Developments in West Bengal in the past week have reverberated across the nation as the assault on one of the junior doctors at NRS Hospital received widespread criticism. Protests across Bengal with the support received from across the country was a sigil of solidarity even as this very solidarity rendered thousands of patients without medical facilities. Doctors refused to work in Delhi, UP, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka and other parts of the country to display their support towards the demands of NRS doctors. AIIMS Delhi went a step ahead and gave the West Bengal government an ultimatum of 48 hours with a delegation of Indian Medical Council visiting the Union Health Minister over the concerned issue. The pertinent issue of lack of security and police personnel in government hospitals across the nation has been a corner of concern. Like government banks, railway stations, etc., even the government hospitals must have appropriate security and police presence to avoid any mishap. The incident which took place at NRS Hospital was indeed an unfortunate one but more than that it was a serious security lapse. Overreacting patients cannot be ruled out given the severity of issues hospitals deal with and the state of mind any particular individual might be in. Assaulting anyone is against law and there are always those who break laws. Hence, the requirement of adequate safeguards to ensure safety, and that too at someone’s workplace, is paramount. Rightly so then, the demand put forth by doctors of NRS hospital was justified as it echoed across the nation with supporters decrying the incident and demanding action. Of course, the issue was red-hot and at a vulnerable point to be politically exploited and further leading to more protests. Already, a pool of patients had to bear the brunt of doctors’ absence. In short, the state was getting severely affected and the issue would have compounded and became a problem with ramifications which would not be pleasant. Also Read – A compounding difficultyIn this chaos, West Bengal’s chief minister took steps which made NRS hospital, doctors across the state and nation as well as people of Bengal reinstate their faith in the system, especially Mamata above all. The consequence of any agitation in a democracy is always going to be reformist in nature. The seven-day standoff between doctors and state government over lack of security at the workplace came to an end thanks to the truce achieved by the Mamata administration and a delegation of junior doctors. The state secretariat witnessed a 100-minute meeting where Mamata managed to put a smile on faces of protesting junior doctors who, by their absence from the workplace, had brought health services across the state to a standstill; their protest was emulated by others across the nation bringing health services to a halt at many places including the private hospitals shutting their OPDs. The protests staged by doctors transformed into a round of applause as Mamata accepted all their demands and appealed to them to end their strike, calling them “good boys”. The doctors, prior to their meeting, had put forward a demand to live-stream the meeting on news channels instead of a closed-door meeting, setting a precedent that was hailed by all, and would result in increased transparency – something governments have always eluded in some way or another. Closed-door meetings have been conventionally followed to resolve issues, even if they involve the common people. In the garb of confidentiality, almost everything regarding the government is discreetly discussed without letting the layman witness any of it. The essence of democracy is dampened but decisions of authority prevail nevertheless. However, with a one-of-its-kind meeting, the Mamata administration has not only satisfied doctors but the entire state. The incident takes us back to when DD Lok Sabha aired proceedings of the lower house on national TV. Democracy was enriched with public viewership as the elected representatives discussed matters of national interest. The coverage showed Mamata patiently listening to all demands raised by the delegation of junior doctors, jotting down points while asking health and police officials in the room to act on issues as entire West Bengal and the country watched. Governance of this sort really places the administration on a different note. When a government is able to fearlessly pursue remedies and solutions to fix cracks in the system, which is their duty as representatives of people, with a public eye constantly watching, democracy is strengthened. In the context of doctor’s agitation, Mamata pioneered the grievance redressal as the strike ended and doctors returned to their daily work. In fact, the positive note of the meeting reflected in their actions as they went back to NRS Hospital cheering and smiling and apologised to patients and their families with folded hands. If governments – who are fond of setting up committees to look into issues and provide redressal – practice what the West Bengal government did in this case, chances of public redressal increase several folds. Even the quality of remedy is assured since actions of government are now accountable in the eyes of masses due to the live-streamed meeting. In essence, transparency is increased and in a democracy, that will be always desirable.
