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After-school acting program tries to help kids get motivated – Toronto

TORONTO – Lights, camera, action! Three words young actors with the Streetwise Actors program hope to hear as part of their futures.

But for now, the bunch continues to participate in the free after-school program, a weekly initiative created to keep kids get motivated and on the right track.

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“Really what it’s about is increasing self-esteem, self respect and respect for other people,” founder of Streetwise Actors David Nash said.  “To give them something to do which is good for them, other than the sort of behaviours, as a society, we really don’t want them to indulge in.”

Through Streetwise Actors, people between the ages of 11 and 18 learn transferable skills that go beyond basic acting tips, something young actor and aspiring director Edward Mines can attest to.

“Well, I’ve certainly become a lot more confident and I’d to say I’ve become better working with a team, collaborating with people and also, become more of a leader,” Mines said.

In an effort to raise these confidence and creativity levels, participants produce a number of skits and plays for the enjoyment of friends, family, and older adult audiences in local long-term care facilities and retirement homes.

“Some of them haven’t interacted with children for years, and to see them brighten up when the kids come into the room is fantastic,” Nash said.

For other participants like Samantha Rideout, Streetwise Actors has helped her feel comfortable in her own skin, something that wasn’t possible before joining the program.

“I feel more open and confident on stage.  I can actually feel like myself,” Rideout said.  “I’ve just made so many friends here, more than at school, and I really, truly feel accepted because I don’t feel accepted in many places.”

Interested participants are welcome to join Streetwise Actors on an ongoing basis.  For more information on the program, all inquiries can be sent to [email protected]杭州夜网

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What’s a bank CEO make? If you run CIBC, $10M last year – National

TORONTO – CIBC president and chief executive Gerry McCaughey earned $10.01 million in total compensation last year, according to documents filed ahead of the bank’s annual meeting next month.

The pay packet was up from the $9.93 million he received from the bank in 2012.

McCaughey’s compensation for 2013 included a base salary of $1.5 million, $3.74 million in share-based awards, $935,880 in option-based awards and a $3.12-million cash bonus. The value of his pension earned for the year amounted to $717,000.

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That compared with a base salary of $1.5 million, $1.92 million in share-based awards, $960,000 in options-based awards, a cash bonus of $2.94 million and $1.92 million in long-term incentives in 2012.

The value of McCaughey’s pension earned in 2012 amounted to $687,000.

Richard Nesbitt, CIBC’s chief operating officer, was the second-highest paid executive at the bank with a total of nearly $7.41 million for last year, up from $7.36 million in 2012.

Chief financial officer Kevin Glass earned $2.57 million, up from nearly $2.36 million, while David Williamson, group head of retail and business banking, earned $4.43 million, up from $4.13 million.

Victor Dodig, group head of wealth management, earned $3.97 million, up from $3.26 million.

CIBC’s annual meeting will be held April 24 in Montreal.

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Civic deficit, snow operations on Saskatoon city council agenda – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – Saskatoon city council meets Monday evening to discuss year-end financial results, snow program operations and a bylaw for loud vehicles.

Up for discussion is a preliminary civic financial report for 2013 indicating a net unadjusted deficit of $3.3 million.

Councillors will be asked to approve a $1-million transfer from the fiscal stabilization reserve to stabilize the deficit.

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The snow removal and ice management program posted a $4.6 million deficit. This could be partially reduced using the program’s stabilization reserve and the weather reserve, if council approves.

Information will also be received telling council how the city’s snow and ice operations dealt with the winter of 2013-14.

According to the city, improved strategies and procedures yielded significant successes.

There was slightly above average snowfall from December to February. A total of 22,000 loads of snow were removed from streets during the season.

Work on the snow grading program was postponed in January due to extremely cold temperatures. Administration subsequently shifted the work to focus on snow removal.

Also on the agenda is a recommendation from administration to change a noise bylaw to make it an offence to operate a vehicle in a manner that disturbs the public’s ears.

The city solicitor will be asked to prepare a bylaw amendment which would include a specific provision for motorcycle decibel levels.

