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Mother of murdered woman denied funeral costs from victims services

Written By doni icha on Rabu, 15 April 2015 | 22.40

 Angela Poorman

Angela Poorman, 29, was stabbed to death on Dec. 14, 2014. Her case is one of 230 missing and murdered indigenous women's cases CBC found that remain unsolved.

A grieving mother is struggling to understand why the province has refused to help her pay for her murdered daughter's funeral.

"They just stomped on us. That's how I feel. They just stomped on her," said Janett Poorman, from her Burnaby, B.C. home.

Poorman's daughter, Angela Poorman, 29, was stabbed to death on Dec. 14, 2014.

Her case is one of 230 missing and murdered indigenous women's cases CBC found that remain unsolved.

Poorman asked Manitoba's Compensation for Victims of Crime program for help and she was denied because of her daughter's past criminal record. 

Less than a month after her daughter's death, Poorman found out she is on the hook for the $4,500 funeral bill.

Poorman submitted an application for the funeral costs under Manitoba's compensation for victims of crime program.

That application was rejected and the victims services employee dissuaded the family from filing an appeal saying there was no point in trying.

"They just stomped on us. That's how I feel. They just stomped on her."-Janett Poorman

Under the province's Victims' Bill of Rights, family members who have to pay the victim's funeral costs are eligible for up to $5,400. 

That amount may be reduced if the victim was convicted of an offence in the past five years. 

​Victim's offences a sign of poverty

In Angela's case, she had 10 convictions, the majority of which were breaching her conditions of release. Her original convictions were one count of driving while impaired and one count of identity theft for which she was fined and put on probation.

"The types of offences on her criminal record are those of someone who was experiencing poverty and are not uncommon to people who have a lower socio-ecomonic status in society," said Christa Big Canoe, Legal Director, Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto.

Janett Poorman

Janett Poorman looks over the rejection letter she received from Manitoba Justice. She applied to have her murdered daughter's funeral covered by the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program. (CBC)

"How is it her victimization -  in this case homicide -  is outweighed by the minor offences that exists on her criminal record?" she said. 

Big Canoe points out the province had a choice when it denied Poorman's application. The Victims' Bill of Rights says "the director may... deny or reduce the amount of compensation payable."   

That means there is wiggle room, Big Canoe says, because "when the word 'may' is used, it means there is discretion, so this is a policy choice or a directive."

"How is it her victimization - in this case homicide - is outweighed by the minor offences that exists on her criminal record?"- Christa Big Canoe, Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto

The Victims' Bill of Rights was changed in 2011 to allow for the exclusion of people with recent minor criminal convictions. At the time, the intent was to quell criticism that criminals were getting benefits as a result of injuries sustained in the commission of crimes.

"The intent of the law is that there is no discretion for the victims' services office, but there is the appeals process and the director can then take another look at it," said Rachel Morgan, a government spokesperson.  

Aboriginal people shut out of victim compensation rules

Manitoba's victim compensation laws end up excluding a large number of aboriginal people by virtue of their over-representation in the criminal justice system, explained Big Canoe.

Christa Big Canoe, Legal Advocacy Director. Aboriginal Legal Service of Toronto

Christa Big Canoe says compassionate grounds or exceptions should be built in to our victim compensation laws. (CBC)

In the past five years of available data, the amount paid out per year in victim compensation has gone from a high of $3.9 million in 2009/10  to to $3.3 million in 2013/14.

 "There is a consideration tax dollars should not be spent on criminals and there is no space or means for compassionate grounds or exceptions. Those are the things that should be built in that are lacking," she added.

Poorman can't understand why the province would deny her burial costs after she has been through so much. 

"I just don't understand their laws. I just don't know how they can treat people like this," she said.

The province issued a statement which said Poorman may be entitled to compensation from its Employment and Income Assistance department for the funeral expenses and that EIA staff have been trying to contact her in order to provide payment. 

Poorman says her numerous phone calls to EIA have not been returned since February.

