John McCallum’s political skills failed both him and Trudeau

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John McCallum got the job as Canada’s ambassador to China because of his political background. The clear signal to the Chinese was that the former cabinet minister could pick up the phone and speak directly to the prime minister.

In the end McCallum’s political skills failed both him and the man who sent him to Beijing.

His last call with the PM wasn’t initiated by him — it was Justin Trudeau firing him from the post.

Virtually every analyst says McCallum had to go for telling the media, not once but twice this week, that it would be better for Canada if Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou isn’t extradited to the United States.

One slip-up could be forgiven. The second could not.

Former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson, who’s now vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said McCallum’s firing was unavoidable.

« In private discussions with the Chinese he might be able to say those things, » Robertson told CBC News on Sunday. « To say those things publicly is completely counter to what the prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have been saying — that this is a judicial process based on the rule of law. »

McCallum’s comments suggested just the opposite, lending credence to what Chinese had insisted all along — Meng’s arrest was political.

It’s a devastating setback for Canadian diplomacy with China.

When Justin Trudeau first met President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Turkey back in November 2015, Xi made a point of praising his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, for what he called his « historic engagement » with China in 1970.

« China will always remember that, » Xi said. 

Better left unsaid

In sending McCallum to China in 2017, Trudeau was choosing a long-time cabinet member who had overseen the process of re-settling nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees.

Yes, there were risks in appointing a politician who was never loath to speak his mind to the sensitive world of diplomacy where, as the American politician Lincoln Chafee once said, « some things are better left unsaid. » That just wasn’t McCallum’s style. He was a frequent guest on political talk shows. He was never one to duck a question. Unlike most diplomats, he never bought into the notion of talking without saying anything.

But whatever those risks, Trudeau wanted the value of appointing a highly visible cabinet minister to Beijing. In doing so he elevated China to a status that had been reserved, previously, for the most important and high-profile diplomatic posts in Washington, London and Paris.

Trudeau wanted closer ties with the world’s second-largest economy. McCallum’s job was to help make that happen.

McCallum leaves a federal cabinet meeting in Sherbrooke, Que., on Wednesday, Jan. 16. He was a frequent guest on political talk shows and was never one to duck a question. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

News reports of his appointment noted McCallum’s wife is Chinese. His old riding in Markham, Ont., is home to many people of Chinese descent.

« I need my top people to be out there engaging at the highest levels around the world, » Trudeau said at the time.

The marching order, as McCallum himself set it out, was more of everything: trade, investment, tourism, cultural ties.

Those gains really never fully materialized.

Canada did secure a tourism deal with China that made it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Canada.

But the desire to commence formal free trade talks fizzled, despite the prime minister’s own visit to China in December 2017. A year later, Meng’s arrest on behalf of the United States as she stepped off a flight in Vancouver sent relations spiralling to new lows.

Choosing the next ambassador will be a delicate process 

The consequences of McCallum’s departure now are serious.

Two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, remain in custody in China, accused of endangering national security, both arrested shortly after Meng was detained in Canada.

A third Canadian, convicted in China of drug smuggling, had his 15-year jail term overturned and now faces a death sentence.

McCallum’s predecessor in Beijing, Guy Saint-Jacques, said finding the right person now to represent Canada is critical.

« In my view, this crisis is the worst we have seen with China since we established diplomatic relations back in 1970. »

And whoever Trudeau chooses, it has to be soon. The lives of those three detained Canadians are in the balance. A successful resolution to that crisis, and to the Meng extradition, is paramount.

Normalizing relations with a powerful nation such as China comes next. That job will include communicating to China what role, if any, Huawei will have in Canada’s 5G mobile network.

The question now is where Trudeau will turn for his next ambassador.

Saint-Jacques, for one, believes the next ambassador has to have a deep knowledge of China. Others add that McCallum’s successor needs to be fluent in Mandarin, which McCallum wasn’t, and should come from the senior ranks of the foreign service, rather than the front lines of the political world.

Still others say the next ambassador must continue to have the ear of the prime minister.

It all adds up to this. The next call between Trudeau and Canada’s ambassador to China will be initiated by the prime minister again. And it will be just as important as his last.

