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Paul Robertson, president of Shaw Media, passes away at 59 – National

TORONTO — Paul Robertson, Executive Vice President of Shaw Communications and President of Shaw Media, passed away Tuesday after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 59.

“He was a warm and caring leader with an infectious sense of humour and a relentless passion for our industry,” said Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications, in a statement.

“He lived every day with heart and laughter, and he generously shared his wisdom and insight with all around him.”

Shaw described Robertson as “without a doubt, one of a kind.”

While not familiar to most Canadians, Robertson was a key figure in developing what they see on Global, on Shaw Media’s 19 speciality channels and on Globalnews桑拿按摩.

He was also a well-known and respected figure in the broadcasting industry with more than 30 years of management experience.

Robertson assumed his role at Shaw Media in 2010 following the acquisition of Canwest by Shaw Communications.

Paul Robertson, pictured in 2011.

Fred Lum / The Globe and Mail/The Canadian Press

Paul Robertson, right, with Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications.

Paul Robertson reacts with a smile to a warm hug from Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications.

Paul Robertson, far right, with actor Alan Thicke and ‘ET Canada’ hosts Sangita Patel and Rick Campanelli.

Paul Robertson, left, with ‘Vikings’ star Alexander Ludwig in early 2014. The History channel series was one of Robertson’s favourites.

Paul Robertson plays guitar.

Paul Robertson, then-chair of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, addresses a standing committee on Canadian heritage on Parliament Hill in 2002.

Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

Paul Robertson with his wife Carole and their daughter Danielle during a vacation in Maui.

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Robertson had an honours degree in Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

Key jobs at Campbell Soup Co. and General Foods led to senior marketing and programming positions at CTV and terms as president of production company Nelvana and Corus Television.

“There are few people on Earth who I was closer to and who I learned so much from,” said Troy Reeb, Senior Vice President of Global News & Station Operations, who credited Robertson with significantly expanding Global News operations to better serve Canadians.

“A big chunk of the country owes a debt of gratitude to Paul,” said Reeb. “He has been a tremendous champion of a fair and independent Global News. He knew that the heart and soul of Global rested with how it connected with its audiences and community through news and at the local level.”

WATCH: Paul Robertson tribute video

An affable, funny man with a calm demeanour, Robertson’s leadership style was decidedly open and nurturing, according to those who worked with him.

“He was never a leader to tell you what to do,” Reeb recalled. “He was always a leader that allowed you to make mistakes — to grow and to learn from them — and he allowed you to be your best.

“He never tried to soak up other people’s sunlight.”

Shaw agreed. “He was deeply connected to his employees and his team, and loved seeing people thrive, energized by the success of others,” he said.

“He had an inclusive style that brought out the best in people.”

Reeb said Robertson’s unwavering optimism likely prolonged his life. Pancreatic cancer, even when diagnosed early, rarely has a good prognosis.

“I honestly believe that the reason he managed to fight this for so long was simply because he believed he could,” said Reeb, “and he maintained that optimistic attitude that not only could he beat this back but he was going to get every single bit out of life while he did.”

In addition to his business experience, Robertson was a director at the Canadian Film Centre and previously served as president of the executive committee for Concerned Children’s Advertisers and as chair of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

In his statement, Shaw paid tribute to Robertson’s passion for music and skill at playing the guitar.

“Paul loved music and the rhythm it provided to his life,” said Shaw. “Songs and lyrics meant something to him and they seemed to punctuate every conversation.”

Shaw urged those who knew Robertson to honour him by listening “to a song that means something to you.”

On Wednesday morning, Bell Media president Kevin Crull paid tribute to Robertson, calling him “an inspiring leader and a dedicated champion of our industry.”

In a statement, Crull said: “He was not only a competitor but a friend, quickly becoming a role model to me when I entered the unfamiliar territory of the media industry. As we discussed the challenges of the industry, he was always insightful, wise and rational. His optimism and can-do spirit never faltered.

“Paul was an inspiration to me and the many others whom he touched and influenced, and will be missed.”

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair tweeted that he was “very sorry” to hear of Robertson’s passing and offered condolences to his loved ones.

Robertson leaves behind his wife Carole and their daughter Danielle.

If desired, and in lieu flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care or the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Please leave your condolences in the comments below.

