Christy Clark’s mini cabinet shuffles puts Peter Fassbender in charge of TransLink

Premier Christy Clark announced a mini cabinet shuffle on Thursday.  Former Education Minister, Peter Fassbender has been shifted  from education to be the minister in charge of TransLink.

Peter Fassbender is now Minister of Community, Sport, Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for Translink.

Coralee Oakes is Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.

Naomi Yamamoto is Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, which will now be in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Mike Bernier is Minister of Education.

“Today’s changes are about making sure British Columbians in every region benefit from our plan to create jobs by growing our strong and diverse economy,“ said Premier Clark. “We have the opportunity now to build on a record of student achievement with long-term labour peace in place, to strengthen our support for small business, which is the backbone of our economy, to work together with communities to prepare for the future, and to put in place a plan to prevent and manage emergencies or natural disasters so that our province can recover with our future secured.”

As well, Premier Clark has made the following changes to parliamentary secretaries:

Jordan Sturdy is now Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy and the Environment for Minister of Environment Mary Polak. Sturdy also will chair the Climate Leadership Panel.

Witnesses needed in serious multiple vehicle collision – 7900 block of 152 street, Surrey

Surrey:  RCMP in Surrey is requesting public assistance in a motor vehicle collision that occurred on Tuesday evening.

On July 28th, 2015 at approximately 9:26pm, Surrey RCMP responded to a report of a multiple motor vehicle collision in the 7900 block of 152 Street. A white Mercedes was travelling southbound on 152nd Street when it collided with a vehicle entering onto 152nd Street from a driveway on the west side of the street. The Mercedes then crossed 152nd Street into the northbound lanes where it struck a vehicle that was driving north on 152nd Street.

Several people were transported to hospital by ambulance with at least one suffering from serious injuries, now not believed to be life threatening.

Speed has not been ruled out as a contributing factor in this collision. The incident is still under investigation.

Anyone who witnessed this incident or has further information is asked to call the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers or, if they wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or, quoting file number 2015-107920.

‘Bare with us’: Ontario sisters to host topless protest

Sisters from Kitchener are asserting their right to bare breasts after being stopped by police while topless. Allison Tanner reports.
 Kendra Mangione, Writer

Published Tuesday, July 28, 2015 10:43AM EDT

Dozens of people are expected to show up to a demonstration in Waterloo, Ont. on Saturday, a week after three topless women were stopped by police.

Alysha Mohamed and her two sisters, Tameera and Nadia, were on an evening bike ride in Kitchener-Waterloo on Friday when they were pulled over by a police officer.

The women had been biking in the downtown area with their shirts off because of the heat, Brilla told CTV Kitchener.

Jason Kenney joins Kapil Sharma in Comedy night

Yesterday I was pleased to have the opportunity to join ‘Indian King of Comedy’ Kapil Sharma on stage at the First Ontario Centre, where thousands of Canadian South Asians had gathered to watch this talented entertainer perform.

Yesterday I was pleased to have the opportunity to join 'Indian King of Comedy' Kapil Sharma on stage at the First Ontario Centre, where thousands of Canadian South Asians had gathered to watch this talented entertainer perform. I had the opportunity to share a joke or two and to thank Kapil for being a positive role model by standing up against drugs and corruption.Congratulations to Team 4 Entertainment for the successful show and I wish Trendwest Productions the best for the BC show on August 2nd.Hier, j’ai eu le privilège de rencontrer le « roi indien de la comédie » Kapil Sharma sur scène au First Ontario Centre, où des milliers de Canadiens d’origine sud-asiatique étaient rassemblés pour assister à une prestation de cet artiste talentueux.C’est ainsi que j’ai eu le plaisir d’échanger une ou deux blagues avec Kapil et de le remercier d’être un modèle positif en s’opposant à la drogue et à la corruption.Félicitations à Team 4 Entertainment pour un spectacle réussi et meilleurs vœux de succès à Trendwest Productions pour le spectacle du 2 août prochain en Colombie-Britannique.

Posted by Jason Kenney on Monday, July 27, 2015

I had the opportunity to share a joke or two and to thank Kapil for being a positive role model by standing up against drugs and corruption.

Information sought on missing Punjabi man, Kamalpreet Singh Gill

Abbotsford:  The police is seeking help to locate 25-year-old Indo-Canadian man missing for close to two weeks.

