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A Grave Mistake: Burial sites in Fernie vanish amid new development

Amidst its postcard perfect views, the city of Fernie, B.C. is also the backdrop for a century old mystery.

A number of old burial plots in the scenic city are missing, and new developments may be to blame.

Decades ago, a large cemetery existed, but over time the boundaries got blurred.

Some residents are concerned that remains in the cemetery were unintentionally exhumed as developers, unaware of what lied beneath, built an elementary school.

Adele Dvorak is one person who has been impacted by the missing burial plots.

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Her great grandfather died over a century ago, but she has no idea where his remains are today.

“I think he would be horrified to think ‘hey, I was put here to rest for eternity, but I am no longer where I am supposed to be,’” says Dvorak.

“Where is he?” she asks.

“He died in Fernie and was laid to rest. Is he still at rest? I’d like to know where he is.”

Vern McGarrigle was one of the workers that helped build the school in the 1970’s.

“First time they found remains, we shut the job down,” says McGarrigle. “Authorities didn’t let us go near it, and that was it.”

“So the next two, three, four times they found remains… they never called anybody. They just pushed them aside and buried them so they were out of sight out of mind.”

“That was the way it was,” says McGarrigle. “Nobody wanted to stop work because the kids were eating, and when you stop working you lose some of the pay cheque.”

After the school was demolished, the land was sold to a private developer.

It’s not known if the school’s history was ever disclosed, but the buried bodies were disturbed for a second time.

“I watched them remove the bones,” says Dot Gildea. “It was a grown man and a baby and they putting them in the bag.”

In 2008, luxury homes started going up.

During the excavation, skeletons were found.

The majority of the lots have been purchased, except where evidence of remains were uncovered.

The development sits as a vacant space in middle of the most sought-after suburb in the city.

Despite repeated efforts to contact the developer, he would not speak to Global News.

The City of Fernie is working on getting approvals to hire a company for ground penetrating radar, to help narrow down how far the bones are scattered.

They’re also considering some kind of public memorial.

Meanwhile, some Fernie residents are working tirelessly to expose the truth and find out just how many people’s remains have gone missing.

For more details on the Lost Souls Project 2014 visit their Facebook page or email [email protected]杭州夜网

WATCH: Bear takes a dip in backyard kiddie pool while family watches – National

When Toshi Miyamoto first heard his daughter shouting “big bear!” from the living room this past Sunday, he thought she must be referring to the place.

“We just came back from Big Bear Mountain,” Miyamoto told KNBC News in Los Angeles. “So [I thought] she is talking about Big Bear mountain.”

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But sure enough, when the San Gabriel Valley resident looked out at his backyard, he got the shock of his life: a brown bear, lazily rolling about in his family’s kiddie pool.

That’s when he got out his camera.

“Oh my god, there is a bear Carole!” Miyamoto can be heard shouting to his wife, as the family gathered around the patio door to watch the animal in action.

It quickly became apparent the bear was interested simply in beating the heat on the stifling hot Sunday afternoon, with temperatures going above above 32 degrees Celsius.

And while he may have been a bit too big for the children’s wading pool, the overheated bear seemed quite relaxed as he sloshed about – much to the delight of Miyamoto’s three triplets.

The three-year-olds seem quite taken with the uninvited swimmer, cheerfully narrating the action from inside the house.

But Miyamoto drew the line when one of them asked to go outside to “take a wook” at the bear.

Eventually the bear lost interest and left over their fence, leaving the family with an incredible story to tell – and the video to prove it.

For the record: Conservative statements on National Peacekeepers’ Day – National

OTTAWA — While Canadians across the country celebrated their peacekeepers past and present this past weekend, the ceremony in Ottawa was of particular interest after Global News reported the Conservatives had asked the ceremony’s organizers to pen the speech for parliamentary secretary for veterans affairs Parm Gill.

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Global News gave the government almost two full days to respond to questions for that article but communications staff for Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino did not respond until after the story was published. On Friday afternoon a spokesperson said via email any suggestion the department had asked peacekeeping veterans to write a speech was “completely false.” Ceremony organizer Wayne Mac Culloch took exception to that statement:

“I think I’m going to be losing a lot of sleep tonight,” he said after hearing the government’s response. “It’s difficult to take government at its word and then have government turn around and say we never said that.”

