Canada refugees name baby Justin Trudeau

When Muhammad and Afraa Bilan arrived in Canada in February last year, they were starting a new life in a completely new country.

Originally from Damascus in Syria, they, daughter Naya and son Nael arrived as refugees in Montreal in the depths of winter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wasn’t there to greet them at the airport, as he did with other Syrian refugees.

But the couple felt they had to give their thanks to him in some way – so have named their newborn son after him.

Justin Trudeau Adam Bilan was born on Thursday in his parents’ new city of Calgary. (His first name is Justin Trudeau, not Justin, by the way.)

In Damascus, Muhammad, now 29, worked as a barber. But he had once been targeted by the Syrian army and detained.

After he was freed, his family learned the authorities were looking for him again, and that he could face further detention – a fate from which many have not emerged.

Their chance to leave came when they found out Canada was starting to take in Syrian refugees after Mr Trudeau took office. Five years into Syria’s war, they jumped at the chance.

After spending some time in Montreal, in the eastern province of Quebec, the family was eventually moved to Calgary, in the western province of Alberta.

“Canada is much more safe – there’s no war, nothing,” Afraa Bilan told the BBC by telephone. “Everything is different, everything is good – nothing like Syria.”

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Afraa admitted to having been “a little bit distressed” on arriving in Canada, and to have found it difficult to adapt – especially to the winter weather.

But she now speaks fluent English and Muhammad works part-time in a grocery shop.

They hope baby Justin Trudeau will one day meet his rather more famous namesake.

“He is a really nice man,” Afraa said. “He helped us a lot. This was a small thank you for bringing us to Canada. We want to thank him and all the Canadian people.”

Between November 2015, when Mr Trudeau became prime minister, and January this year, more than 40,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada. About 1,000 of them moved to Calgary.

In late January, after US President Donald Trump imposed a ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, Mr Trudeau took to social media to confirm his government’s commitment to helping “those fleeing persecution, terror & war”.

In Ontario in February, another Syrian couple named their newborn Justin in tribute to the prime minister, but Justin Trudeau Adam Bilan is thought to be the first baby Justin Trudeau (not counting the original Justin Trudeau, of course).

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Senators top Rangers in overtime, take 3-2 series lead

Go figure.

He plays a miniscule two minutes and 26 seconds. He spends five times as much time in the penalty box as he does on the ice. He scores no goals, no assists, doesn’t even take a shot on net – and his teammates call him the player of the game.

The scoresheet said it was Ottawa Senators 5, New York Rangers 4. Ottawa now leads the series three games to two and can wrap up the Eastern Conference semi-final on Tuesday in New York City.

But we can get to those details later.

The buzz in the Senators dressing room was all about Chris Neil, the big, physical assistant captain who spent the last two months as a healthy scratch. So manhandled and embarrassed had the Ottawa team been during two defeats at Madison Square Garden that a decision was made to put him into the game. He would carry a message.

When Derik Brassard looked at his e-mail late Friday night and learned that Neil would be dressing, he got excited.

“I’ve never known a guy so passionate about the game,” Brassard said.

At the 3:13 mark of the second period, Neil went to work. The New York Rangers were up 2-1 and the player who had driven the Senators to distraction, Tanner Glass, was again offering face rubs and cheap shots at every opportunity. Neil had had enough.

Neil was in the penalty box serving a two-minute penalty for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct when his teammates began their comeback. When he came out, the Senators were ahead 3-2; the Ottawa players saluted him with stick taps as he made his way back across the ice.

“He did a terrific job,” said Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher, who called the 37-year-old Neil his “ammunition.”

“That’s the best penalty I’ve seen anybody take in a long time,”  Kyle Turris said.

It would be Turris who would score the winning goal at 8:28 of overtime, when he came in over the New York line and, on his second try, shot one that eluded Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

It was Brassard, Neil’s other big fan, who made overtime possible. With the Rangers out in front 4-3 and time winding down, Boucher pulled his goaltender, Craig Anderson, and sent Brassard over the boards as the extra attacker.

Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson had the puck at the point and sent a cross-ice pass to Clarke MacArthur, who took a shot that rebounded high in the air. As it fell back toward the ice, Brassard swatted it out of the air, the puck hitting two Rangers bodies and a skate before slipping in behind Lundqvist.

It was a crazy, chaotic game. At times the two goaltenders looked as if they could use some of the thousands of sandbags that area residents were piling around flood-threatened homes. At other times, both goalies were brilliant.

The game opened with both teams seemingly rattled – Ottawa understandably, given their miserable two-game effort in New York – but the Rangers, too, looked uncertain and mistake prone, particularly on the power play.

