Alexis Bledel Encourages People To Take Part On Election Day

first_imgTV star Alexis Bledel says her passionate belief in women’s rights is motivating her to get out and vote on Election Day this year.She’s speaking out on as part of the “Why I Vote” video series and says “I guess I just think about my mother and wanting her to make choices when she gets older that are fair and good choices for her health as well as the younger people in my family… I want them to be able to make choices that they feel are right for them and they can feel proud of. “Additional episodes feature: Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels on marriage equality: “I appreciate the fact that people have the right to not like gays and lesbians, but the thought of the majority being able to dictate and control the equal rights of a minority is terrifying to me.” Watch the full video here. TV legend Marilu Henner on our food system “You would never make cheese from the breast milk of your next door neighbor but you are sucking from the teat of a cow you don’t even know…” Watch the full video here. Tom Arnold on what he’d tell Congress if he was President, “The first thing I would do as President is I would go over to Congress and say ‘listen guys, people aren’t really digging me, and they f****ng hate you guys. So let’s put some s**t together man! Let’s build something out there for those people who can’t stand us.” Watch the full video here.More at TakePart’s election news hub at read more

Rachael Rays Yumo Donates 160000 To Feeding America

first_imgFeeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, has announced that television personality and bestselling author, Rachael Ray, has donated $160,000 to support the National Produce Program and the BackPack Program through her Yum-o! organization, which is a long-standing supporter of Feeding America and hunger-relief.The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, a nationwide initiative to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed to the 37 million people in the United States served by Feeding America network food banks and partner agencies. Last year alone, the National Produce Program secured more than 120 million pounds of fresh produce on behalf of food banks.“The donation from Yum-o! to the National Produce Program will help aid our food banks in the weekly distribution of more than eight million pounds of fresh produce to children and families facing hunger,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “We are especially grateful to Yum-o! for this donation because oftentimes food banks are the only source of fresh fruits and vegetables for people struggling to put food on the table.”Yum-o!’s donation will also support the BackPack Program at food banks across the country. Feeding America has granted five $10,000 donations to the following food banks: • Lowcountry Food Bank, Charleston, SC • Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Norfolk, VA • Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, Erie, PA • Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN • All Faiths Food Bank, Sarasota, FLThrough the BackPack Program, low-income children receive bags filled with shelf-stable, nutritious food to take home for the weekends and school vacations. Containing wholesome, easy-to-prepare meals, the bag is provided to eligible children free of charge and is distributed at the child’s school throughout the school year. The BackPack Program provides food and nourishment to nearly 230,000 children every year.“More than one in five children in the United States struggles with hunger, a reality that inspired my Yum-o! organization to focus on funding projects and charities that feed hungry children,” said Rachael Ray, founder of Yum-o!. “By supporting Feeding America’s National Produce Program and the BackPack Program at local food banks, Yum-o! can help ensure children facing food insecurity are receiving nutritious and wholesome food.”last_img read more