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Senators owner Eugene Melnyk sues partners in ‘failed’ arena venture

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Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is suing his partners in the « failed » LeBreton Flats redevelopment project, a twist that almost certainly spells the end of a plan to move the hockey team downtown.

Capital Sports Management Inc. (CSMI), which is wholly owned by Melnyk, is suing for $700 million.

CSMI’s statement of claim names Trinity Development Group Inc., its founder and executive chair John Ruddy, as well as project manager Graham Bird and his company, Graham Bird Associates.

According to the claim, which hasn’t been tested in court, « the joint venture failed because of an egregious conflict of interest on the part of Trinity and its principal, John Ruddy. »

CSMI claims the conflict arose when Trinity began developing an adjacent property at 900 Albert St. « in direct competition » with the LeBreton project.

Trinity has plans to build what would be Ottawa’s tallest highrise at the Albert Street site, a 65-storey residential tower.

Melnyk left vulnerable to ‘Trinity’s machinations’

According to the claim, the National Capital Commission approached CSMI in 2014 to suggest it submit a proposal for LeBreton Flats, with a new arena for the Ottawa Senators as an « ideal anchor use » for the federally owned land just west of Ottawa’s downtown core.

Melnyk’s company was then approached by several developers including Trinity, the claim states.

Representatives from CSMI met Ruddy for the first time on Oct. 30, 2014, to discuss a response to the NCC’s request for qualifications, but at that point Ruddy « downplayed » the idea that 900 Albert St. might compete with a future LeBreton Flats development.

The two partners would go on to bid on the high-profile project to redevelop the 21-hectare area.

They promised a new arena for the Ottawa Senators, as well as a mix of high-rise housing, retail, commercial and hotels.

« CSMI’s lack of expertise is what necessitated its partnership with an experienced developer like Ruddy and Trinity in the first place, » states the claim.

« It was this disparity in expertise, and the trust CSMI placed in its joint venture partner, that made CSMI vulnerable to Ruddy and Trinity’s machinations. »

RendezVous LeBreton Group’s vision for redeveloping LeBreton Flats makes a new arena for the Ottawa Senators the focal point. (image supplied by RendezVous LeBreton Group)

Altered high-rise plans

Those « machinations » referred to changes Ruddy would later make to plans for the towers his company intends to build at 900 Albert St., near the Bayview light rail station.

CSMI claims Trinity initially intended to build modest rental apartments aimed at Carleton University students, but instead convinced the city to allow extra height so the development would one day tower over nearby LeBreton Flats.

According to the statement of claim, it wasn’t until three years into the partnership that Melnyk’s company realized Ruddy and Trinity had put 900 Albert St. « in direct competition with the LeBreton project » and « destroy the viability of the LeBreton project outright. »

CSMI commissioned an independent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. That report concluded « the Ottawa market could support either one project or the other, but not both. »

A rendering of the 65-storey tower planned for 900 Albert St. (Courtesy GGLO Design)

Melnyk ‘disappointed’: lawyer

« Ruddy and Trinity should have identified the conflict to CSMI and either withdrawn from the joint venture or harmonized the two developments. Instead, Ruddy and Trinity misused confidential inside information about the LeBreton project and abused the trust CSMI had placed in them, » according to the statement of claim.

Had Melnyk’s partners not « misused their position, » CSMI would have profited from the LeBreton redevelopment and « fans would have enjoyed a new arena in the heart of the downtown. »

« They’re disappointed with where things have ended up. They’ve championed the concept of the downtown arena, » Melnyk’s lawyer, Robert Brush, told CBC News Friday.

« The process is in flux, but [Melnyk] remains committed to the hope and he’s going to explore options to make that happen. We’re going to have to see how that develops. »

NCC put partners on notice

CBC has reached out for comment from Ruddy and Trinity Development Group, Graham Bird, and the National Capital Commission but has not yet received responses.

News of the lawsuit comes one day after the National Capital Commission told the Rendezvous LeBreton partners to get their act together, or it would look for other options to develop the site.

At its meeting Thursday, the National Capital Commission did not reveal the root of the dispute between the partners.

