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

MONTREAL – The Impact will end their brief Western road swing on Wednesday in San Jose without striker Didier Drogba and some other key players.

With a stretch of four games in 10 days set to begin against the Earthquakes, head coach Mauro Biello opted to send Drogba, Ignacio Piatti, Justin Mapp, Marco Donadel, Laurent Ciman and goalkeeper Evan Bush home for extra rest.

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A team spokesman confirmed Tuesday that those players would not be available.

Drogba (toe), Piatti (calf) and Mapp (foot) are also recovering from injuries, which factored in Biello’s decision.

Ciman, meanwhile, is serving the second game of a two-match suspension.

The six players, who have accounted for 14 of the club’s 34 goals this year, left California for Montreal on Monday.

The Impact played to a 0-0 draw in Los Angeles on Saturday.

“We have a huge week coming up at home against three conference teams,” Bush told reporters after the Galaxy game.

“Looking at the results from the league, results are still going our way. I think that if we can win a few more games, we will be solidly in the playoffs.”

READ MORE: Costa Rican attacking midfielder Johan Venegas joins Montreal Impact

Montreal (9-11-5) is in a good position to make the Major League Soccer playoffs for the second time in its history.

The Impact are sixth in the Eastern Conference with nine games remaining in the regular season and have games in hand on their closest rivals.

Following Wednesday’s clash with San Jose (11-11-6), Montreal will play consecutive home matches against New England, Chicago and D.C. United.

READ MORE: Whitecaps crowned Canadian champions with win over Montreal Impact

The Impact players are riding high after back-to-back positive results.

Drogba scored a hat trick in a 4-3 home win over the Fire before Montreal held the Galaxy — the league’s highest scoring team — off the scoresheet.

“You try to avoid saying that we are sending messages,” Bush said.

“It’s more of a message to us, that we can come on the road and get results. It’s a big confidence builder. We have another game Wednesday, another important game that I think we are able to go get points there.”

READ MORE: Montreal Impact fire head coach Frank Klopas, name Mauro Biello as interim

Montreal is 1-0-1 since Biello took over as head coach after Frank Klopas was fired two weeks ago.

The Impact will likely start Dominic Oduro up front at Avaya Stadium and Johan Venegas should fill Piatti’s central attacking midfielder role.

In the back, Hassoun Camara could make his return from a knee injury after not playing for the Impact since April 22.

Eric Kronberg, a native of Santa Rosa, Calif., should get the start in goal.

Notes: Montreal is 2-0-1 all-time versus the Earthquakes in MLS. San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski has a league-best 99 goals since 2010. He has 13 goals this season. Piatti leads the Impact with eight goals. Montreal and San Jose split their two meetings in the CONCACAF Champions League in 2013.

©2015

WEST LAWRENCETOWN, NS – Parents and area residents in Lawrencetown are still in shock tonight over what is believed to be the abduction attempt of a young boy.

The 10-year-old boy was standing at a school bus stop around 7 o’clock this morning at the intersection of the Lawrencetown Road and Maple Drive. A truck went past him, circled at the Community Centre down the road and returned, parking at the Lawrencetown Grocery store across the street from the bus stop.

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“The passenger jumped out and started waving at the boy to come to the truck,” said RCMP Corporal Greg Church. “The boy pretended to ignore him and then a few seconds later, the white male driver – believed to be in his twenties as well – got out of the truck and yelled at the boy to ‘come over and get in my truck’. That’s when the boy became extremely frightened and ran to a nearby home,” said Church.

The boy contacted his dad, who went to his school – Atlantic View Elementary – and told the principal what happened. The principal contacted the RCMP, then shared the news with parents.

“Parents have been alerted through through our voice messaging system and a letter is going home this afternoon,” said Jim King. “Stock Transportation – our bus carrier – we’ve alerted our drivers as well, to be on the lookout for this vehicle.”

The young boy gave what police say is an absolutely amazing description of the black half ton Chevrolet truck, thought to be a 2003 model. “He is a car and truck enthusiast,” said Cpl. Church. “It has a red painted gas cover cap that’s on the outside of the vehicle. Also, there’s a red painted pinstripe going down the side of the vehicle. On the top of the vehicle, he said there were five amber marking lights.”

