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Governor General urges Canadians to enjoy the outdoors in annual New Year's message –



Gov. Gen. Julie Payette today encouraged Canadians to get outside and enjoy the winter in her annual New Year’s message.

Canada’s “breathtaking beauty” deserves to be celebrated and explored, she said.

“This time of year, we tend to cuddle inside and seek warmth,” said Payette. “But once outside, it is so worth it.”


For this year’s message, Payette continued her practice of avoiding the more formal, regal backdrops preferred by previous governors general in their end-of-year messages, and instead spoke from the grounds of the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park in the Outaouais region of Quebec.

(In 2017, she delivered her message while skating on the ice rink erected beside her official residence, Rideau Hall.)

In this year’s address, the governor general said Canadians can be proud of having an international reputation as “team players” and “peace seekers.” She also highlighted Canada’s diversity and paid tribute to Indigenous people in Canada.

Payette commemorated Canada’s fallen soldiers by reminding Canadians of her visit to Europe earlier in the year to mark the 75th anniversary of key events in the Second World War.

Finally, she urged Canadians to stand up to hate and violence and work together for the common good.

Julie Payette’s New Year’s message

“Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver.

“My country is not a country. It’s winter. That’s the least we can say.

“This time of year, we tend to cuddle inside and seek warmth. Mostly because — as Gilles Vigneault points out in his famous song — ‘to avoid where the flakes swirl with the wind in this land of blowing snow.’ But once outside, it is so worth it.

“Whether you were born here or chose to come and live here. Whether you’re just passing through or came here to seek refuge. This is your country — a land of breathtaking beauty that deserves to be explored and celebrated — rain or snow or shine.

“For we are so fortunate. We share values and interests. We can be proud of our diversity and we are recognized around the world as open, curious, team players, peace seekers, peacekeepers.

“And we are accomplished. Like the Indigenous people, who have been living here on this ancestral land for thousands of years. Those who taught us to survive in the cold, to appreciate the gift of nature, and the importance of community. 

“I have seen it everywhere I have been this year. Canadians are out there making a difference as artists, scientists, athletes, entrepreneurs. Young or old, every one of us is an ambassador. 

“This past year in particular, we were also reminded that the peace we enjoy was won at a terrible cost. We went to France, to Holland and to Italy to commemorate the Second World War. For 75 years ago, our Canadian soldiers were fighting to help liberate Europe from tyranny. What is striking when we visit Canadian war cemeteries abroad are the rows and rows of identical tombstones — all engraved with a single maple leaf, a name, a date.

“As I watched our veterans — these brave soldiers from another era — walking amongst the graves of their fallen comrades, I could not help but be moved. Many had died before their 20th birthday. Some had died just before Christmas. All died in a distant land, far away from home.

“It forces us to reflect on the meaning of life — its surprises and its friendships but also its injustices and its suffering — and it forces us to reflect on the absolute necessity to stand up against hate and violence and to work together hand-in-hand for the common good. 

“The great Gilles Vigneault also captured this essence in his beautiful winter poem. He wrote: ‘My home is your home. With time and space, I build a fire and prepare a place. For people, near and far. For we all share a human race.’ 

“I hope that you’re enjoying the holiday season with people you love, with friends and family. I hope that you’re staying active, and that you are lending a hand, in your own personal way, to those who have less and those who are in need. 

“Happy New Year to all of you. Happy New Year, Canada.”

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India tells Canada to remove 41 of its 62 diplomats: official




Canada needs diplomats in India to help navigate the “extremely challenging” tensions between the two countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday in response to demands that Ottawa repatriate dozens of its envoys.

India reportedly wants 41 of 62 Canadian diplomats out of the country by early next week — a striking, if largely anticipated, deepening of the rift that erupted last month following Trudeau’s explosive allegations in the House of Commons.

The prime minister bluntly spoke of “credible” intelligence linking the Indian government to the shooting death in June of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh leader India has long assailed as a terrorist.


The demand, first reported by the Financial Times, comes less than two weeks after the Indian government first called on Canada to establish “parity in strength and rank equivalence in our diplomatic presence.”

Canada has a much larger diplomatic corps in India, owing in part to the fact it’s a country of 1.4 billion people, compared to 40 million in Canada — about 1.3 million of whom are of Indian origin.

Trudeau would not confirm the reports Tuesday, nor did he sound inclined to acquiesce to India’s request.

“Obviously, we’re going through an extremely challenging time with India right now,” Trudeau said on his way to a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to have diplomats on the ground, working with the Indian government, there to support Canadians and Canadian families.”

Canada, he continued, is “taking this extremely seriously, but we’re going to continue to engage responsibly and constructively with the government of India.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said largely the same thing.

