24
Jul 19

Busy Family Day long weekend for Prince Albert, Sask. police

Prince Albert police officials said it was a busy Family Day long weekend for officers in the northern Saskatchewan city.

Officers responded to over 400 calls between Friday evening and Tuesday morning, with the top two calls being for disturbances and intoxicated people.

READ MORE: Prince Albert police nab 2 suspected impaired drivers

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    A drug bust was also made.

    Patrol officers pulled over a vehicle early Monday morning to check whether the driver was impaired and had a valid driver’s license.

    Officers said a search of the vehicle turned up 16 grams of meth and bear spray.

    A 33-year-old man is charged with possession of meth for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public and breach of court orders.

    A 24-year-old woman is charged with possession of meth for the purpose of trafficking, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public.

    READ MORE: Pelican Narrows, Sask. sudden death may be homicide: police

    Officers also arrested a man suspected of stealing a bike.

    Patrol officers were called to a home in the 300-block of 19 Street West late Sunday morning for a report a man had made off with a bike from a shed.

    He was arrested a short time later.

    The 42-year-old man is charged with break and enter and possession of break in tools.

    Police officials said a total of 74 people were arrested over the weekend.


24
Jul 19

Theft of more than a dozen venomous snakes in Ontario was likely targeted: police

THOROLD, Ont. – More than a dozen deadly snakes are both at risk themselves and pose potential danger to others after a weekend break-in in southern Ontario, local police said Tuesday.

Niagara Regional Police said the assortment of snakes were snatched for a rural home in Thorold, Ont., on Saturday evening, leaving them scrambling to recover the animals and identify suspects.

Const. Phil Gavin said the targeted attack zeroes in on a wide array of snakes, most of which are venomous and all of which have potential to kill.

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They include a diamond-back rattlesnake, five varieties of cobra, a pit adder, several vipers and a pregnant albino boa constrictor.

READ MORE: Venomous snakes stolen from Niagara-area home

“These certainly are not reptiles that should be trifled with either by trained personnel or by anyone who just stumbles across them,” Gavin said in a telephone interview.

Gavin said the owner of the residence is believed to have been raising and possibly breeding the reptiles for sale, a practice that is entirely legal across Ontario.

Whether or not that figured into the motive, Gavin said it was clear the theft was not random.

“There’s reason to believe that . . . the people responsible knew they were there and targeted them,” Gavin said of the reptiles in a telephone interview. “The average person to go in and deal with these snakes, the likelihood is they wouldn’t reach into a cobra pit without some level of knowledge.”

READ MORE: Campus police at Ontario university searching for python on the loose

The snakes range considerably in size, Gavin said, adding even young or small reptiles carry venom that can be deadly to humans.

The venomous animals range in size from 12 to 106 centimetres. The boa constrictor, which is not venomous but can still kill with its powerful crushing force, is 200 centimetres long.

The practice of owning exotic animals is controversial, but largely legal thanks to a patchwork of laws across the country.

Ontario is widely considered to have the least stringent laws around exotic animal ownership. The provincial government has banned only two animals for domestic ownership – killer whales and pitbulls. It is up to municipal governments to create their own bylaws restricting the types of animals that can live within its jurisdiction.

READ MORE: Python on the loose in southern Ontario town

Some municipalities, like Toronto and Ottawa, maintain lists of prohibited animals that need to be updated constantly. Niagara Police say there is no such list in place for Thorold, where the break-in took place.

Nor are there licensing requirements for businesses that focus on exotic animals as a main commodity.

Zoocheck Inc., an industry watchdog with a focus on animal welfare, has documented a significant spike in the number of businesses offering animals for sale or entertainment in the past five years.

Executive Director Rob Laidlaw said such businesses are easy to establish and can operate freely thanks to the lack of enforcement tools.

READ MORE: Venomous snake captured in Ontario conservation area

“Today, all you need is a bunch of animals in your basement or your garage or your backyard, and a computer,” Laidlaw said of the requirements to get established in the industry. “We could set up an animal business probably in about two hours. Have a nice website, a bunch of photos, and start sending some emails.”

Gavin said the investigation into the Thorold theft is still in the early stages, adding police do not yet know how many suspects they’re looking for.

He said the first priority is to rescue the snakes, both to eliminate a risk to the public and for the sake of the animals themselves.

“If someone chose that they no longer wished to possess the snakes, these aren’t something that you just pull up somewhere, dump them off and say, ‘here’s the snakes,”‘ he said.

“Certainly we wouldn’t condone by any means them being released into the wild. Obviously because those animals aren’t natural to this habitat and they’re deadly, but also, with the cold temperatures, it would likely kill them.”

