The Market Crash Has Made This Toy Company a Top Pick

Chris MacDonald
little girl in pilot costume playing and dreaming of flying over the sky

From the end of February to mid-March, the shares of many companies plummeted in a stock market crash. Canadian toy manufacturer Spin Master Corp. (TSX:TOY) was no exception. Spin Master’s shares fell more than 50% during this period. A two-week decline like this is symptomatic of an incredible sentiment shift toward pessimism. It also signals the likelihood of a recession this year.

Spin Master’s challenges

Spin Master is in the consumer discretionary goods industry. This industry is very sensitive to the possibility of a recession hitting in the near term. One reason for this is that the company produces products that are very clearly “wants” and not “needs.” The company’s consumer base could stop making such discretionary purchases in a negative employment shock environment, such as the one that occurred in 2008.

Also, Spin Master investors are making a bet on the company’s ability to continue to innovate over the long term. Spin Master creates new, top-selling toys each and every year. This, in and of itself, is quite a feat.

In some ways, the consumer discretionary space, and children’s toys in particular, faces many of the same challenges as fashion retail. Both industries create products that need to meet the changing tastes of a very specific target market. They have a relatively short window to sell those products. Also, they need to produce an optimal quantity so as to maximize profit each year. These are all very difficult tasks.

A positive outlook

I have been bullish on Spin Master’s ability to meet the challenges outlined above. I believe Spin Master will remain a global player in this space, and I haven’t changed in my bullish outlook. However, I have been wary of the company’s relatively high valuation.

Now, though, Spin Master’s high valuation has been cut in half. This looks very attractive to me from a long-term perspective, even if Q4 2020 turns out to be a disaster. It looks to me like the risks of an impending recession are being priced in by the market right now.

Here is my advice to long-term investors considering growth plays like Spin Master. Pick a valuation level at which investing makes sense to you, and jump in at that point. My personal take at this point is that Spin Master is far too cheap to ignore. This is despite near-term headwinds and concerns I believe to be both real and problematic in terms of revenue and profitability.

Bottom line

I see Spin Master as a long-term growth play with lots of upside. The company has a solid reputation for producing big hits such as Hatchimals, PAW Patrol, and Air Hogs. Other positive factors include possible growth opportunities and an international expansion into Europe. I think Spin Master has a lot of long-term upside potential.

However, it’s important to say that in this investing environment, we’re seeing lots of babies being thrown out with the bathwater. A number of high-quality companies like Spin Master are entering oversold territory, to a degree I honestly did not see coming. I would encourage nibbling here. More downside could certainly be on the horizon as we continue into bear market territory.

Stay Foolish, my friends.

The post The Market Crash Has Made This Toy Company a Top Pick appeared first on The Motley Fool Canada.

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The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Spin Master.

Fool contributor Chris MacDonald does not have ownership in any stocks mentioned in this article.

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  • 14 women report sexual assault, harassment by male Ottawa police officers in past 3 years
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    CBC

    14 women report sexual assault, harassment by male Ottawa police officers in past 3 years

    Fourteen women have come forward to report that they were sexual assaulted or harassed by male Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officers in the past three years.The figure emerged from internal statistics released at a meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board on Monday.Since 2018, OPS has launched internal investigations into two reports of sexual assault committed by members and six reports of sexual harassment.In his presentation Monday, Chief Peter Sloly said he is looking at all measures to eliminate sexual violence within the force."I am willing to consider anything, including heavier penalties and more direct punishment, against those who continue to wilfully ignore and flout the rules and oath of office," he said.But Sloly said he's learned that heavier punishment doesn't always solve the problem and will also try "other tools such as mediation, restoration and truth and reconciliation" depending on the circumstances.Police board chair urges transparencyThe chief did not reveal what discipline the officers faced nor did he say if the women involved are still working within the organization.He also insisted unless women outside the police service were impacted, the names of the officers found guilty of wrongdoing against female counterparts should not be identified because it's an internal matter.The acting chair of the police board said the more transparency there is, the better it will be for the force.Sandy Smallwood wants police to regularly report the number of internal sexual misconduct investigations. "The default [position] should be to expose, to shine a light on it. Often when you do that you create upheaval, but that can lead to change and that's what we need," he said.3rd party reporting on the tableSloly acknowledged it's likely there are many other incidents of sexual misconduct by officers against other OPS employees that have gone unreported.He has tasked acting Deputy Chief Joan McKenna with creating a plan that will encourage female officers to come forward with complaints without fear of reprisal.Although complaints can be made through the force's current respect in the workplace policy, McKenna said complainants may be reluctant to come forward to another officer.The new strategy involves giving an outside agency the ability to investigate internal sexual misconduct allegations.  "A third-party reporting agency may encourage people to come forward and protect them from any repercussions they may fear would take place," said McKenna, who took over Deputy Chief Uday Jaswal's responsibilities after he was suspended for allegations of sexual misconduct. McKenna hopes to have the updated sexual violence policy implemented in some form within six months. It's currently a draft awaiting consultation with officers and outside advocates for survivors of sexual assault.The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) applauded the idea of a third-party investigator."A police service that is serious about gender equity and human rights cannot tolerate such behaviour from its own members and leadership," said executive director Erin Leigh in a statement."Survivors within the OPS have few places to turn for support — sexual harassment, violence, and its trauma has significant and far-reaching consequences regardless of the perpetrator, but can be deeply compounded when perpetrators hold institutional power and public authority."

  • Premier Doug Ford shaken by 'horrific' claims of cockroaches, fecal contamination in Ontario long-term care homes
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    Yahoo News Canada

    Premier Doug Ford shaken by 'horrific' claims of cockroaches, fecal contamination in Ontario long-term care homes

    In an emotional address to the public on Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said a report from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) on long-term care homes in the province is “heartbreaking” and “horrific.”

  • Newfoundland community devastated as three fishermen found dead, one missing
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Newfoundland community devastated as three fishermen found dead, one missing

