Pensioner, 82, who caused death of close friend in parking accident spared jail

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Patricia Tulip, left, and Joyce Nainby, right. (MEN Media)

A pensioner who caused the death of her close friend in a parking accident has been spared a prison sentence.

Patricia Tulip, 82, accidentally reversed her automatic car into Joyce Nainby outside her house in Newcastle in September last year.

Tulip, of Seghill, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to causing her death by careless driving at Newcastle Crown Court in October.

Tulip and Mrs Nainby has been travelling back from a school reunion in Tulip’s Skoda Roomster.

The car rolled backwards after Tulip parked without putting the handbrake on and leaving it in reverse instead of neutral after arriving at Mrs Nainby’s Gosforth home.

When Tulip got back in to stop the car, she put her foot down on the accelerator instead of the foot brake which caused the vehicle to shoot backwards.

An open passenger door hit Mrs Nainby, 80, who died of her injuries 10 days later.

Today, she was given a community order by Judge Amanda Rippon.

Mrs Nainby’s family said after Tulip’s conviction: “The verdict gives us the closure we need and allows us to move on, which is what our mum and dad would want for us.”

Judge Amanda Rippon said today: “As a result of a series of careless errors by you, your car very sadly became the implement responsible for your old and great friend’s tragic death.

Newcastle Crown Court. (MEN Media)

“Although she was 80, she was fit and she was active, and she had every reason to expect many more years with her family.”

The loss had “completely devastated” the Nainby family, the judge said, adding that the victim’s husband of 64 years, Peter, died months after the incident without her by his side.

He had Parkinson’s and cancer at the time of the incident and died in July.

“There is no sentence that I can give that will bring back Joyce Nainby for her family, or for you,” the judge told the defendant.

Tulip has given up her driving licence but was banned from driving for three years.

In a statement read out in court, one of Mrs Nainby’s three children, Geoffrey, said the incident had changed their family’s lives forever.

“Their final years could have been so different. Mum could and should have been here to look after Dad in his final months,” he told the court.

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---

“Like so many others, we felt confident that terrible things only happen to other people, but then this happened to us.”

Tulip’s defence lawyer, Shaun Routledge, said she had written a letter of condolence to her friend’s family.

But the family said while they accepted what happened was a “tragic accident”, Tulip’s “carelessness, every action and decision made by her beyond that date has been made without any respect or consideration whatsoever for the feelings of our family”.

“As a friend of our Mum’s, we didn’t seek punishment for Mrs Tulip, all we ever wanted was an acceptance of responsibility.”

The statement added that Peter Nainby had not been able to get closure before his death because of the delay between the incident and Tulip’s sentencing.

  • Democrats warn at impeachment trial that Trump will abuse his office again if not removed
    News
    Reuters

    Democrats warn at impeachment trial that Trump will abuse his office again if not removed

    Democratic lawmakers concluded their opening arguments in Republican President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate on Friday with a warning that he was a threat to democracy and would abuse his power again if he is not removed from office. On the third and final day of opening statements, Democrats tried to cement their case that Trump abused his office by pressuring Kiev to investigate Joe Biden, a former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential contender, and then obstructed Congress' inquiry into the matter by barring witnesses and withholding documents. Trump denies any wrongdoing and describes the impeachment as a hoax.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Prince Charles visits Jerusalem tomb of unique ancestor

    JERUSALEM — Britain's Prince Charles on Friday paid a solemn visit to the tomb of his grandmother, who sheltered Jews during the Holocaust and whose tumultuous life was marked by exile, mental illness and a religious devotion to serving the needy.Princess Alice is interred at the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene, whose gold onion domes rise up from the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem's Old City. Charles was shown around the 19th-century church by Archimandrite Roman Krassovsky, the local head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who offered prayers as nuns dressed in black sang hymns.The Prince of Wales made no public remarks, but he paid tribute to his grandmother the night before at the World Holocaust Forum, which was attended by dozens of other world leaders and coincided with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.“I have long drawn inspiration from the selfless actions of my dear grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who in 1943, in Nazi-occupied Athens, saved a Jewish family by taking them into her home and hiding them," Charles said.She is counted as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, an honour bestowed by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Charles said that was a source of “immense pride” for him and the royal family.She was born Princess Alice of Battenberg in 1885. She was deaf from birth and suffered from mental illness, but managed to devote much of her life to aiding the poor, the sick and refugees.The great granddaughter of Queen Victoria married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903 and had five children, including Prince Philip, the future Duke of Edinburgh and consort to Queen Elizabeth II. The family was driven into exile on two occasions, and the princess was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and spent time in a sanitarium after suffering a nervous breakdown.She became a Greek Orthodox nun in 1928 while living in France, and returned to Athens alone in 1940, living in her brother-in-law's three-story residence. During World War II, she worked with the Swedish and Swiss Red Cross to help those in need. She later founded an order of nuns known as the Christian Sisterhood of Mary and Martha.When the Nazis entered Athens in 1943, she sheltered three members of the Cohen family. The father of the family, former parliamentarian Haim Cohen, had been close to the royal family until he passed away that year. Princess Alice did not not know Cohen's wife, Rachel, or his daughter, Tilde, but hid them away in her mansion anyway, and later sheltered Rachel's son, Michael, as well.Yad Vashem says the princess regularly visited with the family and wanted to learn more about their Jewish faith. At one point, when suspicious Gestapo officers came to the home to interview her, the princess used her deafness to avoid answering their questions, it said.Her own family, however, fought on both sides of the Second World War. Prince Philip served in the British Royal Navy, while her German royal sons-in-law fought for the Nazis. The Nazis and their collaborators killed 6 million Jews during the war.Alice died in Buckingham Palace in 1969 and was later interred in the church in Jerusalem. She had requested to be buried next to her aunt Elizabeth, the Grand Duchess of Russia, who had also devoted her life to charity and was canonized as a Russian Orthodox saint. Elizabeth's tomb is in the church itself, while Alice was laid to rest in a small, attached chapel.Prince William visited the tomb of Alice, his great-grandmother, in June 2018. In a 1994 visit to the Holy Land, Prince Philip planted a tree at Yad Vashem in his mother’s honour and visited her grave.Joseph Krauss, The Associated Press

  • Feds roll out education, call for self-reporting to prevent coronavirus outbreak
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Feds roll out education, call for self-reporting to prevent coronavirus outbreak