The speech Gill delivered at Sunday’s ceremony strayed from the one Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping gave Global News just days earlier. It excluded any mention of adding a police officer to Ottawa’s peacekeepers’ memorial, as it has been asked to do and as Mac Culloch said he wrote into Gill’s speech.

If only we could travel to an alternate timeline where Friday’s story was never published, to see and hear what Gill would have said.

According to an iPolitics reporter who was at Sunday’s ceremony in downtown Ottawa, Gill refuted the assertion he and his staff would not have written his speech.

Below is the speech the peacekeepers’ association gave Global News, a transcript of Gill’s speech and copies of written statements from Fantino, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson.

Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping:

Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs. Bonjour.

It is an honour to be here in Ottawa with you to mark National Peacekeepers’ Day—a day that reflects so much of our country’s proud history and heritage.

Around the world, Canada is respected as a peaceful and just nation … a nation dedicated to freedom and democracy … and we know that much of the credit goes to the men and women we are honouring today.

Canada’s peacekeepers … from our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces to our police officers … have proudly served wherever they’ve been needed.  And each time, they have brought hope to people who had only known fear and violence.

We have some of these remarkable men and women with us today, and I want to thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Many times you have arrived in countries where there was little peace to be kept … and you have always distinguished yourselves through your courage and compassion.

2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of Canadian military service on the United Nations mission in Cyprus and celebrates 25 years of Canadian police contributions to international peace operations. From its humble beginnings in 1948, Canadian peacekeeping efforts have showcased the best of Canada and Canadians.  The three military figures on the monument behind me recognize those beginnings and the variety of military missions in which our country has participated in the decades since, but there is something missing – a police officer.  It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Government of Canada is resolved to correct that deficiency by adding a fourth figure – one modeled on the officers preparing for deployment with us on parade today, and recognizing their unique achievements.

That is why we are here today. That is what we are recognizing … the generations of Canadian peacekeepers who have served and continue to serve around the globe … more than 150,000 men and women who have dedicated themselves to defending our shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

As we gather here, Canadian peacekeepers are still proudly serving in places such as Haiti, the Darfur, the Congo, and the Middle East.  They are serving in harm’s way because they believe a better world is possible … and that troubled nations can realize a better tomorrow.

Our Government is proud of such commitment … such selfless service … and we know that all Canadians share our pride in our nation’s peacekeepers. We see it every time Canadians travel abroad with the Red Maple Leaf proudly displayed.  We know our flag is recognized around the world as a symbol of peace and freedom.

But our peacekeeping traditions have come at a terrible price to our country. Canada has lost some of her finest sons and daughters in the name of peace.

That is why we mark National Peacekeepers’ Day each year … to remember Canada’s fallen men and women, and to stand with their families and mourn our nation’s loss.

National Peacekeepers’ Day allows us to pause and remember the courageous men and women who have served so many noble causes around the world.

I want to thank all of you for being here this morning. Your presence reflects your determination to keep faith with Canada’s fallen peacekeepers and those that have served with you.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, our Government and our grateful nation, I want to thank each one of you— for your service and your sacrifice. You will never be forgotten in the places where you’ve served … and you will always be remembered as our nation’s truest heroes

Lest we forget.

– 30 –

Prepared by: Richard Roik, speech writer and co-ordinator

WATCH: This weekend, the tens of thousands of Canadians who served overseas on United Nations peacekeeping missions were honoured.  But the soldiers, veterans and police officers say they’re a forgotten group.

Parliamentary secretary Parm Gill:

It is an honour to be here with you in Ottawa this morning, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs, to mark National Peacekeepers’ Day., a truly Canadian tradition.

Peacekeeping is a part of who we are. As Canadians, it goes to the heart of our proud history and it reflects our enduring values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

That is why I feel privileged to stand amongst so many of our nation’s finest peacekeepers who have brought honour and distinction to our country.

As members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and as police officers, diplomats and aide workers serving in some of the most troubled parts of the world, indeed as we gather here today, Canadians are proud of how you have always been willing to serve wherever you’re required, just as so many generations of men and women before you stepped forward when the world called, because that is the Canadian way.

We’ve been reminded of that this year, as our government formally marked the 50th anniversary of Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. On March 4, 1964, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for the deployment of peacekeeping forces. Mere days later, Canadian military forces were among the first to arrive in Cyprus. Fifty years later, Cyprus has come a long way. While lasting peace remains elusive, the island nation is now a member of both the European Union and the United Nations.