The reptiles would likely be returned to the original owner once recovered, he said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to come forward.


24
Jul 19

Calgary Expo 2017: Jeremy Renner, Steven Yeun from ‘The Walking Dead’ to attend

Actor Jeremy Renner will be attending the 2017 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, event organizers said Tuesday.

Renner is known for his role as arrow-slinging Marvel superhero Hawkeye in the Avengers franchise. The 46-year-old also starred in The Bourne Legacy and Mission: Impossible Rouge Nation.

Along with Renner, organizers also revealed Steven Yeun, who played Glenn on AMC’s The Walking Dead, would be attending the expo.

Joining Yuen will be Ruth Connell (Supernatural), Aly Michalka (iZombie, Hellcats, Phil of the Future), Roger Cross and Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter), and Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time, Murder in the First).

The 2017 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo runs from Thursday, April 27 – Sunday, April 30 at BMO Centre in Stampede Park.

Previously announced Calgary Expo 2017 Media & Voice Guests:

John Cusack (Say Anything, High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich)Mara Wilson (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire, Welcome to Night Vale, Where Am I Now?)Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Andromeda, Meet the Spartans)Jason Weiser (The Myths & Legends Podcast)Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle, Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog)Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Mortal Kombat)Danielle Panabaker (The Flash, Friday the 13th, Arrow)
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  • Stars from ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Boy Meets World’ set to attend Calgary Expo 2017

  • ‘High Fidelity’ star John Cusack to attend Calgary Expo 2017

  • ‘Stranger Things’ star Millie Bobby Brown cancels Calgary Expo 2017 appearance


24
Jul 19

These lifestyle changes may help keep breast cancer recurrence at bay

You’ve survived what was likely the toughest battle of your life: breast cancer. But what can you do to make sure the disease doesn’t recur?

Taking up exercise may be the most important lifestyle change women can make to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

That’s followed by avoiding weight gain, healthy eating and keeping away from smoking and too much booze.

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    “I’ve always encouraged my breast cancer patients to make healthy lifestyle changes and I was doing this long before there was any evidence that the changes could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence,” Dr. Ellen Warner said in a CMAJ podcast. Warner is a researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

    “My goals were simply to improve patients’ overall quality of life and their general health and to give them something they could control because they had absolutely no control over their diagnosis or treatment,” Warner said.

    READ MORE: Here’s the ‘trick’ that led one woman to finding her breast cancer

    For their study, Warner and co-author Julia Hamer reviewed 67 studies that looked at a variety of lifestyle factors, such as exercise, weight, diet and smoking habits and how these lifestyle choices improved their chances of cancer resurfacing.

    Here are the key findings coming out of the review for women and their families managing health after beating breast cancer:

    Avoid weight gain: Putting on just 10 per cent of your body weight after a breast cancer diagnosis increases the risk of dying from the disease, the researchers warn. They’re discouraging weight gain because it hurts morale and body image during an already tumultuous time in which women are losing their hair, for example. Overweight and obese women tend to have poor prognoses, too.

    READ MORE: These are the other breast cancer symptoms you should be aware of

    Pick up exercising: Cancer patients who commit to 30 minutes of exercise every day, five days a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week have better odds. Exercise offered the “most robust effect” on breast cancer outcomes.

    Diet: Turns out, no specific type of diet has been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence. But the review found that patients don’t need to avoid soy. It might even help with weight management if it’s being used as a substitute for fattier, high-calorie animal proteins.

    Vitamins: A “moderate” consumption of vitamin C could help but more evidence is needed, the review suggests. Vitamin D can also be taken to help with bone strength since chemotherapy and hormone therapy could take a toll on bone density.

    READ MORE: This lesser known breast cancer warning sign helped save British woman’s life

    Smoking: Stop smoking, the researchers say. It’s unclear if stopping smoking affects the chances of recurrence, but the risk of dying from smoking-related health issues is enough of a reason to butt out.

    Limit your alcohol intake: Average one or fewer alcoholic drinks per day. This could help to reduce the risk of a second breast cancer, the review says.

    Keep in mind, the study notes: lifestyle changes should never be used as a substitute for standard therapy options. Participants in the review’s studies were also receiving conventional anti-cancer therapies from chemotherapy to radiation.

    READ MORE: What one non-smoking young mom diagnosed with lung cancer wants Canadians to know

    These lifestyle changes also aren’t a “silver bullet” that’ll keep recurrence at bay indefinitely.

    “Patients should not be made to feel that inadequate lifestyle changes have led to recurrence of their cancer,” the study concluded.

