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‘Let us go!’ migrants demand as they torch tents in overwhelmed Slovenia

BREZICE, Slovenia – After too many days and nights stuck outside in the rain and cold, tempers are fraying among the tens of thousands of migrants trying to get through the Balkans to the heart of Europe.

A fire at the main refugee camp on Slovenia’s border with Croatia destroyed a dozen lime green army-issue tents Wednesday as scores of mostly young male migrants nearby chanted, “Let us go! Let us go!”

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While the government said it was still investigating the cause, police at the scene told The Associated Press that migrants had set a stack of UNHCR-supplied blankets deliberately on fire to protest conditions in the camp on the outskirts of Brezice.

READ MORE: Turkey warns EU that 3 million more refugees could leave Syria

Many of those demanding to leave the Slovenian border town for Austria, Germany and other European Union nations to the north had waded the previous night through the Sutla River, which marks the border between Slovenia and Croatia, in frigid conditions made worse by their soaked clothes. Sometimes in the pitch dark, at other times aided by light from a police helicopter’s searchlight, more than 1,000 souls strode chest-deep into the muddy waters on the Croat side and struggled up the muddy embankment into Slovenia.

Many migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa expressed bewilderment and disappointment because they had been told as they began their journeys in Turkey that the hard part would end once they reached EU countries like Croatia and Slovenia. Many had expected other countries to permit them free passage to wealthier western countries, particularly Germany, that they hope to make home.

“I am sorry for Europe,” said Ari Omar, an Iraqi, who was resting in a Slovenian pasture a few hundred meters (yards) from the border with Croatia.

“We did not think Europe is like this: no respect for refugees, not treating us with dignity. Why is Europe like this?”

More than 21,500 people have crossed that frontier in the five days since Hungary – the previous favoured EU entry point for migrants crossing the Balkans – closed its borders with Croatia and forced the human tide further west into Slovenia. This Alpine country of barely 2 million says it cannot cope with the volume of human traffic and is appealing for EU financial and security aid. Lawmakers passed an emergency bill permitting Slovenia’s military to operate more freely along the border, and more than 200 troops were deployed Wednesday in armoured personnel carriers at several crossing points and camps.

WATCH: Thousands of migrants and refugees on Friday continued cross the border into Slovenia. According to Slovenian officials, some 5,000 people have crossed into Slovenia in the last 24 hours

Slovenia’s interior secretary of state, Bostjan Sefic, told reporters in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana that troops would have greater freedom to tackle crowd-control tasks on their own, because the country didn’t have enough police for the job. He said tensions were running highest at the camp in Brezice, the scene of Wednesday’s fire. He said the facility – tents in fields beside a warehouse – was designed to hold 250 people, not the 4,000 or more who have passed through since Tuesday.

In a statement Sefic blamed the tensions on “unannounced excessive numbers of people deliberately sent to the border by Croatia.” Reflecting Slovenia’s lack of sufficient shelters, more than 3,000 people who crossed the border Wednesday night were ordered to sit in cornfields, surrounded by police and soldiers, until buses could deliver them north to Austria.

READ MORE: Migrant crisis: Hungary’s fence nearly complete on its Croatian border

Sefic said the travellers “just want to go on their way as soon as possible. They are very dissatisfied and unrestful.”

Slovenia’s president, Borut Pahor, has spent the past two days in Brussels lobbying EU leaders for help. European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker announced a special summit Sunday seeking a regional strategy for managing the migrant flow involving Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia as well as Slovenia.

For months, a steady stream of asylum seekers has travelled from EU member Greece north through non-EU members Macedonia and Serbia to reach what the travellers hope will be an easy entry point to the passport-free EU zone. But the route has grown increasingly difficult as Hungary shut access from Serbia in mid-September and then closed the door to Croatia on Saturday.

A statement from Juncker’s office said the summit would seek to promote “greater co-operation, more extensive consultation and immediate operational action.”

Those already freezing in Balkans fields cannot wait any more days for improved EU management of the humanitarian crisis and are voting with their feet whenever police permit them.

