Monthly Archives: May 2019

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The Fonz gives Captain Kirk a thumbs-up – Calgary

BANFF, Alta. – Actor Henry Winkler says William Shatner is the perfect choice as grand marshal of this year’s Calgary Stampede parade because he attracts followers wherever he goes.

Winkler is attending the Banff World Media Festival to receive the Award of Excellence — an honour previously bestowed on his close friend Shatner.

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“Bill Shatner is an idiosyncratic human being who creates a Bill Shatner Avenue through the world. And he loves horses, he raises horses, he rides horses,” Winkler said in an interview.

“He is one of our most wonderful actors.”

Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” series as well as in the movies, has won several Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.

It’s not clear if Shatner will lead the parade July 4 on horseback or ride in a wagon or antique car — a starship, however, is most unlikely.

Shatner, 83, has said he has been to Calgary before, but never to the Stampede.

Winkler, who played The Fonz in the TV series “Happy Days” in the 1970s and ’80s, said Shatner has a way of making people feel positive about themselves.

“I was auditioning for a movie. It went horribly wrong a year or two ago. I was walking down the concrete path from where I did the audition and he had an office next door,” he recalled.

“I told Bill what had just happened and he talked me through it. By the time I had left his office, I had forgotten I didn’t get the job.

“He will always be in my heart.”

The Calgary Stampede runs from July 4 to 13.

Ontario election: NDP bus offers a strange ride for reporters – Toronto

It’s a cross between a 1950’s diner, and a basement rec room – except it’s on wheels.

Welcome aboard ‘Easy Rider,’ the NDP campaign bus.

The first thing you notice are the seats. They are red and black leather (or is that pleather?) and placed in an odd configuration of communal tables and couches.

Unlike traditional campaign buses with simple chairs and desks, the NDP have opted for a vehicle that is used for crews travelling on the NASCAR circuit.

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There are bunk beds, TV’s, a sound system, a small fridge, water cooler and ample Wi-Fi.

In Depth: Ontario Election 2014

This election is not the first talent search where the bus has been used. Look closely and you’ll notice promotional signs for a shampoo company inside. No, the NDP haven’t found sponsors, the bus was actually used for the Much Music VJ search (those decals are still inside too).

The only problem is that there aren’t enough desks for every journalist to work while on the bus.

But fear not, the New Democrats have developed a solution: you can work from the comfort of a plastic lap desk, while sitting sideways on a (p)leather couch, travelling down the highway at 110km/hr.

It gets a little messy come meal time.

As for those bunk beds strapped to the ceiling – no one has quite figured out how to get into them (not that any reporter would have time for a nap).

FIFA head Blatter lashes out at corruption claims – National

SAO PAULO, Brazil – FIFA President Sepp Blatter has hit out at critics who he says want to destroy football’s governing body.

Blatter’s comments to unspecified critics were made to Asian football officials on Monday following widespread allegations by The Sunday Times of corrupt payments by their former leader Mohamed bin Hammam.

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“I don’t know what the reasoning is behind this but we must maintain unity,” Blatter told the gathering of Asian Football Confederation members. “It is the best way to say to all the destructors in the world, they want to destroy not the game, but they want to destroy the institution.”

The British newspaper has reported that Bin Hammam paid millions of dollars to Asian and African officials, buying influence for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup campaign and his own FIFA presidential challenge to Blatter in 2011.

READ MORE: FIFA exec hits back at newspaper corruption claims

Blatter also reminded Asian officials of “Qatargate,” a series of reports by France Football magazine which aggressively questioned the integrity of FIFA’s World Cup hosting vote.

The FIFA chief, who is widely expected to stand for re-election next year, turned the criticism into an appeal for him to remain in office.

“We are in the situation where we need leadership. I still have fire inside me,” said the 78-year-old Blatter, who has led FIFA since 1998.

Asian officials stood to acclaim Blatter’s request for support, following an earlier ovation from African delegates.

WATCH: FIFA head Sepp Blatter responds to media questions following allegations that the 2022 World Cup vote was rigged. 

Minutes earlier, he promised FIFA member countries bonus payments from 2014 World Cup profits. The tournament revenue will approach $4.5 billion for FIFA.

“I am sure you will be very happy,” Blatter said.

In 2010, Blatter pledged FIFA members would each get $250,000 bonuses from the World Cup in South Africa, and continental confederations would get $2.5 million.

FIFA pledged a further $300,000 for each country in January 2011, four months before Blatter was elected unopposed. Bin Hammam withdrew when implicated by a FIFA investigation into allegations he bribed Caribbean voters.

After its meeting Monday, CAF published a statement threatening legal action against The Sunday Times, which claimed that officials from 30 African football federations sought and received cash, gifts and favours from Bin Hammam up to 2011.

The assembly urged the CAF board to “file a lawsuit, if necessary, so that the authors of this smearing and defamatory campaign against African football leaders are brought to the book.”

