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April 2013 Archives

Living with autism: social and professional challenges

Autism Month guestsApril is autism awareness month. It's a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the many people who live on the autism spectrum, but also to acknowledge the social and professional realities they live day to day.

This week, our Sarah Rogers met with a group of young adults in the Eastern Townships who live on the spectrum. She joins us in our Sherbrooke studios to tell us more.

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Quebec City circus instructor's last plea for reprieve

Ibrahim R-C.jpgA Quebec City circus instructor is making a last plea to be allowed to stay in the country. Ibrahim Soumahoro is facing deportation to Cote d'Ivoire tomorrow. People in the circus community, as well as some local politicians, have rallied behind him and are calling on immigration minister Jason Kenney to give him a reprieve.

We spoke to Soumahoro's lawyer Hugues L'Anglais this morning.

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Beaver Dam Memorial

beaver dam bridge.jpgIt was nearly 50 years ago on an early morning in the Gaspé, when tragedy struck.

A group of men were driving along the mine road between Gaspé and Murdochville on their way to work at Gaspé Copper. What they didn't know was that flood waters had washed out the Beaver Dam Bridge. Their cars plunged into the water. Six men died, four survived.

Irvin Lévesque lost his father and uncle that day. He is organizing a memorial for the six victims (Lionel Lévesque, Wilson Cotton, Herman Simon, Hubert Patterson, Robert McKoy, Melrose Miller) and four survivors (Dean Patterson, Wayne Miller, Gordon Palmer and Tommy Nelson).

He joined host Susan Campbell in studio this week.

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Queen Elizabeth High School student's win Tranche de Vie

QEHS.jpgThe Montreal charity organization Blue Metropolis recently launched a friendly competition to give English-speaking high school students the opportunity to build relationships with the French culture around them. Students were challenged to shoot and edit a short documentary, featuring a character from their community.

Queen Elizabeth High school students from Sept-Iles told the story of Samuel Cormier-Farley. He is of Mexican origin and grew-up on the North Shore. His passion for music and singing inspired the students. When the dust settled, and the public had their say, Queen Elizabeth High won with 43% of the votes.

Allison Van Rassel met the Queen Elizabeth students the day after their big win. She started the conversation with Michela Cox, one of their teachers and asked her to describe their project.

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Two Schefferville schools receive gifts from world-renowned conglomerate

Senior officials of Tata Steel, one of the biggest producers in the world, were in Schefferville last week with a gift for the students of two local schools.

The iron ore company has teamed up with the non-profit organization First Books, to provide several thousand books to l'École Kanatamat in Schefferville and the Jimmy Sandy Memorial School in Kawawachikamach.

At a ceremony at the Jimmy Sandy school, he said the company believes that social responsibility is a fundamental of Tata Steel's business. We spoke with Balasubramanian Muthuruman, the vice-president of Tata Steel, which is developing a new iron ore prospect in the Schefferville area. We then continued the conversation with Curtis Tootoosis, the Principal at Jimmy Sandy Memorial School.

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Wider smoking ban brings fear of tension and conflict

The Quebec Government announced last week that all detention facilities in the province will become completely non-smoking. As of June, the ban will be introduced to inmates in Sept-Iles and Percé. We spoke with a smoker and former inmate who believes smoking calms nerves and that a ban will surely cause riots.
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A dress drive to make formal affordable

dress-2.JPGIn 2009, the Lennoxville and District Women's Centre opened Boutique Encore. This second-hand store runs on donated women's clothing and volunteers, with profits to benefit its programming.

This year, they launched their first prom dress drive with the goal of making those formal events a little more affordable for the girls who attend them. Sarah Rogers stopped by Boutique Encore to talk to volunteer Brenda Hartwell & centre director Terry Moore. 

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Bella and the Desgagnés






















Here are some of the pictures taken of Bella, the 5-year-old girl from La Tabatiere who shares the same name and age as a brand new ship Bella Desgagnés. She was invited to help christen the ship that will service people on the Lower North Shore for decades to come.