Saskatoon is also considering revamping speed zones for motorists, specifically on streets surrounding kids’ playgrounds.

Council will see if it wants pursue “Child at Play Speed Zones” with a comprehensive study for $50,000.

Council will also be asked to renew the building lease for the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. If approved, the new lease will expire on Nov. 30, 2018.

Both parties agree on an annual rent of $10; however, the farmers’ market is responsible for all operating costs, utilities and property taxes.

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Sask. government calls for more grain transportation accountability

SASKATOON – Saskatchewan’s provincial government is calling for greater accountability and specific measures as the federal government prepares emergency legislation to clear the current grain backlog.

At the same time, Saskatchewan’s lone liberal MP is calling the federal government’s efforts to get grain to port “too little, too late.”

Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister Lyle Stewart said a number of specific measures need to be included in the legislation.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan farmers frustrated with ‘unprecedented’ grain backlog

“In order to protect Canada’s reputation as a world-class exporter of agriculture products, we need a world-class transportation system that ensures our farmers can move their crop,” Stewart said in a release.

“We need to get our farmers’ grain to market, ensure they get paid and find long-term solutions to long-standing grain transportation issues.”

Those measures include accountability, mandatory service level agreements with reciprocal penalties for non-compliance, increasing target shipments to a minimum of 13,000 grain cars per week and increasing minimum fines to $250,000 per day for not reaching those targets.

On March 7, an order in council set a minimum target of 11,000 cars a week and fines up to $100,000 a day for failing to meet the target.

READ MORE: Feds orders railways to move minimum amount of grain each week

Both the Saskatchewan and Alberta governments want any money collected to benefit farmers instead of landing in the federal coffers.

The Alberta government also said rail track access should be increased so grain shippers can receive competitive service from more than one rail company.

READ MORE: Grain farmers urged to call members of parliament over grain backlog

Last week, federal Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt told delegates at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities that railways will be hard-pressed to meet the targets.

“It actually pushes them to their limit,” said Raitt. “It’s the highest amount that they’ve ever moved in terms of grain.”

“[It’s] a classic exercise in too little, too late,” said Ralph Goodale, Saskatchewan’s lone liberal MP.

“The costs and losses for farmers from demurrage charges, extra debt, lost sales, deferred sales, spoilage and depressed prices are probably now approaching $5-billion.”

There are four important steps the federal government can take to show it is serious about clearing the backlog, said Goodale in a Monday speech at the college of agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan.

First among those, said Goodale, is to establish a credible, competent and completely independent system to monitor, measure, analyze and report publicly on results in grain transportation, marketing and handling.

“There must be accountability throughout the supply chain, from farmers, to shippers, to railways and to port. We believe our recommendations for the legislation will help accomplish this,” said Goodale.

“This crisis has been getting relentlessly worse since last October.”

Goodale also wants to see a cost review to track costs and revenue for getting grain to ports, an amendment to the Canada Transporation Act to define service levels for railways, and basic coordination in grain handling and transportation logistics.

“With spring finally around the corner, the Conservatives are only now asking the system to handle about what it would handle in any event at this time of year without any order,” said Goodale.

The federal government is expected to table the legislation when Parliament resumes on March 24.

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Alaskan malamutes have history of deadly attacks – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Alaskan malamutes are generally known as a friendly breed of dog but have fatally attacked children before.

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At least three people have been mauled to death by malamutes in the USA since 2005. Two of those killed were kids. In Canada, four people have died after being attacked by “sled dogs” between 1990 and 2007 according to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. It’s not known how many, if any, of those deaths involved malamutes. Last month, a six-day-old baby girl was mauled to death by an Alaskan malamute in the United Kingdom.

A seven-year-old St. Andrews, Manitoba girl was killed by a pair of Alaskan malamutes Sunday afternoon.

The challenge for police will be to figure out what set the dogs off in this case, suggested Bill McDonald, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society

“Any large dog, be it a collie or a golden retriever, and young people, they have to be monitored,” said McDonald. “When you’ve got a seven-year-old and a dog that’s mad, these are the tragic results.”

