Notorious Cecil Hotel slated for demolition but sign to be saved

WATCH ABOVE: The sign from the Cecil Hotel is set to be removed on Friday morning. Jenna Freeman reports.

CALGARY – The historic Cecil Hotel in downtown Calgary will be demolished instead of being redeveloped.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that while they were aware some Calgarians hoped the landmark could be saved, salvaging it just isn’t possible.

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“Following decades of neglect plus the ravages of fire and flood, rehabilitation and restoration simply aren’t feasible options,” said CMLC President & CEO Michael Brown in a news release.

“We will apply for a demolition permit this fall after an abatement program has been completed on the building and all hazardous materials have been properly removed.”

Local historian Harry Sanders said the hotel “filled a need” in the city when it first opened.

“It was a working man’s hotel, and always was,” he said. “It didn’t always have the reputation that it came to be known for in the later years.”

Situated on the corner of 4 Avenue S.E. and 3 Street S.E., the Cecil Hotel is one of only six pre-First World War hotels still standing in Calgary. It was built in 1912.

The CMLC is making efforts to keep elements from the building of historical value, such as the hotel’s large neon sign.

“The hotel is a landmark, but so too is the sign, and perhaps more so,” said Sanders. “As a drive-by landmark, the sign is the visible part.”

The Cecil Hotel sign was removed on Friday morning.

The sign atop the Cecil Hotel is removed on Friday, August 14, 2015.

Global News / Tom Reynolds

“It will be restored to its original colours and condition and then placed into storage until such time as a community use can be identified,” said Brown. A CMLC spokesperson on site said the sign would be used in the East Village redevelopment.

With files from Carlos Prieto

Sandals hopeful about reaching new contracts with teachers before school begins

WATCH ABOVE: Provincial Education Minister Liz Sandals says a lot of bargaining is underway to avert a province-wide September strike. Lama Nicolas reports.

TORONTO – Education Minister Liz Sandals issued a warning to Ontario teachers Wednesday while expressing optimism about reaching new contract agreements before the start of classes Sept. 8.

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The four big teachers’ unions are, or soon will be, in legal strike positions, and that means any job actions they plan if there are no agreements by September would amount to a limited strike, not a work-to-rule campaign, said Sandals.

The unions, which represent 115,000 teachers, have talked about refusing to supervise extracurricular activities or to participate in parent-teachers meetings as possible protest actions if there are no agreements when classes resume.

READ MORE: Two Ontario teachers unions set to hold talks

They’ve been without contracts for a year now, and once they are in legal strike positions they can’t unilaterally decide on work-to-rule campaigns, said Sandals.

“The things that they’re proposing to do in the event that there are no agreements would be a partial withdrawal of services, so it is a form of strike,” she said. “The teachers can’t simply decide that as a work to rule they won’t do EQAO testing, as an example. That’s a strike action.”

However, the minister said all sides are ready to reach new agreements after negotiations resumed Wednesday with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers for the first time in three months. Talks with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation are scheduled to resume next week. The government is also in “informal” talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation about a resumption of negotiations.

“I really do get a sense that … everybody’s very focused on making sure that we do get agreements and there won’t be disruption in the fall,” said Sandals.

“I have a sense of a good feeling coming back from the table.”

There was already a lot of bargaining with the teachers’ unions, even if it was “in fits and starts,” and many issues have already been resolved, added Sandals.

“It isn’t like we only have a few days and we have to do everything,” she said on her way into a Liberal cabinet meeting.

Part of the difficulties in this year’s round of negotiations with the teachers is a new two-tiered bargaining process, with talks at both the local and provincial level, which Sandals said is like trying to negotiate a first contract.

READ MORE: Teachers’ unions agreed to resume stalled contract negotiations: Liberals

“There’s never ever been a central agreement with any of these organizations before, so it’s really like we’re negotiating a first central collective agreement with each and every one of the unions,” she said. “The first time you do a collective agreement is always the most difficult because you have to figure out absolutely everything as opposed to just modify a few things from the last time around.”

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association launched a website called teachersmatter杭州丝足 which lists workload, fair hiring as well as wages and benefits as key issues for the union in the talks. It notes teachers had their salaries frozen for two-years and the Liberals are insisting on a net zero increase in new contracts.

“We would all like to avoid a labour disruption, but not at any cost to public education,” said OECTA President Ann Hawkins.

