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November 14th, 2018 by admin

Searchers find baby’s body in South Carolina creek, mother said she put girl in water

SOCASTEE, S.C. – Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Divers found the body about 3:45 p.m., Horry County police Chief Saundra Rhodes said at a news conference. Later, more than a dozen rescuers gathered in a circle, praying. Some of them wiped their eyes.

“All of us have a sense of peace knowing we can lay her to rest properly,” Rhodes said.

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On Tuesday, the girl’s mother, Sarah Lane Toney, went to a home about 500 yards across the creek and swamp from her house near Myrtle Beach and told a woman she had put her baby into the creek, police said.

Toney was taken into custody and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. A judge denied bond Thursday before the body was found.

Toney asked officers at her bond hearing whether her baby had been found, then told the judge she should be released from jail because she didn’t plan to leave the area and needed to take care of her older daughter, who was turned over to her father after she reported her baby disappeared in the water.

“I went into the water with her, and I was unable to hold on to her,” Toney said at her bond hearing. “I didn’t intentionally put her in any danger. I was going with her, and I wasn’t able to hold on to her when the water sucked me in.”

The baby was found less than 75 yards from her home, Rhodes said. The removal of a large tree helped divers find the body, the police chief said. An autopsy has been ordered to determine how the girl died.

WATCH ABOVE: Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Rhodes said her officers will consult with prosecutors, but she expects Toney to face charges in her daughter’s death.

Toney, who also has gone by the last name of Carlson, has an arrest record in South Carolina that dates back to 2008, according to records obtained Wednesday from the State Law Enforcement Division. They included two arrests on criminal domestic violence charges.

The search for the baby, named Grace, could only go on in daylight because the current is so swift and the murky, brown water in the swamp and creek are full of reeds, trees and other vegetation, Horry County Police spokesman Lt. Raul Denis said. Searchers used special sonar equipment, along with boats, canoes and personal watercraft to look in the 6- to 8-foot depths.

Neighbours said Toney kept mostly to herself. Kayle White said she saw Toney pushing the baby around the neighbourhood in a stroller, but they never spoke.

“She’d walk up and down the street, but I’ve never seen that baby up close,” White said.

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Alberta government moves to expand sunshine list

EDMONTON — Doctors and university professors are on the newest list of people who could find their salaries are public knowledge.

The Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act, introduced on Thursday, expands the province’s sunshine list, to require disclosure of salaries for all employees of public sector bodies, including Alberta Health Services and post-secondary institutions.

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Bill 5 also requires disclosure of payments to doctors and other health service providers.

Board members of the province’s agencies, board, and commissions will also see their compensation made public, no how matter how much or how little they are paid.

The information will be made public once a year, with the first disclosure scheduled to happen on or before June 30, 2016.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says the government has not heard any objections so far to the expanded disclosure rules.

“Public sector workers, they don’t want their privacy unfairly invaded, but they also understand that this government has a commitment to transparency, particularly when we’re dealing with…over $125,000, so it’s, sort of, higher salary range people.”

Here’s how the new legislation affects each group:

Employees of Public Sector Bodies

Who: Everyone who works for an agency, board or commission governed by the Alberta Public Agencies Act. This includes, but is not limited to, Alberta Health Services, post-secondary institutions, the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, and Alberta Treasury Branches. Covenant Health will also be included, as well as independent offices of the Legislature, like the Ombudsman and Auditor General.

Threshold: Anyone who makes more than $125,000 per year. That includes base salary, overtime pay, and any other remuneration, with the exception of pension contributions.

What: If the threshold is met, the employee’s full compensation will be released, including pay, employer pension contributions, and any severance paid.

Board members

Who: Members of governing boards of agencies, boards and commissions, as well as board members of Alberta Health Services, Convenant Health, and post-secondary institutions.

Threshold: None. All names and compensation will be disclosed, regardless of the amount.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

Physicians and other health service providers

Who: Anyone who is paid by the province on a fee-for-service basis, including doctors, optometrists, and dentists.

Threshold: Undecided. If a threshold is set, it will be done as a regulation and not included in the Act itself.

What: Fee-for-service payments, and any other payments made to health service providers by the provincial government, Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, and the Alberta Medical Association.

Government of Alberta employees

Who: All employees of the provincial government, who are currently covered by disclosure rules introduced by the previous PC government in 2013.

