Blue Bombers edge Elks 25-23 in CFL pre-season clash

Rookie quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome recorded a pair of touchdown runs, including a late game-winning 46-yard sprint into the end zone, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers survived a comeback bid to open up their CFL pre-season play with a 25-23 victory over the Edmonton Elks on Saturday afternoon.

Edmonton dropped to 0-2 in exhibition action.

“We took a little bit to get going, but once we got going everybody was moving in sync, we were moving together and I thought the offence was moving the ball pretty well,” said Elks backup QB Tre Ford, who scored one of Edmonton’s touchdowns.

The Elks scored on their opening drive, getting a 35-yard field goal from Dean Faithfull.

Winnipeg was quick to respond, as veteran quarterback Zach Collaros found Kenny Lawler on a 67-yard touchdown pass.

Edmonton got a single back on a missed 44-yard Faithfull attempt.

The Blue Bombers started the second quarter with a one-yard TD plunge from Pigrome.

Faithfull completed a long drive engineered by backup QB Ford with a 31-yard field goal before the Winnipeg kicker nailed a 34-yarder to put the Bombers up 17-7 at the midway mark.

Ford continued to look good behind centre for Edmonton as he started the third quarter with another strong drive, capped off by a seven-yard rush and big dive into the end zone to bring the Elks to within three.

Edmonton would then draw even at the start of the final frame on a 19-yard Faithfull field goal.

Pigrome displayed some fleet feet of his own four minutes into the fourth, putting his team back in front with a 46-yard touchdown run.

The Bombers got a bonus point on a punt single.

Edmonton came storming back with 1:54 to play as third-string QB Kai Locksley found CJ Sims on a 44-yard passing play, setting up another toss for a TD to Raphael Leonard. However, the two-point convert attempt to tie the contest was incomplete.

A 52-yard field goal attempt by Faithfull with time expired to win it was blocked.

“We have to find ways to not shoot ourselves in the foot earlier in the game and we would probably be in a lot different situation,” said Elks head coach Chris Jones. “But we did scratch and claw and give ourselves a chance to win the game late and unfortunately we came up a little short.”

Pigrome, a native of Birmingham, Ala., who went to Towson, made a good case for himself in his debut as he tries to earn the third-string QB role in a perceived battle with Josh Jones.

“He can really move, he’s very athletic,” said Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea. “When he decides to take off, he is going to be tough to handle.”

Pigrome was happy to make an early impact.

“I’m blessed to be here, blessed for the opportunity,” he said. “For those things to happen to me in my first game, it is a blessing. This is just the beginning, though. I still have to make the team and I still have to keep working and pushing and trying to better myself.”

The Bombers close out their pre-season schedule at home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday in advance of also opening the season at home on June 9 against Hamilton. The Elks are off until June 11, when they play host to Saskatchewan in their season lid-lifter.

By Shane Jones in Edmonton, The Canadian Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Debt ceiling deal: Biden, McCarthy says 'agreement in principle' reached

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy delivered very short remarks about how Republican leadership and the White House have reached an “agreement in principle” to raise the debt ceiling, resolving the threat of a looming crisis.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the White House have reached an “agreement in principle” to raise the debt ceiling — just over a week before the deadline to avoid a potential default.

Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy first tweeted the news Saturday night. He said the parties have come to an “agreement in principle that is worthy of the American people.”

“We still have a lot of work to do,” McCarthy said on Saturday night, indicating to reporters that “the writing of it” was still left to be done in the evening.

He said the text is expected to be posted on Sunday, with a vote on Wednesday.

U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed the news roughly an hour later.

The Associated Press reported that central to the package is a two-year budget deal that would hold spending flat for 2024 and impose limits for 2025 in exchange for raising the debt limit for two years, pushing the volatile political issue past the next presidential election.

Negotiators agreed to some Republican demands for enhanced work requirements on recipients of food stamps that had sparked an uproar from House Democrats as a nonstarter.

Biden also spoke earlier in the day with Democratic leaders in Congress to discuss the status of the talks, according to three people familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

On Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen extended the deadline for an agreement to raise the government’s $31.4-trillion debt ceiling to June 5.

She said in a letter to Congress her department would make more than $130 billion in scheduled payments in the first two days of the month, but it would leave the Treasury “with an extremely low level of resources.”

As he left for Camp David on Friday, President Joe Biden had been asked what he would say to Democrats who didn’t want him to bow to Republicans on work requirements. The president said he didn’t “bow to anyone,” though it’s not yet known what may have been negotiated.

The Republican proposal on work requirements had vowed to save $11 billion over 10 years by raising the maximum age for existing standards that require able-bodied adults who do not live with dependents to work or attend training programs.

