10 year old once given 48 hours to live has ‘miracle’ recovery a year later

Almost a year ago, Patty Furco was told she was going to lose her daughter.

Her second child, Abby, was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of four. Today the 10 year old based in Virginia Beach has made a “miracle” recovery even doctors can’t explain.

“Sometimes we can’t grasp what has happened and what continues to happen,” the 41-year-old mom-of-three tells Global News. “We had prepared for Abby to die.”

Abby’s long journey

In the last few years, Abby went through several hospital visits, intense chemotherapy sessions and radiation treatments, Furco says, but in 2015, things took a turn.

After being in remission for 11 months, Abby relapsed in September 2014. A year later, she had a bone marrow transplant that caused acute graft versus host disease (GvHD) — a common side effect of the transplant.

“Late last spring the side effects [of GvHD] were out of control and started a downward spiral leading to continuous dialysis [and] a long pediatric intensive care unit stay,” Furco says.

Abby’s organs weren’t keeping up and her kidneys began to fail.

“[My husband] and I tried to be hopeful, yet we prepared everyone, including our other daughters, for the end.”

Her family was told by doctors their little girl would die.

“I still have flashbacks to sitting at my dining room table with the head hospice nurse, choosing a funeral home. [My husband] Joe and I talked about where we wanted her remains. I clearly remember thinking about specific songs I wanted played during her memorial service,” Furco says.

Living in a tight-knit military community, Furco says her friends gathered together to give support.

Last year she remembers driving Abby to a girl scout event in another part of town, and passing by the funeral home she had picked out for her daughter.

“My heart sunk and I called Joe crying,” she says. “It just caught me off guard. Here I am in the car with my thriving Abby and we’re driving by the funeral home I picked six months earlier.”

Her recovery can’t be explained

Abby’s doctor, pediatric hematologist and oncologist Jacob Wessler, told People magazine there’s no real explanation of Abby’s recovery.

“We have no idea [how she got better] and there is no way to test it,” he tells Global News. “She’s the only patient I have to do this. She is one for one as far as our experience.”

Wessler was the first person to diagnose Abby and has been working with the Furco family for six years.

READ MORE: Saskatoon family appealing for more childhood cancer research funding

Although he adds there have been ups and downs throughout the journey and continues to be, last June he remembers bringing Abby home to feel more comfortable. At this point, he had believed she wouldn’t survive.

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He reduced the amount of medication and check-ins, as her family prepared for the worst.

“But she sat there and just started getting better,” he says. “It was really interesting and fascinating.”

At first, Wessler told the family there was no absolute timeline of when her organs would fail, but weeks and soon months went by and Abby was feeling better. Almost a year later, she is the best she’s ever been.

“I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened, but it’s a good news and bad news situation,” he says. “It’s great that it has happened, but it is a little maddening we don’t know why. But for Abby it doesn’t matter why — what matters is she’s better.”

The heartache living with a sick child

Parenting coach Julie Romanowski of Vancouver says for any family or parent who is going through a similar situation with a sick child, the most important thing to do is to be aware of your situation.

“It sounds obvious but when people are in crisis mode, we think life is ‘normal’ and we need to keep going,” she tells Global News. “Get a good support network and let them know you are in crisis. Pretending nothing is going on adds more stress.”

READ MORE: Hundreds of Calgarians take part in annual ‘Run for Childhood Cancer’

And if you have other children, it can get difficult to talk about what their sibling is going through, especially the topic of death.

Romanowski says siblings also need a support network and parents need to be honest with them.

“If you pretend nothing is happening, that’s what makes the situation dangerous. We have to get real and accept our current situations… younger children will look at their parents on how to deal with the crisis and mimic it.”

Her recovery is also inspiring others

Furco says since 2012, the family has been very active in raising awareness for childhood cancer. They raise money for cancer research and put time into learning about Abby’s medication.

Abby is also an ambassador for the St. Baldrick`s Foundation, a private fund of childhood cancer research grants. Since 2012, her fundraising campaign has raised US$133,226.

Patty Furco and her daughter Abby.

Courtesy of Patty Furco

But Furco says hearing from other families with similar situations has been the most heartening. Some people tell her Abby has inspired them to get out of bed or keep fighting their own disease.

“That’s a gift that could only come out of this dark journey that has consumed our lives for many years,” she says. “It’s giving people hope and letting them continue dreaming about the future.”

Abby is looking forward to summer

Today, like many children, Abby is looking forward to her Grade 5 graduation. She is once again in remission and is receiving steroids twice a day.

Her mom says she loves to play Minecraft, hang out with her friends and plans on being a chef when she grows up.

“This is amazing as last year around this time, she was barely walking then wheelchair-bound. Through very hard work she is now able to walk on her own, currently working on long distance stamina,” she says.

Furco says her daughter is also looking forward to summer camp, a place where she meets other cancer patients and survivors.

