Piikani musician inspiring and giving back through song – Lethbridge

by admin on 27/10/2018

More than just his music, Ira Provost is quickly sharing a message and empowering other proud Aboriginals.

“Being a First Nations person it’s really important to convey a positive message that change is possible, and that working together and working for the right cause we can do good things,” said Provost.

Provost is celebrating the release of his second CD, ‘EverMore’, an 11-track album with deep cultural significance.

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“My songs are about family, about community, about my community the Peigan Nation, as well as Aboriginal awareness, and some political issues,” explained Provost. “Things that I care about I tend to write about.”

A man with as much heart as his background, Provost was born and raised on the Piikani Nation reserve, where his roots remain.

“The song is really about the Piikani Nation, [it’s] about being proud about who I am and where I come from,” said Provost.

Provost has been sharing his talents for 30 years and with this CD, the self-taught musician is using his gift to pay it forward. A portion of sales are going back into his community to help fund the Mary Ann McDougall Memorial Elder’s Centre.

“In our culture, the elders are central to our community and it’s important to pay that respect,” said Provost.

“If you have a talent, or a way to help a worthwhile cause, such as an elder’s community, you definitely should.”

But his music reaches far beyond the confines of the reserve. Provost has been inspiring others and spreading First Nations awareness through his songs for years.

“He bridges cultures and he does it through music,” said University of Lethbridge professor Michelle Hogue. “That’s really critical because he gets the message out in a medium that everyone understands. It’s a lot different than sitting in a classrom and having someone tell you how to do that, he actually demonstrates that.”

Provost has been writing the album for years but produced it in only one year, working day and night so the release would coincide with Native Awareness week.

“I felt it was the right time to coincide with some of their activites, I’m a student myself so it really combines a lot of the efforts,” said Provost.

Efforts with an enormous reach, riding on the power of Provost’s music.

Click here for more on Provost’s music.

Keith Baldrey: The fine print of B.C.’s liquor reform package

by admin on 27/10/2018

If things go according to plan, you’ll be able to buy booze in your neighborhood grocery store sometime in early 2015.

The B.C. government released the fine print on its liquor reform package this afternoon, and various parts of that package will be phased in over more than a year.

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  • B.C. farmers’ market vendors eager for liquor sales

  • Consultation phase over for B.C. liquor policy review

The biggest change, of course, is allowing alcohol to be sold in grocery stores (not convenience stores by the way). A two-part model will be used to implement this change, with the first part being a “store within a store” model, where alcohol can be purchased in a designated area that is distinctly different and separate from grocery products.

The second model will allow B.C. wine and beer (no liquor)  to be sold on grocery shelves, next to cookies, cereal or whatever. The number of existing liquor licenses will remain frozen at 670, but a limited number of new licenses to sell B.C. wine and beer will be created.

B.C. is also about to become the last province to allow so-called “happy hours”, where patrons can purchase discounted (to a set minimum) drinks during a defined period. Attorney-General Suzanne Anton insists this doesn’t run counter to her government’s aggressive crackdown on drinking and driving, although some critics think otherwise.

It’s apparent these changes will make a liquor license, as it relates to the store model, a rather valuable commodity. They will now be allowed to be sold and transferred all over the province (currently, a license can’t “move” more than five kilometers from the town or city in which it operates). So, theoretically, a license can move from, say, a Kamloops-based store to one in Surrey.

The government seems to recognize this sudden increase in value and to that end it will – surprise! – slap a fee or levy on any liquor license that changes hands.

Finally, the bottom line for many folks is: do all these changes mean the price of booze will go up or down?

According to Anton, the answer seems to be: no.

Bottoms up!

B.C. allows liquor sales in grocery stores

by admin on 27/10/2018

VICTORIA – British Columbians will soon be able to buy wine and beer at the same grocery store where they pick up their eggs and bread.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton introduced amendments to B.C.’s Liquor Control and Licensing Act on Thursday that reforms and modernizes the province’s outdated liquor rules.

The legislation results from the Liberal government’s year-long liquor policy review that produced 73 recommendations, of which the government said it accepted every one.

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Thursday’s legislation will implement 15 of the 73 recommendations, including a model to allow alcohol sales in grocery stores due by next winter.

“Our government will be adopting a unique and flexible framework for liquor sales in grocery stores,” Anton said at a news conference prior to introducing the amendments in the legislature.

“Our two-part model is one that will bring convenience and selection, something that British Columbians told us that they are looking for,” she said. “The model comes with built it safeguards, keeping with our commitment to protect health and public safety and to make sure our minors don’t have easy access to alcohol.”

READ MORE: Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey talks about the fine print of B.C.’s liquor reform package

Anton said the changes will not result in alcohol sold in every grocery store in the province because the government will continue to restrict the total number of liquor outlets in B.C.

She said alcohol sales will not be permitted in convenience stores.

“That’s a step too far,” she said. “We’re not going in that direction.”

But she said grocery customers will be able to use one shopping cart to buy alcohol and groceries, but will end up using two check outs — one for their groceries, the other for alcohol.

Anton said the amended liquor laws permit the transfer and sale of liquor licences, prompting Opposition New Democrat liquor modernization critic Shane Simpson to suggest sales of liquor licences could reach premium prices but could leave smaller markets dry.

“They may create a situation where small communities lose their licences because they are extremely valuable,” he said.

Simpson said he’s concerned the government decided to serve up the liquor changes in instalments, leaving the industry confused about timing and directions.

