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Canadians spend nearly $1000 a year on online shopping – National

VANCOUVER – A new study says more than eight in 10 Canadian Internet users have made an online purchase in the past year with cosmetics, furniture and pet products among popular items.

The Ipsos Reid survey says 82 per cent of Canadians were buying online, with consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 making the most digital purchases.

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It says 92 per cent of these younger consumers have purchased online this year, while 82 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 have bought online, and 74 per cent among those 55 years and older.

The survey also found that the average amount of reported spending for online purchases was $954 annually.

READ MORE: Will technology take the stress out of back-to-school prep by 2024?

When looking at the most common items purchased online, cosmetic and beauty products were up six percentage points to 29 per cent from last year; pet products were up six points to 17 per cent; furniture and housewares were up five points to 23 per cent; groceries were up five points to 15 per cent; and glasses and contact lenses were up four points to 15 per cent.

Despite the popularity of smartphones and tablets, desktops and laptops continue to be used the most for online purchases, with nine in 10 online purchases made with personal computers in the past 12 months.

The online study surveyed 800 adults and was done between July 2-7.

©2014The Canadian Press

Ukrainian president says he and Putin agree on steps to cease-fire agreement – Toronto

WATCH: This morning, President Obama announced he’ll send US airmen to help the Baltic states with security. This comes as Ukraine announces a truce with Russia – but will it hold?

KYIV, Ukraine – A day ahead of a NATO summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued his own peace plan for eastern Ukraine, calling on the Russian-backed insurgents there to “stop advancing” and urging Ukraine to withdraw its troops from the region.

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Hours earlier, Ukraine had issued a vague statement about agreeing with Putin on cease-fire steps. The separatists rejected the move, saying no cease-fire was possible without a pullback by Ukraine, while Putin’s spokesman claimed that Moscow could not agree to a cease-fire because it was not a party to the conflict.

The back-and-forth came as President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia in a show of solidarity with NATO allies who fear they could be the next target of Russia’s aggression. NATO is holding a summit in Wales on Thursday, with plans to approve a rapid-response team to counter the Russian threat.

READ MORE: Obama touts ‘unwavering’ US commitment to NATO self-defence

Putin, for his part, is eager to avoid further international sanctions that could hurt his resource-based economy.

Amid the diplomatic chess match, a Ukrainian official said the bodies of 87 soldiers had been retrieved from southeastern Ukraine. Mykhailo Logvinov, a military official in Zaporizhye, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the soldiers were killed near the eastern city of Ilovaysk, the scene of a horrific government defeat over the weekend. He said the remains were being identified by local forensic experts.

Putin, speaking in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, said he came up with a 7-point peace plan on the plane trip there – one in which Kyiv must withdraw its troops and stop its artillery strikes.

“The warring parties should immediately co-ordinate and do the following things together,” Putin said in televised comments. “The first thing is for the armed forces and insurgents of the south-east of Ukraine to stop active advancing in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

“Second is for the Ukrainian military to withdraw their troops at a safe distance that will make artillery and other strikes on populated areas impossible,” he added.

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Putin also urged an unconditional exchange of prisoners and said he expected a final agreement between Kyiv and the rebels to be reached Friday at peace talks in Minsk, Belarus.

The Interfax news agency later carried positive remarks from top rebel commander Miroslav Rudenko, who said “there’ll be no sense in a military solution to the conflict” if Kyiv was to withdraw its troops.

Stock markets jumped on first reports of a possible cease-fire deal, but later eased back slightly. By early afternoon in Europe, Russia’s MICEX benchmark was up 2.7 per cent, while the ruble rose 1.4 per cent against the U.S. dollar.

Germany’s DAX index, which has been particularly sensitive to news regarding the Ukrainian crisis because of the country’s economic ties with Russia, was up 1.2 per cent.

Rebel leader said earlier this week that they would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for autonomy – a shift from earlier calls for full independence or possible absorption into Russia. Putin has ignored their calls for annexation – unlike in March, when Russia annexed Crimea.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has spoken in favour of devolving some of the central government’s powers to the regions, but that is far short of autonomy for the rebellious east.

