first_imgGurugram: Haryana government has eased the rules for the private developers for creating new townships. Now rather than a colony being developed in 100 acres of the area, it can also be developed in the area of 25 to 50 acres.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The move is being mulled to check the mushrooming of illegal colonies in Gurugram and Faridabad that continues to be a major challenge for the government. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in Denmark”In areas like Gurugram and Faridabad where there is a huge demand for accommodation we have eased the rules for developing the new townships. Now rather than a colony being developed on 100 acres there will be flexibility in reducing the area to25 and 50 acres,” said a senior public official. The Haryana government had earlier cleared the hurdles by increasing the floor to area (FAR) ratio in the residential colonies of Gurugram. Now there will be no hurdles in building four floors as compared to three that had to build as per the guidelines. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsIn addition to providing the leeway of building four floors, the Government is also providing a fillip to setting up of the green buildings. The new building plan has allowed the increase of area by more than 15 per cent. In order to deal with the parking problems that is plaguing most of the residential colonies in Gurugram all the new houses that will have four floors are mandated to build the stilt parking. The move by the Haryana government comes at a time when there are challenges of not increasing the sagging sales of residential housings but also solve the crisis of providing affordable housing.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: Quarterly earnings from frontline companies such as HDFC, ITC and Bharti Airtel, macroeconomic data and the US Fed’s interest rate decision will set the tone for the equity markets this week, say analysts. Benchmark indices managed to snap their six-session losing streak — the longest since early-May — on Friday, even as analysts said subdued corporate earnings, foreign fund outflows and weak global cues continue to weigh on investor sentiment. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”Disappointing corporate earnings are adding to the weakness in the benchmarks. Weak monsoon in major parts of India is also weakening the sentiments,” said Romesh Tiwari, Head of Research, CapitalAim. According to Ajit Mishra, Vice President, Research, Religare Broking Ltd, “In absence of any major trigger, we advise keeping close watch on earnings and global markets for further cues.” DLF, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Axis Bank and Bank of India are among the other major corporates set to announce their results this week. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostBesides, infrastructure output and PMI data for the manufacturing sector will also influence trading sentiment this week, analysts added. At the global front, all eyes will be on the US Fed’s interest rate decision. “A decisive up-move will require liquidity from FIIs which is now in doldrums while any signs of stability and development in economic activity can change the situation,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services. During the last week, the Sensex lost 454.22 points or 1.18 per cent to close at 37,882.79 on Friday.last_img read more

first_imgConventional economic theory talks of four stages of the business cycle in an economy – expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. Judging by the mood meter of ordinary people, expansion makes us ambitious, peak turns it into over-ambition, contraction sends us to hope that this is just an aberration and when the trough is reached, the sentiment is only of despondency. The four different moods impact the decision-makers as well. In the expansion phase, investment is rushed through, when at peak the same is expedited since hopes are eternal and peaks are often missed till the slide makes one realise it. The desperate effort to recover the loss sets in a long trail of losses and slides with mounting despondency everywhere. The link in this chain of mood swings is the flow of money. Also Read – A special kind of bondIn the phase of expansion, purse strings are always loose. Lenders are ever-willing to fund and earn extra from liquidity flowing in. In short, if one wants to gauge in what state an economy is – boom or bust – one should just ascertain if money flow is easy or tight and the degree of the same. Therefore, in order to understand the health of the Indian economy now, a cursory look at the flow of money will be in order. Without much debate, one can safely conclude that money is scarce in the system. The signs are there in falling car sales, unfinished real estates and piling up of stocks of high-value consumer durables. Summer sales this year lasted well beyond summer months and continued even when rains covered the whole of India. Clearly, consumers are reluctant to spend. But why blame consumers, even banks are reluctant to lend when their business depends on lending. When money is stuck, either with consumers or their accounts in banks, how will the economic cycle move? Money is, after all, the lubricant for all economic activity. Also Read – Insider threat managementLook at the history of the economic evolution of mankind. When Marco Polo travelled along the Silk Road to the royal court of Kublai Khan, the transaction was completed in years. In today’s world, the time taken for one transaction in 1275 B.C. would have been enough for a couple of boom-bust economic cycles. Speed of transaction is a critical factor behind the modern economy. Faster the transactions, faster money changes hands and higher is the growth rate. This does not need any great understanding of economics from a branded institute but is common knowledge. Applying this grandfather’s wisdom, if we look at the Indian economy today we will know where the ailments are and how the same can be cured. India’s small scale sector which supplies to medium and large corporates are facing a liquidity crunch. Usual wisdom in tea shops (hukka-paani gyan) is that this is due to demonetisation and introduction of GST. In other words, a semi-feudalist economy which encouraged rent-seekers to thrive did not deserve the jolt that has taken away the elixir of growth – additional cash “income”. This saw real estate business coming to a standstill, car sales to nosedive and drastically cut-down conspicuous consumption thereby affecting the demand side of the economy. This is not the only problem with the government’s attempt to introduce a rule-based economic system in a rent-seeking semi-feudal democratic country. The emphasis on rules has deprived many, bankers for instance, of their freedom to extend funds to the deserving. Earlier it was easy to identify the deserving. The more one was willing to palm off as speed money, the more pressing was the need, and decision takers could confidently help to bankroll such enterprises. This helped the enterprise to raise money and the decision taker to indulge in consumption, a win-win situation for economic growth. In the post-2008 global crisis, such incentives to assist the Indian economy increased due to the then government’s policy of maintaining Indian economic growth. We all go by growth, and whether such growth results in eventual collapse or not, cannot be of immediate concern. In any case, such faults come to notice later when the ruling dispensation might change. In a democracy, all governments focus on the immediate gains during their tenure. An “easy money easy rules” regime encourages setting up several roadblocks in paying dues to suppliers. In the form of system and procedures, large corporates, the government-owned ones, in particular, delay payments. This helps the officials looking after purchase decisions to earn some extra. In the process, the small scale sector suffers the most. The aberration can continue unchecked since the