    Read the full findings published in the CMAJ.

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24
Jul 19

Edmonton drug users group wants to be involved in policy changes

A group of Edmonton drug users will participate in a national rally Tuesday in an effort to have the federal government change its drug policy.

Seven cities will host rallies at noon Tuesday, including Edmonton, in a National Day of Action event under the campaign their “life won’t wait.”

The demonstrations and rallies are being organized by the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs.

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    READ MORE: 14 carfentanil deaths in 3 months spurs opioid warning in Alberta

    The organization believes there’s too much discussion and not enough action when it comes to helping those who struggle with drug addiction.

    “Different levels of government have paid lip service to the overdose crisis, but real action hasn’t arrived and delays continue to drag on,” read a statement on the organization’s Facebook page.

    “Many of the proposed policies have not been made with the meaningful inclusion of people who use drugs. Policy is being written from above, and is often changed for the worse without our consent.”

    READ MORE: Edmonton councillors to discuss safe-injection sites

    The organization wants to have input on Canada’s drug policies.

    “When people who use drugs are excluded by our government, we begin to support each other in the face of this horrific loss of life,” the statement read.

    In 2016, there were 400 deaths in Alberta related to opioids.

    READ MORE: A province-by-province look at opioid-overdose stats, including fentanyl

    In December, the Alberta government announced a provincial response to the opioid epidemic after carfentanil, which is described as being 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, was said to be responsible for 14 deaths in three months in the province.

    The province said it’s focusing on harm reduction in its provincial response to the crisis.

    The Edmonton rally will begin at noon outside the Homeless Memorial Plaza, north of City Hall.

    More to come…


24
Jun 19

Donald Trump denounces recent ‘horrible’ threats against Jewish community centres

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced recent threats against Jewish community centres as “horrible … painful” and said more must be done “to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”

Trump made his remarks after touring the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.

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On Monday, 11 Jewish community centres across the country received phoned-in bomb threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. Like three waves of similar calls in January, Monday’s threats proved to be hoaxes, the association said in a statement. In addition, as many as 200 headstones were damaged or tipped over at a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis late Sunday or early Monday.

READ MORE: Several US Jewish centres evacuated over bomb threats; Ivanka Trump calls for ‘religious tolerance’

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centres are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said. He did not outline what that might include.

The president’s comments marked the first time he had directly addressed recent incidents of anti-Semitism and followed a more general White House denouncement of “hatred and hate-motivated violence.”

That statement, earlier Tuesday, did not mention the community centre incidents or Jews. Trump “has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable,” the statement said.

WATCH: FBI probing wave of fake bomb threats to U.S. Jewish centres in January

The FBI said it is joining with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to investigate “possible civil rights violations in connection with threats.”

On Monday, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump wrote on 桑拿会所, “We must protect our houses of worship & religious centres,” and used the hashtag #JCC. She converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner. She joined her father at the African American museum tour.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump was criticized for what some saw as belated and inadequately forceful denunciations of hateful rhetoric by supporters.

During a news conference last week, Trump scolded a Jewish reporter for asking about rising anti-Semitism, calling his query a “very insulting question.”

“So here’s the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti- Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person,” Trump said, apparently misinterpreting the question as an attack on him personally.

The White House was also criticized by Jewish groups last month after issuing an International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that did not mention Jews.

Early Tuesday, former presidential rival Hillary Clinton urged Trump to clearly denounce recent incidents. “JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting @POTUS,” she said on 桑拿会所.

Trump told NBC’s Craig Melvin before his remarks Tuesday that he denounces anti-Semitism “all the time” and “wherever I get a chance I do it.”

Trump’s latest remarks came as he paid a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture with a group that included Ben Carson, his rival-turned-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

The museum includes an exhibit dedicated to Carson’s rise from poverty to prominent pediatric neurosurgeon, which the group stopped to admire and pose for photos in front of.

“Honestly, it’s fantastic,” Trump said during the tour. “I’ve learned and I’ve seen and they’ve done an incredible job.”

Trump also took special interest in an exhibit dedicated to the boxer Muhammad Ali, museum officials said.

Trump’s wife Melania Trump visited the museum last week with Sara Netanyahu, wife of the Israeli prime minister.

—;

Associated Press writer Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report from Washington. AP writer Patrick Mairs contributed from Philadelphia.


24
Jun 19

Red Top Drive Inn co-owner dies while on vacation in Costa Rica

WINNIPEG —; A local community is in mourning after the co-owner of a popular Winnipeg diner died while on vacation this week.

