Gangster Jamie Bacon has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the so-called Surrey Six killings, bringing more than a decade of proceedings to an end — but bringing no justice for the men killed over a callous turf war between two rivals, the victims' families say.With credit for time already served in pre-trial custody, Bacon will spend another five years and seven months behind bars.The family members of those killed in the 2007 massacre quietly cried as the sentence was read aloud in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday. Bacon, now 35, stood still with his hands folded in the prisoner's box, receiving his sentence for initiating the hit that led to the biggest gangland killing in B.C. history."To conspire with others to kill people ... is among the most despicable crimes imaginable," said Justice Kathleen Ker.Six people were gunned down when Bacon's associates came for their leader's drug-dealing rival, Corey Lal, at the Balmoral apartment tower: Lal, his brother, two of his gang associates and two bystanders who had no connections to the gang world at all.Bacon reached a deal in July to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit the murder of Lal. A first-degree murder charge was dropped in exchange.One of the bystanders, Christopher Mohan, 22, happened to walk out of his apartment across the hall when the hitmen were standing there. He was dragged into Lal's apartment and executed with the others.Mohan's mother, Eileen Mohan, has been vocal in her belief that Bacon was receiving a sweetheart deal. She cried leaving court on Friday afternoon, vowing to fight for change in the criminal justice system to honour her son, and so no other family will need to suffer as she has for the last 13 years."Mr. Bacon gets to return home to his mother's arms. Today we celebrated his life ... his rights ... instead of celebrating Christopher," she said."I don't know what tomorrow [brings] ... but tomorrow is really, really difficult to accept. I want to respect the process, but I think the process is not respecting us in return."Joint submissionKer accepted the sentence proposed by the Crown and defence as part of Bacon's plea deal. Ker said it is rare for a judge — bound by judicial code and case law, among other factors — to override a joint submission. She said Bacon's case did not meet the bar to do so."No doubt, some wish I would override the joint submission and give a life sentence," Ker said. "Judges are awarded discretion ... but it does not mean a judge is free to do whatever she wants."The joint submission as to sentence clearly represents an agreement negotiated ... by extremely competent, senior and experienced counsel who have considered the effect of the joint submission from all perspectives."Bacon walked briskly into the courtroom Friday, aware of the proposed sentence, dressed in a navy blue dress shirt and narrow, black-framed glasses. He greeted his lawyer with a smile — "Hey, how are ya?" — and sat face-forward.The victims' families lined in the front row. Ker began the hearing by reading the names of the six victims into the record, speaking slowly in the tense room."It is critically important to remember them and acknowledge they were so much more than the identity of 'victim' that has been bestowed upon them," Ker said, glancing up at the silent gallery."These six men were cherished family members, beloved sons, brothers, cousins — a husband, son, father, uncle."Ker said Bacon, then leader of the Red Scorpions, hatched a "diabolical" plot to have Lal killed because he "didn't want to look weak." Lal, who led a rival gang, had refused to hand a drug line over to Bacon and to pay a $100,000 "tax.""In their world, Corey Lal had to die," Ker said.The plot spiralled out of control when three killers arrived at Lal's apartment to find he wasn't alone. Lal's brother, his associates and the second bystander were inside. Gas fitter Edward Schellenberg happened to be on a service call. Those men, as well as Mohan, we forced to lie on the floor and shot.'Egregious misconduct' Eileen Mohan and Jourdana Lal, the Lals' sister, confronted Bacon last month in searing victim impact statements. Ker said she took the "profoundly heartbreaking" statements into sentencing consideration, but had other factors to consider when deciding to accept the proposed sentence.In particular, she cited "egregious misconduct" by a number of investigating RCMP officers.One former investigator, Derek Brassington, pleaded guilty in early 2019 to breach of trust and attempted obstruction of justice for carrying out a romantic relationship with a potential key witness in the case over several months in 2009. Two other former officers who worked on the case have pleaded guilty to non-criminal misconduct. Ker also took into consideration the fact Bacon's charter rights were violated as he was held in solitary confinement for 15 months after his arrest in 2009.Six others have been convicted for their roles in the Surrey Six killings. 2nd assassination attemptAs part of his plea deal in July, Bacon also pleaded guilty to counselling someone in 2008 to commit the murder of an associate who'd fallen out of his favour.The assassination attempt on Dec. 31, 2008, was unsuccessful and the associate escaped.Bacon's guilty pleas spared families, lawyers and the public from trials that were sure to be long and complex, with no guarantee of a conviction in the end.Mohan said she has written to political leaders at every level, including the prime minister, imploring them to look at the case."I won't stop fighting for justice for Christopher," she said, through tears. "I'm going to make a change before I die."
