Trouble Deciding How to Think on Canadian Issues? No worries: from now on, we’ll tell you what you’re allowed to think. Part One

Julie Payette’s transgression is more serious than some suppose. In a speech last week, she celebrated secularism and science over faith and superstition in tones so derisive that the Conservative Leader protested and the Prime Minister rose to her defence, which only made things worse.

In presenting herself as an enlightened governor-general, did Ms. Payette inadvertently cast herself as a Liberal governor-general? If the next election produces an unstable House, can we count on her to rule impartially on who should be asked to form a government, or whether and when to accept a recommendation to prorogue or dissolve Parliament?

The governor-general exists to resolve such impasses. With her remarks on science and superstition, Ms. Payette has made it harder to credibly fill that role.

Read more: Governor-General 101: Don’t insult Canadians

We don’t need to rehash exactly what the Governor-General said last Wednesday, because it wasn’t her opinions that got her into trouble so much as her tone. “Can you believe that still, today, in learned societies and houses of government? …” and “that we are still debating and still questioning …” and “so many people, I’m sure you know them, still believe, want to believe …” Here was a Governor-General mocking those who do not share her world view.

In rising to her defence, Mr. Trudeau actually deepened the hole.

“We are a government grounded in science,” he told reporters. Ms. Payette “has never hidden away her passion for science … and I applaud the firmness with which she stands in support of science and the truth,” he added.

With those comments, Mr. Trudeau allied the Liberal Party with the Governor-General, in essence saying both celebrate the power of science over superstition.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, not wanting to be seen criticizing the Governor-General directly, instead criticized Mr. Trudeau for coming to her defence.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Prime Minister will not support Indigenous peoples, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Christians and other faith groups who believe there is truth in their religion,” he said on Facebook.

 So now we have the Liberals: We are the party of reason and the scientific method and the Governor-General is with us. And the Conservatives: We are the party that respects rights of all people to worship as they choose without being judged – in particular, by the Prime Minister and the Governor-General.

A stark divide. A wedge issue, even. What on Earth was the GG thinking?

These are early days. We should assume that Ms. Payette received unsound advice, or failed to follow the advice she received. Someone in the Prime Minister’s Office is no doubt having a quiet word with someone at Rideau Hall, so that this mistake is not repeated.

But Ms. Payette needs to get the hang of this job, quickly. Yes, the next election is two years away, but consider: What if the NAFTA talks fail and Mr. Trudeau decides on a snap election to obtain a mandate for whatever follows? What if the voters return a hung Parliament?

After the BC Liberals were defeated in the legislature in the wake of last May’s election in that province, Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon rejected Christy Clark’s advice to dissolve the legislature, and instead invited NDP Leader John Horgan to form a government.

Throughout those tense days, no one questioned Ms. Guichon’s impartiality. If Ms. Payette is forced to make a difficult choice when the House meets after the next election, will all Canadians trust her impartiality?

The Governor-General speaks for everyone – believer and non-believer, people of science and people of faith and people of both. She must represent all, regardless of what she might think of some.

Julie Payette should be very careful with what she says and how she says it from here on in.

Governor-General Julie Payette takes aim at bad science(THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Giants Roamed Canada’s North!

Did giants roam Canada’s Northwest Territories — or do they still?

Given its large expanse and low population, there’s plenty of room for folklore in the Northwest Territories

Darren Bernhardt · CBC News · September 30

Andrew Paul Beaverho took this shot while flying between Whati and Yellowknife. (Andrew Paul Beaverho)
A pair of photographs are stirring the folklore pot in the Northwest Territories — or perhaps more accurately, leaving a big impression.
Both photos, sent to CBC North, show lakes that resemble gigantic footprints.
“Godzilla exist!” Eric James wrote on CBC North’s Facebook page, under the photo of a lake with the unmistakeable shape of three-toed foot.
The photo was sent in by Kailie Letendre, who snapped it on on her way up to Inuvik.
Another, shared more than 250 times, shows another foot-like lake formation — with islands and trees at the top forming the toes. The aerial shot was taken by Andrew Paul Beaverho between Whati and Yellowknife.
“It’s Yamoria’s footprint from when he fought the giant beavers!” Keith Shergold commented on CBC North’s Facebook page.

