The politics of Canada without Quebec: A situation that could go from bad to worse

With a Quebec election in April, polls indicate there is a chance for the to form a majority government. This makes it possible for Quebecer to have another referendum on Quebec’s sovereignty. There are perhaps fewer emotionally charged issues than Canadian unity.

While predictions are difficult in hypothetical situations, there are some indicators that can tell us what would be the consequences of Quebec becoming an independent country.

Needless to say, the future would be uncertain.

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After Quebec votes to separate, there would be a series of discussions between the Quebec and Federal government over debt, trade relations and monetary policy. While it would be in both parties interest to have an amicable discussion, there are numerous issues that could lead to conflict.

According to a study by the Fraser institute, the Quebec government has the most debt-to-GDP of any province at 49 per cent or $175.5 billion. If Quebec separated, it would have to take a share of the federal debt, as well, probably around 23 per cent given Quebec’s share of the population. However, this figure is by no means agreed upon. The Quebec government, having very little to lose, could simply repudiate its share of the debt, or use its position to demand a seat on the Bank of Canada if it keeps the Canadian dollar.

At the same time, the aboriginal people of Quebec, namely the James Bay Cree, would reject any unilateral declaration of independence by Quebec’s government, and seek to remain in Canada using the courts. This, of course, would further complicate the situation, and could lead to further partitions of the province.

As all this is taking place, international markets will react to this uncertainty by divesting from Canada and Quebec. It’s entirely feasible for the Canadian dollar to collapse and interest rates climb to attract investment, so all areas of Canada will likely enter a protracted recession if Quebec elects to separate.

This hypothetical situation is based on the assumption Canada, Quebec and the aboriginal peoples do not resort to violence. While I would hope everyone would agree to abide by the rule of law, during any break-up, whether interpersonal or within a country, emotions run high. It’s far from inconceivable for conflict to occur if discussions break down.

Nationalists in Quebec did resort to violence during the October Crisis of 1970, and as a response the Federal government instituted the now defunct War Measures Act to declare martial law. Also, many aboriginal groups would refuse to accept Quebec’s sovereignty if it declared independence, yet another potential issue for violence to erupt.

The worst possible scenario is with tempers running high, a small conflict could escalate quickly, leading to a larger scale military intervention.

However, even if a PQ government is elected, it may decide to put off a referendum and focus on internal economic issues. Moreover, recent polls in Quebec indicate that only 33 per cent of Quebecers are in favour of separation. Hopefully, more sensible policies are followed, and this scenario will just be an unpleasant hypothetical.

Starbucks after hours? Coffee chain to roll out beer, wine to more US cafes – National

NEW YORK – Starbucks plans to turn more of its cafes into a destination for beer and wine in the evenings.

The coffee company says it is looking to expand alcohol sales to “thousands of select stores” over the next several years, although it didn’t provide details on an exact timeline.

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The chain first offered beer and wine after 4 p.m. at one of its Seattle cafes in 2010. The drinks are now in about 26 cafes, with plans to reach 40 by the end of the year. The cafes with alcohol also serve a variety of small dishes, such as bacon-wrapped dates and flatbreads.

It’s part of Starbucks’ push to boost sales after the morning rush hour. It’s a common concept in the restaurant industry — figuring out ways to maximize sales throughout the day since stores have to pay for rent and labour anyway.

Taco Bell, for instance, recently started highlighting snacks in its ads to drive sales during the slower late afternoon hours. And the fruit shakes and other drinks at McDonald’s are seen as a way to attract people throughout the day.

As for Starbucks Corp., the chain recently introduced new sandwiches and salads to boost sales in the afternoon. It’s also branching out into other areas to as it faces more competition in the coffee market.

The company recently purchased a chain of tea shops called Teavana. CEO Howard Schultz has said he wants to make tea as popular in the U.S. as he’s helped make coffee.

There are about 11,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S.