OTTAWA — Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal was charged Friday with fraud and breach of trust over millions of dollars in loans the RCMP allege he used his political position to obtain and hid from the ethics commissioner.The RCMP further allege that Grewal used his taxpayer-funded constituency office budget for his own personal benefit."Mr. Grewal adamantly denies these allegations — as he has done steadfastly since 2018," said his lawyer, Nader Hasan, by email. "He looks forward to having his day in court and clearing his name."The charges cap off an investigation that began back in 2017, nearly two years into Grewal's first term as a member of Parliament.He left the Liberal caucus in 2018 for what he said were personal and health reasons. He stayed on as an Independent MP but didn't seek re-election last year.At the time, the Prime Minister's Office said Grewal was seeking treatment for a gambling addiction, and Grewal later posted a video detailing his problems.He said he began frequenting the Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Que., in early 2016, racking up debt in the millions of dollars playing high-stakes blackjack. He started to borrow money from family and friends to continue to gamble."On an average sitting, I would spend between 15 to 30 minutes at a table, and I either won a lot of money, which made me continue to chase wins, or I lost a significant amount of money, which threw me into complete despair," he said."I want to make it clear that every single personal loan made to me was by cheque. Everybody has been paid back, and every loan and repayment is transparent and traceable."The RCMP said their investigation was launched based on information forwarded in 2017 by the agency that tracks suspicious financial transactions in Canada.At the time of his resignation from the Liberal caucus, Grewal was also caught up in an ethics probe into whether he may have been in a conflict of interest when he invited a construction executive — who was paying Grewal for legal services at the time — to official events on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to India that year.NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus, who had been one of the MPs who complained about that incident, said Friday that in his view, Grewal's troubles began there and just escalated. They fit a pattern within the Liberal government, Angus alleged, of MPs thinking the law doesn't apply to them."Today's charges should remind Trudeau that even though he does not like these rules, that doesn't put him or other Liberals above the law."Grewal is facing four counts of breach of trust and one of fraud. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 6.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2020.The Canadian Press
Months before he announced his resignation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set in motion a policy change that could for the first time allow Japan's military to plan for strikes on land targets in China and other parts of Asia. Japan's Self Defence Forces are geared toward stopping attackers in the air and the sea. The policy change would direct the military to create a doctrine for targeting enemy sites on land - a mission that would require the purchase of long-range weapons such as cruise missiles.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Saying the president had exceeded his authority, a panel of three federal judges on Thursday blocked an order from President Donald Trump that tried to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted when congressional districts are redrawn.The federal judges in New York, in granting an injunction, said the presidential order issued in late July was unlawful. The judges prohibited Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, from excluding people in the country illegally when handing in 2020 census figures used to calculate how many congressional seats each state gets.According to the judges, the presidential order violated laws governing the execution of the once-a-decade census and also the process for redrawing congressional districts known as apportionment by requiring that two sets of numbers be presented — one with the total count and the other minus people living in the country illegally.The judges said that those in the country illegally qualify as people to be counted in the states they reside. They declined to say whether the order violated the Constitution.“Throughout the Nation’s history, the figures used to determine the apportionment of Congress — in the language of the current statutes, the ‘total population' and the ‘whole number of persons' in each State — have included every person residing in the United States at the time of the census, whether citizen or non-citizen and whether living here with legal status or without," the judges wrote.Opponents of the order said it was an effort to suppress the growing political power of Latinos in the U.S. and to discriminate against immigrant communities of colour. They also said undocumented residents use the nation’s roads, parks and other public amenities and should be taken into account for any distribution of federal resources.The lawsuits challenging the presidential order in New York were brought by a coalition of cities, civil rights groups and states led by New York. Because the lawsuits dealt with questions about apportionment, it was heard by a three-judge panel that allows the decision to be appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.The judges agreed with the coalition that the order created confusion among undocumented residents over whether they should participate in the 2020 census, deterring participation and jeopardizing the quality of the census data. That harm to the census was a sufficient basis for their ruling and they didn't need to rely on the speculation that a state would be hurt by possibly losing a congressional seat if people in the country illegally were excluded from apportionment, the judges said.The head count of every U.S. resident, which which helps determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding as well as apportionment, is set to wrap up at the end of September.“This is the most blatantly unconstitutional act I've ever encountered in years litigating the federal government," Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, one of the group's that challenged the order, said in an interview.New York Attorney General Letitia James noted that the federal court in New York also had ruled against the Trump administration in its failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. That case went to the Supreme Court which blocked the citizenship question from being added.“The courts have ruled in our favour on every census matter in the last two years and continually rejected President Trump’s unlawful efforts to manipulate the census for political purposes," James said.After Trump issued the order in July, around a half dozen lawsuits around the U.S. were filed by states, cities, immigrant advocates and civil rights groups challenging its legality and constitutionality.The New York case is the first to get a ruling, but there are other issues the New York judges didn't address that could be addressed in the other court cases. Those include whether the order violated governmental administrative procedures and whether the Census Bureau will have to use a statistical method to calculate who is in the country illegally. The Supreme Court has ruled that method, sampling, can't be done for apportionment numbers.The lawsuits said there was no reliable method for counting people in the U.S. illegally and the order would have diminished the accuracy of the census.An analysis by Pew Research Center showed that California, Florida and Texas would end up with one less congressional seat if people in the country illegally were excluded from apportionment. Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio would each keep a congressional seat they most likely would have lost if the presidential order were enforced, according to the Pew analysis.The Commerce Department didn't respond to an emailed inquiry.___Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAPMike Schneider, The Associated Press
