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Canadians investigators in Iran and royals in Canada; In The News for Jan. 14 – National Post

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In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 14 …

What we are watching in Canada …

OTTAWA — Canadian investigators are getting their first chance to visit the crash site outside of Tehran today, as part of an international team looking into the sequence of events that ended with a jet from Ukraine being shot out of the sky.

The attack killed all 176 people on board, including 57 Canadians.

The aircraft was shot down just hours after Iran launched air strikes against two military bases in Iraq where U.S. forces, and also some Canadians, are stationed.

The air strikes were in retaliation for a targeted drone strike on Jan. 3 by the U.S. that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.

Iran’s judiciary said Tuesday that arrests have been made and the president has called for a special court to be set up to probe the downing last week of the plane by Iranian forces.

Iran, which initially dismissed allegations that a missile had brought down the jetliner, acknowledged three days after Wednesday’s downing that its Revolutionary Guard had shot down the Ukrainian plane by mistake.

Also this …

VICTORIA — B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is excited by the prospect of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle calling British Columbia their part-time home.

He had a light-hearted conversation about the couple with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, he said during a news conference in Victoria.

“We’re both kind of giddy about it. Canada is a cool place to be. We are all pretty happy about that as Canadians.”

The Queen said Monday there will be a period of transition to sort things out on the couple’s future roles as members of the Royal Family during which Meghan and Harry will spend time in both Canada and the United Kingdom.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent the holidays at a secluded beachfront villa near Victoria, where they were seen exploring the community.

Horgan said hasn’t “given a lot of thought” to the costs of the family putting down roots in the province, if B.C. is where they choose to spend their time in Canada.

“I’m sure there are people working on that right now,” he said. “And I may have more to say on that should the royals choose to put down roots in British Columbia.”

The Prime Minister’s Office wouldn’t comment on potential costs of the couple living in Canada.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans signalled they would reject the idea of simply voting to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as the House prepares to send the charges to the chamber for the historic trial.

It will be only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, a serious and dramatic endeavour coming amid the backdrop of a politically divided nation and the start of an election year.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not set the timing for the House vote that will launch the Senate action. Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House last month on charges of abuse of power over pushing Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and obstruction of Congress in the probe. Democrats said the vote could be Wednesday.

With the impeachment trial starting in a matter of days, senators are still debating the rules of the proceedings. GOP senators are conferring privately about whether to allow a motion to dismiss the charges against the president or to call additional witnesses for testimony.

Trump suggested over the weekend he might prefer simply dismissing the charges rather than giving legitimacy to charges from the House, which he considers a “hoax.”

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

BOSTON, Mass. — A U.S. cybersecurity company says Russian military agents have successfully hacked the Ukrainian gas company at the centre of the scandal that led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Russian agents launched a phishing campaign in early November to steal the login credentials of employees of Burisma Holdings, the gas company, according to Area 1 Security, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in email security.

Hunter Biden, son of former U.S. vice-president and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, previously served on Burisma’s board.

It was not clear what the hackers were looking for or may have obtained, said Area 1’s CEO, Oren Falkowitz, who called the findings “ncontrovertible”and posted an eight-page report. But the timing of the operation suggests that the Russian agents could be searching for material that damaging to the Bidens.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump in December for abusing the power of his office by enlisting the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden, a political rival, ahead of the 2020 election. A second charge accused Trump of obstructing a congressional investigation into the matter.

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

TORONTO — An investigation into a mistaken alert about an incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station will be completed fairly quickly, Ontario’s solicitor general says.

Sylvia Jones has tapped the chief of Emergency Management Ontario to investigate how the alert warning of an unspecified problem at the facility was sent in error to cellphones, radios and TVs across the province at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

“It’s very important for me, for the people of Ontario, to know exactly what happened on Sunday morning,” Jones says.

“Having said that, I do not anticipate this is going to be a long, drawn-out investigation. I want to know what happened and equally important, I want some recommendations on insurances and changes we can make to the system to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Initial observations suggest human error was responsible for the alert that was sent out during routine tests of the emergency alert, Jones says.

“This has never happened in the history of the tests that they do every day, twice a day, but I do want to know exactly all of the issues related to it, whether it was one human error or whether it was a series of things.”

A follow-up alert was sent to cellphones nearly two hours after the original notification.

Wierd and wild …

CALGARY — The first giant panda twins born in Canada have safely arrived in the land of their roots.

The Calgary Zoo says Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue are exploring their new panda pad at a breeding research facility in Chengdu, China.

The zoo says the pandas — whose names mean Canadian Hope and Canadian Joy — left Calgary on a flight early Friday with their keeper and a member of the facility’s veterinary team.

The pandas were born at the Toronto Zoo in 2015 and were transferred to Calgary with their parents in March 2018, as part of a 10-year agreement between Canada and China.

Parents Er Shun and Da Mao are to remain in Calgary until 2023.

Know your news …

The Queen says Prince Harry and Meghan can move part-time to Canada. What Canadian military base did Harry train at when he was with the British army?

(Keep scrolling for the answer)

On this day in 1949 …

The first non-stop trans-Canada flight, from Vancouver to Halifax, was completed.

