Whitecaps trade Reo-Coker for Chivas USA's Rosales

August 21 2014 09:02PM

The Vancouver Whitecaps traded Nigel Reo-Coker to Chivas USA for fellow midfielder Mauro Rosales on Thursday.

Group of B.C. addicts to receive heroin by Christmas, lawyer says

August 21 2014 06:41PM

A group of Vancouver drug addicts is slated to become Canada’s first recipients of legally prescribed heroin by Christmas.

As many as 202 patients should receive the laboratory-manufactured heroin from Europe by the end of the year, their lawyer said Thursday.

“I think there’s a sense of relief,” said Adrienne Smith, the health and drug policy lawyer with the Pivot Legal Society that represented five heroin addicts from Vancouver’s downtown East Side.

“I think there’s still lots of work to be done for other people in Canada who required medication and who have been barred because of (federal) ministry of health interference.”

The patients won the right to receive lab-produced diacetylmorphine (heroin) after B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson granted an injunction in May exempting them from new federal regulations.

Since then, there have been bureaucratic hurdles to clear to achieve the necessary permissions.

There’s also the process of ordering the heroin that’s produced in Europe through a Canadian distributor. Smith said it’s expected to take almost two months to finally ship the heroin from Europe, meaning it will be in Canada in late December.

The patients went to court after Minister of Health Rona Ambrose moved last October to close what she called a “loophole” that allowed physicians to prescribe products containing heroin, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Sean Upton said the government will not appeal the injunction but will continue to vigorously defend the regulations in court.

A spokesperson for Ambrose said the government does not support giving heroin to patients struggling with addiction.

“We are very disappointed with the court’s decision, and will always choose to help those struggling with addiction through recovery, not maintain their dangerous and life-threatening addiction,” said Michael Bolkenius.

The new federal regulations barred physicians from prescribing laboratory-manufactured heroin to patients who haven’t had success with other treatments, including methadone.

The constitutional challenge was mounted by the Providence Health Care Society and five patients who argued that their health improved while they were in a government-funded study called the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME).

Smith represents the patients but not the Providence Health Care Society.

Hinkson’s ruling has narrow scope, meaning the lab-produced heroin will be available only for the 202 former patients with severe opiate addictions who participated in the SALOME study.

Before they can receive the heroin this winter, they must prove they still medically require it, Smith said.

The patients who mounted the court challenge have a proven record of failing to respond to other therapies, such as methadone treatments.

They’re also supported by requests from their physicians.

One doctor in an affidavit associated opioid use disorder with “compulsive drug-seeking behaviour, infectious diseases and related risk behaviors, such as sharing syringes, sex-trade involvement, fatal overdose and drug acquisition crime.

“Through their high consumption of illicit drugs, heroin-addicted individuals also contribute to the highly profitable and often violent illegal drug market which is believed to be largely controlled by organized crime groups.”

Tom Mulcair soldiers on without babies or photogenic poses: Tim Harper

August 21 2014 03:19PM

Tom Mulcair appears set to go the entire summer without balancing a single baby in his hand.

In fact, so ill-suited is he to assume the top office in the land, he doesn’t even have a baby.

He doesn’t have the famous family name, he is not on the cover of a national newsmagazine. He doesn’t strike photogenic poses and no one propels him to the top of the nightly newscast by breaking into his home.

When the leader of the official Opposition pops up in the news, it is largely defending himself against findings that the party inappropriately spent tax money on satellite offices or explaining away his latest caucus defection.

The sense of frustration in the party is palpable and no longer being sugar-coated.

Mulcair is battling Justin Trudeau’s political style and it is no secret that many in NDP ranks feel the Canadian media is stuck on the superficiality of Trudeau over the substance of Mulcair.

They are right, of course, in one respect.

In English Canada, studies have shown mentions of Trudeau far eclipse references to Mulcair, but New Democrats also acknowledge Trudeau drives media traffic.

They also know that they need more photos of their leader taking the ALS ice bucket challenge (which he did Thursday even if he was still wearing a suit) and fewer photos of Mulcair sitting in a boardroom with NDP MP Nathan Cullen holding a phone press conference.

Mulcair, in mocking Trudeau’s celebrity on the Télé-Québec show, Deux Hommes en or,last winter compared himself to a National Geographic cover campaigning against a People magazine cover.

The show displays a more personable side of the NDP leader that is rarely on display in English Canada, where he is trapped in a caricature — to the extent he has any profile at all — as the earnest, deeply solemn prosecutor-in-chief.

NDP strategists are watching the leader of the third party boldly predict a majority government while polls are beginning to settle into the traditional pre-2011 Liberal vs. Conservative landscape.

The NDP may still be in a stronger pre-election standing than at any time in their history, but that claim rings hollow when the party forms the official Opposition.

