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Former Alberta NDP volunteer files human rights complaint against party

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The former head of the Alberta New Democrats’ membership organization for people with disabilities has filed a human rights complaint against the party for discrimination.

Justin Reinke, the former co-chair of the NDP’s disability caucus, is alleging he was discriminated against and wrongfully dismissed from his role in retaliation for speaking out against mistreatment.

But in a statement Friday, the NDP pushed back, saying Reinke behaved aggressively with his fellow members, which led to his removal.

CBC News has obtained a copy of the human rights complaint and supporting documentation filed on Tuesday, less than a week before Alberta’s election.

Reinke alleges he witnessed and was subject to discrimination against disabled NDP members, as well as abuse of volunteers and staff by more senior members of the party.

This included a provincial council meeting last June, where he says a member in a wheelchair was wheeled out of the way without consent, jeering from the audience at disabled members during policy debate and the party failing to make accessibility supports available. The complaint says the washrooms were too small for a power chair and there were no closed captioning services for some sessions.

“There is an immense amount of ableism in the ANDP,” Reinke told the executive in an August report asking for the alleged discrimination to be addressed.

His complaint says he advocated for the resolution of these issues and allegations of bullying internally but was ignored. Reinke was removed shortly after from his role (a volunteer, elected position), which he alleges was retaliation for speaking up about his concerns.

The allegations have not been tested in court, and the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s confidentiality process means it’s unable to say whether the matter would be accepted and brought to a hearing. The Alberta Human Rights Act protects people from discrimination, including those with a physical or mental disability.

Counter-allegations and pushback

In a statement, the NDP said there had been six counter-complaints about Reinke’s conduct, including “violent threats” against volunteers and staff. They added that an investigation found he violated the party’s anti-harassment policy, and his membership was suspended. The current disability caucus also expressed that they’d had concerning incidents with Reinke, which they’d confronted him about.

“Those allegations are completely fabricated,” said Kathryn Marshall, Reinke’s lawyer and a partner with Levitt Sheikh LLP, calling it a campaign of intimidation and retaliation.

“None of this was raised at the time he was removed as co-chair.”

Lawyer Kathryn Marshall says their next move will be to write to the commission to argue against Bell's application to have Jaggernauth's case stayed. A decision on that will likely take a few months.
Kathryn Marshall, who is Reinke’s lawyer, says the NDP’s allegations about his conduct ‘are completely fabricated.’ (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

Reinke’s August report to the party executive asked them to take action against the “vile and shameful behaviour of multiple delegates against delegates with disabilities.”

“I would expect that behaviour from zoo animals. Make no mistake, these are serious violations of the human rights of disabled people,” he wrote. He sent several emails over the course of the summer with very strong language and accusations to the executive, which CBC News has obtained.

Reinke, who has a neurological disability, asked via email for NDP Leader Rachel Notley’s attendance at two meetings — one in early June to discuss allegations of bullying volunteers and one the night he sent the report to discuss the discrimination he’d raised. She was not at either, the complaint says.

Early in September, there was an emergency meeting of the disability caucus, where Reinke was removed as co-chair.

“The board felt that we needed a different approach to leadership that was more in touch with the executive board,” reads an email sent from the interim chair to Reinke that day.

He’s seeking $500,000 in damages and for the party to adopt his recommendations on inclusivity. There is a one-year time limit to file a complaint with the commission, which would set the expiration date for two weeks from now.

Clare Hickie, Reinke’s disability caucus co-chair, also resigned in July after the provincial council meeting citing “internal and external” pressures having a negative impact on her health in a letter obtained by CBC News.

A woman speaks into a microphone at a meeting.
Clare Hickie, who was co-chair of the NDP’s disability caucus, also resigned in July. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Allegations of bullying

In a followup letter to party members included in the complaint, Reinke says he’s witnessed discrimination and intimidation against party volunteers from senior officials — such as being told it’s not politically prudent to campaign on disability issues.

He called for the resignation of several party executives as a result of the cumulative behaviour and complaints.

