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Archive for December, 2018

December 16th, 2018 by admin

Washington man catches baby being tossed from burning building

A Washington man is being praised for his quick-thinking after he spotted his neighbour’s house ablaze, and ran over just in time to discover a family trapped on the second floor.

What happened next was remarkable, and may have been responsible for saving a little girl’s life.

Mark Hedgpeth says he was at his home in Longview, Washington this past Sunday night when he noticed something strange on his home security camera.

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“I noticed on my security cameras a massive amount of light,” Hedgpeth told KGW News in Portland, Oregon.

WATCH: Taco Bell executive offers tearful apology to Uber driver he assaulted

That “light” was a fire which had nearly engulfed the duplex next door to Hedgpeth’s home. A moment later, he says he heard his neighbours screaming for help and rushed over to see what was happening.

A dire situation was waiting for him: the fire had trapped a family in both the basement and the second floor of the duplex.

Chiann James was trapped along with her husband, her infant daughter, and two-year-old son on that second story.

She screamed to Hedgpeth from the second story window, getting his attention. Realizing she had only seconds before the fire reached her family, James says her “moma instincts” kicked in and she dropped her baby girl down to Hedgpeth.

“You realize that child’s well-being is in your hands and nothing was going to make me miss [the catch],” Hedgpeth said.

The two-year-old boy was the next to take the perilous leap, followed by James and her husband.

WATCH: Reporter left speechless as boyfriend proposes live on the air

Incredibly, no one was seriously hurt in the blaze – the family in the basement crawled to safety through a ground floor window.

“[The fire] was growing like you can’t believe,” Battalion Chief Troy Buzalsky said. “They all got very lucky.”

“I feel like I’m someone who stepped up when someone needed help,” said Hedgpeth. “I would hope and pray anyone would do the same.”

©2015Global News

December 16th, 2018 by admin

Liberals say they’ll retroactively fix gendered pay inequity in cabinet

The Liberal government was in damage-control mode on Day 3 of its government after it emerged that five of the historic 15 women cabinet ministers were actually ministers of state, more junior cabinet members who get paid less than their ministerial counterparts.

The Liberals say this will change, that all 30 ministers are full-fledged ministers and will be paid the same.

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“To reflect their role as full members of Cabinet, the government is taking steps to adjust their salary so that it is the same as that of their colleagues,” Raymond Rivet, director of corporate and media affairs with the Privy Council Office, said in an emailed statement Friday.

But no one from the party was willing to go on the record to clarify the reason behind this apparent taxonomical hiccup.

Meantime, the pay scale for those ministers says otherwise: Ministers of State make $20,000 less per year, according to the Parliament of Canada website.

The salary change would be retroactive to Wednesday, when these ministers were sworn in. But it isn’t clear how long the change will take.

All of the Ministers of State in the new cabinet are women.

A Liberal source told Global News that these five MPs are being called Ministers of State to ensure they’ll have departmental support regardless while the government changes are being made.

“They’re all ministers and there’s nothing wrong with describing them all as ministers,” said Rob Walsh, a former parliamentary law clerk.

“But the term ‘Minister of State’ is used for a minister who doesn’t have a department for which he or she is responsible.”

All the same, Walsh thinks that the Liberals should have realized this would be an issue, especially after Trudeau’s public embrace of gender equity in his cabinet.

“I think they’re caught in an embarrassing position where they appear to have been slighting women generally by putting them in these junior portfolios at reduced pay, and they’re trying to repair that by bringing in equal pay and equal status, and disregarding the question of whether in fact the responsibilities are comparable.”

That last thing, Walsh argues, should be what determines members’ paycheques.

“The Minister of National Defence, you can be sure, is going to be called upon to account for the operations of his department and government policy in relation to defence far more often than will the Minister for Sport, Status of Women or Science,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Trudeau found himself, perhaps unwittingly, giving the junior portfolios to women only. But I think the system itself is sound. It’s fewer responsibilities, so you have a lower pay scale and you don’t have the same status.”

READ MORE: Trudeau’s gender-equal cabinet makes headlines around world, social media

Several Liberal MPs have defended the setup, saying all 30 ministers are equal.

“We’re a singular cabinet and each minister has equal responsibilities and input into cabinet decisions,” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould told Global News Friday afternoon.