Braces can help you get straight teeth but it may not always bring happiness and self-confidence, a study suggests. A recently published study followed 448 13-year-old kids from South Australia in 1988 and 1989. By the time that they turned 30 in 2005 and 2006 more than a third of them had received orthodontic treatment. “The study, examined if having braces lead to a greater level of happiness or psychosocial outcomes, later in life. There was a pattern of higher psychosocial scores in people who did not have orthodontic treatment meaning people who hadn’t had braces fitted were happier than the ones that did have braces.” Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”Those who didn’t have braces had varying levels of crooked teeth, just like those who had braces treatment –ranging from mild through to very severe,” researcher said. The study looked at four psychosocial aspects: how well people felt they coped with new or difficult situations and associated setbacks; how much they felt that could take care of their own health; the person believed that the support they received was from their personal network and their own level of optimism. “These indicators were chosen because they are important for psychosocial functioning and are relevant to health behaviours and health outcomes; since the core research question was the impact of braces treatment on patients’ self-confidence,” they added. During the study, a dental student, who has never had braces fitted: “My orthodontist recommended that I have braces fitted but I’m quite happy without them.
Karnataka Floor Test Live: “The government received 99 votes, while 105 members have voted against it,” Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar confirmed after counting the votes. The HD Kumaraswamy led Congress-JD(S) government failed to survive trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly on Tuesday, with the coalition falling short of majority in the 224-member House. The trust vote was necessitated after 15 MLAs rebelled against Kumaraswamy government, plunging it to a minority. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “The government received 99 votes, while 105 members have voted against it,” Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar confirmed after counting the votes.The trust vote sought by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy reached its culmination today after three missed deadlines. While the Opposition BJP has 105 MLAs in the House and the support of two Independents, the ruling coalition has 101 MLAs on its side on paper. However, as many as 20 coalition MLAs were absent from the House, reducing the number of the ruling government to 99. The political crisis in the state began with the resignation of at least 1 MLAs-12 from Congress and three from the JD(S), threatening the existence of the coalition government in the state. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayEarlier today, the police imposed prohibitory orders in the city under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) (prevents assembly of five or more people at one spot) and banned sale of liquor from 6 pm Tuesday to 6 am. The rebel MLAs had moved the Supreme Court against the Speaker’s delay in accepting their resignations. On July 17, the top court left it to the Speaker to decide on the resignations but ordered that they should not be compelled to attend the proceedings of the state Assembly. (Inputs from The India Express)
Gurugram: It was in the year 2017 that the initiative of creating forest within the city was first discussed In Gurugram. After two years, the Haryana government has begun taking action towards implementing the project. If all goes according to the plan, the state government will begin the implementation of the forest project in the city. The forest will be developed and conserved on the lines of Delhi’s ridge area.State Forest Minister Rao Narbir Singh, who will initiate the plantation on Friday, claimed that the forest is the only solution to the critical air quality of Gurugram as the Aravallis can no longer solely bear the burden of urban air cleansing. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”We have identified the land. It will be a model to reckon with in NCR. Local trees and plants will be planted and taken care of as part of the central Jal Shakti Abhiyaan. This forest will be a compensation for the trees axed for urban and infrastructural development in Gurugram,” said Narbir. According to officials, it is also planning to build water bodies, arboretum, recreation centre, medicinal plant garden and a bamboo park surrounded by nature trails in the forest. The area will be fenced and a mass plantation drive will be carried out to increase the green cover. The city forest will be developed in the Aravalli hills and foothills in villages Sakatpur, Gairatpur Bas and Sikohpur. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAccording to officials, the new city forest will be bigger than Aravali Biodiversity Park, which is spread across 300 acres, and a 7-km-long trail along Wazirabad Bundh. The department will encourage plantation of native tree species in the forest and only treated water will be used there. The project is a joint effort of the district administration, forest department and private companies. The authorities plan to also distribute these areas to companies interested in tree plantation and maintenance drives for at least four years. These companies will plant around 2,500 trees and other plants in the forest. A large part of the 1,000-acre land is protected under the Section 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA).
