Monthly Archives: January 2019
Immigration in Nova Scotia is at a 10-year high. With that comes a whole new set of challenges and demands, one of which is the need for legal services.
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is hosting a Refugee Law Workshop on Tuesday with the goal of building a roster of legal professionals who are able to offer pro and low bono services in the area of refugee law. They hope to fill what they refer to as “gaps in the provision of legal services to immigrants and refugees.”
According to the Nova Scotia government, 3,418 newcomers arrived in Nova Scotia between January and June of this year. Compared to last year, the province also saw nearly triple the number of refugees in the first few months of 2016 at 1,739.
READ MORE: Quebec community groups helping Syrian refugees abandoned by their sponsors
“Of course with the numbers of immigrants that we’ve have this year, more and more questions are coming our way,” Gerry Mills, executive director for the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, said.
“We need a bigger roster of lawyers that can respond to some of these questions surrounding immigration and refugee law.”
Mills said her organization’s clients require assistance with a number of complex legal issues surrounding refugee claims and family sponsorships. She says it is becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified legal professionals to refer them to.
The Halifax Refugee Clinic is dedicated to offering pro bono legal services to refugee claimants, however, even they are feeling the strain.
“We have a lot of referrals that kind of stretch our capacities and resources and also expertise,” Julie Chamagne said.
“That’s why we’re hoping to engage more people in the legal community and train them up in these very specific areas of the law where we have these legal gaps.”
READ MORE: Syrian refugees show gratitude as one year anniversary fast approaches
While other provinces such as Ontario and Quebec offer legal aid for immigration and refugee law, Nova Scotia does not.
Immigration lawyer Liz Wazniak said more needs to be done to ease the burden on volunteers and charity organizations.
“People who are coming here and making refugee claims inside Canada, that’s a complex legal process and they’re expected to navigate that on their own or only relying on a volunteer,” Wozniak said.
“If you’ve got somebody in detention for example, who has no status in Canada, who is at risk of being deported to perhaps a country where their life will be danger and there’s no legal aid representation for them, that doesn’t seem fair.”
She said she expects the demand for legal advice will only continue to grow in the next year as refugees have a one-year window to bring immediate family members to Canada.
The workshop is a partnership between the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, Halifax Refugee Clinic, Atlantic Refugee and Immigrant Services and Refugee Sponsorship Support Program – Halifax section.
Close to 50 people are expected to attend Tuesday’s workshop.
WASHINGTON – FBI Director James Comey was under attack from some of his own agents and members of Congress on Monday over his handling of an inquiry into Hillary Clinton‘s emails, but the White House was remaining supportive, for now.
In stunning fashion, Comey has injected the Federal Bureau of Investigation, meant to be politically neutral, into the thick of the 2016 U.S. presidential race, making a series of announcements on the inquiry.
WATCH: After days of uncertainty, FBI will not change decision regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails
The latest was on Sunday, when he said the FBI stood by a July decision not to recommend criminal charges against the Democratic presidential candidate. Sunday’s announcement came days after Comey disclosed the FBI was examining a trove of newly discovered emails.
READ MORE: FBI says review of Clinton emails over, she should not face charges
With the election coming on Tuesday, Comey‘s statements and the FBI’s overall handling of the emails controversy has drawn fire from congressional Democrats, who criticized the agency for clouding Clinton’s campaign so close to the election, while Republicans questioned why the new inquiry ended so quickly.
FBI “field agents have felt the derivative impact of the criticism fired at Director Comey as a result of the Clinton email scandal,” said Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation, which represents more than 3,500 FBI agents.
He said some agents disapprove of Comey‘s handling of the investigation and think he should resign, while others support him, but do not appreciate being in a political crossfire.
A spokesman for the FBI Agents Association said the more than 13,000 active and former special agents it represents have become the victims of “unwarranted attacks” on their integrity.
“Implications that agents do not respect the confidentiality of those investigations is simply false,” said the association’s president Thomas O’Connor.