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Failed bidder files trade challenge against Ottawa’s frigate design pick

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The federal government’s decision to select a group of companies led by Lockheed Martin Canada to design and support the construction of the navy’s new frigates is now facing a trade challenge, on top of a Federal Court challenge filed last week.

Alion Science and Technology Corp. and its subsidiary, Alion Canada, have asked the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to look into the procurement deal. They’re telling the tribunal that Lockheed Martin’s design will need substantial changes to meet the federal government’s requirements, which would mean higher costs and more delays.

The company last week separately asked the Federal Court for a judicial review and an order quashing the decision, which saw Public Services and Procurement Canada select Lockheed Martin Canada as the preferred bidder on the $60 billion program.

Alion pitched the De Zeven Provinciën Air Defence and Command (LCF) frigate, a Dutch-designed warship that is already in service in other countries.

More delays?

Depending upon how they play out, said defence procurement expert Dave Perry, both challenges have the potential to further delay the frigate program. Federal procurement officials had hoped to nail down a fully fledged design contract with Lockheed Martin by the winter.

Perry, who works with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said he expects those negotiations to continue — unless the Federal Court orders them to halt.

« Unless there is a compelling reason to stop, they are going to keep going, » he said. « There is a recognition of the urgency across the board. »

That urgency is partly due to the program’s legacy of delays, which have stretched the design competition out for almost two years.

Public Services and Procurement Canada would not comment on the matter because it is before the courts, but a senior official, speaking on background Thursday, said the federal government has up to 20 days to respond to the court challenge.

The official — who was not authorized to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the file — said there is flexibility built into the timeline and the government is optimistic it can meet its goal of an early 2019 contract signing.

Perry said there are aspects of both the court challenge and the application to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal that he finds puzzling.

Alion claimed in its court filing that the winning bid was « incapable of meeting three critical mandatory requirements » of the design tender.

Speed bump

The company said, for instance, that the Type 26 cannot meet the mandatory speed requirements set out by the navy and that both Public Services and Procurement Canada and Irving Shipbuilding, the yard overseeing the construction, should have rejected the bid outright.

Perry said the criteria cited by Alion were among the first the federal government evaluated.

« The rest of Lockheed Martin’s bid wouldn’t have been looked at if the Crown and Irving was not satisfied that the bid met each of those [initial] criteria, » he said. « It’s a weird dynamic. »

Alion’s trade tribunal application argues in considerable detail that in order for the Type 26 to meet Ottawa’s speed requirement, it will have to undergo considerable redesign.

The court application also cites the fact that the design tender was amended 88 times and those changes « effectively diluted the [warship] requirements » and allowed the government and Irving to select « an unproven design platform. »

Unlike its two competitors, the Type 26 has yet to enter service with the Royal Navy. Competitors have privately knocked it as « paper ship. »

Navantia, a Spanish-based company, was the other bidder in the competition.

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Keystone pipeline is Trump’s latest failed attempt to roll back environmental regulations

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Climate activists did cartwheels. Alberta’s landlocked, lacklustre oil patch wailed. U.S. President Donald Trump spat contempt, calling a U.S. court-ordered halt to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline “a disgrace” — and then proceeded to do what he does pretty much every day, igniting a new volley of news-grenades, drawing attention elsewhere.

The bombardment of daily distraction may be this president’s best friend, sucking up oxygen that might otherwise help drive a deeper understanding of what happens — and what doesn’t — after the sound byte explodes.

In this photo taken on May 08, 2017, Indigenous leaders and climate activists disrupt business at a Chase Bank branch in Seattle. A Montana judge has stopped the White House’s approval of the project.
In this photo taken on May 08, 2017, Indigenous leaders and climate activists disrupt business at a Chase Bank branch in Seattle. A Montana judge has stopped the White House’s approval of the project.  (JASON REDMOND / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

But it’s worth a look at the 54-page ruling that dropped late Thursday at a U.S. court in Montana, putting the brakes yet again on the meandering, decade-long saga of KXL. All told, Judge Brian Morris’s ruling amounts to a scathing indictment of a dog-ate-my-homework administration that still appears incapable, even two years in, of crossing its Ts or dotting its Is.

In rejecting Trump’s green light for a pipeline that already enjoys the uneasy backing of the Trudeau Liberals, the Notley NDP and an Alberta industry screaming for greater export capacity, Judge Morris essentially assigned blame to an incompetent White House.