The Rangers scored first only 4:07 into the match when, on a three-on-two rush, Brendan Smith took the puck to the outside and then hit the trailer, Jesper Fast, who had the empty side of the Ottawa net awaiting him.

Barely a minute later they scored again, when Nick Holden blew by Ottawa defenceman Cody Ceci and took a wrist shot that lightly ticked off Ceci’s stick. The shot, which should have been an easy save, floated past goaltender Craig Anderson’s glove and into the top of the net.

It seemed a rout might be on, but Ottawa was able to get one back a couple of minutes later when Mark Stone, who has had a troubled series, managed to poke a puck past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on a goalmouth scramble.

“Stone’s push-back goal was there to get us back,” Boucher said.

With Neil watching from the penalty box, the Senators tied the game at two goals apiece early in the second period when Karlsson shot up the ice with the puck, crossed the Rangers’ blueline and left a drop pass for MacArthur. MacArthur send a perfect pass across to Mike Hoffman, who one-timed a slapshot past Lundqvist.

Almost immediately, the Senators moved in front when Smith carried the puck in the Rangers’ zone and sent a bad pass toward Tom Pyatt, who had to turn backward as he hit the slot area in front of the net. The puck glanced off Pyatt’s stick and into the New York net.

It was now the Rangers’ turn to play catchup. Late in the middle period, Michael Grabner snared a puck in front of the Senators net, spun to his forehand and sent the puck through to Ryan McDonagh, who simply tucked the puck in behind Anderson.

In the third period, however, both goaltenders were hot. Lundqvist stopped Ryan and Pageau, both with clean chances. Then the Rangers’ Chris Kreider came in alone on Anderson and Anderson turned his shot aside to shouts of “Andy! Andy! Andy!”

They were chanting Anderson’s nickname again when he made what appeared to be a sensational diving glove save on young forward Jimmy Vessey. The officials ruled no goal on the ice but video replay showed that the puck had indeed crossed the goal line.

“I knew when they didn’t show it on the Jumbotron that it was in,” Anderson said.

It was then Brassard’s time to shine, as the former Ranger tied the match at the 18:34 mark of regulation, forcing the overtime.

The Rangers believed they had won the game but a seeming goal by Michael Grabner was disallowed when it was ruled he had hit the puck out of the air with a high stick.

That left Turris to win the game with his shot.

Turris did not, however, think he deserved anywhere near the praise he had for the guy who’d played 2:26.

“He didn’t play much,” Turris said of Neil. “But maybe he has been our most important player.”


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Canada’s Venture Exchange Targets Americans for Growth (1)

(Bloomberg) — It’s a Canadian stock market, but the TSX Venture Exchange wants Americans to help fuel its growth.

Traditionally known as a place where Canadians can buy shares of local junior miners, the exchange is branching out to other industries including technology. That’s an obvious fit for the head of the business, Brady Fletcher, who ran a tech startup before joining TSX last year.

But the dealers who facilitated trading have dwindled, as have the risk-hungry retail investors who bought and sold shares. Fletcher’s mission is to find new pools of capital among younger investors, including millennials, and in new markets like the U.S. There’s currently no American exchange focused on smaller companies — a so-called venture exchange — and part of Fletcher’s mission is to educate American retail investors about the opportunities to be found on the TSXV.

During the year that ended March 31, average daily trading volume at the TSXV jumped 84 percent from the prior one-year period, and the value of shares changing hands soared 212 percent, according to data compiled by parent company TMX Group Ltd., which also owns the far larger Toronto Stock Exchange. The TSXV has returned 1.7 percent in 2017.

Rebounding commodities prices helped drive the gains, but so did trading by foreigners, Fletcher said. “We’ve definitely seen increased participation by U.S. funds,” he said. “We’re actively working to attract U.S. retail.”

The volume recovery comes in the midst of a revitalization campaign the exchange launched in December 2015 with the goal of expanding its investor base, diversifying its listings and reducing the administrative burden on its issuers.

“The independent dealers that used to support venture issuers have been faced with a decade of depressed commodity prices,” Fletcher said in an interview at the TMX offices in Toronto. “Where we used to have 200 of them we’ve now got 50, and a number of those investors who used to play the junior resource game have since shifted into wealth preservation and ETFs.”

He’s also working to diversify the TSXV’s listing base with a particular focus on technology startups. The exchange is still very heavily weighted towards junior miners, with 48 percent of its market value and 60 percent of its listed issuers coming from that sector as of March 31. That’s up from a year earlier, when 42 percent of its market value came from the mining sector — the result of rising commodity prices.

