Jennifer Garner has blogged on iVillage about her work as an artist ambassador with Save the Children and how early childhood education can make a huge impact in enhancing kids’ lives.“‘Early childhood education’ has become a sort of catchphrase for politicians and children’s advocates like me,” she wrote. “As an artist ambassador for Save the Children, I’ve had the privilege of seeing Save’s programs firsthand and meeting with the parents and children that they support. I’ve sat in young mothers’ homes. I’ve seen how much these mothers love their children, how their dreams and aspirations for their children are no different than yours and mine are for our own kids. But the truth is, it’s sort of tricky to figure out what exactly “early childhood education” means, what it entails, and how exactly it is relevant to your possibilities as an adult.“More than 60 percent of poor families don’t have books in their homes. It isn’t that kids should be reading by kindergarten, but they should know what a book is — how to hold it, turn the pages, and how to sit still in anticipation of hearing a story.“And that’s why Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success programs are so effective. Through home visits, book exchanges, parenting groups and more, Early Steps helps babies and toddlers with language, social and emotional development. Just as important, the program helps their parents, giving them the knowledge and skills to support their children’s growth. And the program works: Kids in Early Steps don’t have to play catch up once they start school — they are in line with the national average from the beginning. More important, the parents we work with feel recognized, encouraged and part of a community of people who care about the future of their children.”You can read the full post here.
Here is your chance to bid on a suitcase of goodies signed by some of your favourite stars.Celebrity-signed Knomo SuitcaseCredit/Copyright: sellebrity.org.ukThis Knomo suitcase was signed backstage by JLS, Tulisa, Stooshe, McFly, Lawson and DJ Fresh at the Key103 Jingleball at Manchester Arena on December 5th, 2012!McFly Signs Knomo SuitcaseCredit/Copyright: sellebrity.org.ukThe ‘Key 103 Jingleball’ in Manchester was an all-star winter pop concert, where the biggest artists of 2012 performed their hits all on one stage. The suitcase was signed backstage at the concert, and is raising funds for Cash for Kids.This suitcase is simply brimming with gifts from Knomo Bags, Urbanista Beauty Accessories, He-Shi fake tan, Storm watches and more!Knomo London began in 2004 when three friends were climbing the corporate ladder and wondering why the bags of the day were wearing them down – neither keeping pace with technology nor playing well with their clothes. Today, as well as in Selfridges, you can find Knomo designs in 500 stores in 22 countries, holding its own with every detail, stitch, and space. Find out more at KnomoBags.com.Filled with gifts galore, this Knomo wheelie flight-bag’s full list of contents include a Storm Diamante Bezel watch, ‘Lucy’ necklace, Bare Minerals eye cream, eyeshadows, blusher, face and eye brightener. There’s also a Pavoni leather mobile case, Knomo Kilkenny laptop bag, Urbanista rollers, barrel brush, powder brush, tweezers, nail file and lashes, along with some Body Shop shaving products.Cash for Kids is the official charity of Key 103 & Magic 1152 and provides a helping hand to disabled and disadvantaged children across Greater Manchester. Find out more here.To access the auction, visit Sellebrity.org.uk.
Here is your chance to bid on a pair of tickets to see Kelly Clarkson and Pentatonix in concert on Thursday, 8/6/2015 at 7:00 PM at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO.Also included is Kelly’s latest CD Invincible. And that’s not all – bring your camera and a pen to get an autograph because this auction includes a personal, up-close meet and greet with Kelly and Pentatonix!Don’t miss this opportunity to do something truly amazing and help out a worthy cause at the same time. 100% of the proceeds benefit Point Hope, a non-profit organization that serves as a voice for forgotten children. Find out about Point Hope here.The auction runs until July 11, and can be accessed here.
