All posts by admin
Advertisement Twitter Is Rick Deckard a replicant?The question has raged since Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner: Is replicant hunter Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) a replicant himself? Ford has always argued that the character is human, while Scott has maintained Deckard is a replicant. The original novel by Philip K. Dick — the movie is based on 1968’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — was filled with ambiguity.“In the book, blade runners themselves are doubting their own identity, like a doctor always in contact with sick people,” Villeneuve says. “They start to see symptoms of the sickness. They became paranoid.”Paranoia is an important theme of Blade Runner 2049.“Deckard himself is unsure of his own identity,” says Villeneuve, adding that replicant creator Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) “plays with (Deckard) with this at the end.”READ MORE Login/Register With: “I’ve been keeping secrets for two years, I don’t know if I can start talking now,” he says.But Villeneuve did answer a few of our burning questions. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Film director Denis Villeneuve is seen during a photo call for his movie Blade Runner 2049 in Montreal on Sept. 28. (PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS) Advertisement Facebook t’s OK to still be a little perplexed about Blade Runner 2049.Director Denis Villeneuve leaves a lot unexplained in the complex, futuristic world he created for his critically lauded sci-fi epic, which he says has “a lot of layers.”Multiple viewings are recommended to better understand the dystopian universe inhabited by Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Villeneuve is still mum about key aspects of the movie, like its ending.
Login/Register With: Carly Rae Jepsen (Markus & Koala) Advertisement It’s an insanely stacked new music Friday on this week’s Must-Hear Music podcast. Not only is it #DedicationDay – the day we celebrate the release of Carly Rae Jepsen‘s new album Dedication, including the Natalie Cole-meets-Cyndi Lauper vibes of Electric Guest collab “Feels Right” – but Tyler, the Creator is back with Igor, one of the most impressive releases of 2019 that sees him continuing to evolve by leaps and bounds (we focus on the N.E.R.D.-y “I Think”). Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Twitter
APTN National NewsPolice in Iqaluit were busy this past weekend.A number of drug seizures took place.Hard drugs don’t come easy that far north, but in the last few days, that seems to have changed.APTN National News reporter Kent Driscoll has more.
APTN National NewsPoliticians returning to business on Parliament Hill were greeted by hundreds of Idle No More supporters Monday.But protests were also happening across the globe.Places like San Francisco, Oklahoma and New Zealand held demonstrations.And here in Canada dozens of cities took part.APTN National News reporter Nancy Pine has the story.
(Image: Robbie Dickson, president of Rainbow Tobacco. APTN)By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe federal tax agency has faced pressure from the RCMP to stop licensing Kahnawake Mohawk cigarette manufacturers, court documents show.The documents also show that an RCMP investigator met with a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) official weeks before the federal tax body decided to deny a 2012 federal tobacco license for Rainbow Tobacco, a cigarette maker based in Kahnawake, which sits near Montreal.A large part of Kahnawake’s internal economy depends on the tobacco trade and the community is home to over a hundred cigarette shacks and at least a dozen cigarette manufacturers.The court documents are part of an ongoing Federal Court case between Rainbow Tobacco and CRA over the decision to revoke the cigarette maker’s license.Rainbow Tobacco has held a federal tobacco license since 2004. The company wants a judicial review of the CRA decision and a court hearing on the matter could be heard as early as this summer.In a sworn affidavit, Rainbow Tobacco president Robbie Dickson accused the RCMP of pressuring the CRA into revoking his license.“I believe the RCMP had a personal vendetta against myself and Rainbow Tobacco and finally convinced CRA to shut us down,” said Dickson, in the Oct. 12, 2012 affidavit.While none of the documents filed in court show a direct link between RCMP pressure and the CRA’s decision, they do show the RCMP continually expressing concern over the agency’s decision to license Kahnawake cigarette manufacturers. The documents also reveal the federal police force’s interest in the Rainbow Tobacco file.The RCMP expressed concerns in at least two letters sent in response to criminal background check requests by the CRA on the owners of Rainbow Tobacco. The checks came back clean each time.Still, the RCMP included identical paragraphs in the letters, dated 2006 and 2008, informing the CRA that it was not in the “public interest” to license tobacco firms in Kahnawake.