Canada unveils plans to legalise recreational marijuana

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Canada has laid out its plan to legalise the sale of recreational marijuana by June 2018.

If it passes, the country will be the largest developed nation to end marijuana prohibition.

The law was tabled on Thursday, and would allow adults over 18 to possess up to 30g of dried marijuana.

The proposed legislation would allow the federal government to license producers, but provinces would be in charge of regulating consumer sale.

Other issues, such as pricing, taxation and packaging must still be worked out.

“This is a very important day, I’ve spent most of my adult life keeping children and communities safe,” said MP Bill Blair during a press conference shortly after the legislation was presented to parliament.

The former police chief had chaired the government’s cannabis task force, which laid out a blueprint for legal recreational pot in Canada.

  • Canada to legalise marijuana ‘by 2018’
  • Legal cannabis rules proposed by expert panel

The government is pitching the legislation as a way to keep pot out of the hands of minors and undercut organised crime.

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The law would increase penalties for those who sell to children, and revamp impaired driving laws to make it easier to prosecute people who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

It would allow police to test people’s saliva if they think a driver has been using marijuana.

The current legal prohibitions have been an “abject failure” at keeping the children from getting a hold of marijuana, says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

Trafficking stays illegal

Canada has some of the highest marijuana use in the world, according to the task force, especially amongst young people. About 30% of people aged 20-24 use cannabis.

The new framework would make it illegal to market marijuana products to children, or sell to anyone under 18. Provinces could raise the minimum age of consumption if they choose, the government says.

New laws would also increase the penalty for people who sell to the under-aged, as well as create a new offence for people “exploiting children in the trafficking of cannabis”.

Trafficking cannabis outside the government’s new legal framework would remain illegal.

Initially, only fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils, seeds and plants would be licensed for sale, but adults could grow up to four plants and make edibles at home for their personal use.

Marijuana won’t become legal overnight. The government still has to debate the bill and provinces will have to draft their own regulations for sale.

“There’s still a lot of questions,” said Lynne Belle-Isle, who works for the Centre for Addictions Research.

Ms Belle-Isle participated in the task force’s public consultations, and said she’s happy with the government’s focus on health and safety.

“We agree that legalisation is the way to go, I think criminalisation is a lot more harmful,” she said. One thing her organisation has been pushing for is to have the sale of marijuana contained to government-controlled stores that enforce minimum pricing. The system is already used in many provinces for hard alcohol, and she said research shows it cuts down on abuse.

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In a report released on Tuesday, the CD Howe Institute warned that if the cost is too high, it would do little to undercut the illicit market, but if it is too low, it could encourage consumption and fail to generate significant government revenue.

‘Orderly transition’

Mr Goodale advised that, in the meantime, police will enforce existing marijuana laws.

“This is an orderly transition, not a free-for-all,” he admonished.

Illegal pot dispensaries have sprouted up in cities across Canada in the last few years, especially in Vancouver and Toronto.

Many have been regularly raided by police and two prominent marijuana activists and retailers – Marc and Jodie Emery – were recently arrested and charged with a number of offences including drug trafficking.

  • Marijuana advocates sceptical about Canada path to legal pot

Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 and is grown by 42 federally licensed producers.

The medical marijuana framework would continue to operate under the new legislation, but licensed Canadian producers who grow for the medical marijuana market are already jockeying to enter the lucrative recreational retail sector.

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Canada introduces legislation to allow recreational use of  marijuana

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced legislation on Thursday to let adults possess 30 grams of marijuana in public – a measure that would make Canada the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition on recreational marijuana.

Trudeau has long promised to legalise recreational pot use and sales. U.S voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted last year to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

The South American nation of Uruguay is the only nation to legalise recreational pot.

The proposed law allows four plants to be grown at home. Those under 18 found with small amounts of marijuana would not face criminal charges.