In Austria, at least 1,000 people broke free from a police-supervised camp and walked north on a small road parallel to the highway leading to the city of Graz. Police spokesman Fritz Grundnig said officers were accompanying the marchers and not trying to stop them, merely barring them from directly walking on the highway.

A similar border breakout took place Wednesday morning on the Serbian-Croat border, where hundreds who had spent the night trying to sleep unsheltered in freezing farm fields marched across the frontier in a challenge to Croat border police, who deployed to block them but backed off. A U.N. refugee agency official, Francesca Bonelli, said about 3,000 people in total camped out overnight on that border, including many elderly and ailing people.

Associated Press reporters Philipp-Moritz Jenne in Spielfeld, Austria, Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, Sabina Niksic in Dobova, Slovenia, George Jahn in Vienna, Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary, and Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin contributed to this report.

Pit bull dragged behind minivan in Saskatoon back home

SASKATOON – Four weeks after suffering serious injuries, a pit bull is back at home. Heroic Henry, whose real name is Axel, suffered the injuries after being dragged behind a minivan near Lenore Drive and Silverwood on Sept. 20.

Witnesses said the leash attached to a rear trailer hitch broke, freeing the canine. Patrol officers rushed the badly injured dog to a veterinary clinic.

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Axel was in rough shape, but the Western College of Veterinary Medicine nursed him back to health, assisted by donations which poured in to the Saskatoon SPCA to help the owners cover the tab.

READ MORE: SPCA raising funds to treat pit bull dragged by a minivan in Saskatoon

“When the investigation started there was some confusion about who the rightful owners were,” said Saskatoon police spokesperson Kelsie Fraser.

“The rightful owners were identified and they were able to take the dog home this weekend. It also was determined through the investigation that they were not responsible for the incident or the harm caused to the dog.”

Police say the investigation is ongoing and animal cruelty charges are a possibility. It is believed there were two people in the minivan, a Caucasian man and woman.

The minivan did not stop and was last seen travelling northbound on Wanuskewin Road. The vehicle was described as being dark in colour.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Saskatoon police at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Wendy Winiewski contributed to this story

©2015

Marijuana supporters want legalization done right

REGINA – Marijuana consumers in Regina are hoping Justin Trudeau sticks to his promise to legalize marijuana.

“I think this should be up front because cannabis users that have been using it for years as a medicine have been really downtrodden and looked upon in a negative light,” said hydroponics grower Darin Wheatley.

In his eyes there’s a good way and a bad way of legislating use though.

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“As far as the hydroponic industry, I think it could be a really good thing. But it’s only going to be good if people can grow the plants in their own homes.”

Wheatley supplies people with everything they need to grow weed at home. At the end of the day, he said it’s a question of cost.

“There’s a lot of people on disability that don’t have the money to buy from the licensed producers at their inflated prices. So it’s important for people to be able to grow it on their own so they can afford it.”

Another financial concern could be the type of tax put on cannabis.

“I just hope that they only implement a small kind of a tax, as they would on food sort of thing. And not run with some great big huge marijuana tax added on top of it,” Wheatley said.

Supporters like Donivan Hastings would like to see tax dollars going towards things like health care or infrastructure, similar to Colarado.

“They’re getting their tax revenues, they’re building schools and hospitals and use the money as opposed to it going to illegal gangs,” he said.

The recreational side of the industry could also grow with legalization.

“People who have always wanted to grow the plant, but who might have been afraid to because of the laws against it might all of a sudden be like, “Yea, I wouldn’t mind growing a few plants,” said Wheatley. Come in grab a grow tent and some nutrients and away you grow.”

The local medical dispensary won’t delve into that side of the business though.

“We probably won’t get into the recreational use of it. We’re going to use it for the other dispensaries,” said Hastings. “We like to help patients and make sure they have a decent quality of life.”

We asked the Regina Police Service about their thoughts on legalizing marijuana and they said they won’t comment until they know more about how it will work from a legal perspective.

University of Saskatchewan aboriginal enrolment up

SASKATOON – Aboriginal student enrolment continues to increase at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). Roughly 2,200 indigenous minds study at the Saskatoon-based institution, according to fall enrolment numbers.