It’s not the first time an NDP volunteer has raised alarm about conduct in the party.

A letter sent in March 2022 by 15 NDP constituency presidents and regional vice-presidents to party brass outlined concerns with how the party was operating, particularly dealing with alleged favouritism in the nomination process and bullying.

It asked for more respect from senior party staff toward volunteers and constituency-level workers. It also asks for an independent review into reports of mistreatment of volunteers by party staff.

“We expect to be spoken to, and corresponded with, in a manner that upholds our party’s commitment to respect.”

Notley told the provincial council in June that the NDP would be asking an independent firm to look into those complaints — as well as examine the party’s human resources policy — as a result of the letter.

The NDP says HR training was completed among leadership staff in November and the audit was finished in the fall, with stronger harassment policies approved in March.

With the exception of the Reinke’s August report, the emails included in the complaint are light on specific details of instances of harassment or mistreatment

“The party has inflicted trauma and pain to many who were most loyal. That is how the membership is rewarded in the ANDP,” he wrote.

Reinke is asking the party to establish an accessibility committee, make more party business accessible online, add an accessibility policy to the party’s constitution, and for an apology from leadership.

The NDP says accommodations were made for disability caucus members to participate during the June council meeting.

Human rights complaints can be handled either through a conciliation process between the two parties or the matter is referred to a tribunal.

The complaint can go to a formal hearing if it’s not closed or dismissed before it reaches tribunal.

The commission says it opened 1,040 complaints in the 2021-22 fiscal year, 22 per cent of which were dealt with via the tribunal process.

 

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Springer homers twice as Jays down Tigers 5-4 to avoid series sweep at Rogers Centre

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TORONTO – In what has been a down-in-the-dumps season for the Toronto Blue Jays, George Springer has lifted the spirits of his teammates and manager in the past month.

Springer played the hero role again on Sunday, going 3-for-4, slamming two homers and three RBI to push the Blue Jays (45-54) to a 5-4 win and avoid a sweep against the Detroit Tigers (49-51) before 38,766 at Rogers Centre.

“You want to watch when George is up because you never know what you’re going to see,” Toronto starter Kevin Gausman (8-8) said.

What Gausman and the Blue Jays saw in the series finale was a lead-off homer from Springer and a one-out, two-run blast from the right fielder in the third inning for his 23rd multiple long ball outing.

He also hustled to make a running catch in foul territory in the fifth inning and hurried to force the issue and gain a double in the fifth inning to set up Spencer Horwitz’s game-tying single to centre.

This was critical because rookie Justyn-Henry Malloy had put the Tigers in front with his first grand slam in the top half of the inning.

“He’s been an aircraft carrier-type where he’s saying, ‘get on, I’m going to lead the way,” Toronto manager John Schneider said.

The 34-year-old Springer struggled mightly out of the gate this season. But he worked on changing the path of his swing and began to see productive results in late June.

In his last 21 games, Springer has batted .377 (29 for 77) with six doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 25 RBI.

Schneider also reported that during the difficult times, Springer still helped out his younger teammates like Horwitz and Ernie Clement, who came through with the game-winning hit in the sixth inning, knocking in Justin Turner from second with a single to centre.

“I’ll be an open book (for teammates),” Springer said.

“It’s my job to help anybody I can to make a smoother transition in their career.”

Former teammates Dexter Fowler and Michael Brantley helped a young Springer in his early seasons with the Houston Astros. In fact, Brantley is still on speed dial and pitched in to support Springer through the challenging part of this season.

“I still annoy him every day,” Springer said. “He claims he’s retired, but he’s meant the world to me.”

Daulton Varsho also contributed in a big way to the Blue Jays’ cause on Sunday. He made a game-saving catch, leaping up against the left-field wall to snag Carson Kelly’s long fly ball with two on and one out in the eighth inning off reliever Chad Green, who also pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Gausman didn’t help his cause with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Gausman went 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and yielding four runs on five hits and three walks.

