OTTAWA – As Donald Trump’s administration moves towards easing U.S. fuel emission standards for vehicles, the Liberal government says Canada’s standards need to become “stronger,” and it will conduct its own assessment after the American review.Reports emerged this week indicating Trump is set to introduce new rules for auto emissions.The current rules were adopted jointly by former prime minister Stephen Harper and former U.S. president Barack Obama in 2014 with the aim of increasing fuel efficiency for vehicles sold between 2022 and 2025 and reducing greenhouse gas from cars and light trucks.Trump is also expected to challenge California on its ability to independently set regulatory standards.In Canada, officials in Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s office say they’re watching the U.S. developments closely, but they add that Canada’s standards need to become stronger over time, because transportation accounts for nearly one-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution.McKenna and California Gov. Jerry Brown have discussed “our shared goal to fight climate change and promote clean transportation,” said Caroline Theriault, a spokeswoman for the minister.Christopher Sands, a senior research professor and director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, called the situation a “fascinating” case because it’s an example of U.S.-Canada regulatory co-operation that saw Obama decide on increasing standards and Harper agreeing. But now that co-operation is under threat.Harper had argued it didn’t make sense for the Canadian economy to get ahead of the U.S. economy on environment policy because Canada would bear additional costs, making it less competitive.Even if the U.S. eyes changes to emission standards, it doesn’t necessarily affect Canada’s rules, Sands said, but Canada will have to consider a similar move because the auto industry would prefer not to operate under two sets of regulations.Dan Woynillowicz, policy director for the advocacy group Clean Energy Canada, said the auto sector on both sides of the border will be in for a fairly long period of uncertainty.“Canada has an important role right now to signal its intent to stick to the current standards.”Woynillowicz said it may mean fewer vehicle choices for Canadian consumers, but with globalization of the auto industry there should not be a genuine shortage.
EDMONTON – The head of Kinder Morgan Canada says work is to resume next month to prepare a route for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.Ian Anderson says the company will secure, survey and prepare the right of way in coming months, and First Nations will monitor the work to look for traditional artifacts and medicines.Anderson says the plan is to start laying pipe early next year in British Columbia and Alberta.A completion date is to be announced in 2019.Anderson made the comments alongside Alberta Premier Rachel Notley at an event on the Enoch Cree Nation, just west of Edmonton.Enoch Cree land will be used as one of the staging grounds for the line and will stockpile at least 40 kilometres of pipe.The project will expand the existing Trans Mountain line from Edmonton to the B.C. coast to allow more oil from Alberta to be shipped to foreign markets.The line has been the focus of fractious debate and confrontation — the B.C. government, environmental activists and some Indigenous groups all oppose it.Earlier this year, the federal government agreed to buy the $4.5-billion pipeline to ensure it gets built, but the Liberals insist they don’t plan to be the long-term owner.
HALIFAX – Protesters in the Halifax area shouted down members of a Calgary-based organization with controversial views on immigration as police kept watch at an event Sunday afternoon.Five members of the National Citizens Alliance tried to hold a rally at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, but a much larger group of 60 to 80 protesters showed up and interrupted their plans.Police say the organizers left the area, and protesters dispersed shortly afterward.The group tried to hold a rally at the same venue on Saturday, but decided to reschedule after they were shouted down by demonstrators.In June, they tried to gather in a central Halifax park after being denied the use of three indoor venues, but they ended up leaving after they were quickly outnumbered by protesters.On its Facebook page, the National Citizens Alliance asks “all Canadians to join us in our mission to return Canada to the country it was intended to be,” saying “extreme multiculturalism” is a failed policy.“While we welcome immigrants, we feel that the extreme multiculturalism and mass immigration policies are a failure, as they result in a divisive and fractured society,” the group says in a document titled “Our Story.”
FORT MACLEOD, Alta. – Police in Alberta say a six-year-old boy who had been inside an SUV when it was stolen has been found “safe and unharmed,” and the vehicle has also been recovered.RCMP say a 2009 grey Chevrolet Tahoe was stolen late Monday from a residential area of Fort Macleod, a town of about 3,000 in the southwest corner of the province.The child and the vehicle were both found within a few hours. No suspect information has been released, and police say the investigation continues.The incident came just over 24 hours after an Amber Alert was issued when a Mercedes SUV was stolen in North Battleford, Sask., with a six-year-old girl in the backseat.Emma O’Keeffe was found safe almost 14 hours later still inside that vehicle, which had been left about two kilometres from where it had been taken.A police spokesman said the Alberta case did not meet the strict criteria needed to issue an Amber Alert.