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Gang victims allegedly won't co-operate, so Surrey RCMP release their photos

RCMP in Surrey, B.C., have taken the unusual step of releasing the names and photographs of men it alleges are contributing to a gang war that has resulted in at least 17 shootings in the city, and three in Delta since March 9.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Chief Supt. Bill Fordy stood beside a poster board with the likenesses of the men allegedly involved in the violence, with most described as victims.

He said two different groups of South Asian and Somalian descent that are involved in low-level drug trafficking are engaged in a turf war.

So far, RCMP have only managed to arrest Delta resident Arman Dhatt, who is charged with 12 firearms and drug trafficking offences.

Despite community involvement and overt and covert enforcement tactics, police says one of their biggest problems is the alleged lack of co-operation from the individuals who have been shot.

Fordy provided a list of some of their responses, including.

  • "The bullets fell from the sky."
  • "I will take care of it myself."
  • "Don't you worry about it ... no need for you cops to be here."

He said one of the victims even admitted to knowing who did the shooting and the motive, but refused to tell police.

Surrey RCMP gang war

Chief Supt. Bill Fordy of Surrey, B.C., RCMP says unco-operative victims are compromising the police's ability to make arrests in an ongoing gang turf war that has resulted in at least 19 shootings in just over a month. (CBC)

Fordy said this lack of co-operation is compromising their ability to make arrests.

"We are disappointed with the lack of co-operation from the victims and we know the community is frustrated as well," he said.

"Today, I again appeal to the family, friends and those of you who know any of the people pictured here. We need information on their whereabouts, their connections and their activities."

RCMP have released a list of 13 individuals. The first eight are new names not previously released by police. The other five are names police first released on March 12.

PHOTOS: Surrey RCMP's list of unco-operative victims in gang turf war

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Indian PM signs uranium deal to kick off 3-day visit to Canada

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signed a deal to buy more than 3,000 tonnes of Saskatchewan uranium over the next five years to fuel his country's power reactors.

The five-year contract comes as Modi opens the first full day of his visit to Canada.

Modi began the day by meeting Gov. Gen. David Johnston at Rideau Hall before a 21-gun salute and full military honours greeted him in the shadow of the Centre Block, where Harper ushered him into the building for a face-to-face meeting.

"Your visit has been much anticipated," Harper told Modi as the pair shook hands for the benefit of gathered television cameras.

"It's a very important relationship for our country ... it's wonderful."

Trade, energy, the environment, security, and culture are expected to be among the issues Harper and Modi will discuss during the visit.

The deal for Saskatchewan's Cameco Corp to export uranium to India was announced shortly before the two leaders addressed the media. Harper said it shows the commitment of the two countries to expand trade and business.

The uranium deal with is one of a number of agreements signed today, including pledges to co-operate in the areas of civil aviation, rail transport and education and skills development.

Harper will also accompany the charismatic Modi to Vancouver, with no fewer than 16 fellow Conservatives scheduled to appear with them at various events.

Indian PM Harper 20150414

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he arrives in Ottawa Tuesday evening. Following his meetings on Parliament HIll Wednesday, his packed schedule takes him to Toronto for events with Indo-Canadian groups. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

A number of key Conservative MPs, including Defence Minister Jason Kenney, were on hand to greet Modi when his plane arrived Tuesday in Ottawa.

Modi's trip is the first bilateral visit to Canada by an Indian prime minister since Indira Gandhi was hosted in 1973 by then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

The visit gives Canadians their first glimpse of Modi, who swept to power last May. Handfuls of supporters lined the lawn in front of the Parliament buildings, chanting his name as he arrived.

"He's a rock star," said Ravi Desai, an international student and IT worker from India who lives in Ottawa.

"He's putting aside a lot of traditional things that other governments used to do and he's focusing on technology, and that's what (the youth of India) need," he said.

Louise Comeau, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, would like to see Modi and Harper prod each other to make strong commitments to reduce greenhouse gases ahead of the UN climate conference in Paris in December.

"Neither country is performing to its best potential," she said. "We have a very large population in Canada with connections in India — we have opportunities for trading in clean energy."

