A German couple who planned to move their family and business to Cape Breton got more than they bargained for. Their first property deal in Canada came with Nazi propaganda.Petra Krug said the man who sold her and her husband a property in Richmond County, N.S., also sent them emails with attachments that, among other things, honoured Germans from the Second World War and denied six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.Krug said she never asked for the material in the emails and didn't want it."I try to ignore that, because it is not our business with the things from Nazi and I detest it," she said. "I detest it."Krug said she and her husband, Bernhard, spent several years dealing by email with Frank Eckhardt, owner of F.E. Property Sales in St. Peters, N.S., looking for a piece of land in Cape Breton. They wanted to immigrate with their daughter and start a new business leasing cottages in the country to seniors looking to downsize.Allegations about Eckhardt holding far-right and Nazi views were first raised publicly last week in an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel. He was also the subject of a CBC News article last year after a couple from Austria complained about a land purchase they made from him.Efforts to reach Eckhardt for comment on this article were unsuccessful. He did not respond to emails and hung up when contacted by phone. A number of his business signs were recently vandalized, including one spray painted with "Nazi go home." RCMP said Thursday they were looking into it following a complaint from Eckhardt.Krug said the emails arrived sporadically over several years while they were still in Germany considering a land purchase in Cape Breton, sometimes on the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden or the anniversary of Germany's surrender in 1945.CBC News has seen some of the material sent by email to the Krugs. It includes a quote from someone saying the Holocaust "is the biggest lie in history." Another email said Zyklon B gas, which was used to kill prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, was only ever used to clean clothes.Land dealKrug said she and her husband finally got the money to buy a Richmond County property from Eckhardt a few years ago, but the deal turned sour after a dispute arose over the deposit.A German acquaintance in Canada helped the Krugs get their money back after finding out the land was being sold at more than eight times the assessed value, said Krug.The Krugs have since bought another property in Victoria County and say they are very happy to be in Canada, despite the rocky start."We have nothing to do with this right-wing stuff," Krug said. "We ... want to integrate and hopefully get the citizenship in a few years, too, especially for our daughter."The emails from Eckhardt were unsettling, said Krug, especially because espousing Nazi values and denying the Holocaust are against the law in Germany."Praising, I don't really know. I only remember that he said no, there were not six million Jewish killed, but even when we were in Germany, with this theme, we don't touch this theme."Hard drive turned over to RCMPKrug said Eckhardt also sent them a computer hard drive, promising that it contained articles on natural medicine and e-books too large to send as email attachments.However, she said the couple did not open it, because they were too busy packing and moving from Germany to Canada.Krug said the acquaintance who helped them get out of the land deal with Eckhardt suggested they take the unopened hard drive to the RCMP, because of concerns over the nature of the emails they had received.Krug said the couple never saw what was on the hard drive, but their acquaintance told them it contained Nazi materials. She said they left it in the hands of their acquaintance and the RCMP and did not want it back.Krug said she doesn't want anyone else to get into a bad land deal and doesn't want to see anyone else unwittingly exposed to offensive material."I only want that nobody has to go through this history we went through," she said.Police investigationIn an email to CBC News earlier this week, RCMP in Nova Scotia confirmed they examined a hard drive said to contain Nazi propaganda."We found that it did contain some material that is considered to be offensive, but the possession of it does not meet the threshold for a charge of public incitement of hatred," RCMP said."We made the decision not to proceed with criminal charges after a careful examination of the material and consultation with the Public Prosecution Service. Our investigation into the allegations is now complete and has been concluded."Naomi Rosenfeld, executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council, said in an email her organization is aware of the Der Spiegel allegations and has alerted the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, as well as RCMP."Though these reports are alarming, there was nothing in the reports to suggest an immediate security threat to the Jewish community of Atlantic Canada," she said.MORE TOP STORIES
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It's a once-in-a-generation event. The last time the federal government faced a decision of this kind, Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" was playing on the radio.Today is the submission deadline for the three aerospace firms bidding for the right to build Canada's next fighter jet. By all accounts, U.S. defence giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and Swedish aircraft-maker Saab, have handed in their proposals.The Liberal government pushed back the deadline for the $19 billion competition to the end of July because of the pandemic crisis.On April 10, 1980, a previous Liberal government chose the McDonnell Douglas (later Boeing) CF-18 as the backbone of the country's fighter jet fleet.The current government is not expected to make a decision on whether to buy the Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing's Super Hornet (a newer, beefier version of the F-18) or Saab's Gripen-E for several months. The first jets likely won't arrive until 2025.In retrospect, buying the CF-18s was a walk in the park compared to the procurement experience of a generation of federal officials since a replacement for the CF-18 was first discussed in the late 1990s.The government of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau decided in March, 1977 to buy a new fighter. Three years later, bids had been submitted and a contract was signed. Two years after that, the first CF-18s were on the flight line.If only it could have been that easy this time around."The road we have been on in this journey has been long and torturous," said Dave Perry, an expert in defence procurement who has followed the fighter jet file for a decade.It was Jean Chrétien's Liberal government that started the ball rolling by joining a U.S.-led program to construct among allies a new, affordable stealth fighter — a proposal that eventually morphed into the F-35.A dozen years later, when Stephen Harper was prime minister, the Conservative government signalled its intention to buy the F-35. That pitch triggered a storm of political and defence opposition that dragged in the Parliamentary Budget Office and, eventually, the auditor general.The problem, said University of British Columbia defence expert Michael Byers, is that the Canadian air force has only ever wanted the F-35."They thought they had it done and dusted with the Conservatives until Kevin Page started to pull it apart," Byers said, referring to the former parliamentary budget officer who first questioned the cost of the planned acquisition.'Just bonkers'The plan became even more politically toxic when the Liberals promised in 2015 not to buy the stealth fighter — to acquire something cheaper instead.Successive governments have "ragged the puck," said Byers, and politicians have avoided tough decisions that would "annoy the generals, the U.S. government or the Canadian public."Upon assuming office, the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embarked on a ponderous round of industry consultations and reviews that pushed the deadline for buying new fighters out past the last election in 2019."It did not need to go on this long," said Perry. "They tried to maximize the competitive environment [for aerospace companies] but in general, it has been just bonkers."It was always going to be tough, Perry added, to have a competition on a level playing field because of the structure of the F-35 program, which provides industrial benefits to Canadian companies. Those benefits make it tough to measure the cost and value of the F-35 against its competitors.Federal officials were forced to find workarounds to keep Lockheed Martin in the competition.The Liberal government plans to buy 88 new fighter jets. It will have to start paying for them just as the navy is expected to start receiving the first of its new frigates.Sticker shockBoth bills will come due at a time when the federal government will still be digging itself out of pandemic debt.Perry said he's concerned."When the government's deficit is eye-wateringly large and its revenue hole is astoundingly high," he said, a finance minister might "hestitate" to approve a military contract worth many billions of dollars.One factor that could influence the program is whether the pandemic has forced aerospace companies to increase prices beyond what was anticipated, in order to account for economic conditions and supply uncertainty.The most likely outcome for the program in the current dire fiscal climate, said Byers, is Ottawa opting to buy fewer planes. He pointed out that the Conservatives had planned to purchase only 65 jets — the minimum number the air force said it needed to do its job.The federal government cannot avoid the program entirely, he added."We will be buying fighter jets. The questions are, how many? And from whom?"