A Saskatoon parent says her back-to-school anxiety worsened after she found out her daughter would be in a bigger class than the one she was in last year, despite returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.Tamara Hinz saw the size of her daughter's class increase by three students. The Grade 2 student now has 25 classmates, compared to 22 last year."My heart kind of sank when I learned that," said Hinz, who says she and her family have been working hard to follow the province's COVID-19 guidelines."It just felt really counterintuitive and a bit anxiety-provoking, I guess, to go against all of those instincts that we've been practising the last several months," she said.Hinz says she's aware that concerns around class sizes in Saskatchewan were raised prior to the pandemic, and notes her school has been doing amazing work.But she feels the provincial government should be putting a greater emphasis on class size as more is learned about how COVID-19 is spread."It just really, I think, should be accelerating the conversation about reduced class sizes and making that more of a priority," she said. CBC Saskatoon requested an interview with Education Minister Gordon Wyant to discuss Hinz's concerns, but a statement was provided instead.School division enrolments and staffing figures have not yet been submitted to the ministry, the statement said."Enrolment counts will be submitted on Sept. 30, as they are each year, but we will be monitoring enrolment changes monthly," the ministry's statement said, noting it's working with school divisions to get "a sense of what education choices parents across the province are making." The ministry said school divisions are in the best position to determine staffing levels that reflect the need of their students, noting they have taken a variety of measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Meetings of the Committee on Class Size and Composition have also resumed and the ministry says it continues its work on the creation of a framework that will help guide school divisions on appropriate class size and composition within the province's classroom. The statement did not address questions about why the Ministry of Education did not include class-size requirements in its initial guidance to school divisions.Hundreds of new staff to be hired: ministerEarlier this week, Minister Wyant said that $51 million in funding has been approved to continue making schools safe during the pandemic, with 46 applications coming from the province's public schools."This significant investment will ensure that our school divisions have the resources they need to respond and plan for emergent items," said Wyant. The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, which represents 13,500 teachers in the province, has been critical of the provincial government's back-to-school plan since it was released in early August. The government has since amended the plan, pushing back the start of school and allocating $40 million from a government COVID-19 contingency fund worth roughly $200 million to support divisions as they return to school. However, federation president Patrick Maze says he feels the government missed the mark by not including class-size requirements in any of the guidance it provided to the province's 27 school divisions.He said while the public and members of the business community are enforcing things like physical distancing and smaller indoor crowds, when it comes to schools, it appears government has decided "all bets are off."'Double standard' for school system: STF"That's been a big frustration for teachers right from the start,… Where is the social distancing?" said Maze."The big problem is it comes down to money. And clearly, government hasn't been willing to spend money on significantly reducing class size in order to keep students and teachers safe." Maze said he feels the government has created a "double standard" for the education system. "Some businesses are on actually the threshold of going under, or have gone under, in order to keep social distancing to the recommended level," he said. "Yet here in schools, you can have a classroom of 36 students."Indian Head Elementary School, in the Prairie Valley School Division, has already resorted to online learning for the start of the school year after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.The government of Saskatchewan has provided numerous pieces of information to school divisions in regards to what should be included in their return-to-school plan, but the divisions and schools will be responsible for implementing the plans on the front lines.Maze said what will happen in the coming weeks is "anybody's guess" but noted the STF is concerned about a looming shortage of substitute teachers, and potentially teachers in general, if staff and students need to start isolating in large numbers.Anxiety, but 'a lot of joy': teachers association headJohn McGettigan, president of the Saskatoon Teachers' Association — which represents more than 4,000 educators in the city and surrounding areas — said the start of the school year has lifted some spirits."In the last few days, there's been a lot of joy," he said. "These teachers missed their kids a lot. Obviously there's still an underlying anxiety that everybody in society is feeling, but I have to say, when the kids started walking through the doors, teachers got their purpose back."In recent days, health officials with the provincial government have recommended against interprovincial travel, with Premier Scott Moe saying one of the best ways to keep COVID-19 out of schools is to keep it out of the community as a whole. While the government of Saskatchewan is confident in its back-to-school plan, with Minister Wyant saying he has no regrets, the province's chief medical health officer has advised parents to expect disruptions throughout the year as potential cases are discovered and isolated.
Albertans will soon be able to see how much their doctor bills the provincial government, but some physicians argue the billing totals won't provide enough context.The province will make their gross fee-for-service payments to physicians public within the next 60 days.The data from the province's last three fiscal years, dating back to 2017–2018, will be published, according to Steve Buick, press secretary to the health minister. The move would effectively create a sunshine list, with doctor's names and pay to be posted online for the public to see, similar to lists already published for high-paid public service employees.B.C., Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland already disclose physician compensation.But Alberta's website on physician pay —which is already being developed— will have "the most comprehensive disclosure of physician payments in Canada," Buick said in an email to CBC News on Thursday.Alberta's sunshine list will include the gross payments to doctors but also "items such as the number of patients served," Buick wrote. The province may also disclose the location where the doctors performed the medical services and the total number of days during the fiscal year on which the physician provided the insured medical services, according to an order-in-council issued Thursday. Some physicians have raised concerns about public disclosure of their billings because they say the figures don't represent their take-home pay. Alberta Medical Association (AMA) officials want the province to include overhead costs in the sunshine list. Doctors pay for staff, clinics, liability insurance and equipment out of their fee-for-service billings, costs that are not accounted for in their billings. "It's very important that people understand what those numbers mean," said Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA president. "I think [doctors] are OK with that as long as Albertans, in general, understand that's not what [doctors] put in [their] pocket. Those dollars are a business revenue, they're not what [they] take home. That's really important."Buick said the province won't disclose physicians' overhead costs on the provincial website.He said the province recognizes that payments to physicians are not the same as take-home income and that the website will specify that the numbers are gross payments. Doctor pay has been a point of discussion for several months in the province. Health Minister Tyler Shandro first threatened to make pay disclosure mandatory in July following the release of a survey from the AMA suggesting 42 per cent of Alberta doctors are planning to leave the province due to changes in how they are paid.In response, Shandro denied that any doctor's exodus was imminent and told the AMA to "stop playing games." He had said Albertans should "know the facts" about how Alberta doctors are compensated compared to their Canadian counterparts. Some doctors will be able to apply for an exemption from the sunshine list, which could allow them to not have their name disclosed for safety reasons."It's one thing if you're one physician in a thousand in a major urban centre and you're identified," Molnar said. "It's quite another thing if you're a rural or remote physician and all of a sudden now, you're very visible and not anonymous at all and you may become the target of unwanted attention."
