Group linked to ‘Freedom Convoy’ ordered evicted from Ottawa heritage building – Canada News

The Canadian Press – | Story: 386859

A group loosely associated with the “Freedom Convoy” protest in Ottawa last winter has been ordered evicted from a former church east of downtown.

In her ruling, Ontario Superior Court Justice Sally Gomery says The United People of Canada breached an agreement of purchase and sale with the property’s owners.

Gomery found the group violated the agreement by failing to pay deposits totalling $100,000 on Aug. 10 despite two extensions of the deadline.

She says the owners served the group with a valid notice of termination on Aug. 11.

The group argued it had not materially breached any agreement with the owners and asked the court to allow members to stay.

The dispute took on a surreal air over the summer, with group members defending the property with water guns while dressed in red capes and dish gloves.


The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 5:50 pm | Story: 386858

Police say 110 commercial vehicles were pulled off the road in Edmonton last week for failing to meet various safety compliance regulations.

Edmonton police say its commercial vehicle investigation unit held a three-day inspection event between Sept. 13 and 15 on Yellowhead Trail and Whitemud Drive.

Police say 238 vehicles checks were completed and only 69 vehicles passed inspection. 

They say more than $36,000 in fines were issued for 551 violations.

Figures provided by Edmonton police from its vehicle inspections in the sprint indicate that there were 182 fewer violations this time around.

Police say cargo securement was the most common violation.


The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 5:49 pm | Story: 386857

Ontario’s police watchdog has cleared two Toronto police officers who shot and killed a man seen walking with what appeared to be a rifle near a school earlier this year.

Officers responded on May 26 to reports of a person with a gun – the Special Investigations Unit said it was later determined that the man was carrying an air rifle.

The SIU says the 27-year-old man was walking “nonchalantly” that afternoon with what appeared to be a rifle, with the firearm sometimes concealed in his jacket and sometimes in plain view.

The watchdog says the man suffered from mental illness and had had a particularly difficult time coping with his mental health the week before.

It says police ordered the man to drop his weapon several times but he raised it and pointed it at them, after which two officers fired at the man – he died at the scene. 

SIU Director Joseph Martino says there are no reasonable grounds to believe either officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the man’s death.

“The complainant had in his possession a rifle that gave every appearance of being able to inflict grievous bodily harm or death if fired. He had been ordered to drop the weapon but did not do so,” Martino wrote in his report on the case.

“It is evident that the officers shot the complainant in the genuine belief that they were about to be fired upon.”

Martino said the shots fired by the two officers amounted to “reasonable defensive force.” He noted that while the man’s weapon turned out to be an air rifle, the officers would not have known that at the time.

“For all intents and purposes, the officers would have reasonably apprehended that their lives were on the line when the complainant very deliberately raised the rifle at them,” he wrote. 

“The complainant constituted a real and present danger to public safety, particularly given his proximity to a school that was in session, and the officers were not free to vacate the area.”

The fatal police shooting happened near William G. Davis Public School.

The Toronto District School Board said four schools nearby were temporarily placed in lockdown due to the police investigation in the area.


The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 4:13 pm | Story: 386835

An expert told a special joint committee of the House of Commons and Senate that people with mental disorders can suffer for decades, and their distress is equally as valid as someone suffering physical pain.

People suffering solely from mental disorders are due to become eligible for assisted dying in March, and Dr. Justine Dembo, a psychiatrist and medical assistance in dying assessor, also cautioned the committee about perpetuating stigma about mental illness.

Mental health advocates warn it is harder to predict the outcomes and treatments of mental illnesses, and a wish to die is often a symptom, but an expert panel earlier this year said existing eligibility criteria and safeguards in medically assisted dying legislation would be adequate.

Both arguments were made today by a handful of witnesses appearing before the committee, which is deliberating what policies to recommend to lawmakers ahead of the March deadline.

Ellen Cohen, a coordinator advocate for the National Mental Health Inclusion Network, told committee members Canada needs laws to help patients, not hurt them.

“I don’t believe there were any safeguards recommended,” she said.

She resigned from the federal government’s expert panel on MAID and mental illness in December 2021. She said there was no space to identify how vulnerable people could be protected.

The panel released its report May 13, concluding that existing eligibility criteria and safeguards would be adequate “so long as those are interpreted appropriately to take into consideration the specificity of mental disorders.”

Dembo, who was one of the expert panel members, said following those guidelines for people with mental disorders “would ensure an extremely comprehensive, thorough and cautious approach.”

She told the committee people with mental disorders can suffer for decades.

“To say someone with mental illness just shouldn’t be eligible, with that big of a blanket statement, where people don’t even get the chance to be assessed as individuals unique in their circumstances, to me is very stigmatizing,” she said.

