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Border wait times tool launched for Easter weekend

Written By doni icha on Sabtu, 19 April 2014 | 21.16

The Canada Border Services Agency introduced a new tool on its web site Thursday to help travellers minimize their wait time at the Canada-U.S. border this long Easter weekend.

"As the warmer weather approaches, so do higher traveller volumes at Canada's borders. This Easter weekend is no exception, and the CBSA is introducing a new feature on its website to help travellers prepare for potentially longer border wait times this holiday weekend," the agency said Thursday.

How long did you wait to cross the border into Canada this Easter weekend and where did you cross?

Tweet us with the hashtag #cbcborder

The Forecasted Border Wait Times tool is intended to help travellers, who are either visiting Canada or who are returning home from the U.S., plan their drive through any one of Canada's 26 busiest border crossings before leaving for the long weekend.

The estimated border wait times are based on "a statistical analysis of past traffic volumes" and are subject to change as a result of unforeseen events, weather conditions, etc.

For instance, if you are driving through the Douglas (Peace Arch) border crossing, which connects Washington state and B.C., the new tool advises you are likely to wait one hour between 5 p.m. and midnight on Saturday.

If you are planning to take the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit, Mich., and Windsor, Ont., the new tool informs you there will be an expected wait time of 45 minutes between 4-5 p.m. on Sunday.​

If you are coming back from a shopping trip in Plattsburgh, N.Y., this weekend, the wait time at the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle Highway 15 border crossing could set you back approximately half an hour between 6 p.m. and midnight on Monday.

The new tool will tell you what the average daily wait time is for any day of the week as well as any statutory holiday including Canada Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It is intended to complement the online Current Border Wait Times table, which is said to be updated "at least once an hour, 24 hours a day and seven days a week."

Current border wait times are posted on Twitter via @CBSA_BWT. The information is checked every 15 minutes, but the agency only tweets when there is a change in the wait time, a spokesperson for the agency told CBC News in an email.

Twitter accounts for each port of entry have also been created to make it easier for users to receive specific border wait times updates on their smartphones.

The CBSA is not responsible for posting the wait times when you cross into the U.S. as those are managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


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Canada's criticism of Russia will 'make no difference'

The Conservative government's tough rhetoric over Russia's actions in Ukraine may play well to some voters domestically, but analysts doubt it will have any impact on curtailing Moscow's policies in the region.

"I think the only people Putin's going to pay any attention to, if he pays any attention at all, are going to be the United States and the European Union, above all Germany," said Randall Hansen, director of the University of Toronto's Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies.

"The United States, because it's the global super power, and Germany because it's a major importer of Russian gas, which on the one hand gives Putin leverage, and on the other hand, he's also dependent on Germany.

"Canada doesn't matter in this in the slightest. We can rant and yell and threaten. It will make no difference."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper ramped up the tough talk against Moscow, blaming the recent occupation of government buildings in 10 cities in eastern Ukraine on "Russian provocateurs sent by the Putin regime."

"When a major power acts in a way that is so clearly aggressive, militaristic, and imperialistic, this represents a significant threat to the peace and stability of the world, and it's time we all recognized the depth and the seriousness of that threat," Harper said.

The prime minister added that, "we also know from history that anybody who makes it their historical mission to turn the clock back, as Mr. Putin has determined to do, that those kinds of missions always fail in the end. But we will do all in our power to make it fail."

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has also spoken out strongly against Russia. In the early stages of the crisis, Baird compared Russia's troop presence in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula to Hitler's 1938 invasion of Sudetenland, a part of the former Czechoslovakia. Canada has subsequently imposed economic sanctions and travel bans against Russian officials.

Not much leverage

But while Canada can talk tough, it doesn't have any particular leverage over Russia, Hansen said.

"We're too small. We don't ship them any resources, indeed we're competitors for the sale of resources globally," he said.

Jeff Sahadeo, director of Carleton University's Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, agreed that the condemnations from Canada will not influence Russian policy .

"I don't think it does anything for the Russians. If anything it confirms their narrative that no matter what they do they're demonized by Western countries for acts that are similar to the ones that other countries undertake."

