Trudeau embrace of TPP could hurt tough NAFTA talks with Trump experts

first_imgOTTAWA – It was Justin Trudeau’s most Harperesque moment — opting not to go along just to get along with 10 other Pacific Rim nations determined to salvage the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Vietnam.Earlier this week, the prime minister hit the brakes on throwing Canada’s full support behind the proposed “TPP 11,” a salvage of the larger pact that President Donald Trump killed when he withdrew U.S. support earlier this year. Trudeau’s muted enthusiasm for a quick deal triggered the harshest barrage of international criticism he’s ever faced.Much of the outrage over Canada’s sudden outlier status — a position it frequently occupied under the Stephen Harper Conservatives — emanated from Down Under.An Australian television station cited sources who said, “the Canadians screwed everybody.” “Justin Trudeau sabotages Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper flatly declared in a headline.Late Friday, the talks had made enough progress for Canada to declare a modest victory, but it was a far cry from the “deal in principle” Japan’s economy minister was trumpeting the day before.Once the headlines faded, the strategic calculation behind why the prime minister decided to slow things down came into sharp focus: jumping quickly into that trade deal would have weakened Canada’s hand in renegotiating NAFTA with an even harder-nosed Trump administration.That view came from some unlikely sources, including some former Harper-era Conservatives who were intimately involved in the original negotiation of the TPP, the Canada-EU free trade deal known as CETA, and many other deals of varying sizes.“Canada’s response is not surprising, given all (previous) outcomes were negotiated with the dominant U.S. economy at the table,” said Adam Taylor, a former aide to Conservative trade minister Ed Fast and a principal at Export Action Global, an Ottawa-based trade consultancy.“It now makes sense to step back, evaluate Canada’s long-term offensive and defensive interests and adjust the TPP to present-day realities.”The U.S. economy accounted for more 60 per cent of the combined GDP of the TPP’s original 12 countries, which also include Mexico and Japan — the latter of which, along with Australia, has become one of the biggest boosters of a new, post-Trump TPP.Despite its rejection of the Pacific Rim pact, U.S. negotiators have brought significant chunks of TPP text to the NAFTA renegotiations as a template to advance progress. But a massive gap has emerged between the U.S. and its two North American partners. The U.S. wants higher American content in automobiles and wants to do away with Canada’s supply management system in agriculture.“From autos and manufacturing to agriculture and culture, Canada has significant skin in the game and should take the time necessary to get it right,” Taylor said in an email to The Canadian Press.“Negotiating by calendar, stopwatch or trying to shoehorn announcements into international summits for logistical ease is antithetical to strategic long-term planning and goes against Canadian interests.”Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa law professor specializing in e-commerce, made clear in a series of Twitter posts that the TPP could influence Canada’s success in the NAFTA talks.“My guess would be the NAFTA talks make concessions on auto and agriculture incredibly difficult as TPP could undermine those negotiations,” said Geist. “TPP was not (the) Liberals’ trade deal. CETA was top priority, then NAFTA.”Some say that if Trudeau’s tough stance towards the TPP is being influenced by NAFTA and Trump, then that’s just not a good thing.“If we are blocking for fear of annoying the U.S., that seems silly to me,” said Derek Burney, a former chief of staff and Canadian ambassador to the U.S. under former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.Burney and Mulroney have both briefed Trudeau’s current Liberal cabinet on their NAFTA strategy.Burney called Trump’s decision to leave the TPP “a major, geo-strategic blunder” that will only empower China. He also said Canada needs to explore “all promising avenues” to increase trade with countries such as China, India and Vietnam.“I do not see how our stance will help us forge closer ties with other Asians in the group, notably Japan, the principal advocate,” said Burney.“Our own interests should, in any event, be the paramount consideration and not tactics in other negotiations.”Lawrence Herman, a Toronto-based international trade lawyer, said it was “puzzling” to see Canada’s reluctance to pursue the TPP with its 10 remaining partners.“With a serious impasse in the NAFTA negotiations looming, it’s clearly in Canada’s strategic interests to pursue other options, TPP being the most obvious,” he said.“Don’t we want to show Trump and company that all of Canada’s eggs aren’t in the NAFTA basket?”last_img read more

Painting of BC lake by Winston Churchill sells at auction for over

first_imgCALGARY – A painting of Emerald Lake in the Rocky Mountains by Winston Churchill has sold at auction for much more than expected.Churchill painted the work during a visit to the area near Field, British Columbia, in 1929 in the years before he became prime minister.The heavily damaged painting was initially listed on the Sotheby’s of London auction site and was estimated to sell between C$11,000 and C$15,000.The painting sold for C$87,257.“My family and I are obviously delighted at the sale price,” owner Bill Murray wrote in an email to The Canadian Press from his home in Devon, England, Tuesday.“Even in its damaged state, it is a wonderful painting and the link with Sir Winston’s visit to your area in 1929, is just about unique.”The painting was a gift from Churchill to Murray’s father, Sgt. Edmund Murray, who was his bodyguard from 1950 to 1965.“Having read all the pre-sale reports in the Canadian media, I am not really surprised that this great painting attained such a high figure. Churchill paintings are much sought-after,” Murray said.“Had it not been damaged, it would have fetched a much higher price and perhaps ended up in a private collection in Russia or China, never to be seen again.”There’s no official word on who bought the painting or where it will ultimately end up, but Murray said he has his suspicions.“I am pretty sure that it will go to Canada, although Sotheby’s are very discreet when it comes to letting out information about the buyer, even to the seller.”The painting was originally mislabelled as Lake Louise, Alta., but Calgary historian David Finch saw a photo of it and let it be known it was Emerald Lake.“To be clear, I’m the obnoxious Canadian who challenged the location of the painting, came to be involved but I am not an expert at painting or Churchill history — an innocent bystander,” said Finch.Finch said Churchill had been painting for years, a hobby he picked up to cope with depression. He said the trip to Canada and the U.S. gave him a chance to escape his troubles at home.“He’d been run out of England with his tail between his legs. His government had fallen. He’d lost his own seat. He was desperate for an escape from all his trials and tribulations so he and his brother and his two sons came on a tour of North America,” said Finch.Finch said he’s no art critic but Churchill painted a lot of paintings over the years and this likely isn’t his best work.“I don’t think much of it but somebody obviously does to pay that kind of money for it,” said Finch.— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitterlast_img read more

