Your election questions: Pharmacare, terrorism and neglected singles – National ( admin posted on June 23rd, 2019 )

T-minus 26 days until the federal election — but who’s counting? — and campaigning continues apace.

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We’ve been doing our best to keep up with the electoral spin cycle. And we’ve been consistently deluged with reader queries on everything from when, where and how to vote; to the practical implications of the feds’ new health care transfers formula (spoiler: too early to say).

Here are a few of the questions we keep getting. Send us your pressing election question using the form below.

“What are the NDP and the Liberals going to do about ISIS?”

– Eric, health care worker in Alberta

Both NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau have slammed the Conservatives’ actions in the Middle East, where Canadian troops have been engaged in a bombing mission against ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper, for his part, argues Canada needs to be there — that pulling out would mean Canada’s burying its head in the sand when it comes to international terror threats that could target this country as well as others.

So what would the opposition parties do differently?

Mulcair has pledged to get Canada’s military out of Iraq and Syria “immediately.”

Trudeau has said he wants to end Canada’s bombing mission but keep troops there to train the Iraqi military.

“What are the parties’ views on a Universal Pharmacare Program for Canada?”

– Valerie, single working mom of a university student in Orleans, Ont.

The NDP has promised to sit down with the provinces and hammer out a universal drug coverage program if elected. Last week Mulcair pledged $2.6 billion over four years, which in all likelihood wouldn’t cover the feds’ share of the cost: Canadians spend a total of $30 billion a year on prescription drugs, of which about $18 million is either covered by private insurance or out-of-pocket payments.

The Liberals have promised to sit down with the provinces and talk about how to make drugs cheaper, but haven’t said how they’ll do that.

The Conservatives like the idea of coordinating bulk purchases to lower the cost of drugs overall, but don’t like the idea of a national drug coverage program.

“Why is it that all the focus is always on families?  What about those of us who are single and have to pay ALL the bills on one income?  What tax breaks or programs are there out there to help us single people out??”

– Shawna, Regina

We get this question a lot.

And it’s true: One phrase campaign-watchers keep hearing is “working families.”

For one thing, it’s good politics. Kids are adorable. Families tickle the interpersonal-obligation parts of our limbic systems and remind us we haven’t called in ages.

But there’s also an economic argument in favour of targeting underprivileged families, says Wilfrid Laurier University economist Tammy Schirle.

“There’s a very good case to be made for the parties to think about issues of poverty, especially child poverty, and how they might shape policies to help those kids who need it the most,” she said.

“These are early investments in kids that can pay off huge dividends in the long run.”

So what about Canadians with no children to get child benefits, no spouses with whom to split incomes?

There are precious few programs specifically targeted at single, working-age adults, period. But chances are you fit into a group targeted by a different political promise — whether because of your income, employment or housing status, health or (dis)ability. There’s no shortage of promises, but we have a handy link for you here.

Tell us your story and send us your questions. We’ll do our best to get a coherent answer.

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Westmount High students protest budget cuts during lunch break – Montreal ( admin posted on June 23rd, 2019 )

MONTREAL – Lunch hour is usually a time when students are free from their teachers – a time when they get to chat with their friends, grab a bite to eat and talk.

But Westmount High School students did something a little different on Tuesday.

A group of about 40 students gathered in front of the school in support of their teachers, saying work-to-rule action is not allowing teachers to properly do their jobs.

READ MORE: #LiftTheBan: Student video asks Quebec government to reconsider budget cuts 

“Right now, we’re fighting the work-to-rule that’s going on across Quebec,” said Nilani Uthayakumar, a Grade 11 student.

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“They can only work their 32 hour contract – so no sports, no tutoring, all that is gone.”

Students who organized the protest said the pressure tactics are negatively affecting everyone.

“Not only is it affecting us as individuals and people who are currently at the school, it’s also affecting the future generations to come,” said student Sage Goodleaf.

READ MORE: Work-to-rule action forces Ballet Ouest de Montreal to cancel Nutcracker shows

Students weren’t the only ones protesting – teachers came out to join as well.

