21 child murderers have been sent to Indigenous healing lodges since 2011: data

Nearly two dozen child murderers have been sent to Indigenous healing lodges since 2011, according to data from Public Safety Canada.

Healing lodges held four offenders convicted of first and second-degree murder of children during the 2011-12 fiscal year. The following three years saw 10 more offenders sent to the facilities.

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Another seven were transferred to healing lodges after Justin Trudeau succeeded Stephen Harper as prime minister in 2015, reveal the figures shared with Global News by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office.

In total, 21 child murderers have been transferred to healing lodges since 2011. Over half of them (14) were held there while the Conservative government was in power,

As of Sept. 23, 2018, there were 11 convicted child-killers held in healing lodges.

READ MORE: Terri-Lynne McClintic is back in prison, Rodney Stafford says ‘it makes me feel amazing’

The data was released to Global News on Tuesday following widespread outrage over the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic — convicted in the 2009 rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford — to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan in October.

McClintic was moved out of the healing lodge and into an Edmonton prison last week, Tori’s father Rodney Stafford told Global News Radio. Stafford had previously organized a rally in Ottawa calling for the government to put McClintic back behind bars.

Goodale also announced last week that the Liberal government was implementing new rules governing the assessment and transfer of inmates from conventional prisons to healing lodges.

WATCH: Terri-Lynne McClintic sent back to penitentiary

“At the request of the minister, corrections officials reviewed inmate transfer policies. Based on their recommendations, the government strengthened the governance and oversight of transfers to healing lodges,” a spokesperson for Goodale told Global News in an email accompanying the data.

“The murder of a child is odious and utterly reprehensible, and perpetrators must be held fully accountable for their crime. At the same time, our correctional system must also strive for rehabilitation so we can have fewer repeat offenders, fewer victims, and ultimately safer communities.”

EXCLUSIVE: McClintic’s brother says ‘she’s no more Indigenous than I am green from the planet Mars’

Goodale’s spokesperson added that Correctional Service Canada only approves offenders for transfer to healing lodges “following a thorough risk assessment,” while prioritizing public safety.

He also insisted that that healing lodges “have a record of successfully dealing with difficult cases, and can be the right correctional approach for certain offenders.”

WATCH: Conservative MP pleased McClintic back behind bars, calls on government for better checks and balances

Indeed, research out of Northern Arizona University showed that six per cent of healing lodge residents had re-offended while they were on conditional release, compared to a federal re-offending rate of 11 per cent.

However, a 2002 study showed higher rates for re-offending among healing lodge residents than among offenders in minimum security — it was 19 per cent, “significantly higher” than the rate among Indigenous offenders who were released from minimum security (13 per cent).

READ MORE: Inmate escapes from healing lodge near Maple Creek, Sask.

That study was updated in 2011, and it showed that among Indigenous offenders, conditional releases were “as likely to be maintained in the community as conditional releases for aboriginal offenders from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women.”

— With files from Amanda Connolly and Jesse Ferreras

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‘It’s like he took a grinder to it’ : Scrap metal business turns in stolen cenotaph plaque

FREDERICTON – The thefts of plaque from two cenotaphs in Fredericton have police on the hunt for who’s responsible.

A plaque was taken from the Barker’s Point Cenotaph on Saturday, Oct.17. It’s replacement value is $3,000.

This week, three plaques went missing from the New Brunswick Provincial Cenotaph in Fredericton. Their replacement value is $10,000.

Fredericton Police say they are actively investigating the thefts.

Best Metals owner Iaan Brown said he believes the Barker’s Point Cenotaph plaque landed at his scrap metal business on Oct. 17.

He said he paid the man $110 for the plaque. Shortly after, he realized what he had received after seeing the plaque on 桑拿会所 and the news.

Barker’s Point Cenotaph. Courtesy: Fredericton Police

Courtesy: Fredericton Police

“This guy completely defaced the plaque,” Brown said. “It’s like he took a grinder to it.”

