The Ongoing History of New Music, encore presentation: The story of the electric guitar, part 2

For centuries, music and nice and clean. While different instruments gave notes different timbres, the frequencies of these notes were expected to be projected with clarity and purity. Yes, you could add a little oomph but playing fortissimo, but the dogma was “Let’s not overdo it.

But sometimes the situation called for overdoing things. Banging a piano in a certain way turns a melody and a beat into boogie-woogie. A raspy, hard-blown saxophone brings energy to a performance.

But creating lots of volume and pleasant distortion with either of these instruments–and we can name a few others–is limited to the abilities of the human body. Volume and distortion and all that energy that comes from playing this way are restricted by how hard you can hit or blow into something.

The electric guitar has no such limitations. It can be played so all the notes are pristine. Or you can summon all the demons of hell with plenty of power and glory. And that is cool.

The electric guitar is one of humankind’s greatest musical inventions. Starting in the 1950s, it revolutionized many types of popular music. Country, the blues, jazz, and, most of all, rock. After it appeared, nothing was ever the same and the sound of music changed forever. It’s impossible to imagine what today’s music would sound like had the electric guitar not been invented.

But how did we get here? This is the story of the electric guitar part 2.

Songs heard on this show:

    • Big Wreck, The Oaf
    • Sex Pistols, Anarchy in the UK
    • Radiohead, Bodysnatchers
    • Oasis, Supersonic
    • Lenny Kravitz, Are You Gonna Go My Way
    • U2, Beautiful Day
    • Vampire Weekend, A-Punk
    • Duane Eddy, Rebel Rouser
    • Smiths, What Different Does It Make
    • Alice in Chains, I Stay Away

This is Eric Wilhite’s playlist.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:


We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s, and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ongoing History Daily: The Lumineers’ name issues

Finding a name for your band is hard and it can take forever to come up with the right one. Sometimes, though, fate can intervene.

The two primary members of The Lumineers have always been Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites. When they first started playing gigs around New York City, they used a variety of names like Free Beer, 6Cheek, and the very basic Wesley Jeremiah. Nothing was working, including all the music they were trying to make.

Then one night before another crappy club show in New Jersey, the emcee made a mistake. Another band called “The Lumineers” was scheduled to play at that same venue in a week. The emcees introduced Schultz and Fraites as “The Lumineers.”

The name stuck—and no one seems to know what happened to the band who originally had that name.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Man arrested after threats to Toronto mayoral candidates cause debate cancellation

WATCH ABOVE: After the Toronto Police issued a warning about a man allegedly uttering threats towards mayoral candidates, several have cancelled their appearances at a Thursday night debate. Matthew Bingley reports.

Toronto police say they have arrested a suspect after a man allegedly threatened to shoot mayoral candidates, which prompted a debate to be cancelled and some leading contenders to pause their campaigns.

Police say a 29-year-old man from Toronto is in custody. They say investigators are also aware of an online threat and believe it’s linked to the same person.

Police say they were called to the area of Mortimer and Greenwood avenues in the city’s east end around 10:45 a.m. Thursday. Police say a man “entered a location,” allegedly threatened to shoot mayoral candidates and then brandished what looked to be a gun.

Police said it was a “blanket threat,” not naming any specific candidate, and provided no further details about the location. The man was considered armed and dangerous, police said.

OCAD University said a debate to be hosted Thursday night at the school’s downtown auditorium was cancelled. Several candidates had withdrawn, including Brad Bradford, Josh Matlow and ex-police chief Mark Saunders.

Olivia Chow, Chloe Brown and Mitzie Hunter were also set to attend and Ana Bailão had previously pulled out of the debate over a scheduling conflict.

There were no reported injuries and several candidates issued statements saying they, along with their teams and families, were safe.

“Debates are a very important part of our local democracy and we will work closely with organizers, and the other campaigns, reschedule at the earliest opportunity and when it is safe to do so,” Matlow said in a social media statement.

