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Son of Cirque du Soleil co-founder dies after accident at ‘Luzia’ show in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – Officials say a technician with the Cirque du Soleil Luzia show who died after being hit in the head by an aerial lift Tuesday is the son of one of the founders of the show.

In a statement from Cirque du Soleil, officials confirmed that 42-year-old Olivier Rochette of Quebec died Tuesday night in San Francisco.

According to the statement, his immediate family, including his father Gilles Ste-Croix, one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil, has been informed of the accident.

“I am heartbroken. I wish to extend in my name and in the name of all Cirque du Soleil employees my sincerest sympathies and offer my full support to Gilles and his family. Oliver has always been a member of our tight family and a truly beloved colleague,” said CEO Daniel Lamarre.

WATCH: Crew member dies after accident at Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia show in San Francisco

Police say officers with San Francisco Police Department Traffic Collision Investigation Unit and investigators with the state’s workplace safety regulator, Cal/OSHA, are investigating.

Julia Bernstein of Cal/OSHA said Wednesday that the employee was struck in the head by an aerial device. The agency had no further information.

The Tuesday and Wednesday night shows were cancelled.

Many on social media offered condolences following the news of Rochette’s death.

Cirque du Soleil has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from nearly 50 different countries.

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Family, friends remember Quebec superior court judge Fraser Martin

Family and friends are gathering to remember Quebec Superior Court Judge Fraser Martin, known for presiding over prominent cases such as the first-degree murder trial of former Concordia University professor Valery Fabrikant.

“If he could have, he would have wrapped us all up in bubble wrap and kept us safe from anything that was happening out in the world,” said Anna Mai Norwell, Martin’s widow.

“He knew what was happening with the job he had.”

Martin died of cancer at the age of 77.

He immigrated to Canada with his family from Greenock, Scotland at the age of 14.

Quebec Superior Court Judge Fraser Martin died at the age off 77 after battling cancer.

Martin Family

Martin attended Sir George Williams University and taught Grade 6 in Pointe-St-Charles before completing a law degree at McGill University in 1964.

The longtime Hudson resident was named to the bench in 1983 and retired two years ago.

“Probably one of the best judges in the province of Quebec in the Superior Court, if not one of the best judge’s across Canada,” said Philip Schneider, defence lawyer.

Martin is survived by his wife, Norwell, children Micheline, Derek, Francine and Colette, as well as eight grandchildren.

“He would just read all the time and so, you would come thinking you knew a little bit about something and you would sit down with him and be like, ‘oh, I didn’t know,’” said Alex Angelini, Martin’s grandson.

The services are taking place at 434 Main Rd., Hudson.

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What you need to know about proportional representation

An all-party committee has recommended that the federal government design a new electoral system and put it to the public in a national referendum.

READ MORE: Canada should hold referendum on electoral reform – Election committee

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    The new system would be a form of proportional representation. Although the details would have to be determined by the government, this voting system comes in two main flavours and it’s likely that whatever is proposed would resemble one of them.

    One way proportional representation works is a voter casts a ballot for a party, as opposed to voting for a prospective MP under a party banner, as the current system prescribes.

    Once all the votes are counted, parties are awarded a number of seats in proportion to the percentage of votes each received.

    A form of this type of proportional representation is used in Sweden, though parties must receive at least four per cent of the vote to get a seat in the national legislature. There are currently eight political parties represented in the Swedish parliament. Coalitions and alliances between different parties are common.

    However, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform recommended that Canada not adopt this model as “such systems sever the connection between voters and their MP.”

    WATCH: Election committee calls for proportional voting, referendum

    The second model, called “mixed-member proportional representation” is more complicated. This is a hybrid system that combines the above with some single-member ridings. Several years ago, Elections Ontario proposed the province adopt this system, but it didn’t pass a referendum.

    As described by the electoral body, the system would allow voters to cast one ballot for a candidate in their riding and a second ballot for their preferred party. The first vote determines, more or less, who sits in the legislature based on the second ballot which determines how many seats the party will fill.

    In the end, if a party ends up with fewer seats than it should have based on its overall popularity, they would get some “top up” members from an already established party list.

    Germany’s national elections work like this. Candidates who win in a regional district get a seat in the Bundestag, which ensures some regional representation, and more seats are allocated according to a party’s share of the vote — provided they get at least five per cent of the vote or three direct constituency seats. Unlike in Canada, German elections are often followed by coalition negotiations, because individual parties don’t generally get a majority of seats in the election.

    WATCH: Electoral reform committee recommends against mandatory, online voting

    Proponents of proportional representation say that it’s fairer than the existing first-past-the-post system. If a party gets 25 per cent of the votes, it would get 25 per cent of the seats.

    If we apply that rule to Canada’s last federal election, we’d end up with significantly different results.