Brown said the only reason he could identify it was the torch on the right side of the plaque.

He said the same man came in with several more plaques the following Tuesday, Oct. 20. His employees recognized him and took a picture. Brown also took a picture of the man’s car before he fled.

“He must have sensed it. He threw them in the back of his trunk and sped off.”

Brown reported the incident to police.

Mayor Brad Woodside is urging all local scrap metal dealers to watch for the plaques.

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©2015

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Land transfer taxes up for review, could double across Ontario

TORONTO – It may soon get significantly more expensive to own a home in Ontario.

The province is currently in the process of holding public consultations to amend the Municipal Act which includes giving every municipality outside of Toronto the power to charge the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT).

Ontario has already given permission for Toronto to impose the tax back in 2008.

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“It’s before us now as a consultation process to review the municipal act and that’s all this is, no decisions have been made,” said Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

“We’ve uploaded quite a bit with regards to the demands we put on municipalities.”

Sousa said the land transfer tax is part of the province’s review of the municipal act, which is set to be completed this week. He added that if the legislation is enacted it could come into effect by the spring of next year.

“We’re having a discussion with municipalities who have felt for some time a bit beleaguered on the fiscal front ever since the downloading days of the old government and we’re still recovering from that, we’re uploading costs,” said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Ted McMeekin.

“Should all municipalities have the same tools the city of Toronto has and if not, why not? So that’s part of the discussion we’re having.”

Those looking to purchase a home for $445,000 will therefore have to pay $5,375 in the Provincial Land Transfer Tax and an additional $4,625 for the new MLTT.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) issued a media release Tuesday decrying the province’s move to double the tax on home purchases.

“The Ontario Liberals wrote to us in May 2014, during the election, stating that ‘they had no plans to extend these powers to municipalities’,” said Patricia Verge, president of OREA.

“On behalf of home buyers, we want them to remain good on this election promise and that means Ontarians need to send a strong message that the government must rethink its plan to double the land transfer tax burden on home buyers.”

During question period at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, the Progressive Conservatives demanded the Liberal government to guarantee they won’t allow municipalities to impose the extra tax.

The Association claims the MLTT in Toronto has already stiffled home purchases in the city and is costing the economy billions of dollars.

“Over five years, it is estimated that 38,227 housing transactions did not occur in Toronto because of the MLTT,” the OREA said in a media release.

“With every home transaction generating $55,000 in consumer spending on things like renovations, furniture, appliances, and fees to professionals, the MLTT has cost the City of Toronto $2.3 billion in lost economic activity and 15,000 jobs.”

The OREA has since launched an online campaign to urge the public to oppose the move.

Kamal Aurora says she is buying a new home in Oakville, Ont., adding that she hopes to sell the home she currently has.

“Maybe I won’t be able to sell my house, that would affect me,” she said. “Homes are already getting expensive, it’s not a good decision.”

With files from Adam Miller

©2015

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Seth Rogen on Justin Trudeau win: ‘Bright, new direction’

You can add Seth Rogen to the list of Canadians celebrating a Liberal election win.

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“I think it’s great,” Seth tells ET Canada. “I’m happy Stephen Harper is no longer the prime minister of Canada. I think this is a step in a bright, new direction.”

Employing his trademark laugh, Rogen adds he’s also a fan of PM-elect Justin Trudeau’s promise to decriminalize marijuana.

“Again, I think we’re heading in a bright, new direction.”

Seth, who’s busy promoting the movie Steve Jobs, is also happy about the reviews his performance in the film has been getting from critics. But mostly he’s relieved.

“I’ve seen comedic actors in the past transition to other types of movies with varying degrees of success, and at times I’m the first to mock those people,” he says. “So just being aware of that, I was worried that I would become a target of like-minded mockery.”

Steve Jobs is currently in theatres.