New York Times best-selling author and award-winning actor, screenwriter, director and producer Bryan Cranston visited with more than 1,300 service members and officially wrapped up day two of his first-ever USO tour.Bryan Cranston During USO Tour of Germany and UKCredit/Copyright: Fred GreavesCranston is spending a week visiting with servicemen and women, exploring military work sites and bringing his New York Times best-selling memoir “A Life in Parts” to life. Having already rounded out a USO visit to U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach (July 24) and Ramstein Air Base (July 25), Cranston is now making his way to three more military bases this week, to include U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden (July 26); Royal Air Force Alconbury (July 27); as well as Royal Air Force Mildenhall and Royal Air Force Lakenheath (July 29).• As part of his USO activities on the ground, Cranston has greeted military medical staff, toured a flight line, visited a working dog unit, participated in a military theater group discussion and ventured inside multiple military aircraft. • Cranston capped off the day with his first of four “An Evening with Bryan Cranston” USO shows. Centered around his memoir, “A Life in Parts,” Cranston is sharing insights on what led him to acting and his various roles, as well as participating in a rousing Q&A with troops. • Not a stranger to America’s armed forces, Cranston, himself, has ties to military service. His father was a pilot in the U.S. Navy and his mother was in the U.S. Coast Guard, with both parents having served in World War II. • Best known for his portrayal of ‘Walter White’ in the AMC drama “Breaking Bad” and ‘Hal’ on the popular Fox comedy series “Malcolm in the Middle,” Cranston has built a reputation as a talented actor in both drama and comedy on both the big and small screens. He is a four-time Emmy Award winner, Golden Globe Award winner, Tony Award winner and Academy Award nominee. Cranston went on to write a memoir, “A Life in Parts,” which quickly became a New York Times best seller. • Among some of his feature film credits are “All The Way,” “Trumbo,” “Wakefield,” Why Him?,” “The Infiltrator,” “Godzilla,” “Argo,” “Drive,” “Contagion,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Larry Crown” and “That Thing You Do!,” among others. He has also lent his voice to DreamWorks Animation films “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.” Cranston will next star in “Last Flag Flying” and “Untouchable.”
In celebration of the International Day of the Girl, Glamour yesterday hosted a high-energy, interactive morning full of compelling talks and performances designed to address the social, cultural, and political issues that young girls face every day in school.Uzo Aduba attends Glamour’s The Girl Project on the International Day of the GirlCredit/Copyright: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for GlamourHosted by Emmy Award–winning actress Uzo Aduba (“Orange Is the New Black”), the event brought together 300 16- and 17-year-old girls from public schools in New York and New Jersey to rally for their future. The event was presented by Maybelline New York and the Caterpillar Foundation.The program featured conversations with actress and future Harvard fresh(wo)man Yara Shahidi; award winning actress Freida Pinto; model, designer, author, and body activist Ashley Graham; trailblazing supermodel and face of Maybelline Herieth Paul; Senator Cory Booker and Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive.“Our society needs to condemn this type of behavior by saying that our generation, and in this case your generation, that we are going to change this reality by making it absolutely unacceptable anywhere in our society when we see harassment.” said Cory Booker when asked about his take on Harvey Weinstein.“I started dating when I was 16. My first boyfriend Craig was a bad boy. A skater. An artist. But three months into our relationship he told me we had to break up. First, because I wouldn’t have sex with him. Second, because he was afraid that I was going to get; “as fat as his mom.” If I could go back to that moment and talk to myself, I’d say, ‘Ash, I know you feel awful right now, but that guy is a total loser. You are worthy. That little bulge on your hip is not just okay to have, it’s going to change the world someday.’ Craig made me feel like my body was worthless. But cut too many years and experiences later, my amazing husband saw me for my worth and liked me so much he put a ring on it” said Ashley Graham.Artist, poet, and social media superstar Cleo Wade performed a piece on perseverance. The inspirational young women of STEP, the Baltimore-based dance team featured in the award-winning Sundance documentary “Step,” entertained with a powerful performance using just the sound of their own feet and DJ Vashtie Kola kept the energy flowing.At the end of the event, each girl was gifted a backpack provided by STATE Bags as part of one of the company’s well-known “bag drops.”As the founding beauty sponsor of Glamour’s The Girl Project, Maybelline New York continues its efforts to make an impact with this initiative by presenting the October 11 event. The cosmetics brand first announced its philanthropic partnership with The Girl Project at its 100 Years Celebration in May 2015.The Caterpillar Foundation announced its philanthropic support of “The Girl Project” at Glamour’s 2016 Women of the Year Awards in Los Angeles.The entire event was live-streamed on Twitter, Facebook and Glamour.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @glamourmag and using #Glamour4Edu.