    OTTAWA — The Canadian government is rolling out information rather than surgical masks and thermal scanners to try to keep the country safe from a virus that has already killed more than two dozen people in China and left hundreds more sick.The World Health Organization on Thursday chose not to declare a global health emergency because of the disease even as China quarantined more territory around the city at the heart of the outbreak, Wuhan, to prevent its spread.The disease is caused by a coronavirus, part of a family of germs that can cause respiratory illness in humans, and so called because they look like crowns under microscopes. Sometimes the effects are very mild; sometimes, in some people, they can be lethal. The virus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 was a coronavirus.Even as Chinese officials were scrambling to contain this outbreak and five people were being monitored for the coronavirus in Quebec, Canada's chief medical officer was playing down the chances of an outbreak here."While we are aware of incidents under investigation, we have no reports of any confirmed cases of this new coronavirus in Canada," Dr. Theresa Tam said during a technical briefing with reporters. "The risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low."Some countries such as the Philippines have installed thermal scanners in their airports to detect potential carriers of the disease when they arrive from China as those infected have displayed flu-like symptoms such as fevers. Canada has no plans to follow suit, Tam said."In our experience during SARS, we scanned millions of people and didn't pick up a single case," she said. "What we know is if you get infected, there could be many days between being infected and being symptomatic or having a fever."There is no plan to test every single person flying from China or even Wuhan for the same reason, she said, noting it can take up to two weeks for a person who has been infected to start displaying symptoms. It's not believed people are infectious before they become symptomatic.The federal government is instead focused on having international travellers flying into Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver who are experiencing flu-like symptoms self-report to border officers, Tam said.Those arriving from China, especially Wuhan, are also being given information about what to do if they start to feel sick."At the border, the most critical opportunity is to educate the travelling public so they know what to do when they actually have symptoms." As for prevention, Tam rejected the idea of healthy people wearing surgical masks to keep from getting infected. While she said masks are useful for those who already have a disease, they can make healthy people sick in other ways."Just wearing masks when you're well is not an effective measure, and sometimes it can actually present some risk as you're putting your fingers up and down your face, removing your mask, putting them next to your eyes, that sort of thing," she said."So there's no recommendation to wear a mask when you're going about your regular daily activities."Speaking earlier in the day, the head of Quebec's public health authority said five people in that province were under surveillance for possible exposure.The five, from the Montreal and Quebec City areas, had travelled to China "and have a history that could be compatible with the fact they could have been exposed," Dr. Horacio Arruda said.At least 26 people have died in China and more than 800 people have been infected, with cases popping up in other countries as well.For comparison, annual outbreaks of seasonal influenza typically sicken three million to five million people and kill 290,000 to 350,000 around the globe, according to the World Health Organization."Obviously, we take very seriously this issue of the coronavirus," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday."Our health minister is engaged with her partners at the provincial level and we're working with international partners as well to ensure that we have the best response possible."The government is "of course looking at any extra measures that need to be taken to keep Canadians safe and to prevent the spread of this virus," Trudeau added.Anyone suspected of having the disease will be tested for a variety of common ailments such as the flu, Tam said. While provincial authorities can screen for non-coronavirus diseases, full tests will be conducted at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.One of the difficulties is that the coronavirus's symptoms are extremely similar to those of the common flu, Tam said, including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing."Which is why in the middle of an influenza season and other respiratory viruses, it can look like any of those. And if a traveller from Wuhan has respiratory symptoms or a fever, they will get tested for all the usual suspects in addition to, of course, then being tested for the novel virus."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2020.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

  • What Pierre Poilievre's exit means for the Conservative leadership race
    News
    CBC

    What Pierre Poilievre's exit means for the Conservative leadership race

    Jean Charest was probably in — and then he was definitely out. Rona Ambrose was thinking about it — then she stopped. Peter MacKay is in and, by all accounts, still is. Pierre Poilievre was going to throw his hat into the ring, too. Until he wasn't.Yes, the Conservative leadership race we all expected has not quite materialized.Poilievre's surprise announcement on Thursday that he would not mount a bid for the leadership leaves the contours of this campaign ill-defined. The Ontario MP was widely considered to be the main competition for MacKay, the former cabinet minister and last leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party.Poilievre did have a path to victory. As the only major candidate with roots in Western Canada — he was born and raised in Alberta — Poilievre had the potential to take the lane as the candidate of the West, where the party's caucus, membership and donor base are disproportionately located.Watch: What high-profile exits mean for the Conservative leadership race He had the chops to be a player in Quebec. Only a few days ago, he was on Radio-Canada and, by speaking decent French and expressing views on social conservative issues that were in line with mainstream opinion in the province, dispelled the two biggest concerns Quebec Conservatives had with Andrew Scheer's election performance.Combined with his track record as a partisan pitbull for Stephen Harper, he appeared to be the most likely recipient of votes from members opposed to MacKay — and to any swing back to the old PC wing of the party that took a back seat to the Reformers after the 2003 merger.An opening for O'TooleWith MacKay and Poilievre on the ballot, there didn't appear to be much room for Ontario MP Erin O'Toole, who finished third in the 2017 leadership race and will be mounting a second attempt. He ran his last campaign as a consensus candidate in the centre of the party, gaining the support of members who voted for moderates like Lisa Raitt and Michael Chong and disproportionately ranked O'Toole as their second choice.MacKay is well-positioned to occupy this lane. He has already received the endorsement of three MPs who backed O'Toole in 2017. Even MacKay's regional base overlaps with O'Toole, who had his best results in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.Atlantic Canada is likely to be MacKay's fiefdom: he represented a riding in Nova Scotia for nearly two decades, the same seat his father Elmer occupied for even longer, and he has the backing of Tim Houston, the provincial PC leader in Nova Scotia.But there is now an opportunity for O'Toole to take up the space left vacant by Poilievre.That will be no easy task. But by the process of elimination, O'Toole has the best shot at it. Instead of being squeezed out between MacKay and Poilievre, O'Toole merely has to position himself to the right of MacKay as the only acceptable option for members looking for an alternative.An opening for someone elseOther names probably will join MacKay and O'Toole on the ballot. Ontario MPs Marilyn Gladu and Derek Sloan have indicated they want to run. The 12th place finisher in 2017, businessman Rick Peterson, says he will take another kick at the can, as have a number of former staffers and failed election candidates.But until these people meet the Conservative Party's demanding qualification requirements, or give some tangible evidence that they are serious contenders, this looks like a two-horse race.It's a race with no frontrunner from Quebec and nobody from Western Canada. Only a single candidate has a name that a majority of Canadians can recognize: Peter MacKay.So, will this be it?Justin Trudeau's Liberals are in their second term and were reduced to a minority government only last fall. The Conservatives continue to run roughly even with the Liberals in national polls. The next leader of the Conservative Party has a good shot of becoming the next prime minister — certainly a better shot than appeared to be the case in 2017.Charest's decision on Tuesday left Quebec up for grabs. On Wednesday, Ambrose left the field wide open in Western Canada. Poilievre relinquished his contender status on Thursday, along with all the organizers and donors his candidacy would have taken off the table for other candidates.This race looks a lot different than it did on Monday. Anyone who had ruled out a bid at the beginning of the week might want to take the weekend to think it over again.

  • News
    Reuters

    Chinese movie to premiere online as virus closes cinemas

    Chinese movie fans can catch the premier of much-anticipated new comedy this holiday weekend under a 630 million yuan ($91.25 million) deal to issue the film over the internet, as fears of a deadly new virus keep audiences away from cinemas. The Hong Kong-listed Huanxi Media Group announced on Friday an agreement with Beijing Bytedance Network to show its new movie "Lost in Russia" on Bytedance's online platforms. Bytedance, which owns the popular TikTok video-sharing app and the news app Jinri Toutiao, said given the efforts to reduce the risks of big gatherings, it had secured the deal to let fans watch "Lost in Russia" for free on its apps.

  • 'It was sad. Really sad': Punky the dog destroyed after years-long legal battle
    News
    CBC

    'It was sad. Really sad': Punky the dog destroyed after years-long legal battle

    Punky, a dog whose lengthy legal battle to escape death row went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, was euthanized at a Vancouver animal shelter on Thursday. The Australian cattle dog was ordered destroyed two years ago after a judge deemed him dangerous. Punky has been in city custody every since biting a stranger at a park in 2017.Punky had a history of aggressive behaviour and a "willingness to bite" that was noted by veterinarians and others who treated him as far back as 2016, according to court documents.But Punky's owner, Susan Santics, describes Punky as "shy and reactive."Santics tried every legal avenue to spare the dog's life. Those efforts were exhausted last week, when the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a bid to hear an appeal of the case.Santics went to the shelter Thursday morning in a last-ditch effort to save her dog, but Punky was destroyed sometime in the afternoon, Santics' lawyer Victoria Shroff said. "I realize they had a job to do. But it was sad. Really sad," she said. "Susan is very distraught."We asked about whether or not she could be there to give him a hug, give him some final treats and things like that and that was not possible."Next stepsShroff said she will now be pursuing legal reform in animal law.In the eyes of the law, pets are considered property. Shroff believes Punky's "unprecedented" case could be the catalyst for considering animals as sentient beings in law."Animals in this country deserve better and I think that there's a really good way where we can have a balancing of public safety with the regard for dog owners," she said."Even if we don't necessarily elevate the status of animals right away above property, at least we can think of them as sentient property. And we don't have to seek such measures as having them killed."Punky's legal saga: * Sept. 13, 2017: Punky seized by animal services staff after biting a person.  * June 29, 2018: Provincial court trial. * July 25, 2018: Punky found to be a dangerous dog and ordered destroyed.  * Dec. 5, 2018: Appeal heard before B.C. Supreme Court. * Jan. 10, 2019: Appeal to B.C. Supreme Court dismissed. * Feb. 8, 2019: Leave to appeal application heard by single judge of the B.C. Court of Appeal.  * Feb.14, 2019: Leave to appeal granted. * May 22, 2019: Appeal heard by three judge panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal.  * Aug. 9, 2019: Appeal dismissed by the B.C. Court of Appeal. * Jan.16, 2020: Application for leave to appeal dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada. * Jan. 23, 2020: Punky is destroyed.