Jim King said the boy knew what to do because teachers at Atlantic View Elementary work with the students in a program called ‘Stranger Danger’. “We have lots of conversations in class about what to do, if you’re feeling unsafe and also what to do in a situation like this, and thankfully he did the right thing,” said King.

The situation has upset families and other residents in the area. Bill Nielsen, the grandfather of a Grade 2 student said, “It’s a scary situation. My grandson’s here and I’m very concerned about him. He wasn’t approached today, but somebody was, and that’s frightening.”

Another man, who would only give his first name as Frank, said,”I’m shocked to hear it … and I hope they catch them – whoever they are.”

If you have any information you are asked to contact RCMP or CrimeStoppers. The investigation is continuing.

To anyone that even tries to bully Johnny Depp’s kids, be warned – he will destroy you.

RELATED: Johnny Depp on ‘Black Mass’ red carpet

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Depp was on the panel during a press conference to promote his latest film Black Mass debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie follows Whitey Bulger, an Irish-American gangster who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family.

In one scene, Depp’s character Bulger tells his son how to fight on the playground and for Depp, that was a piece of advice he took with him to the real world.

“If someone tried to bully my kid, if they didn’t destroy the little booger, I would,” he said.

So to all of the school bullies out there: don’t even think about laying a finger on Lily-Rose or Jack John.

Depp believes his methods were formed after listening to some advice his mother gave to him when he was a child:

“I remember when I was a kid you know, I was little maybe six or seven years old, there was some little horror at the school who was kind of needling me or whatever. And then I told my mom or something and my mom you know… coming from nothing but hillbillies. My mom said to me, ‘All right here’s the deal, the next time anybody puts their hands on you pick up a brick and lay them out.’ And I’ve taken that advice ever since.”

RELATED: Amber Heard tells mom ‘never make eye contact with the media’

The movie had its first screening Monday night, but will be hitting theatres September 18.

©2015Entertainment Tonight Canada

QUEBEC CITY  – The Quebec legislature resumes sitting Tuesday after its summer break.

READ MORE: #LiftTheBan: Student video asks Quebec government to reconsider budget cuts

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Premier Philippe Couillard‘s governing Liberals and the Opposition Parti Québécois have promised less political partisanship during the daily question period.

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The session will play out against the backdrop of what could well be protracted contract negotiations between the government and public-sector unions.

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The Liberals have 70 members in the 125-seat national assembly, compared with 29 for the PQ and 20 for the Coalition Avenir Quebec.

Quebec Solidaire has three seats, there is one Independent and two ridings are vacant.

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Quebecers are expected to next go to the polls in the fall of 2018.

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©2015

T-minus 26 days until the federal election — but who’s counting? — and campaigning continues apace.

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We’ve been doing our best to keep up with the electoral spin cycle. And we’ve been consistently deluged with reader queries on everything from when, where and how to vote; to the practical implications of the feds’ new health care transfers formula (spoiler: too early to say).

Here are a few of the questions we keep getting. Send us your pressing election question using the form below.

“What are the NDP and the Liberals going to do about ISIS?”

– Eric, health care worker in Alberta

Both NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau have slammed the Conservatives’ actions in the Middle East, where Canadian troops have been engaged in a bombing mission against ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper, for his part, argues Canada needs to be there — that pulling out would mean Canada’s burying its head in the sand when it comes to international terror threats that could target this country as well as others.

So what would the opposition parties do differently?

Mulcair has pledged to get Canada’s military out of Iraq and Syria “immediately.”

Trudeau has said he wants to end Canada’s bombing mission but keep troops there to train the Iraqi military.

“What are the parties’ views on a Universal Pharmacare Program for Canada?”

– Valerie, single working mom of a university student in Orleans, Ont.

The NDP has promised to sit down with the provinces and hammer out a universal drug coverage program if elected. Last week Mulcair pledged $2.6 billion over four years, which in all likelihood wouldn’t cover the feds’ share of the cost: Canadians spend a total of $30 billion a year on prescription drugs, of which about $18 million is either covered by private insurance or out-of-pocket payments.

