CALGARY – Penn West Petroleum Ltd. has agreed to sell its properties in the Greater Mitsue area of central Alberta for $192.5 million cash.

Money from the sale will be used to reduce the Calgary-based company’s debt.

It’s the first major sale of non-core assets for Penn West since it announced two weeks ago that it was cutting its workforce by 400 full-time employees and contractors, suspending its dividend and cutting compensation for its directors.

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It also announced on Sept. 1 that it would sell a number of non-core assets, including the Mitsue properties, to reduce overhead costs. It said at the time that the Mitsue properties produced the equivalent of 4,500 barrels per day.

Penn West didn’t disclose the buyer but a second company announced about the same time that it has acquired properties in the same area that produce 3,300 barrels per day of crude oil and liquids.

Cardinal Energy Ltd said it would pay $129 million for its acquisition of light oil producing properties in the Mitsue area. It said CIBC and RBC would lead a syndicate of underwriters to provide $100 million towards funding the purchase, with the remainder coming from its credit agreements.

Penn West has said it’s aiming to keep its capital spending within cash flow generated from operations, despite the dramatic decline in oil and gas prices since the end of 2014.

It says the sale of the Mitsue properties will raise total proceeds from asset sales since June to $605 million.

Rock-bottom interest rates combined with sustained exuberance among buyers and an assist from a steady flow of foreign cash, according to experts, propelled the Vancouver and Toronto housing markets to new heights in August.

The country’s real estate association said Tuesday benchmark prices in those centres jumped 12 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, posting “by far” the biggest price increases among housing markets across the country.

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Aided by low rates, a shortage of detached homes in those regions compared to the number of interested buyers is driving the rapid price inflation, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.

“Prices continue to rise in Ontario and British Columbia, where listings are either in short supply or heading in that direction,” Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, said.

Subdued elsewhere

Price growth was more subdued in other markets, notably in areas hit by lower commodity prices. In Calgary, which continues to feel the effects of sharply lower oil, benchmark home prices were flat – the first time index prices have notched zero growth in four years.

Other markets outside the Vancouver and Toronto areas are also responding in kind to a mild slowdown in the economy, which has registered back-to-back quarters of contraction, or a technical recession.

MORE: ‘Best. Recession. Ever.’

The health of the country’s housing market has become a talking point in the federal election, the leaders from the three major parties promising reforms if elected.

MORE: Complete 2015 federal election coverage 

But outside of the country’s two biggest and priciest regions, sales data shows a balanced market, experts say.

Excluding the Vancouver and Toronto markets, the jump in national average prices would be cut in half, CREA said. “The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto.

Click here to view data »

Bubble behaviour?

“Overall, while most markets are responding logically to softening domestic economic conditions, Vancouver and Toronto continue to exhibit bubble behaviour,” David Madani, economist at Capital Economics said in a research note this week.

Several media reports in recent months have suggested a steady and rising tide of foreign cash is propping up price growth in big markets. Madani said that is only part of the story, while much of the demand remains from local buyers.

“While foreign investors are no doubt playing some role, we think this explanation is overblown,” the economist said. “Low interest rates and self-fulfilling expectations of higher prices continue to inflate actual prices independently of fundamentals,” he said.

“Over the longer-term, we still believe that these housing markets will experience major price reversals.”

WATCH: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau suggests ‘potential tools’ the federal government has to step in and help regulate runaway housing prices.

©2015

TORONTO – The information commissioner is taking the Prime Minister’s Office to court, accusing it of refusing to release documents about four senators embroiled in scandal.

filed an access-to-information request to the Privy Council Office, the central bureaucracy serving the prime minister and cabinet, in August of 2013 asking for any records created since March relating to senators Mike Duffy, Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau or Pamela Wallin.

The PCO identified 28 pages of responsive records, but withheld 27 of those pages, releasing just two emails in which its staff discussed similar access-to-information requests.

