New Brunswick flooding has Red Cross looking for more volunteers – New Brunswick

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After one of its busiest years, the Red Cross is asking for more volunteers to help out in New Brunswick.

Red Cross volunteers assisted 64 people following last week’s stormy weather that caused flooding across the province.

But in the Sussex region, the Red Cross faced its own challenges, as it had no volunteers to respond from that community.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any in Sussex,” said Allie Murchison, who is an emergency management coordinator.

“That was really one of our disadvantages this weekend. We had amazing volunteers from Saint John, Quispamsis and Rothesay make the trip to Sussex.”

READ MORE: Sussex residents forced from homes following flash flood

Houses stand among flood waters on Golden Grove Road in Saint John on January 25, 2019.

Silas Brown/Global News

The Red Cross provided emergency assistance for 2,600 residents in New Brunswick after 150 events in the past year.

“This year has been the busiest it’s been in New Brunswick in decades,” she said.

She says the call for volunteers isn’t directed at one specific population or group, saying disasters can happen at any time.

“We’re just looking for anybody who is willing to give back and who wants to help out in their community,” Murchison said.

The mandate of the Red Cross is to provide emergency assistance for 72 hours, but they help longer when they can.

Fifteen people are still being assisted following last week’s storm and flooding.

WATCH: Water recedes in Sussex after flash flood forces residents from their homes






In situations of need following a disaster is when the Red Cross gets the call.

“You’re trying to get your life back in order, we’ll help people put a roof over your head, food in your belly,” Murchison said. “That’s not something you have to worry about, so you can focus on getting your life back on track.”

Steve Wilson, who has been volunteering with the Red Cross for three years, says it’s a rewarding opportunity.

“It gives you the sense that you’re giving back to the community,” he said. “And again, if you’re retired it gives you something to do.”

More information can be found at redcross.ca/volunteer.

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

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Careening vehicle hits pedestrians waiting to cross street in Surrey – BC

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Two people are in hospital with serious injuries as the indirect result of a two-vehicle collision in Surrey Saturday night.

At about 6:30 pm, at the intersection of Fraser Highway & 148th Street, two vehicles collided, sending one car careening off and striking two pedestrians waiting to cross the street.

The vehicle had both pedestrians pinned beneath it and between a light post. Firefighters were able to free them quickly by winching up the vehicle.

The pedestrians appeared to be conscious and talking to first responders when they were rescued.

The intersection is partially closed while police investigate.

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

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Why did the chickens cross the road? Police on Vancouver Island want to know

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Central Saanich police were tasked with poultry control Thursday morning as dozens of chickens ran loose in the community on southern Vancouver Island in B.C.

Bylaw and emergency services fielded multiple calls while posts on social media clucked about 150 odd chickens loose in several locations on the Saanich Peninsula — at Wallace Drive, Central Saanich Road and Wain Park.

Ryan Vantreight from Longview Farms, who posted the scene on social media, said the chickens arrived bright and early — as one might expect of the birds.

« We came to the farm around 7:30 and police were already directing traffic, trying to keep everybody safe, » he said.

Eventually, the flock was rounded up on a pickleball court. They have since been moved to a Capital Regional District facility on a private farm. If they are not claimed, the chickens may stay at that farm.

The Capital Regional District’s chief bylaw officer Don Brown told CBC that he hasn’t received any reports of missing chickens, and they have no identification to help locate the owner. Police aren’t sure whether the birds were released around the community as a prank or if someone dumped them to get rid of them.

« We don’t have anything linking it at this point, » said Const. Anne Piper with the Central Saanich Police.

Chickens ‘passed their prime,’ still laying eggs

« They’re old layers, they’re in their molting stage, » Vantreight said.  « They’re past their prime. »

That said, at least six eggs had been laid by the chickens while they were loose.

Ryan Vantreight holds one of the eggs laid by the lost chickens. (Sterling Eyford/CBC)

In Piper’s 10 years as a police officer, she’s responded to horses running on the highway, and goats and bulls on the loose, but this is the first time she’s been at a scene were eggs were being laid.

« Worst case-scenario, someone’s decided to drop them off because they didn’t want to dispatch them themselves. Best case scenario, it’s a prank that somebody’s pulled. Either way it’s not good for the community to have to deal with, » Vantreight said.

With files from Sterling Eyford and All Points West

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Did judge cross line through involvement with Federation of Black Canadians?

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Did a Brampton judge cross the line through his involvement with an advocacy group for Black Canadians while still presiding over cases?

And is that line for judges even clear?

The questions are at the heart of a discipline hearing that began Friday in the case of Ontario Court Justice Donald McLeod, a founder of the Federation of Black Canadians and former chair of its steering committee.

“This case is about whether a sitting judge can engage with politicians on behalf of a non-partisan organization, such as the Federation of Black Canadians, in pursuit of political objectives, putting aside how laudable those objectives may be,” said presenting counsel Linda Rothstein, the outside lawyer tasked with presenting the case against McLeod to the four-person discipline panel.

