Toronto man who killed his wife gets life sentence with no parole

first_imgTORONTO — A Toronto man who murdered his wife two days after she filed for divorce has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years.Neurosurgeon Mohammed Shamji, 43, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Elana Fric Shamji, a well-respected family doctor.Justice John McMahon says the case is yet another tragic instance of domestic homicide that he sees far too often.Court heard Fric Shamji served her husband with divorce papers two days before he attacked her, broke her neck and ribs, and choked her to death as their three children slept nearby.Her mother told court at a sentencing hearing yesterday that Shamji destroyed their entire family, leaving them heartbroken and filled with rage.The Crown and defence had asked both the court to set the parole ineligibility period for Shamji at 14 years.“Three young children have lost their mother forever,” McMahon said. “Their father has now admitted, and convicted to, killing their mother and sentenced to life in prison today.”McMahon credited Shamji for his last-minute guilty plea, which saved his young daughter from testifying as a key witness at the trial. But he also condemned Shamji for the nature of the brutal murder at the couple’s home.“I recognize there is no evidence of planning. A heated argument led to the killing,” McMahon said. “The nature of the violence is extreme.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

In the news today May 9

first_imgFive stories in the news for Thursday, May 9———‘YOU ARE FREE TO LEAVE’: INSIDE THE NORMAN COURTROOMVice-Admiral Mark Norman had walked up to the entrance of the Ottawa courthouse dozens of previous times over the past year, yet this time was different: This would be the last time. Like on all those other occasions, the military’s former second-in-command was dressed in full uniform as he approached the courthouse’s heavy glass doors with his wife Beverly and lawyers Marie Henein and Christine Mainville. Just outside the doors, he was greeted by an unexpected supporter: outgoing Liberal MP and former lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie, who was revealed just last week as a potential defence witness.———AASIA BIBI ARRIVES IN CANADA: LAWYERConservatives in Canada want the federal government and the international community to push Pakistan to address its “abhorrent misuse of blasphemy laws” after the safe arrival in Canada of a Christian woman who spent eight years on Pakistan’s death row. Aasia Bibi’s lawyer told The Canadian Press she arrived in Canada Tuesday morning, though he had not spoken to her before she left. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last November that Canada was in talks with the Pakistani government about Bibi but would not comment on the case Wednesday, citing “sensitive privacy issues and security issues.”———HUAWEI’S MENG TO SEEK STAY OF EXTRADITIONThe defence team for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou says it plans to argue that she shouldn’t be extradited to the United States because she hasn’t violated sanctions under Canadian laws and her arrest at Vancouver’s airport was unlawful. The defence summarized arguments it plans to pursue during a hearing Wednesday at B.C. Supreme Court where key court dates were to be set for the extradition case, which has not yet begun. Her lawyers allege Meng was the victim of two “abuses of power,” first by Canadian arresting authorities and then by U.S. President Donald Trump, and they plan to make an argument based on “double criminality,” related to different sanction and fraud laws in the United States and Canada.———TORONTO MAN WHO KILLED WIFE TO BE SENTENCEDA Toronto man who brutally murdered his wife and stuffed her body in a suitcase in an effort to hide his crime is scheduled to be sentenced today. Neurosurgeon Mohammed Shamji, 43, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Elana Fric Shamji, a well-respected family doctor. Court heard Fric Shamji served her husband with divorce papers two days before he attacked her, broke her neck and ribs, and choked her to death as their three children slept nearby. Her mother told court at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing that Shamji destroyed their entire family, leaving them heartbroken and filled with rage.———B.C.’S ARCHIE WINDSOR LAUGHS ABOUT ROYAL BABY LINKAt first, Archie Windsor of Duncan, B.C., says he was shocked to learn he had the same last name as the newest royal, but then he saw the humour. He says his father worked in the woods all his life and his nickname was Duke. Windsor, who’s 71, first heard about the connection in a conversation with his daughter in Edmonton on Wednesday. Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, named their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— The Commons justice committee hears from groups for a study about online hate. Among the groups and individuals: Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Centre culturel islamique de Quebec, National Council of Canadian Muslims, and Andrew Bennett, former head of federal office of religious freedom.— Seidu Mohammed, who lost his fingers to frostbite crossing by foot into Canada to file a refugee claim, appears before the Commons finance committee on Bill C-97, an Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019, and other measures. Also appearing is economist Kevin Milligan, Universities Canada and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.— The Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Snowbird Association and officials from the Finance and Transport departments appear before Commons transport committee about temporary use in Canada, by Canadians, of American-plated vehicles.— Google Canada’s head of public policy, Colin McKay, and counsel, Jason J. Kee, appear before the Commons information, privacy and ethics committee to discuss election advertising on YouTube.———The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Quebec man dead after outofcontrol RV crashes into Quebec ferry police

first_imgTADOUSSAC, Que. — One of the two people seriously injured when their recreational vehicle crashed into a Quebec ferry has died.Quebec provincial police said 40-year-old Eric Belec wasn’t able to stop the RV, which careened down an embankment and off a launch ramp before crashing in a heap on the ferry that was just pulling away from the dock in Tadoussac, Que.Belec died in hospital Monday evening. A 40-year-old female passenger remained in hospital in critical condition Tuesday morning.The accident at the Tadoussac pier, about 250 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, cancelled ferry crossings to Baie-Sainte-Catherine for several hours before service resumed late Monday evening with a single ferry.Sgt. Hugues Beaulieu of the Quebec provincial police said mechanical issues with the RV were likely to blame for the crash.The year-round service is in operation 24 hours a day to ferry vehicle traffic across the Saguenay River.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Alison Moyet Performs At Princes Trust Diamond Ball