CALGARY – Streets and sidewalks were a slushy, slippery mess but the sun was shining brightly in Calgary on Wednesday after a record-breaking autumn snowstorm walloped parts of southern Alberta.The city’s director of roads, Troy McLeod, said more than 38 centimetres blanketed the city between Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Some areas got as many as 45 centimetres.In October, the city normally gets 10 centimetres of snow over the entire month.“Men and women have been working hard through the night for the last couple of days and we just want to thank our partners from Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Okotoks and from Red Deer coming to support us in this snow event,” he said.Tom Sampson, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said Calgary, and not the helping cities, will be footing the bill. But it remains to be seen whether other levels of government may assist, he said. There is no cost estimate yet.“It was a very intense short-duration snowfall that occurred just before our rush hour, so that made the large difference,” said Sampson, who added that the city will consider whether it makes sense to call in help from other communities for future out-of-the-ordinary snow events.Several city buses got stuck on the roads Tuesday. Transit director Doug Morgan said Wednesday was a better day, but a few buses were still unable to make it up hills.“I would call today a challenging day, but fairly conventional when it comes to winter operations.” Morgan said there will be a review of how operations can be improved in future.RCMP said officers responded to 83 collisions in southern Alberta over 24 hours.Part of the main highway between Calgary and Edmonton was closed overnight due to a multi-vehicle crash involving up to 30 vehicles. One person died. The road didn’t open again until 5 a.m.West of Calgary, hundreds of people were stranded for up to 13 hours on the Trans-Canada Highway. Police escorted stranded motorists to a warming centre at a high school in Canmore, just outside Banff National Park, early Wednesday morning.By mid-day, the Trans-Canada and secondary Highway 1A west of Calgary had reopened, but traffic was still backed up and travel was not recommended.Rosemary Thompson, vice-president at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, landed at the Calgary Airport from Toronto on Tuesday in the thick of the snowstorm.As she got on a shuttle bus to Banff, she asked the driver whether he had enough gas. He told her they’d be fine for two days.A drive that normally takes 1 1/2 hours lasted seven.“It was terrible. It was epic,” Thompson said.She and the 30 or so other passengers passed the time chatting. She told one visitor from the United Kingdom, who was hoping to see some fall colours, that he’d enjoy Christmas instead.She said the driver handled everything like a pro.“He was the picture of calm and cool all the way through this and he was watching his iPad for the 511 emergency information online and he was able to tell us what he thought was going on,” she said. “I really give him a lot of credit because he really set the tone on the bus and everybody got through.”Thompson said she saw several vehicles trying to pass along the shoulder but ended up in the ditch. The whole time, she only saw one RCMP vehicle, she said.Wednesday was a much better day, she said.“It’s the perfect winter day in Banff — couldn’t be more beautiful.”
MELFORT, Sask. — The parents of a Humboldt Bronco hockey player misidentified after a deadly crash on a Saskatchewan highway say they weren’t convinced the battered body lying in the funeral home was really their son.Paul and Tanya LaBelle of Saskatoon described for the first time in court Wednesday their confusion and anguish at being told over and over that their boy had to be dead, planning for his funeral and then getting a phone call that there had been a terrible mistake.Xavier LaBelle was alive and in hospital.“Joy sprang out of our grief in an exponential way,” said Paul LaBelle. “We arrived at his bedside with kisses and very, very gentle hugs.”But the couple said they also felt pain for the parents who thought Xavier was their son and had been comforting him and holding his hands for nearly three days in the hospital. Parker Tobin of Stony Plain, Alta. was actually among those who had died and it was his body in the funeral home.“We know they cared for him as a son and we are forever grateful,” said Tanya LaBelle. “We grieved with them as they came to terms with the realization that their amazing son had not survived.“We were devastated for them and their family.”The LaBelles shared their story in a victim impact statement at a sentencing hearing for the truck driver who barrelled through a stop sign and into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus last April.Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary has pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving.Over three days, families of the dead and injured have taken turns reading dozens of heart-wrenching statements in a makeshift courtroom in Melfort.Tobin’s family spoke briefly Tuesday. Myrtle Tobin struggled to describe what she went through after learning her 18-year-old grandson was not the boy in the hospital.“To discover that Parker had been gone the entire time, but we never knew … our family has leaned on one another to get through the days, weeks and months that have followed.”Paul LaBelle, an emergency room doctor, said Wednesday that his family had been travelling to watch the Broncos play in Nipawin when they came across the wreckage from the crash. He grabbed his medical bag and ran down the highway to help, but was turned away by RCMP.After they were informed that their 18-year-old son was among the dead, they were sent to a makeshit morgue at a funeral home to identify his body.They were shown one body that they knew wasn’t their son. Staff apologized and showed them another body. Again, it was not their boy, they said.“We were very anxious and confused,” recalled Paul LaBelle. “Maybe Xavier was still trapped at the scene or perhaps he had wandered off into a field unnoticed?“We were assured all 29 people on the bus were accounted for.”Still unconvinced, he said he and his wife went to the Saskatoon hospital and showed nurses caring for the injured Broncos photos of Xavier. “The staff members were sympathetic but they let us know all the players were identified and our son was not there.”Tanya LaBelle said she pleaded for police to search the crash site again with dogs but was told no one had been left behind. That’s when it began to sink in that maybe their grief was blinding them. Maybe Xavier was dead.They went back to the morgue and looked over the one body that had yet to be identified. It had no scars or birthmarks matching Xavier. So they arranged for his orthodontic records to be ordered. “We needed to be 100 per cent sure,” Paul LaBelle said.In the meantime, the family accepted that the body might be Xavier. They held him and balled their eyes out and started making funeral arrangements.It was two days later, while they were at a vigil in Humboldt honouring those who died, that they received the miraculous phone call. They discreetly went outside to tell other family members the news, then rushed to Saskatoon.The coroner’s office apologized at the time for the mistake, saying several of the players had dyed their hair blonde for the playoff season and weren’t carrying identification when the bus crashed.A coroner also said that the mistake was realized when Xavier LaBelle woke up and said, “I’m not Parker Tobin.”Paul LaBelle told court that his son suffered serious injuries, including fractures and gashes to his face, along with brain trauma, spine fractures and nerve damage in his legs and left arm.He continues to require medical care.Chris Purdy, The Canadian Press