That’s an increase of 5.5 per cent from last year and accounts for around 10 per cent of the university’s student body.

Officials say the increase hasn’t happened overnight.

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“The University of Saskatchewan is a leader in aboriginal post-secondary education,” said Graeme Joseph, U of S team leader of aboriginal student success.

“There’s colleagues here that I have that have worked literally decades to making this place a much more welcoming and supportive place for our aboriginal students so I think we’re seeing the beginning of the results of all of that hard work.”

The college of arts and science has the most aboriginal students, followed by education and nursing.

While Joseph is happy to see a hike in aboriginal student enrolment, he stresses the university must ensure students are supported on campus.

“I’m excited that more aboriginal students are choosing the U of S as their place of study,” he said. “We are committed not only to recruiting more aboriginal students, but proactively supporting them throughout their studies to graduation. This is the ultimate goal for students, the university and the wider community – more aboriginal people with university degrees.”

According to Statistics Canada, nearly one in five residents in Saskatchewan will be aboriginal by 2036.

Joel Senick contributed to this story

©2015

Greater Vernon Water meters set to become smart

COLDSTREAM – If you live in the greater Vernon area your water meter may be getting a whole lot smarter. Greater Vernon Water is in the process of installing technology that will turn all of its customers’ water meters into a smart water meters that can be read remotely. The utility says the change will cut costs and make meter readings more accurate but not everyone is in favour of the idea.

Encoder–Receiver-Transmitters will be attached to the outside of homes and will mean meters can be read remotely.

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“[It] will transmit a signal to remote equipment so our meter readers don’t have to go door-to-door to read the meters,” explains Zee Marcolin general manager of Greater Vernon Water.

Marcolin says the new system with be cheaper to run, more accurate and in the long run will also benefit customers when there is a water leak.

“In the future, after about a day, the meter will actually send a signal to us. We will be able to phone that customer and say, ‘Hey, you better check, we think you have a leak,’” says Marcolin.

However, many we talked to on the streets of Vernon had concerns, particularly about the cost. Greater Vernon Water says users won’t be charged directly for the new infrastructure. As for the cost of changing the system, the utility points out keeping the infrastructure the same has its own costs.

“Currently [users] are paying for the meter reading in our budget anyways, so the one cost will just be replaced with another. Once they are installed it will reduce the overall cost,” says Marcolin.

The utility has already started installing the Encoder-Receiver-Transmitters this past summer. As part of the initiative, some utility customers with older meters are also having their entire meter replaced. The entire project is expected to take five to eight years to complete.

If you really don’t want an Encoder-Receiver-Transmitter you can opt out, but that will cost you in the long run. The utility is looking at setting the fee somewhere between $25 and $50 per reading.

Those who want to opt out can fill out a form that is available on the Regional District of North Okanagan’s website.

GTA woman says she is being discharged from hospital early against her wishes

A GTA woman is fighting a decision that would see her discharged from a Toronto rehab facility before the end of the month.

Her family is worried budget concerns are driving the agenda.

Just over a year ago Barbara Butler, 41, was an active mother to two young children, a physiotherapist, and a volunteer in the community. Now she is confined to a wheelchair, after routine surgery for a torn ACL changed everything.

After the surgery her heart failed due to a rare undiagnosed condition, and she’s had cascading health issues.

Left a quadriplegic, she’s been fighting her way back with the help of staff at the Lyndhurst Centre.

“I work very hard here, love it,” said Butler.

She struggled to speak —; one of the things she has been working on —; and her voice has improved dramatically in the last few months.

She’s being discharged October 27, a decision she’s battling.

“I don’t know where I belong, I’m so scared,” said Butler. “Very anxious.”

The Butler family, seen in a photo from an online fundraising page.

gofundme / Global News

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Her husband said they can’t cope at home.

“She needs 24 hour care. She needs to be moved at night, every two or three hours she needs to be turned,” said Chuck Butler, Barbara’s husband.