    ST. LAWRENCE, N.L. — A Newfoundland community was in mourning Tuesday after the bodies of three fishermen were recovered and a search continued for a fourth crew member missing off the island's south coast.A man and his son and nephew, along with a close friend of the family, were aboard the 12-metre fishing vessel that did not return as planned on Monday evening, the mayor of their home port said.Mayor Paul Pike of St. Lawrence, N.L., said the mood was sombre in the town of about 1,200 people on Tuesday.Eileen Norman, who is related by marriage to three of the men, said the community is devastated."It's a very close community. Everybody knows everybody," Norman said by phone. "People just can't get over it. It's still unreal."The Canadian Coast Guard says the first body was recovered just before 4:15 a.m. at the western end of the mouth of Placentia Bay, almost 40 kilometres from the coast. The second body was found at 11:15 a.m., and a third was recovered at 12:57 p.m.Mark Gould, regional supervisor for search and rescue at the Maritime rescue sub-centre in St. John's, said it appears the vessel Sarah Anne sank, though the exact circumstances remained unclear."After finding what we found, we knew something catastrophic happened," Gould said from St. John's.He said a few pieces of the boat were found near the first man's body, and all three victims were found "within a couple miles of each other."Gould said it's been a "tough case" that has strongly affected the community, with residents taking to their boats to help in the search. But the news had been only bad as the search stretched into late Tuesday."Unfortunately in the situation so far, we've recovered bodies instead of people, and it's a sad result," he said.Gould said everyone involved was impacted by the difficult search. "All day long, you're thinking about it and you feel so much for the families," he said.The spokesman said it appears the small vessel didn't have an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB, and the search and rescue centre hadn't received any signal from the boat.The four men left St. Lawrence to fish for crab well before dawn on Monday, which Pike said was a sunny day with low winds. They had been scheduled back at 8 p.m., and a search was started shortly after a person called in a report that the vessel hadn't returned on time.Pike said their families had begun to feel uneasy Monday afternoon when there was no communication from the crew, who were all experienced on the water.He said three of the men on the Sarah Anne were between 30 and 45 years old and the fourth was in his 60s. Two of the men worked as volunteer firefighters in the community, and three had young children."They were great friends," Pike said of the group.A Cormorant helicopter, a Hercules search and rescue aircraft, an Oceanex cargo vessel, members of the coast guard auxiliary and several coast guard vessels were involved in the search on Tuesday morning. The Coast Guard said "multiple aircraft" had joined in the search by the afternoon.Volunteer vessels from the community were also on the water. Pike estimated that dozens of fishing vessels from St. Lawrence and other communities along the Burin Peninsula set out Monday evening to look for their colleagues."Fishermen have this strong bond, this brotherhood that exists, and they certainly were out in full support to bring these boys home," Pike said.As neighbours and families waited for news about the fourth man, Pike said people are also left wondering what went wrong on the trip, when the weather was good and four experienced fishermen were on board."That's the whole mystery that surrounds this, is what happened to these guys," he said. Gould said efforts to locate the missing man would continue until all options had been exhausted, adding that some vessels on the scene would have to refuel and rest at some point in the evening."Everyone knows how important this is to the families, and we're doing everything we can," he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2020.— By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John's, N.L., with files from Michael Tutton in Halifax.The Canadian Press

  • Burnaby man 'vanished' after walking away from Royal Columbian in a blue hospital gown
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    CBC

    Burnaby man 'vanished' after walking away from Royal Columbian in a blue hospital gown

    The family and friends of Gavin Deloes are worried for his safety after the 41-year-old walked out of the Royal Columbian Hospital early Sunday morning in a hospital gown, and hasn't been seen since.Police are investigating the man's disappearance and seeking help from Coquitlam Search and Rescue volunteers.Hilma Deloes fears for her son, who she said was hurt when his Jeep crashed Friday in Coquitlam, B.C., and was showing signs of confusion.The Burnaby man walked out of hospital with no identification, money or phone, toting an iPod and a bag of toiletries his mother had dropped off, and wearing a hospital gown. He wore a pair of black slip-on sandals.Hospital staff told family that Deloes was last seen walking north up Columbia Street. Then, nothing."He has completely vanished off the face of the planet," said Deloes' brother-in-law, Quinn Jarvis.Friends and family said that Deloes, an employee of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, was the driver in a crash on North Road in Coquitlam on May 22 around 8:30 a.m. PT after leaving his girlfriend's home.It's unclear what caused the accident that sent Deloes to the emergency room, where family did see him on Friday before he was moved to a ward they were not allowed to visit, due to COVID-19 concerns.New Westminster Police Sgt. Jeff Scott says investigators are checking security footage near the hospital and urging anybody who sees the man with a scar between his eyes to call 911."He's wearing a blue hospital gown and slippers so we are concerned for his well-being," said Scott, who confirmed that Deloes had been in a traffic accident."His family is extremely worried for him," said Scott.Longtime friend Dylan Stewart, 41, said he was talking to Deloes on the phone — via a hands-free Bluetooth device — when the car crash happened.They had been discussing a cake — a raspberry pound cake that Deloes' mother had baked the pair since they were teens after they both "feasted" on a cake she'd set aside for a bake sale, not knowing it was off-limits.Then, the impact, and the aftermath."We think he had a seizure. We were talking normally and all of a sudden … he was just normal Gavin, happy, chipper, ready to pick up this cake, and then there was no sound and then I heard the crazy sound and accident sounds," said Stewart."I felt very helpless," said Stewart.Stewart said that he rushed to the accident scene and then to the hospital where he was able to see Deloes in the emergency room, before going to his parents' home to tell them what happened. He said his friend had a head injury, fractured bones, including vertebrae, ribs and his knee.Hilma Deloes said she saw her son in the emergency room on Friday at around 11 a.m., and despite injuries, he was able to talk. She arranged to take his belongings, including his identification and clothes, and provided the iPod so he could FaceTime with family, while he recovered, as his phone had been seized by police at the accident scene.On Saturday she said she picked up his work boots and other items from his damaged Jeep at Coquitlam Towing. That night she returned to Royal Columbian Hospital to bring him clothes.She found her son pacing outside."When I got to the entrance of the hospital he was out there with two RNs [registered nurses] and security guards were hovering around him. He was talking, but he wasn't making sense to me," said Hilma Deloes, herself retired after 25 years at Royal Columbian Hospital.She says she helped convince her son to return to his room in the orthopaedic ward, and requested he be seen by a social worker, as he seemed confused and "paranoid." She left with his shoes and clothes, and the hope he'd listen to medical advice."This is not my son here. This is not like him at all," said Hilma Deloes.She said she parked nearby to ensure he didn't leave again.Sunday morning she said she called around 9 a.m.and learned that her son had been discharged. At first, friends thought he just walked to his girlfriend's home nearby, but he never turned up.The Fraser Health Authority spokesperson said it cannot respond to questions about Deloes' case, due to privacy laws.

  • Greta Thunberg Calls Out Alberta Minister Who Said It’s A Great Time To Build Pipelines
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    Greta Thunberg Calls Out Alberta Minister Who Said It’s A Great Time To Build Pipelines

    The climate activist called out Alberta’s Sonya Savage for “at least being honest” for once.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Judge whose anti-rape advice was 'close your legs' loses job

    A judge who suggested that a woman seeking a restraining order could “close your legs” to prevent a sexual assault was removed from the bench Tuesday by the New Jersey Supreme Court and permanently barred from presiding over a courtroom. The unanimous decision cited “repeated and serious acts of misconduct” by state Superior Court Judge John Russo Jr. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote that it would be “inconceivable” for Russo to preside over domestic violence or sexual assault matters after those comments.