It’s not the end for Keystone XL, of course. As TransCanada regrouped Friday, saying it would review the ruling before looking to next steps, Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd acknowledged the “frustrating setback” but vowed, “We still believe we will get through.”

The TSX and the Canadian dollar reeled on the news and left Alberta’s leaders pleading anew for help from Ottawa to increase crude-by-rail to help address a widening differential that has the province’s heavy oil massively discounted against U.S. light-crude prices. McCuaig-Boyd called the price differential “horrible right now.”

But at its essence, the court injunction halting the $10-billion project is a U.S. decision against another U.S. decision, leaving Canada as a spectator to what happens next.

It remains unclear whether the Trump administration will go back to the drawing board and actually do its homework and re-submit or simply appeal its way up the judiciary in search of a friendlier ruling, if not at the 9thCircuit then perhaps all the way to the Supreme Court.

Judge Morris nailed Trump’s state department for a series of shortcomings that violated several laws, saying it “fell short of a ‘hard look’” at the pipeline’s evolving viability and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. It also questioned the absence of any updated modeling of environmental cleanup in light of major oil spills in 2014 and 2017 that “qualify as significant.”

On paper, some of that blame might seem to belong to former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, on whose watch much of department’s submission was prepared. But Tillerson, to his credit, recused himself of any involvement in the Keystone XL pipeline file shortly after taking office in 2017 to avoid any perceived conflict of interest relating to his former role as chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp.

Some U.S. observers noted a pattern in the admonitions that, coupled with other rulings against Trump efforts at energy deregulation, called into question the administration’s ability to actually deliver.

“One of the biggest political myths in America is that, say what you will about Trump, but he’s managed to cut environmental regulations to the bone,” tweeted Jerry Taylor, founder of the DC-based think-tank, Niskanen Center.

“Nonsense on stilts. He’s been screamingly incompetent at that job as well. Not for lack of trying.”

A case in point: last month Slate put the Trump deregulation mantra to the test, concluding that the administration had “largely failed” after multiple attempts to put Obama-era regulatory efforts on ice.

Instead, the Slate analysis argued, Team Trump now was abandoning its attempts to short-circuit the process and was instead shifting to the more cumbersome task of crafting new regulatory policy.

“But having squandered half of its four-year term, the White House faces an uphill climb in developing its major environmental rollback initiatives, and getting them past now-skeptical courts, before the clock runs out.”

For a project whose saga now has spanned three presidencies, the fate of Keystone XL remains baffling — and, likely, overblown. Barack Obama himself — in pursuit of an all-of-the-above energy policy not unlike that of Justin Trudeau’s government — split the difference on the Canadian pipeline in 2015, approving the southern leg but blocking the northern extension from Alberta.

In so doing, Obama lamented how this one Canadian pipeline somehow had become a convenient political football for everyone.

“For years, the Keystone pipeline has occupied what I, frankly, consider an overinflated role in our political discourse,” he said.

“It became a symbol too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties rather than a serious policy matter. And all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.”

That symbolism seemed to have faded into the history books — as a done deal, under Trump — as the debate over carbon taxes and the absence of American climate leadership amid worsening scientific climate data filtered forward.

But no longer. Like it or not, Keystone XL — the controversy, if not an actual pipeline — is back on centre stage.

Mitch Potter is a reporter and feature writer based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @MPwrites

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Statistics Canada failed to disclose key info about project to harvest bank data – National

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Statistics Canada failed to disclose key details to Canada’s privacy commissioner about a controversial plan to harvest detailed financial transaction data about 500,000 Canadian households, a failing that commissioner Daniel Therrien said contributed to the agency falling “way short” of its stated objective of being transparent.

Testifying before a Senate committee on Parliament Hill on Thursday, Therrien said that although Statistics Canada consulted his office in a general way about a plan to force the country’s nine largest financial institutions to turn over detailed customer financial transactions, it never informed his office that 500,000 households would be involved.