The Duchess of Cornwall has received an honorary doctorate for her literacy work.Duchess of Cornwall receives an Honorary DoctorateCredit/Copyright: Princeofwales.gov.ukThe Countess of Chester, as The Duchess of Cornwall is known when in the city, attended the University of Chester’s Graduation Ceremony and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her commitment to promoting literacy.In the historic Chester Cathedral, Her Royal Highness received a Doctorate of Letters in front of 500 graduands from a number of academic faculties who were being awarded their degrees.The Countess is a strong promoter of literacy in the UK and internationally, with particular focus on encouraging a love of reading and writing from an early age.Her Royal Highness is an avid reader and undertakes a number of engagements to promote the importance of supporting literacy, including the 500 Words Competition, an initiative which encourages children around the country to get creative and send in their stories of no more than 500 words, and the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.The Countess said during a speech: “I want to begin by thanking you, Chancellor, for the Honorary Doctorate that you have just bestowed upon me. I am grateful, too, for the Public Orator’s generous words and for the wonderfully warm welcome I have received today.“As Countess of Chester, I take great pride in my relationship with both this beautiful city and now with your University.”Source:PrinceOfWales.govt.uk
Advertisement “I say no to way more people than I say yes to,” explains Mervon Mehta, the executive director of performing arts at the Royal Conservatory of Music, explaining the process by which he assembles the series of concerts he programs annually at Toronto’s Koerner Hall. Mehta and the Conservatory announced their ninth season of concerts, for 2017-18, on Tuesday morning, and it includes some real gems. The Conservatory has always made the superb acoustics of Koerner Hall available to many other groups – the Toronto Symphony Orchestra just based its entire Mozart@261 festival at Koerner – but programming the hall themselves has always been a major RCM priority.And for next season, we’ll see and hear the usual stellar procession of world-class and world-famous classical artists. About 50 per cent of Mehta’s concerts are classically based, and the RCM has spoiled us in some ways in the past by making the first-rate commonplace. And the same will be true for 2017-18. We’ll hear from Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt playing Bach, as well as other keyboard concerts by Khatia Buniatishvili, Beatrice Rana and the ever-popular Yuja Wang. As well, France’s duo-piano Labèque sisters, Katia and Marielle, will be making their Koerner Hall debut playing a two-piano version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.A Koerner Hall debut will also be made by superstar Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan, with a program based in the Second Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern that should prove more than stimulating. Canadian baritone Gerald Finley and English tenor Ian Bostridge will fill out Koerner’s vocal series, Bostridge with an all-Schubert program. Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter
Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Chanel may have fired a rocket on the Fall 2017 runway, but that’s nothing compared to the blast that was CAMH‘s 13-annual Suits Me Fine fashion show on May 4. Clients chose and modelled looks from the centre’s Suits Me Fine Boutique, which accepts gently used wardrobe essentials and provides clothes and toiletries for the various needs of CAMH clients. Jeanne Beker hosted the show and introduced the models and looks as they came out.“Suits Me Fine helps people find the support they need to help make healing feel like a real possibility because it is possible,” Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau said …READ MORE Twitter
Canadian director Paul Haggis’ scheduled deposition will not go forward as planned next week. The Oscar-winner is facing a lawsuit in which he is accused of rape. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images) Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Haggis has denied the allegations and countersued Breest, who sued Haggis in Manhattan in December.Breest’s attorneys have asked for the deposition to be immediately rescheduled. They also criticized Lepera for requesting a settlement which was then characterized as extortion in the countersuit.Lepera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.THE CANADIAN PRESS Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment A scheduled deposition of Paul Haggis in a lawsuit in which the Oscar-winner is accused of rape will not go forward as planned next week.Attorneys for Haleigh Breest, a publicist who says he raped her in 2013, scheduled Haggis to give sworn testimony on Monday. But his attorney, Christine Lepera, informed her attorneys on Thursday the date didn’t work.The lawsuit, filed in December, prompted three additional women to detail to The Associated Press their own sexual misconduct accusations, including another who says he raped her. They aren’t identified in court papers.
