MONTREAL – The head of the Quebec Bar Association is stepping down.

READ MORE: Four ex-premiers weigh in on suspension of head of Quebec Bar association

Lu Chan Khuong made it official in a joint statement Tuesday with the association, just days after both sides said they reached a mediated agreement over her suspension.

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  • Four ex-premiers weigh in on suspension of head of Quebec Bar association

  • Lawyers force Quebec Bar to hold general assembly on president’s suspension

  • Head of Quebec Bar Association in court fighting her suspension

READ MORE: Quebec Bar President suspended for allegedly shoplifting jeans

Khuong was suspended by the board on July 1 after it was revealed she had been the subject of a shoplifting complaint at a Laval clothing store in April 2014.

READ MORE: Court rejects suspended head of Quebec bar’s bid for immediate reinstatement

She was never charged in connection with the incident and the matter was dealt with non-judicially at the time.


MONTREAL – An overwhelming 91 per cent of parents said they are satisfied with the level of English instruction their children are receiving, according to a survey by the English Montreal School Board’s Central Parents Committee (CPC).

READ MORE: Not so fast, QESBA tells Quebec’s new education minister

That number dips to 73 per cent for French instruction.

About 850 families responded to the survey, with 69 per cent of parents saying they don’t believe the EMSB’s Commissioners value their opinion.

“I think it shows a lot of disillusionment about how decisions are made at the school board level,” said CPC member Andrew Ross.

“Two out of every three parents at the school board don’t believe the council of commissioners actually thinks about their opinions. For a commission that’s supposed to be looking at those views, that’s an astonishingly bad number.”

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    Parents, teachers and students protest Quebec education cuts

  • Not so fast, QESBA tells Quebec’s new education minister

  • Quebec’s English school boards fight for survival

The survey was wide-ranging, covering questions from the reasons for sending children to English schools to government cutbacks.

READ MORE: Quebec’s English school boards fight for survival

The results come at a time where the English school boards are fighting for survival.

In April, Education Minister François Blais announced a plan to abolish school board elections because of low voter turnout and high cost.

“We’re seeing that parents are demanding change. They have lost faith and lost confidence in the structure of the school board right now,” Ross insisted.

READ MORE: Can Quebec school board elections be saved? Should they be?

The Quebec English School Board Association (QESBA) declined Global News’ request for comment.

According to the parents’ commission, the EMSB initially tried to block the survey from being distributed to parents.

READ MORE: No more school board elections, says Blais

WATCH: The results of a controversial survey regarding the English Montreal School Board have been released. Kelly Greig reports live.

The board claimed that out of 19,000 students in their schools, the number of parents who responded was too low.

“It’s not significant to me in terms of the numbers saying we need to act quickly. However, there are obviously disgruntled parents that are sending us a message,” said EMSB Commissioner Angela Mancini.

More results from the survey are expected to be released after governing board meetings wrap up on Sept. 30.

On Wednesday, a group representing Quebec’s English school boards will unveil their alternatives for selecting commissioners.


OTTAWA – A Federal Court of Appeal panel has dismissed a government appeal over a ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies in what amounts to a major policy rebuke of the Harper government.

The three justices ruled from the bench, saying they wanted to proceed quickly so that Zunera Ishaq, the woman who initially challenged the ban, can obtain her citizenship in time to vote in the Oct. 19 federal election.

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Ishaq, a 29-year-old woman with devout Muslim beliefs who came to Ontario from Pakistan in 2008, refused to take part in a citizenship ceremony because she would have to show her face.

READ MORE: Most Canadians say faces shouldn’t be covered at citizenship ceremonies

The swift ruling left Ishaq speechless, although she said she looks forward to casting her ballot.

One of her lawyers, Maryls Edwardh, said the Immigration Department would be contacted this week so she could attend a citizenship ceremony – accompanied by her lawyers “just in case.”

The Harper government’s rule banning face coverings at such ceremonies was earlier found unlawful by the Federal Court.