Old buses partially to blame for cancelled Saskatoon Transit routes – Saskatoon

Watch above: suspension of some Saskatoon Transit routes makes going back to school a problem

SASKATOON – As thousands of University of Saskatchewan and high school students returned to class after the Labour Day long weekend, many had initially planned to get to and from school using Saskatoon Transit.

It’s a task which proved difficult thanks to service disruptions.

Seventy-nine buses are servicing Saskatoon as of Tuesday. The city says between 90 and 95 are needed.

All direct routes were cancelled Tuesday morning, forcing riders to take regular routes. Direct routes have commutes of 15 minutes while regular routes are around 40 minutes.

“It’s pretty stressful when you’re trying to figure out everything at the university and then just trying to get here and you already have a problem,” said a student waiting at the university transit pick-up location.

Transit services running normally include:

Regular RoutesDart RoutesCollege Park to St. Joseph High School SpecialCaswell School SpecialAccess Transit

Transit services temporarily suspended or delayed include:

All High School Specials (with exception of College Park to St. Joseph)Downtown DirectUniversity DirectExtra buses during peak travel times for popular transit routes (ex. Route 80 – Kenderdine/City Centre)The implementation of new routes will be delayed:Route 26 (Clarence/University)Express Routes for Parkridge, Willowgrove and Kenderdine Express
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  • Service disruptions hit Saskatoon Transit

  • Saskatoon Transit riders stranded, mechanic shortage blamed

The suspension of routes is being blamed on a backlog of bus maintenance.

“The biggest single contributing factor to the situation is, we don’t have enough mechanics,” said Jeff Jorgenson, manager of the city’s transportation and utilities department.

With contract negotiations between the city and the Amalgamated Transit Union 615 (ATU 615) stalled , the city must advertise wages from the old 2012 contract, making it hard to attract journeymen mechanics.

ATU 615 represents approximately 400 transit workers.

According to union president Jim Yakubowski, workers want to make 95 per cent of the western Canadian average industry wage, which is $28.17.

The current offer would bring mechanics wages to $35.23 an hour by 2016, an annual salary of $77,000.

“I’m disappointed that the city is casting the blame onto the union for the failure to come up with a collective agreement as the reason behind this,” said Yakubowski.

Both sides have been trying to negotiate a contract since the end of 2012.

The city also places some blame on the age of the fleet. On average, buses at Saskatoon Transit are 14.5 years old.

The standard set by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) is 7.8 years.

Saskatoon has purchased additional buses to help with the backlog. Twelve buses, purchased from Calgary, are on the way with another eight expected to arrive in the coming weeks. All buses are 1993-1995 models which are currently in service in Calgary.

The city hopes to be running direct routes by mid-September.

WATCH: Okanagan Post Secondary Students Back in Class

While elementary schools and high schools in this province sat empty Tuesday, it was a whole different story at post secondary institutions.

Universities and colleges were a beehive of activity as post secondary students returned to classes.

Thousands of students were back on the campus of UBC-Okanagan.

The University held an orientation day on the first day back.

It included all kinds of activities including a BBQ and a concert.

Alex Starker is one of about 1,500 students new to UBC-O this year.

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The 20-year old moved here from Calgary two days ago to start her science degree

“I am feeling super welcome, really nervous but welcome too,” says Starker.

To help transition students like Starker into university life, campus tours took place throughout the day with senior students taking the newcomers around as part of the orientation day.

“We each have a group of about 15 of us that we are just showing around campus and getting them oriented for their first weeks of school and all their classes showing them their professors and where classrooms are,” says student guide Hannah Caldwell.

The student enrollment this year is just shy of 8,200 students.

It’s an enrollment number the university says is at its capacity, at least for now.

“We are planning now for another 250 bed residence, a commons building that will have a huge dining hall, we will put in more classroom space and we will put in some more student gathering and social space,” says the university’s Ian Cull.

Critics sound off against high cost of school fees in Alberta

CALGARY- Just in time for the first day of school, there is a huge push back against the rising cost of school fees.

The Wildrose Party says they’ve heard numerous complaints from parents about the fees, which cover things like lunch supervision, supplies and busing. They plan to start a petition to end the fees, and say it would be easy to make up the $60 million shortfall.