‘It was really great to work with Alison Redford’: Iveson – Edmonton

(Above: Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson speaks on the resignation of Alison Redford and working with Dave Hancock)

EDMONTON – Edmonton’s Mayor, Don Iveson, says it was great to work with the Alberta premier, and adds that anyone who steps into the limelight of public service deserves to be applauded.

“It was really great to work with Alison Redford,” said Don Iveson.

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“She was a premier who understood the needs of Alberta’s large cities, and I wish her the best in the next steps of her journey but thank her for her service to the province.”

Iveson said work with the province will continue under the leadership of interim leader of the PC caucus Dave Hancock.

“I have a great working relationship with Dave Hancock,” said Iveson.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the work we have underway. We have a city charter to deliver, we have an LRT line to build, we’ve got provincial commitments around poverty reduction that they need to keep working on,” he added.

“So, it’s business as usual as far as I’m concerned.”

He said Redford’s resignation doesn’t create concerns about recently-announced LRT support coming through.

“I have no reason to believe LRT funding is going to be impacted by any of this. It was the government’s commitment to fund LRT. There were dozens of MLAs at that announcement. I don’t think anything changes for the southeast LRT line.”

Edmonton’s mayor watched Wednesday evening’s announcement along with many Albertans. He says it was clearly a tough day for Redford.

“As a fellow elected official, I applaud anyone who steps forward for public service.”

“I think yesterday was obviously a very difficult day for Alison Redford, but I think anyone who steps forward and puts themselves in the limelight this way deserves to be applauded for their service.”

Follow @Emily_Mertz

©2014Shaw Media

Don’t look now but loonie’s plunge is deepening – National

Wondering where the loonie is headed, and more importantly, whether you should buy up some greenbacks now for that trip later this year, or hold off in the hopes that it will win back some ground?

With the Canadian dollar alternating between deep dives and shallow recoveries of late, you’re not alone.

On net, the consensus appears to point toward a further weakening of our currency this year as an improving U.S. economy sends global investment flows into that currency and away from our own – a process that will drive down the value of the loonie.

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How low can it go?

The loonie has shed more than 5.5 per cent against the U.S. dollar since the beginning of the year and as of Thursday was below 88 cents US – a level not seen since the recessionary days of mid-2009, or nearly half a decade ago.

What’s behind the decline is primarily a pick up in the U.S. recovery combined with somewhat dimmer economic prospects for Canada, a role reversal of the past few years when Canada’s economy was doing well while the U.S. economy languished while digging out from recession.

A sudden and fairly sharp depreciation in the loonie since the fall through February is expected to level off, according to experts like RBC, with the Canadian dollar holding at around 87 cents US for the balance of 2014. But it’s likely to depreciate to 85 cents through 2015, the bank warns, and that’s where it should hit bottom.

READ MORE: Gap between U.S., Canada retail prices may ‘widen once again’

But some economists say the possibility of an interest rate cut in Canada this year could weaken the loonie even further. A cut below an already ultra low rate of 1 per cent would send investment flows fleeing from the loonie, likely into an already strengthening U.S. currency.

Even without a cut at home, interest rates are now shifting into higher gear in the U.S. on improving growth prospects.

“The loonie is flying straight into some pretty stiff headwinds,” BMO senior economist Sal Guatieri said.

In short, if you need U.S. dollars for a trip abroad or to make a purchase in the United States, it’s likely wise to buy now.

Going up, up: The cost of one US dollar if you’re paying with loonies is about $1.12 at the moment, a figure that’s likely to get more expensive, experts say. 

Joe Fresh channels the great Canadian outdoors for fall-winter 2014

TORONTO – With recent collections channelling Paris and Asia for style inspiration, Joe Fresh made the trek back home for its newest line, offering a fashionable vision for fall and winter rooted in Canada’s great outdoors.

While creative director Joe Mimran opted to wear an ultra-bright quilted coat and scarf in his label’s signature orange shade, flashes of vibrant colour were few and far between in the new collection unveiled at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week on Wednesday.