This is a legacy that Canadians can be proud of and one that Cyprus greatly recognizes. Minister Fantino saw that firsthand this year, when he led a delegation of Canadian peacekeepers returning to Cyprus. Everywhere he went, those Canadian veterans were greeted with a hero’s welcome.

And  it is the same reception wherever Canadian peacekeepers have served. The world will never forget you, the sacrifices you’ve made, nor will Canadians ever forget that.

We must never forget those noble men who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of freedom, peace and democracy in countries around the world. We remember our loss every single day. That is why we are here today. That is why we mark National Peacekeepers’ Day each year, to join as one and remember such selfless sacrifices.

And so on behalf of the prime minister, Minister Fantino, our government and all Canadians, I thank you for your faithful service in pursuit of peace and freedom throughout the world. You have done your duty. You have made our country proud, and the world is truly a better place because of you.

Lest we forget.

RCMP Chief Superintendent Marion Lamothe, places a bouquet of flowers in a brass shell casing as Parm Gill, parliamentary secretary to minister of veterans affairs (left) looks on onAugust 10,2014.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Veterans Minister Julian Fantino:

“Canadian peacekeepers are internationally respected for the unparalleled contributions they have made to peace and stability the world over. Today, on National Peacekeepers’ Day, I am honoured to recognize their heroic efforts.

“For more than six decades, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police forces, as well as civilians and diplomats, have worked together to maintain peace and stability throughout the world.

“On August 9, 1974, nine Canadian Armed Forces members were killed when their plane was shot down during a United Nations supply flight in the Middle East. This remains the largest single-day loss for our country during a peacekeeping mission. Today, we not only remember them, but also the more than 275 Canadians who have lost their lives in peace-support missions around the world.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, I offer heartfelt thanks to all Canadians who have served as peacekeepers. Their achievements, courage and commitment have made a profound difference in the lives of people around the world.”

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson:

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement:

“For several decades, Canada has made important contributions to peacekeeping operations. National Peacekeepers’ Day provides Canadians with an opportunity to recognize the service and sacrifice of the Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Canadian civilians who work in support of peace around the world.

“Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces have a long association with Peace Support Operations. Over the course of the past 60 years, the Canadian Armed Forces have consistently risen to the challenge of contributing and maintaining international peace and security.

“This important work does not come without sacrifice. We must always remember those who paid the ultimate price helping to bring peace to dangerous conditions. Canada’s first casualty on a peacekeeping mission occurred in 1951, and since then 116 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, three members of the Canadian Foreign Service and two RCMP officers have died in far-off lands in the service of peace. On National Peacekeeping Day, we also recognize their service and commemorate their sacrifice.

“Canada remains committed to working with our allies and partners in the international community to preserve and promote a free, democratic, and peaceful world.”

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney:

“National Peacekeepers’ Day recognizes and honours Canadians who have served or are currently serving in peace missions around the world.

Many serve on these missions, including police officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and provincial and municipal forces, as well as personnel from the Canada Border Services Agency and the Correctional Service of Canada. They train and advise foreign law enforcement officers, border and correctional staff to promote the rule of law and uphold human rights. Their dedication and selfless service have contributed to improving the security and stability of troubled countries including Haiti and Afghanistan.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Canadian police contributions to international peace operations. Thousands of Canadian police serve in peacekeeping missions around the world to assist foreign police to maintain law and order, and create a safer environment for their communities.

Today, please take the time to reflect and thank the men and women who have sacrificed so much to ensure that others are able to live in a peaceful and secure world.”

5 reasons to look at the night sky (not just when it’s a ‘supermoon’)

TORONTO – This weekend the word “supermoon” was bandied about once again, just a month after the last so-called special moon event.

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While it’s great that people are looking up at the night sky, the truth is, the difference between a supermoon and a regular moon isn’t easy enough for you and I to pick out. Sure, it may be 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter, but if anyone hadn’t told you it was, do you think you would have noticed?

The moon has an elliptical orbit, meaning that at one point in its orbit it’s the furthest it can be from Earth – called apogee – and at one point it’s the closest it can be – called perigee. When it’s at perigee, and in particular when it’s a full moon, people have started to call it a supermoon. But it’s just as special as any other full moon.