  • Militant sentenced to 19 years for role in Benghazi attacks
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Militant sentenced to 19 years for role in Benghazi attacks

    NEW YORK — A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Libyan militant to more than 19 years in prison for his role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.A jury convicted Mustafa al-Imam last year of conspiring to support the extremist militia that launched the fiery assaults on the U.S. compounds but deadlocked on 15 other counts.The attacks, aimed at killing American personnel, prompted a political fracas in which Republicans accused the Obama administration of a bungled response.Al-Imam was sentenced to a total of 236 months behind bars. He is the second militant convicted in the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications specialist Sean Smith and security officers Tyrone Snowden Woods and Glen Anthony Doherty.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement late Thursday that al-Imam’s sentencing “sends a strong message to those who would attempt to commit such a heinous crime.”The head of the Islamist militia who directed the siege, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was convicted in 2017 on terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison.Khattala was accused of driving to the diplomatic mission on Sept. 11, 2012, and breaching the main gate with militants who attacked with assault rifles, grenades and other weapons.The initial attack killed Stevens and Smith and set the mission ablaze. Woods and Doherty were later killed at a CIA annex.On Thursday, federal prosecutors in Washington asked U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper to send a message to others contemplating attacks on Americans overseas, saying al-Imam deserved the maximum 35-year sentence."In the current geopolitical environment, terrorists must understand that there are harsh consequences for attacking diplomatic posts and harming U.S. personnel — particularly a U.S. ambassador," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cummings wrote in a court filing.Defence attorneys said al-Imam made a “tremendous mistake” by damaging and looting U.S. property after the attacks. But they insisted there was no evidence he intended to harm any Americans, noting jurors could not reach a verdict on the murder charges al-Imam faced.“Mustafa al-Imam is a frail, uneducated and simple man,” they wrote in a court filing. "He is not a fighter, an ideologue or a terrorist. He is a former convenience store clerk whose main loves in life are soccer and family."Al-Imam was tried in a civilian court despite the Trump administration's earlier contention that such suspects are better sent to Guantanamo Bay. His arrest, five years after the attack, was the first publicly known operation since President Donald Trump took office targeting those accused of involvement in Benghazi.Prosecutors acknowledged there was no evidence that al-Imam “directly caused” the killings at the U.S. compounds. But they said he aligned himself with Khattala and acted as his “eyes and ears” at the height of the attacks.During a four-week trial in Washington, prosecutors pointed to phone records that showed al-Imam was in the vicinity of the mission and placed an 18-minute call to Khattala during a “pivotal moment” of the attacks.Al-Imam also entered the U.S. compound, prosecutors said, and took sensitive material that identified the location of the CIA annex about a mile away from the mission as the evacuation point for Department of State personnel.In interviews with law enforcement following his 2017 capture in Misrata, Libya, he admitted stealing a phone and map from the U.S. mission.Jim Mustian, The Associated Press

  • Russian Auschwitz survivor: Only coincidence that I lived
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Russian Auschwitz survivor: Only coincidence that I lived

    MOSCOW — The 75 years since Yevgeny Kovalev was a teenage prisoner in Auschwitz have been marked by tormented memories and a wonder that he's still alive.“Remembering all that is always like torture for me, can you imagine that? I'm even wondering myself how I could survive those times,” the 92-year-old retired Russian factory worker told The Associated Press ahead of the 75th anniversary Monday of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army.“We lived for minutes. We didn't hope that we would survive,” he said.Kovalev's journey into the depths of the Nazi death-camp system began when he was arrested in 1943 at age 15 for helping partisans fight German forces occupying the Smolensk area in western Russia. He aided in sabotage attacks that blew up Nazi Germany's trains and equipment.“They put me on a bench, tied up my feet and body and scourged me with whipping sticks. My shirt was wet through with blood," he said.He was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the vast expanse of crude barracks and crematoria built by the Nazis in occupied Poland that was created to supplement the original Auschwitz camp, where the first victims to be fatally gassed and incinerated by the Nazis were Soviet war prisoners.Auschwitz was the most notorious in a system of death and concentration camps that Nazi Germany operated on territory it occupied across Europe. In all, 1.1 million people were killed there, most of them Jews from across the continent.At Birkenau, trains pulling boxcars crammed with prisoners pulled into the camp and the occupants were unloaded onto the platform.“Those people were civilians. None of them knew they would be burned,” he recalled. “They went to decontamination, went into the wash house, were locked inside and Zyklon the gas came. In five to seven minutes, everyone was dead.”Many of the arrivals were told they were being taken to showers for decontamination.So many prisoners were killed that the crematoria on the edge of the camp couldn't incinerate all the bodies. Auschwitz's Sonderkommando prisoner work units threw many bodies into open pits and burned them there.The crematoria worked around the clock. “Smoke came day and night and the smell was terrible,” he said.Prisoners who were ill or feeble were culled from the new arrivals and executed quickly. Younger, healthier prisoners were kept alive in order to perform work, but even teenagers feared they could be chosen for elimination.The infamous doctor Joseph Mengele came to the camp and conducted selections of “who should go to the crematorium and who should stay. I went through this procedure three times. It was horrible. We knew perfectly well that we could be burned,” Kovalev said.At some point, teenagers such as Kovalev were sent to a subcamp that had previously been used for Roma prisoners.“We opened one of the barracks and it was full of clothes, including children’s clothes, shoes, so many of them. That was terrible. They exterminated people, burned them and left the clothes,” he said.He said another barracks had packs of human hair that the Nazis planned to use somewhere.In late 1944, he and many other young Auschwitz prisoners were sent to northern Czechoslovakia as forced labour in a radio factory. Auschwitz was liberated on Jan. 27, 1945, but Kovalev still had to work as a forced labourer at the factory until April of that year.After the war's end, he joined the Soviet military, then got work in a plant manufacturing automobile parts, from which he retired in 1990.He remains stunned by the twists of fate he endured as a youngster.“It was just a coincidence” that he survived, Kovalev said. “We never hoped that we would survive, absolutely, no one had any hope. "Olga Tregubova, The Associated Press

  • Takeaway.com says Just Eat takeover timetable delayed due to UK probe
    News
    Reuters

    Takeaway.com says Just Eat takeover timetable delayed due to UK probe

    Netherlands-based meal delivery company Takeaway.com said the expected timetable for its takeover of British rival Just Eat would be delayed by a week after UK competition authorities said it would look at the deal. Earlier this month, Just Eat's shareholders agreed to the all-stock deal valued at 6.2 billion pounds ($8.2 billion) over a rival bid from tech investment giant Prosus NV.