©2015Entertainment Tonight Canada

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NDG residents want tree removed

MONTREAL–An old majestic tree hangs ominously over Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG) Avenue near the intersection of Marcil Avenue.

People living nearby want it removed.

“I think it could be dangerous…that a branch fell on a kids or a baby,” Andrée-Anne Michaud,  a local resident told Global News.

The mother of three heard a branch break off the tree and land on a car last spring.

Another resident living next to the tree told Global News a second branch broke last July, landing on a truck.

Both say the large tree in front of 5578 Notre-Dame-de-Grace Avenue is a threat to those living in the area and others passing through.

“We tell the kids to move quickly through this area,” Rob Clark told Global News.

“And I try not to park below the tree as much as possible because I’m worried it could be my car or my kids.”

The tree towers above all the others on the street and it is decades, if not a century old.

And the tree is showing its age: branches are broken in several places and are dried out.

A massive hole near the trunk indicates it’s likely hollow.

“When we play tag around the block we’re always scared. We stop here and then we run over there. We go right away,” said nine year-old Ben Clark.

Residents want the tree cut down as quickly as possible but Michaud complains her calls to the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough office aren’t producing any results.

“They tell me, oh yeah, somebody is going to take it in charge soon,” Michaud said.

Peter McQueen, the Montreal city councillor representing Notre-Dame-de-Grace wrote in a text to Global News that he’s “looking for an answer or a solution,” but hadn’t yet inspected the tree at the time of this writing.

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©2015

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Serious whale-watching accidents are incredibly rare: industry head

VANCOUVER – The whale-watching ship that sank off Vancouver Island and is now at the centre of multiple investigations was inspected annually since 1998 and certified to carry 46 passengers, a Transport Canada official said.

Five people died and another person is missing after the 20-metre long Leviathan II went down near the tourist town of Tofino, B.C., late Sunday afternoon.

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Twenty-four tourists and three crew members were onboard at the time.

Transport Canada, the Transportation Safety Board, the RCMP and B.C.’s coroner are investigating.

Transport Canada spokeswoman Jillian Glover said the agency will investigate the ship’s compliance with the Canada Shipping Act and its regulations at the time of the accident.

She said the vessel was last inspected March 6, 2015.

The agency’s regulations state commercial vessels must have life-saving equipment, such as first-aid kits and life rafts, as well as distress-alerting equipment, such as radios and flares. There must also be life-jackets available for each person on board.

READ MORE: Owner of whale-watching tour makes first statement about tragic sinking near Tofino

The ship’s owner said the Leviathan II had about 50 adult life jackets, 20 children’s life jackets and three life rafts.

But the rules don’t require passengers to be wearing the flotation devices on larger boats with enclosed compartments, said Jamie Bray, owner of Jamie’s Whaling Station.

“In the event of a sinking, it would be very difficult to exit a vessel when you’re being held up onto a ceiling or the deck with a life jacket on,” Bray told reporters Monday.

It’s unclear what caused the boat to sink, but Bray said his ship had “an absolutely perfect” safety record.

“This is something just totally out of the blue,” he said.

READ MORE: A day of heartbreak and heroism in Tofino

Serious incidents are incredibly rare in the whale-watching industry, said Michael Harris, executive director of the Pacific Whale Watching Association.

Jamie’s Whaling Station is not part of the group, which Harris said takes about 400,000 people out on the water annually.

None of the 36 companies in the association has ever had so much as an injury on one of their tours, he added.

“It just doesn’t happen and that’s part of the shock. This is just a horrible tragedy.”

Safety is incredibly important to the owners and operators of whale-watching tours, and the first thing tour operators do when passengers get on board is explain safety procedures, Harris said.

“We go above and beyond. We just make sure people are safe.”

The people driving the boats know everything about the mechanics of their vessel and are keenly aware of the weather, similar to airline pilots, Harris said.