“Considering the special situation that prevails in the territory of Kahnawake, we believe that the issuance of a license to manufacture on the reservation allows manufacturing operations and distribution to escape the control of your inspectors as well as our investigators,” the RCMP letters say. “Therefore we consider it not to be in the public interest to give licenses to tobacco product manufacturers in the territory of Kahnawake.”The letters were signed by different investigators.The RCMP also took a particular interest in Rainbow Tobacco and was in contact with CRA officials in the weeks before the agency decided to not renew the tobacco firm’s license for 2012.In a CRA memo filed with the Federal Court, CRA official Denis Beausoleil describes a meeting with Denis De Launiere, an RCMP investigator on Oct. 18, 2011. On Dec. 15, 2011, Rainbow Tobacco received a letter from the CRA informing them that they would not get a license for 2012.Beausoleil also informed two separate RCMP divisions on Jan. 4, 2012, that Rainbow Tobacco did not get its federal license renewed.“Here is the RCMP, an agent of the federal government, writing various letters to the CRA, another federal branch of the government, telling it not to issue permits to anyone in Kahnawake,” said Dickson’s lawyer Lisa Hollinger. “I find it extremely discriminatory.”The RCMP could not be reached for comment.The CRA refused to renew Rainbow Tobacco’s license saying the company wasn’t complying with provincial legislation and because it had a “delinquent excise duty liability” of $2.2 million, according to the Dec. 15, 2011, letter from the CRA.Rainbow Tobacco has seen its shipments and equipment seized in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.The company maintains that CRA was always kept appraised of its plans to expand its cigarette distribution to First Nation reserves in western Canada and that the tax agency okayed the sale of its product in First Nations communities.In his affidavit, Dickson said a large seizure of his product from the Montana First Nation in Alberta by provincial authorities distorted his company’s excise duty liability.The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission seized 14 million Rainbow Tobacco cigarettes from the Montana First Nation in January 2011. All the cigarettes bore “Canada Duty-Paid” stamps. The cigarettes were destined for reserves in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.Rainbow Tobacco cigarettes were also seized by provincial authorities in Saskatchewan and British Columbia the same year.Rainbow Tobacco is fighting the Alberta government in court.Dickson has said the issue comes down to the right of First Nations to trade amongst themselves without provincial interference. He plans to fight the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.Public Safety Minister Vic Toews recently announced plans for the RCMP to create a 50 officer force dedicated to combating the underground tobacco trade. Toews also said the government plans to introduce legislation to impose mandatory minimum sentences on repeat tobacco smugglers.First Nation people introduced tobacco to Europeans and many see the trade of the plant as an inherent firstname.lastname@example.org@JorgeBarrera
APTN National News OTTAWA–Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue says he is resigning his cabinet post and Labrador seat over “ineligible donations” received by his election campaign.In a statement issued Thursday, Penashue said he plans to run in the ensuing byelection.“Due to mistakes that were made by an inexperienced volunteer in filing the Elections Canada return from the last campaign, I appointed a new official agent to work with Elections Canada to make any needed amendments to my campaign return,” said Penashue, in the statement. “During the examination we became aware the there were ineligible donations accepted by the former official agent.”The former Innu leader said that he was unaware of the problems with the donations, but in the interest of accountability will step down and run“I must be accountable to the people who elected me,” said Penashue. “In the by-election I will be asking the people of Labrador to re-elect me so that I can continue to deliver for Labrador.”No date for a by-election has been set.More to come
By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe federal cabinet will appoint the members of an education council that will oversee on-reserve schools under the Harper government’s proposed First Nation education bill tabled in the House of Commons Thursday.Called the Joint Council of Education Professionals, the entity will advise the Aboriginal Affairs minister, receive budgets and performance reports from First Nation schools and First Nation education authorities along with executing a five-year review of the implementation and operation of the legislation.The bill comes with about $1.9 billion in new funding for education. The largest chunk of the money, $1.252 billion, will be spread out over three years beginning in 2016. Funding for education will also grow 4.5 per cent per year.Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said the council will have input on every decision the minister makes on education.