Philippe Couillard mulls early election start extending length of campaign report

first_imgQUEBEC – Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard may decide to trigger Quebec’s general election campaign several days earlier than expected, according to Radio-Canada.The CBC’s French-language network reported that sources close to the premier say he’s considering extending the campaign in order to throw Francois Legault’s surging Coalition Avenir Quebec into the political arena for a longer stretch.While the vote would still be held on Oct. 1 as planned, the length of the campaign would be extended from the minimum 33 days to as much as the maximum 39 days.It had long been expected the campaign would begin Aug. 29 — a Wednesday.But the new speculation has Couillard calling the vote on the weekend before, or even as early as Aug. 23.As for the man who will decide, he wasn’t showing his cards Tuesday as he walked into a cabinet meeting in Quebec City.“The guarantee is there will be an election on Oct. 1, I guarantee that,” Couillard said. “It’s the first promise I’m making — it will be held.”In response to the rumour, Coalition Leader Francois Legault said he welcomed an early start.“I look forward to campaigning with my great team, presenting our ideas to Quebecers and turning the page on 15 years of Liberal government,” Legault tweeted Tuesday.“Whenever you want, Mr. Couillard.”At a news conference later in the day, Legault accused Couillard of wanting to call the election earlier so “he can try to demonize me for longer.”Legault said he can’t wait for the launch so he can start debating issues such as health, education and the economy.“If he wants to call the election tomorrow, I’d be happy,” the Coalition leader added in Saguenay, Que. “The bus is ready. Everything is ready. Our candidates, our platform, our finances. Everything is ready, so the earlier the better for me.”last_img read more

Cold Water Cowboys fishing boat destroyed by fire at Newfoundland wharf

first_imgTWILLINGATE, N.L. – A fishing boat featured on the reality TV series “Cold Water Cowboys” was consumed by a dramatic fire that broke out Monday morning at wharf in Twillingate, N.L.Fire officials said they expected the Sebastian Sails to sink by the end of the day.Jim Hall of the Twillingate Fire Department told The Canadian Press shortly after 2 p.m. that the coast guard was on hand to help control the blaze that had spread to the wharf near a fish plant.Hall said the fire was contained, and all other vessels on the wharf had been moved to safety, but the ship probably would not last the next few hours.“She’s almost ready to sink,” Hall said.The Sebastian Sails was one of several Newfoundland boats featured on the TV series that aired for four seasons on Discovery Channel Canada.Deborah Bourden, who operates the nearby Anchor Inn Hotel and Suites, said plumes of smoke were seen coming from the Sebastian Sails.Bourden said explosions were heard and it’s believed they originated from propane tanks on the longliner.“At one point the flames were about 25 feet high and there was a lot of black smoke,” she said. “I heard the explosion and you knew something was going on and it wasn’t good.”Bourden said the town’s fire department responded not long after the fire broke out just before 6 a.m.“They had to move several longliners that were close to it (the fire) off from the wharf. The pier was also on fire right next to the boat … Luckily it wasn’t one of the fish plant buildings.”She said the fish plant is closed and has been for the last two summers.last_img read more

Edmonton public schools to review its books to weed out list due

first_imgEDMONTON – Edmonton Public Schools says it’s taking down its book review site after a leading Indigenous author questioned why some of his graphic novels were on a not-recommended list.David Alexander Robertson, a Governor General-award-winning author who lives in Winnipeg, said he went through the Edmonton Public School Board’s “Books to Weed Out” section after he saw a post on Twitter calling the list a great resource.Robertson said he was disappointed to see his graphic novel series, “7 Generations,” on the list.“There’s a lot of Indigenous writers who are sharing their truths to own those stories about the difficult parts of our history that sometimes we don’t want to talk about, and these are the books we should be bringing into the classroom,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of work over the last decade and spoken to tens of thousands in classrooms across Canada using my books.“It’s pretty troubling to me to see that an entire public school system is not recommending some really valid, important texts — and not just mine, but from other writers as well.”Robertson’s four-book series, written for Grade 9 to 12 students, follows the story of an Aboriginal family from the early 19th century to the present day.On the book review site, the series was not recommended for use in Edmonton public schools because it contains “sensitive subject matter and visual inferencing of abuse regarding residential schools.”The review added that the books “require pre- and post-conversations with students” about the legacy of residential schools.“What is a school there for if they’re not going to have pre- and post-conversations about literature that begin in the classroom? That’s the whole point,” said Robertson, who won a Governor General’s literary award for his book, “When We Were Alone,” for younger students.Officials from the Edmonton Public School Board said in an emailed statement late Monday that the site was created to support teachers in selecting resources that reflect diverse First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture as well as identifying literature that may inaccurately portray Indigenous peoples.“Some books were highlighted for a number of reasons, including the ways in which they portrayed First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples, imagery or language,” said Carrie Rosa, spokesperson for Edmonton Public Schools.“The intention was not to suggest these books be made unavailable, but to help educators make informed decisions around how they could use the resources.”Rosa said the language used for the title of the section did not reflect its intent.“For this reason and the fact that the site is now several years out of date, we will be taking the site down for review,” she said.Robertson said taking down the site is a start.“You need to look at who is making those decisions and why,” he wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “Many of the books on this list were #ownvoices books. Portraying truth. I’m Cree and a third-generation residential school survivor. My series is a series of hard truths that every Canadian should learn.”His concerns came less than a week after Alberta’s education minister apologized for an online social studies course asking students about the positive effects of residential schools.Students were asked: “A positive effect of residential schools was?” The four multiple choice options listed were: that children were away from home, they learned to read, they became civilized and they were taught manners.The question prompted a complaint from a student taking the course from the St. Paul Alternative Education Centre.Education Minister David Eggen apologized to the student, the student’s family and anyone else who had been exposed to the course.The province ordered school divisions to thoroughly review all courses offered to ensure they don’t include insensitive material.last_img read more

Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins rally behind city in wake of synagogue attack

first_imgVANCOUVER – Sidney Crosby says his team is standing with its city after an attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh left 11 people dead and six others wounded.Speaking with reporters ahead of a game against the Vancouver Canucks last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain and Nova Scotia native says the team’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.He says the team will “stick together and rally around” those affected.Head coach Mike Sullivan echoed Crosby’s statements, describing what happened on Saturday as a “terrible tragedy.”The mass shooting took place during a baby-naming ceremony at the Tree of Life synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighbourhood, and American officials said one person — identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers of Pittsburgh — is in custody.Bowers appears to have made virulent anti-Semitic posts on a social media platform popular with far-right extremists — including one made shortly before the attack.last_img read more

BC MLAs urge Trudeau to call byelection immediately in BurnabySouth

first_imgOTTAWA — Four NDP provincial politicians from British Columbia are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to immediately call a byelection in the federal riding of Burnaby South, where federal New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh wants to run for Parliament.The letter, signed by Anne Kang, Katrina Chen, Raj Chouhan and Janet Routledge, says the politicians are disappointed that Trudeau has yet to call a race in the riding vacated by former B.C. NDP MP Kennedy Stewart.Stewart is now the mayor of Vancouver.In late October, opposition leaders also joined forces to press Trudeau to call byelections in all four vacant federal ridings in the House of Commons.Four leaders — the Conservatives’ Andrew Scheer, New Democrats’ Jagmeet Singh, Greens’ Elizabeth May and the Bloc Quebecois’ Mario Beaulieu sent a letter to Trudeau calling out his decision to call a byelection in just one of the four ridings.Trudeau has said the other three ridings have been vacant for “mere weeks” and that he’ll call byelections for them in due course.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

first_imgBURNABY, B.C. — Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is facing calls from within the party for a stronger stance on climate change as he defends his support of the $40-billion LNG Canada project in northern British Columbia.Svend Robinson, the New Democrat candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour in the general election, opposes any new oil and gas infrastructure. Julia Sanchez, running for the party in a byelection in Outremont in Montreal, disapproves of the use of public funds for such projects.Singh is seeking his first seat in Parliament in a byelection in Burnaby South. The leader opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would increase tanker traffic departing from the Metro Vancouver city, but he approves of liquefied natural gas pipeline and export facility.“The LNG project has demonstrated some clear, positive steps around consultation,” Singh said. “There was an exhaustive and pretty thorough consultation around Indigenous communities, First Nations communities and elected bands and chiefs.”“There are people standing up and defending their land who have the right to express those concerns, and there’s still ongoing work that needs be addressed before this project moves ahead.”Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose a Coastal GasLink pipeline that would lead to LNG Canada’s export terminal in Kitimat. RCMP arrested 14 people at a blockade last month, sparking national protests.Police later reached a deal with the chiefs to allow pipeline work to continue. Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations bands along the pipeline.Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls. If he wins the byelection Monday and remains leader, he is likely to encounter calls from his caucus for a tougher stance on climate change.Robinson said he returned to politics after 15 years because of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations panel that assesses scientific evidence on global warming. The report concluded temperatures were likely to rise 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 unless drastic action is taken.“The most important issue facing our planet and our country today is climate change. We have to effectively put the country on the same kind of wartime footing that we did at the time of the last world war to fight climate change,” Robinson said.“If we are to do that, there can be no new oil and gas infrastructure.”He said his specific concerns about LNG Canada include the increase in emissions associated with the project, the environmental impact of fracking and the importance of respect for hereditary Indigenous leadership.Robinson would not say if he tried to change Singh’s mind on the project. But he said he hopes to influence the NDP’s fall election platform, and if he wins a seat, he will continue to bring his position forward around the caucus table.Julia Sanchez said climate is the key issue she hears about on the doorstep while campaigning in Outremont, the riding previously held by former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.She has proposed a vision she calls the “Great Transition,” which urges an end to subsidies for the oil and gas industry and for public investment in new infrastructure. It also recommends more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets.Sanchez said the NDP has made progress on its position on climate change over the past two years, but the party could go further. She noted LNG Canada benefits from $275 million in federal funding.“I have a hard time seeing how we can justify making massive investments in projects in the oil and gas industry,” she said. “That means we’re not doing investments in renewable energy or … in supporting the transition of workers from the oil and gas industry to other industries.”LNG Canada spokeswoman Susannah Pierce said the project has been designed to achieve the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any large-scale liquefied natural gas facility in the world — about 50 per cent lower than the average facility.The UN report models pathways to keep global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees C, including one scenario that says natural gas use must grow while coal declines, Pierce said in a statement.“Natural gas is clearly a part of the solution, as is natural gas shipped as LNG to Asia from B.C.,” Pierce said.Simon Donner, a geography professor and climate-change expert at the University of B.C., said LNG Canada’s emissions represent a fraction of Canada’s 2030 target. But the project would operate for decades, making it harder for the country to meet longer-term targets, he said.Singh has also faced pushback from the public for his support of LNG Canada. A protester recently interrupted a debate in Burnaby South to accuse Singh of “turning his back on Aboriginal people,” and the leader calmly listened and offered to speak with the man after the event.Singh likely supports the project to align himself with the province’s minority NDP government, said Richard Johnston, a University of B.C. political science professor.“He needs his friends,” Johnston said. “It means that the government of B.C. can be unembarrassed in supporting him in his attempt to get elected to Parliament.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.Laura Kane, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Toronto hospital says surgery program will help trans patients live true lives

