B.C.’s new rules for provincial infrastructure projects challenged in court

VANCOUVER -The Independent Contractors and Business Association is asking the B.C. Supreme Court to strike down the provincial government’s new hiring model for taxpayer-funded construction projects.

The association filed a petition today with the court alongside several other building and trade organizations, as well as the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and two unions it says are not affiliated with the building trades: the Christian Labour Association of Canada and Canada West Construction Union.

In a statement, association president Chris Gardner says the policy means only members of building trade unions will be hired for public construction jobs and that’s not fair to the 85 per cent of construction workers who don’t belong to the unions.

When the new framework was announced last month, Premier John Horgan said it would allow everyone to bid on the projects, but it would make hiring local workers a priority and provide good wages for people building roads, bridges, transit and hospitals.

The B.C. government said projects worth billions of dollars will now be built under a so-called community benefits agreement that sets out job training, who can work on the projects and the wages to be paid.

It said the agreement is aimed at boosting apprenticeship opportunities and hiring more women, Indigenous people and other under-represented workers who will be organized under a new Crown corporation called BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc.

The provincial government couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.



UNL investigating fraternity following hazing complaint

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials say Delta Tau Delta fraternity is being investigated following a hazing complaint.

The university confirmed a potential pledge became ill after a weekend of drinking at the Delta Tau Delta chapter house and an off-campus site.

The complaint says prospective new fraternity members were made to drink alcohol for four days straight over the weekend of Aug. 17 – Aug. 19.

Both UNL’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and Delta Tau Delta’s national organization are investigating. Alcohol is banned from campus and university housing. The student code of conduct also prohibits public intoxication or possession of alcohol by anyone under 21.

The fraternity has not been suspended, but it has been stripped of its student housing designation. That means freshmen members cannot live in the fraternity house.

Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs released the following statement on the incident:

“This reported behavior is not consistent with our University values. The health and safety of our students is our primary concern and we take any allegations of hazing seriously. The University supports Delta Tau Delta’s suspension of activities by the National Fraternity and is working with Fraternity staff members to investigate the concerns that we share. The University has made abundantly clear what its expectations are and the consequences for failing those expectations.”



Drunken Polish fork lift driver, 38, who downed an entire bottle of vodka to deal with his fear of flying before ‘reaching for the door’ on a Whizz Air flight to Birmingham is fined £300

A drunken Polish fork lift driver who downed an entire bottle of vodka during his flight back to the UK and ‘reached for the door’ in mid-air has been fined £300.

Andrzej Plawski, 38, flew from Warsaw to Birmingham with Whizz Air on June 5 this year.

But staff and passengers soon became alarmed when he started walking around the cabin, refusing to sit down during landing and trying to open the door.

He claimed drinking vodka was a way to settle his fear of flying and he was particularly stressed after visiting his mother with cancer in Poland.

But Sally Cairns, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court said: ‘About an hour into the flight the cabin manager noticed the defendant walking around.

‘He was unsteady on his feet and he smelt strongly of alcohol.

‘At that point the cabin manager warned the defendant about his conduct and asked him where he was getting his alcohol from, as drinks had not been served to him.

‘He did not reply to that question but became increasingly animated.

‘He was verbally and physically disruptive towards other passengers sat by him and was waving his arms about.’

Mis Cairns said due to safety concerns the defendant, who had been by an emergency exit, was moved to a different seat.


But when the plane started its descent and the seat belt signs came on, Plawski got up and started to get his bag out of the over head locker.

‘He then proceeded to stand by the doorway of the plane despite requests from cabin staff to take his seat,’ Miss Cairns said.

She added that eventually the cabin manager had to physically move the defendant back to his seat and put the seat belt on him because he seemed incapable of doing it himself.

On landing the police were called and arrested Plawski who was shouting and who punched the window of a police car.



The truth — and lies — about Chicago’s gun laws


Chicago does not have the strictest gun laws in the country. It’s time for gun lovers to stop spreading that lie.

