Five respected Nova Scotians who have made outstanding contributions to their province’s culture and people will be invested into the Order of Nova Scotia this fall. Lt.-Gov. Arthur J. LeBlanc, Chancellor of the Order of Nova Scotia, made the announcement today, Oct. 13. “On behalf of The Queen and all Nova Scotians, it is a great pleasure to extend my sincere thanks and congratulations to the 2017 appointees to the Order of Nova Scotia,” said Lt.-Gov. LeBlanc. “Those who are appointed to our province’s highest honour have committed themselves to a lifetime of excellence and their extraordinary acts and achievements have benefitted their fellow Nova Scotians and Canadians.” The 2017 recipients of the Order of Nova Scotia are: — Bradford J. Barton, Dartmouth: Brad Barton is a devoted educator who pioneered integration of Nova Scotia schools and created the foundation for inclusion of African Nova Scotian learners, educators and curriculum. He has worked throughout his life in the pursuit of positive race relations, cross-cultural understanding and human rights. Mr. Barton is also an internationally recognized sports official, having given over 50 years of service as a coach, referee and mentor. — Geraldine Marjorie Browning, Centreville, Kings Co.: Gerri Browning used her early struggles against systemic racism to fuel her work as an advocate and community builder. She is a founding member of the Black Business Initiative, the Black Cultural Society, and the Valley African Nova Scotia Development Association. Mrs. B, as she is widely known, advocates for the protection of women and children from violence and abuse, promotes literacy and education, and visits schools to share her experiences with young Nova Scotians. — R. Irene d’Entremont, Yarmouth: Irene d’Entremont is a leader in entrepreneurship and community development who has a passion for promoting Nova Scotia as a great place to live. She has spent over 40 years in business, with a focus on tourism, culture and economic development. She has served on a variety of local, provincial and national boards and commissions, and is currently the vice-chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Atlantic Canada and director of the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation. Ms. d’Entremont served as a commissioner for the One Nova Scotia Commission and is the current chair of Tourism Nova Scotia. — Raymond Edmund Ivany, Wolfville: Ray Ivany has spent his career focused on higher education and public policy, and on making Nova Scotia a place where we can all prosper. He is known internationally as an innovator, having transformed the Nova Scotia Community College into a national leader in applied post-secondary education and elevating Acadia University into one of Canada’s leading primarily undergraduate universities. Mr. Ivany had advised governments on a variety of public policy areas and authored the One Nova Scotia Commission’s report. — Peter J. M. Nicholson, Annapolis Royal: Peter Nicholson has been a force for policy changes in fisheries, third-world debt, national economic policy and science and technology. He helped set out principles that govern the Canadian fishery, proposed a resolution to the Latin American debt crisis of the late-1980s, and served as deputy chief of staff in the prime minister’s office. Mr. Nicholson has a long list of volunteer service in the fields of science and technology, and is a leading voice for innovation and science and economic policy in Canada. The 2017 recipients will be recognized at the 16th investiture ceremony on Nov. 7, at Province House in Halifax. The Order of Nova Scotia was established in June 2001 and is the highest honour bestowed by the province. Since it was created, 87 recipients have been invested into the Order. Recipients have the right to use the post-nominals O.N.S. after their names.
New Delhi: Amid rising tensions between the US and Iran as well as recent incidents related to maritime security, the Navy has deployed its warships in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to reassure the Indian vessels operating and transiting in the region, it said on Thursday.In addition, aerial surveillance by Indian Navy aircraft was also being undertaken in the area, it said. “INS Chennai and INS Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations. In addition, aerial surveillance by IN aircraft is also being undertaken in the area,” the Navy said. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaThe Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region, which was inaugurated by the Navy in December, 2018 at Gurugram, was also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships in the Gulf region, it added. India’s strategic and security interests are closely linked to the Indian Ocean Region. The country’s energy security is also linked to the safety and security of ships while operating and transiting in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. “The Indian Navy has deployed warships in the Gulf of Oman to re-assure the Indian Flagged Vessels operating/transiting through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, following the maritime security incidents in the region,” the navy said. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahIn further escalation of tensions, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shot down a US drone on Thursday. Previously, the US military had accused Iran of firing a missile at another drone last week that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blamed Iran for the attacks on the oil tankers, a charge denied by Tehran. The Director General, Shipping issued two advisories on June 13 and June 16 to all the Indian-flagged vessels operating in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian, Arabian Gulf Region, advising the ships to undertake appropriate protection measures. “The Indian Navy remains committed to ensuring the safety of Indian maritime trade and merchant vessels operating in the region and contributing towards maintaining a stable and peaceful Indian Ocean Region,” the Navy said.
Kolkata: The West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education will allow class 12 students, who had appeared for their board exams this year, to apply for self inspection of their answer scripts, a WBCHSE official said. The move was necessitated to ensure transparency in the process and enable students to know how their answers were evaluated and the correct answers, he said. “This will also dispel misgivings among the disgruntled students,” he said. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers The candidate will be able to carry photocopies of his/her answer scripts after self inspection at the council office on the appointed day. Earlier, students could get their answer sheets reviewed after due appeal but there was no scope for “self- inspection” in the procedure, the official said. An online interface will be available at the council’s website from July 5 that will enable the students to apply for inspection of their answer scripts, he said. After submitting an online application for inspection of papers on a prescribed format within six months after declaration of his/her exam results, the students will be notified online for visiting the council’s office on a particular day, the official said. However, the process of review will also be in force. The Higher Secondary results were declared on May 27.