Kailie Letendre snapped this shot from the window of a plane on her way to Inuvik. (Kailie Letendre)
While many comments are made for amusement, they are steeped in lore that goes back millennia and form the rich culture of the land’s first inhabitants.
“A lot of this is still revered and adhered to. People use these stories and legends to guide their lives,” said Alestine Andre, heritage researcher with the Gwich’in Tribal Council.
“Some are very serious, but some of them are for entertainment as well. It’s a very rich description of how things used to be and an explanation for how our land was shaped.”
The Northwest Territories is nearly 1.2 million square kilometres with a topography of Precambrian volcanic rock heaved into mountains and carved into valleys, along with untold lakes, rivers, turbulent waterfalls, islands and a tapestry of trees.
The Nahanni Valley, west of Yellowknife, is many worlds unto itself. Despite the harsh conditions in winter, the valley contains tropic areas with hot springs, lush plants and sweltering whirpools in an area known as Hell’s Gate.
Then there’s Great Slave Lake, which is too deep to know what really lurks at its dark base. The official estimate is that the deepest lake in North America — the sixth deepest on Earth — goes down 614 metres but a University of California researcher claims there are trenches that reach even farther down.
For all of its breadth, the N.W.T. is populated by just 41,462 people, according to the most recent Census.
That leaves an extensive reach of uninhabited space — and room for plenty of legends.
N.W.T. man tells of encounter with nàhgą — the Tlicho sasquatch — following boat accident
Sasquatch sighting by Nunavik berry pickers
The earliest of days was a time when people and animals were equals and giant creatures wandered, and it was during these days that many features of the modern landscape were created, according to Andre, ​co-author of the book, Gwichya Gwich’in Googwandak: The History and Stories of the Gwichya Gwich’in, As Told by The Elders of Tsiigehtshik .​
“These marks and tracks show that the animals who made them must have been of enormous size. Mostly these were animals that everybody knew — beaver, fish, or wolverine — but they were bigger than any that the people had ever seen, and they lived much longer,” the book states.
“These giant spirit animals, chijuudiee, have inhabited the land since the earliest days.”

Ch’ii choo’s thunderous steps
One of the greatest legends is that of a great traveller and warrior known by many names, depending on the region and tribe. The the Gwich’in call him Atachuukaii, while he is Yamoria for the Dene of North Slavey and Zhamba Deja for the Dene of South Slavey.
The Chipewyan call him Hachoghe while the Tlicho and Yellowknives Dene have named him Yamozha.
By all, he is known as a hero.
The Gwichya Gwich’in Googwandak says Atachuukaii encountered the man-eating giant Ch’ii choo near present-day Fort Yukon. The giant chased Atachuukaii across the land and all the way up the Mackenzie River.
The chase lasted a long time and Ch’ii choo’s thunderous steps made indentations in the ground, creating six big lakes between Norman Wells and Fort Good Hope.
Legends of Yamoria from the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Giant beavers, wolverines

According to the Dene, their ancient land Denendeh, was terrorized by giant beavers that would attack people.
Yamoria chased them to the northwest corner of present-day Saskatchewan, where during the struggle, one beaver kicked away all the trees, creating the Athabasca sand dunes. After killing another, Yamoria tossed part of the empty dam into the Athabasca River, where it is now an island.
Yamoria also saved people from two giant wolverines, who used a medicine power to control their minds and entrap them before devouring them. Yamoria tricked the adult wolverines in order to get close, then killed them.
He then squeezed the young wolverines, shrinking them to the size the animals are today — an animal small in body but with the power of a giant.
Some other legends from the Gwichya Gwich’in Googwandak include:
Gyuu dazhoo
A giant hairy worm, or snake, that came out of the ocean and travelled up the Mackenzie River and into the Peel River. He wanted to go up into the mountains, so he swallowed big rocks as he moved along, burrowing out the shape that is now the Snake River. Gyuu dazhoo still lives in the area, but it has not been sighted for so long now that nobody is quite sure whether it actually lives in the mountains near the headwater of the Snake River, or in a lake beside the river.
Nehtruh tshì’
This is the name of an area on the bank of Tsiigehnjik, just downstream from Martin zheh, which is very distinct from its surroundings. The land here looks as if it has been torn apart. It is said to be the work of a giant wolverine that came out of a nearby lake. He broke up the hills and big boulders while heading underground.
Nobody knows what these giants looked like or who they were, but the marks they left were so large and unusual that they could not have been made by a normal-sized being. One such chijuudiee must once have come out of a little lake southwest of K’eeghee chuudlaii, where it created a wide trench through the trees.
More beasts whose stories persist in the Northwest Territories include:
The Tlicho sasquatch known for stealing people from bush camps. It is said to have powerful magic that helps it lure people who are then never seen again.
Described as a creature resembling a wolf or wolf-bear hybrid. It is said to stand four to five feet tall at the shoulders, with a wide head, enormous body, and blazing white fur. Various legends describe it as an evil spirit with supernatural powers and a penchant for removing people’s heads.
It is said to reside in the Nahanni Valley, which has earned the nicknames Valley of Headless Men, Deadmen Valley, and Headless Range.
The decapitated bodies of prospecting brothers Willie and Frank McLeod were found along the Nahanni River in 1909, while Swiss prospector Martin Jorgenson was found in the same condition in 1917, followed in 1945 by a miner from Ontario, who was headless and still in his sleeping bag.
‘Tip of the iceberg’
These stories are “just touching the tip of the iceberg because there’s just so much,” said Andre. “And this is just on the land — we also have stories about the sky.
“People are still very respectful of the teaching of our ancestors so we still have a great deal of respect for these stories and the information. And I’m only talking about the Gwich’in area — you go into the Sahtu, you go into Behchoko and all that area, and also south of [Great Slave] lake and around there.
“Aboriginal culture is just so rich.”
So is there still a chance some of those legendary beings still exist, somewhere in the vast hinterland of the Northwest Territories?
“You could think that, yeah,” said Andre.