Canada to legalise marijuana

Seth Perlman/AP

Officials have said Canadians should be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018. The federal government set the age at 18, but is allowing each of Canada’s provinces to determine if it should be higher.

The law also defines the amount of THC in a driver’s blood, as detected by a roadside saliva test, that would be illegal.

The Canadian government closely followed the advice of a marijuana task force headed by former Liberal Health Minister Anne McLellan. That panel’s report noted public health experts tend to favour a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, but said setting the minimum age too high would preserve the illicit market.

Canadian youth have higher rates of cannabis use than their peers worldwide.

While the government moves to legalise marijuana, retail outlets selling pot for recreational use have already been set up. Trudeau has emphasised current laws should be respected. Police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities raided stores earlier last month and made arrests.

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Canadian man stung by scorpion on United Airlines flight

A Canadian couple’s holiday in Mexico ended in an unexpected way when a scorpion dropped on them from an overhead locker on Sunday.

Richard and Linda Bell were on an United Airlines flight from Houston to Calgary on Sunday when a inch and a half honey coloured creature fell in Mr Bell’s hair.

“I grabbed it, hanging on its tail. I think that’s what saved me,” he told Global News.

A Mexican man sitting next to the couple on the plane pointed it out was a scorpion and that it was dangerous, Mr Bell said.

“I dropped it on my plate, then I went to pick it up again and that’s when it stung me.” 

It “felt like a wasp sting,” he added.

Linda Bell said the scorpion looked like a ‘little lobster’

Global News

Mr Bell said he then flicked the creature on the floor and the the Mexican man stomped it with a shoe. The airline then threw it in the toilet.

Mrs Bell told the Canadian network that the arachnid reminded her of something else. 

“I looked down and I thought, ‘it kind of looks like a little lobster’,” she said.

When the plane landed in Calgary paramedics boarded the plane and they found that Mr Bell showed “no signs of distress”.

United spokesman Charles Hobart told CNBC that the airline crew immediately consulted with a physician on the ground who provided guidance throughout the incident. The company said the man’s injuries were non-life threatening.

“The pilot announced it,” passenger John Rogers told Global News. “Because the passenger was bitten, emergency services, the fire department and police boarded the plane.”

The Canadian man, who flies 150,000 miles a year with United, said he is “a little astonished” the airline has not contacted him directly about the incident.

United Airlines told Global News it was looking into the situation.

The news came after United sparked outrage earlier this week when a video surfaced of a passenger being dragged off an overbooked flight in Chicago.

United CEO Oscar Munoz said he felt “ashamed” watching a video of David Dao being forced off the aircraft.

New Video Shows United Passenger Moments Before He Was Pulled Off Flight 3411

New Video Shows United Passenger Moments Before He Was Pulled Off Flight 3411


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Are Scotland and Canada made for each other?

The great Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote that “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”

Or, as they say in Canada, “The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew”.

Perhaps that explains how, in the midst of Brexit negotiations and as Scotland weighs a second referendum on independence, an obscure Canadian writer was able to capture people’s imagination with his unconventional proposal: Scotland could quit the UK and join Canada instead.

On the surface, it sounds improbable. But as Ken McGoogan told the BBC, “in an ideal world, this might work really well”.

His proposal has since been picked up by media outlets as far as China, and he says he’s “amazed and gobsmacked” at the level of interest in an idea he initially described as a “flight of fancy”.

  • Scotland could leave UK and join Canada, says author

Some 1,500 readers wrote to the BBC from across the UK and North America to weigh in on whether Scotland should become Canada’s 11th province. Some found it was the best idea since chips-and-gravy. Others thought it would be a total disaster, like when they added the letter “e” to whisky.

Here’s what both Scots and Canadians had to say about the possibility of joining forces.


“We don’t want to be part of another country, we *are* a country… My dream is that we gain our independence and keep our sovereignty, no handing it over to the EU.” – Scot Chegg, Ayr, Scotland

  • Scottish independence referendum: what happens now?