This has made it difficult to attract new listings from other industries, which sometimes don’t consider the TSXV an option because of the perception that it’s a market just for natural-resources companies, according a 2015 report on the exchange.

This is part of why Fletcher was brought on board. Prior to joining the TSXV, he founded a tech startup called Blackbook Technologies Inc. that went bust because the private venture capitalist it had lined up backed out of the deal.

This experience made Fletcher realize that the public markets can provide a more reliable source of funding for tech entrepreneurs, and his team has been holding road shows across the U.S. to make that case to startups and investors.

“We just had road shows in Santa Monica and San Francisco, and those were the best-attended ones that we’ve ever had,” Fletcher said, adding that he’s planning two more in Seattle and Phoenix.

Expanding the TSXV beyond the resource sector and beyond the Canadian border appears to be the right strategy, although it “will take time to materially impact the revenue mix,” said National Bank analyst Jaeme Gloyn.

This “will accomplish the dual objective of a) softening TMX’s sensitivity to commodity cycles and the broader equity index (as it is composed today), and b) strengthen TMX’s leadership position in Canada,” Gloyn wrote in a note.

(Updates with TSXV returns in fourth paragraph.)

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

Canada considers retaliation for US tariff on softwood lumber

Canada is considering multiple trade actions against the US in response to tariffs on softwood lumber.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he was considering banning US coal exports in response to the “unfair” tax on Canadian lumber.

The government is also looking at duties against several Oregon industries, the BBC has learnt.

Oregon has been one of the loudest supporters of an up to 24% tax on Canadian softwood lumber.

Mr Trudeau wrote to British Columbia (BC) premier Christy Clark to say that he was “carefully and seriously” considering trade action on coal exports. He said trade officials will explore next steps.

Ms Clark had previously asked Ottawa to ban US thermal coal exports, and has said she will impose a tax on thermal coal entering BC ports regardless of the federal government’s decision, because “it is the right thing to do”.

BC is one of Canada’s largest producers of softwood lumber.

“We share the commitment to fighting climate change and protecting the environment,” Mr Trudeau wrote in his letter on Friday.

“We strongly disagree with the US Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty on Canadian softwood lumber.”

The government is also considering imposing duties or other trade action on several Oregon industries, the BBC has learnt.

This has nothing to do with US President Donald Trump, who has been a vocal opponent of Nafta and criticised Canada for protectionist dairy policies, the BBC is told.

  • WATCH: Why is Trump threatening Canada over milk?

Instead, the government is considering levying duties on several Oregon industries, including wine, wood chips, plywood, flooring and packaging material, that receive state support which the Canadian government believes may constitute illegal subsidies.

Democratic Oregon senator Ron Wyden is one of the biggest critics of the Canadian softwood lumber industry.

Canada and the US have long had a trade dispute over softwood lumber, with the US arguing that Canada unfairly subsidises its industry by charging minimal fees to log publicly owned lands.

Last week, the US Commerce Department announced it will charge five Canadian softwood exporters duties ranging between 3.2% to 24.12% to make it a “level playing field”.

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Canada-US trade tensions escalate

Canada is considering multiple trade actions against the US in response to tariffs on softwood lumber.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he was considering banning US coal exports in response to the “unfair” tax on Canadian lumber.

The government is also looking at duties against several Oregon industries, the BBC has learnt.

Oregon has been one of the loudest supporters of an up to 24% tax on Canadian softwood lumber.

Mr Trudeau wrote to British Columbia (BC) premier Christy Clark to say that he was “carefully and seriously” considering trade action on coal exports. He said trade officials will explore next steps.

Ms Clark had previously asked Ottawa to ban US thermal coal exports, and has said she will impose a tax on thermal coal entering BC ports regardless of the federal government’s decision, because “it is the right thing to do”.

BC is one of Canada’s largest producers of softwood lumber.

“We share the commitment to fighting climate change and protecting the environment,” Mr Trudeau wrote in his letter on Friday.

“We strongly disagree with the US Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty on Canadian softwood lumber.”

The government is also considering imposing duties or other trade action on several Oregon industries, the BBC has learnt.

This has nothing to do with US President Donald Trump, who has been a vocal opponent of Nafta and criticised Canada for protectionist dairy policies, the BBC is told.

  • WATCH: Why is Trump threatening Canada over milk?

Instead, the government is considering levying duties on several Oregon industries, including wine, wood chips, plywood, flooring and packaging material, that receive state support which the Canadian government believes may constitute illegal subsidies.