Bradford said his campaign was pausing activities and Matlow said he would close his campaign office until the suspect was caught. Saunders’ team said it was going to change how it shared location information ahead of campaign events.

Hunter said “out of an abundance of caution” she would suspend her campaign activities and reassess on Friday.

In a statement Thursday evening, Bailão said she had been made aware of the threats earlier in the day.

“Police were clear I could continue going about my day,” she said. “I will continue all my campaign activities because I will never be intimidated as a candidate or as your mayor.”

Thursday’s debate was co-organized by the North Toronto Residents’ Association and the Federation of South Toronto Residents’ Association.

“It is a gut punch to the 14 to 18 individuals who have been planning this since the beginning of April,” said Don Young, co-chair of the event steering committee.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Nuggets get an NBA Finals gem from difference-maker Murray

DENVER (AP) — The highlight of Game 1 for Jamal Murray came when he dribbled into the middle, planted his surgically repaired left knee in the paint, made a full clockwise turn, then faded away and swished a mid-range jumper.

His most important contribution to Denver’s first win in the franchise’s first appearance in the NBA Finals — well, take your pick.

Murray’s 26-point, 10-assist night in the 104-93 win over Miami on Thursday almost seemed incidental for a team that features a player averaging a triple-double in these playoffs in Nikola Jokic, who has the skills to make every player on the roster a threat.

And yet, anybody following the Nuggets for a while knows it has been Murray’s return to full health — and his return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons — that has been a catalyst in the run they’re on.

“He’s a three-level scorer. He can shoot the 3. He can pull up and get to the rim,” said Heat guard Haywood Highsmith, describing the challenge of slowing Murray.

“He’s a crafty player, has a good handle. He’s in good condition.”

All those points and assists aside, it’s arguable Murray’s most important contribution in this game came during a 106-second stretch after Miami had cut a 24-point deficit to 10. It’s somewhat remarkable — and oh-so typical of the seventh-year guard out of Kentucky — that during those 106 seconds that changed the game,

Murray didn’t record a single stat.

It started at the 9:02 mark of the fourth quarter when he made a snap throw to Jokic, which loosened the Heat defense and allowed Jokic to find Jeff Green for an uncontested layup.

A few empty possessions later, Murray found a sliver of open space in the middle to hit Jokic, who missed the easy layup but got fouled and made both free throws.

The possession after that, Murray scooped up the ball after Bruce Brown picked Highsmith’s pocket. Murray wove down court, dribbled around his back, through his legs, then flipped it to Michael Porter Jr. who, with the court now wide open, found Jokic for a layup.

Denver’s lead was back to 16.

“Loved his pace tonight, just the pace that he played all night long,” Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon said. “The tempo that he played at, controlling the game and controlling the flow of the game was great.”

For the record, Murray’s turnaround fadeaway over Highsmith — the jumper of the night — came with 3:27 left, raised the Denver lead to 14 after another mini-flurry from the Heat and put to rest any doubt about the outcome.

It also served as yet another reminder that if they Heat are going to have any chance of containing the Nuggets over the rest of this series, they’ll have to account for the player who has never made an All-Star game and never received an MVP vote but is every bit as key to Denver’s success as the player who has, Jokic.

“He’s a dynamic scorer. He poses threats in different ways and he’s relentless,” said Miami guard Gabe Vincent. “It will be a tall task, and we’ll continue to work at it.”

Murray went down in a game at Golden State and tore up his knee late in the 2020-21 season, an injury that forced him to miss the ‘21 playoffs and all of last year.

Even with Jokic winning the MVP in both of those seasons, the Nuggets got swept out of the ’21 conference semifinals by the Suns and demolished by the Warriors in the first round in ’22.

By then, the phrase “Bubble Murray” — an homage to his breakthrough during the 2020 playoffs in the COVID bubble in Orlando — was becoming popular. He has grown tired of that label, and of the question of whether “Bubble Murray” would ever show up again once he returned to full health.

