Archive for May 2019

It’s too early to say what caused Air Canada flight 623’s runway excursion at Pearson International Airport Saturday, according to investigators with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB).

Greater Toronto Airport Authorities’ officials said AC Flight 623 from Halifax, which was carrying 118 passengers and six crew members, was “involved in an incident while landing” shortly after midnight but no injuries were reported.

In a press conference Saturday night, Ewan Tasker, regional manager of air investigations for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, stated that two investigators were dispatched to determine what happened and why.

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“During the landing sequence, the aircraft travelled through the grass on the western side of the runway, eventually coming to a stop on the runway centre line,” Tasker said. “The airline was met by emergency services and passengers were deplaned on the runway and transported to the terminal by buses.”

Tasker went on to say that the apparent damage to the aircraft was minor but further investigation will be needed.

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR) were taken from the plane and sent to the TSB lab in Ottawa for further analysis.

WATCH: The Transportation Safety Board describes an incident where Air Canada Flight 623 came off the runway on landing at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

TSB describes runway excursion involving Air Canada Flight 623

02:33

TSB describes runway excursion involving Air Canada Flight 623

00:24

‘It’s a fair bit different’: TSB on Air France accident at Pearson

00:47

TSB investigating witness report of damaged tire on Air Canada Flight

00:59

TSB discusses rain, wind and runway conditions during Air Canada Flight 623 runway excursion



The next steps for the TSB will be to “interview the flight crew, cabin crew, air traffic control and other witnesses,” according to Tasker. Investigators will then gather more background information surrounding the flight, including such things as the weather at the time of the incident.

Tasker said investigators have to examine all of the information further to draw specific conclusions and that right now “it is too early to call what caused the accident.”

One wheel of the plane was visibly damaged, and passengers on the Airbus A320 told Global News that they think the plane’s wheels went off the runway.

READ MORE: Class-action lawsuit in Air Canada Halifax crash landing going forward

“We were coming in, and we were coming in pretty quickly it seemed,” passenger Faye, who did not want to give her last name, said. “There was a lot of noise and a lot of bumping and we hit very very hard, very rapidly.”

Another passenger also said the landing was frightening.

“It was very rough and very scary,” Diane Power said. “Then there was mud flying up on the windows and we could hear the tires pop —; we could hear something wrong underneath.”

The GTAA said paramedics and firefighters were sent to the scene, but passengers said they weren’t told what happened or checked for injuries.

“The only instruction we got was ‘stay seated, stay seated.’” Faye said.

Isabelle Arthur, spokesperson for Air Canada, told Global News by email that the crew confirmed that pilots made announcements about the incident but did not specify what was said.

“We understand that some customers were unsettled by events and were eager to get on with their travel plans,” Arthur said. “We apologize for the inconvenience. It is always important for us to keep our customers informed.

“We will certainly follow up with customers to address any concerns they may have.”

WATCH: Passengers of Air Canada Fight 623 said the plane slid off the runway after landing. No injuries were reported.

*with files from the Canadian Press 

OTTAWA – Cynicism snaked through the corridors of Parliament Hill this week, lurking behind two competing claims of tolerance.

A Conservative motion to condemn all forms of racism was soundly defeated on Tuesday, brought down amidst accusations the Tories were stealthily stoking anti-Muslim sentiment.

The Liberals — themselves accused of playing dangerous wedge politics — prefer their own version, one that specifically mentions Islamophobia, but the Conservatives won’t vote for it, saying it threatens free speech.

Finger-pointing rhetoric aside, Canadians living along the border with the United States are seeing their tolerance tested.

READ MORE: What Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump spoke about during Thursday’s phone call

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Dozens of asylum-seekers fleeing Donald Trump’s immigration crackdowns in the United States are still walking across the border in Quebec and Manitoba, straining social services in some towns and prompting a demand for some kind of action from Ottawa.

The federal government is sending in extra resources and still contemplating other options, but it did take some concrete measures this week on another group of migrants: Yazidis.

Along with interesting developments in corporate profits and on how to treat ISIL, here’s how federal politics touched us materially this week:

Yazidis

Unlike the bickering over anti-racism motions, the Liberals’ plan to quietly bring in 1,200 of the most vulnerable refugees in the world by the end of the year was also driven by the Conservatives, who have been advocating help for Yazidis since before the last election.

