Officials go through final preparations for Canada Day event in Ottawa

Jessica Mellor was doing her best Friday to catch her son, Lincoln, running — as toddlers often do — towards a security gate around the main Canada Day stage on Parliament Hill.

It was a tranquil moment as the family braced for the hoopla of Saturday, when half a million people are expected to gather in the shadow of the Centre Block to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary — an unprecedented crowd, with logistical planning and security to match.

“We’ve been meaning to come up for Canada Day our whole lives, basically, and never really got around to it,” said Lincoln’s father, Kyle, whose son is named for Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black member of Parliament and former Ontario lieutenant-governor.

“This year, 150, it’s a bit of a pilgrimage to come up and just pay homage to everything that the nation has done for us.”

Officials have been working for months to prepare for this weekend’s events, which the government has billed as the largest in the nation’s history, between the hundreds of thousands who are expected to be in downtown Ottawa to the countless others massing in more than 2,000 communities across the country.

On Friday, workers were putting the finishing touches on the towering main stage, where last-minute rehearsals were underway. Temporary fencing, barricades and bollards created security bottlenecks where visitors normally enjoy unfettered access to the grounds. Much of downtown Ottawa was closed to vehicles.

At one point, officers were seen peering into and under the decorative planters lining the street; a security official was heard chiding staff for letting a group walk past without being checked — a group that turned out to be Environment Minister Catherine McKenna her staff.

Canada Day Prep 20170630

Members of the public pass through a maze of security fencing to get a preview of Parliament Hill Friday. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

“The hoops you have to go through, it’s like a cattle shed here,” Ottawa resident George Neville said of security.

“It seems extreme for a country like Canada.”

Kyle Mellor, meanwhile, described it as a comfort, one he was willing to put up with.

“It’s always in the back of your mind, terrible things (that could happen), but you don’t want that to stop you from doing your thing, then they win. It’s reassuring to see the level of security that’s down here.”

Tourists dressed in red or showcasing swag adorned with the Maple Leaf snapped pictures and laughed as heavily armed police manned security checkpoints nearby.

‘Showcase the best of Canada’

Saturday’s itinerary includes appearances by the Prince of Wales, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian artists and U2 band members Bono and The Edge. And while Heritage Minister Melanie Joly called the preparations hectic, she said officials are more than ready.

“We want people to be able to celebrate and have fun and we want to showcase the best of Canada,” she said. “That’s exactly what we’ve been working for two years and now this is our big moment.”

Canada Day Prep 20170630

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, left, participate in a rehearsal for Canada Day celebrations on stage on Parliament Hill Friday. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The weather, however, may have other ideas.

Environment Canada’s forecast for Saturday includes rain in the morning and the risk of thunderstorms later in the day and into the evening, which could put a damper on plans for what has been billed as a spectacular 20-minute fireworks extravaganza.

Only lightning or severe rain would push pause on the Parliament Hill show, Joly said; officials will adapt Saturday’s festivities according to the weather.

‘Reoccupation’ protest

Not far from the main stage Friday, visitors to Parliament Hill gathered around a teepee set up by a group of indigenous activists to highlight some of the darker chapters in the country’s history.

Canada Day Prep 20170630

Candace Day Neveau, left, speaks to reporters after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with people in a teepee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Friday. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Bawaating Water Protectors from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., arrived Wednesday night, but were stopped by police. Nine people were arrested but later released, and the structure was moved closer to the main stage — an exercise “reoccupation” to draw attention to the history of indigenous people.

The Bawaating Water Protectors are just one of many indigenous groups planning demonstrations this weekend to draw attention to the fact that, for them, there is nothing to celebrate.

Trudeau visited with the demonstrators Friday, later tweeting about the meeting to say the government would be a partner in the ongoing process to break free from colonial structures and give Indigenous Peoples a space to be heard in Ottawa.

U.S. President Trump issued a statement Friday wishing Canada his best on its 150th birthday.

“The United States cherishes our relationship with Canada. Throughout the years, no two countries have formed a bond as unique as ours,” the statement said.