©2015

Politics in print: Why candidates write their memoirs before an election

It’s not enough to be a politician these days – you also have to be a published author.

At least, that’s the conclusion you could draw from some of the titles released over the past year: Common Ground by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Who We Are by Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and the just-released Strength of Conviction by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

QUIZ: Which politician wrote it?

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    One-on-One with Justin Trudeau

All three of these books trace the personal story of their authors, from childhood to federal politics. Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s 2013 book, A Great Game, is the exception among the political oeuvre: it covers the early history of hockey in Toronto.

But party leaders are busy people and writing a book takes time, so what are they getting out of it?

The writing process

Well to start with, they might not write everything themselves. According to Jennifer Lambert, editorial director of HarperCollins Canada, which published Trudeau’s memoir, “he had a few writers that worked with him, and his political team as well. His wife was very involved. Sophie was very involved, she read a lot of drafts and contributed.”

However, she said, Trudeau was involved in every word on the page, in both the French and English editions. “Justin was constantly revising and adding and rewriting, ensuring that it really was his voice, his choice, his words.”

And, the book went through a normal back-and-forth with the editor too, so that revisions were made.

Branding the leader

Having an autobiography on the shelf serves an important political purpose, said Alex Marland, associate professor of political science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. “It’s a way to get information out that may otherwise get missed.”

It’s all about building a leader’s brand and image control, he said. “In branding you have to have a story. You have to have a narrative. So it allows you to say well, this person is a human being, this person has an interesting story, here’s their background, here’s their values and their beliefs and where they’re coming from, but they’re ultimately a human being and a person.”

Building a brand is especially important for Mulcair, according to John Crean, national managing partner for National Public Relations. “I think for Mr. Mulcair, more than perhaps the other candidates, he’s less well-known to Canadians. And part of their broader strategy I think is going to be to introduce him and create a brand for him that will appeal to a broad swath of Canadians and perhaps be seen to be informing the policy directions and motivations that he might have for Canada.”

And so, candidates write their life stories and try to look like an ordinary, relatable person. “Ordinary is exactly what they’re trying to communicate in some ways. You’re trying to suggest you’re not an elitist,” said Marland.

Harper had different goals for his book, he said. “It still fit the brand narrative about him, in that even though it wasn’t his story, it was about hockey, which connects very much into his image. It’s kind of policy wonkish and intellectual in that respect, which kind of goes along with his image. And then there’s the conservative, traditional aspect and the potential connection to Toronto, which is all things that they want to communicate.”

Harper wanted to expand his brand, said Crean, and did it in the most Canadian way possible: by writing about hockey. “So Mr. Harper, who’s well-known to Canadians, well-established, I think they’re probably trying to broaden his brand a little bit, to demonstrate that he has interests and knowledge and abilities that transcend the political sphere.”

It’s no accident that Mulcair’s book was coming out during the early days of the campaign either, said Marland. “It’s a long campaign, they’ve got to come up with, what do we talk about today? This is a good way to show him sitting there, signing books. It’s going to take a few days of news coverage where they don’t have to make spending promises, they don’t have to make policy commitments. It can be light, it keeps the story out there. It’s kind of smart.”

Who’s reading?

HarperCollins, which published both Trudeau’s and Olivia Chow’s autobiographies, doesn’t release sales figures, said Lambert. “I can say that they’re both Globe and Mail bestsellers,” she said. “I’m very, very pleased with both of their performances.”

“I think there’s a strong market of people who are curious to know what the people are really like behind the very public face,” she said, people like diehard party supporters, people who might be on the fence, and people who buy the books as gifts for friends and family.

Marland disagrees. “The ultimate audience in many ways is journalists. Even though the publisher won’t say that, the end game, the real goal, is to try to influence how the media may report on them.”

Crean also thinks that the audience is the media, as a conduit toward reaching the broader public. “Their hope is that journalists will go through the book as part of their research to try to find snippets into his personality and his life history that in a sense informs why he’s saying the things he’s saying today.”

Maybe not a page-turner

The big question though is, are the books any good?

“I flipped through a few of the books and I find many of them, I have a hard time keeping my attention on the entire book,” said Crean. “I don’t really have a strong opinion on the quality of the books per se other than I’m not one of the many thousands who are buying these books.”

Marland was more definitive: “Usually in my experience, the better books are the ones that come out when they’re done. They write reflections once they’ve left office.”