“Most importantly, what they share with commercial airline pilots is this keen sense that they have souls on board, that they are responsible for human beings. That is the priority.”

READ MORE: Community potluck brings grieving Tofino residents together to heal

Every crew member on board whale-watching boats in B.C. must have a Marine Emergency Duties certificate, said Andrew Lees, head naturalist with Five Star Whale Watching in Victoria.

Training for the certificate covers everything from firefighting to boarding life rafts.

“It’s probably one of the most thorough exams that you’ll find across the world,” Lees said.

Many questions remain as to why the Leviathan went down and whether anything could have been done to save lives.

However, Lees doesn’t believe the tragic incident will deter others from taking to the water.

“I think for the most part, people will recognize that this activity is an extremely safe one.,” he said. “And this was a very, very rare tragic accident. I don’t think it will put anybody off.”

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Attendance in northern Alberta school division remains ‘unacceptably low’: Auditor General

EDMONTON – Alberta’s Auditor General said Tuesday attendance figures in the Northland School Division remain “unacceptably low.” The news comes five years after the province fired the school board.

Merwin Saher told the provincial Public Accounts Committee if the province and the division do not act, we risk “failing another generation of the division’s children.”

In 2010, Alberta’s education minister fired the school board over student performance and attendance problems.

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Northland School Division eventually wants students to miss a maximum of one day of class per month.

Last year, only 31 per cent of students met the school division’s target.

Using the Auditor General’s criteria, one third of the division’s 2,500 students are “chronically absent.”

The division created a plan in January called “Every Day Counts” to improve student attendance. Since it was implemented, officials say attendance has slightly improved but much more needs to be done.

“In the jurisdiction, we have seen an increase, a very small increase…in the neighbourhood of two per cent,” said Colin Kelly, the official trustee for Northland, appointed by the province.

“I wish there was some kind of a magic bullet where we were able to do one thing and address it,” added Kelly. “But it is going to require a significant input from a number of organizations and resources within this province.”

“Most definitely – I believe we need help from others.”

In the fall, Northland hired someone who will monitor and manage attendance data from all 24 schools in the division.

According to school officials, one thing that would help is getting the community more involved and bringing back an elected board.

“I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” said David Eggen, Alberta’s current education minister. “The school board itself has been in suspension for more than five years now.”

Eggen said he wants elections restored in the Northland School Division.

“I would like to see an elected trustee board reinstated by the next election,” he said. “I think it’s an insult to so many that use these schools that the former government left them in suspension for more than five years now. So I intend to do something about that.”

He would also like to see more First Nations teachers and staff working in the schools.

©2015

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Stephen Harper and family moving back to Calgary after election defeat

The Harpers will be moving back to Calgary.

Stephen Harper will soon no longer be prime minister and since he no longer has access to government housing, will be moving back to Calgary and commuting to Ottawa.

Although Harper resigned the Conservative leadership following the party’s election defeat, he did not resign his seat in Calgary Heritage.

According to a Conservative source, Harper will be like many other members of Parliament – living in his constituency and commuting to Ottawa for work.

Last week, Conservative MP Rona Ambrose, who is a friend of the Harpers, told Global News this would likely be a welcome change for the family. “I think they’ll be really excited to move back to Calgary,” she said.

“From what I gather, [Laureen]’s sold her motorcycle and bought a truck and she’s excited to start being able to hike and do all the things she loves outdoors.”

Stephen and Laureen love Calgary, she said, and deserve some time away from Ottawa. “They’ve served the country for 15 years, so I think it’s time that they had some private time, time with their family, their friends and I’m sure they’re excited about it.”

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Saint Johners mourn the end of profitable food truck season

SAINT JOHN – It was a bittersweet day for Saint John foodies, as people lined up for one of their final food truck-fix of the season.

“Saint Johners love their food trucks,” said Nicole Richard.

Richard says food truck vendors started gathering at the Air Canada customer service call centre parking lot in Saint John over the summer.

