Calgary child care rate among highest in the country

first_imgThose looking to become parents in Calgary may want to save their pennies in preparation for the child care costs.According to a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Calgary has the highest median rates for pre-school child care in the country outside Ontario.Parents can expect to pay about $1,000 a month, which is the eighth highest in the country.The report also shows rates are going up at a higher pace than inflation, having risen eight per cent in the past three years.Toronto has the highest rates in the country, while Montreal has the lowest.last_img read more

PM responds to allegations against Kent Hehr

first_imgThe Prime Minister is responding to new allegations against his Minister for Sport, Calgary-Centre MP Kent Hehr.Following the allegations against Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown, at least two women stepped forward on Twitter and spoke about Minister Hehr and his time serving in the Alberta Legislature. One claims women felt unsafe to get in an elevator with him due to inappropriate comments, another claims a similar problem, alleging Hehr once said to her, “you’re yummy.”My poltical #metoo movement @kinsellawarren . I’ve debated this. But that’s the power of sexual harassment. My first day working at the Alberta legislature I was told to avoid being in a elevator with Kent Hehr. He would make comments. He would make you feel unsafe— Kristin Raworth (@JC4ever) January 25, 2018None of these allegations against Hehr have been proven but when asked about it in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has been unequivocal in his support for women who step forward with allegations like this.“I haven’t yet had the opportunity to speak directly with Kent, I will in the coming hours and we will have more to say before the plane lifts off tonight,” he said.This is not the first time Hehr has faced controversy over comments. He was alleged to have said to a group of thalidomide victims “we all have sob stories”, and in another incident when asked about why Ottawa continues to fight sick women, Hehr allegedly responded saying that it was a “loaded question” like “When did you stop beating your wife?”last_img read more

Family of Cree man shot on Saskatchewan farm upset with jury selection

first_imgBATTLEFORD, Sask. – Family members of a Cree man shot and killed on a Saskatchewan farm say they are upset no visibly Indigenous people were chosen as jurors to oversee the murder trial.A jury pool of over 200 people showed up Monday in Battleford, Sask., and 12 were chosen to determine the guilt or innocence of Gerald Stanley.Stanley, 56, was formally arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder and pleaded not guilty before jury selection began.Colten Boushie was 22 when an SUV that he was a passenger in drove onto a farm near Biggar, Sask., on Aug. 9, 2016. An altercation ensued and Boushie, from the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot and killed.In the end, seven women and five men were chosen for the three-week trial as well as two alternates.During the selection process, a number of both middle-aged white men and visible minorities were rejected.“A lot of my family didn’t come today because they already felt that a decision had been made and I came with hopes that it would be different,” said Jade Tootoosis, who is Boushie’s cousin.“It was really difficult to sit there today and watch every single, visible Indigenous person be challenged by the defence. It’s not surprising but extremely frustrating and it’s something that we feared has come true.”Stanley’s lawyer released a statement on the weekend urging potential jurors to keep an open mind.“Despite any online comments or media stories, Gerry’s trial is not a referendum on racism. If jurors feel that they have to pick a ‘side,’ then it will be very difficult for there to be a fair trial,” said defence counsel Scott Spencer.“Unfortunately, racial tensions existed in Saskatchewan, and across Canada, before the Boushie tragedy and they continue today.”Spencer said the rest of Canada will be watching Saskatchewan closely over the next couple of weeks, noting how participants conduct themselves during the trial. But he said one fact shouldn’t be forgotten.“A young man lost his life. That was, and remains, a terrible tragedy.”Saskatchewan’s Chief Justice Martel Popescul, who is presiding over the trial, told the jury they can only consider evidence presented in court.“It’s probably fair to say that this case has attracted some considerable attention in the media but again I say anything you have heard or seen in the media is not evidence and you must disregard it completely,” Popescul said.He also noted that Stanley is presumed to be innocent until the Crown has proven his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.“There is no burden on Mr. Stanley to prove that he is innocent. He does not have to prove anything,” Popescul said.“A reasonable doubt is not an imaginary or frivolous doubt. It is not based on sympathy or prejudice against anyone involved in these proceedings. You must not find Mr. Stanley guilty unless you are sure he is guilty. Even if you believe Mr. Stanley is probably guilty, or likely guilty, that is not sufficient.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitterlast_img read more