“I just had to come out here and tell them that this was incredibly moving for us,” said social science teacher, Robert Green.

“Our staff room window is just up there and they have come out here to support us, to support public education.”

Westmount High students were originally going to walk out of class at 10:30 a.m., but had to change their plans when their principal got wind of the protest.

“A lot of the teachers were blocking the way from us going out,” said Uthayakumar.

“They threatened for us to go back to class or else we could have suspended.”

Principal Michael Cristofaro said although students have the right to protest, they cannot leave during class time.

He said if they want to express an opinion on the protests, they are free to do so on their own time – during lunch or recess.

READ MORE: Parents, teachers protest provincial cuts to public education 

The students told Global News this won’t be their only action.

“We have a Facebook page of our group for Westmount,” said Uthayakumar.

“We’ll be communicating over there and work out a time and schedule on when to meet and when to do this.”

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Reality Check: Trudeau’s claim Harper slashes funding to balance budget falls flat – National ( admin posted on June 23rd, 2019 )

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has accused the Harper government of slashing funding to seniors, veterans and Aboriginal Affairs last year in order to balance the books just in time for Canadians to head to the polls.

“We are in deficit right now, Mr. Harper has put us into deficit this year,” Trudeau said Monday. “As for last year’s numbers, we know, and we saw Mr. Harper under-spending and making cuts to Veterans Affairs, Aboriginal Affairs, to seniors, in the billions of dollars so that he could balance the books in time for his election.”

WATCH: Trudeau accuses Stephen Harper of making billions of dollars in cuts last year so he could have a balanced budget in time for the election

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But Trudeau’s statements don’t add up, according to the official 2014-2015 fiscal report from the Finance Department released the same day he made the claims. The books were balanced, and even showed a surprise surplus, but no deep cuts in the areas Trudeau claimed.

The report showed spending increased for Aboriginal Affairs by $2 billion, to $8.78 billion from $6.794 billion the year before.

In-Depth: Federal Election 2015

Spending increased for Veterans Affairs by $121 million, up to $1.018 billion from $897 million in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Spending for elderly benefits increased as well, to a total of $2.3 billion, up 5.5 per cent.

The $1.9 billion surplus certainly came as good news for Harper, breaking a painful streak of six-straight years in the red.

“This is incredibly good news,” Harper said Monday. “In spite of all the problems of the world, this country has a balanced budget, has had it all along. And the other parties are going to have to explain why they think now would be a good time to throw us into deficit.”

Trudeau has said he plans to run a deficit until 2019, in order to invest in infrastructure and boost the economy. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has pledged to not run a deficit as prime minister, even if he has to cut Conservative initiatives to do it.

The Liberals say Trudeau’s accusation was based on Monday’s fiscal report which said program spending was down, in part because of a “higher-than-expected lapse of departmental spending authorities.”

READ MORE: Budget surplus good news, but doesn’t predict the future: economists

Budget numbers indicated government departments spent $1.6 billion less than projected.

When asked about his claims, Trudeau on Tuesday called the report Harper’s “paper budget,” full of dollars pledged but not delivered.

“He makes commitments to veterans, and First Nations, and others, and then doesn’t keep those promises,” said Trudeau. “We know from years past, a billion dollars unspent in commitments made to our veterans, a billion dollars unspent in commitments made to First Nations.”

It has been documented that billions of federal dollars have gone unspent in many departments; in late 2014 it came to light that $1.13 billion from Veterans Affairs had gone unspent since the Conservatives come to power in 2006.

The departments in which the funds went unspent will not be clear until after the federal election on October 19.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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Mulcair vows to scrap TPP deal if elected ( admin posted on June 23rd, 2019 )

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said if elected, he would scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

“I would never bring this deal to the Canadian Parliament,” he told Global’s Liza Fromer and Jeff McArthur on The Morning Show on Thursday.

READ MORE: Harper to tout TPP today, Justin Trudeau in Montreal, Mulcair in BC

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Though the details of the TPP aren’t public, the NDP leader said he has been “more than briefed enough on it to know it’ll cost tens of thousands of Canadian families their jobs.”