New Delhi: Mutual fund houses should ensure that banks — where a scheme has parked funds in the lender’s short-term deposits — do not invest in that particular scheme, according to Sebi. The markets watchdog has issued a clarification regarding ‘parking of funds in short-term deposits of scheduled commercial banks by mutual funds — pending deployment’. “Trustees/ asset management companies (AMCs) shall ensure that no funds of a scheme is parked in STD (short-term deposit) of a bank which has invested in that scheme,” Sebi said in a circular on Friday. Further, it said trustees and AMCs should ensure that the banks in which a scheme has STD do not invest in the same scheme until the scheme has STD with such banks. As per regulations, a mutual fund may invest funds in short-term deposits of schedule commercial banks, subject to certain conditions.
Kochi: Restrictions in the Kashmir Valley are being lifted every day progressively, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday as he promised a “completely normal new Kashmir”.He also criticised certain international media outlets for telecasting “fake news” on the Kashmir situation and said they are being “exposed everyday”. The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, who was interacting with the audience at the Malayala Manorama News Conclave here, rejected suggestions that there was a media blackout in the valley. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Representatives of newspapers and TV news channels were on the field, he added. Kashmiri newspapers are getting printed daily in all languages, and in Srinagar radio and news channels are reaching to the people, Javadekar said. He was responding to a query on the alleged media blackout since August 5 when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and divided the state into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”There was a phase of reasonable restrictions. Now these restrictions are lifted everyday progressively and you will have completely normal new Kashmir and new India,” the minister said. On international media reportage on Kashmir he said, “Now everybody has come to a situation where they realise that fake won’t survive. It is people’s power. They won’t tolerate fake news.” “As far as media is concerned, many channels are exposing every day. As we know, a very famous foreign TV channel showed a demonstration of 10,000 people. The fact was…it was… one was demonstration in Karachi, and another was demonstration four years ago,” he said.
New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the government should have taken chief ministers’ views before changing the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission, adding that unilateralism is not good for federal policy and cooperative federalism. Earlier in July, the Centre changed the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission and mandated the panel to suggest ways for allocation of non-lapsable funds for defence and internal security. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalSpeaking at an event here, Singh said any change in the panel’s terms of reference at the fag-end of its term should have been done in consultation with the states. “The best course would have been for the Central government that if it wants to tailor the terms of reference, it should be backed by Chief Ministers’ Conference, which is now under the auspices of NITI Aayog, otherwise there would be strong feeling that the (Central) government is trying to rob the states of due resource allotment. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”I think that it is not good for the federal polity of our country and cooperative federalism we all swear by these days,” Singh said while addressing the ‘National Seminar on Additional Terms of Reference of the 15th Finance Commission: Implication for the States’. “The commission’s report goes to the finance ministry and then it goes to the Cabinet and therefore government of the day can take a view that whatever the mandate of the Parliament, the government would abide by that rather than imposing its view unilaterally on the reluctant state commissions,” he added. The government on November 27, 2017 notified the 15th Finance Commission, headed by N K Singh, to suggest the formula for devolution of funds to states by the Centre for five years commencing April 1, 2020, among other issues. The commission, which has been mandated to use 2011 census data rather than the one of 1971 for resource allocation, was to submit its report by October 30, 2019. The deadline was later extended till November 30, 2019. “I respectfully request to the authorities to still take this view that they will go by the advice of the Chief Ministers if there is new controversy with regard to additional terms of reference of the commission,” the senior Congress leader said. “I am told once upon a time, the 9th Finance Commission took the view that it will be guided by the Constitutional mandate and will do the fair distribution of taxes, though I don’t know that whether this (15th) commission is going to adopt that line of thought. But…internal security as well as defence are subjects which are of great national importance,” Singh added. About the role of the commission, he said, “There are certain basic issues like allocations for health, education and other important subjects, environment protection, where all states have a legitimate interest. What should be done by the government is to evolve a broad national consensus in dealing with all these issues, otherwise there would be bickering and dissatisfaction. This is not good for the federal polity of our country.” He was of the view that cooperative federalism demands give and take and therefore it is very important that the Centre should take the initiative to consult states as often as necessary to carry them along. “It’s rather odd for the government to come up with additional terms of reference. Most of the states have already gone to the commission with their requirement and now you impose another terms of reference on the commission, which would complicate its work. That is certainly not good for the federal polity and cooperative federalism that we desire should flourish in the country,” he added.