measurement of efficiency in the purchasing department varies directly with delayed payments. Such delayed payments are effectively ‘undocumented’ credit facility enjoyed by the corporate. A back-of-the-envelope calculation of dues from the state-owned enterprises to small supplies and SME sector will be more than three trillion rupees. Coming back to the issue of money flow which boosts economic activity, therefore growth, such delay in payment squeezes out liquidity from the system and thus hurts economic growth. It makes no economic sense to pump in the equivalent liquidity into the system when the corporate payment culture encourages withholding funds from the economic flow. Delayed payment, deep-rooted corruption and absence of accountability on the part of decision takers including funding agencies lead to an economy which tends to suck long-term growth out of the system. The rent-seeking system works on its own logic. Turn the tap of rent-paying off and introduce checks and balances, the activity comes to a grinding halt. India’s present growth predicament has come from the corrective measures initiated by the government of the day. But the job cannot be left half done by reversing the clock. Narendra Modi government in its second term is facing the maladies that had been running untreated for so many decades. The government has diagnosed the ailment correctly, only the economy has caught a new virus of slow growth as a result. How the virus can be cured, and how soon, are the two critical issues. (The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

first_imgWASHINGTON, United States of America – The NAFTA negotiations could continue for a while, with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer signalling he wants significant changes in multiple areas and isn’t interested in a quick, limited deal.Here are some key flashpoints involving Canada:—Autos: This is the sticking point countries have spent the most effort trying to solve. The U.S. wants to stem the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Canada broadly shares that goal. However, the issue has prompted some concern, and not only from Mexico. While the U.S. has significantly softened its earlier demands, it still wants 40 per cent of every car built in a high-wage jurisdiction; 75 per cent of all parts to be North American; and 70 per cent of steel to be North American. Critics of the plan say it could backfire: if auto-makers decide they don’t want to deal with all this red tape, they can just ignore NAFTA and simply pay the 2.5 per cent U.S. tariff on cars. Critics say that won’t create jobs — just more expensive cars, and less economic activity.—Pharmaceuticals: It’s the stated goal of U.S. trade policy to make other countries pay more for drugs, so that foreigners shoulder more of the burden of research and development costs. The U.S. has a particular gripe with Canada: it’s reduced Canada’s ranking in an annual report card on intellectual property, partly over policy changes at Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. The U.S. wants more transparency in how drug prices are set in Canada. Its industry is also pushing for greater ability to appeal pricing decisions. Such objectives place it in direct conflict with the Trudeau government, which wants to create a national pharmacare plan and intends to argue that its policy is consistent with that of President Donald Trump, who campaigned on controlling drug prices.—Dairy: The U.S. has two problems with Canadian dairy policy. First, Canada limits imports and sets fixed prices under a supply-management system, and does the same for poultry and eggs. Second, Canadian producers who are protected from competition are at the same time selling surplus ingredients onto the world market for cheese-making, contributing to a global glut. The U.S. has demanded an end to these surplus sales, and also an end to supply management within 10 years. Canada’s counterpoint is that the U.S. engages in its own protections, supporting farmers during boom-bust cycles; it argues that Canada’s system at least has the benefit of being stable, and not requiring periodic bailouts. If past history is any guide, a middle-ground compromise might be possible: in agreements with Europe and the TPP countries, Canada opened up its dairy market by several percentage points.—Dispute settlement: NAFTA is enforced by three main systems for settling disputes: Chapter 11 lets companies sue governments for unfair treatment, Chapter 19 lets industries fight punitive duties, and Chapter 20 lets countries sue countries. The U.S. wants to weaken two of the three, and entirely end Chapter 19. It’s a historically emotional issue for Canada, as Chapter 19 was the original make-or-break condition for free trade with the U.S.; it’s also been used to fight softwood lumber duties. However, some observers question the relevance of Chapter 19 today, as other forums exist for fighting duties. Take the spat against Bombardier, in which duties were overturned in the U.S. court system. As for Chapter 11, Canada has less of a historical attachment, although it’s extremely popular with those business allies in the U.S. fighting to preserve NAFTA. The Trump administration’s trade czar dislikes all these systems — Lighthizer sees them not only as a violation of national sovereignty: he argues that Chapter 11 helps companies do the dirty deed of outsourcing jobs. He argues that if companies want to shift plants elsewhere, the U.S. government should not be in the business of protecting their legal rights in, for instance, Mexico.—De minimis: Americans are allowed to spend $800 online before they pay duties on a foreign purchase; Canadians can spend $20. It’s one of the lowest rates in the world. Lighthizer says it might not be necessary to match the U.S. amount, but he says that 40-fold difference is unreasonable. Retailers argue that shifting the de minimis level would fuel a commercial real-estate crisis, and disproportionately benefit American tech companies which enjoy economies of scale.—Intellectual property: The U.S. complains about Canada’s border controls on counterfeit goods. It says it’s concerned that Canada doesn’t provide customs officials with the ability to inspect, seize, and destroy pirated goods moving through Canada to the United States. It complains that there were no known criminal prosecutions for counterfeiting in Canada in 2017, calling Canada an outlier among developed countries. It also bemoans what it calls excessive use of education-related exceptions to copyright laws, which it says have damaged the market for educational publishers and authors.—Procurement: Canada’s aim is to increase companies’ access to public-works contracts abroad, expanding that access from federal contracts to state/provincial and local ones. Currently, subnational procurement rights are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The U.S. has the opposite goal: It wants to limit the access Canadian and Mexican companies already enjoy at the federal level, restricted to whatever amount of contracts American companies win in the other countries.—Sunset clause: One of the most controversial ideas of this negotiation. The U.S. has pushed for a clause in the deal that would cancel NAFTA after five years, unless every country agrees to keep it. Critics say this is a recipe for permanent uncertainty. They ask how a car company, for instance, is supposed to invest in all the assembly-line changes demanded in this deal, when the whole deal could be over in five years. They also point out that NAFTA already has a termination clause, which countries can invoke if they’re unhappy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ridiculed the sunset idea in a public event in New York. He used a real-estate metaphor and made clear he was addressing President Donald Trump: What developer would build a skyscraper on a piece of land, Trudeau asked, if access to that land was only guaranteed for five years?—Professional visas: Canada wants to modernize the list of professions eligible for a NAFTA work visa under Chapter 16. The current list of jobs eligible for these visas is decades old, and features almost nothing for the tech industry. Companies complain this makes it hard to send their own employees to branches across the border. The U.S. has put up some resistance, as any expansion of work-related migration risks being wrapped into the heated U.S. immigration debate.last_img read more

