happen, know that the bullying and harassment helpline is there for your informational and emotional needs. Just as management, HR and the unions are there to act on reports, grievances and complaints."
The memo also stresses that the helpline is not a reporting channel and that if anyone experiences or witnesses inappropriate behaviour they should report it to their manager, union or local HR representative.
The hotline is one of nine recommendations in the Rubin report, which also suggested a "respect at work and human rights" ombudsperson and a task force with the union to support younger workers who might be vulnerable to impropriety.
The report, which came out in April, concluded that Ghomeshi's managers knew about inappropriate behaviour but failed to act or hold the former "Q" host accountable.
Witnesses said they were reluctant to complain because of "a lack of trust and confidence in the complaint process ... and that it was expected that they deal with their concerns regarding Mr. Ghomeshi internally."
The hotline comes as Ghomeshi is set to face trial starting Feb. 1, 2016, on five charges, including four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Ghomeshi is also facing one charge of sexual assault that is being tried separately. That trial is scheduled to begin next June.
The woman whose fight to wear a niqab during her Canadian citizenship ceremony has unexpectedly become a dominant election issue fears the raging debate has tarnished Canadians' views of her fellow Muslims.
Zunera Ishaq said much of the discussion swirling around the issue in recent weeks has been based on misconceptions about Islam, the niqab and the women who embrace both.
She attributed much of that misinformation to the Conservative government, accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of turning her personal choice into a national vote-getting strategy.
She added she fears the tactic may be working.
A spokesman for Harper did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ishaq said the Canadian public is not being well-informed.
"They are being misguided by the government on this particular issue," she told The Canadian Press in an interview.
"They were of the view that Muslim women who are wearing the niqab objected to show their identity for security purposes, but that's not the case .... The image of Muslim women, and as a whole the Muslim community, has been damaged by this."
An Ottawa veterinarian is preparing to fly in a dog from Nicaragua to perform snout-saving surgery.
Graham Thatcher was first tipped to Tyson's plight on Instagram when a stranger shared a video of the dog's deep gash and asked for help.
The wound is so deep that the beagle mix's mouth and nasal cavity are visible through the gash.
"It's an animal that's suffering," said Thatcher in an interview.
"It's not going to be able to get the care that it needs there, and somebody asked me for help and that's what we want to do."
Thatcher said Tyson was wounded accidentally when his owner was clearing brush in the jungle with a machete about a year ago.
He said he worked with Paso Pacifico, an environmental conservation organization that bought the land where Tyson lives with his Nicaraguan family. Thatcher said the company got help from a local vet, who said the dog should be euthanized.
The family, Thatcher and the organization disagreed, and they've been working for several months to get the dog's vaccinations and papers in order to travel to Canada.
Once everything was set, Thatcher's wife, Andrea White, bought a plane ticket with United Airlines and made arrangements to fly the dog to Houston from Managua in Nicaragua. She was set to leave for Nicaragua last Saturday.
"At the very last minute, United Airlines in Nicaragua said 'no, you can't take this dog,'" Thatcher said.
The surgery was put on hold after United refused to fly Tyson because the dog's injury was too severe.
So White didn't bother flying down and, instead, the couple went public with their story.
Soon after, the airline reversed course and a spokesman said they are paying for a flight for either Thatcher or White to fly with the wounded hound to Houston.
United spokesman Charlie Hobart said the company was initially following its own policy against transporting injured animals. But after some public pressure and consultation with veterinarians and Thatcher, the company decided to allow the dog on board.
He said Air Canada will then fly Tyson from Houston to Ottawa.
Thatcher hopes to have Tyson in Canada in a few weeks, but added that United initially offered to fly him to Nicaragua to perform the surgery there.
"That wouldn't work. It's not just going to be one surgery, and we need advanced imaging to make the proper treatment plan to fix this dog, and tools and tricks of the trade that we have here," Thatcher said.
"Down there all we can do is a simple surgery: cut the nose off and the dog would be fine, but we can make him better than fine in Canada."
So he said no. Negotiations continued.
Thatcher believes United at first didn't understand the injury. While his wound looks bad and the animal is suffering, Thatcher said Tyson has been living with it for a year and is not in any immediate danger.