Tory Leader Doug Ford combats criticism to fight for election win

first_imgTORONTO – The Ontario election would be Doug Ford’s to lose.At least that’s what polls and pundits suggested when the newly minted Progressive Conservative leader kicked off his campaign at a rally in Etobicoke, a Toronto suburb and the epicentre of so-called Ford Nation.The former Toronto city councillor— mostly known to the rest of Canada as the handler of his late brother, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford — was lauded by his staunch supporters as a political outsider sure to shake things up at Queen’s Park.Quickly positioning himself as a defender of the “little guy,” Doug Ford’s campaign message consisted of a simple, light-on-detail promise of putting money back in people’s pockets by lowering taxes, cutting hydro rates and eliminating the province’s cap-and-trade system.But over the course of the campaign, the wealthy businessman has been slammed for not releasing a fully costed platform, prompting his political rivals to warn of massive cuts to public services under a Tory government.Ford has dismissed those warnings.“Don’t listen to the scare tactics,” he told a cheering crowd at a recent rally in Ottawa, calling criticisms against him “dishonest.” “Change is coming to Ontario.”The lack of a Tory plan, however, combined with controversies involving several candidates appears to have taken a toll, with recent polls showing Ford in a close race with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath for the keys to the premier’s office.“(Ford) is not particularly likable. He’s not seen as particularly efficient. He’s not a communicator,” said Barry Kay, a political science professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, noting Ford started the race with a significant lead.“They’ve blown it in the space of a month.”But for all the criticism Ford has received, and the slide in support suggested by polls, he could still take his party to victory, said Kay. The question now, he said, is whether the Tories can still mobilize their core support and harness people’s desire for change.Ford has railed against so-called “elites,” although he comes from a wealthy political family.He’s the second son of Diane and Doug Ford Sr., a provincial politician for one term in the late 1990s. He has spoken about his family on the campaign trail and launched his bid for the Tory leadership from his mother’s basement in west Toronto.He was thrust into the national spotlight because of his championing of his scandal-plagued brother, whose admission of using crack cocaine made international headlines. He stepped in as a Toronto mayoral candidate when cancer forced his brother to give up on running for a second term.The Ford family was back in the headlines this week, after Rob Ford’s widow launched a lawsuit alleging Doug Ford mishandled the estate of his late brother, causing financial harm to her and her children. Ford has denied the claims.The Tory leader’s relationship with the media has been tense over the course of the campaign. He has generally made himself available to reporters just once a day, limiting the number of questions journalists could ask, and opted not to have a media bus.Ford, who declined requests for an interview, has insisted that he has been open.“Every single day I see the media, I talk to the media,” he said on Tuesday. “I’ve had probably more media access than both the candidates combined.”Observers say the reduced media access limits scrutiny of Ford’s pledges. Questions about his promises to cut government waste by finding “efficiencies” of some $6 billion dollars often go unanswered.“Doug’s a pretty casual guy. He throws numbers around,” said Paula Fletcher, a left-leaning Toronto city councillor who often squared off with Ford when he was in municipal government. “That deep, thorough knowledge of a subject — he didn’t have to engage in that in the city. I think maybe he thinks that’s what politics is like.”Fletcher is skeptical about Ford’s oft-repeated claim that he and his brother saved Toronto taxpayers $1.16 billion over the course of their term.“Everyone has found efficiencies,” she said. “(The Fords) developed a deficit when they were there.”Fletcher also said the tightly regimented role of the premier, with a party system at the legislature, may not easily mesh with Ford’s shoot-from the-hip style.“Don’t get me wrong, I had a great relationship with Doug,” she said of their four years serving together on council. “But the fact is, (being a city councillor) is a vigorous job, which I think he took kind of lightly.”Ford’s longtime friend and former Toronto deputy mayor Doug Holyday, however, paints a different picture.Holyday said he thinks Ford will have no trouble acclimatizing to Queen’s Park and downplays criticisms that his friend is a “one-man-band” who doesn’t work well with others.“I’ve never, ever seen any evidence of him being a bully,” said Holyday. “He’s not opinionated or rude or anything like that at all. He may have a point to make and he’ll make it as forcefully as he can, as the rest of us did (at City Hall).”Holyday also said Ford and his brother did find efficiencies at city hall through the elimination of 1,500 redundant positions. Those savings were achieved through attrition, transfers, voluntary buyouts and early retirements, not layoffs, he said.“Doug is a hard-worker,” he said. “I think he has the best of intentions to make Ontario a better place for all.”last_img read more

Guy Turcotte wont appeal earlier decision on parole eligibility lawyer says

first_imgMONTREAL – Guy Turcotte’s lawyer says his client will not pursue a bid to reduce the minimum number of years he must serve in prison for murdering his two young children.Pierre Poupart says Turcotte will not appeal a June 28 decision by Quebec’s Court of Appeal that upheld his parole eligibility.The former cardiologist was found guilty in 2015 of second-degree murder and later sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.He fatally stabbed his three-year-old daughter Anne-Sophie and five-year-old son Olivier in 2009.He was found not criminally responsible at his first trial and was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Montreal and released in December 2012.An appeals court overturned that verdict and Turcotte had to stand trial again, where he was found guilty.last_img read more

