Kingston poetry, arts festival cancelled due to alleged incident of vandalism – Kingston

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The first of many festivals in 2019 at McBurney Park in Kingston was slated for the second weekend of February.

The Skeleton Park Arts Festival attracts poets from around the area for a day filled with written and read pottery and skating on the outdoor rink. This year, a poem written by a local grade 11 student, Olivia Ows, was chosen to be the centrepiece of the festivities. The boards for the rink were created with the teenager’s poem printed on each one that surrounded the ice.

Two days before the festival kicked off, though, the boards were found destroyed.

“I was walking with my son through the park and I was shocked [by] what I saw,” said Greg Tilson, artistic director for the Skeleton Park Arts Festival.

“Olivia’s rink boards were torn apart, and after speaking with the organizers, we decided to cancel the event.”

Greg Tilson

In an attempt to remain positive about the situation, Ows told Global News that she is trying to look at this incident with a glass-half-full approach.

“When my poem was selected for the project, I was elated, and when I seen the finished rink with my poem ‘Sunrise on Ice’ built into the boards, I was speechless,” said Ows, who feels that this act has wasted people’s time and money.


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The poetry festival was intended to showcase local talent, with Ows’ work being honoured along with previous winners.

Greg Tilson

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Ows’ piece was a response to last year’s winning poem, “Night skaters, Skeleton Park,” by Steven Heighton. Ows says Heighton’s piece inspired her to build on his poem, which was about outdoor hockey during the daytime hours, by focusing on what takes place on the ice during the night hours when the park is calm.


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According to Tilson, the celebration is being put on hold for the next few weeks until the premiere of the Kingston poetry documentary, Who is Bruce Kauffman?,  where the organizers will honour Ows ahead of the screening.

WATCH: Poetry author Ari Todd visits The Morning Show






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

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‘Historic Hockey Series’: History on ice in Kingston – Kingston

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There was a time when the “hockey net” was literally wooden posts frozen in the ice and referees used bells to stop play.

The annual “Historic Hockey Series” was the premier event at Feb Fest Saturday, at Market Square in Kingston.

“Let the 51st annual series begin,” yells town crier Chris Whyman, ringing his bell.

It is an annual tradition, a re-enactment of the first organized games on the Kingston harbour in the 1800s.

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“The significance is we are trying to pay tribute to the early origins of the game,” says Mark Potter, president of the Original Hockey Hall of Fame.

The first game was between Queen’s University and the Royal Military College in 1886.


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Today at Market Square, players obey the rules of the game from 133 years ago.

“Probably the biggest change from then to now is the fact that in the 1800s there was no forward passing. So it is quite much like rugby. It’s lateral passing. Passing from behind”, says Potter.

“You cannot move the puck up the ice and pass to a teammate. So it makes the game completely different. As a result, the games are quite low scoring.”

The re-enactment is a brief glimpse into how hockey got started. And how the frozen game has evolved: a history lesson on ice.

“We are really trying to show, especially to younger people today,  where the game began. What a contrast,” says Potter.

The original puck used on March 10, 1886, was square, made from a cut-down lacrosse ball. Pucks back then were often made of wood or rubber.

Long-time hockey fans had a chance to see and meet Maple Leafs legend Bobby Baun, who was there to sign autographs.

Al Smith was there adding another signature to his very dingy Maple Leafs jersey. He has collected over 120 other signatures over the years from NHL players.

“I can’t wash it. One guy asked last week ‘What do you do, change the oil with it?” Smith says laughing.


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Also, a part of the event was recognizing the contribution women have made to the game.

In particular the Red Barons, the ground-breaking women’s hockey team formed in 1969. They won numerous tournaments and championships in Ontario and Quebec in the 1970s.

“The main message could be: if Kingston was not the birthplace of hockey, the game evolved and grew up here,” says Potter, “and that is the primary thing that we are trying to show people.”

And finally, a fun fact: the first and only goal scored in the 1886 game was scored by Queen’s University’s Lennox Irving.

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

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Kingston mayor turns to city’s brightest young minds as part of innovation challenge – Kingston

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Kingston’s mayor turned to some of the city’s brightest minds on Friday to come up with innovative ideas for improving the city.

Teams of post-secondary students pitched their concepts, addressing topics that ranged from long-term care to reducing carbon emissions.