Comey has so far kept the support of President Barack Obama, who has the power to fire the FBI director. “The president views Director Comey as a man of integrity, a man of principle,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing on Monday. “The president’s views of him have not changed … he continues to have confidence in his ability to run the FBI.”
The White House has said it will not criticize or defend Comey over his handling of the Clinton email investigation.
Charles Schumer, a close Clinton ally and expected Senate majority leader should Democrats regain control of the chamber, said on Oct. 30 that he was “appalled at what Director Comey did” and owes an explanation to Clinton and the American people.
WATCH: Clinton holds slim lead over Trump as election campaign enters it’s final day
FBI directors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve 10 years unless they are fired or resign.
Only one FBI director in recent history has been fired. William Sessions was fired by President Bill Clinton in 1993 after a report emerged about Sessions using an FBI airplane for personal travel and other unethical practices.
FBI Director Louis Freeh resigned in 2001, two years short of the end of his term, amid a scandal over Robert Hanssen, a senior FBI official charged with spying for the Soviet Union and Russia undetected for 15 years.
READ MORE: James Comey: The FBI boss at the centre of the Hillary Clinton email storm
If Clinton wins the election, as polls suggest, she would also be in the position to fire Comey, but might not do so to avoid being portrayed as seeking political retaliation.
“I don’t know what her view will be, but … you just cannot have an FBI director in place who believes he is accountable to neither the rules nor the attorney general,” said Matthew Miller, former chief spokesman for the Obama Justice Department.
WATCH: ‘We’re glad that this matter is resolved’: Hillary Clinton’s Communications Director on FBI letter
Under the federal Hatch Act, Justice Department employees may not engage in partisan political activity while on duty.
On Sunday, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said Comey‘s “original letter” telling Congress that Clinton’s emails were once again under investigation “should never have been sent so close to an election.”
Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley called on the Justice Department’s inspector general on Nov. 2 to examine the FBI’s investigation.
Scars are not something to ashamed of, pointed at or mocked. They are part of us, they tell our stories and should be celebrated for that. They are strength and they are beautiful. Those are the messages fuelling the SCARS Photography Project.
“I get messages saying: ‘you are making scars look beautiful, you make me feel like my scar is beautiful now’ and I want them to be proud,” Edmonton photographer Lorna Dancey said.
Young Quebec woman finds beauty in her scars after hit-and-run crash
She is taking pictures of people with scars to change the perception of them.
“When you stare at someone with an obvious scar… you’re hurting them. If you nudge or you giggle or you wink at your friend to look at them, they know.”
Dancey also wants to change how people with scars feel about themselves.
“When I photograph someone, I don’t see what they don’t like about themselves. I see what I see,” she said.
“I see beautiful eyes, I see this amazing smile, I see them light up, and I just wanted to portray that to them.”
One of her models is Joy Zylstra. When she was nine, an explosion at a cabin in B.C. left her with second- and third-degree burns on 45 per cent of her body.
“Teenage years were really hard,” Zylstra said. “I was very depressed. I hated them. I would scratch at my face and just pray to God to take them away and make me normal.”
READ MORE: ‘You don’t see the scar… you see the person’: Burn survivors share their stories
It wasn’t until Zylstra had a daughter of her own that she started to feel differently about her scars.
“I don’t ever want her to look at herself and be ashamed about anything. So how can I expect that of her or raise her to believe that if I don’t believe it myself?”
Being part of the Scars Photography Project has been transformative for Zylstra.
“It brought out something in me that I didn’t know was there,” she said with tears in her eyes. “I don’t even know how to put it into words.
“She showed me my soul.”
“For somebody to just capture the pain, the love – kind of everything I’ve been through in the past 23 years – was just an incredible thing to see,” Zylstra said.
In August 2015, Michelle Schaefer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nine days after she got the news, she had a double mastectomy.