Although you can never fully trust an autobiography, he said, those written by retired politicians are more revealing and more willing to tackle controversial topics. On Mulcair, he said, “Really what adventures does he have that are so interesting? But if Mulcair was prime minister for ten years, and produced a book after that reflecting on ten years, that would be pretty interesting.”

At least 50 dead after massive explosion rocks Chinese city of Tianjin

Please note: This story is developing and details could change as more information emerges.

Officials and state media outlets say at least 50 people have been killed and over 700 more injured after two blasts, one of which was reported to be the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT, shook the Chinese port city of Tianjin late Wednesday night.

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The explosions, which lit up the sky with a fireball and sent a shockwave across the area, happened just after 11:30 p.m. According to the BBC, the Chinese Seismological Network registered magnitude 2.3 and 2.9 tremors.

Police in Tianjin said an initial blast took place in shipping containers at a warehouse for hazardous materials owned by Rui Hai International Logistics Limited, a “large transit distribution centre” that handles the transport of hazardous and dangerous goods.

Twelve of the dead were from among the more than 1,000 firefighters sent to fight the blaze set, the official Xinhua News agency said. It said over 520 people were being treated in hospitals, 66 of them with serious injuries.

The shockwaves were felt kilometres away, according to local media, knocking out windows in several buildings.

“I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on,” Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu, told the Associated Press. “Only once I was outside did I realize it was an explosion. There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds. Everybody could see it.”

Reports on social media sites such as Weibo indicate the doors and windows on homes and buildings kilometres away from the blast site were blown or shaken off, while power to many high-rise buildings in the area was knocked out. Meanwhile, Tianjin Public Security reported the East China Sea Road light rail station was damaged in the explosion.

“At the time of the explosion the ground was shaking fiercely, nearby cars and buildings were shaking, a few buildings’ glass all broke and everyone started to run,” BBC reported an eyewitness identified as Ms. Yang saying. “Now all the residents are gathered in the street.”

“Lu Yun, head of the nearby Taida Hospital, said they have received more than 50 wounded people, and more are coming. The injuries were mainly from broken glass or stones. Some of the injuries are serious,” Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Videos and still images circulating on social media show a massive fireball filling the night’s sky followed by a shockwave seconds after the initial explosion.

A plume of flames and smoke rose several dozen metres into the air and was reportedly caught on a Japanese weather satellite.

Ruihai Logistics said on its website – before it was shut down – that it was established in 2011 and is an approved company for handling hazardous materials. It said it handles 1 million tons of cargo annually.

Tianjin, with a population of about 15 million, is about 120 kilometres east of Beijing on the Bohai Sea and is one of the country’s major ports. It is one of China’s more modern cities and is connected to the capital by a high speed rail line.

-With files from The Associated Press.

©2015

Cooling complaints resurface at Moose Jaw care home

REGINA – Concerns are once again being raised about poor conditions at a Moose Jaw care home.

In June, Providence Place had a temporary fix installed for their broken air conditioner but residents are expressing concern that it still hasn’t been fixed.

Lori Boothman said Wednesday that she’s concerned about her brother Greg who lives at the care home.

She added there have been several instances where his in-room thermostat shows it is around 30 degrees.

The thermometer in Greg Boothman’s room show’s a temperature of just under 30 degrees

Adrian Raaber

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“There’s no air conditioning in patient rooms here,” added Lori. “The A/C is only in the hallways, which in a newer building like this is ridiculous.”

The thermometer in Greg Boothman’s room show’s a temperature of just under 30 degrees

The heat is especially hard on Greg Boothman because the 48-year old suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, and the high temperatures aggravate his symptoms. Greg has prescribed an air conditioner when he was living in Moose Jaw Housing.

Cooling complaints are not new at Providence Place. In March the building’s air conditioner broke, and the temporary replacement was installed at the end of June. The facility’s CEO Paul Nyhof says that temperatures are closely monitored.

“Our ideal temperature is around 24 or 25 degrees, and I understand the our monitoring shows that the highest end came out at 28.5 degrees. I haven’t checked today, but it’s moderately comfortable in here.”

Providence Place Care Home in Moose Jaw, SK

Staff are investigating the possibility of putting an AC unit in Greg’s room, but for now he said he is resorting to other options.

“I have wet towels with me all the time. I put them around and I cover myself when I sleep,” says Greg.

The Boothmans have also brought their story to the provincial opposition, who hope to use it as part of their case for an independent advocate for care homes.