The Liberals have promised to sit down with the provinces and talk about how to make drugs cheaper, but haven’t said how they’ll do that.

The Conservatives like the idea of coordinating bulk purchases to lower the cost of drugs overall, but don’t like the idea of a national drug coverage program.

“Why is it that all the focus is always on families?  What about those of us who are single and have to pay ALL the bills on one income?  What tax breaks or programs are there out there to help us single people out??”

– Shawna, Regina

We get this question a lot.

And it’s true: One phrase campaign-watchers keep hearing is “working families.”

For one thing, it’s good politics. Kids are adorable. Families tickle the interpersonal-obligation parts of our limbic systems and remind us we haven’t called in ages.

But there’s also an economic argument in favour of targeting underprivileged families, says Wilfrid Laurier University economist Tammy Schirle.

“There’s a very good case to be made for the parties to think about issues of poverty, especially child poverty, and how they might shape policies to help those kids who need it the most,” she said.

“These are early investments in kids that can pay off huge dividends in the long run.”

So what about Canadians with no children to get child benefits, no spouses with whom to split incomes?

There are precious few programs specifically targeted at single, working-age adults, period. But chances are you fit into a group targeted by a different political promise — whether because of your income, employment or housing status, health or (dis)ability. There’s no shortage of promises, but we have a handy link for you here.

Tell us your story and send us your questions. We’ll do our best to get a coherent answer.

©2015

As U.S. officials raise concerns about an increased Russian military presence in Syria, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning conflict negotiator claims western leaders “ignored” a Russian plan that might have seen Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad resign three years ago.

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The U.S., France and U.K. brushed aside the plan, the Guardian reported former Finnish president and 2008 Nobel laureate Martti Ahtisaari saying in an exclusive interview, even as the country’s civil war grew more brutal and millions of people were forced to flee their homes — contributing to what is now the greatest refugee crisis the world has seen in decades.

“It was an opportunity lost in 2012,” Ahtisaari said of the plan laid out by Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin, who also served as Russia’s ambassador to Canada from 1998 to 2003.

READ MORE: Russian forces expanding major airport in Syrian province: monitoring group

Ahtisaari said Churkin had a three-point plan to strike a peace deal between the Assad regime and opposition groups to end the civil war that has, since 2011, claimed the lives of more than 220,000 Syrians.

“He said three things: One – we should not give arms to the opposition. Two – we should get a dialogue going between the opposition and Assad straight away. Three – we should find an elegant way for Assad to step aside,” the Guardian reported him saying.

Ahtisaari claimed the U.S., U.K and France — all permanent members of the U.N Security Council along with Russia and China — weren’t interested because they felt Assad’s days were numbered.

“Nothing happened because I think all these, and many others, were convinced that Assad would be thrown out of office in a few weeks so there was no need to do anything.”

Ahtisaari’s claims were refuted by another European diplomat, whom the Guardian did not name, and by Sir John Jenkins, the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ executive director for the Middle East.

Jenkins questioned whether Churkin “was speaking with Moscow’s authority” and that he would have “wanted to hear it from [President Vladimir] Putin…

“And even then I’d have wanted to be sure it wasn’t a Putin trick to draw us into a process that ultimately preserved Assad’s state under a different leader but with the same outcome.”

READ MORE: Israeli defence chief: Russian troops already in Syria

It’s unknown whether a purported Russian plan could have ended the war and prevented the displacement of more than half of Syria’s population — more than 4 million refugees who’ve fled to other countries and approximately 7.6 million displaced internally — and prevented the rise of ISIS in Syria. Other attempts at a peace deal have fallen apart.

But on Tuesday Putin reaffirmed Russia’s military aid to the Assad regime, and its fight against rebel groups and extremists like ISIS, would continue.

Speaking in Tajikistan on, he said the situation in Syria would be “worse than Libya” without his country’s military assistance.

But now evidence appears to be mounting, showing just how much Russia is intervening to support longtime ally Assad.