A legal expert says the punishment for the truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash will put Canada’s sentencing provisions to the test.Jennifer Quaid, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, said she believes it will be difficult for a judge to arrive at a proportionate sentence for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu.“It’s a real test of our sentencing regime,” said Quaid. “This is sort of the nightmare scenario where you have a mixture of … factors that point in different directions if you look at our sentencing law.”Sidhu admitted he caused the collision that killed 16 people and injured 13 when he barrelled through a stop sign in his transport truck at a rural Saskatchewan intersection last April. Sidhu was not hurt.He pleaded guilty to 29 dangerous driving charges and is to be sentenced March 22.In a sentencing hearing this week, the Crown argued Sidhu should serve 10 years in prison and be banned from driving for 10 years. The defence, although citing cases with shorter sentences, did not propose a specific alternative.Judge Inez Cardinal’s task will be to find a sentence that strikes a balance between the consequences of the offence and the blameworthiness of the offender, said Quaid.While Sidhu pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, it was not a hit and run, he wasn’t impaired, nor was he speeding, or texting and driving, Quaid noted.On the other hand, she said, the outcome of his actions was horrific.“On the one side you got terrible consequences. On the other side you have a mistake that is not the worst of the mistakes,” she said.“What’s the right answer?”She believes the Crown is taking a hard line in proposing a 10-year prison sentence.“It doesn’t seem proportionate to his moral blameworthiness,” said Toronto criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown. “It doesn’t seem proportionate to his actions.”Brown said determining a proper sentence for Sidhu will be challenging because the judge lacks comparable cases.He also said the typical signs of bad driving are missing. That makes it tough to craft a sentence that discourages people from a specific action, such as drinking and driving. “How do we deter other people from missing stop signs?” Brown said.“He wasn’t distracted by his cellphone,” he said. “He simply missed the traffic signal.”Both Quaid and Brown said another significant factor Cardinal must weigh is Sidhu’s guilty plea.“This is a person who has exactly the reaction that we hope … every person convicted or found guilty of a crime would have — to have this deep reflection, this absolute acceptance of responsibility,” Quaid said.Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Thousands of students across much of Vancouver Island and parts of British Columbia’s south coast were off school Monday as the region recovered from a winter wallop and prepared for another.Schools in Greater Victoria, the Gulf Islands and Comox didn’t open following weekend storms that blanketed some parts of the Island with as much as 40 centimetres of snow.A number of schools on the mainland, including the Sunshine Coast, Surrey, Langley and Mission, were also shuttered, along with the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford and Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.People were still digging out Monday from the weekend storms that brought heavy snow to Vancouver Island and howling arctic winds to parts of the south coast.Environment Canada has issued another snowfall warning for the entire inner south coast including Metro Vancouver, excluding Howe Sound and the northern tip of Vancouver Island.“A long period of snowfall with total amounts of 10 to 15 centimetres is expected,” said the weather office, which predicted the snow would begin Monday afternoon and continue into Tuesday. “This second disturbance will spread snow to virtually the entire south coast with heaviest amounts falling (Monday night). Total snowfall amounts will vary across the region with 10 to 15 centimetres falling in most areas with somewhat higher amounts possible on Vancouver Island.”An arctic outflow warning was lifted for Howe Sound, but remained posted for the Whistler area as extremely strong outflow winds were forecast to continue Monday night, creating windchill values expected to be near -20.Ferries were running Monday, although BC Ferries tweeted that snow delayed the first departures of several smaller vessels as crew members struggled to reach the terminals, while the decks of other ships had to be shovelled before loading could begin. Arrivals and departures were close to being on schedule at the Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver on Monday. Clean up continued at a neighbouring marina where numerous small boats were damaged or sank during a powerful windstorm on Saturday.The storm forced the closure of the ferry terminal for several hours because of damage to a breakwater and the amount of debris in the water.Thousands of BC Hydro customers were without power during the height of the weekend storms, but the utility website showed just over 1,000 customers were still affected by midday Monday. Many were expected to have their electricity restored within hours.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A private club that catered to Montreal’s business elite and attracted scrutiny in 2012 during Quebec’s corruption inquiry says it will be closing its doors next month.Montreal’s 357c says in a message on its website that “changes in business practices” and high municipal taxes are forcing its closure.The high-end establishment located at 357 de la Commune Street in the heart of Montreal’s old city also says its location limited expansion opportunities.A favoured meeting spot of construction industry players, the members-only club had its ledgers examined during the Charbonneau inquiry into corruption.Investigators from the inquiry said they weren’t interested in the club itself, but in “a tiny portion of the membership.” Those construction bosses and engineering firm executives invited guests who included public servants and elected officials.The club opened in 2002 in a 140-year-old building that had been abandoned for many years, requiring major renovation and reconstruction work. It promised members a setting where business could be conducted “in the utmost comfort and discretion.”A staff member confirmed Monday that the club is slated to close on May 24.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s garbage is coming home from the Philippines.Canada has made a formal offer to have more than six dozen containers of Canadian household trash returned to the Port of Vancouver nearly six years after it was sent to Manila labelled incorrectly as plastics for recycling.The Canadian offer came around the same time as the Philippines has ordered its Bureau of Customs to get the containers back on a ship bound for Canada no later than May 15.Last month President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to declare war on Canada if it didn’t take back its trash and set this week as a deadline for an end to the impasse.Duterte’s colourful comments were matched by his foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin, who tweeted this week that he is going after the Filipino importers who brought the trash into the country but dismissed suggestions they should be sent to Canada with the garbage because that would be “too much pollution.”Global Affairs Canada spokesman Adam Austen says Canada hasn’t received a formal reply to the offer to bring the garbage back but tweeted that the garbage would be on boats by May 15 “no ifs or buts.”The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A Crown prosecutor says a Winnipeg man on trial for killing an Indigenous woman committed a ghastly crime, while the defence says he did not mean to cause her harm.Brett Overby, who is 32, has admitted to causing the death of 21-year-old Christine Wood, but says he did not intend to kill her.Overby has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder but his lawyers are asking a jury for a manslaughter verdict, arguing that he reacted after Wood came at him with a knife.During closing arguments, the Crown says Wood was slaughtered.Prosecutors pointed to evidence that her throat was cut, she was stabbed multiple times and her blood was all over Overby’s basement.Wood was reported missing after she travelled to Winnipeg from Oxford House First Nation in northern Manitoba in the summer of 2016.Her body was found 10 months later in a ditch near a farmer’s field just outside the city.