Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil drops writ for May 30 election

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotians will go to the polls May 30 as Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government seeks its second mandate following a term in office largely marked by frugal spending and public sector labour strife.McNeil kicked off the campaign Sunday with a rally at a Lebanese cultural centre in the heart of a key Halifax riding, shortly after meeting with Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant at Government House.In a speech before a packed room of enthusiastic supporters and party workers, McNeil acknowledged his government had made some unpopular decisions since being elected in 2013.“We had to make tough choices, choices that weren’t always popular,” said McNeil. “I believe you either shape change or change shapes you. We had to shape our own change.”At dissolution the Liberals held 34 seats in the 51-seat legislature, the Progressive Conservatives had 10 and the NDP 5. There was one Independent and one seat was vacant.The election follows nearly two months of election-style spending announcements by the Liberals, and a budget tabled Thursday offering a broad, though modest tax cut to about 500,000 low and middle income Nova Scotians.It was the second consecutive balanced budget for the Liberals. The government has exercised strict wage restraint for public sector unions, including nurses and teachers, while making a series of cuts to programs affecting areas such as seniors’ long-term care and initiatives run by public service organizations.“Thanks to our choices the province is in better shape than it was three and a half years ago,” McNeil told the crowd.He also took shots at his campaign opponents, accusing the Tories of being “negative about the province’s future” and saying the NDP were ready to “write a blank cheque to big labour.”The government’s budget died with the election call, leaving McNeil to explain to reporters why it wasn’t voted on in the legislature before the writ was dropped. He said it’s a matter of letting the public decide.“I’m not presumptuous enough to believe that all of them (the public) agree with my vision,” McNeil said. “So let me present my vision to them, we will let the other two parties present their vision, and then Nova Scotians will decide.”McNeil also made no apologies for his government or its policies.“There will be some who obviously in the last three-and-a-half years have not been happy with us, he said. “I am not running from the record.”Tory Leader Jamie Baillie pitched himself Sunday as a sunny alternative to four years of Liberal austerity, which he said has hurt Nova Scotia’s rural communities, allowed infrastructure to crumble and sent doctors and young people away from the province in “droves.”“(Nova Scotians) will have to decide if they want to invest and jobs and in their communities, or if they want more McNeil cuts,” said Baillie, surrounded by Tory candidates. “Only the Progressive Conservative party has the plan to allow Nova Scotians to stand proudly on their own two feet once again.”Baillie said the premier’s heavy hand in dealing with public sector unions has resonated through the province, and said if elected, he would push for a “middle way” that would keep wages at roughly current levels but increase investment in public services.Baillie’s speech was replete with promises of prosperity, but when pressed for specifics, the Tory leader often pivoted back to attacking McNeil.Baillie has been sounding confident that his party, which hasn’t won an election since 2006, is poised for an electoral breakthrough. That’s critical for Baillie, who is leading the party through his second campaign — and may not get a third opportunity if expectations aren’t realized.Baillie has painted the provincial race as a referendum on McNeil. He said the Tories will release a party platform “very soon.”NDP Leader Gary Burrill told dozens of supporters at a west-end cafe Sunday that an NDP government would prioritize “investments in our people” over a balanced budget to tackle issues like hunger, access to education and hospital overcrowding.“All the evidence is that the McNeil Liberals are not the objects of anyone’s affection in Nova Scotia at the moment,” Burrill told reporters. “I think that the door has opened to any possibility now with the announcement of the election and we’ll see what happens in the next month.”Burrill said he’s putting “every ounce of energy” into his own race in the Halifax-Chebucto riding, having won his party’s leadership race last year without a seat in the provincial legislature.He aims to revive the fortunes of a party that had a dramatic fall from grace in 2013, when it was swept from government by the Liberals.The election call comes after spring polling that indicated the Liberals had fallen in popularity, although they were still in majority territory as of March, according to Cape Breton University professor David Johnson.Decided voter support for the Liberal party dropped from 56 per cent to 44 per cent, according to a survey of 1,210 adults conducted by Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates Inc. The Progressive Conservatives stood at 28 per cent, up eight points, and the New Democrats were at 23 per cent, up from 19 per cent, while five per cent supported the Green Party.“They are pretty much back to where they were in 2013,” Johnson said in an interview last month. “Forty-four per cent will win them a strong, healthy majority government if that number hold up during the election campaign.”Johnson said the key would be holding onto ridings in metro Halifax.“The Liberals dominate metro (currently) and whomever dominates metro, that’s the pathway into a majority government,” he said.— With files from Adina Bresge and Kieran Leavittlast_img read more

