Mounties say rural crime reduction units already having an impact

Mounties say rural crime reduction units already having an impact

The RCMP says the newly formed Southern Alberta Crime Reduction Unit has already proved successful.

The unit, one of four now operating across the province, was formed in February and is tasked with targeting repeat offenders in rural areas. 

Deputy Commissioner Todd Shean, the commanding RCMP officer in Alberta, says the southern Alberta unit has been responsible for 30 arrests and has laid 234 charges. 

Across the province, the four units combined have made 263 arrests, executed 253 warrants and laid 1,227 charges. 

"That ratio of charges resulting from only 263 arrests is reflective of the type of criminal our CR units are targeting — repeat offenders who are responsible for the majority of the crime in the province," he said. 

According to the RCMP, property crime in southern Alberta has decreased by eight per cent in a year-over-year comparison for the period between January and April. 

Government and civilian support

The units are supported with additional funds from the provincial government, which stepped forward with $10 million in March. 

"Across the province, crime reduction units are arresting repeat offenders, laying charges and recovering stolen property," said Kathleen Ganley, the minister of justice and solicitor general of Alberta. "This important work will continue."

The units are supported by intelligence gathering and civilian staff who help take some time consuming work out of the hands of frontline officers, with the hope that those hours will be spent investigating criminal activity. 

Information is also shared across a range of partners, including Alberta sheriffs, fish and wildlife, commercial vehicle enforcement and conservation officers.

"These are early results, but I believe they are clear signs that a co-ordinated and intelligence approach to policing will continue to work in this province," said Shean.

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Bragg Creek folks 'held prisoner' by traffic jams while waiting years for roundabouts

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Hot, dry summer in Alberta, Environment Canada forecasts

  • Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer Rejects Accusations He's Soft On Islamophobia
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer Rejects Accusations He's Soft On Islamophobia

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer tried to dismiss accusations Saturday that he and his party have not done enough to distance themselves from groups that advocate violence against the Muslim community. Speaking at the annual Manning Networking Conference, the Tory leader was asked by someone in the audience why he was unwilling to condemn Islamophobia.

  • 'Put up or shut up': Liberal MP challenges Philpott and Wilson-Raybould over SNC-Lavalin
    News
    CBC

    'Put up or shut up': Liberal MP challenges Philpott and Wilson-Raybould over SNC-Lavalin

    Long-time Liberal MP Judy Sgro is calling out fellow caucus members Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, accusing them of targeting their anger and frustration directly at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. In an explosive interview with Maclean's — her first media interview since she resigned from the Liberal cabinet on Mar. 4 — Philpott said there is "much more" to the SNC-Lavalin affair and Canadians have concerns about the government's attempts to "shut down" the story. On Friday, Wilson-Raybould said she will provide a written statement and copies of text messages and emails to the Commons justice committee that shut down its probe of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

  • 'I hope to be part of the solution': Albertans rethink approach to energy, environment
    News
    CBC

    'I hope to be part of the solution': Albertans rethink approach to energy, environment

    Here's something you don't see every day — in a conference room no less. "I am going to invite someone to make statement, then I am going to invite you to move," says Pong Leung, the game's facilitator and lead strategist with Alberta's Energy Futures Lab. "One of the things we believe in the Energy Futures Lab is that a diversity of views and ideas about energy is a benefit — not a challenge," Leung says.