“They will play an advisory and oversight role over the implementation of the Act and the minister’s powers (will be) filtered through their advice all the time for every decision the minister makes,” said Valcourt, during a press conference on Parliament Hill. “The minister, under the Act, cannot make a decision unilaterally without the advice of the Joint Council and that is…how you ensure the point of views of First Nations will always be considered.”According to the proposed bill, called the First Nation Control over First Nation Education Act, the council will have nine members. The federal cabinet will appoint four members and the chair on the recommendation of the Aboriginal affairs minister. Cabinet will appoint the other four members on the recommendation of the Assembly of First Nation. The AFN will have a say in the selection of the chair.Valcourt said he didn’t know how much the education council members will be paid. According to the bill, the council is expected to meet at least three times a year.Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said the bill met the need for stable and guaranteed funding for education and would help maintain Indigenous languages.He said the bill would give First Nation communities a say over how their children are taught.“First Nations must and will drive a way forward for the development of their own education system,” said Atleo. “We will have to do a deeper review of the bill itself…we see a commitment of the principle of First Nation control of education and working with First Nations.”The bill would allow First Nations to group their schools together under education authorities, enter into agreements with provincial school boards or operate their own schools independently.Under the bill, all students graduating from First Nation schools will have recognized certificates or diplomas, receive a minimum number of instructional hours and be taught by certified teachers. The bill would also ensure all children have access to elementary and secondary education on reserves.Department officials said they did not know how many schools currently fail to meet those standards.Schools would also be required to appoint a “school inspector” responsible for ensuring the school is meeting all requirements under the Act, including the academic performance of students at the institution.The inspector, who can’t be the school principal or education director, would also be required to submit reports on the school to either the education authority or the band agency responsible for the school. The report would then be submitted to the minister and the education council. If a school fails to meet standards, it could be put under co-management or under third party management by the minister on the advice of the education council.The bill would also force parents and guardians to ensure children under 16 are enrolled in a school. The bill allows bands to pass bylaws make it mandatory for children under 18 to attend school.Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Chief Gina Deer said Kahnawake opposed the proposed legislation and the creation of an education council. She said the bill appears to give Ottawa more control over First Nation education.“Kahnawake is not happy at all,” said Deer, whose Mohawk community sits just south of Montreal. “In Kahnawake, nobody wants to see this government take over education. We need more funding so students can go to post-secondary education and university.”Six Nations Chief Ava Hill said the bill only gives an illusion of giving First Nation control over First Nation education.“If they are giving us control, why is it an Act of the government? How is that control?” said Hill. “It’s like an oxymoron.”Hill and Deer, along with Tyendinaga Chief Donald Meracle, stumbled across Atleo’s press conference on Parliament Hill after meeting with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.Atleo did not inform regional chiefs during an executive meeting Wednesday that he planned to hold a press conference Thursday after the tabling of the bill.Nova Scotia regional Chief Morley Googoo, who is holds the education portfolio with the AFN, said he knew little about the proposed bill and was concerned about the direction things were taking.“I think clarification of the whole process is a question from everyone,” said Googoo. “I definitely want more information.”According to Aboriginal Affairs, only 38 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds living on reserve had completed high school. The department said 25.4 per cent of status Indians do not have a high school diploma and only 65.4 per cent had a post-secondary diploma or certificate.Sections of the Indian Act dealing with residential schools would be repealed under the bill, which won’t impact First Nations with self-government agreements.Quebec chiefs recently launched legal action against Ottawa in Federal Court over education.MPs begin a two-week Easter break next email@example.com@JorgeBarrera
APTN National NewsA group of parents and educators in Winnipeg want to improve dismal graduation rates and a loss of language and culture.Nearly two-hundred of them met Tuesday night to discuss forming an Indigenous school division in the city.APTN’s Dennis Ward has more.