READ MORE: Canada to receive 1,200 Yazidi refugees in 2017

Don’t expect the prime minister to be greeting them at the airport with the press gallery in tow. The refugees, who dwell mainly in northern Iraq, have often been subjected to rape, violence and other unspeakable atrocities that have been recognized as genocidal. So federal officials want to make sure they are brought to Canada gently.

The contingent of 1,200 won’t be limited to women and girls, even though concern about their plight was an inspiration for the move. Nor will the effort be specifically limited to Yazidis, since Ottawa does not want to target refugees by ethnicity. Rather, the policy is aimed at the most desperate refugees fleeing the region.

Taking on ISIL

It looks like some of Canada’s senior military stationed in the Middle East didn’t get the memo to tread softly when it comes to taking on the Trump administration.

Trump wants to intensify the efforts to defeat the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, vowing as recently as Friday to “obliterate” them.

But the top Canadian generals on the ground, who are also deeply involved in the international coalition to defeat ISIL, say it’s better to move cautiously. Otherwise, the coalition risks exacerbating the root causes that helped ISIL’s rise in the first place.

Is anyone listening?

Pocketing profits

This week Statistics Canada added up all the money Canadian corporations made in 2016, and while the picture for oil and gas is not pretty, operating profits overall were up 13.2 per cent compared to a year earlier.

That’s good news for the Canadian economy — if the companies reinvest their profits in labour, research and innovation, new equipment and expanding their business interests.

But that’s a big “if.” Corporate Canada has an shaky record on reinvestment to begin with. And now companies are raising the alarm about Trump.

On Friday, auto parts giant Magna International Inc. pointed to American protectionism and talk of a U.S.-imposed border tax as key risks to its outlook — all while raising dividends to disburse its profits to shareholders.

That kind of corporate action is a challenge for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who used a high-profile speech in Germany a week ago to pointedly tell business leaders they need to take some responsibility in keeping the more destructive forces of populism at bay.

But corporations will not invest unless they have confidence in their opportunities and, for now, there is much chaos in calculating the Canada-U.S. business opportunities.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to bring up the border tax and protectionism this week with his new U.S. counterpart, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Will he deliver the confidence-inducing messages that corporate Canada is looking for?

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia said Saturday that it would issue an arrest warrant for a North Korean diplomat if he refuses to co-operate with the investigation into the deadly attack on North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un’s exiled half brother.

The investigation has unleashed a serious diplomatic fight between Malaysia and North Korea, a prime suspect in the Feb. 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur’s airport. Friday’s revelation by Malaysian police that the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim raised the stakes significantly in a case that has broad geopolitical implications.

WATCH: Malaysian police named on Wednesday a senior official in the North Korean embassy and another linked to its state airline, wanted for questioning over the murder last week of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader’s estranged half-brother.

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Experts say the nerve agent used in the attack was almost certainly produced in a sophisticated state weapons laboratory and is banned under an international treaty. But North Korea never signed that treaty, and has spent decades developing a complex chemical weapons program.

Kim was not an obvious political threat to his estranged half brother, Kim Jong Un. But he may have been seen as a potential rival in North Korea’s dynastic dictatorship, even though he had lived in exile for years. North Korea has denied any role in the attack.

Malaysia said earlier in the week that Hyon Kwang Song, a second secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, was wanted for questioning. But authorities at the time acknowledged that he has diplomatic immunity and that they couldn’t compel him to appear.

Death of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother sparks row between Malaysia, North Korea

01:09

Death of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother sparks row between Malaysia, North Korea

02:00

Officials searching for North Korean suspects who fled after Kim Jong Nam’s alleged assassination

01:32

UN condemns North Korean missile launch

01:07

Donald Trump calls North Korea a ‘big, big problem’



On Saturday, Malaysia’s tone changed.

Abdul Samah Mat, the police chief leading the investigation, said authorities would give the diplomat “reasonable” time to come forward. If he doesn’t, police will issue a notice compelling him to do so.

“And if he failed to turn up … then we will go to the next step by getting a warrant of arrest from the court,” Abdul Samah told reporters.