Piotr Dutkiewicz, a political science professor at Carleton and the former director of the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, said it's relatively easy for the government to criticize because Canada doesn't have extensive economic relations with Russia and there are no large Russian investments in Canada.

However, he notes that Canadian companies do have $3-billion worth of investment in Russia and the government should take that into consideration when speaking out.

"I think we should take a more balanced, I'm not saying uncritical, I'm saying more balanced position, taking into the equation Canadian interests in Russia," Dutkiewicz said.

"If the Canadian government decides to be critical it should be critical, but at the same time we should watch what others are doing and how, by our criticisms, we're really helping Ukraine."

'Heated' rhetoric

Dutkiewicz said that Canada is losing its reputation as a negotiator and instead is engaging in rhetoric stronger than that of the U.S., Germany or France.

"With their very heated rhetoric and no action we're becoming a paper tiger in this process," he said. "I really don't like Canada to be seen as a paper tiger who is roaring without having any tools to implement its outrage."

But the experts agreed that the government's words have little to do with foreign policy.

"Harper and Baird, I think, are both principled democrats and have a principled commitment to liberal democracies such as Israel and a principled opposition to autocratic governments," Hansen said.  "But this is really about domestic politics. So they're making a play to the Ukrainian community in Canada."


21.16 | 0 komentar | Read More

'Tonight we're here for homeless cats,' PM's wife tells activist for missing women

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen, was briefly interrupted during a speech at an online cat video festival  in Toronto Thursday night after a university activist demanded she take a stance on a subject she considered to be much more serious.

She was just beginning her brief remarks ahead of Just for Cats: Internet Cat Video Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox cinema when 21-year-old student activist Hailey King began shouting from the crowd.

"Raising awareness about cat welfare is a good look for your husband's upcoming campaign strategy," King said as security rushed over to escort her from the building. "Don't you think supporting government action on missing and murdered indigenous women in this country would be a better look?"  

Harper, who initially attempted to dismiss King's comments by speaking over her, did stop to address the young women directly.

"We're raising money for animals tonight. If you'd like to donate to animals, we'd love to take your money," Harper said. "That's (missing women) a great cause, but that's another night. Tonight we're here for homeless cats."

On Twitter afterwards, King tweeted that she thought Harper had "reacted rather rudely to me."

"Speak the truth even if our voice shakes right? My voice was shaking haha," King wrote on Twitter.

Harper is a cat foster mom and volunteers for the Humane Society.

The Just for Cats online video festival was started at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis in 2012 and has since exploded in popularity and spread to other cities.

Funds from Thursday's event , the first staging of the festival in Canada, are going to support the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.


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U.S. to delay Keystone XL decision until after November elections

The U.S. State Department announced on Friday it is extending the government comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, a move that likely postpones a final decision on the controversial project until after the Nov. 4 mid-term elections.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will make a final decision on whether to allow the pipeline connecting Canada's oil sands region to Texas refiners and several government agencies had been given until the end of May to weigh in. This had raised expectations of a final decision by mid-year.

However on Friday officials cited uncertainty stemming from a dispute in Nebraska over the proposed route of the pipeline as reason to keep the federal agency comment period open longer, throwing into doubt the timing of a project that has been awaiting a U.S. permit for more than five years.

"The Permit process will conclude once factors that have a significant impact on determining the national interest of the
proposed project have been evaluated and appropriately reflected in the decision documents," the State Department said.

Move likely to infuriate Canadian politicians

The State Department added it was "not starting over," but wanted to give agencies more time to weigh in.

A spokesperson with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office expressed dismay at the delay.

'We are disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL.'- Statement for Prime Minister's Office

"We are disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL," a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said. "This project will create tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, will enhance the energy security of North America, has strong public support, and the U.S. State Department has, on multiple occasions, acknowledged it will be environmentally sound."

Canadian politicians have grown increasingly irate over delays.

Alberta Premier Dave Hancock expressed frustration about "yet another delay" in the approval process of an issue he argued has been debated thoroughly enough.

"Keystone XL has been rigorously studied. We believe the project is in North America's best interest as it provides energy security, jobs and a dependable energy source from an environmentally responsible and democratic friend and ally," Hancock said in a statement.