Answer: Yes.

He has averaged 27.6 points and 6.2 assists over 16 playoff games this year, surpassing his regular-season numbers by 7.6 and 1.4. Counting 2019 and 2020, Murray increases his scoring by 33% and his assists by 13% in the postseason. He is, in short, building a reputation as one of those special players who come up biggest when the lights are brightest.

True to form, Murray was more than happy to spread the credit around after the Nuggets made it 1-0 as a franchise in the NBA Finals.

“It’s hard to guard everybody, instead of just one or two guys,” Murray said. “I think tonight was just a great example of how it could be anybody’s night and anybody’s quarter, maybe not your quarter. That’s just Nuggets basketball.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

'Good news': Nixing Canadian experience rule spells opportunity for foreign engineers in Ontario

Dmytro Zaitsev had more than a decade of experience working as an electrical and solar engineer in Ukraine before he fled the war in that country for Ottawa.

But those years of work still weren’t enough for him to apply for a professional engineering licence in Ontario because he lacked Canadian work experience.

The situation meant Zaitsev – who arrived in Canada in October – had to work entry level jobs as a solar panel installer and electrician to support his wife and child.

A recent change in regulations, however, mean Zaitsev and other internationally trained engineers no longer require Canadian work experience to be licensed in the province.

“It is good news, ” Zaitsev said in an interview. “It helps to get a job in Canada, an engineering job.”

Under previous rules, one year of Canadian work experience in engineering was required to apply for a licence in Ontario. Immigrant engineers had to work for a year under the supervision of a licensed Canadian engineer to gain that experience.

But that was a challenging requirement, Zaitsev said.

“How can I get Canadian experience, if I can’t work in Canada?” he said.

The Ontario government introduced legislation in October 2021 preventing certain regulated professions and skilled trades from requiring Canadian experience qualifications, unless they got an exemption.

Professional Engineers Ontario last month became the first regulatory association to put the law into effect, ahead of an end-of-year deadline to comply.

Zaitsev said securing an engineering licence could help him get a new, higher-paying job that better matches his skills and experience.

“I want a little more because I need to pay my rent for the apartment and food and all,” he said.

Since arriving in Canada, Zaitsev said he has also taken training courses from an organization that helps newcomers, and has learned new engineering skills.

He said he hoped those new skills, his six months of experience in the Canadian job market in entry-level jobs, and the prospect of an engineering licence, will help him land his dream job.

“I’m optimistic about this,” Zaitsev said.

The provincial government has called the move a “game changer” that will help fill approximately 7,000 vacant engineering positions in Ontario.

Accessible Community Counselling and Employment Services, a charity that supports internationally trained engineers like Zaitsev,  said the dropping of the Canadian experience requirement is a welcome development.

“We know this will assist thousands of internationally trained professionals to successfully integrate into the engineering profession,” the organization wrote in a statement.

“Changing the Canadian experience requirement will enable us to help qualified, international applicants work toward Canadian licensure and enter the Canadian job market in their chosen profession, without unnecessary delay.”

Wasseem Makhoul, a professional engineer who immigrated to Canada from Syria in 2015, said the move is a “step in the right direction” but noted that companies might still prefer to hire candidates with local engineering experience.

“The company that is going to hire you, they wouldn’t hire you as a fully qualified professional engineer if you just got qualified yesterday,” he said.

Makhoul, who currently works as a project manager at a private mechanical company, said he worked as a plumber and construction worker for years after arriving in Canada, despite having more than a decade of international engineering experience.

While he now holds an Ontario engineering licence, he said the entry-level jobs he worked during his initial years in the province helped him become a better engineer.

He suggested having internationally trained engineers take short, intensive training courses before they enter the Canadian engineering field to best prepare them for the local industry.

Professional Engineers Ontario has said that dropping the Canadian work experience requirement for licence applications moves it to a model focused on competency, rather than geography.

