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Cops, protesters clash

Quebec City police in riot gear clashed with protesters on Sunday as a counter demonstration that was organized in opposition to a planned right-wing event turned violent.

Several hundred people gathered around a building to oppose a gathering planned by La Meute, a group considered close to the far right.

Masked members of the counter protest could be seen throwing beer bottles at police officers who were trying to keep them away from the building where some of the La Meute protesters had taken refuge.

Fireworks were thrown and smoke bombs were placed in garbage cans as other clashes between police and demonstrators took place on nearby streets.

Police said on Twitter that the event was eventually declared illegal due to "acts of violence and vandalism."

While the situation seemed to have calmed down by 3 p.m., tensions flared an hour later.

The group was there to counter a rally organized by right-wing groups who are opposed to the flow of asylum seekers crossing the border from the United States.

La Meute said earlier this week that their gathering was to protest the policies of the federal and Quebec governments in the face of "the scourge of illegal immigration" and to call for more resources for officials at the border.

The counter-protest was organized by anti-fascist and pro-refugee groups after at least two Quebecers were identified participating in a white supremacist rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Va.

One of them, outed as a member of La Meute, was suspended from the group pending an investigation.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard took to social media to condemn what he called the "violence and intimidation" of the situation.

"We are living in a democracy where respect must be the norm and not the exception," he wrote on his Twitter account.



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First beer and wine store

After almost two decades of debate, the capital of Nunavut is hoping to reduce booze-related social problems by opening the territory's first retail store for beer and wine.

"We need to take steps to help people change their behaviour towards alcohol," said Dan Carlson, Nunavut's assistant deputy finance minister. "We want to help people move away from the too-common habit of binge-drinking hard alcohol."

Since the 1970s, Nunavut has been the only jurisdiction in Canada where you can't nip down to the nearest outlet and pick up a six-pack for the game or a bottle of wine for dinner. All liquor must be ordered from a government warehouse.

Some communities ban alcohol, others allow limited purchases and others have local committees that decide who can order it in.

But booze is still easily available to anyone who wants to pay for a bootlegged bottle, which can fetch hundreds of dollars. RCMP still blame liquor for causing the vast majority of crime —including family and sexual violence — in communities such as Iqaluit.

A number of reports have suggested that selling low-alcohol beverages might stop drinkers from sitting down with a bottle of the hard stuff.

"We want to make it easier to access the lower-content liquor in the hope that will provide people with an alternative to buying bootlegged liquor out of the back of someone's house at two in the morning," Carlson said.

And the government hopes easier access to beer and wine will cut down on bootlegging itself, he added. The Nunavut Liquor Commission has estimated that half the spirits it sells are resold illegally.

More than three-quarters of Iqaluit residents approved the new store in a 2016 plebiscite. But emotions on the issue still run high. In a three-hour community meeting held before the vote, three people spoke in favour of opening the store.

Consequently, Nunavut's pilot project for liquor retailing will be unique in Canada.

Customers won't be able to browse bottle-stacked shelves. They'll place orders with a clerk, who will then retrieve the wine or beer from an adjacent warehouse.

All customers will be required to set up an account. Purchases will be limited to a dozen beer or two bottles of wine per person per day.

"These daily limits are a government recognition that there are concerns," said Carlson.

The registry will create big-picture information to help the government understand the "flow of alcohol" in the community, he said. It will be shared with police and Nunavut's Health Department.

Individual records will not be examined. "We won't be following individuals that have normal purchase behaviours."



Teachers nervous to teach

A study suggests that while teachers may want to instruct about residential schools and include Indigenous culture in their classrooms, they don't feel confident enough and are nervous about saying the wrong thing.

Emily Milne, an assistant professor of sociology at MacEwan University in Edmonton, interviewed 100 Indigenous and non-Indigenous parents and teachers in southern Ontario between 2012 and 2014.

Her report, which was published in the International Indigenous Policy Journal, recommends that schools use "Indigenous coaches," who she says were successfully used as a resource for teachers during a trial summer program at one Ontario school.

"There were educators I met who didn't know about residential schools. They didn't know about Indigenous people in Canada, Indigenous culture and heritage and history," Milne said during an interview.

"Then there were teachers who knew a bit about it but still were unsure how to incorporate it into their classes, and maybe were too uncomfortable, and so didn't."

"The problem is that when you have people that are uncomfortable and intimidated, the result is that we have educators that may not be doing it at all."

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report into residential schools made several recommendations aimed at incorporating Indigenous history and culture into curricula for all students, including age-appropriate instruction about the schools.

Some of the recommendations have been endorsed by provincial governments, which control education, and teachers' unions have posted articles on their websites with examples of ways educators can include Indigenous culture in everything from social studies to science.

The British Columbia Teachers' Federation in June launched a guide for teaching about residential schools. It includes the short life and tragic death of Gladys Chapman, a child from the Spuzzum Nation, who died of tuberculosis at age 12 in Kamloops Indian Residential School.