Providence Place Care Home in Moose Jaw, SK

Adrian Raaber

Kelowna woman warns others about Canada Revenue Agency scam

KELOWNA – After she lost almost $3,000, a Kelowna woman is telling her story hoping to prevent others from being victimized by scammers.

The incident started with messages left on Catherine Paulger’s answering machine.

“I thought it had been a false call at the time and I wanted to call back and say that you [have] the wrong number,” she explains.

Paulger says the person on the other end of the line said they were from the Canada Revenue Agency.

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“They said that we had owed $2,849 in outstanding taxes from the years 2008 to 2011, that we were in violation of four of the federal laws and that they were going to send our file out. [They said] that we were going to be arrested and taken into custody.”

She thought her taxes were squared away but despite several red flags, the threat of arrest was enough to scare her into action. She took cash out of her bank account, and with the scammer on the line, she went and transferred almost $3,000.

Read More: Police warn fraudsters using CRA scam for information and payments

“He said, tell them it is just a family emergency, pretend like you are talking to your husband, this is the name to use, ” she says.

RCMP in Vernon and Kelowna are among the police departments that have issued warnings in recent weeks about fraudsters claiming to be from the CRA. Kelowna RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Duncan says Paulger’s situation sounds like a scam. If you get this type of call, he suggests you look up the agency’s number up online and to see if it matches the number provided.

Earlier this year the CRA issued a warning about an uptick in telephone scams where fraudsters posed as CRA employees. More information about the scams and how to identify them is available on the CRA’s website.

Paulger doesn’t think she’ll ever see that money again and now hopes others can learn from her experience.

“I just don’t want someone else out like this. It hurts a lot,” she says.

Just ‘one bad pill’ with fentanyl killed 32-year-old Danielle Radtke

WATCH ABOVE: Recent stories on the damaging and potentially deadly drug fentanyl have hit home with many Canadian families who have lost loved ones. Reid Fiest spoke to an Alberta nurse dealing with her own daughter’s death.

It only took “one bad pill” that turned out to contain fentanyl for Janis Radtke’s 32-year-old daughter to go to bed and never wake up again, leaving her young child orphaned.

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“I have no idea why. This isn’t something she normally did,” Radtke told Global News. “Maybe [it was] to get a good night’s sleep, but that’s all it took.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s such an insidious drug’: Fentanyl warning for parents after Calgary teen’s overdose

Danielle Radtke had a history of drug use, but her mother said she had turned her life around before having her daughter.

Five months after Danielle’s death, Radtke shared her story in a blog post, explaining that the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death was due to a mix fentanyl and an animal tranquilizer called xylazine.

“I encouraged her not to try things she wasn’t sure were safe and I think that’s the whole thing, that she tried this because she trusted somebody,” said Radtke, a registered nurse with Alberta Health Services in Calgary. “This was a concoction that didn’t come out of the pharmaceutical company. It was made somewhere in somebody’s basement or kitchen.”

“It’s like, perhaps, making a batch of cookies — chocolate chip cookies. You have no way of determining how many chocolate chips are going to be in any given cookie. It’s the same with these pills. One pill may have a tiny amount of fentanyl in it, the other may have five times the amount.”

That was the case with Danielle.

Radtke said her family still hasn’t spoken with the person whom they believe Danielle took the pill with and found her cold, blue body in bed.

Even though Danielle had her struggles with drug use before, opiates were not her “drug of choice,” Radtke said. “She had no tolerance and she really didn’t know anything about it.”

WATCH: Janis Radtke joins Global Calgary to discuss the death of her daughter Danielle, who was killed by ingesting a pill found to contain fentanyl.

And that’s the problem that is rippling across Canada as more people take drugs containing fentanyl without even knowing it.It’s being cut into drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, but also being passed off in fake OxyContin pills.

Fentanyl is a particularly potent drug — 100 times stronger than morphine and 20 times more than OxyContin.

Danielle is just one of 145 people in Alberta who have died from fentanyl-related deaths so far in 2015, according to Alberta Health Services; there were 120 in all of 2014.

“It is a huge issue, and the number of people dying is just the tip of the iceberg because there’s also other people who overdose and show up in emergency departments and so on,” said Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical officer of health for the Capital Health Authority in Edmonton.

READ MORE: Have a fentanyl prescription? Here’s what you need to know

“I now belong to this elite club and there’s only one criteria for membership —the loss of a child,” said Radtke.