“This case is about where one draws the line between political participation and education as opposed to advocacy, and, indeed, lobbying.”

The Ontario Judicial Council, the independent body that investigates and disciplines provincially appointed judges, has alleged that McLeod’s role with the federation could negatively affect the public’s perception of his independence and impartiality as a judge.

McLeod had agreed, in 2016, to be the chair of the federation’s interim steering committee, until the organization was fully up and running. In this capacity, he chaired meetings in 2017 between the federation, politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and other community members and experts, according to an agreed statement of facts filed at the hearing Friday.

Some of the topics discussed included mental health resources, educational challenges facing Black Canadians and the over-representation of Black people in the justice system.

McLeod, who testified at his discipline hearing, was adamant that they were trying to “educate” at those meetings, and not try to actively change government policy. In other words, he said he was not lobbying, although he agreed that it could be perceived that way.

“This was an education process. We were not there to say, ‘If you don’t do this, we’re not going to vote for you,’ ” McLeod said on the stand in front of a packed hearing room.

“When this complaint (to the judicial council) came, it was the first time that I realized people actually thought I was trying to be partisan,” McLeod said.

“I’m just trying to make sure that this community doesn’t keep dying.”

The complaint to the council was from Associate Chief Justice Faith Finnestad, who had been expressing concerns for several months to McLeod that she believed it was inappropriate that he was meeting with political figures, according to the agreed statement of facts.

McLeod had sought advice from the Ontario Court of Justice’s judicial ethics committee, who, at first, had no concerns with his involvement with the federation, as long as he distanced himself from fundraising activities.

However, following media coverage in February 2018 raising questions about McLeod’s role, including a piece by activist Desmond Cole in the Toronto Star, the ethics committee said McLeod should leave the federation as its work appeared to include lobbying.

The four-person discipline panel, chaired by Court of Appeal Justice Robert Sharpe, was told that McLeod had been involved for years with Black youth, even before his appointment to the bench in 2013.

An expert on Black communities in North America called by the defence, Wendell Adjetey, who also worked for several years as a case worker with Black youth in Toronto, testified how critical it is for young Black persons to have role models such as McLeod and how even the optics of the discipline proceedings could have a negative impact on them.

McLeod’s lawyer, Mark Sandler, urged the panel not to make a finding of judicial misconduct, and to see that there is “greyness” when it comes to judicial extra-curricular activities.

“I suggest there is now acceptance, and it was not always thus, but now there is acceptance that judges need not sit in ivory towers. They are selected, in part, because of the life experiences they bring to their work, and, I submit, that continuing community involvement is, not only consistent with their roles as judges, but important,” Sandler said.

“Justice McLeod and I will not be suggesting that the rules themselves are different for racialized judges than for other judges, but, and this is a very important ‘but,’ we will submit that racialized judges — in this instance, a Black judge with Justice McLeod’s lived experiences — is precisely the type of role model whose continuing involvement in the community enhances respect for the administration of justice, rather than the contrary.”

Both sides will make their final submissions to the panel Tuesday.

Jacques Gallant is a Toronto-based reporter covering legal affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @JacquesGallant

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Montreal’s Black Watch regiment treasures WW I Victoria Cross

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Standing inside the Royal Bank’s vault on the second floor of Place Ville Marie, Col. Daniel O’Connor, honorary colonel of the Black Watch of Canada, holds a dark blue safe deposit box.

Compared to the other treasures locked away in this vault, the contents of O’Connor’s box are relatively scant.

All that’s inside is a bit of slightly oxidized bronze and a few papers.

But when O’Connor opens the box, the man next to him, Black Watch honorary Lt.-Col. Bruce Bolton, lets out a gasp.

« There it is, » he says. « It makes your heart palpitate. »

Col. Daniel O’Connor, left, and Lt.-Col. Bruce Bolton set eyes on Fisher’s Victoria Cross for the first time in more than a decade.

The regiment agreed to show the original to CBC Montreal as it prepared to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War on Nov. 11.

Around 100 Black Watch members will take part in a ceremony next Sunday in Mons, Belgium, a town the regiment helped liberate just hours before the Armistice.

For Bolton and O’Connor, it’s the first time they’ve set eyes on the medal in more than a decade.

It is the first Victoria Cross ever awarded to a Canadian-born soldier serving in a Canadian unit, Lance-Cpl. Fred Fisher.

« He never got to wear it, » Bolton and O’Connor say, in turn.

They don white cotton gloves before lifting the medal from its case.

One side is embossed with the words, « for valour. » A date — April 23, 1915 — is engraved on the other.

Fred Fisher graduated from Westmount Academy in 1912. (Westmount High School archives)

Fisher was just 19 — a quiet, slightly uptight kid from Westmount, Que. — in the middle of the killing fields of the First World War.