Peter Schiefke, Liberal MP for Vaudreuil-Soulanges, argues the Ministers of State issue is “just semantics.”

“The fact is that we’ve got 15 women and 15 men that are in very high-profile positions who are incredibly qualified and capable.”

Not all Liberals are happy with these optics, however. Sources have told Global News that many women in the party are furious this happened, saying it’s been embarrassing for the five women appointed Ministers of State.

The website of the Privy Council Office listed the following five members of cabinet, unveiled on Wednesday and styled as “minister” by the new government, as “ministers of state”:

Bardish Chagger, Small Business and Tourism

Kirsty Duncan, Science

Marie-Claude Bibeau, International Development and La Francophonie

Patty Hajdu, Status of Women

Carla Qualtrough, Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Qualtrough, for example, is listed as “a Minister of State to be styled Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities” with a mandate “to assist the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Employment and Social Development, effective November 4, 2015.”

She told Global News that she considers herself a full minister.

“As far as I’m concerned, and the message I get regularly is, I report to the Prime Minister, I don’t report to another minister,” she said.

WATCH: Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough discusses her role in cabinet

“The machinery of government is such that because there’s no separate ministry of sport  – Sport Canada is currently housed in he department of Canadian Heritage – there’s a bit of work to be done in terms of the machinery side of government. I think that’s personally where some of the confusion and concern is laying.”

“But my marching orders, and the person I report, and I’m very confident in that, is the Prime Minister himself.”

©2015

December 16th, 2018 by admin

Calgary police chief warns of ‘fluid’ gangs, more weapons on city streets

CALGARY – Speaking to a recent spate of gun and gang violence in the city, Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin said Thursday he’s seen “big increases” in the presence of weapons on the street, and warned against the changing nature of gangs.

“The difference is, how difficult it is to notice it,” he said, comparing gang members past and present. “They could be standing beside you, in the same bar as you…you wouldn’t necessarily say, ‘hey there’s a gang member standing next to you.’”

“They’re not beholden to each other like in the past…they tend to go to each other by need.”

Chaffin said police are in the midst of five major operations dealing specifically with guns and gangs, and 85 other operations related to crime in the city.

“Rest assured that the service’s intent in this is to identify these people that are doing this, to arrest them, to put them before the courts and the justice system, and to lock them away. These people need to be behind bars; they need to be away from the community.”

WATCH: Chief Cst. Roger Chaffin responds to the recent violence in Calgary, Nov. 5, 2015.

The press conference came a day after a man was rushed to hospital after a shooting in the community of Marlborough Park. One witness, who did not wish to be identified, told Global News he heard several shots fired, at which point he left his house and saw the victim covered in blood and sitting inside a vehicle. Shortly after the attack, armed officers were seen performing what appeared to be a takedown along Marlborough Drive N.E.

Watch below: Calgary police investigate another shooting, this time in Marlborough Park. Global’s Bindu Suri reports.

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“Obviously when shots are fired in a residential community, it puts everybody at risk,” said Chaffin. “Bullets…go through walls and places and it’s not acceptable–not acceptable for us, and not acceptable for the city.”

Staff Sgt. Quinn Jacques of the guns and gangs unit said recent violence, while based on drugs, also raises issues of territory and disrespect.

“It’s new that we see criminals bypass all reasonable methods of settling a dispute and escalate right to guns. We saw it last night and the night before,” he said, referring to Marlborough Park and another shooting in Panorama Hills on Tuesday.

Jacques said using the term “gangs” is simplifying what’s going on in the city.

“They don’t view themselves as gangsters…That’s a handle we put on them,” he said. “They cooperate with each other for a brief amount of time and move on. They are, I hate to say it, but they are thrivers. They develop relationships with who they need for what they need, and once that is no longer of value to them, they move on.

“The old days of ‘blood brothers forever’ and the signs—we are not seeing that in Alberta anymore.”

Watch below: Staff Sgt. Quinn Jacques of the Guns and Gangs Unit talks to media regarding the recent violence in Calgary on Thursday.

Chaffin said police are currently “looking at” around 50 to 100 people who may be involved in gang activity, but emphasized it’s a “fluid group.” He said there’s been some movement between the Lower Mainland in British Columbia and Calgary.