first_imgTORONTO — Janet Macbeth says “to be trans is to wait.”The 40-year-old waited until her wife was pregnant with their second child in 2017 to come out as transgender. Then she waited for her relatives, friends and professional colleagues at Walpole Island First Nation’s Heritage Centre to adjust to her gender identity.After starting hormone therapy at a trans-health centre in London, about a two-hour drive from her home in Wallaceburg, Ont., Macbeth waited the requisite one year to be approved for gender-affirming surgery under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) in spring 2018. She waited several months to book a date for the procedure, which was several more months away.But on Monday, Macbeth’s wait was finally over as she became one of the first patients to undergo vaginoplasty at a Canadian public hospital, according to medical officials.“For trans people, not everyone gets surgery … but for those who decide to get the surgery, it’s a life-saving treatment and medically necessary,” said Dr. Yonah Krakowsky, a urologist and medical lead of the Transition-Related Surgery Program at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.“Their ability to live true lives really depends on our ability to do our work.”Krakowsky said Monday marks the first time vaginoplasty, a surgery that constructs a vagina for trans patients, has been performed in Ontario in more than two decades.Previously, he said, the only options for Canadians seeking trans-related surgical care were a private clinic in Montreal or to look abroad.While OHIP compensates out-of-province providers for some procedures, patients must cover their own travel costs, said Krakowsky, which often means they have to recover without the support of their loved ones. The distance also makes it harder for patients to receive follow-up care, which is associated with better health outcomes, he said.In 2016, the Ontario government changed its policies to make it easier for people to qualify for gender-affirming surgery, creating a backlog of patients waiting for care, Krakowsky said.He said Women’s College Hospital launched the Transition-Related Surgery Program in 2018 to help fill that gap, offering services including mastectomies, chest contouring and breast augmentation; the surgical removal of ovaries and testicles; plastic surgery of the scrotum and penile and testicular implants.But it took more than a year of training involving doctors from several departments, nurses and social workers for the program to prepare for its first three vaginoplasty surgeries this week, said Krakowsky.This effort speaks to the specialized knowledge required to perform vaginoplasty, which is considered “the jewel” of gender-affirming surgeries, said Dr. Marci Bowers, a world-renowned American gynecologist and surgeon who helped train the team at Women’s College Hospital.“It’s a surgery that I’ve often said takes as much art as it does science,” Bowers said while in Toronto to assist with this week’s surgeries. “You have to be comfortable crossing disciplines, and you obviously have to have a very thorough knowledge of pelvic anatomy.”Bowers said the surgeries at Women’s College Hospital will use a modified penile inversion, in which the surgeon creates a vaginal cavity between the rectum and urethra, which is then lined with skin from the shaft of the penis or scrotum.The procedure involves elements of urology, gynecology, general surgery and plastic surgery, said Bowers, as well as a dash of “artistry” to construct the clitoris, labia and pubic mound from existing tissues.While the program is still in its early days, Krakowsky hopes the teaching hospital’s multidisciplinary approach will help establish a model that can be adopted by medical institutions across the country.“I think the long-term goal is for this to be available in every province,” he said. “There’s a clear need. There are patients waiting for medically necessary surgery that’s not available.”While she could have had her surgery at a private clinic months ago, Macbeth said she was willing to wait a little longer to be part of a program with so much potential to better the health of Canada’s trans community.“This is just the beginning,” Macbeth said in an interview last week. “Canada now has two (trans-related surgical centres), so we probably need to work on the third one, the fourth one. There’s more trans people out there than people realize.”All trans women are women, she emphasized, regardless of whether they decide to pursue gender-affirming treatment. While no medical procedure could change her identity as a mother, a worker or a woman, Macbeth said her surgery will help her feel more at home in her body.“This is something that’s necessary for me,” Macbeth said. “It reduces the dysphoria I have, this conflict between myself and my body.“It will help align myself with who I am, and in general terms, make me a lot healthier.”Adina Bresge, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Crown says Mountie on trial for manslaughter made all the wrong choices

first_imgTHOMPSON, Man. — A Crown prosecutor has argued that a northern Manitoba RCMP officer on trial for manslaughter in an on-duty shooting was driven by the desire to make an arrest — no matter the cost.In closing arguments today, the prosecutor said Const. Abram Letkeman made only wrong choices in the lead-up to his firing shots into a Jeep driven by Steven Campbell.Court in Thompson, Man., has heard 12 bullet casings were found on the scene and Campbell was hit at least nine times.The defence says all police officers have made mistakes and Letkeman thought his life was in danger.The Mountie had tried to pull over Campbell’s Jeep in November 2015 for suspected drunk driving, but it turned into a pursuit that ended in a collision.Letkeman testified he walked in front of the Jeep and it started moving towards him, so he was forced to fire. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Gordon Ramsay Helps The Unemployed On Hotel GB