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — “We have made sure that every single person crossing our borders, whether legally or illegally, gets processed according to all our rules. We have seen over the past years all around the world an increase in migration and in asylum seekers happening everywhere, and Canada is not immune to that. However, we have a strong immigration system that continues to apply all its steps to everyone crossing the border.” — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in question period, May 7, 2019.—The influx of asylum seekers to Canada has become a sustained political headache for the Liberals over the last two years and is likely to be the subject of divisive debates in the upcoming fall federal election.The most heated rhetoric tends to revolve around tens of thousands of “irregular migrants” who have crossed into Canada through unofficial paths along the Canada-U.S. border since early 2017.The Conservatives have been accusing the Trudeau government of not being in control of the country’s immigration system and have been using the number of migrants — whom they typically call “illegal,” not “irregular” — to highlight those concerns.Trudeau and immigration officials continue to insist the system is just fine and that Conservatives are merely stoking fears for partisan gain.The prime minister responded to one recent question from deputy Conservative leader Lisa Raitt by saying “every single person crossing our borders, whether legally or illegally, gets processed according to all our rules.”Is this statement true?Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below).This one earns a rating of “Full of baloney.”Here’s why.THE FACTSAnyone wishing to make an asylum claim in Canada faces a number of screenings by three different federal agencies.The Immigration Department and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) first conduct an eligibility assessment, which involves biometric screening (fingerprints and photos) and biographic checks as well as a security check for anyone over 18 years of age. This determines whether the person is eligible to make a refugee claim. Factors that rule out eligibility include whether the person has committed a serious crime, made a previous claim in Canada or received protection in another country.If, after those checks, the person is deemed eligible for refugee protection, the Immigration Department or CBSA then refers the claim to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) — an arm’s-length tribunal that decides refugee cases and appeals.Once a claim is referred to the IRB, it’s reviewed for security, credibility and for possible grounds for exclusion from Canada’s asylum system.THE AUDITOR GENERALFederal auditor general Sylvain Ricard recently probed whether all three government agencies involved in refugee determinations have been consistently processing asylum claims in an efficient and timely manner.The audit found Canada’s refugee system has a backlog of asylum claims that is worse now than it has ever been, caused in part by systemic inefficiencies.Ricard’s office also zeroed in on whether biometric checks for criminality or identity were completed for a sample of 82,503 claimants.His office found that the CBSA had no quality-assurance program to ensure all the proper screening procedures had been completed. For example, the audit found some files contained errors in electronic documentation. It also flagged 400 claims where biometric checks for criminality or identity were not completed, as required. In some of these cases fingerprints were simply not taken and in others there were system errors that occurred when information was transmitted.“Although these cases represent 0.5 per cent of all claimants for whom criminality or identity checks were required, the checks are important for public safety and the integrity of the refugee determination system,” the auditor’s report says. “Neither organization systematically tracked whether a criminal records check was always completed because of poor data quality.”Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale responded by saying the system has “layers of protection.” When the auditor general found those 400 cases with missing biometrics, the CBSA immediately checked those files and in every case, proper criminal screening was done to ensure no bad actors inadvertently slipped through the system, Goodale told reporters May 7.“With respect to biometrics, (CBSA officials) were able to identify that in 0.2 per cent of cases, that part of the screening process was not completed properly. I guess you could look at it the other way around and say 99.8 per cent of the cases, it was properly completed, but in 0.2 per cent, they acknowledge an error and they have taken steps to make sure, by way of proper protocol, that doesn’t happen again,” Goodale said.THE VERDICTTrudeau clearly and matter-of-factly stated that “every single person crossing our borders, whether legally or illegally, gets processed according to all our rules.” He made this statement on the same day the auditor general’s report was published, describing the 400 cases where biometric screenings were not completed as well as other gaps in information collected or shared among government agencies about asylum seekers.The audit report did find that in most cases, proper procedures were followed, but it did flag areas where some people did not get screened according to all the rules.For that reason, Trudeau’s statement in the House of Commons earns a rating of “Full of baloney.”METHODOLOGYThe Baloney Meter is a project of The Canadian Press that examines the level of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Each claim is researched and assigned a rating based on the following scale:No baloney — the statement is completely accurateA little baloney — the statement is mostly accurate but more information is requiredSome baloney — the statement is partly accurate but important details are missingA lot of baloney — the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truthFull of baloney — the statement is completely inaccurateTeresa Wright, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The owner of the billboards that featured ads promoting Maxime Bernier’s stance on immigration says they would have stayed up had the third-party group that paid for them not left his company twisting in the wind.Randy Otto, the president of Pattison Outdoor Advertising, says his company agreed to run the ads on the condition that True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp. identify itself and let people viewing the billboards know how to reach it.Otto says his company felt the group could promote Bernier’s and the People’s Party of Canada’s views on immigration — as long as it was prepared to deal with any fallout.He says he did not like having been left alone to defend the ads.Otto says he was “further appalled” to see Frank Smeenk, the head of the third-party group, tell The Canadian Press he disavowed the ad and that he had paid for the campaign without getting the chance to approve its message.The billboards, which featured a photo of Bernier with his party logo and a slogan advocating against “mass immigration,” started appearing across the country late last week.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A Montreal-area woman says her parents and their friends are safe after riding out Hurricane Dorian in the attic of a home in the Bahamas.Kristin Dudley said in a brief phone conversation that she was able to speak to her father via satellite phone earlier today and he confirmed all four Ottawa residents are alive and well.She said her 70-year-old parents Sharyn Laughlin and Denis Dudley, as well as their friends, are expected to be evacuated via helicopter later today.Dudley hadn’t heard from her parents since Sunday, as they and their two friends were taking refuge in the attic of a house on Great Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas during the massive Category 5 storm.She said the water had already burst through the main floor of the home, and she worried for their safety.The storm caused widespread devastation across the northern Bahamas, as sustained winds of 295 kilometres per hour ripped off roofs, bowled over cars and sent floodwaters rushing into people’s homes.Dudley said Wednesday she needed to leave her phone line open but took to social media to thank the public for their prayers and messages of support.“It means the world to us,” she wrote on Facebook.— With a file from The Associated PressThe Canadian Press