Riyadh: The weapons used to strike two Saudi oil plants were provided by the kingdom’s arch-foe Iran, the Riyadh-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Monday. “The investigation is continuing and all indications are that weapons used in both attacks came from Iran,” coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh, adding they were now probing “from where they were fired”. The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen, where a coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, claimed Saturday’s strikes on two facilities owned by state energy giant Aramco which sent shock waves across oil markets. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USBut US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pointed the finger squarely at Tehran, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen. “This strike didn’t come from Yemen territory as the Huthi militia are pretending,” Maliki said, adding that an investigation was ongoing into the attacks and their origins. He labelled the Huthis “a tool in the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the terrorist regime of Iran”. Trump has raised the possibility of military retaliation after the strikes, saying Sunday that Washington was “locked and loaded” to respond. Oil prices rocketed on Monday after the strikes on Abqaiq, the world’s largest oil processing facility, and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia knocked out nearly half of the top crude exporter’s production.
OTTAWA – Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is facing legal action from several environmental groups who accuse the government of dragging its heels on investigating Volkswagen for duping Canadians with diesel engines.Volkswagen pleaded guilty in the U.S. in March after software was found in certain diesel vehicles that made it appear as though the cars were producing fewer emissions than they really were.In fact, under normal conditions, the cars emitted 35 times Canada’s legal limit on nitrogen oxides, which have adverse effects on human health and contribute to climate change.About 105,000 of the rigged vehicles were sold in Canada and Volkswagen has a court-certified settlement program underway to buy back the cars and compensate Canadians who owned or leased them.A statement from McKenna says her department is investigating and will act if necessary, but that investigation is nearly two years old and two groups, Environmental Defence and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, are tired of waiting.Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence, said his organization heard informally from the government that almost two years after the department began investigating there wasn’t a lot of confidence Canada could do anything about the Volkswagen violations.He said if the government doesn’t act when there is a “violation of environmental law at this scale” and an admission of guilt in the United States regarding the same cars, it sends a horrible message.“It basically puts a mark on Canada as a place to get away with dumping your crap into the environment and nothing will be done about it,” said Gray.So on June the two agencies joined forces to apply for a ministerial investigation to be launched under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.Provisions of that act allow a member of the public to seek a minister’s probe into allegations of violations of the act and to be updated on that investigation every 90 days.The application asked for investigations into four allegations including that Volkswagen imported cars that violated Canadian emissions requirements, applied the National Emissions Mark on diesel cars which didn’t meet the standards and then sold those cars, provided false and misleading information and earlier this year resumed sales of the 2015 models without fixing the emissions problem.Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Environmental Enforcement Directorate responded by saying because the department was already doing an in-house investigation on the first three items, there would be no ministerial probe.The department said it would launch a new investigation into the last claim, which looks at what Volkswagen did to fix its 2015 diesel-engine cars before starting to sell them again in Canada.This week the two organizations filed suit to force McKenna to comply with their application on all four issues.Amir Attaran, a lawyer with the Ecojustice environmental law clinic at the University of Ottawa who represents the individuals who filed the suit, said without launching investigations under Section 17 of the act, the government doesn’t have to update anyone on what it is doing to investigate.He said it has been nearly two years since the issue was first made public and Environment Canada launched its investigation. It has been almost six months since the company pleaded guilty in the U.S. and agreed that it wouldn’t deny wrongdoing in other countries as part of that plea. With all this, it doesn’t make sense that Canada hasn’t been able to complete its investigation and file charges here.Ontario NDP MP Brian Masse said Canada doesn’t take this kind of situation seriously enough and urged McKenna to act as soon as possible.Environment Canada spokesman Mark Johnson said in an email it is not abnormal for an investigation of this complexity to take two or three years and that work has to be completed to put together the strongest possible case before deciding whether to recommend charges be laid.—follow @mrabson on Twitter.