Justice Department lawyer Peter Southey argued unsuccessfully that the lower court justice made errors in his original decision to overturn the ban.

Appeal Justice Mary Gleason said the court had no reason to interfere with the earlier ruling.

READ MORE: Canadian ambassador says niqab debate important

The ban on face coverings sparked a bitter debate in the House of Commons when it was first announced.

At Tuesday’s half-day hearing in Ottawa, a Justice Department lawyer told court that the government never meant to make it mandatory for women to remove their face coverings for citizenship ceremonies – a position that left both the judge and Ishaq’s lawyers scratching their heads.

The admission appeared to be a climbdown from the Conservative government’s past position on the issue.

The controversial edict was a regulation that had no actual force in law, Justice Department lawyer Peter Southey told a Federal Court of Appeal hearing.

“It indicates a desire in the strongest possible language,” Southey said – an argument that appeared to come as a surprise to Justice Johanne Trudel.

“I cannot see how this is not mandatory,” Trudel said during the hearing.

Southey later told the court that the immigration minister was conceding that he “could not impose a mandatory rule in a guideline” for the purposes of this appeal.

Lorne Waldman, the lawyer for the woman at the centre of the case, dismissed Southey’s argument, saying everyone from former immigration minister Jason Kenney , his successor Chris Alexander and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper have said in public they see it as a mandatory policy.

Reading from internal government emails, Waldman told court there was not “one iota of discretion” within the policy.

“Everything says mandatory, no discretion – that’s the facts of the case.”

The controversial case focuses on whether a Muslim woman should be required to remove her face covering to take the oath of citizenship.

Outside court, Ishaq questioned the federal government’s new line.

“If it’s not mandatory I would simply say, why they are fighting for it? Just let me go,” she said.

“I can’t even make sense of the statement – what the lawyer said about it that it’s not mandatory. If it’s not mandatory, so why that all this fuss is for?”


LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal rival Justin Trudeau both say they have agreed after all to take part in a campaign leaders’ debate focused on foreign affairs issues scheduled for later this month.

The NDP’s concerns over whether or not the Munk debate would be sufficiently bilingual have been satisfied, Mulcair said Tuesday during a campaign event in Lethbridge, Alta.

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“It now appears that it is going to be on the shoulders of the participants to ensure that it’s going to be in French,” Mulcair said.

READ MORE: Economic issues, not the refugee crisis, at the top of mind for Canadian voters

“I can tell you that I will ensure that it will be bilingual.”

The Liberals later followed Mulcair’s lead, with spokeswoman Kate Purchase issuing a statement that said Trudeau would be there despite lingering doubt about the extent to which the debate will take place in both official languages.

“While we continue to have concerns with the nature of the format with regards to language, there has been some accommodation,” the statement said.

“Foreign policy is a critical issue, particularly with the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, and we look forward to debating these issues fully.”

READ MORE: Leaders debate to put weak economy on front-burner this week

Trudeau had made his participation in all of the national leaders’ debates conditional on having an equal number take place in French and in English.

The Munk debate is scheduled for Sept. 28 at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. The Conservatives have already confirmed that Stephen Harper will be taking part.

The leaders had until noon Tuesday to officially accept the debate invitation.

The Munk debate will be broadcast in French and English both online and on CPAC, the Canadian Public Affairs Channel.


TORONTO – The Liberal cabinet has bypassed Ontario’s opposition parties and appointed Barbara Finlay as the province’s temporary ombudsman.

The New Democrats had blocked Liberal motions in the legislature to give the job to Finlay, who was deputy ombudsman, until the three parties could agree on a permanent candidate.

The NDP wanted to give Andre Marin another extension while he applied for a third, five-year term as the government watchdog, but the Liberals refused so Marin’s term expired at midnight.