Jamie Foxx Joins Earth Hour Super Heroes In Blue Revolution

first_imgAs part of Earth Hour Blue, the revolutionary program launched by WWF’s Earth Hour, Jamie Foxx will support ‘Light Up A Village’, a clean energy project from WWF-Uganda.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actor is urging participants to go online and contribute funds to the ‘Light Up a Village’ crowdfunding project, which will provide solar lights and energy efficient mud stoves to families living around an area in Uganda that has come to be known as the “Earth Hour Forest.” Through the simple steps of supporting these vulnerable communities, the project aims to empower the locals to become the future protectors of the soon to be rehabilitated forest area.Foxx was inspired by a passionate video from a small community of Super Heroes in Uganda who came together to show how the project could protect the newly planted trees by meeting the basic energy needs of the locals. The video explains how just one energy efficient mud stove can save up to 33 trees from being cut down annually and also save money by reducing a family’s expenses on firewood and charcoal.“Earth Hour isn’t just about lights off – it’s about people across the world coming together throughout the year to join forces to improve the planet. If you haven’t yet, you need to get involved. Never underestimate your power. Never underestimate what you can do,” said Foxx.In conjunction with the Earth Hour 2014 celebrations in Uganda, one million trees will be planted across the country by youths over the next year, with the majority earmarked to help fill the 2700 hectares of land marked out for the Earth Hour Forest initiative.Another global solution-driven crowdfunding project on Earth Hour Blue for people to back is a Colombian conservation project for The Amazon that aims to protect endangered species like the jaguar, Andean bear, and the pink river dolphin, and work with indigenous communities to use and restore natural resources in a responsible way.The crowdfunding project from WWF-Colombia, called “Lights OFF AmazON,” allows you to invest in the largest ecosystem and air, water and life producer on the planet by raising funds to implement infrastructure for sustainable industries for indigenous communities. Known as the “world’s lungs,” the Amazon is quickly disappearing with mining and ranching causing loss of species and pollution in the area.Earth Hour in Australia has today launched a report, ‘Lights Out for the Reef,’ that highlights the latest scientific findings about climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. The report confirms that urgent action to cut carbon pollution is needed for the sake of the reef’s survival.“If we don’t act now, the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef will be irreversible in a little more than a decade,” said Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, one of the world’s leading experts on the Reef and author of the Oceans Chapter of the upcoming U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.The easiest thing you can do on the Earth Hour Blue platform is to give support via a quick social post to Instagram for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The Reef is under threat due to climate change and the recently approved government decision to develop a mega coal and gas port that would cause dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seabed and rock in its Marine Park.Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder for Earth Hour, announced today, “What we’re seeing is a massive group of Super Heroes around the world who are calling on support for incredible campaigns to address the environmental issues we’re facing in our daily lives. That’s why we built Earth Hour and Earth Hour Blue, so now it’s up to you to help bring together this global momentum to show what can be achieved when we use our power together.”Earth Hour event activities will be amplified on islands across the world, with music becoming a major focus to inspire environmental action in the places on the forefront of climate change and sea level rise. Reggae artists in Jamaica will perform an acoustic concert for the second year running; and in Tahiti, 5000 people will gain entry to a massive acoustic concert at Stade Paster by handing in a piece of recyclable waste they’ve collected to avoid landfill.Following the recent announcement that Spider-Man is the first Super Hero ambassador for Earth Hour, the global movement organised by WWF, the cast of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be on hand to help to switch off the lights across Singapore’s signature Marina Bay skyline on Saturday March 29, at 8.30pm as part of WWF-Singapore’s flagship Earth Hour event.Expanding on many sustainability efforts over the years, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 became the most eco-friendly tentpole production in the history of Columbia Pictures. These environmental efforts, on set and off, were supported at every level – from producers, studio executives, and cast and crew and began as soon as the film went into pre-production.“I’m very proud of the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is entirely carbon-neutral. We made a commitment to be as eco-conscious as possible during production itself, when we took a special effort to think green and avoid waste; now, completing that process with Earth Hour Blue is a wonderful testament to what we can achieve when we all work together,” says Jeff Blake, Chairman, Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment.“Use your power at, so you too can become a Super Hero like Spider-Man, Earth Hour’s Super Hero ambassador,” said Foxx.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

George Clooney Speaks Out on Torture Rapes in Darfur

first_imgIn a New York Times oped published yesterday, actor and activist George Clooney called for renewed international attention to Darfur, including accountability for mass “torture rapes” committed by Sudan government forces.Co-authored by the Enough Project’s John Prendergast and Akshaya Kumar, the piece puts a spotlight on government violence against civilians, and calls for audits and alerts on gold mined in Darfur fueling war crimes in that region.Mass atrocities continue to occur in Darfur with no external witness. This is also the case in Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains, two southern regions devastated by the government’s scorched-earth tactics.To avoid scrutiny, the [Sudan] government has spent millions of dollars provided by Qatar to set up “model villages,” where it encourages Darfuris displaced by violence to settle. Human Rights Watch recently documented a chilling incident of mass rape at one of these villages, Tabit … at least 221 women had been raped by soldiers of the Sudanese Army over a 36-hour period…During Clooney, Prendergast and Kumar’s visits to Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and refugee camps in neighboring countries, they heard story after story like those from Tabit. These “torture rapes” are just one tool in Sudan’s criminal arsenal, which also includes aerial bombing of hospitals and agricultural fields, burning of villages and the denial of food aid.International banks, gold refiners and associations like the Dubai Multi Commodities Center and the London Bullion Market Association should raise alerts for Sudanese gold and initiate audits to trace it all to its mine of origin to ensure that purchases are not fueling war crimes in Darfur.Clooney, an actor and film producer, is the co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project with Prendergast, who is the founding director of the Enough Project. Akshaya Kumar is an Enough Project policy analyst on Sudan and South Sudan.Read the full article here.About the Enough ProjectThe Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress aiming to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, Central African Republic, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more: the Satellite Sentinel ProjectThe Satellite Sentinel Project, co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, is a partnership between the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch. SSP uses satellite imagery and forensic investigation to assess the human security situation, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity. SSP recently announced an expansion of its work to focus on the economic drivers of mass atrocities and human rights abuses, and to encompass some of the world’s most violent regions of conflict, including Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic. To learn more: Projectlast_img read more