But she’s speaking out because she believes there is a “stigma or type of judgment” when it comes to drug-related deaths.

“This is so readily available out there that I’m afraid, I’m afraid for junior high school students, for high school students who might just want that good night’s sleep and trust somebody,” she said.

She doesn’t want other parents to have their lives torn apart just because of “one pill.”

And it’s not just her life that was: Danielle’s three-year-old daughter no longer has a mother and Radtke knows she’s one-day going to have to explain why.

With files from Reid Fiest and Caley Ramsay

Follow @nick_logan Follow @reidfiest

©2015

Born from Brentwood tragedy, program hopes to support musical talent

WATCH ABOVE: A one of a kind organization, launched in the memory of two band members murdered in a Calgary stabbing, is creating something positive out of tragedy. Jill Croteau reports.

CALGARY – An organization launched in the memory of the five young people killed in April 2014’s Brentwood stabbings is hoping to turn the tragic event into something positive.

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Tucked away on the edge of an unpaved road is a sprawling acreage—a retreat for musicians to escape, create and compose.

The studios will become a place where budding musicians discover their own path. For Zackariah and the Prophets, that path was interrupted when bandmates Zackariah Rathwell and Josh Hunter lost their lives in a violent stabbing spree at a house party on April 15, 2014.

“The emotional fallout that people in Calgary have from what happened…it unified us as a city in tragedy,” said OCL Studios’ Dan Owen. “Do you stay in the dark or do you go to the light and honor the boys? That’s all I needed to buy in.”

The concept of the Prophets of Music society was inspired by Hunter’s father.

“I had to choose whether I was going to find something to do to help my healing or get dragged into it,” said Barclay Hunter.

“You do get dragged into it, but I thought there has to be something I can do to help my family.”

The not-for-profit society is designed to mentor aspiring artists and help provide a platform for yet-to-be-recognized talent. One of the surviving bandmates is one of the program’s first participants.

A band rehearsing through the Prophets of Music program in Calgary on Aug. 12, 2015.

Jill Croteau / Global News

“Stevie Wonder, James Brown started somewhere—all the greats,” said former bandmate Barry Mason. “That’s how people grow best—standing on the shoulders of giants. You can go through that journey yourself, it’ll take a while, but if you go through it with others who’ve been there, it can springboard you.”

The program offers musical development and production as well as business skills like brand development and promotion.

“When you can draw from that many people, good things can happen,” said mentor Jory Kinjo. “I want young people to have opportunities that I didn’t have… and that’s a beautiful thing to come from a tragedy.”

For more information on the program, visit the website here.

With files from Erika Tucker

©2015

Argos issue open letter of apology to fans after home opener security delays

WATCH ABOVE: The Toronto Argonauts are blaming understaffing after a number of security delays during the team’s home opener. The CFL club says Rogers Centre security staff was not trained in new security measures. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO — By all accounts from football fans, Saturday’s Toronto Argonauts home opener against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Rogers Centre was a blast.

It was an intense game that ended with a 30-26 Argos victory, but new security measures at the “Dome” resulted in lengthy delays before the game.

“I know people personally who missed the whole first quarter,” says Lori Bursey, President of Friends of the Argonauts, the team’s official fan club.

Tweets from fans waiting in line before the game clearly show their frustration:

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While much of the anger is aimed at the team, Bursey says blame should actually be placed on the Rogers Centre, which she claims botched the security detail Saturday.

“I go though Gate 5, which is on the southeast corner of the Dome, and the lineup from that gate stretched all the way to the Aquarium,” says Bursey.

“They had two people at that gate looking through bags and a couple of metal detectors and that was it.”

Argos officials say there were over 20,000 people in attendance. Average delays of more than 20 minutes were reported.

The new security measures are the Major League Baseball standard and every team has been asked to implement them at their respective venues.

They include the use of enhanced bag searches and metal detectors.

The difference at Rogers Centre is that they’ve implemented those measures at all events: baseball, football and concerts.

Blue Jays fans lining up outside Rogers Centre for Wednesday’s game against Oakland take the added security measures in stride.

“You can never be too safe and it’s never posed a problem for me,” says Jessica Salvemina, who was decked out in an old Brett Lawrie Jays jersey.

Minutes later, Jays fan James Howlett told Global News it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he says.

“It’s a little like going through the airport now.”