Police are also predicting an 80 per cent uptick in their seizure of weapons this year, which he called alarming.

“Our homicides related to gang problems last year were, I think, one, and this year we’re up to five,” Chaffin said. He said what’s also alarming are the many incidents where people could have died.

Chaffin said he didn’t have scientific data to back it up, but assumes there is a relationship between the struggling economy and the current crime trends. He said despite all this, Calgary is still an “incredibly safe city for people to live in.”

“What’s going on is a new trend in a) presence of weapons and the propensity to use those weapons and just the day to day activities those criminals have with each other. It is a cause for us to re-look at ourselves, to ensure a professional police service… is on the street and it’s doing everything it can to get in front of it and create long-term solutions.”

READ MORE: Police searching for suspect in Panorama Hills shooting

The chief said he wouldn’t “insult the intelligence” of residents and suggest more arrests were the only answer, but said enforcement plays an important role.

“There are people that need to be arrested, put before the courts and locked away in order to really create safety. That’s something that has to happen…that is certainly one of our major goals.”

Police suggested community members who want to help can make sure they’re locking their own cars and homes, and make sure to call police whenever they see suspicious activity.

“The real message to any community is whether you’re part of offending group or just innocent people, is these are real lives that are at risk, and people have to understand how serious it is to use weapons like they are with such random recklessness.”

©2015

December 16th, 2018 by admin

Alberta government to review all agencies, boards and commissions

EDMONTON — The provincial government is now reviewing all agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) as it looks to find cost savings and eliminate duplication of services.

There are 301 ABCs in the province, and they direct the spending of almost 50 per cent of the provincial budget. They include everything from the Alberta Energy Regulator to the Health Quality Council and the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says Albertans need to feel confident ABCs are using public dollars effectively.

“This review, combined with new legislation to expand the sunshine list and enshrine it in law, will help ensure Albertans are getting value for their money,” he said.

The government introduced new legislation on Thursday to expand what’s commonly called the sunshine list. Bill 5 requires public disclosure of the salaries of all government agency employees who earn more than $125,000 a year.

The review of the 136 public agencies which fall under the newly-expanded sunshine list will be complete by March of next year.

The remainder will be completed by the fall of 2016.

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©2015

December 16th, 2018 by admin

Alberta folk musician John Wort Hannam shares story from the road

LETHBRIDGE – Life as a troubadour isn’t always easy.  Just ask Fort Macleod folk musician John Wort Hannam.  Halfway through his latest Alberta tour, he lost one of a travelling musician’s most valuable tools.

“As soon as we started to go, the van started to do this weird shimmy thing,” said Hannam.  “I’m not a mechanic, but I knew it wasn’t good.”

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“Vincent Van Go,” Hannam’s 12-year-old Pontiac van, had a broken cylinder.  The vehicle had to be scrapped and replaced.  It was a heavy financial burden for the songwriter, but to Hannam’s surprise, a cheque for $330 soon arrived in the mail.

“It wasn’t a lot of money,” said Hannam. “But, it was a lot of money to me.”

It was from CKUA, the historic, publicly-funded radio network.  Hannam says CKUA was the first station to ever play his music and support his career.  He donates $20 to the station every month, and recently sent a cheque for an additional $330 for advertising. The radio station, hearing of his transportation dilemma, decided to give back.

On a post on his Facebook page, Hannam writes: “[CKUA] just gave me my last 16 and half months of sponsorship back to help me pay for my new tour van. All while continuing to play my songs, ask me to participate in events, and promote the hell out of my tour dates. This is just so above and beyond.”

“Inside was a beautiful note that said, ‘we heard about your van blowing up, please consider this return cheque our contribution so you can continue to play’,” said Hannam.

CKUA’s chief operating officer, Katrina Ingram, said the station was empathetic to Hannam’s plight.

“People don’t go into being a travelling musician for the money; they do it for the love and the passion,” said Ingram.  “It’s really important we have those folks out there continuing to do that work and that’s why we try to support them the best we can.”

As for Hannam – he’s road-ready once again, armed with a new van and new attitude.

“It gives me hope in humanity and it just shows that when there’s a community and people are helping out each other and lending a hand, that anything is possible.”

Hannam’s next Alberta performance is Sunday, Nov. 8 at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in Edmonton.

©2015Global News