READ MORE: The SHE Project: celebrating the scars of breast cancer
“When you go home and you take off the armour from fighting and you have to stand there and look at yourself in the mirror and you see the two scars across your chest and the bald head, you have a difficult time feeling beautiful, much less a woman.”
One of the most difficult things for her was the way her disease is portrayed.
“Usually the images that are out there are very dark and harshly edited,” Schaefer said. “Severe-looking women with just two scars across their chest and stubble on their head and very black and white.
“I wanted to be a piece of how that perception has changed,” she said.
That’s what motivated her to take part in the Scars Project.
“It wasn’t about me anymore,” Schaefer said. “It was about being a strong influence for the women that are fighting this disease, the women that have yet to fight this disease. I wanted to make it look a little less scary for the next person that has to deal with this.”
“What Lorna’s doing with this project is she’s changing the perception of what beautiful is.”
And while Schaefer wants to help others, the process is also helping her.
“I felt more beautiful that day when she took the pictures of me than I did on my wedding day. It was very empowering. It was one of those life-changing moments for sure.”
READ MORE: Breast cancer survivor hopes ‘Woman Redefined’ portrait book will help others
To learn more about the Scars Photography Project or to take part, contact Dancey through her Facebook page: Lorna Dancey Photography.
“It’s about the moments and the magic that happens,” Schaefer said. “There’s a lot of good things that have come out of this. I’ve honestly never been happier in my life.”
Meanwhile, Zylstra now can’t imagine herself without her scars.
“They show that life tried to knock you down but you rose up.”
Dancey and Schaefer are now working together on another photography project – Through the Looking Glass – that will profile women battling breast cancer in a positive light.
Young breast cancer survivors bare scars for photo exhibit and documentary
3-year-old South African burn survivor receives cloned skin in complex transplant
Several tourists in Stanley Park got a very bumpy ride after a pair of horses pulling their carriage was spooked during an anti-pipeline protest Monday afternoon.
The accident happened as protesters were marching in the park just ahead of an appearance by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce the federal government’s spill response plan.
According to witnesses, the two horses and carriage were stopped due to protesters on the Stanley Park road and then were startled by a driver sounding their horn. The sudden noise sent the pair over the curb, pulling a carriage full of passengers along the seawall, crashing into park benches before eventually stopping.
“The driver was really good, she slowed the horses down and they stood… then a car came along and the protesters were in front and she or he peeped their horn —; right beside us, and of course the horses spooked,” said one passenger.
Vicki Warner, who was visiting the park from Chelan, Washington had gotten on the carriage a few minutes before the accident. Warner and her friends were thrown from the carriage when the horses jumped the curb.
But they’re praising the abilities of the carriage’s driver.
“It’s not the horses fault. [The driver] did a brilliant job, as much as she could. And once the horses hit the bench, [the driver] got thrown out,” said one tourist on board the carriage.
The owner of the horse-drawn carriage attraction, Jerry O’Neil, was visibly shaken by the incident and told Global News this was the first time something like this has happened in 37 years of business.
O’Neil said they train the horses and drivers on a regular basis for scenarios they may come in contact within Stanley Park.
“We have music in the barns, so the horses are exposed to different music sounds, different noises before we bring them in the city,” O’Neil explained.
“At the farm in the Fraser Valley, we have flags, balloons, there are kinds of different things. But animals remain animals and sometimes people come in the cars [and] rush to it. So today was a bit unusual unfortunately, [I was] really surprised at the outcome [but] I’m really happy nobody got hurt and the horses are not hurt.”
WATCH: Full video below
O’Neil said the carriage’s driver has been with the company for years and while there’s a first time for everything, this should be a reminder to people to slow down when they see the horses.
Australian tourist Karen Arnold suffered minor injuries, sprained ankles and some abrasions, after she, her husband Greg and two kids decided to jump from the carriage.
“We were a bit concerned [the horses] were going to go into the water,” Greg said.
