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Osheaga concert-goer wants class-action suit over tardy headline act Travis Scott

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  • MONTREAL — A frustrated Osheaga concert-goer is seeking to sue the promoter after last Friday’s headline act showed up late and after she had left.

    Travis Scott, a popular U.S. rapper, arrived nearly an hour after scheduled and spent just 40 minutes on stage in a truncated set at the Montreal music festival.

    Court documents seeking permission to file the class-action lawsuit allege many attendees had left the venue by the time Scott took the stage.

    Among them was lead plaintiff Megan Le Stum, who said the crowd received little information on Friday night.

    Le Stum, 18, decried a lack of respect from the promoters with no apologies or reimbursement for the tardy final act.

    Evenko, the promoter behind Osheaga, would not comment, saying that the matter had been turned over to its legal team.

    But according to Osheaga’s website, all festival performers, including headliners, are subject to change or cancellation at any time without notice. It further notes that no refunds will be issued if a festival performer is changed or cancelled.

    Le Stum, who works part-time, purchased a $327 weekend pass and, excited for months about the opportunity to see Scott live, made her way near the front of the stage with friends.

    They waited for an hour and assumed Scott was on site after Osheaga said there were technical difficulties.

    Osheaga’s Twitter account noted later Friday night that Scott had been held up at the U.S.-Canadian border.

    “The crowd was getting a little bit aggressive at that time, it was really hot and everyone was packed together and everyone was at first very excited and started to get disappointed,” Le Stum said in an interview Thursday.

    Knowing there was a curfew on live music due to nearby suburbs, and given the increasingly rowdy nature of the crowd, she and her friends left.

    “It wasn’t a good vibe, it wasn’t pleasant to be there,” Le Stum said. “We were wondering if we were even going to get a show and, at some point, we decided to leave.”

    Le Stum left about 10:30 p.m., while Osheaga subsequently tweeted a video of Scott on stage at 11:15 p.m.

    Lambert Avocat Inc., a Montreal law firm, filed the application against Osheaga on Monday on behalf of the university student, as well as all festival-goers who experienced prejudice or inconvenience due to Scott’s delayed arrival.

    The application in Quebec Superior Court still needs to be authorized by a judge.

    It is seeking $115 — the equivalent of a single day pass — plus taxes and interest on behalf of all people in attendance last Friday who bought a day or weekend pass for the festival. Weekend passes cost between $320 and $1,150.

    The concert was sold out all three days with capacity crowds of 45,000 each day.

    “It’s for all the 45,000 people who were there that day,” she said. “It’s only fair if they get reimbursed for what they didn’t receive on that day because they were expecting to see Travis Scott.”

    Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press


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    Canada should do more to help women refugees worldwide: Oxfam Canada

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  • OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau’s self-proclaimed feminist government could and should be doing more to address gender-specific challenges faced by female refugees affected by wars and displacement.

    That’s according to a new report from Oxfam Canada, which takes a close look at how Canada provides international humanitarian aid and the gaps that exist when it comes to outcomes for women and girls in refugee situations.

    Canada has made great strides when it comes to making gender equality and feminism a key priority of its domestic and foreign policy agenda, but more can be done to help women being disproportionately affected by global crisis, the report says.

    “Currently, Canada’s international assistance funding is out of step with its ambition to be a world leader on gender equality and feminist aid and foreign policy,” the report states.

    “The fact that Canada’s international assistance spending is at a near historical low, merely reaching 0.26 per cent of gross national income, as compared to the UN aid target of 0.7 per cent, undermines its credibility and leadership on the international stage.”

    The study zeros in on areas where women in conflict zones are not getting the help they need or where efforts to improve gender equality in these areas are not being fully realized.

    Some of the findings are unsettling, including a statistic showing 25 to 50 per cent of maternal deaths in refugee camps are caused by unsafe abortions and related complications.

    This is due, in part, to a lack of adequate access to sexual and reproductive health services, which are often seen as a “second-tier” priority when people are forced to flee their homes due to conflict.

    “Our argument is that services are totally life-saving when you consider, for example, that last year 500 women and girls died during emergencies every single day from pregnancy and childbirth complications simply because sexual and reproductive health and rights weren’t a priority,” said Brittany Lambert, a women’s rights policy and advocacy specialist with Oxfam Canada.

