Saskatchewan News

Restaurants, small businesses feeling the squeeze of Sask. tax increases

Global Regina - 1 hour 6 min ago
Come April 1, a six per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will be tacked on to all restaurant meal and snack bills in Saskatchewan.

Complaint filed after comments by B.C. judge hearing sexual assault trial

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 17 min ago
VANCOUVER — Comments attributed to a British Columbia judge about the number of days that should be allotted to hear a sexual assault case have led to a complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council, the province's attorney general said Thursday. Charges in the case were stayed by the Crown on Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops. Attorney General Suzanne Anton did not say who filed the complaint against Justice Peter Leask. "I understand that the comments, ill-considered as they appear to be, did not impact on the outcome of this case," Anton said in a statement to The Canadian Press. A transcript of the court proceedings was not publicly available Thursday because of a publication ban in the case. But Kamloops This Week quotes Leask as saying he needed to return to work in Vancouver. "Full disclosure: I live in Vancouver," the newspaper quoted Leask as telling the court on Monday. "Kamloops is a wonderful place, but I like sleeping in my own bed." The Canadian Judicial Council is a federal body that reviews complaints or allegations against superior court judges. It is chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and consists of 38 other council members who are chief justices and associate chief justices of the country's superior courts. Anton said the complaint launched against Leask meets the criteria for the council to review the matter. "I am not going to put myself ahead of any review," she said in the statement. "As a process has been initiated, I will leave it to the council to review the complaint and have no further comment." The complainant, who alleged her stepfather sexually assaulted her for six years in the mid-1970s, told Kamloops This Week she was "disgusted" to learn Leask asked the Crown and defence lawyers to shorten the scheduled two-week trial to one week because of a shortage of judges. Crown attorney Katie Bouchard was not available Thursday, but a spokesman for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch said the Crown's decision was not influenced by any comments made by the court in the course scheduling discussions by the judge. "The decision to stay the charges in this case was made after a full and careful review of the evidence," Dan McLaughlin said in a statement. "After reviewing this information the prosecutor concluded the charge assessment standard was no longer met. In these circumstances a stay of proceedings is the appropriate course of action." McLaughlin said he did not know in which context Leask made the comments. "But I think it's important to understand the comments, to put them in the proper context." Bruce Cohen, a former judge who serves as spokesman for the B.C. Supreme Court, said he did not have a response to an inquiry for comment. Charlene Eden, a spokeswoman for the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre, said the agency was also considering filing a complaint against Leask. "As an agency we don't make decisions lightly on anything we do so we're going to take the time to look at all the facts and all the pieces and then we'll make a decision." Eden said she was not in the courtroom when Leask made the comments but heard about them from various sources. She said Leask's request to cut the scheduled trial time in half suggests due process could not be possible, adding all cases require adequate time for the Crown to present evidence and testimony from all of its witnesses. "In cases involving sexual assault, when the conviction rate is as low as it is, that's a concern for me," she said. "The reality is that it is difficult to make the case, especially with historic sexual abuse." — Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter Camille Bains, The Canadian Press ©2017 The Canadian Press

Sask. budget brings significant changes to school division funding and decision-making

Global Regina - 1 hour 19 min ago
Thu, Mar 23: School divisions in Saskatchewan aren’t being amalgamated, and elected board trustees are here to stay. However, there are still significant changes coming to education in the provincial budget. David Baxter has more.

Saskatchewan reacts to tax increases in budget

Global Regina - 1 hour 20 min ago
Thu, Mar 23: It’s the day after the budget and Saskatchewan is reacting to the dozens of tax hikes and cuts. Among them, the provincial sales tax is going up from five to six per cent. Christa Dao has more on how these taxes will affect you and your wallet.

Sask. budget brings significant changes to school division funding and decision-making

Global Regina - 1 hour 33 min ago
An amendment to the Education Act will give the minister power to issue directives to the province's 28 school boards.

Sask. anti-poverty advocates concerned about social services changes

Global Regina - 1 hour 34 min ago
Thu, Mar 23: As Saskatchewan continues to struggle with a weak economy, many people in this province are in need of financial help. The Ministry of Social Services saw its budget increase by nearly seven per cent, but also gave a warning that changes are coming. Jules Knox reports.