  • Disbarred Edmonton lawyer Shawn Beaver found guilty of contempt of court
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    CBC

    Disbarred Edmonton lawyer Shawn Beaver found guilty of contempt of court

    A disgraced and disbarred Edmonton lawyer has been convicted of civil contempt of court for "deliberately" violating a court order forbidding him from practising law. The Court of Queen's Bench injunction against Shawn Beaver was issued in February 2016 after the Law Society of Alberta (LSA) suspended him for stealing from clients' trust accounts.Beaver was disbarred in February 2017. The law society then discovered he was using a young female lawyer as a front to secretly continue practising law. "Beaver embarked on a prolonged, deliberate scheme to clandestinely practise law," the LSA alleged in a written brief. "He did it for personal gain." In a 14-page written decision, Associate Chief Justice John Rooke agreed with the allegations made by the law society. "I find that the LSA has proven beyond a reasonable doubt deliberate breaches by Beaver," Rooke wrote. "There is no evidence that, for example, any breach was accidental." In May 2017, Chipo Florence Jura responded to a Kijiji ad Beaver posted offering legal tutoring. She had only been practising for two months and wanted to get advice on branching out from family law to criminal law.Jura didn't hire Beaver as a legal tutor, but in August 2017 agreed to his suggestion that they clandestinely work together, even though he had been disbarred. Beaver brought in clients and drafted court documents while Jura appeared in court and fronted discussions with other lawyers. The law society began to investigate Jura. Beaver told her to delete emails implicating him, and she did so.The first two times Jura was interviewed by the LSA, she admitted she had not been truthful about Beaver. When she was interviewed a third time, she "expressed a desire to start fresh, speak the truth and accept the consequences that flowed," Rooke wrote in his decision. "I find that Jura tried to protect Beaver at his insistence and direction, until she decided ultimately to tell the truth regardless of the consequences for Beaver." Jura was disbarred and moved back to Zimbabwe. She flew to Edmonton to testify at Beaver's contempt of court hearing last October. When she was cross-examined by Beaver's lawyer, Jura testified that Beaver directed legal strategy and gave her instructions and provided legal advice to clients, Rooke wrote."I accept that the substance of Jura's evidence incriminating Beaver was truthful, and on that basis I find that the LSA has proved Beaver's contempt beyond a reasonable doubt." Possible penalties The judge has asked the law society to provide a written brief within 20 days suggesting what punishment it wants to be imposed against Beaver. He'll be given another 20 days after that for a response. Under the Alberta Rules of Court, a person found guilty of civil contempt can be put in jail for no more than two years and can also be fined.The Law Society of Alberta has declined comment while the case is still before the courts. Beaver did not return a phone call requesting comment. A year ago, he launched an Edmonton-based business as an immigration consultant. A spokesperson with Edmonton police confirmed a criminal fraud investigation against Beaver is ongoing.

  • One dead, boy and woman wounded in downtown Toronto shooting: police
    News
    The Canadian Press

    One dead, boy and woman wounded in downtown Toronto shooting: police

    TORONTO — Police say a 21-year-old man is dead and a boy and a woman were wounded in a shooting in downtown Toronto.Police Chief Mark Saunders said the "brazen" shooting happened shortly after 4 p.m.Saunders said the two males were targeted and the woman was an innocent bystander.Police originally said the male victim who died was 16."We don't know where the victims were coming from. There were walking in two groups of two," Saunders told a news conference Tuesday on the street near the shooting scene."As they crossed on to the west side of the curb, that is when the suspect vehicle made a U-turn and engaged in firing."They were reports of people screaming and running from the scene near the intersection of King and Peter streets.Saunders said police have recovered one firearm and were searching for suspects in a blue vehicle.Police say the wounded include a 15-year-old boy and a 27-year-old woman. Both are expected to recover.Saunders said the female victim was an innocent bystander."By all indications it looks like the female who was shot has absolutely nothing to do with this, absolutely nothing," he said. "Just standing there and because of the suspect just shooting randomly an innocent person was caught in that crossfire."Saunders said police are confident they will solve the case because of the amount of evidence they have already collected.He noted investigators will have access to images from video cameras in the area. Toronto city councillor Joe Cressy, who represents the area where the shooting took place, expressed his disappointment on Twitter."Our vibrant downtown community shaken," Cressy wrote. "While Toronto Police Services investigates and our city's crisis response team mobilizes to support those affected, collectively as a city we must all loudly reject this violence and work to stop it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • Sikh Front-Line Workers Make Enough Sacrifices. Their Beards Shouldn't Be One.
    Health
    HuffPost Canada

    Sikh Front-Line Workers Make Enough Sacrifices. Their Beards Shouldn't Be One.

    Religiously worn beards have been subtly framed as an obstacle to the safety of COVID-19 patients.

  • Police seize 53 firearms, more than 8kg of drugs from rural N.B. home
    News
    CBC

    Police seize 53 firearms, more than 8kg of drugs from rural N.B. home

    A 27-year-old woman has been arrested after police discovered a large cache of firearms and drugs in rural New Brunswick, Keswick RCMP say.Police found 53 firearms, ammunition and more than three kilograms of cocaine and almost 5.5 kilograms of crystal during a search of a home on Route 635, a provincial highway that runs from Route 2 near Kings Landing to Route 4 just west of Harvey.Officers seized 31 long guns and 22 handguns, 24 of which are prohibited and/or restricted. Many were loaded and had the serial numbers removed.An undisclosed amount of cash was also seized, police said in a statement Tuesday."This is a large quantity of dangerous drugs and firearms that have been safely removed from our communities," said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh in the release. "This is an ongoing investigation and police are encouraging anyone with information that could assist investigators to contact police or Crime Stoppers."The discovery on May 20 led to a warrant for a woman's arrest. She was arrested Monday and appeared in Fredericton court by phone Tuesday. She was remanded and is awaiting a bail hearing Friday.The accused is charged with possession of a prohibited or restricted firearms with ammunition, without a licence or registration. On May 19, Keswick RCMP responded to a report of two vehicles on fire in the driveway of the home. Police determined the fires were deliberately set and a search warrant was executed the following day.A 41-year-old woman was also arrested at the home on May 19 but later released on an undertaking.Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to call police at 506-357-4300 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

  • Military alleges horrific conditions, abuse in pandemic-hit Ontario nursing homes
    News
    CBC

    Military alleges horrific conditions, abuse in pandemic-hit Ontario nursing homes