He told Global News the deal will increase prescription drug prices, affecting seniors across the country.

“They (seniors) already have to decide between buying their prescription drugs and putting food on the table and that’s not on as far as the NDP is concerned.”

Mulcair also praised US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for opposing the deal as well.

When asked about his recent drop in the polls, Mulcair remained optimistic about his chances to win the election.

“I still keep on my desk in Ottawa the polls from the last election campaign that showed that the NDP was in fourth place in Quebec, and as you know it didn’t quite turn out that way,” he said. “There’s still 10 days left in this campaign.”

Zunera Ishaq talks to reporters outside the Federal Court of Appeal after her case was heard on whether she can wear a niqab while taking her citizenship oath, in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 15, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Mulcair: The Niqab is a distraction

Another hot-button issue during the campaign is whether or not the niqab should be worn during citizenship ceremonies. Mulcair remained firm in his stance that the niqab is merely a distraction.

“I’m not going to let Stephen Harper to use that … to hide his record,” he said.

The Conservatives have pushed for a ban on wearing the niqab in citizenship ceremonies, and Stephen Harper said if re-elected, he would look at legislation to ban niqabs or face coverings in the public service. Like Mulcair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has also argued that the tories are using the issue to “distract and deflect” Canadians from economic issues.

REALITY CHECK: Zunera Ishaq says niqab should not be an election issue

Mulcair said he won’t change his opinion despite a loss of support in Quebec because of the issue.

“That’s the politics of principle, as opposed to the politics of fear,” he argued.

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Here’s how Global’s new text-to-audio feature works – National ( admin posted on June 23rd, 2019 )

With the launch of its new audio service, ReadSpeaker, Global News is bringing content to a wider audience while providing people with a more customized experience.

Global News online visitors will not only be able to read up on and watch the latest news — but can now listen to any print story with the click of a button.

The new tool allows users to simply click the “Listen” icon, and, well, listen. Nothing needs to be downloaded or installed to your computer or device.

Simply click on the “Listen” icon.

Global News

When activated, ReadSpeaker Enterprise Highlighting opens the player and starts reading the content from the page. The text is also magnified and highlighted while it is being read, reinforcing a better understanding of the text. The service can be paused or stopped at any time.

Global News is the first news organization in Canada to offer the text-to-speech technology tool.

READ MORE: Take our survey on Readspeaker

ReadSpeaker will help provide a vital news service to those with poor vision, a reading disability, and those who may be learning English.

It can also be a convenient way for people to multitask while getting their news fix. It’s a simple, efficient way for people on the go to catch up on the day’s biggest stories, totally hands-free.

The service works on all devices, on all browsers, across all operating systems.

WATCH BELOW: Accessibility and inclusion specialist Frederic Fovet tries out the new text-to-speech function on the Global News website

Let us know what you think! Please take our survey on Readspeaker.

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Liberals defend Hydro One sale they opposed when PCs tried it – Toronto ( admin posted on May 23rd, 2019 )

TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberals are being forced to explain why they want to sell Hydro One after condemning the previous Progressive Conservative government for proposing a similar privatization plan.

The Conservatives dug up a 2002 motion from veteran Liberal Jim Bradley, now the chair of cabinet, that said Hydro One “is best kept in public ownership and public hands.”

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Bradley cited cabinet confidentiality Tuesday when asked if he had ever spoken against Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plans to sell 60 per cent of the giant transmission utility to raise an estimated $9 billion.

READ MORE: Opposition parties warn Hydro One sale will raise electricity rates

Wynne says she would use $4 billion from the sale to help pay for a $130-billion, 10-year infrastructure and public transit program, and $5 billion to pay down hydro debt.

Bradley insists he supports all government policies, and says he opposed the Conservatives’ plan to sell Hydro One 13 years ago because they wanted to sell 100 per cent of the utility.

PC Leader Patrick Brown explains his opposition to the sale by saying he won’t be tied to positions taken by previous Conservative leaders, and warns that privatizing Hydro One will drive up electricity rates.