  • Australia works to recover bodies of 3 from air tanker crash
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Australia works to recover bodies of 3 from air tanker crash

    SYDNEY, Australia — The American tanker plane that crashed while fighting Australian wildfires had just dropped a load of retardant on a fire before it went down in New South Wales state, investigators said Friday.The crash of the C-130 Hercules tanker Thursday killed Capt. Ian H. McBeth, 44, of Great Falls, Montana; First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, of Buckeye, Arizona; and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr., 43, of Navarre, Florida, their employer, Canada-based Coulson Aviation, said in a statement.The crash occurred during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia's southeast.Specialist investigators were sent to the crash site in the state’s Snowy Monaro region and a team was working to recover the victims' bodies, Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Greg Hood told reporters in the nearby town of Numeralla.He described a difficult process of securing evidence of the crash and the victims' remains, since the wildfire is still burning and potential hazards such as aviation fuel are present.Upward of 500 firefighting aircraft from several countries are fighting Australia's wildfires, Hood said, adding “So, if there are lessons to be learned from this particular accident it's really important that not only Australia learns these, but the world learns them.”He and other Australian officials extended condolences on the deaths of the three Americans.Coulson Aviation said McBeth “was a highly qualified and respected C-130 pilot with many years fighting fire, both in the military and with Coulson Aviation."McBeth, who is survived by his wife and three children, also served with the Montana and Wyoming National Guard, the company said.Hudson “graduated from the Naval Academy in 1999 and spent the next twenty years serving in the United States Marine Corp in a number of positions including C-130 pilot," Coulson said. He is survived by his wife.DeMorgan served in the U.S. Air Force with 18 years as a flight engineer on the C-130, the company said. He had had more than 4,000 hours as a flight engineer with nearly 2,000 hours in combat.“Rick's passion was always flying and his children," Coulson said. He is survived by two children, his parents and his sister.New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a memorial service would be held in Sydney on Feb. 23 for the American firefighters and three Australian volunteer firefighters who have died during this wildfire season."We will pay tribute to the brave firefighters who lost their own lives protecting the lives and properties of others," she said.“I know that many members of the public, the RFS (Rural Fire Service), and emergency services personnel will want to come together as families and communities work their way through this unbelievable loss.”The three deaths brings Australia's toll from the blazes to at least 31 since September. The fires have also destroyed more than 2,600 homes and razed more than 10.4 million hectares (25.7 million acres), an area bigger than the U.S. state of Indiana.Coulson grounded other firefighting aircraft as a precaution pending investigation, reducing planes available to firefighters in New South Wales and neighbouring Victoria state. The four-propeller Hercules drops more than 15,000 litres (4,000 gallons) of fire retardant in a single pass.Berejiklian said more than 1,700 volunteers and personnel were in the field, and five fires were being described at an “emergency warning" level — the most dangerous on a three-tier scale — across the state and on the fringes of the national capital Canberra.The Associated Press

  • 'Indigenous women are reclaiming their rightful spots': Sask. play shines light on Lakota hero
    News
    CBC

    'Indigenous women are reclaiming their rightful spots': Sask. play shines light on Lakota hero

    The Lakota creation story of the white buffalo is centuries old, but some say its messages are more important than ever.Ptesanwin — or White Buffalo Calf Woman —  is one of the sacred creation stories told by the Lakota people. Stories in Time: PTE' SA WIN, a play based on the story, is being performed on stage Saturday night as part of Saskatoon's Winterruption festival.Choreographer Chante Speidel said she hopes the crowd will learn about Lakota history, but her main goal is to inspire by reviving the story of a strong, heroic Indigenous woman."For those small Indigenous girls in the crowd, this is their way of saying,  'Let's do this. Let's be powerful. Let's be exactly what Ptesanwin represents and all that she is,'" Speidel said.She said the public is learning about the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women and their over-representation in Canada's prisons, but that Indigenous women are also rising up and overcoming barriers."Indigenous women are reclaiming their rightful spots, taking places of power again in their communities and elsewhere," she said.Before and during production, the cast and crew consulted extensively with elders and spiritual leaders. This included a 19th-generation pipe carrier from the U.S., said artistic director Don Speidel.Speidel said it was important to tell this story, particularly with all the divisions in modern society."It relates to climate change. It refers to creating peace and harmony among all nations, not to live in bloodshed and war but to actually live in common unity," he said.The play was last performed 20 years ago in Saskatoon during the opening of the Saskatoon Tribal Council's White Buffalo Youth Lodge. Speidel said they were encouraged to bring it back.The curtain rises for Stories in Time: PTE' SA WIN at 7:00 p.m. CST Saturday at the Broadway Theatre.

  • Cree interest in private home ownership very high, but issues with readiness remain: report
    News
    CBC

    Cree interest in private home ownership very high, but issues with readiness remain: report

    Programs to increase financial literacy and education encouraging high-income earners to move out of social housing are just some of the ideas put forth in a housing report prepared for the Cree Nation Government. The report was commissioned to evaluate the readiness of Quebec Cree to buy their own house, and to help communities address some longstanding log jams with regard to a lack of housing and maintenance. There is an immediate need for more than 2,000 homes in Eeyou Istchee, and getting more people to move into private home ownership is one way the Cree Nation Government is trying to tackle the housing issue and help build wealth in Cree communities.The report, titled Market Research: Private Housing in Eeyou Istchee, suggests interest in private home ownership is very high, but readiness is low, according to Irene Neeposh. The report is really useful to plan how to solve problems. \- Abel Bosum, Cree Grand ChiefShe brought together the findings and recommendations of a survey of more than 300 Cree currently living in social housing and from focus groups with housing committees and co-ordinators."Close to 90 per cent of people say they have thought of building," said Neeposh, but added that slightly more than 6 per cent of those people have actually made an application with their local band office. The report makes 18 recommendations to close that gap — like developing programs in financial literacy, project planning and home maintenance. Other recommendations include diversifying the types of housing available and providing financing options for home buyers, with a goal of better supporting Cree who want to buy a home. Obstacles to home ownershipSome of the obstacles to home ownership are inability to save, a lack of financial readiness, low income levels and long waiting lists to build, according to the findings of the research."The report is really useful to plan how to solve problems we have right now for both social housing and private home ownership," said Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum.He also said while financial readiness is an issue, a more fundamental obstacle to home ownership has been band offices with limited ability to guarantee mortgages.In 2019, the Cree government moved to remove a 75-year limit on land leases and Bosum said that will allow Cree homeowners to build up equity in their homes and not need a band guarantee.The Cree government is also setting up a $100-million fund to help more people access private home ownership. It hopes to have the fund in place beginning in April of 2020. The report also points to a need for more financial accountability in the social housing system in Cree communities.Slightly more than half of the survey respondents currently living in social housing said they were up-to-date with their rent and 62 per cent said they had paid their rent in the last month. Neeposh said the housing committees all identified non-payment of rent as a serious problem that has negative impacts."The results from non-payment end up deteriorating the existing units," said Neeposh. "It doesn't also allow for the housing departments to provide services or proper management." Neeposh said most housing co-ordinators recommended more education and accountability in the social housing system to help people understand the importance of paying rent. They also want the Cree Nation to explore the idea of setting up a Cree collection agency to help build financial capacity.Chief Bosum said non-payment of rent is a difficult issue for local housing departments to manage. "Arrears have been an issue for a very long time. That is one of the problems with the program itself, because even if you were to evict someone, where do they go?" said Bosum. He said all levels of Cree government have to work together to look for solutions, adding that it is less of an issue with younger Cree families.High-income earners in social housingThe report also pointed to another problem — high-income earners living in social housing. Neeposh noted that housing department staff said having options in Cree communities like transitional housing, starter homes, rent-to-own and co-rent options could help encourage more high-income earners to move on to private home ownership. The Cree Nation Government will table a housing strategy next week.