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PCO claimed every single word on every single one of those 27 pages might jeopardize solicitor-client privilege, or reveal personal information, or third-party information, or details on secret deliberations.

went to the federal information commissioner, who found the complaint well-founded and recommended the prime minister release “a significant amount” of additional information.

But the Prime Minister’s Office withheld the “vast majority” of the records and the information commissioner is now asking Federal Court to order the prime minister to disclose any records that don’t warrant being withheld under certain sections of the Access to Information Act.

In-Depth: Federal Election 2015

The Prime Minister’s Office “erred in fact and in law” in relying on the aforementioned sections of the act to withhold the records, the information commissioner said in the court application.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper deferred comment to the PCO, but a spokesperson there was not immediately available to respond on Monday evening.

Brazeau, Wallin and Duffy were suspended over their expense claims while Harb resigned.

Duffy, Brazeau and Harb have been charged with fraud and breach of trust. Duffy pleaded not guilty to 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery at his trial, which is set to resume in November.

Brazeau’s trial is scheduled to begin March 29, 2016. He has already pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Brazeau is also facing a separate set of charges – assault and sexual assault – arising from an alleged incident two years ago in the western Quebec city of Gatineau and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

That trial resumes Tuesday when he is expected to testify in his own defence.

Wallin has been under lengthy RCMP investigation but has not been charged.

©2015

NOTRE-DAME-DE-L’ÎLE-PERROT – There may be some relief to the traffic nightmare that was set off when roadwork began last week near Highway 20.

The town of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot met with Transports Quebec Tuesday morning to discuss alternative solutions after a week of jammed rush hour traffic.

Officials said they’ve reached an agreement to change the synchronization of the lights at the intersection of Grand Boulevard.

READ MORE: Off-island traffic problems infuriate drivers

This will hopefully help the flow of vehicles heading east in the morning and west in the evening.

According to town spokesperson Eric Leclerc, the target wait time for a car to reach the Galipeault Bridge is 10 minutes – a big difference from the one to two hours that residents claim they have been facing recently.

Motorists reacted nastily last week as work began, claiming that it now takes them double the time to get to work.

Construction is expected to last until Oct. 2016.

WATCH: Never-ending Île-Perrot traffic

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©2015

TORONTO – Canadians are still adding to household debt, but at a slower pace than earlier in the year, according to a new study from Equifax.

The credit rating agency says debt for those with a credit file, which includes most adults, rose two per cent in the second quarter of 2015 after rising 2.7 per cent in the first quarter.

Total consumer debt now amounts to $1.568 trillion, with the average debt load, excluding mortgage debt, totalling $21,164.

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Alberta debts

Albertans top the list, with an average of $27,313 in consumer debt for every person with a credit file.

Yet Equifax says the average debt load in the oil-rich province ticked 0.1 per cent lower from the second quarter of 2014.

Equifax said Canadians are adding to consumer debt to buy new cars, with auto loans increasing by 3.9 per cent from the same period last year.

The all-in picture of household balance sheets in Canada shows more of the same — Canadians continuing to pile on debt to make big-ticket purchases.

Statistics Canada said last week the amount of household credit market debt to disposable income in the second quarter rose to 164.6 per cent from 163.0 per cent in the first quarter as debt grew faster than income.

That means Canadians owed nearly $1.65 in debt on everything from mortgages to consumer loans for every dollar of disposable income — a new record.

Click here to view data »

WATCH: A new survey from the Canadian Payroll Association shows Canadians are having a hard time saving money. Global BC’s Nadia Stewart reports.

EDMONTON – Experts say modern technology has made Canada’s already efficient Amber Alert system even more effective in recent years.

Christy Dzikowicz of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection says smartphones and social media ensure that key details, such as descriptions of children believed to be in danger, reach people who are on the go and more likely to note suspicious activity than someone confined at home.

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She says the recent presumed abduction of Alberta toddler Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette is a good example, noting word of her disappearance and a description of the vehicle in which she was last seen have circulated across the country.