A decade ago that was indeed a title Chicago wore proudly. We were the only major city that still had an ordinance banning residents from keeping a handgun in their home.

The handgun ban made us the primary target of the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, and in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court forced Chicago to fall into line with the rest of the country.

Since then, the courts have peeled off so many layers of our once stellar gun ordinance that it’s barely recognizable. We’re still maneuvering to keep gun stores and shooting ranges from opening in the city limits. But the courts have ruled against us on that, too, so we know it’s just a matter of time.


Remember that old requirement that gun owners in Chicago register their firearms with the city and obtain a permit? Well, that’s gone too.

And thanks to the Illinois General Assembly, which was pressured by the federal courts to pass a concealed carry law in 2013, people can walk the streets of Chicago with a gun attached to their waist and another strapped to their ankle.

Sorry, gun lovers, your attempts to use Chicago as a prop to bolster your claims that gun control laws do nothing to curb gun violence just don’t hold up.

New York, in fact, has stricter gun laws on the books than Chicago. And guess what? Its homicide numbers are heading toward historic lows. Los Angeles has some pretty tough gun laws too. Its homicide numbers also pale compared with Chicago’s.

Those kinds of details don’t fit the conservative, pro-gun narrative, though. To use New York as a talking point, they’d have to admit that strict gun laws might actually have an impact on homicide rates.

We don’t make excuses for our ghastly homicide numbers in Chicago. With 762 people killed last year, no one has to remind us that we have a serious gun problem. We own it. And we have to do something about it.

But we are tired of Donald Trump and pro-gun advocates using our city to promote their political agenda.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dragged Chicago into the fray again on Monday when responding to a reporter’s question about gun policy in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

“One of the things that we don’t want to do is try to create laws that won’t stop these types of things from happening,” Sanders said at a news conference. “I think if you look to Chicago where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes, they have the strictest gun laws in the country and that certainly hasn’t helped there.”

Sanders should listen to U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who argues that the problem is Chicago being surrounded by red states that have completely surrendered to the pro-gun lobby.


With no gun stores in Chicago and no background check loopholes for private sales, one thing is clear. The guns being used to kill people on the streets aren’t originating in Chicago. They’re coming from someplace else.

When politicians and others repeat that ridiculous statement about Chicago’s gun laws, it shows how out of touch they are with the problems urban areas face when it comes to gun violence.

When it comes to gun laws, big cities are only as strong as the states that border them. And in Chicago’s case, that’s Indiana. Thanks to Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor, Indiana has some of the weakest gun laws in the nation.

While Illinois has gone to great lengths to see that background checks are done for all gun purchases, Indiana has done the opposite. To buy a weapon in Illinois, the owner must have a valid firearms owner’s identification card, issued by the Illinois State Police.

With no permit or license required to purchase a gun in Indiana, it is incredibly easy for a trafficker to drive across the state line, obtain a gun and use it to commit a homicide on the streets of Chicago.

Those with felony convictions commonly use straw purchases, in which they enlist someone with a clean record to purchase multiple guns and bring them into the city.

Law enforcement officials say 60 percent of the guns confiscated on the streets of Chicago come from Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi. The other 40 percent come from suburban Cook County and nearby suburbs.

It’s tough, but we can try to sort out the bad apples in our own state and shut them down. But we’re helpless when it comes to regulating Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi.

Congress could do something, though. Lawmakers could pass legislation requiring universal background checks. That would close federal loopholes on background checks at gun shows and other private sales.

Congress could also limit the number of guns that can be purchased by one person in a period of time. And lawmakers could toughen penalties for straw purchases.

Military-style assault weapons already are banned in the city of Chicago, but in most other places in Illinois and in most other states, they can be purchased as easily as a handgun. If Congress really wanted to stop massacres like the one in Las Vegas from occurring, lawmakers could pass a federal assault weapons ban to replace the one that expired in 2004.

The gun lovers in Washington don’t want to talk about these things, though. It’s a lot easier to just keep picking on Chicago.


Twitter @dahleeng