first_imgOne of Britain’s most loved female stars, Alison Moyet, starred at the annual Prince’s Trust Diamond Ball last week, helping to raise almost £50,000 for disadvantaged young people.The singer put on an exclusive performance for hundreds of guests at the prestigious fundraiser at St George’s Hall, in the heart of Liverpool.The event raised almost £50,000 for The Trust, to support disadvantaged young people across the north west into work, training or education.Alison, who is an Ambassador for the youth charity, said: “I was delighted to be able to perform in Liverpool to raise money for The Prince’s Trust. It was a fantastic event and the money raised will really make a difference to disadvantaged people across the north west.”An auction on the evening offered guests the opportunity to win an array of exclusive prizes, including tickets to The X Factor final in Manchester, an exclusive insight behind the scenes of the Sky Sports Gillette Soccer Saturday programme and a three-day luxury holiday for two in any of the Small Luxury Hotels worldwide portfolio.Guests also had the chance to win a £10,000 item of diamond jewellery generously donated by exclusive jewellers and long term sponsor of The Diamond Ball, David M Robinson.The Diamond Ball, which is considered by many to be the highlight of Liverpool’s Christmas social calendar, returned to St George’s Hall for the ninth year running.Since it started the event has raised almost £400,000 for The Trust’s work across the region.The prestigious black tie event included a Laurent-Perrier Champagne reception, followed by a festive four course meal before the entertainment began.North West Development Committee member of The Prince’s Trust and founder of The Diamond Ball, Steve Sealey, said: “The support of people like Alison is invaluable to us and we are delighted that she came to perform for us at what was, yet again, a very successful event.”Other performances on the night came from the amazing Calday Grange Grammar School Choir and Merseyside’s very own crooner Scott Chapman.Source:Prince’s Trustlast_img read more

Wild Animal Circus Ban Is Best Birthday Present Ever For Bob Barker

first_imgPhilanthropist, multi Emmy award-winning TV legend and Animal Defenders International (ADI) supporter Bob Barker welcomed the “best birthday present” on his 91st birthday on Friday, as Mexico passed a historic wild animal circus ban, heralded as the beginning of the end for wild animals in circuses by ADI.The following day, The Netherlands announced that it too is to prohibit wild animals in circuses. 30 countries have now passed laws to nationally restrict the use of animals in traveling circuses.The legendary US game show host, Bob Barker said “This really is the best birthday present I can remember. I am delighted and honoured to play a part in the revolution sweeping the world to stop circus suffering with ADI. Circus animals suffer terribly and, thankfully, wild circus animals in Mexico and The Netherlands will soon be free of their cages and chains. My birthday wish is to give all animals a brighter future and I hope the US will pass a ban on wild animal circuses before my next birthday.”Jan Creamer, President of ADI, said “Bob Barker’s overwhelming generosity has allowed ADI to clear two whole countries of suffering circus animals and helped ADI save animals across the globe. The bans in Mexico and The Netherlands are the latest landmarks in ending the abuse of animals in the name of entertainment. The use of animals in traveling circuses is cruel and out-dated, and that is now recognised in legislation in 30 countries. Animal Defenders International hopes that this will be a wakeup call to the US Government; it is time for the United States to catch up and do the same.”Bob’s generous donations have already allowed ADI to undertake two epic rescue missions in South America to help enforce animal circus bans. The latest is currently taking place in Peru and Colombia, where ADI has 30 lions, 11 monkeys and many other animals in its care as it empties wild animals from traveling circuses as part of its record-breaking mission, Operation Spirit of Freedom.A substantial donation of $500,000 to ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom from the former Price is Right host has helped fund the construction of quarantine facilities and veterinary care and, when the animals are ready to travel, will also help pay for their flight to freedom. ADI is raising more funds to relocate all of the animals and build facilities for the monkeys in the Amazon sanctuaries.In 2011, Barker donated nearly $2 million to fund ADI’s rescue of two groups of circus lions and other animals in Bolivia and construction of facilities at two sanctuaries in the US. The mission, known as Operation Lion Ark, is documented in the multi award-winning action-adventure movie LION ARK, in which Bob appears to welcome the lions as they touch down in the US.As abuse has been exposed in circuses, legislation has begun to sweep the world. A two-year undercover investigation by ADI in South American circuses has been key in securing bans in nine Latin American countries.A total of 30 countries worldwide have banned the use of all or wild animals in circuses, with similar prohibitions under discussion in several more. In the US, ADI is working to end the use of wild animals in traveling circuses through the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) which was launched in Congress with Bob Barker’s support.ADI welcomes donations to help care for the animals and fund their flights to the US, free from suffering.last_img read more

Montrealborn Erdem among winners at Canadian Arts Fashion Awards

first_imgThe acclaimed Montreal-born, London-based talent behind the Erdem label was awarded the prize for international Canadian designer of the year at a gala in Toronto on Friday night. Celebrated American fashion and interior designer Iris Apfel was honoured with the inaugural international style icon award. Facebook It’s the second win in the category for the red-carpet favourite, whose creations have been worn by the likes of the Duchess of Cambridge and a long list of Hollywood A-listers. He also won the award in 2015. Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Photographer Caitlin Cronenberg was named image maker of the year, while Juliana Schiavinatto was awarded stylist of the year. Jewelry designer Jenny Bird got accessory designer of the year honours. Two prizes were given to emerging talents: womenswear label Maram was honoured in the fashion design category, while 3D printed jewelry creators Daniel Christian Tang got the nod in the accessory category. The winners of the emerging talent awards will each take home $10,000 and receive professional mentorship from industry veterans. TORONTO — Celebrated designer Erdem Moralioglu has scored another big win at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards. Twittercenter_img The vanguard award went to Imran Amed, founder and CEO of The Business of Fashion. Montreal-based retail technology platform Salesfloor received the fashion innovation award. Twin sisters Caillianne and Samantha Beckerman of Beckerman Blog were honoured in the digital fashion influencer category, while Xiaoyi Li received the fashion design student award. Advertisement Edmonton-born Meghan Collison was named model of the year, while Oakville, Ont., native Emm Arruda received the fresh face of the year award. Login/Register With: Veteran womenswear designer David Dixon was honoured with the fashion impact award which recognizes a Canadian designer or brand that has made a significant social or philanthropic impact. Chloe and Parris Gordon, the sister duo behind the womenswear and accessory label Beaufille, took home the womenswear award. The award recognizes a designer who has achieved success abroad and brought attention to Canadian talent on the world stage. The Feral by Zakariah Milana received the prize for menswear designer of the year.last_img read more