Its vice-president has said the organization will still ensure only “properly qualified, competent and ethical individuals practise engineering.”

Professional Engineers Ontario has said up to 60 per cent of the licence applicants it reviews every year are internationally trained.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Home sales up 25% from last year, but supply remains low: Toronto real estate board

The slowdown in Toronto’s housing market continued to slip away last month as home sales came in higher than they were a year ago and prices edged closer to pandemic highs.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board found May’s home sales amounted to 9,012, up 25 per cent from a year earlier and 20 per cent from April.

Jason Mercer, TRREB’s chief market analyst, took the numbers as a sign that demand for home ownership has picked up markedly in recent months, after many prospective buyers moved to the sidelines, when interest rates were hiked eight times in a rapid succession.

“Many homebuyers have recalibrated their housing needs in the face of higher borrowing costs and are moving back into the market,” he said, in a release.

“In addition, strong rent growth and record population growth on the back of immigration has also supported increased home sales.”

However, sellers appear to still be awaiting higher prices and have not moved to list their homes at the same pace as buyers have shifted back to the market.

However, the month also showed that supply is not keeping up with demand as new listings were still well below May 2022’s level.

Last month’s new listings totalled 15,194, almost 19 per cent lower than they were a year prior.

“The supply of listings hasn’t kept up with sales, so we have seen upward pressure on selling prices during the spring,” Mercer said.

The average selling price of a home hit $1,196,101 last month, about one per cent lower than it was in May 2022 but up close to four per cent from April.

The composite benchmark price was down by 6.9 per cent year-over-year in May, but up by 3.2 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted basis, when compared with April.

Semi-detached homes were down slightly from a year ago at $1,198,185, while condo prices fell by three per cent over the same period to $748,483.

The average home price seen so far this year is about $1,135,595 compared with $1,189,730 last year and $1,095,475 in 2021.

Ahead of TRREB’s release, Toronto broker Cailey Heaps said she had seen an increase in prices in the city’s central core.

“With price appreciation in recent months, we have certainly closed the gap on the bottoming out of the market in late 2022 and early 2023, but overall we’re not quite back to peak prices of early 2022,” she said, in an email.

She believes the price appreciation the market saw over the previous three months is now stabilizing and brokers are shifting to new selling strategies.

“Instead of ultra-low asking prices with offer dates and hopes for bidding wars, sellers are adjusting asking prices to be more in line with expectations.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Peterborough Petes advance to Memorial Cup semifinal with 5-4 OT win over Blazers

Rob Wilson’s message to his Peterborough Petes squad in the second period was clear.

“When it went 4-1 I said, ‘if you don’t allow another goal, we can win this. If we give up another goal, then we’re gonna be in big trouble,” the head coach said.

What took place after stunned the likes of the 5,084 fans in attendance at Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C.

J.R. Avon scored the game-winning goal 10:54 into overtime to cap Peterborough’s 5-4 comeback win over the Kamloops Blazers on Thursday, earning a semifinal berth at the Memorial Cup. The Petes scored four unanswered goals to take the tiebreaker game.

“That’s our game,'” Wilson said. “The muddier the water, the better it is for us. It works in our favour when the games are usually like that.”

The turning point came from Petes right-winger Chase Stillman.

Just 1:45 into the second period, Stillman laid a hard hit on Matthew Seminoff, who was driving into the slot and appeared not to see Stillman coming from his left side.

Caedan Bankier approached Stillman and the two dropped the gloves with the fight eventually broken up after Bankier hit the ice. Stillman was given a five-minute major for fighting, while Bankier was given two minutes for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.

“It all started with Stiller,” said Petes forward Brennan Othmann. “His hit and his fight, I know that some people want fighting out of the game and stuff like that, but it can change a game around.

“He turned around that game.”

Connor Lockhart, Othmann, Samuel Mayer and Brian Zanetti scored the others for Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough. Michael Simpson made 43 saves for the win.