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Adios, Canadian-made Corolla: it's going to Mexico

Toyota will spend $1 billion to invest in an assembly plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, and move production of its popular Corolla sedan there from another plant in Cambridge, Ont.

The Mexican factory will have the capacity to crank out 200,000 cars a year, bringing an end to the production of the Corolla in Canada. It is one of the best-selling cars in the country and had been built here since the plant opened in the 1980s.

Toyota has made more than three million Corollas in Ontario since opening its first plant, but from now on, they will all be built either in the Mexican plant, or an existing one in Mississippi.

Toyota says Wednesday's news doesn't mean the end for the Cambridge plant, however. It will "switch from producing Corollas to mid-sized, higher-value vehicles," although a release Wednesday doesn't specify which ones.

"We are thrilled to invest further in North America so we can better meet the needs of our customers for decades to come," said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota's North American unit.

Toyota Milestone-Mississippi

A worker at Toyota's Mississippi plant. After Wednesday's move, the plant will be one of the two places where the company builds its popular Corolla sedan. (The Associated Press)

"Transforming our Canadian vehicle assembly plants is an equally important part of our strategic plan to position the North America region for sustainable long-term growth."

Toyota recently invested $100 million into the Cambridge-area facilities, which the company says should add about 400 new jobs and introduce hybrid production and increase capacity at the plants.

The Woodstock plant will continue to manufacture the RAV4, a vehicle competing in a rapidly growing segment. The Cambridge South Plant will continue to build the Lexus RX 350 and 450h, the newest models of which were recently unveiled.

The first Corollas from the 2020 model year will start rolling off the line in Mexico some time in 2019.

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No right to pray at municipal council meetings, Canada's top court rules

Elected officials do not have the right to recite prayers at municipal council meetings, Canada's top court says in a unanimous decision.

The case dates back to 2007, when Alain Simoneau, a resident of Saguenay, Que., complained about councillors praying in public at city hall.

The Supreme Court of Canada concluded Wednesday that Mayor Jean Tremblay was promoting his own religious beliefs to the detriment of others, which is in breach of the state's duty of neutrality. 

The court has ordered the City of Saguenay and the mayor to stop reciting prayer.

It also ordered the city and Tremblay to pay Simoneau a total of $33,200 in compensatory damages, punitive damages and costs. 

The Supreme Court did not rule out the presence of religious symbols, because it decided to limit the scope of its investigation to prayer only. 

Tremblay declined a request for an interview Wednesday. He is expected to hold a news conference Thursday morning at city hall.

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Alberta election 2015: Are Jim Prentice's PCs really in trouble?

Written By doni icha on Selasa, 14 April 2015 | 22.40

Never in the field of Canadian elections have polls meant so little to so many.

A governing party trailing in second place, maybe even third, and with its leader posting dismal approval ratings, would normally set off alarm bells.

But this is Alberta, and old habits die hard.

After 44 years in power and 12 consecutive election victories, anything but a win by Jim Prentice's Progressive Conservatives is dismissed by many as nearly fantastical.

Even the pollsters are couching their analyses with warnings of the changes likely to come. The Tories may be in dire straits now, but the election is many weeks away. The inevitable will still, probably, come to pass — right?

But re-alignments can happen swiftly. Are the polls presaging a historic defeat for the Alberta PCs, or is there good reason to believe that what the numbers show now will not be the same on May 5, when Albertans cast their ballots?

The case for the polls

ThreeHundredEight.com's latest aggregation of the polls released Monday show the Wildrose Party holds the lead with about 30 per cent support, followed closely by the Progressive Conservatives at 28 per cent and the New Democrats at 26 per cent. The Alberta Liberals bring up the rear with 12 per cent support.

This outcome would likely deliver a minority government headed by either Wildrose or the Tories, with the edge narrowly going to Wildrose. It is too close to say anything more definitive.

If these results were repeated on election day, it would be the best showing for the NDP since 1989 and the worst for the PCs since 1967.