Democratic Oregon senator Ron Wyden is one of the biggest critics of the Canadian softwood lumber industry.

Canada and the US have long had a trade dispute over softwood lumber, with the US arguing that Canada unfairly subsidises its industry by charging minimal fees to log publicly owned lands.

Last week, the US Commerce Department announced it will charge five Canadian softwood exporters duties ranging between 3.2% to 24.12% to make it a “level playing field”.

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As heavy rains pelt Canada, Quebec summons military aid

MONTREAL/TORONTO Torrential rains in central and eastern Canada forced hundreds of families to evacuate flooded homes and prompted the province of Quebec to request federal military aid on Friday.

Starting Saturday, soldiers will be brought in to add resources and expertise to officials who are bracing for further downpours in parts of Quebec this weekend, the province’s Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux told journalists at a news conference in Montreal.

“The situation will continue to deteriorate over the next few days,” Coiteux said, adding that the number of soldiers had not yet been determined.

Up to 60 mm of rain (2.4 inches) will fall in eastern Ontario and western Quebec between Thursday night and Sunday evening, according to state weather forecasting service Environment Canada.

Both provinces have been dealing with fallout from heavy spring rainfall this week, and at least 124 Quebec municipalities were affected by flooding that inundated 1,326 residences, and forced the evacuation of 700 homes, according to Urgences Quebec.

Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel described the rainfall in the predominately French-language province as historic, and said his department recorded the strongest water flow rate in 55 years, or 9,000 cubic metres per second.

Televised images showed residents filling sandbags across communities in Quebec, while people were evacuated by boat or canoe. In Toronto, which sits on the north shore of Lake Ontario, city workers have worked on beaches and the city’s harbor islands to prevent flooding.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was in regular contact with provincial authorities.

“We stand ready and willing to give whatever help the federal government can to help them through this situation, and we will of course be there as the clean up continues after the waters recede,” Trudeau said at an event in Montreal.

Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, was forecast to receive 20 mm (1 inch) to 30 mm of rain on Friday, with more over the weekend, according to Environment Canada, which issued a rainfall warning.

About 200 outbound and inbound flights at the city’s Pearson International Airport, the country’s biggest, were canceled as of midday, according to the airport website.

In the nation’s capital, Ottawa, 15-25 mm of rain was expected. A state of emergency was declared in the town of Clarence-Rockland, east of Ottawa, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation televised images of flooded roads and people trying to make their way by canoe.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal, Denny Thomas in Toronto and Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Andrew Hay)


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As heavy rains pelt Canada, flights canceled, towns evacuated

MONTREAL/TORONTO Torrential rains in central and eastern Canada forced hundreds of families to evacuate flooded homes and prompted the province of Quebec to request federal military aid on Friday.

Starting Saturday, soldiers will be brought in to add resources and expertise to officials who are bracing for further downpours in parts of Quebec this weekend, the province’s Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux told journalists at a news conference in Montreal.

“The situation will continue to deteriorate over the next few days,” Coiteux said, adding that the number of soldiers had not yet been determined.

Up to 60 mm of rain (2.4 inches) will fall in eastern Ontario and western Quebec between Thursday night and Sunday evening, according to state weather forecasting service Environment Canada.

Both provinces have been dealing with fallout from heavy spring rainfall this week, and at least 124 Quebec municipalities were affected by flooding that inundated 1,326 residences, and forced the evacuation of 700 homes, according to Urgences Quebec.

Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel described the rainfall in the predominately French-language province as historic, and said his department recorded the strongest water flow rate in 55 years, or 9,000 cubic metres per second.

Televised images showed residents filling sandbags across communities in Quebec, while people were evacuated by boat or canoe. In Toronto, which sits on the north shore of Lake Ontario, city workers have worked on beaches and the city’s harbor islands to prevent flooding.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was in regular contact with provincial authorities.

“We stand ready and willing to give whatever help the federal government can to help them through this situation, and we will of course be there as the clean up continues after the waters recede,” Trudeau said at an event in Montreal.

Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, was forecast to receive 20 mm (1 inch) to 30 mm of rain on Friday, with more over the weekend, according to Environment Canada, which issued a rainfall warning.

About 200 outbound and inbound flights at the city’s Pearson International Airport, the country’s biggest, were canceled as of midday, according to the airport website.

In the nation’s capital, Ottawa, 15-25 mm of rain was expected. A state of emergency was declared in the town of Clarence-Rockland, east of Ottawa, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation televised images of flooded roads and people trying to make their way by canoe.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal, Denny Thomas in Toronto and Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Andrew Hay)


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