The Argos have no problem with fans having to go through new security checks, but they do expect the staff doing them to be prepared.

“I think we overwhelmed them a little bit with our first home game,” says team CEO Chris Rudge.

“The gates opened late. Rogers Centre people were late for some reason. They were understaffed. The staff were not trained.”

Roger Centre officials didn’t respond to an interview request, but the Argos know the situation wasn’t ideal.

“What happened on Saturday night with regard to lineups and wait times to enter the stadium was not acceptable,” Rudge tells fans in an open letter posted on the team’s website.

“We believe it was unfair to you, our fans … Since the game, we have met with Rogers Centre staff to ensure this will not happen again.”

This season is the team’s final one at Rogers Centre before moving to BMO Field, and many fans are looking forward to the change:

“I know that we’re going to be looked after at BMO,” says Bursey.

“We won’t be treated like second-class citizens like we are at the Rogers Centre.”

©2015

Postal union president says workers will follow Harper around the country

EDMONTON — The national president of the postal workers union says he’s not telling anyone how to vote on Oct. 19 – just so long as it isn’t for Conservative Stephen Harper.

Mike Palecek says his members plan to follow Harper around the country and get involved in local campaigns to remind voters of cuts to Canada Post that resulted last year in the end of door-to-door delivery in many Canadian cities.

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Canada Post’s move to community mailboxes is expected to save the corporation about $500 million per year to cope with what it says is a declining volume of mail in the digital age.

Palecek of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says the cuts at Canada Post, which have included proposals to change the funding of the workers’ pension plan, “are completely unjustified” because Canada Post “continues to make profits.” Canada Post’s pre-tax profit in 2014 was about $194 million.

“These cuts are completely unjustified. There’s no reason for them to go ahead given the corporation continues to make profits,” Palecek says.

READ MORE: 7 things to know about Canada Post’s plan to axe home delivery

The NDP have vowed to reverse the cuts, while the Liberals have promised a moratorium on any cuts at Canada Post while they study the future of the corporation.

Angry postal workers greeted Harper’s arrival in Edmonton as part of a cross-country tour that comes four years after a nasty dispute between Canada Post and its workers led to rotating strikes, a lockout and ultimately back-to-work legislation.

READ MORE: Harper speaks at Conservative rally in Edmonton

Although the two sides eventually came to an agreement in 2012, the issue has lingered in the courts. The union’s charter challenge to the legislation is scheduled to be heard later this fall.

The timing of the court case and the contract talks make the future of Canada Post an election issue, Palecek says.

“At this point were asking people to vote for home mail delivery,” Palecek says.

“I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, but I am here to tell you that if Stephen Harper is re-elected, you’re not going to have the same public postal service that you’ve been able to count on in the past.”

Dozens of protesters lined the sidewalk outside a manufacturing facility for oil fields equipment where the Conservative leader was scheduled to address a rally Wednesday evening.

A spokesman for the Conservative campaign dismissed the protest. Kory Teneycke says the protest was a “representation of union leadership, not the workers.”

©2015

Heat health: Tips to stay sun safe

REGINA – In Saskatchewan we’re used to the term “deep freeze” more so than “heat wave.”

Although most of us prefer these warm days, spending too much time in the sun and heat can be just as dangerous as freezing temperatures.

Area in central and southern Saskatchewan remained under a special weather statement Wednesday with high temperatures and humidity expected to continue into the weekend.

Some Regina residents have swarmed to the city’s spray pads and pools as a refreshing way to cool down.

“We will probably run through sprinklers, set up a pool in the backyard, and maybe come back here,” said one man leaving Massey pool Wednesday. “Anything to kind of stay in the sun but stay cool and stay hydrated.”

For others, all that’s needed is a frozen treat.

“We’re out for ice cream without dad. We snuck away for some ice cream to keep cool and went to the splash park earlier,” said another resident after getting an ice cream cone from the Milky Way. “It’s a good Saskatchewan summer day.”

Numerous heat induced illnesses can set in quickly such as heat rash, edema and fainting.  The most extreme danger related to overheating is heat stroke where a fever sets in and the body can’t regulate a healthy temperature.

If you want to be outside and enjoy the heat while it lasts, it’s recommended you stay hydrated, seek shade and pay attention to how you’re feeling.  Head indoors if you start feeling nauseous, light headed or your body starts to cramp.