Alaskan malamutes are described by the Working Alaskan Malamute Club of Manitoba as a large, powerful dog suited by nature for its original purpose as a heavy work dog in the north. The average male weighs 85lbs. Females are somewhat smaller, usually weighing 75lbs. The breed is roughly comparable to the German Shepherd in size but is thicker-set, heavier boned, more powerful and compact in build with shorter ears, broader head and shorter, heavier muzzle. Alaskan malamutes are said to be a wonderful pet and companion dog who are dependable and extremely affectionate.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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Supreme Court set to rule later this week on appointment of Justice Nadon

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada is poised to deliver an unprecedented ruling later this week on whether Justice Marc Nadon is eligible to join its ranks.

The top court will release a ruling Friday on a reference regarding the constitutionality of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s sixth appointment to the Supreme Court bench.

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Justice Nadon has been in legal limbo since he was appointed by Harper last September.

READ MORE: Supreme Court of Canada to hear case for Nadon eligibility

A semi-retired judge from the Federal Court of Appeal, Nadon’s qualifications were questioned because he was appointed to one of three openings on the Supreme Court reserved for Quebec jurists.

A constitutional lawyer from Toronto, Rocco Galati, and the government of Quebec argued those Quebec appointments must come from specific courts listed in the Supreme Court Act.

The Harper government attempted to alter the Supreme Court Act’s language in an omnibus bill before referring the whole mess to the Supreme Court itself to sort out.

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California man arrested at Canadian border planned to join al-Qaida

SEATTLE – A 20-year-old California man has been arrested near the Canadian border in Washington state and charged with attempting to travel to Syria to fight alongside Islamic extremists, federal prosecutors said Monday.

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Nicholas Teausant, of Acampo, California, an unincorporated area near Lodi, was taken off a northbound Amtrak bus just short of the border overnight. A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Sacramento described him as a student at San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton and a member of the National Guard who is being discharged for failing to meet basic academic requirements.

Beginning last spring, Teausant began expressing on his online photography account a desire to see America’s downfall, saying “I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start,” the complaint said. Later in the year, he took to another online forum to say he hoped to fight in Syria, it said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Teausant had a lawyer. He was charged with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and was due to appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday afternoon.

The complaint said he had been planning since last October to support the efforts of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has been fighting in Syria’s three-year-old civil war and is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. Investigators said he discussed his scheme at length with a person who turned out to be a paid FBI informant, repeatedly affirming that he was serious about it.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a breakaway organization from al-Qaida that is considered one of the most brutal groups fighting in Syria’s civil war, made up largely of non-Syrian Islamic militants. It has seized several areas in Syria as it fights the government of President Bashar Assad.

Among Teausant’s plans was to appear in videos for the group, without covering his face – to be “the one white devil that leaves their face wide open to the camera,” he was quoted as saying in the complaint.

The informant put Teausant in contact with a “mentor” – in reality, an undercover federal agent – who could purportedly approve his efforts to join the extremists. Early this month, the “mentor” blessed Teausant’s travels, and he boarded a train for Seattle Sunday night, the complaint said.

When the bus arrived in Blaine, just south of Vancouver, British Columbia, U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped it and questioned Teausant about where he was headed. He responded that he was travelling to Vancouver and was arrested, the complaint said.

The complaint said Teausant enlisted in the National Guard in April 2012, but never underwent basic training because he didn’t meet academic requirements.

The maximum penalty for attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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2 Vancouver heritage homes slated for demolition moved to a new location – BC

They are known as ‘The Dorothies’, and are two Tudor-style homes dating back to 1931.

The duo, originally located on West 43rd Avenue, were slated for demolition but thanks to an online petition and a group of businessmen willing to pay for the move, they were saved. Nickel Bros. House Moving provided their services to move the homes.

Their name ‘The Dorothies’ comes from the fact that two women named Dorothy lived in them – Dorothy MacMillan and Dorothy Smith.

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The homes were bought by two families with the intention of demolishing them and rebuilding new homes on those plots, but it was discovered they were classified as ‘Heritage B’, meaning they had “individual heritage importance.”

