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Wettlaufer inquiry to hear testimony from families of nursing home victims

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Emotions will be running high as relatives and friends of nursing home residents killed by disgraced nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer testify today at Ontario’s public inquiry into long-term care when it resumes in St. Thomas.

Closing submissions will be heard this week, capping off the four-month public portion of the inquiry into the safety and security of residents in long-term care. The inquiry was called after Wettlaufer confessed to killing eight people and harming six others while working in nursing homes in southwestern Ontario from 2007 to 2016.

Wettlaufer pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to life in prison.

Counsel for relatives of the victims will be the first to present their closing submissions when the inquiry resumes at 9:30 a.m. ET at the Elgin County Courthouse.

Justice Eileen Gillese will have two years to make recommendations related to the circumstances and systemic issues that allowed nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer to kill eight nursing home residents in her care over many months in Ontario. (Wadham College/Twitter)

Among those expected to testify before Justice Eileen Gillese, who is overseeing the inquiry, are:

  • Andrea Silcox, daughter of James Silcox.
  • Laura Jackson, friend of Maurice Granat.
  • Arpad Horvath, son of Arpad Horvath Sr.
  • Susan Horvath, daughter of Arpad Horvath Sr.

Beverly Bertram, the only known survivor of Wettlaufer’s attacks, is also expected to speak.

Written statements from Jon Matheson and Patricia Houde, the son and daughter-in-law of Helen Matheson, along with a joint submission from David Silcox, Daniel Silcox, Dianne Crawford and Joanne Birtch, the children of James Silcox, will be read by counsel on behalf of the victims.

Hearing pain of loved ones important

The public inquiry has heard from dozens of witnesses and has put the spotlight on facilities that are understaffed, with nurses who are overworked and dealing with residents with complex care needs.

Wettlaufer worked in such facilities. The inquiry has heard she was, by many accounts, a lazy nurse who made frequent errors, but was allowed to continue working, at least in part, because it’s difficult to recruit and retain registered nurses.

Court processes such as the inquiry can be devoid of feelings, but it’s important to hear from those directly impacted by Wettlaufer’s crimes, said lawyer Alex Van Kralingen, who represents a group of individuals related to Wettlaufer’s victims.

« There is somebody at the end of every data point that the Ministry of Health gets. It’s a person, lying in a bed, with a family that loves them. And if that person is taken away in a violent manner, as Ms. Wettlaufer did, it is going to have a profound impact on the people who loved that person in that long-term care home. And we can’t properly address the issues unless we properly understand their pain.

« Capturing the amount of pain these people have gone through is not going to be easy, » he said. « But I actually think it’s very important to have those emotions … be shown to all Ontarians if they’re going to understand the stakes and the significance of the issue. »

Closing submissions from stakeholders

Following victim statements, the commission will hear closing submissions from 14 additional groups and organizations.

One of the key demands of the stakeholders includes a mandatory inspection of human resources files of any employee who has been disciplined in a long-term care facility. That will be important because a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care witness testifiedshe regrets not looking at Wettlaufer’s file, because it contained red flags that potentially could have prevented her from working again after Meadow Park.

Ontario PC Premier Doug Ford has promised 30,000 new long-term care beds in the province, but there is concern about quality over quantity of care.

The inquiry is also expected to hear about facilities’ budget constraints that prevent them from spending public funds where they feel it is necessary.

Any recommendations coming from the inquiry are non-binding, which means it can’t force care facilities to adopt or change practices and policies.



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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