From Gander to Broadway The journey of Canadian hit musical Come From

first_imgOAKVILLE, Ont. – As a theatre producer in Toronto, Michael Rubinoff was always on the lookout for stories that would translate into musicals. He found unexpected inspiration in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.The remote East Coast town of Gander, N.L., saw its population double in size as it provided refuge to 6,579 passengers and crew members from 38 planes after U.S. airspace was closed. Reports about the hospitality shown by the people in Gander and surrounding communities immediately struck a chord.“Every time I saw one of these stories, I just got very emotional. I felt so proud to consider myself a Canadian alongside these incredible Newfoundlanders,” Rubinoff recalled.“As I learned more about the stories out there, (in) Newfoundland the way they tell stories are through music. Music is so much a part of their DNA and who they are. I really believed there was a compelling story and a compelling reason to musical-ize it.”Rubinoff’s idea would eventually lead to the unlikely success story “Come From Away,” the feel-good musical that’s up for seven Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical.But finding the writers to tell the story was a challenge.“I went to a number of people who didn’t share my enthusiasm, I think because of the subject matter and the backdrop of that day, people didn’t see how this was possible. I’m so grateful my paths crossed with David Hein and Irene Sankoff.”Rubinoff was sold on the husband-and-wife duo after seeing their acclaimed show “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding,” based on real-life events in Hein’s life.“I remember within 10 minutes turning to the person I came with … and said: ‘This is incredible.’ I was so impressed by the authenticity of telling a true story.”Rubinoff sent a Facebook message to the couple and met them for dinner a few weeks later, where he told them about wanting to find someone to write the musical about the events in Gander. They were on-board.Rubinoff was in the midst of taking up his role as associate dean of visual and performing arts at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont., which would ultimately serve as a key stop in the musical’s storybook journey from Newfoundland and Labrador to Broadway.One of Rubinoff’s strategic objectives at the school was to launch the Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP) and he committed to Sankoff and Hein that the Gander musical would be among the first shows Sheridan would produce.Rubinoff also wrote a letter in support of a Canada Council grant to get the couple to Gander for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, where they got to experience the warm welcome Newfoundlanders had extended to the stranded passengers and crew in 2001.“We would check in every couple of days and they would say, ‘Oh, we just moved out the hotel —someone gave us their house and said take care of the cats,’” he recalled.“They were being the recipients of this outpouring of kindness and they came back with stacks and stacks and stacks of interviews and materials and stories, and set about this challenge of how to tell 9,000 stories of the locals and 7,000 stories of the people that showed up on 38 planes.”The working title of the show was originally “Gander,” but after Sankoff and Hein returned from their time there they felt the moniker wasn’t the right fit.“They didn’t want to call it ‘Gander’ because there were a number of communities involved. Lewisporte, Appleton, Norris Arm, Gambo, Glenwood, they all played a very significant role,” Rubinoff said.“They were exposed to the term ‘come from away’ (about out-of-towners) and how the plane people were called ‘come from aways.’”The name stuck.In the spring of 2012, Rubinoff paired the duo with a cast of Sheridan students and brought in a director and musical director. The goal was to produce 45 minutes of the show in five weeks.“I usually like to come in at the rehearsal at the end of the first week … and I’ll never forget hearing the opening number ‘Welcome to the Rock’ and that refrain: ‘I’m an islander, I’m an islander,’ and (thinking) ‘Wow! This is grabbing my heart in the same way the story did initially.’”Rubinoff decided to house the initial performances of the show in the rehearsal hall to lower expectations for the fledgling musical.“I think on the first night, I put out 35 chairs. On the second night, 45. And then 60. And on the next night, 75 — and we could not fit any more people in this room,” he recalled.“People were just grabbed by what they had created. The emotional heart, the structure of the show was beginning to be built, and it was really, really compelling.”Sheridan graduate Adrian Zeyl was cast in several roles including the story’s bartender, rabbi, and Doug, the air traffic controller.Although it’s now a 100-minute show with no intermission, Zeyl recalled the emotional wallop delivered at the end of Act 1 during the musical’s early days.“We had no idea what we were getting into; we just knew the title of the show, basically, and we all left just crying at the end of just the first act,” Zeyl recalled. “I remember speaking to the writers and just gushing about it and (saying) ‘Just please, please, please continue what you’re doing…. We knew it was going somewhere. I don’t think anyone (could) say, ‘This will have seven Tony nominations.’ Obviously, it was beautiful work.”Rubinoff encouraged Sankoff and Hein to keep working on “Come From Away,” which was programmed as a developmental production at Sheridan in early 2013.The show was then submitted for consideration to the Festival of New Musicals, organized by the New York-based National Alliance for Musical Theatre. It was the same festival where Canadian musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” also found its commercial producers. “The Drowsy Chaperone” went on to pick up 13 Tony nominations, including a nod for best musical, and won five awards including best book of a musical and best original score.“Come From Away” was among eight shows that made the cut. In October 2013, a 45-minute showcase was staged for an invite-only crowd of producers, regional theatres and academic institutions that create new musicals.“People just reacted so emotionally,” said Rubinoff. “I think there were people who felt ‘I don’t know what this is, I don’t know if I want to see this, I don’t know if I’m ready to see this’ — and there was again just an outpouring of gratitude.”Sankoff and Hein opted to partner with Tony-winning Junkyard Dog Productions as lead producers on “Come From Away.” Their behind-the-scenes team — including Tony-nominated director Christopher Ashley — began to take shape.The musical would eventually be staged in La Jolla, Calif., Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Toronto before its current award-winning run on Broadway. But Rubinoff still sees a slice of Sheridan on whichever stage “Come From Away” is playing.“When I do see the show, I do think of our students, I do think of those moments, the creation, the genesis. It’s really beautiful to see that.”— Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misstated the number of airline passengers and crew members who were diverted to Gander, N.L.last_img read more