What’s new: Disclosure for government employees is currently required by a Treasury Board Directive. The same employees, and the same rules, will now be part of the new Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act.

Threshold: Originally introduced at $100,000 base salary or severance, the amount increases each year based on inflation. The current threshold is $104,754.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

The number of people affected is difficult to determine. More than 150,000 people work for government sector agencies, and the government expects several thousand of them will see their salaries disclosed. Figures obtained by the Wildrose party last December showed 9,786 employees of Alberta Health Services alone made more than $100,000 a year in 2013.

Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon says his party is still studying the bill, but he suggests all publicly-paid workers should meet the same standard.

“To us, $104,000 is already a pretty high salary, period. And I think anybody making above $100,000 in the public sector, it’s reasonable for Albertans to know where those salaries are happening.”

The Minister of Justice could also allow some exemptions. The salaries of crown prosecutors, for example, are not released because of concerns about their safety.

Under the existing rules, 3,556 provincial employees saw their pay information released last year. The full list can be found on the Alberta Government website here.

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Sask. gov’t defends carbon capture sales pitch

REGINA – More questions are being raised about the economic case for SaskPower’s $1.5-billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility.

On Thursday, the Opposition NDP cited an internal SaskPower memo leaked to the party, which suggested the project would be experimental.

Dated May 24, 2012, the briefing note said offsetting environmental impacts of coal power would require “vast advancement of existing CCS technology, the economics of which are unclear.”

The CCS plant near Estevan has been criticized in recent weeks because of poor performance and statements from the Sask. Party government and SaskPower officials that led people to believe the CCS project was “exceeding expectations.”

READ MORE: Chart shows capture performance not improving

Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for SaskPower, says despite the early challenges, he expects the project to pay off through sales of carbon dioxide (CO2) and reducing CO2 emissions from the coal-fired power plant the facility is attached to.

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“Do we proceed with coal, which we have some approximately 200 to 300 year supply of coal in Saskatchewan, or do we shut it down? We made the decision to go forward.”

Tougher federal standards for emissions would have forced Saskatchewan to make changes to coal power generation by 2019.

On Tuesday, University of Regina environmental economist Samuel Gamtessa told Global News it may be difficult to sell the world on the expertise being gained at Boundary Dam, because other countries and power utilities would simply “learn from our failures.”

“You wouldn’t consider this technology because it’s profitable,” he said. “The consideration is an environmental requirement.”

“If by accident or by luck, we make profit, that’s good.”

Boyd argued that more than 200 companies and organizations have come forward, expressing interest in what SaskPower has learned so far – including the flaws.

“These are experiences SaskPower has now that they didn’t have before,” he said. “That’s very valuable information and I think companies would agree.”

Follow @mikemckinnon

©2015

August 15th, 2019 by admin

New poll shows skepticism over decision to destroy Vancouver viaducts

They may be coming down – but not every one is happy about it.

That’s what a new poll by Insights West says about the Vancouver viaducts. In an online survey of 547 people in Metro Vancouver, just 36 per cent of people said they supported city council’s decision last month to take down the mini-freeway, compared to 40 per cent who opposed the decision.

In addition, 85 per cent said there was no guarantee it would lead to affordable housing, 71 per cent said they believed it would only benefit developers and not average residents, and 70 per cent said it would increase traffic in the area – all running contrary to the city’s claims.

“This is something that has been consistent the past couple of years,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West.

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“There’s a lot of cynicism from the voters in Metro Vancouver and the city of Vancouver especially when it comes to development. And they are looking at the issue of the Georgia Viaducts coming down as a way for the developers to benefit, and not the average citizen.”

READ MORE: Many months and negotiations to go before viaducts go down

Minister of Transportation Todd Stone says the government shares some of the concerns seen in the poll.

“From a provincial perspective, I am concerned with respect to potential impacts on traffic flow from a regional perspective. This is why TransLink needs to be at this table. Some of these roads are part of their major road network, we want to make sure the removal of the viaducts doesn’t in any way compromise that flow of traffic in and out of Vancouver,” he said.

The City of Vancouver has given itself 18 months to come up with a design plan and negotiate land deals. The teardown of viaducts could begin by late 2017 and be complete by 2020.