  • Mother humpback brings her newborn baby to inspect delighted swimmers
    Rumble

    Mother humpback brings her newborn baby to inspect delighted swimmers

    Humpback whales are one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring animals on the planet. They are majestic and enormous, creating an appreciation for how small and fragile humans are in comparison. Being lucky enough to see one in the wild is an unforgettable experience. It is only then that we can fully grasp how massive and powerful they are. But actually swimming beside one is a thrill that cannot even be described. Weighing as much as 30 tons (27,000kg) and reaching 52 feet in length (24m), they are among the true giants of the ocean. These lucky swimmers had traveled to The Kingdom of Tonga, in the South Pacific Islands, to see the animals close up. Part of a tour with a certified guide, they carefully slipped into the water to observe this mother and her baby from a distance. They couldn't believe their good fortune when the mother turned and lazily drifted towards them for a closer look. Humpbacks are curious and very tolerant of humans but they are usually more reserved when they have a newborn. This mother seemed unconcerned as she and her baby closed the gap and looked at everyone closely. The swimmers moved back a few times, as required, keeping a respectful and safe distance. Their fins appear in the video as they swim backwards to move away. It is for the benefit of the animals that closer contact is avoided, and also for the safety of the people since humpbacks are powerful and heavy. It appears that this mother might have been providing her baby with a lesson in how to inspect the strange creatures that can be found in the water and she repeatedly drifted right to them. For almost ten minutes, floated and turned, moving very slowly in the direction of the swimmers. Mother humpbacks come to Tonga to give birth because it is one of the few places in the ocean where killer whales do not go. Humpbacks fear only large sharks and killer whales, and their babies are vulnerable to both of these predators in the first few months of life. The mother keeps her calf close to her head and she will lift it out of the water to protect it if a threat appears. The baby instinctively knows that this is where it should be but it swam around and rolled a few times as if tempted to play with the humans. Humpback whales are also one of the most intelligent creatures on earth, having an intellect comparable to dolphins and chimpanzees. Until as recently as 100,000 years ago, it is believed they were the smartest of all creatures on our planet. Looking onto the eyes of one of these beautiful whales, it's not hard to appreciate the wisdom and intellectual capacity behind their gaze. Anyone who has ever been in the presence of a humpback is simply not the same afterwards. Losing these whales to pollution, harvesting, or anything else would be tragic beyond words. Our oceans would not be the same without them.

  • News
    CBC

    Province promises food banks can now serve meals — but Calgary Food Bank CEO says that's not exactly new

    The province says it's going to allow food banks to "legally" cook and dish up food on its premises.The announcement on Thursday promises food banks will be able to serve clients better by removing legislation that previously didn't allow them to legally prepare, cook and serve food on site, provided they have the necessary facilities and equipment. It would benefit food banks hoping to duel as soup kitchens, the government says."This is a common-sense change that I'm proud to make. Food safety regulations should not prevent food banks from helping those in need," said Health Minister Tyler Shandro in a release."We will continue looking for ways to cut unnecessary rules and regulations while always protecting the health and safety of Albertans."But there's just one thing, says James McAra, CEO of the Calgary Food Bank.While the Calgary Food Bank does not currently process food in house, it never had issues in the past serving up cooked meals before, McAra said.He said the bureaucratic barriers the government is promising to remove aren't really new — not for the organization at least, which has already been serving up cooked meals on several occasions."There's a question as to what is actually being freed up," McAra said."There was never a restriction, to our knowledge, in the ability to prepare food. We just had to make sure that we had the proper facility, we had it inspected, we had the proper equipment and away we go."McAra said the requirements to serve prepared food at the food bank are comparable to serving up "tea and biscuits" after church or hosting meals for a local community group.The release also says bed and breakfasts will now be able to serve their guests meals at any time of the day, effective Feb. 1.The same goes with guest ranches and other similar small businesses, which will be able to operate under the same requirements."I'm sure that this [release] addresses somebody's needs," McAra said. "[But] I'm not seeing a direct correlation to the needs of food banks."The announcement is one of a flurry of news releases sent by the Alberta government this week in what they have referred to as Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week.This article was updated from a previous version to clarify that the regulations the province is planning to remove could help food banks hoping to also act as a soup kitchen.

  • Father guilty of killing daughter in drunk driving crash
    News
    CBC

    Father guilty of killing daughter in drunk driving crash

    A Calgary father has been found guilty of killing his own daughter in a drunk driving crash.Michael Shaun Bomford was on trial on charges of drunk driving causing death and bodily harm, as well as dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm.Meghan Bomford, 17, died after she was thrown from her father's Jeep on McKnight Boulevard in October 2016.Meghan's best friend, Kelsey Nelson, was also thrown from the vehicle and survived but suffered a serious brain injury. She has no memory of the crash or what led to it, so she did not testify but was present in the courtroom for much of the trial.'The heartbreak of losing Meghan'Meghan's mother was not in court for the verdict but sent a statement to CBC News. She thanked everyone who offered her family love and support in helping them cope with "the heartbreak of losing Meghan.""I hope people take the time to check in with those they know who struggle with addictions and the people close to them," wrote Lisa Cooper. "Turning a blind eye to these struggles are not solving any problems or making it go away. My children and I tried reaching out for help and we weren't able to find any support, unfortunately."I hope no one ever has to lose their child at the hands of the other parent again. You should be able to trust they will keep you safe. We will forever keep Meghan close in our hearts and advocate for victims of drunk driving...."As Court of Queen's Bench Justice Kristine Eidsvik read her verdict, friend and family utterances of relief could be heard from the victims' friends and family in the gallery.Outside the courtroom, Meghan's aunt Heather Cooper spoke for the victim's family."Ecstatic," said Cooper of hearing the judge's decision."It's been a long road to get here. It's been difficult for all of our families to see and hear things that were being said and so it was incredibly validating to be able to sit there and see her say those words of guilty. This is the best day ever."Bomford will remain on bail until a sentencing hearing takes place in May.During the trial that took place in December, Eidsvik heard evidence Bomford was drunk at the time of the crash with a blood-alcohol limit three times the legal limit.Accident reconstructionists showed the Jeep was travelling more than 30 km/h above the speed limit when the driver lost control.Defence lawyer James Wyman had argued there wasn't enough evidence to prove it was his client behind the wheel while prosecutors Scott Wilson and Trevor Fik presented text messages between Meghan and her mother during the drive which suggested Bomford was driving. Eidsvik considered the text messages, erratic driving consistent with a drunk driver and the fact that the Jeep was Bomford's in finding "the Crown has proven Mr. Bomford was driving the Jeep when the collision occurred.""Erratic swerving and excessive speed is consistent with a driver who is impaired by alcohol," said Eidsvik.The idea that Bomford would pull over on the way to the police station to switch drivers is "pure and unreasonable speculation," said the judge.'Guardian angels' stopped to helpOn Oct. 18, 2016, Bomford had picked up Meghan and Nelson so the girls could get to the police station.The two friends needed criminal background checks so they could become junior ringette coaches.The crash happened on McKnight Boulevard in northeast Calgary. Bomford's Jeep Liberty was travelling west between 68th Street and 52nd Street N.E. when it went out of control, fishtailing in the far right lane.The SUV rolled across the eastbound lanes, and all three people were thrown from the vehicle.There were several Good Samaritans who stopped to help, including off-duty firefighter, paramedic and ER nurse Jan Ginther who provided medical care to Nelson."They're amazing and they're guardian angels," said Cooper."Jan saved Kelsey's life and without Jan we wouldn't have Kelsey today. I know they tried for Meghan as well and we are just so grateful for those people who stopped and helped and called 911 and stayed with them, held their hands and said they were loved. It was all that we could ask for."Nelson is "doing really well," according to Cooper."She's of course living with injuries that she's going to have for the rest of her life and her life is changed forever but she's amazing and she's strong and she's kicking butt every single day and proven to everybody that nothing can stop her."

  • Forced confinement, missed work: Paycheques among casualties of N.L. blizzard
    News
    CBC