“Canada and the United States have stood together steadfastly in times of peace and war, through prosperity and hardship. We are united by the world’s longest border, but —above all—by the shared values we together hold so highly.”

Retired soldier takes to life on the farm, with help from Prince Charles

When retired master corporal William Hawley met Prince Charles on Friday, it was a chance to say thank you — and to talk a little turkey.

Hawley is a graduate of the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur program, one of Charles’s charities in Canada that helps veterans transition to civilian life. In Hawley’s case, that transition has led him from the battlefield to the farmer’s field — his own organic poultry and vegetable operation.

Hawley and his wife, Carolyn Guy, were among the beneficiaries of the program who met the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in Trenton, Ont., during the royal couple’s three-day tour of Canada that began Thursday in Iqaluit.

“Well, I said the proper greeting, ‘Hello, your royal highness,’ and then he said, ‘I hear you’re doing marvellous things with turkeys.’ Which immediately knocked me back,” Hawley told CBC News after the meeting.

Hawley served in the military for 30 years and was deployed on a tank regiment on two overseas tours, one in Bosnia in 1994-95 and the other in Kosovo in 1999-2000.

The tank caused damage to his body, and the job took a toll on his mental health.

“I have mental issues that any normal and compassionate human has when they see what we see,” Hawley said.

Royal Tour 20170630

Prince Charles shares a laugh while enjoying a cup of tea as he meets with veterans, beneficiaries and supporters of the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur at CFB Trenton, Ont., on Friday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

He was medically released in February 2016, with physical injuries that included a compressed fracture in his spine, carpal tunnel syndrome in both elbows, a dislocated shoulder and separated collarbones.

Learning to plan

Hawley describes the lead-up to his release as “terrifying and unnerving.” Always serving in the junior ranks, he was used to taking orders rather than drafting plans.

“I was never in that planning phase to create a plan, so now I have to create a plan for the rest of my life,” Hawley said. “So that part was really nerve-racking.”

Hawley decided his next career would be in organic poultry and produce farming. But he knew he couldn’t pay the bills on vegetables alone.

Bill Hawley 3

The prince’s charity provided Hawley with an accelerated business course at the University of Regina, giving him the confidence he needed to transition to his post-military career. (Hannah Thibedeau/CBC)

He stumbled onto the prince’s program, applied and got accepted.

Then he began training in a new type of boot camp.

The charity provided Hawley with an accelerated business course at the University of Regina, which taught him how to make his farm near Metcalfe, Ont., more than just a hobby. He learned how to get a business licence, build a website and register his farm’s name.

A new kind of boot camp

Most important, it gave him the confidence he needed to transition to his post-military career.

“One of the things that really drags you down when you’ve got mental luggage from the army is, ‘What’s the point? Why bother? Nobody cares.’ And I’ll tell you, that week [it felt like] everybody cares,” he said.

The program was created in 2012 and since then has helped 1,500 people determine if becoming an entrepreneur is a good career choice.

Bill Hawley at entrepreneur boot camp

Hawley takes part in the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur program, funded by Prince’s Charities Canada, to help veterans transition to civilian life.

Royal historian Carolyn Harris, author of Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting, said Charles will be delighted to know he is making a difference in veterans’ lives.

“Sometimes when the public thinks of the Queen or Prince Charles, they think of the British Royal Family, whereas when they see members of the Royal Family engaging with Canadian military regiments, undertaking philanthropic initiatives in Canada, this gives the public a sense of how this is Canada’s Royal Family,” Harris said.

For Hawley, that connection with Charles is now personal.

“I know he’s not sitting in his house at night saying, ‘Gee, I wonder how William Hawley’s farm is doing?’ But by the same token, his endorsement and belief in the program is kind of like a belief in me,” Hawley said.

New 1st-degree murder trial ordered for Ontario trucker acquitted in death of Indigenous woman in Edmonton

The Alberta Court of Appeal has overturned a controversial acquittal of an Ontario trucker charged with killing an Indigenous woman in an Edmonton motel room.