Large gathering for Tragically Hip singalong tribute to Gord Downie in Toronto

first_imgTORONTO – Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman wanted to pay tribute to Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie after learning of his death last week.And so the directors of Choir! Choir! Choir!, a Toronto-based singalong collective, invited fans to Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday night to honour Downie the best way they could — through his music.“When we lose some of the great ones, if we can provide a space where people can come together and share the music and feel connected in a difficult time, then we’ll do it,” Adilman said. “It just felt like the right thing to do and I feel like these tributes are happening all over the country and big or small, they all matter.”Downie died last Tuesday at age 53. Nearly two years ago, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an invasive brain tumour with one of the poorest survival rates of any cancer.More than a thousand people gathered to sing about a dozen songs from the Hip as their tribute to the legendary Canadian band.People braved the brisk, windy, 10 C weather to belt out songs such as “Wheat Kings,” “Bobcaygeon” and “Courage.” Downie’s “The Stranger,” off his solo album “Secret Path,” was also played.People arrived clad in stylish suit jackets and hats similar to the ones Downie wore on the Hip’s “Man Machine Poem” tour in 2016. There were also fans sporting hockey jerseys bearing the Hip’s name.Parents put kids on their shoulders so they could get a better view, while others lit candles in honour of the late musician.Downie’s older brother, Mike, made an appearance on stage near the end of the set to thank those in attendance, which was met with a rousing applause from the crowd.“I have to say that over the last week, the outpouring of emotion, grief and love has been overwhelming,” Mike said. “And my family and I have felt it and it’s made things easier and it’s made things harder.“Made it easier because you showed how much you loved our brother and harder because we realized how many people were hurting and how many people were really affected by this.”Mike Downie also took the opportunity to talk about the “Secret Path” project, on which he collaborated with his brother. Choir! Choir! Choir! had asked that those in attendance to make a minimum donation of $5 to the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.Mike said that “it’s up to all of us” to help the reconciliation efforts.“I don’t think the government can fix it, I don’t think there’s a program big enough to fix it, I think it’s going to take everybody doing their part,” he said.“We think we’re a young country, but we’re not. We think we’re 150 years old, but we’re not. If we tried a little harder, if we brought in the Indigenous people that have been here for 12,000 years, we could be something so much different. And we would be better for it and I think we would be the envy of the world.”Choir! Choir! Choir! capped off the show with some audience members onstage to sing “Ahead by a Century.”“Gord Downie has meant so much to this country, he’s given so much and we just wanted to celebrate him and his music,” Adilman said.—Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitterlast_img read more

