Two upcoming paving projects will result in smoother travel for drivers in the Pictou-New Glasgow area. The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works is calling for tenders for repaving on Route 256 from the intersection of West Branch Road for 6.5 kilometres to the intersection of the Loganville Road. Also being called is a tender for repaving on Route 347 from the New Glasgow town line for 5.2 kilometres to the intersection of Thorburn Road. “Good roads are vital to the economic life of Nova Scotia,” said Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works. “That’s why our department is working so hard to improve our highways.” The Department of Transportation and Public Works’ highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from district offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.
New Glasgow will have two new police officers to meet the safety and community police needs. Two officers will join the New Glasgow Police Force in April as part of government’s 250 additional officer program. “We want to make our communities safer and these new officers will help do that,” said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Pat Dunn, on behalf of Attorney General and Justice Minister Cecil Clarke today, Jan. 18. Since 2006, 150 provincially funded extra enforcement officers have been allocated throughout the province to new, successful programs. The additional officer program is part of the crime strategy, Time To Fight Crime Together, and government’s plan to have 250 additional officers in Nova Scotia by 2011. The positions are being funded, in part, by the federal government’s $11.2-million investment to increase enforcement. “There is no higher priority for our government than ensuring the security and well being of Canadians, so we’re very pleased that the federal funding is helping Nova Scotia with public safety,” said National Defence Minister Peter MacKay. New Glasgow Police Chief Delaney Chisholm welcomed the new officers and said one will focus on First Nations policing and the other will assist with youth court. “These new officers will enable us to target areas we feel are important to our local communities,” said Mr. Chisholm. The positions will come into effect April 1.
Local Area Office: 902-424-5591 Fax: 902-424-7116 HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 102 On Wednesday, Aug. 5, there will be a 20 minute closure of Highway 102 (Bicentennial Highway) between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to allow for blasting at the Larry Uteck Interchange. Drivers should expect delays or use alternate routes which will be indicated by electronic signs. -30-
Patrick Sullivan is the new chief executive officer of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency. Mr. Sullivan, who has 20 years of leadership and marketing experience, will start today, Aug. 13. “We are very pleased to have someone of Mr. Sullivan’s calibre join our team,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris. “I am confident that Mr. Sullivan will bring the leadership skills and international marketing experience needed to lead the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency to its greatest potential in this challenging global market.” Mr. Sullivan has a great deal of leadership experience. He has been president and CEO of a number of start-up and large organizations, and has a strong background in marketing, including e-marketing. “I have been an ambassador of Nova Scotia for many years. To get to come home and work on behalf of a strong tourism brand is such a privilege,” said Mr. Sullivan. “My passion for this province, coupled with my work experience will help in leading the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency to a successful future.” Mr. Sullivan will lead the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency and work with the interim and incoming inaugural boards, tourism staff and industry partners to implement a long-term strategy for tourism that will deliver profitable growth for the industry and economic benefit to the province. “I am confident that we have found the right person to lead the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency and create winning partnerships between industry and government,” said Tom Ruth, interim board chair, Nova Scotia Tourism Agency. “This is one of many ways we are making great progress toward the creation of the agency and a long-term growth strategy for tourism in Nova Scotia.” Originally from Nova Scotia, Mr. Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Administration from Mount Saint Vincent University. He has worked for several private companies including Procter and Gamble, McCains Food Ltd., Moosehead Breweries Ltd., Upper Canada Brewing Company, Sympatico and Workopolis. Mr. Sullivan will act as interim executive director of Tourism until the agency is created. The province announced the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency last fall to help Nova Scotia reach its fullest potential in the highly competitive global tourism market.