The Petes will next play the Seattle Thunderbirds in Friday’s semifinal for a shot to play the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Quebec Remparts in Sunday’s final.

The Remparts earned a final berth after opening the tournament with wins over Kamloops and Seattle. Quebec later fell to Peterborough _ which staved off elimination and forced Thursday’s tiebreaker with that victory _ 4-2 on Tuesday in both teams’ final round-robin game.

“I think if we could play the way we did against Quebec and even tonight with the adversity, if we can get up on them. They’re a good team ? It’s gonna be a good game,” Othmann said of Friday’s game.

Logan Stankoven, Olen Zellweger, Harrison Brunicke and Logan Bairos replied for host Kamloops. Dylan Ernst stopped 25 shots.

Stankoven — the Blazers’ captain and Kamloops, B.C., native — did a lap around the ice and received a standing ovation in what was likely his final game for the team.

“It just feels weird ’cause I spent the last five years here in my hometown,” the Dallas Stars’ prospect said teary-eyed with his equipment still on. “I don’t think it’s hit me yet that, yeah, this is probably my last game here.”

Head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston called the loss a “heartbreaker.”

“There’s players like Logan next to me who have put their heart and soul into it for four years,” Clouston said. “We accomplished a ton, four division championships. Had a good run last year, couldn’t quite get there. Good run this year, couldn’t quite get there, it’s similar and the guys fought hard today, really fought hard.”

Lockhart opened the scoring 7:52 into the first period when Jax Dubois found him in the slot and beat Ernst five-hole.

Peterborough Petes defenceman Donovan McCoy, right, grabs the puck from Kamloops Blazers forward Dylan Sydor, centre, while goalie Michael Simpson looks on during second period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Peterborough Petes defenceman Donovan McCoy, right, grabs the puck from Kamloops Blazers forward Dylan Sydor, centre, while goalie Michael Simpson looks on during second period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press
Peterborough Petes goalie Michael Simpson, left, blocks the net on Kamloops Blazers forward Daylan Kuefler during first period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.T

Peterborough Petes goalie Michael Simpson, left, blocks the net on Kamloops Blazers forward Daylan Kuefler during first period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.T

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Stankoven evened it up 11:20 into the frame on a rebound from a Connor Levis point shot.

Zellweger put Kamloops ahead 12:45 into the frame on the power play. The defenceman stopped the puck from getting out of the Petes’ zone, moved in and scored.

With 2:27 remaining in the first, Brunicke collected the puck at the point, got around a defender and beat Simpson over his right shoulder.

Bairos gave Kamloops a 4-1 edge 4:23 into the middle frame. He fired a point shot that ricocheted off Simpson’s blocker, then over him and in.

Just over three minutes later, the Petes began their comeback.

Othmann stripped Bairos of the puck, turned around and scored as he fell to one knee.

Mayer made it a one-goal game on the power play with 2:23 left in the second. He took a pass from Lockhart and fired in a one-timer from the point.

Zanetti knotted the contest just over a minute later tipping in a pass from Tucker Robertson while streaking toward the net.

Following a dazzling but missed scoring chance by Zellweger in overtime, Owen Beck took the puck up ice and dropped it off for Avon, who put it past Ernst to seal the win.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Beach in Port Dover still closed as Norfolk politicians, owners continue talks

With lots of sunshine expected this weekend, beachgoers headed to Port Dover will still only have a small area of sand in the town they can actually use.

No trespassing signs are still up along sections of the larger beach with privately-owned sections off limits to the public while Norfolk County politicians and landowners hammer out a deal to resume public access.

Much of Port Dover beach is owned by private landowners, with only a small part actually owned by the county from the end of Walker Street to the water.

Local local restaurateur Peter Knechtel, whose company F.W. Knechtel Foods Ltd. owns a section of the beach in question, told Global News large crowds in recent years have left garbage and created liability concerns that he says he doesn’t have the resources to mitigate.