“I think leaving the UK is a bad idea to start with, but leaving the UK to join Canada is absurd.” – Kyle Richardson, Scotland

Strike that, reverse it

“Canada should really be joining with Scotland, as we are the original Canadians and they’re basically just a big Scotland anyway.” – Rory Watt, Scotland

“Sorry, he’s got this in reverse… Canada was part of Scotland 25 million years ago and its about time we re-united. Being Scottish lets us use all those uniquely Scottish phrases, wear kilts on a regular basis, and enjoy a quality of life not otherwise possible. We could even switch to driving on the correct side of the road!” – Martyn Ridley, Canada

Fringe benefits

“I don’t know how we’ll be able to squeeze in 40-50 new MPs into our already crowded House of Commons. I do welcome the access to the home of my ancestors, and maybe more choices of whiskys.” – Alex Milton, Winnipeg, Manitoba

“While I can’t speak for all Canadians, myself and many, many others would happily welcome Scotland to join Canada as a full province. At the very least, we’d have Olympic curling all sewn up.” – Kevan Dettelbach, Vancouver, British Columbia


“Joining Canada would be fantastic…They already have Nova Scotia, now they’d also have the original Scotia!” – Colin Groundwater, West Lothian, Scotland

“At last someone has published what I have long thought. I think it makes good sense culturally, emotionally and economically. If they like, the English could ask to become part of the United States.” – Alisdair Dale, Orpington, England


“If Scotland and Canada were to join, it would be the perfect matrimony… Not only are Canada and Scotland similar in geographical terms (both being cold and beautiful) but also the friendly people of Canada would be welcomed with open arms in Scotland.” – Natalie Rosie, Dunfermline, Scotland

“To hear this idea put forward really makes a Scots descendent day dream about the possibilities! …I’ll gladly open my door and show them our famous Scottish-Canadian hospitality. Free of charge, naturally!” – Jason MacGregor, Montreal, Canada

“At least someone would then listen to me playing the pipes! Besides, I actually like haggis and the Scottish hills. Some of my fondest memories occurred during visits to Scotland as a child to the farm my grandfather worked on.” – John McCubbin, Toronto, Ontario


“Geographical boundaries don’t matter so much these days. What the people of a nation value does, identity does, and Scotland, for a very long time has not had the same values as England. As a province of Canada, Scotland would be treated better than it is now.” – B Whickham, Gloucester, England

  • MPs call for immigration devolution

“Canada and Scotland has so many deep and historic ties. We would be with our people, and peoples of a like mind, we would have the freedoms we require, yet still be part of a greater community, one that would not throw away or ignore our wishes.” – Symon Kielg, Edinburgh, Scotland

Some responses were edited for length.

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CanadaPregnant Canadian trapped in Gaza, family says

Sidhartha Banerjee, THE CANADIAN PRESS

, Last Updated: 6:22 PM ET

MONTREAL — A Canadian woman who is eight months pregnant and stuck in Gaza as she tries to get an exit visa says she’s just trying to stay positive.

“Since I’ve known I was pregnant, I’ve wanted to go back to Canada and give birth there,” Bissan Eid, 24, said in a telephone interview Thursday. “It’s safer for my baby and myself.

“I’m trying everything possible, my dad is trying everything possible. I’m trying to think positive.”

Eid, who says she’s unable to walk or stand for long periods, thought she had every reason to believe she’d be back in Canada last December in time to resume her studies at Concordia University.

Instead, the woman from Montreal’s south shore finds herself still trapped in Gaza and unable to get the exit permit from Israel.

“I thought since I’m Canadian that it would be easier,” Eid said, adding nobody has explained to her why she can’t obtain the visa.

Eid, a Canadian citizen since 2005, said she went to visit grandparents and get married in June 2016. It was her first extended trip after a 2014 visit was cut short due to war.

Supporters have launched a social media campaign at Concordia, where Eid earned an undergraduate degree and is working toward a master’s degree in civil engineering.