VICTORIA COUNTY: Gillis Bridge Gillis Bridge, on North Branch Road, just past Uisge Bàn (USH-KA BAN) Falls Provincial Park, is closed until further notice. Access to the park is not affected. -30- DIGBY COUNTY: Salmon River Bridge The Salmon River Bridge on Trunk 1 in Salmon River is reduced to one lane for repairs until further notice. The bridge has an 18 tonne weight restriction. Vehicles over 18 tonnes must use the detour route on Salmon River Road, Exit 32, Highway 101 to Exit 31. INVERNESS COUNTY: Crowdis Bridge Crowdis Bridge is closed until further notice for repairs. A detour is available via Crowdis Cross, West Big Intervale, and Hatchery roads. CONTINUING WORK INVERNESS COUNTY: West Lake Ainslie Road The Hayes River Bridge on West Lake Ainslie Road has a 15 tonne weight restriction.
Unemployed Nova Scotians returning to the classroom to upgrade their skills will get more support this fall. Government is increasing support for living expenses, child care and dependent care for eligible participants of the Skills Development program for the 2016/17 school year. The program, provided through federal labour market funding, offers financial support to people who need additional skills to find long-term, meaningful employment. Specific changes are: “We know it’s difficult for people to balance work, family and household expenses with post-secondary education,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “These changes will help even more Nova Scotians get the skills and training they need to create a better future for themselves and their families.” Changes to the program, which take effect Sept. 1, will help make post-secondary study more accessible to more Nova Scotians. “I have two young kids so going back to school was difficult, but I also knew it was time for a change and time for me to find a job that would allow me to support my family,” said Kevin MacPherson, past Skills Development participant and recent Nova Scotia Community College graduate. “This program definitely made it easier for me to manage my commitments and my studies. Changes will only help to make things even easier for others and hopefully help more people get the education and job they need.” These changes support other efforts underway to help Nova Scotians connect with jobs, including changes to the province’s employment services system and the expansion of the Graduate to Opportunity program. They also help to provide businesses with a more qualified, skilled and ready to work labour pool to recruit and hire from. To find out more about the Skills Development program go to https://www.novascotia.ca/employmentnovascotia/programs/skills-development.asp . $300 per week in living allowance for single clients, up from $200 $400 per week in living allowance for clients with dependents, up from $350 $100 per week, per child or dependent, for care, up from $100 per week per family
training and education on maintenance, management and safe use of equipment implementing a well-defined occupational health and safety program supported by a joint occupational health and safety committee sharing and communicating policies and procedures as they are updated in an effective manner to staff Occupational health and safety officers are working with health-care workers to raise awareness about strain, sprain and inflammation injury prevention. Officers visited 36 health-care facilities across the province between March and July of 2016. The goal was to engage workers in discussions about health and safety programs. The visits were also used to promote general safety compliance and awareness, and to identify areas for improvement while recognizing the efforts that are already being made. “Our health-care industry is the largest single employer in the province. Unfortunately, it also has the highest injury rate,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “We’re working to change this. “We are focused on improving workplace safety across the province, and fostering the partnerships that help us achieve that goal.” The visits by occupational health and safety officers resulted in several recommendations that are being shared with stakeholders today, Jan. 5. These include: “AWARE-NS was pleased to participate in this collaborative effort,” said Susan Dempsey, executive director, AWARE-NS. “These efforts have allowed organizations to identify gaps and opportunities and will help build and refine safety management systems to reduce soft tissue injuries in long-term care.” The steps to improve workplace safety are part of a larger initiative with a number of stakeholders in the health-care sector. Stakeholders include WCB Nova Scotia, AWARE-NS, the Department of Health and Wellness, the Health Association of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, and others. Government has continued to advance the goals laid out in the province’s Workplace Safety Strategy by improving education with industry and the public, increasing targeted inspections, and getting tougher on employers that continue to break safety laws. A summary of the recommendations can be found at: novascotia.ca/lae/healthandsafety/.
Clare will have a new four-bed community option home for Acadian and francophone Nova Scotians with disabilities. Government is investing about $400,000 annually to build and operate the new home in Meteghan. “Acadian and francophone Nova Scotians with disabilities and their families want to be supported in their first language in the communities where they are from,” said Gordon Wilson, MLA, on behalf of Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard. “I am pleased to announce this funding so they can live close to family and friends and maintain their vibrant culture.” “These young adults will be able to live as independently as possible in their own community,” said Joanne Deveau, a parent from the community of Clare. “A group of parents from this area has been working for the past six years to make this project happen.” The Department of Community Services is committed to providing Nova Scotians with disabilities with safe places to live and work within the communities they call home. The project is in the early planning stages. It is part of a $2.1 million investment in this year’s budget for the Disability Support Program to design, develop and open four new small options homes over the next year.