In the era of digitalisation, while so many shows and series are being made on different web platforms, even the films are being released online. Netflix being the biggest running digital platform worldwide provides its audience an option to watch plethora of films across various genres. Let’s have a look at the recent and upcoming projects of Netflix: Chopsticks: Directed by Sachin Yardi, the film which stars efficient actors like Mithila Palkar and Abhay Deol in lead roles, is a comedy-drama on Netflix. The plot of the film revolves around a gifted but insecure woman Nirma Sahastrabuddhi (Mithila Palkar), who is in for a transformative experience when she enlists an enigmatic con to help recover her stolen car from a Mumbai thug. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe reviews for the film released on May 31, have been a mixture – while the audience calls it a great film, critics fail to understand its essence in the first place. Rim of the world: Released on May 24 this year, this film is an action, adventure and comedy Netflix original, directed by McG. It is a story of four misfit teenagers, who join forces to save the world when an alien invasion interrupts their summer camp. The 1hr 38mins long film stars known entertainment faces like ‘The Kids Are Alright’ star Jack Gore; Miya Cech, who plays ZhenZhen; Dariush played by Benjamin Flores Jr., to name a few. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardIf you like any web series like ‘Aliens in the Attic’, ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘Charlie’s Angels’, you are going to fall in love with this Sci-Fi drama. Velvet Buzzsaw: After paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art. The American satirical supernatural horror thriller film is directed by Dan Gilro. It has a huge star cast with actors including Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, Billy Magnussen, and John Malkovich. Point blank: Do you remember the 2010 film named ‘Point Balck’? Good, because a film with the same name is going to be released on Netflix this 12th. Directed by Joe Lynch, the action and thriller has already had remakes in Bangla, Tamil, and Korean.
NEW DELHI: To understand the “Happiness Classes” and study the Delhi education model, Meghalaya Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui visited the Delhi government’s Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Rouse Avenue on Wednesday morning along with Delhi Deputy chief minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia. “I will send my officers to understand how to adapt Happiness Curriculum in Meghalaya,” said the Education Minister Rymbui.Rymbui said, “This (Delhi government) school has one of the best infrastructures I have seen. The teachers are very good. The Delhi government’s “Happiness Class” is very important for the youth of today. I have come here to see how we could replicate this in Meghalaya. I have formed a taskforce to revise the state curriculum framework. I have come to see whether this could be replicated there or if it could be modified based on our own culture and identities. I came with an open mind to learn, and I will share what I have learnt with my officers. I will also send my officers here to understand the curriculum.” Also Read – Gurdwara Bangla Sahib bans single use plasticThe Meghalaya Education Minister attended a mindfulness class under the “Happiness Curriculum” and was impressed by the quality and training of the teachers conducting Happiness classes in Delhi government schools. Commenting on his experience in the Delhi government school, Rymbui said, “Every government has its own issues due to fund constraints and everything cannot be done together. But I am very happy after seeing what I did today (Wednesday). From my interactions with teachers and children today, I feel this needs to be replicated in other parts of the country. Children should learn how to face the issues of today. The Happiness class I visited shows the quality of the teachers we have. It is very easy to say we have launched a Happiness Class, but it is important that ‘Happiness’ is being imbibed by the students.” Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAfter the visit, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said, “We are celebrating the first year of the launch of the Happiness Curriculum through a 15 day festival called “Happiness Utsav”. Our teachers and students were glad they could interact with the Minister and exchange ideas about the models of education in the two states. We have to grow together as a nation. Our financial systems, our education systems are integrated and have to advance together.”
New Delhi: Hitting out at the Government over its advisory issued asking tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to leave the Kashmir Valley ‘immediately’, the Congress on Saturday alleged that the Centre is spreading fear on Kashmir.”The Home Ministry order has scared citizens. Tourists and pilgrims have never been asked to leave abruptly like this… The government is trying to create an atmosphere of hate, saying that Kashmir is unsafe for outsiders. We condemn this decision by the government of India,” said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsAt a Press meet in the presence of former Sadr-e-Riyasat, J&K Karan Singh, state’s party in-charge Ambika Soni, P Chidambaram and Anand Sharma, Azad said the pilgrimage was never stopped or tourists in the Kashmir Valley were never asked to go back during the previous governments in J&K. Questioning the recent advisory of troop build-up, he asserted that the situation in the Valley is “worrying” and the deployment of the additional forces is a “matter of concern”.
Kolkata: State Forest minister Bratya Basu said in the Assembly on Thursday that the forest cover in Bengal has increased, following the extensive tree plantation programme. The state government has also taken up various steps to strengthen the conservation of mangroves in Sunderbans.During his speech, Basu told the House that the Forest department has started planting mangrove trees like sundari, goran and geoya in Sunderbans, which will eventually contribute to conserving the environment in the region. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe state government has allotted a fund of Rs 73.02 lakh so far to increase the mangrove forest cover in Sunderbans, the minister told the House, while answering a question raised by an MLA. While responding to the query, the minister also stated that mangrove trees are being planted not only in the forest and its adjoining areas, but in the core areas as well. “The plantation of a large number of mangrove trees is also evident in the GIS map,” the minister said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayBasu also claimed that the Centre’s data has corroborated the fact that the forest cover has increased in the state following various initiatives by the Mamata Banerjee government. At present, 15.52 percent of the total land area in the state is covered by forests. It may be mentioned here that following Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s instruction, the Forest department has started distributing saplings among people through various programmes. All the MLAs also get saplings from the Forest department. CPI-M MLA from Raniganj Jahanara Khatun drew the attention of the Forest minister during the Assembly session, on how she was denied saplings by the district forest officials. She told the House that she had sought some saplings from the district forest officer, as Raniganj is prone to landslides. But she was told by the officer that there was no such order. Basu subsequently took note of the incident and assured the MLA that he would ensure that she gets the saplings.
Patna: Two leaders of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar were shot dead by unidentified men in two separate incidents, police said on Monday. Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sant Kumar Singh was shot dead by bike-borne criminals late on Sunday in Mahthi village in Samastipur district, a police official said. In another incident, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Kalyan Dutt Pandey was shot dead by assailants in Dehura locality of Siwan district on Sunday, a police official said. The police has lodged cases in both the incidents, but no arrests have been made so far. Two political killings in a day raise questions over Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s claims of rule of law Bihar.