READ MORE: Obama touts ‘unwavering’ U.S. commitment to NATO self-defence

Obama said it was too early to tell what the announcements Wednesday from Ukraine and Russia meant. He noted previous unsuccessful cease-fire attempts and questioned whether the separatists would abide by a new cease-fire.

“We haven’t seen a lot of follow-up on so-called announced cease-fires,” Obama said. “Having said that, if in fact Russia is prepared to stop financing, arming, training, in many cases joining with Russian troops activities in Ukraine and is serious about a political settlement, that is something we all hope for.”

Ukraine, NATO and the West have accused Russia of sending its troops and weapons to support the insurgents. Moscow has denied the charge. AP reporters on the ground have run into numerous Russian fighters among the rebels and have seen large convoys of heavy military equipment driving in eastern Ukraine from the direction of Russia.

Over the weekend, the European Union leaders agreed to prepare a new round of sanctions that could be enacted in a week, after NATO accused Russia of sending tanks and troops into southeastern Ukraine.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed nearly 2,600 people and forced over 340,000 to flee their homes, according to the U.N.

Vancouver Park Board doubling day camps offered during strike

WATCH ABOVE: Finding ways to occupy and educate children during the teachers’ dispute is tough and as Randene Neill explains, it’s easy to forget about safety.

More and more places are stepping up to help the hundreds of thousands of parents looking for childcare during the BC Teachers’ strike.

The Vancouver Park Board, which operates 24 community centres around the city, says they’ve almost doubled the number of day camps and special programs available.

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READ MORE: Daycare and camp options during the teacher’s strike

“This is just sort of day one. There’s no way we can handle 580 children, and that’s sort of what we’re bracing for. How many children are we going to get?” said Ron Suzuki, the Director of the Strathcona Community Recreation Centre.

They aren’t turning anyone away, asking parents to pay what they can afford.

“Most of the programs are full with waiting lists, but as time goes on and we see a bigger need, than the community centers will be looking for ways to accommodate kids in their neighborhoods,” said Park Board Commissioner Sarah Blyth.

WATCH: Parents race to find childcare

The provincial government says parents registering for a $40 a day subsidy during the strike will begin receiving the money in late September or early October.

MSF call for military help with Ebola response shows outbreak’s severity – National

WATCH ABOVE: After 17 years volunteering for Médecins sans frontières (MSF), Montrealer and McGill-trained doctor Joanne Liu has been elected as president of the international board of MSF.

TORONTO – Just two weeks ago the international president of Medecins Sans Frontieres insisted she didn’t want to be quoted saying military hospitals should be deployed to West Africa’s Ebola zone to bolster the woefully undermanned response efforts there – even though she herself raised the possibility.

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Dr. Joanne Liu had just returned from touring treatment facilities MSF – also known as Doctors Without Borders – is operating in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, which are engulfed in the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, she proposed tapping into military assistance, then quickly backed away when asked to be more explicit.

“I don’t want you to quote me on that, because I’m going to get killed by MSF,” Liu said, her comment revealing the tension that often exists between Doctors Without Borders and the world’s armies.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Canada’s contribution to Ebola vaccines

So it is all the more indicative of how dire conditions are in West Africa that Liu called on governments to deploy this type of expertise Tuesday when she addressed a special Ebola briefing for the United Nation. Without this help, Liu said, this outbreak will not stop.

“To curb the epidemic, it is imperative that states immediately deploy civilian and military assets with expertise in biohazard containment,” she told the UN.

“I call upon you to dispatch your disaster response teams, backed by the full weight of your logistical capabilities…. Without this deployment, we will never get the epidemic under control.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

“This just tells you the extraordinary scale of this outbreak on the ground,” says Dr. Ross Upshur, an ethicist and global health expert who teaches at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

READ MORE: Why health officials say the Ebola epidemic won’t spread into Canada

“If MSF is willing to countenance assistance from military sources with the provisos they’ve already put in place, that just tells you how serious the situation is on the ground.”

The caveats Liu laid out were that any military assets and personnel deployed to the Ebola zone should not be used for quarantine, containment, or crowd control measures.

Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, applauded the MSF call, saying the military expertise with logistics – supply chains, transportation of goods and personnel – are needed in this situation.