Devolution of the North Part 1

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe Northwest Territories is closer than it has ever been to realizing its long-awaited devolution deal with the federal government.The agreement would transfer federal power over land, water and resources to the people of the NorthSo far only four of the seven Aboriginal organizations asked to sign on have.But what exactly is devolution? How will it benefit Northerners? And what seems to be the hold up?APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier met with leaders on both sides of the argument to shed some light on devolution in the North.last_img

RCMP vacates Elsipogtog First Nation detachment

first_img(Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak (L) holds an eagle feather he received following a ceremony with (R) Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock APTN/Photo)APTN National News ELSIPOGTOG FIRST NATION, NB–The RCMP vacated its detachment on Elsipogtog First Nation following a police raid on an anti-fracking encampment just north of the community.Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock said band officials were working on a transition plan to have the RCMP return to the community as early as Monday.“Unfortunately they have left,” said Sock.RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said a fire at the detachment forced the officers out.“There was some damage sustained and it needs repairs and our members are not using it at this time,” said Rogers-Marsh.Rogers-Marsh said someone tried to set fire to the detachment, which is next to the community hall, early Friday morning following Thursday’s raid that led to 40 arrests, the seizure of three rifles and improvised explosive devices.Sock said the raid “shattered” a 20-year relationship between the RCMP and the community.“Right now we are still reeling from it and healing as best we can,” said Sock, following a ceremony with the senior grand chief of Manitoba.Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak arrived in Elsipogtog late Saturday night and visited the encampment that was the scene of Thursday’s raid.Nepinak and Sock participated in a ceremony at Elsipogtog’s Sundance grounds. The two exchanged gifts. Nepinak offered Sock a beaver pelt, sage and pipe tobacco from Kahnawake. Sock offered Nepinak a thick braid of sweetgrass and a hand-woven basket.“Love and respect for one another is what is going to win the day,” said Nepinak, who was also gifted an eagle feather.The two are expected to attend a community meeting scheduled for Sunday afternoon.news@aptn.calast_img read more

Wasaya Airways VP accused of racking up thousands in personal charges on

first_imgBy Kenneth Jackson and Cullen CrozierAPTN InvestigatesAround the same time Transport Canada inspectors were finding major safety violations at Wasaya Airways last March, the board of directors was informed that one of company’s vice-presidents may have stolen thousands of dollars using his corporate credit card.The board was told immediate action would be taken to strip Jonathon Mamakwa’s credit card and they’d also get Mamakwa to repay the money they allege he had taken.The internal emails describing the allegations suggest some of the money was spent at casinos.While the board was first learning of this, Transport Canada was inspecting Wasaya’s safety management system and found it to be in non-compliance with regulations as APTN Investigates reported Feb. 27.See also: Debt-ridden Wasaya Airways in ‘danger of collapsing’ forced to sell assetsVisa records obtained by APTN, and interviews with confidential sources, suggest Mamakwa misused more than $160,000.But after the March board meeting the card wasn’t immediately cut off.In fact, documents allege Mamakwa kept misusing it, and the first meeting to try to resolve the issue didn’t take place until late June.According to sources, this created apparent friction between Wasaya Airways president Tom Morris and Wasaya Group’s former president Tom Kam who wanted the card taken away. Kam inquired about the situation on July 5.“Did Tom M do anything with Jonathan’s visa?” Kam wrote in an email to Maureen Sitch, the vice-president of finance for Wasaya Airways.“(Morris) talked to him about it but Jonathon used it again this past week for a cash advance at the casino. So Tom said he would talk to him again. He didn’t take it away that I know of,” Sitch responded in an email.A few days later Kam met with Sitch and discussed the matter further, according to emails.Kam then approached Morris directly July 12 in an email.“What’s happening with his credit card? You need to fix this,” said Kam.Morris wrote Kam saying “it will be fixed.”The card was apparently taken away and a repayment plan was scheduled the board was told July 17, according to documents and sources.But that didn’t sit well with Kam.It also wasn’t enough for Gordon Beardy, chief of Muskrat Dam First Nation which is one of 12 First Nations that own Wasaya Airways.Beardy, and the board of directors, directed Kam to file a police complaint because they didn’t believe simply paying the money back was acceptable.“Chief Beardy believes this is wrong, it is wrong to steal from us, the owners. and (sic) he would like to see an investigation into this,” wrote Kam July 26 to the chief of Thunder Bay police.It’s believed this was one of the last actions by Kam as president of the Wasaya Group as he had already planned to resign months prior.However, jurisdiction to investigate the matter wasn’t with Thunder Bay police but rather with Anishinbek police, Wasaya was told.So Kam’s replacement as acting president of Wasaya Group, MaryEllen Thomas, was directed by the board to contact Anishinbek police with the same fraud complaint against Mamakwa.APTN was told Thomas did just that and provided the Anishinabek police with documents to show the alleged misuse of money.According to Anishinabek Police Sgt. Rob Pelletier, a fraud complaint was officially made by the Wasaya board on Aug. 8.But a day later, the board of directors was fired by a majority vote of the ownership chiefs, according to sources. This was confirmed by two of the fired board members. The chiefs then took the place of the fired directors and became the new board of directors.A week later, Thomas was suspended and her work email disabled. A couple of days later she was fired, APTN was told.But the investigation by Anishnabek police had already started.Police told Wasaya they would be coming to their headquarters in Thunder Bay later that month as part of the investigation.On Aug. 15, investigators “instructed” Wasaya on a few points prior to their arrival. That was also a day before Thomas was fired.Police wanted Wasaya to secure all files related to Mamakwa’s credit card and take “all the necessary measures to prevent access and secure all company property from” him.Investigators also instructed Wasaya to immediately terminate the lease payments to Mamakwa’s company vehicle, according to an internal company email.According to a document, Wasaya had agreed to pay for a company vehicle for Mamakwa but the ownership of the vehicle was found to be in Mamakwa’s name and not Wasaya’s. This was apparently against company policy.Then on Aug. 28 police arrived at Wasaya in Thunder Bay.Sgt. Pelletier told APTN that upon their arrival a “representative” of Wasaya handed them a letter, telling them they weren’t needed and that the matter of the alleged fraud was being handled internally.Police immediately dropped the investigation.When questioned, Pelletier said any questions about why the investigation was dropped should be directed to Wasaya. He said in his mind Wasaya made the complaint and Wasaya was taking it back.According to sources, the letter informing police that the matter would be handled internally was written by Sandy Lake First Nation Chief Bart Meekis, also now chair of the board made up of chiefs, and Kingfisher Lake Chief James Mamakwa, who is the cousin of Jonathan Mamakwa.It’s believed the letter was handed to police by Morris.In another twist, when the board was suddenly fired by the chiefs, the majority of ownership chiefs ripped up the resignation letters of Tom Morris and Jonathan Mamakwa. They both had planned on resigning months earlier for unconfirmed reasons.APTN has copies of their resignation letters.But even before the board was fired, not everyone wanted them to quit.In May, Morris’ cousin and chief of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, Donny Morris wrote the former board saying they wouldn’t accept either of the men’s resignations.Donny Morris said he wasn’t part of the vote to fire the board because Morris is his cousin.APTN has learned Jonathan Mamakwa was earning approximately $142,000 with an option for bonuses at the time. He’s currently listed as the vice-president of customer relations and business development. His bio says he used to work for the Kingfisher First Nation.Tom Morris has refused to comment on “internal” Wasaya matters after first offering to meet with APTN in person by flying a reporter to Thunder Bay and paying for their hotel accommodations.The allegations that Jonathan Mamakwa misused a company credit card were put before him in an email to his boss Tom Morris so he could have the opportunity to respond to them.Morris responded “no comment.”kjackson@aptn.caccrozier@aptn.calast_img read more