But there will be no radical change in Mulcair heading into the crucial fall session when Canada essentially enters a long election period.

He will not shave his beard, strike a yoga pose for the cameras or wade into crowds demanding selfies, because it would appear — and certainly would be — contrived.

Mulcair will make himself more available for interviews, particularly on television and radio, but the party desperately needs a return of the Commons where he routinely outperforms the oft-absent Trudeau

The party is also preparing to roll out major policy planks on national daycare and the treatment of veterans, if not by their summer caucus in Edmonton early next month, then shortly after the return of the Commons.

And they will continue to portray Trudeau as an empty suit, something they believe will be fully revealed when the election writ is dropped in 2015.

The question that must cause the party the night yips is whether that will be too late

Trudeau is demonstrating daily that style can go a long way in building support in 2014, particularly after eight years of Stephen Harper, another earnest politician who is a charisma-free zone.

Sometimes, however, a lack of profile can be helpful and this week’s resignation of MP Sana Hassainia received scant national attention.

She claimed she left the caucus because of Mulcair’s pro-Israel policy and the party countered it was dealing with an MP who had chosen not to run again anyway, who didn’t show up for work, who almost immediately complained about an MP’s workload and was offered the leader’s office to breast feed after giving birth twice while in office.

But her departure could presage a looming problem for Mulcair.

This will be the first time the party has campaigned to win power and the inevitable move to the middle will almost certainly cause difficulty with party purists who will resist being dragged there.

That is a potential challenge as large as piercing the Trudeau fascination.

Right now, the party says it is status quo. It will not be distracted by the Liberal leader.

In essence, it is using the Wizard of Oz strategy: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.’’

Mulcair’s challenge will to keep his team focused on the job at hand, not the menacing Wizard.

Tim Harper is a national affairs writer. His column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. tharper@thestar.ca Twitter:@nutgraf1

UK project brings us a step closer to ultra high-speed air travel - along with simpler satellite deployment

August 21 2014 09:37AM

Picture this:

You board an aircraft in Toronto or Vancouver. It's got weird-looking engines and much smaller wings than you'd expect. There are no windows. You step off a few hours later - in Australia.

The thrust of this story, and of that aircraft, is a completely new type of engine being developed by a firm called Reaction Engines in the UK. Such engines, on the right fuselage, would be capable of carrying passengers at five times the speed of sound. A derivative of those engines, operating in a different mode, could carry a vehicle - and satellite - into low earth orbit.

This is science, not fiction. And at the recent Farnborough International Airshow, one of the largest aerospace trade gatherings in the world, Reaction Engines was getting a lot of attention.

"These engines are a step change in propulsion technology," said managing director and chief engineer Alan Bond, in an interview with The Star. "So at a stroke, they make Mach 5 transport anywhere on the earth, for example, a possibility."

But how?

Reaction Engines is exploring a couple of different types of engines - one for hypersonic passenger flights and another for satellite delivery. But they both share a common feature: they have a sophisticated pre-cooler that can take very hot air and nearly instantaneously make it very cold.

"When you're flying at Mach 5, the air's going to get very hot...it's going up to 1000 degrees centigrade," explained Bond, who is a rocket scientist. "Before you can put that into an engine you have to cool it. Liquid hydrogen is an extremely good coolant, so we use that in a complex way to cool the air, then compress it to put it into the engines."

Bond says that in a nuclear power station, for example, a heat exchanger with similar capacity would be a 200-ton component. In the SABRE engine it's a 1.5 ton component - which is a breakthrough. It's all pretty heady stuff, but Bond does a great job of explaining the basics in this video - which also gives you a look at their testing.

Before you get too excited about all this and postpone any upcoming trans-global flights, it's worth noting that Reaction Engines is focussing most of its current energy on the development of an engine capable of flying into space. Its proposed Skylon craft would carry payloads of up to 15 tons into low-earth orbit, meaning it could carry pretty much anything that is currently transported to space. It would use that pre-cooler, but would also have rockets for part of the flight. Unlike the old Space Shuttle, it would have a runway takeoff and carry all of its fuel - rather than carrying up and jettisoning an external tank.

Reaction Engines will likely get that up and running before turning its attention to your next trip.

"This is the only engine that we know of which is capable of realizing an aeroplane which can take off, fly into space, do a job, and come back and land. Then, a couple of days later do it all over again to a different orbit or whatever," says Bond. "So that's the excitement of it."

The other excitement is this: Reaction Engines has been around since 1989, and has been actively building and testing. That radically efficient pre-cooler device took about 10 years of research to develop and they now know it works. So this is not one of those projects that exist solely in imagination and computer graphics. Design of the actual SABRE engine is underway and Reaction Engines is expanding.

And so, too, are the possibilites.