UPDATE 9 P.M. MT: Remains of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette found, Amber Alert dropped

Such wide-spread dissemination, she says, has made the system an extremely effective tool that helps recover kids in the vast majority of cases.

Dzikowicz says Canadians who see details of a missing child in their region need to ensure the system’s effectiveness by acting on the information as best they can.

“People that are in their commute, that are sitting on a transit bus or on a subway…A lot of people hear this information and they go, ‘oh my gosh, that’s really sad,’ as opposed to going, ‘ok, this is awful, I’m going to keep my eyes open,’” Dzikowocz said in a telephone interview.

Canada’s Amber Alert system has been implemented across all 10 Canadian provinces since 2004, though Dzikowicz says none of the territorial governments have put the system in place.

Amber Alerts were first launched in the United States after the 1996 abduction and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas.

The system, named after Hagerman and dubbed America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response, was originally designed to interrupt TV and radio broadcasts with crucial facts about a child under 18 who was believed to be in danger from an abduction.

Dzikowicz says the Canadian provinces are each responsible for their own systems and originally followed the U.S. model very closely.

Over the years, however, Canadian criteria for an Amber Alert has been broadened in the wake of some high-profile cases, most notably the 2009 slaying of eight-year-old Tori Stafford from Woodstock, Ont.

READ MORE: ‘It’s hard:’ 5 years later, Tori Stafford’s dad still haunted by her death

For an Amber Alert to be triggered under the old criteria, police had to believe a child under 18 had just been abducted, consider the child to be in danger of serious bodily harm, and have enough descriptive information of a suspect or vehicle.

Under the new rules, ushered in after Stafford’s death, police need only suspect, not confirm an abduction and are not required to have detailed descriptions of an abductor or vehicle.

The alert for Dunbar-Blanchette conforms to these new guidelines, since her alleged abductor or abductors are unknown and the vehicle in which she is believed to have been taken is only described as a white van with a large rear antenna sporting a flag.

Dzikowicz said another key distinction from the U.S. system is the way in which alerts are received.

American smartphone users receive automatic push notifications when an alert is issued in their region, but Canadians have to sign up to receive such services.

She urged Canadians to opt in and do their part when the time comes.

“We need to motivate people to really recognize that it’s possible that they could be the one who finds this child.”

The Conservative party is projected to pick up ten more seats than it was last week, drawing within four of the leading NDP.

And while they still have a sizable 15-seat lead over the third-place Liberals, Barry Kay, a politics professor at Wilfrid Laurier University said an election night victory is still up for grabs by any party.

But one thing is likely to happen: a minority government.

“I wouldn’t put a lot of money on anybody coming first, second, or third,” he said.

“The only thing I would put money on is nobody has a snowball’s chance of getting a majority. Now the leading party is 50 seats away from it, we had them more like 40 seats away from it a couple of weeks ago.”

The latest outlook from the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) projects the NDP could pick up 120 seats, the Conservatives 116, and the Liberals 101. The projections are based on aggregated and weighted samples of polls from Ipsos, Nanos, Abacus, Ekos, Forum, and Innovative Research with a sample size of over 8,000 respondents.

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Most of the Conservatives’ gains came in Ontario. Last week they were projected to pick up 42 seats, now Kay projects they could win 53.

“The Conservatives coming back to 53 seats which is where they were two weeks ago, is largely a result of the losses from the NDP and Liberals in Ontario,” Kay said in an interview Tuesday morning.

Ontario and British Columbia remain the most competitive areas in the country. The Conservatives dominate in Alberta and the Prairies, while the NDP and Liberals have their strongholds in Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, respectively.

»

Click to explore the latest seat projections in your riding

Conservative
Leaning Conservative
Liberal
Leaning Liberal
NDP
Leaning NDP
Bloc Québécois
Leaning Bloc Québécois
Too Close to Call
Independent

Note: “Leaning” indicates a 5% to 10% lead. “Too Close to Call” indicates a difference under 5%. Courtesy of Lispop杭州丝足.