WINNIPEG – An upcoming Manitoba Opera production of “Madama Butterfly” has sparked debate over how the more than century-old tale of a doomed marriage between a Japanese teenager and an older American man fits with modern views about race.The opera company’s website describes Giacomo Puccini’s famous work as “the intensely moving story of a devoted young Japanese woman who is loved and betrayed by an American naval officer.”“Set in Japan at the dawn of the 20th century, East meets West in this clash of values and traditions.”Jenny Heijun Wills, an associate professor in the University of Winnipeg’s English department, has raised concerns about staging an opera she says reinforces harmful stereotypes of Asian women.“We may not be able to hold Puccini to our contemporary standards, but we can hold each other accountable in our contemporary moment,” she said.The female protagonist, young geisha Cio-Cio San, believes her marriage to the naval officer will last forever, but he leaves her to return to the United States shortly after they are wed. She bears their son, but the child is taken away from her years later when the officer returns to Japan with his American wife. Cio-Cio San kills herself for reasons of honour.“There are actual material consequences to this narrative of Asian women … always being patient, always being submissive, being sexually available for mostly European white foreigners to overtake,” said Wills, who is also director of the university’s Critical Race Network.Larry Desrochers, executive director of Manitoba Opera, said some concerns with the story are valid.“The original story is really influenced with this kind of imperialistic attitude and obviously there’s still vestiges of it in the opera today,” he said.But many of its themes are universal and timeless, he added.“It tells the story of a young girl who’s misled and mistreated by an older man that’s still relevant today.”Desrochers said it was important to cast a Japanese woman as lead. Renowned soprano Hiromi Omura will be playing the part of Cio-Cio San for three shows next month. When the opera company did “Madama Butterfly” eight years ago, a Chinese singer had the role.Omura, who lives in France, has performed in “Madama Butterfly” 100 times around the world since 2004. The singer, who remembers singing arias in her family’s traditional Japanese garden as a child, said the story resonates with her.“For me, it’s a story of a woman who lived with all of her might, even in a very hard situation,” she said. “Maybe somebody in the audience can be moved, can be touched by her way of life.”In the lead-up to the production, the opera has organized a talk about interracial relationships and a panel discussion on cultural appropriation.Wills said she takes issue with the panel partly because Omura is the only Asian voice on it and, as a member of the cast, is unlikely to have a critical take.The professor also said cultural appropriation isn’t the main issue with “Madama Butterfly,” because the opera is not telling a Japanese story through a white lens and capitalizing from it. Rather, she said, it tells a western story that happens to be set in Japan.Desrochers said the goal is to have a wide-ranging discussion with people in Winnipeg’s broader arts community.The Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba was invited early on to partner with Manitoba Opera on “Madama Butterfly,” said president Art Miki.The group is holding a sake and sushi night next week and will have information booths and crafts for sale during the shows. Proceeds go toward the association’s fundraising efforts.“It’s a way of promoting our culture here with a wider audience,” said Miki, who also said he takes no issue with the staging of “Madama Butterfly” because it reflects attitudes from a different time.“I have to say, ‘Well, that’s the way it was,’” he said. “Otherwise, we’re in the position of trying to censor everything that exists that may appear to be not acceptable today.”— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
TOBIQUE, N.B. – A resident of a New Brunswick First Nation is crediting the strength of several band members for saving his 12-year-old son as they struggled to exit their burning home.Daniel Saulis said he was struggling to maintain consciousness before several young men in their 20s broke the window of his burning Tobique First Nation home early Sunday and hauled he and his son Hunter out.“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think we would have got out,” he said Wednesday.Saulis said a porch fire had spread into the kitchen, and the doors out of the house wouldn’t open or were blocked by heat, so they retreated into a bedroom and attempted to open a window.He and Hunter heard people outside asking if they needed help, and he told them they did.The heat made breathing difficult, and he couldn’t lift his heavy-set son out of the window on his own, he said.“I couldn’t have got Hunter out, he’s too heavy. I wouldn’t have been able to get him out alone,” said Saulis, who is a wood harvester.He said two or three of the men broke the window and then lifted them out, sheltering them in a vehicle and bringing them to a hospital for smoke inhalation treatment.Saulis said that the men were coming back from a dance and saw the flames coming from the home.He said that Houston Bear, one of the men who rescued them, used his arm strength to lift Hunter — who the father says weighs over 90 kilograms.“Houston is a big boy. He had ahold of Hunter’s arms and he wouldn’t let go for nothing,” said Saulis.