August 15th, 2019 by admin

Serena Williams chases down would-be robber, gets cellphone back

Serena Williams, who is known for slamming her opponents on the court, slammed the door on a would-be robber who stole her cellphone on Tuesday.

A video captured the tennis star dining at a restaurant in San Francisco when a man approached her table inconspicuously. With a jacket draped over his arm for cover, he managed to grab the phone and take off.

The Wimbledon champion was quick to spot that her cellphone was missing and took off after the man she thought who took It.

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The tennis star chased down and confronted the man on the street outside the restaurant.

Whether or not she had to use her on-the-court demeanor when confronting the man to return her belonging, Williams did indeed get the phone back.

“In the most menacing yet calm no nonsense voice I could muster I kindly asked him if he “accidentally” took the wrong phone,” Williams wrote in a post on her Facebook page. “He stumbled on his words probably not expecting this to happen. “While he was thinking of the right thing to say and eventually he said ‘Gosh you know what I did! It was so confusing in there. I must have grabbed the wrong phone.’”

Williams’ companion at the restaurant began calling the phone and she could hear it ringing while in the man’s possession.

According to a KPIX FIVE report, fellow diners gave her a standing ovation when she returned with her cellphone in hand.

Williams said in her Facebook post that she had a “SUPERHERO sense” about the man and called herself “SuperSerena.”

The San Francisco Police Department told KPIX FIVE News that they’d like to speak to Williams about the incident in an effort to find out if the man has stolen other cell phones.

©2015

August 15th, 2019 by admin

Vancouver demolition numbers at a 10-year high

A wave of demolition in Point Grey is giving Brian Evans infill flashbacks.

“Beginning of the 1980s, we lived about 15 blocks from here, we found the neighbourhood was changing rapidly, houses being torn down,” says Evans.

The homes near Vine Street and West 22nd Avenue were being replaced with what he calls “mega-houses”. Evans says he made news headlines at the time as one of the last hold-outs until they finally had enough.

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Now, history is repeating itself with demolition numbers in 2015 at a 10-year high. In 2005, Vancouver saw 803 units come crashing. This year there have been 1,141, including pending applications.

READ MORE: House and condo prices in Greater Vancouver continue to climb

“The houses are being bought, houses are being built, but a lot of them are unoccupied. They are clearly investments,” he says.

Demolition companies like J&R Excavation says they are barely able to keep up with new clients being placed on a waiting list.

“On average I would say we’re tearing down at least one house a week,” says Trevor Bauder, who spent the day tearing down an older home in east Vancouver.

A new home with a rental suite is being built in its place: an increasing trend on the east side, as homes are torn down to make room for more density.

Some area residents say the face of their community is changing too quickly. With the City of Vancouver approving Shaughnessy as its first heritage neighbourhood, they hope similar designations will slow down to pace of demolition.

“I sent a text to my husband saying another one bites the dust,” says neighbour Kim Larter. “It’s sad to see these old houses getting torn down.”

August 15th, 2019 by admin

Desharnais, Gallagher goals pace Canadiens 4-1 over Islanders

MONTREAL – David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher scored 1:33 apart in the third period to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Dale Weise and Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal (12-2-1), which has not lost in regulation time (3-0-1) in four games since Mike Condon replaced the injured Carey Price as the starting goaltender.

Kyle Okposo scored for the Islanders (7-4-3), who are 1-2-2 in their last five games.

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READ MORE: Kyle Turris scores early in OT to lift Senators past Canadiens 2-1

Montreal had a 24-18 shot advantage and beat former Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak for only the second time in six meetings.

Weise, with his fifth goal in the last four games, was in the slot to redirect a Jeff Petry feed past Halak on a power play at 18:50 of the first period. It was Weise’s team-leading eighth goal of the season, two short of his career high.

The Canadiens had just killed a penalty when Okposo skated through the defence into the slot and beat Condon with a wrist shot 3:35 into the second frame.

READ MORE: Leafs coach Mike Babcock expected to coach Canada at 2016 World Cup

A puck tipped in the neutral zone glanced off linesman Michel Cormier and sent the Canadiens in on a two on one, which Desharnais finishing a feed from Tomas Fleischmann 6:22 into the third.

Gallagher was on the doorstep to deflect a Max Pacioretty shot between Halak’s pads at 7:55.

Plekanec got his sixth of the season into an empty net at 17:57.