Most of us have never seen her lose.That’s how fast and unexpected and remarkable this has been. Way back on March 1, in the semi-finals of the Mexican Open, a third-tier event in Acapulco, Bianca Andreescu fell in three sets to Sofia Kenin, then the 35th ranked player in the world. She took home a check for $11,500.She had made a bit of noise earlier in the season, beating Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniaki in Auckland en route to the Australian Open as a qualifier, but beyond the tennis hard core, those victories hardly caused a ripple.And before that, Andreescu was precisely as famous as you’d expect the 152nd ranked player in the world to be.Then, immediately after Acapulco, Andreescu won Indian Wells, sort of the fifth major, and this crazy ride began.Her only two losses since, a retirement and a walk-over, were forced by injury. Andreescu has otherwise been untouchable. The odd wobble here, the brief loss of form there, but no one has been able to beat her when she was able to finish a match, and there is every reason to believe that in this moment, she is the finest female tennis player on Earth.That truth was, of course, hammered home on Saturday afternoon, when Andreescu defeated the greatest female player in history, Serena Williams, in straight sets in the final of the U.S. Open — the first Grand Slam victory by a Canadian.It wasn’t quite prime time Serena, at age 37, but it was very, very good Serena, riding an emotional high after dominating her side of the draw. So no asterisks here. Just try and come up with a historical list of the players Andreescu wouldn’t have beaten that afternoon in Flushing Meadows.The image of her victory, Andreescu lying on the court, spread eagled as though about to make a snow angel, staring into the New York sky, is already one that belongs on a stamp. She has been propelled over those eight months from obscurity to full-on national sports hero.And we, as a country, have entered uncharted territory. You can start searching for comparables, but they just aren’t really there.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>In tennis, Carling Bassett made it as far as the U.S. Open semis, and Milos Raonic and Genie Bouchard both made Grand Slam finals – Bouchard also made it to two Grand Slam semis – and peaked at number three in the world. Perhaps it’s merely the power of hindsight that paints those results as unsustainable, but the truth is, none of them won, and for all of the excitement in the moment, it didn’t feel anything like this.In other individual sports, there’s Mike Weir winning the Masters and Lennox Lewis winning the heavweight championship, Brooke Henderson’s recent triumphs and Ben Johnson and Donovan Bailey and a long list of Olympians who at least temporarily captured the country’s heart.None of those, though, came so quickly, so out of the blue.Emotionally, the can’t-stop-smiling part of this feels closest to the Raptors’ championship, not just because of She The North, but by the way something went from specific to universal so quickly, by the way it became one big, ecstatic social-media driven national hug.And now to figure out who this young woman is, since there hasn’t really been time for that. Even the marketers are scrambling to catch up.You will hear very much in the coming days about her parents and their classic, immigrant story (not a bad time to be reminded of just how Canadian that story is….), about her little dog Coco, about her coach Sylvain Bruneau, about her dogged rise through the ranks when no one was paying attention, about the sacrifices made, about her diet and training regimen, about how she might fare in Melbourne in January, about how she’ll approach the red clay of Roland Garros or the grass courts of Wimbledon next summer, about what it will be like to return to New York as a defending champion, with expectations turned on their head.How Andreescu handles that whirlwind will be telling. But absolutely no one is doubting that she has the tools, and the varied, nuanced game, to continue to succeed at this level.At age 19, it’s understandable that Andreescu doesn’t really have the words to describe what she’s living through. In some ways, she is processing it along with the rest of us.But there is a look in her eyes that, in the context of what we have just witnessed, speaks to a level of confidence that only the greatest athletes possess. It’s as if she was shocked by the moment, yet absolutely unsurprised by the result.Amazing enough when it comes from a Tom Brady or Sidney Crosby. On a whole other level when it comes from a teenager who has never been this way before.Emotionally, it might never be so sweet and fresh and beautiful again, and Canadian sports fans have been historically conditioned to wait for bubbles to burst.But there’s nothing to dread here. Instead sit back, savour what we’ve just witnessed, and imagine the journey to come.
Graham Norton is one of the celebrities backing Samaritans’ Feel Good Friday, encouraging people at work to get involved in the fundraising day, taking place on Friday 1 February 2013.Sponsored by healthcare provider Simplyhealth for the second consecutive year, Feel Good Friday aims to get companies to take part in ‘feel good’ themed activities, in return for a donation to Samaritans, the helpline charity for people struggling to cope.Graham Norton said: “When I’m having a bad day I go running with my dogs to perk myself up. It’s important to feel good at work, especially in my job!“Feel Good Friday is the perfect excuse to have a laugh at work without feeling guilty! It’s easy to get involved, why not offer office massages in return for a donation?! Come on, get on board and help raise vital funds for Samaritans.”To kick-start the events and get people in the feel-good mood, Samaritans has launched Guess the Giggle – a competition involving Graham Norton, and celebrity supporters Linda Nolan, Alesha Dixon, Craig Revel Horwood, June Sarpong and Claudia Winkleman. Participants who play the game on the Feel Good Friday website can win dinner for two with Samaritans’ celebrity ambassador, Linda Nolan.Mark Day from Simplyhealth said: “This is the second year that we have been involved in Feel Good Friday. The day is all about doing something fun and that makes you feel good. This year comedy is the main focus and we hope that every one gets involved by organising their own event, to help to raise money for a great cause. Why not start by guessing the celebratory giggle on the Feel Good Friday website.”Download a fundraising pack from www.feelgoodfriday.org for ideas and support with organising your own ‘feel good’ fundraiser. The pack includes a range of feel good ideas, which range from hosting a comedy night, to sponsoring colleagues to do something funny – like wearing slippers to work.Be part of the ultimate Feel Good Friday by logging on to www.feelgoodfriday.org and help Samaritans’ 20,665 volunteers answer more calls from people struggling to cope.
