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November

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    In Canadian House of Commons, French President Hollande praises Canadian veterans who helped liberate France in WW2. To honour them, Hollande has appointed a number of Cdn WW2 vets as Knights of the French Legion of Honour. Regina's Harold Hague is one of those distinguished veterans who has been so recognized by the French Republic.
    Nov 03, 2014 8:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A REALITY CHECK ON MR. HARPER'S BOASTS ABOUT TAX CUTS Stephen Harper likes to portray himself as a great tax cutter. But before Canadians swallow that line, it's instructive to check the record. As a brand new Prime Minister in the spring of 2006, what was Mr. Harper's first tax policy decision? His Liberal predecessors had just handed him a strong and growing economy, a decade of balanced budgets and a $13-billion annual surplus. So what was his first move? Far from cutting taxes, he raised them. He hiked personal income taxes by retroactively cancelling a series of tax rate reductions put in place by the previous Liberal administration. A few months later - on Hallowe'en of 2006 - Mr. Harper spooked investment markets by imposing a toxic new Conservative tax on Income Trusts at 31.5%. He had promised never to do that, but he did it anyway. And in the process he instantly destroyed about $25-billion in the accumulated savings of some 2-million Canadians. Then after the 2008/09 recession, Mr. Harper increased the overall tax burden on Canadians, year after year, through four consecutive budgets. Among other things, he imposed higher tariff taxes on a vast array of consumer goods, escalating the cost of everything from wigs for cancer patients to children's tricycles. He extracted more taxes from credit unions and small business owners. And he raked in more than $5-billion in extra revenue from employees and employers through higher Employment Insurance payroll taxes. Still Mr Harper boasted in his 2014 budget that his collection of "boutique" tax credits and benefits had the effect of lowering the federal tax burden on the "average" Canadian family by about $3500. But that all depends on your definition of "average". You can certainly concoct an illustration that would fit the Conservative mould - a family with two parents, two children, a six figure income and consumer spending of more than $50,000 every year (including over a thousand dollars for art lessons). But for most Canadian families, indeed for 70% of them, this is simply not their reality. The same is true for the "Income Splitting" announcement Mr. Harper made last Thursday. He called it a "family tax cut", but fewer than 15% of Canadian households can qualify. Single moms and dads get nothing. Spouses with similar earnings (ie, within the same tax bracket) get nothing. Families on low incomes get nothing. But income splitting will cost the federal treasury a whopping $2-billion every year. It's for reasons like these that the late Jim Flaherty openly challenged the wisdom of this scheme as too costly and unfair. "I'm not sure that overall it benefits our society," he said. "It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot and other parts of the Canadian population virtually not at all." His concerns were echoed and amplified by the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Fraser Institute, the Broadbent Institute, the 3-D Policy group, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Caledon Institute, and many others. In making decisions about tax cuts, a fiscally and socially responsible government would always ensure that any proposed cut is affordable and sustainable, fair to other citizens and taxpayers, and consistent with the government's obligations for such other priorities as the Canadian Armed Forces, mental health care for returned soldiers, the needs of veterans, funding for the RCMP and our security services, and the investments required in infrastructure, higher education, research and innovation to drive greater growth and prosperity. What's lacking in Mr. Harper's tax plan is good judgment.
    Nov 03, 2014 6:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Jellied salads at prairie fall suppers are terrific! Missing great ones at Vibank + at St Martin's in Regina tonight - on a flight to Ottawa.
    Nov 02, 2014 5:35 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Sk) can be very proud of today's awards ceremony - 11 very deserving honorees. Congrats to all.
    Nov 02, 2014 1:16 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Proud to join with Ukrainian Canadian Congress to honour my friend, the late Ed Lysyk, with 2014 "Nation Builders" award!
    Nov 02, 2014 12:42 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Big crowd in Regina today for "Nations Builders+Community Recognition Awards" hosted by Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Sask Council)
    Nov 02, 2014 11:29 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    All our hopes and best wishes are with Lisa Raitt for a speedy and complete recovery
    Nov 02, 2014 9:28 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Spookiness continues beyond Hallowe'en - daylight savings ends Sunday at 2:00am! Turn clocks back 1-hour -- except in solid Saskatchewan!
    Nov 01, 2014 5:05 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    First call for All Saints Anglican Church Fowl Supper - two sittings, both sold out, great food.
    Nov 01, 2014 3:49 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Canada's thoughts + prayers today are with the family, friends + comrades of the late Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. RIP
    Nov 01, 2014 6:06 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

October

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    Some impacts of Mr Harper's costly and unfair tax breaks...