And the appeal decision released Friday contains a harsh rebuke of the Canadian jury system’s handling of sexual assault offences

“We have … concluded the time has come to push the reset button for jury charges in this country for cases involving an alleged sexual assault,” the appeal court says in its decision.

“This case has exposed the flaws in the legal infrastructure used for instructing juries on sexual offences in Canada.”

Found dead in motel

In 2015, a jury found Bradley Barton not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old sex trade worker who was found dead in a bathtub in an Edmonton motel room in 2011.

cindy-gladue

Cindy Gladue, 36, was found dead in the bathtub of a west-end hotel room in 2011. (Facebook)

There was anger from coast to coast in 2015 when an Edmonton jury found Barton not guilty in Gladue’s death.

Support rallies were staged and more than 4,500 people signed a petition asking Alberta’s justice minister to appeal the jury’s verdict.

In a submission to the appeal court in September last year, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund criticized the way the trial was conducted. The brief said Gladue was consistently dehumanized and stereotyped.

Warning: graphic details

In its Friday decision, the court overturned the not-guilty ruling and ordered a new trial.

Gladue was found dead at the Yellowhead Inn in June 2011. She died from blood loss from a perforation more than 11 centimetres long that went completely through her vaginal wall.

The Crown’s theory was that Gladue was incapacitated by alcohol when Barton used a sharp object to cut her vaginal wall, then moved to the bathtub when she began bleeding heavily.

The defence contended that while Barton caused Gladue’s fatal injury, it was a non-culpable act of homicide. Barton testified the injury was an “accident” from consensual sexual activity.

The Court of Appeal found errors of law in the trial and in the jury charge that were “serious in scope and significant in impact.”

The errors by Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Graesser included erroneous instructions on what use the jury could make of Barton’s conduct after the fact, and failing to instruct the jury properly on the law of sexual assault relating to consent.

“These errors of law negatively compromised the jury’s ability to properly assess the evidence and apply the law correctly,” the court of appeal said in its decision.

The appeal court said there is an “imperative need” to align judges’ instructions to jurors with changes to the law on sexual assault that were adopted years ago.

‘An affront to the will of Parliament’

Some key provisions currently used in jury charges “have fossilized concepts Parliament sought to remove a quarter century ago,” the appeal court said.

Judges instructing jurors need to communicate the present law correctly and effectively, the court said.

The decision said that “despite efforts to thwart them, myths and stereotypes continue to stalk the halls of justice in cases involving sexual offences, enabled sometimes by inadequate jury charges.” As well, “persistent presumptions and problematic jury charges” reduce the entitlement of individuals to the equal recognition and protection of the law.

 “This inequality falls most heavily on women since sexual assault has been, and continues to be, largely a gender-based crime,” the decision said.

“The continuation of these problems is an affront to the will of Parliament and to the standards of our mature society committed to equality under the law.”

Gladue often referred to as prostitute or ‘native’

The Crown, defence and trial judge all referred to Gladue as a prostitute in front of the jury at various points during the proceedings, the appeal court said.

“Where a participant in sexual activity is a prostitute, a litany of unjust stereotypes about autonomy and consent persist in our society,” the appeal court said. “That is so regardless of the label used to describe the person who sells sex for money.”

The appeal court said jurors were also repeatedly told that Gladue was a “native girl” or “native woman.” She was referred to as “native” approximately 26 times throughout the trial by witnesses, defence counsel and Crown counsel, the appeal court said.

“In one instance, the witness was directly asked to describe Gladue’s ethnicity. In other circumstances, witnesses introduced and used the term ‘native’ or ‘native woman’ as a descriptor of Gladue and defence counsel, and Crown counsel continued to use that descriptor while questioning the witness.”

‘Never admissable’

Barton’s evidence about having sex with Gladue on the previous night, and his testimony about her being “native” and a prostitute, “were never admissible for the purpose of establishing that Gladue consented to the sexual activity in question the night she died,” the appeals court said.

