West Coast wildfire smoke stains skies over Montreal

The smoke has been drifting eastward from B.C. for the past five days.
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Coronavirus: Kelowna Chiefs set to start altered KIJHL season
​"It's just nice to be on the ice and be around the guys again, and put them through their paces."
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COVID-19 has killed more Americans than the 5 most recent wars combined
Already, COVID-19 has killed more people in the U.S. than Americans killed in battle during the five most recent wars combined: the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf War.
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APAS Connectivity Task Force researching internet issues in rural Saskatchewan areas
APAS hopes the new research can find solutions to improve internet and cell phone connections across the province.
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Canadian Accused Of Sending Ricin To White House Enters ‘Not Guilty’ Plea
A Quebec woman suspected of mailing envelopes containing the poison ricin to the White House appeared in court Tuesday on a charge of threats against the president of the United States.Pascale Ferrier, who wore a tan jail jumpsuit, had her hands in cuffs and a chain around her waist during her brief court appearance in Buffalo, N.Y. A blue mask covered much of her face as she gave only “yes” and “no” answers.Timothy Lynch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo told District Court Judge Kenneth Schroeder Jr. that the prosecution would be arguing for Ferrier’s detention, given the nature of the allegations and the fact she is a foreign national.“The charge in the criminal complaint is a crime of violence,” Lynch said. “The defendant is a serious risk of flight.”Officials in the United States say the letter sent to Washington, D.C., was intercepted on Sept. 18 before it reached the White House.In a sworn affidavit to obtain the arrest warrant, an FBI investigator wrote the envelope contained a powdery white substance with a letter to President Donald Trump, calling him “The Ugly Tyrant Clown.”RELATED RCMP Raid Montreal-Area Residence After Poison Sent To White House RCMP And FBI Investigating Letter Containing Poison Sent To White House Trump Says Canada Wants Border Reopened. Canada Says Nope. The letter accused him of ruining the United States and called on him to “give up” his re-election bid.“I made a ‘Special Gift’ for you to make a decision,” the letter read, referring to the powder. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find a better recipe for another poison or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come. Enjoy!” It was signed “FREE REBEL SPIRIT.”Fonda Kubiak, the public defender assigned to Ferrier, requested a preliminary hearing and a hearing to determine whether Ferrier is in fact the defendant named in the complaint.The judge informed Ferrier she was not required to enter a plea at this stage of the proceedings, “but nevertheless I will enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf.” Her next appearance is scheduled for Monday.“She has a presumption of innocence and that’ll be pursued further after today,” Kubiak said outside the courthouse.The FBI says six additional letters were sent to Texas containing language and substances similar to what was in the envelope intended for Trump. They were mailed to authorities and facilities allegedly connected to Ferrier’s detention in Texas in 2019.Authorities also discovered a tweet sent on Sept. 9 with the hashtag #killtrump allegedly linked to Ferrier’s Twitter account.Ferrier, 53, was arrested Sunday while attempting to enter the United States at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Buffalo. The FBI alleges Ferrier identified herself to Customs and Border Protection officials as being wanted in connection with the ricin letters and was found to have a loaded handgun and a knife on her.On Monday, the RCMP’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives team searched an apartment tied to the suspect in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil.A software developer by trade and a native of France, Ferrier became a Canadian citizen in February 2015 according to her Facebook page.She spent time in jail in Mission, Texas, in March 2019 on one count of tampering with government records and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon.Police in Mission arrested Ferrier after finding her in a park after hours in her RV. According to her court-appointed lawyer, Alberto Osorio, she initially refused to identify herself.Police then conducted a search and found a fake Texas driver’s license and two guns, according to police and the prosecutor.District attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. said his office didn’t formally charge her with unlawfully carrying a weapon because it didn’t think it would be possible to secure a conviction. The charge of tampering with government records was dismissed in May 2019, in part because Ferrier was facing deportation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rodriguez said.He said there was no sign Ferrier posed a danger at the time. She co-operated with police when she was arrested and there was nothing suspicious about the fact that she had guns, he said, adding that the guns were not pointed at police during the arrest.