A 15-year-old Cape Breton boy has been found guilty of criminal negligence causing death after he pushed a fellow schoolmate down a snowy embankment and under the wheels of a moving bus, killing the teen instantly in front of horrified classmates.
Provincial court Judge Peter Ross dismissed the defence's assertion that the accused was acting like a typical boy his age and was engaged in ordinary horseplay at the time, saying the young man should have known his actions could have deadly consequences.
"It is not horseplay to push someone in the path of an approaching vehicle, knowing that it is approaching," he said in his 50-minute address to the court in Sydney.
"Even at 15 years of age, (he) was capable of appreciating the risk entailed. His act was highly reckless."
The teen, who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, stared straight ahead and showed no emotion as he sat on the front bench and the judge read the verdict in the small, but packed courtroom. One family member broke down in tears before quickly leaving.
The young boy was accused of using two hands to shove 18-year-old Christopher Chafe down an embankment outside Sydney Academy last winter. Court heard the rear wheels of the bus rolled over Chafe's head and he was pronounced dead at the scene on Feb. 11, 2015.
Defence lawyer James Snow said Chafe's grisly death was the result of "momentary inadvertence," not reckless behaviour. He told the judge-only trial that there was rowdy "goofing around" among students outside the academy that day, but he said there was no evidence of fighting or aggression.
Court heard that the two boys were engaged in banter about what might happen if the young teen pushed Chafe down the snowbank, with some witnesses testifying that Chafe goaded the boy to push him.
Ross said the school's principal said she asked the boy if he pushed Chafe and he responded, "Yes, but he told me to."
Court also heard that the boy had pushed Chafe once before the final and fatal shove sent him sliding down the bank onto a slush-covered street.
Calling it an "ominous precursor," Ross said that should have given the boy a clear understanding of what might happen to Chafe if he were pushed.
"He had, with that first push, a calibration of the force which would topple (Chafe) off the snowbank. He saw, with his own eyes, where he might land," the judge read.
Ross also said the boy would have seen the bus approaching, countering a defence argument that it was reasonable to conclude the accused did not see the bus until it was too late, based on the fact that neither boy was facing the approaching vehicle.
However, the Crown argued that evidence from the majority of the witnesses showed both they and the accused knew the yellow, 11-metre bus was coming at a relatively slow speed.
Crown prosecutor Steve Melnick said outside court that the case was unusual and difficult to try because of the accused's age, conflicting testimony and the lack of similar case law. Ross had asked the Crown and defence lawyers to search for more case law on the subject to help him determine how the age of the accused should factor into his decision.
"What you're dealing with is a number of young kids witness a very traumatic event," he said. "They had to deal with their own shock issues themselves, so it was a very trying case that way."
He would not say what he would be seeking for a sentence.
Defence attorney James Snow says it was a hard decision for the young man and his family, who reacted with emotion to the judge's verdict.
"It was a tough case to try — there were many young witnesses and that always makes it tough," he said outside court.
The boy will be sentenced on Dec. 7, when it's expected a pre-sentence report will be presented along with victim impact statements.
Stephen Harper's proposed ban on federal civil servants wearing niqabs ricocheted down the campaign trail Wednesday, drawing condemnation from opponents and Muslim groups.
He says Conservatives are examining Quebec's Bill 94, which requires Muslim women or others who wear face coverings to remove them if they want to work in the public sector — or do business with government officials.
Harper told CBC's Power and Politics on Tuesday that — if re-elected — the Conservatives would look at their own federal ban. He made similar comments last week in the French-language debate hosted by network TVA.
Both Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair condemned the proposal as an attempt to distract voters from serious questions about Conservative management of the economy.
Trudeau said Wednesday Harper's divide-and-conquer approach "is unworthy of the office he holds and he needs to stop because no election win (is) worth pitting Canadians against Canadians."
Harper's proposed ban on niqabs in the civil service would affect an infinitesimally small number of bureaucrats. Statistics from 2011 show only 1.8 per cent of 257,000 federal employees are Muslim women, and only a small subset of them is likely to wear face coverings.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims says it's upset Harper passed on a chance in the CBC interview to specifically condemn recent assaults against Muslim women, who appear to have been attacked simply because they wore head scarves.
Police have increased their presence in a Kitchener, Ont., neighbourhood as they continue to search for clues following the death of a 60-year-old man who was found with an arrow in his chest outside a home.