United Nations To Celebrate 70th Anniversary In San Francisco

first_imgPresentation of Harvey Milk Medal to Secretary-General Ban for Creation of Free & Equal CampaignWHO:UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.; House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; Stuart Milk, co-founder, Harvey Milk FoundationWHAT:The Harvey Milk Honors Medal is seen as one of most significant recognitions from the LGBT global human rights community. Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, and the Secretary-General will take questions on efforts to advance global LGBT rights.WHEN:1:00 pm, June 26, 2015WHERE:South Light Court, City Hall On Friday June 26, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will join the Bay Area in marking the 70th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter with commemorative events in San Francisco, including City Hall and the Fairmont Hotel.The anniversary commemorates events of June 26, 1945. With the World War II still raging in the Pacific, representatives of 50 nations gathered in San Francisco to sign the United Nations Charter. From that moment on, the Bay Area has played a critical role in advancing the mission and values of the United Nations.Charter Commemoration Ceremony at City HallWHO:UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiWHAT:Remarks at City Hall will mark San Francisco’s historic role in creating the UN; leaders to discuss global challenges facing the current and future generations.WHEN:12:00 pm, June 26, 2015 WHERE:Rotunda, City Hall United Nations 70th Anniversary Dinner at Fairmont HotelWHO:UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin, Bay Area society, UN diplomatsWHAT:Civic leaders, diplomats, activists, and business leaders gather in the location of UN Charter negotiations.WHEN:6:00 pm, June 26, 2015WHERE:Fairmont Hotel, Venetian Ballroom, 950 Mason St.last_img read more

Viff 2016 Unveils Ambitious Canadian Feature Film Slate Including Mean Dreams Old

first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With:center_img The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) has today announced 22 additional Canadian feature films in two series, Canadian Images and Future//Present. These films join 10 British Columbia-produced features announced previously to create one of the largest annual showcases of Canadian cinema in the world. Standouts include Nathan Morlando’s Cannes premiere “Mean Dreams,” Johnny Ma’s “Old Stone” and Bruce McDonald’s “Weirdos.”The longstanding Canadian Images series will once again feature some of the country’s best narrative films and documentaries, while the new Future//Present series highlights the work of emerging independent filmmakers from across the country. Future//Present promises to “bring together the most talented, bold and distinct voices in Canadian film.”As part of its commitment to Canadian filmmakers, VIFF offers three cash awards to celebrate outstanding achievements in filmmaking: $10,000 for Best Canadian Film,  $2,000 for Emerging Canadian Director and $15,000 for Best Canadian Documentary. This year’s VIFF runs from September 29 – October 14. Check out some programming picks below. Twitter Facebooklast_img read more

Directors Jay Baruchel and Jeremy Garelick To Helm JFLThruline Television Staged Readings

first_imgAdvertisement Montreal, PQ [May 24, 2017] — Actor/writer/director Jay Baruchel (Goon, Goon: Last of the Enforcers, Man Seeking Woman) and writer/director Jeremy Garelick (The Wedding Ringer, The Break-Up) return to Just For Laughs ComedyPRO for a third year of JFL/Thruline Television Staged Readings. The duo will each helm an all-star cast of actors and comedians in a staged read through of one American and one Canadian script. The event takes place Thursday, July 27th at the Hyatt Regency Montreal during Just For Laughs ComedyPRO, the leading industry event of the comedy business.Since 2015, the JFL/Thruline Television Staged Readings has proven to be an open and welcoming door for talented American and Canadian scriptwriters looking to develop their ideas. To date, two of the three scripts staged have been optioned as a direct result of the readings:A**hole Detective. Written by George Reinblatt, this riotous comedy is currently in development with Canadian television and broadcasting powerhouse, Bell Media. The 2016 read through was directed by Jay Baruchel and featured Jimmy Carr, Colin Mochrie, Allison Miller and Sarah Tiana among others. Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebook Wunderkind. Written by Tyler Greene, this script sold to Seeso, Comcast and Universal’s new digital comedy network. David Zuckerman (Family Guy) is currently attached as executive producer while Jeremy Garelick is set to direct and executive produce. The 2015 table read was directed by Jeremy Garelick and featured Chris D’Elia, Bridgit Mendler and Affion Crockett.“Just For Laughs is the perfect venue for bringing a television script to life,” says Paul Ronca, Director of Industry & Special Events Programming and Strategic Partner Development at Just For Laughs. “We put the world’s top comedy creatives in a room with the world’s top development and programming executives. It’s magic.”“Just For Laughs is a hub of laughter and positive energy,” adds Jeremy Garelick. “It’s inspiring to just be a part of it.”The two scripts selected for this year’s read through will be announced in early July.Just For Laughs ComedyPRO runs from July 26 – 29, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Montreal, part of the 35th annual Just for Laughs Festival, which takes place from July 12 – 31st, 2017.Passes for Just For Laughs ComedyPRO are on sale now through June 16 at a reduced rate. Please visit for details or make your purchase directly with Eventbrite.last_img read more