Detroit rookie starter Keider Montero (1-3) was replaced by Will Vest with one out in the fifth when Clement came through with his significant single. But Montero was responsible for Turner and took the loss.

Montero gave up five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.

Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had this three-game homer streak stopped, but he did check in with a two-out double to right field in the seventh inning.

SPRINGING AHEAD

Springer’s leadoff homer on Sunday was the 58th of his career. He only trails former Blue Jays outfielder Ricky Henderson (81) on the all-time MLB list.

ON DECK

The Blue Jays have a day off before their three-game set against the Tampa Bays Rays begins at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. Jose Berrios (8-7) will start for Toronto. The Rays will counter with righty Ryan Pepiot (6-5).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Canada downs Puerto Rico 103-93 in Olympic men’s basketball tune-up game

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ORLEANS, France – Canada’s national men’s basketball team wrapped up pre-Olympic play with a 103-93 exhibition win over Puerto Rico on Sunday.

Dillon Brooks paced the Canadian attack with 21 points, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Trey Lyles each chipped in with 15 off the bench.

Brooks, a defensive specialist for the Houston Rockers, had a very efficient offensive performance, shooting 8-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, in just over 22 minutes of play.

RJ Barrett added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 14 and added six assists.

Canada led 46-40 at halftime and built a comfortable 23-point lead in the third quarter only to watch Puerto Rico make things interesting in the final quarter by cutting the lead to five.

Jose Alvarado kept Puerto Rico competitive with 21 points, including 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

Canada finished its Olympic tune-up schedule with two wins and a loss. The seventh-ranked Canadians scored a convincing 85-72 victory over host France on Friday in Orleans, after dropping an 86-72 decision to the top-ranked United States on July 11 in Las Vegas.

Guard Jamal Murray, who didn’t play against France, played just under seven minutes on Sunday but didn’t figure in the scoring. Canada Basketball said Murray, a star guard with the Denver Nuggets, was pulled from Friday’s game as “a precaution.”

The Canadians open the Olympic basketball competition on Saturday against 14th-ranked Greece, led by two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, in Lille, France.

Canada’s men’s basketball team will be making its first Olympic appearance since finishing seventh at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Along with Greece, Canada is in Group A, the tournament’s so-called “Group of Death,” with No. 2 Spain and No. 5 Australia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Xander the Great! Schauffele wins the British Open for his 2nd major this year

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TROON, Scotland (AP) — Xander Schauffele went from the most nerve-wracking putt of his career to the coolest walk toward an 18th green he ever imagined.

He won a nail-biter at the PGA Championship in May. He delivered a masterpiece Sunday in the British Open. Two different finishes, two different feelings.

One more conclusion.

Schauffele has more than enough game and all the confidence in the world to win the biggest championships. Questioned at the start of the season whether he could win a major, he now has two of them.

Schauffele closed with a 6-under 65 with a final round that ranks among the most memorable in British Open history, particularly the 31 on the back nine. It matched the best score of the week at Royal Troon with nothing less than the claret jug riding on the outcome.

He played bogey-free in a daunting wind and turned a two-shot deficit into a two-shot victory for his second major of the year.

It also gave the Americans a sweep of the four majors for the first time since 1982.

“It’s a dream come true to win two majors in one year,” he said. “It took me forever just to win one, and to have two now is something else.”

He won the PGA Championship at Valhalla by making a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 65. In a final round set up for high drama at Royal Troon — six players one shot behind, nine players separated by three shots — Schauffele made a tense Sunday look like a nice walk along the Irish Sea.

“I think winning the first one helped me a lot today on the back nine,” he said. “I had some feeling of calmness come through. It was very helpful on what has been one of the hardest back nines I’ve ever played in a tournament.”

It sure didn’t show. Standing on the 18th tee, Schauffele said he turned to caddie and longtime friend Austin Kaiser sand told he had felt calm down the decisive back nine.

“He said he was about to puke,” Schauffele said.

In the 90-year history of four majors, Schauffele became the first player to win two majors in one season with a final-round 65. Jack Nicklaus is the only other player to do that in his career.