first_imgChannel 4’s new show in the UK, “Hotel GB”, features an all-star cast working with unemployed people looking for jobs in the hospitality industry.Hotel GBFrom “Hotel GB” will be the first ever hotel staffed by Channel 4’s most well-known and popular faces. For one week only, the stars will take over a hotel and staff it with unemployed people hoping for a break, in an attempt to show that hard work and a good attitude are the best way to get on.“With Gordon Ramsay running the restaurant, Mary Portas taking charge of the rooms and a host of other celebrities working at the hotel, or visiting as guests, the week of Hotel GB promises to be an exciting one.“For the Channel 4 stars, the challenge is to ensure that Hotel GB makes as much money for The Prince’s Trust and The Springboard Charity as possible, and to get their trainees into full-time employment by the end of the week.“Gordon and Mary will throw their teams straight in at the deep end, and with all of them relatively new to the job, it is going to be tough. Each day the Hotel will open its doors to guests that need to be checked in, served food in the restaurant, and entertained in the bar. There will be breakfasts to make, rooms to clean, complaints to manage, requests for the concierge and plenty of surprises. The teams will be put the test, and at the end of the week, the one which raises the most funds will be crowned as winner.”Among the other stars taking part are Gok Wan, Phil Spencer, Kirstie Allsopp and Katie Piper.“We are all putting ourselves on the line to help kick-start careers for young people in the service industry,” said Ramsay.Hotel GB will air on Channel 4, starting on 1st October. Find out more here.last_img read more

Pretty Little Liars Star Takes On Role As Lupus Awareness Advocate

first_imgAs a successful actor and star of ABC Family’s hit television show Pretty Little Liars, Ian Harding has a busy schedule. When he is not on set, the 27-year-old uses his success and newfound fame for a larger purpose: to advocate for lupus.Harding has teamed up with the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) to raise awareness about lupus, an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.The spring issue of Lupus Now magazine, published by the LFA, highlights how Harding balances his thriving career and uses his celebrity to help young women recognize lupus and seek out answers and support. Harding talks openly about his connection with the disease, and how his mother’s diagnosis in 1994 shaped their lives, but didn’t inhibit his opportunities. The article discusses Harding’s personal mission to raise awareness and deliver the message that lupus is a daily struggle; however, it can be lessened through the support of friends and family.Harding and his sister were young children when his mother was diagnosed. Looking back, he explains that if he were more aware of the physical demands of lupus, he would have been a greater help to his mother. “If I were a kid again and knew what this disease entailed, I would have asked her how I could help more,” says Harding.Today, Harding looks to extend his support to thousands of others who suffer from lupus and its brutal impact.“This may sound weird, but it just feels like it’s something that’s beatable if we stay on this path,” he says. “My biggest worry is that some people might give up. You can live with this disease. It’s a daily struggle, it’s terrible. But you can do it—just like my mom.”To read the complete article, or to order a subscription to Lupus Now magazine, go online to, contact your local LFA chapter, or call 866-4-THE-LFA. Published three times per year for people with lupus, their families, and health professionals, Lupus Now includes the latest information on new treatments, clinical trial updates, lifestyle and wellness features, personal stories, and more.last_img read more