Mumbai: BJP president Amit Shah on Monday held a brief meeting here with Maharashtra party leaders, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, but kept away from the ally Shiv Sena. During his Mumbai visit, he also visited the chief minister’s official residence ‘Varsha’ in Malabar Hill area. “Shah’s meetings were confined only to state BJP leaders and he also visited the Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi here,” a party functionary said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ He is also scheduled to visit the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh pandal in central Mumbai. On Sunday evening, Shah addressed a rally in Solapur during the conclusion of the second phase of Fadnavis’ ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra, a mass outreach campaign ahead of the upcoming state Assembly polls. He held discussions with Fadnavis, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and few other leaders in Solapur and stayed there during the night, the party functionary said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K On Monday, Shah travelled with Fadnavis to Mumbai where he again briefly met some state party leaders, he said. Political observers expected Shah to meet Sena leaders since the state Assembly elections are due soon, but the BJP chief skipped it. In 2014, the BJP and Sena contested the state polls separately. The BJP at that time won 121 out of the total 288 seats, the highest so far by the party in the state. Several MLAs and leaders from the opposition Congress and NCP have joined either the BJP or the Sena in the recent weeks. Some more opposition leaders are also likely to join the BJP during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state on September 7 when he will inaugurate some projects. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.
New Delhi: A jeweller was shot dead allegedly by some unidentified persons in Dwarka’s Dabri area in the early hours of Wednesday, police said. The victim has been identified as Lalit Aggarwal (37), a resident of Madhu Vihar near Sai Baba Mandir, they said. According to a senior police officer, they received information about the incident at 2.36 am on Wednesday. Aggarwal was shifted to Aakash Hospital where he was declared brought dead. He had a jewellery shop in the city, the police said. A case has been registered at Dabri police station, they said.
MUMBAI: The Congress has appointed Eknath Gaikwad as Acting President of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, following Milind Deora’s resignation. Deora, 42, confirmed his resignation as president of the party’s Mumbai unit earlier on Friday, conveying his “final” decision in a letter to Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Balasaheb Thorat. In his letter Deora said he had also informed Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in the 16th Lok Sabha, of his decision. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’In its statement, the party said it “appreciates the contribution” of Milind Deora, who has earlier hinted at the possibility of a more central role in the party’s leadership structure. Deora, who replaced Sanjay Nirupam as Mumbai Congress chief shortly before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, first announced his resignation in July, after the party suffered an embarrassing rout in the national election; the Congress won only 52 seats and was wiped out entirely in Mumbai. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KAt that time, the party’s Working Committee had yet to accept his resignation or choose a new leader. Friday’s resignation letter comes shortly before Assembly elections in Maharashtra, where beating the BJ0P-Shiv Sena alliance will be a difficult proposition for a Congress that won only 36 of 288 seats in the 2018 polls. By comparison, the BJP won 124 seats and the Shiv Sena 61. While announcing his resignation in July, Deora had highlighted the challenges facing the Congress in Maharashtra. He pointed out that the party needed to negate the impact of the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, which secured around 40 lakh votes in the general election, most of which came from Dalit and Muslim pockets. The Congress has apparently heeded his words, with the party considering a tie-up with the VBA. In July, Milind Deora resigned after a meeting with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who had, by then, also declared he would resign, sparking a desperate search for a new party president that ended last month with former president Sonia Gandhi being handed temporary charge.”I had accepted MRCC president-ship in the interest of uniting the party. I felt I should also resign after meeting Rahul Gandhi,” Deora said at the time. “I have suggested a three-member panel (to oversee the city party unit) and am being consulted by leaders to identify names” he said. Deora said, adding, “Needless to say, I will continue to guide and unite the Mumbai Congress”. His decision invited criticism from Sanjay Nirupam, who questioned his motive. “A resignation comes with a feeling of sacrifice. But here a moment later, a ‘national-level’ position is being sought. Is this a resignation or a ladder to climb up? The party should be cautious with such ‘hard-working’ people,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Thiruvananthapuram: Sanju Samson, Shikhar Dhawan and Shardul Thakur led the way as India ‘A’ beat South Africa ‘A’ by 36 runs in a rain-hit fifth one-day on Friday. India ‘A’ thus sealed the 5-match series 4-1. In a match that had to be reduced to 20 overs a side due to intermittent rains, India ‘A’ scored a mammoth 204/4 batting first. While the hosts lost their first wicket in the very first over, Samson and Dhawan combined to hit 137 runs in the next 13 overs to set the foundation for a big total. The stand was broken when Dhawan was dismissed on 51 off 36 balls by George Linde in the 14th over. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhSamson departed two overs later, having smoked 91 runs off just 48 balls. Shreyas Iyer then went big in the death overs to push India past the 200-run mark. The South Africans never got going in their innings. Shardul Thakur got a breakthrough at the top and then went on to take two more wickets while Washington Sundar picked two. Rahul Chahar dismissed South Africa A’s top scorer Reeza Hendricks for 59. Brief scores: India ‘A’ 204/4 in 20 overs (S Samson 91, S Dhawan 51; B Hendricks 2/29) vs SA ‘A’ 168 (Reeza Hendricks 59, Kyle Verreynne 44; Shardul Thakur 3/9).