“Barton’s testimony that on the second night [that] ‘she knows what she was coming for’ led jurors deep into forbidden twin myths territory, territory into which this jury was permitted to wander at will without any caution at all at an appropriate place in the trial,” the decision said.

That evidence wrongly invited jurors to infer that Gladue had given subjective consent to the sexual activity that caused her death, the appeal court said.

New first-degree murder trial ordered for Ontario trucker acquitted in death of Indigenous woman in Edmonton

The Alberta Court of Appeal has overturned a controversial acquittal of an Ontario trucker charged with killing an Indigenous woman in an Edmonton motel room.

And the appeal decision released Friday contains a harsh rebuke of the Canadian jury system’s handling of sexual assault offences

“We have … concluded the time has come to push the reset button for jury charges in this country for cases involving an alleged sexual assault,” the appeal court says in its decision.

“This case has exposed the flaws in the legal infrastructure used for instructing juries on sexual offences in Canada.”

In 2015, a jury found Bradley Barton not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old sex trade worker who was found dead in a bathtub in an Edmonton motel room in 2011.

There was anger from coast to coast in 2015 when an Edmonton jury found Barton not guilty in Gladue’s death.

Support rallies were staged and more than 4,500 people signed a petition asking Alberta’s justice minister to appeal the jury’s verdict.

In a submission to the appeal court in September last year, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund criticized the way the trial was conducted. The brief said Gladue was consistently dehumanized and stereotyped.

In its Friday, the court overturned the not-guilty ruling and ordered a new trial.

Barton was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Gladue, who was found dead in the bathroom in Barton’s hotel room at the Yellowhead Inn in June 2011.

Gladue died from blood loss from a perforation more than 11 centimetres long that went completely through her vaginal wall.

Appeal court found errors of law

The Crown’s theory was that Gladue was incapacitated by alcohol when Barton used a sharp object to cut her vaginal wall, then moved to the bathtub when she began bleeding heavily.

The defence contended that while Barton caused Gladue’s fatal injury, it was a non-culpable act of homicide. Barton testified the injury was an “accident” from consensual sexual activity.

The Court of Appeal found errors of law in the trial and in the jury charge that were “serious in scope and significant in impact.”

The errors by Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Graesser included erroneous instructions on what use the jury could make of Barton’s conduct after the fact, and failing to instruct the jury properly on the law of sexual assault relating to consent.

“These errors of law negatively compromised the jury’s ability to properly assess the evidence and apply the law correctly,” the court of appeal says in its decision.

Three injured in Whale Cove after 5-year-old loads, fires rifle

Three people were treated for minor injuries in Whale Cove, Nunavut, after a five-year-old loaded and fired a high-powered rifle, according to RCMP.

In a news release, RCMP said the rifle had recently been unloaded following a hunting trip. The child located, loaded, and fired the rifle, causing shrapnel to injure two adults and a youth. 

“Although the injuries were treated and were relatively minor in nature, the possibility to cause grievous bodily harm or death was extremely high,” the release reads. 

RCMP are reminding the public to properly store their firearms and ammunition, using trigger locks and securing them in a locked gun cabinet.

Police say that the Whale Cove RCMP detachment, as well as all other detachments in Nunavut, have trigger locks which they will give out free of charge.

‘The smell is not easy to get rid of’: 1st right whale necropsy complete

A necropsy on a second right whale, one of six found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this month, is expected to get underway Friday in the far west of P.E.I.

North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species, with only about 525 believed to be in existence. This is believed to be the largest-ever die off of North Atlantic right whales

The first necropsy was completed Thursday, on the shore near Norway, P.E.I. Pierre-Yves Daoust of Charlottetown’s Atlantic Veterinary College described it as hard physical labour, and messy work with a decomposing whale.

“The smell is not easy to get rid of. It takes a few days and at least a few showers,” said Daoust.

Right whale hauled ashore, June 29, 2017

The first right whale being pulled ashore on Tuesday. (Marine Animal Response Society)

As a wildlife pathologist, Daoust has performed a lot of necropsies, and he said he does not let the dirt and smell deter him from his work.