And while the numbers suggest the NDP has a slight lead, any of the three main parties could still win, Kay said.

“It’s not just a two-way horserace. It’s a three-way horserace,” Kay said. “But there’s no question that even though the Liberals have been in third place for the last three months… they could still win because there’s not that many seats needed to overtake.”

READ MORE: You can vote right now, if you want to – what you need to know

When it comes to an aggregated popular opinion, Kay said the Liberals and Conservatives are tied at 34 per cent support. The NDP trails with 26. In order to win, Kay said, the Liberals would have to target rural ridings where they are competitive.

“Some momentum in smaller town Ontario would pick up a whole bunch of seats,” he said. “So the Liberals are very much within shooting distance.”

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CALGARY – Police are looking to the public for help locating a person of interest wanted in connection to the shooting death of 23-year-old Kallen Carothers.

Carothers was shot while travelling inside a white sedan on 16 Avenue and 19 Street N.W., in front of North Hill Centre, at around 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9.

On Tuesday, police released information about the person they believe was inside the sedan at the time of the shooting.

Officers say Osman Mohamed of Edmonton is 21-years-old, 5’10” in height with a slim build, brown eyes and black hair. It’s believed he suffered injuries during the shooting which would require medical attention.

Police also released a photo of a vehicle seen leaving the crime scene which they believe may be connected to the homicide. It’s described as a dark blue, two door Toyota Yaris with tinted windows.

Police released a photo of a vehicle seen leaving the crime scene which they believe may be connected to the homicide. It’s described as a dark blue, two door Toyota Yaris with tinted windows.

Calgary Police Service

Anyone with information on who the vehicle belongs to, or the whereabouts of Mohamed, is asked to call police or contact Crime Stoppers.

In addition, tips can be passed along to the Calgary Police Service Homicide Unit Tip Line at 403-428-8877.

Officers say Osman Mohamed of Edmonton is 21 years old, 5’10” in height with a slim build, brown eyes and black hair. It’s believed he suffered injuries during the shooting which would require medical attention.

Global News

Editor’s Note: Police originally said Osman Mohamed is 23 years old; they sent out a correction that he is 21 years old just after 5 p.m. MT.

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PITTSBURGH —A man who served 34 years in prison for the killing of a 15-year-old girl before new DNA evidence was discovered will not be retried, a prosecutor said Monday in announcing that all charges would be dropped.

Lewis Fogle, 63, was released from prison last month after a judge vacated his murder conviction. But Fogle was merely released on bond until Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty agreed to dismiss all charges against him in the rape and murder of Deann Katherine Long.

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The judge’s decision stemmed from a joint motion by the New York City-based Innocence Project and Dougherty, who agreed the DNA evidence raised enough doubt to jeopardize Fogle’s conviction.

“I feel that he was involved, but the question was if we were ever going to have the evidence to prove that,” Dougherty said Monday.

“As I said before, there’s a difference between innocence and being unable to prosecute.”

Fogle was arrested in 1981 along with three other men, but he was the only one to stand trial. He steadfastly maintains his innocence.

“I want the people to know that I did not commit the crime, and a lot of people out there know I did not commit the crime,” Fogle told The Associated Press after Monday’s decision. “I’m hoping very strongly in the near future that the truth will come out with the names of the guilty parties, and I hope if any are still alive that they will be brought to justice.”

WATCH: Injured, orphaned bear cub found hiding out in pizza shop

Karen Thompson, one of Fogle’s attorneys, said 30 states and the District of Columbia have statutes that compensate wrongly convicted people. Pennsylvania does not so Fogle will have to sue if he wants reparations, she said.

Fogle was 30 with a pregnant wife and infant son when he was convicted in 1982.

Lewis Fogle, 63, flanked by his attorneys.

“I’m sure in light of his 34 years’ incarceration and the time that’s taken away from his ability to pursue a career” that Fogle may sue, Thompson said. “But today he’s just focused on his freedom.”

