Montreal pit bull ban: Quebec Court of Appeal reinstates bylaw

Montreal’s controversial breed-specific legislation was overturned in Quebec’s Court of Appeal Thursday.

It had been previously suspended by the Superior Court on Oct. 3.

READ MORE: Montreal seeks right to appeal ruling that suspended pit bull-related measures

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    “Though the fight is not over, we are extremely disappointed by [the] decision and particularly preoccupied by not being able to continue finding adoptive homes in Montreal for all of our healthy and behaviourally sound dogs, regardless of their physical appearance,” said SPCA spokesperson Alanna Devine.

    “The Montreal SPCA has, at the core of its mission, the protection of all animals, regardless of species or breed.”

    The controversial legislation was introduced by the City of Montreal on Sept. 27.

    READ MORE: No charges for Montreal pit bull owner involved in fatal attack

    The lifting of the suspension order means many of the bylaw’s provisions targeting pit bull-type dogs will come into force, including the muzzling of certain dogs.

    The City of Montreal cannot issue euthanasia orders based on breed or physical appearance, prohibit someone from reclaiming their lost dog based on breed or physical appearance and must allow all dogs to continue to be adopted to families residing outside of Montreal.

    READ MORE: Montreal pit bull ban: Quebec judge suspends controversial bylaw

    In their decision, the three judges of the Court of Appeal said they would limit the extent of the bylaw until a Superior Court hearing next year.

Around 10,000 toys collected during the annual Toy Drive Live

The tenth annual toy drive was once again a huge success as an estimated 10,000 toys were collected for needy families in the GTA along with $8,000 in financial donations.

“The need to donate toys to children so that they can have the Christmas they deserve is growing every year,” said Toronto Fire Services Capt. Rick Berenz.

Large crowds came out to Toy Drive Live at CF Shops at Don Mills

Global News

For the tenth year in a row, Global News partnered with Toronto Fire Services to help collect toys for deserving families across the GTA.

“We’ve got around 70 off-duty firefighters here. You can tell by the smiles on their faces they absolutely love it,” said Berenz.

Susan Hay with firefighters at Toy Drive Live

Global News

Global News anchors Alan Carter and Farah Nasser got into the spirit and anchored the nightly newscast live on location Thursday evening amid hundreds of people who came down to celebrate the season of giving.

Donated gifts began arriving even before the event began at 5:00 p.m. By the end of the night there were bags of toys piled around the Christmas trees.

Bags of toys donated by the public at Toy Drive Live

Global News

There was also plenty of entertainment to keep the crowd energized.

This year featured a full range of Corus Entertainment personalities, including favourites from YTV like Carlos from “The Zone”.

AM640 and 102.1 The Edge also joined forced with Global News to celebrate the season by offering activities for the public.

And of course the night would not be complete without a visit from Santa himself. He joined ET Canada’s Cheryl Hickey to spread holiday cheer to the hundreds that gathered at CF Shops at Don Mills for the annual tradition.

ET Canada’s Cheryl Hickey with Santa Claus at Toy Drive Live

Global News

For those who couldn’t make it, donations will be accepted at any local Toronto fire station until Christmas, and monetary donations will be accepted throughout January at CanadaHelps长沙夜网.

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Canada looking for ‘positive’ role with US over Russia ‘challenge’

OTTAWA – Canada wants to work with the United States to face the “challenge” posed by Russia, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said Thursday.

Dion steered clear of weighing in directly on comments Donald Trump made during the U.S. election campaign in which he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But the minister said Canada and the U.S. have a shared interest in dealing with Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

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“We want to have a very positive and constructive role to play in our relationship with the United States bilaterally and also what we can do together in the world, including facing the challenge (of) Russia,” Dion said in an interview.

READ MORE: Putin hopes to strengthen US-Russia ties with Trump as president

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014 and its backing of separatist rebels in the country’s east have prompted NATO to bolster its military footprint in eastern Europe.

“The NATO policy is deterrence and dialogue. Canada was alone to do deterrence without dialogue and we are correcting that,” said Dion.

The Conservative opposition has criticized Dion and the Liberals for re-engaging with Russia, accusing it of “cosying up” to the “Putin regime.” Former prime minister Stephen Harper avoided direct contact with Putin at international events during most of his last two years in office, as his government downgraded diplomatic contact.

Dion said after the U.S. election that Canada would maintain sanctions on Russia. Last week, his spokesman Joseph Pickerill told that Canada’s diplomatic re-engagement with Russia did not mean “business as usual.”

“The duration of our sanctions are clearly linked to Russia’s complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty,” he said.

“Conversely, Canada, together with its G7 partners, stands ready take further restrictive measures should Russia’s actions so require.”

READ MORE: With an eye towards Donald Trump, Stephane Dion says Russian sanctions must be upheld

On Thursday, European Council President Donald Tusk said it would be hard to preserve the West’s unity on Moscow after Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Tusk told a Polish television station that in a recent conversation he had with the president-elect, Trump was more concerned with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union after this summer’s Brexit vote than he was about Russia.

Dion refused to be drawn into a discussion about Trump’s Russia policies.

He said the government’s “policy” is not to speculate on what the Trump administration might do once in power.

John Brennan, the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, was not as reluctant. He told the BBC earlier this week that Trump should be “wary” of Russia’s promises and criticized it for its role in helping the Syrian government wage its costly civil war.

Peter Kent, the Conservative foreign affairs critic, said it is too early to say whether Trump will temper his campaign rhetoric on Russia.

“We hope that among the foreign policy experts he engages in his administration there will be cautionary voices urging great care in dealings with Russia,” Kent said.