“I was told we could probably get two hours of personal support worker time.”

They said the only other option is going back to their community hospital —; where they insist staff don’t have the expertise or equipment to give Butler the care she needs.

At the Lyndhurst Centre she gets physio, occupational and speech therapy every weekday. At a regular hospital the family has been told to expect physiotherapy twice a week.

“She needs tons of work to just keep everything moving, to maintain the gains she makes,” said Carla Delange, a physiotherapist and osteopathic manual practitioner who has been treating Butler.

“The more she works, the more she gets better.”

Butler’s family said they were told she could potentially be readmitted to the Lyndhurst Centre once she shows more significant improvements, but without therapy they don’t see how that would happen.

The family believes a tight budget is the real reason Butler is being told she has to leave.

READ MORE: Ontario NDP say budget freeze is forcing hospitals to lay off nurses

“Whatever care she needs to get her well should be given to her,” said her husband.

Lyndhurst Centre refused to allow Global News to talk with Butler on their property. Initially they agreed to an interview about their discharge policies, but later reneged and declined.

Butler said she wants nothing more than to go home, but can’t.

“Not ready yet, to go home, so need to stay here a little longer,” she said, her breath catching in sobs.

The family is hoping for a last minute reprieve.

“Every morning I wake up and before my eyes open, I go ‘OK it was just a dream’, I put my hand over and she’s going to be there,” said Chuck. “Then I wake up and it’s real.”

Chuck even wrote and performed a song about her journey in hopes of convincing hospital staff to reverse their decision.

“I love you, so I need you, please be well soon again. I miss the company, my lover and my friend. Please can it just be again the way it was before, I want you to, I need you to come back to me once more.”

In preparation for her eventual return home they have started a gofundme campaign.

©2015

Canadian Thompson comes to terms on $82M contract with Cavaliers

CLEVELAND – Already an elite rebounder, Tristan Thompson snatched a long-term contract from the Cavaliers.

The restricted free-agent forward has agreed in principle with the defending Eastern Conference champions on a five-year, $82 million contract, ending his holdout and giving the Cavs needed frontcourt depth as they enter a new season.

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The team confirmed Wednesday night that it had a verbal agreement with Thompson, who helped the Cavs get to the NBA Finals last season by filling in for an injured Kevin Love. Thompson had been seeking a maximum deal, while the Cavs made it known they valued the former No. 4 overall pick, but weren’t going to overpay for a reserve

The sides had been in an awkward stalemate, which threatened to carry over into the regular season. However agent Rich Paul, who also represents star LeBron James, and Cleveland’s front office were able to come to terms less than a week before the opener at Chicago.

READ MORE: Lamar Odom taken from Vegas hospital to L.A.

There’s a chance the deal will be finalized Thursday and Thompson, who has been working out on his own during the holdout, can begin practicing.

Thompson posted a photo on Instagram wearing a Cavaliers’ baseball cap.

“It’s been a long summer of grinding and hard work but now it’s back to The Land to take care of some unfinished business,” Thompson wrote.

View this post on Instagram

It’s been a long summer of grinding and hard work but now it’s back to The Land to take care of some unfinished business. #HappyToBeBack #ALLin

A post shared by Tristan Thompson (@realtristan13) on Oct 21, 2015 at 4:32pm PDT

With Thompson’s deal and extensions given this summer to James, Love, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, owner Dan Gilbert has shelled out nearly $300 million in guaranteed money during the off-season.

Thompson will be among the league’s highest-paid power forwards.

When Thompson declined to sign a one-year, $6.9 million qualifying offer from the team last month, it appeared he might be willing to sit out part of the regular season. James had called Thompson’s holdout a “distraction” and the impasse over the contract threatened to sidetrack the Cavs from getting back to the Finals.

But now Thompson will back up Love and provide his usual energy for Cleveland’s second unit.

Thompson came through in the playoffs after Love dislocated his left shoulder in the first round. The affable 24-year-old averaged 9.6 points and 10.8 rebounds in the post-season. He averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in the regular season.

Cleveland chose Thompson three selections after drafting Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick in 2011.