“We have seen indications in recent days that Russia has moved people and things into the area around Latakia, and the airbase there,” CNN reported Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis saying Monday.

READ MORE: Obama warns Russia on helping arm Syrian government to fight ISIS

Foreign Policy on Tuesday, however, published satellite images highlighting the construction of an apparent air base near the port city.

Columnist Jeffery Lewis wrote the developments point to not just a failure of U.S. (and Western) policy regarding the war in Syria but also the grim outlook for both the bloody conflict and the humanitarian crisis spreading far beyond its borders.

“What Russia has done, however, is make it clear that it will not let Assad fall. He can’t win, but Russia won’t let him lose. That dooms Syria to what looks like endless war, as Assad fights to the last man.”

International involvement in Syria has largely focused on combating ISIS, through U.S.-led airstrikes and support for Kurdish and so-called moderate opposition groups.

But it’s the Assad regime’s forces and allied armed groups who are blamed for thousands more deaths than those caused by ISIS.

Citing numbers from the U.K.-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Washington Post reported last week ISIS militants killed 1,131 people in Syria in the first seven months of 2015, while the Assad regime and “pro-government militias” killed 7,894 people.

Follow @nick_logan

©2015

Blair Dale, a Conservative candidate in the Newfoundland riding of Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, has been dropped from the party, Global News has confirmed.

He appears to have been dumped after a blogger outlined posts by Dale on various social media accounts. According to the blogger, some of these posts included questionable comments on women, sex and race.

Even Dale’s OkCupid dating profile was scoured for his views on different issues, including mentions that he was pro-choice but only in cases of rape, and that he was open to dating someone who took “soft” drugs, like marijuana.

However, while the blog states that while these posts appear to have been written by Dale, they could not confirm that they actually were. Either way, Dale is no longer a candidate.

Before entering politics himself, Dale was working as an assistant to MP LaVar Payne in Ottawa, according to a LinkedIn profile.

Screenshot from Blair Dale's LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn

The Conservatives are not particularly competitive in Bonavista-Burin-Trinity. Although it is a new riding, all of the former ridings it is composed of leaned strongly Liberal – electing only one Conservative between them between 2004 and 2011.

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There’s whale-watching. And then there’s this U.K. couple’s close encounter with a humpback whale in Moss Landing, California.

Amazing video shows a fully grown humpback whale jump out of the water and land on top of a pair of kayakers in a tandem kayak.

Michael Sack, owner and captain of Sanctuary Cruises, was just a stone’s throw away when he and his passengers watched the enormous sea mammal leap.

“For them to jump out of water and land on somebody – that has never happened before as far I know. I would say it was just pure coincidence and the whale maybe didn’t know they were there,” Sack told Global News.

Sack’s vessel and about 20 kayakers had stopped to watch a group of whales playing and feeding on Saturday morning.

One of Sack’s passengers shot the whole thing. Sack posted the video on YouTube, where by Tuesday afternoon it had racked up more than 600,000 views.


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It looked like the whale’s pectoral fin slapped the two kayakers, knocking them out of their boat and into the water.

They emerged uninjured – just a little shaken.

“They said it was one of the scariest things that ever happened to them,” Sack said. “They were in shock all day.”

Sack said on his blog the couple’s kayak appeared to have bent under the impact.

For the record, Sack doesn’t advise whale-watching in the kayak.

“It’s pretty crazy that it happened, but somehow they were OK,” he said. “It could have been a very serious matter. It could have been a lot worse.”

©2015

A Canadian barred from voting in the Oct. 19 election because he has been abroad too long is planning to run as a candidate in a city he has never set foot in against none other than the incumbent prime minister, Stephen Harper.

Not that Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge has any illusions about his chances of upending Harper, who has much bigger fish to fry, in Calgary Heritage.

Instead, his Independent candidacy aims to make a serious point: Every Canadian citizen should have the right to vote, regardless of where they live, but many don’t.

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“I’m kind of making a show out of it, but that’s exactly the goal,” Duchastel de Montrouge, 43, told . “I’m not expecting to win.”

