Proposed southern Alberta coal mine could become renewable energy complex instead

An Australian company that had proposed a new coal mine for southern Alberta now says it may build a green hydrogen facility on the site instead.

Montem Resources Ltd. says it is working on plans to transition its proposed Tent Mountain coal project in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region to a renewable energy complex.

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The company says it wants the site to become Canada’s first large-scale green hydrogen production facility, with plans to use renewable power to produce up to 13,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year. It also wants to build a 100 MW wind farm nearby.

Montem is among a number of coal exploration companies that had proposed new coal mines for Alberta. The company’s proposal was for an open-pit mine on a previously worked deposit.

But plans to bring coal mining back to the region have been met with public protests and regulatory setbacks. Earlier this year, Montem’s Tent Mountain project was designated for federal review.

Montem says it continues to seek approval to restart the mine. But in light of uncertainty and delays, it needs to explore alternate ways to use the site.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Land acknowledgment by Montreal Canadiens may be a mistake: Quebec Indigenous affairs minister

Quebec Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière says a Montreal Canadiens’ land acknowledgment that refers to unceded territory of the Mohawk Nation may be a mistake.

The statement, which since Saturday has been read before the NHL team’s home games, acknowledges the Kanien’keha:ka, or Mohawks, for their hospitality on what it refers to as “traditional and unceded territory.”

Lafrenière told reporters that while it’s important to recognize that First Nations were here before others, the statement may be inaccurate because it enters into an area that is the subject of debate between historians.

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He says it’s unclear who were the first people in what is now Montreal.

On Tuesday, Opposition Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade praised the team’s decision to introduce a land acknowledgment, saying it sends an important message.

However, Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said it’s a mistake to state that Montreal is unceded Mohawk territory.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

City of Toronto staff recommend CafeTO become permanent

WATCH ABOVE: Retailers and restaurants are slowly returning to a new normal as Ontario continues to make moves to reopen.

City of Toronto staff have recommended that the CafeTO program, which allows for restaurants and bars to have expanded outdoor dining areas, become permanent.

The program was first introduced last year to help restaurants and bars serve customers outdoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news release issued Wednesday, City officials said Toronto Mayor John Tory has endorsed the report, which also recommends waiving fees for the program next year to provide further emergency support for businesses.

The release said that this year, the CafeTO program is being used by more than 1,200 restaurants with outdoor dining areas on streets and sidewalks, including 940 with curb lane closures.

Around 500 Toronto restaurants already have a permanent permit for a sidewalk patio and this year, 429 opened a new or expanded sidewalk patio through CafeTO.

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Compared to 2020, registration for the program increased by 51 per cent this year, officials said.

As part of the program, public parklets were installed to increase the amount of public space available in “cafe-saturated streetscapes,” the release said, with a total of 65 parklets throughout the city this year.

The staff report recommends that a new registration process be implemented for permanent sidewalk cafes beginning in 2022, which would be “fast and streamlined,” allowing owners to apply once for year-round use.

Existing CafeTO sidewalk patios can remain in place until April 14.

The report also recommends the return of temporary curb lane closures next year under similar criteria used this year, and a recommendation to have criteria for permanent seasonal use of curb lanes by 2023.

“This approach will help keep the program as flexible as possible in order to allow for adjustments related to potential changes to the food service industry, as well as changes to traffic patterns and street uses as a result of pandemic recovery over the coming year,” the release said.

The report recommends that a number of factors be taken into consideration, including traffic congestion, road maintenance and accessibility of cafes.

The City also conducted a public survey this summer for restaurant owners, customers and the public to gather feedback on CafeTO. Out of more than 10,000 responses, 91 per cent said they support making sidewalk and curb lane patios available in the city in the future, the release said.

“There is overwhelming enthusiasm in favour of making the program permanent and to do so in a measured way that considers the many potential uses of public space going forward,” Mayor John Tory said.

But not everyone is in favour of making CafeTO permanent.

“Traffic continues to return to pre-COVID levels. As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to help small creating nightmare gridlock congestion,” Coun. Michael Ford said in a tweet.

“First ActiveTO, then ‘temporary bike lanes,’ now CafeTO. It’s time to end these programs once our economy fully re-opens.”