Login/Register With: “Don’t take this the wrong way,” said Maggs, “but it feels like a grown-up ‘Doyle.’” Their latest project is “Caught,” a five-episode drama premiering Monday on CBC. It is grittier, more complex and much darker than “Doyle.” Facebook Two years ago, Allan Hawco was working on a script for a TV series when he asked another writer — fellow Newfoundlander Adriana Maggs — to read an early draft and give an honest opinion. That was exactly the reaction Hawco was hoping for. For six seasons, he starred in, and was the driving force behind, the lighthearted CBC detective series “Republic of Doyle.” The success of that series helped Hawco and his associates at Take the Shot Productions establish a production facility in St. John’s, N.L. The cast all had praise for costume designer Michael Ground’s low-key approach. The series is based on the 2013 crime novel of the same name from another talented Newfoundlander, author Lisa Moore. The novel, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was handed to Hawco at a studio meeting as a suggestion for his next project. “I hadn’t read it, which was weird,” says the 40-year-old actor/producer, “because the author lives up the street.” He read it, loved it and got in line for the rights. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Twitter Set in 1978, “Caught” tells the story of David Slaney (played by Hawco) who busts out of a New Brunswick prison and quickly hooks up with his former drug-dealing partner in crime (Eric Johnson from “Fifty Shades Freed”). Broken down RCMP detective Roy Patterson (played by Paul Gross) picks up the trail. Allan Hawco in a scene from the new CBC crime drama “Caught”. Two years ago, Allan Hawco was working on a script for a TV series when he asked another writer ‚Äî fellow Newfoundlander Adriana Maggs ‚Äî to read an early draft and give an honest opinion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CBC *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Twitter Facebook Login/Register With: It’s the first time Young has addressed months of speculation that he and Hannah tied the knot over the summer.Rumours began circulating in August when Hannah’s Instagram page filled with comments congratulating her on the ceremony.Young was previously married to singer-songwriter Pegi Young but the two divorced in 2014.Once he began dating Hannah the two spent ample time working on projects together.Young played the Man in the Black Hat in the film “Paradox,” which was directed by Hannah and released earlier this year on Netflix.She also worked on his short films and oversaw stage design for Young’s intimate concert last December in Omemee, Ont.Young’s website post also reflected on how “Ohio,” which he wrote as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, was inspired by the Kent State shootings in which Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four students in 1970.“It was a pivotal moment for me,” he wrote.The message urged his U.S. fans to vote in the midterm elections, particularly in support of gun reform. He praised students who are “brave, demanding change in violent times.”“Support our children. They want protection. Not more guns,” he said.“Give us common sense gun laws that protect our people, in schools, in places of worship, in the workplace and on the streets.” Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment TORONTO — Neil Young has confirmed he’s most definitely married to actress Daryl Hannah.The Toronto-born musician addressed the rumours Wednesday in a message on his website, the Neil Young Archives.Young refers to Hannah as “my wife Daryl” in an introduction to a live clip of him playing “Ohio.”
Megz Reynolds loved the time she spent on her extended family’s ranch as a child. (Sherry Reynolds) As a teenager I would fantasize about one day having a farm of my own.What my teenage self didn’t realize was how challenging the transition to farming would be and how many of my preconceived ideas about food and food production would be challenged.I have always been a creative soul and a bit of a gypsy. After high school I got my first job in the film industry as a trainee set decorator on the blockbuster film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I was hooked. I loved the fast pace, the ever-changing challenges, the problem-solving and the performing under stress.As much as I loved film, there was always a piece of me that was missing the farm and farm life.Fast forward to a surprise birthday party on a dark night during harvest in a rural Sask. town with a population of 12. A young grain farmer walks into the bar covered in dust from combining field peas. He didn’t remember meeting me and I didn’t realize it at the time, but that young farmer was going to be the one to bring me back to farm life. Megz Reynolds has embraced farm life after an earlier career in the film industry. (Megz Reynolds) Advertisement I have a confession to make. Seven years ago I thought all GMOs were bad. That may not be a shocking sentiment these days, but here’s the catch: Now I’m a grain farmer in Saskatchewan.My perspective on GMOs is just one of many things that have changed since I embraced farm life.I grew up in Calgary and went on to an 11-year career in the film industry before meeting my husband and moving out to his fourth-generation family farm. The transition from film to farm may seem like a wild step, but growing up I always felt most at home on my extended family’s ranch in Southern Alberta. Twitter Advertisement My childhood weekends, summer holidays and birthday parties were always spent on the farm. I was free there. I ran wild, took off on horseback, built forts in the coulee and climbed the Porcupine Hills. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebook Login/Register With:
Jane Levy and Peter Gallagher sang for advertisers at the NBC Upfront in May.And Mary Steenburgen’s husband Ted Danson joked at the Upfront. that by the end of the evening he’d “sleep with one of the actresses on the series.”Cast: Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Peter Gallagher, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Carmen Cusack, Mary Steenburgen. She can hear the soundtrack of your life.NBC’s new musical series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is filming in Vancouver this Fall.Filming dates: September 3rd to January 30th, 2020. Login/Register With: Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitter
APTN National NewsA group of legal and indigenous experts in Winnipeg are proposing a new kind of justice system for Aboriginal People.It’s a special court that would take into account the troubled history of First Nations people in Canada.APTN’s Shaneen Robinson has more.