Public outcry about their demolition helped save the homes, which will now ‘live’ on West 41st Avenue and will be the focus point of a new townhouse development by Trasolini Chetner.

“At this point we’re not 100 per cent sure what the city is going to allow us to do,” said Paul Trasolini from Trasolini Chetner. “It’s still, we’re still in the works, but we’re at least going to have two houses on that site, and hopefully a few more units on the site as well.”

He said if possible, they would like to have more heritage homes on that site, but are still working out the details with the City of Vancouver.

WATCH: The move drew quite a crowd on Monday morning:

©2014Shaw Media

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Quebec election posters: Who gets an ‘A’? – Montreal

MONTREAL – For the third time in the past eighteen months, Montrealers will be going to the polls on April 7.

In perhaps the most depressing election in recent memory, Quebecers will be asked to decide between the scandal-plagued Liberals, whom it seems we just finished kicking out of office, and a Parti Quebecois government, which has turned breaking campaign promises into an art form during their short stint in government.

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But while the top line battle plays out between the heavyweights of Quebec politics, the smaller parties struggle to be noticed.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec, staring oblivion in the face, want to give us Legault. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to want him and their returns policy remains murky.

WATCH: Quebec political parties unveil TV ads

Quebec Solidaire must be wondering anew about the existence of a higher power, and if such a power is indeed on their side, after the entry of Pierre Karl Peladeau into the fray.

While the full effect of his candidacy remains to be seen, it’s no less than a godsend for a progressive party which is only really competitive in Montreal. In the Eastern reaches of the island, they can expect an influx of angry Pequistes, no longer willing to hold their nose and vote for Peladeau’s brave new PQ.

But as much fun as it is to sit here and gripe about the dismal choices we face, it’s far more fun to set aside politics for a moment and take a look at the offerings of the various parties through a different lens.

The first sign of an election is always the signs which crop up on hydro poles and light posts from one end of the city to the other.

So we thought it would be fun to take a look at what the various parties are polluting our fair streets with, and grade them on the effectiveness of their visual design and appeal.

These rankings are entirely subjective, and represent my opinions alone. For this exercise I’ll be ranking all street signs put up by a party as parts of a greater whole. The parties are listed here in order of finish in the 2012 election.

Parti Quebecois: B+

Parti Quebecois election poster.

Ethan Cox/Global News

The visual rhetoric of the PQ has been miles ahead of their Liberal competitors in this campaign, and their signs are no exception.

Similar in conception to those of the CAQ, they make more effective use of the negative space around their candidates, and by introducing grey on a gradient, avoid leaving large white areas to be covered by graffiti and road grime.

Unlike the CAQ and Quebec Solidaire, the PQ opted not to go with a slogan sign, and theirs are restricted to conventional 4×4 signs featuring Premier Pauline Marois and 2×4 signs featuring the local candidate.

The slogan, “Déterminée,” is a solid, if unspectacular, choice. The PQ want to project competence and show Marois as a leader.

Their grey, gritty signs succeed on both counts.

It isn’t rocket science, nor is it particularly innovative, but it’s a solid example of conventional campaign signs done well. That said, distribution leaves something to be desired. In much of Montreal, they have been slow to place their signs.

Liberals: F

Quebec Liberal Party election poster.

Ethan Cox/Global News

If someone had hired me to come up with the worst, least effective campaign signs imaginable, I think they’d have looked a lot like the hot mess that is the Liberal signs.

Their size is a weird hybrid between the large 2×4 and 4×4 signs designed to be visible to drivers, and the smaller “chandelles” designed to catch the eye of pedestrian traffic.

In practical terms, this means they’re too small to be seen from cars, but often placed too high to be visible to pedestrians.

Speaking of visibility, the colour scheme is deathly dark, and the posters all but invisible once the sun sets.

This problem is particularly pronounced with dark-skinned candidates, who simply disappear into the dark blue background of their signs. Someone was asleep at the switch for them to fail so miserably at the single, most important function of campaign signs.