The report will be reviewed at the Executive Committee next Wednesday and then by council on Nov. 9 and 10. It can be found on the city website. 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Former child sexual abuse victim spreads awareness through music

WARNING: This story contains details that readers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.

A survivor of a disturbing child sexual abuse ring at the hands of foster parents in Prince Edward County is now putting her pain into her music as an adult.

Mandolynne Knott released her single Scream under her YouTube channel, Mandolynne.

The song contains lyrics about sexual assault, child grooming and abuse she faced at the hands of the foster care system in a small village in Prince Edward County when she was 15.

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Knott, who has written songs since she was able to pick up a pen, found the drive to go to music school at the age of 24, then began her journey as a solo artist in 2019.

“To be honest, I had never really planned on releasing it. It was one of those songs I worked on myself to work through some challenging feelings to navigate that.”

A little over a year ago, Knott says she realized releasing the song would be important for both awareness and would serve as “representation for other child sexual abuse survivors.”

“Man says pull down your pants, and open your mouth…. Mind’s a terrible place, but I can’t leave,” she sings over an ominous instrumental.

Knott says her music helps her reclaim her identity, but her journey to becoming an artist wasn’t an easy one. It comes after many years of therapy and fighting internal battles.

“I wanted to raise awareness about this epidemic that’s happening within the child welfare system,” Knott said.

“The public unfortunately isn’t aware. And I think by creating this video, I just wanted to express how it feels to be silenced, abused and groomed. To have your experience minimized and disregarded. I wanted other people who’ve experienced these things to know that they’re not alone.”

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‘No one listened’ — How reports of sexual abuse in an Ontario foster home were allegedly dismissed for years

Knott told Global News in 2019 that some of the abuse at the hands of her foster parents, located just outside of Bloomfield, Ont., included forcing her and the other foster children to watch pornography, and forcing her to perform sexual acts while in the shower.

“When I came forward as a survivor, I felt it was an isolated incident. I felt my home was the only home this was happening in, only to find out this was happening everywhere,” said Knott.

In 2011, Knott’s foster parents, Janet and Joe Holm, were sentenced to a total of seven years in prison after they were convicted of charges stemming from the sexual abuse of five children they fostered in their home.

Then in April of 2021, the former executive director of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society, Bill Sweet, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to care and provide for a child on behalf of the now-defunct children’s aid society.

The other 20 criminal charges laid against him were withdrawn and Sweet faced no jail time, but was sentenced to community service.

“I sat in the courtroom and I listened to survivors speak about their experiences within the foster care system,” Knott said of Sweet’s sentencing. “I heard the list of reports and these are from community members, from youth themselves, even from my own experience. Workers came into my home, we discussed things.

“To receive community service for an organization of his choosing, it’s just absolutely shameful. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.”

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Knott says she has a performance in Toronto next week and plans to tour by next year.

Scream will also be a part of a film titled Eyes for you by director Chelsy Althea Ubaldo, who also experienced sexual violence.

The film will premier at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Rendezvous with Madness festival next year.

Knott hopes by that sharing the most painful experiences in life, she can help spare others the same fate — or at least let them join her on her journey toward healing.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Edmonton election: recount requested after tight race in Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi

A council candidate in the south Edmonton ward of Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi has requested a recount in Monday night’s election.

Just 33 votes separated the top two candidates. Councillor-elect Jennifer Rice received 5,833 votes and candidate Rhiannon Hoyle received 5,800 votes, according to unofficial election results.

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The narrow margin of victory has led to Hoyle officially asking for a recount. Hoyle’s campaign manager said the decision was made after Hoyle received several messages from residents in the ward.

“In such a tight race with only 33 votes separating the two candidates, she wants to ensure every vote is counted and to reassure all voters the legitimacy of democracy is upheld,” Serena Mah said in a statement.

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According to the Local Authorities Election Act, applications for a recount must happen within 44 hours of the polls closing on election day. Polls closed at 8 p.m. Monday night.

The returning officer must complete the recount within 96 hours of polls closing.

Mah said Hoyle emailed Elections Edmonton and the city clerk on Wednesday morning to request the recount.