As questions swirl about the WE Charity's's links to federal political leaders, Toronto city council has voted to look at how staff decided to lease a Cabbagetown building for nearly $10 million from the parents of the charity's founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger.Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, whose ward includes the building, moved the motion this week, saying the city needs to deliver a full explanation about how the deal was worked out for the building at 233 Carlton St., just west of Parliament Street."When the WE scandal blew up," said Wong-Tam, "community members started to raise the concern about how much the city was involved with the WE charity and the Kielburger family, especially as it pertains to 233 Carlton." Wong-Tam was referring to the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government and the WE Charity. It all stems from a contract with WE to administer a $900-million federal summer student grant program. WE backed out of the deal amid conflict of interest allegations.against Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, both of whom have family ties to the charity. Review to consider if city overpaid The city's review is set to include how staff came to know about 233 Carlton St., who from the WE organization communicated with staff to determine the financial terms of the lease, and if the agreed upon amount is in line with the current market value. The building is owned by 1622774 Ontario Ltd., which is listed as belonging to Fred and Theresa Kielburger. The City of Toronto got possession of the rental property at the beginning of 2020. The nearly 13,000-square-foot space is set to become the new home for the Adelaide Resource Centre for Women, a 24-hour drop-in centre. The review will look at how the lease agreement was handled and whether other rental units were considered to house the centre. According to the lease, the city is paying nearly $10 million over a 10-year period, including $3.7 million in renovations, an amount many residents in the neighbourhood feel is extremely high.Carmine Coccimiglio, who lives in the area and owns commercial properties, says the Kielburgers are getting about $4 million dollars in free upgrades to the building. "That's our taxpayer dollars," said Coccimiglio. "Tenants do not put in that amount of money" to renovate a building, he added. Property sat on the market for monthsHe also wonders why the city didn't negotiate a better price when the three-storey unit sat on the rental market for several months before the city scooped it up. "The owners had to take it off the market because it sat there for so long," said Coccimiglio. According to the rental listings, 233 Carlton St. was on the market from December 2018 to March 2019, and the price is mistakenly listed as $26,. CBC Toronto is unable to confirm the correct rental listing amount. After the listing was taken down at the end of March 2019, the city signed a lease in July 2019. The copy of the lease agreement that CBC Toronto obtained lists Wong-Tam as the councillor consulted about the rental agreement, however Wong-Tam says that's an error that has now been corrected. Never approved the rental, Wong-Tam says"I was not given any option to approve or disapprove; I was just advised that this was going to happen," said Wong-Tam. Another concern, Cococimiglio says, is that the community feels as though it was blindsided by the deal and not informed that a drop-in centre would be moving into that space. Wong-Tam admits that the community wasn't given advance notice about what the space would become.Staff was handling the lease agreement and was allowed to sign off on it, though Wong-Tam says the expectation was that the community would be contacted.