La Course des Régions' interest in local moviemaking

A contest for emerging filmmakers is growing; what was once an Estrie-focussed project has grown to 13 regions across Quebec. It's called La Course des Régions. It aims to help young filmmakers while promoting the province's regions. Organizers made a call for submissions.

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Commemorative run for Boston

Across the province yesterday, be it on the Magdalen Islands, in Sherbrooke, Thetford Mines, Magog, Rimouski and Montreal, people turned out to show their support for the people of Boston, after the bombings a week ago during the Boston Marathon.

In Quebec City, close to a thousand people ran and walked from the Plains of Abraham through the old city down to the U.S. Consul, overlooking the Dufferin Terrace.

It began with a moment of silence, and then slowly, applause started to build...

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The Bella Desgagnés arrives on the Lower North Shore

The Bella Desgagnés on the Lower North Shore (photo: Tammy Green)People on the Lower North Shore have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of a brand new vessel. The Bella Desgagnés will replace the Nordik Express, which serves ports between Rimouski and Blanc Sablon.

But one little girl has been especially excited about the new ship - because she shares its name.

5-year-old Bella from La Tabatière, with Louis-Marie Beaulieu, president of the Groupe Desgagnés.


 Here's Susan with more on the story of 5-year-old Bella, and the Bella Desgagnés.

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Justin Trudeau in Quebec City

Fresh from winning the leadership race of the federal Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau has now begun the job of winning back Quebec voters to the Liberal fold. He came to Quebec City last night for a public reception, and today he meets two opposition leaders in the National Assembly.
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The buzz around La Ruche

La RucheLast week, a one of a kind Quebec-based crowdfunding website was launched. Over 200 people in the Quebec City region have already invested their hard-earned cash into projects ranging from a new durable sunglasses design, to an app that hopes to turn your "real" life into a video game. CBC's Julia Caron tells us more about how you can support local projects - whether you want to see a new magazine that celebrates the art of mixing drinks, or support 2 young sisters who are urban beekeepers.
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Bringing economic vitality to Mauricie Region

Now that the Gentilly-2 power plant has closed in Bécancour, funds may now be spent to bring renewable energy to the region. Patrick Charlebois, President of the Trois-Rivières Chamber of Commerce and Industry tells us more.
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Rural Townshippers want health care closer to home

Residents in and around Ayer's Cliff say they're fed up with travelling long distances and waiting times to see a doctor. A group is now working towards opening a local medical clinic. Carol Mooney spoke to Quebec AM from St. Catherine-de-Hatley.
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Expert commission into pensions

We are all getting older, whether we like it or not. There could be problems when it comes time to collect our pensions, and ignoring them now will not make them go away. This week, the Parti Quebecois will hear what an expert commission think we should do about it. Marc Van Audenrode, former Head of the Department Economics at Laval University and now the principal at Analysis Group in Montreal, tells us what he think may happen.
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Quebec Environment department confirms source of dust

Complaints from residents of the Limoilou area of Quebec City about dust being blown into their neighbourhood from the Port of Quebec have been confirmed. The Environment Ministry says the stevedoring company, Arrimage Québec, is responsible. Limoilou resident Véronique Lalande was the first to signal the problem last fall, and is now the spokesperson for the Citizens' Initiative organization.
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Fermont's wind shelter documentary

IMG_0624-thumb-200x200-162466.jpgBack in the 1970's two architects had a modern vision to create a Northern mining town that was built for the climate and built for community. Maurice Desnoyers and Norbert Schoenauer were inspired by Swedish design in creating the town's iconic windscreen. It's a long, tall series of buildings that wraps around the town, and protects it from the harsh Northern climate. It's an idea that was intriguing to Simon Nakonechny.

The documentary-maker decided to visit Fermont, to see if this innovative design had fulfilled its promise of futuristic Northern Living. Here's how it sounded as he arrived in town by cab, from Wabush.