If reports of Sonia Gandhi’s refusal to accept the proposal to appoint Prerak (motivator) for conducting Congress’s outreach activities across the country, on the ground that the word has a glaring similarity to the Pracharak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), are true, there lies an enormous hope of speedy revival of 134 year old organisation from the situation it is facing for last five-six years. As media reports suggest, a proposal to have Preraks as a bridge between Congress and its grassroots was submitted by party’s training department in a recently held meeting of chief ministers of Congress-ruled states, leaders of legislature parties in different states, party presidents of state units and national general secretaries/in-charges of states. The proposal reportedly suggested that Preraks be appointed at various levels across the country to impart training and organise workshops for workers. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe proposal could not gather support from the participants of the meeting who found that the word sounded too similar to the nomenclature RSS has for its operatives. Movers of the proposal tried to convince the meeting to adopt the concept of Preraks by arguing that it was Rajiv Gandhi who had written a paper titled ‘Abhi Prerak’ in 1987. But interim Congress’s interim president reportedly rejected the idea by saying that this was ‘New India’ and the messaging has to be clear and bold. She said that Congress cannot be seen towing it’s rival’s line. She also stressed that public memory is very short and one cannot expect people to have such recall value that the word Prerak was used by us as early as 32 years back. Also Read – Insider threat managementPrerak, perhaps, would be changed to Samnvayak, Sanyojak or Sahyogi (coordinator, convenor or consociate). If happened, it was a very meagre part of the entire proceedings of the meeting. But the incident has its substantial importance because it shows how meticulous Sonia is in giving green signal to any program her party wants to undertake and how she has an eye for details which can ensure that Congress moves in the right direction in coming months. Had there been anyone else at the helm of the party affairs following Rahul Gandhi’s exit, Preraks would have found their way in a slumbering atmosphere. Only Sonia in her party has a ubiquitous moral authority with which she can handle things differently. Therefore, she could warn her chief ministers that they have a special responsibility in states and must stand out as examples of sensitive and responsive governance with accountable and transparent administration. “We must be seen to be fulfilling our manifesto commitments. If not, we will lose people’s support with obvious consequences”, she cautioned them. By this, she made it clear that the reports she is getting about the performance in various states are less than satisfactory. Imagine if any of the names that were taking rounds after Rahul’s resignation were leading the party provisionally today, would leaders such as Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot and Capt. Amrinder Singh taken this caution with required seriousness? It also requires spunk to tell a self-obsessed lot to have a concrete agitational agenda on issues of pressing concern to the people and that ‘it is not enough to be active and aggressive on the social media’. Sonia told the ‘hip-hip hurray brigade’ that far more important is to go to the people directly because ‘people expect Congress to stand up fearlessly to fight on the streets, fight in villages, towns and cities’. Sonia is well aware of the fact that at the time of preparing for 2019 general elections RSS-BJP launched a huge social media campaign but they kept their ground activities imperforate whereas, under the influence of alien teenage managers, even the seasoned leaders began fighting their electoral battles on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram only ignoring hard realities that need personal touch with the ground. This is the time when Congress can bombard against a situation that has taken its ugliest shape because of a prolonged economic slump, job losses and shakier confidence of investors. This is the time when Modi government appears more and more clueless and insensitive, when vendetta politics is at its peak, when people are feeling threatened and intimidating and when each and every institution is being diabolically subverted. If not now, when will the time of resurgence come for Congress? Realising this, Sonia said in the meeting, “democracy has never been at greater peril than it is now, the mandate of 2019 is now being misused and abused in a most dangerous fashion’. She also made it clear that during these testing times it will become clear that who are those steadfastly devoted to Congress as an ideology and those who look to Congress only as an opportunity for self-advancement. The recent upheavals within her party must have made Sonia much more observant in choosing the future fellows, not only for her but for Rahul and Priyanka too. States ruled by Congress are generally seen as the standing safe sanctuaries of democracy. People-centric governance, economic remonetisation, and the strongest bulwark against BJP would add to the credibility of Congress. There is a need to put in place an effective system for monitoring and implementation of the key manifesto commitments that the Congress had made in the run-up to the Assembly Elections. Effective coordination between the party organisations and the governments in Congress-ruled states is also necessary. Congress has to counter constant diabolic game destabilisation that the BJP plays. Congress has to re-launch its narrative strongly. It must have a strong and compact team of dedicated, well-studied and sober word-soldiers that can take on loudmouths of RSS-BJP spokespersons on various media forums. Personal likes and dislikes of middle-level schemers have brought Congress to this disgraceful footing. Getting rid of this lot by sidelining them ferociously must be a top priority for the party leadership. Without this, all the sweat will go waste, as in the past. If it is against the elegance to drive them out, those who want to slush everything, those who want to hush power and those whose job has been nothing than milking, let at least let them go. Observing Sonia Gandhi’s two decades in politics, I can say that she believes in being heart-to-heart with her colleagues. Her frankness is the child of her honesty and courage. She understands that politics is a common calling and that it is something to be discussed with absolute sincerity. Sonia has spoken the truth. Others must learn to hear it. Turning deaf ears to her advise will block opportunities for revival. Congress cannot afford to miss the train this time. (The author is Editor and CEO of News Views India and a national office bearer of the Congress party. The views expressed are strictly personal)
QUEBEC – Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette told a fellow inmate he couldn’t believe a man he pumped seven bullets into didn’t die, a Crown prosecutor told his sentencing arguments Wednesday.Francois Godin said Bissonnette made the comment when he saw Aymen Derbali on TV.Derbali lost the use of his legs in the January 2017 murderous rampage and is confined to a wheelchair.The Crown said the other prisoner told Quebec provincial police this past February that Bissonnette became enraged when he saw a TV report about a campaign to raise funds to buy Derbali a wheelchair-accessible home.“My parents will have nothing” and Derbali will get a house, Bissonnette reportedly told the inmate.The Crown did not explain why it did not file the prisoner’s declaration as evidence during Bissonnette’s trial but brought it up Wednesday during the cross-examination of a psychiatrist hired by the defence.The prisoner’s comments constitute hearsay as he did not testify at the trial, and Superior Court Justice Francois Huot said he will not take into account the exchange when he decides on a sentence for Bissonnette.Bissonnette, 28, pleaded guilty in March to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder related to the deadly mosque shooting.The first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.But Bissonnette can also receive consecutive sentences, which means he could spend up to 150 years in prison.Godin mentioned the reported exchange between Bissonnette and the other convict as he cross-examined psychiatrist Marie-Frederique Allard about what he viewed as the killer’s lack of empathy toward his victims.Even the judge weighed in on the subject, telling Allard that Bissonnette had remained impassive while hearing “blood-chilling” testimony from victims’ loved ones but that he immediately burst into tears when his own family was mentioned.“Then the waterworks are turned on,” Huot said.Allard said she believes Bissonnette has made certain progress in terms of showing empathy and that he has the capacity to further develop it.The defence announced Wednesday it has completed its arguments.In order to answer the defence’s psychiatric assessment, the Crown asked that Bissonnette meet on Wednesday afternoon with a psychiatrist of his choice.That person may testify Thursday morning