OTTAWA – The long road to replacing Canada’s aging fighter jets took a surprising turn Tuesday as the federal Liberal government added a caveat to its latest battle of the bidders: contenders deemed to be harming the country’s economic interests will find themselves at a “distinct disadvantage.”The plan is to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s current fleet of CF-18 with 88 sleek, modern new planes, Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told a news conference — a contract worth between $15 billion and $19 billion.But the economic-interests test, still in the development stages with the help of the aerospace industry, was an unexpected twist that appears to have raised as many questions as answers.The government also confirmed Tuesday that it is walking away from plans to buy 18 Super Hornets from U.S. aerospace firm Boeing amid a bitter trade dispute with Montreal-based rival Bombardier. Canada will instead buy 18 second-hand F-18s from Australia to deal with what the Liberals call a critical shortage of jets until the entire fleet can be replaced.While the full cost and delivery schedule are still being ironed out, the move will ultimately save time and money, Sajjan insisted.The deal must still be approved by the U.S. government, which originally sold the F-18s to Australia and retains control over the transfer of such arms.During question period Tuesday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer blasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to buy old, second-hand aircraft that are of a similar vintage to the planes the government is replacing.“If the prime minister is so keen on buying fixer-uppers, will he come over?” Scheer quipped. “I have an old minivan I would love to show him.”But it was the Conservatives themselves who made a hash of the fighter-jet file and created the need for an interim fleet, Trudeau retorted.Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada’s chief of the defence staff, was also on the dais at Tuesday’s news conference alongside Qualtrough, Sajjan, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains. The Australian aircraft are safe and will meet Canada’s needs, he insisted.“Make no mistake, these aircraft will work fine and those aircraft are very much needed,” Vance said.The decision to walk away from the interim Super Hornets — which carried an estimated price tag of $6 billion — was hardly a surprise, considering the government’s recent anti-Boeing rhetoric. But it remains to be seen how Boeing will be impacted by the economic-interest test, since the Chicago-based aerospace giant has major operations in Canada.Boeing has already made it clear it’s eager to enter the Super Hornet into the competition, despite its chilly relations with Ottawa over Bombardier. Qualtrough said the competition would be transparent and open to all, and that the new test will apply to all major military purchases in future.But the ministers didn’t dispute the notion that Boeing could be already at a disadvantage.“The purpose of this new policy is to clearly demonstrate that anyone that wants to engage Canada, if they cause economic harm, will be at a distinct disadvantage,” said Bains.“That’s the objective. This is really about our national interest. Our economy. And good-quality jobs in Canada.”Boeing will review the government’s announcement, including the new economic-harm test, before deciding on next steps, company spokesman Scott Day said in an email.At the same time, Day noted that Boeing employs 2,000 Canadians, including many in Winnipeg, conducts business with 560 local companies, and contributes $4 billion to the economy each year.“If you look at Boeing’s record in Canada, I think you have to let our record speak for itself.”That touches on one of the main questions with the new test, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute: how the test is applied to companies like Boeing, which already have large interests in Canada.“That will be fascinating to see because there will be an extraordinary amount of subjectivity in that,” Perry said.“They have the trade action and complaint against Bombardier. But they also do billions of dollars of economic activity in Canada every year. How do you weigh those two things?“I think that will be extraordinarily difficult.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter
