Monthly Archives: November 2018

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Quebec begins two-day consultations on education

The Quebec government is holding a two-day education consultation in Quebec City Thursday and Friday.

It focuses on student success and finding ways to increase graduation and to support those with special needs.

READ MORE: ‘Necessary changes’ still to be made to Quebec education reform bill: QESBA

“For us, we want the government to take into account that we are different. One size does not fit all,” said Stephen Burke, an executive member of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).

READ MORE: Quebec government needs to intervene to increase graduation rate: expert

After battling the government’s controversial school board reforms – that were eventually dropped – English school boards want to make it clear they need to be consulted.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard makes opening remarks at a two-day education consultation, welcoming stakeholders to help draft a new education strategy, Thursday, December 1, 2016.

Raquel Fletcher/Global News

ChangSha Night Net


  • ‘Necessary changes’ still to be made to Quebec education reform bill: QESBA

  • Opposition parties criticize Quebec Liberals for backtracking on education reform

  • QESBA pleased with Quebec’s new education minister

    Burke said the nine English school boards cater to 100,000 students, are spread out across the province and have many different needs.

    “We’re saying, ‘please don’t forget us because our day-to-day life is different from that of the French school boards,’” he said.

    READ MORE: Opposition parties criticize Quebec Liberals for backtracking on education reform

    On Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made the opening remarks at the consultations, welcoming stakeholders to help draft a new education strategy.

    “We’ve already announced, and it’s being deployed as we speak, $1.3 billion over three years, for close to 800 personnel in our schools. That is very substantial,” Couillard said.

    However, he was vague about what his top priorities would be going forward.

    READ MORE: Premier calls for French schools in Quebec to follow English lead

    “They vote for a law, then they have a consultation and who knows where they’ll go in 2017,” said Jean-François Roberge, Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) education critic.

    The Parti Québécois (PQ) insisted the government is not acting fast enough to standardize professional services.

    READ MORE: QESBA pleased with Quebec’s new education minister

    “In Abitibi-Témiscamingue, there are two psychologists for 7,000 students. It almost means there are no services,” said Alexandre Cloutier, PQ education critic.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall starts social media campaign against carbon tax

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is turning to social media for support in his stance against a national agreement on a carbon tax ahead of a meeting with Canada’s prime minister next week.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Wall indicted he has told the federal government he “will not sign any agreement that includes a national carbon tax being imposed on Saskatchewan.”

Wall encouraged users to share, like or comment on his post to show support for his position.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Sask. Premier Brad Wall says Trump win means Canada should stop carbon tax, hopeful for Keystone pipeline

  • Provinces will have to accept Liberal carbon tax, say experts

  • How will carbon pricing and the Paris agreement affect you?

    The Saskatchewan Party also set up an online petition that encourages supporters “to stand up for our economic interests by signing and sharing your comments.” As of Thursday afternoon the petition had more than 19,000 signatures.

    READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall outlines climate change plan as alternative to Trudeau’s carbon tax

    Wall said he believes online petitions are as effective as conventional petitions and the social media campaign would continue indefinitely

    “I know it’s not going to necessarily win the day however many numbers there are, but it’s a sign of the support that we think exists for Saskatchewan’s position,” Wall said.

    Canada’s premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are scheduled to meet on Dec. 9 in Ottawa to discuss a pan-Canadian climate change plan. In October Trudeau announced the federal government would impose a carbon pricing plan on any province that didn’t have their own in place by 2018.

    Wall said his government takes the issue of climate change seriously, but believes a carbon pricing plan is the wrong approach.

    “The timing is terrible in the oil and gas sector, in mining and agriculture,” Wall said.

    “This is what pays the bills and paves roads and builds in this province and we’re going to fight for those sectors.”

    READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall willing to take carbon fight to Supreme Court

    Wall said the justice department is looking at what legal options the province may have in the case the government follows through with their promise.

    “We think there are options and if need be we will take the federal government to court,” Wall said.