Even Carl Junior himself could do better than this

‘Disgusting behaviour’ caught on video at fast food restaurant in Red Deer, Alta.
Carl’s Jr. franchisee violated numerous Alberta food regulations
By Carolyn Dunn, CBC News Posted: Aug 23, 2017 3:00 AM MT Last Updated: Aug 23, 2017 8:11 AM MT

Canada’s Restaurant Secrets: Spot the violation
If you’re a germaphobe or just easily grossed out, you may want to take a deep breath before reading on.

The co-franchisee of a Carl’s Jr. in central Alberta was temporarily barred from his own restaurant’s kitchen after a host of unhygienic behaviours that even “shocked” a public health inspector.

Food safety: 5 things to watch out for next time you dine out

Jack Webb was captured on in-store security video at the Red Deer restaurant without gloves, forearm deep in a large container, mixing a batch of barbecue sauce for Carl’s Jr. burgers.

10 food safety violations caught on video

That was the first of no fewer than 10 food safety violations caught on video, which was exclusively obtained by CBC News.

Andrew Minnes, the former manager of the restaurant, blew the whistle on Webb to health authorities and CBC.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. If he wasn’t an owner, he would have been fired instantly. There wouldn’t even have been a debate,” Minnes told CBC News from his home in Airdrie, Alta.

‘If he wasn’t an owner, he would have been fired.’
– Andrew Minnes, former Carl’s Jr. manager
Minnes says it was conscientious kitchen staff who initially alerted him to the “gross” infractions.

He says he approached Webb about the complaints.

“His reaction was, ‘I’m the owner’ and then ‘Too bad.’ He made it clear to the staff as well that they don’t say anything, ‘Don’t talk about what I’m doing, I do what I feel like doing.'”

So Minnes began playing undercover detective in the restaurant he managed until May 2017, recording the screen of the CCTV that overlooked the kitchen.

Canada’s Restaurant Secrets: Spot the violation

Minnes says he never planned to take the footage public — he just wanted to show it to the other co-franchisee so the issue would be addressed.

“He just ignored me. He didn’t want to deal with it. ‘Complicit,’ I guess is the word.”

Mixing food with bare hand

Minnes had surreptitiously captured 10 videos of serious food safety regulation infractions on his cellphone.

During the barbecue sauce mixing video, a staffer goes as far as offering Webb a spoon — which his boss refuses and continues mixing with his hand and forearm, before scraping the accumulated barbecue sauce off his arm back into the container.

Domenic Pedulla, the CEO at the Canada Food Safety Group, shook his head while watching the video clips. “Bare hand contact with ready to eat food is not OK. This is where we want to use tongs, gloves.”

Webb didn’t use tongs or gloves in any of the videos.

Several of them feature him mixing barbecue and honey mustard sauce with his bare hands and transferring sauces from one container to another using his bare fingers.

The one time Webb did use a spatula during the videos, he got it from the dirty dish pile and hastily wiped it off with a towel.

Webb also seemed to be following the five-second rule when he dropped things on the floor.

One video shows the owner dropping a french fry scoop on the kitchen floor, picking it up and immediately using it to dish out fries.