Her father, Hadi Eid, told reporters Thursday at the university’s school of community and public affairs he wants Ottawa to help persuade Israel to speed up the visa process.

“It’s not easy for us because we talk with Bissan every day, we are worried about her, we are worried something will happen to her in Gaza,” said Eid, a statistician for the Quebec government.

Her family say they’ve spoken to their local MP and sought the help of Canadian officials at the embassy in Tel Aviv, but to no avail.

“If Canada can arrange something for her, she can go out from Gaza by the help of the Canadian Embassy,” Eid said.

A call to Global Affairs Canada was not returned Thursday.

Since last September, the department has advised against all travel to the Gaza Strip due to ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas — which controls the area.

The advisory also says the border crossings with Egypt and Israel frequently close unexpectedly and holding valid entry and exit permits doesn’t help in those instances.

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Justin Trudeau to launch plans to legalise marijuana across Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will publish draft legislation on the legalisation of marijuana later this week.

Under the new rules which will fulfil an election campaign pledge made by the Liberal Party, citizens will be able to carry up to 30 grams of the drug, according to CBC News. 

But there will likely be a debate on the age at which it will be legal to buy cannabis.

Mr Trudeau has previously said he favours the law being set to allow the drug to be used legally from the age of 18.

However, Conservative politicians have joined forces with the Canadian Medical Association to propose it be set at 21. They highlight evidence showing cannabis can damage brain development up to the age of 25. 

As a compromise, the plans could allow each Canadian province to set the age of lawful cannabis consumption in line with the legal age for drinking alcohol. 

“I think the proposal for the age of 18, or 19 in some provinces, to align with the [legal drinking age] across the country, is a reasonable compromise,” Mr Trudeau said last December. 

“We know the largest misdeeds of marijuana use happens at a lower age than 18, 19 years of age, and I think this is a responsible approach that we have found in terms of balance that is both practical and useful.”

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is also asking the government to back down on plans to allow people to grow the drug at home, saying it would put too much of a burden on law enforcement officials. 

A government taskforce on the issue had suggested setting the limit at four plants per home and limiting the height of each plant to 100 centimetres in a bid to reduce fire risks.

Police have warned Canadians that, for now, using cannabis remains illegal and they will continue to clamp down on those breaking the law.

The country has one of the highest rates of cannabis use among young people, leading government ministers to argue that criminalising the drug has not been effective.

“As we legalise cannabis and make a decision about what age it can be accessed, we know that regardless of the age of the person consuming, that it is a product that has potential risk associated with it,” Jane Philpott, the Health Minister, told The Toronto Star. “That’s why we are taking a public health approach with a strong focus on public education.”

She added: “This is a way of responding to the reality of the fact that rates of use are extremely high in young people and we need to take an approach that acknowledges public health, acknowledges the approach of criminalization has not deterred young people from using it.”

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Malala becomes sixth person to receive Canada’s honorary citizen

OTTAWA: Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai became only the sixth person to receive honorary Canadian citizenship Wednesday, as she called on the country to be bold in advocating for girls  education.

Wearing a bright orange scarf to cover her head in accordance with Muslim tradition, the Pakistani activist was welcomed to the seat of Canada s democracy by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. At age 19, Yousafzai is the youngest person to speak to Canadian members of parliament and senators in a joint session.

She is also the youngest to receive honorary Canadian citizenship — a privilege previously granted to five others including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Myanmar s Aung San Suu Kyi. “Dear Canada, I m asking you to lead once again,” she said, to a standing ovation. She urged Canada to use its turn as president of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations in 2018 to press for the education of girls and refugees.

“We should not ask children who flee their homes to also give up their dreams,” she said. Yousafzai said Trudeau also must ask other world leaders to do more for education. “If Canada leads, I know the world will follow, she said. Yousafzai had fought for years for the right of girls to education in her strictly Muslim home region in Pakistan.