A nurse who preyed on elderly patients in her care told lawyers with an inquiry examining her actions that she wouldn’t have been able to murder eight people if more controls were in place on medication at long-term care homes.Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s musings on what could have prevented her crimes are contained in a transcript of a lengthy interview submitted as evidence in the public inquiry that got underway in St. Thomas, Ont., this week.The 50-year-old injected more than a dozen patients with overdoses of insulin while working in long-term care homes and private residences in Ontario for nearly a decade. Her crimes went undetected until she confessed them to mental health workers and police in 2016.“I’ve given a lot of thought to changes that could have been made where I would not have been able to do this,” Wettlaufer said in an interview conducted Feb. 14 at the prison where she’s serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.“If there was a way that the insulin was counted, I would not have been able to do what I did without getting caught.”Insulin, Wettlaufer said, should be treated like a controlled substance.Wettlaufer said she first began thinking about killing people in 2006 when she was in a Woodstock, Ont., hospital where she had gone to deal with her obsessive and depressive thoughts. She was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and was prescribed medication, she said.“I just had so much anger I couldn’t concentrate … but if I thought about killing somebody while I was talking to other people I could talk normally to them,” Wettlaufer said. “And that’s where the thoughts of killing somebody started.”Wettlaufer said she began working shortly thereafter at Caressant Care, a long-term care home in Woodstock, and soon became overwhelmed.She said she was often working double shifts from 3 p.m. until 7 a.m. the following day, in charge of 32 patients with little help and dealing with a stressful home life.One night in 2007, she said she noticed Clotilde Adriano, 87, was on insulin.“This thought came into my head, just give her too much insulin and see what happens,” Wettlaufer said. “So I did.”Adriano didn’t die, but it sparked something for Wettlaufer, she said. She did the same thing to Adriano’s sister, Albina Demedeiros, 90, who was in a room across the hall, she said.“I chose them based on the fact they couldn’t self-report because they had dementia,” she said. Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated assault in connection with the sisters.She would go on to kill James Silcox in 2007 with an overdose of insulin. He was her first murder.Wettlaufer told lawyers with the inquiry that she picked insulin because it wasn’t tracked in the home and it could be deadly.“There was never a time when it was questioned why were we at some times going through insulin more so than others,” she said.Sometimes another nurse would check the amount of insulin she had prepped to give a patient. But that was easily circumvented, she said.“Even though another nurse checks it you can change the amount at any time,” she said.There were two rooms where she could get insulin and they were behind doors without windows, she added.“If the treatment room and med room were completely made of glass … there’s no way I could have done what I did without somebody seeing me,” Wettlaufer said.Even if there were windows, she explained, she could slip a few insulin pens into her pocket. And the pens themselves had no mechanism to restrict the amount of insulin — doses can be dialled up or down easily, she said.“If there was, say, a stopgap measure on the pen that once you dialled up a certain amount you couldn’t dial any more, or even if pens came preloaded … there wouldn’t be excess insulin,” she said.The public inquiry, which is scheduled to last several months, has said it won’t compel Wettlaufer to testify as her confessions and interview have been submitted as evidence.