“I wish we had a crystal ball to be able to know what’s going to happen,” he said.A “shocking” arrestOn Monday, Sheriff Eddie Guerra in Hidalgo County, in southern Texas, confirmed that letters ``containing the deadly toxin ricin″ had been mailed to him and three of his detention staff.A letter, believed to contain ricin, was also received at Mission Police headquarters last week, said Investigator Art Flores, the department’s spokesman. Mission police had been warned about the letter and it was turned over to the FBI before it was opened, he said.Osorio said he was surprised to hear Ferrier’s name mentioned in connection with the mailing of poison.“Ms. Ferrier was always very, very nice, very pleasant, very respectful to me and everybody around us,” he said.According to Facebook posts, Ferrier left Canada for Texas in October 2018 in an RV with plans to spend several months living in the state. In June 2019, she wrote she was driving back to Canada, crossing the border in Manitoba with no issues.It’s common for ICE to allow people who are in the U.S. illegally to “self-deport” and leave the country by a certain day, said Osorio, though he said he doesn’t know if that was the case with Ferrier.Public records show Ferrier, who lived in Laval, Que., at the time, had filed for bankruptcy in 2018. She had $248,642 in liabilities and $222,441 in assets, according to self-declared amounts.After returning from to Canada in 2019, she worked for several months at a small grocery store south of Montreal. Luc Gagnon, the owner of the store, said she never discussed politics or her time in the U.S.“She was a devoted employee, a hard worker,” Gagnon said Tuesday.According to her resume, Ferrier was currently working as a software configuration manager through a placement agency.While Ferrier had stopped working at the store by last February, Gagnon said he would see her two to three times a week at his shop in a working-class neighbourhood of Longueuil.Gagnon said he last saw Ferrier on Saturday and she was her usual talkative self. “Everything seemed normal, like usual,” Gagnon said. “On Saturday she said she was going to run errands, her daily routine.”He said he was “shocked and surprised” to learn she’d been arrested.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020.—With files from James McCarten in Washington, D.C., and The Associated Press.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
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Over 800 COVID-19 tests conducted in Saskatchewan schools last week: SHA
Health officials performed over 800 tests for the novel coronavirus in Saskatchewan schools last week, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
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Possibilities for former PM John Turner’s state funeral limited by coronavirus
The Turner family's spokesman Marc Kealey said Tuesday the family is still discussing with government officials the date of the funeral and how many people will attend in person.
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Quebec education minister invites REACH school to re-apply for funding for 4th time
Parents vow to keep fighting for their school after Quebec's education minister invites English-language special needs school to apply for funding for a fourth time.
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Suspect in fatal stabbing at Toronto mosque connected to white supremacist group, expert says
"These are groups that should no longer be able to exist in Canada, plain and simple."
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Quebec police officers don’t need to wear masks during traffic stops, officials say
Would you want a police officer to be wearing a mask if you got pulled over?
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Lethbridge food banks and catering companies to host virtual citywide dinner party
Food banks are partnering with catering companies to put on the first-ever citywide virtual dinner party in Lethbridge.
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Heather Scoffield: Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are betting that electric vehicles can recharge the economy. But a vision is not a plan
The Canadian auto industry now has a chance to save itself, and pivot towards a growing global market of electric vehicles, Heather Scoffield writes.
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Toronto man alleges mass removed during biopsy at hospital goes missing
"You always think the worst, right? So I was hoping by me going in I would get that peace of mind and I would be able to move forward with whatever it was."
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Ontario’s back-to-school plan is ‘morally unconscionable,’ teachers tell labour board
The Ontario government’s back-to-school plan is “morally unconscionable” and even dangerous, the province’s teachers’ unions are arguing in an appeal now before the labour relations board.
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Police investigating burned-out vehicle with possible human remains in North Okanagan
Firefighters discovered possible human remains inside a burned-out SUV early Sunday morning after extinguishing the vehicle fire.
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Quebec Liberals introduce bill to ban conversion therapy
Bill 599 seeks to penalize conversion therapy, which is any attempt aimed at changing someone's sexual orientation.
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Crown wraps up evidence in trial of Alberta pediatrician charged with sex assault
Tuesday marked day two of a Lethbridge trial for an Alberta doctor charged with sexual assault involving a young girl.