While the interim report released earlier this year stops short of making recommendations of its own, it concludes by urging the government to take steps to implement the recommendations of the expert panel “in a timely matter.”

A final report from the committee, complete with recommendations that address other areas including access for mature minors, advance requests, the state of palliative care and the protection of people with disabilities, is due on Oct. 17.

Cohen called the timeline for the legislation to be expanded by March unrealistic.

“I’d like to see this government push this deadline back,” she said.

But Dembo disagreed, telling MPs and senators that assessors are already gaining experience following the existing guidelines.

“Whether or not March 2023 is a realistic deadline depends on how committed and efficient various provincial bodies and local bodies can be in implementing guidelines based on the panel report. I’m hoping they can do that,” she said.

The committee’s review was mandated in the MAID legislation that required that a parliamentary review be initiated five years after the law came into effect in 2016. The committee began its work in 2021 before it was dissolved ahead of the federal election last fall.

The panel and the committee use the terminology “mental disorders,” rather than “mental illness,” stating in their reports that there is no standard definition for the latter and its use could cause confusion.

Conservative MPs on the committee offered a dissenting interim report earlier this year, saying it would be “problematic” to simply endorse the panel’s recommendations.

The MPs argued there are “far too many unanswered questions” on the subject, and nothing precludes the committee from revisiting whether assisted dying should be offered to this category of people at all.

“Legislation of this nature needs to be guided by science, and not ideology,” the Conservatives wrote in May, warning that an outcome that could “facilitate the deaths of Canadians who could have gotten better” would be completely unacceptable.

The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 1:32 pm | Story: 386697

UPDATE: 1:32 p.m.

People across Atlantic Canada were stocking up on last-minute essentials and storm-proofing their properties Friday ahead of the arrival of Fiona, which forecasters say will hit the region as a “very powerful” post-tropical storm.

The storm, characterized as “historic” in magnitude by meteorologists, is expected to make landfall early Saturday morning, bringing hurricane-force winds and more than 100 millimetres of rain to much of the region and eastern Quebec. Closer to the path of Fiona, more than 200 millimetres of rain is expected to fall — potentially leading to the washout of some roads.

Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said Fiona is shaping up to be a bigger storm system than Hurricane Juan, which caused extensive damage to the Halifax area in 2003. He said it’s about the same size as post-tropical storm Dorian in 2019.

“But it is stronger than Dorian was,” he told reporters during a briefing. “It’s certainly going to be an historic, extreme event for Eastern Canada.”

He said wind speeds could reach up to 145 km/h with gusts even higher in some areas.

Robichaud said the storm is moving northward and is expected to reach Nova Scotia waters late Friday night before passing through Cape Breton early Saturday. Fiona is expected to reach Quebec’s Lower North Shore and southeastern Labrador early Sunday.

Dave Buis, vice-commodore of the Northern Yacht Club in North Sydney, N.S., said he is worried about the storm, which is expected to slam the island of Cape Breton.

“Oh definitely, I think this is going to be a bad one,” Buis said in a telephone interview. “Hopefully it will slow up when it hits the cooler water, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to.” He said he removed his seven-metre sailboat from the water on Thursday.

On the eastern part of the island in the small Acadian community of Petit-de-Grat, N.S., fishermen were also busy dry-docking their boats, or attempting to lash them tightly to the wharf.

Lobster fisherman Kyle Boudreau said major storm damage is hard for a coastal community to absorb. “This is our livelihood. Our boats get smashed, our traps gets smashed … it’s stuff you don’t have to start your season next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, stores in Halifax sold out of propane gas cylinders used for camping stoves. Shelves in the camping department of a local Canadian Tire store that normally carried the small green canisters were completely bare.

But Halifax resident and plumber Chad Shiers advised that people in search of a small fuel tank could use plumbing propane.

“There’s more ways to get what you need,” he said Friday after buying a blue propane torch. “If I have fire I can eat. As long as they have what I need, I’m not going to panic.”

Robichaud warned people across the region not to be complacent just because they aren’t near the centre of the storm’s track. “The impacts are going to be felt way beyond where the centre of the storm actually goes,” he said.

Severe winds and rainfall are expected to result in “major impacts” for eastern Prince Edward Island, eastern Nova Scotia, southern and eastern New Brunswick, western Newfoundland, eastern Quebec and southeastern Labrador.

Coastal areas of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are expected to experience pounding surf, with waves expected to reach more than 10 metres off Nova Scotia and more than 12 metres in eastern parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

In addition to significant storm surge, potential for flooding in coastal and mainland areas and an “all-time” low pressure across the region, the storm is expected to cause widespread power outages due to trees and electrical poles brought down by powerful winds.