first_imgTORONTO—Canadian singer Jessie Reyez sings about her dreams of rising to the upper ranks of music and YouTube hopes its new marketing campaign will play a role getting her there.The streaming video giant says it’s picked the Juno Award-winning singer as its inaugural YouTube Artist on the Rise, a multiplatform publicity push that launches Friday.The new monthly program selects a musician YouTube deems “up-and-coming” and puts a massive promotional thrust behind them. It’s an effort by YouTube to catch the wave of new acts and help build further momentum behind them in the increasingly cluttered world of streaming music. Advertisement Toronto-raised Reyez is considered one of the rising stars of Canada’s music industry. Her single Figures climbed the country’s pop music charts last year and she’s worked alongside big names such as Calvin Harris and Eminem. Advertisement Facebook Twittercenter_img Advertisement Login/Register With: Toronto-raised Jessie Reyez is considered one of the rising stars of Canada’s music industry. Her single Figures climbed the country’s pop music charts last year and she’s worked alongside big names such as Calvin Harris and Eminem. (ANDREW CHIN / GETTY IMAGES) LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more


first_imgAudiences worldwide have long balanced an appetite for Western, English-language pop music with a love of local or regional musical genres. But now North American pop fans are waking up to music from abroad.“We’re now beginning to appreciate music from other places, sung in their native tongue,” said Julien Christian Lutz, the Toronto music video producer better known as Director X.Known for videos like Drake’s Hotline Bling and Rihanna’s Work, Lutz recently worked with Spanish pop star Rosalia and reggaeton artist J. Balvin on their track Con Altura, currently flying high with more than 71 million views on YouTube since its debut in late March. Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Rosalia and J Balvin perform during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella) Advertisementcenter_img K-pop superstars BTS wowed on Saturday Night Live in the same week that they shattered YouTube records with a new music video. Madonna’s first track in years is a reggaeton collaboration. Two of the most buzzworthy acts at Coachella this year were BLACKPINK and J Balvin.Fuelled by streaming and the curiosity of a new generation of music lovers, mainstream pop is easing its boundaries and mixing it up with different genres from around the globe. Advertisement Login/Register With: Twitterlast_img read more


first_img Twitter Advertisement Jim Carrey heaped praise on Ariana Grande, after he noticed the ‘Thank U, Next’ singer shared his quote about depression. (Claudio Onorati/ANSA via AP and AP / Scott Roth) Facebook Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img Comedian Jim Carrey said he felt blessed and heaped praise on Ariana Grande after he noticed the ‘Thank U, Next’ singer shared his quote about depression.Over the past two years, Grande, 25, has been open about the trying experiences in her life.In May 2017, a suicide bomber killed 22 people outside her concert in Manchester, England. Her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died from a suspected overdose in September and then she broke off her engagement to “Saturday Night Live” actor Pete Davidson. The pop star broke down on stage last December and said she’d had “the worst year.” Last week, she even shared a screenshot of a brain scan on her Instagram story showing which areas appeared to be affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.Then, on Saturday, Grande shared a black-and-white photo of the “Ace Ventura” actor overlaid with his comments about depression which he made during a TIFF Originals interview in 2017.“Depression is your body saying, ‘I don’t want to be this character anymore. I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me,’” his quote read. “You should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character you’ve been trying to play.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With:last_img read more

First Nations man says he had seizure when arrested for public intoxication

first_imgAPTN National NewsA First Nations man from northern Saskatchewan is claiming he was arrested by the RCMP for public intoxication when in reality he was have an epileptic seizure.He also claims he was suffering from side effects of his medication.APTN’s Larissa Burnouf has the story.lburnouf@aptn.calast_img

First Nations leaders cite deplorable health conditions urge action

first_imgThe Canadian PressOTTAWA – Indigenous leaders are pushing Canada to confront “deplorable” health conditions for their people as federal, territorial and provincial ministers prepare to meet in Vancouver next week to work on a new health accord. Isadore Day, Ontario regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations and head of the assembly’s health committee, said the state of Aboriginal health is a crisis that must be confronted by all Canadians. In a letter to federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, Day also emphasized the need for full native participation in drafting a new health accord. “I think it is really important for everyone to look at the truth,” Day said in an interview. “We are in the era of truth and reconciliation and I think that this is a major issue. If it wasn’t for the Indian Act, if it wasn’t for residential schools, if it wasn’t for colonial policy, the health conditions of our people wouldn’t be in this state.” Aboriginal Peoples continue to face serious health challenges, including high rates of chronic and contagious diseases and shorter life expectancies, according to Health Canada data. Tuberculosis infection rates, for example, are five times higher among First Nations people and 50 times higher among the Inuit population, than among the general population, the department said. It also said an estimated 278 new HIV infections occurred in the Aboriginal population in 2014, representing 10.8 per cent of all new infections that year. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Philpott said there are a number of other worrying health indicators, such as suicide rates among Inuit youth. “These are very serious concerns,” she said. “They are an absolute priority for me to address, but I can’t do that alone because obviously provincial and territorial governments are also implicated in addressing some of these concerns. So we will be all talking together and seeing how we can make progress in terms of those gaps.” In his letter to Philpott, Day noted the minister is attuned to the First Nations health crisis “having spent so many years practising medicine in very similar, Third-World conditions of West Africa.” Aboriginal people often endure health conditions that people would not and should not expect to see in Canada, Philpott said. “I think that you will find that they are, in some cases, comparable to the kind of levels you would see in less-resourced countries and that is not acceptable,” she said. “It is something we very much aim to address.” Indigenous leaders will be part of the talks on the health accord, Philpott added, though she did not have specifics on what shape this will take. “I am in discussions with Indigenous leaders across the country about the best way for us to all work together, provinces, territories, the federal government and Indigenous leaders,” she said. Manitoba Health Minister Sharon Blady said she appreciates Philpott’s openness to looking at how to include Indigenous voices at the table. “I really want to be able to see where the federal minister goes with this because I know how important it is for our people and to our provincial system here,” Blady said. “Our First Peoples live in conditions that are predicated on 150-plus years of unjust colonial practices that have had implications over generations and that puts an undue health burden on them … it also puts a burden on the health-care system. It is an unfair burden … they are carrying disproportionately.”last_img read more

