Child hit by truck spurs closure of Montreal Plateau alleys to traffic

MONTREAL —; The total number of alleys closed to traffic in the Montreal Plateau is about to double, going from 35 to 70 by 2018.

Officials explained the decision was made in response to an accident in the Sud-Ouest borough.

Last week, a truck hit a six-year-old boy as he was riding his bike on the sidewalk.

The driver was entering de Biencourt Street from an alley, and told police he didn’t see the child.

“This is something we can do,” said Luc Ferrandez, Plateau-Mont-Royal borough mayor.

“We have the power to do it.”

The borough has already closed several alleys, either by having planters that only allow space for pedestrian or bicycle traffic, or they have green corridors that look much like a small park.

Plateau-Mont-Royal mayor Luc Ferrandez speaks outside an alley that was closed to vehicle traffic in 2010, Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

Billy Shields/Global News

“It’s really changed our lives in the sense that I no longer fear for my children’s safety when they go out the back door,” said Greg Mikkelson, a McGill professor who lives near one of the closed alleys between Esplanade Avenue and Saint-Urbain Street.

The borough is also going to install speed bumps in 750 alleyways, something it hopes will reduce the amount of truck traffic that rumbles through.

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Quilt honours missing, murdered B.C. women

VICTORIA – A handmade quilt honouring the memories of British Columbia’s missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is helping their loved ones heal.

The colourful patchwork quilt unveiled at the legislature Tuesday is made up of 90 blocks crafted by families who have lost mothers, sisters, daughters and aunts.

Cheryl Casimer of the First Nations Summit said seeing the quilt for the first time took her breath away.

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“There are way too many squares representing way too many of our families affected by this national tragedy,” Casimer said.

When people see the quilt, they’ll begin to get an idea of the magnitude of how many women and girls have gone missing or been murdered, she said.

Some of the colourful blocks are made up of victims’ clothing, blankets or possessions. Some simply state a name, while others call for justice. Most express love and longing for the women and girls.

The quilt was created at a three-day gathering for the families held in Prince George earlier this year.

Wanda Good, deputy chief of the Gitanyow First Nation, said it was a turning point for some of the families.

“For so many decades, we did our marches, we did our studies, we did our focus groups but we weren’t being heard. And this is one of the first times that we felt like we were being heard,” she said.

Creating the memorial quilt helped families to begin healing, Good said.

“Some people couldn’t verbalize the pain that they were feeling but were able to share it through their art.”

Good hopes the quilt will evoke happy memories, too, of the women who have been lost.

“May this quilt act as a reminder to all of us not just of the pain and the tragedy and the sorrow that the families have experienced, but all of the love as well that went into it,” she said.

Ensuring the safety of indigenous women and girls is one of the defining issues of our time, said Public Safety Minister Mike Morris.

“This quilt is a memorial to those who have been lost and a powerful reminder that we must work together to address violence and violence prevention,” he said.

The federal Liberal government has announced that an inquiry will be launched into missing and murdered indigenous women across the country, but details have yet to be released on the scope or structure.

The quilt will be on display at the provincial legislature through the spring and summer.

Travis Hamonic withdraws trade request from New York Islanders

Travis Hamonic no longer wants to be traded closer to home.

The St. Malo, Manitoba product has rescinded his previous trade request.

Hamonic, 25, asked the New York Islanders to be traded closer to Winnipeg back in September. He’s since informed general manager Garth Snow he wants to remain with the Islanders.

“I love being an Islander,” Hamonic told reporters in New York on Tuesday.

“It’s my home here. My family loves it.”

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RELATED: New York Islanders discuss Travis Hamonic’s situation after earlier trade request

It’s bad news for fans of the Winnipeg Jets who had hoped Hamonic would be available through a trade. He carries a salary cap friendly contract with four more seasons remaining at a cap hit of $3.8 million per season.

“The whole reason why this was brought up and came about was some serious health concerns from an extremely close family member of mine back home,” Hamonic said. “In the last little while we’ve learned that the situation has stabilized itself and first and foremost just relief for that.”

Hamonic had five goals and 16 assists in 72 games with the Islanders last season.

Donald Trump has cut down list of potential running mates

NEW YORK – Donald Trump, GOP nomination virtually in hand, is planning a general election campaign that banks heavily on his personal appeal and trademark rallies while spurning the kind of sophisticated data operation that was a centerpiece of Barack Obama’s winning White House runs.

“I’ve always felt it was overrated,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday. “Obama got the votes much more so than his data processing machine. And I think the same is true with me.”

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Trump met with The Associated Press at his office in New York, where he’s been huddling with advisers to plan for a fall campaign that came upon him more quickly than even the confident billionaire expected. His remaining rivals abruptly exited the race last week, leaving him an open path to the Republican nomination.

READ MORE: Anxiety over Donald Trump cuts into House Republicans’ support

As part of his general election planning, Trump is moving aggressively to identify potential running mates and says he now has “a very good list of five or six people,” all with deep political experience. While he would not provide a full list of names, he did not rule out New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the former rival whom he’s already tapped to head his transition planning.

Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is running the vice-presidential vetting effort “with a group,” Trump said, that includes former competitor Ben Carson and himself.

WATCH: Donald Trump will meet with senior Republican leadership in Washington

A first-time political candidate, the billionaire businessman said there’s no need for another business person on the Republican ticket and said he was eager for a running mate who would be effective in helping him pass legislation as president. By joining forces with a political veteran, Trump would also signal a willingness to work with the Republican establishment that he’s thoroughly bashed during his campaign.