Los Angeles: Former Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie has filed for divorce from actor Josh Duhamel almost two years after their separation. The former couple announced their split in September 2017 after eight years of marriage. According to a court docket acquired by Entertainment Weekly, Fergie, 44, filed for divorce from Duhamel on May 31, at a courthouse in Pasadena, California. “With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year. To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public,” the couple told the reporters. “We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family,” they said in a statement on September 14, 2017.
Bhubaneswar: India lived up to their billing and thrashed South Africa 5-1 in the summit clash to win the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament here Saturday. Coming into the tournament as overwhelming favourites, world no. 5 India played like champions and remained unbeaten throughout the tournament. Dragflickers Varun Kumar (2nd and 49th minutes) and Harmanpreet Singh (11th and 25th) scored a brace each, while Vivek Sagar Prasad (35th) was the other goal scorer for India. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevSouth Africa’s lone goal was scored by Richard Pautz in the 53rd minute. India and South Africa have already qualified for the final round of the Olympic qualifiers before Saturday’s summit clash. Earlier in the day, Asian Games champion Japan defeated USA 4-2 to finish third in the competition. The top two finishers of this tournament make it to the final round of the Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year. Going by world rankings, the Indians were expected to control the proceedings and they exactly did that from the word go. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’shipsIndia secured their first penalty corner as early as in the second minute and Varun made no mistake in converting the opportunity into goal. In the 11th minute, India got another penalty corner and this time Harmanpreet slammed home to make the scoreline 2-0 in favour of the hosts. Seconds before the end of the first quarter, South Africa got a rare opportunity but Nqobile Ntuli’s reverse hit was kept away by Krishan Bahadur Pathak in front of the Indian goal. Five minutes from half time, India were awarded a penalty stroke when Birendra Lakra was stick-checked inside South Africa’s ‘D’ by Jethro Eustice and Harmanpreet made no mistake to make the scoreline 3-0. The flow of the match continued in the same vein after the change of ends with India dominating the proceedings. Five minutes into the third quarter, India extended their lead when Vivek Sagar Prasad scored from close range after being set up by Simranjeet Singh. India secured their third penalty corner in the 41st minute but this time Amit Rohidas’ try was saved by the South African goalkeeper. India kept up the pressure and earned their fourth penalty corner in the 49th minute and Varun scored from a variation to make the scoreline 5-0 in the home team’s favour. South Africa finally had something to cheer about when they secured back-to-back penalty corners in the 53rd minute and from the second chance, Pautz deflected in Eustice’s flick to reduce the margin to 5-1. Four minutes from the final hooter, India secured two more penalty corners but failed to utilise the opportunities. South Africa too got a last chance to pull another goal back in the form of their third penalty corner but to no effect.
Jammu: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday discussed the overall political and security situation in Jammu and Kashmir with the party’s state leadership and asked them to launch an offensive against the BJP for its “failure” on various fronts. Gandhi chaired a meeting of top leaders of J&K in Delhi and discussed the overall political and security situation of the state, a Congress spokesman said. The meeting was attended by top Congress leaders like Gulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, K C Venugopal, AICC secretary in-charge J&K, Dr Shakeel Ahmed, and JKPCC chief G A Mir. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! The meeting deliberated upon the latest political situation in the wake of the results of the recent Lok Sabha elections and the preparations for the forthcoming assembly elections in the state, which are otherwise due to be held any time, but the state is under President’s rule, which has been extended for another spell of six months, the spokesman said. Gandhi asked the party leaders from the state to activate the cadre at various levels to highlight issues of the people and expose the “failures and falsehood” of the BJP. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed He said the leadership should highlight the issues of people in all three regions of the state with a view to launch an offensive against the BJP for its “failure” on various fronts. Gandhi also asked to highlight the “failures” of the centre government and the erstwhile coalition government in the state to come up to the expectations of the people on various vital commitments, the spokesman said. The meeting had a detailed deliberations on various aspects of the security and political situation and the measures to be taken for the strengthening of the party base in all three regions of the state, he said. The spokesman said the leaders also deliberated on chain of activities to be undertaken to increase the mass-contact programme of the party in the state.