Something that normally happens off the grid has been in the spotlight this week, thanks to the few who do not follow the rules.According to Marla Zapach, who runs an eco-tourism operation near Nordegg, problems with random camping boil down to one thing: "People don't know what they don't know."Camping traffic in central Alberta's foothills and Rocky Mountains has been on the rise, in part, due to the pandemic removing other travel options.Many random campers pack out their garbage, but those who do not are leaving massive problems behind for locals to clean up in the Bighorn area. The increase in general traffic has been "insane" — according to a recent report from Alberta Environment's Bighorn backcountry standing committee.> They're not quite sure how to camp in an area with very little to no infrastructure. \- Marla Zapach, who operates Skadi Wilderness Adventures"You have a lot more people coming out to the area, who are used to camping in areas that have services or they have toilets, or, you know, other things that make their camping experience simply easier," said Zapach, who is also a member of that committee."And when they come onto the Bighorn, they don't realize that those services just simply don't exist for them. And so they're not quite sure how to camp in an area with very little to no infrastructure."Bighorn Country is a more than 5,000-square-kilometre wilderness area stretching east of the Banff and Jasper National Parks. It's a reasonable drive from both Calgary and Edmonton. It has mountain ranges, rolling foothills, alpine grasslands, rivers and lakes.And random campers."We've generally seen a large influx of people into the area," Zapach told Alberta at Noon, which dedicated its Wednesday show to the topic of random camping."The highways are busier. There's more garbage. There's a lot of people parking on the highways to access some of the trailheads. It's noisier … and it's consistent, whereas before it would be on long weekends, we now see it happening throughout the week."Zapach estimates that in the past, long weekend traffic would be about 10,000 people, but that has doubled this year."It's a large area, so there is room for everyone to be recreating and enjoying the space," said Zapach. "The problems only come about when the rules and the regulations in place aren't followed."Zapach ran through a list of issues: trespassing on First Nations land, illegal discharging of firearms, garbage and food not being disposed of or stored properly, cutting down trees, cutting new trails, people not crossing streams appropriately with their ATVs, and everyone's favourite, leaving human waste.There are also issues with parking on highways, and speeding, and sometimes "just generalized anti-social behavior," Zapach said.In 2018, the NDP government proposed creating a new park system that would include a wildland park, three provincial parks and four recreation areas in Bighorn Country. Former premier Rachel Notley planned to spend $40 million on infrastructure in the controversial plan, which never came to fruition.No commitment for new fundingAs The Canadian Press reported Wednesday, Environment Minister Jason Nixon has not committed to any new funding for facilities or enforcement for the area, which is serviced by just two park rangers. "What is taking place in that location in the eastern slopes is exactly what we have taking place all across the province because of COVID. We'll continue to do our best to manage that," Nixon said.For Zapach, it's not about making it a provincial park."It's not the question of designated a park or not, it's what do we want this land to be used for," Zapach said."We have competing values and pressures on the landscape and we definitely want all Albertans to be able to continue to enjoy this world-renowned beautiful area, while conserving these values that make it special for generations to come."Almost 50,000 people have joined a Facebook group called Crown Land camping Alberta, run by Ryan Epp, who says his style of camping includes a 21-foot trailer, a quad and some target practice in an area where he won't be disturbing anyone."You're not reaching out and touching the trailer right next to you at arm's length away in the campground … generally, you're not even within eyesight of people around you," Epp told Alberta at Noon. "So it's peaceful and quiet and it's out there as well. You don't don't have somebody right next door to you."Epp says he has faced accusations that his Facebook group is causing the surge in random camping."I mean, sure, we brought more attention to it, but we're trying to teach people the rules and a lot of people think there are no rules," he said. "That's the problem.… You've got to abide by basically common sense while you're out there. I mean, yeah, we got people thinking we're the cause of it, but we're trying to help anyway."The appeal of random camping is undeniable, especially with the difficulty of booking online for most national and provincial parks. Epp says people want the freedom to make noise or enjoy peace and quiet.For some, the lack of rules is part of the appeal or random camping."They want to be out there on their own," Epp said. "A lot of the people aren't for more enforcement. I'm all for it, to try to catch these people that are breaking the rules, because they are causing big problems, and they're the ones that are getting all the attention, unfortunately."> The amount of human waste around the random campsites is unbelievable, and hacking down green trees, and it really is almost a no-rules situation. \- Cal Hill, from north of CochraneCaller Cal Hill, from north of Cochrane, says he's frustrated to see the lack of respect for one of his favourite places, around the Ghost Lake area."The amount of human waste around the random campsites is unbelievable, and hacking down green trees, and it really is almost a no-rules situation," he said."I think a lot of people just don't understand what's required and even how to use facilities when there are no facilities."Another camper, Paul Hogan, called in to Alberta at Noon from his random campsite 30 kilometres west of Sundre. He was in a fully-equipped travel trailer, which he says he has everything he needs."These campgrounds are going to offer me nothing except to pay them money," he said.Hogan, a member of the Mississaugii of Hiawatha First Nation in Ontario, suggested using the vast network of off-road enthusiasts to police the area.'They have a quad society up there in the Bighorn … I think they should enlist these people, they're out there and I know up at Bighorn they're fixing trails and stuff," he said. "These people care, and like you're going to get all these police and fish and wildlife all these people involved, it just costs more money."Hogan says he would never use the current reservation system for provincial and national parks, which requires people to book ahead — if they can grab a spot before they're all gone."I've never done that," he said. "Six years ago, I started random camping. I used to go to the sites. I leave home because I want to get away from stuff, and they put me in a lot with an RV right beside me. And I've got a fully contained unit. Unless you have water and sewage, you've got nothing really for me."Infrastructure, enforcement and educationZapach, who says she supports random camping, says the problems come down to three main issues: lack of infrastructure, lack of enforcement and lack of education."We just simply don't have enough conservation officers out there," she said. 'We really need a Kananaskis-level investment in conservation officers.'> We need to work together as a province to make sure that visitors from outside the province are respecting our natural habitat and our natural resources in the way that we do. \- Wyanne Smallboy-WesleyWyanne Smallboy-Wesley says as a First Nation person from the Bighorn area, she agrees that education is needed, and funding for more officers to patrol the area."As Albertans I know that we have been in good practice, in good faith, camping along the Bighorn Reserve for many years now," she said. "But the other provinces … I see their licence plates coming into our area, they don't have that appreciation, and they don't have that stewardship the way that Albertans do. We need to work together as a province to make sure that visitors from outside the province are respecting our natural habitat and our natural resources in the way that we do."TrespassingSmallboy-Wesley added that random campers are trespassing, cutting new paths and disturbing wildlife."Hunting season is coming up," she said. "It's traditional territory in that area … so we're going to go hunting. They're disturbing our livelihood. They're disturbing our culture. That is disturbing our way of life."Random camper Ian Cowles, from Edmonton, says he heads out camping at least once a month."I do a lot of backcountry camping, and I find that most of those spots are very well kept. There's not anyone taking down a lot of trees, and [campers are] just using deadfall if they are going to be lighting fires," Cowles said."But when it comes to the Nordegg area, which I have car camped in and around, I found that area to be extremely bad when it comes to garbage, to people taking down living trees."Cowles doesn't believe harsher enforcement is the key."I favour more education," he said. "Having an educated public that knows, like, you don't want to be disturbing it so that the next person to use that spot is going to be in a worse situation."Zapach, who runs Skadi Wilderness Adventures near Nordegg, says a complete list of rules and regulations, as well as best practices for random camping are laid out on the Government of Alberta website.With files from Alberta at Noon and The Canadian Press.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford commended teachers on Thursday for how they’ve adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and said they have the right to not go back to the classroom when schools reopen due to health concerns, but said they “need the teachers to come to class when possible.” Education Minister Stephen Lecce added that they would respect the decision of the teacher, but say there is an expectation that they can teach online.
WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic sent the U.S. economy plunging by a record-shattering 32.9% annual rate last quarter and is still inflicting damage across the country, squeezing already struggling businesses and forcing a wave of layoffs that shows no sign of abating.The economy's collapse in the April-June quarter, stunning in its speed and depth, came as a resurgence of the viral outbreak has pushed businesses to close for a second time in many areas. The government’s estimate of the second-quarter fall in the gross domestic product has no comparison since records began in 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction — at 10%, less than a third of what was reported Thursday — occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.Soon after the government issued the bleak economic data, President Donald Trump diverted attention by suggesting a “delay” in the Nov. 3 presidential election, based on his unsubstantiated allegations that widespread mail-in voting will result in fraud. The dates of presidential elections are enshrined in federal law and would require an act of Congress to change.So steep was the economic fall last quarter that most analysts expect a sharp rebound for the current July-September period. But with coronavirus cases rising in the majority of states and the Republican Senate proposing to scale back aid to the unemployed, the pain is likely to continue and potentially worsen in the months ahead.The plunge in GDP “underscores the unprecedented hit to the economy from the pandemic,” said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “We expect it will take years for that damage to be fully recovered.”That's because the virus has taken square aim at the engine of the American economy — consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of activity. That spending collapsed at a 34.6% annual rate last quarter as people holed up in their homes, travel all but froze, and shutdown orders forced many restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and other retail establishments to close.The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed more than 200 points down — though earlier it had seemed set for a much bigger fall.Tentative hopes for a swift recovery have been diminished by a resurgence of viral cases in the South and the West that has forced many businesses to close again or reduce occupancy. Between June 21 and July 19, for example, the proportion of Texas bars that were closed shot from 25% to 73%. Likewise, 75% of California beauty shops were shuttered July 19, up from 40% just a week earlier, according to the data firm Womply.The second surge does appear to be levelling off, but cases are still rising in close to 30 states.Many states have imposed restrictions on visitors from the states that have reported high levels of cases, hurting hotels, airlines and other industries that depend on travel.That has led to mammoth job losses. In a sign of how weakened the job market remains, more than 1.4 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. It was the 19th straight week that more than 1 million people have applied for jobless aid. Before the coronavirus erupted in March in the U.S., the number of Americans seeking unemployment checks had never exceeded 700,000 in any one week, even during the Great Recession.An additional 830,000 people applied for unemployment benefits under a new program that extends eligibility for the first time to self-employed and gig workers. All told, the government says roughly 30 million people are receiving some form of jobless aid, though that figure might be inflated by double-counting by some states.The pain could soon intensify further: A supplemental $600 in weekly federal unemployment benefits is expiring, and Congress is squabbling about extending the aid, which will probably be done at some reduced level of payment.“The risk of temporary job losses becoming permanent is high from repeated closures of businesses," said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. "That could result in an even slower pace of recovery.”Last quarter’s economic drop followed a 5% fall in the January-March quarter, during which the economy officially entered a recession, ending an 11-year economic expansion, the longest on record in the United States.The Trump campaign said in a statement that the GDP report reflected a period “when much of the economy was essentially closed down to save millions of American lives.”The economic harm from the virus is extending well beyond the United States. On Thursday, Germany reported that its GDP tumbled 10.1% last quarter. It was the biggest such drop since records began in 1970. And Mexico’s GDP sank 17.3% last quarter, also a record. Unlike the U.S. figures, those numbers are not annualized rates.With little hope of a swift recovery in the U.S., the picture looks dim for many of the jobless. Since she was laid off by a tech industry non-profit in mid-May, Miranda Meyerson has been trying to find another job and to sign up for unemployment benefits.“It’s just incredibly frustrating and demoralizing,’’ she said. Potential employers seem to be delaying hiring decisions.“Nobody gets back to you,’’ said Meyerson, 38. “You feel like there’s only so long you can submit (applications) into a void.’’Meyerson and her partner had moved from New York to Oakland, California, in March. The move complicated her efforts, so far futile, to collect benefits from a swamped California unemployment benefits system.Many economists note that the economy can’t fully recover until the pandemic is defeated — a point stressed Wednesday at a news conference by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. He warned that the viral epidemic has been endangering a modest economic recovery and that, as a result, the Fed plans to keep interest rates pinned near zero well into the future.“A poorly managed health situation and depressed incomes means the economy risks a double-dip recession without urgent fiscal aid,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.Daco said the expiration of the $600 in federal unemployment aid means that many households could suffer a loss of income in the range of 50% to 75%. That could further weaken spending, thereby fueling a downward economic spiral.“The economy," Daco said, “is going to be running on very little fuel at a point when the recovery has really stalled.”Martin Crutsinger And Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — A New York state judge has sentenced a man who committed violent sexual crimes in Nova Scotia to between two and six years of additional jail time for absconding from justice and fleeing to Canada in 1996.William Shrubsall carried out a series of rapes and beatings against Halifax women after he jumped bail and found his way to the provincial capital.U.S. district attorney Caroline Wojtaszek confirmed the sentence in an interview Thursday, adding that during the hearing in Niagara County, N.Y., on Wednesday she argued Shrubsall was a brutal and manipulative man who was capable of further harm to women."I'm concerned about his compulsiveness and his violent nature ... and I hope the state of New York does everything it can to keep him away from society for as long as possible," she said.The 49-year-old American — who now goes by the name Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod — originally fled to Canada to avoid sentencing on sexual assault charges in the United States.Shrubsall was deported to New York on Jan. 22, 2019 after he obtained a controversial release from the Parole Board of Canada based on its view he stood to serve many more years in American penitentiaries.He is currently serving a sentence of two-and-one-third to seven years for his original conviction in absentia for the sexual assault of a 17-year-old woman.Wojtaszek says the sentence for jumping bail will be on top of his existing sentence, and that the earliest Shrubsall could be eligible for parole is in about four years.The state prosecutor said it would be extremely rare for an offender with Shrubsall's record to be granted parole at the earliest eligibility date.However, she added it was unfortunate that he didn't remain in jail in Canada longer as a dangerous offender."I know great lengths were taken to pursue that (dangerous offender) status, and I'm sure the Nova Scotia prosecutor thought that it would be as close to a life sentence as you could get," she said."Instead, I think he got out after what would have been a fair sentence for just one of his crimes."The prosecutor said she will assemble all relevant materials