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Surrey is getting ready to ditch the RCMP. Will there be a domino effect?




Eight days after two murdered teens were found on the side of the road in Surrey, B.C., 8,000 showed up at a sombre demonstration against gang violence last June.

While violent crime has fallen in Surrey over the past three years, the brazenness of targeted hits concerns the city’s diverse community. Another shooting happened 11 days after the rally, killing Paul Bennett, a beloved minor hockey coach in his driveway.

The scene of a rally against gang violence in Surrey on June 13, 2018.

Twitter/Janet Brown, CKNW

Surrey is Canada’s 12th most populous city. Currently considered a suburb of Vancouver, its population is set to overtake its better-known neighbour’s by 2041. In recent years, the city has borne witness to shocking crimes. Six years ago, four bodies were found along the remote Colebrooke Road in three months, prompting the installation of new lights and cameras worth $80,000.

RCMP Assistant Comm. Dwayne MacDonald, Surrey’s officer in charge, soon issued an open letter after the June demonstration, writing that he was “confident” in the RCMP’s policing model. But residents of Surrey weren’t as confident.  In October, they voted in a council where all but one member ran on a pledge to replace the RCMP with a local police force.

WATCH: Dec. 19, 2018 – Surrey residents concerned about safety following budget approval

Council passed a motion on Nov. 5, its first day in office, to take “all appropriate steps to immediately create a Surrey Police Department.”

A spokesperson for the RCMP says the force is a “neutral party’” in this process, and the vote “is not a critique of the service provided by the RCMP to the citizens of Surrey.”

Observers have said this could be the first domino to fall in a region where the RCMP has over a dozen detachments. But they also say it’s an opportunity for the Mounties to change how they approach local policing.

Jack Hundial, a former RCMP officer who spent 25 years with the force, was one of numerous speakers at the June rally, which was organized by anti-gang violence group Wake Up Surrey.

“It was a sort of boiling point in our community,” Hundial told Global News, describing a city where kids are coming home with unexplained cash and multiple cell phones, clear signs that they’ve joined gangs.

READ MORE: $220M and counting — the cost of the RCMP’s ‘culture of dysfunction’

Hundial now sits on city council. He ran on, and ultimately voted on, a proposal to end the RCMP’s contract and to move ahead with independent policing. Hundial admitted that passing the motion without fully costing it out was “putting the cart before the horse,” but given there are many steps before a local police force could take over, he believes it could also give the Mounties a chance to reflect on how they approach their work in the city.

“Let’s look at increasing our presence in our schools, be more interactive. Let’s look at having more community input into what we do with our policing resources.”

The RCMP’s accountability to Surrey is set out in a Municipal Police Unit Agreement — it dictates that Surrey’s officer in charge reports directly to the mayor, though he also delivers reports to council. That contrasts with a municipal police board, civilian bodies that include the mayor, one person from council and up to seven people appointed by the province.

Surrey is a very diverse city, for instance, those of South Asian descent make up over 32 per cent of the total population.

WATCH: June 13, 2018 – Surrey residents rally against gang violence

Having a city-based police force, said Sukhi Sandhu, an organizer with Wake Up Surrey, would be more effective at tackling a gang crisis in particular.

It’s about the policing model, it’s about understanding our demographics and diverse population,” he told Global News.

“One of the benefits of having a municipal police force such as Delta or Vancouver is you’re more ingrained in the community, you’re more in touch with your neighbourhoods,” he said. “You have more of a presence, and to make changes to your business model, it doesn’t need approval from Ottawa.”

The RCMP maintains that their detachment in Surrey is a local police force: it’s had a presence since 1951. The average time an officer spends there is seven years and 38 per cent of them also live in Surrey.

While the RCMP are headquartered in Ottawa, in Surrey, they said their “primary accountability” is to the city. The Surrey RCMP’s officer in charge reports to the mayor and also updates the city’s Public Safety Committee on matters such as policing priorities, crime statistics and trends, the Mounties told Global News.

Local policing has been shown to foster partnerships that have helped the police identify suspected gang members within communities. When it comes to gangs, the Surrey RCMP has a long-term strategy focused on promoting “positive choices for kids at a young age and to provide accessible support and guidance to parents.”

Resistance to reform: Is civilian oversight the magic bullet the Mounties need?

However, critics charge that the RCMP have been slow to adopt gang-targeting measures that exist in other communities.

An example is a “Bar Watch” program aimed at keeping gang members out of bars and restaurants.

Kash Heed, a former B.C. solicitor general and ex-police chief in West Vancouver, said local RCMP detachments have to go through “layers of structure” to approve creative policing methods like this.

Under Bar Watch, bars and restaurants can scan patrons’ IDs to see whether they’re “inadmissible persons” — flagged for bad behaviour or involvement in violent criminal activity.

Heed worked on such a program when he was with the Vancouver police about 12 years ago. The aim was to “go after gang bangers that were frequenting specific areas” such as bars and restaurants, he said. “We had shootings, we had murders, that was all part of saying that, you’re not going to be allowed to come into these particular areas because of your behaviour.”

WATCH: June 21, 2018 – More anti-gang rallies in Surrey

The program was later introduced to other local police forces in Metro Vancouver, who implemented it “right away,” Heed said. The RCMP, however, criticized the program “for years,” he said.

Then, in December 2018, the Surrey RCMP announced their own version of Bar Watch, called the ‘Inadmissible Patrons Program.’

“You want to talk about a structure in the RCMP where, for example, you can’t do things in a timely fashion… there’s the best example you can get,” Heed said.