“MSF continues to provide the most honest, blunt and informed assessment of where we’re at. Not just in terms of how bad it is, but what do we actually really need to do to contain it?” Osterholm says.

Should Canada deploy DART, its Disaster Assistance Response Team, which is often sent in response to natural disasters abroad? As of late last week sources suggested a DART deployment was not being considered. And late Tuesday, the government suggested it hadn’t been asked for this type of help – at least not by countries battling Ebola.

READ MORE: How Canadian docs are fighting Ebola during the world’s worst outbreak

“Canada has not received a request from affected countries to send in the Disaster Assistance Response Team,” department spokeswoman Beatrice Fenelon said via email.

Stephen Cornish, executive director of MSF Canada, says the organization had been in ongoing discussions with the Canadian government about assistance it could offer.

It and others must step up their efforts, he insists. And that means countries that have medically staffed field hospitals with isolation units should send them to West Africa.

The Ebola outbreak needs a stronger response than UN and non-governmental organizations are able to provide, Cornish says.

“It needs the response of states to have such independent capacities, and it needs their buy-in, their action, as well as the WHO’s overall vision in order to co-ordinate this across West Africa. And we’re really not seeing that,” he says.

MSF has been calling for assistance for some time. The treatment facilities it has opened have been overwhelmed, treating far more patients than they have beds. The organization has said it can’t staff more facilities and has asked others to step into the breach. So far it is still waiting.

Few countries have offered assistance, and those that have – like Canada – are providing support services such as running diagnostic labs. Useful, welcome, but not enough, Cornish says.

“We don’t only need diagnostics and we don’t only need education. We need increased bed capacity now.”

“We’re turning away patients who are sick because they’re not sick enough. Because the wards are overflowing with patients,” he says.

In some MSF treatment centres, medical personnel are no longer able to provide intravenous medication and can only offer palliative care.

“This is far from enough,” Cornish says. “It’s unjust to those who are sick, it’s unfair to the medical personal that we’re putting on the front line and it will be completely ineffective in getting ahead of this epidemic.”

The World Health Organization says there have been at least 3,070 cases of Ebola in this outbreak and 1,552 deaths. Those figures exceed all previous known Ebola cases and deaths combined.

Celebrity hacking scandal shows digital vulnerability – National

ABOVE: Apple is defending its iCloud service, saying hackers gained access to nude photos of celebrities including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton the old fashioned way… by stealing passwords. 

LOS ANGELES – To keep private pictures private, never upload them online.

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That’s the advice experts offer after hackers broke into female celebrities’ personal accounts, stole nude photos and posted them on the web. Jennifer Lawrence and Mary Elizabeth Winstead have said they were victims of the hack attack.

Federal investigators are looking into the theft, and Apple confirmed Tuesday that while individual accounts were breached, its iCloud and Find My iPhone services remained secure.

This latest hacking scandal is another reminder that locking down digital data is a must for public figures.

READ MORE: Apple denies iCloud security flaw to blame for celebrity photo hack

“It shows that celebrities, like the rest of us, are not as attuned to Internet security as they should be,” said marketing expert Dorie Clark. “Like many regular couples, celebrities probably enjoy taking racy photographs, but they have to recognize there are people out there who are inherently interested in what they’re doing, and want to either make money or make a name for themselves by getting at those photos.”

It could be embarrassing for anyone to have their nude image shown online, but most people aren’t at risk of being targeted by hackers in this way, said Gary Zembow, who helps celebrities secure their data as founder of Hollywood Tech Consulting.

“If you accept that some celebrities need bodyguards,” he said, “then their personal, private data needs a version of that, as well.”

WATCH: An anonymous hacker has posted hundreds of private images of female celebrities online. Mike Drolet reports.

Individuals and companies increasingly use Internet-based “cloud” storage for images and other data. But such data can become more vulnerable once uploaded online, said professor Lance Larson, an instructor at San Diego State University’s Graduate Program in Homeland Security.

“The cloud is like a storage locker,” he said. “Are you the only person with the key? Or does the storage-unit owner also have a key?”

In short: “Don’t put a document or photo online or in the cloud if you don’t want it to get out at some point,” he said.