Butcher appeals conviction sentence in murder of Montrealborn yoga instructor

first_imgHALIFAX – A Halifax man convicted in the violent death of a Montreal-born yoga instructor and businesswoman is appealing his second-degree murder conviction and sentence.Nicholas Butcher was convicted of second-degree murder in April after a jury found he stabbed 32-year-old Kristin Johnston to death on March 26, 2016.The conviction carries an automatic life sentence, but Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Joshua Arnold ruled in August that Butcher would be able to apply for parole after serving 15 years, less 880 days for time served.A notice of appeal filed recently cites several grounds for appeal, including that Arnold erred in allowing evidence of bad character, and hearsay statements of the deceased.The notice claims Arnold’s instructions to the jury were too lengthy and complicated for the jury to follow.It also says the period of parole ineligibility was too harsh.“The trial judge imposed a period of parole ineligibility which is manifestly excessive and unreasonably harsh in the circumstances, in part relying on aggravating factors not proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” said the notice, filed with the Court of Appeal on Sept. 11.The document sets out Butcher’s desired outcome of the appeal: “The conviction be quashed and a new trial ordered and/or the parole ineligibility period be reduced.”It also appears Butcher, 36, would prefer to be tried by judge alone if a new trial is ordered, as the document asks directly if he wishes to be tried by judge and jury.“No,” his notice said.Butcher was charged after police found Johnston’s body next to a steak knife on a blood-soaked bed inside her Halifax-area home on March 26, 2016.Butcher, a law school graduate who wasn’t able to find work in his field, was living with Johnston at the time of her death.Arnold recounted the harrowing details of the murder during Butcher’s parole ineligibility hearing in August.He described how Butcher read Johnston’s Facebook messages, which discussed her desire to end their common-law relationship.Butcher twice showed up unannounced to an apartment where Johnston was hanging out with friends, the second time finding her becoming intimate with someone. Butcher then demanded she return home with him.“Shortly after they arrived (home), Kristin Johnston changed her clothes and was lying in bed at her most vulnerable. Mr. Butcher then murdered Ms. Johnston. He put a pillow over her face and stabbed, slashed and cut her in the neck 10 times,” said Arnold.“Mr. Butcher then attempted suicide by cutting his own arm with a knife and a razor lying next to Ms. Johnston in bed. When this did not work, he stabbed himself in the neck 13 times. When this did not work, Mr. Butcher retrieved a mitre saw from storage in the basement, brought it to the bedroom, and then cut his own arm off.”The court heard that Butcher’s right hand had been surgically reattached.The 12-member Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury delivered its verdict after five hours of deliberation.Johnston, whose brother owned a Bikram yoga studio in her hometown of Montreal, had come to Halifax in 2011 with dreams of opening her own studio.But it shuttered about a month before her death, and friends said Johnston wanted to leave her Halifax life behind, and was “ready for a new chapter” in Tofino, B.C., where her sister lived.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.last_img read more

Friend of accused Stampeder shooter grilled by defence at murder trial

first_imgBill Graveland, The Canadian Press CALGARY — A friend of the man accused of killing a Calgary Stampeder player maintained Friday that the alleged shooter confessed to pulling the trigger shortly after shots rang out.  But in a lengthy cross-examination by Nelson Lugela’s defence lawyer, Darwin Concepcion acknowledged he was drunk on the night of the shooting and is still trying to piece together what happened.Lugela is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Canadian Football League player Mylan Hicks at Marquee Beer Market on Sept. 25, 2016.Concepcion testified he was drinking heavily with Lugela and another friend that night.  He said he was outside the bar at closing when he heard a gunshot.“I heard a bang in my left ear. Everybody started running and everybody was panicking. My ears were ringing,” Concepcion told defence lawyer Alain Hepner.“I just turned around and Nelson looks at me and said ‘let’s go’ or something. ‘We gotta go.’ So we all hopped in the vehicle.”Concepcion said it wasn’t until they left the scene that he noticed Lugela was holding a gun in his hand and then said “I hit two shots. I don’t think he’s going to make it.”But Hepner challenged Concepcion, pointing out the man never mentioned that Lugela admitted to shooting Hicks in his original interview with police three days after the shooting.“You didn’t tell the detective this last phrase that you told us yesterday. Am I right?,” asked Hepner.“Yes,” Concepcion responded.“That was three mornings after. What I’m suggesting to you is you only heard the phrase ‘I don’t think he’s going to make it.’ That’s all you heard. Was that true? Is that all you heard? Am I right?“I was drunk,” replied Concepcion.“Sure it was three mornings later, but I’m still trying to piece out the story.”Lugela, 21 has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. Hicks was a member of the Stampeder’s practice roster and court has already heard the team was out celebrating a win when the shooting happened.The shooter and two other young men jumped into an SUV and sped away. Police arrested three people, including Lugela and Conception, about 45 minutes later when they returned to the scene.Follow @BillGraveland on Twitterlast_img read more