Geena Davis Supports Study On Sexual Discrimination In Films

first_imgThe first-ever global study on female characters in popular films, launched yesterday, reveals deep-seated discrimination and pervasive stereotyping of women and girls by the international film industry.The study was commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, with support from UN Women and The Rockefeller Foundation and conducted by Stacy L. Smith (PhD) and her research team at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.The investigation analyses popular films across the most profitable countries and territories internationally, including: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, United States, United Kingdom, as well as UK-US collaborations.While women represent half of the world’s population, less than one third of all speaking characters in film are female. Less than a quarter of the fictional on-screen workforce is comprised of women (22.5 per cent). When they are employed, females are largely absent from powerful positions. Women represent less than 15 per cent of business executives, political figures, or science, technology, engineering, and/or math (STEM) employees.“The fact is – women are seriously under-represented across nearly all sectors of society around the globe, not just on-screen, but for the most part we’re simply not aware of the extent. And media images exert a powerful influence in creating and perpetuating our unconscious biases,” said Geena Davis, Founder & Chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “However, media images can also have a very positive impact on our perceptions. In the time it takes to make a movie, we can change what the future looks like. There are woefully few women CEOs in the world, but there can be lots of them in films. How do we encourage a lot more girls to pursue science, technology and engineering careers? By casting droves of women in STEM, politics, law and other professions today in movies.”Stereotyping also stifles women in prestigious professional posts. Male characters outnumber female characters as attorneys and judges (13 to 1), professors (16 to 1), and doctors (5 to 1). In contrast, the ratios tipped in the favour of females when it came to hypersexualization. Girls and women were over twice as likely as boys and men to be shown in sexualized attire, with some nudity, or thin.“Females bring more to society than just their appearance,” said Stacy L. Smith, the principal investigator. “These results illuminate that globally, we have more than a film problem when it comes to valuing girls and women. We have a human problem.”While the report shows how discriminatory attitudes that affect women and girls are reflected in film worldwide, it also points to some significant differences among countries. The frontrunners (UK, Brazil, South Korea) feature female characters in 38 – 35.9 per cent of all speaking roles on-screen. UK-US collaborations and Indian films are at the bottom of the pack, clocking in at 23.6 per cent and 24.9 per cent female respectively. Half of South Korean films featured a female lead or co-lead, as did 40 per cent of the films analysed from China, Japan and Australia.“Twenty years ago, 189 Governments adopted the Beijing Platform for Action, the international roadmap for gender equality, which called on media to avoid stereotypical and degrading depictions of women. Two decades on, this study is a wake-up call that shows that the global film industry still has a long way to go,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.“With their powerful influence on shaping the perceptions of large audiences, the media are key players for the gender equality agenda. With influence comes responsibility. The industry cannot afford to wait another 20 years to make the right decisions,” she added.Across the films assessed, women comprised nearly one-in-four film-makers behind the camera (directors, writers, producers). Yet when films featured a woman director or writer, the number of female characters on-screen increased significantly. One obvious remedy to gender disparity on-screen is to hire more female film-makers. Another approach is calling on film executives to have a heightened sensitivity to gender imbalance and stereotyping on-screen.“The evidence is even clearer now that what we see on-screen reflects the off-screen realities of women’s lives all too well,” said Sundaa Bridgett-Jones, Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “As we look to the future, The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to expanding opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity. For this to happen, we need to move beyond tired stereotypes that constrain women and men from realizing their full human potential.”Key findings of the study include: • Only 30.9 per cent of all speaking characters are female. • A few countries are doing better than the global norm: UK (37.9 per cent), Brazil (37.1 per cent), and South Korea (35.9 percent). However, these percentages fall well below population norms of 50 per cent. Two samples fall behind: US/UK hybrid films (23.6 per cent) and Indian films (24.9 per cent) show female characters in less than one-quarter of all speaking roles. • Females are missing in action/adventure films. Just 23 per cent of speaking characters in this genre are female. • Out of a total of 1,452 film-makers with an identifiable gender, 20.5 per cent were female and 79.5 per cent were male. Females comprised 7 per cent of directors, 19.7 per cent of writers, and 22.7 per cent of producers across the sample. • Films with a female director or female writer attached had significantly more girls and women on-screen than did those without a female director or writer attached. • Sexualization is the standard for female characters globally: girls and women are twice as likely as boys and men to be shown in sexually revealing clothing, partially or fully naked, thin, and five times as likely to be referenced as attractive. Films for younger audiences are less likely to sexualize females than are those films for older audiences. • Teen females (13-20 years old) are just as likely as young adult females (21-39 years old) to be sexualized. • Female characters only comprise 22.5 per cent of the global film workforce, whereas male characters form 77.5 per cent. • Leadership positions pull male; only 13.9 per cent of executives and just 9.5 per cent of high-level politicians were women. • Across notable professions, male characters outnumbered their female counterparts as attorneys and judges (13 to 1), professors (16 to 1), medical practitioners (5 to 1), and in STEM fields (7 to 1).The full report is available here.Source:UN Womenlast_img read more

Angelina Jolie Speaks From Domiz Refugee Camp In Iraq

first_imgUNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie has spoken to journalists at Domiz refugee camp in Iraq.Angelina Jolie speaking to journalists at Domiz refugee camp in IraqCredit/Copyright: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell“In my country, when we speak of the Middle East we often focus on conflict and human suffering,” she said. “And it is true that countless families in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are suffering from conflict they personally have no part in, instability they cannot control, and extremism that they reject.“But on this visit I have been reminded, as I am every time I am here, of the truly extraordinary dignity, resilience, warmth, generosity and grace of the people of the Middle East.“And I want to thank the people of Iraq for their generosity towards Syrian refugees and displaced people, and in particular the KRI government, which is setting a model for refugee protection.“I’m happy have been here on Eid al-Fitr, and I wish the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, and families across this region and beyond, Eid Mubarak, or Jaznawa Piroz Bit.“I am in Iraq to mark World Refugee Day next week. On Tuesday, UNHCR will publish new figures showing that the numbers of displaced people, and the duration of their exile, are the highest they have ever been. At the same time political solutions seem completely lacking, leaving a void that humanitarian aid cannot fill.“Words like “unsustainable” don’t paint a picture of how desperate these times are.“This is my third visit to Domiz camp in six years. The vast majority of its inhabitants are Syrian women and children.“Their lives are on hold indefinitely because of the war. They cannot go back, they cannot move forward, and each year they have less to live on.“I met two mothers this morning, both of them widows. They both lost their husbands while living as refugees, to medical conditions that could normally have been treated.“And now they are both caring for young aged five 5 and 7 who also have life-threatening medical conditions.“When UNHCR’s Syria response was only 50 per cent funded last year, and this year it is only 17 per cent funded, there are terrible human consequences. We should be under no illusions about this.“When there is not even the bare minimum of aid, refugee families cannot receive adequate medical treatment, women and girls are left vulnerable to sexual violence, many children cannot go to school, and we squander the opportunity of being able to invest in refugees so that they can acquire new skills and support their families.“This is the picture in Iraq, in Syria, and wherever in the world you find refugees and displaced people today.The only answer is to end the conflicts that are forcing people to flee their homes – and for all governments to meet their responsibilities.“So this World Refugee Day I hope that people around the world will consider this larger picture:What this level and length of displacement says about our world being dangerously out of balance.What it will say about us if our response is to be selective about when we help, and when we are prepared to defend human rights.And what it will mean for the future if we are unable to provide enough basic humanitarian support for displaced people and unable to find any solutions to conflicts at the same time.“That is the situation today, but it is not hopeless.“There are millions of refugees and displaced people who want to return home and to work and start over – as I saw in Mosul yesterday, where brick by brick, with their own hands, they are rebuilding their homes.“There are countries that are keeping their borders open to refugees, despite all the pressures and challenges.“There are aid relief workers who are stretching the aid resources, somehow, to minimize loss of life and provide protection.“And there are people around the world who are more committed than ever to defending human rights and basic values.“So on World Refugee Day this year I hope that we can find the strength to find a better way forward together: so that we move into a new era of preventing conflict and reducing instability, rather than simply struggling to deal with its consequences.”last_img read more