Canucks renew affiliate deal with Kalamazoo

August 20 2014 02:39PM

Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks President Trevor Linden announced today that the Canucks have renewed their ECHL affiliate deal with the Kalamazoo Wings.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Kalamazoo Wings...

Canucks say Bertuzzi deal with Moore reached

August 20 2014 01:01PM

Canucks say Bertuzzi deal with Moore reached

Tiny town of Bradian, B.C., could be yours for less than $1M

August 20 2014 12:45PM

There’s no need to put up “For Sale” signs in front of houses in Bradian, B.C.

Only four people live in the mountain community and they’re the ones selling all 22 houses there.

If you decide to buy the town, you might also want to invest in some paint, since what’s there now began peeling decades ago.

You also would be wise to bring a shovel, as the plumbing is suspect at best.

While the 20-hectare town is short on conveniences, real estate agent John Lovelace notes that the scenery of the interior mainland is hard to top.

“It’s beautiful,” Lovelace says. “It rivals Banff really. Every time you turn a corner, it’s unbelievable.”

The town and all its houses can be yours for $995,000.

In B.C. terms, that’s not so bad, Lovelace says. He has a fly-in log mansion listed for 20 times as much and notes he can get a lineup of hopeful buyers for a $700,000 two-bedroom condo in Richmond.

Bradian certainly has its charms for those who value privacy. For more than a quarter century, it was a ghost town after the local gold mine shut down. It was revived in 1997, when it was bought by a young Vancouver couple who worked for Air Canada.

Since then, Bradian has been a summer home and labour of love for the couple and their son and daughter.

Lovelace markets Bradian as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, noting it’s “just 4 hours from Vancouver over the scenic Hurley Pass” and that it has phone service and electricity, conveniences lacking in your average ghost town.

There’s also a road and “access through the property to both sides of Cadwallader & Blackbird Creeks.”

He suggests it might be just the place for snowmobiling aficionados, since there’s no shortage of snow throughout the winter.

“In fact it is said this is one of the best snowmobiling areas in B.C. and the town would be a great resource for a snowmobiling operation,” Lovelace suggests.

You won’t be totally alone if you decide to buy up the town. Aside from the local grizzly and black bear population, bobcats, mountain goats and deer, there’s also the neighbouring community of Bralorne (known to locals as “The Lorne”), which boasts a population of 60 residents, 29 dogs, a pub and a coffee shop.

For a time, Bradian was considered Bralorne’s suburb and this could happen again if modern technology helps get the Bralorne gold mine up and running again, Lovelace says.

If you do decide to buy up Bradian, you would be wise to invest in a reliable four-wheel-drive vehicle. It’s a two-hour drive by forestry road to Whistler in summer months, but that time doubles in the winter, when you’ll have to wind through the relative metropolis of Lillooet (population 2,324).

Lovelace says the family which owns Bradian has been willing to part with it for the past few years.

He has had between 30 and 50 inquiries, but they tend to soften when people hear of the suspect plumbing and travel challenges.

“I don’t understand how it hasn’t sold,” Lovelace says. “It’s a long-term investment.”

Times changed for two pre-season games

August 20 2014 11:30AM

Vancouver, B.C. – Canucks Sports & Entertainment announced time changes today to two pre-season games.

The September 23 game against San Jose in Vancouver at Rogers Arena will now begin at 6:00pm. The September 29 game against Arizona will now ...

Steve Moore says no deal with Todd Bertuzzi; brother questions motivations (Puck Daddy)

August 20 2014 11:27AM

To recap the last day in Steve Moore v. Todd Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks … It was reported on Tuesday that the sides were close to a settlement before their Sept. 8 civil trial. Then, huzzah, the two sides agreed to a deal, according to Bertuzzi’s attorney. Wait … actually, Bertuzzi’s attorney said that he received a “disconcerting email” 10 minutes after the news went public that made him wonder if the deal was on. No, check it, everything’s cool, and the deal is done. Except it totally isn’t, according to Steve Moore’s brother.   Annnnnnd exhale. Mark Moore told Rick Westhead of TSN that he received a text message from his brother on Tuesday night saying there’s no deal with Bertuzzi or the Canucks. "Because of the injury he has trouble making decisions and so he doesn't know how to handle the media,” Mark Moore told TSN. So why did Bertuzzi’s reps blindside Moore with this settlement news? According to Mark Moore, he suspects they’re attempting to expedite things for the benefit of Bertuzzi’s free-agent chances for the 2014-15 season. Despite, you know, not exactly being in high demand.  "Bertuzzi is a free agent and he wants to sign a contract," Mark Moore told TSN. "They are trying to put on pressure. You see the Canucks have not made a statement." That, they haven’t. But Bertuzzi’s lawyer has, and he said the deal is done. Huh … a lawyer stretching the truth. First time for everything. Here’s our story from this morning on the settlement that almost was, could be or actually is.        