New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will ask SP MP Azam Khan to apologise on the floor of the House for his sexist remarks against BJP member Rama Devi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said Friday. In a meeting of floor leaders of all parties chaired by the Lok Sabha Speaker, it was decided that Khan should apologise or face action. “The Speaker will ask Azam Khan to apologise over his comments made against Rama Devi without any condition in the House. If he does not do so, the Speaker has been authorised to take action against him,” Joshi said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Several women MPs cutting across party lines have also written to the Speaker demanding stringent action against Khan. Rama Devi said he should be suspended for entire five years from Lok Sabha. Earlier, women members in Lok Sabha on Friday spoke in one voice condemning Khan for his sexist remarks and demanded that he apologise or else he should be suspended from the House. During Zero Hour, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said Khan’s remarks in Lok Sabha on Thursday during the debate on triple talaq bill were a “blot” on all legislators, including men.
NEW DELHI: In a major relief to auto-rickshaw drivers, the Delhi government on Wednesday announced to discontinue the practice of ‘road try test’ after recalibration of auto fare meters. The announcement was made by the Delhi Consumer Affairs and Legal Metrology Department Minister, Imran Hussain following directions from the Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.Hussain said that the Chief Minister had directed him to hold consultation meeting with all stake-holders to simplify the procedure for re-calibration of auto fare meters. This initiative of Kejriwal government will benefit the auto rickshaw drivers as well as the commuters, as recalibration will be done faster, which will also save cost and time. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe Delhi government had recently revised the auto fares. This has necessitated re-calibration of auto fare meters after upgradation of their software. The re-calibration of auto fare meters is about to start shortly. Hussain also noted that the Auto Rickshaw drivers were also complaining about charging of exorbitant prices by Manufacturers, Repairers and Dealers of Auto Rickshaw fare meters for up gradation of software. The Minister announced that for providing relief and succour to Auto Rickshaw drivers, an advisory has been issued to the Manufacturers, Repairers and Dealers of Auto Rickshaw fare meters for not charging more than Rs 400 per meter plus applicable GST for undertaking software upgradation post revision of auto fares. Previously, after re-calibration and initial verification by Weights & Measures Department (now renamed Legal Metro logy) in its laboratory at Wazirpur, the Auto Rickshaw drivers had to go for the road try test at Rewla Khanpur, Najafgarh. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe Auto Rickshaw drivers were demanding that road try test at the far away location at Najafgarh was inconvenient to them and it was also causing loss of a day’s earning. They were requesting for making the re-calibration process smooth and convenient and for conducting at central location. The Department has so far been testing the Auto/Taxi Fare Meter with the help of electronic pulse generating machine in the lab situated at Taxi Meter Unit which checks the auto/taxi fare meter on the basis of pulse generated for distance travelled and calculates fare. Thereafter the meters were being tested on road through Road Try Test at Rewla Khanpur. From now on wards, the Auto Rickshaw drivers will not go for the Road Try Test at Rewla Khanpur and the verification certificate of Auto Fare Meter Testing will be issued after testing at Wazirpur Laboratory only.