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  • Ontario just not ready to give Andre Marin another term as ombudsman

Government house leader Yasir Naqvi wrote his Progressive Conservative and New Democrat counterparts saying it is “absolutely unacceptable” for the ombudsman’s position to be vacant for even one day.

Naqvi says the government had to appoint the deputy as the temporary ombudsman until the parties can agree on a permanent candidate because the NDP was “playing politics.”

Marin held a news conference Monday to appeal for reappointment, and criticized the Liberals for politicizing the hiring practice and treating him unfairly as he reapplied for the job.

“Unfortunately there’s no ombudsman for ombudsman because I’d be knocking on that door,” Marin told reporters.

The three parties did agree on a new environmental commissioner for Ontario, appointing lawyer Dianne Saxe to a five-year term.

Former environmental commissioner Gord Miller retired after three terms and is a Green Party candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

CALGARY – Victoria’s (not her real name) underage daughter was sexually exploited by a predator.

The Calgary mother recalls the signs of trouble she saw early on.

“At 15, she had fake IDs in the bar,” said Victoria “So that to me wasn’t very normal. It wasn’t just staying out late and not coming home – she wouldn’t come home for a week. “

Victoria said her daughter began using hard drugs such as meth, which were given to her by a man in his 40s.

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  • Shattering the Silence: giving exploited children a voice

“She was in a hotel for a week and a half with him… because she had picked her entire face, there was like no skin on her face at all, that was hard to see,” described Victoria.

“It just went from 0 to 100.”

What are police doing to stop sexual exploitation?

Under legislation unique to Alberta, police and social workers have the ability to apprehend and detain sexually exploited youth.

“The face of prostitution has changed,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta from the Calgary Police Service Vice Unit. “It’s no longer overt, obvious on the street. That’s a very small portion of prostitution now. Ninety-five per cent is through internet advertisement.”

While any officer in our province has the authority to apprehend exploited youth, there are three detectives in Calgary’s vice unit who work full time trying to help victims of prostitution.

“We could have between 400 and 500 youth in Calgary alone that are being sexually exploited – or are at risk of being sexually exploited – on any given day,” said Detective Paul Rubner from the Calgary Police Service Vice Unit.

What is the grooming process?

Police say victims of sexual abuse are often put through what is referred to as a “grooming process” prior to their exploitation.

Police say the grooming process can happen within just one day, and begins the moment the offender singles out their victim.

It can happen somewhere completely ordinary, like a mall.

“Think of the teenage girl that they see walking down the hall towards them, that looks like she’s left her self-esteem at home that day,” said Detective Rubner.

“[The offender will] befriend them, offer to buy them a drink, a meal, compliment them, offer to get their nails done, their hair done… but over time that relationship changes.”

“Eventually it comes back to the ‘you owe me’ situation or the ‘pay back’ situation,” adds Staff Sgt. Schiavetta.

Victoria warns that the grooming process can happen to anyone, anywhere.

“We own a home. We have a car… we’re normal, we’re not rich, we’re not poor…. we’re average,” said Victoria.

READ MORE: Shattering the Silence Part 1. Giving exploited children a voice

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

CALGARY – RCMP have arrested a 22-year-old man in the disappearance of two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.

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RCMP issued an Amber Alert on Monday across Alberta, which later expanded to British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Montana. Hours later, RCMP confirmed they’d found the body of her 27-year-old father, Terry Blanchette, in the family home in Blairmore, Alta. His death is being treated as a homicide.

READ MORE: Amber Alert – Father of abducted Alberta girl dead

“That person’s been arrested in association with both the homicide and disappearance of Hailey,” said Supt. Tony Hamori at an afternoon press conference.

The man has not yet been charged and his name will not be released at this time. Hamori said he is from the Blairmore community and was taken into custody Tuesday.

“There’s going to be a lot of effort focused around the suspect who was arrested today, but we do have other resources still following up leads that need to be closed off for the investigation,” said Hamori. “It’s clear to me the investigative team wants to keep a wide focus and an open mind at this point in time.”

