Cancelled Multicultural Festival still getting public money

Nova Scotia’s Labour Department isn’t pulling funding for staff working on the cancelled Multicultural Festival.

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On Monday a board member with the Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia confirmed that the June festival is cancelled but that the board is hoping to reschedule it for later in the year. Debbie Phinney said the association is going through a transition as it deals with financial problems and moves office spaces.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan says the four staff paid for through a grant are working from home during the transition.

“Of course we would be keeping an eye, making sure that they are getting the kind of supervision and coaching that we would expect from a work placement,” she said.

The association was given $6,320 in order to hire eight people who were to help “plan, develop, and organize events” as part of the festival, Labour Department spokesperson Andrew Preeper said. Each of those placements is for a 15-week work term.

Ultimately the association only hired four staff members in early April, so some of the money won’t be given to the association. The placements will end in late June or early July.

Community, Culture, and Heritage Department cut off funding

The association was cut off from its main source of government funding last year by the Communities, Culture and Heritage Department. Spokesperson Krista Higdon said the funding was pulled because the association didn’t provide the necessary financial information.

WATCH: Halifax Multicultural Festival cancelled 

In the last four years, it’s been granted more than $60,000 from the department. However, only $30,000 of the disbursement was given last year before the funding was cut.

Regan says her department still provided the funding to the association this year because it met all of her department’s documentation requirements.

“They provided the kind of documentation that we require, to be able to give them the money,” Regan said.

She said the fact that one department pulled funding toward a festival that another department supported doesn’t pose a problem because they’re for different programs. The Communities, Culture and Heritage Department funding was for operational needs, while the funding from the Labour Department flows through from the Job Creation Partnership.

The association will have more to say about the future of the festival later this week, Phinney said Monday.

Contract to conduct independent review of Palliser school board rejected

LETHBRIDGE – Frustrated parents and former staff members of the Palliser school board attended yet another board meeting Tuesday, hoping for answers related to an independent review of Palliser Regional Schools.

Back in January, the superintendent requested an independent review of the board to put social media rumors and accusations of bullying to rest.

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    The board chair, Colleen Deitz, shared news that the three people who were offered contracts to conduct a review of Palliser Regional Schools’ operations have declined to sign them.

    “It means we have no contracts,” she said. “We have no review proceeding at the moment. What we have done is to make a motion to get in touch with the committee members.”

    Deitz said one of the potential reviewers emailed her to advise the board that all three parties had independently arrived at their decision to decline the contracts. She said the email did not give a reason, so she called and left a message. Deitz said has not received a reply.

    “Until you know the reason, speculation can be anything, but it would be nice to know why,” Deitz said.

    READ MORE: Independent review of Palliser school board approved

    After an in-camera session to consult with Palliser legal counsel about possible next steps, the board voted to have vice-chair Robert Strauss make contact with the three potential reviewers to find out why they no longer wanted to conduct the review.

    Back in January, Education Minister David Eggen told the Palliser board he wanted this process to be done quickly and efficiently. Deitz said the minister will be notified immediately.

    The board has scheduled a special meeting for 11 a.m. May 17, at which time Strauss may be able to provide an update. Trustees already had a committee meeting planned that day.

Gene Simmons: Prince’s death was ‘pathetic’

Lately, KISS rocker Gene Simmons has certainly been mouthing off.

About a month ago, Simmons went on a rant about hip-hop group N.W.A. being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, saying that he’s “looking forward to the death of rap.”

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Now Simmons, 66, is encroaching on arguably sacred ground, saying that music icon Prince’s death in April was “pathetic.”

READ MORE: Black Keys frontman: Steve Miller “really disappointed us” with his Hall of Fame comments

Comparing Prince’s passing to the death of another music legend this year, David Bowie, Simmons seems to think one is more legitimate than the other. Bowie died of cancer at the age of 69.

“Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness,” Simmons told Newsweek. “[With Prince], his drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?”

The official cause of Prince’s death is not yet known, but recent reports say that he died of a suspected opioid overdose.

“I think Prince was heads, hands and feet above all the rest of them,” Simmons continued. “I thought he left [Michael] Jackson in the dust. Prince was way beyond that. But how pathetic that he killed himself. Don’t kid yourself, that’s what he did. Slowly, I’ll grant you — but that’s what drugs and alcohol is: a slow death.”

READ MORE: Gene Simmons: “I’m looking forward to the death of rap”

“The one question I have is: when we all start out and we have these big dreams and you finally get your wish … you have more money than God and fame,” Simmons said. “What is that insane gene in us, well, a lot of us, that makes us want to succumb to the cliché of clichés: drugs and alcohol?”

KISS starts up its Freedom to Rock Tour in July. The band plays Edmonton and Calgary on July 12 and 13, respectively.

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Gene Simmons Timeline | PrettyFamous

City of Toronto proposes framework for licensing landlords

Rather than flooding the city with 3-1-1 calls complaining about issues in their buildings, tenants may soon have a new tool to help them live with dignity.

City staff released a framework Tuesday for licensing landlords that includes requiring them to maintain the interiors and exteriors of their buildings, and clean common areas as a condition for approval.

Landlords will also need to notify residents of service disruptions in a centrally located posting board.

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READ MORE: ‘We were naive’: Canadian landlords share their worst tenant stories

“This isn’t about going after good landlords. There are many in the city. [But] there are far too many, almost parasitical companies that come into Toronto, buy up apartment buildings, remove the superintendent and keep the building in disrepair,” said Councillor Josh Matlow, chair of the city’s Tenant Issues Committee.

“That’s not fair to so many tenants who deserve to live in a quality home.”

Justina Baah, a nurse and mother of three, says she’s been living in substandard conditions for seven years in her North York apartment on Lawrence Avenue and has notified building management.