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  • GALLERY: Students head back to school

  • Families struggle to make ends meet as back to school time approaches

“There are so many examples of waste from this government where you could find this money,” said Wildrose education critic Bruce McAllister. “September has become ‘cheque-tember’ for parents, and parents have rightly had enough.

“These things are disguised by boards, but in reality they are passed down from the province to the boards to the parents, and that’s where the buck stops.”

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) collects about $46 million per year from extra fees, and says it has no choice.

“If the per-student funding had not dropped, we could have invested more money in education than we have,” says Brad Grundy, CFO of the CBE. “But because we didn’t have that money, we had to make some choices.”

School fees cost the average family about $640 per year.

-With files from Francis Silvaggio

WATCH: Wildrose education critic Bruce McAllister says the mandatory fees are a hidden tax and an undue financial burden on parents, who already pay taxes to fund education.

WATCH: Trial begins for Okanagan man accused of trying to murder police officers

KELOWNA – A BC Supreme Court trial started in Kelowna Tuesday for a man accused of 22 offenses including five counts of attempted murder.

Michael Edward Ellis, 41, was arrested in July 2012 following an hour long, 80 kilometre pursuit along Westside Road that ended just north of Vernon.

The events unfolded after RCMP tried to pull over a mini van on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna.

Multiple gunshots struck two police vehicles and the van sped away.

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During the pursuit, there were several exchanges of gunshots between officers and the three suspects.

Shots were also fired at a Highways Ministry worker who followed the suspects trying to get a license plate number.

His vehicle was struck several times but he was not.

And five times during the pursuit, the suspects either tried or succeeded in hijacking other vehicles at gunpoint.

“The driver started to get out and the passenger reached over with a gun and looked at me and said get out of your f***ing truck now. I knew he meant business so I did,” said Don Williamson.

After the arrests where Williamson’s vehicle was stopped with the help of spike belts, police recovered ammunition, a revolver and a pair of .22 rifles, one of them sawed off and the other with a laser sight.

When arrested, Ellis was wearing a glove.

The prosecutor says that’s significant because none of his fingerprints were on the guns or other collected evidence.

The trial, before a judge alone, is scheduled for five weeks.

The Crown will call more than three dozen witnesses.

The other two people charged in the case earlier pleaded guilty to firearms related offenses.

Shawn Wysinski and Ashley Collins have yet to be sentenced.

Reyes, Dickey lead Blue Jays over Rays 8-2 – Toronto

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Toronto Blue Jays hit three home runs and R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball was darting all over the place Tuesday night.

“When we’re playing good, that’s the kind of game that we play,” said Jose Reyes, whose three-run homer broke a fourth-inning tie and sent Toronto past the Tampa Bay Rays 8-2.

“Hopefully, we can play more games like we did tonight,” he said.

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Dickey (11-12) gave up two hits in seven innings and the Blue Jays won their third straight as they try to stay in the AL wild-card race.

“We hope we heat up,” manager John Gibbons said. “August was a lean stretch for us, but that’s over with now. We don’t want to think about that.”

Danny Valencia also homered off Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson (1-3). Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro added a two-run shot off Cesar Ramos in the eighth.

Jose Bautista’s streak of homering in five straight games ended, but he had two singles and an RBI for Toronto.

Dickey gave up two runs, struck out six and walked three.

“From a movement standpoint, I had a really good knuckleball tonight, and it was tough to control it,” said Dickey, who pitched at least six innings for the 13th time in 14 starts.

“I hit a couple batters, balls were really tailing off late in the zone, which speaks to how many balls they put into play hard — not many, which is good. Outside of that one inning, I felt like I was right on point,” he said.

The Rays got both of their hits and runs in the second.

Yunel Escobar scored the second run on Kevin Kiermaier’s sacrifice fly caught by Reyes, the shortstop, in short left field.

Aaron Sanchez and Todd Redmond each pitched an inning of hitless relief.

Reyes, who singled and scored in the third, had his 13th multiple-hit game in his last 29 games.

Hellickson gave up five runs on eight hits in 3 1-3 innings, the shortest of his nine starts since coming back from January elbow surgery.

“I think it was a matter of locating the ball to some spots that were better suited for the Blue Jays than us,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

A win on Wednesday or Thursday night would give the Blue Jays their first series victory at Tropicana Field since April 6-8, 2007.