On top of that, many beaches in southern Ontario aren’t free anymore, reducing their crowds via user fees, implementing paid parking and requiring reservations.

“The other parks and the other beaches have put a lot of restrictions in their locations, which we don’t have in ours,” said Knechtel who also owns the nearby Callahan’s Beach House.

“So we’re working with the county so that we can we can come up with a plan so that we can open the beach.”

Friday is considered an unofficial beach day in Norfolk, on which teens have been known to ditch school and descend on Port Dover, Turkey Point and Long Point.

Knechtel says while they usually don’t see many students at the Port Dover beach, he’s been in contact with the OPP and was told they’ll be patrolling all three beaches.

In mid-May, Norfolk councillors directed staff to start negotiating with the private owners on a solution acknowledging the beach plots are an “important part of our tourism strategy.”

Norfolk County mayor Any Martin says staff are continuing that dialogue and are expected to update council on their progress during a special council meeting next week.

“We remain optimistic and confident that all issues will be resolved soon,” Martin said in an email.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

U.S. Senate passes debt ceiling bill to prevent default, set to become law

WATCH: Debt ceiling bill passes U.S. House, government spending cut

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed the critical debt ceiling and spending legislation that will ensure the country avoids a federal default, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk and ending one of the most stressful periods of congressional dealmaking in recent memory.

The legislation passed the upper chamber a day after the House united in rare bipartisan fashion to approve the deal reached between Republicans and the White House, which has few fans but will ensure the U.S. can continue to pay its debts.

“America can breathe a sigh of relief,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said as he announced an agreement on the vote.

The legislation passed the Senate by 63-36, with both Democrats and Republicans voting no. It will now go to Biden’s desk for his signature, making it law.

Biden said on Twitter he would sign the bill “as soon as possible” and address the nation on Friday.

Congress was racing to meet a Monday deadline set by the U.S. Treasury — the so-called “X-date” when the nation would run out of reserve funds and other “extraordinary measures” it was using for debt repayments and federal funding since hitting the debt ceiling in January. Economists around the world have been watching nervously as that deadline fast approaches.

Getting the bill through the Senate was no easy task. As they did in the House, Republicans and Democrats had to wrangle enough members to ensure a strong majority despite their misgivings. Top White House staff called individual senators to shore up support.

Schumer also had to allow votes on 11 amendments put forth by senators who had issues with the bill, despite warning earlier Thursday that attempts to change the legislation would bring Congress closer to the X-date.

He called for each amendment to be debated and voted on quickly to ensure final passage “in a timely manner,” and in the end, none of them passed.

Like Schumer, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell signaled he wanted to waste no time.

Touting the House package with its budget cuts, McConnell said Thursday, “The Senate has a chance to make that important progress a reality.”

While some of the criticism from senators of both parties was similar to the complaints heard in the House — Republicans unhappy with spending cuts not going far enough, Democrats slamming work requirements — some Republicans also voiced alarm over the bill’s military spending requirements.

National security hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the deal does not boost defence spending far enough, eyeing the need for supplemental spending to support Ukraine for an anticipated counteroffensive against Russia this summer. But Graham said more is needed to counter other foreign threats as well, particularly China.

“This bill puts us behind the eight-ball,” Graham said on the floor of the Senate ahead of the marathon of votes.

“It’s right to want to control spending, and there are some good things in this bill. But it was wrong to give a defence number inconsistent with the threats we face.”

Instead, senators concerned about the level of military spending secured an agreement from Schumer, which he read on the floor, stating that the debt ceiling deal “does nothing” to limit the Senate’s ability to approve other emergency supplemental funds for national security, including aid to Ukraine, or other national interests.

Overall, the 99-page bill restricts spending for the next two years, suspends the debt ceiling into January 2025 and changes some policies, including imposing new work requirements for older Americans receiving food aid and greenlighting an Appalachian natural gas line that many Democrats oppose.