Family of Kamalpreet Singh Gill contacted the Abbotsford police department on July 15, 2015 after Gill failed to return home.  Gill was expected at 10:00 am on July 15th. According to family, Gill normally stays close to home and does not speak English. The vehicle he was driving was located in the parking lot of a shopping complex in Burnaby. His family is extremely concerned and we are now asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. Kamalpreet Singh GILL is a South Asian male, 5’ 8” tall and weighing 155 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a red t-shirt, black shorts and black sandals.

Anyone with information about Kamalpreet GILL should call the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or text APD at 222973 (abbypd).

Gurdaspur attack: Terrorists from Pakistan crossed Ravi river

GPS devices found on three militants killed during a terror siege at a Punjab police station suggest they came from Pakistan across Ravi river, security officials said Tuesday, a finding that could ratchet up India-Pakistan diplomatic tensions amid renewed peace efforts.

Giving details of the probe, Punjab police chief Sumedh Singh Saini said the terrorists had taken the route from Dhussi Bandh (Ravi river) right along the International Border to the railway track where they planted bombs and then came to Dina Nagar. The bombs were detected on time and defused.

“As per their GPS system, they first planted bombs on railway track before snatching a car from a civilian and then gained entry into the police station of Dina Nagar,” he said.

“The terrorists used the route of canals along the border belt and reached Bamiyal town. While observing that security in the Jammu region, which is very close, was tight, the terrorists moved towards Dinanagar town,” a police official told IANS.

Forensic examination of the gadgets indicated the terrorists slipped into India from Pakistan nearly a week before the attack in Gurdaspur district and were in the Pathankot-Gurdaspur region of Punjab for five days, perhaps surveying the area before launching their attack.

Sources said the GPS sets contained recordings of coordinates from 10.51pm on July 21, when the terrorists were in the Narot-Jaimal sector of the International Border with Pakistan. The devices were switched off after they entered the country, but details of coordinates are available for Monday morning, when the heavily-armed terrorists stormed the police station in Dinanagar town, killing seven people.

PTI reported that the the tracking point of one of the two GPS systems with the terrorists showed Talwandi point, Parmanand village and Dina Nagar. The other GPS system had Gurudaspur Civil Lines marked, implying that the area was also on their target list.

Experts say the attack in which the area’s superintendent of police, three home guards and three civilians lost their lives bore the hallmarks of a Lashkar-e-Taiba operation.

Read: Gurdaspur attack ends after 11-hour gunfight, 3 militants among 10 killed

“Deeper examination of the GPS sets is underway,” a security source told Hindustan Times. “An initial appraisal by the security forces (suggests) that the ultras were pushed into India from Pakistan in the Narot-Jaimal sector (of Punjab) on the night of July 21-22.”

A 14-second video footage surfaced on Tuesday, purportedly showing the three men in military fatigues, carrying big backpacks and assault rifles while walking down the road at 4:55 am on the day of the attack. The images were captured by a CCTV camera at a shop in Dinanagar area, just before the terrorists entered this Punjab town bordering Pakistan, said the senior superintendent of police in Gurdaspur, GS Toor.

The attack came days after the prime ministers of India and Pakistan met in Russia and agreed that top security officers from the two countries would meet to discuss counter-terrorism.

The bodies of the terrorists were brought out of the two-storey police station where they remained holed up for the most part of Monday’s gun-battle, minutes after Punjab police carried out controlled blasts of a few live shells found inside the old building.

Three AK-47 rifles, 17 magazines, 55 cartridges, one rocket launcher, three hand grenades, bullet proof jackets, night vision device and heap of unused bullets were recovered from the site of the encounter, DGP Saini said.

Forensic experts from Chandigarh scoured the police station for clues about the identity of the terrorists. The car that the gunmen hijacked and drove to the police station was also examined.

Watch: Gurdaspur terror attack: CCTV video captures three terrorists

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

High alert sounded across India after Punjab terror attack

The operation has been successful, it was for the service of the nation: SWAT Punjab member on

Quebec doctor’s love song goes viral, challenges Indian taboos

Frank Gregoire’s rendition of Hindi tune ‘Tum Hi Ho’ was a wedding day surprise for his wife. A video of it has since earned more than 4.1 million views

When French-Canadian doctor Frank Gregoire sat down at a piano to tickle the ivories with a Hindi love song, he was envisioning the tune as a wedding day moment that would stun his wife. Little did he know, that video would garner more than 4.1 milli

When French-Canadian doctor Frank Grégoire sat down at a piano to tickle the ivories with a Hindi love song, he was envisioning the tune as a wedding day moment that would stun his wife.

Little did he know, that video would garner more than 4.1 million views when posted online, making its way to India, where it has been lauded for cracking the centuries-old glass walls that have made inter-faith marriages taboo.

