Nov 16

Finding a job is a major problem for military spouses: study

WASHINGTON – Military spouses struggle to find jobs and are more likely to work for less pay or in positions below their education level, spurring unemployment and other costs of as much as $1 billion a year, according to a study.

Wrestling with frequent moves, deployments and erratic schedules of their service member mates, military spouses have an unemployment rate of up to 18 per cent, compared to last month’s national jobless rate of 5 per cent.

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    The problem is not new to the Pentagon, and in recent years has triggered a flood of new programs aimed at encouraging companies to hire military veterans and spouses.

    The latest study was commissioned by Blue Star Families, a group that co-ordinates services for families with a loved one who is currently serving or has served in the military. And it found that up to 42 per cent of military spouses — or as many as 95,000 — are jobless, compared to about 25 per cent of a comparable civilian spouse population. In addition, it estimated that military spouses with a bachelor’s degree earn 40 per cent less than their civilian counterparts.

    The report noted that various groups have done studies on military spouse unemployment that yielded varying statistics. But there was broad agreement on the overall conclusion that they face higher unemployment rates than civilians, especially those of comparable age.

    “The math is shocking, but it also shows the way forward,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, founder and chief executive officer of Blue Star Families.

    “If we work together to reverse the crippling employment trends facing military spouses, we will add money back to our economy.”

    And she called on the government and private companies to do more to battle spouse unemployment in the same way they did to beef up the hiring of veterans.

    READ MORE: Canadian veteran’s wife makes impassioned plea for increased help from feds 

    “Military spouses are faced with unique challenges in starting and maintaining a career as a result of the military lifestyle they lead that requires frequent moves and sometimes being the single parent while their military spouse is deployed,” said Marine Lt. Col. Gabrielle Hermes, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

    Defence Department data from surveys comes up with different numbers, finding that 23 per cent of military spouses identify themselves as unemployed.

    According to the study, the estimated cost of the problem is largely borne by the federal government, including unemployment and health care benefits and lost income taxes. The study estimated that those costs ranged from about $710 million to $1.07 billion per year.

    There has been increased attention on veteran and military-related unemployment issues over the past decade, particularly as service members came home from repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and found it difficult to find jobs after they left the military. That focus has also expanded to spouses, who often find themselves moving every two or three years and often can’t find jobs that are flexible enough to compensate for the long hours, absences and irregular schedules of their spouses while still meeting any child care needs.

    The study found that getting meaningful employment is a major concern for spouses. And more than half of them say that having a spouse in the military has a “negative effect” on their ability to find a job that meets their education and experience levels.

    As of 2015, there were about 564,000 female civilian spouses of active duty military members nationwide, and 70 per cent of them were under the age of 35.

    READ MORE: Possible job interview questions to watch out for

    The Pentagon and military services have a number of websites and jobs programs, including ones aimed at military spouses. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership has job listings, resume tips, career counselling and other assistance. According to the Defence Department, partner employers have posted more than 4 million jobs in the past five years.

    The Joining Forces initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden in 2011 has helped more than 1.2 million veterans and spouses get hired or trained, according to numbers announced earlier this month. Of those, Hermes said that about 95,000 were military spouses.

    Another program provides up to $4,000 in scholarships to eligible spouses to pursue certifications, licenses or other degrees.

    Hermes said that the department is assessing the effectiveness of the programs, adding that getting information about them can be a challenge especially when so many military spouses transition out of the military every year and new spouses join. She said the department relies on experts who work for the military services as well as other organizations, employers and communities, to help get the word out.

Nov 16

Taxi to TappCar: how Calgary’s first legal rideshare company stacks up

A rideshare company is finally operating legally in Calgary.

TappCar, an Alberta-based company, launched in Edmonton last March. It said over 5,000 Calgarians had already downloaded its app ahead of the Calgary launch Tuesday.

“We’ve received lots of feedback from Calgarians – popular demand – that we come down here and set up shop so that’s what we’re doing,” Pascal Ryffel, a spokesperson for TappCar, said.

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READ MORE: Edmonton ride-sharing app TappCar expands to more regions 

Former professional hockey player Sheldon Kennedy took the first ceremonial ride. TappCar is donating $2,500 in fares to families using the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and $1 from every ride during the company’s first three days in business.

“One of the things that really caught our attention is all the background checks that they do with the drivers and the safety and security of that,” Kennedy said. “And the fact that we know they’re insured.”

It’s been a point of controversy in the city.

WATCH: Caught on camera – Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi calls rideshare company Uber ‘dicks’ 

Last October, rideshare giant Uber launched in Calgary, but later pulled out calling the city’s livery bylaws “too onerous.”