READ MORE: Enjoy the supermoon this weekend (but it’s not as ‘super’ as you think)

It’s a great thing that people are looking up at the sky, but you don’t have to wait for an event with a catchy name. There are plenty of good reasons to look up, and summer is the best time to do it in Canada.

1. The Moon

The moon is the nearest celestial body to us, but most people take it for granted, rarely looking at it unless it’s deemed special, such as a lunar eclipse or “supermoon.” But looking at it any time is sure to impress you.

This may not be a ‘supermoon,’ but looking at the moon at any time can be amazing.

Nicole Mortillaro

To fully appreciate our nearest neighbour, all you need is a pair of binoculars. Grab any pair – they don’t have to have particularly high magnification – and look at the moon. Instead of a flat orb, the moon is full of craters and ridges that give it so much more depth. Trust me: You will be amazed when you see our moon close up.

2. Meteors

Almost every month we go through a meteor shower, but meteors are visible every night. Tiny bits of dust or rock burn up in our atmosphere producing a meteor, or shooting star, as some call it. All you need is a relatively dark-sky site, a lawn chair or blanket. Moonless skies are also preferable as it’s easier to spot even dim meteors.

A Perseid meteor streaks through the constellation Cassiopeia

Bill Longo

3. Space junk

Earth is surrounded by literally tons of human-made debris. From telecommunications satellites, GPS or military satellites, or even spent rocket parts, Earth-orbit is a very busy place. There is also something called an Iridium flare. There are about 100 Iridium communications satellites that orbit Earth, just about 800 km above us in a steep, inclined orbit. When the sunlight glints off them, they flare in brightness before once again dimming. And they are very bright when they flare.

There is also the International Space Station. Depending on its orbit, you can catch this space laboratory as it slowly crosses the sky. Depending on the angle of the sun which reflects off it, it can be very bright to bright. To see when it passes over your area, visit 杭州夜生活heavens-above杭州夜网 (it will also provide you dates and times for Iridium flares).

WATCH: An Iridium flare

An artist’s impression of space debris objects in orbit. Though the debris is not to scale, it shows you just how much is in orbit around our planet.

ESA

4. Learn the night sky

Do you know if Orion is a summer or winter constellation? Do you know what Cassiopeia looks like? What about Pegasus? Learning the night sky can be a fun family experience. You can even go out and make up your own constellations.

And the great thing is, you can be doing three of the things on this list (including catching a meteor or following a satellite) just by learning the night sky.

You can find some great apps that will help you in your quest to identify constellations and visible planet such as Stellarium, StarWalk or SkySafari available on iPhone and Android.

One of the better known constellations is Ursa Major, of which the asterism the Big Dipper is a part. Learning to identify constellations can be fun.

Courtesy Stellarium

5. The northern lights

This may be somewhat rare, but Canada is in a prime location to see the northern lights, or aurora borealis.

WATCH: The northern lights over Alberta, February 2014

Northern Lights – Feb 19 & 20, 2014 from Richard Gottardo on Vimeo.

Northern lights occur after the sun unleashes a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection or both. When those charged particles arrive at Earth and interact with our magnetic field, the night sky is set aglow in colours, the most common being green and red. The further north you are, the better chance you have to see them. But during very strong eruptions they can be seen even through light pollution, though sometimes they’re so faint only a long-exposure (20 seconds or more) of a camera will capture their colour. Still, living in the shadow of Toronto, I’ve seen them on numerous occasions.

Bill Longo photographed the aurora borealis just north of Toronto in 2013.

Bill Longo

So, who needs a supermoon? In a country as vast and northerly as Canada, there is plenty of opportunity to catch some spectacles of the night. And with colder weather slowly sneaking up on us, summer is the best time to take advantage of it.

Follow @NebulousNikki

NFL testing new sideline tablets in preseason

NASHVILLE – Adjusting to new technology just isn’t easy for some people, even in the NFL where everyone is trying to find that winning edge.

Even in a pouring rain, Titans assistant coach Louie Cioffi flipped through soggy black-and-white printouts reviewing the opening series with his defensive backs. A couple times players shielded assistant coaches with towels to study photos of the Green Bay Packers.

So much for the NFL’s new tablets only a few steps away.