Like 1.4 million other expatriate Canadians, Duchastel de Montrouge was stripped of the right to vote by mail because he has lived abroad for more than five years under a law that has only been enforced under Harper’s Conservative government.

However, he said an electoral official in Calgary confirmed that the Canada Elections Act does allow any citizen to run as a candidate in any riding – as long as they meet the usual basic criteria, which include that they be at least 18 years old and not in prison.

They also need 100 signatures from people who do live in the riding.

“That’s taking a little bit longer than I thought,” said Duchastel de Montrouge, who lives in suburban Seattle.

READ MORE: Seat projections show a tight race but one thing’s (almost) certain – a minority government

Earlier this year, the Conservative government successfully appealed a court ruling that had thrown out the five-year expat rule as unconstitutional. One of the two Canadians who launched the charter challenge, Gill Frank, of Princeton, N.J., is now trying to raise money to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

So far, his crowd-funding campaign has yielded $10,500. Those who have donated expressed anger or resentment at being stripped of the right to cast a ballot.

“I feel completely disenfranchised as I have no right to vote anywhere,” said Carolyn Luce, who lives in France.

Duchastel de Montrouge said he has no plans to campaign in Calgary Heritage once his candidacy is formalized. In fact, he is actively dissuading anyone from voting for him, instead encouraging them via his website and social media to back a party that will restore the right of Canadians like him to vote.

In-Depth: Federal Election 2015

In the meantime, the engineer has taken on an auditor, appointed an official agent and opened a candidacy bank account. He’ll also have to put up a $1,000 deposit, which he said he hopes to get back.

His campaign budget, so far, is $30 – $20 from him and $10 from his official agent.

“We’re trying not to spend anything,” he said.

Still, he said he might have to spend several hundred dollars of his own to make his candidacy official – something he hopes to do this week. That may mean getting on one of the recently implemented direct flights between Seattle and Calgary to go drum up signatures for his candidacy and file his papers in person.

Spending the money will be worth it, he said, to raise awareness of what he sees as a technicality related to where he lives that has trumped his constitutional rights. Plus, he said, it’s a bit of an adventure.

“I’ve never been to Calgary,” he said. “That’s sort of the allure of it.”

©2015

MONTREAL – Lunch hour is usually a time when students are free from their teachers – a time when they get to chat with their friends, grab a bite to eat and talk.

But Westmount High School students did something a little different on Tuesday.

A group of about 40 students gathered in front of the school in support of their teachers, saying work-to-rule action is not allowing teachers to properly do their jobs.

READ MORE: #LiftTheBan: Student video asks Quebec government to reconsider budget cuts 

“Right now, we’re fighting the work-to-rule that’s going on across Quebec,” said Nilani Uthayakumar, a Grade 11 student.

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“They can only work their 32 hour contract – so no sports, no tutoring, all that is gone.”

Students who organized the protest said the pressure tactics are negatively affecting everyone.

“Not only is it affecting us as individuals and people who are currently at the school, it’s also affecting the future generations to come,” said student Sage Goodleaf.

READ MORE: Work-to-rule action forces Ballet Ouest de Montreal to cancel Nutcracker shows

Students weren’t the only ones protesting – teachers came out to join as well.

“I just had to come out here and tell them that this was incredibly moving for us,” said social science teacher, Robert Green.

“Our staff room window is just up there and they have come out here to support us, to support public education.”

Westmount High students were originally going to walk out of class at 10:30 a.m., but had to change their plans when their principal got wind of the protest.

“A lot of the teachers were blocking the way from us going out,” said Uthayakumar.

“They threatened for us to go back to class or else we could have suspended.”

Principal Michael Cristofaro said although students have the right to protest, they cannot leave during class time.

He said if they want to express an opinion on the protests, they are free to do so on their own time – during lunch or recess.

READ MORE: Parents, teachers protest provincial cuts to public education 

The students told Global News this won’t be their only action.

“We have a Facebook page of our group for Westmount,” said Uthayakumar.

“We’ll be communicating over there and work out a time and schedule on when to meet and when to do this.”

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