©2015The Canadian Press

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‘I was so raw and so open’: Mother’s post on postpartum goes viral – National ( admin posted on May 23rd, 2019 )

A new mother from Phoenix, Arizona, is receiving praise for her honest post depicting the potential struggles of postpartum.

“I was a f*****g mess,” Danielle Haines wrote on Facebook over the weekend.

“My nipples were cracked and bleeding, my milk was almost in, my baby was getting really hungry. I had not slept since I went into labor.”

Despite the pain she was in and the help that she needed when it came to nursing her son, Haines realized how lucky she was to have support from loved ones. Whether it was feeding her, helping feed her baby or just giving her reassurance that her newborn was okay.

READ MORE: ‘It felt like we were going rogue’ says mom who let friend breastfeed her baby

The post seemed to resonate with mothers, many of whom shared their own postpartum photos and confessed how alone they felt during their postpartum.

It was “so exhausting, physically and emotionally, with such little support,” Sarah Currier wrote.

“I felt like everyone came to see my baby one time and then,” added Monica Kurtz, “I was completely alone.

“I knew I should’ve reached out to other women, but I didn’t really have anyone I felt close enough to, to ask.”

READ MORE: What is postpartum depression?

Kurtz and others also felt like they were failing as new mothers.

“I felt like a failure even though I was doing what was the absolute best and safest thing to do for my baby,” wrote Shelly Haines.

Why do some women hide their feelings or feel afraid of “asking too much?” Barbara Hames points out that women are so good at giving, supporting and caring, but they need that themselves as well.

“Blessed are other women who can see through the ‘I’m fine’ mask.”

In a follow-up post, Haines thanked everyone and encouraged people to “reach out to your beloved pregnant mamas and insist on feeding her…At the very least!”

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    Men also suffer from postpartum depression: study

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Building men’s awareness about cancer – Saskatoon ( admin posted on May 23rd, 2019 )

SASKATOON – September is Mens’ Cancer Awareness Month and a Saskatoon doctor is urging men to take the steps needed to prevent cancer.

“The older you get, as your immunity gets lower, you need to be more aware,” said Dr. Johnmark Opondo, who is working with the Canadian Cancer Society to push for more awareness.

“Most cancers can be prevented – there’s a variety of things you can do,” he said.

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Opondo said much of it are tips that people have been hearing for years: eat more fruits and vegetables, and avoid smoking. He also stressed the importance of being active.

“Sitting too much is actually as dangerous as smoking – there’s data that shows that, and talking about smoking, avoid cigarette smoke and tobacco smoke,” he said.

Opondo said the most common cancer for men is prostate cancer, but colorectal cancer, skin cancer and lung cancer are also fairly common. Getting regular tests, he said, is very important.

“One key piece is you need to remember that there’s medical screening and testing that can detect many of these cancers at an early stage,” he said, “where they can either be completely prevented, or found early enough that treatment is available.”

READ MORE: Should Employment Insurance be extended for cancer patients?

But one of the problems is that men tend to shy away from testing.

“Men are pretty universal and global, men typically wait – Saskatchewan is no different than anywhere else in Canada or the world – men wait until after they’ve developed symptoms,” he said.

Opondo said a common test for prostate cancer is one example.

“The test for that quite simple…, but it’s quite an uncomfortable test for men who don’t normally go and see their physician,” he said.

“So just man up, go and see your doctor and take the test.”

One way to remind men to get tested, he said, is available on the Canadian Cancer Society’s website. Reminder for life will send men an annual reminder about what they might need to discuss with their doctor, depending on the age.

It’s one more tool in the fight against cancer.

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No invitation? No problem. Green leader May plans to digitally debate opponents – National ( admin posted on May 23rd, 2019 )

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May is not letting the lack of an invitation keep her out of Thursday’s election debate on the economy.

The Green Party leader plans to muscle her way into the conversation – at least online – with the help of 桑拿会所.

The party is teaming up with the social media company to swiftly film and Tweet May’s video responses to statements by the three invited leaders.