TransCanada's president and CEO Russ Girling called the delay "inexplicable" in an email to CBC News.

Girling said the project was being held back by special interest groups and paid activists who are jeopardizing North American energy security.

"Another delay is inexplicable," he said. "After more than 2,000 days, five exhaustive environmental reviews and over 17,000 pages of scientific data, Keystone XL continues to languish."

He added that "not building Keystone XL is a lose, lose, lose scenario any way you look at it."

Democrats urge decision from Obama

The delay will have sweeping consequences across Canada's oil industry, threatening to prolong the deep discounts on cash crude prices for producers such as Suncor Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc., while aiding
oil-by-rail developers like Gibson Energy and Canexus Corp that are racing to fill a gap left by a lack of export pipeline capacity.

Some in Obama's own party will also likely be upset by the move. Just a week ago, 11 Democratic senators, many facing tough November races, urged the president to make a decision by May 31.

A dispute over the proposed route of the pipeline has stalled the project in Nebraska, and officials were expected to cite that uncertainty in its announcement on Friday justifying the delay.

By linking Canadian fields to refiners in the Gulf Coast, the 1,900-kilometre Keystone XL pipeline would be a boon
to an energy patch where oil sands are abundant but lead to more carbon pollution than many other forms of crude.

Keystone's foes say that burning fossil fuels to wrench oil sands crude from the ground will worsen climate change, and that the $5.4-billion pipeline, which could carry up to 830,000 barrels a day, would only spur more production.


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MPs switch suits to promote national fitness

It can be challenge enough to get politicians of different stripes to congregate happily in the same room.

So how about sharing the same pool in their bathing suits — totally out of their usual element of suits and talking points, sporting goggles and flippers.

"Were all a bunch of guys and girls who try to have fun," says Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, just out of the pool, in his swimsuit, before getting read to head to work.

The group of politicians at this downtown Ottawa pool are part of a fitness program for MPs.

It involves a mix of swimming or jogging or, for some, both.

NDP MP Peter Stoffer is perfecting his back flip and enjoying the camaraderie.

"This is an example of the fun we have to show the folks back home to keep fit and keep active, but at the same time in our professional lives we've become good friends "

'The long-term goal is for Canada to be the healthiest, fittest nation in the world. We have to target that. Why should we target having all our kids get chubby and fat?'- Nancy Greene Raine, senator and former Olympian

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has had two hip replacements. She has shed weight and is gratified to squeeze in the me-time.

"I totally grew up as one of those kids that no one wanted to pick on their team. So I was kind of averse, I had a mental block, that I could be fit or athletic at all.

"I've really been able to make this part of my life. I come to the pool three times a week — this group is totally fun and then I get more tips from Pierre of what I should be doing."

Chance meeting brought idea

Pierre is Pierre Lafontaine, the former Olympic coach for Swimming Canada. He has been volunteering to coach MPs because he believes the benefits will eventually trickle down to the Canadians they serve.

The idea of coaching politicians came in a chance meeting five years ago with Conservative MP John Weston, who is a triathlete.

Weston laughs thinking about that first meeting between two strangers.

"Pierre and I randomly ended up seated beside each other on a flight from Vancouver to Ottawa and passengers must have gotten fed up with the chatter about health and fitness."

But the two men were revved up with ideas. They decided Lafontaine would help MPs at the pool. Soon Weston also lined up a running coach to guide those MPs who wanted to jog. Phil Marsh of the Running Room believes jogging with MPs will have positive effects off the Hill.

"If they can spread the message to be more active and fit, you also can tie that into Olympics, you can tie that into health care, you can tie that into the economy, mental health, everything," March said.

Liberal Geoff Regan runs at least three times a week. "You feel better about your work, you feel better about yourself. It's a fun thing to do."

The fitness ideas gradually evolved into the notion of a National Health and Fitness Day, a day to be proclaimed by municipalities across the country the first Saturday in June. On that day, cities would promote physical fitness through activities.

Private member's bills

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Senator Nancy Greene Raine, a former Olympian, has a bill before the Senate to declare a National Fitness Day, as does Conservative MP John Weston. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Weston outlined the concept in a private member's bill, then lured Conservative Senator Nancy Greene Raine into the mix.