She leapt to global fame after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on a school bus in October 2012 for defending her right to attend school. Since a successful operation following the attack, she has lived in the British city of Birmingham, where she continues to advocate for women s rights. During a brief ceremony, Yousafzai was given the Canadian flag from atop the Peace Tower at the entrance of parliament, and a copy of her 2013 book “I Am Malala” was added to the parliamentary library.

She thanked her hosts and expressed excitement in particular about meeting Trudeau, whom she praised for speaking out on behalf of women s rights, gender equality, and refugees “during a time where the world is hopeless.”

“I wanted to say that Trudeau is an amazing person and an inspiration,” she said, later noting in her speech that “he does yoga, he has tattoos… Everyone was telling me (to) shake the prime minister s hand and, like, let us know how he looks in reality.” In introducing Yousafzai to lawmakers, Trudeau praised her for her advocacy.

“Yours is a story of an ordinary girl doing extraordinary things, an everyday hero… a fearless advocate for girls who wants nothing more than to see more kids in classrooms,” he said. “And on top of that, you re impossibly humble. We Canadians are all about that.” Trudeau said his past experience as a teacher taught him “that going to school is more than just learning about how to read and write.

“Education has the power to change the world,” he said. “It can end poverty, fight climate change, prevent wars. But in order to achieve progress, we all have to make sure that all children, girls as well as boys, get to go to school.”

Yousafzai had been invited to Canada by the previous Conservative government in 2014 — when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — to receive Canadian citizenship in Toronto. But the ceremony was postponed due to the shooting of a ceremonial guard and an attack on parliament the same day.

Yousafzai decried the violence, saying: “The man who attacked Parliament Hill called himself a Muslim. But he did not share my faith. He did not share the faith of 1.5 billion Muslims living in peace around the world. In her speech, she challenged Canadian youth to step up and make a difference.

“I wanted to tell the children of Canada that when I was little, I used to wait to be an adult to lead. But I have learned that even a child s voice can be heard across the world,” she said. She added she was humbled and honored to be given honorary citizenship, “though I still require a visa” to enter the country, she quipped.

The honor is mostly symbolic, coming with no obligations or benefits. Earlier Wednesday, Yousafzai joined the prime minister s wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau for a talk with students at a local high school. “The message I am spreading around the world to our leaders, to our politicians, (is) that they must prioritize education for each and every child around the world,” she said.

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Will voters notice Trudeau’s use of ‘ominous bills’?

When Stephen Harper, finally in possession of a majority government, began ramming omnibus bills through Parliament, he had been prime minister for more than five years. But Justin Trudeau is resorting to the tactic after less than two years in office. Which is why we can predict what is likely to come: Obstruction and delay by angry opposition MPs will prompt the government to impose closure. This is how we govern ourselves.

The true father of the omnibus bill was Pierre Trudeau. As justice minister, he introduced legislation in 1967 that, among other things, partially legalized abortion, legalized homosexual acts between two consenting adults (“there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”), imposed new limits on gun ownership, authorized the police use of breathalyzers and permitted government-supervised lotteries. (Now that’s an omnibus bill!) Opposition was so intense that these measures didn’t become law until 1969, by which time Mr. Trudeau was prime minister.

Another Trudeau omnibus bill, this one on energy, incensed Joe Clark’s opposition Conservatives to the point that they forced the shutdown of Parliament for three weeks in 1982 by refusing to answer the summons to vote (“the bell-ringing affair”). The Liberals ultimately agreed to break the bill into several parts.

But the most celebrated omnibus-bill controversy may have been Bill 26, which the new Ontario Conservative government of Mike Harris slipped onto the order paper in November, 1995, while opposition politicians were distracted by an economic statement released that day.

Billed as housekeeping legislation that set rules for cleaning up expired mines and the like, Bill 26 (the speaker of the day kept referring to it, malapropistically, as the “ominous bill”) in fact established a commission to close hospitals, gave the government new powers to amalgamate municipalities and much else.