There are about two dozen people working on the 70,000 kilogram whale. Taking the whale apart to examine its insides requires not just hard work from a large crew, but also heavy equipment. But Daoust said in many ways a whale necropsy is the same as for other animals, looking for things that are normal and things that are not.

“We look for the same thing with whales, except it takes a whole lot more time to do the work,” he said.

More work to be done

While the necropsy on the first whale is complete the results are still inconclusive. Tissue samples will be analyzed for further clues as to the cause of death.

The three leading candidates for that cause are ship strike, entanglement in fishing gear, or a toxic algae bloom.

“There is no conclusive result yet,” said Daoust.

“We made some very good observations.”

Right whale necropsy, June 29, 2017

The necropsy gets started. (Marine Animal Response Society)

He said there is evidence of blunt trauma, consistent with a ship strike. Further analysis will determine if that could have been a cause of death or if it happened after the whale had died.

Tissues are also being analyzed for evidence of poisoning from algae blooms.

Daoust said it is important to determine what killed the whales.

Right whale necropsy in Norway, P.E.I., June 29, 2017

The necropsy requires not just a large crew, but also heavy equipment. (Marine Animal Response Society)

More whales have been moving into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent years due to dwindling food supplies in the Bay of Fundy.

If the cause was ship strikes, it may be possible to change routes or ship speeds to avoid future incidents.

“If it is a biotoxin possibly associated with climate change then, of course, it is a much bigger issue to deal with but at least we are aware of what is happening in our Gulf of St. Lawrence,” said Daoust.

A second whale was hauled ashore Friday morning for necropsy. It is possible there is more than one cause.

Quiz: How well do you know the weird side of Canada?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s most weird places, pit stops and pleasures.

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Canada 150: What the numbers tell us about our country

Need something to talk about before the fireworks begin on Canada Day? In honour of the country hitting the big 1-5-0 on Saturday, here are a few other numbers to inspire some patriotic fervour, courtesy of Statistics Canada. 

CANADA-POLITICS/

A total of 20.3 per cent of Canada’s population in 2011 was foreign born, the highest proportion among G8 countries that same year. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

People

Canada’s population is 10 times its size in 1870, the year of the first census after Confederation. Here is a closer look at the people who make up the country:

  • 35.2 million: the population in 2016.
  • 3.5 million: the population in 1870.
  • 41: the average age of a citizen in 2016.
  • 1.4 million: number of people who reported having an Indigenous identity in 2011 (4.3 per cent of the country’s total population).
  • 17 million: number of people from around the world who have made their home in Canada since 1867.
  • 20.6 per cent: proportion of the population listed as foreign born in 2011 (the highest among G8 countries).
  • 6.2 million: number of people who self-identify as being part of a visible minority group in 2011 (the three largest identify as South Asian, Chinese and black, and make up 60 per cent of the visible minority population).
  • Over 200: number of ethnic origins reported in 2011.
Parliament Hill

Ninety per cent of Canadians reported having ‘a strong sense of belonging in Canada,’ according to 2013 Statistics Canada data. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Geography

Canada is made up of 10 provinces and three territories, and, in terms of sheer geography, we’re the second largest country: 

  • 9,984,670 square km: total area.
  • 5,514 km: longest distance from east to west.
  • 4,634 km: longest distance from north to south.
  • 1,169,561 square km: total area of fresh water.
Dianne canoe

As a country, Canada is among the wettest on Earth. About a tenth of the total area, or 1,169,561 square kilometres, is water.

