Monthly Archives:April 2019

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.”

©2015

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has accused the Harper government of slashing funding to seniors, veterans and Aboriginal Affairs last year in order to balance the books just in time for Canadians to head to the polls.

“We are in deficit right now, Mr. Harper has put us into deficit this year,” Trudeau said Monday. “As for last year’s numbers, we know, and we saw Mr. Harper under-spending and making cuts to Veterans Affairs, Aboriginal Affairs, to seniors, in the billions of dollars so that he could balance the books in time for his election.”

WATCH: Trudeau accuses Stephen Harper of making billions of dollars in cuts last year so he could have a balanced budget in time for the election

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But Trudeau’s statements don’t add up, according to the official 2014-2015 fiscal report from the Finance Department released the same day he made the claims. The books were balanced, and even showed a surprise surplus, but no deep cuts in the areas Trudeau claimed.

The report showed spending increased for Aboriginal Affairs by $2 billion, to $8.78 billion from $6.794 billion the year before.

In-Depth: Federal Election 2015

Spending increased for Veterans Affairs by $121 million, up to $1.018 billion from $897 million in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Spending for elderly benefits increased as well, to a total of $2.3 billion, up 5.5 per cent.

The $1.9 billion surplus certainly came as good news for Harper, breaking a painful streak of six-straight years in the red.

“This is incredibly good news,” Harper said Monday. “In spite of all the problems of the world, this country has a balanced budget, has had it all along. And the other parties are going to have to explain why they think now would be a good time to throw us into deficit.”

Trudeau has said he plans to run a deficit until 2019, in order to invest in infrastructure and boost the economy. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has pledged to not run a deficit as prime minister, even if he has to cut Conservative initiatives to do it.

The Liberals say Trudeau’s accusation was based on Monday’s fiscal report which said program spending was down, in part because of a “higher-than-expected lapse of departmental spending authorities.”

READ MORE: Budget surplus good news, but doesn’t predict the future: economists

Budget numbers indicated government departments spent $1.6 billion less than projected.

When asked about his claims, Trudeau on Tuesday called the report Harper’s “paper budget,” full of dollars pledged but not delivered.

“He makes commitments to veterans, and First Nations, and others, and then doesn’t keep those promises,” said Trudeau. “We know from years past, a billion dollars unspent in commitments made to our veterans, a billion dollars unspent in commitments made to First Nations.”

It has been documented that billions of federal dollars have gone unspent in many departments; in late 2014 it came to light that $1.13 billion from Veterans Affairs had gone unspent since the Conservatives come to power in 2006.

The departments in which the funds went unspent will not be clear until after the federal election on October 19.

With a file from

©2015

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said if elected, he would scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

“I would never bring this deal to the Canadian Parliament,” he told Global’s Liza Fromer and Jeff McArthur on The Morning Show on Thursday.

READ MORE: Harper to tout TPP today, Justin Trudeau in Montreal, Mulcair in BC

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Though the details of the TPP aren’t public, the NDP leader said he has been “more than briefed enough on it to know it’ll cost tens of thousands of Canadian families their jobs.”

He told Global News the deal will increase prescription drug prices, affecting seniors across the country.

“They (seniors) already have to decide between buying their prescription drugs and putting food on the table and that’s not on as far as the NDP is concerned.”

Mulcair also praised US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for opposing the deal as well.

When asked about his recent drop in the polls, Mulcair remained optimistic about his chances to win the election.

“I still keep on my desk in Ottawa the polls from the last election campaign that showed that the NDP was in fourth place in Quebec, and as you know it didn’t quite turn out that way,” he said. “There’s still 10 days left in this campaign.”

Zunera Ishaq talks to reporters outside the Federal Court of Appeal after her case was heard on whether she can wear a niqab while taking her citizenship oath, in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 15, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Mulcair: The Niqab is a distraction

Another hot-button issue during the campaign is whether or not the niqab should be worn during citizenship ceremonies. Mulcair remained firm in his stance that the niqab is merely a distraction.

“I’m not going to let Stephen Harper to use that … to hide his record,” he said.

The Conservatives have pushed for a ban on wearing the niqab in citizenship ceremonies, and Stephen Harper said if re-elected, he would look at legislation to ban niqabs or face coverings in the public service. Like Mulcair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has also argued that the tories are using the issue to “distract and deflect” Canadians from economic issues.

REALITY CHECK: Zunera Ishaq says niqab should not be an election issue

Mulcair said he won’t change his opinion despite a loss of support in Quebec because of the issue.

“That’s the politics of principle, as opposed to the politics of fear,” he argued.

©2015

With the launch of its new audio service, ReadSpeaker, Global News is bringing content to a wider audience while providing people with a more customized experience.

Global News online visitors will not only be able to read up on and watch the latest news — but can now listen to any print story with the click of a button.

The new tool allows users to simply click the “Listen” icon, and, well, listen. Nothing needs to be downloaded or installed to your computer or device.

Simply click on the “Listen” icon.