This alone should raise some red flags. But the polls reported in the media have been remarkably consistent. In the three polls conducted by different polling firms since the beginning of April, Wildrose has registered between 30 and 31 per cent, the PCs between 25 and 27 per cent, and the NDP between 26 and 28 per cent. What first looked like a fluke at the end of March has been confirmed again and again.

Other indicators back up these numbers.

Alta Elxn Jean 20150407

Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, centre, is not well known in the province, but begins his first campaign as leader with good numbers. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

Prentice's approval ratings have dropped precipitously. From more than 50 per cent in polls conducted in December, Prentice has registered an approval rating of between 22 and 29 per cent in two recent polls, with his disapproval rating topping out at 60 per cent or higher.

In 2012, when the PCs were running behind Wildrose, the polls never showed such low numbers for then-premier Alison Redford. Only in the weeks shortly before her resignation did her numbers turn so sour.

The budget seems to have been a catalyst for this decline. Polling by Insights West suggested that 78 per cent of Albertans thought the budget would have a negative effect on their households, and a majority did not think that the fall in oil prices justified it.

Fears of change amid an unstable economical climate also appear low. ThinkHQ found that just 30 per cent of Albertans agreed that a change of government would make things worse on that front.

There are also signs that the NDP's stellar climb into contention is no anomaly. NDP Leader Rachel Notley boasts, by a wide margin, the best approval ratings in Alberta. The most recent poll by Forum Research pegged her approval rating at 42 per cent, with just 21 per cent disapproving of her.

The case for another PC victory

The experience of the 2012 election, however, looms large over this campaign. Every poll published during the writ period suggested that Wildrose would win. Instead, the Tories were re-elected with a large majority of seats. A warranted skepticism has defined Albertans' views of the polls since.

But leaving aside the possibility that the polls are just wrong (and the record of the polls in 2012 is far more nuanced than that), there are good reasons to believe the results on election night will differ markedly from where the numbers are now.

The most important one may be the incumbency factor, which plays into the hands of every governing party. Unexpected victories by the incumbent have happened recently in provincial elections from British Columbia to Quebec. And in 2012, the Alberta PCs were trailing from the first week of the campaign.

The incumbency factor could play an even larger role in this campaign because of the relative obscurity of Brian Jean, Wildrose's recently named leader. The latest Forum poll showed that 47 per cent of Albertans had no opinion of him, leaving a lot of minds left to be made up. And considering that 44 per cent of respondents told ThinkHQ they found Wildrose "too extreme," those minds could be made up to Jean's detriment.

Notley, too, is still unknown to more than a third of Albertans.

And then there are the Liberals, who are on track to have candidates on the ballot in only half of the province's ridings. If that happens, they will certainly not get the 12 per cent the polls are currently giving them. Where will those orphaned voters go? To the PCs to block Wildrose, the reason for the Liberals' collapse in 2012, or to the NDP, the other left-of-centre option?

Added to all of this is the reality that a majority of Albertans say they have yet to be convinced to vote for any party. In ThinkHQ's most recent poll, fully 58 per cent of respondents said they could change their mind. 

That makes for a lot of voters up for grabs, and the likelihood that the result on election night will resemble the polls today slim. But that doesn't necessarily mean Jim Prentice's PCs will end up on top.

The poll by Forum Research was conducted between April 7 and 9, 2015, interviewing 1,661 Albertans via interactive voice response. The margin of error associated with the poll is +/- 2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The poll by ThinkHQ was conducted between April 2 and 6, 2015, interviewing 1,835 Albertans via the Internet. As the poll was conducted online, a margin of error does not apply.

The poll by Insights West was conducted between March 27 and 30, 2015, interviewing 602 Albertans via the Internet. As the poll was conducted online, a margin of error does not apply.

ThreeHundredEight.com's vote projection model aggregates all publicly released polls, weighing them by sample size, date and the polling firm's accuracy record. The projections are subject to the margins of error of the opinion polls included in the model, as well as the unpredictable nature of politics at the riding level. The polls included in the model vary in size, date and method, and have not been individually verified by the CBC. You can read the full methodology here.