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“It’s sort of like a carnival atmosphere. You come out here and see families at the picnic tables and you see a bunch of chairs behind a tail gate and people have tail gates parties,” she said.

She says she invited one food truck to come out once a week to feed her fellow Air Canada employees. But by mid-summer, a fleet had arrived and people from all across city started showing up.

Moncton’s Michael Uberall who owns Checkpoint Germany says food truck vendors are really cashing in.

“It’s hip right now. Everybody sees a food truck and they want it.”

At least in Saint John. Uberall says he is far more busy in Saint John compared to Moncton. So, travelling every week is worth the trip.

“If I look at my numbers I would says it’s at least double.”

Moncton’s Randy O’Brien owns the Bangkok Food Truck. He says his business has tripled since coming to Saint John for tasty Tuesdays.

“For next year we are looking at getting a second truck so we can come more frequently to Saint John,” he said.

The trend has caught on so well, the City of Saint John literally paved the way for trucks to park at Tin Can Beach every Wednesday.

“I know when I was a kid I was always excited when I hear that little tingle and the ice cream truck was coming. It’s that same feeling,” said Richard.

The season wraps up this week.

“We are coming back we are coming back next year for sure,” said Uberall.

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Nova Scotians welcome the suspension of community mailbox program – Halifax

HALIFAX – If you don’t already pick up your mail from a community mailbox, you just may never have to.

In anticipation of the the new Trudeau Liberal government acting on its election promise to scrap the move away from door-to-door mail delivery, Canada Post has suspended the installation of community mailboxes.

The move means nearly half a million households that were to be converted will keep their current mail service for now.

All customers who already use community mailboxes will continue to use them for the time being.

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The letter carriers union welcomes the news of the suspension the community mail box program, and hopes door-to-door service will be reinstated.

“We’re cautiously optimistic obviously,” said George Nickerson, the Coordinator for Save Canada Post in Atlantic Canada.

“We want to make sure that not only do they stop the cuts like they have said, but actually reverse them.”

One Fairview resident told Global News that 20 years ago when he moved there they had community boxes. But ten years ago Canada Post started home delivery. Then in August, service went back to the community boxes.

Fairview is just one of several areas in Halifax to have community mail boxes installed in the past two months. Nickerson hopes these areas will get home delivery again.

“I couldn’t understand why we had mail delivery taken away in the first place because we maybe don’t need mail delivery five days a week,” says Barbara Holland, who lives on Birkdale Crescent in Fairview. “We may need mail delivery three days a week and if they decide to bring back mail delivery to Birkdale Crescent I will be very happy, moreso even for some elderly people than myself.”

David Frevola has been a letter carrier for 37 years, but his hours have increased dramatically since the community mail boxes were installed.

“I’ve gone from a normal eight hour work day to a minimum of ten hours and up to fourteen hours just to complete the route,” Frevola told Global News. “Canada Post has basically turned three mail routes into one mail route.”

Many customers are happy the community box program has been suspended. “Loving it,” said Robert Hall, another Birkdale Crescent resident. “That will put more postal workers back to work.”

Molly Rechnitzer lives near the community box and enjoys getting out, but she says that will likely change in the winter.

“They can’t even clear a passage,” Rechnitzer said. “Then of course the locks will freeze. I am 79-years-old and I don’t want to fall.”

Frevola told Rechnitzer if home delivery is reinstated on this street, the boxes can be used to replace aging rural boxes.

©2015

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Federal officials wanted to highlight aboriginals, women as part of Canada 150

OTTAWA – Newly disclosed documents show federal officials wanted to mark key contributions by aboriginal people and women to Canadian history as a way to expand Canada 150 celebrations that had largely focused on military events.

A list of potential milestones that could be celebrated on the road to 2017 was delivered to the top official at Canadian Heritage in mid-March and included 17 pages of lists and details for potential commemorations leading up to, and beyond, the country’s 150th birthday.