Grieving drums echo on Parliament Hill

first_imgAPTN National NewsFor the last 24 hours the sound of drums and voices have been ringing out, honouring the spirits of missing or murdered Indigenous women.They were also sending a spiritual message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.APTN’s Annette Francis has this story.last_img

Miss Canadas shocking outfit not well thought out

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe Miss Universe pageant had its share of controversy when the host momentarily crowned the wrong winner.But as APTN’s Delaney Windigo reports Miss Universe Canada, who wasn’t in the running for any of the top spots, is getting some backlash of her own.last_img

Nunavuts child pipeline The story of how the northern territory shipped an

first_imgKenneth Jackson APTN National NewsA little Inuk boy plays with a stick at the end of the lane way on a chilly and wet October morning.‎He’s wearing shorts and a T-shirt waiting for the school bus. Maybe his mother should have told him to put on pants, and maybe a jacket. ‎But his mom isn’t home. At least not at this one. ‎ He lives in one of many group homes in Ottawa.‎He likely doesn’t know it but he’s big business – a moneymaker.Group homes here make millions every year housing‎ dozens of Inuit kids just like him and there’s no shortage of places looking to take them in. ‎They’re Crown wards. Not from Ontario. But Nunavut. A territory that can’t care for them.An APTN National News investigation has looked at how they get plucked from the landscape of Nunavut and dropped in the city suburbs of Ottawa.Some stay for years.If they do get to go home, they can end up almost wiped clean of their Inuit culture and way of life.‎That’s what happened to one boy who came to the south at 13-years-old speaking broken English and Inuktitut. This summer he returned home, over three years later, only speaking English.When asked what it meant to be Inuit before he left he responded: “It means be dead.”‎But the boy, who we’re calling Jacob, had other options than Ottawa. He had family in another part of the North who wanted to take him in but Nunavut kept him here.An Inuk boy waits for the bus at the same group home Jacob was living in Ottawa.She still remembers the telephone calls from Jacob.‎He was new to Ottawa and struggling with the language and culture shock.“He used to phone me up to five times a day, every single day. He would be crying hysterically,” recalled Jacob’s sister, who we’re calling Sarah. “He was going through a lot of emotional turmoil. He felt abandoned. He felt neglected. He felt alone. He didn’t know how to properly deal with his emotions. He was a 13-year-old boy.”‎He also has epilepsy and cogitative problems from undiagnosed, yet strongly believed ‎fetal alcohol syndrome disorder.Stress would trigger seizures, and he would convulse on the ground eventually landing in the fetal position. Cognitive damage made it that more difficult to deal with or simply understand, stressful situations like kids picking on him. ‎When he first went to school in Ottawa his classmates teased him trying to trigger a seizure for laughs. ‎“It was almost on the daily. It was heart wrenching,” said Sarah.But he’d have them at the group home, too, trying to explain to his sister what was happening. ‎“He would have a seizure on the phone with me and I could hear him fall asleep,” she said.He wasn’t in Ottawa long before he was charged with assault. He pleaded guilty and got probation. He was charged again in 2014 when he punched a student and got expelled. ‎“School has suspended the attacker indefinitely, and is seeking a board expulsion,” said a police officer in his report.Jacob then hit a group home worker and was transferred to a different home – one that was supposed specialize in Inuit culture and had other Inuit boys.‎The Crown pushed the case through the youth court.‎Jacob got a new lawyer who started asking questions.Like what specific care did the boy get for his medical issues and what plan was in place at the school or with Nunavut to ensure he was getting help.“(Jacob’s) English language skills are limited and he has absolutely no family here. No provision was made for his special needs in either the group homes or his school placement,” wrote his lawyer to the judge on the case after what he described as months of discussions with the group home and social workers.‎The lawyer asked that the judge to order a Gladue report to explain how and why Jacob ended up in Ottawa and was struggling to adapt.Ottawa courthouse.‎“The Gladue report, at this crucial time in this young man’s life, has the potential to make a life and death difference,” wrote the lawyer. “If interventions aren’t made that help him learn to control his emotions, his seizures, his depression and sense of despair and alienation … his path seems only to be leading to a life on the street, or in the penitentiary, or suicide or an early death in tragic circumstances.”The judge agreed and ordered a Gladue report. Jacob had been in Ottawa for over two years at this point. ‎In that report the court learned Jacob lost his father at a young age, his mother was homeless and his aunt, who had taken him in before being shipped to Ottawa, cared deeply for him.But Nunavut didn’t have the resources to help with his medical needs in her remote community. ‎His longtime social worker, Maryanne Angidlik, and her supervisor Michael Mulroney were interviewed for the report on Nov. 27, 2015.‎“He misses his family, he misses his culture, he misses his community up here, he misses going out on the land and fishing,” said Mulroney, adding he felt the group home was doing a good job taking care of him, including having him see a psychologist. Records seen by APTN National News show he was visiting one throughout his last year in Ottawa. Mulroney said Jacob had been to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario “many, many times” because of his seizures.‎“I think it’s pretty safe to say if he’s not full blown FASD then there is certainly a negative association prenatally that this child was exposed,” said Mulroney “We all know that that manifests itself in many different ways but often it is kind of a lifelong affliction that (Jacob) had no control over.” But at that point, Jacob had never had a FASD assessment done according to Angidlik who said Nunavut first got involved in 2012. ‎During the interview, Mulroney learned of Jacob’s sister Sarah, who also lived in a city in the North outside of Nunavut and was “adamant” she’d like to care for Jacob. Mulroney called it a “perfect middle ground” but he had never known about the sister. ‎“This is the first time that I have heard about the sister, that she might want him to live with her… If that was something viable and could be assessed and that was in his best interest and that’s what he wanted and that’s what she wanted, that could happen,” said Mulroney.Later on in the interview Angidlik said she knew of the sister but had never reached out to her. She also said she never received any calls from Sarah. Jacob not only had Sarah but another sister and step-dad in the same northern city. “(The aunt) had mentioned (her) to me before but I have never received a call from any of the sisters or even from the step father,” said Angidlik. “But (the aunt) had mentioned to me that maybe it would be good idea if (Jacob) would one day live with either one of them but they never called this office or contacted me.”‎That’s not how Sarah remembered it, telling APTN she first contacted Angidlik in 2013.