Dougherty said investigators have re-interviewed several witnesses since the judge freed Fogle and concluded, “There’s no way to resurrect the case.”

The DNA, taken from semen found on the victim using technology not available decades ago, excluded Fogle. The samples are being tested against other suspects, and the investigation will continue, Dougherty said.

“This is now considered an open homicide,” Dougherty said.

WATCH: Topless female protesters interrupt Muslim conference in Paris

A stranger found Deann’s body on July 31, 1976, near Cherry Tree, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The previous day, Deann’s younger sister saw a man telling her their brother had been in a car crash, and the sister later saw her in the man’s car.

That man checked himself into a psychiatric facility and was questioned about the killing five times but was never charged. But after he was hypnotized to aid investigators, he said he was present when Fogle, his brother and two other men raped, then shot the girl.

Fogle was tried and convicted after three jailhouse informants testified he confessed to them. Charges against his brother, imprisoned for a child sex conviction last year, were dismissed under speedy trial rules. Prosecutors eventually cited a lack of evidence in dropping charges against the other two, one of whom has since died.

©2015The Associated Press

EDMONTON — On Wednesday, the man accused of murdering two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

Below is a timeline of events with details from Alberta RCMP regarding the death of 27-year-old Terry Blanchette, the abduction and death of Hailey, and the death of Meketech.

NOTE: All times are in Mountain Time.

Sept. 14, 2015

11:12 a.m. — Crowsnest Pass RCMP receive a call reporting a sudden death at a home in Blairmore, Alta.

11:12 a.m. – 2:13 p.m. — Several events happen over the course of three hours.

  • Officers secure scene and begin investigation. RCMP Major Crimes Unit based in Calgary is called in.
  • Police learn that a child lived at the home and that she may be missing.
  • Officers search the area, including a canvass of the neighbourhood to make sure the child isn’t with a neighbour.
  • Police try to get contact information for the child’s mother.
  • Investigators gather information that indicates the little girl was abducted from the home at 3:30 a.m. Monday.

    WATCH: Amanada Blanchette, sister of murdered father Terry Blanchette, and Rebecca Harrington, who is missing 2-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother and close friend of Terry Blanchette, speak about the case.

    RAW: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother speaks to Global News

    08:23

    RAW: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s godmother speaks to Global News

    02:10

    RAW: Amanda Blanchette, Sister of Terry Blanchette speaks




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    • Technology making Amber Alert system more effective

    2:14 p.m. – An Amber Alert is issued for Alberta. The child’s mother contacts RCMP.

    READ MORE: Amber Alert: What we know so far about Terry Blanchette and daughter Hailey 

    3:15 p.m. – The Amber Alert is extended to British Columbia, Montana, and Saskatchewan.

    5:30 p.m. – During a news conference RCMP confirm they’re investigating Terry Blanchette’s death as a homicide.

    Sept. 15, 2015

    The investigation continues.

    1 p.m. — During a news conference, RCMP reveal a 22-year-old man was arrested in Blairmore. They said the man, who had not been charged and whose name would not be released, is being questioned in relation to the Blanchette homicide and the disappearance of Hailey.

    READ MORE: Man arrested, Amber Alert continues for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette 

    The RCMP continues to investigate and the Amber Alert remains in effect. Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette is described as a Caucasian female child, small build, light brown, straight hair with bangs, and brown eyes. She was abducted by an unknown person.

    The suspect vehicle, fled the residence west, at a high rate of speed. The vehicle is described as a newer model white van, with a large rear antenna, with a flag attached. RCMP said the suspect should not be approached.

    Around 9 p.m. — RCMP victims services confirm at a public vigil in Blairmore the remains of Hailey had been found. Sources tell Global News the girl’s remains were found close to the community of Blairmore, where she went missing.

    WATCH: RCMP say the remains of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette were found Tuesday afternoon.