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The list includes the centennial of when women received the right to vote in federal elections, legislation almost 200 years old that ended slavery in Canada and the births of key aboriginal figures, including the late Tommy Prince, one of Canada’s most decorated aboriginal veterans.

Combined, the extra milestones would highlight “accomplishments of minority ethnocultural groups, recognize the contributions of women and celebrate the role of Aboriginal Peoples have and continue to play in our country,” reads a report accompanying the list of recommended milestones.

READ MORE: Canada 150 logo contest draws criticism from graphic design community

obtained a copy of the list and accompanying report through the Access to Information Act.

Canadian Heritage declined an interview request about how the milestones were chosen.

The department says no decision was made to add these milestones to the Canada 150 plans and any anniversaries beyond 2017 “will be identified and communicated in due course.”

University of Guelph history professor Matthew Hayday says the list glosses over much of Quebec’s contributions to Canada and Confederation, while celebrating aboriginals who challenged government programs of assimilation. Officials suggested marking the founding of Montreal, the anniversary of a museum built for Canada’s centennial and the passage of the Official Languages Act.

“These are not about anniversaries of Quebec’s major contributions to Confederation,” said Hayday, who researches how Canadians celebrate their history and culture.

The list avoids more contentious parts of French Canada’s history, while celebrating aboriginals who were key figures in the battle for First Nations rights, Hayday said.

READ MORE: Canadian design industry rebels against Ottawa’s Canada 150 logo contest

“It makes sense that in the 150th anniversary there is going to be an impulse towards a more national unity narrative and a desire to downplay points of intense conflict,” Hayday said. “That’s pretty typical with what governments do, but it’s interesting that there is more acknowledgment of some of the fraught history with First Nations in that list and less when it comes to French Canada and Quebec.”

The list still touches on the themes of Canada’s military efforts and Arctic sovereignty that the outgoing Conservative government put a heavy focus on.

That could change under a Liberal government. The creation of a national medicare program in 1966 or the 60th anniversary of Lester Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize for his work in creating a peacekeeping force with the United Nations could all be on the list of milestones with the Liberals now calling the shots, Hayday said.

The Liberals may also add the anniversary of one of their MPs, Marc Garneau, becoming the first Canadian in space. The list from March suggested marking the 25th anniversary of Chris Hadfield becoming the “first Canadian member of a space shuttle team” in 2020, but no mention of Garneau’s 1984 flight aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

“I wouldn’t necessarily assume that this is going to be the be-all and end-all of what we’re going to see commemorated or that the priority list might not shift quite significantly within the next few months,” Hayday said.

©2015

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Answers about major black hole mystery discovered by SMU researchers – Halifax

HALIFAX – The baffling and strange behaviors of black holes in space are now a little less mysterious thanks to some scientific research being done at Saint Mary’s University.

Astronomy Professor Dr. Luigi Gallo and his team have been able to provide more answers to the ongoing question: How do black holes flare?

The finding came after Gallo noticed a black hole he has been observing, Markarian 335, suddenly brightened.

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The unusual event also caught the eye of NASA which focused a space telescope on the black hole so Gallo and his team could further investigate.

“We caught some really really interesting features of it,” said Gallo.

One of those features in a black hole is called a corona, which is a bright source of X-ray light that forms when matter falls into a black hole. Now for the first time, they have been able to link that corona with why black holes flare.

“What we found was the flare was caused by that corona, these really hot energetic particles that produce X-rays being launched away from the black hole and towards us,” said lead author of the study Dan Wilkins.

Gallo says this discovery is first of its kind.

“We always have this idea that black holes are eating everything around it but in this case we are actually seeing material being thrown out,” said Gallo.

The research suggests that black holes send out beams of X-rays when their surrounding coronas shoot or launch away from black holes.

Astronomers say it’s a ground breaking discovery that could eventually lead to a better understanding about how the universe was created.