‎“There are numerous emails between her and I. It was like pulling teeth to get a response with her,” said Sarah. “I called her and left voicemails.”The emails were sent from her former work email and she no longer has them. ‎Sarah did have an email she wrote Angidlik‎ June of this year requesting again to take custody of her little brother as he was posting on his Facebook wall about wanting to kill himself.‎She wrote: “Hi Mary, My name is (Sarah), I am (Jacobs’s) eldest sister. We had spoken once before back in 2013 via e-mails. I am writing in regards to (Jacob) and would like to discuss with you some prosperous opportunities that I have available for (Jacob).”‎She had steady job and has an education in psychology, child care and Indigenous studies, as well as being an Inuk woman.‎“I would make myself dedicated to making sure he gets the full support he will need, with classes, tutors, or special needs, and counselling,” she wrote.Angidlik wrote back about an hour later.“Thank you for your email message, I will forward this to my Supervisor and consult with him and proceed from there. I will keep in touch,” she said according to emails. ‎ Soon after Jacob was sent back to live his aunt and Sarah said she only found out because her brother called to tell her.The headquarters of Nunavut’s Child and Family Services in Iqaluit. Steve Mongeau/APTN photoAccording to Nunavut’s director of Child and Family Services, Joanne Henderson-White, they have 65 kids out of the territory. Forty are in Ottawa and 34 of them are spread out amongst seven group homes here. Six others are in foster care. The remaining 25 children are in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.Documents obtained by APTN, through Nunavut’s access to information, show the territory spends upwards of over $9 million annually on what it calls “Out-of-Territory Residential Care Placement”. Henderson-White told APTN about 80 percent of the money goes to group homes and paying for foster care. Some of it is  used for travel as the kids sometimes get to have short visits home.‎Placements have been happening for years but, according to documents, Nunavut didn’t track them well, as far back as four years ago. The territory knows the total number of children shipped out in 2009 and 2010 but couldn’t provide where. ‎They also couldn’t say how much money was spent specifically for the program prior to 2013.The department said it’s working to update its electronic management system as the placements used to be under the health department. That responsibility was given to Child and Family Services in 2013. As of last week, they have 442 kids under their care in total. All kids out of territory have medical or special needs that can’t be provided in Nunavut said Henderson-White.‎“We try to care for our children in our territory,” she said. “We do our very best to maintain our kids at home. Of the 65 kids out of territory they are there because they have needs we simply can’t meet within the territory.”‎Henderson-White said she couldn’t speak to why the territory doesn’t have those services available as it was the Health department that provides them.‎“We’re working with what we have. We are trying to build capacities,” she said.‎Henderson-White said shipping kids south is not the first option. But places like Ottawa have the medical services the kids need.‎“This is the last resort. I want to tell you before we do that we exhaust every other possibility,” she said.‎She added they also have an oversight board that reviews each child’s case.‎But something appears to have gone wrong with Jacob’s case. His sister said she didn’t just email to get custody, but called, too. “Whoever needed to make a choice was always out of town or they need to wait to hear a response from someone else and then I would get a random email after a month or two saying that he is just not ready,” said Sarah.‎APTN emailed Maryanne Angidlik asking for comment but never heard back.APTN then asked Child and Family Services if this was a case of Nunavut dropping the ball or a social worker acting independently.“The Department of Family Services is unable to comment due to client confidentiality,” said spokesperson Jade Owen.APTN has nothing to suggest Jacob didn’t receive proper care and his social workers said in documents he seemed to be getting used to life in Ottawa and enjoying it. But Nunavut has had issues with the homes they pay to house the kids when it comes to culture. During routine checks, they uncovered “issues” at Ottawa homes, including lack of culture, and kids are not being able to speak their own language or get traditional food. Group homes have long been an issue in Ontario according to Ontario’s child advocate.Irwin Elman said the Ontario government recently wrapped up a review of the concerns around group homes and foster care.“They had to design an expert panel and have them travel around the province to decide how dire the problem was in terms of the experience of young people living in these homes,” he said.The panel released a 141-page report ‎explaining the problems and how they should be fixed. ‎Some kids told the panel they felt they were being warehoused and that staff provoked incidents or were not properly trained. ‎“Certainly it was more difficult for First Nation young people who are not only away from their families thousands of miles from home but away from their culture and their way of life,” he said.The panel also found problems with how group homes were licensed and no tracking system for over 20,000 serious incident reports filed each year, that include when a child runs away, is harmed, police are called or when the home puts them in restraints, which happened to Jacob because he would run away. ‎Back in Iqaluit one city councillor would like to remove all concerns and bring the kids home. Terry Dobbin worked as a counselor for 12 years at one Iqaluit group home which was home to about six kids. “The kids were healthy. They were happy. They went to school. They had friends at school. It was a loving home. It was great. People loved it. Kids interacted within the community. They kids were happy. It was a healthy loving environment,” said Dobbin.‎He said the home in Iqaluit closed in 2012 and Nunavut shipped the kids south. Each with different medical or special needs to join all the others out of the territory.Dobbin said he flew with one boy to Ottawa where he has remained since.“I wasn’t really impressed. It was out in the country. They had to set up a room for that particular kid. They weren’t even ready for him and it broke my heart to leave that child there but I didn’t have any other choice because a decision was made to ship all these kids south,” he said.That group home in Iqaluit re-opened focusing on troubled youth but has now suspended operations again, as they try to again refocus its efforts said Henderson-White.Jacob’s sister said what happened to her brother was “cultural assimilation” and the only connection to his Inuit culture in Ottawa was through volunteering at a local Inuit centre.‎“Just culturally where we come from it’s all about family, it’s all about support and love and being there for each other,” she said.‎ Sarah tried to be there for her brother, even at a distance. With every painful phone call and visit to Ottawa. ‎Nunavut has no plans to stop sending kids south and west.It did say it does intend to hire a permanent social worker in Ottawa by the end of the year. ‎A consulting company has managed all these kids on a contract basis.Acting as the eyes and ears for children thousands of kilometers from home.kjackson@aptn.ca-Clarification: Since this story was published APTN learned the consulting company didn’t have their contract renewed as of March 31. An updated story on this can be found here.last_img read more