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Federal prison chaplaincy services loosing faith

tim-smart.jpgLast fall, we told you about cuts to part-time chaplain positions in federal penitentiaries.

Almost fifty part-time chaplains' contracts, 12 of them in Quebec, were set to expire and not be renewed at the end of March. Reverend Tim Smart was one of them.

For the past three years, he has served as a part-time Protestant chaplain at the medium security Cowansville Institute in the Eastern Townships. We've reached him this morning in Sutton.

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Honouring the heroism of Walter Leja

His name was Walter Leja, a Canadian Army Engineer who became a bomb disposal expert by necessity, in the streets of Montreal in the early 1960's. After repeated calls to officially recognize his actions, Leja's heroism was recognized yesterday in the National Assembly. We speak with Robert Côté, retired Montreal police officer, who had just started working with the bomb squad when the incident occurred. We also hear from Leja's granddaughter, Alison Leja.
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Click here to watch Raffy Boudjikanian's television report from April 5th, 2013.

Suspended Coffee movement hits Quebec

1365610294077.jpgIt's an old Italian tradition from Naples called Caffe sospeso: a goodwill initiative of buying an extra coffee for a stranger in need. It's gaining steam, and the Facebook page for Suspended Coffee has over 45,000 likes.

In early April, some Ontario cafés joined the movement. Now the province of Quebec has its first participating café. Allison Van Rassel brings us that story.

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Arts & Culture events in Quebec: April 12th

Artist Amanda McCavour is presenting "Threaded Line" at the Centre Materia in Quebec City. This exhibition will feature three large pieces made of fabric and thread. Two are reproductions of rooms she has lived in before, as well as Floating Garden. The vernissage is Friday, April 12th at the Centre Materia from 5 pm. (Facebook event)

Engramme is celebrating 40 years. NOCES DE PAPIER runs until May 12th  Exposition collective d'estampes Vernissage le vendredi 12 avril 2013, de 17h à 19h en présence de Marc Dugas, fondateur de l'ARG Engramme présente Noces de papier, une exposition rétrospective célébrant le 40e anniversaire du centre. (Facebook event)


April is a big month for books in the province. We've got three festivals happening in Quebec City. The Salon International du Livre is on from April 10th to 14th. ImagiNation Writer's Festival began on April 6th and runs through until April 16th. We've been sharing interviews with writers here on Quebec AM as well as Breakaway.

The 26th Festival de la Bande Desinee Francophone du Quebec has the city celebrating the "9th art." Check out events happening all weekend, with special exhibitions at libraries across the city running all month long. Visit their website and Facebook page for all the details.


Bernard Adamus is in Terrebonne on Friday night, followed by a sold-out show at Le P'tit cafe de l'Auberge in St-André-Avellin.

Harlan Pepper and the Strumbellas are the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec this Friday night.

Also on Friday, Danny Placard is in La Sarre, at the bar La Maitresse

We are Wolves are in Sherbrooke at le Boquebiere on Saturday, April 13th. (Facebook event)

Vues sur Mer is a film festival that celebrates the art of documentary filmmaking and brings together community in the Gaspé. It began Thursday, and runs until Saturday evening. (Facebook page)

Every Friday, we bring you a taste of some of the arts and culture events happening around the province. If you have events you think we should talk about, email us at quebecam@cbc.ca. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Arrimage Quebec opens doors to clear the air

After months of accusations that it's responsible for the episodes of dust falling over parts of Quebec City, the Port of Quebec stevedoring company is taking a series of steps to keep things under better control. Today, the company is opening up its installations for a media tour. We reached Johanne Lapointe, vice-president of public affairs for Arrimage Québec, to find out more.
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Restaurants: shaming no shows on social media

RedMedicineTweet.jpgThe owner of a Los Angeles restaurant made quite a stir last week. It wasn't about what was on the plates at the Red Medicine Restaurant. It was about who wasn't at the tables.