Nightclub and stand-alone banquet hall operators in B.C.'s Interior are disappointed and frustrated with the latest public health order to close down all such businesses after 429 new cases of COVID-19 were reported across the province over the long weekend.Since the B.C. Centre for Disease Control began collecting data in March, Interior Health has recorded about seven per cent of total number of COVID-19 cases in the province so far in the pandemic. By comparison, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health accounted for 86 per cent of 8,630 total cases as of Thursday. David Johnson restarted his Blue Grotto nightclub in downtown Kamloops for only two days before he had to shut its doors again this week. That's after spending more than $5,000 on plexiglass barriers and personal protective equipment to make the 20-year-old club safe for customers.Johnson says he's already had to pay rent for the venue for six months without bringing in any revenue and shouldn't suffer further because of outbreaks mainly in the Lower Mainland."This is a small market," said Johnson to CBC reporter Doug Herbert about the nightclub industry in the Interior. He hopes the provincial health authorities will consider this and change their order.Prince George banquet hall owner Bharpur Nijjer says the order to close her 15-year-old family business is creating more than financial loss."I'm sick to my stomach," said the 60-year-old operator of northern Prince George's Hart Crown Banquet Hall to Sarah Penton, host of CBC's Radio West. "My brain is not in balance because I can't pay attention."The banquet hall was back to operation in June following the province's guidelines. Nijjer said the venue was booked every weekend during the summer for wedding parties, but her overall revenue was reduced amid the pandemic because many customers cancelled their reservations and asked for refunds. Nijjer doesn't know what the future looks like for her business. "Nobody can pay my bills," she said. "I still can survive ... a few more months. Then we don't have anything to survive."Kamloops non-profit banquet hall Colombo Lodge also sees its income plummeting due to cancellations of wedding parties and corporate events, but its president Ross Spina remains optimistic. He said the lodge will stay connected to the local community by running a monthly take-home dinner program which gives profits to charity."And I have to brag, it does have one of the best dance floors in town," said Spina on CBC's Daybreak Kamloops to remind people that there will be life after the ban on banquet halls is lifted.
TORONTO — Director Michelle Latimer was poring over about 100 years of archival film footage for the Indigenous-focused short "Nimmikaage" a few years back when she noticed a trend."There were very few instances where Indigenous people looked at the camera, looked down the barrel of the camera. They were always being looked at, and the people behind the camera were non-Native people filming them," says the Toronto-based writer-director-actor, who is of Algonquin, Metis, and French heritage."And so at the end of 'Nimmikaage,' all these young women look at the camera and they look down the barrel of the camera, and it's this montage of one after another of women. But I had to go through hours and hours and hours of footage just to find those 10 shots."There's something about the idea of a person being filmed, but then looking at the person filming them and going: 'I see you, you see me, I exist in my acknowledgment of seeing you.'"Latimer is reversing that white settler lens once again with "Inconvenient Indian," which debuts Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival, where she's also getting a major spotlight with another project — the Indigenous series "Trickster."Based on Thomas King's award-winning 2012 non-fiction book, "The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America," the documentary looks at the cultural colonization of Indigenous peoples. King appears throughout the film and narrates. For much of the story he's seen sitting in a movie theatre, watching images of Indigenous people on the big screen and talking in a voiceover about how their history has been shaped by stereotypes and stories told by others.More Indigenous movie patrons trickle in to sit in the theatre with King. At times, they're facing the camera directly."I'd been thinking a lot about how Indigenous people have been represented throughout the ages; I always felt like I was passively ingesting these images," says Latimer, who grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont."There's something that feels very disempowering to be given images of your own community and you don't see yourself in that way, but you don't have the tools or the maybe the platform to speak out. And here I was given this platform and the tools to say something about that, and to use the same medium that's been used to misrepresent our community for so long."The National Film Board of Canada, which produced 2015's "Nimmikaage," is also behind "Inconvenient Indian."Latimer says she started making the film about three years ago, immediately after directing the Indigenous resistance Viceland series "Rise," which includes footage she shot during protests at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.Shooting "Rise" was "an insane time" and Latimer wanted to work on something more meditative after. But then her grandmother died and, while in the airport en route to the funeral, she picked up Eden Robinson's acclaimed novel "Son of a Trickster" as "a palate cleanser, escapist kind of weekend read."Months later, she couldn't get Robinson's mythical story of an Indigenous teen out of her head, so Latimer paused "Inconvenient Indian" to option the rights to "Trickster," which premieres Tuesday at TIFF before its CBC debut on Oct. 7.When Latimer returned to "Inconvenient Indian," she got to know King's book intimately.She wanted to distill his story into a more metaphoric and visual film, which includes traditional hunters, visual artist Kent Monkman, and filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. Locations include Iqaluit, Treaty 9 territory in Ontario, Moose Factory, Ont., and the Crow reservation in Montana."It was really important to me to show Indigenous, Metis and Inuit people, because that is what comprises Canada," Latimer says.King was generous with his time and was hands-off with the storytelling, preferring Latimer to tell it in her own way."I think he was also very conscious of like, 'I don't want this film to be about me,' and so that was helpful, because I also wanted the film to be about ideas," Latimer says. "It wasn't a hagiography. It was a film that was celebrating our community and the people that are literally being the 'inconvenient Indians.'"And Thomas is one of those 'inconvenient Indians.' But there's many of us and I wanted to really celebrate that collective voice."And she wanted to encourage audiences to turn the gaze on themselves, she