Willow FiddlerAPTN National News It’s been three years since Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law opened its doors in Thunder Bay.The program is unique, as it’s headed by the first Indigenous female dean in Canada. It’s also one of the first universities to introduce mandatory Indigenous law into its curriculum.Now, the school is celebrating its first class of graduates.With their bar exams fast-approaching, students received a word of encouragement from Senator Murray Sinclair, reminding them of their responsibilities as Indigenous people in law.“You need to know how to take all of those teachings of our people, from the laws of our people, and put them into practice for yourself,” Sinclair urges the students to find “balance” in their profession.Six of the 58 class of future lawyers are Indigenous.firstname.lastname@example.org
Shirley McLean APTN National NewsIt was a 700 kilometre journey spread out over nine days on the Yukon river with a group of people who had never met.The only common thread was the Elder who brought them all together.Miss Part 1? Elder leads group hundreds of kilometres down Yukon river in the Spirit Canoesmclean@aptn.ca
Chris StewartAPTN National NewsA new film documenting a life and death scenario in the arctic has made its Canadian premier.“Heaven’s Floor” was screened at the Edmonton Film Festival.The movie is a true story of survival and family in Nunavut.email@example.com
APTN InFocusStarting over in a new country is stressful. There’s a lot to learn.But what happens when you hear inaccurate information? How do you know what is true and what is false?People who work with newcomers say stereotypes and myths about Indigenous peoples are repeated unchallenged, leading immigrants to be misinformed and even afraid of the population.“There is not much education for newcomers to learn about their cultures and their diversity that exists within their community of the Indigenous people,” says Hani Ataan Al-Ubeady, the community engagement co-ordinator with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg.However, his group is working to change that, he tells InFocus host Melissa Ridgen.“My perception of Indigenous people was very, for quite a while, was very negative,” says Roxanna Alchmetova, who came to Canada from Kazakhstan at 12.“It took me a while to realize and to learn that the things they were teaching me were not correct.”Alchmetova wants to take her education into her own hands and learn the truth about Indigenous peoples in Canada.She is writing her thesis on Indigenous Newcomer relations. And looks at how, among other things, new Canadians can build stronger relationships with Indigenous peoples and participate in acts of reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.Eliyana Angelova, a newcomer from Bulgaria, says she too was told many negative stories about Indigenous peoples when she first arrived.She says she was told to not live near them, that they were dangerous.But once she got to know them, she realized the stories she was told weren’t the whole story.“You need the personal story to understand and to learn. Just like listening to the histories without the face is different.”Angelova works with other newcomers and Partnership Winnipeg to help dispel stereotypes and debunk myths believed by many Canadians.“Therefore it’s essential to create an orientation toolkit to educate newcomers,” adds Al-Ubeady.He says he and the rest of the team at Partnership Winnipeg are developing materials and resources so Canadian newcomers will have the facts.
CALGARY – When Kevin Sousa’s cable company botched his service repairs for a third time, he decided it was time to shop around for a better provider.But even before starting his search, he knew he had few companies to turn to, especially if he wanted to keep his services bundled in a single convenient package.“It’s terrible, we have so few options,” said Sousa. “For me to go somewhere else, I only have the option of Bell really, because if I go anywhere else I have to break it all up.”Canadians know the conundrum well, but industry watchers say that consumers can at least lower their bills by looking at the growing number of alternatives or pushing back on the big telecoms.“Look at your options, do your research, and try a smaller player like Distributel or TekSavvy, that don’t have as much of a market share, but are able to give you a better deal,” said Katy Anderson, a digital rights specialist at OpenMedia.She said smaller internet players are adding some competition to the industry, but that prices are still inflated and alternative providers are often not available in more rural parts of the country.The CRTC has been trying to foster more competition, including declaring 50 mbps internet a basic service, and requiring the major telecoms to sell space on even their fastest fibre optic lines, but Anderson said the federal government still needs to create its own broadband strategy for the country.Mohammed Halabi, director of MyBillsAreHigh, says part of the problem is too few people are pushing against the prices being offered by the big telecoms.“If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” said Halabi, whose company helps people get better telecoms rates.He said it’s unfortunate that there’s so little clarity on pricing and other issues in the telecoms industry, but consumers do have options.“Customers have been put in that position, so you have to go in there and ask, and don’t hesitate to switch your services if you’re not getting a good deal from your provider.”He said it’s important not to be outrageous in what you’re asking though, and to keep in mind that loyalty — and politeness — does help as you negotiate through escalating levels of customer service staff.