So outraged were the opposition parties once they figured this out that when one Liberal MPP, Alvin Curling, refused the speaker’s order to leave the legislature, other MPPs physically protected him from the sergeant-at-arms. The standoff lasted 18 hours, at which point the government conceded defeat and sent the bill to two committees that held extensive public hearings. But Bill 26 eventually passed, and the Tories began using omnibus bills backed by closure whenever timelines got tight.

Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary, and Katie Telford, his chief of staff, were young staffers at Queen’s Park in the Harris years. Mr. Butts eventually became Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty’s principal secretary. Mr. McGuinty’s governments liked cramming all sorts of things into the annual budget-implementation bill. Mr. Butts watched Stephen Harper’s majority government routinely employ omnibus bills and closure. Now, it’s the Liberals’ turn.

In opposition, Justin Trudeau promised to eliminate the practice of employing “inappropriate omnibus bills to reduce scrutiny of legislative measures.” In government, he thinks differently. The Prime Minister told the House on Wednesday that “any budget bill includes a broad range of provisions” that will “touch on a broad range of issues.” To which NDP MP Nathan Cullen laughingly retorted: “I didn’t think I’d see him quoting Stephen Harper.”

The bill contains, among other things, clauses that could limit the independence of the Parliamentary Budget Officer – exactly the sort of dark-of-night measure that governments love to stuff into omnibus bills in hopes of limiting debate. There is also a new law that creates the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which deserves separate scrutiny. The bill increases the number of judges on the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta. It changes the rules for immigration applicants, toughens the Canada Labour Code rules concerning “employer reprisals.” And on and on.

There are only, at most, seven sitting weeks before the House rises for its summer break, by which time the government wants the bill to become law. The Senate must also approve the legislation. Will the opposition use delaying tactics in an effort to force the government to break up the bill into several parts? If they do, will Liberal House Leader Bardish Chagger impose time allocation, commonly known as closure? History suggests this is what lies ahead.

This Liberal government has already reneged on its promise to abolish the first-past-the-post practice of electing MPs. Now it is resorting to “ominous bills.” One wonders whether voters will notice.

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Governor General leads list of honorary degree recipients during Canada’s 150th anniversary

The honorary degree recipients for UAlberta’s 2017 spring convocation: (top row) Governor General David Johnston, William Eddins, Dave Mowat, Marie Wilson, Firoz Rasul, Saida Rasul, (bottom row) Jeanne Besner, Anne Smith, Shing-Tung Yau, Doug Goss, Sharon Firth and Dennis Anderson

The University of Alberta’s spring convocation this June will include a nod to Canada’s 150th anniversary as Governor General David Johnston receives an honorary degree. Johnston is among a dozen influential leaders being recognized with the university’s highest honour.

‘Honorary degrees are intended to recognize individuals whose character and whose extraordinary intellectual, artistic or athletic achievements or service to society set a standard of excellence that merits the university’s highest honour,’ said U of A chancellor Doug Stollery. ‘In accepting an honorary degree, each of our recipients for spring convocation 2017 also honours the spirit of the university.’

The Right Honourable David Johnston, the 28th Governor General of Canada, is a lifelong champion of civic engagement and post-secondary education as evidenced by his career as a law professor and dean, principal of McGill University (1979-1994), president of the University of Waterloo (1999-2010), and as a statesman. He has also devoted his time and energy to numerous government task forces and committees, as well as boards of corporations and community organizations. First appointed to the Order of Canada in 1988, he was named chancellor and principal and extraordinary companion of the order in 2013. He has been serving as Governor General since 2010.

David Johnston will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 6 at 3 p.m.

As music director of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, William Eddins has attracted a growing audience for classical music with his eclectic program choices and focus on excellence. His charm, intelligence and humour have made him adept at both the artistry of performing masterworks and the art of engaging the community in the fine arts. Before taking the helm of the ESO in 2005, he held positions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in Ireland. He has also appeared as a guest conductor with orchestras around the world.