Mobile app and interactive website GamePlan4Me.com has announced that Kobe Bryant, NBA champion, has added his personal story to those of other accomplished athletes on the site.Featuring videos from leading athletes sharing their strategies for success in competition and in life, GamePlan4Me encourages visitors to create their own plans that will prepare them for the expected and the unexpected in their careers, personal lives and health.Over the past two weeks, President Barack Obama applauded the success of GamePlan4Me on a national radio show, plus pro baseball player CC Sabathia and TV sports analyst and Super Bowl champion Keyshawn Johnson have brought the site to the attention of an ever-growing audience. In addition to the athletes’ videos, the online and mobile experience includes interactive games, facts on health topics and links to informational sites.Professional football players Will Allen, Stevie Brown, Jonathan Casillas, Kurt Coleman, Jermichael Finley, Paris Lenon and O’Brien Schofield have joined GamePlan4Me this week to share their personal stories. They added their insights to those of other Olympic and sports champions from track, golf, football and basketball including: Tamika Catchings, Victor Cruz, Mark Herzlich, Dikembe Mutombo, Sanya Richards-Ross, Bill Walton and Michelle Wie. Since its launch, participating athletes have been tweeting about GamePlan4Me and the social media campaign will continue.George Pyne, business leader and entrepreneur, David Kristal, founder and chief executive officer of Augeo, and Juan Sabater, Latino entrepreneur, are leading GamePlan4Me, a non-political, private initiative and collaboration among athletes, sports executives and industry leaders.“We are thrilled that more athletes are sharing their personal stories about how having a game plan has been vital in their lives, especially for their careers, health and wellness,” commented Kristal. “Our hope is to encourage young Americans to learn about and embrace the importance of health care planning and coverage. Participating athletes sharing their ‘game planning’ anecdotes greatly help us to advance our efforts.”GamePlan4Me is adding more athletes each week and will also soon add the ability for users to upload their own game plan videos. To view the personal video stories from these athletes about their game plans, visit www.GamePlan4Me.com.Source:PR Newswire
On International Literacy Day on Sept. 8, Save the Children will join forces with actor and artist ambassador Jennifer Garner and other stars to host a day-long virtual word-a-thon and bring attention to the poverty-induced early learning gap.Video: Jennifer Garner #FindtheWordsThe event is part of the organization’s newly launched #FindtheWords campaign, designed to give voice to children in poverty who hear 30 million fewer words by age three than children from well-off families.“Every child has something to say, but 250 million children living in poverty in the United States and around the world don’t have the words they need,” said Jennifer Garner in a recently released public service announcement. An avid supporter of early childhood education, Garner will hold a virtual Q&A during the word-a-thon. “In this back-to-school season, please join me in supporting Save the Children to help kids in need #FindtheWords.”Leading up to the big day, 30 of the top influencers in the blogosphere have been riling up their audiences and garnering support through Save the Children’s 30 Days/30 Words blogger challenge. To raise awareness, each blogger has written a post highlighting a specific, meaningful word. The 30 posts in 30 days symbolize the 30 million words too many kids miss out on.“Each and every one of us can make a difference in the lives of all those children who continue to fall behind before they even start school,” said Save the Children president and CEO Carolyn Miles. “We call on all Americans to join us on Sept. 8 in helping shed light on this early learning crisis — we all have a favorite word, so post yours and tag it #FindtheWords.”Save the Children provides kids from poverty-stricken communities in the United States and around the world with access to books, essential learning support and a literacy-rich environment, setting them up for success in school and a brighter future. The organization’s domestic and global education programs receive support from a variety of corporate funders, including Bulgari, Carter’s, IKEA, Mattel, OshKosh B’gosh, Primrose Schools, PVH, Scholastic and T.J.Maxx.To learn more about Save the Children’s #FindtheWords campaign and how to get involved, visit www.SavetheChildren.org/FindtheWords.
The third annual #GivingTuesday will be celebrated on December 2, and celebrities and partners are rallying behind the growing movement of social giving.Supporters include actors/activists Edward Norton and Hugh Jackman, actor-mompreneur Jessica Alba, fashion mogul Kenneth Cole and Golden State Warriors’ basketball star Stephen Curry, each of whom offered comments on their participation in this global celebration of giving back:Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company will be fundraising for FoodCorps in support of healthier foods in elementary schools nationwide.“Part of creating a safer, healthier future for our children includes fostering a lasting, healthy relationship with food,” said Alba. “With so many of our holiday traditions centering on food and cooking, it felt like a perfect time to make a commitment to nutrition education with FoodCorps. We hope everyone will join us in sharing fun, healthy recipes that can not only improve their family’s health but also improve the lives of thousands of kids nationwide.”“For more than 30 years our brand has addressed not only what our customers look like on the outside, but who they are on the inside,” said Kenneth Cole, “and not just what they stand in but what they stand for. This year for #GivingTuesday we are asking fans to take action to end homelessness as a reminder this holiday season that there are too many people who would love to be in your shoes.”On #GivingTuesday, Kenneth Cole is asking people to read and sign the petition asking the federal government to continue funding the HUD-VA Supportive Housing program, as part of the company’s larger Look Good, for Good program, which supports projects of the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, HELP USA and the Sundance Institute.Hugh Jackman, whose Laughing Man Worldwide donates 100 percent of its profits to Projects for All, said, “The holidays are, first and foremost, about goodwill and compassion. That’s why #GivingTuesday is a great way to not just remember that but live it as well.”Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, who leads a season-long Three for Three Challenge to support the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, plans to Gift a Net in honor of each of his teammates, sending lifesaving nets to families in sub-Saharan Africa.