  • Changes to OHIP+ leave Ottawa family at disadvantage
    News
    CBC

    Changes to OHIP+ leave Ottawa family at disadvantage

    An Ottawa family with private insurance says upcoming changes to OHIP+ will put a "huge financial strain" on their budget because they'll have to pay out-of-pocket for part of their son's expensive medication.The Ford government is scaling back the province's current youth pharmacare program — set up by the Liberals on Jan. 1, 2018 — to provide free coverage for more than 4,400 drugs to children and youth age 25 and under.Starting April 1, that coverage will only be available to people who are not covered by private insurance. Those who do have private coverage will have to revert back to those plans. It means parents like Andrew McDermott and Karin Selst-McDermott will have to pay for what isn't covered under their private plan. 'My stomach just fell'"My stomach just fell. I know what it was like to pay those co-pays [a fixed out-of-pocket amount paid by an insured person for covered services], we did it before. It was a huge financial strain on our family, with only one income," Andrew McDermott said.He had to quit his job shortly after his youngest son Tommy was diagnosed with a gene mutation that caused his kidneys to shut down.When he was just 1 ½, Tommy had to have his kidneys removed and start dialysis.A live donor offered a kidney to Tommy, who had the transplant two years ago and is recovering at home. Selst-McDermott said the anti-rejection drugs and other medications her son takes cost about $1,000 a month. Her insurance will cover most of that amount, but when the changes take effect the family will be left to pay the remaining $200. Budget hit hardIt's not a big sum of money, but the family of five said it will affect their already tight budget."We're going from a budget that we're barely able to keep, to now we're definitely going into debt," Selst-McDermott said, adding that the money will have to come out of the grocery budget."I feel like families that are in a situation like ours, we're put at a huge disadvantage compared to other families right now."The couple questions why the government chose to exclude those with private plans entirely in the OHIP+ revamp and wish they had chosen to look at household income instead.Changes will save taxpayer moneyIn a statement, David Jensen, a spokesperson with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, said the new system will save taxpayers money by dedicating resources to those who need them most. "Households with high out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses, that include children and youth who are covered under a private plan, can apply to the Trillium Drug Program," Jensen said."The Trillium Drug Program is available to all OHIP-insured Ontarians who have high prescription drug costs compared to their household income."The couple said they can't take advantage of that program because their deductible would be about the same amount as what they have to pay for Tommy's prescriptions over the course of a year."We're going to survive because that's what we have to do as a family, but it's just an enormous stress," Andrew McDermott said.

  • Breakthru businesses face rocky road to success
    News
    CBC

    Breakthru businesses face rocky road to success

    With this year's prizes just handed out in the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation's Breakthru competition, the real work is only beginning to convert startups into successful businesses that will help grow the provincial economy. The big winner this year was Canum Nanomaterials, which took both the grand prize and viewers' choice award, worth a total of $436,000, including $375,000 cash from New Brunswick taxpayers. The foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation that receives government funding — $14.7 million from the Province of New Brunswick in 2017-18 — to invest in venture capital and research.

  • Drag queen scene becoming more popular in Windsor, London as shows sell out
    News
    CBC

    Drag queen scene becoming more popular in Windsor, London as shows sell out

    Windsor and London are the sites of four sold-out shows by RuPaul's Drag Race fan favourite Kim Chi.It's the kind of entertainment one might only expect to find in big cities like Detroit or Toronto, but times have changed and the southwest is embracing it.Two other high profile drag queens, Naomi Smalls and Ginger Ming are also making their way to the area.Jo Primeau, also known as Juiceboxx, grew up in Essex, but lives and has been working full time as a drag queen for the last year and a half in Toronto.He said London and Windsor are getting a taste of what Toronto has had for quite some time. He's hearing that many of his friends back home are envious that he got to perform with big name acts."The shows in Windsor sell out so fast, because you guys crave it, because you get it so little," said Primeau.Growing up in the area was difficult for him.He said he wasn't overly flamboyant but couldn't imagine seeing someone like himself growing up in Essex.Primeau said leaving downtown, he often worried about getting beat up while wearing short shorts and a tank top. But since then, he said Windsor's changed. Still, when she gets to perform as Juiceboxx in Windsor, it's a big deal."For me to come down and if there is a little gay kid or somebody who doesn't have access to that, can come down to one of my shows and see something like that. It means a lot," she said.Local drag sceneLondon and Windsor's drag scenes may not be quite as developed as Toronto, but drag queen Phoenix Black, also known as Johnny Un, said it's growing."Ever since I started, more young queens, like I am, actually started at the same times as me and the drag scene has gotten so much bigger this year than it was a few years ago," said Phoenix Black. As a big fan of RuPaul's Drag Race, she wanted to give drag a try.Phoenix Black has been performing for less than a year. She's developed her drag into a showcase for her dancing talent and she performs to K-pop. For her, being able to open for Korean drag queen Kim Chi means a lot."It's really crazy that I'm going to be a part of it," she said.It's a tight community, with a solid fan base. It's also one that gives her support and makes her feel like she's part of a family."For me I just want to feel accepted in the community, because my family, they don't know about my sexuality and what I do as a drag queen," she said."They know nothing. But when I dress up and put make up on, I want to be accepted for who I am."