©2015

Best before dates lead to waste by consumers

Consumers are throwing away thousands of dollars and kilograms of food each year simply because they misunderstand what the best before date actually means.

A 2013 study from Harvard Law School and the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that the dates printed on packaged foods serve to confuse consumers, leading them to trash their food and money.

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Food waste costs the Canadian economy an estimated $31 billion a year. Much of that waste starts with consumers tossing out food that’s still good to eat.

Lindsay Coulter, known as the “Queen of Green” of the David Suzuki Foundation, says “about a third of all the food produced in the world” is wasted. She attributes a vast majority of that waste to consumers believing the best before date means food has gone “bad that day.”

“It’s challenging for consumers,” said food scientist Dr. Gary Sandberg.

People commonly mistake the best before dates as an expiration date, he adds, but the two labels tell consumers very different things.

WATCH: Professor, Keith Warriner, food scientist from University of Guelph’s department of food science, explains best before dates and food labels.

READ MORE: Food waste at record levels as other Canadians go hungry

What is a best before date?

Best before dates relate to “food quality,” explains Sandberg, who says the label has nothing to do with “food safety.” They are printed on products with a shelf life of 90 days or less.

If you open up your fridge and find a container of yogurt with a best before date that has passed, don’t be so quick to toss it out. If it has been stored properly and is unopened, Sandberg, says it’s still safe to eat. Those best before dates display peak flavour. Once the date has passed, he says, the food may lose some of its freshness and flavour. Once opened, the food’s shelf life may also change.

“As long as it’s sitting in the package, then it is not going to be a food safety risk, it’s going to be more of a loss of quality.”

Sanbderg says the best before date is no longer valid if a package is opened or if the food is frozen. If a food is properly frozen two days before its best before date, it should be edible for another two days from the start of the thawing process.

“As soon as you open a package then of course it becomes exposed to the environment. Then it can become contaminated with virtually anything,” he said.

What is an expiration date?

Expiration dates, however, tell consumers the last day a product is safe to consume. These foods are clearly marked with “EXP” or “Expiry.” After that date has passed, throw it out as the manufacturers cannot guarantee that the food’s nutritional composition remains stable.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency outlines only five types of products that need to have the expiration date label:

· Baby formula and other human milk substitutes
· Nutritional supplements
· Meal replacements
· Pharmacist-sold foods for very low-energy diets
· Formulated liquid diets

Canned food items

What may come as more of a shock to consumers, canned items don’t need to have a best before date at all. Canned items, as long as they are intact and stored in a moderate temperature, have an almost indefinite shelf life, but there may be a change in quality and texture.

The numbers imprinted on the top or bottom of the can, represent a manufacturing code used to track the product. The code designates the date the product was packaged.

“In most cases a can will have a warranty of two years,” says Sandberg. “After that two-year period no one is going to guarantee that the can is going to stay together.”

Sandberg advises not to purchase any cans that are bulging or leaking as these are not safe to consume.

How much longer will food last after the best before date?

A non-profit supermarket in Boston sells outdated food. Daily Table, which opened in June 2015, sells food that would have otherwise been thrown away at an affordable price. In Canada, Quest Food Exchange sells food that is close to or past its best before date at affordable prices. Quest offers food from every branch of the local food industry that might otherwise go to waste. The company follows “the Durable Life Information on Food Products fact sheet and the Acts and Regulations administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

This is how long some foods can last past the best before date:

Sandberg says don’t throw out your common sense because ultimately “if it looks bad, if it smells bad, chances are it is.”

He also recommends having your refrigerator 1-2 degrees Celsius colder (not below freezing) because it could extend the shelf life of most products, for milk, for example by 50 per cent. He says if you keep the milk at the back for the fridge, you will likely gain an additional one to two days. If you have questions about your eggs, Sandberg suggests the “float test.” If the egg floats (due to gas production inside) it has gone bad; if it sinks, it’s safe to consume.

Health Canada does not recommend eating anything after the best before date. The Canada Food Inspection Agency states you can buy and eat foods after the best before date has passed. Generally, if the food changes colour or appearance, or develops a bad smell, it is no longer safe to eat.