“Our hope for Abby is that she gets to live a full life full of happiness. We take each day as it comes, so we hope that each day continues down the path of good health and growth in every way possible.”

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To buy or rent a cottage? These 5 questions will help you decide

To buy or rent a cottage? It’s the eternal question Canadian families face, especially as summer draws near.

Ask your friends and relatives, and you’re likely to find an even split between those who can’t imagine life without a lakeside property and those who see a second home as a ball and chain.

READ MORE: Why this may be the best summer ever to spend your vacation in Canada

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Coming up with a list of pros and cons isn’t much help, either. In theory, there as many good reasons to purchase a cottage and as there are not to.

In the buy camp: Building priceless memories by the same lakes as the kids grow up. Having an affordable gateway for every break and long weekend. Eliminating the risk of a ruined vacation because your rental cottage looks nothing like the pictures. Similarly, avoiding massive family disappointment — especially for the little ones — when it turns out the rental you have been booking every summer and have grown to love isn’t available this year. And so on.

READ MORE: Think you don’t need insurance when travelling in Canada? Think again

In the rent camp: The kids’ memories may be priceless, but owning a cottage certainly has a price tag — and a hefty one. Renting means your hard-earned vacation time won’t be sucked into a black hole called “cottage upkeep.” It also means being able to explore a different lakeside spot every summer — or deciding, guilt-free, that you’d rather go to Paris instead.

A more productive approach may be examining your specific circumstances and financial situation, according to Maureen Reid, Meridian Credit Union branch manager in Penetanguishene, a popular cottage country destination on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay, Ont.

For the undecided cottage vacationer, she has a list of five key questions:

1. How much will it really cost you?

Step one is assessing whether you can really afford to own a cottage. The question goes beyond whether you can carry two mortgages, Reid points out. As with any residential property, buying involves a slew of legal fees and taxes, as well as monthly expenses like utilities. Heat in particular can be a financial back-breaker in a cottage, said Reid, especially if you have to rely on electricity to keep it cozy inside.

READ MORE: The genius life hacks that working moms and dads use to get it all done

Other potential costs include owning, maintaining and docking your own boat if that’s the only way to reach your property, said Reid.

And then, of course, there’s upkeep. Although Reid told Global News it’s hard to come up with an average estimate for this kind of expense, it’s safe to say it will likely be higher than whatever your average yearly spend is on your first home. From rodent infestations to pipes that burst in winter, the fact that cottages are usually immersed in nature and used only for part of the year tends to drive up the maintenance bill.

READ MORE: Flooding, flooding everywhere – do Canadians have insurance for it?

2. How much will you (realistically) use it?

Once you’ve come up with a comprehensive cost estimate, ask yourself how much R&R bang you’re going to get for your buck, according to Reid. Is the cottage close to home? Do you get lots of time off in the summer? Will you be able to use the property in the winter as well? If so, then great.

On the other hand, if you only have two weeks to spend lakeside every year, will the stress of the drive and the upkeep work eliminate your ability to relax?

READ MORE: Here’s why a good school isn’t always worth the home price premium

3. Are you going to rent it?

This one goes back to question No. 1. Being able to rent your cottage for periods of time when you’re not there will make it easier to afford it, noted Reid.

Doing so has become easier than ever with online home-sharing services like Airbnb. And if you’re worried that the tenants who presented themselves as a “a quiet middle-aged couple’ will turn out to be a horde of partying teenagers, Facebook groups, which tend to be more community-focused, are another great resource. A short post advertising your property among friends and neighbours can quickly locate a trustworthy tenant.

READ MORE: Buying and selling online? Instead of Craigslist or Kijiji, try Facebook

Still, not all cottages rent easily, cautioned Reid. Remote properties in less well-known areas might have fewer takers.

4. Is it a good investment?

This is really a two-part question. The first thing to consider is whether using your savings to buy a cottage makes sense. Owning two homes could mean tying up a lot of your investments in real estate, which can be risky.

READ MORE: Moody’s downgrades Canadian banks: Beginning of the end for the housing market?

Speaking to your financial advisor is always a good idea, said Reid.

The second part of the equation is figuring out what the rate of return on your cottage will likely be. A winterized property in a coveted, easily accessible location will be easy to sell and likely to appreciate over time, said Reid.

The opposite is generally true, if your version of a cottage is only a few steps removed from a wooden shack, or if it becomes inaccessible in winter.

READ MORE: Here’s how much climate change can cost homeowners in damages

5. What financing is available to you?

Location and features like insulation, heating and running water will also dramatically affect what kind of financing you’ll be able to access in order to purchase your cottage, said Reid.

What Reid calls a “type A” cottage — one with all the amenities — usually guarantees you’ll be able to get a regular mortgage.

For a more rustic “type B” property, on the other hand, your only option might be a personal loan, for which the going interest rate is generally 7 per cent, much higher than currently available mortgages.