Greene Raine is an Olympic legend, a gold-medal skier considered Canada's female athlete of the 20th century. She lives and breathes fitness. She jumped on board and has her own bill in the Senate to create a national fitness day.

Both legislators say the bill that passes first will supplant the other.

"We're asking every municipality to sign on and do something special to promote health and fitness in their municipality. whatever they want to do," she said.

Chubby the 'new normal'?

Greene Raine bemoans the fact that one in three children in Canada is either overweight or obese.

"The long-term goal is for Canada to be the healthiest, fittest nation in the world. We have to target that. Why should we target having all our kids get chubby and fat?

"Chubby is the new normal? That's crazy."

Adds Weston, "We're not high-performance athletes, but if we could inspire Canadians to get more active then it would be good for economy good for the country good for every individual Canadian."

So far, they have 86 municipalities planning to proclaim and participate in National Health and Fitness Day. They hope to reach 300, and they already have the backing of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Back at the pool, NDP MP Fin Donnelly is getting tips from the coach. He says staying fit is absolutely helpful. "I think I'm sharper, I'm more alert, I'm more focused, I'm more able to do long days." 

Liberal Kirsty Duncan is also one of the sponsors for the bid for a National Health and Fitness Day.  

"We get to know each other as people," she said "and it changes the tone of Parliament, and more importantly it changes Parliament."

New Democrat Peter Stoffer takes a minute to muse aloud on this scenario.

"Can you imagine Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair all swimming together? This country would work a lot better, it would."


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Canada's criticism of Russia 'makes no difference'

Written By doni icha on Jumat, 18 April 2014 | 21.16

The Conservative government's tough rhetoric over Russia's actions in Ukraine may play well to some voters domestically, but analysts doubt it will have any impact on curtailing Moscow's policies in the region.

"I think the only people Putin's going to pay any attention to, if he pays any attention at all, are going to be the United States and the European Union, above all Germany," said Randall Hansen, director of the University of Toronto's Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies.

"The United States, because it's the global super power, and Germany because it's a major importer of Russian gas, which on the one hand gives Putin leverage, and on the other hand, he's also dependant on Germany.

"Canada doesn't matter in this in the slightest. We can rant and yell and threaten. It will make no dfferience."

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper ramped up the tough talk against Moscow, blaming the recent occupation of government buildings in 10 cities in eastern Ukraine on "Russian provocateurs sent by the Putin regime."

"When a major power acts in a way that is so clearly aggressive, militaristic, and imperialistic, this represents a significant threat to the peace and stability of the world, and it's time we all recognized the depth and the seriousness of that threat," Harper said.

The prime minister added that, "we also know from history that anybody who makes it their historical mission to turn the clock back, as Mr. Putin has determined to do, that those kinds of missions always fail in the end. But we will do all in our power to make it fail."

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has also spoken out strongly against Russia. In the early stages of the crisis, Baird compared Russia's troop presence in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula to Hitler's 1938 invasion of Sudetenland, a part of the former Czechoslovakia. Canada has subsequently imposed economic sanctions and travel bans against Russian officials.

Not much leverage

But while Canada can talk tough, it doesn't have any particular leverage over Russia, Hansen said.

"We're too small. We don't ship them any resources, indeed we're competitors for the sale of resources globally," he said.

Jeff Sahadeo, director of Carleton University's Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, agreed that the condemnations from Canada will not influence Russian policy .

"I don't think it does anything for the Russians. If anything it confirms their narrative that no matter what they do they're demonized by Western countries for acts that are similar to the ones that other countries undertake."

Piotr Dutkiewicz, a political science professor at Carleton and the former director of the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasion Studies, said it's relatively easy for the government to criticize because Canada doesn't have extensive economic relations with Russia and there are no large Russian investments in Canada.

However, he notes that Canadian companies do have $3-billion worth of investment in Russia and the government should take that into consideration when speaking out.

"I think we should take a more balanced, I'm not saying uncritical, I'm saying more balanced position, taking into the equation Canadian interests in Russia," Dutkiewicz said.

