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‘Why does he hate newspapers?’ Free Press publisher asks after Pallister slams subsidy





The publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press is questioning why Manitoba premier Brian Pallister is sounding off against a funding package to help Canada’s struggling news media sector.

Without being prompted, Pallister told reporters Friday he was worried the independence of journalists would be compromised if a part of their paycheque is covered by Ottawa’s coffers.

In response, Bob Cox said he was puzzled by Pallister’s remarks.

“Everything this government has done has reduced support for newspapers,” he said.

‘Why does he hate newspapers?’

“They eliminated payment for recycling of newspapers, reduced government advertising in newspapers and they’ve passed legislation that would eliminate mandatory advertising in newspapers, so-called legal notices,” said Cox, the latter referring to a section of government legislation the province has so far decided against proclaiming.

“Why does he hate newspapers? I mean, that’s what I would question. He’s constantly questioning any kind of public support for newspapers and I have to ask why.”

Earlier this week, the federal government announced a $595-million package over five years to help non-profit and for-profit news organizations.

It’s expected most of the expense will be for a new tax credit for organizations to support the labour costs of producing original news.

The goal is for the program to be funded by the government but have no role for politicians to decide what constitutes a media outlet or who would be eligible. The full details won’t be available until the next federal budget, after the government receives advice from an independent panel from the journalism community. 2:12

Another temporary tax credit will be created for subscribers to digital news websites.

Plus, the government will allow non-profit media organizations to apply for charitable status, enabling them to seek donations for which they could issue tax receipts. 

Pallister said he wasn’t criticizing the Liberal government’s plan or the news media, but said the idea should prompt reflection about long-term dangers.

Lacking authority to criticize

“How easy will it be for the media to criticize anybody else or any other group that is in receipt of federal funding in years ahead?” Pallister said.

“It would seem that there would be a crisis of principle at that point in time and I think there might be a natural reluctance to criticize the hand that is feeding one’s organization.”

He argued journalists may feel a “sense of obligation or a perceived sense” of duty to the government that funds them. 

It might harm the trust that news organizations strive for, Pallister said.

“It may erode the very thing that you treasure, and I think that your readers and viewers treasure.”

Feds have history of supporting media

Cox, who serves as chair of the board of News Media Canada, said federal governments have long assisted a wide range of media organizations, such as the CBC, magazines, community newspapers and Indigenous publications.

“That money doesn’t influence coverage so why would any new money to journalism influence coverage?” he said.

Cox supports the creation of an independent body to define journalism standards and determine eligibility for the tax benefits.

It’s not outside the norm of what governments already do, he said.

“They give out money to various groups of various purposes and it does it at an arm’s length,” Cox said. “The Canada Council gives out arts grants based on the merits of applications. The government doesn’t decide who gets an arts grant, but it funds arts.”

Cox is hopeful the federal funding would cover around 10 per cent of his newsroom budget.

He expects the grant, at the least, to preserve current staffing levels, though he’s optimistic the funding will help the Free Press expand coverage.  

There may obviously be exceptions to that rule, but far and wide I believe in the freedom of the press.– NDP leader Wab Kinew

When asked if current federal funding undermines CBC’s objectivity, Pallister said other news organizations will begin to be cast in the same light.

“You’re all, quite frankly, going to take on the appearance of the CBC to some degree with respect to their subsidization.”

In a statement, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said the broadcaster is encouraged by Ottawa’s measures to address the economic challenges affecting all media and the government’s commitment to assist the sector while safeguarding journalistic independence.

NDP leader Wab Kinew doesn’t think the objectivity of journalists is at risk.

“Journalists, in my experience, are governed by official codes of conduct but, more often than not, personal and moral codes of conduct to be free and unbiased in their reporting,” he said. “There may obviously be exceptions to that rule, but far and wide I believe in the freedom of the press.”


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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