William Sandeson murder trial hears full day of testimony ahead of holiday weekend

The seven-woman, seven-man jury sitting on the first-degree murder trial of Dalhousie medical student William Sandeson heard a full day of evidence on Thursday.

Sandeson, 24, is accused of killing fellow Dalhousie student Taylor Samson, 22.

Samson was studying physics and about to start his fifth year of university when he disappeared in August, 2015. His body has never been found.

WATCH: Murder trial hears from police, Taylor Samson’s girlfriend

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Staff Sgt. Andre Habib, a forensic identification officer with Halifax Regional Police was the first witness on the stand Thursday.

The crown had questioned Habib the previous day but court ended before the defence had an opportunity to complete their cross-examination.

Lawyer Eugene Tan questioned Habib about what protective clothing he wore when at Sandeson’s apartment on Henry Street. He told the court he wore both gloves and booties.

READ: Jury hears William Sandeson told roommate not to come home on night of alleged murder

The defence also questioned Habib about his experience using a trajectory kit. He testified not only did he take a two month course but he also did a seminar with a firearms expert in Calgary a few years ago.

Habib told the court he was not a ballistic expert but that he and other identification officers are able to use the trajectory kit to determine which way an object, like a bullet, may have come from.

Habib also testified that he was involved in the search at the Sandeson family property in Lower Truro, N.S.

He said he had been involved in searches of that nature “numerous times” and was satisfied that police did the best they could at the scene. “We left no stone unturned,” he told the jury.

WATCH: William Sandeson murder trial hears police searched family farm looking for body

The second witness to testify on Thursday was Rick Chadwick who currently works with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Chadwick told the court before going to RBC he worked as an RCMP officer.

Chadwick says he was served a production order – which requires documents to be made available to law enforcement  – for the banking information of Taylor Samson.

He told the court that Samson was a client at the bank for eight years and had an everyday account, a tax-free savings account and a MasterCard.

Chadwick testified that until August 13, 2015, there was “actual activity by the client.” Following Samson’s disappearance, the only activity he said was on the accounts was automatic.

WATCH: Former teammate of William Sandeson tells court he saw bleeding man, bloody cash

Two volunteers with Ground Search and Rescue were also called as crown witnesses.

Wayne Burns, a volunteer with search and rescue for 15-years, told the court that he and a team of volunteers searched the farm property for hours.

Burns was the one who located the refrigerated ice cream truck and informed police. He testified he looked inside and saw three bags but did not enter the truck.

READ: Court hears bag found in ice cream truck at Sandeson farm smelled like decomposition

Lawrence Corbin, also a volunteer searcher, testified that when he arrived to search at the farm in August 2015 he was told by officials that searchers could possibly find human remains. None were ever located.

Corbin and his team found a pair of gloves located in some brush, not far from where the ice cream truck was. He told the court that he flagged the gloves and called his command centre before searching the rest of the area.

READ MORE: William Sandeson says during interrogation video intruders may have shot Taylor Samson

Cpl. Shawn Reynolds, an RCMP officer, was the incident commander for the Sandeson farm search. He told the court that he helped coordinate and run the search, as well as pass information along to the Halifax Regional Police major crime unit.

Reynolds said he was notified by search and rescue that a pair of gloves were located and helped seize them. He also secured the scene where the ice cream truck was located until ident officers arrived to process it.

READ: Jury shown gun, bullets and cash seized from William Sandeson’s apartment

David Webber, a civilian member of the RCMP was also called to the stand. He is a forensic lab technician and was tasked with examining Sandeson’s DVR.

He told the court that although the DVR was passport protected he found a back door to access the video. Webber testified that he was able to dump video from Aug. 13-18, 2015 from the DVR and give it to investigators.

Webber said he did not splice or edit any of the video. After the initial video dump from Aug. 13-18, Webber said he was able to go back and locate video for two and a half months, which was also turned over to investigators.

Under cross-examination, Webber admitted he originally thought he had discarded his notes from the case but later found them.

WATCH: Last images of Taylor Samson shown to jury in William Sandeson murder trial

The final witness to take the stand Thursday was Det. Const. Jonathan Jefferies, a Halifax Regional Police officer. He told the court that he was the scene coordinator for the farm search.

Jefferies said he executed a search warrant at the property and explained to William Sandeson’s father what police would be doing.

When questioned by defence lawyer Brad Sarson, Jefferies said that police and volunteer ground search rescue members did search some property that was not covered under the search warrant. However, Jefferies said they asked the owners of the property if they could search there and had them sign consent forms.

Jefferies was also tasked with getting a DNA sample from Sandeson after he was arrested and remanded to the Central Nova Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. While there, he also told the court he questioned Sandeson about the whereabouts of Samson’s body but Sandeson did not speak about it.