Bethlehem Superstars special needs cheer squad soars with confidence

It’s a cheer team with no limits. Known as the Bethlehem Superstars, a group of local high school students is spreading sheer joy as they perform.

On Thursday, Global News attended the cheer squad’s practice right before a pep rally at Bethlehem Catholic High School.

READ MORE: I Can Dream Theatre offers opportunities for adults with special needs

The cheer team consists of 16 members, 12 have special needs, another four are from the senior team. It also seems like everywhere they go the squad is stealing the spotlight and a big part of that is 18-year-old Jeffre Hubert, who’s joy for spreading smiles far surpasses anything you’ve ever seen.

“He is…so fun, he’s friendly, he’s the king of the school,” said Cheryl Lenz-Fabian, functionally integrated learning assistance teacher at Bethlehem Catholic High School.

“He’s wants to try everything now.”

Jeffre’s mom Barb, who was in the audience on Thursday, said he loves the crowds. From what we observed that day, it would appear the crowds reciprocate that feeling and love him just as much.

“He likes to make people laugh that’s a big part of it, he’s a funny guy,” said Barb Hubert.

“He likes to have people smiling and he’s really, really changed a lot in the last little while.”

ChangSha Night Net


  • Two mothers bring special needs shopping carts to Quebec stores

  • High school football team lets water boy with special needs score touchdown to surprise terminally ill mom

    Barb credits the cheer squad with helping Jeffre spread his wings.

    “Very often kids are left to the wayside and it is important to show the world really that these kids can do anything,” Barb said.

    “They are just valuable to the community just as much a person like you and I and they deserve that.”

    READ MORE: Moncton cheerleading group offers program for kids with special needs

    After hours of practicing their new routine at home and at school, the Bethlehem Superstars were ready to wow the crowd as the finale to the pep rally.

    Greeted with applause from hundreds of students, it was finally time to perform. Nothing the squad does surprises their coach but she said they often blow people away at their performances.

    “They’re surprised at how much they can do and it doesn’t surprise me because I don’t limit them, I push them to the next level and once they attain the goal that we’ve made – we’re moving up the next level,” Lenz-Fabian said.

    So what’s it like to be in the audience? Jeffre’s mom said words can’t describe it, it’s a feeling that washes over you in the moment.

    “It’s just sort of like a warm feeling of …just everybody so proud and so happy for these guys because they can do anything.”

    Anything because being different – can also make you pretty special.

Edmonton police look for passengers on bus involved in fatal pedestrian collision

Police are looking to speak to anyone who may have been onboard a bus involved in a fatal pedestrian collision in north Edmonton last weekend.

Mariama Sillah, 13, died after she was struck by an ETS but while crossing the street in a marked crosswalk in the area of 137 Avenue on 40 Street. It happened at around 7:40 p.m. Saturday.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Family of teen hit by Edmonton bus shares grief over devastating loss

  • Edmonton bus driver charged in fatal pedestrian collision

  • Blind spots on Edmonton transit buses leave pedestrians at risk: union

    READ MORE: Teenage girl killed in pedestrian collision involving city bus in northeast Edmonton

    Officers believe there were several passengers on the bus at the time. It was ETS bus route 10, which runs between the Clareview and Coliseum stations.

    Police also believe there were people waiting at a bus stop near where the teen was struck. Anyone who was standing at bus stop 7257 on the south curb of 137 Avenue east of 40 Street is asked to contact police.

    Sillah was a student at Victoria School. Her uncle told Global News she was on her way home from grabbing dinner at Subway when she was struck by the bus.

    “All the dreams she had, all she wanted to be and what we were hoping to see – it’s gone,” Alimamy Timbo said of his niece.

    “Up to now, I’m in denial. I wish there was another way, a miracle could bring her back.”

    Watch below: A 13-year-old girl was struck and killed by a Edmonton Transit Bus on Saturday. Now her family is speaking out. Shallima Maharaj reports.

    Charges have not been laid in the incident. This was the second time in as many months a pedestrian was struck and killed by an ETS bus while walking in a marked crosswalk.

