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Actress Margot Kidder’s death ruled a suicide

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  • HELENA, Mont. — “Superman” actress Margot Kidder’s death has been ruled a suicide, and her daughter said Wednesday it’s a relief to finally have the truth out.

    Kidder, who was born in Yellowknife and played Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve’s Superman in her most famous role, was found by a friend in her Montana home on May 13.

    At the time, Kidder’s manager, Camilla Fluxman Pines, said Kidder died peacefully in her sleep.

    A statement released Wednesday by Park County coroner Richard Wood said the 69-year-old Kidder “died as a result of a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose” and that no further details would be released.

    Maggie McGuane, Kidder’s daughter by her ex-husband Thomas McGuane, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that she knew her mother died by suicide the moment authorities took her to Kidder’s home in Livingston, a small town near Yellowstone National Park.

    “It’s a big relief that the truth is out there,” she said. “It’s important to be open and honest so there’s not a cloud of shame in dealing with this.”

    Kidder’s death is one of several high-profile suicides this year that include celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade.

    McGuane noted that Montana has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation and she urged people with mental illness to seek help.

    “It’s a very unique sort of grief and pain,” McGuane said. “Knowing how many families in this state go through this, I wish that I could reach out to each one of them.”

    Kidder struggled with mental illness much of her life, and it was made worse by a 1990 car accident that left her in debt and led to her using a wheelchair for almost two years.

    Kidder and Reeve starred in four Superman movies between 1978 and 1987. She also appeared in “The Great Waldo Pepper” with Robert Redford in 1975, Brian De Palma’s “Sisters” in 1973 and “The Amityville Horror” in 1979.

    She later appeared in small films and television shows until 2017, including “R.L. Stine’s the Haunting Hour.” She received a Daytime Emmy Award as outstanding performer in a kids’ series in 2015 for that role.

    Kidder was a political activist who was arrested in 2011 in a Washington, D.C., protest over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s oil sands.

    Her final years were troubled by conflicts with people who were down on their luck that she took into her home. Between August 2016 and her death in May, authorities were called to her house 40 times on reports of people trespassing, theft and other disturbances, according to police logs released to the AP under a public-records request.

    The calls include responses by ambulances five times in seven months, including at the time of her death.

    Joan Kesich, a longtime friend who found Kidder’s body, said Kidder was fearless and always spoke the truth, regardless of the consequences.

    “In her last months, she was herself — same kind of love, same kind of energy,” Kesich said. “The challenges that she had were very public. I want what I know about her to be out there because it was glorious. She was really a blazing energy.”

     

    Matt Volz, The Associated Press


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    National

    In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why.

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  • OTTAWA — On a historic Remembrance Day, a century after the end of the First World War, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a Paris crowd that decaying trust in public institutions will lead citizens to look for easy answers “in populism, in nationalism, in closing borders, in shutting down trade, in xenophobia.”

    The implication was clear: if nations turn in on themselves and treat outsiders as threats, we might again find ourselves in a bloody conflict with fronts all over the world.

    But a series of surveys suggest the idea of being a nationalist, and nationalism in general, are viewed fairly positively by most Canadians.

    What the data suggest is that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States, where the term is often linked with white-nationalist groups, and then with white supremacy and racism.

    Rather, Canadians appear to have constructed their view of nationalism on the idea of feeling connected to our country and ensuring that others feel connected as well — even as we watch the term pilloried globally.

    “It is used in different ways — when people are talking about the Trump nationalism, they would say (it’s) bad. But in Canada, they accept it because it is equated with certain communities and they see it as a way it’s helping vulnerable populations find their place in Canada,” said Kathy Brock, a political-studies professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

    “Canadians have just acclimatized to this dual view of nationalism.”

    In the 1950s and 1960s, Canadians often reported feeling greater attachments to their particular communities or ethnic groups than they did to the country. In the intervening years, connection to country has strengthened while connection to community has faded, said Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates, a polling and market-research firm. The opposite has happened in Europe, he said.