Meanwhile, the slogan, “On s’occupe des vraies affaires” (We’ll take care of the real issues), may sound good to English-speaking voters, but as Journal de Montreal columnist Lise Ravary has pointed out, it’s most often used by French-speaking Quebecers when referring to anything but serious business.

How do you not realize your slogan is a well-known joke among your target audience?

I have yet to see any leader signs, and I travel large swaths of Montreal on a daily basis. Either they don’t have any, which would compound the disastrous failure of their candidate signs, or they have been unable to allocate the resources to get them up on the streets.

I suspect the answer might be the latter, given the story which came out this week of the Liberals paying two men thousands of dollars to put up a hundred signs. Apparently the men were able to negotiate such a favourable rate due to the desperation of the Liberal campaign. Other parties typically rely on their volunteer base, rather than paid labour, to put up signs.

So to recap: the design is a disastrous failure, the size is incomprehensible, the distribution is weak and the impact is negligible. If the PLQ win this election it will be despite their signs, not because of them.

Coalition Avenir Quebec: C

Coalition Avenir Quebec election poster.

Ethan Cox/Global News

When it comes to the CAQ, it’s really a tale of two signs.

The candidate signs, brilliant white against the snow, come in both 2×4 and 4×4 varieties. They’re clean and simple, and have candidate photos in grayscale to leave all the colour to the gorgeous rainbow logo.

While the ample white space is pretty now, it will make an appealing target for teens with Sharpies, and will inevitably become grey and dingy with the accumulation of road grime.

If these were their only signs, their grade would be significantly higher. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Sprouting up all over town are another variety, 2×4 signs emblazoned with the absurd slogan “Contribuables: on se donne Legault” (Taxpayers: We give you Legault).

These signs somehow manage not to include a picture of the man they are offering to Quebecers, and are text-heavy eyesores.

Then there’s the slogan itself, which lends itself to ridicule, and really doesn’t make strategic sense given that Legault’s personal popularity is not particularly high.

These epic failures are deserving of an F, but the overall grade is boosted by the solid candidate signs.

Also worth noting is the fact that the CAQ have been moderately efficient at placing their signs and I’ve seen them in all parts of town.

Quebec Solidaire: A

Quebec Solidaire election poster.

Ethan Cox/Global News

Before moving into journalism, I spent many years working on political campaigns, often overseeing the sign effort for parties like the NDP and Projet Montreal.

To my jaded eye, I think Quebec Solidaire have set a new bar for campaign signs, one which other parties will be aiming for in future campaigns.

Before we get to content, there’s the unprecedented size, which I estimate at 2.5×4.5 feet, and the comprehensive coverage.

From Park-Ex to Berri, St. Henri to Hochelaga, no party has more signs on the street than QS.

The three flavours of issue signs (inequality, environment and sovereignty) are easily scanned by passing drivers and transmit complex ideas in a single visual.

These are complemented by local candidate signs and full-sized leader signs featuring Amir Khadir and Françoise David. But confusingly, not Andres Fontecilla, who replaced Khadir as co-spokesperson last year. One assumes internal numbers show Khadir is more popular than his replacement.

The signs contain not one but two slogans, and if there is a criticism to be made of them it is that they are too busy.

The top part of the leader signs reads “Pour l’amour d’un Quebec solidaire” (For the love of a Quebec ‘solidaire’), local candidate signs replace Quebec with the name of their riding, and issue signs speak of a more just, more green and more free Quebec.

An example of Quebec Solidaire’s issue poster.

Ethan Cox/Global News

Meanwhile the main slogan, carried on a banner draped across the bottom of all signs, is ‘Votons avec notre tête’ (Let’s vote with our head), followed by a heart.

This is, of course, a reference to the dismissal of their party as a gang of dreamers without a grasp of the political realities of the day.

This slogan takes on the main attack of the party’s rivals and turns it into a positive, arguing that their policies are both emotionally and intellectually appealing.

I can’t imagine anyone could dispute the fact that QS is the clear winner of the sign war.

Option Nationale: C-

Option Nationale election poster.