    The Canadian military has drawn the curtain back on horrific allegations of elder abuse in five Ontario long-term care homes, with precise, graphic reports of residents being bullied, drugged, improperly fed and in some cases left for hours and days in soiled bedding.Within the military's shocking catalogue of abuse, neglect and cruelty is an accusation that delinquent care led to the death of a resident.Soldiers were called into the facilities as part of an effort to backstop the provincial system, which has been overwhelmed by novel coronavirus cases.What they found has been recorded in assessments of each of the homes — in Pickering, Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York and Brampton — and presented in a report to the Ontario government."It's gut-wrenching," said a grim-faced Premier Doug Ford Tuesday. "Reading this report is the hardest thing I have done as premier."WATCH | Military report puts spotlight on crisis in Ontario's long-term care homes:According to the report, conditions in two of the seniors homes — Orchard Villa in Pickering and Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke — appeared to be nothing short of horrid and inhumane as ill-trained, burned-out and, in some cases, neglectful staff coped with the growing care needs of elderly residents.It was in Orchard Villa that troops observed the choking death of one senior, who was lying down while being fed."Staff were unable to dislodge food or revive the resident," said the report, which went on to conclude that the practice of not having patients sit up "appeared to have contributed" to the patient's death.In the same centre, according to the report, troops had to send a senior to hospital after the resident fractured a hip and was not cared for by staff. Other patients were "left in beds soiled, in diapers, rather than being ambulated to the toilets."'Cockroaches and flies present'"Cockroaches and flies present," one assessment said. "Rotten food smell noted in the hallway outside. CAF members found multiple old food trays stacked inside the bed table."Staff members were overwhelmed and burned out, the report said."Respecting the dignity of patients is not always a priority," it said. The report details conditions at five facilities where troops have been helping out: * Orchard Villa in Pickering. * Altamont Care Community in Scarborough. * Eatonville in Etobicoke. * Hawthorne Place in North York. * Holland Christian Homes Grace Manor in Brampton.At the Eatonville Care Centre, soldiers reported "witnessing aggressive behaviour" by staff — reports that prompted an investigation by facility management.It was there that troops also reported seeing the drugging of patients whom staff claimed were "difficult or agitated.""But when you talk to them they just say they're 'scared and feeling alone like they're in jail' — no agitation or sedation required," the report said.At the Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, said the report, residents faced "inadequate nutrition" because most of them were not getting three meals a day — and when they did, "underfeeding was reported."It was also there that a "non-verbal resident wrote a disturbing letter alleging neglect and abuse" by a personal support worker. The letter was given to the military medic by the senior and the allegations were reported to the facility's management.PM calls findings 'deeply disturbing'Several of the assessments noted unsafe conditions that could help spread COVID-19, including instances where patients who had tested positive for the virus "were allowed to wander" and staff members left with inadequate personal protective equipment.In his daily media briefing today, the prime minister said he was aware of the assessments and was saddened, shocked, disappointed and angered by what he'd heard."It is deeply disturbing," Justin Trudeau said.The allegations were first reported in an online story Tuesday morning by Global News.The military compiles daily situation reports on the deployment and the allegations first surfaced in those assessments in early May, within two weeks of troops beginning the deployment.Watch: Ontario premier calls military report on long-term care homes 'heartbreaking' and 'gut-wrenching'Troops are obliged to report cases of abuse and mistreatment to the military chain of command or, if they are a nurse or a doctor, to their own health certification bodies.The overall assessment, dated May 14, was compiled by the commander of the 4th Canadian Division, Brig.-Gen. Conrad Mialkowski, and forwarded on to National Defence Headquarters.It did not arrive on Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's desk until a week later later, at which point other federal ministers were notified.The Ontario government wasn't formally notified until Sunday and the premier said he learned about the situation Monday night.The report notes that the military's concerns were raised with the management of each of the homes in "collegial manner" in a series of teleconferences, starting on May 4.In the House of Commons today, the Conservatives accused the Liberal government of foot-dragging. The federal NDP, meanwhile, called for a thorough investigation of every allegation "and criminal charges where appropriate."'Anger, sadness, frustration'The Department of National Defence refused to comment, saying that the Ontario government is responsible for the institutions."On reading the deeply disturbing report, I had obviously a range of emotions of anger, of sadness, of frustration, of grief," Trudeau said. "It is extremely troubling, and as I've said from the very beginning of this, we need to do a better job of supporting our seniors in long-term care right across the country, through this pandemic and beyond."Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on 'deeply disturbing' reports out of long-term care homesTrudeau said the report underscores the need to improve standards of care for seniors in long-term care homes across the country, and said the federal government will support the provinces' efforts to do that going forward. Long-term care falls under provincial jurisdiction."We need to do a better job of caring for the people who built this country," Trudeau said. "The greatest generation saw us through World War Two. We need to be there to support them properly through this global crisis." Over 1,675 troops have been brought in to backstop five long-term care homes in Ontario and a further 25 in Quebec. Their duties include helping residents with day-to-day needs, cleaning the facilities and meal distribution.It is unclear whether similar abuse allegations have been levelled at long-term care facilities in Quebec. The federal Public Safety department has said a similar assessment is being prepared for that much larger operation.Class action suit filed against Pickering homeTrudeau said Ontario and Quebec have asked that the deployment of troops in long-term care homes be extended until the end of June.A Department of National Defence slide deck presentation, released along with the assessments, shows the Ontario government has a total of 27 seniors homes "critically affected" by the pandemic and provincial authorities want the military to move to different facilities as existing ones are stabilized.A class action lawsuit was filed on Monday against the Orchard Villa, alleging the spread of COVID-19 in the home was "a needless tragedy which has now caused 77 deaths and over 200 infections of residents."A copy of the statement of claim was obtained by CBC News. None of the allegations have been proven in court."Orchard Villa was not prepared for the outbreak of COVID-19 and did not have adequate policies and procedures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said lawyer Gary Will, who filed the class action suit."The results of this incompetence were devastating to the residents of Orchard Villa."Sylvia Lyon, of Pickering, Ont., lost her mother Ursula Drehlich, a resident of the home, on April 23 and will act as the lead plaintiff in the case.The suit alleges Orchard Villa continued to allow residents to sit together for meals after the Ontario government had issued strict guidelines on physical distancing in late March.

  • Nursing home worker forced to move hotels after contracting COVID-19
    Business
    CBC

    Nursing home worker forced to move hotels after contracting COVID-19

    A personal support worker (PSW) on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic says she was forced to pack up her stuff and move hotels while she was still suffering from the respiratory illness.In April, Courtney Nesbitt left her partner, family and friends in Peterborough, Ont., after answering an ad for personal support workers needed to help with ongoing outbreaks at several long-term care facilities in Ottawa.She started working at Extendicare Laurier Manor on Montreal Road, where she cared for multiple COVID-19 patients and took pride in her work."I like working with people, and it's nice to give them that bit of comfort knowing that there's other people there that care about them," she said. "Residents are scared because they don't know what's going on, either with their illness or in general."> I don't think I've been treated right. I wish I'd never came. I wish I'd stayed home, to be honest. \- Courtney NesbittShe said the company put her up in a hotel suite at the Homewood Suites by Hilton near the Ottawa International Airport. Everything was going well until May 18, when in the middle of her shift she became very thirsty and started sweating."Being in [personal protective equipment], it's hot. Never thought anything of it," Nesbitt said.But when her temperature was taken at the end of her shift, she had a fever and was told to get tested for COVID-19. The next morning she got the result: positive.Her symptoms got progressively worse over the next few days and included fever, cough,headaches, chills and muscle aches. She was spending most of her time in bed and didn't leave her room.'I felt humiliated'The following Sunday afternoon, the hotel called her to tell her she had to leave, and would be transferred to a nearby hotel that was undergoing renovations. Nesbitt said she was told it was because hotel staff were refusing to come to work as long as she was in the building.She felt angry and frustrated."I don't feel good so I don't want to get out of bed. I'm tired," she said. "It really upset me that I was being told that I had to leave because I have COVID-19, because people don't understand how it works."Nesbitt was given a mask, gloves and face shield, and had to pack up her stuff, put it on a luggage cart and make her way out of the building, trying to avoid other guests."Normally I'm pretty strong, but I struggled putting my stuff on the cart," she said. "I felt humiliated."She said the hotel manager has been understanding and offered to replace items she left behind out of her own pocket. Nesbitt's employer said it was surprised to learn she'd been forced to move hotels."We are extremely grateful to all our employees who travel to work in homes in outbreak. We thank all of them for their courage and dedication in this challenging time," Cory Nezan, Extendicare's regional director, wrote in a statement to CBC Ottawa."We understood this to be a mutual agreement between our staff member and hotel management for the safety of others in the hotel, and we are very concerned to hear that may not be the case."The company said it continues to provide accommodation support for any employees who contract COVID-19, and plans to follow up with Nesbitt.Hotel provided alternative accommodations, foodIn a statement to CBC Ottawa, the hotel confirmed it has been housing employees of a health care company, and said it has arranged for alternative accommodations for any employees who test positive for COVID-19 at another property less than 200 metres away."We have done what we can to show this guest our hospitality, providing additional groceries, hot meals, and cooking equipment at no cost to her or her employer," the hotel said in a statement.But Nesbitt wants the hotel to come up with a plan to ensure others in her situation aren't made to feel humiliated, as she said she was."I don't think I've been treated right. I wish I'd never came. I wish I'd stayed home, to be honest," she said. "I just hope if somebody else gets sick they could produce a plan and let us know what that plan is."