Montreal killed all three Islander power plays and have yet to allow a short-handed goal at home in 23 chances this season.

The Canadiens complete a four-game homestand Saturday against Boston. The Isles play host to the Bruins on Sunday.

©2015

August 15th, 2019 by admin

Saskatoon Hilltops seek fifth Canadian Bowl title in six years

SASKATOON  – After winning four of the last five Canadian Bowls, the Saskatoon Hilltops could be excused for treating this year’s championship as a case of ‘been there, done that.’ But this one is different.

The Hilltops are playing for national glory on home turf. The last time that happened was in 2010, before any members of the current roster were on the team.

“It’s going to be a special moment to sort of realize that we’re in our surroundings, we’re at home and we’re in this beautiful place, but ultimately you’ve got to forget about that when you get between the lines,” said head coach Tom Sargeant.

“We’ve got an Okanagan Sun team that has worked real hard to get here as well and they’re looking to knock us off the pedestal.”

Watch below: Okanagan Sun warm up for Canadian Bowl

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They haven’t faced each other in well over a decade but the Hilltops and Sun have plenty of shared history.

They’ve met on seven previous occasions including two in the Canadian Bowl, with each team winning once. The Sun are making their first trip to the title game since 2004 after running the table in the BCFC this season. They combine a high-octane offence with arguably the stingiest defence in the country, which should make for a great matchup against the Hilltops.

“Film tells a lot but it doesn’t tell everything. You never really know until you play someone,” said quarterback Jared Andreychuk.

“They’re a really big, strong, physical team and they have lots of athletes out there, so it’s going to be a fight.”

It’s a fight the Hilltops pivot is ready for despite admitting to some pre-game jitters.

READ MORE: Running game helps propel Saskatoon Hilltops to Canadian Bowl

“I’m not one to get nervous but Canadian Bowls, they get me nervous. It usually works out. I play well under pressure and hopefully that will be the same this weekend,” he said.

So will Saskatoon climb to the top once more or will Okanagan ride into the sunset with the victory? The answer will come on Saturday.

©2015

July 16th, 2019 by admin

Ottawa Senators outlast Winnipeg Jets as road trip ends with shootout loss

The Winnipeg Jets couldn’t complete the Ontario sweep as they fell to the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a shootout settling for a single point.

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For the second straight night the game went right to the wire but unlike the night before against the Toronto Maple Leafs the Jets failed to score the go ahead goal and then lost the game in the shootout. It was the fourth time already this season the Jets have played in back to back nights with their record now 2-1-1 in the second game of the back to backs. The Jets finished the four game road trip with five of a possible eight points.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets escape Toronto with a victory

Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson was spectacular at times as he bounced back from a poor performance in his last start against the Montreal Canadiens. He finished the game with 29 saves.  Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien scored the Jets goals in the loss while Cody Ceci and Bobby Ryan found the net for Ottawa.

The Jets failed to score on an early man advantage and soon after the penalty expired the Senators won the offensive zone faceoff. It came back to Ceci and he fired it from the point and the puck appeared to hit Hutchinson in the mask as it sailed into the net. Ceci’s second goal of the season was assisted by Jean-Gabriel Pageau as Ottawa jumped out on top. It was the first time the Sens have scored the games first goal on home ice this season. And it was the only goal of the opening period as the Sens out shot Winnipeg 11-9.

The Senators had several odd man rushes in the first half of the second period as Hutchinson kept the Jets within a single goal. But midway through the second the Jets got caught on a bad line change which led to a Sens 2-on-1. Mika Zibanejad set up Bobby Ryan and he buried the one-timer for his fifth goal of the season and a two goal Ottawa lead.

The Jets finally solved Craig Anderson with 2:41 left in the second period. Blake Wheeler spotted Ladd at the side of the net and the Jets captain deposited the puck behind Anderson before he could get across to hug the goal post. Toby Enstrom also had an assist on Ladd’s fourth goal of the campaign. The Jets trailed 2-1 through 40 minutes with the shots 10 aside in the period.

They opened the third period playing 4-on-4 and just 26 seconds into the final frame Byfuglien stole the puck at his own blueline and skated the length of the ice before muscling a slap shot past Anderson. His fourth goal was unassisted and the Jets were on even terms.

It was a dominating third period for the Jets out shooting Ottawa 14-7. But they couldn’t muster the go ahead goal and Hutchinson was forced to make a pair of big saves in the dieing minutes to send the game to overtime.