The race in Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi was the tightest on election night. The second-tightest race was in Anirniq where councillor-elect Erin Rutherford nudged out incumbent Bev Esslinger by 273 votes.

Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi covers an area from 34 Avenue NW south to the city’s boundary and Calgary Trail west to the Whitemud Creek Ravine and 170 Street.

Official election results from all of Monday night’s races are expected no later than noon Friday.

Global News has reached out to Elections Edmonton for more information. 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Whyte Avenue shooting ruled homicide: EPS

A Whyte Avenue-area shooting that left one person dead in early October has been ruled a homicide, Edmonton police said Wednesday.

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Edmonton police investigate deadly shooting near Whyte Avenue

Shortly after 2:15 a.m. on Oct. 3, police were called to the area of 81 Avenue and 104 Street. Officers found a victim on the street and attempted to perform life-saving measures, but the victim died.

The medical examiner has ruled Tanraj Deogen was the victim of a homicide. The 24-year-old died of a gunshot wound, the examiner confirmed.

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Edmonton police need photos and videos after fatal shooting near Whyte Avenue

On Oct. 4, police issued a plea for any photos or video taken near the area. Police reiterated that call on Wednesday. Anyone who can help is asked to call police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Former grand chief Phil Fontaine to represent Manitoba First Nations at meeting with Pope

A Manitoba Indigenous leader will be travelling to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis this winter.

Phil Fontaine — former grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and three-time national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) — has been selected to represent Manitoba at a First Nations delegation to sit down with the pontiff in December.

“Mr. Fontaine will participate in discussions regarding reconciliation with First Nations for the role of the Catholic Church in the administration of the former Indian Residential Schools,” said AFN Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse, “and the need for an official apology from the Pope on behalf of the Catholic Church.”

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Fontaine, 77, is himself a survivor of abuse at a Manitoba residential school, and has been a prominent voice for decades in raising awareness about the traumatic experiences children faced at government- and church-run facilities across Canada.

He will be in Rome with other Indigenous leaders from Dec. 17 to 20.

Last month, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops apologized “unequivocally” for abuses committed by members of the church community who were involved in running residential schools.

The bishops have pledged to provide records that could help memorialize the students believed to be buried in unmarked graves, raise money for initiatives endorsed by Indigenous leaders, and work on getting the Pope to visit Canada.

A number of the 94 calls to action set out by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission involve the Catholic Church, including call to action No. 58, which asks for the Pope to issue an apology to survivors and their families for the church’s role spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse at residential schools — and for the Pope to deliver that apology in Canada.

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Cambridge public school placed under hold and secure by Waterloo police

A Cambridge public school was placed under a hold and secure on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Waterloo Region District School Board.

It said end-of-day bell times had been changed at Silverheights Public School.

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The WRDSB says it is working with Waterloo Regional Police and will provide more information when it can.

“I confirm that at approximately 2:45 p.m., police responded to the area of Scott Road in Cambridge for a report of a suspicious person with a large dog,” Const. Ashley Dietrich told Global News in an email.

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She said the board made the decision to place the school under a hold and secure.

The hold and secure had been lifted by 3:45 p.m.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Family, friends slam Hillier for falsely linking deaths of loved ones to COVID-19 vaccine

Ontario independent MPP Randy Hillier is drawing ire from the family and friends of recently deceased individuals after he posted names and faces of those who died to his social streams, falsely claiming their deaths were related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Loved ones of two recently deceased women whose identities were posted to Hillier’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook channels, say Hillier shared their information without their permission, and without proper facts.

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“I want them to know that she did not pass away from the vaccine, and my sister’s life is so much more than an image to be plastered around social media to be labeled with a false claim,” said Ammarrah Navab.

Her sister, Farisa Navab, was one of several people’s images and names used in a post from Randy Hillier claiming the COVID-19 vaccine led to death or serious illness.

His post, which Global News has decided not to link to, references 11 people and their alleged illnesses or causes of death, saying the following:

“Each person here lost their lives or is suffering from a permanent adverse reaction shortly after receiving their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Were these perfectly healthy and active individuals harmed by a drug they were told was completely safe and would protect them from a disease they are at no serious risk from?”