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Teams wrapped up the first full preseason test of the new Surface tablet from Microsoft for NFL sidelines with mostly good reviews and some glitches to fix. And yes, they were designed with a protective case to survive rugged weather conditions.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said Sunday he only heard positive feedback on the tablets and the photos available, especially upstairs in the coaching booth. He thinks the key now is only getting accustomed to using the tablet.

“One of the concerns that you had was the rain and how that would affect that, but it didn’t affect it last night,” Whisenhunt said. “And the players seemed to like it too. I mean the ability to zoom in and out to see those looks is a pretty neat thing. I think as the preseason progresses we’ll get more involved with those because it is a tremendous tool.”

The tablets also come with one very big difference from the black-and-white photos.

“It’s colour,” Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III said, laughing. “We went from black-and-white to colour.”

The tablets had their biggest weather test in Nashville where a couple inches of rain fell Saturday night during the Titans’ 20-16 win over the Packers.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy also gave the tablets a rave review.

“It’s really convenient as far as having every series on the iPad as opposed to having a book for each series,” McCarthy said. “Very convenient and nice to not have to leave the sideline and go to the bench is something I haven’t had in a long time.”

READ MORE: How World Cup referees are using goal-line technology to help make calls

Washington defensive backs coach Raheem Morris loves having the entire game right at his fingertips only a swipe away. That keeps him from scrambling for another batch of papers to find a pre- or post-snap look of what an opponent did earlier.

“It just helps coaches be more efficient, and anytime you help a coach be more efficient and save time, that’s ultimately what we’re all looking for,” Morris said.

Coaches did run into some issues.

In Washington’s 23-6 win over New England, one tablet was missing a play from the first series of the game that was on other tablets. That was corrected quickly.

Coaches also had to figure out which direction to swipe for the next picture. Usually, that involves dragging the finger left. This tablet requires a swipe right. Washington coach Jay Gruden called that a little weird, taking time to become accustomed to the difference. Still, count him among the converts to quickly check coverages or blitzes.

“Those tablets do come in handy and I think it’ll take some getting used to by the coaches, but I think they were good,” Gruden said.

Falcons coach Mike Smith called the tablets a “work in progress.” His coaches had better luck with them upstairs than on the sideline of their 16-10 win over Miami, and they also used the tablets at halftime. The tablets include no video, so their use currently has its limits.

“On the sideline it wasn’t as clear and as smooth as he would’ve liked it to be,” Smith said. “I think that can contributed to a number of things. It could be some tweaks we have to do in terms of software, but there’s also the possibility of the user not being familiar with all of the ways that you can move around on that tablet.”

Some coaches are sticking with the black-and-white printouts the NFL will use all season as a backup like Arizona coach Bruce Arians. He joked he will “let Tom handle the high-tech stuff,” 75-year-old assistant head coach Tom Moore.

As for the players, the tablets are just another tool.

“They’re all tech-savvy,” Morris said. “They’ve got iPads, they walk around with these iPhones and all this stuff.”

©2014The Canadian Press

PHOTOS: Stars come out for Teen Choice Awards

TORONTO — The 16th annual Teen Choice Awards on Sunday brought out dozens of stars of music, movies and television.

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The high-energy show, co-hosted by Tyler Posey of Teen Wolf and Sarah Hyland of Modern Family, used the results of online voting — 165 million votes were reportedly cast — to determine the winners of surfboards in offbeat categories like Choice Male Hottie, Movie Liplock and Movie Hissy Fit.

Canada was represented by performers Magic! as well as actors Nina Dobrev of The Vampire Diaries and Donald Sutherland of The Hunger Games.

Many of the winners — from One Direction and Austin Mahone to Katy Perry and Jennifer Lawrence — were not at the show but here’s a look at some of the stars who were.

Shailene Woodley

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Ansel Elgort

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Selena Gomez

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Josh Hutcherson

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Ariana Grande

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Cody Simpson with pop duo MKTO.

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Jason DeRulo

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Hilary Duff with Jake T. Austin.

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Taylor Swift

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Kevin Hart

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Sarah Hyland with Tyler Posey.

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Kellan Lutz

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Jennifer Lopez with Tyler Posey

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Demi Lovato

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Magic!

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Lea Michele with Paul Wesley.

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Chloe Grace Moretz

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Tyler Posey

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Ian Somerhalder

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Tyler Blackburn

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Donald Sutherland

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Cameron Dallas

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Harper government dismisses study on climate effects of Keystone pipeline

The Harper government is dismissing an economic analysis on how the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project could effect climate change.