    Oct 31, 2014 9:58 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A "CAP" DOESN'T HIDE THE UNFAIRNESS Within hours of the federal budget last spring, then-Finance Minister, the late Jim Flaherty, caused a flap in his own Conservative Caucus by openly criticizing Stephen Harper's favourite proposed tax break. For more than four years, Mr. Harper has been promoting a form of "income splitting" whereby a higher-income taxpayer could assign a portion of his/her earnings (up to $50,000) to his/her spouse to be taxed at the spouse's lower rate. Mr. Flaherty was concerned that such a policy would be expensive and quite unfair to the vast majority of Canadians. He was right. His concerns were echoed and amplified by the independent analyses of the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Fraser Institute, the Broadbent Institute, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the 3-D Policy group, the Caledon Institute, and many others. Mr. Harper has announced some policy tweaks to his plan (including a "cap" on the largest benefits going to the very wealthiest Canadians), but Mr. Flaherty's criticisms remain valid. The proposed income splitting scheme will cost the federal treasury some $2-billion annually, providing benefits to fewer than 15% of Canadian households - 85% are left out. Single moms and single dads get nothing. Spouses with similar incomes (within the same tax bracket) get nothing. Families without children under the age of 18 get nothing. The most needy and lowest income families get nothing. Through this plan, Mr. Harper is also continuing his practice of convoluting the tax code with boutique measures which narrowly reflect conservative social engineering. You have to wedge yourself into a conservative social policy pigeon-hole in order to qualify, but Mr. Harper's mould doesn't fit the reality of most Canadians' lives. And with every new measure, the tax code gets more complex and incomprehensible, making broad-based personal income tax rate reductions more and more unlikely. And that does nothing for Canadian competitiveness or economic growth.
    Oct 30, 2014 2:55 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program organized an inter-faith Prayer for Peace at the Eternal Flame on Parliament Hill this morning
    Oct 30, 2014 8:32 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    BUS DRIVERS Among a long list of votes tonight, the House of Commons has voted unanimously for Senate Bill S-221, an Act to provide better Criminal Code protection for bus drivers and other public transportation employees. While not perfect, this Bill represent a step forward in recognizing the vulnerable situation of public transportation employees and the important services they provide to the travelling public. Glad to support it.
    Oct 29, 2014 4:25 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Question Period, Justin Trudeau points out that effective Parliamentary and civilian oversight of security ops is crucial. He says effective oversight of Security operations is NOT ONLY about ensuring Canadian values and freedoms are safeguarded; it is also about ensuring our security agencies are doing everything possible to keep Canadians safe.
    Oct 29, 2014 11:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Question Period, the government repeatedly declines to acknowledge that RCMP + CSIS are currently funded insufficiently. But RCMP Commissioner Paulsen says he had to shift 300 officers into National Security from organized crime and financial crime. And a CSIS rep said: "It would be foolhardy to say we have all the bases covered. We do what we can with the budget we have."
    Oct 28, 2014 11:43 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    The military funeral begins in Hamilton - All of Canada pays tribute - Rest-in-Peace Corporal Nathan Cirillo
    Oct 28, 2014 8:57 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Chief of Defense Staff, General Tom Lawson, just outside the Cathedral in Hamilton awaiting Cpl Cirillo's funeral cortege
    Oct 28, 2014 8:10 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Final journey for the late Corporal Nathan Cirillo this morning - thoughts and prayers with his son, family, comrades and friends.
    Oct 28, 2014 7:58 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Funeral procession lining up in Hamilton just now for today's final farewell to Corporal Nathan Cirillo.
    Oct 28, 2014 7:49 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    National War Memorial in Ottawa - the crowds keep coming, even late into the evening, the piles of flowers keep growing
    Oct 27, 2014 4:50 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Question Period, Liberals ask the Harper government to work conscientiously with all MPs in all Parties to get a true consensus on security measures. We also ask whether existing security laws are being utilized to maximum effect + whether budgets are adequate.