STC shutdown leaves up to 300 cancer treatment patients looking for a ride

CBC Saskatchewan - 1 hour 39 min ago
Cancer patients who rely on STC service to get to treatment in Regina and Saskatoon will have to find a new ride come June 1.
Categories: Saskatchewan News

'We're beginning to hit a wall': MVA concerned over provincial funding cuts

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 43 min ago
The Meewasin Valley Authority is "taking a hit" from the provincial budget, and it could jeopardize the organization's services.   The province revealed in Wednesday's budget they're cutting $409,000 from the MVA's funding, nearly half of the $909,000 that was expected.   "It will certainly have an impact," MVA CEO Lloyd Isaak told 650 CKOM. "We're going to try and find a way through this somehow."   Isaak said the lost funding represents 20 per cent of the MVA's overall budget, minus donations and grants.   He said the authority has been facing financial stress for several years, and the fact Saskatoon is a growing city is creating more pressure.   "We have shrinking financial resources and growing [responsibilities]," he said. "We're beginning to hit a wall here."   Isaak emphasized the need to meet with the MVA's board and partners to determine budgeting priorities given the cuts.   He added they're working to make provisions for all MVA workers, but didn't say whether staff cuts would be happening. TRAIL USERS DISAPPOINTED Residents who use the trails maintained by the MVA were disappointed by the news.   "This is how we recharge our batteries," Darcy Nedjelski said of using the paths.   The Saskatoon nurse said she jogs on the trails nearly every day she has off, and she worries what a lack of funding will do to the maintenance of the trails.   Nedjelski suggested the city is partially to blame.   "If we hadn't had a conservative-minded mayor, perhaps we wouldn't have spent money the way we did," she said.    "Had we managed our civic politics and economy better... we would have the money to avoid a crisis (with the MVA)."   Kelly Knowles also frequents the trails, and she was surprised when hearing about the cuts.   "That seems quite steep," she said. "It'd be a shame for the trails to be run down because of this."   She noted the walkways are in good shape even through the winter, saying drastic cuts could change that. UNIVERSITY, CITY REVIEWING OPTIONS The province had previously been required to fund the MVA through a joint agreement with the City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan.   But the budget and accompanying legislation will allow the U of S to reduce their portion of the funding as well.   A statement from the government said the funding from the university would remain the same at their discretion.   Asked for comment, the university said they're still going through the provincial budget to determine how a decrease in their own funding could impact the agreement with the MVA.   Mayor Charlie Clark reacted to the cuts Wednesday, saying the city would "continue to fight" to fund the authority.   "We need to make sure with this cut that we can keep Meewasin going," he said, noting there's concern the statutory funding clause was removed for the MVA.   Clark said communications with Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Ken Cheveldayoff suggest he's also pushing to maintain MVA funding at the provincial level.   The mayor added the MVA's function in protecting the riverfront will continue to be important as the city develops the area surrounding the North Commuter Parkway Bridge.   "Meewasin plays a crucial role in preserving the integrity of all that activity," he said.   "This is a challenging budget, no question."

Grade 6 boys to start receiving HPV vaccinations in Sask.

Global Regina - 1 hour 43 min ago
Grade 6 boys will be offered HPV vaccinations in the fall, a move that was announced in the Saskatchewan budget.

'Couch potato' youth missing out on crucial bone development: study

News Talk 650 CKOM - 2 hours 16 min ago
VANCOUVER — A new study has found teens who have a "couch potato" lifestyle risk having permanent negative effects on their bone health. Orthopedics Prof. Heather McKay of the University of British Columbia says about 36 per cent of the adult skeleton is developed during adolescence when growth spurts typically happen, and physical activity is critical for developing bone strength and density. The study looked at girls between the ages of 10 and 14, and boys between the ages of 12 and 16 over a four-year period, measuring their bone development and monitoring their activity. It found that only 43 per cent of boys and nine per cent of girls were meeting the daily recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity, and the amount of activity they participated in declined as they got older. Of the more than 300 teens in the study, those who were less active had significantly less bone strength than those who were active, increasing their risks for fractures throughout their lives and osteoporosis when they become older adults.  McKay says the findings signal concerns for the long-term health risks for youth, and serve as a reminder that physical activity is not only important for cardiovascular health but skeletal health as well. "We're hitting a critical destruction point here in terms of the low levels of physical activity, so that is really sobering," McKay, the study's co-author, said in an interview. The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. In older adults, McKay said even small fractures can be "life-limiting" for a person by hindering their mobility. Preventing the risk of fractures begins with developing bone health in childhood and adolescence, she said, and the good news is that it may not require much effort. She said short spurts of exercise throughout the day or even one hour of exercise a day can have a positive impact on bone health in children and teens. "They're such responsive tissue, they respond very quickly to what we do, and they respond very quickly to what we don't do," she said. McKay said in the future she wants to explore whether there's an optimal amount of activity or type of activity to strengthen bones in childhood. But for now, she said she hopes the current findings encourage physical activity for children and youth. "Our bones respond to everything we do from the time we're born and I think the investment has to happen now," she said. "It's absolutely worrying as to what we'll confront as this generation ages." Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press ©2017 The Canadian Press

Opposition Leader Trent Wotherspoon removed from Sask. legislature for calling budget ‘deceitful’

Global Regina - 2 hours 18 min ago
Trent Wotherspoon, the interim leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, was ordered to leave the legislature Thursday after he refused to apologize for calling the budget “deceitful.”

