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Girlfriend of man shot to death by Edmonton police claims officers used excessive force

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The girlfriend of a wanted man killed by police on Boxing Day in an Edmonton parking lot believes police used excessive force.

Buck Evans, 34, was shot by multiple officers around 2 p.m. last Wednesday after the truck he was riding in was stopped by police in the parking lot of the Urban Village condo complex.

‘We all bleed the same’

« I had to watch someone I love gunned down, when literally there could’ve been different ways of going about it, » ​ Melissa Dumais said in an interview with CBC News. « I just don’t see how it’s fair. We all bleed the same. We all feel the same. » 

Dumais said she has been consulting with a lawyer and plans to pursue litigation against the officers involved. 

« I hope that I can get the cops that did this to him, because I am going to be taking it to court, » Dumais said. « I have enough evidence that this was excessive force.

« It may make my life a living hell, in the end. So be it. » 

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), an independent provincial agency, is investigating the shooting. The organization investigates actions involving Alberta police that result in serious injury or death.

Edmonton police say Buck Evans had several outstanding warrants and was considered armed and dangerous. (Facebook)

In a statement released last week, ASIRT said Evans refused to get out of the truck when ordered to by police. ASIRT said Evans fired a gun before he was shot by the officers.

At the time, Evans was wanted in connection with an ongoing investigation and had outstanding warrants against him. Police believed he was armed and dangerous, and a tactical unit had been following the truck.

« Independent evidence gathered to date would suggest that the man was in possession of a firearm and that the firearm was, in fact, discharged by the man, » the ASIRT release said.

Dumais said she was in the truck with Evans and a friend on the day of the shooting. She said police stopped them and ordered her and their friend to get out of the truck.

After speaking to Evans, she got out and was arrested. Dumais said Evans had tears in his eyes when he spoke to her.

Edmonton police shot and killed a 34-year-old man Wednesday. ASIRT is still investigating. 1:03

She said when she got out of the truck, Evans was sitting in the backseat with his hands up.

« The gun was nowhere near his hands, » she said. « The driver had his hands up, I had my hands up. And Buck had his hands up. »

Dumais said she knew Evans had a gun when she got into the truck earlier that day.

« He knew what was coming, » said Dumais, who had been dating Evans for about two months. « He knew he was going to die that day. »

She said the gun was on the floor when she got out of the truck.

Video of the incident shows police vehicles surrounding a truck near the Urban Village condo complex in southeast Edmonton. A barrage of gunfire can be heard on the video.

« The amount of gunshots that I heard go off, it just goes to show that either way he was going to die that day, » Dumais said. « Whether he complied or he didn’t. »

Dumais was in handcuffs across the parking lot when the police began firing. The last time she saw Evans, he was being loaded into a stretcher. 

She said she knew he was dead. 

« Being handcuffed, there was nothing I could do, » she said. « You want to be there for the person you love. You want to be beside them when they take their last breath. »

Change in behaviour

Dumais said Evan’s demeanour had changed in the days leading up to his death. He seemed frantic and was constantly looking over his shoulder.

« He told me that he felt like something bad was going to happen, » she said. 

When she saw the gun in the truck, Dumais said, she questioned Evans about it. She described it as an SKS, a type of semi-automatic rifle.

« I seen that, and I instantly knew something was wrong. »

Dumais, who shared an apartment with Evans in the west end, said she did not know that he was wanted on outstanding warrants.

« I just want people to know that Buck wasn’t a monster that they portrayed him out to be. He had a good heart. He’s gone through a lot, but he’s still a good person at the end of it all. »

ASIRT did not respond to an inquiry from CBC News. It is not known when their final report on the shooting will be released.

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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