“It’s all going to be neutrals on the runway,” Mimran said backstage prior to the latest runway presentation for the affordable apparel brand. The line featured shades of camel, grey and khaki green with dashes of the brand’s fiery orange hue showcased on a tuque and the inner lining of a hooded parka among several other garments.

There was an abundance of texture and sense of cosiness conjured by the oversized loops of chunky scarves, knitwear, faux fur-adorned bags, vests and coats and even long johns which featured in the line.

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While many Canadians are ready to tuck away their heavier jackets after an arduous winter, Joe Fresh showcased several interpretations of outerwear styles for when the temperatures plunge again later in the year, including ample ankle-length coats and trenches, bonded duffle coats and puffer jackets.

The brand offered a more literal interpretation of the outdoors theme with an animal sweatshirt, a mountainscape etched on a knit sweater and scenic photo prints of foliage emblazoned on skirts and delicate dresses.

Since Mimran founded the brand in 2006 in partnership with grocery giant Loblaw, Joe Fresh has experienced dramatic growth with more than 340 retail location across Canada, six freestanding stores in New York and a presence in more than 650 J.C. Penney stores south of the border. Now, Joe Fresh is now poised to go global with the signing of three separate partnership agreements which will facilitate the launch of international expansion in 23 countries.

Mimran is appreciative of the successes to date, but acknowledged the often fleeting nature of the fashion business.

“I’m grateful for the fact that I can come out here and enjoy an evening like tonight and be artistically challenged and feel fulfilled artistically. It’s a great thing. But the industry’s always so competitive that no matter how much we grow, I always feel like I’m just starting,” he said.

“I feel like I have so much to prove and I’m only as good as I was last week. So I think this industry keeps you very humble, and you have to maintain that humility.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Friends Claudette Floyd and Helmer debut collections at World MasterCard Fashion Week

Montreal designers Joseph Helmer and Claudette Floyd debuted their collections at Toronto this season. The two designers are Montreal mainstays who have shown their work around the world. For their Toronto debut, they chose to share a time slot, sending both collections down the runway.

Helmer, as he prefers to be called, is a tailor by trade and worked in Paris after completing his training at LaSalle College. His work is available around the world, including the aforementioned Paris as well as Italy and Japan.

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Helmer’s collection opened up with a sporty black and white outfit. The satin culottes were black with a white stripe, matched with a top in the same colourway. After that, he sent colour down the runway – a teal highwaisted pant with matching top followed by an orange wool jacket paired with satin cropped skinny pants. After the colour teaser, Helmer went back to neutrals, sending a combination of black and grey collarless, fitted jackets; floaty grey metallic skirts (short and long), a big, black tulle skirt, a pair of fringed booty shorts and a camouflage jacket decorated with jet beads.

The collection played the severe – the grey and black wools – against dense embroidery and beading.

Claudette Floyd, who showed after Helmer, opened her show with a wool metallic dress in a very flattering shade of brown (more reddish than beige) followed by a banana yellow dress. For those who shy away from yellow, there were black dresses, both little and long.

Her collection also featured beading, as seen on a long white wool coat, cropped jackets and dresses. She also played with volume, explaining, “It’s always good to offer a little bit of everything. A little volume for fun, a little tapered for your clients.”

When asked about the similarity in the collections, Floyd says, “We’ve been friends for years and we work well together. He’s amazing!” She points to Helmer, then says, “And I’m amazing too!”

UPDATE: Emu on the run finally captured on university campus

WATCH (above): An emu weighing 70 kilograms was on the loose in Nanaimo. Kylie Stanton reports.

UPDATE: Lucy, the emu, was captured at the Vancouver Island University campus on Friday afternoon. Owner Tim Genner said Lucy seemed a bit spooked when he tried to load her in his van, but he is thrilled the animal is safe.