"If the Canadian government decides to be critical it should be critical, but at the same time we should watch what others are doing and how, by our criticisms, we're really helping Ukraine."

'Heated' rhetoric

Dutkiewicz said that Canada is losing its reputation as a negotiator and instead is engaging in rhetoric stronger than that of the U.S., Germany or France.

"With their very heated rhetoric and no action we're becoming a paper tiger in this process," he said. "I really don't like Canada to be seen as a paper tiger who is roaring without having any tools to implement its outrage."

But the experts agreed that the government's words have little to do with foreign policy.

"Harper and Baird, I think, are both principled democrats and have a principled commitment to liberal democracies such as Israel and a principled opposition to autocratic governments," Hansen said.  "But this is really about domestic politics. So they're making a play to the Ukrainian community in Canada."


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Canada to send 6 CF-18s for NATO operation in Eastern Europe

Canada is sending six CF-18s and military personnel to assist NATO in operations in Eastern Europe.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the measures Thursday morning in Ottawa, in response to a request made by NATO this week amid rising tensions in eastern Ukraine.

Harper's announcement came moments before the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the European Union agreed to a plan in Geneva aimed at defusing the growing conflict.

Harper said the military assets will be used on enhanced operations in Eastern Europe.

"This is in response to the situation that's developing there, and frankly, more generally to the concern that we have on what really is expansionism and militarism on the part of Russia under the presidency of Mr. Putin," Harper said during a photo op with Gen. Tom Lawson, the chief of Canada's defence staff, and other military leaders in Ottawa.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and CDS Thomas Lawson

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chief of Defence Staff General Thomas Lawson. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

"I believe this to be a long-term serious threat to global peace and security and we're always prepared to work with our allies in NATO and elsewhere to try and bring whatever stability we can to the situation."

Sources say Lask, Poland, is being considered as the base for the fighter jets.

There is no word on when the assets are to be deployed or whether NATO's plans could change with the Geneva agreement.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird tweeted cautious support for the agreement late Thursday.

"Geneva talks on Ukraine are a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. #UnitedForUkraine,"  he tweeted.

'Alliance solidarity'

Sources tell CBC News that the CF-18 commitment is "incremental posturing," meaning there will be a small number of support staff to fly and maintain the planes.  

Canada will also provide a contingent of approximately 20 Canadian Armed Forces officers to NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in the Belgian city of Mons. These officers will be a part of security planning. 

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed Canada's contribution.

"This reflects Alliance solidarity and our determination to ensure Alliance security. Work is underway through military staffs to determine appropriate basing arrangements," Lungescu said in an email. 

"The decision on where to base the aircraft will be taken in close consultation between Canada and NATO military authorities."

Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau tweeted, "The (Liberal Party of Canada) fully supports deployment of CF-18s and personnel."

Paul Heinbecker, Canada's former ambassador to the United Nations, says this is a prudent response by NATO and Canada.

"We kept NATO in (existence) all of these years partly as an insurance policy against the day that the Russians may come back. And the Russians are showing signs of coming back," Heinbecker told the CBC's James Cudmore in a radio interview.

"So it's appropriate that NATO be the organization through which we respond to that."

NATO sends more assets

On Wednesday, NATO said it would increase its military presence in the region by sending more assets to former Soviet countries.

The United States and Britain have contributed fighter jets as a part of NATO's reassurance efforts. "The planes carrying out aerial observation over Baltic states will increase, and allied ships will be shifted to the Baltic Sea, east Mediterranean Sea and the places considered necessary," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday.

Sources say Canada had considered moving the Canadian Royal Navy ship HMCS Regina from its current counter-terrorism mission in the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean to be a part of NATO assets in the region. 

Cda Ukraine 20140317 Harper Prystaiko

Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Vadym Prystaiko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, on Monday to discuss the worsening situation in Ukraine. (Adrian Wyld)

Earlier this week, Harper sat down with Marcin Bosacki, the Polish ambassador to Canada​, and envoys from Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic and condemned Russian "provocateurs" for fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine. Harper called the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin "aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic" and a grave threat to world peace.

Harper said the situation in Ukraine is getting worse.