    Research also suggests Canadians’ attachments to their ethnic groups have weakened over the last 20 years in favour of an attachment to country, Graves said, even as census data shows the country’s population is becoming ever more diverse.

    “We don’t have a common ethno-linguistic homogeneity that produces a definition of ‘the people.’ It’s more civic nationalism,” Graves said.

    “In Canada, national identity has been created through a dialogue between citizens and the state and the public institutions — medicare, the Mounties, Parliament Hill. It isn’t as much steeped in history or common race and identity, which probably inoculates it from some of the more disturbing expressions of nationalism.”

    Newly released survey data from the Association of Canadian Studies says that 60 per cent of respondents hold a somewhat or very positive view of nationalism, compared with about 45 per cent in the United States. The results were similar in both English and French Canada.

    There also appears to be an association between Canadians’ views on nationalism and their views on multiculturalism.

    “In contrast to the European idea of nationalism, having that ethnic component to it, most Canadians don’t see nationalism as ethnically driven. They see it more as a form of patriotism,” said Jack Jedwab, the association’s president. “It doesn’t intersect as much as it does in the European context with anti-immigrant sentiment, or a sentiment against diversity.”

    The Leger Marketing survey of 1,519 Canadians on a web panel was conducted for the association the week of Nov. 12. Online surveys traditionally are not given a margin of error because they are not random and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.

    A day after his Nov. 11 comments, Trudeau was asked how he defined nationalism and where he saw it in Canada.

    “In Canada, we’ve demonstrated many times that identities are complimentary,” he said. “I’m an extremely proud Quebecer, I’m an extremely proud Canadian and like most Canadians, they don’t see a contradiction in that.”

    Experts say the more negative forms of nationalism are nevertheless simmering in Canada. Jedwab’s survey data suggest that respondents who have positive views of nationalism are somewhat more worried about immigration and security along the U.S. border than those who have negative views of nationalism.

    Part of what fuelled U.S. President Donald Trump’s political rise, and his populist rhetoric, was financial worry — or what Graves described as the idea of the everyman versus the corrupt elites. Brock said Canada has thus far avoided similar concerns about class and finances, particularly coming out of the recession a decade ago, and a similar rise of nationalist rhetoric.

    “Now, we’re facing some really serious economic challenges and if they come to pass, then we could see a different manifestation of this,” she said. “So I don’t think those (polling) figures are necessarily set in stone.”

    — Follow @jpress on Twitter.

    Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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    British Columbia trade trip to China cancelled over Meng detention

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  • VICTORIA — The detention of a top Huawei executive in Canada has derailed British Columbia’s trade mission to China.

    The delegation led by B.C. Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson will no longer be stopping in China, and will instead end its trip after a visit to Japan.

    The decision follows the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was detained while changing flights last week in Vancouver.

    “The Province of British Columbia has suspended the China leg of its Asian forestry trade mission due to the international judicial process underway relating to a senior official at Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.,” the province said in a statement, adding that British Columbia values its strong trade relationship with China.

    “It is anticipated that Minister Donaldson will work to reschedule events planned for the Chinese portion of this mission at the earliest convenient moment.”

    B.C. Trade Minister Bruce Ralston declined an interview request Sunday and Global Affairs Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The United States is seeking to have Meng extradited on allegations that she tried to evade American trade sanctions on Iran. A bail hearing began in Vancouver on Friday, and Meng is spending the weekend in jail before it continues next week.

    The Chinese government has warned Canada that if Meng is not released, the country will face “grave consequences.”

    A report by the official Xinhua News Agency carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng called in Canadian Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over Meng’s detention.

    Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns over its ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

    Le told McCallum that Meng’s detention at the request of the United States was a “severe violation” of her “legitimate rights and interests.”

    “Such a move ignores the law and is unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature,” Le said in the statement.

    “China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained Huawei executive … or face grave consequences that the Canadian side should be held accountable for,” Le said.

    On Sunday, Le summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad for a similar meeting, demanding Washington cancel the order for Meng’s arrest, Xinhua News Agency said.

    Le called the United States to “immediately correct its wrong actions” and said it would take further steps based on Washington’s response.

    The Canadian Press



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