READ MORE: William Sandeson ‘confident’ as murder trial begins in Halifax: defence

The trial is scheduled to sit for 32 days over the course of eight weeks.

The case does not hear evidence on Friday and because Monday is a statutory holiday, the jury is scheduled to resume hearing testimony on Tuesday morning.

Angela Kokott: One more blow against Alberta’s carbon levy

When will the Notley government admit the carbon levy is a big mistake? Right from the get go there has been one misstep after another.

There was criticism about an Ontario company being picked. Then, more criticism about having someone come into your home to screw in light bulbs and over the restrictions on what bulbs will be replaced. All of that criticism warranted.

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Related

  • Alberta making changes to carbon tax rebates

  • Brad Wall criticizes attempt to link carbon tax with equalization payments

    A closer look at where Alberta’s carbon tax revenues are going

     Roll out another program. Roll out more criticism.

    Then, on May 17, Finance Minister Joe Ceci issues a mea culpa. Thousands of families angry that they were forced to pay back the rebate given to loved ones who had passed away. Minister Ceci admitted “the program didn’t work as it should have”. 

    That’s an understatement.  

    Why was the rebate based on 2015 tax returns? Albertans weren’t paying the levy in 2015. Why weren’t the rebates based on 2017 tax returns  – the year we’re all paying the levy?

    READ MORE:
    Alberta making changes to carbon tax rebates

    I know.  I know.  The government wanted to start the rebate program even before the first dime was collected because it knew it had to get ahead of the criticism.

     Message to the government: it didn’t work.

     The carbon levy was sold to us as a policy needed to get pipelines to the east and west. With the B.C. election results up in the air and First Nations groups joining forces to oppose Keystone, the biggest criticism is yet to come. 

Sask. premier describes federal carbon tax plan as a ‘ransom note’

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna unveiled plans for a federally imposed carbon tax Thursday morning.

The price will be $10 per tonne of CO2 for any jurisdiction that has not developed their own carbon pricing strategy as early as next spring.

McKenna said every penny raised by the federal carbon price will be returned to the province it came from. The plan is to give it directly back to individuals and businesses through tax rebates.

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READ MORE: It’s not a carbon tax, it’s a ‘behaviour-changing measure’: government officials

Provinces that enact their own carbon pricing plan can choose how to spend the collected revenue.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall remains staunchly opposed to the carbon tax, saying it would remove $1.3 billion from the provincial economy.

“This federal government white paper is more like a ransom note,” he said.

READ MORE: Environment Minister Scott Moe says Saskatchewan will never allow a carbon tax

Wall stood by previous arguments, that a price on carbon will disproportionately affect key Saskatchewan industries like mining and agriculture.

“Even if fuel tax is exempt [for agriculture] it will still impact fertilizer, inputs and transportation,” Wall said.

The premier did credit McKenna for acknowledging Saskatchewan based innovations including the Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) facility at Boundary Dam Three near Estevan, Sask., zero-till farming methods and ongoing research at the province’s universities.

However, Wall still believes investment in innovations like CCS should be seen as an alternative to a carbon tax.

Wall said the provincial government still plans to take legal action against the federal government.

READ MORE: Brad Wall criticizes attempt to link carbon tax with equalization payments

McKenna said Ottawa has the authority to impose a carbon tax on the province because protecting the environment is federal jurisdiction.

Officials from McKenna’s office added that this is not a tax in the traditional sense, because it is not intended to raise revenue for the federal government. Instead its goal is to change behavior when it comes to pollution.

READ MORE: Energy CEOs discuss Alberta’s carbon tax as Sask. continues to voice opposition

Saskatchewan has its own carbon tax framework that would target heavy emitters, and collected revenue would go toward an innovation fund. It was developed in 2009, but has not been implemented.

When asked by a reporter if Wall would sooner implement this plan or a forced federal carbon price, his response was simple.

“We’re going to win in court,” Wall said.

With files from the Canadian Press

More to come…

7-month-old baby who weighed 9 lbs died from gluten, lactose-free diet, court hears

A Belgian couple are on trial following the death of their seven-month-old son, who died of malnourishment after being fed an alternative diet.

Lucas, whose last name isn’t being revealed, died on June 6, 2014, weighing only nine pounds. According to local reports, he was suffering dehydration, and his stomach and intestines were found to be empty.

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Normal weight for male infants of that age ranges from 14.5 to 22 pounds, according to the World Health Organization.

Prosecutors say the boy’s death was a result of the parents feeding their son a restricted diet.

READ MORE: Spanish baby develops scurvy after parents feed him almond milk-only diet

The parents —; identified as Peter, 34, and Sandrina, 30 —; made the diagnosis that their son was gluten intolerant and had a lactose allergy. They began feeding him alternative products such as rice milk and quinoa milk.

Despite the parents’ concerns their child suffered from allergies, they did not seek professional advice. A search for medical documents for the child came up short.