In another, Webb dropped a chicken tender on the floor after transferring a batch from the fryer to a warming tray. Instead of throwing it out, he bent down, picked it up and put it back on the tray.

Potential for cross-contamination

But both Minnes and Pedulla were most disturbed by Webb’s handling of raw chicken.

The franchise co-owner dipped Carl’s Jr. raw chicken tenders into batter mixture as per protocol. But then Webb transferred the chicken to the fryer without washing his hands.

The end result was a fryer basket handle covered in goopy flour and raw chicken juice. “There’s potential for cross-contamination — you’re going to make someone sick,” Minnes said.

“That’s how we spread contaminants and germs and pathogens,” food safety expert Pedulla said.

“That’s the stuff that can make you sick and kill you.”

Alberta Health Services launched an investigation immediately upon receiving the videos.

In an email to Minnes, Environmental Public Health officer Michael Lambert noted the “disgusting behaviour.”

He went on to say, “The food handler was very apologetic and assured us this will not happen in the future.”

As it turns out, Webb had never taken the provincial food safety training. He was ordered to refrain from handling food until proof of that training is provided to Alberta Health Services.

Carl’s Jr. Canada responds

CBC News approached Webb for comment at his Red Deer restaurant. He asked us to wait for an interview for several hours.

“We’re going to give a response,” Webb assured the CBC.

In the end, the response came via a statement from Carl’s Jr. Canada, which said it found out about the infractions in April and the video earlier this month.

The popular U.S. fast food restaurant, which has been trying to expand its franchise footprint in Canada since 2011 called the “improper food handling behaviour … unacceptable and (that it) in no way, represents Carl’s Jr.’s commitment to safe food handling.”

‘In no way represents Carl’s Jr.’s commitment to safe food handling.’
– Carl’s Jr. Canada
The statement noted Webb had completed AHS food safety training with a mark of 96 per cent and the burger chain had taken its own “corrective action” including an independent safety audit.

Minnes says he quit Carl’s Jr. because of a dispute over a possible promotion.

He says he never set out to be a whistleblower, but he’s not sorry he took on that role.

“I’m not the one on the tape doing that. I didn’t do anything wrong, so I don’t have anything to worry about personally.”

Pedulla says the impact of one person’s bad habits can have far reaching results.

“Maybe every other location in Carl’s Jr. does a 99.5 per cent good job and this guy’s wrecked it. It’s sad, it’s really, really bad and it breaks public trust.”

A Wedding Night to Remember

Bride and groom arrested in Edmonton after post-wedding bar brawl

Bride and groom arrested in Edmonton after post-wedding bar brawl
Police say the bride was charged with assault and the groom was charged with mischief.

EDMONTON — A bride and groom spent their first night of wedded bliss in jail when Edmonton police arrested them after a post-wedding brawl in a downtown bar.

It’s unclear how it all started, but photos and videos posted on social media show the fight on the weekend spilling out of the Denizen Hall bar and onto the street.

Witnesses say the bride was right in the middle of it.

Police say she was charged with assault and the groom was charged with mischief.

Their names have not been released.

This man went to jail rather than pay his ex-wife $10 million in epic divorce battle
Police called to Peterborough wedding brawl after altercation at reception
Bride’s text rant over wedding present offers lessons on minefield around gift-giving
Witness Matt Machado told CTV Edmonton that the doors to the bar just exploded open and bodies stared piling out.

“It was just absolutely ridiculous and absolutely absurd,” Machado said.

“The bride is just swinging and the melee ends up on the sidewalk,” said another witness.

“As we’re watching, you just see this girl in a wedding dress right in the middle of it,” a third witness recalled.

Images and videos of the brawl were posted online. “Your wedding is trash,” one user wrote in a tweet, which included a photo of the bride sitting outside next to security staff.

The Caller: Karin Fossum

Tight, concise, skilled writing, but the overall effect is more like taking your Suzuki Estilete moped in for routine maintenance than taking it to the top of a high, steep hill in the forest and gliding down the slope with your eyes closed, hands off the handlebars, and gulping in huge draughts of cool, sweet menthol scent of pine into your soul.

Ambadassador? No! Embarassdor.

Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland made news recently by tackling a protester at an Easter Uprising memorial.

The protester, who had an official invitation, was acting well within the legal limits of peaceful protest and dissent when the Ambassador tackled him.

Kevin Vickers, the Ambassador, is best known for stopping and killing a terrorist attacking Canada’s Parliament when he then Sergeant-at-arms.