“They knocked over one of the poles and then took out one of the park benches. One of the pieces of timber came up into my face, missed my face luckily, that’s when we decided to make a jump for it.”
Both the Vancouver police and fire department were on the scene to look over the tourists shaken up by the accident.
The cost of the damage to Stanley Park structures is currently unknown. O’Neil said it’s too early to tell, but estimates the damage to the horse carriage at a few thousand dollars.
O’Neil said the horses, which were anxious after the accident, will be taken back to the barn and assessed.
VANCOUVER – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a $1.5-billion plan Monday to make Canada a “world leader” in ocean protection after a diesel spill on British Columbia’s central coast and as a decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion looms.
Trudeau said the money will be spent over five years starting in 2017-18 and includes funding to create a marine safety system, restoring ocean ecosystems, and new methods and research to clean up oil spills. The government said changes will be seen as early as next year, such as opening a Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s, N.L.
While few details were revealed, Trudeau said the funding will strengthen the Canadian Coast Guard, get tough on industry pollution, fund coastal habitat restoration and create legislation to increase responsibility for vessel owners.
The announcement came a day after a barge flipped and sank not far from the site on B.C.’s central coast where a tug ran aground last month, spilling more than 100,000 litres of diesel fuel from its tanks.
“The ongoing incident at Bella Bella is unacceptable. I know this, you know this, Canadians know this,” said Trudeau, who made the announcement in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, right next to Burrard Inlet.
“It’s time for a change. As a community we need to protect our magnificent oceans and reopening the Kitsilano Coast Guard base was an important first step.”
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlines the new environmental measures his government plans to take to protect Canada’s oceans and coastline.
The federal government looked extensively at what a world-class system would look like, said Trudeau, citing Norway and Alaska as examples.
The plan also sets the stage for the possible approval of the $6.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Trudeau’s cabinet is expected to announce a decision on the project by Dec. 19.
The expansion would triple the bitumen-carrying capacity of the pipeline from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., and increase the number of tankers leaving Vancouver-area waters seven-fold.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark has long insisted that her government would not allow new heavy oil pipelines unless five conditions were met, including a “world leading” spill response regime.
The provincial and federal governments have been in talks to develop a West Coast marine spill response system for much of the past year.
The B.C. government identified 11 gaps that needed to be filled, including clarification on the Liberals’ election promise of a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic off the northern B.C. coast.
WATCH: ‘I want you to know why I cherish this place:’ Prime Minister Trudeau on protecting B.C’s West Coast
Asked why the plan makes no mention of a tanker ban, Trudeau said there would be more to say in the coming weeks.
The plan also didn’t specifically address any of the B.C. government’s demands, including a coast guard base at Prince Rupert, a West Coast marine training centre and three new salvage vessels strategically located along the coast to be able to arrive at spill sites within three hours.
However, Clark said she had been briefed on the plan and believed it would address B.C.’s concerns.
“There’s so much devil in the details,” she said. “We’ve got a little more work to do, but I have to say, I have no cause for complaint with what we’ve seen today.”
Still, Clark replied “no” when asked whether the plan had met one of her conditions for Trans Mountain pipeline approval.
Trudeau’s news conference drew protesters opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. A number of environmental groups released statements welcoming improvements to oil spill cleanup while opposing the Trans Mountain proposal.
WATCH: B.C. pipeline project expected to get the green light
Kai Nagata of the Dogwood Initiative said Trudeau appeared to be backtracking on ambitious environmental promises he made while campaigning last fall.
“I don’t think that an announcement in better spill response capacity is the best way to prevent oil spills from happening in the first place,” he said in an interview.
The decision to reopen a search and rescue sub-centre in St. John’s was also welcomed by a union representing workers in the fishing industry on the East Coast.
“The previous federal government attempted to cut costs and balance the books at the expense of marine safety,” said Keith Sullivan, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union.
Sullivan said the sub-centre would provide an effective response to vessels in distress on the Atlantic.