WATCH: NDP joins Conservatives, asks Trudeau Liberals to shut down controversial StatCan projects


He said the size of the project — the number of households whose data will be retrieved — “is a crucial fact” and that “proportionality is very important. “

Therrien launched a formal investigation of the project after 52 Canadians filed complaints after learning about the project, first reported by Global News on Oct. 26.

Global News is publishing for the first time here the kinds of detailed data that Statistics Canada told Canada’s banks and credit card companies it was going to compel them to turn over.

The document obtained by Global News is called “Schedule 5” and it was attached to correspondence sent to the banks explaining their legal obligation to disclose this data.

READ: ‘Schedule 5’ lists the detailed data Statistics Canada wants from Canada’s banks

Chief Statistician Anil Arora, who testified before Therrien on Thursday morning, described that plan as “a pilot project’ and said no data had been transferred by the banks to Statistics Canada.

Arora said it was his agency’s expectations that the customers of the country’s nine largest banks and credit card companies would be notified about the project before it was implemented. But while customers would be notified, there would be no chance for any bank customer to withhold consent of the use of that data.

READ MORE: Canadians have little ability to determine if StatCan has their personal banking info

The federal Conservatives and NDP have blasted the Liberal government for allowing the agency to create what they described as “Big Brother on steroids” and called for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt the project.

“Canadians are appalled to learn that Statistics Canada plans to access their detailed personal banking information. They were never consulted and did not consent,” NDP MP Brian Masse said in the House of Commons last week. “Building a massive database of personal banking information without telling anyone is just wrong.”

Trudeau has said the initiative is required to create better public policy and accused the Conservatives of a “war on data and science.”

By law, Statistics Canada has the power to compel any organization to hand over any kind of data, including detailed personal data. But federal law also puts a burden on Statistics Canada to protect the confidentiality and privacy of any data it obtains.

It is also forbidden by law from sharing the data with anyone. No other government department, no court, nor any investigative agency like the RCMP can get personal data obtained by Statistics Canada.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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4 arrested after failed drive-by shooting in RDP – Montreal

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Montreal police received multiple 911 calls late Tuesday night about shots fired in the borough of Riviere-des-Prairies.

SPVM spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron said it happened around 11:30 p.m.


READ MORE:
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Shots were fired from a moving vehicle towards a man by the side of the road on Elie-Beauregard Avenue.

The suspects missed their target and fled the scene. The man in his 20s was not injured when police found him.


READ MORE:
Man, 27, critically injured after shooting on busy downtown Montreal street

Police officers quickly caught up with the car and arrested two 18-year-olds and two 20-year-olds.

The four suspects and the victim were brought in for questioning. Police are trying to determine if the attack was random or a targeted shooting.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Failed inspection forces closure of overpass along Highway 20 – Montreal

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Transport Quebec closed a portion of Highway 20 west on Wednesday in the Saint-Simon region of the Monteregie after a failed overpass inspection.

A structural inspection on Tuesday night revealed a potential load capacity problem on the overpass at Rang Saint-Edouard near St-Hyacinthe.

The structure will be closed to traffic indefinitely.

The decision to completely close the section of the highway at the 145 exit was made partly due to an earlier Sept. 21 inspection report.

Detour routes have been set up for both cars and trucks.

Cars can drive the extra two kilometers and take the Rang Saint-Georges exit.

Large trucks must take exit 138 to catch the 224.


READ MORE:
Vaudreuil-Dorion overpass closed following inspection ‘to avoid further damage’

It is a similar problem that forced the closure of the Des Chenaux road overpass over Highway 40 in Vaudreuil-Dorion in September.

In that case, MTQ officials said they would decide by the end of October whether that structure could be reopened to the public.

Transport Quebec officials say they are working on a plan to reopen the highway as soon as possible.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Group home operator failed to monitor troubled teen who killed herself, lawsuit alleges

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The family of Kanina Sue Turtle, who killed herself while in group foster home care, is suing Tikinagan Child & Family Services, alleging staff were negligent and “failed to adequately monitor” the 15-year-old from Poplar Hill First Nation.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a scathing report from a coroner’s expert panel that examined the deaths of 12 children and youth, including Kanina, while in the care of Ontario Children’s Aid Societies between 2014 and 2017.