More talk than action on increasing caribou protection federal report

first_imgEnvironment Canada says that despite lots of talk on preserving caribou habitat little has been done.A report from the agency says not much has changed since a survey in April found significant gaps in protecting the threatened species from coast to coast.The report does list dozens of ongoing negotiations, draft plans and provincial promises to restore caribou populations to sustainable levels.But it concludes problems first outlined nine months ago persist.Chief among those is that provincial agencies that license development on caribou habitat aren’t required to follow federal environmental laws.Environmental groups say that sooner or later federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will have to step in with emergency protection orders for some of the vanishing herds.They also say the report shows few new areas to protect caribou have been created.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Sherbrooke revives bid for Francophonie Games after NB pulls out

first_imgSHERBROOKE, Que. — After ballooning costs prompted New Brunswick to abandon the 2021 Francophonie Games, Sherbrooke, Que., has agreed to step in as host as long as spending can be kept under control.It is now up to the Quebec government to submit Sherbrooke’s candidacy to la Francophonie, the organization of states that have French as a common language. Negotiations will also be needed to determine how much the province and the federal government contribute.In New Brunswick, where Moncton and Dieppe were going to share hosting duties, Premier Blaine Higgs last month blamed the province’s decision to withdraw on the growing cost and a lack of financial support from Ottawa. The province said the budget had risen to $130 million from an original bid of $17 million.At a special meeting Monday night, Sherbrooke city council adopted a motion expressing its support for holding the Games provided it can be done “within a financial framework established with the provincial and federal governments.”Sherbrooke says it is prepared to spend $5.5 million on the event, which brings together 3,000 athletes and artists from la Francophonie’s more than 50 member states. It will seek guarantees from the other levels of government that they will assume their respective shares under an agreement to be negotiated.In 2015, Sherbrooke lost out to New Brunswick in the race to hold the 2021 Games. At the time it estimated the total cost at $52 million and its contribution at $8.8 million.Mayor Steve Lussier was initially reluctant to wade back into the project before agreeing last week to take another look. He insisted that the city would stick to its budget.“There is no question of creating a special tax for the Games,” he said. “They will not be held to the detriment of municipal projects and services.”Nadine Girault, Quebec’s minister of international relations and la Francophonie, met with Lussier Monday in Sherbrooke. She said on Twitter that she would discuss the project with cabinet colleagues and assess the costs. “At this point, they remain high,” she wrote.In New Brunswick, Higgs said he welcomes Sherbrooke’s decision. “I hope that the Games do proceed,” the premier told reporters.He noted that Sherbrooke is beginning with a more realistic estimate of the cost, but he said Quebec needs to keep close tabs on spending. “I would just have a good hard look at it, because it seems like Games of all kinds usually run over significantly,” Higgs said.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Trudeaus action plan on climate change brings BC politician out of retirement

first_imgKAMLOOPS, B.C. — Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party’s commitment and action plan on climate change has brought one former British Columbia politician out of retirement and back into the arena.At his nomination event Tuesday for the riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, described to the prime minister the war zone-like conditions the area faces every summer with the wildfires.With B.C. expected to be a key battleground in October’s federal election, Lake is considered a high-profile candidate for the Liberals in the province.Lake says climate change is a “ballot question” because it affects the mental and physical health of people, and thus the economy.He didn’t seek re-election for the B.C. Liberals in the last provincial election after serving three terms in the legislature.Trudeau told the crowd of supporters that the Liberal government has given Canadians confidence to face the future by investing in education, skills training, families and the future.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Military facing challenges as courtmartial system remains in limbo

first_imgOTTAWA — Canadian military police and prosecutors are being forced to adapt as they wait for the Supreme Court to rule on whether the military-justice system is constitutional.That includes having to weigh which charges to lay in new cases and proceeding with lesser charges or dropping them altogether for some pre-existing cases.The changes follow a lower court’s bombshell ruling last fall that found military tribunals are not the same as a trial by jury for serious civilian offences such as murder and sexual assault.Military prosecutors appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments from both sides in March, but has yet to issue its own decision on the matter.Military officials say 40 cases in the system before the lower court’s ruling have been affected, including several where charges were changed or cases were referred to civilian authorities, and three that were dropped entirely.Military police are also facing harder decisions on what charges to lay in new cases as the military-justice system cannot try serious cases and the civilian one doesn’t usually deal with military-specific charges like insubordination.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Will Ferrells Son Designs Charity Coffee Cup