    Oct 27, 2014 11:48 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    It looks like quite a normal day on Parliament Hill this Monday - except for the flag on the Peace Tower at half-mast
    Oct 27, 2014 10:51 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    THE ASSAILANTS MUST NOT WIN! The horror that gripped Canadians last week was pretty much without precedent. In two apparently unconnected incidents - the first on Monday in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu (not far from Montreal) and the second on Wednesday at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa - two fine members of the Canadian Forces became victims of brutal, wanton, insane violence perpetrated here on Canadian soil by the most despicable of criminals. The attacker in Ottawa also invaded the Parliament Buildings and died in a hail of bullets in the iconic Centre Block near the door to the Parliamentary Library. The St. Jean assailant was killed in a roadside confrontation with Quebec police. Shock waves rippled across Canada. There was a huge outpouring of grief, respect and affection for Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo. And there is anger that these tragic and senseless events have marred our country. Canadians fully understand the need for security, and the need to adjust it appropriately to deal with changing threats. Canadians also treasure their values, their rights and freedoms and the rule of law in a welcoming, peaceful democracy - these are the qualities that set us apart from the perpetrators of last week's crimes. As lawmakers begin to craft the right responses, Justin Trudeau made two important points in the immediate aftermath of the mayhem: First, these attacks on our military and the most cherished symbols of our democracy were intended to embed fear in our lives, to cause us to think differently about our surroundings and fellow citizens - in short, to forget who we are and what Canada stands for. If we succumb to that fear, the bad guys win. Secondly, these killers were not larger-than-life giants or martyrs. They were criminals and weaklings. They deserve no credibility. And they certainly do not get to dictate our values, how we act as a nation, how we govern ourselves or how we treat each other. The truth in Mr. Trudeau's comments was reflected frequently last week in the spontaneous behaviour of Canadians. On the steps of the War Memorial, with Corporal Cirillo's killer only steps away, the general public and first responders selflessly rushed forward to try to save his life. Inside the Centre Block, police and security guards led by the intrepid Kevin Vickers, Sergeant-at-Arms, set aside any thought of their own personal safety to safeguard the public and Parliamentarians. The immediate statements of all political leaders were entirely non-partisan. There was a sense of cohesion and solidarity in their condolences to the fallen soldiers' families, their praise for the military, police and security officers, and their defence of Canadian freedoms and values. The House of Commons met on schedule the morning after the attack and the business of the country carried on. The Honour Guards quickly returned to the War Memorial, just as soon as it was cleared as a crime scene. And thousands of ordinary Canadians have turned out for days to pay their respects and defy the assailants. Muslim groups organized public events across the country to condemn the appalling violence. In response to the defacing of a mosque in Cold Lake, Alberta, the non-Muslim population turned out in force to help clean up the mess and build bridges of hope and community. As Corporal Cirillo's funeral cavalcade made its way from Ottawa to his native Hamilton, along Ontario's Highway of Heroes, thousands lined the route to say a final farewell and show Canadian resilience and courage. In all these ways - and in news reports, editorials, social media and phone-in commentaries - Canadians have been unequivocal in their profound respect for the two soldiers we lost last week, and equally strong and clear in refusing to give in to fear. This depth of feeling speaks well of our country. It reveals an engaged population alert to how governments will react to last week's trauma. We will not be intimidated into subverting our freedoms, distorting our values or diminishing our way of life.
    Oct 27, 2014 5:03 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    All the pies lined up at Holy Cross annual fowl supper in Regina!
    Oct 26, 2014 5:12 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Here is an informative opportunity to learn more from Bob Rae about the meaning of Treaties... http://www.uregina.ca/arts/public-lectures/bob-rae.html
    Oct 26, 2014 8:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Great food at Diwali Festivities last night in Regina, generously hosted by Gujarati Samaj.
    Oct 26, 2014 6:37 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Grape stomping vat is all ready at the Olive+Grape Festival in Regina, hosted by St Paul's Greek Orthodox Church
    Oct 25, 2014 5:59 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Just some of the goodies on sale at Regina's Selo Gardens today. Great crowd and wonderful things to buy.
    Oct 25, 2014 10:09 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Glad to support Regina's "First Steps Spinal Cord Wellness Centre" at 3rd annual Curling FunSpiel. A great cause!
    Oct 25, 2014 8:36 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Congratulations to Sean McEachern + Courtney Keith on their "Crowning Achievement" awards as University of Regina alumni
    Oct 23, 2014 10:00 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Great partnership between the University of Regina + George Reed Foundation for new Centre for Accessible Visual Communications
    Oct 23, 2014 9:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    All Canadians mourn Cpl Nathan Cirillo. Thoughts and prayers are with his little boy and with the family of the late Patrice Vincent.
    Oct 23, 2014 8:48 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers represents the best of the security services who swung into action in yesterday's crisis
    Oct 23, 2014 8:11 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A sombre, courageous hero, Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, is thanked and heralded in the House of Commons this morning
    Oct 23, 2014 7:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Statement on behalf of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau http://lpc.ca/9l-1
    Oct 22, 2014 1:22 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A shocking day without precedent on Parliament Hill - great admiration + gratitude for police, military + security forces. I have a public commitment in Regina today, so I'm en route to Saskatchewan this am. My staff are all safe and locked in. Thoughts and prayers are with the soldier shot at War Memorial, with all those who are still in danger, + those trying to protect.
    Oct 22, 2014 7:59 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In response to a question about selling off the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), HarperCons will not say how many potential buyers are in play. HarperCons refuse to say how many potential buyers for CWB are Canadian, how many are foreign or how many are farmers? HarperCons refuse to say how ALL farmers who paid for CWB assets will get value returned to them from selling CWB, or when.