“Not a single doctor had a dossier about Lucas and child protection services did not know about them,” prosecutors said.

In response, the baby’s father said: “We never went with Lucas to a doctor because we never noticed anything unusual.”

When it became apparent to the parents that their son was in need of urgent care, they sought help from a homeopathic doctor an hour’s drive from their home; the practitioner immediately sent them to the hospital, where their son was pronounced dead.

The parents, who own a natural health food store and have three other children, say their son was a happy child.

“We never wanted the death of our son,” his mother said.

New research released earlier this month warned people who don’t suffer from celiac disease to be wary of gluten-free diets, because these diets could put them at a higher risk of heart disease.

READ MORE:
Going gluten-free to ward off heart disease might have opposite effect: study

The case isn’t the first of its kind, with similar ones cropping up all over the world, prompting lawmakers to consider the effects of special diets on children.

In Italy, a bill introduced last summer could jail parents who imposed strict diets on their children. The law would see parents face a year in prison for raising kids on a vegan diet, and up to four years in prison if kids develop long-term health implications from their diet.

READ MORE:
Italian couple loses custody of child after strict vegan diet lands him in hospital

“I just find it absurd that some parents are allowed to impose their will on children in an almost fanatical, religious way, often without proper scientific knowledge or medical consultation… do-it-yourself on these matters terrorizes me,” Elvira Savino, the politician who proposed the bill, told Reuters at the time.

Closer to home, an Alberta couple was found guilty last year of failing to provide the necessities of life after their 18-month-old son died of bacterial meningitis. David and Collet Stephan had treated their son Ezekiel with home remedies that included garlic and horseradish.

READ MORE: Alberta meningitis death trial shines light on natural medicine

Critics say toddler’s meningitis death a wake-up call about natural medicine

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Critics say toddler’s meningitis death a wake-up call about natural medicine

01:27

‘Very clear’ parents in Stephan meningitis trial did not meet necessities of care

01:43

Online post by father of Ezekiel Stephan criticizes prosecutor



*with files from Carmen Chai

Montreal’s Irish insist sacred burial ground shouldn’t be developed

Fergus Keyes walks through a parking lot near the Victoria Bridge, but unlike any other in the city, he considers this piece of land to be sacred ground.

Underneath the concrete lies the 150-year-old remains of thousands of Irish immigrants.

“Since 1907, Irish Montrealers have been asking for this space to be developed into a proper memorial space, but nothing has ever happened,” said Keyes, who is the director of the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.

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He wants the land converted into a park and memorial.

In 1847, during the Irish Famine, 100,000 Irish immigrants came to Canada, but many contracted typhus and died.

“Six-thousand [people] were dying over a period of a couple of months,” Keyes said.

“In the end, they were being trenched, the bodies were being thrown in.”

Crown corporation Canada Lands Company (CLC) owns the land.

Keyes had asked the company to donate it to his group or the city, but told Global News he just found out the corporation sold the land to a developer.

“We have asked on numerous occasions, ‘what kind of development?’ but for some reason, they feel they don’t have to tell us who they sold the land to and what they plan to do with it,” Keyes said.

The CLC said in a statement the property is under contract for sale, but would provide few other details, despite Hydro-Quebec confirming to Global News that it bought the land.

The contract has an obligation to include a future Irish heritage commemoration, but did not say what that is.

“On a personal level, I would find it both disrespectful and insulting, not just to the Irish community, but to all of Montreal,” said Keyes.

There is an existing memorial across the street from the parking lot, known as the Black Rock, erected in 1859.

“We don’t believe it’s a proper memorial. It’s a small space, it sits in the middle of a bloody highway, it’s dangerous to get to,” he said.

Keyes hopes Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre will intervene.

“Clearly what happened in those days is important to commemorate, so we will take a look at it,” Coderre said.

The CLC confirmed its deal will close in July and there will be some sort of park on site, but Keyes argued he won’t be satisfied if any part of the land doesn’t respect what’s buried below.

It’s not a carbon tax, it’s a ‘behaviour-changing measure’: government officials

The Liberal government today released the carbon-pricing scheme it will impose on any province or territory that, by spring 2018, doesn’t have its own comparable scheme in place.

As of today, 97 per cent of Canadians live in provinces that either already have a price on carbon pollution, or are planning and working toward it, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Thursday.

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The three per cent of Canadians left out of that equation are in Saskatchewan – the one province that continues to hold out on signing on to the Trudeau government’s climate change plan.

READ MORE: Trump administration initiates NAFTA renegotiation process

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is so opposed to the idea, he has said he’ll fight Ottawa all the way to the Supreme Court.

But McKenna isn’t concerned. Rather she’s certain imposing a country-wide price on carbon pollution is Ottawa’s prerogative.

“We’ve been working hard to work with Saskatchewan,” she told reporters, noting she’s had more than a dozen meetings on this issue with the province’s environment minister.