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    One-on-one with Green Party leader Elizabeth May

The Globe and Mail newspaper has asked Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to discuss economic issues Thursday evening at Calgary’s Stampede Park.

May and her team will be hunkered down in a Victoria church with 桑拿会所’s Steve Ladurantaye, creating a steady stream of video remarks, retorts and reality checks.

People watching the debate on the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel or at globeandmail杭州夜网 won’t see or hear May.

But the idea is to engage Canadians following the debate on 桑拿会所, including many who will have their TV remote in one hand and their smartphone or tablet in the other.

“This is one way of saying to Canadians, we’re not going to give up on helping to communicate issues in a way that will engage voters,” May said in an interview.

In past elections, the English and French TV debates organized by leading broadcasters have been key campaign events. But this time the English one might not even happen. At the same time, several privately sponsored exchanges are taking place.

May’s gritty performance in an August debate hosted by Maclean’s magazine earned her plaudits – and valuable attention for her effort to expand the party’s foothold of two MPs.

The Greens have denounced May’s exclusion from the Globe and Mail event, an exchange staged by the Munk Debates in Toronto on foreign policy, and a French-language debate on TVA.

READ MORE: Mulcair, Trudeau agree to participate in Munk foreign affairs debate

Sean Humphrey, the Globe and Mail’s vice-president of marketing, has defended the Calgary format, saying it will “lead to focused discussion on the Canadian economy.”

The exclusion led 桑拿会所’s Ladurantaye – a former Globe and Mail reporter, as it happens – to suggest a parallel digital debate, an approach he took in Britain last March with the Scottish National Party.

“You don’t need to wait to be invited to something anymore. If you want to be part of it you can be part of it,” Ladurantaye said.

“Because there’s this whole conversation that’s going to be happening that night on 桑拿会所.”

He points to new figures that suggest almost 60 per cent of Canadian 桑拿会所 users were unsure of who they would vote for in the election.

桑拿会所 is working with all five leading parties on different facets of their campaigns, Ladurantaye said.

The Greens wanted 桑拿会所’s expertise and on-site assistance to make sure “we’re doing the technology side of this right,” said party communications director Julian Morelli, adding the company is not charging for its services.

The party hopes a crowd of Green supporters will be at the Victoria venue to watch large screens – one showing the Globe debate, the other projecting May’s 桑拿会所 feed.

May, meanwhile, will be in an adjacent room watching the debate and preparing her video responses.

She would consider it party crashing if she turned up in Calgary and banged on the door to get in.

“I’m not the kind of person to do that. But using social media and smart technology to give Canadians an additional option in the way they access this debate, I think is completely appropriate,” she said.

“The disadvantage is, I’ll get 30 seconds to insert what I would have said. Even using social media as cleverly as we possibly can, nothing replaces being on the stage to say, ‘But wait, Mr. Harper…’

“It’s the best we can do, but it’s far from being a fair debate.”

©2015The Canadian Press

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Members of Manitoba’s business community stranded on island for STARS fundraiser – Winnipeg ( admin posted on May 23rd, 2019 )

WINNIPEG — Seven Manitoba business people have been stranded on an island in Manitoba, unable to leave until they raise enough money for the STARS air ambulance program.

The annual fundraiser is in its third year and has raised half a million dollars.

This year the seven participants each set their own goal and while on the island will call people to bring in donations and complete tasks to meet their goal. They will then be flown back to civilization.

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STARS is partially funded by the government in Manitoba, but they must raise the remainder of the funds to stay afloat.

So far this year STARS has flown to 371 life saving missions. Last year they did a total of 177.

Currently STARS is only dispatched for emergencies where a patient is likely to be in critical condition from either a medical emergency (heart attack, stroke, pregnancy complication, respiratory illness, etc.) or traumatic injury (high speed highway collisions, farming accidents, falls, burns, etc).

Here’s a list of this year’s participants. Manitobans can support them in their fundraising efforts by visiting the rescue on the island website.