  • Banff will close its main street to cars this summer, opening space for pedestrians
    News
    CBC

    Banff will close its main street to cars this summer, opening space for pedestrians

    The Town of Banff will close its main street to cars this summer to make more space for visitors on foot. Banff Avenue — the town's main drag — will be closed between the 100 and 200 blocks from June 5 to Sept. 11.A portion of Caribou Street between Banff Avenue and the Bear Street laneway and between Banff Avenue and the Beaver Street laneway will be closed as well.The closures are intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 by allowing for two metres of space between pedestrians and cyclists, and to attract more foot traffic to local businesses."If the goal here is to drive maximum safety and maximum distancing, that should drive your thinking on how this space should be configured," said Darren Enns, development services manager for the Town of Banff.Between 20,000 and 30,000 vehicles travel through Banff on a typical summer day. But Mayor Karen Sorensen said this year will be quite different due to the coronavirus pandemic once the town reopens. "It will be a different experience for people for sure," she said.The town and the majority of its businesses are preparing to reopen June 1, when national parks are expected to gradually begin resuming operations.During the May 2020 long weekend, traffic in Banff was down 70 per cent but pedestrian traffic was down 88 per cent, which suggests people currently prefer to drive or avoid congested pedestrian spaces, town administration said.The town will spend $175,000 on landscaping and traffic control to make the closed roadspace more pedestrian-friendly.The mountain town's economy, which is centred on tourism, was devastated as COVID-19 brought international and domestic travel to a halt. The community is facing an unemployment rate as high as 85 per cent.Banff remains under a state of local emergency.There have been four cases of COVID-19 in the community, which has a population of around 7,800. The national park attracts more than four million visitors each year.Torsten Merker, who owns the King Edward Hotel, said he's concerned about how the logistics of the street closure will work, but hopes it could bring in some much-needed foot traffic once the town begins to reopen."We don't know how the behaviour of people will change. And once we have a little bit more information on that I think that's when we will see if it helped or hindered the business," he said.One of the town's biggest tourism draws, the Banff World Media Festival, kicks off Tuesday — virtually. The in-person festival was originally slated to take place in mid-June.

  • Kahnawake, Kanesatake businesses remain closed despite Quebec reopening
    News
    CBC

    Kahnawake, Kanesatake businesses remain closed despite Quebec reopening

    While some retailers were allowed to reopen across the greater Montreal area starting Monday, two Mohawk communities in the region are not easing restrictions just yet.Businesses in Kanesatake, northwest of the city, will remain closed and checkpoints will keep restricting non-local access to the area for the foreseeable future."We'll be keeping ourselves closed and safe until we deem it necessary," said Clifton Nicholas, owner of the Green Deliver cannabis dispensary. While Nicholas said he's eager to reopen his business, he said it's not at the risk of his or his community's health."I worked hard at building this business. There's a lot of pride and money on the line and to just watch it stagnate there...." he said."There's an eagerness to open but I do not want to be the one who brings this disease into this community. I don't want that responsibility on my shoulders to have harmed anyone in this community."Kanesatake has had checkpoints around its territory since mid-April. Robert Bonspiel, spokesperson for Kanesatake's Emergency Response Unit, said all will remain except for two at entrances of Oka Park as the region reopens."We're not trying to anger anyone," said Bonspiel."We're not trying to make a political statement. We're not trying to do anything other than protect our elders and vulnerable population."Bonspiel said they're also closely watching what Kahnawake, south of Montreal, plans on doing."We align ourselves more with our sister community than any other community," he said."The Kanesatake approach has more to do with community, elders, and vulnerable peoples than I believe the Quebec plan has. I'm not saying their plan is wrong, but ours is different and our perspective is different."'We know what's best for our community'Kahnawake remains closed to non-residents and those found on the territory will continue to face $1,500 fines. To date, close to 300 tickets have been issued by the Kahnawake Mohawk Peacekeepers.The community's COVID-19 task force tentatively set June 1 as a date to lift the restriction and reopen businesses that can allow physical distancing. Kahnawake's Public Safety Commissioner Lloyd Phillips said some community members have expressed concern with the date being too soon."We know what's best for our community. What makes us vulnerable also makes us strong," said Phillips.Every business in Kahnawake will be inspected by the task force prior to being given the green light to open."We hope that alleviates some of the concerns from community members," said Phillips."We understand there's a concern from some people in terms of opening too soon, having a lot of outsiders come into the community and the possibility of spread, but we always said from Day 1 that science will lead the way."Jessica Hernandez is preparing her shop Nicia's Accessories, a bead and craft supply store, to reopen for June 1 and it will be inspected by the task force."It's in the best interest of the community," she said about Kahnawake's specific COVID-19 requirements."It's important for Indigenous communities to have their own rules and way about how they're going to open or not open their community."Hernandez said one of the reasons she wants to reopen is because she's worried about people's mental health coping with the pandemic, and beadwork can offer help with that."If they want people to stay home, people need things to do — not just for not being bored but for mental health," she said."Beading is a medicine, so with all of the social distancing and isolation, it's important that people have things that are going to help them get through it."