OTTAWA – The federal Liberal government wants to make it easier for Canadians to cast a ballot, while making it harder for political parties — or foreign entities — to violate their privacy or persuade them who to vote for using falsehoods or vast sums of money.“We are committed to maintaining the trust of Canadians in our democratic process,” Treasury Board President Scott Brison, who is acting as democratic institutions minister while Karina Gould is on maternity leave, said Monday.Brison introduced legislation Monday meant to address several promises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in 2015, including by tackling how much political parties and third-party advocacy groups can spend before and during election campaigns.It is also meant to buttress the Canadian electoral system against new threats to democracy by reining in the proliferation of so-called fake news and barring any organizations, including social media sites, from knowingly selling election advertising bought with foreign funds.The proposed measures include forbidding the spreading of materials, whether on paper or online, designed to mislead Canadians about their source.“Canada is not immune to threats from foreign influence and online disruption,” Brison said.The proposed legislation, if passed, would also introduce a limit on how much political parties can spend on partisan advertising leading up to the official campaign period, which would be about $1.5 million in 2019.There is currently no cap on the amount of money political parties can spend at that time.Third-party advocacy groups, meanwhile, would be limited to spending $10,000 per electoral district — up to $1 million in total — on partisan advertising, activities and election-related surveys.After the writs are dropped, however, those third parties would be able to spend up to $500,000 in 2019. That’s more than is currently allowed, but it would cover a wider range of activities and none of it could come from foreign entities.Bill C-76 would also give the federal elections commissioner greater investigative powers.Brison said that, coupled with the $7.1 million over five years in the 2018 budget, would help the watchdog improve the ability to respond, even in real time.Still, Brison acknowledged the proposed changes to the Canada Elections Act cannot be the only solution and that the federal government would continue to work with other countries to boost cybersecurity.“This is inherently a global issue,” Brison said.The bill would also push political parties to be more proactive about online privacy, an issue that hit close to home this spring when Facebook acknowledged the data of more than 620,000 Canadians was likely shared improperly with political consulting company Cambridge Analytica.The proposed legislation would require all political parties to create and publish a policy on how they will protect the privacy of voters, including what information they are collecting from potential voters, how it will be safeguarded and how it will be used.They would also have to designate someone to handle privacy complaints, but there would be no actual consequences for violations.Bill C-76 also contains measures to make voting easier, including by allowing someone with a disability to vote at home, and having advance polls remain open for 12 hours in an effort to reduce wait times.It would also create a registry of Canadians between the ages of 14 to 17 who would be allowed to vote within the next few years.The proposed legislation also includes measures to make it easier for those with caregiving responsibilities to run for federal political office, by reimbursing candidates 90 per cent of the cost of daycare, home care or other health-care services for their family members, and not have it count towars the campaign spending limit.The Liberal government introduced some reforms in November 2016, aimed at undoing some of what the Conservatives introduced through their Fair Elections Act — including restoring the use of the voter identification card as a valid piece of ID.It would also repeal the ban on voting by expat Canadians who have been away from the country for longer than five years.That bill, stalled at the introductory stage ever since, will be rolled into the new one.The legislation does not, however, come through on the promise to create an independent commission to organize televised debates among party leaders, even though the 2018 federal budget commits $6 million over two years to support a new process for the exercise.Meanwhile, acting chief electoral office Stephane Perrault has cast doubt on the ability to implement any major reforms in time for the next election, telling a House of Commons committee last week that anything meant to apply in 2019 should have been in place by now.Brison said that given the proposed legislation contains many reforms Elections Canada itself has suggested, he is confident they can get it done.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
MONTREAL – Extra delivery fees on the price of tickets for concerts and shows are described as exploitative in a recent application for a class-action suit against entertainment giant evenko.A law firm representing a Montreal concertgoer is behind the May 3 application and is asking for punitive damages amounting to $15 per member of the action per purchase.It alleges l’Arena des canadiens Inc., which owns and operates the evenko website, charges between $5 and $7 for services described as either an electronic ticket fee, a box office pickup fee or a mobile ticket fee.“These fees are nothing more than a cash cow for the defendant,” the application contends. “The defendant behaves as if it has carte blanche to exploit consumers and adherents and to charge them abusive and disproportionate delivery fees.”A judge has yet to sign off on the action, but Consumer Law Group, a Montreal-based firm, claims in the filing that evenko is running afoul of Quebec’s consumer protection act.“It is claimed in the lawsuit that there is an extreme disproportion between what evenko charges consumers and what it actually costs evenko to email consumers their electronic tickets, allow a customer to physically pick up their printed tickets, transfer electronic tickets to a mobile device, or allow clients to use their credit cards as entry to an event,” the filing reads.“The fair market value for the service for which the defendant charges these fees is zero or very close to zero.”In 2016 alone, evenko promoted 1,224 events and generated tens of millions of dollars in ticket sales, the suit suggests.In a statement, evenko said there’s nothing abusive about the practice.“We would like to affirm, first of all, that the addition of fees for the ticketing service is a common practice in the entertainment industry, as much in Quebec as in the rest of Canada and North America,” company spokesman Philip Vanden Brande wrote.“Moreover, we make sure to comply with applicable laws at all times.”The company wouldn’t comment further, given the matter is now with its lawyers, he added.The application states none of evenko’s competitors charge similar fees, unless it is for the mailing or the physical delivery of tickets.The suit doesn’t target charges for tickets that are sent by mail or courier, acknowledging there’s a cost associated with that service.