Canada has already imposed visa bans and sanctions on Russian officials and promised $220 million for restoring economic stability in Ukraine. 

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is in the region next week, with stops in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia and Estonia.


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Toronto councillor eyes run for Liberals in Trinity-Spadina

Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan is planning to run for the Liberals at the federal level for the downtown riding of Trinity-Spadina in an upcoming byelection. 

Vaughan, who currently represents Ward 20 of Trinity-Spadina at the municipal level, would be a notable name vying for the federal riding previously held by Olivia Chow — who left her seat in favour of pursuing a mayoral bid in Toronto.

If Vaughan, a former journalist and vocal opponent to Mayor Rob Ford, won the Liberal nomination he would likely be running for the seat against 29-year-old New Democrat Joe Cressy, a social activist who ran Chow's 2011 campaign. 

He told CBC's Here and Now Thursday afternoon that his interest in federal politics was based on issues very important to him, including "defeating the current government and making sure Justin Trudeau is the next prime minister."

A long-time advocate for creating more affordable housing in Toronto, Vaughan says that issue is a national one and that there needs to be a "city agenda" at the federal level. 

"City Hall is the place we deliver housing but without a federal partner — quite frankly a provincial partner — there is no way to turn five, six, 10, 15 housing units into...5,6,7,000 housing units," he said.

"You need a national government, you need a national housing strategy and I can stand on the floor of council and point my finger at Ottawa for the rest of my life. If I'm not prepared to actually roll up my sleeves and go to Ottawa and make it happen it's just not going to happen."

Vaughan said that over the past four years the city has not had "a mayor willing to be part of that national conversation." He now believes he can effect the most change by working with Trudeau and the Liberals on behalf of cities. 

Byelections

In the face of two Toronto byelections the Liberals have declared an "electoral state of urgency" which would allow Liberal leadership to alter the typical nomination process. 

"The effect of this declaration is to give us the authority to alter the time lines and procedures in the National Rules as we see fit," the declaration reads. 

While the document does not state the Liberals intend to altogether bypass the voting process in favour of naming Vaughan the candidate, it indicates that they could possibly make the vote take place at an earlier date. 

City council 

Vaughan first won the municipal Trinity-Spadina Ward 20 riding in 2006 after Chow, who previously was the councillor there, made the move to the federal government.

In October 2010 he easily held onto his council seat, winning nearly 75 per cent of the vote.

Liberal vs. NDP battleground

In federal terms, the riding of Trinity-Spadina has long been a battleground between the NDP and Liberals. In 2006, after two failed attempts, Chow beat Liberal incumbent Tony Ianno, who had represented the riding since 1993.

Chow retained her seat, beating Liberal candidate Christine Innes — Ianno's wife — in 2008 and again in 2011 by a margin of more than 20,000 votes.

Following the news of Chow's departure from federal politics, Innes had wanted to run again in Trinity-Spadina but was blocked by federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's team.

Innes has since filed a $1.5-million defamation lawsuit against Trudeau and Liberal Party of Canada official David MacNaughton, the party's provincial co-chair. 

In her statement of claim, Innes has said she was slandered by the two Liberals by claiming she had been blocked because of alleged intimidation and bullying tactics used by her team.

The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.

Jeremy Broadhurst, the national director of the Liberal party, has said that the claim is "without merit and it will be defended vigorously."


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Border wait times tool launched for Easter weekend

The Canada Border Services Agency introduced a new tool on its web site Thursday to help travellers minimize their wait time at the Canada-U.S. border this long Easter weekend.

"As the warmer weather approaches, so do higher traveller volumes at Canada's borders. This Easter weekend is no exception, and the CBSA is introducing a new feature on its website to help travellers prepare for potentially longer border wait times this holiday weekend," the agency said Thursday.

How long did you wait to cross the border into Canada this Easter weekend and where did you cross?

Tweet us with the hashtag #cbcborder

The Forecasted Border Wait Times tool is intended to help travellers, who are either visiting Canada or who are returning home from the U.S., plan their drive through any one of Canada's 26 busiest border crossings before leaving for the long weekend.