adds."That's exactly what I was trying to do, is make us think: 'What is our role in this? How do we look at representation? How can we be part of the change that is needed to move forward? And also, how are we going to acknowledge our history so that we don't repeat it?'"This article by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2020.The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 pandemic could be an opportunity to get more kids to school by foot, scooter or bike instead of bus or car, sustainable transportation advocates say."There is huge potential here to shift a long trend of driving our kids to school," said Jen Stelzer, manager of community sustainability programs at EnviroCentre."In Ottawa specifically, we definitely have a very significant part of our population continuing to work from home with flexible work hours, which means that maybe we do have a little bit more flexibility and time in the morning to spend walking or biking with our kid to school."Earlier this week, about 200 children and staff with Ottawa's French Catholic school board were told to self-isolate after potentially coming into contact with COVID-19 aboard school buses. The same day, Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam encouraged families who are able to consider other ways of getting to school."Obviously, there are alternatives to busing, so you can try those and keep as active as you can," Tam said Tuesday.Vicky Kyriaco, general manager of the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority [OSTA], said her organization, which oversees school bus transit for both the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), is continuing to encourage kids to think about other ways to get to school.OSTA said Wednesday it expects delays and cancellations of school buses this fall as it works to hire enough drivers and stabilize routes. This is the seventh fall OSTA has provided "walking school buses," where about 200 kids on 13 routes walk to school together in guided groups, and Kyriaco said there's an appetite for more."We've got some walking school bus routes where we need a combination of leaders and volunteers to actually increase the capacity of students that we can actually lead to school," she said. OSTA also helps facilitate "walk or roll" meet-ups where kids can join up with other students walking to school."The more volunteers that we can engage in this and the more that we can re-culture communities to actually adopt active transportation as the primary mode of transportation, that's really our end goal," said Kyriaco.Park-and-walkThis year, OSTA is also stepping up its efforts to discourage the crush of cars around schools at pick-up and drop-off times. The traffic jams can be unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists, and the crowds outside schools elevate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. OSTA has joined with the EnviroCentre to create maps for every elementary school in the OCDSB and OCSB that show parents where they can park far enough from their child's school that they still have a five- to 10-minute walk to the door. The maps are available on the OSTA's website."Little kids — that's where we get those habits formed so we really encourage walking and biking to school because that's where you learn those lifelong habits," said Stelzer.Even such small changes in habit can have a notable impact on emissions over a long period of time, Stelzer said — and walking or biking has the added benefit of giving kids one-on-one time with their families. "I did that with my son for a very long time, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is this one time where you have this lovely connection: you meet your neighbours, you discover your community and you're also teaching your kids how to get around a city."
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged a peaceful way out of conflicts with China over the South China Sea and said international law must be followed, amid increased regional friction over military activities by Beijing and Washington. Duterte made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Chinese defence minister, Wei Fenghe, whose tour of four Southeast Asian countries coincides with some rhetorical sparring between the United States and China over the disputed waterway.
A positive COVID-19 case has been identified in someone at the Félix-le-Chat child-care centre, which is connected to the École canadienne-française - Pavillon Monique-Rousseau on Albert Avenue in Saskatoon.Camille Lapierre, president of the daycare, confirmed there was a case but didn't give any more details."All I can say is that we are working with public health officials and we are following their guidelines," Lapierre told a Radio Canada reporter.The CÉF_Saskatoon (Conseil des ecoles fransaskoises) put out a statement to parents confirming someone who regularly attends the Félix-le-Chat childcare centre in Saskatoon had been diagnosed with COVID-19."A public health investigation has been launched by the Saskatoon health authority," the statement read. "Public Health is proceeding the necessary contact tracing and wishes to remind families to watch for the appearance of symptoms on their person and their loved ones."In the meantime, school activities will continue as normal and we will keep families informed as the situation develops."Robert Englebert has a child that attends the daycare.He said parents in the group immediately affected by the positive test were notified yesterday, but that he and other parents were only officially informed by e-mail this afternoon."We actually found out from a friend whose child is in the group that had the case yesterday evening," Englebert said.Englebert was disappointed with the delay."It's really important that parents are given information as soon as a case is discovered so that parents can make a decision as to whether they're going to send their child to school or to keep them home," he said.Englebert said he doesn't blame the daycare for the delay.He said government guidelines are weak when it comes to reporting cases in schools and daycares."The daycares have done a great job at preparing for prevention ... to prevent cases from coming in. But there are very weak guidelines coming from the province," he said."The daycare did its job, they told us quickly. But the problem lies in the fact that they were searching for answers, getting information from the health services and finding out, you know, what are our next steps?"He said parents would be less stressed if they knew there was a standard way that positive cases were going to be reported.Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, said he had not heard of the case but was not surprised."The experts have been predicting that there will be outbreaks in our schools. So one in a daycare isn't completely surprising. But I think it's almost just a matter of time before we start to deal with these types of issues in our K-12 system," Maze said.