    READ MORE: Edmonton pedestrian killed by bus remembered as ‘devoted to her family’

    Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

The perks of philanthropy: how schools are teaching kids to give

It’s the time of year when we pat ourselves on the back for giving; donating money to a local charity or volunteering time to a good cause. It’s a month-long blitz in adult altruism. Yet for a lot of kids, this kind of stuff happens year-round.

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A growing number of elementary and high schools have committees devoted to community work. This week, the social justice committee at St. Pius X School in Edmonton shipped hundreds of socks to a local homeless mission. Some of the committee’s other projects include reading at a seniors’ centre and handing out backpacks of necessities to people who are homeless.

“To give them that opportunity within the four walls of the school makes it really powerful for them,” teacher Sarah Adomako-Ansah said.

“They’re able to say, ‘I did that. I helped here. I did this,’ and that’s something they can carry with them as they grow up.”

A similar student-led committee at an Etobicoke school launched a food drive this week. The POWERhouse food drive will deliver food to up to 90 families in the community this holiday season. The pride is long lasting. Grade 12 student Jennifer Bauer still remembers how it felt to drop off food to one mother last year.

“It was really emotional because when we were bringing in the food to her family she was thanking us for not forgetting her.”

While the community reaps the benefits of their generosity, research shows the students are getting intrinsic rewards too.

In 2012, Simon Fraser University social psychology researcher Lara Aknin and her team studied toddlers’ physical responses to giving. They presented the toddlers with treats (Goldfish crackers or Teddy Grahams) and asked to share with a monkey puppet. They recorded bigger smiles when a treat was shared compared to when the toddler was given the treats.

“We’ve been finding that kids, like adults, feel happier after giving things to others than after receiving things themselves,” Aknin said. “We find this is particularly true when they are engaged in costly giving, so giving away treats that belong to them as opposed to an identical treat that does not.”

WATCH: Surprising research shows spending money is the key to happiness

Aknin believes this kind of “prosocial behaviour’ is both innate and taught.

Based on her own experience with the food drive, Bauer believes we give instinctively.

“We all have it in our heart…We see people on the street and we see them suffering. Everyone wants to help them out.”

Halifax school board to change bus schedules while teachers work-to-rule

Concern for student safety during Nova Scotia teachers’ work-to-rule campaign is prompting the Halifax school board to change some bus schedules.

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New arrival and departure times, mandated by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, would have created a supervision gap between when students arrive at school and when teachers and principals do. Teachers will start working-to-rule on Monday.

READ MORE: Nova Scotians split on who to support in teachers dispute

To avoid the safety concerns, the Halifax Regional School Board says all busses will arrive after teachers do to make sure students aren’t alone.

As part of the job action, teachers and principals will be arriving at school 20 minutes before classes and leaving 20 minutes after. According to the board, that would have meant that students from 15 bus routes would be at school before teachers arrived or after they left.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers’ 16 contract demands and what the province says they cost

“We have been working with Stock Transportation this week to ensure all busses arrive/depart within the 20 (minute) window starting on Monday,” board spokesperson Doug Hadley said in an emailed statement.

“Our priority is student safety,” he said. “Students will be supervised at all times.”

He said the board was in the process of notifying families who will have to deal with new school bus pickup and drop-off times. Hadley said the changes will affect a relatively small number of people – just 15 out of more than 250 routes are affected.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia students to stage classroom walkout Friday

The board is also considering hiring lunch monitors for schools where teachers usually take part in supervision.

The fertility diet: The dos and don’ts of eating for conception

This is the latest article in a Global News investigation into fertility in Canada, and the emotional and financial impact infertility has on Canadians struggling to conceive.


There are no-brainers when it comes to prepping for conception — quitting smoking is among the most obvious — but growing evidence shows that what you eat, in addition to what you cut out, could have a significant impact on fertility for both women and men.