“But let me be absolutely clear, that it is well within the federal government’s right to take action to protect the environment.”

READ MORE:
Sask. premier describes federal carbon tax plan as a ‘ransom note’

Environment Canada officials earlier in the day said a possible basis for legal action from Saskatchewan would be that the federal government cannot impose a tax on a province or territory. On that front, the feds are safe, the official said.

“This is not a revenue-raising tax,” he said. “This a behaviour-changing measure.”

Any revenue generated from whatever scheme a province develops will go right back to the province, though Ottawa is still determining exactly how that will happen; officials said they are so far looking at ways to return the funds to residents or businesses, which could help offset rising costs of energy.

Most Canadians live in jurisdictions where carbon pollution is already levied in some form.

B.C. and Alberta have carbon taxes, while Ontario and Quebec have cap-and-trade systems. Nova Scotia has said it intends to create a cap-and-trade system in 2018, and the other Atlantic provinces are gauging whether to join Nova Scotia’s plan or go it alone.

While the Liberal government is standing ready to impose the levy scheme it unveiled today, the scheme is also available to any province that doesn’t want to develop and implement its own.

Thursday’s “technical paper” on the federal carbon pricing plan details the levies on liquid, gas and solid fossil fuels Ottawa would impose in order to meet the targets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laid out late last year.

READ MORE:
Brad Wall criticizes attempt to link carbon tax with equalization payments

Canada has agreed to cut its emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. That requires a reduction of almost 200 million tonnes of carbon-equivalent emissions in 13 years, or the equivalent of taking every car in Canada off the road, twice.

In October, Trudeau announced his government’s intention to introduce a minimum price – or “floor price” – for carbon pollution of $10 per tonne in 2018, increasing to $50 per tonne by 2022.

With files from

Forget casual sex – millennials want to date but don’t know how to have healthy relationships: report

Dating and hanging out with friends is top of mind for millennials, but difficult to do because they struggle with cultivating lasting and healthy romantic relationships, a new Harvard report says.

What they’re not up for, however, is casual sex.

According to researchers, teens and adults tend to “greatly overestimate” the hook-up culture of millennials, which fuels misconceptions that can be harmful to young people.

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READ MORE: Should people stay friends with their exes after a breakup?

“We hope that this report is a real wake-up call,” Dr. Richard Weissbourd, lead author of the study, said in a statement. “While adults, and parents in particular, wring their hands about the ‘hook-up culture,’ research indicated that far fewer young people are hooking up than is commonly believed.”

The study surveyed over 3,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 in the U.S., as well as looked at several years of research by Weissbourd and his team. They also talked with adults who are key to the demographic, like parents, teachers, sport coaches and counsellors.

From their research, the team found that when people overestimate the hook-up culture of millennials, it can make them feel embarrassed or ashamed, and puts pressure on them to have sex when they’re not interested or ready.

As well, 70 per cent of respondents said they wished they had been given more information from their parents about the emotional aspects of romantic relationships.

“This focus on the hook-up culture also obscures two much bigger issues that our research suggests many young people are struggling with: forming and maintaining healthy and fulfilling romantic relationships and dealing with widespread misogyny and sexual harassment,” Weissbourd said. “Unfortunately, we also found that most adults appear to be doing very little to address these serious problems.”

In fact, 87 per cent of women who took part in the study said they’d experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime, yet 76 per cent of said they’d never spoken to their parents about how to avoid sexually harassing others.

“[Adults] don’t say anything, even when sexual harassment is right in their midst,” Weissbourd told ABC News. “And many tell us… they don’t say anything because they don’t know what to say. And they fear that they won’t be effective, or they fear they will be written off.”

READ MORE: How to start dating again after ending a long-term relationship

This could be because many millennials don’t feel gender-based degradation is a problem in today’s society.

Digging deeper, researchers found that 48 per cent of young people believe that society has reached a point where double standards against women no longer exist.

Parents are also neglecting to discuss the issue of sexual assault.

Of the respondents, 61 per cent of say they’ve never talked about “being sure your partner wants to have sex and is comfortable doing so before having sex,” the report states. They’ve also never discussed assuring their own comfort before engaging in sex (49 per cent), the importance of not pressuring others into having sex (56 per cent), the importance not continuing that pressure to have sex despite the other person saying ‘no’ (62 per cent), or the importance of not having sex with someone who is too intoxicated or impaired to properly consent (57 per cent).

And those who did have those conversations with their parents say they were “at least somewhat influential.”

To address these issues, researchers offered up several tips for parents.

    Talk about love and help teens understand the differences between mature love and other form of attractionShow young people how to identify healthy and unhealthy relationshipsHelp young people identify misogyny and harassmentIf parents and educators see unhealthy relationship behaviours (like hearing degrading words, for example), they should interveneTalk about what it means to be ethical by helping them develop the skills to maintain healthy romantic relationships and treat those who are different from them with dignity and respect

For more tips, click here.