Archaeological dig for Indigenous villages should have happened before massive music festival

first_imgKenneth Jackson APTN National NewsIt’s a hot summer day in Oro-Medonte near Barrie, Ontario.Some may say it’s just the right weather for the annual three-day WayHome Music & Arts Festival featuring big groups like The Killers, Arcade Fire and A Tribe Called Red.Festival-goers began arriving and setting up their tents Friday. As they did, they were welcomed by locals holding placards.The protesters oppose the festival — they say it’s too loud, not properly zoned and something else.There’s supposed be an archaeological dig for ancient Indigenous villages, and possibly burials.Documents suggest there is potential for them to be there, and WayHome is expected to do tests this fall to be sure.But that’s not soon enough for local residents.APTN put questions to Wayhome‎ on the allegations, but they believe much is being made out of nothing.‎”No archaeological sites or artifacts have been identified on the properties,” said Ryan Howes, a spokesperson for WayHome.“We have been following due process in regard to First Nations interests and will continue to engage with them as we work though our rezoning.”KJackson@aptn.calast_img read more

Inuk teen wanted in Ottawa highrise homicide

first_imgAPTN National NewsAn Inuk teen has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault in an ongoing homicide investigation in Ottawa but police need the public’s help tracking her down.Police have issued a Canada-wide warrant for the girl who cannot be named because of her age.Two others are wanted by police as well. Daniel Jean Charles, 20, and another minor.Ahmad Afrah, 19, died last week in Ottawa after it is believed he fall from a highrise building on MacLaren Street.Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call Ottawa Police Major Crime Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5493. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).news@aptn.calast_img read more

Remove Nick Beyak from council to promote unity Chief

first_img(Chief Arnold Gardner of Eagle Lake First Nation.)Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsThe chief of the closest First Nation to Dryden, Ont. wants Nick Beyak removed from city council.Eagle Lake Chief Arnold Gardner said he’s “deeply disappointed” by comments Beyak make about Indigenous people that “promote division.”“A councillor holding a public position representing the City of Dryden bears a responsibility to promote unity,” Gardner said in a letter he sent to Dryden Mayor Greg Wilson.The letter was discussed at Monday night’s council meeting in the northwestern Ontario city.It condemns him supporting the position of his mother – now-independent Sen. Lynn Beyak – that some good came from Canada’s notorious and racist Indian residential school system.And opinions Nick Beyak himself shared that Indigenous people are unable to feed, clothe and protect themselves.The letter points to Nick Beyak’s lack of a public mandate.“Because Coun. Beyak was appointed mid-term and at no time was voted in by the people of Dryden, we expect yourself and your council members to publicly repudiate (Beyak’s) comments,” Gardner said.“In addition, it is our position that you and your council members expressly have an obligation to remove him from office.”Nick Beyak is seen second from the left in the back row in this picture of Dryden city council.Gardner asked for a response by the end of this week, and a meeting with the full council out of respect for their positive relationship to “bring closure to these recent occurrences.”Nick Beyak was absent from the meeting but left a prepared statement the mayor shared with council.“The mayor did read a statement from Coun. Beyak which was read into the record,” said Coun. Mary Trist. “Mr. Beyak reiterated that he spoke as a son and not as a councillor.”Trist, who has spoken out against the Nick Beyaks’ comments, said council cannot remove him as councillor but could ask him to resign.She said the mayor, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, also spoke about racism, residential schools and freedom of speech.“He was emotional when he talked about the boy in his school who took his own life,” Trist recalled.Wilson told council an Indigenous classmate of his in Grade 8 was in foster care and died by suicide.“It is only decades later that I started to get a faint understanding of the forces behind such tragic events,” he said.“This kind of result is what happens when people in power try to dictate the lives of others from a distance without understanding or respecting the culture, leadership, economic and social fabric of local communities. Unfortunately, that legacy persists to this day.”Eagle Lake is an Ojibway community approximately 25 kilometres southwest of Dryden.Its letter is the latest salvo in a war on words that’s landed the Beyaks in hot water and led to Lynn Beyak’s ouster from the federal Conservative caucus. She remains a senator.She and her son operate car dealerships in Dryden and Fort Frances. Businesses that are now the target of a boycott by First Nations.Lynn Beyak is also the subject of an online petition launched by the area tribal government to have her removed from the Senate.She was widely condemned following a pro-residential school speech last March, and fanned the flames by posting ‘letters of support’ expressing anti-Indigenous sentiments on her Senate website.She was removed from the Senate’s Aboriginal committee and is now being investigated for potentially violating the Senate’s ethics code.Gardner wasn’t available for comment.kmartens@aptn.calast_img read more