    Oct 21, 2014 12:10 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MR. HARPER'S ECONOMIC VIEW IS TOO NARROW Last week, as world petroleum prices tumbled, triggering a slump in stock markets, a lower Canadian dollar and renewed warnings about government revenues, there was a clear policy message for the Harper government - your plans for the economy are too narrowly based, leaving Canada unnecessarily exposed to greater risks. Since taking power in 2006, Mr. Harper has had only two clear economic policy thrusts. First, his obsession with eviscerating the Government of Canada in every way he possibly can, regardless of the impact on important federal services. And second, his predominant reliance on the natural resources private sector for investment, growth and jobs. The weakness in such an approach is obvious. The markets for most Canadian natural resources are global. When those markets are booming, the benefits for Canada can be impressive. And thank goodness they have been, because without growth in basic resource industries in provinces like Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada might not have had any net economic growth at all over the past half-decade. But here's the rub - when resources hit a rough patch, Canada has too little to fall back on because our national economic base has become too limited. We don't have enough eggs in other baskets. We need to become more proficient at many more things than exporting raw resources alone. And even within the resources sector, the Harper government's narrow focus is counterproductive. In their near-mindless hacking and slashing of the federal role in relation to environmental integrity, for example, they have created a global reputation for Canada as an irresponsible environmental laggard. That negative image - deserved or not - is the biggest single impediment blocking US government approval for the Keystone-XL pipeline. If Mr. Harper had even a modicum of environmental credibility, this project could have been green-lit long ago. The lack of market access for Canadian energy products brought on by Mr. Harper's policy delinquency is costing producers billions of dollars in lost global prices. Beyond convincing our trading partners that Canada can be trusted once again on key global concerns like the environment, the federal government also urgently needs a growth agenda that includes, but extends far beyond, resource developments. The Harper government seems caught in a time warp, out-of-touch with the current realities and aspirations of typical middle-class Canadians and all those who are working so hard just to make it to the middle-class. It's just like 2008 all over again when Mr. Harper dismissed a looming recession as merely "a good buying opportunity" and prescribed five years of federal austerity as the solution. He was so, so wrong. And now, he is presiding over over the worst economic growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett in the 1930s, global growth is sputtering, Europe is in big trouble, even China is slowing, the energy sector is showing some vulnerability, new global security risks and health threats have emerged, and what's the Harper plan? The same mistaken scheme he tried in 2008! But Canadians have moved on. A clear majority feel neither this government nor the country are headed in the right direction. They want change, including an economic agenda for broad-based growth that doesn't leave out big regions of the country, sectors of the economy or portions of the population. The elements of such a growth agenda are becoming clearer. Transformative investments in public infrastructure are one cornerstone - the most cost-effective way to drive jobs and growth nationally, improve productivity and capture the value of low interest rates in long-term capital assets. Another key component is greater access to all forms of post-secondary education and higher skills. Another is science and innovation. Another is persistent global branding and marketing to build a consistent Canadian trade surplus. Policies like these would help to broaden and deepen the economy nationally and in all of Canada's regions. They will get lip service from the Harper government, but little substantive action. His focus will remain narrow. And the winds of political change will continue to grow stronger.
    Oct 20, 2014 5:14 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Part of the meal, part of the crowd at Regina's St Paul's Ang Cathedral, ready for annual Fall Supper in new hall
    Oct 18, 2014 4:03 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Today is 85th anniversary of "Persons Day" - when Supreme Court of Canada made its landmark decision in 1929 on women's rights http://lpc.ca/9lu7
    Oct 18, 2014 10:34 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Tis the season for craft sales - this one on a great fall weekend at St Martin's RC Parish in Regina's Whitmore Pk
    Oct 18, 2014 9:59 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Regina Farmers Market carries on through the fall at the Wa-Wa Shrine building on Hamilton Street, both inside and out.
    Oct 18, 2014 9:09 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Last night at the University of Regina Education Auditorium there was a full house to hear the remarkable Joseph Boyden, a great author with a powerful message.
    Oct 17, 2014 5:53 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    CBC-Regina celebrates the richness of Canada's multiculturalism - great evening following Citizenship Ceremony this afternoon
    Oct 16, 2014 8:55 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Citizenship Judge O'Malley, CBC's Sheila Coles + 60 new Canadian citizens about to be sworn in at CBC Regina. Congratulations!
    Oct 16, 2014 12:52 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    TV personality JC Garden opening Regina Humane Society Gala - celebrating "50 Years of Lifesaving"!
    Oct 15, 2014 10:44 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Great visit at Luther College High School, Regina - 100th anniversary, new facilities, presented big Cdn Flag from Peace Tower
    Oct 15, 2014 10:08 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Congratulations to CTV's Craig Oliver - joining the Canadian news Hall of Fame!
    Oct 14, 2014 9:33 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Big thanks to Dr Roberta McKay + Elmer Brenner for their annual sponsorship of the Mayor's Arts + Business Awards in Regina
    Oct 14, 2014 12:35 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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