first_imgVANCOUVER – British Columbia’s election campaign is entering its final stretch after a TV debate Wednesday night that saw the three party leaders spar on the economy, housing and political leadership.Liberal Leader Christy Clark is trying to maintain her party’s 16-year grip on power and while her record was a target for her opponents, Clark was also on the offensive as she took shots at the NDP and Green party’s financial policies as a risk to an economy that has led growth across the country.But growth has also meant scorching house prices in the Vancouver area.Faced with the charge from NDP Leader John Horgan that the Liberals waited too long to help families trying to put a roof over their heads, Clark said she wanted to make sure the government didn’t wipe out the value people have built in their homes by acting rashly.“For people who already own a home, you have a lot of equity in that home, it is your investment and it’s something that you want to protect. So it was really important that our government make sure we did all of our homework,” said Clark, adding measures her government has taken like a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver has helped slow rising house prices.Green leader Andrew Weaver told Clark her government has a wrong-headed view of housing.“Houses and accommodations should be there for people to live in, not to be viewed as commodities to trade like gold or potash,” he said.Weaver and Horgan traded barbs during much of the debate, with the Green leader saying the New Democrats are not much of an alternative to Clark’s Liberals who have been in government since 2001.“Sixteen years and your whole narrative is to be better than the B.C. Liberals,” said Weaver. “Well, Mr. Horgan better than really bad is still just plain bad.”The leaders debated for the first time last week on radio, which was largely remembered for a testy exchange after Clark touched Horgan on the arm and told him to calm down, causing the NDP leader to ask his Liberal counterpart not to touch him again.The debate on Wednesday featured issue-dominated topics, but the moderator also singled out Horgan on his temperament, asking if he has an anger-management problem.Horgan said he gets angry when he sees government inaction on a range of issues from underfunding of schools to a lack of support for children in care, which has resulted in suicide.“I’m passionate. I got involved in public life because I wanted to make life better for people,” he said.Clark was also put on the spot when she was asked about a stipend she once collected from the Liberal party on top of her salary as premier and about the political donations that have led to a police investigation of B.C.’s political parties.The Liberal leader deflected the question on trust, partly by discussing her economic record.“I am someone … who has in my first term as premier experienced some controversy, but I have always done that with the best interests of people at heart, making sure that we are creating jobs for people.”The campaign has defined distinct choices for voters from the three parties.The Liberals have run a largely stay-the-course campaign so far, highlighting their stewardship of Canada’s top-performing economy. Clark is promising a personal income tax freeze, a small business tax cut and four more balanced budgets, building on a string of surpluses in the last five years.She said she is promising to create more jobs while the Greens and NDP oppose projects that create employment.“Both of these men have spent most of their political careers trying to fight against jobs in B.C.,” said Clark. “John Horgan is compromised and Dr. Weaver just isn’t that interested.”Horgan is running on the slogan “It’s time for a government that works for you,” a swipe at the Liberals over political donations from corporations and wealthy individuals. Clark has fired back on political donations, accusing the NDP of being under the influence of big unions after it emerged that some of the party’s senior campaign staff are being paid by the United Steelworkers.Horgan is promising a daycare program that would cost $10 a day, a significant increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the elimination of medical services premiums, something the Liberals have promised to halve, starting in January.Weaver is promising to double the tax on foreign home buyers and extend it across the province, while also providing free daycare for working parents who have children under the age of three.On the economy, Weaver accused Clark of misleading the public on the promise of a liquefied natural gas industry that she has trumpeted.Clark said she is still confident LNG will deliver jobs when the gas market recovers.“Both of these guys want to wave the white flag and put an end to those jobs and those hopes and dreams of all of those people who like to have a regular pay cheque,” she said.last_img read more

first_imgNANAIMO, B.C. – Prof. Teri Derksen says an unforgettable image of children playing overdose games in a park became the vision behind a university research project to help kids whose family members have been affected by opioids.The description she heard at a recent community meeting about someone witnessing youngsters acting out an overdose at a playground in Nanaimo, B.C., led her to ask: “What about the children?”Derksen said the compelling account struck her deeply and she couldn’t let go of the thought of children trying to cope with the addictions of loved ones.“It’s stuck with me because it was such a powerful image.”Derksen said the description served as a catalyst and a constant reminder: “What are we doing?”The child and youth care professor said it also gripped several third-year students who have developed projects at Vancouver Island University focused on children, families and communities dealing with opioids.B.C. averages about four drug overdose deaths a day. The coroner’s service reported 1,436 deaths in 2017. Almost 65 per cent were in private homes or buildings.“We have to wonder how many children are in those homes,” Derksen said. “Some of these children may be witnessing, directly, the overdose.”Students Emma Gillis and Abby Lise started class practicum projects that focus on children caught in the overdose crisis. The projects include two outreach programs for children, families and others in Nanaimo to talk, meet and play in a safe area.A daycare program called Shine gathers once a week for 90 minutes of games and arts and crafts. It provides a sheltered environment where children can talk about their own experiences.The students also formed partnerships with social and government agencies to hold public meetings and offer services to families.Gillis said behind every overdose statistic is a person with family and friends who are hurting. She and Lise saw few supports for children, family members and others close to opioid users, she said.“We really do need to really shine light on the impact on children,” said Gillis. “They have, a little bit, slipped through the cracks. Why are we not spending more of those preventative measures on children? Why are we not gearing them towards children?”Carrie Barker, a director at Nanaimo and Area Services for Families, said the opioid crisis goes deeper than just the individuals using drugs.“What’s bursting the bubble here is that it’s happening so broadly across the community,” she said. “This project is phenomenal because it’s saying: What about the children, and how are we considering how they may be impacted by this?”Children find ways to cope, but they suffer, Barker said.