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Previous story: ‘Lucy’ the emu appears to be having quite the adventure running around Nanaimo, but ‘her’ owner would like to catch ‘her’ and bring her home.

Lucy, a 16-year-old 70-kilogram emu who is actually a male, ‘flew’ the coop on Monday after owner Tim Genner accidentally left a gate open on his property. (Lucy was named when Genner first got the bird, but after finding out he was a she, the name just stuck).

Genner tells Global News that there has been a number of sightings of Lucy since he went missing, with the last one being Wednesday night, but he is not an easy bird to catch.

“It’s very difficult tracking an animal that can run that quickly,” says Genner. Lucy, although he cannot fly, can run 50 to 70 kilometres an hour.

Genner says on Wednesday night there was a sighting of Lucy in the Jingle Pot area of Nanaimo, and he thinks it’s because it’s a wooded area. “At night [he] tends to bed down,” says Genner.

He adds that he is not worried about Lucy getting enough food, as emus eat pretty much anything, but he is concerned about dogs and cars.

The saga of Lucy’s escape has prompted numerous social media sightings and the creation of two 桑拿会所 accounts so far – @Lucyontheloose and @Lucytheemu.

Genner says if anyone sees Lucy, the best thing to do would be to call the Nanaimo RCMP at (250) 754-2345.

Anyone can also call Genner at 250-591-6131.

“I’ve got a truck on hand and ready,” says Genner, “but the trouble is if someone calls me, I’m there in five, 10 minutes and [he’s] already half a mile down the road.”

~ with files from CP

©2014Shaw Media

Coquitlam RCMP warn of a close bear encounter – BC

WATCH (above): Black bears have begun to emerge from their winter dens. Linda Aylesworth has more on how to protect yourself – and your property.

Coquitlam RCMP are warning the public to be bear aware after the most recent encounter on Wednesday.

A bear roamed around a house on Hickey Drive and ate from a bird feeder.

The residents called the police, but the bear left the area on its own before the RCMP and conservation officers showed up.

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“The bears are waking up because the weather is getting warmer, so we do expect more of this type of calls,” says Cpl. Jamie Chung with Coquitlam RCMP.

He says the RCMP usually get involved if a bear is creating a public safety issue.

“If the bear is not creating a public safety issue, and is not being a risk to anyone in the area, then it is going to be a conservation led situation,” says Chung.

He says they don’t have solid stats on how many bear encounters happen yearly in Coquitlam, because sometimes people call conservation directly.

“Usually people would call us first if the bear is really close to a house or close to a school on a school day.”

Meanwhile, police are reminding residents to not leave out bear attractants and clean bird feeders, fruit trees and compost containers.

For more tips on how to deal with a wildlife related public safety issue, go here.

BearAware has more tips on what to do if you encounter a bear here.

North Shore Black Bear Society has information on reducing human-bear encounters through education, cooperation, and community support.

Pink Tartan pays homage to Canadian style – Toronto

TORONTO – The head designer of Pink Tartan paid homage to the past and reflected upon the future, unveiling a Canadian-inspired collection with a modern ’60s twist while also looking ahead to bringing her fashions to TV.

Kimberley Newport-Mimran has previously looked to iconic ’60s-era model Jean Shrimpton as a muse for her line. This time around, another notable cover girl from the decade who was featured in a well-known magazine spread provided the visuals the designer needed to help propel her vision for the collection forward.

The fall-winter line was inspired by the famed 1966 Vogue editorial “The Great Fur Caravan” photographed by legendary lensman Richard Avedon. It featured German model Veruschka braving the elements in fashionable furs and elaborate headwraps.

“She could actually be transformed and that could be a modern-day shoot because there’s nothing that kind of made it feel dated,” Newport-Mimran said in a backstage interview at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion on Wednesday prior to her show.

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“I loved Veruschka. I loved her wind-licked hair. I loved the strength in her face, I loved the way her clothes draped…. She fighting the cold in style, and I felt that that was exactly what I’m saying in this collection.”