  • Norway: Emergency services evacuate 915 passengers from cruise ship after engine failure
    euronews Videos

    Norway: Emergency services evacuate 915 passengers from cruise ship after engine failure

    Rescue helicopters have rescued more than 150 people from a cruise ship that suffered an engine failure in windy weather off the coast of Norway on Saturday, said police and rescue services. The Viking Sky, with 1,373 passengers and crew on board, had sent out a mayday signal as it drifted towards land, said the country's maritime rescue service.  The ship was carrying 915 passengers, of which a "large number" came from the United States and the UK, said rescue services.  The vessel was later able to restart one of the engines and was anchored about two kilometres from land and no longer adrift, rescue services told Reuters. Passengers were hoisted one by one from the deck of the ship and airlifted to a village located to the north of the town of Molde on the Norwegian west coast. About  155 people had been evacuated by 10:40 pm CET, said rescue service spokesman Per Fjeld.   Eight of those evacuated had suffered light injuries. Facilities to accommodate the passengers have been set up on land, said rescue services. The Norwegian Red Cross tweeted it was sending 60 volunteers to help the rescue services. American passenger John Curry said he was having lunch when the ship began to shake. "Window panes were broken and water came in. It was just chaos. The trip on the helicopter, I would rather forget, it was not fun," Curry told public broadcaster RNK. Another passenger, Alexus Sheppard, shared a dramatic video on her Twitter that showed furniture sliding around as the ship drifted in waves of up to eight metres. She told Euronews at 10:12 pm CET that they were still waiting for evacuation. The cruise ship belongs to the Viking Ocean Cruises company founded by Norwegian billionaire businessman Torstein Hagen. It has a capacity of 930 according to the company website. "Our first priority was for the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and our crew, and in close cooperation with the Norwegian Coast Guard, the captain decided to evacuate all guests from the vessel by helicopter," Viking Cruises said in a statement to Reuters. "The evacuation is proceeding with all necessary caution," the company added. "Guests are being accommodated in local hotels when they arrive back on shore, and Viking will arrange for return flights for all guests." A freight ship with a crew of nine was also evacuated after engine failure, which diverted helicopters and delayed the rescue operations, said emergency services. Waves were six to eight metres high, with wind blowing at 24 metres per second, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The storm is expected to last at least until midnight local time. The stretch of water known as Hustadvika is known for its bad weather and shallow waters with reefs. The Norwegian government is considering building a giant ocean tunnel through a nearby mountain to improve safety.

  • Ottawa rejects plea for nationwide conversion therapy ban
    News
    CBC

    Ottawa rejects plea for nationwide conversion therapy ban

    "We're disappointed that we don't have legislation at this point," says Alberta activist Devon Hargreaves. Hargreaves, who works with the LGBTQ community, is talking about the controversial practice known as conversion therapy. It's a widely discredited approach of trying to counsel someone who is gay into being straight, either through talk therapy, medication or a combination of the two.

  • How to pick the right contractor: 6 things to know
    News
    CBC

    How to pick the right contractor: 6 things to know

    If you're planning a project like building your dream home or doing renovations, there's a good chance you'll need to hire a contractor. Here are some things to keep in mind on your hunt for the right contractor for your project courtesy of Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of P.E.I. Calling your local associations, building supply stores or even your municipality can be helpful in finding reputable contractors in your area, he said.

  • Closed since 2016, Kingston's main library reopens today
    News
    CBC

    Closed since 2016, Kingston's main library reopens today

    When Laura Carter's seven-year-old daughter got a sneak peek of the children's area inside Kingston's refurbished central library, she was blown away. "She really was in awe!" said Carter, the Kingston Frontenac Public Library's (KFPL) director of branch experience. The revamped central library will feature — in addition to that fancy new children's nook — brighter colours, more accessible shelving, spaces to charge electronics, and a slimmer-yet-more-focused collection of books.

  • Here's how much Halifax property taxes may increase in coming year
    News
    CBC

    Here's how much Halifax property taxes may increase in coming year

    Meanwhile, the urban residential tax rate will go down from 81.75 cents per $100 of assessed value to 81.5 cents. Mayor Mike Savage tried to edge the overall increase down slightly from 2.3 to 2.1 per cent, pointing to the $20 million surplus expected on the 2018-2019 budget.

  • Family of slain boy visits Christchurch mosque as it reopens
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Family of slain boy visits Christchurch mosque as it reopens

    A Jordanian prince and the family of a slain 3-year-old boy and were among those who visited a New Zealand mosque Saturday when it reopened for the first time since a terrorist killed dozens of people there. Hundreds of people stopped at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch to lay flowers or pray after police removed a cordon and those running the mosque decided to reopen.