“Poor ovulation is at the root of one-quarter of all cases of infertility,” says Quinn Hand, naturopathic doctor and founder of Q Wellness. “By eating a balanced and nutrient dense diet, you can increase fertility by as much as 80 per cent.”

To anyone who’s already a health-conscious eater, the fertility diet would look very familiar: a wide variety of colourful vegetables, lean protein (especially from fish sources), low-glycemic index carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa and millet, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

“It’s the same whole foods diet that naturopaths have advocated for a long time,” Hand says.

But there are some caveats. Where some would perhaps veer toward low-fat or no-fat dairy options to lessen the caloric load, women looking to conceive should opt instead for full-fat dairy.

READ MORE: Here’s what you need to know about Ontario’s Fertility Program, one year later

In a landmark 2007 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers followed roughly 18,000 married women who conceived or attempted to conceive over an eight year period, and found that those who consumed full-fat dairy products had a decreased risk of ovulatory infertility. The study also found that those who opted for skim or reduced-fat dairy had an increased risk of infertility.

“The estrogen and progesterone that naturally occur in milk attach themselves to the fat globules,” says Lianne Phillipson, nutritionist and founder of Sprout Right, a company that specializes in preconception, prenatal and postnatal nutrition. “By skimming the fat from dairy, those hormones, as well as vital vitamins like D and K, are also removed leaving behind the male hormones. This creates an imbalance that can impair ovulation.”

For this reason, Phillipson advises her clients who are looking to conceive to consume one serving of full-fat dairy daily. That could look like one eight-ounce glass of whole or homo milk, one cup of full-fat yogurt, or 30 grams of cheese (think the size of three stacked dice).

Unfortunately, what that doesn’t mean is indulging in ice cream.

“Ice cream is at the bottom of the list of acceptable dairy options because it’s laden with sugar and other ingredients that can upset insulin levels, which can in turn trigger irregular ovulation,” Phillipson says.

In fact, the white stuff should be considered the sworn enemy of women and men looking to conceive. Because of sugar’s effects on insulin resistance, the fallouts are varied and range from diabetes to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder that can cause infertility.

READ MORE: Everything men and women should know about fertility testing

In men, sugar — especially the sugar in soda — has been linked to lower sperm count. A study conducted at the University of Utah in 2013 found male mice who ate a healthy diet supplemented with 25 per cent added sugar from soda (the equivalent of three cans) died earlier and reproduced less.

The bad news for soda drinkers doesn’t end there, either. In a different study out of Denmark conducted in 2012, researchers found that women who consumed soda had reduced levels of fertility. Although the study was meant to determine the effects of caffeine on fertility, researchers discovered that women who drank soda, both sugar-sweetened and diet, had lower rates. (Caffeine remains a grey area; some studies link it to a minor reduction in fertility while others show no effects at all.)

Processed and junk foods high in trans fats are other obvious offenders. They’re blamed for a host of health repercussions, from insulin resistance to clogged arteries. The latter is especially detrimental to men as decreased blood flow to the genitals could result in erectile dysfunction.

“Every two per cent increase in trans fat leads to a 73 per cent increase in risk of ovulatory infertility,” Hand says.

Her aforementioned diet is a good place to start when looking to boost fertility and general health, although bear in mind that not all healthy-seeming foods are created equal.

“You really should be eating organic as much as possible,” she says. “Health studies have shown that we harbour 264 different chemicals and pesticides in our bodies, 164 of which are endocrine disruptors and oxidative stressors that are bad for sperm and egg quality. The more we can decrease the burden, the better our chances are of fertility.”

Hand recognizes, however, that an all-organic diet can be out of financial reach for most people, so she suggests focusing on the “dirty dozen” list of foods that are highest in chemicals and pesticides.

Phillipson cautions against beverages that are marketed as healthy.

“When you drink a glass of orange juice, you may think you’re doing something healthy but you’re just downing concentrated sweetness with none of the fibre,” she says.