    Right now, the party standings are:

    Liberals: 182
    Conservatives: 97
    NDP: 44
    Bloc Quebecois: 10
    Green Party: 1

    If each party had the number of seats that corresponded directly to its share of the popular vote — the simplest form of proportional representation — smaller parties with broad national support would benefit. It would look more like this:

    Liberals: 134
    Conservatives: 108
    NDP: 67
    Bloc Quebecois: 16
    Green Party: 11
    Other: 2

    We can’t know yet what electoral system will be proposed, and whether it will gain support from the Canadian public, but it’s possible that future elections and election results could look quite different under proportional representation.

    — With files from Amy Minsky

Here’s what Canadian senators spend your money on

The Canadian Senate has been working to improve transparency since the expense scandal, and has started releasing quarterly reports outlining senators’ spending.

The expenditures report is divided into five sections: office expenses (excluding salary), hospitality expenses, living expenses in the Ottawa region, travel, and contracts. Detailed information is available for some, but not all of the claimed expenses.

READ MORE: What to expect as ‘modernization’ comes to the Senate

The first report summarizes expenses from July 1 — Sept. 30. Expenses range from small gifts to $54 for alcohol, to $660 for an annual New York Times subscription.

Here are some of the expenses taxpayers are on the hook for.

WATCH: How do we prevent ‘confusion’ in future Senate expense claims? 

Artwork 

The cost to rent and install artwork isn’t cheap, as a number of senators’ expense details show.

$6,205 — Independent Sen. Andre Pratt, Quebec, artwork rental and installation.

READ MORE: Patrick Brazeau not impressed with Senate spending accusations

$6,060 — Independent Sen. Chantal Petitclerc, Quebec, artwork rental and installation.

$2,100 — Independent Sen. Ratna Omidvar, Ontario, artwork rental.

WATCH: Mike Duffy back in the Senate claiming living expenses 

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    Hospitality expenses

    Three senators expensed more than $1,000 in the time period for hospitality, while many — including newly returned Sen. Mike Duffy — claimed none at all.

    $1,564.14 — Tory Sen. Yonah Martin just might be the hostess with the mostest, coming in on top for spending on hospitality. The expenses include more than $150 at the Parliament Hill boutique on three gifts, and the rest on catering for five community events and a business meeting.

    READ MORE: Oversight for Senate spending being considered

    $1,339.55 — Tory Sen. Dennis Glen Patterson, Nunavut, expensed costs for 12 business meetings and other events.

    $1,056.71 — Tory Sen. Tobias C. Enverga Jr., Ontario, expensed more than a grand for a community event for 268 guests.

    WATCH: What’s the point of the Senate if the government rejects amendments to important bills? 

    Office Expenses 

    Office expenses include things such as service contracts, furniture and office supplies.

    $11,580.82 — Sen. Yonah Martin, who has been a senator since 2009, also claimed the most for office expenses. A good chunk of that change, $4,080, was for artwork rental.

    READ MORE: Ex-Canadian senator’s 27-year-old widow could collect millions in pension

    $9,947.38 — Tory Sen. Dennis Glen Patterson, Nunavut, no information for expenses available.

    $8,244.97 — Tory Sen. Nany Green-Raine, B.C., no information for expenses available.

    WATCH: Senate staffers get sweeter severance than others 

    Travel expenses 

    Travel expenses include transportation, meal allowances and accommodation.

    $23,229.39 — Tory Sen. David M. Wells, Newfoundland and Labrador, expensed the most for travel of all the senators. Wells resides in St. John’s. The breakdown of his costs include $11,892 for his own travel, $7,810 for “designated traveller” and $3,525 for “dependant(s).”

    READ MORE: Duffy to return to Senate after 3-year hiatus

    $20,306.38 — Independent Sen. Nick G. Sibbeston, Northwest Territories, came second for most travel expenses.

    $18,464.31 — Tory Sen. Thanh Hai Ngo, Ontario, came third for travel expenses.

Nova Scotia public split on who to support in teachers dispute: poll

Nova Scotians are divided over which side to support in the ongoing dispute between teachers and the government, according to a recent Corporate Research Associates poll.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia premier recorded ‘disappointed’ video before contract talks with teachers collapsed

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In a poll of 401 adults in the province, CRA found that 47 per cent of residents either completely or mostly support the teachers taking strike action. Fourty-four per cent mostly or completely oppose strike action, and eight per cent either didn’t give an opinion, or did not know.

Nova Scotia teachers announced Monday they’ll be starting to work-to-rule on Monday, Dec. 5.

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

CRA said most who did support teachers taking job action were women and residents younger than 55.

“It is apparent that both the government and the Union are in a no-win situation with the public in their current labour dispute,” said CRA chairperson and CEO Don Mills.

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) and government have been at odds for several months. Teachers have rejected two tentative agreements recommended by their union, then last month voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia students to stage classroom walkout Friday

The most recent round of talks between the government and the NSTU broke down last Friday, with the union leaving the table saying the province wasn’t willing to truly negotiate.

The main sticking points for teachers, who have been without a collective agreement since 2015, are working conditions, wages and the long-service award — three things the government says they are not willing to make concessions on.

The survey was conducted between Nov. 9 and Nov. 29. Results are considered accurate to within 4.9 percentage points, or 95 out of 100 times.

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