Opposition Leader Trent Wotherspoon asked to leave Saskatchewan legislature

Global Regina - 2 hours 38 min ago
Interim Saskatchewan NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon was asked to leave the Saskatchewan legislature on March 23 after calling the provincial budget ‘deceitful.’

Calgary child killer Harold Smeltzer to continue receiving weekend passes

Global Regina - 2 hours 41 min ago
Harold Smeltzer has been on day parole since 2008, except for a three-month span in 2012 when his parole was shortly revoked after officials found a video in his possession that contained sexually explicit content.

Anti-poverty advocates concerned about social services changes

Global Regina - 2 hours 46 min ago
The Ministry of Social Services is seeing its biggest budget ever, but some people say it’s still not enough. The budget went up by $73 million to $1.125 billion dollars, an increase of nearly seven per cent. “It’s driven primarily because of utilization,” Finance Minister Kevin Doherty said. With a soft economy and federal employment...

Opposition Leader Trent Wotherspoon calls Sask. budget ‘deceitful’

Global Regina - 2 hours 47 min ago
Interim Saskatchewan NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon was asked to leave the legislature on March 23 after calling the provincial budget ‘deceitful’ and refusing to apologize for his remarks.

Opposition Leader Trent Wotherspoon refuses to apologize after calling Sask. budget ‘deceitful’

Global Regina - 2 hours 47 min ago
Thu, Mar 23: Interim Saskatchewan NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon was asked to leave the legislature on March 23 after calling the provincial budget ‘deceitful’ and refusing to apologize for his remarks.

Air Miles alerts its members that cash miles have been stolen from some members

News Talk 650 CKOM - 3 hours 4 min ago
TORONTO — Air Miles has posted a letter on its website warning that criminals have stolen cash miles from some of its members. The rewards program says a small number of in-store transactions with stolen cash miles has occurred in which the criminals used them to buy goods. Air Miles spokeswoman Rachael Montgomery says the manner in which the cash miles were fraudulently accessed has not compromised members' personal information. She said the company is not sharing more specific details at this time because its investigation of the breach is ongoing. While the company works to resolve the situation, it has temporarily removed the cash miles option for in-store purchases. Montgomery said the company does not have a timeline in place for how long the suspension will be in effect. However, members can still access their cash miles at the company's website to redeem for e-vouchers. The alert comes a few weeks after Air Miles sent a note to its members apologizing for the controversy it caused last year over changes to its expiration policy. The rewards program angered many members with its proposal to void unused Air Miles after five years, only to abandon that plan weeks before it was to take effect.   The Canadian Press ©2017 The Canadian Press

Regina Evening Weather Update: March 23

Global Regina - 3 hours 5 min ago
A look at the forecast for the evening of Thursday, March 23, 2017 for Regina, Saskatchewan.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley blasts Sask. tax hike, budget cuts

CBC Saskatchewan - 3 hours 10 min ago
The tax hikes and cuts to the public sector proposed in Saskatchewan's latest budget will hurt middle-income families and would never fly next door, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says.
Categories: Saskatchewan News

Crewman is mauled and badly injured by grizzly attack in remote B.C. forest

News Talk 650 CKOM - 3 hours 11 min ago
DRAINEY INLET, B.C. — A man working in the forest on British Columbia's central coast was mauled by a grizzly Wednesday. Sgt. Scott Norris with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service says other crew members quickly came to the man's defence, but his injuries are significant. Norris says the man was part of a crew working in steep forest terrain near Drainey Inlet, about 400 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. Officers with the service's specialized predator attack team were flown into the area on Thursday to assess any public-safety risk and to try to determine what happened. Norris says they don't know yet what set off the attack. The victim's condition hasn't been updated, but Norris says he was transferred to a larger hospital on the coast.   Norris says March and April is the usual period for bears to emerge from their dens after a winter of hibernation. "Bears don't typically look at humans as prey items," he said. "They emerge hungry, obviously, any bear does ... but you don't want to jump to the conclusion that the bear's hungry and it attacked an individual." The Canadian Press ©2017 The Canadian Press