New Brunswick couple identified as pair found dead in Rocky Mountains

first_imgLAKE LOUISE, Alta. – A couple from Saint John, N.B., have been identified as the two people found dead this week in the Rocky Mountains — police say the woman was murdered while the man’s death is not considered criminal.Cindy McCormick was a dentist who had a practice in the province for more than 15 years.“Dr. McCormick was full of life, and very engaged in dentistry at the regional, provincial and national levels,” New Brunswick Dental Society president Dr. Bob Hateway said in a statement.Her partner, Bobby Kaine, 52, was a firefighter in the city. The Saint John Fire Department also issued a statement and extended condolences to both families, saying they are “shocked and saddened” by the news of their deaths.McCormick’s body was found Sunday in a hotel room at the posh Chateau Lake Louise in the mountain resort community. Kaine’s body was found in a vehicle west of Lake Louise across the boundary in British Columbia.“Our investigators have gathered evidence between that scene and the scene in Golden that satisfies our investigative team that those two deaths are related, and we are not seeking any additional suspects,” said RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters.(CTV Calgary)last_img read more

Electric cars will be cheaper than gas models but Canada lags in

first_imgOTTAWA – A Canadian energy think tank says the world is less than a decade away from the tipping point at which electric cars will cost the same as conventional gas-powered vehicles.But in a report released Thursday, Clean Energy Canada says this country is lagging on the government polices that elsewhere are helping spur consumers to adopt the new technology despite reservations about everything from price to reliability to the distance they can travel on a single charge.“The only way we will get to a point where an electric car is an equivalent or cheaper price than a gas car is if we can achieve a certain scale of production and to achieve that production we need to do more to make it easier for consumers to choose electric vehicles,” said Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at the think tank.Canada also doesn’t produce any mass-market electric vehicles, fewer than half of Canadian dealerships of car makers that have electric vehicle models even sell them and supply is so limited here it can take months for a Canadian who wants an electric vehicle to actually drive it off the lot.The waiting list to get a Chevy Bolt, the most popular electric vehicle sold in Canada, is about eight months. While there are 97 electric vehicle models available worldwide, only 27 of them are sold in Canada, and most dealers don’t even have a single model on site so people can test drive it, said Woynillowicz.Cutting emissions from cars is a big part of Canada’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet its international commitments. Road transportation is currently responsible for about one-fifth of all of Canada’s emissions.Transport Minister Marc Garneau plans to release a national zero-emission vehicle strategy in 2018 to help increase the number of sales. Canada is currently one of only two G7 nations without such a strategy.Norway, which leads the world in electric vehicles, with almost 30 per cent of cars sold there being electric, plans to bar the sale of combustion-engine vehicles in 2025 and already doesn’t charge any taxes on the sale of electric cars.In Canada, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia offer cash rebates for buying electric vehicles; 97 per cent of electric car sales in Canada are in those provinces, compared to about 90 per cent of all new car sales.Quebec is to launch a policy in 2018 requiring dealers to sell a certain percentage of electric cars.Despite that, sales in Canada are barely a blip, representing about one in every 100 new cars sold.According to FleetCarma, an Ontario-based tech company helping to enable the adoption of electric vehicles, September was a record-setting month for electric car sales in Canada.That month’s total EV sales? Just 2,240 cars, out of a total of 186,800 cars sold.Clean Energy Canada says electric vehicles represent a number of economic opportunities for Canada, including for auto parts manufacturers and the mining sector, spurred on by demand for the minerals and metals needed to make the lithium-ion batteries.If Canada doesn’t jump on board more quickly, the rest of the world is going to snap up those opportunities and we’ll lose out, says the report.In addition to addressing price gaps, a national strategy could also make policy recommendations or provide funding for additional charging networks, and encourage municipalities and provinces to break down barriers for people to charge their cars at home and at work.Anxiety that electric cars can’t get far on a single charge, won’t work for long distances or are unreliable are among the biggest barriers for consumers. There have also been reports of condo dwellers or apartment renters being unable to charge their vehicles.Ontario’s new building code standards, as of January 1, will require any new condo building to include an electric car charger for at least 20 per cent of onsite parking, and the rest will have to be equipped so the chargers can be installed later. But that will not affect existing buildings.last_img read more