In a Sikh-Christian ceremony, Grégoire, a 36-year-old doctor from Sherbrooke, Que., wed Simran Malhotra, 27, also a doctor, but from Toronto. The June 27 nuptials took place in Baltimore, Maryland, not far from Johns Hopkins Hospital, where the pair work.

They met there about three years ago when Grégoire was working as a critical care physician and Malhotra was starting her medical residency. Malhotra quickly learned that Grégoire was a singer and piano player from a musically inclined family.

Though Malhotra had heard Grégoire sing at family get-togethers, their wedding was the first time he had belted out a Hindi tune — scoring points with the in-laws.

“Tum Hi Ho”, the track he settled on, was from a 2013 Bollywood movie, Aashiqui 2. It is sprinkled with lines about loyalty and devotion to a lover.

View 2 photos


“It took four weeks to learn just the words and the hard part was that Simran is around all the time,” Grégoire told the Star. “I couldn’t practice, so in the shower or driving to work, that’s what I did.”

The song, he said, had been suggested by Malhotra’s mother after he approached her looking for a Hindi poem to recite for his wife. (Simran, who calls herself “the cheesiest person in the world,” had joked that their wedding gifts to one another should be something “with some meaning or thought behind it” because Gregoire was known to give her jewelry.)

At the ceremony, attended by 130 family members and friends, Grégoire took his place behind the piano after professing his love for Malhotra.

“When he started singing in Hindi, I didn’t know what to think or say or do,” Malhotra recalled, noting that she broke down in tears. “It was unreal.”

By the end of it, there were few dry eyes in the room, so it was a hardly a tough decision to post the song online.

Since then, it has become a social media sensation being shared by plenty across the globe and viewed by millions.

“Her grandfather who couldn’t make it (to the wedding) for health reasons saw us on TV,” Grégoire said.

“We are two nerdy people who are always at the hospital, and here we are all over YouTube,” Malhotra added.

The video has reunited them with grade-school friends who had fallen out of touch and also become an object of discussion in India.

“There are people out there who would have wanted to marry someone from a different culture or faith, and they haven’t been able to,” Grégoire said. “If that opens the door for some people to be with the people they like, we feel that is amazing.”

To carry on spreading the love, Malhotra said she and Grégoire are encouraging others to film and post acts of generosity and compassion with the hashtag #ShowYourLove on social media.

“A lot of times we deal with families that didn’t get that last chance to say what they wanted to say and so having Frank done this beautiful thing for me, it motivated me,” Malhotra said. “Even if 100 people tell someone that they love their loved ones, I think it will be really special for us.”

Opinion: Three things everyone should know about autism in Canada

Until recently, the federal government has done little to address the crisis faced by autism families across the country and has left the issue to the provinces to manage. But things are starting to change — for the better.

Earlier this month, the federal government appointed an “Autism Spectrum Disorder Working Group” with a $2 million budget to develop a plan for a “Canadian Autism Partnership” that will address autism research, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, among other issues.

It’s a good step forward, but much more is needed, particularly on the health and educational services side of the issue, so that real families get real help, now.

As governments across the country tackle the gap between need and resources, here are a few things everyone should know:


  1. Autism is not a mental illness or a learning disability. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by impaired verbal and social communication; rigid, restrictive and repetitive behaviours; uneven intellectual development; sensitivity to sensory input; challenges with fine and gross motor skills, among other characteristics.

Autism is more accurately referred to as “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD) because each person on the spectrum can exhibit a differing array of these characteristics with wide-ranging severity.

  1. The rate of autism in Canada is not yet fully known, but we have recent estimates. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionestimate1 in 68 children in the United States has ASD. Since autism is five times more prevalent in boys than girls, they estimate 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls has ASD in the U.S.

So what are the rates in Canada? And are they on the rise?

“Our best estimate at this time is that ASD affects 1 in 94 children six to nine years of age,” according to Dr. Hélène Ouellette-Kuntz, Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Queen’s University and Director of The National Epidemiologic Database for the Study of Autism in Canada (NEDSAC). The estimate is based on diagnostic and services data from Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Southeastern Ontario from 2003-2010.

What we know from NEDSAC published materials suggests that autism rates are on the rise in Canada, though they vary widely across the studied regions. Even when you factor in increases due to the identification of previously undetected cases and other factors, “we cannot rule out the possibility of a true increase in incidence,” says Ouellete-Kuntz.