about Shrubsall and forward them to the state's attorney general, who Wojtaszek said may apply for Shrubsall to remain incarcerated in "a secure facility but not a prison" under a civil confinement order.A New York civil confinement order, if approved by a judge, allows people to be kept in custody for the protection of the public even if granted parole."The (New York state) attorney general would have to review all his files and petition the courts for his continued detention under civil confinement (state) law," said Wojtaszek, adding that such an application would come closer to Shrubsall's parole date.Shrubsall was designated a dangerous offender in Canada in 2001 after the American fugitive committed a series of attacks against women in Halifax.The crimes included the fracturing of one victim's skull with a baseball bat in 1998 to the point she spent five days in a coma and almost died.Wojtaszek has said that initially U.S. authorities simply didn't know where Shrubsall was after he suddenly disappeared on the third day of his sexual abuse trial, leaving a suicide note.In Canada, Shrubsall used a series of aliases as he first stalked a woman he'd met and then went on to commit brutal crimes against three others.In February 1998, he inflicted the baseball bat assault on a clerk in a Halifax waterfront store.Three months later, he beat, robbed and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old university student in a south-end Halifax driveway. And in June 1998, he choked and confined a 26-year-old woman.Those came on top of his American crimes, which included beating his mother to death when he was 17 in their home in Niagara Falls, N.Y. He told the court at the time that his mother had abused him.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2020.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Most of Ontario's students will return to traditional classrooms full time in September, the province announced Thursday as it released a back-to-school plan critics argue prioritizes cost-savings over kids' health.Elementary students and many high schoolers will be in school five days a week in standard class sizes, while secondary students at two dozen boards that are higher risk will only attend class half the time in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.Those high schoolers will have a maximum class size of 15, and will receive "curriculum-linked independent work" on days when they are not in school."We're taking every step and every precaution to be ready for September," Premier Doug Ford said. "While we're facing an unprecedented situation, we're prepared for anything, armed with the best medical advice available to protect your child at school."Opposition parties staunchly disagreed with that characterization.Marit Stiles, education critic for the Opposition NDP, said the Tories were cutting corners in order to save money and argued that failing to reduce cohort-size for elementary students was a dangerous oversight."Many, many classrooms are packed to the rafters," she said. "We hear stories all the time about teachers not being able to fit enough desks into the classroom to manage the existing cohort, so how can we possibly expect students to be at a distance and to remain at that distance?"Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca agreed, pointing to a SickKids report released Wednesday, which recommended that the province prioritize smaller class sizes.It also recommended that elementary-aged kids be kept one metre apart from each other, and high schoolers be kept two metres apart.While Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the aim is to keep students one metre apart from each other, a guidance document says only that schools should promote "as much distancing as possible."Instead of strictly enforcing physical distancing, the document says schools will be leaning more heavily on other public health measures, including keeping students separated into designated groups — or "cohorts" — and encouraging hand hygiene.The plan gives parents the option to keep their kids out of class, and says boards must make it possible for students to learn remotely.It says students in grades 4 through 12 must wear masks in class, while younger kids are encouraged to do so in indoor common areas. Lecce said that's because the latest science suggests older kids are more likely to spread the virus than their younger counterparts.That's also why some boards can only have high schoolers in class part time, he said.The goal is also to keep everyone out of school when they're sick, Lecce said."We will also be supporting public health efforts by continuing to promote our screening protocols so that students and staff do not show up to school if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild," he said. Should a student or staff member develop symptoms while in school, they are to be immediately separated from others until they can get home — and not on student or public transit.Anyone with symptoms is to be tested. If they test positive, they can only return to class once they're given the go-ahead by public health officials, the document says. Those who test negative after an initial positive test can only return once they've been symptom-free for 24 hours.Lecce added that teachers who are immunocompromised or feel unsafe returning to class for other reasons can focus their efforts on teaching students who are opting for remote learning.The government also announced $309 million in funding to make the plan work, including $60 million for personal protective equipment and $80 million for extra staffing.In a joint statement, the province's four major teachers' unions said that simply isn't enough money to ensure a safe return to class for staff and students."The premier promised Ontarians he 'will spare no expense' to keep people safe, yet he and ... Lecce are betraying that promise to students, educators, parents and communities with this ill-prepared plan," said Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario.The highly anticipated announcement came just six weeks before back-to-school season and a week before the province's 72 school boards were initially asked to submit their plans for the academic year.The government further announced Thursday that day-care centres across the province will be allowed to return to their full capacity on September 1, in time for back-to-school.The announcements came as Ontario logged fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 for a second day in a row, with 89 new cases reported on Thursday.Health Minister Christine Elliott said 28 of the province's 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 17 reporting no new ones.She said the number of people in hospital, in intensive care and on a ventilator all went down, and the province was able to complete more than 27,600 tests the previous day.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2020.Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
Staff at the Overdose Prevention Society in Vancouver say the man killed Monday night behind St. Paul's Hospital was their colleague, Thomus Donaghy.Donaghy was one of the first volunteers at OPS when it opened its doors in 2016 in response to the opioid crisis, says Sarah Blyth, executive director at OPS.Donaghy would walk Vancouver's streets and alleys, often alone at night, just to make sure someone didn't overdose alone, she said.In all, she predicts he saved hundreds of lives."He was one of the kindest volunteers we've ever had," she said. "It's so shocking and tragic. He would go above and beyond for everyone."CBC News has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department to confirm that Donaghy was the victim of the city's ninth homicide of 2020, but they have yet to respond.On Monday, officers responded to a report around 8:30 p.m. that a stabbed man had been found in a lot near Thurlow and Comox streets.Emergency crews took the 41-year-old man to hospital, where he later died from his injuries, police said. Blyth says Donaghy was part of her team, which won an award from the City of Vancouver for its overdose prevention efforts."Everybody loved him and the thought of something tragic happening to him in that way is unbearable for everyone in the community," said Blyth."He had a lot of compassion. More than most."Cindy Vell, who worked alongside Donaghy as a volunteer at OPS, says he was a very caring person and echoed Blyth's comment that he would do anything for anybody."He's gone but not forgotten," said Vell.Police said Tuesday that no arrests had been made and no suspect had been identified.