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Researchers quit science Hall of Fame panel over lack of women nominees

Judy Illes

University of British Columbia neurologist Judy Illes, above, along with her colleague Catherine Anderson, resigned from the selection committee of the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame this month after realizing that no women had been nominated for induction two years in a row. (University of British Columbia)

Two female researchers tasked with helping to recognize the top scientists in the country have stepped down from their duties to protest lack of recognition for other women in the field.

Judy Illes and Catherine Anderson resigned from the selection committee of the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame this month after realizing that no women had been nominated for induction two years in a row.

 To have zero women two years in a row signifies a failure on our part to really reach out as needed.
- Judy Illes, University of British Columbia

Illes, a professor of neurology at the University of British Columbia, called for more direct efforts to solicit nominations of female candidates after men swept the ballot during the 2013-14 nomination period. When the result was duplicated for 2014-15, Illes stepped down to voice her objections to what she felt was a flawed process.

Anderson, a member of UBC's faculty of medicine, followed suit days later.

The Canada Science and Technology Museum, which houses the Hall of Fame, runs a nomination period of approximately one year during which the public is invited to put names forward for consideration. Illes said she pushed for officials to be more aggressive in advertising the nomination process among universities and other institutions, but feels her calls were ultimately ignored.

Canada Science and Technology Museum Ottawa

The Canada Science and Technology Museum, which houses the Hall of Fame, runs a nomination period of approximately one year during which the public is invited to put names forward for consideration. (CBC)

"We...did not do a satisfactory job in eliciting a full range of possible nominations," Illes said in a telephone interview from Vancouver.

"There are great science and engineering women out there in Canada today who have been part of our communities. To have zero women two years in a row signifies a failure on our part to really reach out as needed."

Anderson agreed, saying her decision to step down was an effort to force the museum to change its ways.

"There were some good suggestions made last year and we didn't act on them," she said. "I was afraid that if we just kept making suggestions and kept thinking that we'd do them next year, it would always be next year."

Museum spokesman Olivier Bouffard said Illes raised the lack of female nominees as a concern last June in the middle of the 2014-15 nomination period. He said the organization felt her concerns were valid and said officials are working to address the issue, but declined to offer further details.

Misunderstandings abound, since both sides have different perceptions of what Illes proposed to address the gender disparity.

"What we understood is that Dr. Illes wanted us to start over the nomination process midstream when she expressed those views in June," Bouffard said. "...We didn't feel it was fair to those who had been nominated who are deserving scientists in and of themselves."

Illes contends that she proposed allowing existing nominations to stand while working more aggressively to solicit new ones from a more diverse candidate pool.

"We're at a time now when we have to make that extra effort until we find a better balance," she said, adding that she hopes to rejoin the selection committee if that effort is made.

At least one industry observer feels that outreach effort should be targeted far beyond scientific and academic circles.

Organizations have sprung up across the country with the primary goal of attracting youth to the sciences, many of which focus specifically on girls.

Jennifer Flanagan, chief executive of youth outreach organization Actua, said the dearth of female nominees stems largely from public perceptions of women's role in the sciences.

The fact that nominations come from the public, she said, suggests that people don't perceive women as viable candidates for such prestigious honours.

More prominent recognition of women's achievements in the field would do a great deal to establish female role models and promote equality, she said.

"(The controversy) is reflective of a broader societal issue that has nothing to do with the museum and everything to do with the fact that we don't know enough about females," she said. "The opportunity here is to raise that profile."

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Toys 'R' Us in Quebec refuses to sell English-speaking doll

A Montreal man is criticizing Quebec language laws after a clerk at a local Toys "R" Us told him he was wasn't allowed to purchase a talking plush toy for his daughter because it only speaks and sings in English.

Nick Messina tried to purchase the Daniel Tiger toy for his one-year-old daughter, Carina, after noticing her eyes "lit up" while watching the popular children's TV show Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood.

Hoping to buy it as an Easter gift, he drove to his nearest Toys "R" Us, but it wasn't in stock.