first_imgLike father, like son. Two years after actor Will Ferrell finger-painted a snowman for 7-Eleven, Inc.’s holiday coffee cup, his son 5-year-old Mattias has taken over the cup-design duties, with a little help from dad.Will Ferrell and son design holiday hot-beverage cup for 7-Eleven to raise awareness of Cancer for College charity.Like his father, Mattias also drew a snowman, this time flanked by candy canes on a light blue cup that sports his father’s autograph and the Cancer For College charity’s logo.The snowman cups with the hand-drawn design are available now at participating 7-Eleven stores through Dec. 31, 2012, or while supplies last.Also in time for the holidays and complementary to the Ferrell coffee cup, is 7-Eleven’s new seasonal beverage – Peppermint Mocha Cappuccino. The wintery flavors of cool peppermint and rich chocolate are favorites and test well among consumers.The Ferrell family hopes to raise awareness for Cancer for College, a nonprofit organization founded by cancer survivor and Ferrell’s friend and fraternity brother Craig Pollard. The California-based charity offers support and inspiration to young cancer survivors through academic college scholarships.“If you compare the snowman Mattias drew for 7-Eleven’s holiday cup this year with the one I drew by myself in 2010, you can tell right away where he gets his artistic talent,” Ferrell said. “Both cups have snowmen and both give our family an opportunity to support Cancer for College, a great charity that helps cancer survivors get on with their lives — lives that may have been put on hold because of illness, treatment and resulting financial hardship.”To celebrate the launch of his son’s snowman cup, Ferrell appeared in The Grove in Los Angeles Tuesday to sign autographs and meet with fans. Cancer for College has been inspiring and empowering survivors since its inception in 1993 through college scholarships. The nonprofit organization has provided over $1.75 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 cancer survivors and amputees.“Two years ago, 7-Eleven helped Will spread the world about a little-known, but worthwhile organization that is important to him in a very personal way,” said Laura Gordon, 7-Eleven vice president of brand innovation. “Cancer for College has helped families who have been left with few financial resources for education after paying extraordinary medical expenses to save their child. 7-Eleven is supporting this organization by making a donation and raising awareness about such a commendable cause.”7-Eleven has pledged a $360,000 donation to Cancer for College.The personally designed cup can be filled with any 7-Eleven hot beverage and customized with an assortment of creams, syrups and spices at no extra charge.More information about 7-Eleven and Cancer for College can be found at,, and, Newswirelast_img read more

Herbie Hancock To Be Honored At Covenant House Magical Night Of Hope

first_imgOn Thursday evening, May 2, 2013, Covenant House California (“CHC”) will host their Annual Awards Dinner: A Magical Night of Hope at Skirball Culture Center in Los Angeles.This year’s honorees include award-winning musician, composer and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. The event features a silent and live auction, A-list entertainment including celebrity presenters and hosts as well as dinner and dancing. CHC will also be honoring Executive Director George R. Lozano, who is retiring after 22 years of service.The event will feature a special performance by Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. Celebrity talent includes Gabriel Mann (Revenge); and Vinessa Shaw (3:10 to Yuma); Mekhi Phifer (ER); Cesar Millan (Dog Whisperer); Khandi Alexander (CSI: Miami); Dayanarra Torres (former Miss Puerto Rico); Quddus (Duets); Kaitlyn Black (Hart of Dixie); Brandi Burkhardt (Hart of Dixie); Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side); Ashlynn Yennie (Human Centipede) and more.WHERE: Skirball Cultural Center 2701 North Sepulveda BoulevardLos Angeles, CA 90049WHEN: Thursday, May 2, 6pmlast_img read more

Exclusive Torrey DeVitto Talks Charity

first_imgTorrey DeVitto will be performing at the New Horizons Havana Nights Gala in Burbank on Saturday. She sat down with Look To The Stars prior to the show to talk about what the charity means to her.You’ll be performing for New Horizons at their Havana Nights Gala! What will you be performing?I am performing the song ‘Besame Mucho’ on my violin with piano accompaniment by Erik Nye.What motivated you to be a part of this special evening?When I heard what New Horizons was all about and learned about their goals and objectives with these incredible individuals with special needs, I was instantly in. I love what they’re all about.It seems as though life and family are important to you based on the causes you support, which include family adoption and hospice care. Explain why advocacy for people with developmental disabilities is important to you and how it fits in with your overall view on the life experience?I think every human being should be given an equal chance at a wonderful life. Everyone has something beautiful and unique to offer and nothing should ever stand in the way of that being acknowledged. I have worked with people with developmental disabilities and my sister works at a special needs school. The reward and love you receive from being around these individuals is priceless. I always walk away with a new outlook on life and a heartfelt feeling.There has been an increase in the number of actors on television with developmental disabilities. How do you think this diversity affects viewers and others with developmental disabilities?I think it’s amazing! It’s like what I said before, that everyone should be given an equal chance and everyone has something special to offer.What ignited your passion for individual life experience and the ending of life?I stumbled upon hospice randomly and dove into the training without knowing much about it. Instantly I fell in love with it. The notion that “No one dies alone” was so beautiful to me and one I knew I needed to be a part of. There is no difference to me helping those coming into this world and those going out. It is equally important and should be treated as such. End of life care is something I will always be involved with.You are also an animal lover; how does your support of animal adoption and kindness to animal advocacy fit in with your passion for life?I love all creatures with a pulse. As cheesy as that sounds! Ha! I really do. If you’re going to get a pet it is so important to adopt! There are so many precious animals that need a home, and I swear, adopted pets know it. They know you rescued them from something. My little pups are the most luscious, loyal, sweet babies ever. If I had a farm I would have a lot more! 

What inspires you and your wide ranging philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors?When something resonates with me, I have a hard time letting go of it. I am a very all-or-nothing person, so when I get involved with something I go all the way. I get inspired when I know I want to be hands on. When I know I want to be there in person and do whatever is needed of me. I get so excited when I find something I love and am passionate about. 