Chris Goertzen – Mayor of Steinbach
Gene Fraser – Vice President MacDon Industries
Colin Penner  – Farm Management Instructor
Jason Dubois  – President Len Dubois Trucking Inc.
Rod Hill  – Ex-Winnipeg Blue Bomber
Jessica Dumas  – Chair, Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce
Nicole Chabot  – Vice President of L. Chabot Enterprises Ltd.

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U.S. retailer Torrid seeks to fill gap in Canada’s plus-size market ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

While some shoppers may struggle to locate garments in a specific style or colour, Ashlie Callender faces an even greater obstacle: finding clothes that will fit her curvy frame.

“Regular stores, they go up to extra large sometimes, and that’s really like a (size) 10 maybe. So if it’s a stretchy material, I can get away with it,” said the college student, 24.

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“I actually would like shopping, but all of my options are either for people who are really, really old, wearing dress pants all the time – and that’s pretty much it. So I wish there was more.”

READ MORE: Plus-size Old Navy shopper’s selfie goes viral

Callender joined dozens of shoppers who jammed Torrid’s new location in Toronto Eaton Centre for the grand opening of its first store outside of the U.S.

Three more Torrid stores are set to open in the Toronto area this fall, joining homegrown plus-size retailers Addition Elle and Penningtons, both under the banner of Montreal-based Reitmans Canada Ltd.

The plus-size brand is already familiar to Canadians, who account for more than half of Torrid’s international business online, said CEO Lisa Harper.

Torrid CEO Lisa Harper is seen in this undated handout photo. Plus-size retailer Torrid recently announces plans for expansion beyond the U.S. with the opening of its first location in Toronto on September 1, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Torrid, Chad Sengstock

The retailer has more than 280 stores across the U.S. and ships to more than 150 countries. Torrid is a full-service apparel and accessories shop offering separates, denim, handbags and footwear.

Harper said the company expects to open about 10 stores in Canada in 2016, and has been eyeing British Columbia, Calgary and Edmonton as potential expansion sites.

While they don’t yet have a Canadian-specific e-commerce site, Harper said they’ll have an option for shoppers to ship items to stores at no additional cost.

Canadian prices will also initially be slightly higher to offset the exchange rate, she added.

“We are very cautious about that, and it is not an across-the-board decision. It’s really on an item-by-item basis….

“Obviously, we would hope that it would be for the short term,” she added.

READ MORE: Plus-size model Tess Holliday leads body-positive movement

Torrid is seeking to help fill a sizable void in Canadian retail for full-figured consumers.

A 2013 report from the NPD Group found that plus sizes represent 32 per cent of the “special size” clothing category, which also includes tall, petite and junior.

Two-thirds of plus-size women reported shopping for larger clothes was more stressful than shopping for traditional sizes, with limited merchandise cited among the main causes.

“Coming from the wholesale side of the fashion business, you do have to pay a premium for clothes that are either plus-sized or petite,” said Sandy Silva, director of fashion and beauty at the NPD Group.

“Oftentimes you have to make a minimum order to have the garment produced, and I think that is a huge barrier to entry for this market in Canada.”

Most national retailers which offer extending sizing have a “fairly basic assortment,” she noted.

“They don’t really have the wealth or array of fun, fashionable, sexy styles that plus-size women want as well as a regular-size woman.”

Prior to launching her plus-size lifestyle blog KillerKurves杭州龙凤 in 2012, Karyn Johnson fielded countless inquiries about where she found clothes and boots to fit her legs.

“If you had a certain look in your mind, like ‘I want a cute summer dress,’ you had to go online, you had to Google it and really go on a search to find what you were looking for,” said Johnson.

“It’s been difficult to find the options that you want, and not to be able to go to a mall and just shop at every single store. A lot of malls don’t even have plus-sized options.”

Torrid brand ambassador Georgina Burke said it’s been eye-opening to observe the reaction among plus-size women when they’re able to find clothes that fit.

“I would give them an outfit to put on and it’s crazy how they won’t show their arms, their legs, parts of their bodies they don’t like,” said the plus-size Australian model. “It’s so exciting to break down those barriers and let them embrace their bodies.”

Two of Hollywood’s hottest comic actresses have made a foray into plus-size fashion.

Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson will design a limited-edition holiday line for Torrid. Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly and Bridesmaids fame recently launched her own collection, which is carried at Penningtons.

“It’s great because she’s including all shapes and sizes,” said Diana Di Poce, editor-in-chief of Dare Magazine, a Canadian online magazine focused on plus-size fashion.

“I think that that’s something I’d like to see more of.”

©2015The Canadian Press

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Traffic relief down the road for Île-Perrot residents – Montreal ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

NOTRE-DAME-DE-L’ÎLE-PERROT – There may be some relief to the traffic nightmare that was set off when roadwork began last week near Highway 20.

The town of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot met with Transports Quebec Tuesday morning to discuss alternative solutions after a week of jammed rush hour traffic.

Officials said they’ve reached an agreement to change the synchronization of the lights at the intersection of Grand Boulevard.

READ MORE: Off-island traffic problems infuriate drivers

This will hopefully help the flow of vehicles heading east in the morning and west in the evening.

According to town spokesperson Eric Leclerc, the target wait time for a car to reach the Galipeault Bridge is 10 minutes – a big difference from the one to two hours that residents claim they have been facing recently.

Motorists reacted nastily last week as work began, claiming that it now takes them double the time to get to work.

Construction is expected to last until Oct. 2016.

WATCH: Never-ending Île-Perrot traffic

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Albertans owe the most with average debt burden of $27,300 ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

TORONTO – Canadians are still adding to household debt, but at a slower pace than earlier in the year, according to a new study from Equifax.

The credit rating agency says debt for those with a credit file, which includes most adults, rose two per cent in the second quarter of 2015 after rising 2.7 per cent in the first quarter.

Total consumer debt now amounts to $1.568 trillion, with the average debt load, excluding mortgage debt, totalling $21,164.

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MORE: Debt hits new all-time high among Canadian households 

Alberta debts

Albertans top the list, with an average of $27,313 in consumer debt for every person with a credit file.

Yet Equifax says the average debt load in the oil-rich province ticked 0.1 per cent lower from the second quarter of 2014.

Equifax said Canadians are adding to consumer debt to buy new cars, with auto loans increasing by 3.9 per cent from the same period last year.

The all-in picture of household balance sheets in Canada shows more of the same — Canadians continuing to pile on debt to make big-ticket purchases.

Statistics Canada said last week the amount of household credit market debt to disposable income in the second quarter rose to 164.6 per cent from 163.0 per cent in the first quarter as debt grew faster than income.

That means Canadians owed nearly $1.65 in debt on everything from mortgages to consumer loans for every dollar of disposable income — a new record.

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WATCH: A new survey from the Canadian Payroll Association shows Canadians are having a hard time saving money. Global BC’s Nadia Stewart reports.

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Technology making Amber Alert system more effective ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

EDMONTON – Experts say modern technology has made Canada’s already efficient Amber Alert system even more effective in recent years.

Christy Dzikowicz of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection says smartphones and social media ensure that key details, such as descriptions of children believed to be in danger, reach people who are on the go and more likely to note suspicious activity than someone confined at home.

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She says the recent presumed abduction of Alberta toddler Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette is a good example, noting word of her disappearance and a description of the vehicle in which she was last seen have circulated across the country.

UPDATE 9 P.M. MT: Remains of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette found, Amber Alert dropped

Such wide-spread dissemination, she says, has made the system an extremely effective tool that helps recover kids in the vast majority of cases.

Dzikowicz says Canadians who see details of a missing child in their region need to ensure the system’s effectiveness by acting on the information as best they can.

“People that are in their commute, that are sitting on a transit bus or on a subway…A lot of people hear this information and they go, ‘oh my gosh, that’s really sad,’ as opposed to going, ‘ok, this is awful, I’m going to keep my eyes open,’” Dzikowocz said in a telephone interview.

Canada’s Amber Alert system has been implemented across all 10 Canadian provinces since 2004, though Dzikowicz says none of the territorial governments have put the system in place.

Amber Alerts were first launched in the United States after the 1996 abduction and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas.