Waterloo Regional police say they were called to the neighbourhood around 7 a.m. at Margaret Ave. and Union St. where they found Michael Gibbon lying on the ground.
They say paramedics took him to hospital where he died.
Police say Gibbon's injuries aren't self-inflicted.
Investigators say they're working around the clock, canvassing the neighbourhood and have set up a command post as part of their investigation.
Waterloo Regional police chief Bryan Larkin says the community is fearful and is pleading with the public for information.
Police say the risk to the public isn't known, but are urging residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
People leave a lot of things behind at airports, but in Edmonton it seems that a record number of travellers are abandoning their vehicles.
Heather Hamilton of the Edmonton International Airport says 130 unclaimed vehicles have been found in the facility's parking lot.
Some of them have been there as long as three years and show the tell-tale signs of abandonment — flat tires, missing licence plates and faded paint.
Hamilton suggests the downturn in Alberta’s economy is partly to blame.
She thinks some of them were left there by workers from Ontario, Newfoundland or even Ireland who were working in the northern Alberta oilsands and suddenly lost their jobs or had to move.
Many of the abandoned cars are mid-range family vehicles, but Hamilton says one is a 2014 Chevy pickup truck that's probably worth $30,000.
Another theory is that some of the vehicles may have been left behind by owners who can't afford the parking fees they've been racking up, but airport officials say in some cases they'd be willing to waive the charges just to get the vehicles out of there.
Defending its operations, apologizing to victims and promoting internal reforms, the Canadian Olympic Committee has entered damage-control mode in the wake of president Marcel Aubut's resignation.
Aubut stepped down on the weekend after women accused him of sexual comments and unwanted touching.
Interim president Tricia Smith told reporters on a conference call Tuesday the COC board was "not aware of any specific interactions that would be construed as harassment."
But the lawyer and four-time Olympic rower, who has been a COC vice-president since 2009, was repeatedly asked if the board turned a blind eye to Aubut's behaviour.
La Presse and the Globe and Mail both reported a letter written to Aubut in 2011 indicated high-ranking people in the organization were uncomfortable with Aubut's conduct towards women.
Smith insisted the board did not know about the letter, but also said an independent body has been asked to "look into the circumstances of the June 2011, letter to understand what happened, what steps were taken and why."
An employee lodged a harassment complaint with the COC, but withdrew it with Aubut's resignation. Smith says the COC is fielding no other official complaints at this time, but other women have given interviews to Quebec media accusing Aubut of sexually harassing them.
One of them was Montreal lawyer Amelia Salehabadi-Fouques, who is on the Canadian Soccer Association's board.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and there is no criminal investigation of Aubut.
Aubut apologized to "those who may have been offended by my behaviour" in a statement announcing his resignation Saturday.
"I realize that my attitude could at times be perceived as questionable by some women and could have caused them to feel uncomfortable," he said. "I acknowledge this and will adjust my behaviour accordingly."
The COC is among the most powerful sports organizations in the country with influence over dozens of Olympians and their coaches and national sport federations. It boasts millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships.
With the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro less than a year away, the COC has a job to do restoring its reputation and athletes' confidence in it, particularly because Aubut stamped his personality so heavily on the Olympic movement in Canada.
"These things should never have happened," Smith said. "We hold ourselves to a high standard at the COC, but when events like this occur, it becomes obvious we can do better."
"Whatever the cause, or whoever the reason, we all have to own this."
The COC has hired Toronto employment lawyer and human resource expert Christine Thomlinson to conduct an internal review of existing policies and make recommendations for improvement, Smith said.
"One particular challenge will be to ensure any victim of harassment, sexual or otherwise, can feel comfortable coming forward with the complaint if they feel mistreated," she said. "We want to make it as easy as possible for people to be heard."
Thomlinson will report to the COC board, said Smith, who "will make the conclusions and recommendations public."
A young Montreal-area woman has been found killed in San Francisco.
The coroner's office in the Californian city told The Canadian Press the woman is Audrey Carey, 23, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
Her body was found by a passerby on Saturday morning near the Golden Gate Park Golf Club.
She had injuries to the head.
She was travelling on the West Coast and was believed to have attended Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a three-day music festival that ended on Saturday.
Police identified her after finding documents on her as well as a cellphone that was located near the body. Her family has been told of the death.
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