Current law applies those standards to recipients under the age of 50. The GOP plan would raise the age to include adults 55 and under. It would lower the number of exemptions that states can grant to some recipients subject to those requirements.

Lawmakers were tentatively not expected back at work until Tuesday, just six days before the new deadline when Yellen said the U.S. could start running out of cash to pay its bills. But with a deal now reached, it is likely lawmakers could return much sooner in order to review the deal and vote on the agreement.

In addition, McCarthy had promised lawmakers he would abide by the rule to post any bill for members to view 72 hours before holding a vote. The Democratic-held Senate, which has been in recess, has vowed to move quickly to send the package to Biden’s desk before the possible deadline.

What is contained in the deal will likely influence whether the House and Senate still vote in favour or against. With members of both parties having their own hard lines about what they would accept and each party holding narrow control of separate chambers, even a single vote could put raising the country’s debt limit in doubt.

— with files from the Associated Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'Somebody has to pay for it': WestJet pilots deal could impact future travel costs

WestJet pilots are bound to receive a decent pay raise following a strike notice last week that led to the cancellation of more than 230 flights.

While this may prompt a sigh of relief from those flying with the airline in the near future, according to a travel expert, the deal could lead to some complications later on.

WestJet pilots will be receiving a 24 per cent pay bump over four years under an agreement in principle between the company and the union. Pilots will also receive a 15.5 per cent hourly pay raise this year retroactive to Jan. 1 upon ratification of the deal.

While this looks like an improvement for the pilots, Canadian consumers might want to fasten their seatbelts.

“Should we be expecting an even further increase in flights and costs and fairs? Potentially and most likely,” said travel expert Omar Kaywan.

“At the end of the day, somebody has to pay for it and it’s going to be the passengers.”

Pilots from WestJet’s discount subsidiary Swoop are also included in this deal, which begs the question of how the new deal will affect prices on the budget-friendly airline.

According to Kaywan, that question is still up in the air.

“Will it continue to compete in the low-cost carrier category or will it just completely kind of merge into WestJet?”

Kaywan said that flights are significantly more expensive now than they were at this time last year and prices could continue to rise.

“We’re seeing about 15 to 20 per cent minimum across-the-board price difference in flight costs. We’ll see how much these fares are going to change,” he said.

Other pilots from budget-friendly airlines like Lynx or Flair could also be looking closely at this Westjet deal, and that could put these airlines in a tough spot when it comes to retaining or recruiting staff.

“There are some pros and cons because some of these pilots with these smaller carriers have higher seniority, better scheduling, better work hours. Some of that would have to be sacrificed to go to a larger carrier,” Kaywan said.

Staff at major airlines like Air Canada have also been paying attention to the deal as the Pilots Association said workers must decide by May 29 whether to stick with their 10-year collective agreement.

“You can bet that Air Canada’s pilot union will be looking at this very, very closely,” said Rick Erickson, managing director of consulting firm R.P. Erickson and Associates.

“’Does it make sense for me to stay here where I am? Or should I move over to one of the majors where I’ll get paid better for it but have completely different working circumstances?”’ observed Erickson, paraphrasing pilots who would have higher compensation but lower seniority — and thus worse scheduling options — on arrival at a large airline.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Crews fight grass fire in southwest Calgary

Calgary firefighters fought a grass fire southwest of the city on Saturday afternoon.

A Calgary Fire Department spokesperson told Global News crews received calls of a fire just off Old Banff Coach Road S.W. at around 3:30 p.m.

Around 12 firetrucks were at the scene with the help of the Helicopter Air Watch for Community Safety. The CFD spokesperson said firefighters were able to protect nearby structures.

— more to come…

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Vancouver fundraisers held to support theatre and security for youth drag camps

Vancouver's carousel theatre is hosting two fundraisers today -- in order to pay for security -- security that they say will be needed after a federal party leader publicly criticized their upcoming youth drag camp online. Paul Johnson reports.

The Carousel Theatre for Young People on Vancouver’s Granville Island is holding two fundraising events on Saturday.

The two events will feature performances by the Vancouver band Queer as Funk and drag artists from the House of Carousel.

The first fundraiser will be “an all-ages afternoon extravaganza with face painting, games, and dance fun for the whole family.”

Doors open for that event opened at 2 p.m. The second fundraiser will begin at 7 p.m. for a 19+ event.

A spokesperson for the carousel theatre said they’re the biggest fundraising events for the year, which will support future performances, camps, and activities.

It will also fund security for two upcoming youth drag camps as the theatre said it has been on the receiving end of a targeted hate campaign.

“(Staff) has been subject to online harassment, calling harassment — all kinds of harassment,” said Samantha Falk, a Carousel Theatre for Young People spokesperson.

“It’s death threats, it’s vitriolic hate. It’s terrible the kind of harassment they’ve been subjected to.