Trina Roache APTN National NewsMILLBROOK FIRST NATION, NS — A Mi’kmaw woman is fishing again after Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal found her band discriminated against her.But a happy ending for Stacy Lee Marshall Tabor is still up in the air. At the same time the Millbrook band in Nova Scotia hired her as a deckhand, it asked the Federal Court to reverse the tribunal’s decision.Stacy Lee Marshall TaborJust the same, Tabor is relieved to finally be out on the water again after eight years.“I was so overwhelmed,” said Tabor. “The ‘I won’ factor, I did it. I’m here, missing my kids, scared at the same time, like, what do these guys on the boat think of me? I took some deep breaths and got back into the wheelhouse.”Tabor said she was denied work in the Millbrook First Nation Fishery because she’s a woman.Last May, the tribunal agreed. It found Tabor’s situation reflects a larger discriminatory attitude towards “the place of women in the community, namely that they should stay home with their kids.”At the beginning of July, Tabor headed out to fish snow crab.“All she had to do was apply,” said Millbrook band manager Alex Cope. “She never really did that before. When she did, she got the job.”Tabor agreed that in recent years she had given up and not applied. She added that back when she was trying to get work on a boat, there was no formal hiring process.Prior to 2007, Tabor did work at various times as a deckhand and First Mate. She was a qualified captain, but was denied job opportunities and advancement in the fishery. The tribunal found the band ignored or downplayed Tabor’s experience and pointed to systemic sex discrimination as the cause.The band has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to review the decision.No one at the Millbrook band would comment, instead that to its lawyer.“The tribunal simply got it wrong,” said Gavin Giles, a lawyer for the Millbrook Band. “It overstated the importance of some evidence and largely ignored other evidence.”“We say Ms. Tabor was not discriminated against,” said Giles. “And that the band didn’t systemically discriminate against women with respect to employment opportunities.”Giles said the band wants the decision either overturned or a new hearing altogether.Read original story on Stacy Lee Marshall Tabor here: Mi’kmaw woman wins sex discrimination case against Nova Scotia bandTabor is not surprised. “They’ve been fighting me tooth and nail for the last several years, this is their last chance.”There is still another decision expected soon from the tribunal on whether the band retaliated against Tabor because of her human rights complaint.In addition, the band has yet to come to the table to negotiate damages over Tabor’s loss of employment. Giles said that process may be put aside until the federal court hears the appeal. He expects a date to be set in the fall.Tabor wants the band to pay for her retraining. Her Captain’s licence has expired. For now, she wants to work.“Just hoping I can feed my family,” said Tabor. “They want bikes, school clothes, put some money away for Christmas. I don’t want to struggle like I have over the years. When I do get my cheque, I just want to be able to buy my kids the things that they’ve been wanting for so many years.”email@example.com
APTN National NewsCHARLOTTETOWN – Parks Canada is being advised to consider revising the name of a national park in Prince Edward Island to better reflect its Mi’kmaq history, but it has also received a recommendation that the name of a military officer who wanted to kill Aboriginal people with smallpox should remain.An excerpt from a meeting of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada last September recommended that parks officials consult with the Mi’kmaq community to see if there is a historic name for Rocky Point, where the Port-la-Joye _ Fort Amherst historic site is located.John Joe Sark, a member of the Mi’kmaq Nation traditional government, has submitted Mi’kmaq names for Parks Canada to consider, but he says he won’t be satisfied until the name of General Jeffery Amherst is scrubbed from the historic site.