    Forced confinement, missed work: Paycheques among casualties of N.L. blizzard

    When Lori Bennett left Corner Brook for a routine monthly trip to the Janeway last week, she didn't realize she'd be surrendering nearly a week's worth of income.Bennett ended up taking a forced six-day vacation due to Friday's storm and the ensuing state of emergency ordered by the City of St. John's, which legally prevented her from returning home — and from showing up to her shifts at  Greenwood Inn and Suites hotel, an eight-hour drive from the capital across impassable highways."I'm being told that because of the state of emergency, I'm not covered," Bennett told CBC on Tuesday. The shifts she missed were given away and she was told she wouldn't be paid for them, she said.As her household's sole earner, who also cares for her ill partner, money is already tight."The financial burden on me right now is very difficult," Bennett said."I figured my workplace would have a little bit of sympathy."Voluntary compensationBennett is one of a multitude of workers who've been stuck in hotels and homes on the Avalon, unable to get to work after the city shut down businesses and streets to clean up after last Friday's blizzard.Some workers contacted by CBC News who weren't being paid for missed shifts did not want to speak publicly, fearing repercussions from their employers.But a number of workplaces having stepped up, offering compensation to affected employees. Coleman's Grocery was one of the first to announce its workers didn't have to worry about lighter paycheques."We recognize that being off work for several days puts financial hardship on everyone," said Greg Gill, Coleman's marketing manager.Gill said they told retail staff they'd be paid for the period of time the chain remained shuttered during the state of emergency given their "integral" role within the company. "It was a no-brainer," he said.A number of other businesses were reported on social media to have offered payment to employees. CBC confirmed that Telus, Avalon Mall maintenance staff, and at least one metro-area Starbucks location are offering payment for missed work, despite having no legal obligation to do so.A number of other businesses are reportedly offering at least partial compensation.Bennett is frustrated she's not among those employees."I've dedicated my work to this place of employment for going on nine years," she said. "And here I am, when I'm in need, just being told 'that's not remunerable.'"A manager at Greenwood Inn and Suites, when asked about the hotel's policy for workers stranded during a state of emergency, said there was no state of emergency in Corner Brook, adding if any employees were in St. John's then it was on personal time.The area manager, Lisa Martin, told CBC News the company doesn't have a policy to cover workers who miss shifts due to a state of emergency."We've never encountered that situation before," Martin said. She added the legal department is working with the union to figure out "the right thing to do," and set a precedent for future cases.No legal frameworkMary Shortall, president of the N.L. Federation of Labour, said there are no universal rules that govern how employers should compensate workers during a state of emergency — it's all left, she said, to happenstance.Overarching federal legislation should probably replace the current legal hodgepodge, Shortall said.This storm could be a catalyst for that conversation."Many of the employers are actually paying their workers during this state of emergency," Shortall said. "But for those who don't, there needs to be some way that workers don't pay the price for that."Shortall said she'd been fielding calls and emails all week from people worried about paying rent and affording food for their kids. "What we've been hearing is … the fear that they just don't know who to turn to," she said.Some kind of emergency relief fund, with dispensation rules built into labour law, could provide reassurance, she said.On Thursday, Premier Dwight Ball said the province has been speaking with the federal government about programs, such as employment insurance, to see what can be done about compensating workers for missed time.And while small businesses have struggled financially in the days following the blizzard, Ball said there need to be discussions about programs that could be set up to help small business owners in the event of another state of emergency.However, Ball said the focus right now is on the province's low-income earners and people who have lost wages."With any review we need to make sure the employers and the employees are part of those amendments or reassess what the appropriate legislation will look like," he said."Right now it's very difficult to know what the magnitude of the requirement will be."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Fisherman from Tignish, P.E.I., joins Marine Industries Hall of Fame
    News
    CBC

    Fisherman from Tignish, P.E.I., joins Marine Industries Hall of Fame

    Dennis Gaudet has been working the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence for more than 50 years, and now he's being recognized for his life's efforts.The Tignish, P.E.I., fisherman is being inducted into the Atlantic Canada Marine Industries Hall of Fame. Gaudet called the induction an honour "beyond his wildest dreams," and said he loves fishing just as much now as he did when he started back in 1966."It's just being in the outdoors, out on the water," Gaudet said from his home in Tignish."I worked in Ontario for six months and it wasn't my cup of tea. I had to come home to fish. I was just like a lost puppy in Ontario." Always willing to lend a handThe ceremony gets underway Friday in Moncton. It's part of the Fish Canada trade show, the largest marine show in the region. Ruby Arsenault is a founding member of the Tignish Fishers' Awards Banquet committee. Her committee nominated Gaudet.Arsenault said Gaudet is known throughout the community as somebody who is willing to lend a helping hand, especially to new fishermen. "One quote comes to mind when you think of Dennis, most people will say he is a gentleman both on land and sea," said Arsenault. "He's a seasoned fisher. He is a leader, which means you know he's not afraid to speak out or ask questions about anything that concerns the industry."This is the second time in his career that Gaudet has been recognized for his craft.Last year, Gaudet's peers at Tignish harbour nominated him as captain of the year. 'It was hard on the family'Gaudet said he knows all too well that his love of the sea comes with a risk.His own boat capsized after being struck by another in 1974. The weather was calm at the time and he and his fellow fishermen were able to swim to shore.His brother Laurie wasn't so lucky. He died after his boat swamped in rough seas in 1996.It's an event that is still fresh in Gaudet's mind. "It was hard on the family, hard on the community."'That just brought back old memories'In September 2018, Gaudet suffered the loss of two of his close friends. Glen DesRoches and Moe Getson died when their boat capsized in rough seas."That just brought back old memories," he said. "I knew them pretty good, I knew Glen pretty good."In addition to Gaudet, Rudy LeBreton of Neguac, N.B., is being inducted as processor of the year. Laurence Cook of Grand Manan, N.B., is being inducted as industry builder of the year.More P.E.I. stories

  • SNC-Lavalin's 'poor' LRT bid should have been tossed, evaluators found
    News
    CBC

    SNC-Lavalin's 'poor' LRT bid should have been tossed, evaluators found

    SNC-Lavalin was awarded the $1.6-billion contract to extend Ottawa's north-south Trillium Line last March even though the team assembled to assess the bids reached a "unanimous consensus that the proposal should not be considered further in the evaluation process," according to documents released by the city Thursday night.The SNC-Lavalin bid failed to include a signalling or train control system, had no plan for snow removal and, at one point, appeared to believe the trains that run on the Trillium Line were electric, not diesel.The evaluation team concluded the bid was a "poor technical submission throughout," and that "resolving all of the major issues identified in the submission would be a lengthy and likely impractical process."It was also critical of SNC-Lavalin for not being able to provide a plan for using the Trillium Line's existing fleet of Alstom LINT diesel trains in the future — something the other two finalists, Trillium Extension Alliance and Transit Link, were able to provide. The technical team called the omission a "fatal flaw."On Oct. 3, the team concluded SNC-Lavalin's proposal "failed all four technical categories."City executives used discretionCBC Ottawa first reported back in March 2019 that SNC-Lavalin failed to meet the minimum technical score of 70 per cent that appeared to be required for a firm to continue in the competition, but still managed to win it.In August 2019, the city finally admitted it was true. SNC-Lavalin had failed to score 70 per cent not just once, but twice: the company, operating under the name TransitNEXT, scored 63 per cent; the team was directed to rescore the bidders, but SNC-Lavalin still only scored 67 per cent. A secret clause in the request for proposals (RFP) allowed the city's senior management team to wave a bidder onto the financial round, even if that bidder didn't score 70 per cent in the technical evaluation. The city's senior executive team exercised this discretion — without knowing the identity of the bidder, they say — following the advice of Geoff Gilbert, a Norton Rose Fulbright lawyer hired by the city to oversee the procurement of the contracts for LRT Stage 2.Contrary to the technical evaluation team's advice, SNC-Lavalin's bid was allowed to move to the next phase of the evaluation process: the financial scoring. Because its bid was so much cheaper than its competitors, SNC-Lavalin was the put forward as the preferred proponent, and council approved the contract in March 2019.Ottawa officials say the SNC-Lavalin bid offered taxpayers good value. And last November, the city's auditor-general found that the city had broken no rules in awarding the contract to the Montreal-based engineering giant.Team asked to review scoreWeeks after CBC Ottawa requested the technical evaluation team's presentation on its scoring, the city released them Thursday at 9 p.m., two hours after a marathon emergency meeting of the transit commission.Although the city had already released the scores for SNC-Lavalin, the newly released documents shed light on what led the evaluation team to fail the company in two rounds of scoring.On Oct. 3, the technical team presented its findings to the city's bid steering evaluation committee (BESC), a three-member team that oversaw the procurement for LRT Stage 2. The members of the committee included Gilbert, a Deloitte finance expert Remo Bucci and Simon Dupuis, a procurement officer for the city.On Oct. 10, a different Norton Rose Fulbright lawyer — Martin Masse — called a meeting with the team and told them to review their scores based on numerous written questions from the BESC. The committee was concerned the evaluation team had considered details in its scoring that weren't explicitly asked for in the RFP.Bid lacked 'understanding'After the technical team reviewed its evaluations, the scores of all three finalists rose slightly, but SNC-Lavalin still didn't make 70 per cent. And the evaluation team's responses to some of the BESC questions appear quite damning.For example, BESC questioned the failing score for the systems integration management plan, which only required a "high-level description." The technical team responded: "A high-level description should not include inaccurate information, such as references to elements that do not form part of the project scope of work, e.g. a catenary system, traction power substations … nor should it omit critical City tasks such as the integration of fare control equipment in the stations.""Catenary systems" and "traction power substations" are parts of electric train systems — the Trillium Line is a diesel train system."This demonstrates that the proponent lacks understanding of the scope of [the] works," according to the evaluation team.Among other glaring problems, according to the technical evaluation team, was SNC-Lavalin's complete lack of a train control system in its bid. The RFP did not demand that bidders provide a specific supplier of a train control system, but it did require "a narrative" of a "signalling and train control solution."SNC-Lavalin gave no description of any kind of solution and stated only: "At the time of the technical submission we are still finalizing the option selection process."Team members namedThe documents also revealed the identities of the five people on the city's technical evaluation team. One familiar name on the team is Michael Morgan. He's currently the city's director of rail construction and often responds to media questions regarding Confederation Line problems. Morgan had a different job when he was on the evaluation team back in the fall of 2018.The other four members of the team were: * Peter Schwartzentruber, lead evaluator, engineering consultant. * Colleen Connelly, city manager of transportation service planning. * Russ Hoas, city manager of rail systems, and in particular of the Trillium Line. * Jack D'Andrea, engineering consultant.