Families of MMIW begin meeting in Ottawa to address crisis

first_imgAPTN National NewsFamily members of missing and murdered Indigenous women have begun meeting in Ottawa in what will be the first of three roundtables over two days to address the country-wide crisis.Just after an opening prayer by Algonquin, Inuit and Metis elders at 9 a.m, family will gather in sharing circles at the Delta hotel in downtown Ottawa.The day-long event is happening behind closed doors and away from media.In the afternoon, the delegates from across Canada will address a framework for action on the crisis, followed by picking ceremonial witnesses to the MMIW national roundtable Friday with federal ministers, chiefs and other delegates.There is a second roundtable happening at Carleton University Friday that is open to the public.More to come.last_img read more

Brother of Tina Fontaine says teen was pregnant at the time of

first_imgAPTN National NewsIt was a crime that shocked all of Canada.It’s been almost one year since Tina Fontaine’s body -wrapped up in a plastic bag- was pulled from a Winnipeg river.Now – her brother says the teen was pregnant at the time of her death.Today, Dennis Ward spoke with him as he reflects back on Tina’s death and his own struggles.And a warning, this report contains graphic language and content.dward@aptn.calast_img

AMC Womens Council says it will no longer be part of social

first_imgDennis WardAPTN NewsAn investigation into a messaging scandal involving the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ grand chief Arlen Dumas appears to be over.The Women’s Council of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs launched its own investigation last week following reports Dumas had sent 22-year-old Bethany Maytwayashing unwanted and inappropriate messages and texts.In a news release Tuesday, the council said it “will no longer be part of the social media posts targeting First Nations leaders in Manitoba.”The council had planned a meeting with Mayatwayashing and other women to give them an opportunity to hear her concerns.According to the release, a meeting was arranged for Friday, July 12 at the Long Plain First Nation urban reserve in Winnipeg.(Francine Meeches, a member of the AMC’s Women’s Council released a statement on the allegations against grand chief Arlen Dumas on Tuesday. Photo: AMC)The council said Mayatwayashing “did not show up.”Mayatwayashing says she “went out onto the land before a set time was given” for the meeting.“Francine Meeches did not update me with a time on Facebook until I was already gone and in a poor service area she messaged at 12:32 am the night before the meet,” Mayatwayshing said in a Facebook message, on Tuesday.Read More:Indigenous woman asks AMC to investigate grand chief’s behavior; chief denies claimWomen’s Council investigating texting allegations against grand chief Manitoba grand chief taking temporary leave of absence to ‘heal’ after texting scandalSocial media helping ‘shift Indigenous universe’ when it comes to bad behavior Mayatwayashing says her boyfriend Matthew Shorting attended the meeting in her place and that she was present on the conference line while the meeting continued.Shorting posted the original screenshots of messages allegedly from Dumas to Mayatwayshing.Shorting has since last his job.He says he was fired from his restorative justice job after he posted allegations against Dumas saying he was harassing Mayatwayashing.In it’s statement, the AMC secretariat “categorically denies” Shorting was “fired from his job because of political interference.”Swan Lake First Nation Chief Francine Meeches, who is the chair of the AMC Women’s Council said in the statement, “the AMC Women’s Council reached out to Ms. Maytwayashing in good faith to hear her concerns.“Unfortunately, she decided to send three men to meet with us, who offered no evidence to support her claims.”(22-year-old Bethany Maytwayashing says she was supposed to meet with the AMC Women’s Council on July 18. Photo: APTN)The council said “shortly thereafter, Ms. Maytwayashing posted new allegations on Facebook, this time against the AMC Women’s Council alleging that some members were biased – an allegation the Women’s Council categorically denies.”The Women’s Council accuses Maytwayashing and Shorting of making “numerous unfounded allegations against the AMC’s Women’s Council, the AMC Secretariat, and are now soliciting complaints from the community at large against our First Nations leadership in Manitoba.“As a result, the AMC Women’s Council will no longer be part of this social media drama which is clearly targeting all of our First Nation leaders in Manitoba.”The statement comes as a surprise to Maytwayashing because a new meeting had been set up for July 18.“I’m still unsure really.  Nobody contacted me about it” says Mayatwayashing who replied “this is overwhelming I just want an apology, for him to man up, admit it was him and for him to fix this all.”Dumas announced July 12 that he was taking a leave of read more