The infamous bus that served as the final campsite for doomed adventurer Christopher McCandless could be preserved as a museum piece under a plan announced on Thursday by Alaska officials. The University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks has offered to house the bus, removed by the state last month from its six-decades-long resting site near Denali National Park. Over the years, hundreds trekked out to spend time at the abandoned bus, where McCandless spent 114 days before dying of starvation in 1992.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia's King Salman was discharged from a hospital in the capital Riyadh after more than a week following surgery to remove his gall bladder, the Royal Court said.The court said in a statement late Thursday the monarch, 84, left the King Faisal Specialist Hospital after a recovery.News of his improved health comes just as Saudis mark the start of the Eid al-Adha festival on Friday, which Muslims around the world celebrate. It coincides with the last days of the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, which this year saw only a sliver of the usual numbers of pilgrims taking part due to the coronavirus pandemic.King Salman was admitted to the hospital July 20 with inflammation of his gall bladder. A few days later, he was operated on. The procedure was described as a laparoscopic surgery — a low-risk procedure that usually involves only small incisions and a tiny camera to aid the surgeons’ work.The gallbladder, a small, pouch-like organ near the liver that stores bile, can easily be removed and is not critical for life. Surgeons often take it out if it begins to bother a patient.King Salman has been in power since January 2015. His health is closely watched by observers because of the absolute powers he holds presiding over one of the world’s top producers of oil and one of its biggest economies.His reign has been marked by quick, sweeping changes in a country accustomed to slow, gradual reforms. Since coming to power, he’s taken the country to war in Yemen, hardened the kingdom’s stance toward Shiite rival Iran and severed ties with neighbouring Qatar.He’s empowered his 34-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as his successor. The crown prince’s assertive and bold style of leadership, as well as his consolidation of power and sidelining of potential rivals, have been controversial.With the support of his father, Prince Mohammed has transformed the kingdom in recent years, eroding decades of ultraconservative restrictions in society as he tries to diversify the Saudi economy away from reliance on oil exports.The crown prince has also detained dozens of activists and critics, overseen the devastating Yemen war as defence minister and rounded up top members of the royal family in his rise to power. The killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in late 2018 has been linked to the crown prince by Western intelligence services and U.S. lawmakers, further straining ties between the kingdom and the U.S.Aya Batrawy, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — RCMP investigators confirmed Thursday that the gunman who went on a rampage in Nova Scotia in April had hidden compartments in buildings and had converted personal assets into "a significant amount" of cash prior to his attacks.However, a statement issued Thursday says one witness statement in court documents claiming Gabriel Wortman had committed prior murders and burned bodies was not corroborated by follow-up interviews and property searches.Investigators say searches of the killer's burned residence in Portapique haven't turned up evidence to back the allegation of any murders before the April 18-19 killings of 22 people in central and northern Nova Scotia.The Mounties were responding to the release earlier this week of previously blacked-out portions of witness allegations submitted by police to obtain search warrants.Allegations included statements by a witness that the 51-year-old denturist smuggled drugs, but the RCMP say that to date the investigation hasn't revealed evidence the gunman was involved in importing or selling illegal drugs, or that he was part of a criminal organization."Only this one witness has come forward with information that the gunman was actively and recently involved in the importation and trafficking of illegal drugs," the RCMP statement says."No other persons out of the close to 700 interviewed, including those closest to the gunman, have provided similar information that proves the gunman was an illegal drug smuggler and/or drug trafficker."Investigators say they've corroborated witness statements saying the killer had hidden rooms or compartments in his Dartmouth, N.S., property, and they agree he likely had hiding places in his Portapique residence — which burned to the ground on the night of his rampage."Investigators have confirmed that the gunman had constructed areas in his Dartmouth residence which appear to be designed to hide items. Information also suggested that the purpose for constructing these spaces was to hide firearms," the statement says."Given that, investigators have no reason to doubt the existence of hiding spaces constructed at both the Dartmouth and Portapique residences and believe that the purpose of constructing these spaces was for hiding illegal firearms."Police say the gunman's emails reveal the withdrawal of personal funds from his investments and bank accounts."The purpose of those conversions and withdrawals was based on the gunman's belief that his assets were safer in his possession as it related to the current pandemic," the statement says."A significant amount of currency has been recovered from the gunman's burned out property in Portapique, which supports the pre-April 18 withdrawal of funds previously disclosed."The RCMP repeated previous statements that Wortman had weapons smuggled in from the United States and had one gun illegally obtained in Canada."The gunman was involved in procuring firearms illegally .... Any transactions of firearms on the part of the gunman or anyone else remains part of the active investigation. As such, no further details in relation to this can or will be provided at this time," police say.The Mountie statement does say Wortman had relationships with Americans living in Maine and that he frequently visited these people.The gunman was killed by police at a service station in Enfield, N.S., on April 19, 13 hours after his rampage began.The documents that a media consortium, including The Canadian Press, went before a provincial court judge to obtain were heavily redacted, and Crown lawyers have only been releasing small portions — sometimes a single word or phrase — as the case progresses.Previously blacked-out details from police applications for search warrants were unsealed Monday by Judge Laurel Halfpenny MacQuarrie.A witness told police that neighbours spoke of concealed spaces on Wortman's properties in Portapique, N.S., and in Dartmouth, N.S.That included a "secret room'' in his Dartmouth denturist clinic, a false wall at his property on Portland Street in Dartmouth and "secret hiding spots'' at his warehouse property in Portapique.Previously released documents have detailed warning signals of paranoid behaviour and unusual purchases of gasoline by the gunman before his killings.Large portions of the documents remain blacked-out, and the judge wrote Monday that those redactions are necessary "because of the significant ongoing investigation.''This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2020.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