National identity and values

According to Statistics Canada, Canadians seem to have a strong sense of who they are and what their country stands for:

  • 93 per cent believed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is “the country’s most important national symbol” in 2013, followed by the national flag (91 per cent), the national anthem (88 per cent), the RCMP (87 per cent), and hockey (77 per cent).
  • 92 per cent believed “Canadians collectively share the value of human rights” in 2013, followed by respect for the law (92 per cent), and gender equality (91 per cent).
  • 90 per cent reported “a strong sense of belonging to Canada” in 2013.
  • 87 per cent over age 15 reported “being proud to be Canadian” in 2013.
maple syrup

Sugar? No thank you, we’re sweet enough. As a nation, we produced 46.2 million litres of maple syrup in 2016. (Facebook)

As Canadian as maple syrup

“As Canadian as maple syrup” might be a cliché, but there’s good reason for it:

  • 47 million: number of maple trees reportedly tapped in 2016.
  • $486.7 million: value of maple products produced in Canada in 2016.
  • 46.2 million: number of litres of maple syrup produced in Canada in 2016 (Quebec alone produces 42.4 million litres, or 90 per cent of the country’s syrup).
  • $381.3 million: value of Canadian maple sugar and maple syrup exports in 2016.
Ketchup Chips

No wonder ketchup has its own chip flavour in Canada. Not only do we export $20.3 million worth of ketchup and tomato sauces in 2016, but the average Canadian household spent $10 on ketchup in 2015. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

What Canadians eat and drink

Here are some numbers that’ll make you hungry or thirsty: 

  • $9.2 billion: value of all beer sold by liquor stores, agencies and other retail outlets in Canada in 2016.
  • $263.4 million: value of potatoes exported from Canada in 2016.
  • $57.9 million: value of salmon, Pacific, fresh/chilled from Canada in 2016.
  • $20.3 million: value of ketchup and other tomato sauces exported from Canada in 2016.
  • $287: what the average household spent on cheese in 2015.
  • $163: what the average household spent on coffee and tea in 2015.
  • $10: what the average household spent on ketchup in 2015.
skates-ice

Canadians love a good skate and we like to share that passion with the world. In 2016, we exported $25.3 million worth of ice skates. (FotoDuets/Shutterstock)

Wild about winter goods

It’s called the Great White North for a reason, eh? Here are export totals in 2016 of winter-related vehicles and sports items: 

  • $395.9 million: snowmobiles and similar vehicles.
  • $25.3 million: ice skates.
  • $63,487: ski boots and snowboard boots.
Bacon Cove beauty

Bacon Cove, N.L., is one of the many Canadian-sounding place names in this country. (Submitted by Bertha Hawco)

Canadian-sounding places

What’s in a name? Depends on who you ask, but these towns sound more Canadian than most: 

  • Beersville, N.B.
  • Beaver, N.L.
  • L’Érable, Que.
  • Grizzly, Alta.
  • Habitant, N.S.
  • Bacon Cove, N.L.
  • Loon, Ont.
  • Winter, Sask.
  • Les Castors, Que. 
  • Hockey Estates, Alta.
  • Snowball, Ont.
  • Le Petit-Canada, Que.

Justin Trudeau visits ‘reoccupation’ teepee on Parliament Hill

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited a teepee set up on Parliament Hill Friday, a structure erected as a symbol of the unresolved grievances many Indigenous peoples have as the country is set to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

The teepee was moved Thursday night, with the help of the RCMP, from a spot on the edge of the parliamentary lawn to a more prominent location next to the main stage in front of Centre Block.

Trudeau was seen wearing a jean jacket with the words “150 years young” emblazoned on the back. He was accompanied by his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau.

Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his wife Sophie, visit the teepee erected on Parliament Hill by Indigenous activists. (Catherine Tunney/CBC News)

Members of the Bawaating Water Protectors, who came to the capital from Sault Ste. Marie to build the teepee, have said they are not engaging in protest, but rather a “reoccupation” of Parliament Hill, which is situated on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

These activists, like many other Indigenous peoples, say they have little reason to celebrate the country’s history of colonialization, marked by land dispossession, Indian residential schools and assimilation.

Water protectors figure prominently in First Nations culture, and have been at the forefront of protests against natural resources development in this country.

Royal Visit 2017: Prince Charles and Camilla tour Canada

Their trip includes stops in Nunavut, a military base in Trenton, Ont., and Ottawa for Canada Day

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