Peter Scouras, owner of Red Top Drive-Inn, was swimming in Costa Rica when he got caught in an undertow and drowned, staff at the diner said.

Scouras was in Costa Rica for a rugby tournament with his team the Wombats Rugby Club, according to a Facebook post.

Many friends and Red Top customers took to Facebook to express their condolences.

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The family-owned restaurant has been around since 1960.

Scouras ran the St. Boniface diner with his mother, Vicky after his father, John died suddenly while on vacation in Greece in August 2007.

The diner has gained popularity in recent years, especially since it made an appearance on Food Network Canada’s You Gotta Eat Here!

Former Winnipeg mayor, Sam Katz has boasted about the restaurant as well.

Back in 2013, Global News asked then Mayor Sam Katz to pick any restaurant in the city to do a year-end interview. He picked the Red Top.

“I used to come here every weekend in days gone by… sometimes after a rough day at the office you need some comfort food,” he said at the time.

Red Top Drive Inn on 219 St. Mary’s Road

Former Winnipeg mayor, Sam Katz says he frequents the diner.


24
Jun 19

Trump expansion of deportation guidelines could affect millions of people

WASHINGTON – Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation – including people simply arrested for traffic violations – under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration.

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Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offence, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offences – or simply having crossed the border illegally.

The Trump administration memos replace more narrow guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.

READ MORE: Hundreds of undocumented immigrants arrested in ‘routine’ U.S. enforcement sweep

Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission and those who overstayed their visas.

Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offence, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.

Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offence. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before.

The new enforcement documents are the latest efforts by President Donald Trump to follow through on campaign promises to strictly enforce immigration laws. He’s also promised to build a wall at the Mexican border – he insists Mexico will eventually foot the bill – and Kelly’s memos reiterate calls for Homeland Security to start planning for the costs and construction.

WATCH: ICE officials say of the 161 arrests of undocumented immigrants – 151 of those taken into custody had majority criminal, felony convictions.

Trump’s earlier immigration orders, which banned all refugees as well as foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries, have faced widespread criticism and legal action. A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary halt.

Kelly’s enforcement plans call for enforcing a longstanding but obscure provision of immigration law that allows the government to send some people caught illegally crossing the Mexican border back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from. Those foreigners would wait in that country for U.S. deportation proceedings to be complete. This would be used for people who aren’t considered a threat to cross the border illegally again, the memo says.

That provision is almost certain to face opposition from civil libertarians and Mexican officials, and it’s unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. But the memo also calls for Homeland Security to provide an account of U.S. aid to Mexico, a possible signal that Trump plans to use that funding to get Mexico to accept the foreigners.

WATCH: NDP MP to Trudeau: will Liberals denounce Trump’s immigration policies?

Historically, the U.S. has quickly repatriated Mexican nationals caught at the border but has detained immigrants from other countries pending deportation proceedings that could take years.

The memos do not change U.S. immigration laws, but take a far harder line toward enforcement.

One example involves broader use of a program that fast-tracks deportations. It will now be applied to immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States longer than two years. It’s unclear how many immigrants that could include.

Since at least 2002 that fast deportation effort – which does not require a judge’s order – has been used only for immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border, within two weeks of crossing illegally.

The administration also plans to expand immigration jail capacity. Currently Homeland Security has money and space to jail 34,000 immigrants at a time. It’s unclear how much an increase would cost, but Congress would have to approve any new spending.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the directives.

“These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

However, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, applauded the Trump effort, saying the memos “overturn dangerous” policies from the Obama administration.

The directives do not affect President Barack Obama’s program that has protected more than 750,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place, though participants could be deported if they commit crimes or otherwise are deemed to be threats to public safety or national security, according to the department.

During the campaign Trump vowed to immediately end that program, which he described as illegal amnesty.

The directives indicate that some young people caught crossing the border illegally by themselves may not be eligible for special legal protections if they are reunited with parents in the United States. And those parents or other relatives that the government believes helped the children would face criminal and immigration investigations.

Under the Obama administration, more than 100,000 children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were caught at the border. Most were reunited with parents or relatives living in the United States, regardless of the adults’ immigration status.

The enforcement memos also call for the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, but it’s unclear how quickly that could take place. Currently, two of every three applicants for Customs and Border Protection jobs fail polygraph exams and there are about 2,000 vacancies.

The government also plans to review a program that allows local police and jailers to act as immigration agents and a program that used fingerprint records from local jails to identify immigrants who had been arrested.