TappCar is the first of three rideshare companies currently licensed by the city under its new Transportation Network Companies framework.

Perhaps surprisingly, Allied Limosines is one of those securing a licence and looking at the possibility of launching in the future.

“It opens up doors for a lot of part-time drivers – people who just want to supplement their income on the side,” Cam Naghshineh, General Manager of Allied Limousine, said.

READ MORE: Cheaper cabs in Calgary? Company lowers fares as Uber-inspired regulations take effect

The company launched an app called Allied Black in April of 2015.

“Basically this app works exactly the same as apps that rideshare companies utilize,” Naghshineh said. “It has all the options such as rating the service, leaving comments, requesting the closest call and all that stuff that the rideshare companies have. It’s basically the same thing.”

As far as prices go, a 10-kilometer car fare comes in at $16.45 on TappCar’s website, compared to an estimated $21 fare for the same ride through Allied Black. But TappCar will also charge a “tech fee” on arrival; an extra $1.50 for using their app.

Nov 16

Edmonton theatre washroom incident results in child porn charges

WARNING: This story contains disturbing content.

A man is facing child pornography charges after an incident in the men’s washroom at West Edmonton Mall’s Scotiabank Theatre Sunday.

Edmonton police said Wednesday morning 41-year-old Aaron Voon has been charged with possession of child pornography, making child pornography and voyeurism.

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Sgt. Steve Sharpe with the Edmonton Police Service said it is alleged Voon used a mobile device to record a video of an individual in the movie theatre washroom. It happened at around 4 p.m. Sunday.

In a video posted to Facebook, a father confronts a man and accuses him of videotaping his young son at the urinal. The father demands to see the man’s phone.

In photos on the same Facebook page, the man is surrounded by three others and put in a headlock.

One witness told Global News she saw the confrontation unfold as she walked out of a screening of The Angry Birds movie with her son. She said the man’s phone was taken by the father.

“They were kind of having a little bit of a confrontation and he (the father) kept asking ‘can I just see what’s on your phone?’” Ashley Jackson said. “The father kept putting up his hands and saying ‘No, I need to see what’s on your phone- I think I saw you take a video.’”

“Then the father of the boy kept saying to his wife ‘Well, what’s on the phone did you find anything?’ And the mother goes ‘I’m still looking, I’m still looking’ and then after a couple of seconds, you kind of hear her let out this scream and that’s when she said that she found the video of her son going to the bathroom. … I won’t be able to forget that.”

Jackson said she was standing close enough to the mother that she could also see the video. While the boy’s face wasn’t in frame, she could see his body from the shoulders down and see him going to the bathroom.

Jackson said she called police and the suspect was held by people at the box office until officers arrived and took him away.

She said she was disturbed because she saw the suspect sit through the same movie she had gone to with her son.

“I grabbed my son and I had to back up and get away from the guy,” Jackson said. “My stomach dropped and I started feeling really hot in the face – I instantly felt just nauseous.”

Staff Sgt. Paul Czerwonka with the Zebra Child Protection Centre said parents need to be on the lookout for suspicious individuals.

“This happens more than people believe it happens. These people come from all levels of society. They’re not the typical ones that you may presume would be obvious to you.”

He said usually children know their offenders.

“The stranger is a very small percentage, very minimal. I would say less than five per cent of our files are stranger offenders,” Czerwonka explained.

He said people looking to prey on children will go where they frequent.

“Bathrooms are an area where there’s public access and these individuals watch where kids are going to be.”

Glori Meldrum, the founder of Little Warriors, which advocates for child sex victims, agreed. She said the alleged incident is concerning.

“If somebody is that bold – to go in and actually videotape a young child going to the bathroom – what are they going to do next?” she asked. “Anybody that preys on children – they go where the kids go – and they’re hunters. They’ll figure out a way to get access.”

Police did not say if the incident is connected to the confrontation caught on video.

-With files from Sarah Kraus.

Nov 16

BC mom claims charity scammer taking advantage of 6-year-old son battling leukemia

Lia Weekes’ son Joshua is in BC Children’s Hospital finishing a third round of chemotherapy for an aggressive form of leukemia. Without a bone marrow transplant, he’ll likely die.

Josh’s family has been fighting hard to get the word out in the hopes of finding a donor, and now they’re afraid someone has taken advantage of their situation.

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“On May 7th, my husband’s cousin and her mom were grocery shopping in Coquitlam at the Superstore, and they came across a table set up with Joshua’s face plastered on posters…asking for money.”

Weekes says she went to the store to talk to the woman at the table, who claimed her name was Kathleen.