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Dog not spayed, owner not eligible for pet insurance coverage

WATCH ABOVE: Lucy Fava of Toronto says the pet insurance she bought was of no clause when her dog Coco was deathly sick. As Sean O’Shea reports the company denied her claim because they say the condition was preventable.

TORONTO — A Toronto dog owner who bought pet insurance for the past seven years says the company that took her premiums didn’t come through when she needed it most.

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“I just figured they would cover some of it, or at least three-quarters of it,” Lucy Fava said, referring to life-saving surgery for her dog Coco last winter.

Fava says Coco got sick and was diagnosed with a condition called Pyometra — an inflammation of the uterus.

She says her veterinarians told her the dog — part pug, part Jack Russell terrier — had just hours to live. So she went ahead with the surgery.

The treatment cost to rehabilitate Coco amounted to about $3,500.

Following the procedure, Fava called Pethealth Inc. to discuss repayment.

She says she believed there ought to be some coverage.

But Pethealth denied the claim, citing that Fava was at fault for the infection because she never had Coco spayed.

Pethealth did not return phone calls from Global News, but in its letter to Fava said:

“We are unable to respond to your claim for Coco’s Pyometra as per your selected policy terms and conditions any treatment/surgery relating to the breeding or pregnancy is not available for coverage … this condition is considered preventable and related to breeding or pregnancy …”

Fava says she was never informed during the time she held the policy that certain medical illnesses would not be coverage unless her pet was sterilized.

“It’s personal,” she said. “When you have a pet it’s up to you if you want to have them spayed or not.”

Fava says she’s happy Coco has recovered but unhappy the insurance company has declined to share any costs.

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Keremeos fire victim struggling to get back on his feet

KEREMEOS — A Keremeos man lost everything in a fire over the weekend. Harold Bullington received assistance for the first few days, but now, he has nowhere to turn.

“I’m pretty heartbroken. The only thing I saved was my dog,” says Bullington, standing in the debris of what was once his home.

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The blaze broke out Saturday morning near Highway 3 west of Keremeos. A friend driving by noticed the flames creeping towards Bullington’s home and ran in to save him.

“I was sleeping. If it wasn’t for Marty, I would’ve burned up in there or died of smoke,” says Bullington.

Marty Marchand Ring is coming to his aid once again.

Bullington didn’t have insurance, claiming it was much too expensive since his mobile home was on the Lower Similkameen Indian Reserve, which is outside of city limits.

Marchand Ring has set up a fundraiser campaign to help Bullington get back on his feet.

“Harold always tries to help other people out and he doesn’t have much himself. He lives on a disability. I just think that if the community, or the valley, or anyone, if they can reach out and help him, that’s all” says Merchand Ring.

Bullington’s neighbour says the fire victim deserves all the help he can get.

“He’s a super nice guy. Everybody in the community knows who he is,” says Henry Allison.

“He’s the kind of person who if he’s got something, he will hand it to you immediately.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up, as well as an account at the Valley First Credit Union in Keremeos.

Alberta fly fishers divided on whether fishing bans are extensive enough

ABOVE WATCH: The province of Alberta has put a fishing ban on some rivers in an effort to save the fish population from scorching heat, but as Doug Vaessen reports, some experts say it’s not enough.

CALGARY – While certain fishing spots in southern Alberta are temporarily closed due to high water temperatures, some area fly fishers say more bans are needed.

Amber Payliss is a passionate fly fisher and photographer, and says the heat is wreaking havoc on fish in sensitive rivers and streams.

“The Old Man River, for example, I was there last week and it was super low and very warm,” she said. “When the water temperatures reach 18 degrees Celsius to over 20, that’s fish kill levels. Any fish you have at that point in your hands, even if they swim back into the water, often times they won’t survive.”

The province has already banned fishing in nine areas, including long stretches of the Bow River.

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Aaron Feltham is a part owner of Bow River Troutfitters, and thinks the government is doing exactly what is needed.

“They have put some time into it, done their research, and they have chosen—these are the most crucial waters for them  to shut down now,” said Feltham. “I am confident that given some more warm weather, they will make more judgement calls that are according.”

The province says it continues to monitor the situation, but so far hasn’t added any bans since Tuesday.

For her part, Payliss is adamant the next few days are crucial.

“I understand this is the first time we have dealt with such a lengthy closer on our systems,” she said. “But still I think there could be a little more done, at least for this week while we deal with these hot temperatures.”

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