SCOC ruling nod toward importance of diversity in law lawyer

first_imgOTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court of Canada has decided law societies in Ontario and British Columbia are entitled to deny accreditation to the proposed law school at Trinity Western University on an equal access argument.The country’s top court ruled that limits on religious rights are reasonable in order to protect the rights of LGBTQ2 Canadians.The much-watched case pitted two significant societal values — freedom of religion and promotion of equality — against one another.LGBTQ2 groups are applauding the ruling, but say there is still a lot of work to do to achieve equality.Associate law professor Emma Cunliffe at UBC believes the high court ruling is a recognition that access to justice is improved when lawyers come from as many walks of life as possible, and represent as many kinds of people as possible.“The decision today represents an attempt on the part of the Supreme Court of Canada to promote diversity within the legal profession.”Cunliffe says the Supreme Court found that law societies have a legitimate interest in promoting equality in the legal profession.Meantime, others are not as pleased with the decision.“It does look like religious freedom can be restricted by equality rights,” Janet Epp Buckingham, a professor at Trinity Western, said following the ruling.Trinity Western University reacting to Supreme Court decision. Disappointed with the ruling, haven’t decided next steps #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/PGnOZWGrEF— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) June 15, 2018Students were asked to sign a covenant which requires them to abstain from sex outside a heterosexual marriage. The court found that to be discriminatory.So what’s next for Trinity Western’s law school? TWU Executive Director Earl Phillips says it will take time to go through the 200 page decision.He says the core of the school’s community covenant is about the dignity and worth of every human being — and that will not change. However, he adds it will be looked at.“We’ve reviewed the community covenant in the past, we will review it again in the future. And with this decision, it’s something we’re going to be reflecting on.”Phillips believes the Supreme Court’s decision actually signals a loss of support for diversity.“Diversity will only be our strength if we actually do allow for difference. Diversity has to allow for difference,” he explains.He adds he’s disappointed the Court doesn’t see room for a small Christian university that holds traditional values to open a law school.last_img read more

Abbottbrand nutrition beverages such as Ensure recalled for bacteria concerns

first_imgOTTAWA – Abbott Nutrition is recalling a number of its canned nutritional beverages due to possible bacterial contamination.The Chicago-based company is recalling products under its Ensure Plus, Jevity and TwoCal brands, among others.Full details are available on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website, which says there has been one reported illness associated with the products.The CFIA says people should not consume the products, which come in 235-ml metal cans.It’s also warning hospitals and nursing homes not to sell or use the recalled products.The agency says the recall was triggered by consumer complaints, and its investigation could lead to more products being recalled.last_img read more