“Physical threats, emails, phone calls for almost eight weeks, every day. It has been relentless.”

The theatre is holding two three-day drag camps in July. One is for children aged 7 to 11 and the other for teenagers, aged 12 to 17.

“The summer drag camps are opportunities for young people to have theatrical self-expression in a safe and nurturing place and a place they can just be themselves,” Falk said.

“Some people find that objectable, unfortunately.”

Theatre officials said funds are needed to pay for security as they have heard dangerous and anti-LGBTQ2 rhetoric aimed at their events.

That includes a tweet that the leader of the People’s Party of Canada Maxime Bernier directed at the theatre at the end of March. He called the drag camps “disgusting” and that it’s “indoctrinating kids with gender ideology and sexual confusion.”

“It’s been a really difficult time. There have been so many vile, horrible emails and calls,” said Jocelyn Macdougall, Carousel Theatre for Young People’s chair and lead singer for Queer as Funk.

“It has left our staff afraid and feeling unprotected. Who thought as a children’s theatre company we would have to worry about our physical security but also online security?

“Our team would rather be spending their time building incredible experiences of inclusion and learning for young people, but instead they are worried about whether or not they’ll be able to keep the staff and the young people safe.”

Global News has reached out to Vancouver police for comment.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Burglar takes the cake: Vancouver thief snatches goodies, and cleans store

A bewildering break-in to a Vancouver cafe was caught on CCTV footage. The only thing stolen was a box of cupcakes. Kristen Robinson reports.

A Vancouver cafe burglary was caught on video early Friday but it was not a typical break-in.

The only thing stolen from the store? A box of six cupcakes.

The suspect was also seen doing a number of odd activities in Vancouver’s Sweet Somethings on Dunbar Street.

“At first, it was really upsetting. Businesses have had a really hard time since COVID and it’s really hard for small food businesses to make it,” said Emma Irvine, Sweet Something’s owner.

“So, at first, it was like, ‘another expense, another challenge.’ But then we watched the video and we couldn’t help but laugh.”

In the CCTV videos, the suspect is seen kicking in the front glass door to gain entry.

He then moseys around the shop, tries to open the digital cashier, and even grabs a mop and cleans some floors and glass from the broken front door.

He also took a few selfies on a store phone, which he left behind.

“At first, he hung around the front door, knocking, for like 15 minutes, like he was picking up an order or something. Then he kicked in the door,” Irvine told Global News.

“He started moping up his glass, it was one of the funniest things.

“He also grabbed the store phone, took a few selfies for us as a present I guess, and then took the cupcakes and was on his way.”

cupcake thief

The cupcake thief took a few selfies on a work phone in the cafe.


Irvine said Vancouver police have been notified and officers are investigating the break-in.

The cafe is raising funds for its broken front door by making light of the situation.

Irvine said it has created a new line of cupcakes, complete with orange glasses much like the ones worn by the suspect, which are being sold to fix the door.

Global News has reached out to Vancouver police for more information.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

BC SPCA pet food banks struggle to keep up with rising demand

An increase in demand and an early start to the wildfire season in British Columbia have the BC SPCA struggling to stock its pet food banks.

When some residents of Fort St. John were evacuated last week, along with SPCA staff and animals in their care, supplies were diverted and brought to the area to assist guardians who were displaced.

“When guardians and their pets are evacuated due to a natural disaster like wildfires or floods, they can be away from their homes for weeks at a time. They often rely on the BC SPCA’s pet food banks for food and supplies until they are allowed to return,” said BC SPCA outreach specialist Diane Waters.

The non-profit has also seen increased demand throughout the province over the past few months, especially for those who continue to grapple with inflation. Waters said the BC SPCA is constantly getting requests for pet food and supplies.

“The number of organizations we are currently supporting has risen from 139 to 155,” Waters said.

One community that has seen a surge in demand is Victoria. Since 2022, requests through the pet food bank program there have increased by over 25 per cent.

“The current food security landscape in our community and rising costs of living have had an impact. The BC SPCA’s efforts to increase awareness of the program have also meant more people are reaching out for help,” said Breanne Beckett, senior manager of animal care services in Victoria.

In 2022, the BC SPCA provided 532,000 meals through pet food banks. The organization says it welcomes donations of unopened pet food.

“Our biggest need right now is dry and wet cat food and cat litter,” Waters said.

The BC SPCA is also looking for volunteers to assist with the collection and distribution of pet food and supplies.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Alberta election: How close will the election be in Calgary?

Calgary continues to be the place to watch with many races too close to call. According to recent polling, the two main parties are in a statistical tie in Calgary. Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports.

Polls in Calgary are expected to be tight, and voters are already feeling the heat.