Owner and General Manager Noah Ellis took to Twitter, to out the names of those who didn't show up for reservations. Speaking to ABC news, he said, "I was frustrated. The intent was never to focus on or draw attention to these specific people. It was more to put names to a problem to get some attention, and get people discussing it."

Several high-end restaurants from Australia have also been tweeting the names of people who don't show up using the hashtag #NoShowShame.

Allison Van Rassel visited a couple of Quebec City's fine dining establishments, to get some reaction to this idea.

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Northern Quebec Module undergoing reorganisation

YMCA_ver.jpgWe've been looking at living and working conditions at the Northern Quebec Module this past week on Quebec AM. It's the housing facility used by Inuit patients coming south to Montreal for medical treatments. We have heard from residents battling with bed bugs and bad mattresses. We heard a representative of the employees union complain about lack of personnel, and a lack of equipment like lifts for assisting patients with mobility issues.

Earlier this week, we spoke to the executive director of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Minnie Grey. She told us the bed bug problem had been dealt with and the mattresses had been changed. 

Some questions still went unanswered about just what services employees at the Module are expected to provide. Celine Laforest, the head of the Northern Quebec Module, joined us to clear up that issue.

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40 years of painting portraits of life in Stoneham

St-Laurent-1.jpgFor the past 40 years, Gilles St-Laurent has been painting what he knows; the landscapes of Stoneham, Tewkesbury, Vermont-Sur-le-Lac, etc. He's painted the people, the houses and the scenes of the first families to settle in the area: the Mckees, Craigs, Murphys and many more.

It's not his day job. St-Laurent worked for years as a police officer, photographer and finger print specialist with the Sureté du Québec. But, through this labour of love, he's created more than 2000 canvasses, one hundred of which hang in his own home.

And now he's hoping to share his collection with his community. The CBC'S Alison Van Rassel visited Gilles St-Laurent recently.

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Deni Y. Béchard launches French translation of "Cures for Hunger"

DeniBechard.jpgDeni Y. Béchard's memoir 'Cures for Hunger' has met great acclaim. It tells his own story, of being a young boy, asked to draw his family tree as a class project, and faced with the reality that he knew nothing about his father. The book tells the tale of that relationship, as the son slowly unravels the mystery of André Béchard, who was born in Gaspé, but whose life takes a treacherous path across a continent and back. He's in Quebec City to launch the French translation as part of the ImagiNation Writer's Festival.
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You can also find out more about his next book, "Empty Hands, Open Arms" here.

Adult Education Week in Quebec

The thirst for knowledge and skills doesn't end once you graduate high school. Family, careers and finances sometimes prevent people from pursuing further studies. But as they say, better late than never. Roland Beebe, a lifelong resident of New Carlisle, joins us to tell us why he returned to school at age 53.
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Offshore tax havens

Last week, a massive leak of documents was obtained by the U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. It contains data from 10 offshore tax havens, and identifies nearly 130,000 people. Of those, 46 are in Quebec.

But experts say this is just a drop in the bucket. To tell us more, Alain Deneault joins us. Deneault teaches at the Université du Québec in Montreal, and the author of "Offshore: Tax Havens and the Rule of Global Crime."
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Artist offering coastal support with old bras

mariannepapillon.jpgUsing recycled materials in art is nothing new, but what about using old bras? Marianne Papillon is an artist based in the Magdalen Islands, and hopes to use one thousand old bras for an art project that will help to symbolically "support" the coastline of her island home.
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For all the details of where you can drop off your old bras, visit her blog.

Addressing health issues in Northern Quebec

High suicide rates, substance abuse, complex physical health problems -- those are the daily issues facing medical staff working in Quebec's north. Last week, health minister Dr. Réjean Hébert learned first-hand what resources the region needs. The Minister tells us what changes that residents can hope to see.
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Turning social justice into a game

halfthesky.pngA video game design studio based in Quebec City, Frima Studio, helped create Half the Sky Movement - the Game. The game is inspired by the best-selling book of the same name, and hopes to engage players while entertaining them as they take on the role of an Indian housewife confronting sexism at every turn. Asi Burak, president of Games for Change, tells us why using a fun tool can be an effective way to talk about violence against women and make a difference.
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Health Board says Northern Quebec Module is "safe and secure"

YMCA_ver.jpgOn Friday, we heard some serious complaints from staff and patients about the health residence in Montreal used by people travelling there for health care. The facility is called the Northern Quebec Module.