    Sept. 16, 2015

    Around 9:45 a.m. — Derek Saretzky, 22, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of  Hailey and her father Terry. RCMP believe Saretzky planned the murders. Saretzky is scheduled to appear in Lethbridge Provincial Court on Sept. 23.

    READ MORE: What we know about Derek Saretzky

    11:15 a.m. – Hailey’s mother, 20-year-old Cheyenne Dunbar, describes her daughter as “smart” and “beautiful” and said Blanchette was an “awesome father.” Dunbar said she was friends with Saretzky years ago but hadn’t spoken to him in three years.

    READ MORE: ‘She was my baby’: Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette’s mother Cheyenne breaks down 

    Sept. 23, 2015

    Global News is told by sources that Saretzky is rushed to hospital in medical distress and placed in a medically-induced coma after allegedly attempting to take his own life while in a shower at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky taken to hospital after suicide attempt: sources

    Sept. 25, 2015

    A source tells Global News Saretzky has come out of the coma.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky out of medically-induced coma after suicide attempt: source

    Sept. 30, 2015

    Saretzky is ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment in order to determine whether he’s fit to stand trial for the murder’s of Hailey and Blanchette.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment

    Oct. 28, 2015

    Saretzky is ordered to undergo another 30-day psychiatric assessment after his doctor makes the request to the judge.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky’s psychiatric assessment extended 30 days

    Nov. 25, 2015

    A Lethbridge court determines Derek Saretzky is mentally fit to stand trial on the two first-degree murder charges.

    READ MORE: Derek Saretzky mentally fit to stand trial; next court date in February

    Feb. 26, 2016

    Saretzky makes a brief court appearance in a Lethbridge court, where a judge set aside June 20 to 30 for a preliminary hearing.

    READ MORE: Preliminary hearing set for accused Blairmore double-murder suspect Derek Saretzky

    April 20, 2016

    Derek Saretzky is charged with the first degree murder in the death of 69-year-old Hanne Meketech.

    Meketech was found dead in her home in the southern Alberta community of Coleman on Sept. 9, 2015.

    Global News confirmed Meketech lived next door to Saretsky’s grandparents.

    READ MORE: Blairmore double-murder suspect Derek Saretzky charged with murder of southern Alberta woman

    May 8, 2017

    Trial proceedings for accused triple murderer Derek Saretzky began on Monday, May 8, 2017 in Lethbridge.

    The case will begin with pre-trial applications that are expected to take several weeks. The trial proper will get underway at the end of the month with jury selection scheduled for May 25 and 26.

    READ MORE: Trial proceedings to begin for accused Blairmore triple murderer Derek Saretzky

    The trial by judge and jury is anticipated to begin on May 29 and run until June 30.

    Watch below: Timeline of Derek Saretzky case as of May 8, 2017

    ©2016

  • WINNIPEG — Winnipeg police have seized and are processing what the Drag the Red group believe to be human teeth.

    READ MORE: Drag the Red finds what it believes are human teeth by Red River

    “We seized what appears to be teeth and I’m not going to comment on whether or not they are human teeth,” Constable Jason Michalyshen said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We are still investigating. They have been seized, they will be processed by our forensic identification section.”

    WATCH: Winnipeg police update on teeth found, handed over by Drag the Red

    Story continues below

    HangZhou Night Net

    Working off a tip, organizer Kyle Kematch came across the teeth Monday afternoon.

    “I came across the first tooth, took measurements and sent them in,” said Kematch. “While we were waiting I continued searching and we found 3 more.”

    Kematch found the teeth along the shores of the Red River near the Seine, close to Whittier Park.

    Drag the Red started searching the river and its banks by boat and on foot after the body of Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in August 2014.

    Volunteers hope to find clues that might lead to the discovery of other missing or murdered indigenous women.

    The group has found bones in the past but they were determined to be animal.

    “I handed in hair, handed in a gun,” said Kematch. “We pulled up animal bones before.”