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Lethbridge’s Galt Gardens hosts Reconciliation Week teepee ceremony
“It was never allowed back in the day, and now that it is, it's really heartwarming. I'm really grateful and really thankful that we are building bridges.”
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Testimony ends at manslaughter retrial of Michael Robertson for Rocky Genereaux death
Michael Robertson maintains he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed and killed Rocky Genereaux in 2015.
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Sparks fly in the Ontario legislature as Doug Ford clashes with Andrea Horwath over COVID-19 response
The premier won praise for his calm demeanour and measured tone during the COVID-19 pandemic, and saw a boost in his standing in public-opinion polls. Now, however, he appears to be showing the strain of dealing with the ongoing health crisis.
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Bruce Arthur: Doug Ford’s fall pandemic plan: This had better be worth the wait
The province had months to prepare, and it apparently isn’t done yet. So some local public health departments are taking action.
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What’s closed in Halifax as a result of hurricane Teddy
As hurricane Teddy arrives in Nova Scotia here's what has been closed in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
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‘Battlestar Galactica’ star Michael Hogan gets help from fans after brain injury
A GoFundMe page set up on behalf of Hogan’s wife says the Vancouver actor is unlikely to be able to work again after suffering a “life-changing” brain injury.
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Migrant women will not see doctor accused of performing unwanted surgeries: U.S. official
Dr. Mahendra Amin has seen at least 60 detained women, said Andrew Free, a lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical care at Irwin County, on Tuesday.
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The most popular idea that won't be in Wednesday's throne speech? A four day work week
It’s a wildly popular idea that enjoys bipartisan support across Canada. It might be the only policy supported by both the right-leaning Fraser Institute and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The four-day work week is enjoying a moment in the sun as the COVID-19 pandemic forces people around the world to consider how they work and spend leisure time. But don’t expect to see it in Wednesday’s Speech from the Throne. Asked about the idea in June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t exactly give it an enthusiastic endorsement. “I think there are a lot of people thinking creatively about what the post-COVID world could look like. And I look forward to hearing a wide range of suggestions,” said Trudeau said. “But right now, we’re very much focused on getting through this particular crisis.” The Fraser Institute says with increased productivity, Canadians could easily maintain or increase their quality of life while working fewer days. “A four-day work week, which produces the same or higher material living standard for Canadians, simply requires a return to an annual rate of labour productivity growth that, until fairly recently, was more the norm than an exception,” the Fraser Institute reported . “Canadian workers in 2030 could work a four-day work week year-round while enjoying a higher material standard of living than they enjoyed in 2018,” the report reads. Sanders, the democratic socialist, agreed. “Shortening the workweek is certainly one idea that we have got to look at,” he said. A four-day work week in Canada is viable by increasing productivity, report says 'Everybody will love it': A four-day work week could help rebuild Canada's economy post-COVID-19, experts say Will Justin Trudeau unveil a four-day work week in Canada? The idea for a four-day work week gained steam earlier in the year, when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as a mechanism to give workers more flexibility in their lives and boost the country’s productivity. But as Ardern and many experts have noted, it’s an idea that would likely have to be worked out between employees and employers and not necessarily something the government would legislate. An opinion poll conducted in June by the Angus Reid Institute soon found that Canadians are increasingly supportive of the move, though. Two years ago, 47 per cent said they supported a four-day work week compared to 53 per cent this year. Only 22 per cent of Canadians said they disapproved of the idea, with 25 per cent saying they weren’t sure about it. Support is highest among women aged 18 to 34, with 65 per cent saying it is a good idea. Men aged 55 and older are the least likely to say it is a good idea, with only 39 per cent approving of it. The report by the Angus Reid Institute noted that support for the idea spiked eight percentage points among people who had received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also a litany of research backing up the idea that reducing the work week boosts productivity. Microsoft experimented last year with a pilot project in Japan that allowed workers an extra day off each week and found that productivity jumped 40 per cent. The company closed its offices on Fridays and gave its employees paid leave for the day. In further morale-boosting efforts, the company also imposed a strict 30-minute time limit on meetings. Research has also shown that people who work longer hours tend to perform poorly. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that working more than 55 hours was correlated with lower scores in vocabulary and reasoning tests, compared to people who worked 40 hours. A recent report on leisure time showed the United States and Canada lagging behind other wealthy nations in how much time off its workers enjoy. Among OECD nations, Canadians work the fourth most hours without seeing any real productivity gains compared to countries like Germany, where the average person works hundreds fewer hours each year. The demand for a four day work week is turning into a global movement. A global study of eight countries found 54 per cent support for a shorter work week and only 28 per cent of people expressing satisfaction with the status quo. • Email: sxthomson@postmedia.com | Twitter: stuartxthomson You might also be interested in… Jordan Peterson’s year of ‘absolute hell’: Professor forced to retreat from public life because of addiction If North Korea’s Kim Jong Un dies, who will be his successor? ‘Everybody will love it’: A four-day work week could help rebuild Canada’s economy post-COVID-19, experts say
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Quebec asks retired teachers to return to workforce, offers financial incentive
The education ministry is asking all elementary and high school teachers who retired since July 1, 2015, to return to the workforce.