  • Judge awards $55K to elder with walker who was 'falsely arrested ... assaulted' by RCMP constable
    News
    CBC

    Judge awards $55K to elder with walker who was 'falsely arrested ... assaulted' by RCMP constable

    The B.C. Supreme Court has awarded $55,000 in damages to an Indigenous elder the judge ruled was "falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned, assaulted, and battered" by an RCMP officer during an incident in northern B.C. in 2014.Irene Joseph, then 61, was injured in a struggle with the officer, who suspected her of shoplifting. No stolen merchandise was found, and Joseph never faced charges. Joseph sued RCMP Const. Darrin Meier and the Attorney General of Canada, in a case a judge has now ruled on, more than five years later. On December 6, 2014, Joseph, a Wet'suwet'en elder, was shopping at Mark's Work Warehouse in Smithers.Because of chronic pain and a fused ankle, she was using her walker.Outside the store, Joseph was approached by Meier, who'd been called by a store manager concerned about shoplifting.Joseph declined to speak with the officer and didn't allow him to handcuff her, saying she'd done nothing wrong.The court judgment states the RCMP constable then forced Joseph down on the ground on her stomach, and climbed on top of her, as he struggled to handcuff her.The court ruled Joseph was injured in the struggle.No stolen merchandise was found. Defence lawyers argued the RCMP constable had reasonable grounds to suspect that Joseph had shoplifted and that he had used reasonable force.But the Honorable Madam Justice B. Brown stated that Meier, then a seven-year RCMP veteran, acted improperly though "he did not do so maliciously or high handedly." "Things rapidly escalated when Const. Meier decided to handcuff her," stated Brown. "It would have been obvious to all she had limited mobility and ... used a walker."It was simply not necessary to physically subdue a woman of Ms Joseph's age and limited mobility.... She was arrested and restrained in a very public manner and was humiliated."The court backed Joseph's claim that she suffered bruises and scrapes, as well as a sore neck, ribs, and back. The judge noted that the police incident also aggravated pre-existing conditions, including chronic pain and anxiety."She still experiences anxiety when leaving her house, as she is afraid she might be attacked," said the judge.Joseph was awarded $55,000 in damages.

  • Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says time is now for Canada to lead global effort to combat COVID-19
    Politics
    Global News

    Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says time is now for Canada to lead global effort to combat COVID-19

    Speaking to reporters Tuesday outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the time was now for Canada to lead the global effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to a Thursday conference call hosted by himself, the UN Secretary-General, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica on coordinating a global response to the pandemic.

  • COVID-19 in Canada: 'Deeply disturbing' revelations about long-term care leave Ford, Trudeau shaken to core
    Health
    Yahoo News Canada

    COVID-19 in Canada: 'Deeply disturbing' revelations about long-term care leave Ford, Trudeau shaken to core

    As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians are concerned about their health and safety.

  • Manitoba premier says cheques will be sent out to low-income disabled persons
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Manitoba premier says cheques will be sent out to low-income disabled persons

    WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is sending out another batch of $200 cheques to help people deal with the economic consequences of COVID-19.The money is to go to more than 23,000 people who live with disabilities and are on social assistance. It aims to help cover extra costs such as prescription drugs and grocery deliveries."Manitobans living with disabilities may be facing additional costs in adjusting to the realities of daily life during this public health emergency, and, for many of them, it is extremely difficult to cover additional costs," Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday.The one-time payments are to be mailed out in early June, just a few weeks after similar $200 cheques were sent to every senior in the province, regardless of income.Those cheques were accompanied by a letter signed by Pallister, who indicated the new payments will also have his name attached."Who else would sign it?" Pallister said."Those who are receiving the payment deserve it, and I think that the premier of the province owes it to let people know that he believes that."Make Poverty History, a Winnipeg-based poverty rights group, said the one-time payment is not enough."We know everyone on (social assistance) and living in poverty is suffering, and everybody needs support, and that can't just be a one-time cheque," group chairman Michael Barkman wrote in an email.The Opposition New Democrats also called for higher payments and said Pallister is politicizing the program by attaching letters with his signature."I'd offer my best efforts to craft a letter of my own to include if they wanted to give me that honour," NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.Pallister said the cheques are not a political move, because the next election isn't scheduled until 2023."I would say it's a pretty weak case to say we're doing it for politics when the next election is years away."Manitoba health officials announced there were no new COVID-19 cases Tuesday for the fourth straight day. With most of the 292 people infected having recovered, the number of active cases was down to 16. Seven people have died since the pandemic began.Pallister offered his support for a proposed national program that would ensure workers received 10 paid sick days during the pandemic. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the program would require talks with the provinces.Pallister said Manitoba is willing to put up money, although he provided no specifics."We don't need to discourage people from staying home when they're sick. We need to encourage them to do that ... and during this pandemic, it's critical that we do everything we can to help people do the right thing."This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2020Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Lethbridge police chief admits to toxic workplace but blames disgruntled officers airing 'personal grievances'

    While under investigation for alleged bullying and harassment, Lethbridge's police chief has issued a statement critical of those who have spoken out against the "brokenness" of the service. On Tuesday, Chief Scott Woods admitted to a "toxicity" within the Lethbridge Police Service but called out disgruntled officers whom he accused of "protecting their own interests" by airing "personal grievances."While it's not unusual for a member of a police force's brass to be the subject of a complaint, it is rare for a chief to speak publicly about it. Last month, the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board ordered the Lethbridge Police Commission to take another look at a harassment and bullying complaint made by Sgt. J. Moulton against Woods.The LERB had previously found it didn't have the jurisdiction to look into the complaint. 'A brokenness within the service'The chief's comments on Tuesday appear to be in response to a report by a Lethbridge media outlet, Bridge City News, that cited an anonymous former Lethbridge officer who seemed to substantiate some of the concerns made by Moulton.The anonymous former officer called the service "broken" and said he left because of "bullying and harassment by the administration."Woods says he's tried to address the toxicity and admits "there is a brokenness within the service" but says a lot of the dysfunction comes from a small group within the police force who are primarily concerned with protecting their own interests."When this small group of individuals is held to account for their own misconduct, or perhaps denied a workplace request, they often lash out and accuse others of being bullies," wrote Woods. History of the complaintsIn 2019, Moulton filed three complaints — breach of trust, harassment and bullying — with the Lethbridge Police Commission against Woods, who was a deputy chief at that time.The breach of trust complaints were dismissed by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which found there was no reasonable suspicion to believe an offence had been committed. The Police Act still required further, internal disciplinary review, so the file has since been sent to an outside police service to investigate.  The bullying and harassment complaints alleged "tyrannical and bullying behaviour over the course of nearly a year," according to the LERB decision posted online last month.Chief accused of 'isolating and demeaning' behaviour"[Moulton] stated that the behaviour included isolating and demeaning him, as well as sustained attacks on his career," reads the decision. "He stated the behaviour appeared to be retaliatory after he had confronted [Woods] about a serious issue, which resulted in his aforementioned breach of trust complaints to the respondent."Woods took over as chief on Aug. 28, 2019. In November, the complaint was dismissed by the commission, which found it did not have jurisdiction to investigate. "If the [commission] does not have jurisdiction over the complaint about the officer, then who does?" wrote the LERB in its decision to send the matter back to the Lethbridge Police Commission. Woods says he felt the need to comment on recent media coverage because the manner and tone "casts aspersions not just on me … but on the vast majority of the people who serve the City of Lethbridge as a part of the police service."