He called another Toys "R" Us in Montreal, and was informed by the clerk that two of the toys were in stock, but that Messina couldn't buy it because it was unilingual.

'It's kind of saddening.'- Nick Messina, father

Daniel Tiger talks and sings 14 different phrases — all in English.

Messina said the clerk thanked him for letting them know the toy only spoke English, and said it would be shipped back to Ontario.

"I kind of felt a little bit turned off. I felt it was discriminatory against the English-speaking community in Montreal. After all, Montreal is multi-ethnic, multicultural," he said.

Not giving up, the father tried to purchase the doll online — only to discover the Toys "R" Us website wouldn't ship the product to Quebec.

English-speaking toys illegal

Messina didn't know until a few weeks ago, but because of Quebec's language laws, it's illegal to sell a unilingual toy unless it has a French-speaking counterpart.

He says it should be up to parents — not the province — to determine the toys they can buy for their kids.

"I don't understand why, when it comes to the choice of purchasing a toy for our children, that we have to be subjected to these kinds of rules and regulations," he said.

"It's kind of saddening."

Toys 'R' Us admits mistake

In a statement to CBC News, a spokeswoman from Toys "R" Us apologized for the inconvenience, but said the toy shouldn't have been on the shelves.

"Toys 'R' Us shipped in error the English-speaking product to one of our Quebec stores and a customer tried to purchase it. Our store did not sell the product to the customer and we apologized for the inconvenience that this caused our customer. We immediately communicated to our store that this product cannot be sold," said the statement.

Messina's perseverance paid off.

He managed to buy the doll eventually, on Amazon, for about $50 more than the Toys "R" Us price.

Though it was more than her dad had planned to pay for the doll, Carina adores her new toy.

Carina Messina

For Carina Messina, it was love at first sight for this Daniel Tiger doll. (CBC)

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200 Canadian troops join U.S., U.K. on training mission in Ukraine

After months of requests for military assistance from the Ukrainian government, Stephen Harper has announced Canada will join a training mission to help Ukraine's beleaguered military in their struggle against Russian-backed rebels.

The prime minister made the announcement at a staged photo call at the defence department and took no questions. Defence Minister Jason Kenney and Chief of Defence Staff Tom Lawson faced reporters later.

A press release said 200 troops will be deployed "on both a sustained and periodic basis" until March 31, 2017, to "develop and deliver military training and capacity-building programs for Ukrainian forces personnel." It's intended to start this summer, the release says.

Canada's British and American allies are already in Ukraine conducting training missions of their own.

Canadian forces are expected to help with explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive device disposal training, military police training, medical training, flight safety training, and logistics system modernization training.

Some of the IED skills Canada will pass on were painfully learned during the five-year combat mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The release also says Canada will provide individual and unit tactics training to Ukrainian National Guard personnel as part of a mission led by Americans.


Newly mobilized Ukrainian paratroopers carry an anti-tank grenade launcher during a military drill near Zhytomyr on April 9. Canadian troops could soon be joining U.S. and British forces training the Ukrainian military. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

The U.S. military has deployed 800 troops to train three — possibly four — battalions in western Ukraine and the British recently sent 75 soldiers to give instruction in command procedures, tactical intelligence and battlefield first aid.

Defence sources say that this deployment will see Canadian soldiers working and housed far away from the battle taking place on the eastern side of the country. Canadian soldiers will be stationed in an existing NATO training centre located in Yavoriv, near the Polish border. 

Training will also take place at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky in western Ukraine.

Canada's mission is another attempt to push back against the Russian regime of President Vladimir Putin. 

Both Washington and Ottawa have been under pressure to ship lethal military aid to President Petro Poroshenko's government, which has been struggling to hold a shaky ceasefire together with rebels.

The Pentagon delayed the training program for Ukrainian soldiers last month to avoid giving the Kremlin an excuse to scrap the peace deal struck in February.

There have been widespread reports in the last week that Russian-backed separatists are preparing for a spring offensive in the southern region, a sign the conflict could re-ignite.

Russia could very well consider the deployment of NATO trainers as a provocation at a time when it has rattled most of Europe with massive, snap military exercises along its borders involving tens of thousands of troops.