Congratulations on your success with Pretty Little Liars and your humanitarian/advocacy work. What’s next for you that you’d like to share with your fans?Thank you! I am currently filming a film for The Hallmark channel right now called The Prodigal Daughter and have a couple other fun things in the works that once their ready, I’m going to be excited to share! 

What advice do you have for your fans regarding how to enhance the last moments of someone’s life and the overall life experience?Just be there with them. The best things in life should be kept simple. Holding someone’s hand in those last moments and showing love are the best things you can do, in my opinion. Life is so short and so precious. Don’t ever let anything, especially anything trivial or trite get in the way of you telling or showing the people that are important to you that you love them. That’s what matters most; love and human connection. Never be stingy with love, especially to those who matter to you. 

What are your summer plans?In June my boyfriend and I are going to Rome together. I am so excited! I think we are going to try and travel around to other places as well. I could go anywhere with Rick and be happy, so I can only imagine how amazing going to Europe is going to be with him.To find out more about this weekend’s New Horizons Gala, click here
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How the Tragically Hip became Canadas band

first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment As early on as the Hip’s debut studio release, 1989’s Up to Here, Gord Downie’s reference points were vast yet precise, at turns unfathomable and breathtakingly specific. On the song “Another Midnight,” he sings, “Perhaps we’re election day, pumping hands and kissing all the babies/ Ain’t no time for shadowed doubts or maybes/ Is there another way?” illuminates what could be Downie’s source of inspiration for the song, pointing out the connection between the line that references 1970 and the October Crisis in Quebec that brought Canada to the brink of civil war.On the song “Born in the Water,” from 1991’s Road Apple, Downie sings, “Smart as trees in Sault Ste. Marie/ I can speak my mother tongue/ Passing laws just because/ And singing songs of the English unsung/ How could you do it, how could you even try?” The incisive song was Downie and the band calling out Sault Ste. Marie city council’s ridiculous 1990 declaration that the town was now “English only.”This theme of challenging perceptions of Canadian identity — and who is or isn’t Canadian, what makes something Canadian — became more prominent on the Hip’s 1992 album, Fully Completely. “At the Hundredth Meridian” begins with what seems like a playful jab at the larger-than-life shadow of America (and thereby implying/reinforcing Canada’s role as positional underdog yet morally superior entity) but a deeper look at how the song unfolds reads more like a send-up of those Canadian notions of superiority. Particularly when Downie sings, “A generation so much dumber than its parents came crashing through the window.” The song paints a picture of decay, landscapes tarnished by rust and garbage and disease. It begs Canada to realize where it’s going if it doesn’t change its ways. Facebook Login/Register With: The Tragically Hip was labelled “Canada’s band” pretty early on. Definitely before the band itself felt comfortable with the title, and, perhaps, before they earned it.On the surface the checkmarks added up: They made rock music. They were five white men from Ontario. They namechecked people and places that were willfully, defiantly Canadian, which became a source of pride for so many in this country who were thirsty for something to call their own, something specifically not American.But “Canada’s band” was a weight the Hip didn’t necessarily want to wield, and after years of rejecting the notion, its rejection has helped redefine what it means to be “Canada’s band.” For almost 30 years, the Hip has mapped this country through song, and often with genuine affection, but it has also been vocal about its criticisms of Canada, openly challenging its legacy and its actions. By holding Canada accountable, it has modelled how best to love a country: by demanding that country be better. Advertisement Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Sausage Party Creators Say They Owe A Lot To The Animators

first_img Login/Register With: After “Sausage Party” debuted in theaters earlier this year, the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg project became the highest-grossing animated movie with an R rating of all time. Made on roughly a $19 million budget, the movie earned around $136 million internationally.In an exclusive clip below, (tied to today’s digital release of the film) Rogen and Goldberg admit that much of the credit should go to the animated team. Advertisement Twitter Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

