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Rock star Burton Cummings tells Saskatchewan dance studio to turn down the music

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  • MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Burton Cummings used to play some of the loudest rock in Canada, but now he’s trying to get a neighbouring dance studio in Saskatchewan to turn down its tunes.

    Kyra Klassen owns Dance Fitness With Kyra in downtown Moose Jaw where people gather to sweat to music-filled fitness classes.

    She says Cummings, the former lead singer for The Guess Who, lives in a residential building next to her studio and has been coming into classes to complain about the noise.

    She says Cummings has called police several times and even gone to city council to get a zoning bylaw changed.

    Klassen says she has tried meet with the rocker to find a compromise, but he always declines.

    A manager for Cummings told The Canadian Press he has no comment about the situation.

    “I’m trying to co-exist and operate and run a business while being next to him,” Klassen said Friday. “It’s kind of become an ongoing issue that’s escalated quickly.”

    Klassen moved into the building last April. She said the studio operated without issue for awhile, with its wide windows open, music bumping and participants celebrating when they completed a tough workout.

    Klassen said she’s not sure what happened, but after five months she began getting messages, complaints and visits from police and from Cummings himself.

    She said she has never been issued a ticket and is confident she’s not breaking any bylaws.

    Klassen said she has worked with her landlord to add soundproofing to the studio and has even done sound tests, which show a peak volume of 74 decibels — about the same sound as running a vacuum cleaner.

    “The moods in my classes are said to be energetic and positive … and with being so concerned about the volume and ladies cheering or clapping when a song is done, that’s definitely changed,” Klassen said.

    The fitness instructor was shocked to learn a petition has started to have a city bylaw changed.

    During a council meeting Monday, a motion was unanimously approved to prepare a report re-evaluating how business licences are issued in areas of the city’s commercial district where there are also residential properties.

    “There is a current dispute between a business owner in the commercial district and neighbouring residents,” Mayor Fraser Tolmie said in an emailed statement.

    “The matter is being sorted out through the legal system and the city will respect that process. However, this issue has exposed the fact that we do not have a current bylaw that addresses activity in mixed use (business/residential) buildings.”

    Klassen said the mayor as well as two city councillors have reached out to try and find a solution that works for both the fitness studio and the rocker.

    “Best case definitely would be that we could both work and operate and live peacefully,” she said.

    “We both love the spaces we are in.”

    — By Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg

    The Canadian Press


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    National

    New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

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  • OTTAWA — A new poll conducted by Leger for The Canadian Press suggests the governing federal Liberals have lost ground to the Conservatives over the past month.

    Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled after the federal budget was released Tuesday said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals if an election were held now, a decline of about three percentage points from February.

    That compared with 37 per cent who said they would back the Conservatives under leader Andrew Scheer, a one-point increase from February, while 12 per cent said they would vote NDP and eight per cent the Greens.

    Scheer also jumped ahead of Trudeau on the question of who would make a better prime minister as the Tory leader got the backing of 25 per cent of respondents compared with 24 per cent for Trudeau, who has been struggling to contain damage from the SNC-Lavalin affair.

    As for the budget, which the Liberals are hoping will help turn the page on SNC-Lavalin, 12 per cent of respondents said it was good and 19 per cent that it was bad, but 39 per cent said they didn’t really know about it.

    Leger’s internet-based survey, which cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered random samples, was conducted March 19 and 20 using computer-assisted web-interviewing technology and heard from 1,529 Canadians who are eligible to vote and were recruited from the firm’s online panel.

    The Canadian Press


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    Liberals pledge $253 million to undo Tory-era changes to benefits tribunal

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  • OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are promising to spend more than $250 million to revamp the body Canadians turn to with disputes over access to federal benefits, partially restoring the system that existed before the Conservatives created the Social Security Tribunal.

    The tribunal hears appeals of government decisions on things like eligibility for employment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan that, before 2013, were overseen by four separate bodies.

    Key changes included cutting the number of people hearing most cases from three to one, and replacing part-time hearing officials in many places with full-time staff in fewer locations.

    In an interview this week, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government will bring back the three-person hearings for the first layer of benefit appeals — in a body separate from the tribunal — and retain the tribunal’s single arbitrator for the second, and final, layer.

    He said the changes respond to rare agreement from labour and employer groups that some sort of return to the three-panel hearing system was needed.

    Tuesday’s federal budget proposes spending $253.8 million over five years, beginning in April, to make the system easier to navigate and shorten decision times. Details about when changes will happen are to be rolled out later.

    “It was felt by EI commissioners and the stakeholder communities, both employers and employees, that there was a lack of transparency, and a lack of collaboration in the way in which the system was working,” Duclos said in an interview Wednesday.

    “So despite the fact that it was not in my mandate letter, we did feel that it was important to transform the system and there will, therefore, be a return to a tripartite system — more fair, more respectful, faster, (and) more collaborative.”

    When the Conservatives unveiled their plans to create the Social Security Tribunal, they argued it would streamline the appeals process and save millions of dollars.

    A report last year from consulting firm KPMG estimated the tribunal saved federal coffers about $22.6 million a year, but waits for decisions also shot up as the tribunal was undermanned and overwhelmed with cases and didn’t have a proper transition plan.

    Average timelines for decisions increased from approximately 44 days to more than 200, and in the worst case, average wait times of 884 days for decisions on CPP disability benefits that were highlighted in a critical 2016 auditor general’s report.

    What the Liberals heard in closed-door meetings and consultations with stakeholders, labour and employers groups, as well as experts over the last three years were calls for a return to the system as it existed before the tribunal’s creation.

    At the same time, the KPMG report warned against that, arguing the tribunal could be improved, and some who worked in the system felt things were much better than what existed before.

    “(I)t became eventually very clear to me in conversations with employers and employees — and I can tell you there was a consensus, which is rare in that environment … that we needed to transform, to reform that system for all sorts of reasons,” Duclos said. “The first was that it was very unfair, very complex and to the most vulnerable workers in our country, it was not only unfair, but also very slow.”

    The tribunal has been changing its operations as officials waited for the budget announcement to publicly detail the future of the tribunal.

    Appellants can choose whether to have hearings in person, on the phone or by videoconference. Rule changes have also made it easier to launch appeals and wait times have dropped. The backlog of cases has fallen from about 7,250 in April 2017 to 3,925 at the end of last year.

    The budget shows that there will be $36 million spent on the overhaul over the next 12 months, rising to $59 million in fiscal year 2021-2022, and setting in at $57 million annually thereafter.

    — Follow @jpress on Twitter.

    Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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    march, 2019

    fri8mar - 30aprmar 85:30 pmapr 30Real Estate Dinner Theatre5:30 pm - (april 30) 10:00 pm

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