Does loosening Cancon rules hobble Canadian TV creators

first_imgOn Sunday, Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany became the first Canadian to win a lead actor Emmy for her role on a Canadian series. But many homegrown TV creators worry she could be the last, given a recent change by Canada’s broadcast regulator.The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) revealed on Aug. 25 it was dropping the minimum certification points required for projects seeking access to funds that support Canadian independent productions.According to the CRTC, the decision provides “flexibility” for creators and could “facilitate the hiring … of non-Canadian actors or creators, who may increase a project’s attractiveness and visibility in international markets.” Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: But Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson says it’s a “vote of non-confidence.” Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Because its 2016 the Canadian film industrys gender gap

first_img Twitter When Canada’s Tatiana Maslany of the hit TV series Orphan Black won the Emmy for lead actress in a drama, she used her acceptance speech to remind the entertainment industry about a glaring problem.“I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the centre,” she announced.Maslany’s moment arrived almost a year after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implemented gender parity in his cabinet (“Because it’s 2015!”); six months after the National Film Board of Canada announced that 50 per cent of its productions would be by female filmmakers; and a week after TIFF hosted a vital Dialogues session called Women At The Helm: “Because it’s 2016!” Advertisement Advertisement The TIFF panel included representatives from other countries who outlined their initiatives for getting more women in the director’s chair and described the very real struggles in getting there.Sally Caplan, the head of production at Screen Australia, explained the multiple initiatives in place to achieve a 50/50 gender split in the films down under by 2018. The amazing Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, spelled out how she had already achieved gender parity in her country’s cinema.Then came Carolle Brabant, the executive director of Telefilm Canada, our primary funding body. Since spring, Telefilm had been hyping a major announcement.And Brabant delivered it: “Our intention is to have by 2020 a more diverse portfolio in terms of gender, in terms of cultural diversity and in terms of Indigenous representation.”That’s it. No initiatives. No specific targets. No ideas on how Telefilm plans to improve representation.Brabant sounded like that kid in math class who hadn’t done her homework, scrambling for an answer when the teacher called her to break down a linear equation. She latched onto the “50/50 by 2020” movement but left out the essential 50/50 part. Telefilm’s chief representative instead promised a “working group” that will meet this month to discuss how in four years it will achieve some vague sense of improved diversity (from almost none).“But that doesn’t mean anything,” says Maslany, when I report Telefilm’s some-sort-of-improvement plan to her.We’re at TIFF days after the panel, and just days before the Emmys. Maslany’s gearing up for the premiere of Two Lovers And A Bear, an Arctic-set drama about a turbulent love affair that opens this weekend. She walked into this interview vibrant and cheery, but her mood gave way to concerned and frustrated. She fought to find words.“It just baffles me,” she says. “It is really hard for women to get into rooms that men are freely flowing in and out of. There are weird stigmas around female directors, like they don’t have technical savvy. There’s just all this bullshit. It’s like from the fucking 50s.“This shouldn’t even be a conversation any more,” she adds. “How is there still reticence toward change? We shouldn’t have to get angry because it shouldn’t be happening. I think people are really scared to shift systems. It is such a male system, and it works and makes money.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With:last_img read more

Canadian musical Come From Away wins Tony Award for best direction

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: A complete list of this year’s Tony winners can be found below.2017 Tony Award winnersBest musical: Dear Evan HansenBest play: OsloBest book of a musical: Dear Evan HansenBest original score: Dear Evan HansenBest revival of a play: JitneyBest revival of a musical:  Hello, Dolly!Best actor, play: Kevin Kline, Present LaughterBest actress, play:​ Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2 Best actor, musical:​ Ben Platt, Dear Evan HansenBest actress, musical:​ Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!Best featured actor, play: Michael Aronov, OsloBest featured actress, play:​​ Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes​Best featured actor, musical: Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!Best featured actress, musical:​ Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan HansenBest scenic design, play: Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes WrongBest scenic design, musical:​ Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812Best costume design, play: Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little FoxesBest costume design, musical: Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!Best lighting design, play: Christopher Akerlind, IndecentBest lighting design, musical:​ Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812Best direction, play:​ Rebecca Taichman, IndecentBest direction, musical: Christopher Ashley, Come From AwayBest choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, BandstandBest orchestrations:​ Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan HansenWith files from Steven D’Souza and Jessica WongSOURCE:  CBC “If you want to learn, you’ve got to go to where some of the greatest hosts of all times have gotten their start. Carson, Crystal, Letterman. You’ve got to go to the Rock,” Goldberg said, just before the Come From Away company performed Welcome to the Rock from the musical.The cast of Come From Away, a Canadian-written musical about the Newfoundlanders who helped stranded passengers during 9/11, give a wave during their performance at the Tonys. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images) “What’s amazing is seeing that the story behind it resonates just as strongly with everyone who comes to it,”  Hein told CBC News in New York. “Over this six-year journey, the same story that inspired us is inspiring so many other people and that means the world.”Come From Away received seven Tony nominations in total, including best musical, best book of a musical and original score.All of those awards, however, went to the heartfelt Dear Evan Hansen, about a teenager with social anxiety disorder who becomes an unlikely hero following the suicide of a classmate.Producer Stacey Mindich and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen accept the award for best musical. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt won for best actor in a musical. Other winners included Oslo for best play and Hello, Dolly! for best revival of a musical.House of Cards star and Tony-winning actor Kevin Spacey hosted the evening, opening the show with a lighthearted number about the pains of helming the Tonys for the first time.Host Kevin Spacey performs onstage during his opening number, which included appearances by Whoopi Goldberg and Stephen Colbert. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images) Stephen Colbert, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg made cameo appearances to offer hosting advice. Goldberg included a shout-out to Newfoundland.Whoopi Goldberg made a reference to Newfoundland, where Come From Away is set, just before the cast from the musical took the stage for a performance. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images) Twittercenter_img The cast of Come From Away performs the number Welcome to the Rock onstage during the awards show. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images) “The people who gave their lives and the people who extended their hearts and their homes and were generous and kind at the very worst moments.”The feel-good hit, which has become the toast of the theatre scene since it officially opened on Broadway in March, was written by Canadian husband-and-wife team David Hein and Irene Sankoff.Irene Sankoff and David Hein attend the Tony Honours Cocktail Party celebrating the 2017 special award recipients at Sofitel Hotel June 5 in New York City. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images) Facebook The Canadian musical Come From Away won a Tony Award on Sunday for best direction, which went to American stage director Christopher Ashley.The production is based on real-life stories of people in and around Gander, N.L., who provided food, shelter and comfort to thousands of stranded passengers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.“I’d like to accept this [award] on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and all of the first responders and their families in New York,” Ashley said during his acceptance speech.Christopher Ashley accepts the award for best direction of a musical for Come From Away. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images) LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisementlast_img read more