“I don’t think anybody’s throwing in the towel,” Dickey said. “Who knows what a good September might do for us? If we can finish strong and worry about us, not other people, you never know what can happen.”


Blue Jays: INF Brett Lawrie (oblique) was transferred from the 15- to 60-day disabled list, which ends his regular season. … RHP Brandon Morrow (finger) and 1B Dan Johnson (hamstring) were activated from the disabled list. … LHP Brett Cecil was unavailable due to some minor stiffness.

Rays: CF Desmond Jennings (sore left knee) was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game.


Rays RHP Chris Archer (8-7) and Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman (8-5) are Wednesday night’s scheduled starters. Archer is coming off a loss to Boston Friday where he gave up a season-high eight runs in four innings.


Former Blue Jays pitcher and one-time Rays bat boy Jesse Litsch threw the ceremonial first pitch. The St. Petersburg native, who announced his retirement last month, went 27-27 over parts of five seasons with Toronto.

Homeschooling in Saskatoon: ‘they never stop learning’ – Saskatoon

Watch above: some parents turn to homeschooling to teach their children

SASKATOON – It was a flurry of activity for many households Tuesday morning as students went back to class in Saskatoon. For other families it was just another day of learning because their school never stops.

“Anybody can homeschool if you feel like you’re up for the challenge of having your kids at home every day,” said Jessica Benson, who homeschools three of her four school-aged children.

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Organizing this year’s ‘Not Back To School Picnic’ so local homeschoolers could connect with each other, Benson and her husband agree it’s the flexibility of homeschooling that works better for their lifestyle.

“There’s not a bell that rings at the beginning of the day or at the end, there’s not an end of the school in June and or start of school early in September, learning just happens year-round,” said Greg Benson.

“We take opportunities, yes we have curriculum, yes we have books that we open but how that happens and plays out really is up to us and how we want to see that happen in our kids lives.”

According to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2,095 students registered as home-based students last year in the province, approximately one per cent of the total provincial enrollment.

Among those enrolled for homeschooling in Saskatchewan are the Peaks. This busy family of five where all three boys ages 4, 10 and 14 are learning from home.

“It just works for our lifestyle and the way that we want our kids to learn,” said Jennifer Peak, mother and homeschool teacher.

According to the Peak family, the biggest benefit of homeschooling is their classroom is anywhere and everywhere.

“I guess just the flexibility of being able to travel with my parents and learn at my own pace and not be forced to learn this thing at that time,” said Carrick Peak, who is in Grade 6 this year.

Not wanting to be tied to a school schedule, the family decided to homeschool when their oldest child was about to attend kindergarten.

“I didn’t want my five-year-old to be away from me for eight hours a day and then once we started it was really easy to continue,” said Jennifer Peak.

Home-based educators must provide their local school division an education plan for the year and it must be approved.

Each home-based education plan is evaluated at the end of the school year to ensure that the student has met all of the intended outcomes. According to the province’s Ministry of Education this is handled through the registering school division and in consultation with the parent.

“I never really wished I was going to a classroom for eight hours a day, it’s just not very much fun to sit around in a classroom and when I’m at home I still learn,” explained 10-year-old Carrick.

Raised by two teachers in United States, Peak says homeschooling is just a different way of thinking about education that isn’t confined to a classroom and says she doesn’t worry that her children are missing out on school-related experiences like dances or graduation.

“My kids have friends, they’ve always valued being able to keep their own schedule over organized social events,” said Peak.

“They don’t ask me if they can go to school.”

WATCH: Okanagan independent schools back in session as public sector labour dispute continues

OKANAGAN – Some Okanagan students headed back to class despite the labour dispute. Many independent schools were back in session today.

“It’s definitely opened up the doors for people looking for alternative options for their children,” says Marilyn Ilchuk the principal at North Okanagan Junior Academy, a small independent Christian school near Armstrong.

Ilchuck says the school has been fielding some additional inquiries from parents due to the teachers dispute.

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“They are frustrated, they’re looking for other options and they’re out there seeing what else is available,” says Ilchuk. “They just want to get their kids back into school.”

The school is handling inquiries from parents on a case-by-case basis.

“If it’s just babysitting that’s not something we really are interested in doing. We would want them to be here long-term to help them to grow in their academic life as well as socially,” says Ilchuk.