“The main problem we have here is the ventilation system; it doesn’t work. I have children, one of them has asthma,” she said, adding that living under these conditions for years has chipped away at her self worth.

“It’s really hurtful, that’s why we’re asking John Tory and city council to step in.”

Justina says her bathroom is also in need of repair, after a crack formed on the ceiling over her shower.

“You can see the big crack. I’m afraid one day the ceiling will collapse,” she said. “I’ve been reporting [it] but nothing has been done so far.”

Building management says urgent requests are addressed within 24 hours and other problems are dealt with in two weeks. But Justina says that hasn’t been her experience.

Tenant advocates see the proposed licensing framework as a step in the right direction.

READ MORE: Toronto tenants resort to bribes and bidding wars to score apartments

“This is a huge opportunity for John Tory who should be supporting more than 50 per cent of the voting constituents,” said Kemba Robinson, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now representative for the Jane and Finch area.

Around half of the city’s population are renters. The proposed rules would apply to landlords of buildings with 10 or more units, three or more storeys high.

One of the recommendations is to establish a licensing fee between $12 and $15 per unit.

READ MORE: Landlord and tenant rights: what to do with a rental nightmare

Some fear landlords could pass this cost onto tenants by raising their rents, but Councillor Josh Matlow says that is unlikely.

“If they will try and go to the landlord tenant board for a minimal cost recovery fee that would be very objectionable,” he said.

“I’d find it very difficult to believe that the landlord tenant board would support a landlord’s requests if they tried to do this.”

This is good news for Justina, who pays around $1,100 a month for her two-bedroom apartment. She admits she’s finally had enough and is hoping to move out soon.

Jian Ghomeshi accuser ‘saddened’ to hear he won’t face second sex assault trial

A complainant in former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi’s previous trial says she is “saddened” to hear he is expected to sign a peace bond to withdraw a charge of sexual assault for his upcoming trial in June.

Linda Redgrave, the first complainant in the sexual assault and overcome resistance by choking trial Ghomeshi was acquitted in earlier this year, said the expectation that he will sign the recognizance agreement Wednesday doesn’t make sense to her.

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“I was saddened by it. I was saddened because I feel like the woman isn’t having her day in court and Jian Ghomeshi is not having to answer to the allegations against him,” Redgrave told Global News Tuesday.

“It feels like he’s just getting off and I’m not sure why, I’m not sure what went on, I’m not privy to that, but it just doesn’t feel right.”

READ MORE: Jian Ghomeshi won’t have second assault trial, will sign peace bond

Ghomeshi, 48, has maintained his innocence from day one in connection with allegations brought forth by the complainants in both trials.

Redgrave waived her right to a ban on her identity last month in the previous trial, and said Tuesday she didn’t understand why a peace bond was relevant in a workplace sexual harassment allegation involving a former CBC employee.

“They don’t work together anymore, he is no longer with CBC so to me it says you can harass somebody in the workplace and as long as you promise not to go near them it’s OK,” she said.

“This just doesn’t seem to fit right with me. I feel like he needs to go to court and he needs to be accountable for what he’s done, or not done.”

READ MORE: Jian Ghomeshi trial: What is a peace bond?

Chuck Thompson, CBC head of public affairs, said in an emailed statement Tuesday that the recent developments in the case are “unrelated to our decision to end Jian Ghomeshi’s employment with CBC.”

“Based on the evidence that came to our attention, Mr. Ghomeshi’s actions were not in line with the values of the public broadcaster nor with our employee code of conduct and we stand by this decision,” he said.

Criminal lawyer and legal analyst Lorne Honickman said the proposed peace bond is not an admission of guilt and is not uncommon in sexual assault cases.

WATCH: Three options for those sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace

“It’s important for the defence —; [since there is] no criminal conviction —; but it also could be very important for the Crown,” he said.

“The Crown can look at its case, may feel that they don’t have a reasonable prospect of conviction or perhaps they have a complainant that doesn’t want to testify or only cares about making sure there’s no contact direct or indirect.”

Honickman also said it’s uncommon for someone entering into a peace bond to speak in court.

READ MORE: ‘I just hope that he doesn’t hurt somebody really badly’: Jian Ghomeshi accuser speaks out

“It will be very interesting to hear what, if anything, Mr. Ghomeshi says tomorrow,” he said. “I can tell you it most certainly will be properly crafted whatever he says in open court.”

Honickman added that the peace bond is not just a piece of paper, as Ghomeshi would be entering a recognizance to “keep the peace” and if he were to breach the conditions he would face another serious criminal charge.

Redgrave said she does not know the complainant in this case personally, but stands by her decision to come forward with allegations against Ghomeshi despite the lack of a conviction in his previous trial.

READ MORE: Jian Ghomeshi trial: Former CBC radio host found not guilty of all charges

“I don’t have any regrets coming forward and speaking up against what I saw as a problem and I’m happy that other women also came forward,” she said.

“I’m not happy that the Crown dropped two of those charges from the other women. I’m not happy with the way this has progressed and I think it all comes to the same thing I’ve been saying over and over and over is this is not the way to try a sexual assault case.”

Redgrave said she believes that if this sexual assault trial does go forward, it would have a similar outcome to Ghomeshi’s previous trial, in which he was acquitted of all charges.

WATCH: Jian Ghomeshi complainant Linda Redgrave speaks out about the trial

“So perhaps they knew it was going to fail and the Crown withdrew the charges. I’m not sure, but I would do it again,” she said, adding that she has since become an advocate for sexual assault trial reform in Canada through her website comingforward长沙夜网.

“I won’t be able to sleep at night if I don’t keep fighting for some kind of change … I am not going to stop here, and I’ll be outside [court] tomorrow.”

With files from Christina Stevens and Farah Nasser