Plans to expand the Vista Coal Mine must now be scrutinized by the new Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, the federal environment minister says.Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson previously decided one phase of a proposed expansion to the open-pit mine near Hinton wouldn't need federal review.Environmental and Indigenous groups protested, saying two planned expansions at the mine made the project large enough for federal consideration.On Thursday, Wilkinson said he agreed. "What we said is, they're actually at the same site. They're the same project. They're very close in terms of timing. So, we want to look at them as one project," Wilkinson said in an interview.Alongside the Alberta Energy Regulator's review, the federal Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will study how the coal mine expansion might affect matters of federal jurisdiction. That includes effects on fish habitat, species at risk, Indigenous people and their treaty rights to hunting and fishing.Big test for Impact Assessment AgencyOwner Coalspur Mine Operations has applied to expand the Vista mine to the west, excavate an underground mine for coal that can't be reached from the surface, relocate the storage of its explosives and accelerate the construction of a central dump on the site.Application documents say the expansion would allow the mine to more than double its output to as much as 15 megatonnes of coal per year.Unlike some other proposed coal projects in Alberta, the Vista mine produces thermal coal, which is burned to generate electricity. Most of it is sold overseas.Meanwhile, both Alberta and Canadian governments have committed to stop burning coal to generate electricity by 2030.University of Calgary law Prof. Sharon Mascher will be watching the application closely. It could be the first big test of how the recently revamped federal agency considers the downstream implications of climate change in approval of coal projects, she said.The Impact Assessment Agency was last year borne out of Bill C-69, a bill unpopular with both the United Conservative Party government and former NDP government for its potential implications for future oil pipeline approval.The new review process is supposed to prevent approved projects from being ensnared in court challenges.In September, the Alberta government launched a court challenge of the law, saying the federal government was treading on provincial jurisdiction.Jess Sinclair, press secretary for Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon, said in a statement the province is "disappointed" to hear the federal government would intercede in the Vista mine approval."As Section 92a of the Canadian Constitution guarantees Alberta the right to jurisdiction over our own resource development, we will be studying the issue over the coming days and taking all appropriate action," she said.No one from Coalspur, which runs the Vista mine, returned a call for comment.Environmental groups cheer decisionJulia Levin, climate and energy program manager for advocacy group Environmental Defence, said in a statement thermal coal has no place in the 21st Century, given its environmental and health effects."An environmental assessment is our best chance of generating and evaluating the information required to ensure this expansion is rejected based on its threat to our climate," her statement said.Ecojustice, on behalf of several groups, had asked Wilkinson for the federal environmental review of Vista. Lawyer and program director Alan Andrews said in a statement the decision to proceed was "absolutely necessary to show Canadians and our international allies that it is serious about tackling the climate crisis and upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples."Canada is one of the co-founders of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which seeks to aid and convince other countries to move away from coal-generated electricity.Environment and Climate Change Canada last year launched an assessment of whether the country should be selling thermal coal to other countries while encouraging them to abandon it."I think there is a legitimate question to be asked of Canada as to how it should be, whether it should be continuing to export a substance that we have been saying to folks that they should be phasing out," Wilkinson said, adding that he wouldn't pre-judge the outcome of the assessment.Law Prof. Mascher said it would be "wrongheaded" for an environmental assessment to disregard emissions from coal combustion — regardless of where in the world they happen — when they know greenhouse gases contribute to climate change."It's important from an international perspective that if we believe a product like thermal coal should be phased out that we're not speaking with one voice in the Powering Past Coal Alliance and then, on the other hand, not taking a close look upon what it means to approve a proposal like this," she said.Wilkinson said the time for reviews varies, but could take about 18 months.
Doctors in Pincher Creek have agreed to continue working in the local hospital for a further 90 days after the town council intervened and convinced them to stay. The doctors were to stop providing services at the hospital on Aug. 1 as part of a wider confrontation with the Alberta government after it tore up the master agreement with the Alberta Medical Association."To [Health Minister Tyler Shandro] and Alberta Health and AHS, it may look like you got someone to blink and cave through your actions, but the truth of the matter is our local doctors should be applauded for helping prevent an unmitigated disaster in health care in our community," said Mayor Don Anderberg, announcing the deal over Facebook. The mayor slammed the minister, the ministry and Alberta Health Services for failing to communicate with the community and with doctors. He said Shandro has not been honest about the impact that doctors leaving the hospital could have on the community and provided details from an update given to council from AHS. "They have partially covered hospital service for only two weeks in August and will not be able to do surgery or obstetrics. They may not be able to cover the emergency room 24 hours," Anderberg said of the situation prior to doctors agreeing to remain on the job. "This is a far cry from Minister Shandro stating on the six o'clock news that he would just move physicians into communities where doctors want to leave. We know how hard it is to get doctors to our community and keep them here."Decision 'both easy and hard'Dr. Samantha Myhr is one of the physicians who has agreed to stay at the hospital a bit longer and said this was the right decision."It's both easy and hard," she said."It's easy for us to want to stay on for our community when COVID is now just finally hitting us and seeing the kind of crisis that could happen if we were to go through things as planned. But it's also hard knowing, and actually already seeing, the response from both AHS and the minister, just that, you know, there was never a problem at all. We were just having issues with vacation or availability."AHS sent out a news release Thursday morning after the mayor's announcement saying "some Pincher Creek physicians had indicated that they were going to not be available for shifts in August due to vacation and availability," and that it had found some doctors to take over missing shifts.With the decision by local doctors to stay at the hospital, all shifts in August are now covered. New doctors neededMyrh said the issue is not about physician pay but about trust and a lack of certainty about the future that makes it difficult for rural communities like Pincher Creek to attract and retain doctors. She said they have already lost two recruits who were going to join her practice after graduation because of the government's actions."Our single surgeon has been on-call 24/7 nearly 365 days a year for the last three years to maintain our surgical and obstetrical programs, and that's just not sustainable," said Myrh.Anderberg blamed Shandro, AHS and Alberta Health for putting the community in a position where it might face a public health emergency and said there is no plan in place for increased ambulance service should the hospital not be fully operational. The mayor said the decision by the doctors offers a window of opportunity for everyone to "start talking and working together."Myrh, meanwhile, said she's considering leaving and has started an application to move to another province.