VANCOUVER — A judge described the killing of six people in a Surrey, B.C., highrise 13 years ago as "shocking and depraved" as she sentenced a gang leader to 18 years in prison on Friday for his role in the crime.With credit for time served while he was waiting to go on trial, Jamie Bacon will spend another five years and seven months in prison.Families of the victims shed tears as Justice Kathleen Ker of the B.C. Supreme Court delivered the sentence.Ker said gangs are "morally bankrupt" with no regard for human life."It is a selfish and immoral lifestyle," she said. In a deal with the Crown, Bacon, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to murder Corey Lal in the so-called Surrey Six case.He also pleaded guilty to one count of counselling to commit murder in a separate case involving the shooting of a man who survived an attack on Dec. 31, 2008.A joint sentencing recommendation included 18 years for conspiracy to murder and 10 years for counselling to commit murder to be served concurrently."No doubt, some wish I would override these joint submissions," Ker said. "Judges are awarded discretion. It does not mean a judge is free to do whatever she wants."The sentence represents an agreement negotiated by "extremely competent, senior and experienced counsel" who have considered it from all perspectives, she said.Acknowledging the victim impact statements heard by the court, Ker said the grief felt by family members is "profound and palpable."The deaths of the six men have left "black holes" in the lives of their families and friends who are "sentenced to a lifetime of despair and emptiness," she added.Last month, court heard in an agreed statement of facts at Bacon's sentencing hearing that the killings were carried out to advance the drug trafficking business of a criminal gang known as the Red Scorpions.The Red Scorpions formed when Bacon and another gang leader amalgamated and sought to expand their market using violence and intimidation to force others to surrender their drug lines, Crown attorney Mark Wolf said.Bacon took offence when he heard that Lal had told one of his associates that he should work for Lal instead, Wolf said.He met with Lal and others at a McDonald's restaurant, where he berated and threatened Lal, telling him he owed Bacon a $100,000 tax by the same night."Bacon told Lal that if he did not pay he would have to be prepared to deal with the consequences, namely, that Lal would be killed," Wolf told the court on Aug. 28.Wolf said the murders were committed at the direction of Bacon and another gang leader.Four of the victims were targeted but two men were innocent bystanders.Police said Christopher Mohan, 22, who lived on the floor where the killings occurred, and Ed Schellenberg, 55, a maintenance worker, were in the wrong place at the wrong time.Outside court, Eileen Mohan said she will not stop fighting for justice for her son."Mr. Bacon gets to return home to his mother's arms," said Mohan, who closed her eyes as her voice cracked with emotion."Today is really, really difficult to accept. I want to respect the process but the process is not respecting us."This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 11, 2020.Hina Alam, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Jamie Bacon is 55.
While much of the change is felt at the personal level, significant changes have also occurred at the institutional level, especially in terms of health care. To get a greater sense of that, Sudbury.com spoke with Dominic Giroux the president and CEO of Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury, Northern Ontario's largest hospital, and also with Ray Hunt, the Chief Operating Officer for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), to get their comments on what changes might be coming in the next six months. At Health Sciences North in Sudbury, the main tertiary care hospital in Northeastern Ontario, the pandemic is still a significant concern in terms of infection control and disease prevention.
NEW DELHI — The Indian and Chinese foreign ministers agreed that their troops should disengage from a tense border standoff, maintain proper distance and ease tensions in the Ladakh region where the two countries in June had their deadliest clash in decades.India’s S. Jaishankar and China’s Wang Yi met in the Russian capital on Thursday night and concurred that "the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side,” according to a joint statement issued Friday.Since last week, the Asian giants have accused each other of sending soldiers into rival territory and firing warning shots for the first time in 45 years, threatening a full-scale military conflict.The foreign ministers did not set any timeline for the disengagement of tens of thousands of troops who have been locked in a standoff since May, but agreed that "both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.”The disputed 3,500-kilometre (2,175-mile) border separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety.The current standoff is over portions of a pristine landscape that boasts the world’s highest landing strip and a glacier that feeds one of the largest irrigation systems in the world.Both sides accuse the other of provocative behaviour including crossing into each other’s territory, and both have vowed to protect their territorial integrity.Earlier this week, Jaishankar described the situation along their shared boundary, known as the Line of Actual Control, as “very serious” and said the state of the border cannot be separated from the state of the bilateral relationship.On Thursday, the two countries agreed that as the situation eases, they should expedite work to conclude "new confidence-building measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquility in the border areas."In a separate statement, Wang said “China-India relations have once again come to a crossroads."That statement said Wang “outlined China's stern position on the situation in the border areas, emphasizing that the imperative is to immediately stop provocations such as firing and other dangerous actions that violate the commitments made by the two sides."“It is also important to move back all personnel and equipment that have trespassed. The frontier troops must quickly disengage so that the situation may de-escalate," it quoted Wang as saying.India did not release a statement of its own, but an official with the External Affairs Ministry said Jaishankar told Wang that India expected full adherence to all agreements on management of border areas and would not support any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally.The official said Jaishankar said the immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops at all flash points to prevent any incidents, with details of how that is to be done worked out by military commanders. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.The two ministers met in Moscow on the sidelines of a gathering of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The group comprises China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Krgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.On Friday, Wang held talks with Russia's foreign minister in Moscow and later told reporters that India had expressed a wish to ease tensions through diplomatic and political channels.Wang said the top priority now is to not break past agreements, including one not to open fire at the border.“Also, we should withdraw the personnel and equipment completely from the front line. In this way, we can implement the consensus and restore peace and stability along the border,” he said.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he was very pleased that the Moscow venue enabled the foreign ministers of China and India to have a substantive meeting on deescalating their border tensions.In India, Vinod Bhatia, a retired Indian army general, said resolving the ongoing impasse will be a long process.“Disengagement is the first and the most important step that will guide the de-escalation process. The two armies will work out a mutually acceptable methodology for de-escalation,” Bhatia said.He said “there is a political will and direction now to resolve the crisis.”The two nations fought a border war in 1962 that spilled into Ladakh and ended in an uneasy truce. Since then, troops have guarded the undefined border area, occasionally brawling. They have agreed not to attack each other with firearms.Rival soldiers brawled in May and June with clubs, stones and their fists. A clash on a high ridge on June 15 left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China reported no casualties.After that clash, both sides disengaged from the site in Galwan valley and at least two other places, but the crisis continued.——-Associated Press journalists Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.Ashok Sharma, The Associated Press