first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: “It’s a pleasure and an honor for the ASC to celebrate this partnership with Sim,” said Kees van Oostrum, President, ASC.“This sets a landmark example, and validates our role as an educational institution and as a society with a base of knowledge and creativity that represents cinematography in all aspects.”During an official ceremony, a commemorative plaque was unveiled, embedded into the walkway of what is now Sim Plaza in Hollywood, representative of Sim’s unwavering support for the art and science of cinematography. Sim will also host a celebration of the ASC’s 100th anniversary in 2019 at Sim’s Hollywood location.The unveiling ceremony on Saturday took place moments before the ASC’s annual Summer Splash Party, host to various industry dignitaries and talented filmmakers.About Sim Sim is a leading supplier of studios, production equipment, workflow/dailies and post-production solutions. With offices spanning North America, Sim’s team and services have supported features such as “Deadpool” and Oscar-winning documentary, “OJ: Made in America,” and hit series “Game of Thrones,” “Mr. Robot,” “Stranger Things” and “Handmaid’s Tale.” Sim Studios supports TV series, feature films and commercial productions with over 400,000 square feet of first-class studio and production facilities in Vancouver. Sim Lighting & Grip provides services and equipment from hubs in Vancouver and Toronto; Sim Camera provides rental equipment and support from hubs in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, Northern Ontario and Atlanta. Sim Post provides an array of services from workflow/dailies, to online and offline editing, to final color/DI and visual effects, to sound editorial and mixing. Sim Hollywood is located in the former historic Eastman Kodak building, and provides the industry’s only camera-through-post services venue. Sim is backed by Toronto-based investment firm Granite Partners. For more information, visit or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn @simcomplete.About the American Society of CinematographersThe American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art of cinematography. Celebrating its centennial in 2019, the association continues its commitment to educating aspiring filmmakers and others about the art and craft of cinematography – a mission established by the founding members in 1919. For additional information about the ASC, visit, or join them on Instagram (@the_asc), follow American Cinematographer Facebook, Twitter (@AmericanCine) and Instagram (@american_cinematographer).American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) (CNW Group/SIM) Sim + ASC Partnership Unveiling (CNW Group/SIM)center_img Advertisement LOS ANGELES, June 4, 2018 – On Saturday, Sim announced a major 30-year sponsorship with the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) with increased programming and resources to support this vibrant community for the long term. Sim, an end-to-end solution for storytellers in film and television, and the ASC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art of cinematography, come together with the shared goal of driving visual storytelling forward. As part of the relationship, the ASC Clubhouse courtyard will now be renamed Sim Plaza.Sim and the ASC have worked together frequently on events that educate industry professionals on current technology and its application to their evolving craft. As part of this sponsorship, Sim will expand its involvement with the ASC Master Classes, SimLabs, and conferences and seminars in Hollywood and beyond.“It’s with tremendous pride that we announce Sim’s enhanced partnership with the ASC, based on our common goal of supporting filmmakers across the globe,” said James Haggarty, President and CEO, Sim. “We want to help the community grow by opening new doors and creating new platforms for storytellers. Diversity and inclusiveness are front and center throughout the programs we have planned.” Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more


first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement To be sure, there’s a lot of grunt work to be done in California.Firefighters there are busy pulling smoldering stumps from the ground, shifting blackened timbers, and sifting through burned out cars and the rubble of homes after battling the deadliest wildfire in California history this month.The tedium and sweat there is sometimes punctuated by death. Filmmaker Pan Yannitsos has been visiting firefighters on the front lines to document the work they do in hopes of better understanding the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder. (Submitted by Pan Yannitsos) Facebook Twittercenter_img “We were in a trailer park that was just completely decimated,” recalled filmmaker Pan Yannitsos, who is originally from Regina.It was there that Yannitsos and his crew overheard a local coroner confirm that they had discovered two bodies inside a trailer destroyed by fire. Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

Mikmaq Warriors Society wants to meet with new RCMP unit

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe Mi’kmaq Warriors Society in New Brunswick wants to meet with a new RCMP Unit formed to deal with fracking protests.All Summer, tempers flared as the shale gas company S-W-N surveyed near Elsipogtog First Nation.The Warriors say the moves by the RCMP show they’ve declared war on the Mi’kmaq.We join James Pictou of the Warriors Society in Collette, New Brunswick.last_img