And he never looked more calm, oozing that cool California vibe even as the wind presented so much trouble at Royal Troon.

Schauffele pulled away with three birdies in a four-hole stretch early on the back nine to go from two shots behind to leading by as many as three.

He won by two shots over American Billy Horschel and Justin Rose, the 43-year-old from England who had to go through 36-hole qualifying just to get into the field. They were among four players who had at least a share of the lead at one point Sunday.

They just couldn’t keep up with Schauffele. No one could.

“He has a lot of horsepower,” Rose said. “He’s good with a wedge, he’s great with a putter, he hits the ball a long way, obviously his iron play is strong. So he’s got a lot of weapons out there. I think probably one of his most unappreciated ones is his mentality. He’s such a calm guy out there.

“I don’t know what he’s feeling, but he certainly makes it look very easy.”

Even with so many players in contention early, the engraver was able to get to work early on those 16 letters across the base of the silver claret jug.

Schauffele kept staring at golf’s oldest trophy in his press conference, looking forward to gazing at it in private, wondering what kind of drink to pour from it. He said he’d leave that up to his father, Stefan, who missed his son’s first major title and was blubbering on the phone with him.

Where that final round ranks — Henrik Stenson shot 63 when he won his duel with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon in 2016 — Schauffele left no doubt where it stood in his own career.

“At the very tip-top,” Schauffele said. “Best round I’ve played.”

Playing in the third-to-last group, he matched the round of the championship with a score that was just over eight shots better than the field average.

The final birdie was a pitch over a pot bunker to 4 feet on the par-5 16th. The grandstands at The Open are among the largest, lining both sides of the fairway as Schauffele walked through and soaked up the cheers.

“I got chills,” he said.

The 30-year-old from San Diego became the first player since Jordan Spieth in 2015 to win his first two majors in the same season. And he extended American dominance on this Scottish links as the seventh Open champion in the last eight visits to Royal Troon.

Rose started one shot behind and closed with a 67. That was only good for second place. He had a chance to set a record by going the longest time between majors after his 2013 U.S. Open win.

“Gutted when I walked off the course and it hit me hard because I was so strong out there today,” Rose said. “Xander got it going. I hit a couple of really good putts that didn’t fall, and then suddenly that lead stretched. I left it all out there. I’m super proud of how I competed.”

Horschel, who started the final round with a one-shot lead in his bid to win his first major, dropped back around the turn and birdied his last three holes for a 68.

“I’m disappointed. I should feel disappointed. I had a chance to win a major,” Horschel said. “I just made a few too many mistakes today when I didn’t need to.”

Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., shot a 68 on Sunday to finish as the top Canadian at 2-over, tied for 16th. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., also shot a 68 and ended up tied for 25th at 5-over for the tournament.

The player Schauffele had to track down was Thriston Lawrence of South Africa, who birdied three of four holes to end the front nine with a 32.

Schauffele was two shots behind when it all changed so suddenly. Schauffele hit a wedge out of the left rough on the difficult 11th and judged it perfectly to 3 feet for birdie. He hit another wedge to 15 feet for birdie on the 13th, and capped his pivotal run with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 14th.

Lawrence finally dropped a shot on the 12th and didn’t pick up any shots the rest of the day. He closed with a 68 and earned a small consolation — a trip to the Masters next April, his first time to Augusta National.

Scottie Scheffler, who got within one shot of the lead briefly on the front nine, lost his way with a three-putt from 6 feet for a double bogey on the ninth hole. Scheffler finished his round by topping a tee shot on the 18th and making another double bogey. The world’s No. 1 player closed with a 72 and tied for seventh.

He stuck around to share a hug with Schauffele, the two top players in golf. Schauffele was the only player this year to finish in the top 10 in all four majors.

He finished at 9-under 275 and earned $3.1 million, pushing him over $15 million for the season.

Schauffele went from the heaviest major trophy at the PGA Championship to the smallest and oldest, the famed claret jug.

“I just can’t wait to drink out of it,” he said, smiling as wide as ever.

___

AP golf:



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