The Kelowna Waldorf School was also back in session for many students today.

“We’ve been having some calls about the school, perhaps more increased than normal, but that’s difficult to say,” says teacher and development administrator Michelle Townley.

The school has waiting lists for some younger grades and isn’t offering short-term spots.

“To place a child within a classroom for six weeks and then to withdraw them from that classroom is very disruptive,” says Townley.

Sending your kids to independent schools comes with a cost.

At the Kelowna Waldorf School regular tuition for a grade school student is $5,260. North Okanagan Junior Academy charges $210 per month.

Lethbridge County asks City to share ownership of airport – Lethbridge

Quiet and empty – it’s just another day at the Lethbridge Airport.

Attracting business to the airport has been an ongoing issue, especially when it comes to passenger traffic.

“It relies a lot upon the citizens of Lethbridge and southern Albertan’s to use the airport,” said Lorne Hickey, the Reeve of Lethbridge County.

“To attract more air service is a win win for everybody and it is vital for the maintenance of the airport.”

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Lethbridge County currently owns and operates the airport and are looking to the City of Lethbridge to help take on some of the responsibility.

“As a rural municipality, we only have a tenth of the population of the city, so it would be fair from all parties concerned to have some sort of governance and fee structure set in place for the running of the airport,” Hickey said.

The airport is financially stable for the time being. However, with low passenger movement and few airline services, the County is concerned they may run a deficit in the future.

The process of transferring ownership is still in its early stages. Both the County and the City have formed a joint Airport Governance Committee to determine an alternate operational model for the airport.

I think it’s important to recognize the importance an airport plays in a growing city. Regardless of what the outcome is, what’s important is that we are working together to protect this regional asset and making sure that it’s viable and sustainable in the future,” said Councillor Bridget Mearns, who was appointed to the new airport committee.

In 1997, the County acquired the airport. Then in 2007 they joined forces with the City to explore other funding options. This resulted in a recommendation to implement a new ownership and governance model.

“It looked at different airport authorities and commissions. If they are run by the municipalities or cities. So they looked at these different operating models,” said Mearns.

“We will have the opportunity to look through that report and then come up with those decisions.”

County officials say because the majority of people using the airport are Lethbridge residents, it makes sense to have the City share in the ownership.

Afghanistan Memorial Vigil on cross-country tour stops in Regina

REGINA – The Afghanistan Memorial Vigil is making a stop in the city this week at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.

“We say, ‘Lest we forget,’ all the time. Truly, these guys were not forgotten,” said Lt. Col. Victor Sattler, Royal Regina Rifles Commander.

The memorial is mainly made up of 158 photos of the 158 fallen Canadian soldiers.

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“The price we paid was the price we paid,” said Col. Ross Ermel, 38 Canadian Brigade Group Commander. “Saskatchewan has provided a lot, a tremendous number of exceptional young men and women to serve in the Canadian forces in Afghanistan.”

Sattler put 17 poppies beside select photos on the memorial, which stretches the length of one side of the Saskatchewan Gallery circle, to represent the number of dead solider with roots in the province.

He said losing a comrade spurs disbelief, but he chooses to “reflect on the good times.”

A ceremony was held Tuesday morning to mark the opening of the memorial, which is open to the public between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily until Saturday.

“It’s surprisingly emotional. You know, you hear some buzz words and you’re trying to fight back the tears,” said Sattler.

Cpl. David Braun, who was born and raised in Raymore, was killed three weeks into duty by a suicide bomber. His mom, Patty, found out about his death at a chiropractor’s appointment.

“This is pretty blunt, but it really doesn’t matter where you are or how you hear, dead is dead,” she said.

Patty previously saw the memorial at Kandahar Airfield cenotaph in 2010. Seeing the memorial again on Saskatchewan soil is a different experience but one that provides an opportunity to share David’s story, even if it’s still a challenging journey for her.

“The things that I think are going to be are easy aren’t, and the things that I think are going to be hard aren’t, but I’m so glad that the people of Saskatchewan are going to be able to see this memorial,” said Braun.

The memorial, which has been on the road since May 4, is travelling across the country and U.S.

The final destination is Ottawa in time for Remembrance week in November.

A permanent home for the memorial has yet to be determined.