“They talk on one side about truth and reconciliation, but when you tell them the truth, they don’t want to do anything about it,” says Sark. “You don’t right wrongs by keeping the name of a tyrant.”Sark has been campaigning for the name change since 2008, arguing that is insulting because Amherst’s goal was to wipe out Aboriginal peoples.The board said it discussed Sark’s request at length but ultimately determined that Amherst’s name should remain because of the location’s historical ties to the British government.In a letter dated April 9 to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Sark disputes this justification, saying there is no historic record of Amherst spending time at Port-la-Joye.Parks Canada was not immediately available for comment Sunday.Amherst, an officer in the British Army in the mid-1700s, is considered a key architect of British victories in the Seven Years’ War for control of New France territories in North America. Several places in the U.S. and Canada, such as Amherstburg, Ont., bear his name.Amherst College in Massachusetts said last month the British military commander would no longer appear in school communications or as an unofficial mascot. Lord Jeff _ as he was known around campus _ was seen as an oppressive figure who supported using blankets infected with smallpox to kill Aboriginal firstname.lastname@example.org
Annette FrancisAPTN National NewsFamily members and advocates of missing or murdered Indigenous women are growing frustrated with the process of The National Inquiry.There’s concerns the families are getting left behind.
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – At what would have been the eastern end of the Energy East Pipeline, rookie Mayor Don Darling is in mourning.The veteran businessman, elected mayor just last year, presides over a declining city in a declining province, and had been counting on Energy East to help turn the corner.“This is a disappointment. It’s an economic blow. I’m frustrated,” Darling said Thursday.The $15.7 billion pipeline project would have carried western crude to the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John and an export terminal for destinations abroad. TransCanada cancelled it Thursday, citing “changed circumstances.”While Quebec politicians like Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and environmental activists celebrated the demise of the project, Darling lamented the loss of jobs and revenue.“This a huge economic blow to Saint John, to New Brunswick and to the country,” Darling said.The Energy East Saint John Partners Forum had estimated the project would increase the provincial GDP by $6.5 billion, and create thousands of jobs over several decades.Ian Whitcomb, president of the Saint John-based Irving Oil, called it the loss of a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”Darling said his once-affluent city — the oldest incorporated city in Canada — was looking to Energy East as a source of momentum to get the economy moving.He said in the short term, the city of 67,000 people is facing a $4.5 million shortfall this year and needs to make tough decisions if it is to avoid raising the city’s tax rate — already the highest in the region.The 2016 census showed the population of Saint John fell by 3.6 per cent over the previous five years — falling from 70,063 to 67,575 — and losing its status as the largest city in the province.A New Brunswick sociologist, Hassan Arif, likened the city to Detroit in a 2012 column for HuffPost, saying Saint John’s decline isn’t as severe but it faced similar challenges: They were both declining cities with growing suburbs, with concentrated urban poverty and a shrinking tax base. Both have multiple vacant and abandoned buildings.Even before the Energy East announcement, Darling was openly expressing his concerns about his city’s financial woes.In a Facebook post Wednesday, Darling said “I’m tired, beat up, frustrated and sad. I’m all those things because we need to change,” he wrote. “We are in a mess, this didn’t happen overnight, it’s been years in the making.”On Thursday, Darling said the Energy East project was “truly a test of our country and our ability to come together and we failed.”He blames the regulatory process and opponents of the project in Quebec.“The fact that one of the provinces in our country appeared to do everything it could to block this project in any fashion — I think that was obviously a factor,” he said.Darling said his city needs help from the province and Ottawa — either a large project or a number of smaller ones to stimulate the economy.“We need help. We need to work with the provincial government and Premier (Brian) Gallant is signalling that he is accepting my challenge that Saint John needs a new deal,” he said. “We have to match actions with the reality and urgency we’re facing as a community.”Gallant said Thursday energy is still a huge opportunity for Saint John, noting that the province is looking at various forms of renewable energy such as tidal power.“There will be a new deal for Saint John,” Gallant said. “As the industrial base of our economy, we need Saint John to be firing on all cylinders.”Darling said the city would take the next 30 days to more clearly define what help it needs from the other levels of government.“All we want is a fighting chance to put Saint John on a more sustainable path,” he said.