The statement praised Blatter for fighting against racism, and Hayatou for “transparent and distinguished leadership.”

In December 2011, IOC member Hayatou was reprimanded by the Olympic body for receiving 100,000 French francs (then $20,000) cash in 1995 from FIFA’s then marketing partner ISL. The agency later collapsed into bankruptcy and sparked a World Cup kickbacks scandal.

The IOC cited a conflict of interest for Hayatou who had denied wrongdoing.

Interim University of Saskatchewan president to slow TransformUS down – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan’s acting president has formally replied to an open letter protesting the TransformUS cost-cutting process.

The DefendUS group began circulating an open letter several weeks ago asking for signatures to help restore collegiality, transparency and meaningful consultation at the university.

The letter calls for the TransformUS process to halt and for a review of the school’s self-projected $44.5 million operating budget deficit by 2016.

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Former U of S president Ilene Busch-Vishniac was fired in May following outrage over the dismissal of Dr. Robert Buckingham, a tenured professor and dean who spoke out against the TransformUS process.

DefendUS stated they were “particularly alarmed” by the firing of Buckingham and the overall silencing of dissent among faculty and administrators.

In response to the letter, sent with over 1,000 signatures, the group received a response from the new interim U of S president Gordon Barnhart on June 6.

Barnhart stated in his letter the TransformUS process will now move slower and the school’s finances will be reviewed.

“We are committed to slowing down this process and taking time to deliberate carefully on what happens next,” said Barnhart.

“I, too, want to have as much information about our finances before we move forward.”

Barnhart also said he would like to take DefendUS up on their request for some type of public meeting in the near future.

“I myself want to talk to students, deans, staff and faculty members over the coming weeks. I think we need to speak to alumni, our board, council, senate and other stakeholders as well,” said Barnhart.

According to their website, DefendUS feels Barnhart’s reply is a good step towards meaningful consultation and ensures everyone feels heard.

“I think with the last administration, we would’ve been foolish maybe to expect a response. I think it’s a good signaling from interim president Barnhart that he’s open to dialogue,” said Dan LeBlanc, a DefendUS orgranizer.

“It’s very positive for us. We remain vigilant about it but we’re open to discuss and we think it’s a really positive step.”

DefendUS remains concerned the interim president did not reject TransformUS altogether, but knows change takes time.

Wynne softens tone, but keeps up attacks on ‘wrong-headed’ rivals – Toronto

Watch above: Why Kathleen Wynne is urging voters to question the motivations of her opponents. Alan Carter reports. 

CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – Premier Kathleen Wynne adopted a somewhat softer campaign tone Monday even as she kept up her attacks on her rivals, calling them poor choices for Ontario voters come election day.

Speaking at an elementary school, Wynne spoke at length about her political motivations as she touted the Liberal track record on education.

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It was as a young mother who saw the disruptions in the education system under former Progressive Conservative premier Mike Harris that she was driven to try to improve the system, she said.

The system, she said, is now under threat from her Tory opponent, Tim Hudak, with his pledge to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs.

“The reason that I’m in politics is that when it was tried before under Mike Harris, it didn’t work. It created chaos in the system,” Wynne said.

“That’s what motivated me then … and that’s what motivates me now. That’s why I’m in this.”

In pointed speeches over the weekend, Wynne characterized both Hudak and New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath as being reckless and misleading voters.

Read More: Here’s the issues that might make the party leaders regret being premier

She blasted their approach and platforms, and pleaded with NDP voters to side with her as the only way to stop Hudak.

She insisted they were scandalmongers and mudslingers for calling the Liberal government corrupt and dishonest over the gas plants scandal, which will cost taxpayers an estimated $1.1 billion.

On Monday, however, Wynne sounded a softer note as she reflected on a “very lively campaign” she said should be about more than tactics, strategy and politics.

She pointed to higher graduation rates and other education improvements that have occurred over the past decade under a Liberal government she only took over 16 months ago.

Hudak would undermine those improvements with a plan that “starts with cuts and continues with cuts,” Wynne said.

“It’s wrong-headed. I don’t believe it. We’ve seen it before.”

At the same time, she said, Horwath is simply “stringing together a bunch of disparate ideas” leading to a “real incoherence” in what the opposition is saying.

In Depth: Ontario Election 2014

Wynne said she wanted voters to understand the “stark” choice they have June 12. She said she saw no contradiction in saying she wanted to stay away from tactics and strategy while continuing to criticize her opponents and their platforms.

“This is an election campaign – it is a pitched competition between political parties,” Wynne said.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that there are two options facing people: One is Tim Hudak’s cut-and-slash agenda, and one is our plan, which would build the province up.”

At a later stop in Stratford, Wynne played up the importance of agriculture to the province and of bridging the urban-rural divide.

“There is only one Ontario,” she said.

©2014The Canadian Press