“Tenure does go a long way in negotiations, 100 per cent. One of the most important factors actually.”He said telecoms providers are, however, also eager for new customers, so it’s a good idea to push for the best deal possible when signing up. He said you can often extend promotion pricing from six months to a year, and get better than the advertised rates.Halabi also said that unless you really need the trio of cable, phone line, and internet, you can generally get a better deal by splitting up the services and pushing for the best rate individually on each.As to knowing how far you can push, Halabi said the cheaper upstart options provide a good reference point on pricing.“Usually you can get something close to that price point with the big three, after some negotiating. After all, they’re selling the service to that company.”He pointed to a current Rogers promotion for a 150 mbps speed hookup at $80 a month, down from $100, but said he’s been able to get it for new clients at $60, which is about the same rate that TekSavvy’s pricing for that speed starts.With more than 500 internet service providers in Canada, the variance on pricing can go even further though. The CRTC says that for a basic five mbps download internet connection, some providers charge as much as $73 a month for the service in Vancouver and Winnipeg and $85 in St. John’s, while competitors offer the same speed for as low as $25 a month in those cities.Sousa said that he’s been able to get his bill down close to the competition, but it takes work.“You have to do the footwork. I call it a dance,” said Sousa.“You can eventually get it down to about the same price as those other services, but you’ve got to fight for that kind of stuff.”
WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund raised its estimate for economic growth in Canada this year as it said U.S. tax cuts are expected to help boost global economic growth.The international lending agency said Monday it now projects Canada’s economy will grow 2.3 per cent this year, up from an estimate of 2.1 per cent in October.Growth for 2019 is forecast at 2.0 per cent, up from an earlier projection for 1.7 per cent.The update for Canada came as the IMF said world output is expected to grow 3.9 per cent this year and 3.9 per cent in 2019, up two-tenths of a percentage point in both years.The IMF said the cyclical upswing underway since mid-2016 has continued to strengthen.“This forecast reflects the expectation that favourable global financial conditions and strong sentiment will help maintain the recent acceleration in demand, especially in investment, with a noticeable impact on growth in economies with large exports,” the agency said in its report.“In addition, the U.S. tax reform and associated fiscal stimulus are expected to temporarily raise U.S. growth, with favourable demand spillovers for U.S. trading partners — especially Canada and Mexico — during this period.”The IMF cited increased investment as businesses take advantage of lower corporate tax rates as it projected U.S. growth to increase to 2.7 per cent this year, from 2.3 per cent in 2017.The agency noted that risks to its global outlook were “broadly balanced” in the near term, but skewed to the downside in the medium term.“In the near term, the global economy is likely to maintain its momentum absent a correction in financial markets — which have seen a sustained run-up in asset prices and very low volatility, seemingly unperturbed by policy or political uncertainty in recent months,” the report said.“Over the medium term, a potential buildup of vulnerabilities if financial conditions remain easy, the possible adoption of inward-looking policies, and non-economic factors pose notable downside risks.”
TORONTO – A study by a Toronto-based firm says the rate of insolvent borrowers using payday loans in Ontario has grown for the sixth consecutive year.Insolvency trustee firm Hoyes Michalos & Associates says 31 per cent of insolvent borrowers used the loans in 2017, up from 27 per cent the year before.The study suggests payday loans are a growing factor in personal insolvencies in Ontario, with struggling debtors are taking out fewer but larger loans despite recent changes to lower borrowing rates.As of Jan. 1, 2017, the provincial government reduced the maximum amount lenders can charge for a payday loan to $18 for every $100 borrowed, down from $21 for each $100. Earlier this year, the rate was further reduced to $15.Hoyes Michalos & Associates says they looked at 3,500 insolvency cases and found the average number of payday loans outstanding at the time of insolvency declined to 3.2 in 2017, but the average payday loan size was $1,095, an increase of 12.4 per cent from the year before.In total, insolvent borrowers owed an average of $3,464 from all their payday loans, the study says, or $1.34 for every dollar of their monthly take-home pay.“Insolvent borrowers are now 2.6 times more likely to have at least one payday loan outstanding when they file a bankruptcy or consumer proposal than in 2011,” said Ted Michalos, co-founder of Hoyes Michalos & Associates. “This is a cycle that is just not sustainable.”Although the average monthly income for a payday loan borrower is $2,589, the study also found that payday loans are more likely to be used by debtors with a monthly income of more than $4,000 than they are to be used by those with an income between $1,001 and $2,000.