But Milne said it's hard to take something from a document or a book and implement it confidently.

Indigenous parents who were interviewed for Milne's study were open to non-Indigenous teachers talking about Aboriginal culture, but said teachers sometimes misappropriate or incorrectly present information, sometimes lump groups together or make generalizing statements.

Melissa Purcell, supervisor of First Nation, Metis and Inuit education with the Edmonton Public School Board, said schools within that district have consultants to provide support on how to build relationships with elders, knowledge keepers and cultural advisers.

Some of the work involves helping teachers with culturally respectful terminology. The office also provides assistance with how to teach about residential schools.

"Some of our staff are in the very beginning stages where they're just becoming aware of the importance and significance of why we do this work, and then some are becoming more aware and are keen to find innovative ways to weave it into their classrooms and school environments," Purcell said.

Fred Hines, principal at an Edmonton school with mostly Indigenous students but a number of non-Indigenous teachers, said professional development, along with support, is key.

"It's a transition. It's not like a real 'right or wrong,' but if there's anything that's really culturally sensitive, that's where you bring in your experts," he said.



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PM condemns racists

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians should maintain confidence in the immigration system even as thousands of asylum seekers continue to pour into the country.

He stresses that all those walking across the United States border won't receive any special advantage and must go through the usual security checks and immigration evaluations.

Federal authorities say that through the first two weeks of August, more than 3,800 people walked over the border into Quebec, compared to the the 2,996 who similarly crossed the border throughout all of July.

Trudeau's comments come hours before an expected rally in Quebec City involving anti-immigration and pro-diversity protesters that had the province's premier voicing concerns that things could get out of hand.

Right-wing group La Meute is organizing a rally in a yet-to-be determined location in Quebec City against the flow of illegal entries into the province from the United States.

The prime minister is condemning the demonstrations organized by a small minority of racists who Trudeau says don't get to change the country's openness to immigrants.



Where will you watch?

Clayton Uyeda and his wife Jo will be on a ferry — en route from Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island to Tsawwassen on the mainland — when the partial solar eclipse in Canada begins in Victoria at 9:08 a.m. Monday.

"It's more intimate," says Uyeda, 59, a math, physics and astronomy teacher at Victoria High School.

"I am expecting to have a real sense of connection with the heavens."

As for his students, Uyeda hopes the eclipse will help them realize that they are part of something grander than their social status or image. He thinks teenagers could benefit from looking up instead of down at their handheld devices.

"Hopefully, (the eclipse) is empowering," Uyeda says.

Victoria will offer the best eclipse view in Canada, with 90 per cent of the sun blocked out.

However, unlike our cousins to the south, Canada won’t see a total solar eclipse, where the moon will completely cover the sun, blacking out the sky and turning day into night momentarily. It will only be seen along the so-called path of totality, which is a narrow band from Oregon to South Carolina.

Canada is still in for a treat with a partial eclipse, though. Imagine the sun as "a glowing cookie with a bite taken out of it," says Matt West of the Saint John Astronomy Club, noting that the rare moment is "exciting" instead of "overwhelming" like totality.

Plus, viewing events are being held across Canada, from Ottawa's Canada Aviation and Space Museum to McGill University to Victoria's Mount Tolmie Park. No matter which party Canadians choose to crash, they should don eclipse glasses to prevent serious eye damage.

Toronto will enjoy 70 per cent coverage, Calgary 77 per cent and Vancouver 86 per cent, according to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.



Quebec ticket wins 649

Saturday night's $7 million Lotto 649 jackpot was won by a ticket sold in Quebec.

And the draw's guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in Ontario.

The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Aug. 23 will be approximately $5 million.



Viewing eclipse safely

As excitement on social media about Monday's solar eclipse heats up, experts are urging people to take good care of their eyes when they enjoy the spectacle in Canadian skies.

Ralph Chou, a University of Waterloo optometry professor and president of the Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, says that staring at the sun for more than a few seconds will cause harm. He says the eye feels no pain so it will be too late to look away from potential retina-burning solar rays before a person notices they've done potentially-permanent damage.

"The problem with the back of the eye is that there's no pain sensors, so all this damage can occur without you even knowing about it until it's far too late ... the next morning they wake up and the photo receptors at the very centre of their vision are damaged and they suddenly realize they can't see their faces in the bathroom mirror," he said. The person will have to wait an anxious three months to know whether the damage is permanent, Chou said.

Regular sunglasses just won't cut it during the direct viewing for an eclipse because they allow in thousands of times more sunlight than is safe to reach your eyes. NASA says special solar eclipse glasses should be marked with the "ISO 12312-2" international safety standard on the label. Make sure there are no scratches on the lenses.

These glasses cost only a few dollars but are becoming hard to find as they are selling out.

This week, Amazon pulled potentially shady glasses from its site and issued refunds to customers who had already purchased them. In an email to buyers, the company said it could not get confirmation from the supplier that the glasses came from a recommended manufacturer.

"We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse," the email said.