Voters in Calgary-Klein have been keeping an eye on the polls and some who voted early on Saturday believe the results could go either way.

“It upped the importance of the vote a little bit, but it didn’t decide whether I was going to vote,” said Calgarian Mark Langille who was voting at the Winston Heights-Mountview Community Association advance polling station on Saturday.

Saturday was the last day for advance polls before election day on May 29.

Calgary has 26 ridings. All but three are held by the UCP, but analysts have predicted some of those seats might change.

“It could be 50 votes. It could be 25 votes in some ridings because we are dealing with a two-party system right now. It seems like all of the Alberta Party support has moved to the NDP,” said Calgary political strategist Sarah Biggs. “I don’t think we’re going to bed early on Monday night.”

She said the ridings of Calgary-Currie, Calgary-Northeast, Calgary-Beddington, Calgary-Varsity and Calgary-Falconridge are true battlegrounds and are expecting races so tight there could be recounts.

“There are some big conservative names. We could see them not going back to the legislature on Tuesday. It’s going to be difficult to say what’s going to happen,” Biggs said.

“We cannot underestimate how heated Calgary is going to be.”

Biggs said there could be a wildcard in the game: people who haven’t been represented in the polls.

“Either the quiet NDP voter or the quiet UCP voters … They don’t want to say anything and they don’t want to be seen. They just want to go mark their ballot and go home,” Biggs said.

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley was at a rally in downtown Calgary on Saturday and will make a stop in Red Deer on Sunday.

She will also address supporters at a major rally in Edmonton on Sunday.

“This is a close election and it could come down to one seat,” Notley told supporters in Calgary on Saturday.

There were no media events for UCP leader Danielle Smith on Saturday but two Calgary UCP candidates held a media availability announcing plans to expand mental health resources.

Polls have suggested the two main parties are in a statistical tie in Calgary where it’s widely believed the outcome of the provincial election will be decided.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats sink Toronto Argonauts in preseason opener

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats started their preseason schedule on the right foot with a 27-22 victory Saturday afternoon over the visiting Toronto Argonauts.

It was also the first chance for fans to see quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell in a Ticats uniform and he showed well, albeit in limited action.

Mitchell’s first pass attempt was a long bomb to a wide-open Justin McGriff but the rookie receiver had the ball bounce off his hands and to the turf for an incomplete pass.

After his second pass attempt fell incomplete on the next play, a check down to running back James Butler, Mitchell was clinical on his second drive of the game.

The 33-year-old went 3-for-4 for 63 yards passing and put an exclamation point on his day with a 32-yard touchdown throw to former Calgary teammate Richie Sindani.

Rookie Ethan Ratke made good on his first field goal attempt of the game from the 19-yard line and moments later rookie Lio’undre Gallimore scored on an 84-yard punt return to make it 17-0 for Hamilton early in the second quarter.

The Argos responded with a couple of touchdowns in the third quarter when QB Cameron Dukes connected with RaJae Johnson and quarterback Bryan Scott found BJ Byrd in the endzone.

Those two scores were sandwiched on either side of Hamilton’s third TD of the game, an eight-yard toss from rookie pivot Taylor Powell to linebacker-turned-fullback Bailey Feltmate.

Hamilton’s other rookie kicker in camp, Jonathan Garibay, booted a 45-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter before Scott and Byrd connected for a 5-yard TD with no time left.

The Ticats will play their final exhibition game on June 2 in Montreal and will open the regular season on June 9 in Winnipeg.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Record turnout as thousands of bikers rally at Polo Park for 15th annual Ride for Dad

Thousands of bikers gathered in Winnipeg Saturday morning -- for the annual Ride for Dad event. Global's Katherine Dornian has more -- on their campaign for men's health.

Thousands of motorcycles flooded into Polo Park on Saturday morning for the 15th annual Ride for Dad and according to organizers of the event, it was a record turnout.

The ride has been held yearly to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer research, which is a cause close to the heart of the event’s spokesman, Ed Johner.

“I was diagnosed with prostate and kidney cancer in 2007. And because of early detection, which is a big emphasis that we try and make, I was treated for both successfully.”

The event also encourages men over 40 to get checked regularly for prostate cancer as Johner says 90 per cent of cases can be treated successfully if detected early. He said 1.2 million Canadian men have prostate cancer and “80 per cent of them don’t know it.”

The ride began with a police-escorted parade down Portage Avenue, then riders went up through Selkirk to Gimli and then back down through Lockport.

Johner says the ride brings people together and is a fun time for people overall. “It’s a great day of friendship, a great day of camaraderie.”

All of the money raised for the event will go towards prostate cancer research and education in Manitoba and the early estimate for this year’s total is $500,000. Since 2009, the event has raised over $3.5 million.

— with files from Global’s Katherine Dornian  

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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