William Eddins will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree June 7 at 10 a.m.

An Albertan by birth, Dave Mowat returned to his home province in 2007 to become president and CEO of ATB Financial. Since then, Mowat has driven the successful growth of a company that now ranks as Canada’s eighth largest bank and holds more than $43 billion in assets. His commitment to creating an engaging and inclusive workplace extends beyond ATB to his service on the boards of organizations including the United Way, STARS and the Citadel Theatre. It also extends to his support for numerous causes, particularly LGBTQ issues-support that literally shines from ATB’s downtown Edmonton headquarters during events such as Pride Week.

Dave Mowat will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 7 at 3 p.m.

Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson cultivated her passion for telling the stories of Indigenous peoples in a 30-year career as a journalist and broadcaster. Her efforts to tell those stories include launching the first daily television news service for northern Canada, developing the Arctic Winter Games and the True North Concert Series to showcase northern talent, and serving on the board of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. One of three commissioners of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Wilson helped bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together in comprehending the injustices of the residential school system and in seeking a new relationship of mutual understanding and respect.

Marie Wilson will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 8 at 10 a.m.

Firoz Rasul’s background as an engineer, entrepreneur and community developer has served him in good stead as president of Aga Khan University. After a stellar business career in Canada that saw him turn two startups into world leaders in wireless communications and clean fuel cells, Rasul took on the challenge of leading a global university based in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the United Kingdom. In his 11 years as president, Rasul has been instrumental in developing a rich partnership with the U of A that has created opportunities for exchange and collaboration for students, professors and researchers at both universities.

Firoz Rasul will receive an honorary doctor of science degree June 8 at 3 p.m.

Saida Rasul has devoted her life and career as a dentist to improving lives for those less fortunate. A longtime volunteer and donor with the United Way, she was integral in securing an $18-million provincial grant to establish British Columbia’s Success by 6 program focused on developing healthy children and families. She’s also involved with the Rotary Club, the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Aga Khan Foundation, among many others. Most recently, she worked with faculty members in the U of A’s School of Dentistry to set up dental hygiene programs offered through Aga Khan University in East Africa and Pakistan.

Saida Rasul will receive an honorary doctor of science degree June 9 at a special ceremony commemorating the centenary of the School of Dentistry.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, U of A alumna Jeanne Besner excelled as a clinical nurse, researcher, educator, policy developer and health-care administrator. She developed new models of health-care delivery based on her vision and focus on finding the most effective match between patients and practitioners. As president of the Alberta Association of Registered Nurses, she helped to influence the shift from diploma to degree as the standard for entry to practice for registered nurses. She received the Alberta Centennial Award in 2005, a U of A Alumni Honour Award in 2007, and was named to the Order of Canada in 2011.

Jeanne Besner will receive an honorary doctor of science degree June 12 at 3 p.m.

Anne Smith, president and CEO of the United Way of Alberta Capital Region, has spent 40 years bringing pervasive problems in communities to the forefront of public awareness in an effort to improve the lives of vulnerable people. Since 1995, the organization has engaged more than 5,000 volunteers and created a shared vision aimed at ‘Creating Pathways Out of Poverty’ for more than 123,000 people in the region. She has chaired or co-chaired United Way task groups at the national level and served on the boards of numerous community organizations focused on affordable housing, homelessness and mental health, including the End Poverty Edmonton initiative.

Anne Smith will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 13 at 10 a.m.

Dubbed ‘the emperor of math’ by The New York Times,Shing-Tung Yau has revealed the shape of space from the subatomic world of string theory to the astronomical dimensions of the known universe. He is perhaps most famous for solving a geometric conundrum known as the Calabi conjecture, an achievement that had a profound impact not only on geometry, but also on theoretical physics. He has received numerous awards and honours, including the Fields Medal in 1982, the MacArthur Fellowship in 1985 and the Wolf Prize in Mathematics in 2010. Yau is currently director of Harvard’s Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications.