  • How P.E.I.'s Vietnamese community is keeping traditions alive in the new year
    News
    CBC

    How P.E.I.'s Vietnamese community is keeping traditions alive in the new year

    Hundreds will gather in downtown Charlottetown next Saturday to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year, but the preparation work will begin in the coming days.The growth of the celebration has been huge since the 2016 New Year, known as Tet in Vietnam, in Elaine Nguyen's basement. Then a few friends had a potluck and sang karaoke. Nguyen, now secretary of the Vietnamese Association of P.E.I., said the community is both growing and coming together."We found each other," she said. There were about 100 people in a church basement for the second celebration."Then the third year we have about 120 people. And the fourth year we had 400 people attending. Well, our celebration this year we hope would be around 500 people."Preparations for the coming event include the making of sticky rice cakes that can take 12 to 15 hours to cook, a deep cleaning of the house, and throwing away any worn out items.Preventing memories from fadingNguyen will also share stories and traditions of Tet with her children. For example, the Vietnamese share a tradition with northern British people that the nature of the first visitor of the New Year can bring bad or good luck. The Vietnamese, however, have devised a way of cheating fate."Just to be safe the owner of the house will leave the house a few minutes before 12:00 a.m.," Nguyen said."Then when the clock strikes midnight he will step into the house to prevent the first person entering the house."Nguyen said it is important to share these traditions with her children."What kind of food you should eat or drinks, what you should not do during Tet, what you shouldn't say during Tet. Otherwise they will start forgetting," she said."My understanding of Tet is already fading a lot. So I try to keep whatever I can remember for my children."The Vietnamese community will come together to celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Delta Prince Edward Feb. 1 in an invitation-only event.More P.E.I. news

  • TMR at odds over controversial plan to build sports complex in public park
    News
    CBC

    TMR at odds over controversial plan to build sports complex in public park

    The Town of Mount Royal's administration has dug in its heels, refusing to pull the plug on a $48.7-million sports and community complex despite a wave of community opposition."They say two years to build this. Based on the size of this facility, I give it three and a half years and $75 million," said Peter Malouf, one of hundreds of TMR residents against the project."There's always going to be cost overruns and then what happens when they get the shovel in the ground? It's too late for residents to oppose it."He's calling on the administration to rethink the project that, as presented, will take over a public park's soccer field and cost taxpayers millions to staff and maintain.Touted as TMR's first municipal building to be constructed in a half century, the plan currently calls for three pools, a water slide, a double gymnasium, dance and art studios, an indoor track and even a weight room.Malouf said he wants a smaller, less costly project that's better suited for the community's population of 21,000.And he's not alone.Back in November, more than 900 residents of the upscale Montreal suburb forced a referendum on the complex. The town held a public meeting Thursday to present an overview of the plan ahead of the vote on Feb. 16.Mayor, supporters pus forward Mayor Philippe Roy said it's not a deluxe centre when compared to other Quebec communities, but vowed to carry out the referendum, letting the population make the final call."We feel it's a very good project for the community," said Roy. "My hope is to convince everybody that it's a good project."The current recreation centre and pool are in poor condition,not adapted to people with reduced mobility and require regular repairs, the town said.Residents will soon vote on the borrowing bylaw which, in September 2019, was set at $27.8 million. But with surpluses allocated and a $3 million grant secured, the requested financing has come down to $20.3 million, the town said.If residents nix the loan, the grant money will be lost and there's no alternative plan, Roy said.But some residents are concerned that if the facility is built, property taxes will rise. The average single-family house in TMR is valued at roughly $1.4 million.Much of the construction cost is covered, but the loan and maintenance expenses are expected to add an average of $289 per year to property taxes. That will bring the average tax rate up to $8,508 per year."It's going to be about $2 a week of tax increase for the average home," Roy said. "It's not too expensive."Some residents like Louise Yoshinaka aren't worried about the tax increase. She said the mayor's administration is on the right track.TMR is an affluent area and the project is long overdue, she said, and a first-class sports centre is key in selling point for those looking to get top pricing for their million-dollar homes."It goes well with the value of our houses," she said. Lyette Soucy, a volunteer member of the Association municipale de Mont-Royal which strives to improve town life, said she and the association are in favour of the complex as well."It's an amazing project," she said. "We have a beautiful community here, but we don't have a proper sports complex."Predicted operating costs disputedThe town predicts the building's annual operating cost will be about $1.7 million.But that's way too low, said Sophie Turpin, a TMR resident who has been involved in Quebec's aquatic sports community. Running three pools — including a heated wading pool and water games — will create extra maintenance costs, she said.The three pools will also require extra lifeguards on duty in a time when pools are closing across the province due to a lifeguard shortage, she said. Even if the town manages to hire enough lifeguards to keep the facility open seven days a week as promised, she said salaries could run about $1.5 million a year. A single, multi-use pool would be more affordable and require less staffing, Turpin said.Beyond the cost, residents are also frustrated with the plan to take over a heavily used green space while building a large facility that has very little parking. After so many people voiced their opposition, longtime resident Joe Amiouny said town officials should have responded with alternative plans.He said he would have liked TMR to proposed a second, smaller option."This project is too big for our city," he said. "Why do we need three swimming pools?"

  • News
    CBC

    Saskatchewan E.I. claims spiked by 11% between November 2018 and 2019: StatsCan

    There was an 11.2 per cent spike in Saskatchewan residents filing employment insurance claims between November 2018 and November 2019, according to the most recent data from Statistics Canada.The number of people in Sask. who actually received E.I. benefits during that same time rose by three per cent, in comparison."Occupations in manufacturing and utilities, and trades, transports and equipment operators in related occupations, they also had notable increases in the year-over-year beneficiaries," said Brittany Milton, an analyst with StatsCan.There was a 25.9 per cent jump in the number of people from manufacturing and utilities who received E.I. benefits during that period of time in Saskatchewan, Milton said."[A] very big jump," he said. Nation-wide, there was a 12.5 per cent increase in manufacturing and utilities workers accessing E.I.The next closest jump in E.I. beneficiaries could be found among trades and transport workers at a 9.1 per cent jump. The national average was a jump of 2.8 per cent.The total number of people receiving E.I. in Saskatchewan was 15,930 during November, a 3.5 per cent increase over October's numbers.On a month-to-month basis, there were 6.5 per cent more people accessing E.I. benefits in Saskatoon during November compared to October; Regina saw an increase of 5 per cent over the previous month.