Entertainment news …

TORONTO — Comedy veteran Catherine O’Hara is getting a lifetime achievement award from Canada’s national performers’ union.

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists says it will present the “Schitt’s Creek” star and “SCTV” alumna with its national award of excellence April 18 in Los Angeles.

The honour recognizes an ACTRA member’s career achievements and contribution to Canada’s entertainment industry.

O’Hara currently stars as eccentric matriarch Moira Rose on CBC’s “Schitt’s Creek,” but her vast TV credits include “Six Feet Under,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and HBO’s “Temple Grandin.”

Big screen credits include “Beetlejuice,” “Home Alone,” “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration.”

Past winners of ACTRA’s special award include O’Hara’s “Schitt’s Creek” co-star Eugene Levy, as well as Jay Baruchel, Molly Parker, Neve Campbell and Jason Priestley.

Know your news answer …

Suffield. It was widely reported that Harry did two stints at the British Army Training Unit Suffield in southeastern Alberta in 2007 and 2008.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2020.

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Inuit designers launch new line of parkas for Canada Goose – CBC.ca

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Canada Goose has launched a new collection of Inuit-made parkas. 

The collection called Atigi 2.0 has 90 parkas made by 18 seamstresses who all live in Inuit Nunangat — Inuit regions of N.W.T., Nunavut, Quebec to Newfoundland and Labrador. Last year, Canada Goose launched project Atigi with 14 original parkas.

Stephanie Pitseolak’s parka for Canada Goose. (Submitted by Canada Goose )

The parkas from Atigi 2.0 were shown publicly for the first time at a media launch in New York Thursday. 

“It’s unbelievable,” said Stephanie Pitseolak, one of the designers who lives in Iqaluit. “I can’t believe my parka is there right now.” 

New York isn’t the only international city her parka will be on display; next week it will be making its way to France where the collection will be on display at the Canada Goose store in Paris.

Pitseolak, who lives in Iqaluit, is one of 18 seamstresses who made parkas for Canada Goose’s Atigi 2.0 collection. (Travis Burke/CBC )

Pitseolak said the experience was exhausting. Canada Goose sends the seamstresses a box of materials to use for their designs. Things like fur, hollow fill insulation, zippers and Canada Goose commanders and patches with the logo. They had a month to make five identical parkas each in a different size. 

Even Pitseolak was struggling. She said she couldn’t give up and felt like her late grandmother was guiding her while she sewed. 

Lisa-Louie Ittukallak parka from Puvirnituq, Que. (Submitted by Canada Goose )

“I wanted people to know it’s possible, even if you’re very busy, even if you have kids, even if you’re working,” said Pitseolak. 

“I’m glad I did it and I’m happy for myself.” 

Emily Joanasie’s parka from Iqaluit. (Submitted by Canada Goose )

The parkas will be one sale at the Canada Goose website for $2,500 each. The proceeds will go to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), a national organization that advocates for the rights and interests of Inuit in Canada.  

Canada Goose donated nearly $80,000 to ITK from the sales of last year’s Atigi parkas, according to ITK. Inuit land claims organizations for the four Inuit regions — Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Makivik Corporation, and Nunatsiavut Government each received $20,000.  

Chelsey St. John’s parka from Arviat, Nunavut. (Submitted by Canada Goose )

“We have big plans and a big vision from project Atigi,” said Gavin Thompson, vice-president of corporate citizenship for Canada Goose. “We are literally just getting started.” 

Thompson said they want to grow the project but wouldn’t reveal details of what that looks like. 

“We are just so proud of this collection,” said Thompson. “We are excited to put it on our platforms so we can really showcase these designers and their parkas to the world.”

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Winter weather escalates across Canada as army sent to help Newfoundland – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Winter weather has escalated across Canada as the federal government agreed to send help to Newfoundland following record-breaking snowfall.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball requested government help Saturday, including mobilizing the Canadian Armed Forces, to provide relief to areas of the province hit by the severe winter weather.

St. John’s experienced a record-breaking one-day snowfall of 76.2 centimetres, snapping a previous record of 68.4 centimetres from 1999.

Strong winds combined with the huge dumping of snow created drifts high enough to bury cars, while white-out conditions meant roads were congested and treacherous.

Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan confirmed the government was already working to deploy resources. 

Here’s a look at how the rest of the country handled a weekend of dramatic winter weather.

ATLANTIC CANADA

Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, snowfall warnings were in place for large parts of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia before easing to flurries Sunday night.

QUEBEC

Environment Canada has snowfall warnings in place for Montreal and surrounding areas, with 15 to 20 centimetres expected between Saturday afternoon and Sunday. 

Skies are expected to clear in the morning with snow starting to fall as the clouds roll in. In addition, winds may reach between 20 km/h and 40 km/h putting the temperature near -25 C with the wind chill.

The snow should clear Sunday night with a cold and sunny Monday to start the week.

SOUTHERN ONTARIO

In Canada’s most populous region, the first major snowfall in southern Ontario has brought traffic to a crawl in Toronto and elsewhere with up to 20 centimetres of snow and howling winds causing white-out conditions.