The estimated border wait times are based on "a statistical analysis of past traffic volumes" and are subject to change as a result of unforeseen events, weather conditions, etc.

For instance, if you are driving through the Douglas (Peace Arch) border crossing, which connects Washington state and B.C., the new tool advises you are likely to wait one hour between 5 p.m. and midnight on Saturday.

If you are planning to take the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit, Mich., and Windsor, Ont., the new tool informs you there will be an expected wait time of 45 minutes between 4-5 p.m. on Sunday.​

If you are coming back from a shopping trip in Plattsburgh, N.Y., this weekend, the wait time at the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle Highway 15 border crossing could set you back approximately half an hour between 6 p.m. and midnight on Monday.

The new tool will tell you what the average daily wait time is for any day of the week as well as any statutory holiday including Canada Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It is intended to complement the online Current Border Wait Times table, which is said to be updated "at least once an hour, 24 hours a day and seven days a week."

Current border wait times are posted on Twitter via @BWT_CBSA. The information is checked every 15 minutes, but the agency only tweets when there is a change in the wait time, a spokesperson for the agency told CBC News in an email.

Twitter accounts for each port of entry have also been created to make it easier for users to receive specific border wait times updates on their smartphones.

The CBSA is not responsible for posting the wait times when you cross into the U.S. as those are managed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


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Reconciliation not opportunity to 'get over it': Justice Murray Sinclair

Now that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's seventh and final national event is over, some have asked, "What's next?"

From the perspective of the commission, while our major public events are over, the mandate of the commission is not. The most significant item remaining has to do with reconciliation — and developing a process that engages aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in that dialogue, not just for the remaining year but on into the future as well.

The commissioners have constantly reminded people that the achievement of reconciliation, however one defines it, within the lifetime of the commission was not a realistic ambition.

We have pointed out that Indian residential schools were around for over 100 years, and that several generations of children went through the schools during their time. The damage that the schools inflicted on their lives and the lives of the members of their families and communities will take also generations to fix.

bc-100913-residential-school-national-archive

Students are seen at an Indian residential school classroom in Fort Resolution, N.W.T. (National Archives of Canada )

The loss of language and culture, the impacts on family function, the devastation to self-identity, the loss of respect for education, and the loss of faith and trust in Canada's government will take many years to overcome, and will only be achieved with a focus on a vision for a new relationship and a commitment to behavioural change and positive action.

Not an opportunity to convince aboriginal people to 'get over it'

Engaging Canada in a commitment to that change will require Canadians to see and accept that this is not an aboriginal problem but is a Canadian one —​ partially because Canada has a reputation that needs fixing, but also because all Canadians have been taught to believe in the negative stereotypes of Canada's indigenous people in our public schools, and that long term racism needs to be brought to a halt.

'Reconciliation is not a new opportunity to convince aboriginal people to 'get over it' and become like 'everyone else' … that's what residential schools were all about and look how that went.'- Justice Murray Sinclair

A commitment to change will also call upon Canadians to realize that reconciliation is not a new opportunity to convince aboriginal people to "get over it" and become like "everyone else." That is, after all, what residential schools were all about and look how that went.

It is an opportunity for everyone to see that change is needed on both sides and that common ground must be found. We are, after all, talking about forging a new relationship, and both sides have to have a say in how that relationship develops or it isn't going to be new.

Canada's unilateral use of law to define and limit that relationship is a vessel that can no longer hold water, so a discussion between equals must occur.

True change will come in our daily interactions

However, in addition to the grand dialogue about reconciliation that such an approach will entail, we also have to talk about reconciliation at the personal, and family and community level. That is where true change will occur, for it is in our daily lives where we seek and, hopefully, find peace.

'it is in our daily conversations and interactions that our success as a nation in forging a better place, will ultimately be measured.'- Justice Murray Sinclair

Our leaders need to show the way, but no matter how many deals and agreements they make, it is in our daily conversations and interactions that our success as a nation in forging a better place, will ultimately be measured. It is what we say to and about each other in public and in private that we need to look at changing.

We're not going to change all that in the next year, but we plan on doing what we can to make people think about it.

Because, when this commission ends, it's going to be all up to you.

The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair is the chair of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.


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