The son of a banker originally from St. Catharines, Ont., Fisher had been an avid athlete at Westmount High School (then known as Westmount Academy).

He was a decent hockey player and swimmer. As captain of the high school football team, he had a reputation for being « hard as nails, » according to the school newspaper.

Fred Fisher, 2nd row, 2nd from right, was on the Westmount Academy championship-winning Football Club in 1910. (Westmount High School archives)

The war started the day after Fisher’s 18th birthday.

Two weeks later, and just before he was supposed to return to his applied science studies at McGill University, Fisher enlisted with the 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada, better known as the Black Watch.

This painting of Lance-Cpl. Fred Fisher hangs in his alma mater, Westmount High School, which was called Westmount Academy when he attended. (CBC)

It was the preferred unit of Montreal’s Anglo elite.

Most of its officers were millionaires.

As his battalion trained in southern England, Fisher stood out from his fellow soldiers.

One officer described him as « a quiet chap, who never drank, nor swore, nor played cards, and some of the fellows may have thought he was a prig. »

He was given the chance to learn how to use a relatively new weapon of war, the machine gun.

By the time the First Canadian Division was posted to Ypres in April 1915, Fisher headed a small detachment that operated a Colt-Browning .303.

The machine gunner at Ypres

On April 22, 1915, the Germans pumped 160 tonnes of chlorine gas into the air at Ypres, a light breeze carrying the greenish-yellow cloud toward the Allied lines.

It was the first recorded use of the gas in the war, and troops panicked as they began to be asphyxiated.

An Algerian contingent protecting the Canadians’ left flank was hit particularly hard and fled their position, leaving the Canadians exposed to the advancing Germans.

Fisher signed up shortly after his 18th birthday, putting his studies at McGill on hold. (Veterans Affairs Canada)

A battery of 18-pound field guns, essential for keeping the Germans at bay, was at risk of falling into enemy hands.

When the battery commander issued a desperate plea for help, Fisher volunteered and headed for the front lines in the early hours of April 23.

Fisher and his team set up their machine gun in an abandoned building and opened fire on the Germans closest to the battery, forcing them back.

But he also attracted enemy fire, and four of his crew were killed. Fisher hustled back to the Canadian lines to find reinforcements, took up a new position and resumed firing at the Germans.

Fisher’s covering fire allowed other Canadian soldiers to dismantle the field guns and retreat to safety. That’s what earned him the Victoria Cross.

As fighting continued along the Canadians’ exposed flank, Fisher’s detachment was redeployed to a trench.

As he crawled out to set up the machine gun, Fisher was struck by a bullet.

He died instantly.

His fellow soldiers buried him in a makeshift grave, but his body was never recovered. He is one of roughly 27,000 Canadian soldiers, from all wars, for whom there is no known grave.

Fisher’s Victoria Cross was sent to his parents. Later that year, they received a handwritten letter from King George V.

German prisoners shown with gas masks in April 1915 at Ypres. Allied soldiers had no such protections against the gas attack. (Canadian Press)

« It is a matter of sincere regret to me that the death of Lance Corporal Frederick Fisher deprived me of the pride of personally conferring upon him the Victoria Cross, the greatest of all Military Distinctions, » the letter read.

Fisher’s mother was fond of wearing her son’s medal, the Toronto Star noted in 1916.

After she died in 1946, Fisher’s family gave the medal, as well as the king’s letter, to the Black Watch.

‘The heart and soul of a regiment’

The storied regiment has kept Fisher’s Victoria Cross in a bank vault for the past several years, taking it out only on special occasions — an increasingly rare occurrence because the medal is considered a valuable collector’s item and there are always security concerns.

Fred Fisher won the Victoria Cross for his valour when he and his machine gun unit helped Canadian soldiers retreat to safety at a battle at Ypres. He died later in that battle, on April 23, 1915. His body was never recovered. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

A replica is housed in the regiment’s headquarters on Bleury Street.

Fisher’s Victoria Cross continues to have a hold on Black Watch members, past and present.

« Seeing this and touching it is probably one of the most important experiences of my life, » said Bolton, who has been involved with the regiment for more than 50 years.

« Memorabilia such as this become the heart and soul of a regiment, » O’Connor said.

Fisher’s Victoria Cross helps younger Black Watch members identify with the regiment’s long history, which reaches back to 1862.

As a reservists, active Black Watch soldiers hold down day jobs and serve part-time at night or on weekends.

But many have seen combat in recent years in places like Bosnia and Afghanistan, providing reinforcements to regular forces.

« They do so with pride, in part because of memorabilia such as this and the history of the regiment, » O’Connor said.

Fred Fisher’s McGill University student record indicates details of his death in action on April 23, 1915, and mentions that he was awarded the Victoria Cross. (McGill University archives)

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