Highlights from the news file for Wednesday, July 26———COURT QUASHES SEISMIC TESTING AT CLYDE RIVER: The Inuit Hamlet of Clyde River won a nearly six-year battle Wednesday to stop seismic testing in the Arctic that could kill or maim the marine mammals upon which they rely for food and jobs. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled the National Energy Board failed miserably at properly consulting Inuit and didn’t adequately assess the impact on treaty and Indigenous rights of the proposed oil and gas exploration project before approving it in 2014. The court quashed the NEB’s approval, meaning the testing cannot proceed. In a separate but related decision, the court upheld the approval granted to Enbridge to reverse the flow and increase capacity of its Line 9 pipeline between Ontario and Quebec. In that case, also a unanimous decision, the court found the NEB properly consulted the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in southwestern Ontario. In both cases, the court upheld that the NEB is capable and allowed to fulfil the Crown’s duty to consult Indigenous groups about development projects in their traditional territories, as long as that consultation is robust.———TRUMP SAYS TRANSGENDER PEOPLE SHOULD BE BARRED FROM MILITARY: U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he wants transgender people barred from serving in the military “in any capacity,” citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption.” Trump’s announcement on Twitter would reverse the effort under former president Barack Obama to open the armed services to transgender people. He did not say what would happen to transgender troops already in the military. The president tweeted that he was making his announcement after consulting with “generals and military experts,” but he did not name any. He said the military “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered little clarity about the policy at a press briefing. Asked what will happen to transgender troops currently serving, she said the Department of Defence and the White House will work together “as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.” She did not provide a timeline.———RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL CEMETERY NOW A HERITAGE SITE: Along a dusty gravel road on the edge of Regina is a residential school cemetery that is now Saskatchewan’s first such cemetery to be designated as a provincial heritage site. Culture Minister Ken Cheveldayoff formally recognized the cemetery Wednesday, saying it will be protected and respected for generations to come. There’s just one headstone in the cemetery for the children of the first principal of the Regina Indian Industrial School. However, archeologists believe dozens of Indigenous children are buried there too, in unmarked graves. Heather Bear, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, says no one knows who these children were, but they were loved and had families who grieved their loss. Elder Noel Starblanket says the children have laid forgotten for many years and “it now falls upon us to remember them.” The Regina Indian Industrial School operated between 1891 and 1910. An unknown number of students died there.———LOBLAW WARNS ABOUT MINIMUM WAGE HIKES: Canada’s largest grocery and drug store operator warned Wednesday that minimum wage increases in Ontario and Alberta threaten to harm its bottom line and it will have to find ways to cut costs. Loblaw Companies Ltd., which owns Shoppers Drug Mart and grocery chains including Loblaws and No Frills, estimates the wage hikes will mean its labour costs will grow by about $190 million next year. “We are flagging a significant set of financial headwinds and the organization is mobilizing all of its resources to see whether or not it can close that gap,” Loblaw chairman and CEO Galen G. Weston told analysts during a quarterly earnings conference call. The Ontario government has proposed legislation that would boost the hourly minimum wage, which is currently set to rise from $11.40 an hour to $11.60 in October, to $14 on Jan. 1 and $15 the following year. The province has said the wage increases are intended to increase people’s purchasing power and stimulate the economy. But a number of business groups, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, have decried the legislation, saying it will result in job cuts.———TORONTO HOUSING MARKET TO BOUNCE BACK, CMHC SAYS: The recent downturn in Toronto’s real estate market, brought on after Ontario introduced measures this spring including a foreign buyers’ tax, is expected to be brief, the federal housing agency said Wednesday. Property prices in the city — which fell from an average of $919,589 in April to $793,915 last month, according to data from the Toronto Real Estate Board — should pick up again due to supply constraints and a stronger economy, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said. The provincial government’s measures, which were retroactive to April 21, include a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, expanded rent controls and legislation allowing Toronto and other cities to tax vacant homes. Like Toronto, Vancouver also experienced a real estate slowdown following the implementation of a tax on foreign buyers a year ago. But there have been signs this year that the city’s housing market is heating up again. CMHC, in its latest housing market assessment released Wednesday, kept its overall risk rating for the national housing market at strong. The quarterly report, which is based on data from the first three months of this year, precedes the Ontario government housing rules.———VIA RAIL TRIES TO LIMIT SCOPE OF WHEELCHAIR POLICY: Via Rail is trying to limit the scope of a policy to make its trains more accessible to travellers using wheelchairs and mobility aids. The national rail provider had revised its policy in May in compliance with an order from the Canadian Transportation Agency, which directed Via to double the number of mobility devices that could be tied down on trains from one to two. The ruling was prompted by a complaint to the CTA from a married couple who asserted the old rules barred them from travelling together. Via’s revised policy was subject to approval from the CTA, which wrote the company in June to confirm that the new rules would be applied to “all Via trains operating across Canada.” But Via Rail has now explicitly stated it only plans to implement the revised policy for travel between Quebec City and Windsor, Ont. It also says it can currently only apply the policy on one of the three classes of train travelling that route, leaving the couple whose complaint sparked the change concerned that Via has no genuine commitment to broader accessibility.———NATIONAL DEFENCE STRUGGLING WITH LIBERAL TAX-BREAK PROMISE: National Defence has been struggling to make good on one of the Trudeau government’s recent promises: giving tax breaks to military personnel and police officers deployed on certain overseas operations. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced the measure during a major speech at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., in May as part of the Liberals’ new defence policy. Some service members based in Kuwait had become increasingly vocal in the weeks leading up the announcement about a policy change that threatened to strip their tax-exempt status. Yet the devil has proven to be in the details, with officials now scratching their heads over what types of operations and deployments should and should not be eligible for tax relief. The debate is particularly relevant for the navy’s sailors, many of whom on close reading of the defence policy would not be eligible for tax relief despite spending up to six months at sea at any given time. Sources tell The Canadian Press that the military’s senior leadership is now seized with the issue, and that defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance has told officials he wants the issue resolved by mid-August.