  • Alberta's auditor general looking into growing orphan wells problem
    CBC

    Alberta's auditor general looking into growing orphan wells problem

    Alberta is facing a growing number of orphan oil wells without owners to clean them up. The province’s auditor general is set to investigate how regulations meant to prevent this from happening have come up so short.

  • Number of trials postponed in B.C. Supreme Court hit all-time high in 2019
    News
    CBC

    Number of trials postponed in B.C. Supreme Court hit all-time high in 2019

    Romika Reddy's attempt to get a better settlement from ICBC has hit a snag in B.C. Supreme Court due to too many cases like hers and too few judges to hear them. Last year, a record 140 B.C. Supreme Court trials across the province were postponed compared to only 33 the year before. The majority of them were ICBC cases. In October, when Reddy and her lawyer showed up at court — among a horde of others also there to fight ICBC — the 25-year-old's trial was adjourned until June, at the earliest. "I'm having a really hard time for a long time and then thinking it's going to be over but then it's not. It's very discouraging," said Reddy, who hasn't been able to work since the crash due to lingering pain from soft tissue injuries. In July 2016, while driving home from work, Reddy's Nissan Sentra was T-boned on the driver's side by a pickup truck near the intersection of 64th Avenue and 120th Street in Surrey. ICBC, she says, offered her $55,000 to settle the claim but Reddy opted to hire a lawyer and go to court for a better deal.Now she has no idea when her case will be heard or when she might be compensated for her injuries and losses. 'Lame excuse'In the three and a half years since the crash, Reddy has been forced to live with her mother and a younger sister at her mother's Surrey home. It's discouraging, she says, because she should be working to become independent and not be a burden on her family. At most, Reddy says she can manage a couple of hours at a time working as a receptionist at a local seniors home before her back pain becomes too much. "It's just not realistic to live off a couple hundred bucks for a month or two," Reddy said. Her mother Anita Reddy says, "not having judges is a lame excuse." The B.C. Supreme Court is currently seven judges short of its legislated complement of 90. Reddy says her daughter's case wouldn't be tied up in court waiting for a new trial date if ICBC offered fair settlements. Impact on due process The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. says the combination of "unreasonable ICBC settlement offers" and too few judges to hear cases causes due process to grind to a halt. Most of the blame for delays though lies with ICBC, says association president John Rice, who maintains that over the past year the insurance corporation has implemented a "strategy" to make low offers.  "It puts injured British Columbians in a really crummy position," Rice said.People are forced to decide whether to take the offer because they are financially desperate, or go to trial, he says. Recent ICBC offers have pushed more cases to trial and put a strain on the legal system, Rice added. "We need more judicial appointments, but that won't come close to fixing this problem with the scope of cases being pushed to trial by ICBC," he said. Less than 1 per cent to trial ICBC says last year, 99.4 per cent of all accident claims were settled without going to trial.Spokesperson Brent Shearer says only 0.6 per cent of cases actually went before a judge. On the other hand, from March 2017 to December 2019, Shearer said the monetary demands made by lawyers increased by nearly 40 per cent. "We're paying 25 per cent more in settlements than three years ago and it's still not enough," Shearer said. It's estimated more than half a billion dollars was paid last year in legal fees to plaintiff law firms by ICBC.The cost of injury claims is a primary reason insurance rates increase every year, according to Shearer. Eager for resolution Romika Reddy isn't happy with ICBC or the court system. ICBC offers, she says, need to be more realistic and the federal government needs to appoint more justices. "At the end of the day, it's people's lives they're completely changing over something that's not their fault," Reddy said. CBC Vancouver's Impact Team investigates and reports on stories that impact people in their local community and strives to hold individuals, institutions and organizations to account. If you have a story for us, email impact@cbc.ca.

  • Tales from the terminal: What's driving people crazy at the Calgary airport
    News
    CBC

    Tales from the terminal: What's driving people crazy at the Calgary airport

    Airports can be stressful places, especially if a screening agent yells at you or you're stuck in the security line for an hour.Documents released under Access to Information law reveal that's some of what made passengers' blood boil at the Calgary airport. The 256-page dossier covered all sorts of complaints — everything from "rude" security officers to agents confiscating items that should have been allowed — between January 2018 and the early summer of 2019. The majority of them were about wait times in the security line, but others singled out the conduct of Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) agents. Names, dates and personal information were removed from the document, but the details of these tales from terminal remain. In one case, a female passenger had her suitcase emptied out at security. During the search, the screener said women shouldn't travel with a carry-on bag because they don't know how to pack one properly. Another passenger said they were patted down so aggressively it almost knocked them over, forcing them to cling to the agent's arm to stay upright."My experience today makes me not want to fly through Calgary in the future," one complaint reads, saying the CATSA agents were "rude, condescending and argumentative." Few protections for passengers during screeningOne passenger told an agent she had sharp or delicate objects in her carry-on that needed to be removed from the suitcase. The report said the screening officer yelled at the customer not to touch anything.The passenger said there was no need to raise voices, to which the agent responded that she could speak however she wanted. The ordeal ended with her underwear being strewn across the metal table in front of the other passengers. A couple was travelling home to Calgary, entering with a bottle of sealed duty free alcohol. They said one of the security guards confronted them saying "don't you think you're smart," and then accused them of trying to "smuggle" the liquor. Another person arrived at the baggage claim area only to find the contents of their suitcase flying around the carousel because an agent left the zipper undone."It's troublesome that people who are wielding so much power are misbehaving. It's a sign of a lack of adequate training and passengers should not be tolerating that," Gabor Lukacs, the founder of Air Passenger Rights, said.Unlike the new federal Air Passenger Protection Regulations that applies to airlines, there are not many protections for travellers in the screening process.Security officers aren't affiliated with the airlines or the airports, instead belonging a crown corporation nested under Transport Canada."As our front-line representatives, screening officers are tasked with enforcing regulations and can sometimes be perceived as rude or inflexible in the course of carrying out their duties," CATSA said in a statement to CBC News. Passengers can often pack incorrectly or bring along prohibited items unknowingly. "While complaints requiring the reprimand of screening officers are infrequent, any investigation that determines a screening officer's behavior to have been unprofessional is addressed immediately."CATSA added customer service is part of officer training, but additional coaching can happen on a case-by-case basis.'One complaint is too many'CATSA screens travellers, baggage and airport workers based on standards set by the federal government. There is no oversight body that regulates the actions of CATSA employees, Lukacs says.Their website says they aim to provide "the best possible passenger experience" and Lukacs says it's up to them to behave in a way that can "earn the public's trust."He added no matter what happens, "don't lose your cool" with the officers.Almost 18 million passengers went through Calgary in 2019, according to the airport. The airport declined to comment on the issues.The Government of Canada has some suggestions to minimize headaches at security. Have your boarding pass ready, remove keys and spare change from your pockets. Pack your liquids in a clear plastic bag. It also says don't wear clothes with metal buttons or snaps to avoid setting off the alarms.  If you have a negative experience, Lukacs suggests recording the incident on your phone or requesting the footage from the airport. For grievous incidents, he says a lawsuit could be an option. "It's these kind of issues where I say one complaint is too many."

  • Truck driver dead in tractor-trailer crash
    News
    CBC

    Truck driver dead in tractor-trailer crash

    A truck driver is dead after a collision involving two tractor-trailers near Brockville, Ont., Thursday evening.According to a news release from the Leeds Country OPP, officers responded to reports of a disabled transport truck partially blocking five lanes sometime before 6:30 p.m. Thursday. As an officer approached the truck, a second tractor-trailer struck the disabled vehicle and its driver, who was standing outside the cab.Police officers tried to save the man's life until paramedics arrived, but Bernard Perreault, 55, was declared dead at the scene. The other driver was uninjured.  Miladinko Majstorovic, 63, from Toronto, was charged with careless driving causing death and is scheduled to appear in court in Brockville at a later date.OPP spokesperson Sgt. Cynthia Savard said the fatal crash closed the eastbound lane of Highway 401 from the County Road 2 exit to Stewart Boulevard, but the lane was reopened Friday morning.An investigation is ongoing.