As much as 200 millimetres of rain is forecast to fall on Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec this weekend, as hurricane Fiona tracks towards the East Coast.

In addition to significant storm surge, potential for flooding in coastal and mainland areas and an “all-time” low pressure across the region, the potentially “historic” storm is expected to cause widespread power outages due to trees and hydro poles brought down by powerful wind.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Environment Canada meteorologist Bob Robichaud said it remains to be seen if Fiona’s wind gusts will set records, but the expectation is that gusts will be stronger in some areas than the 150 km/h winds felt when post-tropical storm Dorian made landfall in 2019.

Fiona is expected to reach Nova Scotia waters by Friday night before passing through the eastern mainland part of the province, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island on Saturday, and on to Quebec’s Lower North Shore and southeastern Labrador early Sunday.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, N.S., said the forecast was for the worst gusts to hit eastern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton and parts of Prince Edward Island.

Coastal areas of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are expected to experience pounding surf, with waves off Nova Scotia expected to build to more than 10 metres, while wave heights could be more than 12 metres in eastern parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 1:12 pm | Story: 386789

The Siksika Nation has reached a deal with the provincial and federal governments to reinstate the First Nation’s self-administered police service after 20 years.

The agreement follows a historic settlement with the federal government that provided $1.3 billion in compensation to the Siksika Nation to resolve outstanding land claims.

The nation, located about 130 kilometres east of Calgary, had its own police service from 1992 to 2002. However, the 10-year agreement with the federal and provincial governments that established the organization wasn’t renewed due to lack of funding.

Calls for Indigenous policing have increased over the years, with growing concerns over long response times.

“That critical time can be the difference between survival or going to the morgue,” Siksika Chief Ouray Crowfoot said in an interview Friday.

Although long response times have been an issue for the First Nation, Crowfoot said that having their own police service will also deter crime and foster a greater sense of community.

“Not seeing the police as an enemy, not seeing the police as them, but seeing the police as one of us — I know that Siksika is going to be a safer place,” Crowfoot said. 

“It’s not just about getting our policing back, it’s about creating that quality of life.”

Crowfoot said Siksika is starting to train new officers and hopes to have the police service fully operational in the next couple of years. 

He added that since 2018, Siksika’s public safety task force “pushed hard” to get the police service back.

In a statement Friday, the office of the federal minister of public safety said the transition to the self-administered police service for the Siksika Nation is the first in Canada in 14 years.

Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the province “unequivocally supports self-administered First Nations policing.”

“The Siksika Nation is ready and prepared to take this critical step and become the fourth self-administered First Nation police service in Alberta,” he said in a statement Friday.

The governing United Conservative Party has proposed establishing a provincial police force to better service rural communities in Alberta. Shandro’s office said if it happens, the province would work with First Nations and municipalities make sure local police services have more resources.

Crowfoot said the recent stabbing rampage in a Saskatchewan First Nation and nearby village earlier this month underscores the importance of community policing. 

James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns has said having a police service in the community would have helped prevent the stabbings that claimed the lives of 10 people and injured 18 others. Two suspects also died. Burns also said the response time after the attacks was too late. the RCMP has said it took 35 minutes for officers dispatched from Melfort, Sask., to arrive at the first scene 45 kilometres away. 

The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 1:08 pm | Story: 386786

An Alberta judge looking into the death of a Calgary teen who weighed 37 pounds when he died has adjourned her inquiry in an attempt to hear from more witnesses.

Alexandru Radita was 15 when he died in May 2013 of bacterial sepsis brought on by complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation. 

His parents, who were found guilty in 2017 of first-degree murder, had refused to accept the boy had diabetes when he was diagnosed with the disease in 2000 in British Columbia.

Provincial court Judge Sharon Van de Veen says she needs to hear from witnesses in B.C. to determine what can be done to prevent similar deaths in the future.

She has suggested there be an alert system if a child stops going to school, as well as wellness checks and more interprovincial agreements to check on the welfare of at-risk children.

Van de Veen says the inquiry will resume once additional witnesses are arranged.

The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 11:57 am | Story: 386774

The government of India is warning its citizens in Canada of a sharp increase in hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities.

India’s External Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying it has taken upthe incidents it’s alleging with Canadian authorities and requested an investigation.

It says the perpetrators of the crimes have not been brought to justice in Canada.

However, the statement does not reveal details of any criminal allegations or where they occurred.

It says that in view of the “increasing incidences of crimes,” Indian nationals and students in Canada are advised to exercise due caution and remain vigilant.

No one from Global Affairs Canada was immediately available to comment on the claim from India’s government.

The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 11:52 am | Story: 386772

The RCMP’s response to the 2020 shooting rampage that left 22 Nova Scotians dead was far from perfect, but police did their best, the federal Justice Department said Friday.