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B.C. reports 96 new cases of COVID-19, sharp decline in active cases
No new deaths were reported, leaving the province’s COVID-19 death toll at 227.
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Power grab or the right time? South Okanagan voters react to snap election call
Some Penticton constituents felt the move was an opportunistic power grab, as Horgan banks on his party’s popularity right now outweighing any backlash for calling a snap election.
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Coronavirus numbers are surging in Canada. But who’s getting sick and why?
The latest available data from the Public Health Agency of Canada showed 56.6 per cent of those who tested positive for the virus were younger than 50 years old.
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Bombardier aerostructures sale comes into question, dragging shares to new low
Shares fell to a new low Tuesday after Spirit AeroSystems said some closing conditions on its planned acquisition of Bombardier's aerostructures business remain unmet.
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‘We’re just literally trying to take care of people’: Encampment Support Network provides supplies and compassion to homeless people camped out in Toronto
A group of more than 100 volunteers has been visiting those living rough in and near Moss Park, Scadding Court, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Parkdale and Little Norway Park for the past 14 weeks.
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B.C.’s daily health checklist for children going to school shortens to just 7 symptoms
Parents are required to make sure their children are healthy enough to go to school and the daily health checklist is one way to do that.
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‘I didn’t know what it was’: At Toronto murder trial, a father describes the horror of discovering his daughter’s body
Prosecutors allege that Victoria Selby-Readman was killed by a roommate who had moved into her downtown Toronto apartment just weeks earlier.
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Saskatchewan purchases more flu vaccine to deal with anticipated spike in demand
Saskatchewan has purchased more influenza vaccine than last year to deal with the anticipated spike in demand due to COVID-19. 
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Saskatchewan physicians urge residents to wear masks
The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) has launched a campaign urging residents to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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Sam Katz signs professional baseball lease in Ottawa; Winnipeg Goldeyes future uncertain
Winnipeg Goldeyes owner Sam Katz and the City of Ottawa have signed a deal to bring professional baseball back to Canada's capital city, putting the future of the Goldeyes in doubt.
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The coat trends to shop this fall
A guide to the season’s most coveted toppers
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Celebrity news: Shawn Mendes cleans up at Canadian song awards
Also: Hillary Clinton podcast is coming and Robbie Amell to make film based on love story found on Wattpad.
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Saskatchewan partners with First Nations entrepreneurs on new highway traffic signs
Some new signs coming to Saskatchewan roads will be made by First Nation entrepreneurs as part of a pilot project to create more jobs and help the economy.
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Coronavirus: TDSB turning to supply teachers as it rushes to hire for online classes
The Toronto District School Board says it hired 300 teachers Monday and was working today to bring on another 200 to fulfil its staffing needs for online elementary school classes.
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Repentigny police arrest three in drug raid
The Repentigny police force said it also seized 200,000 methamphetamine pills and a kilo of cocaine.
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Shree Paradkar: Pressure mounts on U of T law faculty as Amnesty, National Council of Canadian Muslims seek investigations into alleged inappropriate influence
Muslim council cites “unproven and potentially spurious allegations” that tax court Judge David Spiro influenced University of Toronto hiring decision.
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