“#GivingTuesday reminds us that we can all have an impact on the world,” said Curry. “I cannot help but think about the parents I met in Tanzania who just want to protect their children from malaria. A $10 bed net makes all the difference.”Other celebrities who have pledged to join or support the movement include: • Jon Bon Jovi Soul Food Foundation • Katherine McNamara, Girl Up’s SchoolCycle Campaign • Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation Foundation • Queen Latifah and the Queen Latifah Show (queenlatifah.com) • Trey Songz’s Angels With Heart Foundation • Jo Frost, Global Advocate, Shot@Life campaign Partners continue to join the global movement of giving and generosity, and are expected to announce #GivingTuesday plans up through December 2. Some of the latest companies, organizations and interests to declare their support include:• This year, After-School All-Stars is raising support for afterschool programs and camps that make a difference for its kids all year long with #UNselfies to be shared on #GivingTuesday and throughout the holiday season. The organization is also teaming up with corporate partners such as Fox Sports in Ohio, San Diego, and Florida and Westime Watches to promote #GivingTuesday and a general year-end appeal through in-game media promotion, phone-a-thons and social media support. • Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. has been a #GivingTuesday partner since 2012. This year for #GivingTuesday the foundation is launching a fundraising campaign and sharing seven stories that reflect the impact of its work in Asia and Africa: a small child learning far from school; community groups pooling their savings; microfinance lending in Cote d’Ivoire and more. These stories are supplemented by #HowISeeChange stories that colleagues in Asia and Africa have shared to inspire #GivingTuesday donors to share how they, too, see change. • Powered by data from Gallup’s World View World Poll and commissioned by the Charitable Aid Foundation (CAF) America, the World Giving Index report is being released ahead of the annual “Giving Tuesday” – a celebration of worldwide philanthropy held every year after Thanksgiving in order to help the movement to analyze data ahead of and after December 2, 2014. The World Giving Index is the largest study ever conducted of charitable behavior around the globe and ranks nations on three variables: charitable giving, volunteering and willingness to help others. The United States is the only country ranked in the top ten across all three variables. Scores were calculated from Gallup data collected across 135 countries representing 95 percent of the world’s population as well as International Monetary Fund data on GDP. • Camp Kesem, a nonprofit organization supporting children through and beyond a parent’s cancer, will launch its #HelpCampKesem photo campaign at 62 collegiate chapters nationwide. On December 2, Camp Kesem’s passionate college students will operate on-campus photo booths, inviting fellow students to take and share photos using the #GivingTuesday and #HelpCampKesem hashtags to inspire their peers to give back and help extend Camp Kesem services to more children nationwide. • Clear Channel Outdoor strives to be a responsible member of the communities it serves by taking a proactive role in making those neighborhoods better places to live. Leading up to December 2, 2014, Clear Channel Outdoor will amplify the #GivingTuesday message on its digital billboards in Times Square, and across its digital out-of-home media network. This in turn will help create a greater awareness for giving back to charities and ultimately influence a powerful societal change by inspiring citizens to make a difference within their own communities. • CVS Health will recognize its colleagues’ spirit of volunteerism and support the inspirational community-based work being done by nonprofits nationwide on #GivingTuesday. As part of its campaign, CVS Health is inviting colleagues to nominate a charity in their local communities for which they volunteer for a grant from the CVS Health Foundation. In response to the overwhelming success of last year’s #GivingTuesday campaign, this year the foundation is more than doubling its commitment and will award a total of $100,000 to 50 organizations nationwide. • Dress for Success and Fergie Footwear have teamed up once again to turn #GivingTuesday into #GivingShoesDay, when women are encouraged to donate their professional women’s shoes to their closest Dress for Success affiliate to help get the disadvantaged women of their communities back to work. The top 10 individual shoe donors throughout the world will receive a complimentary pair of limited holiday-edition Raegan heels from Fergie Footwear, and the brand will also donate a gift of new shoes to the three Dress for Success affiliates that collect the most total shoe donations, meaning that when a woman donates her shoes, she’s doing double good. • The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is doing whatever it takes to reach moms, babies and their families who need lifesaving HIV care and treatment the most. The organization is fundraising to gain more resources to ensure families, no matter where they live, have access to these lifesaving tools. This #GivingTuesday, all donations will be matched dollar for dollar, bringing us two times closer to making an AIDS-free generation a reality! • Ellevate is a global professional women’s network dedicated to the success and economic engagement of women. Ellevate’s community is made up of tens of thousands of successful, motivated and passionate professional women who believe that investing in themselves and in other women is good business. Ellevate will use its social media and digital presence to encourage its community to support #GivingTuesday by giving back. On December 2, Ellevate’s President, Ally McDonald, will host a live webinar on the topic of Effective Giving. • The Family Dinner Project’s mission is to inspire families to enjoy food, fun and conversation together. It need not be fancy; the point, in fact, is to return to a simpler and more meaningful way of being. The Family Dinner Project will formally kick off #familydinnerforward on #GivingTuesday December 2, an initiative to inspire families to give—within the family to one another and/or to those outside the family. To participate, simply snap a dinner/giving-related photo and share it via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #familydinnerforward. • Fazoli’s: Quick-service Italian restaurant Fazoli’s wants you to join the #GivingTuesday movement this year and help Feed the Children while feeding your family! Join them for $5.99 All You Can Eat Spaghetti on December 2nd at participating Fazoli’s restaurants and $1 from your meal goes to Feed the Children. Follow Fazoli’s on social media for more ways to give back and do good for those in need! • Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company is teaming up with FoodCorps to bring nutrition education and healthier foods to elementary schools nationwide. In honor of #GivingTuesday and to kick off the holiday season, The Honest Company will provide 4,000 children with cooking and gardening lessons and support to get healthier foods into their school cafeterias. Throughout December, the Honest Company will share healthy, kid-friendly recipes from FoodCorps on social media, and for every share, re-pin and like received, it will donate $2, providing another month of nutrition education to a child served by FoodCorps. The Honest Company has also challenged FoodCorps to raise $25,000 for #GivingTuesday, offering to match with an additional $25,000. • In partnership with #GivingTuesday, Jefferson Awards Foundation (JAF) will launch its first-ever #1for70 campaign. Starting on #GivingTuesday, JAF guarantees that for every $15,000 raised through the end of the year, the foundation will accomplish more than $1 million of youth-led community impact. JAF