It bolsters funds for defence and veterans, cuts back new money for Internal Revenue Service agents and rejects Biden’s call to roll back Trump-era tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy to help cover the nation’s deficits.

The controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline is important to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and he defended the development running through his state, saying the country cannot run without the power of gas, coal, wind and all available energy sources.

The compromise came about after weeks of tense negotiations between House Republicans and the White House that frequently fell apart over GOP calls for spending cuts and Democrats standing firm, insisting on a “clean” bill that would raise or suspend the debt limit without conditions.

Senators largely stayed out of the fight, with both Schumer and McConnell simply urging both sides to reach a deal.

Raising the nation’s debt limit, now US$31.4 trillion, would ensure Treasury could borrow to pay already incurred U.S. debts.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the spending restrictions in the package would reduce deficits by US$1.5 trillion over the decade, a top goal for the Republicans trying to curb the debt load.

In a surprise that complicated Republicans’ support, however, the CBO said their drive to impose work requirements on older Americans receiving food stamps would end up boosting spending by US$2.1 billion over the time period. That’s because the final deal exempts veterans and homeless people, expanding the food stamp rolls by 78,000 people monthly, the CBO said.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, has been celebrating his chamber’s quick bipartisan passage of the bill the night before, which saw Democrats ensure a robust 314-117 vote.

“We did pretty dang good,” McCarthy, said Wednesday night after the vote.

As for discontent from Republicans who said the spending restrictions did not go far enough, McCarthy said it was only a “first step.” He has promised more work in the House to pour over government budgets and eliminate wasteful spending, calling for Democrats to support Republicans in the effort.

— with files from the Associated Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Manitoba premier issues apology for centre for people with intellectual disabilities

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson formally apologized in the legislature Thursday to former residents of the Manitoba Developmental Centre, one of the country's last large institutional facilities for people with intellectual disabilities.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson formally apologized in the legislature Thursday to former residents of the Manitoba Developmental Centre, one of the country’s last large institutional facilities for people with intellectual disabilities.

Stefanson’s apology, part of a $17-million class-action settlement earlier this year, focused partly on abuse and neglect suffered by former residents. But it also touched on the larger issue of housing people in large institutions instead of in the community with personal supports.

“We are sorry for our province’s history of forcing children and adults into an institutional model of care, for the resulting loss of family, culture and the right to be (a) valued member of a community,” Stefanson told the chamber.

“Our vulnerable citizens were separated and segregated from their families, devalued and denied of their fundamental human rights to live freely in the community.”

The facility opened in Portage la Prairie in 1890. At its peak in the 1970s, it housed some 1,200 people but is now home to fewer than 130. The Manitoba government stopped accepting new residents at the centre in 1996, except for short-term and court-ordered placements.

In 2021, the Progressive Conservative government announced plans to close the centre by 2024 and have people live closer to loved ones, often in their own homes with support. That plan remains on track, Stefanson said.

The lawsuit was launched in 2018 by David Weremy, who lived at the centre in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. In his statement of claim, Weremy alleged he was often hit with a whip or a wooden board, frequently underfed and punished for trying to run away by being placed in solitary confinement or being forced to sleep naked on the floor.
The statement of claim sought $50 million and alleged staff beat residents, deprived them of food and allowed sexual assaults to occur between residents.

Weremy was in the legislature gallery Thursday to hear the apology and later told reporters it felt good.

“Don’t put people in an institution. Don’t lock them up,” he said.

Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said his party wins the provincial election scheduled for Oct. 3, it would follow through on the commitment to close the centre.

“I think the apology is a necessary step and it’s clear that the era of institutionalization is over and we’re now in an era of inclusion,” Kinew said.

The class-action settlement agreement, which received court approval last month, will see much of the $17 million used to compensate former residents. Some of the money is slated to build a monument at the Manitoba Developmental Centre’s cemetery and to fund projects that help people with disabilities live in the community.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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