MONTREAL – For sale: hockey great Mario Lemieux’s massive 50-room Quebec summer home.The price of the six-year-old chateau-style Mont-Tremblant residence: $21,999,066, the last few dollars an ode to Lemieux’s famous No. 66 jersey.Realtor Michel Naud said the asking price was strategic as the former Pittsburgh Penguins superstar knew putting the property on the market would garner heavy interest.“He agreed to put the $66 at the end of his asking price,” Naud said in an interview.The 1,579 square-metre castle known as the Chateau Fleur de Lys has eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms and “offers a majestic panoramic view” of Tremblant Lake.Naud, a personal friend of Lemieux and a longtime realtor who works in the Tremblant region about 130 kilometres north of Montreal, says the hockey legend decided to test the waters with no obligation to sell.“He’s here with the family every summer,” said Naud, who works with Engel & Volkers. “It’s important to share that he’s not leaving Mont-Tremblant, just looking at other opportunities.”The Penguins owner bought the land in 2007 and spent five years building the chateau to his specifications in the picturesque location.The meticulously built home is inspired by the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City but has touches from elsewhere — including antique columns from the 1800s imported from an old castle in India.There’s also a two-bedroom guest house, large deck and 17 fireplaces among the numerous luxurious features.“It really is a property that reflects who Mario was as a player,” said Naud. “It’s very grand and very elegant.”Lemieux and his wife have four children and they along with extended family from Montreal spend their summer months in the Laurentians, Naud said. They primarily live in Pennsylvania and also have property in Florida.Lemieux, dubbed “Super Mario” during his playing days, played parts of 17 seasons for the Penguins between 1984 and 2006, racking up 1,723 points and consecutive Stanley Cups as a player in 1991 and 1992.The Penguins subsequently won three more Stanley Cups with Lemieux as owner, in 2009, 2016 and 2017.Naud said he’s already received two calls expressing serious interest in the property since the listing went live earlier this week.There are a lot of major projects ongoing in Tremblant and several homes of the same magnitude in terms of price and budget.“But it’s the most expensive listing for sure in Tremblant,” Naud said, adding the property “is a destination in itself.”A spokesman for the Penguins said Lemieux would not comment further.
TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford will travel to Washington this week for an update on NAFTA talks.Ford and Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson will meet Wednesday with federal officials carrying out trade negotiations in the U.S. capital, and also plan to meet with the Canadian Ambassador to the United States.The premier says in a statement that he plans to stress the need to protect Ontario workers in the steel, automotive, and agricultural sectors.Ford has previously said he supports federal efforts to renegotiate the trade deal with the United States and Mexico.Shortly after winning the spring election, Ford met with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canada’s ambassador to the United States, pledging his help in trade matters.Earlier this summer, Wilson travelled to Washington to testify before a U.S. Department of Commerce hearing on NAFTA, calling for balanced and fair trade between the two countries.“We will continue to do our part to protect Ontario workers in the automotive, steel and agricultural sectors,” Ford said in his statement Monday. “We expect our federal counterparts to do the same.”