READ MORE: Surrey needs 350 more cops, says anti-crime group Wake Up Surrey

In a statement, the Surrey RCMP countered that it took five months, “not 12 years,” to launch their program — those months capture the time that passed since the city released a report endorsing the idea.

Moving toward community-based policing would run counter to trends seen within the national police force over the past two decades — and globally. While some in Surrey are pushing for a community-based approach, the RCMP nationally has been focusing on an intelligence-led approach since 2000.

Surrey isn’t the first Metro Vancouver community to look at replacing the RCMP with an independent police force — nor is it alone across Canada.

In B.C., the City of Richmond examined what it would take to move to a local police department four years ago for similar reasons to Surrey — concern that decisions were being made in Ottawa without consideration for the local context or the cultural makeup of the city. If Richmond were to move ahead with its own police force and maintain existing service levels, then the operating cost for policing would jump from anywhere between $2 to $4 million per year, and would require a property tax hike of up to two per cent.

Nevertheless, Richmond opted to keep the Mounties, citing a low crime rate and strong service from the Mounties locally.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has estimated the cost of moving to a local police force at $120 million. What hasn’t been estimated is how much operational costs will change, or how that might affect tax bills.

WATCH: Dec. 26, 2018 – B.C. public safety minister working closely with Surrey to establish new police force

Other communities still policed by the RCMP are reviewing their law enforcement, however. That includes the City of Red Deer, which has recorded Canada’s highest crime levels in communities with over 100,000 people in the past six consecutive years. The city has called for an outside review of its policing, as crime continues to be a top concern for residents there.

Red Deer operates under a hybrid model, in which the RCMP provide primary enforcement, though there’s also a “very strong municipal component that supports that,” Mayor Tara Veer said in December.

Crime levels pop up as a concern every time crime figures are published, said Red Deer Coun. Buck Buchanan, a former Mountie himself.

READ MORE: RCMP civilian advisory board to tackle bullying, harassment — is it enough?

There’s almost a “50/50 split” when it comes to feelings about the RCMP in Red Deer, he told Global News — some happy with the service, others not.

“I don’t think, as an ex-member, that we as the force have done large municipal policing well,” Buchanan said. “I think that we have tried to take a smaller style of policing, or rural policing, and tried to implement it into a bigger place.”

Buchanan said Surrey’s decision has sent a “shockwave through the policing world,” because it’s the force’s biggest detachment. And that “everybody’s looking” at Surrey to see what the future of RCMP’s involvement in local policing of cities will be.

Shirley Heafey agrees.

The former chair and CEO of the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP from 1996 to 2006, an agency that has since morphed into the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, Heafey said the RCMP is a “costly burden” on taxpayers, with a culture that “cannot be fixed.”

She said communities policed by the Mounties are “not getting the service they should be getting due in large part to sub-par training of members and they must answer to Ottawa headquarters first.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sits with RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, the officer in charge of the Surrey RCMP, to his left, during a roundtable discussion on gangs and gun control, in Surrey, B.C., on Sept. 4, 2018.

“They are not trained to deal with people in a mental health crisis and in most communities they are faced with this issue daily,” Heafey told Global News.

This, she said, was apparent in the 2007 Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Dziekanski, a Polish man, was seen shouting and throwing items at the airport before RCMP arrived and shocked him with a Taser. He died minutes after the deployment.

In that incident, officers who deployed Tasers “approached the incident as though they were responding to a barroom brawl and failed to shift gears when they realized that they were dealing with an obviously distraught traveller,” the inquiry report into the Tasering said.

“Their response in these situations is too-often a ‘gun’ and not because they want to shoot but mostly they don’t know what else to do,” Heafey said. “Their de-escalation training is non-existent.”

The RCMP did not respond to a request for comment about the force’s approach to de-escalation.

Far from criticizing Surrey’s mayor for overlooking costs, Heafey praised Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, calling him a “progressive and courageous politician.”

“I fully support his courage to have made such a decision because the citizens of Surrey will be much better served by their own police service who are accountable to only one master and who are trained to serve the particular needs and problems in that community,” she said.

The Mounties, she added, should stick to federal policing alone.

If Surrey ditches the Mounties, a “domino effect” could result within Metro Vancouver, said Heed. If other communities see Surrey’s transition as successful, “I think you’ll see others looking at that as a way to reform their police.”

While Heed doesn’t see Surrey’s move away from the Mounties fostering a “domino effect” far beyond Metro Vancouver, but John Deukmedjian does.

The criminologist at the University of Windsor said other large municipalities “could and some probably will follow.”

He wasn’t surprised to see the movement starting in Western Canada.

“I think where there is dissatisfaction with Ottawa, which has been traditionally seen as deaf to local concerns particularly by Alberta and B.C., then you’ll get municipalities moving away from the RCMP.”

But he questions how much an independent force would change policing in Surrey. Sure, there’d be a police board, but many officers are likely to be hired from the ranks of the current force — “just a change in uniform.” He added, however, that replacing the RCMP there is an “earthquake in Ottawa — and that’s a good thing because the RCMP will be redefining itself, wary of losing more municipalities.”

Ultimately, Heed said, the Mounties have an opportunity, even in the face of such a loss. The RCMP, he said, have to “redefine themselves” as a federal force.

“I think it can be viewed as very positive to them, and if they were wise, they would really consider it that way.”

  • With files from Janet Brown, Emily Mertz and Herman Chau

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?





(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release





(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines





(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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