“We don’t know what we are dealing with here,” said Simpson, who called the amendments “shallow populism.”

Anton said the first phase of the changes will see alcohol sold at farmer’s markets by this summer, happy hours with special drink prices and alcohol zones at festivals without the usual fencing.

The amendments will permit B.C. liquor manufacturers to offer products for sample and sale at farmer’s markets.

Happy hours will allow liquor licence holders to offer time-limited drink specials, but the price cannot drop below minimums accepted by health advocates, Anton said.

She said the amendments include allowing golf courses and ski hills to temporarily extend their licensed areas to another part of their property to permit alcohol sales near ski lifts or patios near the gold club house.

Business group tells U.S. Senate to name the next ambassador to Canada – National

by admin on 27/10/2018

WASHINGTON – A prominent business group says it’s time the U.S. Senate appointed the next ambassador to Canada, calling the delay in his confirmation a counter-productive and unnecessary result of partisan games.

The Canadian American Business Council said nominee Bruce Heyman is qualified for the job and shouldn’t be forced to wait any longer.

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It sent a letter Thursday to the leaders of both parties in the Senate, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, asking them to approve an appointment that has already received the backing of the chamber’s foreign-relations committee.

“Talented Americans, who have been asked by our government to serve in public life, should not have to put their own lives on hold indefinitely while the Senate is mired in partisan gamesmanship,” said Maryscott Greenwood, one of two people to co-sign the letter.

“Due process is one thing. Indefinite limbo is another. The Canada-U.S. relationship is too important, too complicated and too relevant to our economy and our security to be left much longer without a chief of mission.”

The U.S. has gone eight months without an ambassador to Ottawa.

President Barack Obama has named Heyman, a Chicago investment banker, to replace David Jacobson, a Chicago-born lawyer. Heyman had a smooth confirmation hearing before the foreign-relations committee last December, and was recommended by that body soon thereafter, but nothing has happened since.

Dozens of diplomatic nominations are being held up in the Senate over what Democrats view as partisan payback from Republicans amid a dispute over the appointments process.

The business council’s members include some of the best-known companies in North America, including Coca-Cola, Ford, GE, Shell, and BlackBerry. It also includes several past and present diplomats on its advisory board – including current Canadian ambassador to Washington Gary Doer.

The letter’s other co-signatory is Lockheed Martin executive Bill Dalson, the chair of the business council.

“Given the bipartisan support for Mr. Heyman’s nomination, the full Senate should act quickly on his nomination,” the letter said. “A vacancy in this key position undermines U.S. economic, diplomatic, and security objectives.”

It’s by no means the longest gap between ambassadors to Canada. The delay in the 1990s between James Blanchard and Gordon Giffin lasted a year and a half.

In this case, it’s occurring in an environment where Senate Republicans are angry at the Democrats for changing the rules to prevent filibusters and make it easier to appoint President Barack Obama’s picks for cabinet and the judiciary.

The Republicans have also questioned the competency of some of Obama’s diplomatic picks, suggesting that their main qualification was having raised money for the Democratic party.

Some of those nominees did not help their case at their nomination hearing, making gaffes that went viral online.

Like Jacobson, Heyman is a well-connected Democratic fundraiser – but his hearing went quickly and smoothly, showing no sign that his appointment might eventually become ensnared in political drama.

The delay comes as Canada and the U.S. are believed to be working toward carbon-emissions rules for the oil-and-gas sector, with the Keystone XL pipeline debate happening in the backdrop.

©2014The Canadian Press

CAQ promises $1,000 worth of tax breaks – Montreal

by admin on 27/10/2018

QUEBEC CITY – The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) is promising to scrap health and school taxes and put $1,000 back in Quebecers’ pockets.

The party also promised to balance the books in its first year in power.

On Thursday, the CAQ said a hiring freeze in the civil service would free up $2.5 billion. Enough money, the party said, to allow for the abolition of health and school taxes and still balance the budget.

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“What we’re proposing today is to increase the number of people giving services and decrease the number of people in offices,” said CAQ leader François Legault.

Legault also promised to cut government IT expenses, corporate tax credits, and recuperate corruption money. At the end of the day, Quebecers would get $1,000 back in their pockets.

“This $1,000 in their pocket will be on a recurring basis,” said CAQ Lévis candidate and accountant Christian Dubé.

“That’s a lot of money; it’s one mortgage payment, for groceries.”

Union president Lucie Martineau deplored the fact the CAQ is again campaigning on the backs of civil servants.

“I have six per cent less members than in 2004,” Martineau said.

“The ‘ballooning’ civil service is a myth.”

While PQ Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau was calling the CAQ’s fiscal framework “desperate” and “ridiculous”, young families Global News met in Lévis were more than intrigued.

“I think it’s interesting yes. We have six children, so for us it would be great if it happened,” said Kaavin Boulé.

“Obviously, it’d be nice to have $1,000, but is it a promise they can keep?” asked Isabelle Brochu.

Legault said yes, tax breaks are possible. He said his biggest adversary in this campaign is people’s resignation, there is no alternative way to manage the province.

Alain Bilodeau, a young father of three, thinks Legault is on the right track.

“It’s a good start. We are way overtaxed here in Quebec.”

The CAQ is trying to keep its six seats in the Quebec City area but with François Legault down in the polls, the PQ and the Liberals are eyeing the region, hoping to convince voters that a vote for the CAQ is a vote that is wasted.

©2014Shaw Media