OTTAWA – Canadian and global foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia can’t be driven by revulsion over the treatment of individual human rights cases, Canada’s most recent ambassador to the country says.Dennis Horak, who was expelled from Saudi Arabia in August after its rulers were incensed by a tweet from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, essentially branded the desert kingdom too big to fail.“Whether we like it or not, the world needs Saudi Arabia … if Saudi Arabia were to descend into the kind of chaos that’s potentially there, it would make Syria look like a picnic,” Horak told a Tuesday night meeting of the Canadian International Council in Ottawa.“We need a stable Saudi Arabia, as imperfect as it might be.”Horak, who is no fan of Twitter diplomacy, said Freeland’s tweet was “ill-advised” but the Saudi reaction was “way over the top.”Saudi Arabia abruptly severed relations with Canada and demanded an apology after Freeland called for the immediate release of detained activists, including Samar Badawi, a champion of women’s rights and the sister of detained blogger Raif Badawi.On Tuesday, Freeland joined G7 foreign ministers in affirming freedom of the press and calling on Saudi Arabia to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.But Horak, a veteran diplomat, said Canadian foreign policy can’t be dictated by cases like Badawi’s — whose wife lives in Quebec — or Khashoggi’s, whose disappearance has sparked global outrage.“Those who know me, know I’m not this cold-hearted,” said Horak.“But you can’t let your foreign policy be dictated by an individual or an individual case. There are broader interests that need to be there. It doesn’t mean you ignore them. It doesn’t mean you forget about them.”Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and a U.S. resident, has written critically of the Saudi regime. He hasn’t been seen since entering that country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago, and multiple leaks to U.S. media, based on Turkish intelligence, say he was killed by a Saudi hit squad and likely dismembered with a bone saw.Freeland said Tuesday that Canada is very worried about Khashoggi’s disappearance, and she made no apologies for pushing a human rights agenda with Saudi Arabia.“Canada has raised the issue directly with Saudi Arabia and we are talking about the issue with our allies,” Freeland said Tuesday during a question and answer session at the Fortune Global Forum in Toronto.Freeland said she’s been in contact with her G7 and NATO counterparts, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as the German, British and Turkish foreign ministers.“We think that it is very important that there be a clear, transparent investigation. We need to know what has happened, and those responsible need to be held to account,” Freeland said.Her comments were echoed in a brief statement issued Tuesday by the foreign ministers of G7 countries.“We remain very troubled by the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” it said.“We encourage Turkish-Saudi collaboration and look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation, as announced.”The allegations that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate have been strongly denied by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman in conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump.Trump offered his most robust defence of the Saudi regime during a Tuesday interview with The Associated Press, in which he linked the allegations of the Khashoggi case with the recent Brett Kavanaugh affair.In the interview, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault levelled against Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.“Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned,” Trump told AP.Freeland also dropped a strong hint that she has no regrets about the tweet that raised the ire of Saudi rulers.“It’s important to have private conversations. But I do think it’s a mistake — and it can be frankly a self-serving mistake — to think that a private conversation is always an equally effective substitute to taking a public stand,” Freeland said.“And sometimes it’s important to take a public stand.”Saudi Arabia also responded by recalling its ambassador in Ottawa, freezing trade, cancelling flights to and from Toronto and recalling its students from Canadian medical schools.Freeland said she’s been in regular contact with her Saudi counterpart, but she had nothing new to report on Tuesday.
EDMONTON — The Alberta government is expanding a royalty credit program to support petrochemical upgrading.Premier Rachel Notley says the province is adding $600 million to promote upgrading projects that she says will create jobs and boost the economy.A total of $1.1 billion will now be available in future royalty credits through the petrochemicals diversification program.The program, developed in 2016, previously committed $500 million in royalty credits and helped to build Inter Pipeline’s $3.5-billion petrochemical complex east of Edmonton.Notley says the province has received 23 applications for proposed upgrading projects.She says a short list will be created and decisions will be made in the coming weeks.Notley announced Monday she has appointed three experts to work with the energy industry to find ways to close an oil price gap that is costing the Canadian economy $80 million every day.Oil from Alberta is selling about $45 a barrel less than West Texas Intermediate in the United States.Notley said Tuesday that until the price differential is closed and new pipelines are built to move a glut of oil, the province needs to do what it can to help the economy.“I’ll fight the pipeline battle until it is done. You can count on that,” she said Tuesday in a speech to the Rural Municipalities of Alberta. “But at the same time, I have determined that we must take greater control of our own economic destiny.”The Canadian Press