———VIA RAIL PLOTTER WANT TO APPEAL SENTENCE: A man found guilty of plotting to derail a passenger train between Canada and the U.S. is seeking to appeal his sentence as well as his conviction. A lawyer appointed to assist Chiheb Esseghaier says she told a court about his desire to broaden his appeal at a hearing Wednesday. Erin Dann says Esseghaier will ask the Court of Appeal for Ontario to give him more time to file a notice of appeal against his life sentence. Dann says that since filing his original notice of appeal over his conviction, Esseghaier has been treated for mental health issues and “now understands the severity of the sentence imposed.” Esseghaier and his co-accused, Raed Jaser, were found guilty in 2015 on a total of eight terror-related charges between them. They were sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole until 2023. Jaser is also appealing his conviction.———McDAVID DISAPPOINTED AT NHL OLYMPIC BOW-OUT: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid says he’s disappointed that the NHL won’t be sending players to the Winter Olympic in South Korea next year. He told reporters at a charity event this morning that Team Canada will not have the same prestige at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, thanks to the lack of NHL players. McDavid’s comments come a day after Hockey Canada announced it was looking for non-NHL talent for Canada’s 2017-2018 roster. Sean Burke, the team’s GM, said yesterday that the bulk of Canada’s Olympic team will come from players based in Europe. The NHL’s reasons not to participate in the upcoming Games include disagreements over costs as well as problems accommodating the Games during its regular season. The NHL had allowed players its to attend every Games since the 1998 Nagano Olympics.———WOOLLY LAWNMOWERS ON THE MOVE IN MONTREAL: A flock of 10 sheep took a rare stroll through the streets of Montreal today to take up their lawnmowing duties in a new city park. The six ewes and four lambs were carefully herded from one park to another with the help of shepherds and volunteers holding up barricades. The sheep are providing environmentally friendly lawn maintenance and educational opportunities in the Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie borough this summer. Project director Marie-Eve Julien-Denis says grazing animals provide a natural way to trim the grass and eradicate invasive plant species. The organizers are also hosting workshops, picnics and even yoga sessions with the sheep in order to raise awareness of urban agriculture. Julien-Denis says it’s the first time in Montreal the sheep have been driven through the streets to reach a new grazing ground.
Highlights from the news file for Friday, Aug. 18———CANADIANS AMONG CASUALTIES IN BARCELONA ATTACK: Spain says Canadians are among the casualties in the terrorist attack in Barcelona. Spanish officials are not elaborating, nor are Canadian officials. The attack involving a van driving into a crowd has killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100. A second attack occurred in the resort town of Cambrils south of Barcelona eight hours later, leaving one woman dead.———CNE SAYS SECURITY IS ENHANCED: The Canadian National Exhibition is moving to ease fears in the wake of Thursday’s attack in Barcelona. Organizers say the Toronto event enhanced its security plan within the last year, following several terrorist attacks in London and Paris. They say several areas around the CNE’s grounds have been modified to prevent a vehicle attack like the one that took place in Spain.———NAFTA PANEL QUESTIONING CANADA ON OILSANDS: The environmental arm of the North American Free Trade Agreement wants to know what Canada is doing to curb oilsands tailing ponds from leaking into Alberta waterways. Canada has until the end of next month to respond to allegations it’s allowing contaminants from the ponds to leak into water without forcing the companies involved to fix the problem. Two environmental groups made a complaint earlier this year.———INFLATION ON THE RISE: The annual inflation rate grew last month for the first time since January. Statistics Canada’s latest inflation report found that higher gasoline prices in July helped the year-over-year rate pick up its pace to 1.2 per cent. This was an increase from June’s reading of one per cent, which was inflation’s lowest mark in almost two years. Analysts say Friday’s inflation report reinforced expectations that the Bank of Canada will hike its benchmark interest rate again this fall.———BC FOREST FIRE STATE OF EMERGENCY CONTINUES: A state of emergency in British Columbia is continuing because of the continuing threat of wildfires. The government says it ensures resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated way. Some 138 wildfires were burning in B.C. with 27 evacuation orders affecting about 4,400 people. The government says that 9,000 square kilometres of timber, bush and grassland has been charred by 1,031 fires since the start of the fire season on April 1.———CANADIAN CHARGED IN US AGREES TO EXTRADITION: A Canadian accused in a massive hack of Yahoo emails is waiving extradition and will face charges in the United States. Karim Baratov’s lawyer says it’s a bid to speed up the legal process. Amedeo DiCarlo has said that waiving the extradition hearing does not mean admitting guilt. Baratov was arrested in Hamilton in March under the Extradition Act after U.S. authorities indicted him and three others on allegations of computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.———WHALE SURCHARGE PROMPTS SHIPPING COMPANY TO RAISE RATES: A shipping firm in Newfoundland and Labrador is raising its fees because of federal measures aimed at protecting North Atlantic right whales. Oceanex says the four-per-cent “temporary marine protection surcharge” on service between Montreal and St. John’s, N.L., follows a federal speed limit imposed last Friday in an area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Ten right whales have died since June, some colliding with ships. Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced vessels of 20 metres or more will be required to slow to 10 knots while travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence.———REPORT RELEASED ON STUNTWOMAN DEATH: The agency responsible for workplace safety in British Columbia says “Deadpool 2” stuntwoman SJ Harris was thrown off a motorcycle and flew through a plate glass window. The WorkSafeBC report confirms eyewitness accounts on the accident that occurred in Vancouver during filming of the sequel to the popular superhero movie.———PELOSI CALLS ON TRUMP TO FIRE ADDITIONAL STAFFERS: American House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says the departure of White House adviser Steve Bannon is “welcome news,” but she is calling on President Donald Trump to fire additional staff. Pelosi said in a statement that Bannon’s departure “doesn’t disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists and the bigoted beliefs they advance.” Trump has said “both sides” are to blame for the clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counterprotesters last weekend. One woman protesting the far-right extremist groups died when a car drove into a crowd.———PEOPLE ANXIOUS FOR ECLIPSE PROTECTION: Many Canadians are trying to track down retailers that have specialized glasses to protect their eyes in advance of Monday’s solar eclipse. Some people are turning to social media to track down retailers that have the glasses in stock. Optometrists have said that watching the eclipse without certified protection could lead to permanent vision loss. Vancouver-based pharmacy retailer London Drugs said it sold thousands of pairs and B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Saskatchewan were the first to sell out.———