  • Special Report: Bolsonaro brought in his generals to fight coronavirus. Brazil is losing the battle
    News
    Reuters

    Special Report: Bolsonaro brought in his generals to fight coronavirus. Brazil is losing the battle

    SÃO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - In mid-March, Brazil took what seemed to be a forceful early strike against the coronavirus pandemic. The Health Ministry mandated that cruises be canceled. Although Brazil had yet to report a single death from COVID-19, public health officials appeared to be getting out in front of the virus.

  • 'Give your head a shake': Legal experts slam cage fighting gym owner for flouting COVID-19 science
    Health
    CBC

    'Give your head a shake': Legal experts slam cage fighting gym owner for flouting COVID-19 science

    A southern Alberta gym owner who has publicly threatened to reopen before the province says it's safe to do so, while stating he rejects science and won't follow any COVID-19 health protocols, has left some in the legal community scratching their heads wondering, what the heck is he thinking?"It's incredibly irresponsible," Mount Royal University criminologist Kelly Sundberg told CBC News."It is against the law. There is a health order and there are rules in place. If anyone communicates so publicly their intention to disregard the laws of public health and safety, I am hoping the Alberta government and Lethbridge police will make an example of this business owner."Lee Mein raised eyebrows but also rallied like-minded troops when he posted a video rant to Facebook, saying his Lethbridge gym would be open June 1.Alberta is currently in Stage 1 of the province's relaunch strategy. Gyms are set to open in Stage 3 and that date has not been announced, nor have the guidelines around conditions of reopening."There is no common-sense approach to why they are doing what they are doing," Mein told CBC News."It doesn't make sense to me."'I don't see any proof'Mein said there will be no additional cleaning at his gym, like what is being ordered in B.C., because he said his gym-cleaning standards are sufficient."It just doesn't make any sense at all," he said."I don't see any proof that these protocols, these hoops they are making you jump through make any difference."And that's where Alberta's top doctor jumps into the cage to clarify."The virus has not gone away," Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said in her Monday COVID-19 update."The fact we have been so successful is because of these measures we have taken together. If collectively we stop taking these protective measures, then my concern is that the virus can spread and spread to people who are vulnerable to poor outcomes. We have to stay in this together."Sundberg says that's kind of the point. Let experts be experts."It's foolish for someone who does not have a medical and public health background to say they know better than the doctors. This is absurd in itself," the criminologist said.Mein said he knows best and there's lots of online supporters cheering him on. His public Facebook page is overflowing with supportive comments and critics are dismissed in short order."Why do I have to wear a mask as an instructor ... yet you don't have to wear a mask at a grocery store. How does that make any sense at all?" Mein said."Everyone is guessing right now. I am guessing that I am right. And time will prove I am right ... I don't see the proof that people are interacting with each other and then dropping dead. That is not happening. The hospitals are not overwhelmed, so what is the problem now?"Another Calgary criminologist understands the anger Mein and many others are feeling, and said their questions are legitimate, but added science should still be at the core of the conversation."It's understandable that people are becoming frustrated or tired of the restrictions in place, but the restrictions were put into place for a reason," Lorian Hardcastle said."The government was acting in an abundance of caution."Hardcastle is an assistant professor in the University of Calgary's law faculty and Cumming School of Medicine, so her expertise is in both legal and health issues.She said Mein should proceed with caution."The owner is opening at his own peril. We have seen public health officials issuing orders to several fitness facilities back in March to immediately close. It's not March. People know they are supposed to be closed, know what they are supposed to be doing," Hardcastle said."That may harm his business more in the long run, because of the fine but also the reputational damage because he is deliberately ignoring public health guidelines."And he runs the very real risk of potentially being made an example of."This isn't a case of not understanding or misreading orders, so public health officials may choose to set a precedent by coming down harder on him than someone who merely misunderstood," she explained."There may be a desire to make an example out of him given how vocally and deliberately he is disregarding these orders."Police could take actionLethbridge police say they will act, if pushed."We follow the Government of Alberta guidelines regarding business openings and we appreciate the public's voluntary compliance with these rules," spokesperson Kristen Harding wrote in an emailed statement."We don't want to ticket people but if there is a flagrant violation of the rules we will take action and gym operators and other businesses need to understand this."Things are being done wrong, gym owner saysGym owner Mein said he simply doesn't believe what the experts are saying and said it's time someone stood up."I don't want to follow the protocols the government is putting out for other gyms in other provinces because they are redundant and they don't make any sense," Mein said."I don't live in fear. I am not going to live my life by someone else's fears."He says many of the people that have died, probably would have died regardless of COVID-19."I see that things are being done wrong and I want it sped up. I want to push this. I want to make this happen for those that need that."Meanwhile, Sundberg says that attitude is a slap in the face to a lot of people."This is ridiculous, give your head a shake," Sundberg said."You know what? Everyone is frustrated. We are all in this together. Think of your community. Think of your province. Think of your fellow citizens. Accept the fact we have some incredibly hard-working, dedicated medical professionals and researchers who are putting their own lives on the line for all of us, who are taking time away from their own loved ones to protect us as a society. Have some respect for the people who are trying to keep Alberta safe."'Anti-Canadian, anti-Albertan to do this'Sundberg said the arguments pushed against government regulations and direction don't change anything."If you don't believe the science, newsflash, the Earth is round," he said."There is no vaccine. There is a lot of science that needs to be analyzed here and it's incredibly cavalier and irresponsible and anti-Canadian and anti-Albertan to do this."And U of C criminologist Hardcastle adds the pandemic could be far from over."There are concerns about a second wave. There are concerns if we just resume societal activities that we could potentially overwhelm hospitals. People can be asymptomatic for quite a number of days, so there is that risk of community transmission," she said. * Watch gym owner Lee Mein explain why he plans to reopen his facility without following required protocols, in the video below.

  • Canada province promises justice after nursing home patients left in dirty diapers
    News
    Reuters

    Canada province promises justice after nursing home patients left in dirty diapers

    Canada's most populous province on Tuesday promised justice after soldiers helping manage the coronavirus outbreak in nursing homes saw staff leaving people in soiled diapers and ignoring calls for help. The situation is dire in Ontario and neighboring Quebec, where around 1,400 soldiers are working. A report by the armed forces on five of the worst-affected Ontario homes revealed residents were left in soiled diapers, and patient rooms were filled with "significant fecal contamination," cockroaches and ants.