“First she explained that she was with Canadian Blood Services. When we asked her for her own identification, she couldn’t produce any to verify that she was with Canadian Blood Services and then all of a sudden her story changed,” she said.

“There were many inconsistencies in her story.”

WATCH: Boy with leukemia desperately needs bone marrow donor

Canadian Blood Services confirmed the woman does not work or volunteer for them.

“We do not solicit funds from any individuals,” David Patterson of Canadian Blood Services said. “You will never see an authorized person from Canadian Blood Services at a mall soliciting funds, outside a grocery store. You won’t see that.”

“Kathleen” did send Weekes $850 via email transfer and told her she’d only ever been at one store. But Weekes says that doesn’t appear to be true.

“Now we know of at least four occasions — including the one where we spoke to her — that this lady was outside soliciting funds at various major grocery stores.”

Coquitlam RCMP have now opened a file. Weekes says she hopes the public will still donate their bone marrow to find a match for Joshua.

“I hope that something can be done so that this doesn’t happen again because no one should have to go through this and the public should not have to be wary about wanting to help and about wanting to care.”

Those interested in learning more about the donation process can visit blood长沙夜网.

– With files from Randene Neill

Nov 16

Saskatoon city councillor to retire after 16 years of service

Veteran Saskatoon City Councillor Tiffany Paulsen will focus more time on her family and not seek re-election this fall according to a surprise announcement she made at the beginning of Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I am sad about leaving,” said Paulsen, Ward 9’s representative, to reporters in council chambers after the meeting concluded.

“But right now, as I said, I have two very young children that I need to have more time in my schedule to be focused on them.”

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    Paulsen was first elected in 2000 and held her seat over the next four civic elections. The announcement “caught us all off guard,” said Mayor Don Atchison, moments after Paulsen spoke during the meeting.

    “When she stood up on a point of order, point of privilege, and said that she was going to be resigning, I couldn’t believe my ears at the time,” said Atchison to reporters after council adjourned.

    “She’s done just such great work throughout her years on council.”

    Over her 16 years as a councillor, Paulsen has served on almost all of the city’s committee’s and boards, according to her biography. She said her perspective had broadened over the years and leaves with no regrets.

    “I always made decisions based on what I thought was best for the community and for no other purpose or reason,” said Paulsen, who was the youngest person ever elected to council when she took office in 2000.

    “I’ve been fortunate to be able to meet and work with a lot of highly capable and competent people at my career at city hall.”

    Paulsen said she would remain on council and fulfill all of her duties leading up to October’s election. She also expressed her hope that extra time would be allowed during the group’s last meeting in September for her to voice “more extensive comments and thank yous.”

Nov 16

Trump, Clinton win Washington state’s presidential primaries

WASHINGTON – Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump each won primaries in Washington state Tuesday.

Trump’s win helps him inch closer to clinching the GOP nomination for president. He is within 41 delegates of the number needed to become the Republican nominee.

Clinton’s win might give her some momentum, but it won’t get her any delegates. There were no delegates at stake in the Democratic primary. Washington Democrats already awarded their delegates based on party caucuses.

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won Washington’s caucuses in March, getting 74 delegates. Clinton got 27.

Republicans in Washington will allocate all 44 delegates to their national convention based on the primary results.

Trump won at least 27 delegates on Tuesday, with 17 still left to be allocated. The billionaire businessman has 1,196 delegates. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination.

READ MORE: Donald Trump calls climate change a ‘hoax’, but is concerned it could ruin his golf course

There are no more Republican contests until June 7, when the last five states vote. With a total of 303 delegates at stake in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota, Trump should easily clinch the nomination that day.

Trump is the only remaining candidate in the GOP contest. But his former opponents, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, were still on the ballot because they suspended their campaigns after the ballots were printed. Ben Carson was also on the ballot because he never submitted the paperwork to have his name removed.

Sanders trails Hillary Clinton in the delegate count and he is running out of contests in his longshot bid to catch up.

Clinton is just 78 delegates short of clinching the Democratic nomination for president. She is on track to do so in early June, even if she loses all the remaining contests.

READ MORE: Clinton says Trump could ‘bankrupt America’ like his companies

Clinton has 1,768 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses. Sanders has 1,497.

Clinton’s lead is even bigger when superdelegate endorsements are included. These are the party leaders and elected officials who can support the candidate of their choice.

Overall, Clinton has 2,305 delegates and Sanders has 1,539. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.

Nov 16

Matthew de Grood found not criminally responsible in Brentwood murders

DISTURBING CONTENT: This story contains descriptions of graphic violence. Discretion is strongly advised.