Playing 3-on-3 in the extra period Hutchinson robbed Erik Karlsson on a breakaway in the first minute of OT. Both teams had chances to end it but it remained tied through the extra five minute period. The Jets led 7-3 in shots.

In their first shootout of the season Ryan scored on the Sens first attempt but Wheeler replied for the Jets to even it up. Kyle Turris then gave the Sens the lead back as he picked the top corner. Ladd was up next for the Jets but Anderson came sliding out to make the save. Then Zibanejad made it 3-for-3 in the shootout for Ottawa to give the Senators a 3-2 victory.

The Jets had a 40-31 advantage in shots. Byfuglien led the Jets in ice time at 28:04. The Jets were 0/2 on the powerplay and only won 40% of the faceoffs.

The Jets used the same lineup as the night before with Adam Pardy, Paul Postma and Patrice Cormier all healthy scratches. They’ll play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday before embarking on a crucial four game road trip with all four games against Central Division opponents.

©2015

July 16th, 2019 by admin

Scottish man charged in alleged Twitter stock fraud

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted a Scottish man on Thursday for securities fraud after prosecutors say he manipulated stock prices using 桑拿会所.

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James Alan Craig, 62, of Dunragit, Scotland, set up 桑拿会所 accounts in 2013 that appeared to be associated with real market research firms before sending out false Tweets that sent companies’ stock prices plunging, prosecutors said. He is accused of then buying the companies’ stock and profiting when the prices rebounded. Craig caused shareholders to lose more than $1.6 million, according to prosecutors.

READ MORE: Opinions on Essena O’Neill split after some allege social media protest is a hoax

“This investigation dismantled a stock market manipulation scheme that operated with one goal in mind — to falsely defame a company in order to destroy its stock value for financial gain,” FBI Special Agent in Charge David Johnson said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear whether Craig had an attorney. An email to a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman after hours Thursday was not immediately returned.

READ MORE: 桑拿会所 trades ‘favourites’ and stars for ‘likes’ and hearts

Craig targeted the San Francisco Bay area sound technology company Audience and the Washington-based biopharmaceutical firm Sarepta, prosecutors said. He Tweeted that Audience was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice on rumoured fraud charges and that Sarepta papers had been seized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prosecutors said.

He is accused both times of using his girlfriend’s TradeMonster account to purchase shares in the companies and then later selling them at a higher price.

©2015

July 16th, 2019 by admin

Alberta native friendship centres help men, boys end violence against females

EDMONTON – Native friendship centres in Alberta are launching a program to help men and boys understand what they can do to end violence against aboriginal women and girls.

The program called “I Am a Kind Man” aims to raise awareness and to teach men to understand their responsibilities.

Merle White of the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association says the program is an important step toward the goal of a future with no violence against aboriginal females.

White says the project will be based on native traditional teachings such as the Seven Sacred Rights.

The program is to be offered at Friendship Centres in Edmonton, Calgary, Cold Lake, Grande Prairie, Hinton, Red Deer, Pincher Creek, Peace River and Slave Lake.

Earlier this year the RCMP said 70 per cent of aboriginal females killed in Canada – in cases solved by police – died at the hands of other aboriginals.

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©2015

July 16th, 2019 by admin

Man who landed gyrocopter outside Capitol will plead guilty

WASHINGTON – A man who flew a gyrocopter through some of America’s most restricted airspace before landing outside the U.S. Capitol earlier this year will plead guilty to a felony in connection with the incident, his lawyer said Thursday.

Attorney Mark Goldstone said in an email that his client Douglas Hughes is expected to plead guilty to operating a gyrocopter without a license, a felony, on Nov. 20 in federal court in Washington.

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In the email to The Associated Press, Goldstone said Hughes faces three years in prison and the government and Hughes’ defence lawyers agreed that sentencing guidelines don’t apply.

Hughes was arrested April 15 after flying the bare-bones aircraft from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Washington. He said his flight was an act of civil disobedience intended to call attention to the influence of big money in politics.

“Doug Hughes will continue to be a strong voice for campaign finance reform and getting excessive money out of politics and allowing all citizens-regardless of the size of their bank accounts a voice in our democracy,” Goldstone said in an email Thursday.