    Each time, volunteers wait to hear if what they have found could be evidence in helping solve a loved one’s case.

    “They are items that have been deemed an item of concern and there is a process that needs to take place and sometimes it can be time consuming,” said Constable Jason Michalyshen with the Winnipeg Police Service.

    “Finding stuff like this just shows myself that we are getting somewhere. It’s not all for nothing,” said Kematch.

    His sister, Amber went missing back in 2010 and hasn’t been heard from since.

    “It goes through your mind that its a possibility that it could be Amber,” he said.

    READ MORE: Bones found on bank of Red River

    While volunteers do believe their discoveries get taken seriously, they are frustrated with officers slow response times. On Monday night, it took officers more than 5 hours to respond to their call about the teeth. But officers said it was a busy night, with only 27 cars to respond to more than 55 calls in the queue.

    Repairs have kept some of the volunteers boats off the river lately, but they hope to be able to get back out on the river Wednesday morning.

    ©2015

    LETHBRIDGE — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair focused on mental health services for young Canadians as he announced another plan to improve public health care and reverse the damage done by years of Liberal and conservatives on Tuesday.

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    “Every child in Canada should have access to high quality, effective mental health treatment when they need it and that’s not been the case under Stephen Harper’s lost decade,” said Mulcair at the Sik-Ooh- Kotok friendship centre in Lethbridge. “Evidence shows that addressing mental health in children reduces the incidence of serious mental health issues in adulthood, which reduces costs and strain on provincial healthcare systems.”

    Mulcair said nearly 1.5 million Canadians under the age of 24 who are affected by mental illness do not receive access to appropriate support, treatment or care

    Kristine Cassie with the YWCA in Lethbridge is thrilled with the announcement, and says it’s finally time the government made mental health a top priority.

    “We see it at the YWCA, a number of people impacted by mental health, and when it’s not dealt with we see the effects years later.”

    “When we look at our women, residents we are dealing with almost 70 per cent of them being diagnosed with mental health issues,” added Cassie.

    To support provinces and territories in the delivery of quality mental health services, Mulcair said an NDP government would establish a $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth aimed at wait-time reduction and improved care.

    The Mental Health Innovation Fund would include:

    • A special emphasis on high-risk populations in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, as well as Canadians in rural and remote communities, and youth transitioning from foster care.
    • $10 million per year for research and enhanced healthcare collaboration across the country;
    • $15 million per year for healthcare providers and community mental health associations to implement best practices for wait-time reductions for better care.

    “Our improvements to mental health services will also be supported through our investments to help build 200 health clinics across Canada as part of our comprehensive plan for healthcare,” said Mulcair. “The NDP will improve mental health care services and balance the budget, by asking Canada’s biggest corporations to pay a fair share. Justin Trudeau won’t do that.”

    Better mental health services are part of Mulcair’s plan to usher in the next era of quality public health care for all Canadians. He will release additional details of his health care plan in the days ahead and provide a full costing prior to Thursday’s debate.

    ©2015shaw media

    VANCOUVER – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has announced plans to provide tax relief for single and widowed seniors.

    At a campaign stop Tuesday in North Vancouver, Harper said a $2,000 single seniors tax credit would help nearly 1.6 million seniors who have pension income.

    Harper said when combined with the existing $2,000 pension income tax credit, it would double the tax relief available to single seniors beginning in January 2017.

    WATCH: Stephen Harper says that since the global financial crisis his government has created 1.3 million net new jobs and says it’s the best record among the worlds major economies.

    He said seniors have saved and worked their entire lives and they know best how to make financial decisions about their retirement.

    Under the policy, a single senior would received tax relief of up to $600 a year, the Conservatives said.

    It would be phased in over four years – initially costing $23 million and up to $397 million when fully implemented.

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    Related

    • NDP lead shrinks to one point across Canada: Ipsos poll

    • Economic issues, not the refugee crisis, at the top of mind for Canadian voters: Ipsos poll

    ©2015