“In moments of tension, because indeed there are tensions between both our governments, more than ever it’s important that diplomats be on the ground,” Joly said.

“That’s why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic footprint in India. That being said, we are in ongoing conversations with the Indian government.”

During Tuesday’s daily briefing at the State Department, deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel was at pains to avoid exacerbating tensions any further.

“We are — and continue to be — deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau and we remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners,” Patel said, a message the U.S. has had on repeat for weeks.

“It’s critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice. We also have … publicly and privately urged the Indian government to co-operate in the Canadian investigation and co-operate in those efforts.”

Patel also demurred on the potential impact of an escalating tit-for-tat exchange of diplomatic staff on the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, a key element of U.S. efforts to mitigate China’s growing geopolitical influence.

“I certainly don’t want to get into hypotheticals,” he said. “As it relates to our Indo-Pacific strategy and the focus that we continue to place on the region, that effort and that line of work is going to continue.”

David Cohen, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, has already confirmed that the allegations were buttressed in part on intelligence gathered by a key ally from the Five Eyes security alliance, which includes the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, along with Canada.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, confirmed last week that the subject came up in his meetings in Washington, D.C., with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser.

Trudeau’s allegation “was not consistent with our policy,” Jaishankar told a panel discussion Friday hosted by the Hudson Institute.

“If his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. That’s where that conversation is at this point of time.”

Jaishankar went on to note that the issue of Sikh separatists living in Canada had long been “an issue of great friction,” notably after the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182, the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history.

“In the last few years, it has come back very much into play, because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremists, people who openly advocate violence,” Jaishankar said.

“They have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023.

With files from Mickey Djuric in Ottawa.


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In the news today: Regimental funeral today for B.C. Mountie, NDP victory in Manitoba – National Post



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All Flesh Redux



Director’s Notes, Stacey Christodoulou

MONTREAL October, 2023 – Combining polyphonic singing, dance, and theatre, All Flesh REDUX is a poetic journey through time and space. Part sing-a-long, Dadaist performance piece as well as a love letter to our planet, the work enfolds the public in an intimate theatre-in-the-round setting where humour, music, storytelling and movement reign. Bringing together the worlds of medieval composers Guillaume de MachautHildegard von Bingen and modern composer John Cage, the company’s creation contemplates the unknowable past and the unimaginable future, and asks what acts of faith are possible in an uncertain world. October 13-22, seating is limited.

Director Stacey Christodoulou: “We could never imagine that the themes we spoke about in 2019 would become reality. In a certain way the show was prophetic. However, I believe that the message of creating beauty as a form of resistance is even more important now. The weaving of medieval song, contemporary dance and text continues our company’s interdisciplinary approach and reminds us that throughout history people have responded to turmoil with innovation and art.”

With: ENSEMBLE ALKEMIA (Jean-François Daignault, Dorothéa Ventura and Leah Weitzner), Stéphanie Fromentin, Erin Lindsay, Vanessa Schmit-Craan, Lael  Stellick

Musical direction by Jean-François Daignault; scenograpy by Amy Keith; sound by Debbie Doe; costumes by Cathia Pagotto; lighting by David Perreault Ninacs and technical stage coordination by Birdie Gregor.


All Flesh REDUX

Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire

4750, avenue Henri-Julien

Dates: Friday, Oct., 13, Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8pm; Sunday Oct. 14 at 3pm

Wednesday, October 18-Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8pm; Sunday, Oct. 22 at 3pm

Tickets/514 873-4032: $20, Students/Seniors: $15

Seating is limited

Website:  Instagram: @othertheatremtl  Facebook: othertheatre


Formed in 1991 by Artistic Director Stacey Christodoulou, The Other Theatre is devoted to contemporary creation. Working bilingually, their award-wining work has included adaptations, installations, theatre texts, and collectively written material performed in numerous venues in Montreal and abroad, including theatres, galleries, as well as a moving elevator.

Drawing inspiration from art forms other than theatre – dance, cinema, science, architecture, and the visual arts – the company presents evocative performances, grounded by thought-provoking texts.  From a creole Macbeth, to sci-fi with polyphonic singing, to the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, their original creations are thrilling and visually striking. They have also presented the work of International and Canadian writers, giving them their French-language premieres in Quebec. Exploring the large existential issues of the time, The Other Theatre aims to move audiences to greater emotional connection and reflection, bridging communities and languages to create a hybrid theatre that is reflective of the cultural richness of Montreal. They value and foster artistic exchange, both locally and internationally and share their artistic process in Canada, the US, Europe and Mexico, through mentorships, workshops and cultural mediation in local communities and schools.

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