He added: “Democracy itself is jeopardized when citizens lose the ability to speak to their government and Doug’s dramatic act of aerial civil disobedience was a cry that our democracy is in peril unless ordinary citizens feel free to speak up and have their voices heard by their Government.”

The tail section of Hughes’ gyrocopter carried a Postal Service logo, and Hughes, who is from Ruskin, Florida, was carrying letters for each member of Congress. Hughes was a mailman at the time of his flight.

READ MORE: Pilot who landed gyrocopter at U.S. Capitol facing 6 charges

Hughes said previously that he had rejected a deal that included several years in prison and that if prosecutors continued to insist on “significant hard jail time,” his case would go to trial. He was not immediately reachable by phone Thursday night.

Hughes said spending several years in prison doesn’t seem fair because nobody was hurt and there was no property damage during his flight.

Hughes was indicted on six charges that carried up to 9 and 1/2 years in prison.

William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, said in an email late Thursday that the office does not comment on the possibility of pleas in its cases and would have no comment in this case.

©2015

July 16th, 2019 by admin

Harper has role to play in Conservative party’s renewal, ex-PM Mulroney says

TORONTO – Former prime minister Stephen Harper has a role to play in helping renew a damaged Conservative party so that it can one day return to government, one of his predecessors said Thursday.

In a speech to the Albany Club, Brian Mulroney said the rebuilding will have to include policies that appeal to a wide spectrum of voters.

“Canada’s vibrant democracy is advanced by the collision of great ideas and the articulation of competing visions for our country,” Mulroney said.

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“It may surprise some but this actually can be done effectively without the politics of personal destruction.”

Only if Conservatives band together, he said in prepared remarks, will Canadians invite them back into government.

READ MORE: Rona Ambrose chosen as new interim leader of Conservatives

“Change will one day come, but only when Canadians feel that we are worthy of their trust, that we reflect their values, and that we offer them a vision of Canada that is grand, generous and true,” he said.

Mulroney reminded his audience of the Tory party’s long, painful climb back to political respectability after its crushing defeat at the hands of the Liberals in 1993 that followed his two terms as prime minister.

WATCH: Federal Election 2015: Harper takes responsibility for election lose, doesn’t address resignation

“Change will one day come, but only when Canadians feel that we are worthy of their trust, that we reflect their values, and that we offer them a vision of Canada that is grand, generous and true,” he said.

“There should be no ideological impediments to our welcome, no narrowness of view, or vindictiveness of spirit as we review, renew and rebuild.”

Mulroney reminded his audience of the Tory party’s long, painful climb back to political respectability after its crushing defeat at the hands of the Liberals in 1993 that followed his two terms as prime minister.

Liberals then governed for 13 uninterrupted years.

“I will leave in silence tonight the reasons for those victories and the roles of those who split the Conservative vote down the middle,” Mulroney said.

“No more magnificent gift has ever been handed over from one opposing party to another in the long and turbulent political history of Canada.”

In the end, he said, people finally came to realize the party had split into two unelectable wings that served only to guarantee successive Liberal victories.

“We do not need to learn this lesson again,” he told the crowd of several hundred, who gave him a prolonged, standing ovation.

To change that dynamic, he said, unity was needed and he praised both Harper and Progressive Conservative stalwart Peter MacKay, who introduced him as speaker, for ensuring that happened.

Now as then, the party still needs Harper, who had rendered “important service” to Canada, to help in the rebuilding, he said.

While Harper was frequently criticized for centralizing power and decision-making in his office, Mulroney stressed the importance of a party’s caucus as a “microcosm of Canada, replete with challenges and achievements, tensions and dreams.”

READ MORE: Tory MPs unusually talkative as post-Harper era begins

Harmonizing the differences into coherent national policy, he said, exemplified the “very essence of Parliamentary democracy.”

Important public policy, he added, requires powerful debate and stirs necessary dissent.

He urged the party to take the time to choose a new leader with care – it chose Rona Ambrose as interim leader Thursday. The party, he said, must articulate a vision and policies with a voice that “eschews harshness” and celebrates the essential goodness of Canadians.

Mulroney also paid brief tribute to rookie Liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, saying there has now been a generational change in Canada.

“Our new prime minister is 43 years old, sparkling with promise and passion,” Mulroney said. “I know that we, and all Canadians, wish him well.”

©2015