During the final day of public proceedings at the federal-provincial inquiry into the mass shooting, Lori Ward, general counsel for the federal Department of Justice, said there’s always room for improvement for all policing agencies.

“No response to a critical incident of this magnitude could be perfect, but when this crisis hit, the RCMP showed up, did their best and acted with courage, determination and dedication,” Ward said.

It’s difficult, she added, to separate what was known when the killer was at large on April 18-19, 2020, from what has been uncovered in the years since the tragedy. While hindsight is a valuable tool when used to learn lessons and make changes, it “can also impede a fair and objective evaluation of decisions made in real time.”

On the night of April 18, 2020, a man disguised as a Mountie and driving a car that looked exactly like an RCMP cruiser started killing neighbours and strangers in rural Portapique, N.S.

Ward said she is aware of the criticism levelled at the RCMP for allegedly dismissing witness accounts of the marked police car that the gunman was driving during the 13-hour rampage that left 22 people dead. She said that during the shootings the idea that the killer could have built such a car himself was beyond reasonable comprehension and was unlike anything police had seen before.

When the RCMP were sent photos of gunman Gabriel Wortman’s replica police cruiser the second morning of the rampage, it was initially viewed with “disbelief and incomprehension” by all members, Ward said.

“To assert that (RCMP) should have continued to search for a car identical to their own as opposed to turning their minds to alternatives like decommissioned cars is to view the events through the lens of someone who has now been familiar with the existence of the replica car for more than two years,” she said.

Ward, who at times before the inquiry had tears in her eyes, highlighted that among the “problems and failings” of the RCMP in the aftermath of the shootings was the delay in discovering some of the killer’s victims.

Harry and Cory Bond, the sons of Peter and Joy Bond — a couple murdered in Portapique, N.S., the night of April 18, 2020 — started hearing from acquaintances the next morning about shootings near Cobequid Court, the road where their parents lived.

The summary from the inquiry into the mass shooting says it was about 18 hours after the killings started before an RCMP officer found the Bonds’ bodies inside their home.

“The anguish felt by the families of those victims at the thought of that lapse of time is unimaginable,” Ward said.

She said this delay is among the things “RCMP wishes it could go back and change.”


The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 11:51 am | Story: 386771

The Federal Court of Appeal has affirmed the constitutionality of legislation that allows account information held by Canadian financial institutions to be shared with U.S. authorities.

Two U.S.-born women who now live in Canada, Gwendolyn Louise Deegan and Kazia Highton, challenged the Canadian provisions implementing a 2014 agreement between the two countries that makes the information-sharing possible.

The two unsuccessfully argued in Federal Court that the provisions breach the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee preventing unreasonable seizure, prompting them to take their case to the Court of Appeal.

The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as FATCA, requires banks and other institutions in countries outside the United States to report information about accounts held by U.S. individuals, including Canadians with dual citizenship.

The Canadian government told the Court of Appeal that failure to comply with the U.S. measures would have had serious effects on Canada’s financial sector, its customers and the broader economy.

Among the information from Canada being shared with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service are the names and addresses of account holders, account numbers, account balances, and details such as interest, dividends and other income.

The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 11:08 am | Story: 386761

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney drew laughs and applause in one of his final speeches before he leaves the job in two weeks.

Kenney, speaking to municipal leaders in Calgary, interrupted one burst of applause by saying the warmth clearly shows he’s not at one of his own United Conservative caucus meetings.

Kenney also got a phone call at the podium, and let it go to voicemail, saying “Sorry, Justin, I’ll call back later.”

He joked that he had tried and failed to land a part in one of the many film and TV productions now shooting in Alberta, calling it proof that politics is ”show biz for ugly people.”

Kenney announced in May he was quitting as United Conservative leader and premier after receiving a lukewarm 51 per cent support from party members in a leadership review.

Before that, he had faced open challenges from his party and caucus to his leadership and to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A vote to replace Kenney is to take place Oct. 6.

The Canadian Press – Sep 23, 2022 / 9:11 am | Story: 386732

U.S. lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to follow Canada’s lead in easing COVID-19 travel restrictions at the northern border.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, wants the Department of Homeland Security to lift the vaccine requirement for truck drivers and other travellers.

In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Tester says vaccine mandates at the border are making cross-border trade harder and more expensive.

New York congressman Rep. Brian Higgins also wants to see the restrictions lifted.

Two senior government sources, speaking on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly, told The Canadian Press that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has agreed in principle to let Canada’s vaccine mandate expire at the end of the month.

Higgins has also been urging Canada to stop requiring northbound travellers to use the controversial ArriveCan app to pre-register with border authorities.

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