    “These things should be prioritized from the very inception of these humanitarian responses and could save many lives.”

    Oxfam Canada also published findings last month following a series of interviews, focus groups and surveys of hundreds of women and men from the host and refugee communities in Bangladesh, suggesting Rohingya women and girls who survived genocide in Myanmar are facing new risks in refugee camps, notably when it comes to access to water and sanitation facilities.

    Some women are choosing to go hungry and thirsty and are restricting their children’s diets in order to limit their trips to these facilities to reduce risks of physical and sexual abuse and harassment, according to this research. 

    The organization is calling on Canada to develop a 10-year plan to achieve the United Nations aid target of 0.7 per cent of national income.

    It also wants Canada to establish a dedicated pool of 15 per cent of all its humanitarian aid to be specifically earmarked to address the needs of women and girls.

    “Right now the way Canada’s funding system works is that humanitarian assistance is aligned with the global humanitarian system priorities, which are things like shelter, water, food — but gender is not one of those categories,” Lambert said.

    “Women’s needs can be inserted into these categories but there are really limited funding opportunities to actually undertake programming that address gender inequality as a main goal so that’s why we’re calling for a stand alone pool of funding where Canada could actually fund this kind of feminist programming.”

    In addition, Oxfam Canada says the Trudeau government should take firmer action to ensure weapons do not end up in the hands of those who commit gender-based violence.

    Several international aid agencies, including Amnesty International, have said loopholes exist in Canada’s arms export policy that would allow arms sales to the United States — weapons which could end up being transferred to countries that abuse human rights.

    The government has announced several measures aimed at championing women’s issues both at home and abroad, including launching a feminist international assistance policy and a national action plan on women and government. Canada also disbursed more than $68 million in humanitarian assistance to support sexual and reproductive health needs in 2017-18.

    In addition, Canada has committed to increase its foreign aid effort by $2 billion over five years, which will bring total assistance to nearly $6 billion by 2021, says Global Affairs Canada.

    “We agree with the report that we need to ensure that the voices of civil society partners and affected communities, particularly women and girls, are included throughout the humanitarian response,” said the statement from Global Affairs Canada.

    “That is why Canada expects its partners to directly consult affected communities, and ensure that women and girls, in particular, are involved in the design of initiatives and decision-making processes that affect their lives.”

     

    —Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.

     

    Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press


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    MP pays tribute to baby daughter on pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day

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  • OTTAWA — Conservative MP Tom Kmiec choked back tears as he recalled his infant daughter in a heartfelt speech in the House of Commons to mark national pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day.

    Kmiec’s daughter Lucy-Rose died in August when she was only 39 days old.

    MPs from all parties struggled to maintain their own composure as an emotional Kmiec used a member’s statement as an opportunity to thank the medical staff who cared for Lucy-Rose, the neighbours who brought his family food and support, and the parliamentarians who sent their condolences.

    Lucy-Rose died of Trisomy 13, a genetic condition that leaves babies with severe intellectual and physical disabilities. Also called Patau syndrome, only five to 10 per cent of babies diagnosed with it will live past their first year.

    “On this day, let us grieve with the parents who have lost a child, as well as the siblings who lost a lifelong best friend,” Kmiec said.

    Speaker Geoff Regan said he hoped Kmiec could see that love and support from the parliamentary family was around him.

    About one in five pregnancies in Canada ends in miscarriage.

    Congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities are the leading cause of death for babies under the age of one year. In 2016, 404 infants died of a congenital abnormality, according to Statistics Canada.

    In all, more than 1,700 babies died before their first birthday in 2016, 75 per cent of them before they were one month old.

    On Tuesday, the House of Commons human resources committee is starting to study the impact on parents of the death of an infant, including possible updates to parental leave programs and benefits.

    The study comes after a motion from Conservative MP Blake Richards, who identified shortcomings in the parental leave program when it comes to being compassionate to parents who are grieving.

    Kmiec urged MPs to hug their kids the next time they go home.

    “If they are old and have their own (kids), hug them anyway, even if they protest,” he said. “Life is too short and none of us knows when our time will come.”

    The Canadian Press


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