  1. Families often wait several years to access autism services covered by the public health-care system. It is not uncommon for families to wait several years to receive a diagnosis of autism for their child from publicly funded health services in most provinces. Once a child is diagnosed, interventions with a strong evidence base, such as behavioural therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy, have wait times of several months up to several years in most places across the country. Once services are received, families have access to these therapies for only limited time periods and often beyond the window of time most experts believe optimal.

The wide range in disparity of publicly funded services for autism across the country has even generated a kind of “medical migration” with several published accounts of families leaving their home provinces to move to Alberta or British Columbia, where services are more readily available and more flexible.

It is also no longer uncommon to find Canadian families using crowd sourcing campaigns to fund their children’s therapies.



Published on: July 28, 2015 | Last Updated: July 28, 2015 1:17 PM EDT

Kathleen O’Grady is a research associate at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University and managing editor, She is based in Ottawa and has two young sons, one with autism. \

After record Pan Am Games performance, Canadian athletes shift focus to Rio 2016 Olympics

TORONTO — Feeling a summer-sport void now that the Pan American Games are over? It won’t last long — the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics are just over 13 months away.

Canada’s objective in Rio de Janeiro is a top-12 finish in total medals among the 200-plus participating countries.

For that to happen, Canada’s divers, swimmers, rowers, wrestlers and paddlers need to come through, augmented by some track and field, cycling and trampoline medals.

Those sports are the most heavily funded in Canada based on Olympic medal potential. Many are sports in which athletes can win multiple medals at one Olympic Games.

“They’re the bread and butter,” Own The Podium chief executive officer Anne Merklinger said. “If we don’t perform well in those sports in terms of multi-medal potential, then we’re going to struggle to meet our targets.”

Canada’s eventual goal at the Summer Games is to finish in the top eight, but it will take a strong performance to crack the top dozen in Rio.

Canada finished 14th in total medals with 18 in Beijing in 2008. The country moved up one spot winning the same number in London, but earned fewer gold and silver medals.

Merklinger said winning more than 18 medals is an objective for Rio. Canadian Olympic Committee chief sport officer Caroline Assalian said the COC’s focus is the top-12 result.

“The reality is all sports have to come through because one or two medals made the difference between 13th and finishing 11th,” Assalian said. “Every single medal counts.”

Own The Podium doles out funding to Canada’s sport federations based on Olympic medal potential. Canada’s taxpayers are the biggest contributor via Sport Canada, although the COC contributes money to its coffers from its corporate sponsorship campaigns.

OTP doles out about $35 million annually for summer sport.

The 2015 world championships are the best performance-on-demand indicator of which athletes are tracking towards a medal in Rio. The majority of world championships are still upcoming, with the world aquatic championships just underway in Kazan, Russia.

Of the athletes who were top-five in their respective world championships in 2011, 60 per cent produced an Olympic medal a year later in London. The conversion rate in Beijing was 67 per cent.

“Our best conversion rate was 67 per cent,” Assalian said. “That is absolutely our goal as well.”

Canada’s performance at the Pan American Games in Toronto also rated as a measuring stick for Rio for OTP and the COC. Canadians won a Pan Am record 217 medals, including 78 gold.

“Winning a medal in any Games is an important point in an athlete’s career,” Merklinger said. “Winning one at home in this kind of environment that people have referred to as a mini-Olympics is even more important.

“There’s been performances here where athletes have exceeded expectations because they’re performing on demand, they handled the environment so well.”

The federal government provided an extra $3 million to OTP for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games to assist athletes with medal potential across all the sports — not just Olympic and Paralympic sports.

An important distinction in summer sport in Canada is there is a pot of money devoted to team sports not currently tracking for an Olympic medal.

Team sports are traditionally a weakness for Canada at Summer Games, but the women’s soccer team’s bronze in London and their dramatic semifinal loss to the U.S. resonated at home.

Women’s soccer and women’s rugby sevens currently receive “core” OTP funding because they have medal potential in Rio.

But the 2015-16 funding recommendation for women’s and men’s basketball, men’s rugby sevens, men’s volleyball, women’s and men’s water polo and women’s field hockey is a combined $5.6 million.

Team sports are expensive because several athletes need to be funded for only one medal, but Assalian and Merklinger both say the impact it has on Canadians makes it worth the money.

“There’s just something about team sports. They unite people,” Assalian said.

“I think the fact a tournament lasts at least a week . . .. and the athletes from a team sport come from all over the country, there’s something about team sports that rallies a team, a country, a city like no other individual sport.”

Added Merklinger: “There are other nations we know that have said ‘we cannot afford to invest in team sports.’ That is not Canada’s position.”