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When activated, ReadSpeaker Enterprise Highlighting opens the player and starts reading the content from the page. The text is also magnified and highlighted while it is being read, reinforcing a better understanding of the text. The service can be paused or stopped at any time.

Global News is the first news organization in Canada to offer the text-to-speech technology tool.

READ MORE: Take our survey on Readspeaker

ReadSpeaker will help provide a vital news service to those with poor vision, a reading disability, and those who may be learning English.

It can also be a convenient way for people to multitask while getting their news fix. It’s a simple, efficient way for people on the go to catch up on the day’s biggest stories, totally hands-free.

The service works on all devices, on all browsers, across all operating systems.

WATCH BELOW: Accessibility and inclusion specialist Frederic Fovet tries out the new text-to-speech function on the Global News website

Let us know what you think! Please take our survey on Readspeaker.

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©2015

While some shoppers may struggle to locate garments in a specific style or colour, Ashlie Callender faces an even greater obstacle: finding clothes that will fit her curvy frame.

“Regular stores, they go up to extra large sometimes, and that’s really like a (size) 10 maybe. So if it’s a stretchy material, I can get away with it,” said the college student, 24.

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“I actually would like shopping, but all of my options are either for people who are really, really old, wearing dress pants all the time – and that’s pretty much it. So I wish there was more.”

READ MORE: Plus-size Old Navy shopper’s selfie goes viral

Callender joined dozens of shoppers who jammed Torrid’s new location in Toronto Eaton Centre for the grand opening of its first store outside of the U.S.

Three more Torrid stores are set to open in the Toronto area this fall, joining homegrown plus-size retailers Addition Elle and Penningtons, both under the banner of Montreal-based Reitmans Canada Ltd.

The plus-size brand is already familiar to Canadians, who account for more than half of Torrid’s international business online, said CEO Lisa Harper.

Torrid CEO Lisa Harper is seen in this undated handout photo. Plus-size retailer Torrid recently announces plans for expansion beyond the U.S. with the opening of its first location in Toronto on September 1, 2015.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Torrid, Chad Sengstock

The retailer has more than 280 stores across the U.S. and ships to more than 150 countries. Torrid is a full-service apparel and accessories shop offering separates, denim, handbags and footwear.

Harper said the company expects to open about 10 stores in Canada in 2016, and has been eyeing British Columbia, Calgary and Edmonton as potential expansion sites.

While they don’t yet have a Canadian-specific e-commerce site, Harper said they’ll have an option for shoppers to ship items to stores at no additional cost.

Canadian prices will also initially be slightly higher to offset the exchange rate, she added.

“We are very cautious about that, and it is not an across-the-board decision. It’s really on an item-by-item basis….

“Obviously, we would hope that it would be for the short term,” she added.

READ MORE: Plus-size model Tess Holliday leads body-positive movement

Torrid is seeking to help fill a sizable void in Canadian retail for full-figured consumers.

A 2013 report from the NPD Group found that plus sizes represent 32 per cent of the “special size” clothing category, which also includes tall, petite and junior.

Two-thirds of plus-size women reported shopping for larger clothes was more stressful than shopping for traditional sizes, with limited merchandise cited among the main causes.

“Coming from the wholesale side of the fashion business, you do have to pay a premium for clothes that are either plus-sized or petite,” said Sandy Silva, director of fashion and beauty at the NPD Group.

“Oftentimes you have to make a minimum order to have the garment produced, and I think that is a huge barrier to entry for this market in Canada.”

Most national retailers which offer extending sizing have a “fairly basic assortment,” she noted.

“They don’t really have the wealth or array of fun, fashionable, sexy styles that plus-size women want as well as a regular-size woman.”

Prior to launching her plus-size lifestyle blog KillerKurves杭州桑拿 in 2012, Karyn Johnson fielded countless inquiries about where she found clothes and boots to fit her legs.

“If you had a certain look in your mind, like ‘I want a cute summer dress,’ you had to go online, you had to Google it and really go on a search to find what you were looking for,” said Johnson.

“It’s been difficult to find the options that you want, and not to be able to go to a mall and just shop at every single store. A lot of malls don’t even have plus-sized options.”

Torrid brand ambassador Georgina Burke said it’s been eye-opening to observe the reaction among plus-size women when they’re able to find clothes that fit.

“I would give them an outfit to put on and it’s crazy how they won’t show their arms, their legs, parts of their bodies they don’t like,” said the plus-size Australian model. “It’s so exciting to break down those barriers and let them embrace their bodies.”

Two of Hollywood’s hottest comic actresses have made a foray into plus-size fashion.

Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson will design a limited-edition holiday line for Torrid. Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly and Bridesmaids fame recently launched her own collection, which is carried at Penningtons.

“It’s great because she’s including all shapes and sizes,” said Diana Di Poce, editor-in-chief of Dare Magazine, a Canadian online magazine focused on plus-size fashion.

“I think that that’s something I’d like to see more of.”

©2015