Lawyer Sankara Nair, however, noted that diplomats have immunity privileges even in criminal cases.

READ MORE: What is VX nerve agent, the deadly chemical used to kill Kim Jong Nam?

“If he is a Korean diplomat with a diplomatic passport, then he has immunity no matter a criminal case or otherwise,” he said. “Police can apply for a warrant, but it can easily be set aside by the embassy.”

Malaysia hasn’t directly accused the North Korean government of being behind the attack, but officials have said four North Korean men provided two women with poison to carry it out.

The four men fled Malaysia shortly after the killing, while the women – one from Indonesia and the other Vietnamese – were arrested.

WATCH: Malaysia says Kim Jong Nam killed by banned chemical weapon

On Saturday, the Indonesian suspect, Siti Aisyah, met with her country’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia, saying she had been paid the equivalent of $90 for what she believed was a harmless prank.

Aisyah, 25, said she had been introduced to people who looked like Japanese or Koreans who asked her to play a prank for a reality show, Deputy Ambassador Andriano Erwin said.

READ MORE: Suspect in killing of Kim Jong Nam said she thought she was part of ‘Just For Laughs’ style prank

Asked about whether she knew what was on her hands at the time of the attack, Erwin said: “She didn’t tell us about that. She only said that it’s a kind of oil, baby oil, something like that.”

An odourless chemical with the consistency of motor oil, VX is an extremely powerful poison, with an amount no larger than a few grains of salt enough to kill. It can be inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Then, in anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours, it can cause a range of symptoms, from blurred vision to a headache. Enough exposure leads to convulsions, paralysis, respiratory failure and death.

The killing of Kim Jong Nam took place amid crowds of travellers at Kuala Lumpur’s airport and appeared to be a well-planned hit. Kim died on the way to a hospital, within hours of the attack.

In grainy surveillance footage, the women appear to smear something onto Kim’s face before walking away in separate directions. Malaysian police said the attackers had been trained to go immediately to the bathroom and clean their hands.

Aisyah has said previously that she was duped into the attack, but Malaysian police say the suspects knew what they were doing. Experts say the women must have taken precautions so the nerve agent wouldn’t kill them.

An antidote, atropine, can be injected after exposure and is carried by medics in war zones where weapons of mass destruction are suspected.

READ MORE: Malaysian investigation into assassination of Kim Jong Nam names 4 suspects from North Korea

Tens of thousands of passengers have passed through Kuala Lumpur’s airport since the apparent assassination was carried out. No areas were cordoned off and protective measures were not taken, though officials announced Friday that the facility would be decontaminated.

Aisyah said Saturday that she did not want her parents to see her in custody.

“She doesn’t want her family (to) get sad to see her condition,” Erwin said. “She only delivered a message through us to her father and mother not to be worried and take care of their health.”

Also Saturday, police confirmed that a raid earlier in the week on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur was part of the investigation. Abdul Samah, the police official, did not specify what authorities found there, but said the items were being tested for traces of any chemicals.

MONTREAL – Along with luxury vacations, diamond bracelets and personal training sessions, celebrities who receive unofficial gift bags at the Oscars this year will also get a modest offering from Quebec.

The famously over-the-top swag bags, whose value usually runs in the six figures, is distributed annually by a Los Angeles-based marketing company to the nominees in the best actor, actress, supporting actor and actress and best director categories.

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READ MORE: Oscars 2017: LAPD’s three-tiered security designed for ‘multiple scenarios’

This year, the bag will contain a “Positive Cube” — a small wooden box produced by Quebec-based company Bangarang. The boxes contain 199 cards, each bearing a positive or inspirational saying.

Marie-Eve D’Amico, one-half of the young couple behind the product, is crossing her fingers that a big star such as Meryl Streep or Denis Villeneuve will take a shine to it.

READ MORE: Edmonton area cookie maker hopes for sweet success in Hollywood

“With the mission we have of spreading the positive and supporting worthy causes, I think that touches people, so we’ll see,” she said in a phone interview.

D’Amico said she paid a fee, which she declined to reveal, to be included in the bag for both the Grammy Awards and the Oscars.

