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Tony Clement steps back from duties after sending explicit images, video

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  • OTTAWA — Conservative MP Tony Clement is resigning from some of his duties after sending sexually explicit images and a video of himself to someone he claims targeted him for the purposes of financial extortion.

    Clement said in a statement Tuesday night that he sent the photos and video over the past three weeks to a person who he believed was a consenting female recipient. The the RCMP are investigating to determine the individual or party’s identity, he added.

    He said will continue to discharge his duties as MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka but has resigned from his House of Commons committee assignments as well as Conservative shadow minister for justice.

    “I recognize now that I have gone down a wrong path and have exercised very poor judgment,” said Clement, 57.

    “First and foremost, I apologize to my family for the needless pain and humiliation my actions have caused. I also apologize to my colleagues and my constituents for letting them down. I am committed to seeking the help and treatment I need in my personal life to make sure this will not happen again.”

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer issued a statement saying he has accepted Clement’s resignation from various duties and deputy leader Lisa Raitt will assume the role of shadow minister for justice.

    “While I’m greatly disappointed with Mr. Clement’s actions, I am encouraged that he has decided to seek help and I wish him all the best in doing so,” Scheer said.

    The RCMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Clement is a former cabinet minister who ran for his party’s leadership in 2016 but dropped his bid after falling short of fundraising targets he set for himself.

    It marked the second time Clement sought to become leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. He placed third in the 2004 leadership race, behind Stephen Harper and Belinda Stronach, after the Progressive Conservatives merged with the Canadian Alliance.

    Clement, who served in the Progressive Conservative government of former Ontario premier Mike Harris, also lost to Ernie Eves in the 2002 provincial leadership contest.

    The Canadian Press




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    Mistrial declared in Dennis Oland murder retrial, jury is dismissed

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  • SAINT JOHN, N.B. — A mistrial has been declared in the retrial of Dennis Oland for the second degree murder of his father.

    The stunning development comes just over a month after jury selection was completed for the complex trial, which was expected to take at least four months.

    Justice Terrence Morrison of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench announced the mistrial on Tuesday at what was expected to be the start of evidence presentation in Oland’s second trial for the 2011 bludgeoning death of his father, Richard Oland.

    The 16-member jury has been dismissed, and the trial will continue Wednesday by judge alone. 

    Morrison said there were improprieties in the selection process.

    Oland will have to be re-arraigned and enter his plea.

    Then there will be opening arguments and, finally, the retrial of Dennis Oland will get underway.

    “It cannot be helped,” Morrison told the jury as he thanked them for their service.

    “Your services are no longer required.”

    Richard Oland’s body was discovered on July 7, 2011, in his uptown Saint John office.

    The 69-year-old businessman and former executive of Moosehead Breweries Ltd. had been beaten to death.

    Dennis Oland, his only son, was charged with second-degree murder in 2013 and tried in 2015, but the jury verdict in that case was set aside on appeal in 2016 and a new trial ordered.

    The Canadian Press


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    Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

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  • OTTAWA — Brynn Vincent was only 13 when she started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Two years later, she was addicted and had run away from home and then she found out she was pregnant.

    She sought treatment for addiction at a rehab facility then moved into a homeless shelter.

    “Being in treatment with other women who are cranky and coming off of all types of drugs and alcohol while being pregnant was so hard,” she says. “But I finally decided I need to change, I need to get better — I’m having a baby, obviously I can’t bring a baby into this type of lifestyle.”

    Now 19 and sober, Vincent is living in her own apartment with her daughter and is finishing her education at the Youville Centre in Ottawa, a charity that provides mental-health treatment and other supports to adolescent mothers and their children.

    But her daughter is one of 1.4 million children living in poverty in Canada, 29 years after the House of Commons voted to end child poverty by 2000. Campaign 2000, a group formed to hold the government to its promise, is releasing an annual report card on it today.

    The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

    Anita Khanna, national co-ordinator with Campaign 2000, acknowledges the Liberal government has introduced important measures to tackle this problem, including boosting the Canada Child Benefit — a tax-free monthly benefit to help with living and child care costs — two years earlier than planned. The benefit will now increase annually, tied to inflation.

    But while this benefit does help low-income families, it does not fully address the need for better access to child care as a way to help lift families out of poverty, she said.

    “A system of cash transfers is not the provision of good child care. It doesn’t build spaces for child care, and right now that is a huge part of the problem,” she said.

    Vincent credits the work of volunteers and staff at both the shelter and at the Youville Centre for helping her navigate the patchwork of supports for low-income teen single mothers.

    But her struggles are not over. Her limited income means she regularly has to get help from food banks and other charities.

    Her income is only about $7,000 a year. Without a provincial child-care subsidy, she could never have dreamed of completing her education, she says. 

    But if the federal government were to adopt universal child care, it would help mothers like her who are struggling to make ends meet while also trying to build more for their futures and those of their children, she says.

    “That would take a lot of stress on parents living in poverty, it would just be one less thing to have to worry about constantly,” Vincent said. “A lot of working parents in poverty work solely to pay for child care. So if I’m working every day and I’m only making enough money to put my child in daycare so that I can work … in my eyes that’s ridiculous.”

    Canada now has only enough regulated child care spaces for about 30 per cent of the Canadian kids up to the age of five, Khanna said. Campaign 2000 is calling for Ottawa to send $1 billion a year to the provinces and territories to build more daycare spaces.

    The Trudeau government recently announced Canada’s first-ever anti-poverty law, which includes a pledge to reduce the number of Canadians living in poverty 50 per cent by the year 2030. No dollar figure is attached to the bill.

    Campaign 2000 applauds the law but is calling for the Liberals to spend $6 billion on this strategy and to adopt more aggressive targets: it wants to see the 50-per-cent poverty reduction target achieved within five years rather than 12.

    “We really feel there’s impatience on this for action on this,” Khanna said. “Frankly, aiming to lift only half of those children out of poverty in 12 years is not ambitious enough and we know that collectively we can do much better.”

    — Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.

    Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press




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