Deepa Mehta on her film Anatomy of Violence about 2012 gang rape

first_img“Anatomy of Violence” has a raw feel, with largely improvised scenes in New Delhi depicting the lives of the rapists from childhood onward. Some of them experience childhood trauma including molestation, rape and abuse by family members, as well as poverty. Advertisement “Anatomy of Violence,” which starts screening at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox on Friday, is a fictional dramatization of the lives of the rapists. Advertisement Deepa Mehta was in New Delhi visiting her mother in 2012 when news broke of a horrific gang rape there. “I think it was the second day where I thought, ‘I really don’t want to go back, put the script together and cast professional actors from Bollywood and do a film about the rapists,’ because it felt dishonest because what was evolving in front of me was very organic,” she said. “Yes, this is a very particular story, the context is the gang rape that happened in India in 2012, but it’s totally universal,” said Mehta. “It happened in Brazil a few months ago, it happens in Canada all the time. “And let’s not kid ourselves, rape knows no class — rich people rape — it knows no geographic boundaries. It is based on patriarchy, power, misogyny, how we bring up our kids. It’s the lack of equality, that’s what we have to talk about.”By Victoria Ahearn – The Canadian Press “I do hope that it brings up discussion about how society is complicit in how we bring up our children, the kind of education they have, the glass ceiling and how important equality is,” said the writer-director of the Oscar-nominated “Water.” “What was horrific about the whole process was that they threw the young couple out of the bus naked and it took some time for the police to come and get them.” The intent is to initiate a dialogue about the systemic issues, like misogyny and patriarchy, that lead to such violence and breed such individuals, said the acclaimed Indo-Canadian filmmaker. Mehta said she also hopes to elicit a sense of empathy for the rapists. “You have to own up to it, otherwise there will always be the monsters, and monsters are so easy to dismiss. But if the monster is your brother, that’s a problem.” Login/Register With:center_img The film also gives a dramatized look at the life of the victim but doesn’t depict the actual rape. “I just think that if they hadn’t been brought up the way they were, that girl would not be a victim, she would not be dead. That’s food for thought, so why are people afraid of feeling that we’re responsible for them being the way they are? It’s also not just a film about what’s going on in India, she added. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment “I don’t feel compassion for them because they made a choice and they have to be responsible for that choice and that choice is a horrific, brutal choice,” she said. Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student, was raped and beaten by six men for hours on a moving bus she was on with a male friend. She died two weeks later as a result of massive injuries sustained in the attack. Facebook “I have no desire to re-victimize the victim,” said Mehta. “It’s not about that poor young woman. It’s about what we make, these guys, these brutal rapists.” Advertisement “There’s something that’s so visceral about this experience, about the thought of a young woman in a moving bus being gang-raped, and the bus is going around an area of Delhi, passing six police posts and nothing happens,” Mehta, who grew up in New Delhi, said in a recent interview. Mehta said she initially wanted to make a scripted feature and went to New Delhi to hold improv sessions to come up with storylines. But as they started filming the improv workshops, she realized the material was too powerful to abandon. Twitterlast_img read more

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Season 3 With Alexa Davalos Rufus

first_imgSeason 3 of Amazon’s alt-World-War-II-timeline drama The Man in the High Castle has started filming in metro Vancouver with Eric Overmyer as the new showrunner.Creator Frank Sponitz parted ways with High Castle midway through season 2, leading to a couple of unexpected production shutdowns in Vancouver and a much longer shooting schedule last year. But all’s well that streams well.Amazon stated that streaming of season 2 the weekend before last Christmas was the best weekend debut of any of its scripted original series to date.I’d be smiling too, if… Oh, wait. I was smiling. #TheBandisBackTogether #HighCastle #highcastleseason3— Joel de la Fuente (@joeldelafuente) June 25, 2017 LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Based on Philip K. Dick’s award-winning novel, The Man in the High Castle imagines an alternate reality circa 1962 where the Japanese and Germans won World War II and divided the United States into three regions — the west coast as the Japanese Pacific States, the Rockies as a neutral zone and the east coast as the Greater Nazi Reich.READ MORE Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more