The government says the study done by researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute is based on false assumptions.

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The study released yesterday says U.S. government findings that Keystone wouldn’t make a significant climate difference missed a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

READ MORE: Keystone climate impacts could be higher than U.S. estimate: study

Co-author Peter Erickson says it doesn’t appear American officials looked at the implications of an increased supply of fuel.

He says greater supply could force prices down and prompt more consumption that could cause four times the emissions the U-S is predicting.

The authors acknowledge their study doesn’t answer whether Keystone XL would encourage oilsands expansion or simply provide an outlet for growth that would have happened anyway.

The federal government says that’s a key point that undermines the study’s findings.

Ottawa also says the study doesn’t factor in that Keystone crude would replace Middle East sour crude that causes more pollution.

©2014The Canadian Press

Is Vancouver becoming Silicon Valley North? – National

READ MORE: One of the largest conventions ever staged in Vancouver has attracted thousands of digital wizards to the city. Brian Coxford looks at why many hope this is a sign of better things to come for our economy.

VANCOUVER – Software engineer Pablo Guana nearly refused a job with Facebook when the company redirected him to Vancouver from Silicon Valley because his United States visa application was rejected.

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“I will not go to Canada,” said the 25-year-old from Argentina of his initial reaction. “Twenty degrees below zero, are you crazy?”

Also stymied by the American immigration system – which meets only a fraction of the demand for economic green cards each year – was South African Jonathan Hitchcock, 34, who was at first disheartened that his “dream job” would be shunted to Canada.

Their struggle to obtain entry for employment epitomizes how stalled immigration reforms in the United States, along with several other factors, may be galvanizing Vancouver’s tech sector into becoming Silicon Valley North.

Ultimately, the two Facebook hires were separately convinced to give Vancouver a chance.

READ MORE: Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurs return to Toronto to invest in rich talent pool

“One of the reasons (Facebook) does well in Silicon Valley is because all the other companies are in Silicon Valley. Apart from that, Silicon Valley is awful. It’s a terrible, terrible place,” said Hitchcock, eight months after relocating transformed his perspective. “Vancouver is a wonderful, beautiful place, and all the companies are here. There’s a thriving tech community here.”

Facebook installed its downtown base for new engineering hires in May 2013. It joined a cluster of legacy and startup digital and tech companies like Electronic Arts, Hootsuite, Bench and Mobify, and preceded global heavyweights Microsoft, Sony Pictures Imageworks and incoming Amazon.

Facebook said the employment of up to 150 staff in Vancouver from around the world is only short-term, and points to the obstructive U.S. immigration system that “makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible,” to bring talented engineers to its Menlo Park headquarters, south of San Francisco.

A protracted political battle around overhauling U.S. immigration laws has included Silicon Valley firms’ warnings that meagre quotas will siphon coveted brain power.

“This same immigration issue plays an important role in many other companies’ decisions to open international offices,” said a Facebook spokeswoman, who declined to be named. “Canada’s approach to immigration enables companies like Facebook to set up small operations such as this, and we plan to do so in a way that has a positive impact in our temporary home.”

The federal government is aware of the issue and will “make no bones” about exploiting it to boost the domestic economy, said the federal employment minister.

READ MORE: Google Fiber expands to Austin, but jobs lead to Canada

“We’re seeking very deliberately to benefit from the dysfunctional American immigration system,” Jason Kenney said recently, when asked about a year-old campaign that erected giant “Pivot to Canada” billboards in the San Francisco Bay-area advertising directly to foreign nationals blocked from obtaining H-1B visas.

Offering permanent residency, the Canadian government launched a special “start-up visa” last year to facilitate the arrival of young entrepreneurs, and will open another stream this January.

The American obstacle is just one among a suite of competitive advantages helping transform Vancouver into a world-renowned tech hub, said Ian McKay, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission.

The province boasts lower corporate tax rates than the U.S., as well as enticing personal income tax rates. A wealth of skilled workers already funnel into the city via top-rated post-secondary institutions, feeding already flourishing companies. And the glistening city of glass towers, green spaces and waterfront has been cited amongst the world’s most livable.

“One of those arrows on its own probably doesn’t do a lot for us, but when you pile them on top of each other, it’s a pretty compelling story,” McKay said.