And smoothies are among the worst offenders. Unless you’re going to a smoothie bar where you’re watching someone feed fresh fruits and vegetables into the juicer, most commercially-made smoothies harbour sugars and syrups.

Here’s a handy breakdown of fertility-enhancing foods you should be eating.

READ MORE: 7 fertility myths and misconceptions Canadian women need to know

Fruits and vegetables

“Eat the rainbow,” Hand says. Colourful fruits and vegetables have an assortment of antioxidants, phytochemicals and minerals that are beneficial for egg quality. Make sure your plate is made up of 50 per cent vegetables at every meal, she suggests.


Think of fish as a crucial building block for preconception and pregnancy health. Oily fish in particular (salmon, sardines, mackerel) are rich in Omega oils, which are shown to regulate hormone levels, decrease inflammation, boost sperm production and increase blood flow to the sexual organs. Look for wild caught fish, versus farmed varieties, as the latter have more PCBs (a known carcinogenic compound) in their tissues. With meat and poultry, opt for lean varieties. “Most toxins are fat soluble, so they store themselves in the fat cells of animals,” Hand says.

Low-glycemic index carbohydrates

Carbohydrates that digest slowly, like quinoa, brown rice and millet, have a high fibre content and slower release. That means they’ll have a gradual effect on your blood sugar thus preventing a surge in insulin resistance and preserving ovulation.


Unfortunately, a run of the mill multivitamin won’t cut it if you’re looking to boost fertility. For one thing, Hand says, don’t buy generic supplements. “Professional-grade vitamins contain nutrients that are easily activated by the body,” she says. “A lot of over the counter varieties contain binders and food dyes.”

Make sure to boost your diet with vitamin D, which will help with ovulation and hormonal balance; an antioxidant with vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium; folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects and congenital heart defects in the fetus; and CoQ10, which improves egg quality, counteracts ovarian aging and boosts sperm quality.

The jury, both medical and naturopathic, is out on subjects like caffeine and alcohol, although women and men are strongly advised to cut down on consumption if they’re trying to conceive. Eliminating it altogether is not necessary, however. Especially when you consider the psychological benefits they can have.

“Conception and fertility are stressful issues, and stress will zap your hormones,” Hand says. “If I have a patient who is super stressed out and really loves craft beer, I tell them to go out, have a beer and relax, because that helps too.”

ChangSha Night Net

‘I caught on fire’: N.S. mother of four seriously injured in blaze

Annette Conway says she’s lucky to be alive after being injured in a grease fire in her Halifax home on Nov. 22.

“I tried to put it out, tried to control it myself and I caught on fire,” Conway said Thursday.

The mother of four was left with serious burns over much of her body. The worst injuries she sustained were on her arms, which she used to protect her face in the blaze.

Doctors say Conway will need plastic surgery and that it will likely be a year until she recovers fully from the burns.

Neighbours were ‘guardian angels’

Two of Conway’s neighbours called 911 and tried to keep her calm until help arrived. Because of that, she now calls them her guardian angels.

“It could have really been way worse. I’m just glad she’s fine,” said Tanya Husbands, Conway’s neighbour, who was doing her dishes when the fire started.

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“I heard her screaming at the top of her lungs, like someone was in a lot of pain. I ran out with no socks on or anything,” she said. “I don’t know about a hero. I just think that neighbours should look out for neighbours,” she said.

“They held me the whole time … and I just want to tell them I am so grateful for their help and for everyone else who came to help me that date,” Conway said.

Starting over weeks before Christmas

From the outside, it’s hard to see the impact the fire has had on Conway’s home. But inside, the family lost nearly everything, including all their Christmas gifts.

They are staying in a motel for now and have no idea when they will be allowed to return home.

“I want to go home now,” said Conway, fighting back tears.

“But if we could get home for Christmas, it would mean the world to us.”

Conway’s sister has set up a GoFundMe page to try and help the family get back on their feet and try to make Christmas as normal as possible. The goal is to raise $4,000.

“It’s great to see the community and people that are not even from here …donating,” said Hedy Cameron, Annette’s mother. “It’s wonderful to have people that care.”