Ethan Cox/Global News

I feel for ON, I really do. Their founder and patron saint, Jean-Martin Aussant, has departed and left the fledgling party he built in his image struggling to define their identity.

With support hovering around one per cent and no sitting MNAs, it’s easy to imagine that this will be the last election for the ‘sovereignty-in-a-hurry’ party.

As for posters, if they have candidate signs, I haven’t seen them.

All that has popped up around Montreal are leader signs featuring new party chief Sol Zanetti, his shirt sleeves rolled up and every bone in his body straining to convey the idea that it’s time to get to work.

Depressingly enough, they feel the need to identify him as the leader of the party in a caption.

The slogan, “Réveiller le courage” (Awaken the courage) is quite good, and appropriate to their mission of immediately tackling the issue of sovereignty.

But really, a party in their position needs to be a bit bolder and do more to attract attention than they have with these posters.

Green Party: D-

Quebec’s Green Party election poster.

Ethan Cox/Global News

The Greens, under new leader Alex Tyrell, are to be commended for putting up more signs, and taking clearer positions, than I have seen them do before.

Unfortunately for them, that’s where the plaudits end.

While I’m happy to see a party, any party, provide an eco-socialist option to federalists who support free education, strict environmental protections and more equal taxation, but are unable to bring themselves to vote for a sovereigntist party like Quebec Solidaire – the execution of these posters leaves a lot to be desired.

The Green Party signs are, and there’s really no way to put this nicely, an eyesore.

They look like they were designed by a grade-schooler, feature far more text than can be read from a car, or indeed while walking past, and bring new meaning to the term busy.

Not only do they print out their web address (you folks know we can Google you, right?), but the web addresses for their 桑拿会所 and Facebook accounts as well.

For future reference, we assume the Greens have accounts on those platforms, and if we want to find them, we know how to use the search function.

The three together take up nearly a quarter of their signs’ surface.

Given that their campaign saw both Campaign Director Peter Deslauriers and Director of Communications Simon Delorme resign their positions in the first week, reportedly as a result of disputes with the party’s embattled leader, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that their communications strategy leaves something to be desired.

What do you think? Whose signs do you like? Which ones make your eyeballs bleed? Let us know in the comments below.

Ethan Cox is a Montreal-based political commentator and senior partner with CauseComms: Communications for the Common Good. He writes about Quebec and national political issues for Global News, The National Post, Toronto Star and other news outlets, and is also a regular analyst and host on radio with CJAD 800 and on television with CTV.

©2014Shaw Media

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Jewish group says apology from Parti Quebecois candidate just ‘meaningless excuses’

MONTREAL – A Quebec Jewish group said the apology of a Parti Quebecois candidate who has been accused of anti-Semitic remarks is nothing more than “meaningless excuses.”

Louise Mailloux, a staunch supporter of the PQ’s proposed secular charter, came under fire last week for written comments equating the Jewish practice of circumcision to rape.

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READ MORE: Quebec premier defends PQ candidate accused spreading anti-Semitic propaganda

Mailloux also suggested in an old blog post that the high price of kosher goods is used to help fund Jewish activities and political interests abroad.

The PQ candidate and philosophy professor issued an apology on Saturday, saying she didn’t mean to offend anyone and made the comments in the context of a debate over religious accommodation in Quebec.

But Luciano Del Negro, a spokesperson for the Quebec branch of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said that the apology isn’t enough.

He said the PQ must “categorically disavow” the anti-Semitic theories put forward by Mailloux.

PQ Leader Pauline Marois has stood by Mailloux and emphasized her party does not harbour anti-Jewish views.

“Madame Mailloux adheres to the Parti Quebecois program and adheres to our attitudes and those are very respectful of people’s right to choose their convictions and how they practise their religion,” Marois said Friday.

Raw video: Marois comments on PQ candidate’s remarks

The PQ secular charter, which would forbid public employees from wearing visible religious symbols including hijabs, turbans, kippas and larger-than-average crucifixes, has sparked intense debate in Quebec and in other parts of Canada.

Watch: Marois defends anti-Semitic remarks of candidate

©2014The Canadian Press