B.C. boasts more than 600 digital media companies, employing about 16,000 people and generating $2.3 billion in annual sales, according to the commission.

The developing critical mass is also evidenced by business incubators, such as GrowLab, a range of tech-wizard social gatherings and massive job fairs. Starting Sunday, SIGGRAPH, a prestigious computer graphics research forum with exhibitors from 60 countries will be held for five days at Vancouver’s Convention Centre.

READ MORE: Toronto startup secures $8.8 million in funding; plans Silicon Valley expansion

Motivated in large part by tax rebates, Sony Pictures Imageworks, the visual effects and animation unit of its parent company, is relocating its Los Angeles headquarters north, said its Vancouver-based vice-president of production operations.

Jason Dowdeswell said the move, slated for April 2015, comes with 500 job openings. Fewer than 20 per cent of the company’s current staff, several hundred already in Vancouver, are Canadian, he said, largely because talent is scarce.

“When we talk about the potential for Silicon Valley North, a lot of the pieces to that story are already here,” he said, though noting players are still getting acquainted.

“We’re messaging out around the world … that if you want some stability in your passionate work environment, Vancouver is a destination.”

But the road to Silicon Valley North is not all paved in gold.

Last year, hundreds of jobs evaporated when Disney shuttered Pixar Canada’s Vancouver studio in favour of California, and video game maker Electronic Arts transferred some offices to Ontario.

A panel discussion that took a hard look at the challenges was hosted by social media platform Hootsuite in late July.

Canada is suffering “a desperate and growing shortage” of computer developers and software engineers, said CEO Ryan Holmes. He lamented a “lost generation,” whereby Silicon Valley has claimed an estimated 350,000 Canadians over recent decades, adding that if Facebook closes its Vancouver office, that “doesn’t help our cause.”

Holmes remains optimistic about the local industry’s future.

“While Silicon Valley may enjoy a formidable concentration of capital and talent, it hardly has a monopoly on ambitious ideas and capable entrepreneurs,” he said in an email, adding investors can get in on the ground floor.

“In a few years’ time, Vancouver will be flush with tech capital and brilliant people will be gunning to build the next Facebook, 桑拿会所 and Hootsuite.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Canadians’ net worth up 8%, rebounding from downturn – National

TORONTO – Canadians’ fortunes appear to be in good shape, with their net worth up nearly eight per cent on higher real estate and investment values.

That’s according to data from Environics Analytics, which found that the average net worth per household last year grew by 7.7 per cent to $442,130.

Consumer debt was flat and real estate performed more predictably compared with recent years – increasing six per cent over 2012.

READ MORE: How Canadians are avoiding paying taxes on tax free savings accounts

That suggests that although many Canadians still face higher-than-normal unemployment, they are bouncing back strongly from the 2008 economic downturn, Environics said.

Nationwide, the new data indicate that stock portfolios are growing, savings are on the rise and mortgage debt has ticked up only modestly.

The report includes 121 financial and investment statistics from a variety of sources, including the Bank of Canada and Statistics Canada.

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©2014The Canadian Press

5 things I learned from Gord Steeves’ wife – Winnipeg

1) The Bannock Lady (Althea Guiboche) has good timing.  Capitalizing on the heat surrounding mayoral candidate Gord Steeves and his wife drew valuable attention to her good work and good cause was well played.  When we look back at this event at election time, I hope what we remember is that there are people like Guiboche making Winnipeg a nicer city.

2) As best I know, Gord and Lorrie Steeves were not at the Goldeyes game, the Assiniboine Park Zoo or eating at Santa Lucia.  None of those “no-shows” made headlines.

3) Tweets like this are true, but I think they miss an important point:

I learned long ago that my perceptions of the world and its safety are very different from my wife’s.  And both our points of view are equally valid.  People don’t treat a 6-foot-1 man the same way they do a woman.  Different experiences lead to different attitudes.  So to imply “I feel safe, so it’s safe,” doesn’t hold up.  If Lorrie Steeves didn’t feel safe downtown in 2010, no amount of arguing the point will make her feel safe.

4) If this is an issue now, we (as the media) should feel embarrassed for not knowing about it four years ago.  Gord Steeves was a city councillor when his wife wrote the comment.  This would have been as big a story back then.

5) I am never running for office. I don’t want to be reminded of the stupid things I’ve said/done/written in the past.  Like the brief moments where I believed that spaghetti grew on trees:

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