NHL player Bertuzzi settles suit with Moore (AFP)

August 20 2014 12:05AM

Steve Moore, whose career ended when he suffered a serious concussion in a hockey altercation, has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against his attacker, media reports said. The lawsuit against NHL player Todd Bertuzzi has been settled but isn't yet official because there are still papers to be signed, Canadian sports broadcaster TSN.ca reported Tuesday. Moore suffered a concussion and three fractured vertebrae during a March 8, 2004, game in Vancouver. Bertuzzi, who was playing for the Vancouver Canucks at the time, skated after and grabbed the Colorado Avalanche forward, punching him from behind and then driving him head-first to the ice.

Jordan Subban scores alley-oop on brother Malcolm

August 19 2014 07:29PM

Jordan Subban was asked to do something unique in the practice-ending shootout Tuesday.

Did he ever.

The Vancouver Canucks defenseman prospect scored an alley-oop goal against his brother Malcolm Subban, a Boston Bruins goalie prospect, at t...

More lenient marijuana laws still on the table, justice minister says

August 19 2014 03:43PM

VANCOUVER—The federal government is still assessing whether to allow police to ticket people caught with small amounts of marijuana instead of pursuing charges, says Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

But if the government were to introduce looser pot laws, it would have to happen sooner rather than later, MacKay said Tuesday ahead of a meeting with law enforcement experts in Vancouver.

Any legislation would have to happen within the next six months, the minister said.

“With some eight justice bills right now in the House or in the queue to come before Parliament, we’re running out of runway as far as bringing legislation forward,” he said. “But that’s one that I do view as important, so if we are going to introduce it, it would have to happen within the next six months.”

MacKay said he has been speaking with police and his staff have been looking at other jurisdictions, including in the U.S., to see whether ticketing for pot possession is an effective option.

Canada’s police chiefs have long called for such a move. Last year, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said that under current laws, the only enforcement option that officers have when confronted with simple possession of pot is either to turn a blind eye or pursue charges, which often results in a lengthy court process.

MacKay has already said the government was taking that into consideration.

But he stressed again Tuesday that the government remains opposed to decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana.

“We believe the harmful effects on the development of health and welfare of children in particular warrants holding the line and looking for ways in which we can assist the police in their ability to protect communities and their ability, in this instance, to make marijuana less readily available,” MacKay said.

“I don’t believe that the position of others to normalize marijuana, to make it more available to young people, is the direction you will ever see coming from our government.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau supports legalization, and the Opposition NDP supports decriminalization, which means the sale of marijuana isn’t fully legalized, but consumers aren’t criminally prosecuted.

“The Conservatives are taking a very 1950s approach ... to convince themselves about the problem,” New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair said during a visit to Vancouver on Tuesday.

“I think adults are capable of making their own choices on these things, and all the details that are considerable will have to be looked at as well, but there is something that a government can do the day after it’s elected, (which) is make sure no one is ever charged again for use or possession of marijuana for personal purposes.”

Currently, anyone convicted of possessing under 30 grams of pot can face fines of up to $1,000 or as much as six months in jail, while convictions for larger amounts can carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Settlement reached in Moore-Bertuzzi lawsuit

August 19 2014 10:42AM

A settlement has been reached in Steve Moore's lawsuit against former Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi for his career-ending hit during an NHL game 10 years ago.

CFKF raises $3.36 million in grants

August 19 2014 10:10AM

Vancouver, BC – Canucks for Kids Fund President Paolo Aquilini is pleased to announce that $3.36 million has been raised and granted to children and families in BC thanks largely to the generous support of Canucks fans across the province througho...

NHL: Steve Moore reaches out-of-court settlement with Todd Bertuzzi in long-running lawsuit

August 19 2014 08:56AM

Former Colorado Avalanche Steve Moore has settled a lawsuit with ex-Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi over an on-ice attack that ended Moore’s NHL career.

The amount of the out-of-court settlement wasn’t disclosed, but during a hearing in Ontario Superior Court earlier this summer, Moore’s lawyers said they were seeking $68 million in damages from the Canucks and Bertuzzi.

A lawyer for Bertuzzi confirmed the settlement to The Canadian Press but says the terms are confidential.

During a March 8, 2004, game between the Canucks and Avalanche, Bertuzzi, then playing for the Canucks, struck Moore from behind. He punched Moore in the side of the head, then driving his head into the ice. After lying in a pool of blood for several minutes, Moore was removed on a stretcher. Bertuzzi later pleaded guilty to a charge of assault.

Moore, now 35, never played another game.

Retribution was a key theme in Moore’s suit. During a game before he was attacked by Bertuzzi, Moore delivered a questionable hit on then-Canucks captain Markus Naslund. Bertuzzi called Moore a punk and said he was pleased the teams still had two games remaining during that season.

The civil trial was scheduled to begin Sept. 8