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Mr. Biggles, ‘utter bastard of a cat,’ up for adoption in Melbourne

A cat adoption agency in Melbourne had some fun with the cat bio for one of their latest wards, Mr. Biggles, describing him in a hilariously honest manner.

“Mr. Biggles (also known as Lord Bigglesworth) is an utter, utter, utter bastard,” it begins.

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According to Gina Brett, the author of the description and a volunteer with the rescue group Cat People of Melbourne, the feline is quite feisty.

READ MORE:
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“Mr. Biggles is a despot and a dictator. He will let you know he is not happy, which is often, because things are often just not up to his high standards,” his bio reads.

The dark humour and straightforward description has seemed to charm several cat lovers.

“This is by far the best description of a cat I have ever read! So raw and honest, I love it!” wrote Facebook user Joanne Keith.

People from around the world have since expressed their admiration of Mr. Biggles.

The rescue group has even launched a blog for the kitty, where they promise he will be updating with articles on “how to play with a dog and not kill it” and “getting what you want from human slaves.”

Although Cat People of Melbourne is accepting applications for people who want to be Mr. Biggles’ “human slave,” no suitable candidate has been found yet.

“Mr. Biggles is not a cat for the inexperienced or faint-hearted. He is a full-blooded tomcat with very firm boundaries,” Brett said. “Mr. Biggles needs an owner that won’t take his nipping personally but won’t let him get away with bad behaviour, either.”

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‘Big Brother Canada’ finale: Season 5 winner crowned

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on unless you’ve watched the Big Brother Canada Season 5 finale.

Big Brother Canada (BBCAN) crowned Kevin Martin as the Season 5 winner during Thursday night’s finale on Global.

Kevin Martin, a 24-year-old professional poker player and content creator from Calgary, Alberta, beat out 16 houseguests to be named champion.

WATCH BELOW: Big Brother Canada: Kevin raises the stakes in Season 5 return

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READ MORE: ‘Big Brother Canada’ host Arisa Cox analyzes returning ‘BBCAN’ vets

The contest came down to fellow finalist Karen Singbeil, 53, and Kevin, who received a second chance at playing the game after appearing in Season 3.

Kevin and Karen both fielded questions from the jury about why they deserved to win the $100,000 grand prize, a $30,000 home furnishing makeover from The Brick and a new 2017 Toyota 76.

Kevin received all nine of the jury votes to secure his victory.

Demetres Giannitsos had previously won the first round of the final head of household competition but Kevin won the second and third rounds and sent Demetres to jury, choosing to take Karen to the final two with him.

“This time I want to get to know people deeper on a personal level,” Kevin said before entering the competition for a second time.

READ MORE: ‘Big Brother Canada’ Season 5: Final group of houseguests revealed

Kevin was one of the first houseguests to be evicted as a result of a triple eviction in Season 3 and he’s also the first houseguest in BBCAN history to be kicked out of the house without receiving any eviction votes against him.

By the end of this season, Kevin felt like he was completely alone in the house and announced that many times to the BBCAN cameras.

In one of his final pleas to the jury members, Kevin said, “Since you all have left, I’ve been by myself in this game. The only reason I am here is because I won the power of veto during the triple eviction. I am alone, isolated and targeted.”

This season, Kevin won head of household twice, the power of veto four times and was put on the block three times.

Before entering the BBCAN house, Kevin was asked, “What element of Big Brother Canada did you not have a chance to try before, that you’d like to experience this time around?”

Kevin’s answer was simple: “The end of the game!”

He continued: “I went home ninth out from the end. The game changes so drastically in those final weeks, the decisions get so much more intense. I want to stick around all the way through to the end.”

Some fans of BBCAN were ecstatic about Kevin’s win.

Others wished that the finale had played out differently.

Were you surprised that Kevin won Big Brother Canada 5?

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Calgary police adopt committee to review sexual assault cases dismissed as unfounded

Calgary police are taking steps to review sexual assault cases that investigators dismiss as unfounded — meaning they have evidence to suggest the offence didn’t occur.

A Case Review Committee is being formed to “take a second look” at cases the Calgary Police Service (CPS) dismiss as unfounded. The approach was first adopted in Philadelphia 17 years ago.

CPS investigators will meet with the independent members of the committee three times a year, according to a release, to review all new cases of reported sexual assault that have been deemed unfounded.

The committee members will be able to look over all details of the cases, except identities and private information about those involved.

WATCH: Wed, May 3: CPS Staff Sergeant Melanie Oncescu from the Child Abuse Unit, believes the confidence and stigma of reporting sexual assaults are being reduces

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Committee members include Alberta’s Minister of Status of Women, as well as representatives from the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Communities against Sexual Abuse (CCASA).