“I’m so grateful for all the help that we’re getting,” said Conway. “I’m seeing so much kindness and humanity. My heart is just, growing every day from all the love we are receiving.”

Those interested in helping the Conway family can visit the fundraising page here.

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3 teens charged after east-end Toronto student violently beaten, video posted online

Three teenagers are facing charges after a video shared on social media and sent to Global News shows a student being struck repeatedly and falling to the ground.

The video was sent to Global News by a student who asked to remain anonymous and said it involved students at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute in Scarborough. Video of the incident was also shared on social media.

Toronto police said the three arrests occurred after an incident was reported to officers on Friday and that the investigation is ongoing.

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“Obviously it’s very concerning – this kind of behaviour, this kind of action in this school,” Toronto police Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said.

“We’re going to do everything we can to work with the school board to try to deter this kind of action.

Uniformed patrol officers were seen on patrol at, and around, the school on Thursday.

Toronto District School Board spokesman Ryan Bird told Global News the board is aware of fights from multiple east-end schools and school officials are working with police.

“If any students have concerns about fighting or any other matter, we strongly encourage them to tell a staff member at the school, so they can immediately follow up,” Bird said in a statement.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute students said the fights are orchestrated to settle disputes.

“It’s apparently like, one person was trying to steal other people’s things. It’s more like an accused thing,” Zack Fedasz said, adding that he has seen past fights in the neighbourhood with crowds up to 200 people.

“I don’t agree with violence. But you film it? You talk about it? Then you put it on TV, I think that’s just crazy,” Damien Ablitt-Ramrob said.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert RCMP investigating fight involving teens, Mounties

Meanwhile, some students coming out of school approached Global News and condemned the video.

“There’s so much stuff that Laurier has to offer. More than these silly fights that you hear about on the news,” Fiona Shakyaver said.

“I don’t think it’s fair how they’re like portraying our school. There’s a lot of things to offer in this school that are great and amazing,” Renell Chari added.

Oriena Vuong contributed to this report

Manitoba on the path to break record of road fatalities in a year: RCMP

WINNIPEG —;  There have been 105 road fatalities this year on Manitoba roads, the second highest number of deaths in ten years. RCMP say they are on track to reach a new tragic record.

“Our unit feels pretty frustrated,” said Cpl. Carrie Kennedy of the RCMP.

“We feel like we are putting our best foot forward and we aren’t able to prevent those deaths.”

Kennedy says the number of roadway fatalities has risen this year compared to last year, and many of them are due to drunk driving.

ChangSha Night Net

RELATED: 2nd fatal crash this week on Manitoba highway

Of the 105 deaths, 40 per cent are due to impaired drivers. Speeding is the leading cause at 47 per cent.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has been busy supporting grieving families and trying to spread their message about the dangers of drinking and driving.

RELATED: Fatal crash near Portage la Prairie kills two

“That is a statistic that is climbing, particularly young females getting into vehicles with people who have been drinking,” said Melody Bodnarchuk of MADD Winnipeg.

Bodnarchuk put the numbers into perspective.

“To me, if this was something like a virus, Manitobans would be in a panic, that every three and a half days, somebody in Manitoba is dying,” she said.

In an effort to reduce drinking and driving over the holidays, Manitoba RCMP announced the kickoff of their 2016 Holiday Checkstop program. The checkstop campaign begins on Dec. 2 and runs until Jan. 2.

RELATED: Winnipeg Police arrest 56 drivers during holiday checkstops

The RCMP has written more than 40,000 tickets in 2016—6,000 more than last year. But the message doesn’t seem to be getting through.

“The truth is, if behaviours don’t change, an estimated 10 people will die on our roads during the holidays,” said Scott Kolody with Manitoba RCMP. “And in the past decade, there has not been a single year when someone has not died.”

In addition to driving sober, the RCMP is encouraging drivers to buckle up, avoid using their phone, and to drive for the conditions.