Trump said he doesn’t plan to announce his running mate until the Republican National Convention in July, a four-day event that he’s planning to remake with a showman’s touch.

“The concept of some entertainment from a great singer, a great group I think would be something maybe to break things up,” Trump said. “You’ll be hearing plenty of political speeches.”

He also ruled out for the first time the option of taking public financing for his campaign, a move that would have saved him the time-consuming task of raising vast sums of money but would have dramatically limited the amount he would be able to raise.

“I don’t like the idea of taking taxpayer money to run a campaign. I think it’s inappropriate,” he said.

Trump stunned the political world at every turn during the Republican primary, prioritizing large rallies over intimate voter interactions in early voting states and operating with a slim campaign operation. Even as he brings in new staff for the general election, he says his emphasis will continue to be on raucous rallies that put him in front of thousands of voters and generate significant free media coverage.

“My best investment is my rallies,” Trump said. “The people go home, they tell their friends they loved it. It’s been good.”

READ MORE: Canadians choose Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, survey suggests

The businessman said he’ll spend “limited” money on data operations to identify and track potential voters and to model various turnout scenarios that could give him the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency. He’s moving away from the model Obama used successfully in his 2008 and 2012 wins, and the one that likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is trying to replicate, including hiring many of the staff that worked for Obama.

Separately, the Republican National Committee has invested heavily in data operations, eager to avoid another defeat to a more technologically savvy Democratic candidate. Trump could make use of that RNC data or leave voter targeting to the party.

WATCH: Donald Trump on offensive taking aim at Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren

Trump and his aides have been meeting with RNC officials this week to discuss the mechanics of his campaign. He is also planning a trip to Washington Thursday to meet with party leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who have had a mixed reaction to his primary success.

For some Republicans skeptical of Trump, the desire to defeat Clinton in November is enough of an incentive to rally behind his candidacy. While Trump has vowed to be tough in taking on Clinton, he also suggested he might avoid running negative ads against her, saying, “I just don’t find them to be very effective.”

“I’ve had over $100 million in negative ads spent on me and every time it’s boosted my numbers,” he said.

As Trump was speaking, however, his campaign posted a new ad on Instagram assailing Clinton for her response to the attacks on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The video accuses Clinton of lying about the reason for the attack and includes footage of her laughing superimposed on a scene of burning wreckage.

Trump surged to the top of the Republican primary field despite having vague policy positions. It’s unclear how much his shift to the general election will include beefing up his domestic and foreign policy plans, though he did say voters have a right to expect more details about his health care proposals.

He dismissed the idea that voters have a right to see his tax returns before going to the polls. He’s so far refused to release those documents, citing an ongoing audit. And besides, he said, “there’s nothing to learn from them.”

Federal government under fire as Attawapiskat suicide crisis continues

OTTAWA – The crisis in Attawapiskat First Nation is a stark example of why Ottawa needs to better co-ordinate help efforts by all levels of government, the region’s MP declared Tuesday after an emotional visit to the remote northern Ontario community.

Charlie Angus, who chose to visit the reserve this week instead of travel to the United Nations, said the Liberal government didn’t seem to know that their permanent mental health worker in Attawapiskat wasn’t available to residents under 18.

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It has now been almost a month since a spate of suicide attempts among its young people prompted the reserve to declare a state of emergency — a story that garnered attention around the world.

“For the federal government not to know what they actually had on the ground to help the community is very, very troubling,” Angus said outside the Commons while wearing a pin in honour of Sheridan Hookimaw — a 13-year-old who died by suicide.

“We lost her at the beginning of this crisis and one of the reasons I went back to Attawapiskat is I don’t want to lose another child on my watch,” he said.

READ MORE: NDP MP Charlie Angus cancels trip to UN, flies to Attawapiskat amid suicide crisis

“Having seen what Sheridan and her family have gone through, it is incumbent upon all of us, at every level of government, to work together to make sure no other child ends up the way Sheridan did.”

WATCH: Chief of Attawapiskat says 5 more suicide attempts made

It is clear the community still requires a permanent mental health specialist for youth, which remains one of the chief’s outstanding demands, Angus added.

Under pressure in the House of Commons, Health Minister Jane Philpott said the federal government is working with Ontario and First Nations leaders to ensure the community’s immediate and long-term needs are met.

“There is no question of whose responsibility it is — we are all working together,” said Philpott, who is scheduled to visit the community in the weeks ahead.

Political assurances, however, remain cold comfort to Attawapiskat Chief Bruce Shisheesh, who said he has yet to see the government live up to its commitment to engage in a nation-to-nation relationship with the community.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a note to Shisheesh and offered to meet with him in person, though a date has not been finalized.

The federal government also faced a deadline Tuesday from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to demonstrate it is implementing Jordan’s Principle — a framework for ensuring First Nations children can access health and welfare services and to avoid jurisdictional spats over who pays for service.

READ MORE: Trudeau offers meeting with Attawapiskat’s chief

The principle was named after five-year-old Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations boy from Manitoba who died in hospital after two the province and the federal government argued for years over who should pay for his home care.

In January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of Jordan’s Principle. When that didn’t happen, the tribunal issued a scathing order last month for the government to confirm it has acted on the original decision.

In a response submitted to the tribunal on Tuesday, the department said it has expanded Jordan’s Principle to apply to all jurisdictional disputes.

It also noted it has provided “necessary resources” for its application and said children will receive care in a “timely manner.”