Mumbai: MNS chief Raj Thackeray will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering probe and has appealed to the party workers not to protest over the issue, a party spokesperson said on Tuesday. The MNS has also withdrawn its proposed bandh in the neighbouring Thane district on Thursday, he said. The ED has summoned Thackeray to appear before it on Thursday in connection with its probe into the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) scam. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The agency is probing alleged irregularities relating to loans and equity investment worth over Rs 450 crore by IL&FS in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company, which is developing Kohinoor Square tower in Mumbai’s Dadar area. MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande on Monday warned that the “party will protest on streets if the government takes any action with prejudice against Thackeray”. The party also proposed a bandh in Thane on Thursday. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Thackeray held a meeting with party office-bearers at his residence here on Tuesday to discuss the issue and future course of action. “Raj saheb will appear before the ED on Thursday. He has appealed to the MNS workers not to hold any protests which may cause problems to the public,” Deshpande said after the meeting. He said the party has also withdrawn its call for a bandh in Thane. “Raj Thackeray does not want people to be affected due to the bandh,” Deshpande said. He alleged that the ED was issuing notices only to leaders from the opposition parties. “It is political vendetta and not any serious inquiry,” he said. Former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s son Unmesh Joshi was also summoned by the ED in the same case. He deposed before the central agency here on Monday and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.
NEW DELHI: A fire was reported on the second floor of the Vikas Bhawan in New Delhi on Tuesday evening. At least eight fire tenders were rushed to the spot to control the blaze. DCW office too was affected with the fire and several files were reportedly burnt.There are no reports of injuries or casualties. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. However it was belived that the AC ducts caaught fire whhich resulted in fire spreading on the floor. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe building, located opposite the Income Tax Office (ITO), houses the Delhi Women Commission office among others. The fire department then evacuated the building and the people were rescued safely. Onlookers too gathered under the building. The workers in the building too rushed out as soon as they saw smoke coming out of the secnd floor. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) office is set up on the second floor of Vikas Bhawan. The DCW office caught fire as well. Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal said, “Our office also caught fire. Several files were also burnt. Huge propery was destroyed in the fire. We are thankful for the fire department for their work.” The DCW sources said several documents and office furniture were gutted in the fire and they estimated a loss of Rs four to five lakh. DCW chief Swati Maliwal had returned from a meeting when the fire was noticed, the sources said. In a tweet, Maliwal thanked police and fire personnel for their quick response.
Mumbai: Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar spent their weekend discussing their upcoming much-anticipated collaboration, Takht. The actor on September 14 took to Instagram to share a glimpse of her talks with Karan. The upcoming film, which has a screenplay by Sumit Roy and dialogues penned by Hussain Haidry, will be directed by Karan. Set in the Mughal era, the film also stars Vicky Kaushal, Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar and Jahnvi Kapoor. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaAlia shared an Instagram Story which featured the director sitting in a chair in what appeared to be an office cabin. The Raazi star wasn’t visible in the post but shared a sneak peek of a red mug with written Takht on it. It appears that the film’s preparation have begun as both Alia and Ranveer were spotted outside Dharma Productions office recently. Takht marks Karan’s return to direction three years after the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
TORONTO – The president of Toronto’s police union said an officer’s actions in arresting a suspect in Monday’s deadly van attack without firing a single shot was “one shining moment” in an otherwise horrific day.Mike McCormack of the Toronto Police Association said the arrest, caught on videos that have been widely circulated on social media, has served as a glimmer of hope for a city caught in tragedy.“It’s one shining moment in an absolutely game-changing, abysmal, horrific day in the city of Toronto,” McCormack said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The one … positive to take-away from that day was his behaviour.”At a news conference Tuesday, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said he attributes the nonviolent resolution to de-escalation training.But Saunders, who said he had spoken with the officer, said the handling of the situation was “nothing short of remarkable.”Police sources identified the officer as Const. Ken Lam, with the force’s 32 Division.With the city still on edge following Monday’s incident, many social media users have hailed the officer as a paragon of restraint based on footage of his tense standoff with the alleged van driver. It happened not far from the stretch of Yonge Street where a van mounted a sidewalk and rammed into pedestrians, killing 10 and injuring 14.In one of the videos of the arrest, a man, asking to be killed, stands by a damaged white rental van and points a dark object towards the officer. The officer refuses to shoot and repeatedly yells for the man to get down.The suspect warns he has a gun in his pocket.