Shing-Tung Yau will receive an honorary doctor of science degree June 13 at 3 p.m.

U of A Alumnus Doug Goss is a passionate advocate for post-secondary education in Alberta. As U of A board chair from 2012 to 2015, he led an ambitious change agenda and became a public champion for government investment in the post-secondary sector during a time of budget constraint. During his tenure, the university’s endowment grew from $800 million to $1.2 billion. For his contributions as a lawyer and business leader and his community service to a wide variety of causes, he received the U of A’s Alumni Honour Award in 2002 and was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2013.

Doug Goss will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 14 at 10 a.m.

Olympic cross-country skiing athlete Sharon Firth was the first Indigenous woman elected to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. A member of the Gwich’in First Nation, she survived the residential school system to become a four-time Olympian between 1972 and 1984, and to represent Canada in three world championships. An ambassador for sport and an adviser on youth programs for the government of the Northwest Territories, she was named to the Order of Canada in 1987 and received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2005. She and her twin sister Shirley were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Sharon Firth will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 14 at 3 p.m.

Dennis Anderson has had a distinguished career serving Alberta and Canada as an MLA and as a prominent advocate for mental health. From 1979 to 1993, he served as deputy government house leader, held portfolios in three major ministries and led trade missions to Asia, Africa and the United States. After leaving politics, he took on the role of founding chair of the Alberta Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health and founded the Chimo Project, which uses trained therapy animals in hospitals, rehabilitation programs and youth programs. He also served as a director of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Dennis Anderson will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree June 15 at 10 a.m.

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Malala Yousafzai Schools Canadian Parliament On Girls’ Education


Malala Yousafzai received an honorary Canadian citizenship in Ottawa on Wednesday. | LARS HAGBERG via Getty Images

When Malala Yousafzai became an honorary Canadian citizen this week, she wasted no time in making sure her most important message got through to people across the country.

“I want to tell the children of Canada that when I was little, I used to wait to be an adult to lead,” she said in an address to the Canadian Parliament. “But I have learned that even a child’s voice can be heard across the world.”

Yousafzai, who was born in Pakistan, has become one of the most well-recognized activists in the world following an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012. The group was trying to silence her outspoken support of girls’ education, a theme she has continued to speak out on with every opportunity that arises, including after Wednesday’s honorary citizenship ceremony in Ottawa.

“If all girls went to school for 12 years, low- and middle-income countries would add $92 billion per year to their economies,” she stated. “When women are educated, there are more jobs for everyone. When mothers can keep their children alive and send them to school, there is hope.

“But around the world, 130 million girls are out of school today. They may not have read the studies and they may not know the statistics, but they understand that education is the only path to a brighter future and they are fighting to go to school.”

“I have learned that even a child’s voice can be heard across the world.”

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, who was recently named to Women Deliver, Deliver for Good, a global initiative that invests in women and girls’ education and human rights, among other topics, accompanied Yousafzai to Ridgemont High School in Ottawa earlier Wednesday to bring that same message directly to students.

But Yousafzai wasn’t about to leave the centre of politics in Canada without setting some clear expectations for what has to be done moving forward.

“Dear Canada, I am asking you to lead once again,” she told the audience in Parliament, which included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “First, make girls’ education a central theme of your G7 presidency next year. Second, use your influence to fill the global education funding gap to raise billions of dollars and save lives … If Canada leads, I know the world will follow.

“Finally, prioritize 12 years of education and schooling for refugees. Today, only a quarter of refugee children can get secondary education. We should not ask children who flee their homes to also give up their dreams.

“We must recognize that young refugees are future leaders on whom we all depend for peace. The world needs leadership. The world needs leadership based on serving humanity, not based on how many weapons you have. Canada can take that lead.”

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