“There are children grieving the loss of a loved one,” she said. “There are those on the other end of the spectrum who are hearing every time the radio goes on more statistics about people in their community who have died.“All children in the community are impacted by the health and well-being of their neighbours, families and community members.”Stephanie McCune, an Island Health substance use expert and instructor at Vancouver Island University, said the programs help to move the focus of the opioid crisis beyond individuals.“Where do we go from here?” she asked. “How are children thriving, surviving? What are communities doing that is acknowledging the role and impact on families? It’s a different part of the conversation.”B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development said the safety and well-being of children is its priority.“We know that the opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on families and communities throughout the province and we have taken a number of steps to respond to the crisis,” it said in a statement.It cited a plan to help caregivers, practitioners and support staff respond to youth at risk, or parents who might be using illicit drugs. It also provides direction and access to training on how to use the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government has taken a step towards fulfilling it’s promise to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies by agreeing to finally explain how much it actually spends on them.Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr was in Argentina on Thursday where he and his Argentinian counterpart announced that each country will conduct a study on how much the other country subsidizes its fossil fuel industries.As part of both the G7 and G20, Canada has committed every year since 2009 that it will work to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. The Liberals made it a campaign promise in 2015 and the following year said it would be done by 2025.Last year, auditor general Michael Ferguson said he tried to test the progress being made on phasing out the subsidies but blasted the government for refusing to provide documents that would allow him to do so.Last month, a dozen of Canada’s most well known and influential environment groups flagged lack of action on fossil fuel subsidies in a report card on the government’s efforts to deliver on its environmental promises.Earlier this month, Canada fared poorly in a report ranking the progress of the G7 nations on phasing out fossil fuels. The report, completed by Oil Change International and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, concluded that the seven biggest developed economies in the world collectively contribute more than $100 billion a year to help the fossil fuel industry.While the U.S. spent the most overall, Canada spent the most per capita of any G7 country on oil and gas production, according to the report.Canada also received a poor grade for transparency of its subsidies.Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network-Canada, said agreeing to work with Argentina to peer review each other’s subsidies is a very good sign the government is finally moving on its commitment to phase them out.Environment groups have used publicly available documents to try and figure out how much Canada subsidizes oil and gas companies but, without the government producing its own thorough review, Abreu said it’s very hard to know what’s missing.Existing reviews suggest Canada offers about $3 billion to companies to explore and produce oil and gas within Canada. Export Development Canada also finances oil production in other countries, spending almost $12 billion in 2016 and $10 billion in 2017 on foreign oil production.Abreu said the government has never really defined what it means by “inefficient” subsidies so this review may finally shed light on that aspect as well.A spokesman for Carr said the government will make the review report public once it is complete.last_img read more

first_imgCALGARY – The people managing Calgary’s possible 2026 Winter Games bid are expected to be announced within days, but the search for a chief executive officer is taking longer.The chair of Calgary 2026 said Monday three-quarters of the 21-member board of directors has been filled.“I’m spending a lot of time right now trying to get to the right CEO,” Scott Hutcheson said Monday. “We’ve had many interviews to date and we’re working hard on that.”Calgary 2026 is the bid corporation established earlier this month now taking over the work of analyzing and building a potential pitch for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games.The legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary provides the foundation for another bid, but city council has reserved the right to withdraw from the 2026 bid process at any time.An initial estimate on the price tag of hosting the 2026 Winter Games was $4.6 billion, but that figure is under review. The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., cost $7.7 billion.Council heard Monday that even though the deadline to submit a 120-page bid book to the International Olympic Committee is January 2019, it must be completed by Dec. 18, 2018 to allow time for publication and translation.A draft of the bid book’s content would need to be done by Aug. 17.“I think we’ll hit the timelines,” Hutcheson said. “That work has been transferred over to Calgary 2026.“We’ll hit the timelines that have been provided in the schedules, but it’s a lot of work and it’s got to be done fast.”The CEO of Calgary 2026 will be the primary strategist on a bid, when that person is hired. Hutcheson says 15 or 16 board members will be announced later this week.The board will have representation from the city, provincial and federal governments, Town of Canmore, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Indigenous communities, with at-large members the last to be appointed.“I’d like to do an inventory of skills, which we intend to embark on tomorrow,” Hutcheson said.“Once we understand what skills we’re missing or what gender diversification we’re missing from the appointments, we have the option of adding three more members to the board and that will give me a good sense of where we want to go with that.”Hutcheson recently returned from meetings with the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, and said IOC executives will be in Calgary on Tuesday to consult with the bid corporation.“These are a group of people I want to work with,” Hutcheson said. “We talk about the same value systems, we talk about sustainability, we talk about credibility, we talk about the youth movement, the spirit of the Olympics and we’re all on the same page.“I think we’ve been credible in our past with the history of having two good Winter Games. They see we have work to do to get the best games bid forward and they’re trying to help us do that.”The city and provincial and federal governments are splitting the cost of the bid corporation’s work estimated at $30 million.As a condition of its funding, the province wants Calgary to hold a plebiscite gauging the public’s interest in hosting a second Winter Games. The plebiscite is expected to be held in November.last_img read more