TIMELINE: Abduction of 2-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

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.

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


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


RAW: Amanda Blanchette, Sister of Terry Blanchette speaks

A white van was also located, but RCMP continued its search Tuesday afternoon.

“We have located a white van that we believe is associated to the investigation in the area however it’s too soon to know if it’s exact van we’re looking for,” said Hamori. “The Amber Alert is still in effect with respect to locating this white van and we are looking forward to information from public with regards to the investigation, whether has to do with the homicide aspect, the van or the disappearance of Hailey.”

Watch below: Video coverage of the abduction of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and murder of her father

Amber Alert continues as crews search for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette


Amber Alert continues as crews search for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette


Alleged murder, possible abduction and the search for Hailey continues


Amber Alert continues for Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette


Amber alert investigation continues day after father found dead, 2-year-old daughter missing


Amber Alert still in place Monday night after two-year-old abducted


Two-year-old girl’s grandfather speaks out during Amber Alert


RAW: Grandfather of Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette speaks to Global News


Amber alert issued for abducted toddler


RAW: RCMP update Amber Alert and homicide in Alberta

The Amber Alert was renewed Tuesday at 2:14 p.m. MT.

“We’re all hoping and praying we’ll find her safely,” he said. “Everybody’s primary goal is locate Hailey safe and sound and return her to her family. We have the parallel aspect of the father’s homicide to deal with too…This is the toughest kind of case for police officers to deal with when you’re dealing with a missing child in a circumstance like this.”

READ MORE: ‘Her dad was the highlight of her life’ – Godmother pleads for missing Alberta girl’s return

RCMP have been speaking with Hailey’s mother, Cheyenne Dunbar, but wouldn’t comment on whether she is involved in the disappearance.

“I can’t comment at this point in time. Police have been speaking with her, obviously a follow-up investigation is going to be done on all information that we receive.”

Hailey is described as Caucasian with a small build, light brown, straight hair with bangs, and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crowsnest Pass RCMP at 403-562-2866.

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook

Terry Blanchette with daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette

Courtesy Facebook


London will likely be calling for plenty of vacation seekers next summer, with WestJet officially announcing Tuesday plans to begin non-stop service to the U.K. capital from six Canadian airports in May.

And customers who sign up early will get one heck of a deal.

The Calgary-based airline said it is offering introductory base fares for as little as $199 from St. John’s to London’s Gatwick airport. One-way airfares from Toronto and Winnipeg will start as low as $249 and $279, respectively, WestJet said in a series of news releases.

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  • Oil slump grounds demand for air travel from Alberta, WestJet says

  • Air Canada shaves airfares as battle with WestJet heats up

In total, the carrier will fly from six Canadian airports to London: St. John’s, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. One-way flights – including taxes — to Gatwick from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver are priced at $299, the airline said Tuesday.

“It’s a market that heretofore has had pretty high airfares,” Gregg Saretsky, chief executive of WestJet said in an interview after the announcements. “We’re always attracted to markets that have high airfares because we can come in with our brand of low fares.”

Introductory deals

Saretsky said the low airfares were temporary and would be available for a short time. After that, WestJet ticket prices to Gatwick will rise “modestly” the executive said.

“You’ll be able to buy them for at least the next couple of days,” Saretsky said. “But we will still be Canada’s low-fare airline to the U.K., no matter what fare you buy.”

In addition to the low introductory rates, the airline said it would temporarily offer connecting flights from other Canadian cities WestJet flies to for an additional $20 on the ticket price of the flight to London. For example, a person flying from Thunder Bay, Ont. to London via Toronto would pay $269 — the promotional ticket price of $249 from Pearson International to Gatwick plus $20.

READ MORE: Air Canada shaves airfares as battle with WestJet heats up

Air Canada, which counts its non-stop service to London as a major source of business, isn’t standing idly by as WestJet attempts to muscle in on its turf. The country’s biggest carrier has already announced it will begin offering routes to Gatwick using its lower-cost Rouge service.