Jody WilsonRaybould thrown under the bus to save corporate and political elites

first_imgInFocusIt’s a scandal that has rocked the Liberal government for the past month.Canada’s first Indigenous attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould quit cabinet over what she says was pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to do favors for SNC-Lavalin, an engineering giant based in vote-rich Quebec that is facing bribery, fraud and corruption charges.When she refused to interfere in the prosecution, despite four months of “consistent and sustained pressure,” she said she was demoted to Veterans Affairs.The PMO says it’s all just a misunderstanding and nothing was untoward.This week we put the scandal InFocus to find out what it means for Wilson-Raybould, who continues to sit as the Liberal MP for Vancouver Granville and says she will seek to retain her seat in the upcoming federal election.What does it mean to the Trudeau brand – a self-proclaimed feminist and an Indigenous ally? And how will Indian country react to the scandal when it comes time to vote?Wei Wai Kai Chief Bill Wilson, was part of an Indigenous leadership group who fought former prime minister Pierre Trudeau to have the Constitution Act enshrine Indigenous rights in the 1980s.He is also the father of Wilson-Raybould.He told InFocus Host Melissa Ridgen she’s been smeared by the government she works for in order to save corporate and political elites she stood up to.“It’s part of her character, her upbringing, the fact that she is a native Indian woman of high birth who was given a mandate in her own tribe to keep order and enforce the rule of law,” Wilson said.He also teed off on the prime minister and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde.“(Pierre Trudeau) was  smartest white politician that they ever put up,” Wilson said. “His son did not inherit a great deal of that intellect.”“He sent out his watchdogs to bite Jody’s leg off and personalize this as though ‘poor little Jody didn’t know what she was doing and couldn’t take the pressure,’” Wilson said. “He picked on the wrong, wrong woman, he picked on the wrong family.”Bellegarde didn’t defend Wilson-Raybould, or criticize the government for it’s treatment of her, and instead called the scandal “a distraction,” which Wilson also takes exception with.“I don’t care how much core funding you give me, this lady has stood up for our rights, the rule of law, Aboriginal people and women and you are doing wrong and you could cut off my core funding if you want too,” Wilson said, of how he believes Bellegarde should have reacted to the scandal.“But I don’t know many Indians on the honorarium, expense circuit who’d do that.”Like Wilson-Raybould, Rachel Snow of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation is a lawyer and her late father Chief John Snow also battled the elder Trudeau.But unlike Wilson-Raybould, doesn’t believe the system is fixable from within and when Indigenous people become involved in Canadian politics they’re validating the oppressor.“People agree with her principled stand (on standing up to the PMO and not fixing SNC’s legal troubles) but they still have questions about whether or not she did enough for the Indigenous people in her role as the Attorney General or Justice Minister,” Snow said.Bruce Spence is a seasoned journalist and political analyst and member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. As a producer with APTN National News, he has had a front row seat to multiple governments and scandals.“As soon as she opened her mouth and started talking, I could tell, there is something coming here,” Spence said of watching Wilson-Raybould’s bombshell testimony before the justice committee last week.“She laid it out like any good prosecutor would. A case. And it’s hard to dispute it,” Spencer said.He said that while he believes she devastated her party’s credibility, Indigenous voters aren’t likely to vote Conservative, and the NDP federally don’t have enough support in other demographics for a bump in Indigenous votes to make a big difference in the election outcome.Brock Pitawanakwat of the Whitefish River First Nation is an assistant professor in Indigenous Health and Wellness at York University, a research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute and a regular panelist with Media Indigena.When asked if he thinks the prime minister underestimated the strength of character of his former attorney general, he said, “I do, and I think he also did the same with Jane Philpott.”Philpott quit cabinet this week in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould.“I think they (Wilson-Raybould and Phillpott) really did believe the rhetoric that this wasn’t the old Liberal party anymore,” Pitawanikwat said. “They were going to put away the sponsorship scandal that took down Chrétien and Paul Martin’s governments and it was going to be a new era and they would be part of an ethical government and I think they held themselves and colleagues to account for that.“That was the standard they were expecting and when the Prime Minister and his senior advisors failed to back that up, they decided that they couldn’t stay.”last_img read more