READ MORE: Russia’s ambassador to Canada calls Donald Trump win ‘promising’

Kent said he is concerned with “the government’s muted voice regarding the defenceless civilians of Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria” and its desire to “get to the table with Russia on Arctic issues.”

Brennan also told the British broadcaster it would be “the height of folly” to tear up the 2015 Iran agreement, which restricts Iran’s ability to take part in certain nuclear activities in exchange for lifting sanctions.

Dion also said he wants to see the nuclear deal with Iran preserved, something Trump has said he wants to scrap.

“We think it’s a deal (that is) good for the world, and we support it,” Dion said.

Kent said given that Trump has already “modified” a series of campaign promises, it’s not clear the nuclear deal with Iran – which the Conservatives opposed in the last days of their government and in opposition – is in any jeopardy.

Pledge Day kicks off in Calgary, supporting grassroots children’s charities

At four years old, Cade Huitema has a difficult, yet inspiring story to tell.

“Around his first birthday he started to regress and he was later diagnosed with Krabbe Disease,” Cade’s mother Melissa Huitema said.

WATCH: Health FYI – Parents push for early screening for Krabbe Disease

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    Calgary Children’s Fund: Pledge Day at CHQR 770

    The rare genetic neurological disease impacts about one in 100,000 births. Most children die before their second birthday.

    But by three years old, Cade defied doctors’ expectations. His parents looked to preschool.

    “GRIT [Getting Ready for Inclusion Today] is an integrated inclusion program that provides services for children with special needs,” Annette Eckel said. She’s the fundraising coordinator for the program Cade is now part of.

    He visits weekly and his teacher spends time with him at home.

    “One day his teacher came and discovered that he was actually trying to communicate with us by moving his finger,” Huitema said.

    His teacher realized Cade could not only understand conversation, but was eager to communicate.

    “You can ask him a question and he knows exactly what’s going on. He will reply with kind of a yes, no gaze at this point. So he will look left for ‘no’ and right for ‘yes’,” Huitema said.

    GRIT is just one of the programs supported by Pledge Day, an annual radiothon hosted by News Talk 770.

    For over 40 years the event has raised money to help kids in need throughout the Calgary area.

    WATCH: Calgary Children’s Fund Pledge Day 2015 at CHQR 770 

    Last year over $300,000 was donated to the Calgary Children’s Foundation, which supports grassroots charities that can’t often host their own massive fundraisers.

    GRIT is one example.

    EvenStart is another. The preschool program is set up for children experiencing trauma, crisis, poverty and neglect in their early years. It provides education and therapy to about 200 Calgary kids in a classroom setting.

    “They have quite often speech and language delays and a lot of emotional and behavioral struggles,” educational support coordinator Lea Blust said.

    “This provides a sense of consistency, the ability to develop these really positive relationships with adults – to be cared for and nurtured, and at the same time to be challenged.”

    Pledge Day starts at 6 a.m. Friday and continues until 6:30 p.m.

    Donations can be made in person at Corus Centre on 17th Avenue all day Friday, or online.

Saskatchewan Roughrider Joe McKnight killed in Louisiana shooting

Joe McKnight, a Saskatchewan Roughrider running back as well as a former NFL player, was shot to death in an apparent road rage incident in Terrytown, Louisiana, on Thursday afternoon.

Police said the shooting took place at an intersection around 2:45 p.m. ET, after an argument.

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The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s department confirmed to Global News that one person was in custody and being questioned in relation to the incident Thursday evening. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said that McKnight was standing outside his car when he was shot by 54-year-old Ronald Gasser.

Gasser stayed at the scene and relinquished his weapon to responding officers.

Police say officers attempted to revive McKnight with CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities say Gasser was released from custody overnight.

Col. John Fortunato is a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. He tells news media outlets Gasser hasn’t been charged yet and the shooting is still under investigation.

The body of former NFL player Joe McKnight lies between the shooter’s vehicle at left and his Audi SUV at right as the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigates the scene in Terrytown, La., on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.

Michael DeMocker /NOLA长沙桑拿 The Times-Picayune via AP

The 28-year-old, who was born in Louisiana, is the second CFL player to die in a shooting this year. Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks was killed in September during a shooting at a Calgary bar.

READ MORE: Mylan Hicks’ mother visits Stampeders, sits behind bench at Grey Cup

McKnight was signed by the Roughriders in 2016 after starting the season with the Edmonton Eskimos. Prior to playing in the CFL, McKnight was drafted by the New York Jets in 2010 out of the University of Southern California and also played for the Kansas City Chiefs.

McKnight is the second former NFL player this year to die in the New Orleans area as a result of a possible road-rage incident. Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was killed in April in a shooting that was sparked by a traffic altercation.

Terrytown is a suburb of New Orleans.

WATCH: Sheriff Newell Normand with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office discusses the shooting of Joe McKnight 

Riders president and CEO Craig Reynolds said he was saddened to hear of the loss.

“Losing a member of our Rider family this way is an unthinkable occurrence. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family, teammates and coaches,” he said in a statement.

“On behalf of our Board of Governors and the entire CFL family, I’d like to convey my deepest sympathies to all those close to Joe McKnight, especially his loved ones and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ organization at this difficult time.” Jeffrey L. Orridge, CFL commissioner, said in a statement.

Reggie Bush, a running back for the Buffalo Bills and former teammate played with McKnight at the University of Southern California and tweeted, “RIP my brother Joe McKnight this one hurts bad.”

Other former teammates, friends and associates took to social media top express their shock and grief.

*With files from Peder Myhr, David Baxter and the Associated Press

*a previous version of this story said McKnight was drafted out of South Carolina. He was in fact drafted out of Southern California. 

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

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    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.

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    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.”

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    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.

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    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.”