“We know that sexual violence is a gendered crime. The vast majority of survivors of sexual violence are women, and I hope this helps them feel safe to come forward to tell their story,” status of women minister Stephanie MacLean said in a release.

“I want every survivor to know we believe them, and they deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.”

Sarah MacDonald, a forensic psychologist with the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, said she was looking forward to examining and providing insight on how police conduct their investigations into sexual assault reports.

“As a forensic psychologist on the committee, I am excited to provide scientific-based knowledge on memory and forensic interviewing best practices that can be incorporated into the sexual offence strategies,” she said.

Calgary police dismiss about 10 per cent of cases as unfounded

Calgary police said the initiative was undertaken as a result of a Globe and Mail investigation, which revealed police in Canada dismiss one of every five reported sexual assaults as unfounded.

At the time, CPS said, Calgary police dismissed about 10 per cent of sexual assault cases, 62 per year, as unfounded. The national average, according to the Globe and Mail, is 19 per cent.

Studies show the unfounded reporting rate for sexual assaults is between two and eight per cent.

“Calgary’s unfounded rate was lower than average, both nationally and provincially,” Staff Sergeant Bruce Walker said in a release.

“But there are still other police agencies that are doing better than us. We felt it was important to learn from their successes and see what we can do even better here.”

CPS said sexual assaults should only be dismissed as unfounded if investigators have determined the assault didn’t happen or wasn’t attempted, and that no other other offence happened at the reported time and place.

“At CCASA we know that the rate of unfounded cases has needed to be addressed across the country for a long time, and we are very hopeful that this committee will be able to effectively address it in our city,” CCASA CEO Danielle Aubry said in a release.

“We are pleased that the Calgary Police Service has taken a leadership role in recognizing the importance of this issue and is willing to open up their processes to a committee of external community partners.”

Comparatively, Edmonton’s unfounded rate is 10 per cent, Toronto rate is at seven per cent, Ottawa 28 per cent and Halifax 13 per cent.

La Loche school shooting: teen told police he had regrets about the shooting

A teen gunman who killed four people at a home and in a school in northern Saskatchewan told police he had regrets about the shooting.

Dayne and Drayden Fontaine were killed at their house in La Loche in January 2016 before the shooter went to the high school, where he killed a teacher and a teacher’s aide.

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  • La Loche shooter could face significantly different sentences

  • The untold stories of the La Loche, Sask. school shooting

  • La Loche school shooting victim wants adult sentence for teen who killed 4, wounded 7

    READ MORE: Students had a look of ‘horror on their faces’: La Loche shooting victim

    The teen was asked in a videotaped police interview, which was played at his sentencing hearing Thursday, how he felt when he thought about killing the two brothers.

    “I didn’t plan to shoot them, man. I already told you. They weren’t part of the plan,” he said, crying, in the video.

    The officer asked him what the plan was.

    “Go to the school and shoot the f—;ing kids,” said the teen.

    The teen was also asked what he would say to Dayne and Drayden now.

    “Tell them that I’m sorry, man.”

    The teen has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

    The sentencing hearing is to determine if the teen, who can’t be named because he was just shy of his 18th birthday at the time, should be sentenced as a youth or an adult.

    Court has heard that Dayne Fontaine was shot 11 times, twice in the head, and Drayden was shot twice, including in the back of the head.

    The boys’ mother, Alicia Fontaine, told court in Meadow Lake, Sask., that the teen gunman called her two days after the shooting to apologize.

    “I may be angry, but I’m not angry at him,” Fontaine said.

    “I talked to him. He was crying. I forgave him. You can forgive, but you’ll never forget.”

    If it were up to her, Fontaine said, she would not press charges in the deaths of her sons.

    “It is true, my whole world is gone, but I know my babies are in a place where there is no pain,” she said.

    “I have forgiven you.”

    READ MORE: ‘Don’t shoot me’: sentencing hearing underway in La Loche shooting

    The shooter’s mother said the family has also forgiven her son for “this horrible crime.”

    “I was in shock like everyone else,” she told court. “I never knew this was going to happen.”

    The teen’s mother said she feels guilty, although she knows the shooting wasn’t her fault.

    “I am not a bad mother or person. If I knew and seen the signs that he was struggling in life, I could have stopped all of this from happening,” she said.

    “Sometimes, as parents, we are unaware of the struggles that our children have.”

    Video surveillance from the school shows the teen walking and running through hallways firing a shotgun. Teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier were killed and seven others were hurt.

    In the police interview, the teen is asked who he was targeting when he went into the school.

    “Nobody,” he replied.

    FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting

    The officer asked the teen who he was looking for when he was trying to open doors.

    “Teachers and students,” he said.

    The defence has said there is no simple reason behind the shooting and little about the motive has been made clear so far.

    Earlier in the interview, the shooter said he never felt bullied. The officer also asked the teen if he felt the school had “wronged” him.

    “Not really,” he said. “I don’t think so, no.”