PayPal ordered to disclose business account information to Canada Revenue Agency

first_imgCALGARY – The records of Canadians who use PayPal business accounts to make and receive payments will soon be in the hands of the federal government’s tax-collecting agency.The online payments company said Wednesday it has been given 45 days to hand over information identifying its account holders and the amount and number of payments they paid or received between Jan. 1, 2014, and last Friday to the Canada Revenue Agency.“We are required to disclose information about business account holders who have received or sent a payment,” it says on its website. “Affected account holders have been notified.”CRA spokesman Patrick Samson confirmed that the agency received Federal Court of Canada authorization to request the information, part of a crackdown on Canada’s underground economy.“Specifically, the CRA is seeking PayPal’s list of Canadian clients who have a commercial account, including the total value of their transactions (purchases and sales) from 2014 to the date of the requirement,” he said.“The information obtained through the unnamed persons requirement will allow the CRA to ensure that these individuals and corporations comply with their tax obligations under the Income Tax Act.”PayPal Canada says it has more than 6.4 million active users, although that includes personal accounts which are not affected by the CRA move.Hussein Warsame, a tax professor with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, linked the data grab to the federal government’s 2017 budget, which provided a five-year funding boost to the CRA to fight tax evasion by investigating the underground economy.“They think people who use PayPal are probably avoiding tax and therefore they’re using the extra funding to basically look for low-hanging fruit,” he said.“It is a fishing expedition, in many ways.”He said the agency is likely offering the 45-day window to allow people who haven’t paid their taxes as required to file tax revision forms and come back into compliance with the tax act.Warsame said the files could allow the CRA to identify people who have had more than $30,000 in business revenue over 12 months, which means they should be registered to collect and remit the GST.It also may identify people or corporations who owe corporate or personal income taxes. If caught, they will have to pay the tax, plus penalties and interest. If the tax avoidance is deliberate, it could be considered tax evasion and result in a criminal charge, he said.He said Canadians are required to retain tax records for six years and recommended that PayPal customers pull together their records to prepare for potential audits.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.last_img read more

Ottawa studying impact of steel aluminum tariffs before supporting industry

first_imgMONTREAL – The Canadian government will study the impact of U.S. tariffs on the steel and aluminum industries before determining the financial support required to protect local jobs, the international trade minister said Monday.“The message we have been saying to everyone watching is we will always be there for the workers of that industry,” Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters at a two-day international aluminum summit.“We have shown it in the softwood lumber case and we will show it again that we will have their back.”The minister said the government will work with provinces to support the metal industries but didn’t go as far as Quebec which committed to help smaller aluminum producers.“If there is a risk of reducing their production or a risk of not being able to export as much, we will be there to support them in making sure that they maintain the jobs that they have in that sector,” Economic Development Minister Dominique Anglade said.The minister said a meeting will take place next Monday with the various players before details of the support are announced.U.S. President Donald Trump created global uncertainty after he ended exemptions for Canada, Mexico and the European Union by imposing 25 per cent import duties on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.That prompted Canada to retaliate by moving to add $16.6 billion in tariffs of its own that are set to be applied July 1. They will match the steel and aluminum tariffs and add duties to a wide range of consumer goods.The U.S. aluminum tariffs aren’t expected to have an immediate impact on jobs, but the goal is to avoid losing companies that transform aluminum to other products that are economically important for the industry.The summit ended with delegates calling on G7 leaders meeting next week in Quebec to formally request the G20 to create a Global Multilateral and Governmental Forum on Aluminum Overcapacity and establish an international monitoring system.Subsidized overcapacity and market-distorting behaviour from China is undermining the growth of the global aluminum industry, it said in a communique.Chinese primary smelting capacity is expected to grow 30 per cent in one year in 2018, adding 3.3 million tonnes of aluminum — more than Canada’s total production.China is expected to produce 49 million tonnes or 54 per cent of global capacity this year.“The United States is very well aware that China is the problem. China is the elephant in the room,” Jean Simard, president of the Aluminum Association of Canada said at a news conference.He said U.S. tariffs are a political manoeuvre that has nothing to do with Canadian aluminum or steel.Despite Trump’s tariff action, there is a lot of solidarity between the Canadian and American aluminum associations on China, he told reporters.“I think this is a real opportunity for us to use this kind of situation, use this kind of environment as a stepping off point to combine efforts and focus on the problem of illegal subsidies in China that are driving overcapacity,” added Heidi Brock, who heads the Aluminum Association.The 10 per cent tariff changes everything, added Raymond Chretien, Quebec’s chief trade negotiator and former Canadian ambassador to the U.S.Representatives of large aluminum producers said the industry needs to use the crisis to raise public awareness and trigger multilateral action to tackle Chinese oversupply, which is the real problem that has triggered U.S. action.“For the time being, this tariff is not aligned with the problem but still let’s use this momentum to make sure that we can do something fast,” said Gervais Jacques, chief operating officer of Rio Tinto Alcan’s Atlantic operation.Trump has generated chaos with his aggressive approach to trade but may have created an opportunity to build a multilateral trading system that deals with the reality of China’s state-owned enterprises, said Chad Bown, senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.“I think he has caught the attention of a lot of people around the world, including China, and China may be willing to engage on issues that they hadn’t previously been willing to come to the bargaining table before,” he said.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitterlast_img read more