Experts suggest the escalating competitive pressures will mean attractive ticket prices for customers at both airlines. “The new routes to London will undoubtedly be very competitive next summer,” National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen said.

WestJet’s non-stop service to Gatwick will commence on May 7, the carrier said.

WestJet plans to use its new Boeing 767s for service at all departing destinations except St. John’s, which will use WestJet’s Boeing 737s.

WATCH: Calgary based WestJet unveiled its first Boeing 767 Wide Body, and analysts say it’s a big win for consumers. Global’s David Boushy reports.

OTTAWA – The lawyer for Bruce Carson says the former top aide to the prime minister was working in 2010 and 2011 to help an Ottawa company sell water treatment systems for First Nations communities.

“There’s no question about that,” Patrick McCann told an Ottawa court Tuesday on the second day of Carson’s trial on a charge of influence peddling.

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But nothing in the Criminal Code prevented Carson from doing that, said McCann. He stressed that his client was lobbying First Nations communities, not the federal government, to purchase water purification equipment from a firm known as H2O Pros and H2O Global, where his girlfriend at the time, a former escort, was employed.

McCann also conceded that Carson clearly held sway with the Harper government. Carson had been a senior adviser to the prime minister from the time the Conservatives first took office in 2006, until he left the post in 2008.

“There’s no question that my client was motivated to help H2O and, by extension, his girlfriend,” McCann told Ontario Superior Court Justice Bonnie Warkentin.

READ MORE: Former Harper aide Bruce Carson pleads not guilty to influence peddling

But that, McCann said, was irrelevant.

He pointed to a protocol for procurement of goods by First Nations, developed in 2009, which he said made clear that aboriginal communities exercise control over what they buy and how they buy.

“It was entirely up to the aboriginal bands” to determine whether to buy water purification systems and from whom to buy, he said.

Testimony provided at Carson’s preliminary hearing, made public in this week’s trial, showed Carson first went to Shawn Atleo, then the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, to seek guidance about who to approach about helping H2O Pros sell their treatment systems.

Carson told investigators that Atleo advised him to speak with two officials in the Aboriginal Affairs department.

READ MORE: Former PMO aide faces more illegal lobbying charges

But Crown prosecutor Jason Nicol told the court any suggestions that the AFN was in control of procuring water treatment devices would be false.

And he countered that Carson returned repeatedly to officials in the Aboriginal Affairs Department, known at the time as Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, or INAC, even offering to pay for officials to travel to Saskatchewan for demonstrations of the water systems.

The AFN made clear it was a “peripheral player,” said Nicol.

“INAC isn’t just holding the purse strings, they were heavily involved,” he said.

Court also learned Tuesday that Carson sent emails in early 2011 to the owner of H2O Water Professionals Inc., saying the government was considering several pilot projects that could provide business to the firm.

But Nicol said communications from INAC showed no such pilot projects existed.

Carson has pleaded not guilty to a charge under Section 121 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits anyone from using their influence with the government to obtain benefits for themselves or someone else.

The trial has provided more fodder for Stephen Harper’s opponents who question the prime minister’s judgment when it comes to appointing the people around him.

Harper asked the RCMP to investigate Carson after media reports surfaced about his involvement with H2O.

The prime minister avoided commenting directly about the trial on Monday, saying the case involves accusations about a private citizen who had long ago left his employ.

But evidence produced at the trial shows Carson still had direct access to cabinet ministers and senior staff in the Harper government, who appeared willing to entertain his attempts to promote H2O Pro’s products as a way to help First Nation communities fix their water quality problems.

After Carson left the PMO, he moved to Calgary to head an energy think tank which was given $15 million in funding from Industry Canada.


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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  • ConocoPhillips, Penn West cut over 900 oil and gas jobs

  • Pennwest crews pump water, dig soil at spill site in northern Alberta

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.