The system, named after Hagerman and dubbed America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response, was originally designed to interrupt TV and radio broadcasts with crucial facts about a child under 18 who was believed to be in danger from an abduction.

Dzikowicz says the Canadian provinces are each responsible for their own systems and originally followed the U.S. model very closely.

Over the years, however, Canadian criteria for an Amber Alert has been broadened in the wake of some high-profile cases, most notably the 2009 slaying of eight-year-old Tori Stafford from Woodstock, Ont.

READ MORE: ‘It’s hard:’ 5 years later, Tori Stafford’s dad still haunted by her death

For an Amber Alert to be triggered under the old criteria, police had to believe a child under 18 had just been abducted, consider the child to be in danger of serious bodily harm, and have enough descriptive information of a suspect or vehicle.

Under the new rules, ushered in after Stafford’s death, police need only suspect, not confirm an abduction and are not required to have detailed descriptions of an abductor or vehicle.

The alert for Dunbar-Blanchette conforms to these new guidelines, since her alleged abductor or abductors are unknown and the vehicle in which she is believed to have been taken is only described as a white van with a large rear antenna sporting a flag.

Dzikowicz said another key distinction from the U.S. system is the way in which alerts are received.

American smartphone users receive automatic push notifications when an alert is issued in their region, but Canadians have to sign up to receive such services.

She urged Canadians to opt in and do their part when the time comes.

“We need to motivate people to really recognize that it’s possible that they could be the one who finds this child.”

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Seat projections show a tight race but one thing’s (almost) certain – a minority government – National ( admin posted on April 23rd, 2019 )

The Conservative party is projected to pick up ten more seats than it was last week, drawing within four of the leading NDP.

And while they still have a sizable 15-seat lead over the third-place Liberals, Barry Kay, a politics professor at Wilfrid Laurier University said an election night victory is still up for grabs by any party.

But one thing is likely to happen: a minority government.

“I wouldn’t put a lot of money on anybody coming first, second, or third,” he said.

“The only thing I would put money on is nobody has a snowball’s chance of getting a majority. Now the leading party is 50 seats away from it, we had them more like 40 seats away from it a couple of weeks ago.”

The latest outlook from the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) projects the NDP could pick up 120 seats, the Conservatives 116, and the Liberals 101. The projections are based on aggregated and weighted samples of polls from Ipsos, Nanos, Abacus, Ekos, Forum, and Innovative Research with a sample size of over 8,000 respondents.

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Most of the Conservatives’ gains came in Ontario. Last week they were projected to pick up 42 seats, now Kay projects they could win 53.

“The Conservatives coming back to 53 seats which is where they were two weeks ago, is largely a result of the losses from the NDP and Liberals in Ontario,” Kay said in an interview Tuesday morning.

Ontario and British Columbia remain the most competitive areas in the country. The Conservatives dominate in Alberta and the Prairies, while the NDP and Liberals have their strongholds in Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, respectively.

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Click to explore the latest seat projections in your riding

Conservative
Leaning Conservative
Liberal
Leaning Liberal
NDP
Leaning NDP
Bloc Québécois
Leaning Bloc Québécois
Too Close to Call
Independent

Note: “Leaning” indicates a 5% to 10% lead. “Too Close to Call” indicates a difference under 5%. Courtesy of Lispop桑拿按摩.

And while the numbers suggest the NDP has a slight lead, any of the three main parties could still win, Kay said.

“It’s not just a two-way horserace. It’s a three-way horserace,” Kay said. “But there’s no question that even though the Liberals have been in third place for the last three months… they could still win because there’s not that many seats needed to overtake.”

READ MORE: You can vote right now, if you want to – what you need to know

When it comes to an aggregated popular opinion, Kay said the Liberals and Conservatives are tied at 34 per cent support. The NDP trails with 26. In order to win, Kay said, the Liberals would have to target rural ridings where they are competitive.

“Some momentum in smaller town Ontario would pick up a whole bunch of seats,” he said. “So the Liberals are very much within shooting distance.”

Follow @jamesarmstrong7

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