WATCH: Preview: Oscars Weekend Eve

It’s a marketing move she says is already paying off — even without a star endorsement.

“It’s a lot of visibility,” she said. “We’ve already had a lot of sales in the United States since the announcement that we were in the Grammy bag,” she said.

Although the company that produces the gift bags says it isn’t officially affiliated with the Oscars, being associated with a celebrity event can be an effective marketing tool, another Quebec entrepreneur says.

READ MORE: Oscars 2017 predictions: Picks for this year’s Academy Award winners

2017 will mark the fifth year Rouge Maple has been contributing organic syrup and other maple products to the celebrity gift bags.

Co-founder Julie DeBlois says the event’s visibility has boosted exposure and allowed the company to associate itself with a glamorous event.

“It’s a golden opportunity if you fit with the brand,” she said. “They want something refined, high-end — a niche product.”

WATCH ABOVE: ‘Farm Wife Style’ jewellery was included in swag bags during the Grammy and Academy Awards last year. Julia Wong filed this report in 2016.

But one Alberta jewelry maker says even small-town entrepreneurs can benefit from Oscar exposure.

Kim Ducherer says her “Farm Wife Style” line of affordable handmade jewelry is still selling well after going in the bags last year.

READ MORE: Jewellery from Edmonton-area woman goes to Hollywood for Grammys, Academy Awards

“It was definitely worth it,” said Ducherer, who lives on a farm outside Leduc, Alta.

“When you’re in a small Canadian community, doing that will give you a lot of local exposure.”

WATCH: Canadians, diversity well represented with 2017 Oscar nominations 

Garth Brooks will forever be remembered for his nine sold-out concerts in Edmonton after a banner in his honour was raised to the rafters at Rogers Place on Friday night.

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  • In Photos: Sea of Garth Brooks fans fill downtown Edmonton between concerts on Sunday

    “We raised banners for Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Stanley Cup. But tonight, we want to raise a banner for Garth,” said Bob Nicholson, CEO of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

    “Garth, what you’ve done for this city, you’ve still got a few nights to go but they love you here, I tell ya. It’s unbelievable and we want Garth and his whole team to come back,” Nicholson said.

    He also presented Brooks’ wife, Trisha Yearwood, with a large bouquet of flowers. Yearwood is on tour with Brooks.

    After the banner was raised, country music fans in the stadium began chanting, “Let’s go Oilers.”

    READ MORE: What you need to know before going to see Garth Brooks in Edmonton

    The presentation was followed by a congratulatory video presentation from the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky.

    “That is sweet,” Brooks said.

    “Oh my gosh, Edmonton. Thank you. That was all about you guys. Everything cool happened here,” Yearwood said.

    READ MORE: Edmonton goes nuts for country star Garth Brooks

    The night was particularly special because it marked the five millionth ticket sold on Brooks’ three-year tour. It only took 60 cities for him to sell five million tickets.

    During the 1996-1998 Garth Brooks world tour, it took 100 cities to get to the five millionth ticket.

    “Just want to say thank you,” Brooks said in a video posted on 桑拿会所 before Friday night’s show.

    “I’m getting ready to go out that door and hug the neck of the five millionth ticket owner. I can’t believe this. I just want to say thank you… Thank you for getting us where we’re at. This is something we’d do for all five million if we could. So thank you for the celebration and thank you for getting us here. I never thought we’d be here again. And then the coolest thing is, every day after this we’re rewriting history. I love this. Thank you for my life. God bless you guys.”

    A representative from Ticketmaster came out on stage during the concert to present the country music superstar with a large framed picture with the number 5,000,000 on it.

    “It’s really sweet. Thank you very much. That is awesome. I don’t know how it gets better than that,” Brooks said as he held up two framed photos, one from this tour and a framed picture from the tour in the 90s.

    Brooks will play a total of nine sold out concerts in Edmonton, bringing tens of thousands of people to the city. Last Friday, ahead of Brooks’ first show in Edmonton, Mayor Don Iveson declared it Garth Brooks Day in Edmonton.

    Watch below: Sea of Garth Brooks fans fill downtown Edmonton between concerts on Sunday, Feb. 19

    Follow @CaleyRamsay