Employees say they're understaffed and don't have the equipment they need to deal with residents. The union also says the building has had problems with bed bugs and mice.

To find out more, we've reached the Director of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Minnie Grey.

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Fostering active community involvement in the MRC of Coaticook

gladys.esther.nathalie.jpgMost municipalities do the best they can to accomodate the needs of their residents. But the MRC of Coaticook is taking that notion one step further, by developping a family and seniors policy. The goal is to encourage those residents to not only stay, but to be active participants in municipal life. Sarah Rogers brings us that story.
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Magdalen Islands Mayor would welcome Environmental Review

For several years, residents of the Magdalen Islands have been pushing for a review of the potential impacts of any oil and gas exploration, not just offshore but onshore as well. One company, Gastem, has already done some preliminary exploration. But in public meetings, the company has had to answer a lot of questions about the islands' undergound water supplies. Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet is expected to announce some kind of environmental review. Joel Arseneau is the Mayor of the municipality of the Magdalen Islands and tells us why he would welcome this decision.
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Concerns over conditions at Northern Quebec Module

When many patients from Nunavik head to Montreal for medical treatment, they stay at what's called the Northern Quebec Module. But some people complain that everything, from the beds, to the food, to the operating hours, is subpar. Employees are saying their current working conditions are ultimately affecting the quality of care they can offer the residents. Ross Craig, secretary of Northern Module employee union, tells us more.
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Chief Electoral Officer digging deeper into political party financing

A bigger picture is emerging about suspect financing of political parties. It comes as a result of audits carried out by Quebec's Chief Electoral Officer. Denis Dion, Information officer with the Elections Office, tells us more about where the investigation goes now.
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Quebec government's new National Review Commission criticized

The Parti Québécois government's new National Review Commission aims to find out how Ottawa's employment insurance reforms will affect Quebecers. Some are saying that the 1.5$ million dollars would be better spent elsewhere. Gaétan Cousineau is the coordinator of an unemployment action committee in the Gaspé that has been documenting the impacts for months.
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Bishop's choir sings to help animal shelter

575855_10151624076263140_1361594439_n.jpgThe Bishop's University Singers will be holding two concerts this week to benefit a Sherbrooke animal shelter. The CBC's Sarah Rogers went to hear them practice and found out why the choir is putting its harmonies to good use.
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Tax hike compromise for business owners in Quebec City

When Quebec City handed out its commercial tax bills a couple of months ago, the cries of protest were loud and clear. Yesterday, the city tabled its compromise. Joining us this morning was Jan-Pierre Du Sault, President of l'Association des gens d'affaires du Vieux-Québec and Pierre Dolbec, President of la Corporation des parcs industriels de Québec.
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Spiffing up Knowlton

Weekend shoppers and skiers used to flock to Knowlton in the Eastern Townships. But over time, the town lost some of its appeal and tourism dropped.

Now, there's a plan to give Knowlton back it's lustre. The CBC's Marika Wheeler tells Susan about the plan to get the community to shine once again.

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The future of the Sillery heritage site

The most prized pieces of real estate in Quebec City are probably the domains owned by several religious communities in Sillery overlooking the St. Lawrence.

Now developers want to build on them and everyone has their own idea of how or if they should be developed. Religious communities are also making their voices heard.

Susan hears about what could happen to the highly coveted pieces of land.

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Part 2:

We take another look at what the future holds for those highly-valued pieces of land in the Quebec City borough of Sillery.

Two dozen presentations were made yesterday. Among them, the promoter of a residential development who last summer purchased a highly-valued parcel of land from one of the religious communities. He tell Susan about his plan for the lands.

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