Mr. Vickers was a hero in that circumstance. He is an embarrassment in the Irish one.



Ambassador Kevin Vickers, former House sergeant-at-arms, tackles protester in Dublin
Justin Trudeau unwilling to comment on Vickers’ actions during protest at Eastern Rebellion event
By John Paul Tasker, CBC News Posted: May 26, 2016 11:06 AM ET Last Updated: May 27, 2016 3:55 AM ET

Canada’s ‘AmBadAssador’ to Ireland receives mixed reaction after tussle with protester

Canada’s ambassador to Ireland, the man hailed as a hero for shooting Ottawa gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau after he stormed Parliament Hill in 2014, tackled a protester at a ceremony in Dublin Thursday morning.

Canada’s ‘AmBadAssador’ to Ireland receives mixed reaction after tussle with protester
Kevin Vickers, the former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, was at the event commemorating the 100 British soldiers who died during the Easter Rising, also called the Easter Rebellion, when Irish republicans tried to overthrow British control of the country by force.

A male protester, wearing an Easter Rising T-shirt, stood up during the invitation-only event and could be heard yelling, “This is an insult.”

Vickers was the first to respond to the disturbance, tackling the man and leading him away from the ceremony. Police later arrested the protester.

“This man just ran forward and started screaming, ‘It’s a disgrace.’ He was tackled by somebody and it was only after that I realized it was the Canadian ambassador,” an unnamed eyewitness told the Irish Independent.

“The whole thing lasted about a minute,” the eyewitness said. “The Canadian ambassador grabbed him. There was a struggle and gardaí [the police] wrestled him to the ground. Without hesitation, [Mr. Vickers] jumped out from the middle of dignitaries.”

Thursday’s ceremony was being held at a time of heightened security, in the centennial year of the uprising that sought to establish an Irish republic. The British MI-5 recently raised the threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism from moderate to substantial, adding there is a “strong possibility” of an attack from “dissident” Irish republicans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to wade into whether Vickers would be subject to any discipline when asked about the incident at the G7 summit in Japan.

“I’ve been very much engaged in discussions around here and I’m not fully apprised on all the details of that particular incident and will not be commenting on it,” he said.

When pressed further, Trudeau said “if it lands on my table, I’ll take a look at it.”

The protester was identified as Brian Murphy by the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA), of which he is a member. The group, which claims it is not aligned with any political party, is a support group for the families of imprisoned republicans.

In a Facebook post, the group chided Vickers for what it called his “assault” on their member. Murphy can be seen wearing the IRPWA logo across his chest.

As the protester was being handcuffed by police, attendees at the ceremony were hearing these words from the speaker at the podium, quoting from the Irish government’s foreword to the Ireland 2016 centenary program.

“All lives are equal in value, and 2016 must be a year in which the narratives of everyone on this island of Ireland are included and heard. This is how we can truly honour the vision of the 1916 proclamation (of the Irish Republic).”

‘It was impressive’

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that Vickers intervened to intercept the protester from running up to the speakers’ podium. He was not injured during the incident, the department confirmed. The Canadian Embassy in Ireland would not comment.

“We were all kind of surprised, to put it mildly, that a dignitary kind of beat the Irish police in wrestling this guy to the ground,” Colin Keegan, a photographer covering the event, told Vanessa Vander Valk, host of CBC Radio’s Shift.

“I have to hand it to him. It was impressive … he was in action within a split second of it happening.”

But Keegan said Murphy, the protester, seemed more disgruntled than a security risk.

“I wouldn’t say it was threatening, really, it was more disruptive than threatening. He didn’t lunge at anybody, or he didn’t have a weapon. I presume the gentleman was just disgusted that we were commemorating the death of British soldiers on Irish soil.”

Global Affairs Canada has a code of conduct for its diplomatic staff abroad, last updated in 2014.

Under a broad heading of “Canada’s reputation: Personal behaviour,” it notes in part: “Regardless of any legal immunity conferred upon representatives abroad, their conduct and actions will be subject to a greater degree of scrutiny and public interest than they would be at home.

“The potential for public scrutiny requires that representatives use good judgment and common sense.”

Vickers was representing Canada at the ceremony as a guest of the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan.

He was appointed ambassador to Ireland early last year, just months after he played a key role in ending the shooting attack on Parliament Hill.

Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed 24-year-old Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22, 2014, then entered the halls of Centre Block and continued shooting, as security staff and frightened parliamentarians raced through corridors. Vickers was lauded for his efforts in halting the attacker.