It strikes at the heart of the dilemma faced by Western leaders: how to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin's slow-motion dismemberment of Ukraine without provoking a major war.

The announcement of Canada's participation comes just days after Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves told a British newspaper that he was in favour of NATO deterring Russia with the permanent stationing of combat units in the Baltic states.

Four Canadian CF-18s took part in NATO air policing missions to protect the Baltic States last year, and a company of soldiers belonging to the Royal Canadian Regiment are currently involved in exercises in the region.

In February, Defence Minister Jason Kenney said Canada was "actively considering different options for engaging" in the emerging training mission, but he also said Canada would and could not act alone in supplying lethal weapons to bolster Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's government.

The Canadian Press reported in December that a small team of fewer than 10 soldiers travelled to Ukraine to look for training opportunities with Ukrainian forces in the areas of military police, medical personnel and "personal protective measures." Officials did not characterize the very small number of troops as a pre-deployment team.

"There are a number that have come and gone in support of various missions and the military police, they're coming, they will be here for a deployment and then they will leave. This is a continuing effort," then-defence minister Rob Nicholson told reporters.

Tuesday's training mission is in addition to the help offered to Ukraine in the past through Canada's military training and cooperation program, the press release said.

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CanJet Airlines to lay off most of its staff, as European routes dropped

CanJet Airlines will lay off 47 pilots and 68 permanent and seasonal flight attendants by May, after cancelling its European routes, CBC News has learned.

The cuts total more than 70 per cent of the charter airline's flying staff. CanJet currently employs about 62 pilots and 100 flight attendants.

The airline has ceased its Europe operations, because the venture "is simply not profitable," company president Stephen Rowe said in an email to CBC News

"It is disappointing we have to realign our employee group today to a much smaller group," he said.

CanJet, a subsidiary of Halifax-based IMP Group, launched its own vacation package deals last year. It also provides charter flights on behalf of Transat Holidays, but that partnership will soon come to an end, resulting in more lost business.

Rowe said the company is exploring its options and that "everything is on the table," including possibly adding scheduled flights in Canada and internationally.

Constant layoffs

CanJet has been plagued over the past few years by shrinking business and layoffs.

This past winter, it cancelled 40 per cent of its planned flights and laid off 21 pilots. Rowe said the company had to make the cuts because it overestimated sales for its first winter season offering vacation packages.

The union representing the airline's pilots is suggesting CanJet Vacations could also be doomed.

In a memo to members obtained by CBC News, Air Line Pilots Association representatives with CanJet wrote:

"We have been advised that the fate of CanJet Vacations is not entirely clear, however, from our perspective it is. It appears that the desire to continue past this summer has unfortunately been lost after only nine months of selling."

But Rowe maintained that CanJet Vacations could live on, "as we had as we had great support during our first year of operation." But he also admitted that "pricing in this business segment is a challenge."

Feelings of deception

The union memo also criticized how CanJet is managing the cuts.

"It is unfortunate that we have been put in this situation," the memo said, adding that the union representatives share members' "feelings of being deceived and disrespected.

"It is unfortunate that we sit here now with layoff notices given after our own president issued a memo in the past telling us not to worry, not to go anywhere," said the memo, issued by Capt. Jon Mason, Capt. Mike Power, and Capt. Bruce Dandurand.

Rowe sent a letter to employees on April 7, obtained by CBC News.

CanJet's president told staff the airline will continue to focus on "profitable flying" and additional opportunities.

He also said CanJet's Europe flights "fell short of our financial requirements" and that the airline was decreasing the number of aircraft it would be staffing with crews.

The letter didn't mention layoffs, however. Instead, Rowe talked about realigning employee resources and said, "This year will be a transformational year for the organization."

The union memo also criticized CanJet's timing of the layoff announcement, saying some pilots will have to work with the additional stress of knowing they will soon be losing their jobs.

It said this will result in fatigue and illness.

"It is obvious that decisions are being made based on dollar signs rather than good judgment."

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