©2015Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ghosts of his father’s energy program haunt Trudeau in Alberta

CALGARY – Justin Trudeau’s Liberal victory is raising concerns for many in Calgary’s oilpatch: they worry his energy policies will mimic his father’s.

Pierre Trudeau alienated Western Canada and made his party a political pariah in Alberta when he implemented the national energy program (NEP) in the early 1980s.

As the energy industry continues to struggle, companies are in no mood for governmental surprises, says Phil Roberts of Vintri Technologies.

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“I would say most people are looking for certainty, and these are very uncertain times,” he said.

Some Calgarians have never forgotten the elder Trudeau’s NEP, which caused massive economic damage in the oilpatch.

Soft oil prices in 2015 are causing their own economic hardship in Calgary.

“Our rig fleet is hovering around 185 rigs, active rigs, in Western Canada,” said Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors president Mark Scholz. “Those statistics are very similar to what we saw in about 1983, so we are experiencing an economic environment very much like what we saw back in the 80s.”

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau has ties to energy-conscious Western Canada his father didn’t, says Goodale

In 1980 oil prices were at an historic high for the time at over $30 a barrel, people were moving to Calgary in large numbers looking for jobs, real estate prices skyrocketed—but all of that crashed as the city was plunged into a recession.

Former investment advisor Peter Linder says times are different today: Calgary’s economy is more diversified and stable, and recessions don’t run as deep. But he warns misguided Liberal policies could still cause pain in the city.

“The father made it so bad, so I don’t think the son is going to follow the father’s footsteps,” he said. “Having said that, it’s going to get worse with the Liberals in power versus the Conservatives in power.”

Calgary Centre’s newly elected Liberal MP Kent Hehr, who eked out a close win against Tory incumbent Joanne Crockatt, says Calgarians shouldn’t fear the return of the NEP.

“NEP 2.0 is not going to happen,” said Hehr.

“Go to sleep tonight; relax. We are going to govern in the best interest of this great nation and a large part of that is the future of Calgary, the future of the oil industry, and how it plays a role in lifting all.”

Trudeau will swear in his new cabinet, including Canada’s new energy minister, Nov. 4.

READ MORE: Selecting cabinet one of first orders of business for Trudeau

With files from Erika Tucker

©2015

‘Dear Justin Trudeau’: B.C. woman’s top 10 list to new PM goes viral

Justin Trudeau will soon become Canada’s next Prime Minister.

While the news now turns to what he promised before election day, one B.C. woman’s letter to the Prime Minister-designate has gone viral on Facebook.

WATCH: Tom Clark weighs in on what Justin Trudeau’s first steps may be as prime minister

Cassandra Fletcher describes herself as “an average west coast, middle class mom voter.” And she admits that while she did vote Liberal, she did not vote for Trudeau. She voted “against the alternative.”

Fletcher writes on Facebook that when she voted on Monday, she felt like she was gambling her life away. “How many millions of us gambled today on whatever bet would be ‘not harper’?” she asks.

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My country’s electoral system throws away all votes that don’t “win”. This last election’s votes meant two thirds of us weren’t represented at all. That’s crazy! I need you to know that even though I put my X next to your name, I did not vote for you. I voted against the alternative. And so with this knowledge, and knowing millions of other Canadians just made the same decision out of pure rage and fear, I hope you can do a few things in your newfound position.

Fletcher has written Trudeau a top 10 list that has now been shared more than 27,000 times.

READ MORE: Vancouver woman’s Facebook letter to Stephen Harper goes viral

Here is her top 10 list:

    Get real about your win.Change our electoral system.Rebuild Canada’s name on the world stage.Please don’t be bought.Protect our rare and natural resources and don’t get caught in the jargon.Related to #5 above, but worthy of its own number… please create fair subsidy practices.Support science.Support an unbiased public information forum.Listen and communicate in real ways – no political mumbo jumbo say-nothing jibberjabber.Bill C-51.