first_imgMONTREAL – In what police describe as an elaborate show of force, up to 700 Hells Angels bikers and associates are expected to descend on a rural Quebec town this weekend for their annual national gathering.Quebec provincial police say they’ll be keeping close tabs as the so-called Canada Run settles in for a few days in the Monteregie region southeast of Montreal.The mandatory meeting for the roughly 500 full-patch members nationwide changes province every year, with last year’s edition held in Calgary and the 2016 version taking place in Carlsbad Springs, near Ottawa.“We have 500 full-patch members in Canada, but you can expect support groups, other motorcycle gangs that gravitate around the Hells Angels to also show up, so that’s why we’re evaluating anywhere between 500 and 700 bikers showing up,” provincial police Insp. Guy Lapointe said in an interview.Lapointe said the event, the first national get-together in Quebec since 2008, is meant as a show of force by the bikers, with the message aimed at authorities as well as rival organized crime groups.For police, it presents a unique opportunity to gather intelligence, photos and court-worthy evidence on the Hells with virtually every full-patch member in a single spot, he added.In Quebec, the gang has the drug trafficking market cornered. Not surprisingly, provincial police have made organized crime their investigative priority since 2017.“It’s practically a monopoly — they control 98 per cent of the market when it comes to cocaine and synthetic drugs,” Lapointe said.Lapointe said the Hells in Quebec have been emboldened by a series of recent wins before the courts.“They are more confident, they’re coming out, they’re showing their flag,” Lapointe said.Le Journal de Montreal reported last month that even Lapointe and his namesake father, former Montreal Canadiens hockey player Guy Lapointe, were the subject of threats, allegedly in the form of a letter from someone associated with the Hells.Lapointe said an investigation is ongoing about the source of the threat and whether it was founded.“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to bend to any intimidation, I’m going to keep doing my job,” he said. “The day people start stepping down if there’s intimidation, the battle is lost.”While the big events this weekend will be in St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, many Hells members are staying in hotels in nearby St-Hyacinthe, where a city spokeswoman said the mayor is keeping in touch with police.In St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, Mayor Marc Lavigne said provincial police and the RCMP attended the last council meeting to brief citizens on preparations and answer questions.Lavigne said there’s no bunker in his town, but a property owned by an individual will be used for the gathering.A representative of the biker group also contacted Lavigne and town officials to learn about various bylaws and permits.“Everybody believes it will go well, the police will be very present to assure there’s no issues,” Lavigne said. “We’re not anticipating any problems.”Lapointe said there will be a heavy police presence and authorities are vowing to ensure laws are followed and locals in the town of 1,700 aren’t bothered by the biker gang’s presence.The veteran officer said police have no special warnings for locals other than to go about business as usual.However, Lapointe said police did notice a disturbing trend when the bikers were in the Ottawa area two years ago, with citizens taking selfies with biker gang members.Lapointe described it as a sort of “Sons of Anarchy” phenomenon as he referred to a popular U.S. television show about a fictional biker gang.“That’s something that preoccupies us a little bit because people tend to forget what kind of violence these people are capable of,” Lapointe said. “Some people don’t remember because they are too young: the (Quebec biker gang) wars in the 1990s, the murders of prison guards.“But people have to remember this isn’t a TV show, there’s no script, these aren’t actors, people have died. These people use violence and intimidation for their ends so obviously we don’t recommend people coming (to see) out of curiosity.”last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says if the Liberal government is serious about developing the energy sector and getting oil resources to market, it will re-engage in discussions with TransCanada about the abandoned Energy East pipeline project.In a heated exchange between Scheer and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in question period Wednesday over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Scheer brought up the other energy project, which was cancelled last year.If the government really wants to develop Canada’s energy sector and get resources to market “they will invite Energy East back to the table,” said Scheer.While Trudeau initially deflected, he later said that in the case of Energy East, a private company determined it did not want to pursue the project because oil was at half the price it had been when the initiative was first proposed.“It actually never reached a point where we could have weighed in on it one way or another because they withdrew the project, because they also had another pipeline going south that they had trouble filling the space on,” Trudeau said.Last month the Federal Court of Appeal quashed approval of the Trans Mountain project, saying the government consultation with Indigenous communities was inadequate and criticizing the lack of attention paid to the environmental impact of increased tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia.Scheer’s Conservatives have been calling the last few months the prime minister’s “summer of failures,” with the Trans Mountain pipeline high on the list.During an open caucus meeting earlier Wednesday, Scheer addressed his words to Trudeau in telling his party the prime minister approved a pipeline he had no intention of backing.“Oh, how you have failed on Trans Mountain.”Scheer highlighted Trudeau’s challenges and said Canadians are worrying tomorrow might not be better than today, adding, “Their story is Leona’s story.”Scheer lost a prominent member of the Conservative party this summer, but seems to have changed the narrative this week by welcoming former Liberal MP Leona Alleslev into the fold.“It’s great to see all of you again, and even better, it’s great to see more of you than the last time we were here,” Scheer told caucus.He highlighted Alleslev’s decision to cross the floor and flagged Richard Martel’s recent byelection victory for the Conservatives in Quebec.But there was no mention of Maxime Bernier — the Quebec MP who announced Aug. 23 he was leaving the Conservative party and starting his own political movement, calling his former leader and colleagues “intellectually and morally corrupt” as he slammed the door on his way out.Conservatives were livid at Bernier’s move and have argued that adding another party on the right side of the political spectrum will split the vote and allow the Liberals to easily win another majority government.But if Scheer is harbouring any worry over Bernier’s power-play move, it did not show Wednesday.Instead, Scheer focused on Alleslev, calling the Toronto-area MP accomplished, principled and courageous — qualities he said don’t count for much “if you’re a Liberal.”Scheer presented Alleslev with an official Conservative party membership card.Alleslev thanked caucus for making her feel “valued” and said she is overwhelmed by the support she has received from her constituents and the public.Alleslev says her concerns about the Liberal government’s handling of crucial files such as the economy and trade were met with silence, prompting her to leave.last_img read more