Matthew de Grood has been found not criminally responsible (NCR) in the stabbing deaths of five young people, after a judge ruled he had “lost touch with reality” at a 2014 house party in Calgary’s Brentwood neighbourhood.

READ MORE: ‘This isn’t the end’ – Brentwood victims’ families, Matthew de Grood’s parents react to verdict

“I take responsibility for these deaths…the victims never deserved to die,” defence lawyer Allan Fay said, reading a letter written by de Grood after the verdict came down.

“I am truly and deeply sorry for what I’ve done.”

Scroll down to read our live blog recap from reporters Nancy Hixt and Reid Fiest

READ MORE: Matthew de Grood trial – expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence

NCR applies to those who are found to have committed an act that constitutes an offence, but cannot appreciate or understand what they did was wrong due to a mental disorder at the time.

WATCH: Matthew de Grood found not criminally responsible in Calgary mass murder. Reid Fiest reports.

Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27, were stabbed to death at a house party on April 15, 2014.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Remembering the Brentwood 5

De Grood sat in the prisoner’s box with his head down, sometimes looking up at Justice Eric Macklin as he read his judgment Wednesday. His parents, along with the families of the five victims, also listened carefully to the judgment. Many family members cried as the verdict was delivered and de Grood’s statement was read.

Read below for a letter written by de Grood, presented in court after the verdict was delivered:

View this document on Scribd

In his decision, Macklin reviewed information from an agreed statement of facts, emphasizing de Grood talked about “crazy theories” and that his “dominating thought was the world was ending at midnight.” Macklin noted de Grood told people at the party he was getting ready for the “apocalypse” and was watching for the moon to turn red.

He repeated what court heard earlier in the trial: that de Grood ate garlic at the party, fearing vampires, and reiterated de Grood had “superhero-like strength” as police arrested him.

Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of the trial of Matthew de Grood

Matthew de Grood trial: expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence


Matthew de Grood trial: expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence


Matthew de Grood told psychiatrist a voice said ‘kill them before they get you’


Judge allows families to read tributes during Matthew de Grood murder trial


Trial begins for Matthew de Grood

Macklin then reviewed the mental health assessments of de Grood, including testimony from three independent experts that suggested he suffered from a psychotic illness, delusions, and most likely, schizophrenia. Macklin added de Grood was certified under the Mental Health Act after his arrest.

Macklin said experts were unanimous in thinking he suffered from a psychotic episode, and accepted their opinion that de Grood suffered from a mental disorder at the time of the killings.

“He did not know or appreciate his actions were morally wrong,” Macklin said.

Prior to delivering the verdict itself, Macklin emphasized the law around an NCR ruling ensures people who have mental disorders are treated, not punished. He said an NCR verdict is not an acquittal, and that if there’s a risk to the public, steps will be taken to secure the person in question.

READ MORE: Matthew de Grood told psychiatrist a voice said ‘kill them before they get you’

Macklin called it a “difficult and tragic case” and praised the defence and prosecution for their sensitive approach.

Watch below: The families of the five young adults killed at a Brentwood house party in 2014 released a joint public statement on Wednesday following the conclusion of Matthew de Grood’s murder trial. Victim Lawrence Hong’s brother Miles Hong read the statement outside the Calgary Courts Centre

“You have honoured their memories,” Macklin said, referring to the victims. To de Grood, he said: “I wish you good luck.”

De Grood will be detained in a psychiatric facility pending instructions by the Alberta Review Board. Court extended the timeframe to 90 days for the board’s first hearing.

READ MORE: LIST – Canada’s prominent not criminally responsible (NCR) cases

Fay said de Grood will remain at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre, or another such centre, until such time “if it ever occurs” that the Alberta Review Board deems he’s no longer a significant risk.

“If they ever reach that point, then I hope that there would be gradual reintegration into society,” Fay said. “But if they don’t reach that position, he could spend the rest of his life in custody.”

Watch below: Matthew de Grood’s defence lawyer, Allan Fay, on the possibility of a high risk NCR designation

The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty to five counts of first-degree murder Monday.

The Crown referred to de Grood as a “killing machine” Tuesday, and said the murders were done with “brutality and ruthless efficiency.” However, Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg agreed with the defence, saying de Grood should be found NCR.

READ MORE: Families of victims read tributes in trial of Matthew de Grood, accused in Brentwood murders

LIVE BLOG RECAP: Global reporter Nancy Hixt has been tweeting the details of the trial live from the Calgary Courts Centre


  • Crown agrees Matthew de Grood should be found not criminally responsible

  • Matthew de Grood trial: expert witnesses support not criminally responsible defence

  • Matthew de Grood told psychiatrist a voice said ‘kill them before they get you’

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