  • Samwel Uko's family says he sought medical help hours before he was found dead in Wascana Lake
    Health
    CBC

    Samwel Uko's family says he sought medical help hours before he was found dead in Wascana Lake

    Samwel Uko was always known for his smile. His father and uncle recall the surprise on the nurse's face as she helped birth him. "What kind of a kid is born smiling?" they remember her asking. Uko was found dead in Wascana Lake on Thursday. His family says he died by suicide after seeking help at a Regina hospital. The Saskatchewan Coroners Service confirmed Uko's body was found in the lake, but wouldn't confirm the cause of death, saying an investigation is underway.Uko's legacy lives on in his smile and the way he uplifted his friends and family. His uncle Justin Paul, whom Uko greatly admired, said "he was really really loved by everyone else because of how he smiled, how he approached people, how he talks to people, how he cares about people. He was just a very bubbly person. He will be dearly missed." 'Football was his life'Uko was originally from what is now South Sudan. His family came to Canada as refugees in 2005. He started playing football soon after his arrival in his new home of Abbotsford, B.C. The sport became his passion."Football was his life," Paul says. "That's all he wanted to do." Mat Macri coached Uko when he first started playing with the Abbotsford Falcons. Macri remembers Uko not being afraid to play by his own rules. "A lot of times you stood there on the sideline of the field with your jaw on the ground because he did something so wild you could not comprehend it." Uko's talent earned him a spot on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, where he played for a season. But beneath the contagious smile and the slick touchdowns, Uko needed help. His family in Regina said Uko was hearing voices in his head, and was pacing and hiding around the house while visiting them last week. His cousin drove him to the Regina General Hospital emergency room on Thursday, but wasn't able to wait with him due to COVID-19 rules prohibiting visitors in hospitals. As a B.C. resident, Uko was required to fill out forms before he could get help. "Given his condition, it was just another thing for him to do and he was not mentally ready to do," Paul said.Rebecca Rackow, a policy director at the Canadian Mental Health Association, said it's necessary for family members and other support systems to accompany people with mental health issues, as they might struggle to understand processes such as application forms or to clearly express their situations to healthcare workers. They can also help provide support once the person is released. "If you don't allow for that support person then you don't know where they're going to go when they leave and how that's going to play out," Rackow says. Uko kept telling hospital staff that he needed help, as seen in a Snapchat video that he posted.In an email, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said, "Our emergency department staff are trained to respond to people in all health crises," and called it, "heartbreaking to see this young man's distress." The SHA said it is currently conducting an investigation to find more details of Uko's visit. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health deferred to the health authority's response and didn't offer comment.After leaving the hospital Uko returned to his relatives' home and stayed in his room for a few hours.Then he jumped out of a window and headed to Wascana Lake. 'I need help'Before his final moments, Uko wrote on Facebook, "I need help." He also texted his former teacher, "Please help me, they are after me, they are coming to kill me."His uncle and father said they didn't see any signs until he was hearing voices in his head that Uko had mental health issues. "We did not have any background knowledge on it … there were no symptoms of anything … we never talk about it because there's nothing to mention," Paul said.Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults. Of the approximate 4,000 deaths by suicide each year, more than 90 per cent were living with a mental health problem or illness, according to Statistics Canada.Burying his eyes in his hands, Paul said he wishes he could have done more."I couldn't help my nephew and he needed me. I'm sure he needed me but I couldn't help and it kills me," he said. Uko's father and uncle hope sharing his story will help stop the stigma surrounding mental health. "We as a society have to take mental health seriously," Paul said. "There has to be ways or tools to help people get help … it has to be more easy to get it."Macri, Uko's former coach, agreed that more needs to be done."The number one thing right now is that these kids don't feel like they can talk about it without being labelled as soft," he said. "There is such a stigma that we need to realize normal is the abnormal here."A petition to increase mental health services across Canada has been launched on Uko's behalf. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition has more than 600 signatures.Where to get help:Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 (phone) | 45645 (text) | crisisservicescanada.ca (chat)In Quebec (French): Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (phone), Live Chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca.Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre.Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or chat online at hopeforwellness.ca.

  • Fate of two Canadians could be affected by Meng decision: former ambassador
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Fate of two Canadians could be affected by Meng decision: former ambassador

    VANCOUVER — A former ambassador to China says Wednesday's decision in the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou could also determine the fate of two Canadians detained in China.David Mulroney, who served as Canada's ambassador to the People's Republic of China between 2009 and 2012, said if Meng is released then he expects China will eventually follow suit and release Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor."I think the Chinese would wait for a few months possibly, but then they would wrap up their case against the two Canadians and they would probably come home," Mulroney said in an interview on Tuesday.The detention of Kovrig and Spavor is widely seen as arbitrary retaliation against Canada for the arrest of Meng, who is wanted on fraud charges in the United States.If Meng's case instead proceeds to the next stage, Mulroney said he worries that China may choose to more actively prosecute the two Canadians on the national security charges they face.But while Meng's arrest in December 2018 was a lightning rod for the collapse of Canada-China relations, Mulroney said he believes China's behaviour over the past year has had the effect of "decoupling" the case from its initial influence on bilateral relations.China's interference in Hong Kong and other events have caused Canadians to become disenchanted with the idea or goal of returning to some kind of "golden status quo" with the Asian superpower, he said."I think if Ms. Meng were to go back to China, it would probably mean good news on the part of the two Michaels but I don't think it would or should change Canada-China relations," said Mulroney, who is also a distinguished fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto."I think even the most ardent China boosters have been forced to reconsider things and I think have been forced to admit that there's no going back to a golden status quo ante. It never existed and China is anything but a normal partner."Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court is scheduled to release her ruling on the issue of so-called double criminality on Wednesday in Vancouver.The legal arguments centre on whether the allegations Meng is facing in the United States would be a crime in Canada.The decision could lead to her release or it could start a new round of legal arguments, including on whether her arrest at Vancouver's airport in December 2018 was unlawful.The United States has charged her with fraud over allegations she violated American sanctions against Iran, which she and the Chinese telecommunications giant have denied.Meng's lawyers have argued the court should dismiss the case because Canada has rejected similar sanctions, while the Crown has said the judge's role is to determine if there's evidence of fraud.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Canada has continued to engage diplomatically both with the United States and China over the issues surrounding Meng, Kovrig and Spavor."One of the good things about having a truly independent justice system is that we don't need to apologize or explain for the decisions taken by our independent justice system," he said."We have our confidence in that system, in its independence and we of course will continue to abide by and defend our system."But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian described Meng's arrest during a news conference Tuesday as political and warned of consequences if she is not released."The U.S. and Canada abused their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily took compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen without cause. This is entirely a serious political incident that grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen," Zhao said in a transcription published online by the ministry."The Canadian side should immediately correct its mistake, release Ms. Meng and ensure her safe return to China at an early date so as to avoid any continuous harm to China-Canada relations."Mulroney said many Canadians' perspectives on China have likely shifted amid stories of human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, interference in Hong Kong and the treatment of the two Canadian detainees.But whatever happens in the Vancouver courtroom won't have a measurable impact on China's view of Canada, he said."China has always seen Canada as a small country, as a dependency of the United States, as a country that it has certain interests in but not one who should arrest someone who is virtually a princess in Chinese society," he said.Yves Tiberghien, director and associate professor of the Institute of Asian Research and Political Science at the University of British Columbia, said Canada is one of many countries that has been caught up in U.S. extradition cases related to sanction violations in recent years.Whatever the ruling, it's an opportunity to show the strength of the legal system. And if the decision falls in Meng's favour, it won't likely damage Canada-U.S. relations thanks to a shared respect for the rule of law, he said."The hopeful, best impact would be to demonstrate worldwide that we have a legal system that's impartial and it was wrong to have bluster and all this anger," he said."This is the fork in the road, this is an interesting moment."This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2020.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

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