Media magnate Peladeau evasive about potential return to politics

first_imgMONTREAL – Quebec telecom and media magnate Pierre Karl Peladeau renewed speculation Tuesday he is considering a return to politics.His abrupt departure in May 2016 as head of the Parti Quebecois was against his will and due to family reasons, he told Radio-Canada.But things have changed since then, he suggested.“Obviously I remain ready for the (political) moment,” Peladeau said, unprompted, to the radio host during a wide-ranging interview. “Maybe, eventually you would have asked me about that.”Anyone following the social media posts of the self-avowed nationalist who wanted to be leader of an independent Quebec will not be surprised he is not closing the door to an eventual political comeback.As head of Quebecor Inc., Peladeau owns some of the most popular media and telecom properties in the country and the businessman isn’t shy about using his influence and profile to publicly criticize his opponents.He has come out strongly against the Quebec Liberal’s investment in aerospace giant Bombardier, as well as the government’s recent multimillion-dollar aid package to newspaper companies in competition with his own.Peladeau has also attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the federal government’s refusal to levy a tax on online streaming giant Netflix.“When I think we are going in the wrong direction, when we as a collective are going in the wrong direction … it’s the reason why I speak out and there is no one who will stop me,” he said Tuesday.Peladeau’s remarks were in response to a recent column in Montreal La Presse, a major news outlet owned by Power Corp. of Canada and controlled by a powerful Quebec family he’s openly feuded with for years.In the column, Yves Boisvert suggested Peladeau is the de facto leader of Quebec’s opposition, due to the media mogul’s constant and aggressive public sorties on social media.“For the time being, he is the CEO of a very large communications company and should show a little better that he understands the difference between his old job as a politician, even if he is bored, and his new job, even if it is only temporary,” Boisvert wrote.Peladeau countered: “Who is he to tell me what I can say?”Despite the businessman’s public statements, the speculation around his potential return to politics is being fed by the slow decline in popularity of the PQ.The party has been polling in third place for months as it loses support among critical francophone voters and in the outlying regions where it has been historically strong.“We have a leader right now and it’s Jean-Francois Lisee,” Peladeau said, conspicuously using the term “we,” while reminding the radio host he is still a member of the party. “I have always been attentive to collegiality … I would like to leave my colleagues continue their political work.”Lisee was asked later in the day about Peladeau’s comments and said, “the door is wide open.”Peladeau, he added, would be welcome to run for the PQ in the Oct. 1 election.When asked if a potential return would threaten his leadership, Lisee responded, “we need to have a strong team. I am a leader who wants to be surrounded by strong team members who have ambition.”Bernard Drainville, a former PQ cabinet minister close to Peladeau and who recently joined his television network, said, “according to his entourage, Peladeau misses politics.”Drainville made the comments on a popular news commentary show on Peladeau’s flagship news network, LCN.“But will Peladeau lead a putsch to remove Lisee? The answer is no.”And as for his family situation, Peladeau suggested it is improving.When he quit the PQ in May 2016 after about a year at the helm, he cited family reasons amid his separation from his partner at the time.Peladeau said he was watching TV recently with his nine-year-old daughter, when she told him she wanted him to run for office again.“We now have shared custody, as decided by a court,” Peladeau said. “I’m not sure if I will follow (my daughter’s) advice, but just to put things into context, things evolve.”Companies in this story: (TSX:QBR.B, TSX:POW)last_img read more