Ammarrah said when she launched a GoFundMe to help pay for a memorial of her sister, a rumour started online that she died from the vaccine. In fact, Farisa died of a rare blood disease, a condition Ammarrah said was genetic.

She said at first, she got dozens of messages from people telling her Farisa died of the vaccine, then the harassment started to take place in person. It got so bad that she had to delete her Instagram account.

It was that day she saw the post from Hillier.

“I was so mad because like, not only are you taking someone’s picture without consent, you don’t take the family’s emotions into consideration,” she said.

Natalie Preddie, a friend of another woman in the post, said she was appalled to see her friend’s face on Hillier’s Instagram feed, knowing full well she died from something completely unrelated to the vaccine.

“I was angry. I was disgusted. I know that she would feel the same way,” Preddie said.

Preddy says her friend passed away from an undetected genetic disease that had nothing to do with the COVID vaccine.

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She said she felt compelled to speak out on behalf of her friend’s family, who is still grieving her loss.

“They just lost a wife and mother, a sister, a friend. And to see her face part of this disgusting campaign has really hurt them,” she said.

Preddy said she called Hillier to complain, but he hung up, claiming he would only speak with the woman’s family. Preddy says the family then got in touch, and asked him to take the woman’s picture down, along with the entire post.

Hillier did take the post down that included the woman’s picture, but then added a new post with a blank image that simply read “Young mother, 38 years old, died of cardiac arrest while on a run.” All the other people’s faces and names were posted again.

Ammarrah said her family’s pleas to remove Farisa’s picture and name were completely ignored by Hillier. What’s more, she says she and her family members were blocked by Hillier after urging him to take Farisa’s picture down.

“It’s very immature and it’s very insensitive. And as a person who is in the government, you should at least consider family’s emotions,” Ammarrah said.

Despite the complaints, Hillier did not apologize but rather doubled down on his convictions in a statement sent to Global News Wednesday.

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“I call on Commissioner Thomas Carrique and the Ontario Provincial Police, as well as local law enforcement agencies to begin immediate criminal investigations to determine the facts of these and other tragic deaths, and determine if the administration of a pharmaceutical product was either a contributing factor or cause of death and injury.”

Preddie says she’s unsure how Hillier connected her friend’s death with the COVID-19 vaccine, but in any case, she said it was a complete fabrication.

“He made some guesses. They were obviously not correct. But that was him taking some liberties with some information he found just by Googling.’

Preddie says that along with her friend’s family, she has filed official complaints to Instagram, as well as with the Ombudsman’s office, the Speaker of the House and the Ontario legislature’s Integrity Commissioner.

The latter told Global News it cannot launch an investigation unless an MPP files a complaint.

Read more:
Randy Hillier permanently kicked out of Ontario PC caucus

Over the last year and a half, the independent MPP has made a name for himself by coming out strongly against COVID-19 regulations, including hosting several large gathernigs at the height of the pandemic and comparing COVID regulations to the holocaust.

The rural Ontario MPP now has nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram and more than 100,000 on Facebook.

Hillier has represented the Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston region since 2007, but was kicked out of the PC caucus in 2019.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Fire damage to Edmonton's Second Chance Thrift Shop estimated at $9M

An early morning fire near Argyll Road and 75 Street in Edmonton has destroyed a building used by a charity that helps lesser developed countries. Sarah Komadina has the details.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services says the damage done to the Second Chance Thrift Shop is in the millions as the investigation comes to a close.

On Oct. 8, fire crews responded to numerous 911 calls around 5:18 a.m. for large amounts of smoke and flames seen in the area of 77 Street and Coronet Road.

EFRS quickly upgraded the call to a two-alarm fire with additional crews to help put out the blaze.

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Fire guts charity, thrift shop in east Edmonton industrial area Friday morning

The fire was under control roughly two hours later and firefighters remained on the scene throughout the day to monitor hot spots.

Investigators have determined the cause of the fire started from an electrical short within an engine compartment from a vehicle that was parked inside the building.

Damages are estimated at $9 million with $4 million due to structural damage and the other $5 million due to loss of content.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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