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, City of Toronto spokesperson Eric Holmes said that there are 1,500 workers prepared to respond to the city’s first snowstorm of the year.

A snowfall warning is in effect for the city and most of southern Ontario.

NORTHERN ONTARIO

Large parts of Northeastern Ontario are also under snowfall warnings, with winter storm warnings in place for Sault Ste. Marie and Killarney. 

MANITOBA

A number of communities across southern Manitoba are under a winter storm warning from Environment Canada, including Steinbach, Emerson and Pilot Mount, while Winnipeg is under a snowfall warning.

A storm system is expected to bring 10 centimetres to 20 centimetres of snow to the city and other parts of southern Manitoba. 

SASKATCHEWAN

In Saskatchewan, extreme cold warnings are in place for most of the south of the province, Fond-du-Lac, Stony Rapids and Black Lake. 

ALBERTA

The Alberta Motor Association said it has received more than 55,000 calls for roadside assistance since January 12, more than six times the usual call volume.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old in Edmonton is recovering from frostbite after walking around outside without gloves for 45 minutes in -25 C weather.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

A winter storm warning is in effect for Fraser Valley in B.C. after it received another dumping of snow overnight. Skiers on the slopes in Whistler could see as much as 40 centimetres of snow.

Vancouver Island has heavy rain warnings in place with the possibility of localized flooding.Wind warnings are in effect for all of B.C.’s coast.

YUKON

A bitterly cold arctic ridge of high pressure remains entrenched over the Yukon, according to Environment Canada.

Extreme cold warnings are in place for much of the territory. 

NUNAVUT

Blizzard warnings are also in place for parts of Nunavut.

Winds gusting into the 60 to 80 km/h range have developed over central Kivalliq and will spread south eastwards into the Arviat region Saturday evening, Environment Canada said.

These conditions will likely persist into Sunday with improvement occurring Sunday night.

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LILLEY: Canadians are ditching CBC, so why do we keep funding it? – Toronto Sun

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Every single time I critique CBC, I’m told that we need to have the state broadcaster, that Canadians rely upon it.

But the numbers would beg to differ.

Whether we are talking audience share or advertising revenue, CBC is a broadcaster in decline.

Did you know that across Canada, over a total of 27 stations coast to coast, the average audience for CBC’s supper hour newscast was 329,000 people? That’s not 329,000 people per market, that is across the country.

Compare that to just one of CTV’s local supper hour newscasts, CFTO in Toronto, which averaged 1.4 million viewers per night in the first week of 2020. That doesn’t include other major markets like Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary or Ottawa where CTV outstrips CBC. It doesn’t include Global News, which is dominant in Western Canada and like CTV doesn’t take a $1.5 billion per year subsidy from the taxpayers.

These CBC ratings aren’t numbers that I’ve made up, they were contained in CBC’s most recent annual report and highlighted by Ottawa-based media outlet Blacklock’s Reporter.

Other nuggets in that annual report include that CBC’s prime-time audience share in television was 5%, down from 7.6% in 2017-18. We also learned that CBC News Network’s total audience share is 1.4% of all TV viewers.

These slumping ratings mean slumping ad sales, the report says advertising revenue is down 21% overall — the decline in English Canada was actually much bigger, a 37% drop. If it were not for CBC’s French language division having a pretty good year, things would have been much worse.

Ad revenues dropped from $318.2 million in 2018 to $248.7 million in 2019 and things are not likely to get better. Well, except for the increase in government revenue.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were elected on a promise to increase CBC’s base funding by $150 million a year. That promise has been met and I’m sure Trudeau will soon be considering more money for his favourite news and media outlet.

Meanwhile, as I reported about two weeks ago now, CBC is asking the CRTC for permission to broadcast less Canadian content on TV even as they take more of our money. As part of their broadcast licence renewal application, the state broadcaster is asking the broadcast regulator for permission to show less “mandated content,” meaning less Canadian content.

Would we even notice?

CBC’s latest attempt to get ratings heading in the right direction has seen them bring in Family Feud Canadian Edition. Nothing says telling Canada’s stories to Canadians quite like importing a dated American game show and selling it like it is something new.

What’s next? Showing Home Alone 2 and editing out Donald Trump?

CBC does well in radio — as someone who worked for years in private radio and competed against CBC Radio, I can say they have an audience and do a good job.

Yet on TV, Canadians are voting with their clickers.

Long before cutting the cord became a concern for TV executives, CBC was the third horse in a three-horse race. They were the least preferred option for comedies or dramas and the least preferred for news.

This may come as a shock to some media folks, especially on Parliament Hill, but CBC’s The National has been the third most watched national newscast for decades. Their recent reboot has only made things worse, pushing ratings below 400,000 viewers a night and at times I am told below 300,000 viewers.

CBC is out of touch with Canadians and what they want to see.

Their supporters may say ratings shouldn’t matter for a state broadcaster like CBC but if they aren’t producing shows we want to watch with their massive subsidy then what is the point of continuing to fund them?

blilley@postmedia.com

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