It is unclear when and in what context the targeted actresses created the nude images. Winstead tweeted Sunday that the intimate pictures she took with her husband “in the privacy of our home” had long been deleted. “I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this,” she wrote.

Even though such hacking is illegal — the man who stole nude photos of Scarlett Johansson was convicted of federal wiretapping and unauthorized access to a computer — ensuring that all the illicit images are removed from all the sites that posted them is a never-ending challenge that one expert likened to a game of “whack-a-mole.”

So how can celebrities — and others — protect their privacy in the Internet era?

Remember that all digital media, even with privacy controls, can become public, said professor Karen North, director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the University of Southern California.

“What you think is private is public, and what you think is temporary is permanent,” she said. “Once you share it with somebody, you no longer control the intellectual property.”

To really keep something private, don’t upload it and don’t share it.

Also, log off the Internet and turn off the computer when you’re done using it, Larson suggested.

“If you don’t take that device offline,” he said, “you’re providing 24 hours a day, seven days a week of a potentially unmonitored computer on the Internet.”

Be mindful of wireless networks as well — especially celebrities whose homes can often be located on “star maps” or shown during Hollywood tours. Zembow notes that anyone could pull up in front of the house and break into its Wi-Fi system.

“The simplest two words are strong passwords,” he said.

Finally, those insistent upon taking sexy photos ought to consider using an offline device not connected to the Internet, and keep it locked in a safe. Or go retro and use a Polaroid.

Report pleads for cash to end domestic violence

VICTORIA – Black eyes, numerous stitches and guns put in her mouth convinced Robin Russell she would be better off taking her chances with death rather than continue living with an abusive husband.

Seven years after leaving her violent and hostage-like marriage, Russell said Wednesday at a news conference she considers herself one of the lucky ones, tearfully offering condolences to family members of the 18 people left dead so far this year because of domestic violence.

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“From hitting me, fracturing my nose, knocking my teeth loose, black eyes, numerous stitches in my face, throwing objects at me, putting guns in my mouth and threatening anyone who tried to help me, I tried to leave many times, but with this kind of fear and isolation it’s harder than most people would understand,” she said.

Russell said she still lives in fear of attack but needed to speak out to ensure other people can get the care and protections she received when she decided to leave her home.

“I’m still afraid,” she said. “When a person tells you that when you finally find someone and become happy, he will be waiting around the corner to throw acid in your face and ruin your life, it sticks with you forever.”

Russell told her story at the release of a report that pleads with British Columbia’s government to invest up to $30 million annually to fight domestic violence which has taken a deadly toll in B.C. so far this year.

The Ending Violence Association of B.C., said a domestic-violence outbreak has left 18 people dead, including 12 women and a child, 11 others were injured.

The report was intentionally released to mark the seven-year anniversary of the murder-suicide of an Oak Bay, B.C., family where estranged husband Peter Lee killed his six-year-old son, Christian, his wife, Sunny, both her parents and then himself.

EVA’s executive director Tracy Porteous said the 2014 deaths — the highest number since the Lee family murders — should register serious concerns.

“I don’t recall since Sunny (Park’s) death, if we’ve ever had a year that’s had this many deaths in the entire year and we’re at the beginning of September,” she said. “It’s very alarming. If I could have brought an alarm bell today, I would have rung it. We are very concerned about women’s safety.”

The report calls for increased spending for existing community-based victim services and funds for new programs that are available to every community in the province. It also recommends early intervention counselling and management for abusive men, and an increase in the number of case-assessment teams that work to keep women and children safe.

Porteous said of this of the 18 deaths this year, not one of the victims was known to have contacted a victim-services organization. She said she couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause of the increase in domestic-violence deaths, but said if they had been able to utilize such services they may be alive today.

B.C.’s independent Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said the government reallocated about $5 million from other budget items this year to fund a domestic violence plan, but what is needed is new funding to ensure other potential victims of family violence have access to safety and protection services.

“I’m concerned we’re stalled,” she said.

She said Alberta has nine domestic-violence courts, while the recently-deceased provincial court judge Josiah Wood ran a similar court in Duncan “off the side of his desk. It is an embarrassment.”

Turpel-Lafond said B.C. women requiring protection orders must pay a $200 court processing fee and then hire a security service to serve the order.