The second week of school is already underway, but there are still outstanding stresses and questions for parents either sending their kids to classes or helping them navigate online learning at home. Not least of which is a constant stream of reports of new cases popping up among students returning to classes. CBC News is following four families as they navigate the return to classes amidst a pandemic, and in this, the second instalment, the parents are no less concerned about the welfare of their children and all the pitfalls and benefits tied to their individual choices. From Keltie Bilkoski, whose two children attend a private school with strictly enforced protocols, to Adora Nwofor, who says she's still largely in the dark regarding details of hub learning for her two daughters, the stress of the parents varies, but all have found some measure of peace in their decisions. Virginia WongVirginia Wong wasn't sure until the last minute what to do about her daughter's schooling, mulling over a dizzying array of factors in order to make her decision. Finally settling on in-class learning, she was almost immediately confronted with news that a student had tested positive in her daughter's high school. That was quickly followed by at least one more after she spoke with CBC News. Wong says she was hoping they'd at least get through a couple of weeks without infections popping up in the school. "No decision is the right decision, but we didn't make the decision lightly," she said Wednesday morning. "And we weighed a lot of options. And we went into this journey with significance, anxiety and a degree of hope."Wong's situation is complicated by the fact that there are family members in her home who are severely immunocompromised. However, she says she's at peace with the decision, citing the positives of in-class learning and experience and the fact her daughter is well-versed in keeping infections away from her family members. Her daughter is also happy to be back in class.Still, Wong wishes the government and school boards had looked more at a staggered re-entry plan that allowed more testing of protocols before going all-in, and she hopes there will be more consideration about how to involve older kids in decisions."I really feel strongly that messaging for young adults in high school or post-secondary students needs to be different than what you're telling the elementary or junior high students, because … you're telling them what to do. You're dictating," she said. "But here for young adults and high school students, you need to encourage, persuade and have them buy into your pitch."Anna GeorgeAnna George says she was surprised at how normal everything seemed for her two boys returning to their Catholic school. "They, you know, have their lunch outside and they went in special doors, you know, the proper protocols were in place, but it worked out really well for them," she said."I think we have just a really amazing staff and administration at our school and they made them feel really, really safe there."George says both of her boys were excited to return to classes, and while they didn't like some of the protocols like eating their lunch separated, she was surprised at their lack of fear — something she was prepared for and concerned about. A self-described involved parent who chairs the school's council, George was well informed about the specific plans for dealing with the pandemic for her children, but she was caught off guard by the fact there could be 30 or more kids in one of her sons' classes. "Because I have such open communication with the principal, I did talk to him last week and said, 'Look, you know, my son had this many kids in this class, like, is that for real?'" she said. "He said, you know, that's the way it is, and until Wednesday, we won't even really know our confirmed numbers because, of course, there's still a chance that some parents could pull out to do online or that they could choose to come into the classroom."George says she's sympathetic to the teachers and administrators going through the first week of school without any clear indications on what class sizes will look like.Adora NwoforAdora Nwofor says she has very little information on what the school year will look like for her two daughters after signing them up for hub learning through the Calgary Board of Education."So we got information that says you should sign up by Aug. 24. We did. Then no information. Like, zero information," said Nwofor on Wednesday. She says she has been getting information about students going back for in-class instruction.Nwofor stands out from the other parents in that her kids haven't started classes yet, with the only guidance so far being that they should engage in self-directed learning until hub classes are up and running. She says that should start on Sept. 14, but could be as late as Sept. 18, according to an email she received. She's not sure if her kids will be with other students and teachers from their designated school or whether it will be spread out among schools. Despite that paucity of information, however, Nwofor says she is happy with her decision to keep her two daughters home. "No matter what happens, I'd be happy with this decision," she said. Her kids are torn. One is happy with the decision, while the other would rather be surrounded by others in class. And even though she feels she made the right call based on her concerns about the virus and infections, she does worry about the long-term implications of learning at home in front of a screen versus being in person — for her children's success and their mental well-being. "I am a little bit anxious about this, not just for illness, but for navigating the education system in the next two, three, five, 10 years," said Nwofor. "Because the Grade 7, you know, everybody says we're not going to count it, but we know they're going to count it somewhere. And then also, hub learning, are they going to suggest that hub learning is not as impactful?"Nwofor says there are also questions of oppression and marginalization that can exacerbate the situation.Keltie BilkoskiKeltie Bilkoski doesn't have any real concerns over the way her private school has handled the return to classes. But she did experience her first hiccup right out of the gate. Her younger school-age daughter caught a cold and had to miss the first week of school while waiting for test results to come back.Bilkoski says her school has been strict in enforcing the rules and has the ability to spread the students out and sanitize them and take their temperatures as they come through the doors in the morning. "It's not going to work when it's minus 20 degrees, so I don't know how the school is going to fix that in the wintertime," she said. "But right now, with the warm weather and, you know, the sunshine, the no rain, it works really, really well."Bilkoski says her oldest daughter has been enjoying the modified gym class that includes games of tag with pool noodles, but isn't a fan of all the changes."She doesn't like recess because all the Grade 2 classes go out for recess together, but they have to sort of stay in this box with their class. So she can see friends from other classes, but you're not allowed to play with them," she said. The strict enforcement of rules at the school doesn't just apply to the kids, either. "We have to do this sort of checklist before they even are allowed in the school," said Bilkoski. "And I mean, I forgot to do the checklist this morning because it was just a crazy morning. And they're like, well go to your car, get on your phone, do the checklist before you can come in."She says she was sort of delusional, not thinking about the fact that cases in schools are likely to pop up, but says the school seems to be preparing online tools to deal with a possible infection. In addition, she says due to the small class sizes and ample space, the school has the ability to shut down a classroom in the case of a positive infection."They'll go above and beyond what AHS tells them to do," she said.