Ottawa ready to help as Inuit health officials grapple with spate of

first_imgMONTREAL – The federal government says it will respond to pleas for help from northern Quebec, where a spate of suicides in Inuit communities this year has created what officials are calling a crisis.“As a government, it’s truly a priority of ours that we put in place the support that people need,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said Monday. She added that any loss of life by suicide “is just tragic.”Heath authorities in Nunavik, the Quebec region that is home to the province’s Inuit communities, have already sent extra mental-health resources to one hard hit village, Puvirnituq.“This is considered a crisis situation,” Fabien Pernet, assistant to the executive director of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, said in a recent interview.The head of the school board serving the region said last week that two students have died by suicide since the beginning of the school year in mid-August, and three other young adults have taken their lives in the past month.In an Oct. 12 letter, the head of the region’s council of school commissioners called for “urgent collective action” and noted that one of the suicide victims was just 11 years old.According to media reports, Puvirnituq on Hudson Bay has had at least 10 suicides since the beginning of 2018. A coroner’s investigation is ongoing.The deaths prompted a public lament from Mary Simon, a longtime Inuit advocate and former Canadian diplomat, who posted a widely shared message on Facebook about the recent suicide of her 22-year-old niece.“The reason I’m telling this story is to show we desperately need ongoing mental health support and services in every Inuit community,” Simon wrote. “We have a crisis on our hands, and if we can’t provide the medical and other mental health support in the communities, it is not going to get better. It will get worse.”Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said in a statement last Friday she is deeply concerned by the loss of young lives in Nunavik and has offered additional support. She said the government continues to work with communities to support Inuit-led approaches to suicide prevention.“Inuit want to be able to receive services that are culturally appropriate, in their own language,” Petitpas Taylor said Monday after speaking at the Canadian Mental Health Association conference in Montreal. “So we’re looking at ways to get more people trained — in nursing, in psychology or social work — that would be a step in the right direction.”Pernet said it remains a challenge to provide Inuit-to-Inuit mental health care — as well as health and social services on a broader level — because of such obstacles as labour agreements and professional licensing issues.He said that in 2010, suicide prevention was made a regional health priority. Recent measures have included resources and support through a Facebook page, new crisis-intervention plans and social programs aimed at improving communication among families.Statistics from the Quebec coroner’s office show little change in the number of deaths by suicide in the region between 2000 and 2013. But given the current crisis, there is reason to believe those figures will be higher this year.“There’s no actual improvement from 2000 to 2013, but there’s a lot that has been implemented from 2013 until today,” Pernet said. “If you compare where we were four years ago and where we are at now, we’ve developed a capacity that we didn’t have. Yet it’s not sufficient, and we see it with these suicide clusters happening in Puvirnituq again.”Louis Sorin, a Manitoba-based Indigenous mental-health advocate, said it is important to look at suicide as a symptom of a social disease and not just an individual medical condition.“We have to move beyond an individualized response to a collective and community response,” Sorin, a member of the national board of directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association, said. “We have to make space and validate the voices of those involved locally, because they really know something that’s actually very important.”An annual conference being held next week in Nunavik will focus on the rash of deaths.last_img read more

Mermen calendar targets toxic masculinity raises big money for charities

first_img— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.The Canadian Press ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — What started as a dare for a burly Newfoundland man to pose in mermaid flippers has turned into a globally known effort to combat gender stereotypes — and raised more than a half million dollars for charity.This past weekend, the Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL.That’s the proceeds from the 2019 Merb’ys calendar, which draws its name from ‘mermaid’ and the Newfoundland moniker for ‘buddy.’The calendar features photos of husky, bearded Newfoundland men posed on the province’s rugged shoreline — wearing just their merman fins and their smiles.Hasan Hai, the leader of the club, said it all started with a dare in 2017.“A friend of mine on Facebook had shared a picture of a big bearded fellow dressed as a mermaid. I was kind of known in my friends’ circle as a guy who didn’t shy away from dares or doing fun things that would further community projects and goals,” he said. The Newfoundland and Labrador Moustache and Beard Club has made a merman calendar targeting toxic masculinity. (CREDIT: @NLMBC on Instagram) Hai said Violence Prevention NL will develop programming in communities and also get it translated into the various Indigenous languages found across the province.But he said with the calendar being sold in 37 countries around the world, the message is reaching many more people.“The main theme, even without reading the back and understanding the charity we’re supporting, is that people see men being displayed in these positive ways — body positivity, men showing affection and emotion, and just having fun. Emotionally I think people connect with it, and even without telling them what the message is, they get it,” he said.Hai isn’t sure there will be a 2020 version of the calendar. He said the first two calendars have taken 15 months of work and everyone needs a rest.However, he said that doesn’t mean they are hanging up their fins for good.“Stay tuned,” he said. The Newfoundland and Labrador Moustache and Beard Club has made a merman calendar targeting toxic masculinity. (CREDIT: @NLMBC on Instagram)center_img “Initially the idea was to maybe get a bunch of people together and maybe take a bunch of pictures poking holes at traditional gender stereotypes and what a ‘real man’ was supposed to look like.”A month later, they had the 2018 version of the calendar and a demand from around the world that raised more than $300,000 for a local mental health organization.Hai said they decided to do it again for 2019 and put the call out to charitable organizations, and about 40 applied.He said they decided to go with Violence Prevention Newfoundland and Labrador because its mandate is much the same as the club in fighting gender stereotypes and “toxic masculinity,” and showing men there’s a healthier way to live their life moving forward.“Their project was deconstructing masculinity and engaging men in violence prevention, and it kind of checked all the boxes for us. It’s not criticizing men for being men, but breaking down those harmful bits of it and building up the positive ones,” he said. The Newfoundland and Labrador Moustache and Beard Club has made a merman calendar targeting toxic masculinity. (CREDIT: @NLMBC on Instagram)last_img read more