“Shoot me in the head,” the man can be heard saying on the video.From a highrise window, another video appears to show the suspect walking backwards with his arms raised as the officer moves toward him.The suspect eventually goes to the ground and street-level footage shows the officer kneeling over him as he lies on the pavement.“It could have gone either way. Any time if that threat escalated, we could have had a different outcome,” McCormack said of the arrest.“He reacted to what he was seeing, what his training taught him, and we’re extremely proud of him. He may have prevented additional deaths.”McCormack said the officer was one of many first responders who ran towards the danger as the van mounted the sidewalk between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue.Officers pushed pedestrians out of the van’s path, performed CPR and attended to “mangled” victims, said McCormack.Even for seasoned officers, he said, the carnage was among the worst they had ever witnessed.McCormack has been in touch with the officer, who he said is overwhelmed with emotion, but eager to get back on the streets.“He’s more concerned with the victims … than what he has done.”McCormack said that while the officer maintains his actions were “no big deal,” as the adrenaline fades, he will have to face the magnitude of what he’s gone through.“(There’s) this whole notion that police officers go out and shoot first and ask questions later,” he said. “Many times our officers are dealing with people in situations that’s resolved in a peaceful way.“It was demonstrated in an overwhelmingly clear fashion … what police officers are really about, and what they really do.”
MONTREAL – A cluster of tornadoes that knocked down trees and tore the roof off a home in southern Quebec last June was one of the largest ever recorded in Canada, according to new research from Western University.The findings suggest the extreme storms are more common in the country than previously thought.As part of a pilot project to detect previously unreported tornadoes, Western researchers found that a record-setting 11 tornadoes touched down in Quebec on June 18, 2017, rather than the four that were previously recorded.That’s the most ever recorded in the province.To reach their conclusion, the team used aircraft to fly over areas that had produced weather ”super-cells,” then worked backwards using images of the damage to estimate the wind speeds, according to an engineering professor who worked on the study.“Basically, we think that the tree-fall pattern — the proportion of trees that go down and also the patterns of the trees — gives us an indication of how strong the tornado will have been,” Gregory Kopp said in a phone interview.Kopp said the most powerful tornado to hit southern Quebec that day was a 200 km/h twister that damaged a 30-kilometre swath near Ste-Anne-du-Lac, north of Montreal.“There was a house there that was completely destroyed, so the roof and the walls were sucked away, all the contents were hundreds of metres downwind,” he said.According to Environment Canada, about 60 tornadoes are observed in Canada each year, most of them in the Prairies and southern Ontario.But weather models suggest the true number is closer to 200, according to meteorologist Alexandre Parent.Parent said the federal agency usually depends on reports from observers on the ground in order to confirm a tornado, which means that those in remote areas can be missed.He said the study suggests tornadoes are much more common in Canada than experts previously believed.“There are many that last only a few minutes, or that measure only a few dozen or a few hundreds metres wide, so they’re touching very, very local sectors,” he said.Because Western’s study is new, Parent says it’s too soon to say how it could be used in the future.Kopp, however, believes the added information could help authorities better identify tornadoes as they form, thus improving the effectiveness of the early warning system.He said it could also lead more builders to adopt tornado-proof building standards, at a cost of only a few hundred dollars more per home.News of Quebec’s record-breaking June tornado cluster came as no surprise to one amateur storm chaser who has travelled across North America in the pursuit of the elusive storms.Jean-Francois Massicotte said he was looking at weather data that day and saw the most volatile conditions forming in areas that were too hard to chase.“We were seeing all these big thunderstorms up north that we just couldn’t reach, we couldn’t get to them, so I’m not surprised that somebody made a study and found there were many more tornadoes on that day,” said Massicotte, a member of a group of self-described “weather nerds” that calls itself Quebec Vortex.Massicotte, 34, says tornadoes move quickly, don’t last long and don’t always follow the roads, which makes them hard to catch.But that hasn’t stopped him from trying, by using weather models, satellite images, radar, and weather reports and then racing to likely sites in the hopes of getting lucky.“The most spectacular thing you notice is the clouds, how they’re all racing towards the point where it will form,” he said.While he’s come close a few times, he says his ultimate goal is to get close enough to get that perfect photo, looking straight up into a powerful storm.