first_imgFour stories in the news for Thursday, Oct. 11___MICHAELLE JEAN CONTINUES BID FOR FRANCOPHONIE POSTFormer governor general Michaelle Jean and delegations from Canada and Quebec are in Armenia today for summit of la Francophonie. Jean, who has been secretary general of the organization of French-speaking nations since 2014, showed no signs of abandoning her candidacy despite losing the support of her home country and province. She is seeking a second term and will be up against Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo when members make their choice this week. The Canadian and Quebec governments announced earlier this week they were withdrawing support for Jean’s bid to remain in the job, backing instead the “consensus” candidate, Mushikiwabo.___FRANK STRONACH SUES DAUGHTER OVER FAMILY FORTUNEAn Ontario business magnate is suing his daughter, two grandchildren and others for allegedly mismanaging the family’s assets and trust funds. Frank Stronach, the man who started the autoparts business Magna International, and his wife, Elfriede, have launched the lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court and say they have done so as a last resort. Thoroughbred Daily News reports the couple have accused Belinda Stronach, the chairman and president of The Stronach Group that runs horse racetracks around the world, of conspiring by “unlawful actions” against the best interests of other members of the Stronach family. The suit, which has not been proven in court, seeks more than $500 million in damages.___SEEK SECTORAL TRADE WITH CHINA: REPORTDozens of experts are urging Canada to choose a surgical, sector-by-sector approach when it comes to expanding its trading relationship with China rather than a sweeping free trade deal that could risk provoking the United States, says a new report. The Public Policy Forum paper, to be released today, lays out a suggested blueprint for Canadian policy-makers at a time when Ottawa has struggled in its efforts to deepen business ties with the Asian superpower. The study will also arrive after Canada recently agreed to a free trade pact with the U.S. and Mexico, a deal that includes a controversial new clause requiring the countries to notify each other if they enter into trade talks with a “non-market” economy. The clause makes no specific mention of China, but the provision is being widely viewed as an attempt by Washington to single out Beijing.___CLUB BANS REPORTERS FROM HARPER BOOK EVENTThe news media has been uninvited to a speech by Stephen Harper today, underscoring the apparent antipathy the former prime minister continues to harbour in private life toward the Canadian press corps. Harper is to address the Canadian Club of Toronto, which had previously invited reporters to cover the event. But the club sent out a notice to the media Wednesday saying the invitation had been sent in error. Harper is plugging a new book, “Right Here, Right Now,” in which he addresses how conservatives should tackle the challenge of rising populism since the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency.___last_img read more

first_imgFive stories in the news for Friday, Oct. 19———CALGARY COUPLE CONVICTED IN SON’S DEATHA jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death of their 14-month-old son who never saw a doctor until the day before he died in hospital of a staph infection. Jeromie and Jennifer Clark were found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessaries of life for their son John. The pair clasped hands as they stood in the prisoner’s dock Thursday evening. The Crown argued that John was on the verge of death when he arrived in hospital on Nov. 28, 2013, and that his parents played with his life by not seeking treatment sooner. The Clarks’ lawyers argued doctors at the Alberta Children’s Hospital were to blame because they raised the boy’s sodium and fluid levels too aggressively.———LEGAULT PROMISES TO SEEK CONSENSUSQuebec Premier Francois Legault promised to bring renewal and change to the province’s politics Thursday after his convincing election victory ended nearly 50 years of Liberal and Parti Quebecois rule. But as he was sworn in as premier, Legault offered assurances that even though his Coalition Avenir Quebec party was handed a large majority in the Oct. 1 election, he would seek consensus for his reforms. In a 20-minute speech after the ceremony at Quebec City’s legislature, Legault focused largely on his commitments to health, education and the economy, while avoiding his controversial proposal to reduce immigration. However, he made it clear he would be sticking to his promises, including a plan to ban the wearing of religious symbols for state employees in positions of authority, which has already been the subject of protests in the Montreal area.———CANADA NOT SENDING ANYONE TO SAUDI SUMMITThe federal government has no intention of sending anyone to a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week at a time when Riyadh is the target of global outrage — and one source insists Ottawa never had plans to dispatch a delegation. Cabinet ministers, federal officials and embassy staff will skip the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, which is sometimes referred to as “Davos in the Desert,” a senior government insider said Thursday. Last year, then-natural resources minister Jim Carr attended the inaugural edition of the summit.———VANCOUVER COUNCIL RACE ANYBODY’S GAMEAs Vancouver voters prepare to elect a new mayor and council on Saturday, observers say it could still be anyone’s game. The campaign has been marked by a crowded race of new candidates and parties with converging platforms focused on fixing the city’s housing affordability crisis. Kennedy Stewart, a former New Democrat MP, is seen as one of the leading candidates for the mayor’s seat. He is running as an independent in a field of 21 candidates. The city is somewhat unusual in Canada because it operates under a party system.———POT SHOPS RAIDED IN WAKE OF LEGALIZATIONThe managers of two pot shops on Vancouver Island where police seized thousands of dollars worth of marijuana say the British Columbia government failed them by only approving one store in the province before legalization. The RCMP say they entered the Port Alberni Cannabis Club at around 11 a.m. Wednesday, before visiting Leaf Compassion Cannabis Dispensary around 2 p.m., and found both stores were open without provincial licences. On the other side of the country, a dispensary in St. John’s was raided Thursday by police and inspectors from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— African Nova Scotians in New Glasgow and Halifax hold a combined protest after RCMP charged a man for allegedly bullying and shooting Nhlanhla Dlamini with a high velocity nail gun.— The federal Department of Finance will release its Annual Financial Report, which summarizes the Government’s financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.— Sylvain Laporte, the head of the Canadian Space Agency, and Mike Greenley, group president of Canadarm-maker MDA and others discuss Canada moving forward in space exploration with its international partners.— Statistics Canada releases the consumer price index for September and retail trade figures for August.— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a nomination meeting for Liberal MP Kim Rudd in Cobourg, Ont.— Rogers Communications Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc. discuss their latest financial results.— Official opening celebration of the Point Trotter Autonomous Systems Testing Area, which will provide Calgary businesses, industry and researchers with a place to test drones and autonomous vehicles— Daniel Williams is sentenced for manslaughter in the death of 21-month-old Kierra Starr Williams.last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s governors general deserve continued financial support once they retire but they need to be more transparent and accountable for their expenses, Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.The prime minister made the comment after a Postmedia report revealed that Adrienne Clarkson, who was governor general from 1999 to 2005, has billed more than $1 million in expenses since leaving the vice-regal job.Besides their pensions, former governors general get lifetime public funding for office and travel expenses through a policy that has existed since 1979, on the premise that governors general never truly retire.Trudeau said the federal government will review the program to determine “best practices” for supporting former governors general.“These are people who’ve stepped up and offered tremendous service to this country but Canadians expect a certain level of transparency and accountability and we’re going to make sure we’re moving forward in a thoughtful way,” Trudeau said on his way into the Liberals’ weekly caucus meeting.Rideau Hall defended the practice of financially supporting former governors general but supported Trudeau’s plan to review it.