  • Reading with your kids could earn Nunavut parents a set of plane tickets
    News
    CBC

    Reading with your kids could earn Nunavut parents a set of plane tickets

    Inuglak School in Whale Cove, Nunavut, is offering plane tickets as a reward for challenged readers who turn into avid readers. It's a simple method that teachers used when the school's now-principal Claude Pike was a child, decades ago. Inuglak School, with its 157 students, is following the same steps, getting students to spend 20 minutes a day with a teacher working on their reading skills.

  • Passenger traffic at Montreal's Trudeau Airport soared 7 per cent in 2018
    News
    CBC

    Passenger traffic at Montreal's Trudeau Airport soared 7 per cent in 2018

    The number of passengers that visited Montreal's Trudeau International Airport in 2018 rose 7 per cent over the previous year, reaching 19.4 million, the local airport authority announced Friday. According to figures released by the Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) — the organization that oversees operations at the airport and others in the region —  traffic to the U.S. grew by 7.5 per cent last year, while traffic to international destinations other than the U.S. advanced 10.2 per cent. Domestic traffic gained 3.3 per cent. The 2018 earnings represented an increase of $36.5 million (12.8 per cent) over the previous year.

  • B.C. doctor denied access to anonymous reviews of his practice
    News
    CBC

    B.C. doctor denied access to anonymous reviews of his practice

    The Supreme Court of British Columbia has turned down a request from a Vancouver Island doctor who sought to look at the anonymous reviews colleagues made about his practice.Dr. Keith Laycock, a family doctor in Mill Bay, B.C., said he wanted to look at the questionnaires — which are normally confidential — because he wanted to learn from how his peers and co-workers rated him."It is counter-intuitive to deny access to the information that could allow for a deeper understanding and, hence, for an opportunity for improvement," he wrote in court documents.In an email to CBC News, Laycock said the aggregated scores were "very positive" overall, but he wanted to see the original answers after he had trouble reconciling the numbers on one of the questions. Undermines access-to-information rights, expert saysThe B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons argued that releasing the documents would undermine the review process. The court agreed that keeping the responses confidential is key to ensuring candid responses.However, a freedom-of-information expert says the court's refusal to permit Laycock to look at his co-workers' ratings undermines provincial access-to-information rights and laws."I feel that this sets a precedent for every self-governing profession that can override the basic right to information of anybody, including the person whose information it's about," said Ken Rubin.Not a disciplinary measureAccording to the decision, in 2014 the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons ordered an assessment of Laycock's practice, which included anonymous surveys completed by medical colleagues, non-physician co-workers such as pharmacists, and patients.The anonymous reviews were part of the college's quality assurance program, meant as a "proactive, supportive approach to improving quality of patient care," the decision said.Physicians are selected for the assessment "through random selection, clinic-based selection, or risk-prioritized selection."The process is designed as a learning tool for doctors, not as a disciplinary measure.The physicians submit the names of their peers and co-workers, and the patients are selected randomly. Throughout the process, all reviewers are ensured their responses will remain anonymous.The surveys are collected by a third party, and the results are compiled into a summary report with aggregated data that's shared with the physician and the college.Request deniedWhen Laycock got the assessment results in January 2016, according to the decision, he filed an access-to-information request to get the original questionnaires submitted by his co-workers and peers.He didn't request the patient surveys, and said he suggested the questionnaires be anonymized. According to Laycock's response to the college's petition to the court, Laycock says he requested the surveys to better learn from them.In his response, he also submitted consent forms from the peers and co-workers he had selected to release the information.The college denied his request, citing privacy laws. Laycock requested a review of the college's decision.'It doesn't serve the public'In January 2018, the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner adjudicator sided with Laycock and ordered the college to disclose the questionnaires, including the names of the assessors.The college promptly filed for a judicial review in B.C. Supreme Court.Judge Brian D. MacKenzie issued his decision on March 15, siding with the college. In his decision he said the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act adjudicator gave Laycock "undue priority" and didn't place enough emphasis on the public interest the anonymous reviews are meant to support.But Rubin says the decision undermines what laws like the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act are designed to protect — a person's access to records about themselves that are kept by public institutions."It certainly undercuts the information commissioner and I don't know if it serves anybody good except for the college," he said.Rubin says that, ultimately, making doctor reviews public would benefit the public in the long-term.

  • Vancouver Island fisherman convicted in crab poaching case
    News
    CBC

    Vancouver Island fisherman convicted in crab poaching case

    A crab poaching case that stretched from the watery depths of Vancouver Harbour to a Vancouver Island courthouse has finally concluded with penalties being levied against a Mudge Island fisherman. Federal prosecutor Servane Phillips said the case was unusual for a few reasons, including where the incident took place.