Puerto Rico overhauls tax laws to help workers businesses

first_imgSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor signed a bill on Monday to overhaul the U.S. territory’s tax laws in a bid to attract foreign investment and help workers and some business owners amid a 12-year recession.The bill creates an earned income tax credit, reduces a sales tax on prepared food and eliminates a business-to-business tax for small to medium companies, among other things.Officials say the bill represents nearly $2 billion in tax relief at a time when the island is struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria and restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt load.“There’s still a lot of work to be done to completely transform the tax system … but we see it as a good first step,” said Cecilia Colon, president of Puerto Rico’s Association of Public Accountants.Gov. Ricardo Rossello said the earned income tax credit will result in benefits ranging from $300 to $2,000 for each worker, representing a total of $200 million in annual savings. He also said an 11.5 per cent sales tax on processed food will drop to 7 per cent starting in October 2019.The bill also eliminates a business-to-business tax for businesses that generate $200,000 or less a year, representing $79 million in savings in five years, Rossello said. Nearly 80 per cent of businesses in Puerto Rico will benefit from that measure, added Treasury Secretary Teresa Fuentes.In addition, the new law reduces the tax rate for corporations from 39 per cent to 37.5 per cent.“Today marks an important day for maintaining Puerto Rico’s competitiveness,” she said.The measure also legalizes tens of thousands of slot machines, but also limits the number of machines owned, with legislators estimating they will generate at least $160 million a year. Up to $40 million of that revenue will go to the government’s general fund, with the remaining funds directed to help municipalities and police officers.However, a federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances criticized a final draft of the bill last month, saying the island needs a much broader tax reform that improves revenue collection and promotes economic development. A board spokesman did not immediately return a message for comment.Antonio Fernos, a Puerto Rico economics and finance professor, questioned the effectiveness of the new law, which appears to generate less overall revenue.“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Why are they doing this, especially on an island that is insolvent and needs more sources of revenue?”Fernos also argued that the earned income tax credit is not enough to lure people out of the informal economy: “I don’t foresee anyone abandoning tax evasion schemes.”Danica Coto, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Crews doing maintenance on Blue Grave Creek Bridge this week

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Yellowhead Road & Bridge North Peace crews will be doing work on the Blue Grave Creek Bridge on the Upper Halfway Road for the first half of this week.The bridge, which is located at the 73-kilometre marker of Upper Halfway Road, will also be closed Monday, March 12th until Wednesday, March 14th because of routine maintenance from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.YRB apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. If you require further information feel free to contact us by phone 250-262-2600 or email rodney@yrb.ca.last_img

Horizon North awarded conditional contract for two new work camps near Halfway

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Horizon North Logistics Inc. announced today that its Halfway River Horizon North partnership has been granted a conditional award to build two new work camps west of Fort St. John.The company says the conditional award is for the construction of two new accommodation facilities of 575 and 610 beds respectively, using Horizon North’s existing Kobes Creek Lodge. The contract is subject to external regulatory approvals, customer internal approvals, and an agreement on the final contract terms.“This conditional award pairs Horizon North’s presence as the largest open camp provider in the Montney region with our dedication to strong partnerships with Aboriginal communities,” said Horizon North President and CEO Rod Graham. “We look forward to continuing our work with the customer towards a completed contract and implementing our full turn-key workforce accommodations solutions with our partners from Halfway River First Nation.”Horizon North said it expects to generate revenue of $63 million between August 2018 and November 2019. The two new facilities and an expansion of the Kobes Creek Lodge will done entirely with the company’s existing infrastructure.“This conditional award shows the significant benefits that our Halfway River Horizon North partnership can bring to our community,” said Halfway River First Nation Chief Darlene Hunter. “From projects like these, we look forward to continuing to build financial prosperity, job opportunities and growth for our First Nation members.”last_img read more

Former OGC staff member speaks at FSJ for LNG rally

first_imgPeace River North MLA Dan Davies served as the MC of the rally, which has held at roughly the same time as other pro-resource rallies in Terrace, Kitimat, Smithers, and Langley. FSJ for LNG founder Alan Yu kicked things off by impressing the importance of the rally, especially given the short time remaining before Kinder Morgan’s self imposed deadline of whether or not it will proceed with its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after halting all non-essential work last month.Sean Surerus, who company is one of two Fort St. John-based companies involved in building Trans Mountain through joint ventures, also spoke about the positive aspects of the resource industry in Canada and especially their commitment to safety.“Our shortcuts hurt us in our sector,” said Surerus. “Every moment that we’re in the media for the wrong reasons: a challenge with a pipeline, an incident in safety, a wreck of some sort. Those are ammunition for those who do not support what we do. Every one of us, we’re representing our sector, and it only takes a moment for something to happen. And in our business, a shortcut hurts us and it hurts our sector.”The rally’s keynote speaker was ResourceEd’s Steven Simons, who prior to working with ResourceED worked for the Oil and Gas Commission for a number of years. Simons spoke about many of the same things that Vivian Krause spoke about at last month’s rally, including the trend of environmental groups conducting coordinated attacks on one specific resource industry at a time in a methodical way. Simons also hosted a seminar at NLC on that topic on Saturday night. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Local grassroots organization FSJ for LNG held its second rally supporting B.C.’s resource extraction industries in just over a month this past Saturday.Around 50 vehicles, half the number that showed up to the organization’s rally on April 21st, lined up near the UFA cardlock on the city’s south side before travelling by convoy once again to Charlie Lake. A crowd of around 50 attendees then parked at the Charlie Lake boat launch for the second half of the rally, which featured several guest speakers take to the stage, which was supplied by Surerus Pipeline. Peace River North MLA Dan Davies and FFSJ for LNG’s Craig Stevens examine the inside of one of Surerus Pipeline’s 42′ pipes. Photo by Chris Newtonlast_img read more