Kanina died Oct. 29, 2016 in a Sioux Lookout home, operated by Tikinagan. In the final year of her life, Kanina was moved on several occasions, the panel found, following incidents of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and attempts to kill herself. She had to be medically evacuated twice from a healing centre, including five days before she died.

Kanina’s mother and father, Barbara and Clarence Suggashie, and five siblings are named as plaintiffs, and are seeking a total of $5.9 million in damages from Tikinagan, which serves northwestern Ontario First Nations communities.

Barbara Suggashie, through her lawyer, Cara Valiquette, said she brought this claim because she “wants some answers about what happened” to her daughter. Clarence Suggashie said Kanina “would have been alive today if they (Tikinagan) would have looked after her and monitored her.”

Read more:

They loved dancing, swimming, math and science: Portraits of young people who died in care

The allegations contained in the family’s statement of claim have not been proven in court and Tikinagan has yet to file a statement of defence. The agency only just received the statement of claim and was taking time last week to review it.

“We continue to express our deepest sympathies to Kanina’s family as we have many times in person,” said Tikinagan’s communications co-ordinator, Irene Dube. “We were all heartbroken when this happened. Now that this is before the courts, we need to wait for our legal counsel to look at the statement before we say anything more.”

The suit alleges Kanina was not supervised for an “unknown period of time” before her death and no one checked on her for “at least 45 minutes” after her death, which was when an employee found her body. Kanina was “chronically suicidal” in the period leading to her death, the suit also alleged.

According to the expert panel report released Tuesday, there was a “significant history of deaths by suicide” in Kanina’s family and she was taken into care 10 times over her life, usually for six months at a time. The goal was family reunification with her parents and siblings. Kanina provided support to an older sister and liked school, particularly math and science.

Before her death, Kanina began a relationship with another youth in care, who also killed herself. There was “no evidence of supportive discussions around Kanina’s sexual identity,” the panel noted, and “it appears that staff indicated to her that she could be arrested for engaging in a sexual relationship” with the girl, who was younger.

“While this is accurate from a legal perspective, this position does not demonstrate responsiveness or recognition of the needs Kanina was endeavouring to meet,” states the report.

Another friend of Kanina’s from the home killed herself in the weeks before Kanina died by suicide, her family said. She went home, briefly, to grieve.

The lawsuit alleges Tikinagan knew she was exploring her sexuality and “failed to acknowledge this in any meaningful way and failed to provide” supports.

In the days leading to her death, Kanina made social media posts “that indicated she was at risk of suicide” and had access to things in the group home that could be used to harm herself, the suit alleges.

Kanina recorded a video of her death on an iPod, which the family received six months after her death. Her mother and sister guessed at the password and unlocked the iPod, and “watched the video of their loved one, Kanina, committing suicide, without having been advised in advance” by Tikinagan or anyone else “about the contents or potential contents of the files on the iPod,” the suit alleges. Her father later also watched the video.

The “shock of learning the circumstances of Kanina’s preventable death and watching the video of her death caused” her parents and sister to “suffer psychiatric damage and/or nervous shock over and above the reasonable effects of grief,” states the suit.

The suit seeks special damages for the loss of Kanina and the life she may have had.

Through Valiquette, Kanina’s parents, who live in Poplar Hill First Nation, a fly-in community, shared details of her life.

Kanina spoke Ojibwe well, was happy and liked being at home, and was always good about cleaning up her room and the whole house.

“When she wanted to go out with her friends at night and we wouldn’t let her, she would make a deal with us, she would cook the family a nice meal for a chance to go out,” Clarence Suggashie said in an email shared by the family’s lawyer. “Then she’d make us Kraft Dinner, and she would come home on time.”

Kanina, her sister and her mother spent time together over a few days in Sioux Lookout in October, the month she killed herself. “We went shopping, walked around, talked and had fun,” her mother Barbara said, also by email. “She was happy to see us but she wanted to come home. That’s the last time I saw her.”

The coroner’s expert panel report urges an overhaul of Ontario’s child protection system. Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod has promised to move quickly, and said last week that “the buck stops with me and I will take action.”

If you are considering suicide, there is help. Find a list of local crisis centres at the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Or call 911 or in Ontario call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.

Jim Rankin is a reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @Jleerankin

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