The American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable sellers of solar eclipse glasses on its website. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, some universities and science centres will be distributing free eclipse glasses at viewing parties across Canada. Science museums and stores that sell telescopes may also have stock left.



Man, 2 kids killed in crash

A man and two children are dead after the minivan they were in collided with a semi in Manitoba.

RCMP say the van was heading east on the Trans-Canada Highway on Saturday afternoon and collided with the westbound semi while attempting to turn north onto Highway 16 west of Portage la Prairie.

A 35-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy in the van were pronounced dead at the scene, while a four-year-old boy died later in hospital.

The 36-year-old woman who was driving and a nine-year-old boy remained in critical but stable condition in hospital on Saturday.

All of the occupants were from Carberry, Man.

The 62-year-old Ontario man who was driving the semi suffered minor injuries.

Police say everyone was wearing seatbelts and that alcohol is not considered to have played a role in the crash.



Sorry about that: Penn

Celebrity magician Penn Jillette has apologized after Newfoundlanders took him to task for insulting their intelligence on a talk show.

Jillette, half of the comedic magic duo "Penn & Teller," said his family likely comes from Newfoundland, which he described as being a "euphemism for stupid".

He made the comment during an appearance on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" that aired Friday night.

He went on to say that his people are "the people in the frozen North that club seals."

Some Newfoundlanders used social media to complain about the remarks, and one Twitter user characterized the comment as "discriminatory."

Jillette apologized to the Twitter user, and called the comment a failed attempt at self-deprecation.

He tweeted that he's visited Newfoundland and loved everyone he met there, admonishing his remarks as stupid and "out of line."

Jillette's apology didn't satisfy comedian Mark Critch, who said on Twitter that the magician should act like his famously-silent partner Teller and "shut it".



75th anniversary of Dieppe

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr is leading a Canadian government delegation to France today to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe raid during the Second World War

The raid was launched on Aug. 19, 1942, and would prove to be the bloodiest single day for Canada’s military in the entire war.

Of the nearly 5,000 Canadian soldiers who took part in the ill-fated mission, more than half became casualties, and 916 would die on the rocky shore of Puys Beach on the northern coast of occupied France.

The beach landing was supposed to happen under the cover of darkness, but the Canadians, along with 1,000 British and 50 American soldiers, were late arriving on shore, and as the sun rose they were left exposed to withering fire from German troops on the cliffs above.

Ceremonies honouring their sacrifice will be held today in Dieppe, Montreal, Calgary and on Sunday in Dieppe, New Brunswick.



Play a foreign lottery

A Gibraltar-based company says its online lottery jackpot shop is open for business in Canada.

Lottoland says it gives Canadians a chance to bet on the world's largest jackpots online, including the U.S. Powerball jackpot, which climbed to US$535 million this week, EuroMillions and MegaMillions.

Unlike physical lottery tickets, Lottoland digitally tracks plays and results for users, who can access the system by phone, tablet or computer.

Play with Lottoland is unique in that users bet on which numbers will be drawn, rather than buying a ticket through an official lottery operator.

If they pick the correct numbers, they'll win the same amount that the actual lottery pays.

CEO Nigel Birrell says Lottoland now serves more than six million players worldwide, and has paid out winnings of more than $1.25 billion to date.

"We're not your grandma's lottery," Birrell said Friday in a release. "Lottoland is powered by digital innovation and the freedom of choice to dream bigger."



NAFTA board grills oil sands

The environmental arm of NAFTA is demanding Canada explain what it is doing to stop oilsands tailings ponds from leaking into Alberta waterways.

The request comes in a decision by the commission which oversees the North American Agreement on Environmental Co-operation, a parallel agreement to NAFTA signed by Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Canada has until Sept. 28 to officially respond to allegations it is failing to enforce the Fisheries Act by allowing contaminants from the ponds to leak into water without forcing the companies involved to fix the problem.

The complaint was made in June by Canada's Environmental Defence group and the Natural Resources Defense Council based in the United States.

Environmental Defence executive director Tim Gray says studies have suggested as much as 11 million litres of tailings water containing substances like benzene, arsenic and cyanide leaks into the Athabasca River every day.

A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the government will work with the commission to respond to the request and expects this to be resolved soon.

"Our government takes the protection of water very seriously," Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers said in an e-mail.

"We are proud of our world-class, joint oilsands monitoring system we have with the government of Alberta."

NAFTA's environment annex allows non-governmental organizations and citizens of the three countries to submit complaints alleging their government is failing to enforce its environmental laws and regulations.

The commission has 30 days to decide if a complaint warrants a response from the government involved.

The request for a response from Canada means the commission found the complaint was submitted by legitimate organizations which offered science-based evidence for their complaints and that it was intended to promote enforcement of environmental law rather than simply harass industry.

Gray said the commission's request for a response is a sign that the complaint appears legitimate, so far.

"They're saying, based on the evidence presented to them and their legal review, it looks like the Canadian government isn't enforcing the Fisheries Act and they want to know what the Canadian government thinks about that," he said.



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