Porteous said of the more than 150 recommendations anti-domestic violence groups have made over the past 20 years only four have been implemented.

Russell said she credited the help she received from community-based victim services and the RCMP to give her the strength and courage to start her life over.

“Community-based victim services were literally everything to me,” she said.

Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux and Attorney General Suzanne Anton released a joint statement saying the government has initiated a $5.5 million domestic violence program this year in addition to the $70 million the government already spends on protection and intervention services.

“This strategy will be our path to creating a province where all women have the supports they need to help prevent violence, escape from violent situations, and recover if they’ve been victims of crime,” said the joint statement.

EPSB’s new assessment policy a ‘tarted up’ version of no-zero approach: Lynden Dorval – Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Quinn Ohler tells us about Lynden Dorval’s concerns.

EDMONTON — A former Edmonton Public School Board teacher fired in May 2012 for handing out zeros, is speaking about the district’s new assessment policy.

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Lynden Dorval says it still makes it extremely difficult for teachers to hand out zeros to students who don’t complete their work, despite the school board passing a policy in 2013 saying teachers should be the ones to make decisions on assessment.

“This new policy is, in my view, a tarted up version of the no-zero policy. It does not allow teachers to give zeros initially for work not done,” Dorval said after appearing before the school board on Tuesday.

“The teachers have to go through five intervention steps, which — in my opinion — could take up to two months.”

“They have to give the student multiple chances, then they have to document that. They have to come up with a strategy of getting the work done. They have to try it again. If that doesn’t succeed, they have to call the parent or guardian and come up with another strategy to get the work done. And then finally — after all that fails — only then are they allowed to give a zero.”

READ MORE: Alberta appeal board says EPSB was unfair in suspending and firing Dorval

After he was fired, Dorval was hired by a private school in Edmonton, where the headmaster said he would be free to hand out zeros. He has since retired but hasn’t given up his crusade to make sure the school board eliminates any trace of a no-zero policy. He is hoping school trustees will intervene to change the new standards for evaluation.

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However, the school board says the policy, implemented on August 18, is one that many teachers were doing before it came into effect. And 5,000 teachers were “instrumental” in creating it, according to EPSB director of communications Lisa Austin.

READ MORE: Alberta teachers vote against blanket policies on zeros

“Their professional judgement is the fingerprint all over this regulation,” Austin said. “Many of these steps are steps many and most of our teachers are doing across the district.”

Dorval says that in addition to increasing teachers’ workloads, this policy prevents students from seeing the immediate consequence a zero can have on their mark.

Canada prepared to take on Islamic State but on a budget: Harper – National

ABOVE: Prime Minister Harper says his Conservative government will treat the defence budget as they would any other government expense

LONDON – Stephen Harper pledged further action Wednesday to combat the rising threat of Islamic extremism in the Middle East, but said he would do so on a frugal budget.

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Speaking to a business audience in London, the prime minister joined other world leaders in reacting with horror to the execution of a second U.S. freelance journalist, Steven Sotloff, at the hands of the Islamic State.

Despite the prominence of the killings – both were documented in videos posted online – there have been many other faceless victims of the group’s brutal rampage across a vast swath of northern Iraq and Syria, Harper noted.

“The fact is, this is the tip of an iceberg of literally tens of thousands of people who are being treated in this way,” Harper said, referring to the assault on Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims and others who do not subscribe to IS’s brand of ultraconservative Sunni Islam.

READ MORE: Canada talks tough on Ukraine, but cuts $2.7B from defence in 2015

He once again equated the threat posed by the militants with the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan more than 20 years ago.

“It obviously has the capacity of not just leading regional jihad, but becoming a massive terrorist training base for the globe and I don’t think we can sit still for this.”

Canada is prepared to do its part in concert with allies, but Harper took aim at critics both at home and abroad who say his government is not spending enough on the military.

Both the U.S. and Britain have been clamouring for all allies to commit to a 10-year plan to boost military expenditures to meet the NATO benchmark of two per cent of each nation’s gross domestic product.

Right now, Canada earmarks only one per cent of GDP.

“Our government has done significant investments in the military,” he said during a question-and-answer session with Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, a weekly conservative magazine in Britain.

WATCH: Canada mulling deeper involvement in NATO?