  • After long road to recovery, Gander golf pro drives for PGA qualifiers
    News
    CBC

    After long road to recovery, Gander golf pro drives for PGA qualifiers

    It's all fairways and greens for Gander golf pro Blair Bursey after the 22-year-old made his return to the links in Arizona after a few rough months of battling a potentially life-threatening illness. The itch to swing the club again began to grow as each day he was feeling better.

  • 2 die in mobile home fire near Quebec City
    News
    CBC

    2 die in mobile home fire near Quebec City

    Two people were found dead after an overnight mobile home fire in Sainte-Marie, Que., about 50 kilometres south of Quebec City. Authorities were alerted to the fire at around midnight Saturday and two bodies were found inside the structure, according to Sgt. Louis-Philippe Bibeau, spokesperson for provincial police. "It was impossible to access the interior," recounted Claude Morin, the local fire department's chief of operations.

  • More funding could be coming for legal aid service on P.E.I.
    News
    CBC

    More funding could be coming for legal aid service on P.E.I.

    The budget allocated an extra $8 million to Justice Canada over the next five years. It's not known yet how much of that P.E.I. will get, but CLIA executive director Ellen Mullally says funding from Justice Canada — about $1.6 million a year — hasn't changed in more than 30 years, so anything extra is welcome news. Mullally says any additional money would likely go toward staffing.

  • Once 'impossible,' Quebec's $5M brings east end beach dream one step closer
    News
    CBC

    Once 'impossible,' Quebec's $5M brings east end beach dream one step closer

    Quebec is providing Montreal with $5 million to help fund the decontamination of an old marina site slated to be a beach in the city's east end. The beach, which already has a Google listing as "Plage de l'est," is expected to open in Pointe-aux-Trembles by 2022. Pointe-aux-Trembles MNA Chantal Rouleau, who also serves as the minister responsible for greater Montreal region, began pursuing the project to put a beach on the shore of the St. Lawrence River in 2013, when she was still mayor of the borough of Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-Claire.

  • 3 dead after vehicle crashes, catches fire in Eastern Passage
    News
    CBC

    3 dead after vehicle crashes, catches fire in Eastern Passage

    Three people are dead after a vehicle caught fire after crashing in Eastern Passage, N.S., early Saturday morning. RCMP say they received a call at about 1:30 a.m. about a vehicle on fire off Cow Bay Road. Police say the three occupants in the vehicle died at the scene.

  • Ice conditions change fast as Yukon's warm spell continues
    News
    CBC

    Ice conditions change fast as Yukon's warm spell continues

    The snow's been rapidly disappearing this week in Yukon, and Barry Blisner says the ice cover on some lakes and rivers is also changing fast. Blisner and a group of firefighters were on — and some in — the Yukon River on Friday, doing ice rescue training.

  • Out of the bathroom, into the gallery for an artist working with menstrual pads
    News
    CBC

    Out of the bathroom, into the gallery for an artist working with menstrual pads

    Menstruation will affect half the human population at some time in their lives, but the products that make it comfortable usually remain out of sight, out of mind. St. John's artist Ainsley Hawthorn wants to change that with her latest exhibit, which uses some of those products — menstrual pads and pantyliners — as the fabric for embroidery artworks. "To me it's about making familiar objects unfamiliar, and that allows us to kind of look at them with new eyes and consider them in a different way," said Hawthorn, whose exhibit Formative can be seen at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador's art gallery in downtown St. John's until the end of March.

  • 2 members of Regina City Council take on transit challenge
    News
    CBC

    2 members of Regina City Council take on transit challenge

    In February, the president of the local transit union issued a challenge to members of Regina's council. The goal of the challenge was also to identify potential improvements to the system. "Our hope is that the councillors take us up on the challenge and use their experience on Regina Transit to work with the union to implement service and system improvements," Kevin Lucier said in a news release.

  • Sask. canola hurt by China, 'but the market didn't collapse or anything,' says expert
    News
    CBC

    Sask. canola hurt by China, 'but the market didn't collapse or anything,' says expert

    China is not buying imports of canola seed from Canada and while the situation is a blow to Saskatchewan's canola producers, it is not a killer, according to a University of Saskatchewan professor of agricultural and resource economics. Canola is a popular cash crop for Sask. producers and while farmers are preparing to put crops in the ground, Canada's biggest export market — China — has stopped buying canola seed. "It's showing up a little bit in the market, but the market didn't collapse or anything," said Richard Gray, who is also the Canadian Grain Policy Chair at the U of S.