first_img Facebook Shaping songs and scores for screen-based stories requires more than talent. It demands collaboration, versatility and a keen sensitivity to subtle shifts in tone – in other words, a “fresh” vision that generates an “unconventional impact” on storytelling onscreen.We are excited to announce this year’s talented music creators in the Slaight Music Residency, who possess these skills in spades. On Monday, July 17, they will join residents in both the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program and the CBC Actors Conservatory. For the first time all of these three programs’ start dates align, which will enhance collaboration and further build our creative community.Since 2012, the Slaight Music Residency has inspired and launched 28 exceptional Canadian musical talents into our onscreen industry. Alumni of the Slaight Music Residency have achieved critical recognition and achievement awards, scoring more than 40 features, 18 TV series/docs and movies of the week. As Kathryn Emslie, Chief Programs Officer, CFC, noted at the recent Slaight Music Residency Showcase, this program’s alumni are “winning awards, traveling around the world, being seen as valued collaborators and professionals, and creating meaningful, exciting and commercial work.” Twitter Jonathan Kawchuk is an award-winning composer from Alberta. He has scored the feature films, Memento Mori (National Film Board of Canada), for which he was nominated for a 2017 Alberta Film and Television Award in the category of Best Original Musical Score (Non-fiction Over 30 Minutes), and Clara (Serendipity Point Films), as well as the Norwegian documentary web series, Fra Ungdommen, and a video feature for Vogue Italia. Kawchuk has experience writing internationally for multiple short films, theatre projects and sound installations. As a technician, he worked on albums for Nico Muhly and Ben Frost, and as an assistant sound tech for the Philip Glass Ensemble on Music in 12 Parts, in London. Kawchuk also is signed to Paper Bag Records as a recording artist. For his debut album, he lived and recorded in natural environments across Europe, North America and Asia. Kawchuk studied at multiple institutions and completed his Bachelor of Music, Honours, First Class, at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. In addition to his formal education, he has held a recording internship in Iceland, learned gamelan in Indonesia, and studied wildlife field recording in England under Chris Watson (Frozen Planet, Nova). Advertisement Lora Bidner is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter and film composer. She won 1st Prize, Best Original Score in the 2016 SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers and Young Audio Visual Composers, for her original score written for the animated short, Missing. Bidner’s original song, “3,000 Volts,” was also nominated for Best Story Song in the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards, held in November 2016. Bidner is signed to New York-based publisher, Memory Lane Music Group. Her critically acclaimed nine-track 2015 album, To The North, touches on themes of human pathos, self-discovery and folklore. Hosting two sold-out album release parties in Ottawa and Toronto, To the North received radio play on CBC Radio One and attention from media outlets such as Exclaim!, Huffington Post, Ottawa Showbox and Apt 613. As a performing artist, Bidner has shared the stage with Juno-awarded/nominated artists, including SoCalled, Craig Cardiff, Justin Nozuka, Lynn Miles, Jim Bryson, Jill Barber, Danny Michel, Hannah Georgas and Dar Williams. Bidner completed her Bachelor of Music at Carleton University and a Masters in Music Technology and Digital Media at the University of Toronto. Advertisement Virginia Kilbertus is a composer for film, television and video games. She has worked with numerous prominent orchestras and ensembles in North America and Europe, including the Budapest Art Orchestra and Hilary Skewes studio orchestra at the renowned Air Studios in London, England. Kilbertus has scored multiple short films and video games by emerging filmmakers and game designers, and mentored with Canadian screen composer Rob Carli. Kilbertus has continued to work with Carli and Jim McGrath. Her credits include work on Darken, directed by Audrey Cummings, and Tulips, Love, Honour and a Bike, by Mike van Diem, as well as original scores for the shorts, Without Arms, Irse, Una Ultima Noche, and the Easy Trigger indie video game, Westernland: Dust to Dust. Kilbertus holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from McGill University, where she graduated with a citation for Outstanding Achievement in Composition and was awarded the prestigious Helmut Blume Memorial Scholarship. She also holds a Master of Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games from Berklee College of Music. Sarah Slean is a Juno- and Gemini-nominated songwriter and recording artist with a multifaceted career spanning more than two decades. Signed to Atlantic Records at 19 years old, she has since released 11 albums in more than 10 countries worldwide, toured North America, Europe and Scandinavia, and shared the stage with artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Bryan Ferry, Alanis Morrissette, Feist, Daniel Lanois and Andrew Bird. Slean is an accomplished composer, penning scores for all of her own albums, as well as other pop artists (e.g., Hayden, Trent Severn, Song for Africa), classical ensembles and dance companies. She has performed her songs and scores with renowned string quartets with orchestras in Canada and internationally (including on the TEDGlobal stage in Edinburgh). Her 2011 album, Land & Sea, featuring her scores for a 21-piece orchestra, was dubbed “a masterpiece” by The Montreal Gazette and an “awe-inspiring panorama of the mature poet and musician” by The Toronto Star. Classically trained since she was five years old, Slean routinely collaborates with cutting-edge contemporary classical ensembles like The Art of Time, and has been invited to sing world premieres by Canada’s award-winning composers, Christos Hatzis and Glenn Buhr. A voracious reader and lover of the arts, she has published two volumes of poetry, starred in short films and a Gemini Award-nominated movie musical, and held numerous exhibitions of her paintings. Her latest album,Metaphysics, was released in 2017.. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Certainly, this incoming group is already well on their way. Their impressive credits span diverse media – film, television, documentary, theatre, gaming, art installations, digital media, classical ensembles and their own albums.MEET THEM HERE! Login/Register With:last_img read more

Nuit Blanches new frontier Scarborough

first_img Twitter Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Alyssa Fearon will curate the brand-new Scarborough portion of Nuit Blanche next year. “There’s a lot of resilience, a lot of creativity. That’s what I want to illuminate – the great things that are there already,” she says. (TORONTO STAR / BERNARD WEIL) Login/Register With:center_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Nuit Blanche has travelled broad-ranging turf in its nearly a dozen years, from spectacle to activism and everything in between. Next year, it ranges farther than it ever has: To Scarborough, where a sizeable chunk of the annual overnight art event will touch down at dusk on Sept. 29, 2018.If Alyssa Fearon, the Scarborough segment’s newly named curator, has her way, Nuit’s move will break ground in more ways than one.“You always hear about Scarborough as a place that’s underprivileged, that’s at risk, that’s a ‘priority,’” she says. “I really think that does a disservice to what’s happening there. There’s a lot of resilience, a lot of creativity. That’s what I want to illuminate — the great things that are there already.” Nuit Blanche, Scarborough edition, will centre around its Civic Centre, which will serve as a hub in much the same way as Nathan Philips Square does for the downtown core. The two events will take place the same night.READ MORE Facebooklast_img read more