engages the nation in millions of hours of public service, and trains, activates and celebrates the achievements of Americans ages 5-105. • On #GivingTuesday, the kids at Jeremy’s Heroes will be giving joy to housebound elderly residents in their community. The kids are hard at work writing letters and drawing pictures that will be included with the residents’ meal deliveries this holiday season. Jeremy’s Heroes, named for 9/11 hero Jeremy Grack, teaches the importance of teamwork, leadership and discipline both on and off the athletic field. • The Jimmy Fund solely supports Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s lifesaving mission to conquer cancer in adults and children. As part of #GivingTuesday, the Jimmy Fund will share inspiring patient stories and will ask its supporters for financial contributions to further research patient-care initiatives and, ultimately, create a world without cancer. The fund raised nearly $200,000 in 2013 connected to #GivingTuesday and hopes to raise even more in 2014. • National Geographic will focus its #GivingTuesday efforts on helping to save lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards and other big cats, many of which are facing extinction in the wild. Through the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program supporting on-the-ground conservation projects, education and a global public awareness campaign, we can help restore big cat populations and habitats, ensuring long term survival for these majestic animals. More information is available at causeanuproar.org. • On #GivingTuesday Ronald McDonald House Charities is launching a national campaign that asks people to help families stay together, close to their hospitalized child by donating $25 to Ronald McDonald House Charities and talking about their support using the social media hashtag #forRMHC. A mother’s kiss. A child’s smile. By donating a gift from December 2 to December 31, supporters make everyday-family moments possible at Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms around the world. Gifts of togetherness help strengthen families during difficult times. • StumbleUpon, 5by and its employees are thrilled to support #GivingTuesday this December 2. As a partner for this year’s movement, StumbleUpon and 5by will leverage its platforms, apps, official blog and social media outlets in order to draw attention to the important role this day plays in allowing people, brands and organizations to uniquely support any charity or cause in any fashion they choose. • Studio Design is extremely excited to support #GivingTuesday this year. Studio Design helps anyone show support for a cause by allowing them to remix the cause’s design with their own photos. For #GivingTuesday, studio design will leverage new design techniques to help make the #UNselfie photo become something that is easily sharable via various social networks. • 2014 has seen an unprecedented number of crises around the world, affecting more than 50 million people. Men, women and children have fled their homes due to violence and war that arrived on their doorsteps. This year for #GivingTuesday, USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is partnering with CrowdRise and celebrity supporter Kat Graham to raise money for Refugees as the cold months approach and needs skyrocket for more blankets, tents and warm foods. • TOMS – in response to the growing number of refugees around the world, TOMS is partnering with #GivingTuesday this year to raise funds for USA for UNHCR and our work together. For every $75 purchase or more on #GivingTuesday, $5 will go toward the life-saving work of the UN Refugee Agency. And don’t forget – TOMS matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need, every day of the year. One for One.For a complete list of #GivingTuesday partners, click here.
The Duchess of Cornwall served up sausages and mash at a tea party for children with terminal illnesses last week.The Duchess of Cornwall meets some of the patients of Helen & Douglas HouseCredit/Copyright: www.princeofwales.gov.uk/Her Royal Highness refused to stand on ceremony as she rolled up her sleeves and handed round plates to youngsters from the Helen & Douglas House children’s hospice who were visiting her official London home, Clarence House.Each year The Duchess invites 12 young people and their families from the home, of which she has been patron since 2007, to come in and help her decorate the Royal Christmas tree.Helen & Douglas House is a hospice in Oxford that cares for terminally ill children, young adults and their families.It provides medical, emotional and practical support, helping families deal with the implications of living with a child who will die prematurely, so that they can make the most of their time together.Opened in 1982, it was the world’s first children’s hospice and cares for children from birth to 16.Sporting a fuchsia dress and matching patterned scarf, The Duchess chatted to each of the children and their families about their often heartbreaking stories.Among them were Andrew and Kay Lyon from Oxford and their daughter Sienna, three, who suffers from a rare genetic condition that affects her brain.The couple told The Duchess of the unparalleled support the charity had given them, even looking after Sienna, who suffers from regular seizures and is unable to walk or talk, in order to take their two eldest children on holiday.“Helen House has been remarkable and the care they give Sienna just unparalleled,” Mrs Lyon said.“It is something we never expected, and has opened up a whole new life for us. We don’t know how long we will have Sienna with us, so this is about helping us to create some very happy and special memories.“Today has been huge part of that.”The Duchess then opened the doors to her drawing room, behind which her assistant equerry from the Welsh Guards, Captain Fred Lloyd George, was waiting. Resplendent in his uniform, he saluted the children.Her Royal Highness then helped them to choose several decorations each and carefully placed them on the twinkling tree.Afterwards it was time for tea and sausages and mash, as well as chocolate Christmas trees and decorated biscuits.The Duchess told the gathering: “It’s lovely to see you all and I hope you have enjoyed yourselves. This is one of my favourite things to do each year and seeing your faces as the door opens is magical.“Helen & Douglas House is a wonderful, uplifting place. Everyone should visit it.”Her Royal Highness also comforted Marie McVicar from Wiltshire, who lost her son Ollie Samways, seven, as a result of complication from pre-existing brain damage on November 1. Ollie’s sister Shayla, four, put his decoration on the tree instead.Marie, who is pregnant with a baby boy due in February, said: “Ollie sadly died at the hospice from a chest infection last month and I would do anything to support them. They have become my family.“Ollie was a very special little boy and met The Duchess when she visited the hospice earlier this year. She remembered him immediately and was a huge comfort.”Clare Edwards, chief operating officer at Helen & Douglas House, described the event as “magical”.“It’s such a unique day, so special,” she said. “It makes the children feel so worthy and special and important.“It’s a real privilege to have The Duchess as our Patron. She takes such an interest in the work we do and her patronage helps to shine a light on children’s palliative care.”Source:www.princeofwales.gov.uk