“Once governors general end their mandate, there remains an expectation that they continue to serve as Canadian leading figures,” said Natalie Babin Dufresne, the communications director in the office of the secretary to the Governor General.“This expectation of continued public life means that they are regularly solicited to support various causes, take part in important events and undertake official activities. Government policies that cover the support needed by former governors general for this public life should be reviewed on a regular basis.”Babin Dufresne said the policy covers “reasonable and justified administrative expenses,” including administrative support, office space and furniture, professional services, travel and accommodation. Original receipts and invoices are required when submitting claims for reimbursement.Clarkson has billed more than $100,000 to the government nine times in the 12 years since she left Rideau Hall.That’s the threshold for reporting the billings separately, including identifying the claimant, in the federal government’s annual Public Accounts. The Public Accounts disclose no detail about the nature of the expenses.Expenses of less than $100,000 billed by former governors general are lumped together in a general “temporary help services” category and do not identify who claimed them. Last year’s Public Accounts include about $228,000 spent that way, divided among five unnamed payees.Conservative MP Gerard Deltell called on Clarkson to publicly explain her expenses.“When you spend a penny of the public money, you have to explain yourself and especially when you have been governor general,” he said.Clarkson’s executive assistant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.While he’s “not a big fan” of the amounts of money Clarkson has claimed in expenses, Deltell said it’s premature to call for a cap on such expenses in future.“Let’s see the explanation of what she has done with that money. It’s a case by case. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong, you know.”NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he didn’t know enough about the issue to comment, other than to say, in general, the expenditure of public funds should always be “respectful” of taxpayers.last_img read more

first_imgMELFORT, Sask. — Several family members of those killed and injured in the Humboldt Broncos crash say they still have one big question: Why?They want to know why a semi-truck driver barreled through a stop sign at a rural Saskatchewan intersection and into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus.They also want to hear from the driver himself.“All he had to do was stop,” says Scott Thomas of Saskatoon, whose 18-year-old son Evan died in the collision.“I want to know why. That would be a huge part in me finding forgiveness to understand why.”Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary has pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving for causing the crash north of Tisdale last April. Sixteen people were killed and 13 injured.An agreed statement of facts says Sidhu was not impaired or distracted and road and weather conditions were good at the time.After the crash, it was also discovered that Sidhu had 70 violations of federal and provincial trucking regulations and inspection rules. Had he been stopped, he would have been suspended from driving for 72 hours.“As of right now, I am of the opinion he was probably stressed,” Thomas told reporters outside Melfort court Tuesday.“Clearly he wasn’t filling out his log books … Was his boss in his ear saying he’d better get his ass in gear because he’s behind?“Why is a huge part of what I want to find out. Every one of us will want to know why.”The last of 75 victim impact statements are to be submitted in court Wednesday before lawyers begin sentencing arguments, likely on Thursday.It’s expected Sidhu will also get a chance to address the court. He has yet to speak publicly about the crash although his lawyer has said he takes responsibility for what happened. Sidhu has also wiped away tears during the hearing.Thomas said he wants to hear directly from Sidhu and even offered to sit down with him someday.“It might be part of how he needs to go forward too.”While many families have said in court that they forgive Sidhu, others like Andrea Joseph of St. Albert, Alta., feel the opposite. She called the trucker a “monster” for killing her 20-year-old son, Jaxon.He broke the law and deserves a lengthy prison sentence, she added.Former NHL player Chris Joseph was less angry than his wife. He told reporters after court Tuesday that he thinks Sidhu took a chance on cutting through the intersection to save time.“But we won’t know that until we hear from him,” said Joseph, adding he wants to hear Sidhu tell the court what his intentions were that day.He also wants the trucking industry to a better job of making sure companies properly train their drivers and get those without proper skills off the road.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA — The United Nations is pushing back against restrictions Canada wants to put on the use of a military transport plane it promised to deploy in Africa.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced in November 2017 that Canada would send a C-130 Hercules to Uganda as part of a larger package of pledges to the UN.However, the plan has run into numerous snags as Canadian, Ugandan and UN officials have wrangled for more than a year over the details.One UN official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities, says Canada recently provided a list of conditions about where and when the plane can be used, including that the plane could only be used in daylight.The UN says the restrictions are too broad and won’t meet the organization’s needs.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s spokesman Todd Lane says Canada and the UN are continuing to talk about how to fulfil the government’s promise to provide the aircraft.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The federal opposition is forcing the national defence committee to hold an emergency meeting on the case of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.The former second in command in the military had been accused of leaking cabinet secrets about a lucrative $700-million shipbuilding contract, but last week the prosecution stayed the charges against him.In a letter forcing this emergency meeting, four MP’s allege the government had interfered with the contract in question, and then the prime minister inappropriately influenced the investigation against Norman, by saying he expected a prosecution in the case.RELATED: RCMP defends ‘thorough, independent’ investigation into Vice-Admiral Mark NormanThey claim the government tried to inappropriately intervene in this shipbuilding contract, and that the prime minister influenced the case by saying he expected a police investigation would result in prosecution.Conservative James Bezan says he sees similarities between this and the SNC-Lavalin affair.“Corporate cronyism is alive and well within the Liberal cabinet that they will go to any means to roll over anyone that gets in their way,” he adds. “We have a Prime Minister today in Justin Trudeau who thinks he’s above the law, that he’s always trying to put his fingers on the scales of justice to tip it in his favour.”RELATED: Crown to drop breach-of-trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman: ReportThe opposition wants to use the meeting to launch an investigation and call the prime minister, the Vice-Admiral and many other officials to testify.The government and the prosecution deny there has ever been any political interference.According to the rules the emergency meeting has to be held this week, but the odds of launching an investigation are slim. Liberals hold a majority on the committee.last_img read more

first_imgTORONTO — There were two winning tickets for Saturday night’s nearly $30 million Lotto 649 jackpot.Both tickets were sold in the Prairies and each is worth $14.9 million.The draw’s guaranteed $1 million prize went to a lottery player in Ontario.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on June 19 will be approximately $5 million.The Canadian Presslast_img