24
Jun 19

Ontario PC leader supports anti-Islamophobia motion; says party opposes any form of hate

TORONTO – Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Leader will support an anti-Islamophobia motion from a Liberal member and is encouraging his caucus to do the same.

Patrick Brown’s support means the Ontario motion is unlikely to garner the kind of political debate seen over a similar motion in the House of Commons.

The federal motion is opposed by a number of Conservative MPs, including several leadership contenders, who say it could stifle legitimate debate about issues like Shariah law and the niqab.

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The Ontario motion, from Liberal backbencher Nathalie Des Rosiers, is to be debated Thursday.

READ MORE: Islamophobia motion: Iqra Khalid, Irwin Cotler offer conflicting takes on their conversation

It calls on the legislature to “stand against all forms of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance; rebuke the notable growing tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric and sentiments; denounce hate-attacks, threats of violence and hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith (and) condemn all forms of Islamophobia.”

Des Rosiers’ motion was introduced Dec. 1 in response to crimes directed toward the Muslim community, but she asked the government house leader to move the motion’s debate slot to the earliest opportunity.

“The debate on the federal motion has uprooted a number of troubling comments from the Conservative Party of Canada, which seem designed to divide and detract from the purpose of fighting discrimination,” she wrote in a letter asking all politicians at the legislature to support it.

“It was important, I think, to raise the profile of this issue and make sure that we stand against discrimination – all types of discrimination, but particularly discrimination that affects this particular group at this point,” Des Rosiers said Tuesday.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the anti-Islamophobia motion making waves in Ottawa

Brown wouldn’t weigh in on the federal debate, but said he believes support for the bill is “pretty universal” within his caucus.

“Whether it’s hate against any faith, it’s wrong,” he said. “We always will condemn any form of hate. In terms of Islamophobia, it’s real.”

The federal motion was to be put to a vote Tuesday.

Conservative MPs have argued that the Liberal motion singles out one religious group over others and could potentially curtail freedom of speech because it doesn’t define the term Islamophobia.

But a Canadian Muslim leader says they are stoking a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment by raising unfounded fears. Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, says Muslim Canadians are increasingly suffering prejudice and acts of hatred, including a deadly shooting at a Quebec mosque last month that left six worshippers dead.


24
May 19

Ontario Liberals eye separate bill to end winter electricity disconnections

TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government will introduce legislation Wednesday to end disconnections of electricity during the winter months, if all of the local distribution companies don’t voluntarily stop.

Both opposition parties have been pressuring the government over the practice, calling on the Liberals to table a separate piece of legislation to deal with it, instead of having it as a section of the omnibus Burden Reduction Act. But the government denied their attempts to get that done Tuesday.

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All parties traded shots over who supported that bill and when, and who should pass what.

READ MORE: Ontario energy minister calls on utility companies to end winter disconnections

“I am disappointed that a motion was put forward to the House today and the government said no,” said Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown. “They could have ended it today. I don’t want to delay a week. I don’t want to delay another day. We need action on winter disconnects today.”

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault last week asked all Ontario electricity distribution companies to voluntarily stop disconnecting customers’ power during the winter months for non-payment.

He said “quite a few” have already complied, but if all have not done so by midnight, the government will introduce standalone legislation Wednesday.

“We’ve been asking to have this done since June, so we recognize this is an issue,” Thibeault said.

READ MORE: Brown and Horwath demand immediate end to winter hydro disconnections

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it should happen through legislation anyway.

“It should not be about the whim or the good nature of the utilities,” she said. “It should be the law in the province of Ontario that people’s electricity bills do not get cut off.”

The majority Liberal government could have passed the omnibus legislation already, or they could have supported attempts from both opposition parties to get standalone bills passed Tuesday, she said.

“It appears that the premier will only agree to keeping people’s power on if she and her Liberal party get the political win,” she said in question period. “Shame on her.”

READ MORE: Ontario Energy Minister says relief from winter disconnections won’t come this year

About 60,000 disconnections occur in Ontario each year, though the Ontario Energy Board doesn’t have seasonal data. The government notes that most customers are re-connected within 48 hours.

Hydro One has already stopped the winter disconnection practice and has said it would re-connect 1,400 customers whose electricity was cut off for not paying their bills.

Progressive Conservative Todd Smith said rising hydro rates are the reason the winter disconnection issue is “out of control.”

“People can no longer afford to pay their electricity bills,” he said. “They’re doing the best that they can to try and pay their bills.”

Wynne has promised more relief and a source familiar with the discussions said that incrementally increasing an eight-per-cent rebate is being considered. The government is also considering more targeted relief for people who are particularly struggling, such as those in rural and northern communities and low-income ratepayers.