The former president of the Harbourview Condominium Association on Boblo Island is frustrated with Amherstburg's bylaw enforcement division.Peter Dunn said a bylaw enforcement officer told him there was little he could do about a teen who refused to wear a face mask in the lobby of the condo, something mandatory under the town's face covering bylaw."When I talked to him, he said, 'Well, here's what'll happen. We'll have to call him and we'll ask him if he was wearing a mask. If he says he was, then there's nothing we can do,'" Dunn said."I said, then why do we pass a bylaw? We might as well tear down all the signs that we've got. He said, 'If you do you will get a fine,'" said Dunn, who says the condo has had to put up signs requiring face masks in common areas as per the bylaw.Dunn said the bylaw officer told him if the person has health issues — which they don't have to prove — they don't have to wear a mask."That's wrong. How many people need to die in a nursing home down here for this to happen," said Dunn.The alleged incident happened last Saturday and the bylaw officer didn't come to investigate until Tuesday. Dunn said they have video proof of the incident but the bylaw officer refused to see it.Dunn is frustrated because he says there are four people with cancer, including himself, who have compromised immune systems and live in the building. Dunn said two residents have already died of COVID-19 so protecting the residents is paramount."When you see people die firsthand, this isn't a game anymore," he said. Dunn has taken the issue up with town councillor Michael Prue who lives on the island. He is vowing to bring the issue of enforcement up at Monday's council meeting."I'm disappointed because we were assured that the bylaw would would have some teeth and that the staff would go out and enforce it, and this is the first case that I know of where enforcement was requested and declined," Prue said.Nicole Rubli, the manager of Licensing and Enforcement for the town says the bylaw enforcement officer spoke to the youth and was assured he would wear his mask in the building from now on.She said this was the first complaint under the new bylaw passed Aug. 28. She stands behind the bylaw, even though it stipulates no business can demand proof of a medical condition exempting someone from wearing a mask."It is in conformity with much of the other bylaws that you find in the province as well as the health unit orders," Rubli said. "We have to be careful with any charter implications that could arise."She said if a person is given a warning first and is then found to not be in compliance, they could be issued a $300 fine.
Walt Disney Co's live-action war epic "Mulan" opened to a lukewarm reception in China on Friday as it battled with mixed reviews, COVID-19 curbs on cinemas and a government ban on major media coverage amid international calls for a boycott. The film, based on a Chinese folk story, had taken in 46 million yuan ($6.73 million) at the box office by 8 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), according to online ticketing platform Maoyan - a slow start compared with other blockbusters. "Mulan" has provoked a backlash on overseas social media over its star's support of Hong Kong police and for being partly filmed in the Xinjiang region, where China's clamp-down on ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims has been criticised by some governments and rights groups.
OTTAWA — A federal watchdog is investigating whether WE Charity, chosen by the Liberal government to run an ill-fated student grant program, was able to provide its services in both official languages as the law requires.The federal Conservatives had asked official languages commissioner Raymond Theberge to investigate the government's choice of WE Charity, saying the move showed contempt toward francophones.Conservative MP Richard Martel alleged in a letter to Theberge earlier this month that the youth group did not have the ability to deliver the multimillion-dollar Canada Student Service Grant program in French as well as in English.Sonia Lamontagne, a spokeswoman for the commissioner, said Friday that Martel was informed the office would investigate the complaint.She did not provide details, given that the investigation is ongoing.The news came just hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it clear he wasn't about to second-guess the government's decision to have WE Charity administer the grant — a move that sparked controversy and ultimately prompted the organization to close its Canadian operations.Opposition MPs have been grilling the government for months over the now-abandoned student program because of WE Charity's close connections to the families of Trudeau and Bill Morneau, the recently departed finance minister.The federal ethics commissioner is looking into whether Trudeau or Morneau violated the Conflict of Interest Act.The Liberals have consistently said it was federal public servants who recommended the grant program be administered by the youth group to help students during the COVID-19 pandemic.Trudeau was asked during a news briefing Friday in Gogama, Ont., whether he takes any responsibility for WE Charity's woes."As I've said, I regret not having recused myself in the beginning because of the perception involved. But there was no conflict of interest here," Trudeau responded.The student grant program was one of several targeted initiatives the government worked to implement quickly to counteract the devastating economic effects of the pandemic."What we tried to do with the Canada student grant was encourage young people to volunteer in communities across this country as they were, and give them recognition for that," Trudeau said."And in order to do that we moved rapidly with a partner that we felt was able to actually deliver it."Trudeau announced the program's launch on June 25. But there was immediate controversy over his perceived conflict of interest and early the next month WE Charity pulled out of the agreement, which was to have paid the organization $43.5 million. The sole-sourced contract with WE had stipulated the organization would not make money on the deal.WE Charity announced this week it is closing its Canadian operations, blaming COVID-19 and the political fallout over the student-volunteer program.Co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger, who are planning to step down from the organization, said the charity found itself in the middle of political battles and misinformation "that we are ill-equipped to fight."Trudeau said Friday that "the way it ended up working out was really unfortunate for everyone involved, particularly for the students who didn't get those grants over the course of the summer for the volunteer work and the community work they were doing."Parliament has been prorogued until Sept. 23, shutting down — at least temporarily — several House of Commons investigations of the controversy, including one planned by the official languages committee.The thousands of pages of documents made public to date seem to back up the Trudeau government's assertion it was federal public servants who recommended the program be administered by WE Charity.They also suggest bureaucrats may have been encouraged to pursue that course by their political masters.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2020.Jim Bronskill and Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
Toronto will be opening a centre for those with COVID-19 who cannot self-isolate at home. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Canada’s Minister of Health Patty Hajdu says the federal government is open to helping other cities launch similar sites if needed.