OTTAWA – Conservative MP Blaine Calkins wants the federal ethics watchdog to reconsider her decision to allow the former chief of staff to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to go work for a Calgary-based energy company.Janet Annesley, who left Parliament Hill early last month, is now senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Husky Energy.The Conflict of Interest Act says an ex-staffer at her level cannot work for a company with which she has had “direct and significant dealings” in the last year, but Husky says Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson told Annesley she was OK to take the job.Annesley, who has years of experience in communications and lobbying for the oil industry, is prevented from dealing with Natural Resources Canada during a one-year cooling off period.She is also barred from lobbying the federal government for five yearsHusky says both the company and Annesley understand the rules.In a letter to Dawson, Calkins notes the Husky website says Annesley will be in charge of “developing relationships,” including with governments.Calkins says Canadians would find it “difficult to believe” her job requirements would not involve violating the act and urged Dawson to look again.Husky says it has no further comment and a spokeswoman for Dawson says she will review the letter.
WINNIPEG – A Manitoba politician who was kicked out of the governing Progressive Conservative caucus says he’s planning a court challenge against a law that forbids him from joining another party’s caucus.Steven Fletcher, who was dumped by the Tories last Friday, said Tuesday a provincial law that forbids him — or any other Manitoba politician — from crossing the legislature floor is unconstitutional.“That goes against almost every tradition that exists for our parliamentary democratic systems,” Fletcher told The Canadian Press.“I’ve given instructions to my lawyer to file the necessary paperwork to have the law thrown out on a constitutional basis.”The law was brought in by the former NDP government in 2006 in response to a controversy that erupted when David Emerson left the federal Liberals, weeks after being elected, to join the Conservatives. Then-premier Gary Doer said the aim was to ensure voters’ wishes at the ballot box are respected.The Manitoba law stipulates that any legislature member who ceases to belong to a caucus must sit as an independent until the next election, or resign and run in a byelection under their new party banner.Fletcher, who served as a member of Parliament between 2004 and 2015 and was Canada’s first quadriplegic MP, said he believes there is no similar law elsewhere in the British Commonwealth.Fletcher was removed from the provincial Tory caucus after criticizing a proposed law that would create a new Crown agency to promote energy efficiency. He tied up two public hearings on the bill by asking questions late into the night.A spokesperson for Justice Minister Heather Stefanson would not say if the government will fight Fletcher’s planned legal action. There will be no formal response until legal documents are filed, press secretary Kalen Qually wrote in an email.“This is a law that was introduced by the previous government in 2006,” he said in a statement. “These types of laws should not supersede the important issues faced by our province.”Fletcher’s ability to join another caucus would not mean much to the Tories, who still have 39 of the 57 legislature seats. But if he were to join the Liberals, it would give the struggling party a fourth seat — enough for official party status and the funding that comes with it.Fletcher said he has no intention of joining another party and simply wants to fight the law on principle. However, he said he feels there are disgruntled members of all three parties and a new caucus could emerge if some were to band together.“They may exercise their ability to do what they’re allowed to do constitutionally, and they may do so simply because they want to be a better representative for their constituency.”Fletcher pointed to the rupture in the Canadian Alliance in 2001, when Deborah Grey, Chuck Strahl, Monte Solberg and others left the Stockwell Day-led party and formed the short-lived Democratic Representative Caucus. Most rejoined after Stephen Harper became leader.“Look at that group — Monte Solberg, Chuck Strahl. Some of the key people who turned out to be awesome public servants.”The Manitoba Liberals said Tuesday they have long considered the floor-crossing ban to be unconstitutional, but had no plans to talk to Fletcher about joining their team.“At this time, we are not considering him as a potential fourth (legislature member),” Liberal president Paul Brault said.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. Previous versions had the wrong day in para 2.