OTTAWA – When Ottawa announced changes to EI parental leave benefits last year that will allow new mothers to receive benefits for 18 months, Heather Wilson was excited about the possibility of spending more time with her baby.But after digging into the changes, Wilson and her husband are probably going to stick with the 12-month option.That’s in large part due to the fact that when Ottawa announced the change, it didn’t increase the amount of money for the program. So, while you may receive paternity benefits for a longer period, the weekly amount will be less.The reduction means that new parents looking to make up the difference over the extended period with savings may want to have $10,000 or more put aside, on top of their other savings in preparation for the new baby.Calgary-based Wilson says her EI maternity and paternity leave benefits, which max out at $547 per week before taxes, are already going to be a drop from her regular paycheque, so the further reduction to take 18 months may not work for her family’s budget.“The time and concept is really nice, that 18 months, but for us, we’re not sure financially it makes a lot of sense,” said Wilson, who is due with her first child in May.She noted that she and her husband may already face challenges in coming up with their regular contributions to their tax-free savings accounts and RRSP savings with the reduction in her income.Amy Dietz-Graham, a portfolio manager for BMO Nesbitt Burns, said having a baby can be a huge expense and choosing the longer option means being able to budget for the longer time away from work.“If you can plan ahead and start saving ahead of time if you do want to take that extra time, the better off you’ll be,” said Dietz-Graham, who is also due with her first child at the beginning of March.Federal EI maternity and parental benefits provide money for new parents through employment insurance benefits, while Quebec runs its own Quebec Parental Insurance Program, which has not changed.Federal EI maternity benefits for biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, run for 15 weeks and pay a weekly benefit of 55 per cent of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount of $547 per week.After that, EI parental benefits, which may be shared between parents, kick in with two options: a standard choice of up to 35 weeks or an extended version that spreads the same payment out over a maximum of 61 weeks. The extended option reduces the payment to 33 per cent of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum of $328, though that amount may be increased if you are eligible to receive the family supplement for low-income families.EI benefits are also taxable, so federal and provincial or territorial taxes will be deducted from your benefits too, reducing the amount that ultimately ends up in your pocket.Some new parents also receive parental leave top-up payments from their employers, but they will likely not cover the entire period.Dietz-Graham said you may also want to budget for additional expenses such as making a will if you don’t have one, or a life insurance policy to take care of your child if something should happen to you.She adds that reducing RRSP contributions in a year that you are on leave may also be something to consider, as you may get bigger tax savings by making them in a year when your income is higher.Those who do opt to take the extra time could save on the spending side of the equation, Dietz-Graham noted.You won’t have the costs of going to work like your daily coffee, lunches out and transit or parking. And, by taking the extra six months it means you won’t have daycare costs for that time, which could add up to thousands of dollars.
Around 300 Calgary cab drivers have signed a letter to the city, asking for ride sharing companies to be subject to the same rules and regulations as taxis.The petition says more and more cab drivers are being forced to give up on mortgage payments and file for bankruptcy as they struggle to make ends meet.Taxi driver Syed Hussain said one example is vehicle inspections: taxis must go in every six months, but for Uber drivers, it’s once every year.“When we renew our taxi badge, we pay $175, the Uber guys they pay $15,” he said.Hussain said added costs mean taxi drivers often work 12 hours a day, seven days a week.“We have over 2,000 drivers and they are suffering unbelievably,” he said.“There are double standards. Two laws: one for the tax industry and one for the sharing companies like Uber or Lyft or whatever, and that is not fair.”Meanwhile Clement Gulston, who drives for both ride-sharing companies Uber and Cowboy Taxi, argues he pays just as much as a taxi driver, maybe even more, as 25 per cent of fares go to the company to cover costs.“Their (taxi) system is outdated. Checker has apps, do you know that? Associated has (an) app, do you know that? Calgary City Cab has app? Have you ever tried to use their app, have you ever talked to anybody who tried to use their app? If you use any one of these apps, you’re not connected instantly with the driver,” he said.Gulston says he works for two companies driving four cars, not because he needs the money, but because he’s taking advantage of good opportunities. Should rideshare drivers (Uber, Lyft) face the same regulations as cab drivers?YesNoVoteView Results Take Our Poll