VANCOUVER – Amazon has announced plans to open a new Metro Vancouver shipping warehouse on Tsawwassen First Nation land in Delta, B.C.Amazon spokesperson Lauren Lynch said Thursday that the 41,800-square-metre facility will create more than 700 full-time jobs and is expected to open in time for the Christmas holiday season next year.The facility will be located within Delta iPort, a new industrial park developed by GWL Realty Advisors on behalf of the project’s owner Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, said a news release from the First Nation.Tsawwassen First Nation and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan signed a 60-year lease agreement on the nine-hectare parcel in 2017, it said.When deciding on a place, Amazon looks for a few things, in particular, a talented workforce and proximity to customers so they can fulfil their one and two-day shipping promise, Lynch said.“We found that with Tsawwassen First Nation.”This will be Amazon’s third so-called fulfillment centre in B.C., where employees will pick, pack and ship items such as books, toys, small electronics and home goods.She said the centre will serve the rest of the country and all over the world depending on what item is selected.Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Bryce Williams said in a news release that the warehouse is a promising advancement that will continue to unlock the potential of the nation as a key economic driver in Metro Vancouver.In 2007, the nation ratified Canada’s first urban land-claim treaty, more than doubling the size of its reserve and providing members with millions of dollars in benefits that allowed it to develop its land.The tiny, 372-member First Nation reached the agreement after more than 15 years of negotiations, giving it ownership of more than 700 hectares of some of the most fertile agricultural land in Canada.The Tsawwassen First Nation is located on the shores of the Fraser River delta, bordered on one side by the BC Ferries terminal at Tsawwassen and on the other by the Roberts Bank Superport.
Five stories in the news for Thursday, Nov. 1———TORONTO VAN ATTACK SUSPECT DUE IN COURTThe case of a man accused in a deadly van attack in northern Toronto that left 10 people dead is expected in court today. Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder after he allegedly drove a white rental van down a crowded sidewalk on April 23. Minassian’s lawyer has said the Crown has asked the attorney general to skip the preliminary hearing and head straight to trial.———PRIME MINISTER HEADS NORTH TO CHURCHILLPrime Minister Justin Trudeau is to visit the northern Manitoba community of Churchill today as residents celebrate the arrival of the first train to roll into town in more than a year. The train pulled in Wednesday evening, surprising residents who expected it to arrive the following day. Flooding in the spring of 2017 damaged the tracks and severed the only land link to the town, so goods and people have had to be flown in at skyrocketing costs.———TWO MEN KILLED IN TORONTO-AREA CRASH: OFFICIALSTwo men were killed in a crash that sparked a massive tanker fire on a major toll highway in the Toronto area on Wednesday, emergency officials said. The crash happened just before 5 p.m. on Highway 407 in Vaughan, Ont., where provincial police said a westbound tanker crossed several lanes of traffic, jumped a median and collided with an eastbound passenger vehicle. Both vehicles burst into flames and were still smouldering hours later. Police identified the victims as a 41-year-old male truck driver from Brampton, Ont., and a 49-year-old man from Mississauga, Ont.———BRONCO TO PLAY FIRST HOCKEY GAME SINCE BUS CRASHA Humboldt Broncos player who suffered a broken collarbone and shoulder blade in a fatal bus crash last April plans to play in a game with his team for the first time tomorrow. Tyler Smith, who is 20, was one of 13 players who were injured last spring when the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi-trailer collided at a Saskatchewan intersection. Sixteen people were killed. Smith says he has been practising with the team for a couple weeks and plans to play in two games this weekend, including one in Humboldt.———CALGARY 2026 BID SURVIVES CITY COUNCIL VOTEA Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games survived a close vote at city council. Councillors had a motion before them that would have cancelled a plebiscite and ultimately killed a bid, but Calgarians are still going to the polls in less than two weeks to vote on whether they want to host the Games. Calgary’s bid corporation chief executive officer Mary Moran urges Calgarians to learn as much as they can about the bid before voting.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— The first-degree murder trial continues today for Garry Handlen, accused of the 1978 slaying of 12-year-old Monica Jack.— A judge is expected to rule today on whether a 16-year-old charged with attempted murder in the shooting of German tourist will be granted bail.— Ontario legislature member Jennifer French will host a news conference today with the families of firefighting trainee Adam Brunt and firefighter Gary Kendall, who lost their lives during unregulated private safety training courses.— Lawyers launching a series of court actions against the largest auto insurance companies in Ontario will be speaking at a news conference today.