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — A former Enbridge executive has been appointed to head a committee that will advise the federal government as it consults with Indigenous communities that want a financial stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Linda Coady will lead a group of experts that will help the government during the engagement process.Coady was chief sustainability officer for Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. and was the former co-chair of the government’s Generation Energy Council.The government says a number of Indigenous communities have expressed interest in participating economically in Trans Mountain through equity and revenue sharing.Morneau sent letters on July 9 to the 129 potentially affected Indigenous communities, or their delegates, that might have an interest in securing economic partnership in the oil pipeline.The letters say the government will host discussions with First Nations this month in Ottawa, Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, B.C., and Edmonton that will determine what that potential economic participation could look like. “The Trans Mountain expansion project presents a real economic opportunity – for Canadians, and for Indigenous communities,” Morneau said in a release Friday. “With the approval of the project, we can begin discussions with the many communities that may be interested in becoming partners in getting Canada’s natural resources to market.“Our government looks forward to moving the project forward in a way that reflects our commitment to reconciliation.”Morneau said the government intends the engagement process to be “open and fair.”He said the discussions will be guided by the idea that participation of Indigenous communities could help their economic development, that the government bought Trans Mountain to benefit all Canadians, and that the pipeline will be built and operated on a commercial basis.Morneau said Indigenous communities that are unable to attend the meetings can meet by teleconference or submit views in writing.Other interested parties, including the general public, can also have their say until Aug. 30.Earlier this summer an Indigenous-led group called Project Reconciliation said it could make a bid for majority ownership of the pipeline.The group said almost 340 Indigenous communities across British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan could choose to share ownership in the project that would ship crude from the Alberta oilsands to the west coast and from there to overseas markets.But another organization called the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group has argued that Trans Mountain should be owned by communities actually located on the route as they are most at risk from an oil spill.The proposal to twin an existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., was first approved by cabinet in 2016, but resistance to it by the British Columbia government, environmentalists and some Indigenous groups grew.The federal government purchased the existing line last year from Texas-based Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion when the company threatened to walk away because of the uncertainty.The Federal Court of Appeal shelved the original approval last summer and the federal government approved the pipeline expansion again in June after a second round of consultations with First Nations.Last month, six First Nations filed another legal challenge against the project, saying Canada’s ownership of the corporation created a bias that prevented full consultations as ordered by the courts.last_img read more

first_imgFresh from the recent success of their third consecutive Top 5 album, ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’, five piece vocal harmony group The Overtones have teamed up with Operation Smile UK to release a festive version of the 1954 Nat King Cole classic ‘Smile’ to raise money for the international cleft lip and palate charity.Available to pre-order on iTunes from Monday 18th November and to download from Monday 16th December, 100% of net profits from each single will go directly to the charity. For just £1.99 the single includes the ‘Smile’ music track, official ‘Smile’ music video and two bonus Christmas tracks from The Overtones, ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘White Christmas’.Operation Smile is an international charity dedicated to providing free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery for children around the globe. Following a trip to Rwanda to volunteer at one of Operation Smile’s medical projects in September The Overtones were so moved by what they saw they wanted to do more to help and recorded a heart-warming version of ‘Smile’ to help raise £56,000 to fund a return trip to Rwanda in April to help children still waiting for an operation.Cleft lips and cleft palates are the third most common birth defect globally and every three minutes a child is born with the debilitating, but easily treatable condition.It can cost just £150 to transform a child’s life forever with an operation that can take as little as 45 minutes.Operation Smile has completed over 200,000 surgeries on children and young adults in 60 countries worldwide so far and for every 75 singles sold, a smile will be brought to a child’s face in 2014.Lachie Chapman from The Overtones commented “Visiting Operation Smile’s medical project in Rwanda was a really humbling trip for us; seeing children whose lives are devastated by cleft lips and cleft palates and the transformation in their lives post-surgery was incredible.“We are so pleased to be supporting Operation Smile this Christmas and raising awareness of such a valuable cause.”Alex Talbot, CEO at Operation Smile commented “Since 2009, we have provided 1,000 people in Rwanda with life changing cleft operations. But, with 4,000 people still in need of surgery and up to 300 children born each year with the clefts in the country, the need is still great. We must raise £56,000 to fund our next project in Rwanda in April 2014 and that is why we are so delighted at the generosity of The Overtones recording ‘Smile’ as a charity Christmas single on our behalf.”For more information, click here. 
To pre-order the single go to iTunes.last_img read more

first_imgJoaquin Phoenix is disgusted and sickened by the first-ever look inside China’s dog-leather trade.“The footage that you’re about to watch of China’s dog-leather trade is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen”, begins Joaquin Phoenix in his new PETA exposé. Phoenix narrates over footage that reveals how dogs are kicked, are beaten over the head and have their throats slit and their skin peeled off – all while other dogs watch before they experience the same cruel fate. The animals’ skin is turned into leather – commonly gloves and other small goods such as cat toys and coat trim – and is exported all over the world to be sold to consumers who usually have no clue whose animal parts they’re buying.“If you buy leather gloves, belts or shoes, remember”, concludes the Her star, “there’s no easy way to tell whose skin you’re really in. If you love dogs like I do, then please never buy or wear leather, whether it comes from a dog, a cow or any other animal.”The footage was captured by a PETA Asia investigator at a facility that bludgeons and skins 100 to 200 dogs a day. In China, there are still no penalties for cruelty to animals.Phoenix, a vegan who shuns clothes made of any animal’s skin, wool or fur, is fully committed to PETA’s motto – which reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”. He famously wore vegan leather boots as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and is one of a growing list of celebrities – including Jude Law, Charlize Theron, Eva Mendes, Penelope Cruz and Morrissey – who have teamed up with PETA to promote kindness to animals in various ways.last_img read more