OTTAWA – Canada’s independent elections watchdog wants no part in organizing leaders’ debates during federal elections.Elections Canada should not be involved in anything that could be seen as influencing the outcome of a campaign, acting chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault told a House of Commons committee Thursday.“I strongly believe that Elections Canada must be insulated from any decision-making regarding leaders’ debates so as to remain above the fray,” he said.“Debates are an important element of the campaign and often contribute to defining the ballot-box issues … The chief electoral officer should not be involved in matters that could be perceived as having an influence on the orientation of the campaign or the results of the election.”The committee is examining the idea of appointing an independent commission or commissioner to organize televised leaders’ debates during federal election campaigns, as promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 2015 campaign.The debates became the subject of heated controversy in the last campaign after the then-ruling Conservatives signalled that Stephen Harper would not take part in the traditional two televised events — one English, one French — organized by a consortium of the country’s major TV networks.In the end, Harper and the other leaders took part in 5 debates organized by various media and social media outlets, including Maclean’s magazine, the Globe and Mail, Google and Facebook, as well as a consortium-organized French debate and another organized by Quebec’s TVA network.Green party Leader Elizabeth May was invited to participate in just two of the five debates while Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe was invited strictly to the two French ones.If the government opts to create an independent commission, Perrault said it should set out clear criteria as to which party leaders are to be allowed to participate in debates, leaving the commission itself little or no discretion in the matter.“This question has given rise to significant controversy over the years. An independent commission should not be mired in controversies regarding inclusion, especially in the middle of a campaign.”Perrault also warned that the exclusion of smaller parties in future might run afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Some small parties have in the past gone to court to challenge their exclusion from the debates. But those cases failed because the debates were considered “essentially private events” that were not subject to scrutiny under the charter, he said.“This would likely no longer be the case if the state, or an entity created by the state, were to play a role in organizing the debates.”While he’d give the commission little leeway to decide who can participate, Perrault said it should have “broad latitude” to decide the format and “editorial aspects” of the debates, such as the choice of moderator and questions to be asked. Such latitude is necessary given the rapid evolution of the mainstream media and social media landscape, he said.Representatives of the traditional network consortium — CBC, CTV, Global Television and Radio-Canada — said they’re willing to work with an independent commission. But they argued that most decisions should be left up to them since, combined, they reach the most Canadians, adhere to journalistic standards and have expertise in producing shows that people will actually watch.The consortium did agree it would be helpful if the government was to legislate a requirement for a minimum number of debates during each election campaign, which would compel party leaders to participate.That would do away with what CBC’s Jennifer McGuire described as “the biggest flaw in the current system”: the secret negotiations in which parties threaten not to participate unless the terms of the debate benefit their respective leaders.“Each party pushes for every edge it can get, from where and when the debate takes place, to who can take part, to what format is acceptable,” she told the committee. “They threaten to withhold their participation as they seek terms to give them advantage.”The consortium representatives faced some pointed questioning by Conservative MP John Nater, who repeatedly asked why the major networks refused to broadcast the debates hosted by other media outlets in 2015. He accused them of acting “like a kid in the schoolyard, that if you don’t get your way, you’re not playing.”Troy Reeb of Corus Entertainment, which owns Global Television, bluntly said there was no way the networks were going to “willy-nilly take a product” produced by another outlet, over whose standards they’d had no input, and put it on the air — especially not when it involved splashing the logo of the rival outlet all over the set.The consortium would have no way of knowing what trade-offs the other outlets made behind the scenes to ensure participation by all the leaders at a time when “we knew for a fact, as members of the consortium, that one party in particular was seeking very friendly terms” in return for its participation, Reeb added.
MORINVILLE, Alta. – Once upon a time, in a town north of Edmonton, there was a man who dreamed of building something magical.After a year of construction, using $3 million from his own pocket, Robert Chauvet turned a Morinville parking lot into a scene out of a fairy tale. There’s a fantastical structure with a wavy roof, curved wooden doors and — as his story goes — a chimney squashed by a giant.“I’ve always been fascinated by the imagination and creative minds of children,” says the 71-year-old father, grandfather and retired owner of a construction company.“Everybody builds houses. And whether you build 10 or 1,000, basically you’re just a house-builder. It doesn’t leave anything special behind.”Because Chauvet wanted children to enjoy his final building project in the town of 9,800, he had it designed as a daycare.He rents it out to the Fable Child Care Centre, which opened in June.“The kids always seem happy here,” says father Dave Brooks, as he helps two-year-old Hadley wiggle out of her jacket during a morning drop-off.Brooks thinks the daycare resembles more of a hobbit house from “Lord of the Rings.”Most of the arched doors are adult-sized, except for one leading into the toddlers’ room. Parents and workers have to duck to pass through. In another room, there’s a cavernous children’s bathroom and on the wall next to it a picture of a squirming raccoon waiting for its turn.Fairies and bunnies are painted on walls, and tree branches stretch into clouds on the ceiling, perfect for nap time.“It’s a blessing to come to work every day,” says daycare operator Bonnie Provost. “Kids and families love it.”With a capacity for 85 children, the centre is just over half full.And by next year, it could also be bustling with brides.Chauvet and his wife, Hien Ho, hope an upstairs rental space and outside flower garden will make a happily-ever-after venue for weddings and photo shoots.As the couple walk along the garden’s path, they point to a waterfall and behind it a hidden door where a gnome lives.Chauvet says he’s especially proud of the roof’s curvy shingles that workers spent seven months cutting by hand. He’s also pleased with children’s artwork that is outlined in the lead-glass windows and scratched into the cement foundation.He recounts how one burly concrete worker happily spent time on his hands and knees stamping and painting bears and butterflies into the stone work.Also along the path are sculptures of seven children Chauvet says helped make his dream come true.“The kids built the daycare with the help of an old carpenter,” he chuckles.