Read the full letter below:

Hey Justin. I’m Casandra, and I’m an average west coast, middle class mom voter. You and I are the same age. I have so much to learn in terms of diplomacy and leadership, and so I’m guessing you acknowledge this in yourself too. This is going to be quite the ride for you and I.

I have a pit in my stomach because I just stood behind a cardboard box with a lump in my throat, feeling like I was gambling my life away. I think that’s the seed of what’s churning in my belly… in a democracy, why do I feel like I have to “play my cards” when I vote? How many millions of us gambled today on whatever bet would be “not harper”?

My country’s electoral system throws away all votes that don’t “win”. This last election’s votes meant two thirds of us weren’t represented at all. That’s crazy! I need you to know that even though I put my X next to your name, I did not vote for you. I voted against the alternative. And so with this knowledge, and knowing millions of other Canadians just made the same decision out of pure rage and fear, I hope you can do a few things in your newfound position. Since the internet loves “Top Ten!” lists, here’s mine for you:

1. Get real about your win. Accept it with humility and modesty, and treat your fellow left politicians with respect and gratitude, for it is THEIR supporters who got you here with your sweeping majority, and not your own.

2. Change our electoral system. Be brave enough to see the big picture and not just for whom our voting system will immediately benefit. Be strong enough to face those that disagree or may lose their roles because a better system is needed for the health of our country. Be the one to recreate what democracy is in Canada. You have the chance to make history for your Trudeau name (round two), and what a magical gift that is… to have the ability to create a legacy.

3. Rebuild Canada’s name on the world stage. I was once proud to sew my flag on my backpack. Now, I’m ashamed of my country. We can become peacekeepers again. We can be examples to the world of how we educate our youth, support our vulnerable people, and protect our mountain streams. We can disagree with the United States, and we don’t have to be business partners with countries that commit horrific crimes against humanity. We can be a world leader in more ways than one.

4. Please don’t be bought. Your rewards for strength of character, your ethics, and being a true voice for Canada’s people today and 100 years from now will bring you far greater reward. Turn your back to those companies and lobbyists that think they can buy you (and Canada) in exchange for decisions that financially reward a few today and hurt people for generations.

5. Protect our rare and natural resources and don’t get caught in the jargon. Climate Change, global warming, carbon emissions… the jargon is divisive. There are certain decisions that clearly DO destroy this blue planet upon which we survive, and those that don’t. I recognize the harvesting of our forests, minerals, metals and oil bring jobs and money to our country, but consider moderation, balance, and sustainable practices, instead of debating the validity of the “climate change” phrase.

6. Related to #5 above, but worthy of its own number… please create fair subsidy practices. Either stop subsidizing oil, or start subsidizing energy alternatives. Refer to #4.

7. Support science. Rebuild our libraries and the information learned from thousands of reputable, skilled scientists over decades in Canada. Support a system to archive this information rather than destroy it.

8. Support an unbiased public information forum. Maybe this is the CBC. Maybe not. But probably… yes… the CBC. I’m guessing a truly democratic country thrives on the sharing of information that is non-partisan, non-religious, non-corporate, for the benefit of having an educated, engaged populace. Refer to #4.

9. Listen and communicate in real ways – no political mumbo jumbo say-nothing jibberjabber. We’re all just people, and we all deserve to be spoken to with honesty and respect, even if it’s not decisions we agree with. We’re talking inclusion, veterans, aboriginal women, veterans, jobs, refugees, pot, the justice system, the TPP, pipelines, healthcare, the senate and government corruption. And it doesn’t stop there. Good luck, but a good start is always good communication.

10. Bill C-51. Fix that thing. That’s like a bad sci-fi movie happening in real life. I can’t believe you voted for that in the first place. Refer to #3.

Thanks for your consideration.
Cass

Fletcher says she is both surprised and not surprised her letter has got this much attention.

“I know nothing I’ve said is unique to me, and I knew I was writing what I had heard everyone around me talking about all summer,” she said in a written interview. “In that, I guess I knew there was the potential for it to get shared as it resonated with certain people. This viral though? Yes, this surprises me.”

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