When coronavirus patients started arriving at South Africa's government-run Thelle Mogoerane Hospital, workers scrambled to set up isolation wards to treat them. "There's no space anywhere," nurse Rich Sicina said outside the modernist, iron-roofed hospital in a southern Johannesburg township. Kwara Kekana, spokeswoman for the department of health in Gauteng, the province containing Johannesburg, said that at the beginning of the pandemic, Thelle Mogoerane Hospital had dedicated wards for patients under investigation.
Facing financial ruin due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's language schools have proposed an ambitious plan to bring 40,000 foreign students to Canada over the next few months to learn English and French.The Study Safe Corridor initiative, which is awaiting approval from the federal government, would see Air Canada provide charter flights to bring COVID-screened students from countries such as Turkey, Japan, South Korea and Brazil.A number of Canadian hotels have agreed to offer "full-service quarantine packages" for the students during their 14-day isolation period. A health insurance partner is involved in the plan as well.The language students — who range in age from teenagers to people in their 30s and 40s — would be required to sign contracts to guarantee compliance with health regulations, which include financial penalties if rules are broken."We needed to come up with something that would be a game changer," said Gonzalo Peralta, executive director of Languages Canada, which represents 200 schools across the country."We believe that if sports teams are allowed to function in this way, then international education should be allowed as well."The federal government gave the National Hockey League permission to resume its season and hold the Stanley Cup playoffs in Canada, allowing players from 18 teams from the U.S. to enter the country. The teams have agreed to follow strict safety protocols while playing in Toronto and Edmonton.Economy would benefit, group saysLanguages Canada and its members have asked the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for the same consideration."We're not looking at professional players being paid millions; we're looking at people who are building their lives and looking toward the future," Peralta said. "We know that borders cannot simply reopen; that's unthinkable at this time. But we do know that life needs to continue."His organization says the Study Safe Corridor would inject $533 million of export revenue into the Canadian economy by March 2021, benefiting not only the schools, but also the airline and hotel sectors, homestay programs, and the tourism and hospitality industry. As well, 9,000 education jobs are at stake.A Languages Canada member survey showed that as many as 75 per cent of schools will be out of business by the end of the year if they're not allowed to reopen. Some have already closed permanently.Initiative raises health concernsEmrah Oyman, executive director of operations at Toronto's Mentora Language Academy, said online classes aren't a suitable replacement."The big selling feature is the cultural component," he said. "If you take away the face to face, you may as well just go on to YouTube."Oyman and his colleagues are confident that the safety measures of the Study Safe Corridor will minimize health risks. "This plan is bulletproof," he said. "It's very robust."But some are concerned about the health risks of bringing so many foreign nationals to Canada.Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious and tropical disease specialist who teaches at the University of Toronto and works part-time at a COVID-19 assessment centre, said she is opposed to the initiative."The virus is surging around the world," she said. "People are dying of this. A lot of people have sacrificed a lot to keep us safe. Why would we take the risk of people coming from all around the world into Canada?"Part of Banerji's work during the pandemic has been to speak with people who have tested negative for the virus but are still exhibiting symptoms.She said she's not reassured that students would be tested before being allowed to fly. "We have a high degree of false negatives," she said.In her view, language studies are not essential during a global pandemic. "These students have the rest of their lives to learn a language. It just doesn't make sense to me."As for the fate of the schools? "Now is not the time to do this," Banerji said. "Maybe they can reopen next year."Students are keen to comePedro Hammer of Brazil said he is eager to return to Canada to continue his English-language classes and believes the Study Safe Corridor is a good approach."Especially in Brazil, we are dealing with a pretty hard situation in regard to the coronavirus, and I think the safety measures are a must," he said via a WhatsApp call from his hometown in the southern city of Curitiba.The 18-year-old was a student at Mentora Language Academy until February, when his visa expired. Then the coronavirus hit, and he's been unable to renew it to return.He said it's his "dream" to get back to Canada."At the moment I arrived in Toronto, I knew it was the place for me," Hammer said. "I fell in love with the city. It was a life-changing experience."Hammer is taking a business management course in Brazil but said his dream is to eventually emigrate. "My main goal is to go to Canada, to Toronto, to grow a family there and maybe grow a business as well."Many students are keen to resume studies, said Mentora's Oyman."Our day-to-day operations are heavily related to education agents when it comes to new students, and they're all across the world," he said."They're giving us market intelligence; they're telling us the students' concerns. And they are absolutely receptive to the idea of the Study Safe Corridor."Gonzalo Peralta of Languages Canada said many foreign students opt to stay in Canada and pursue higher education. It's another economic benefit of language schools, he said, but added that there's more than money at stake."It's also about promoting our identity to the world and our Canadian values. It's very, very important in that regard."Peralta said his organization hopes to receive the go-ahead from the government soon."Now is the biggest time for enrolment, over the summertime. And then in September, those are the two big intakes. We have missed the summer. So this is basically the equivalent of Christmas to the retail business."The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, as well as the office of Minister Marco Mendicino, did not respond to emails sent by CBC News asking for comment.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Thursday said that physical distancing measures of at least one metre will been in place for when schools return in “conjunction” with mask wearing and hand hygiene. Asked why cohorts would not take place in elementary schools, Lecce said health advice received says there is a higher risk among students in high school, but added mandatory mask policies in elementary school will help in protecting those in schools safe.