Months of deadly unrest devastate Nicaraguas economy

first_imgLEON, Nicaragua – Two days after protests began in Nicaragua in April, a foreign auto components company was meeting at a hotel in the city of Leon when smoke from a burning university building just a block away billowed above the hotel’s colonnaded courtyard.The visitors quickly cut short their event and began changing their travel plans to exit Nicaragua. Within three months, the El Convento hotel itself was forced to close for lack of business, as a sister hotel in the same city had in June.Nicaragua’s economy has been devastated by the nearly five months of unrest sparked by cuts to social security benefits that quickly evolved into calls for President Daniel Ortega to step down.In June, the country’s economic activity was down 12.1 per cent compared to a year earlier, according to the central bank. Economists estimate 200,000 jobs have been shed, including as many as 70,000 in the tourism sector, which has become Nicaragua’s top source of foreign currency in the past two years.Revenue at hotels and restaurants plunged 45 per cent in June compared to 2017, according to Nicaragua’s central bank. Similarly, construction suffered a 35 per cent drop and retail 27 per cent. Some $900 million in deposits fled Nicaragua’s banks. They responded by tightening their lending to preserve liquidity, thus also contributed to the economic slowdown.Nicaraguan Union of Agricultural Producers says more than 12,000 acres of private land have been occupied by government supporters in what business leaders have called confiscations in revenge for their support of the protesters.The producers say 91 per cent of the land occupied by squatters was used for farming and livestock.Victor Hugo Sevilla, the general manager of both Leon hotels, continues checking email, but said “I haven’t gotten any requests from foreigners for reservations. We have received five, maybe eight, rate inquiries from domestic (travellers), but no firm reservations.”Leon, Nicaragua’s second-largest city, was among the places where protests and roadblocks were most intense. From the beginning, those protests were met with violence from riot police and civilian government supporters. In July, they violently cleared the roadblocks and ran protesting students off occupied university campuses.More than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, according to human rights groups. The government calls the protesters “terrorists” and says it defeated an attempt to drive Ortega from office that was sponsored by the U.S. government and domestic opposition, including some in the private sector.Ortega conceded this month that the roadblocks and unrest have cost the country jobs. In an interview with Spanish news agency EFE, he said domestic tourism was starting to return, but “where there has been more of a problem is in attracting international tourism, because this situation tends to repel the tourists.”A major factor has been that the countries that send Nicaragua’s big-spending foreign tourists, including the U.S., Canada, Spain and England, issued travel warnings urging their citizens to avoid travel to Nicaragua.Major airlines such as American and United cut their flights to Managua from three per day to one. Spirit, Delta and other carriers trimmed their flights as well, said Jose Adan Aguerri, president of the Superior Council for Private Enterprise.The council, which is Nicaragua’s main business chamber, joined the call for a national strike Sept. 7. The Civic Alliance, formed to represent a broad swath of Nicaraguan society in a stalled dialogue with the government, said the strike aimed to push the government back to dialogue and to protest the arrest of alliance members and other political prisoners.The country’s primary tourist destinations like the colonial gem Granada and the Pacific coast surfer paradise San Juan del Sur began feeling the consequences of the unrest almost immediately. Hotels and restaurants cut back hours, then days and eventually closed completely.For years, Ortega enjoyed a relatively stable relationship with private business. Since returning to power in 2007, the one-time Marxist rebel commander had softened his views and largely left Nicaragua’s private sector to do what it wanted.The relationship was criticized by some as a tacit agreement to keep the country’s business elites out of politics. In an interview in July with Venezuela’s Telesur network, Ortega said his understanding with Nicaragua’s private sector had been strictly economic and not political.In April, however, the country’s business interests, caught off guard by the social security system changes, quickly joined the opposition. As the social and political crisis deepened, the private sector became increasingly outspoken in calling for Ortega to move up elections.Mario Arana, director of the Nicaragua Association of Producers and Exporters and a former head of the central bank, said the private sector decided to get more involved when student protesters were killed.“When there was an overreaction here to a civil, peaceful protest by the students, where people began to lose their lives, society suffered a social explosion where the private sector aligned with the people,” he said. “The private sector is committed to trying to find a negotiated exit from the crisis.”Juan Sebastian Chamorro, who leads the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development, said the government has shown signs that it recognizes the severity of the economic impact. It has issued new debt, adjusted rules to tighten the selling of dollars and cut public spending as it forecasts a 10 per cent drop in tax revenue.Whether any of that will be enough to stop the economy’s slide is doubtful unless it’s accompanied by a political solution that restores stability, experts said.On Wednesday in Washington, the Organization of American States called on Nicaragua’s government to co-operate with teams investigating human rights abuses and a working group created by the body to support a national dialogue.Nicaragua’s ambassador to the body, Luis Alvarado, responded that the government does not recognize the existence of the working group and therefore had nothing to answer to.For years Leon had been at best a day trip for foreign tourists beginning to explore better-known Granada or San Juan del Sur. But the city had worked hard to get attention and Art Collection Hotels had bet on its prospects by opening its second hotel, La Recoleccion, in 2017.“We had high expectations for this year,” said Sevilla, the manager of the closed hotels.He had 113 employees between the two properties. They were able to suspend 67, which will enable them to come back without losing any benefits of seniority, but the rest were laid off. He has remained in touch with some of the workers. Those still around are taking whatever work they can find, but he estimated at least half left the country, with most of those seeking tourism sector jobs in Costa Rica.The hotels have 190 reservations for November — the start of the high season — but that’s less than half what they had in November last year. Still, he hopes they can start working their way back again in October. Even if that works out, he predicts a slow climb back to normalcy.Cafes and shops selling handicrafts around Leon’s historic centre were open this week, but a number of hotels and hostels in the area were shuttered.“I think it will take at least 12 months, maybe more, to be able to restart the tourism engine,” he said.___Sherman reported from Mexico City. AP writers Maria Verza contributed to this report from Managua and Luis Alonso Lugo contributed from Washington.last_img read more