“So this means if you want to understand how galaxies formed and how everything around us was put together in the universe we have to understand how that black hole in the centre of the galaxy is working and release energy.”

The research and findings are now being published by NASA and various periodicals.

Gallo says he and his team will continue their research on black holes at Saint Mary’s. He says the work they are doing is significant, even though it’s work most aren’t even aware of.

“I think to some extend people are surprised. It’s unfortunate that’s the case because we are doing some really good research here.”

©2015

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Alberta budget: Calgary cancer centre delayed, Edmonton hospital funding falls short

CALGARY – October’s provincial budget confirms the NDP government’s promise to build a new cancer centre for Calgary, but the much-needed facility will miss a 2020 target for completion, Alberta Health officials confirmed.

The project is now expected to open in the 2023-2024 year.  The $830 million set aside for the stand-alone cancer facility falls $470,000 short of the estimated cost.

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But a Calgary group that fought fiercely for the construction of the hospital applauded the news that it’s is finally moving forward.

“This is a great news day —; never before have we had such a financial commitment to a full build of a comprehensive cancer centre in Calgary,” said John Osler with Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre (C5).  “We are delighted.”

Osler acknowledged “unprecedented economic challenges that did not exist when Premier Redford suggested a 2020 completion date,” adding that the extent of Alberta’s money troubles was unknown when Health Minister Sarah Hoffman expressed her hope that the 2020 completion date could be met.

Two Edmonton facilities in dire need of repair—the Royal Alexandra and Misericordia hospitals—will each see just $10 million for planning, when the suggested overhaul cost for the Royal Alex alone is $4.5 billion.

The health facility funding is part of a capital plan that invests $2.2 billion to build and expand health facilities and equipment over the next five years. The plan also includes $4.4 billion over five years for “new projects and programs to be included in future capital plans.”

“There is a substantial portion of the health budget unallocated,” said Finance Minister Joe Ceci Tuesday. “We’re going to put that through the lens of: what’s needed? Is it the best capital to spend for the money? So we’ve reserved a significant part of the increase that we plan to put in this province…for the right time.”

Watch below: ‘It was challenging’: Finance Minister Joe Ceci on putting together Alberta budget 2015

Initial estimates from the PC government pegged the cost of an all-under-one-roof Calgary cancer centre at $1.3 billion, a price tag that current Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said might be exaggerated.

Hoffman said in July she weighed all options and decided Foothills Medical Centre was the best site at which to build the cancer centre. She said she thinks it’s possible to build the centre for less than the $1.3 billion originally budgeted when the project was announced by Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government two years ago.

“Cancer patients, their families and their caregivers deserve certainty that this government is committed to the Calgary Cancer Centre,” said Hoffman in July. “With cancer rates expected to rise in Alberta by as much as 60 per cent in the next 15 years, this new centre will be integral to meeting cancer care needs in our province.”

READ MORE: Patients press Notley for campaign promise of one-stop cancer hospital

Global News was first to report that former premier Jim Prentice was canceling the plan to build the cancer centre at Foothills last year. Former health minister Stephen Mandel said low oil prices meant the money to build the project was no longer available. During the provincial election campaign, Prentice rolled out a scaled-down plan to build a centre on two sites—at the South Health Campus hospital and at Foothills—but that wasn’t what advocates were calling for.

A number of people have been fighting ever since to bring the original project back to life, including the Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre.

In Edmonton, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation sounded the alarm over the declining state of the 1960s-built main facility in its 2013-14 Report to the Community. It said “aging infrastructure” makes it difficult to maintain operations at an emergency department that handles more surgeries than any other Alberta hospital. The PC government was also under fire to replace the 45-year-old Misericordia, which has been plagued with problems including floods.

READ MORE: Calgary group launches petition demanding one-stop cancer hospital

Watch below: ‘Some realism in this budget would be good’: Wildrose leader reacts to Alberta budget 2015

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