“We acknowledge as a government that we will likely be spending more, but we will only be spending where there is clearly need.”

National Defence has seen its allocation slashed by more than 10 per cent since the end of the Afghan war and recent figures show spending is forecast to decline by $2.7-billion in anticipation of a balanced budget.

The government’s approach has always been to guard the federal treasury, rather than specifying a dollar figure before deciding how to spend it, he said.

READ MORE: Canada mulls role in NATO crisis response brigade

“We go out and figure out what it is we need to do, and then we attempt to get a budget as frugally as possible to achieve those objectives,” Harper said.

“When it comes to spending, we can argue about spending, but the reality is this: Everything NATO has done in recent years, whether it’s been the mission to Afghanistan, the mission to Libya and now the reassurance mission to Eastern Europe, Canada has not only contributed everything that it has (been) asked in those missions, we have contributed disproportionately. So don’t tell me about how much you’re spending, tell me about how much you are doing.”

The final statement at the Wales summit later this week will describe the long-standing NATO benchmark as an “aspirational target” that countries will try to meet.

WATCH: “Sad day for teachers” says Okanagan Skaha Teachers’ Union

PENTICTON — Today was supposed to be the first day of school, instead, the prolonged labour dispute canceled classes.

Talks between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and provincial government collapsed over the weekend, affecting the start of the fall semester.

“This is the first time in history that BC teachers that haven’t gone back and welcomed back our kids into our classrooms,” says Leslea Woodward, President of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers’ Union. “So it’s a sad day for teachers.”

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Teachers have been on a full-scale job action since June 17, and they are not getting strike pay for being on the picket line.

“They’ve given up an earning, so that they can be out here fighting for what’s  right,” says Woodward.

Over the weekend, mediator Vince Ready declared an impasse because the BCTF and government are still too far apart on key issues, such as wages and class conditions.

“I’m so disappointed. I find blame on both sides,” says Bruce Johnson, Chair of the Okanagan Skaha School Board. “I know the government has been accused of being a bully, ignoring court orders and taking an unreasonable hard line on the educators.”

Johnson is also critical of the teachers’ demands, calling them unrealistic.

“That’s why I say: take a reasonable raise, take it for a number of years, put the rest into our learning improvement funds and let’s get going!”

Superintendent Wendy Hyer would also like to see schools back in session.

“I’m hoping that common sense prevails,  and the two sides get together and we focus on providing quality education to students,” she says.

It looks like students may not go back to school in the immediate future.

No new talks have been scheduled between the BCTF and government

Squamish student’s Op-ed article about teachers’ strike garners national attention

Students are weighing in and getting active in the dispute between the teachers and province but for one 16-year-old Squamish girl, her activities are garnering national attention.

Callista Ryan wrote an opinion article arguing that the teachers’ strike violates her right to education, according to a UN Treaty on the rights of the child, which Canada signed in 1990.

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The teen’s letter got printed in the local paper, The Squamish Chief, and then was picked up by Huffington Post, which brought in an overwhelmingly huge amount of support.

“Why am I sitting in my room while these adults are fighting over my future?” Ryan told Global News. “It’s not ok, I didn’t want that to happen anymore.”

In her Op-Ed Ryan said, “I have a right to education. And I’m terrified that a group of adults who were elected by other adults think that we don’t deserve that. Why don’t we as students get a say? We are not only the future of B.C.’s economy, but we’re living in the present where we want to change things and take action as well…”

And her fellow Howe Sound Secondary classmates are adding their voices too. Even though they walked out with their teachers back in June, the teens are out front of their school but this time, they’re out there for themselves — not taking either side.

“Adults need to consider children,” says student Asia Mader. “I know they are both fighting for things that need to be fought for [but] it’s like a kid in the middle of a divorce and it’s been going on for 10 years.”

In this case, they’ve decided not to just sit back and watch, instead they’re getting involved. Every day Ryan and her classmates are planning to come back to school until they can attend regular classes.

And since Ryan has been granted a voice due to her taking action, the grade 11 student plans to keep speaking up.

“I can’t be a teacher and fight for them, I can’t get into politics right now but I can be an active citizen and get other students involved,” Ryan says.

~ with files from Elaine Yong