Newport-Mimran said she focused on staying warm through use of layering with the ensembles teamed with oversized accessories like chunky scarves and textured, furry mittens. The range encompassed a mix of knitwear, leather and fur – both real and faux – with shaggy toppers, striking plaid-on-plaid pattern pairings and houndstooth print adding a stylistically graphic dynamic to the collection.

No look on the runway captured the feeling of cocooning from the cold better than a model enveloped within a garment reminscent of a giant duvet adorned with fur trim.

“There’s a lot of textural fabric in this collection, and there’s a heavy wool sweater that reminds you of being in the cabin up north with the Icelandic pattern on it, but really mixed with modern scuba textures and air knits. It’s really a play on fabrics,” said Newport-Mimran.

Peter Pan-collared dresses and flared skirts offered a fun, flirty feminine touch while motorcycle jackets and hardware elements featured on coats lent a tough yet chic look to the line.

Newport-Mimran will soon shift gears from cool-weather styles to spring as she showcases a curated selection of goods from her downtown Toronto boutique on the airwaves.

The designer is slated to make her debut on The Shopping Channel live on March 30 at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. (all times Eastern). Ranging in price from $95 to $395, the collection will also be available to shop online at tsc桑拿按摩.

“It was really a way for me to talk to my customer and help my customer have access to Pink Tartan, because she’s really a Canadian girl who wants to have style.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Liberal riding exec condemns Trudeau move to block candidate, seeks review

OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau’s decision to block a candidate who wanted to run for the Liberal party in the coming Trinity- Spadina byelection has been condemned by the riding’s Liberal executive members.

They say the move to block Christine Innes, a two-time failed candidate in the riding and wife of former MP Tony Ianno, was undemocratic and amounted to the leader breaking his promise of open nomination meetings in all ridings.

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“There was absolutely no due or fair process … and there was absolutely zero local involvement,” riding president Julia Metus said in a statement Thursday.

“This is contrary to everything the Liberal party – new or otherwise – is supposed to stand for.”

The executive voted at an urgent meeting late Wednesday to condemn the move and request a meeting with Trudeau to review the decision.

Trudeau’s team last week said complaints of bullying and intimidation tactics by Ianno prompted the decision to bar Innes from running for the byelection nomination in Trinity-Spadina and from seeking a nomination in any riding for the 2015 general election.

Trudeau this week defended the move as necessary to demonstrate that party infighting will no longer be tolerated.

However, Innes has denied the allegations of overly aggressive campaigning. She maintains she’s being punished for refusing to rule out challenging Chrystia Freeland, one of Trudeau’s hand-picked star recruits, in a nomination contest for the 2015 election.

In the statement Thursday, the executive backed Innes’ assessment, accusing the party of making “unproven and malicious
allegations against the candidate and her family to cover up its desire to control the nomination process.”

Trinity-Spadina and the existing riding of Toronto Centre, which Freeland won in a byelection late last year, will be chopped into three new ridings for the general election, due to redistribution.

Freeland intends to run in the northernmost new riding of University-Rosedale and the party had asked Innes to promise that she’d seek the nomination in the southernmost new riding of Spadina-Fort York. She refused.

Her campaign team had been preparing for months for a byelection in Trinity-Spadina, which became vacant last week when New Democrat Olivia Chow quit to run for mayor of Toronto. Her team had simultaneously been trying to recruit support for a pro-Innes slate to take control of the University-Rosedale executive.

Complaints lodged by several young Liberals, and obtained by The Canadian Press, specifically singled out Ianno for suggesting they’d have no future in the party if they supported Freeland and questioning Trudeau’s leadership.

Ianno, who was instrumental in organizing a caucus revolt against former prime minister Jean Chretien, was the Liberal MP for Trinity-Spadina from 1993 until he was defeated by Chow in 2006.

Innes lost to Chow in 2008 and 2011.