The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge is a partnership between the city and its three major post-secondary institutions: Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College and the Royal Military College.

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The competition calls on students to come up with innovative proposals that address identified challenges facing the City of Kingston.

“This is really a picture of how we harness the incredible talents we have in our post-secondary institutions and how we can tap into that in our community,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson.


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Teams of three students were asked to focus on four challenges during the one-day event. Nine teams made presentations on topics such as how to leverage emerging technologies to create a smart city, engaging residents who deal with social isolation and loneliness in long-term care, revitalizing public spaces and reducing carbon emissions.

One group of Queen’s University students — Zoe Mitz, Jesse Mastrangelo and Andrew Farley — pitched and hope to develop an app specifically targeted at seniors dealing with social isolation.

“They can learn about each other, see names and faces and relate them to each other and plan activities, make new friends and connections and actually get out of their rooms and be social,” explained Mitz.

If the group were to win, these young entrepreneurs would engage the help of seniors to make the app user-friendly for its target audience.

“The reason tech, for a long time, hasn’t been the most usable for seniors is the fact that things are not made for them,” said Mastrangelo.

“The fact that we are going to start from scratch, from the ground up and bring seniors onto our team and build it with them, that’s the big differentiating factor for us.”


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Two teams will be chosen as winners of the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge. Winners of the competition will receive a paid four-month internship as well as a grant of seed capital for their ideas.

“Ultimately, how do we retain talent? We talk a lot about how do we find jobs and opportunities for young people here so this is exactly the forum where we could be creating new businesses and new startups and new ideas we can run with as a city,” said Paterson.

Based on the ideas presented, the mayor says it won’t be easy to select the winners.

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

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Kingston couple sift through red tape in search of family doctor – Kingston

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Kingston’s Griete Wemekamp, 67, and her husband Bernd Rummel, 72, are on the hunt for a new primary health-care provider.

“It’s really scary and this in a province, in a country — that prides itself on its medicare system. It’s clearly broken.”

On Friday, Jan. 25, the couple received a letter stating their family physician was leaving Meadowbrook Family Medicine in Kingston at the end of April.

“A doctor, obviously a young doctor in particular, has the right to pursue their career, and to do different things — like the rest of us,” said Wemekamp. “However, I think there is a professional responsibility on the part of doctor and clinic in which they work, working together, to ensure that patients are not left holding the bag.”


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Rummel has several chronic medical conditions that require constant monitoring from a physician and they are bracing for a gap in care.

“There was no indication that there would be a transitional arrangement at the Meadowbrook clinic,” Wemekamp said. “Instead, we were told to go and find another doctor as soon as possible, and to also call this Health Care Connect line.”

Health Care Connect is a government agency meant to assist Ontario residents in finding a family doctor.

In order for Wemekamp and her husband to get onto the waitlist, though, the couple would first have to ‘de-register’ with their current doctor. To do that the couple were directed to call Service Ontario and confirmation on being de-registered could take up to 10 days and will arrive by mail.

“Now that I find very strange,” Wemekamp said. “It’s 2019. Ontario doesn’t have a computer system that allows input from one person to be seen by another person for 10 days? I don’t understand that part of it. In any case, we sit here waiting.”


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A spokesperson for Meadowbrook Family Medicine told Global News they are in desperate search to find a new physician and said that the current payment model — fee for service — is not helping to attract and retain young doctors.

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

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Adults learn to ice skate at Kingston’s Market Square – Kingston

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The skating rink at Market Square in Kingston was blocked off Sunday morning for adults who were learning to skate.

Sarah Wurtele was among those lacing up her skates as she prepared herself to step on the ice after 22 years.

“I stopped skating when I was 10, and this is my first time skating since then,” Wurtele told Global News.

When she first got on the ice, “it was dread,” Wurtele said. “I thought I was going to fall but I haven’t fallen yet.”

This is a feeling many adults shared at the second annual adult skating class, which was part of Kingston’s Feb Fest.


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“I think it’s great that they have it for adults because a lot of programs are geared towards kids, but there’s not that many for adults, and we feel embarrassed,” said Wurtele. “We feel self-conscious trying to learn how to skate, especially around young kids.”

Veteran skating instructor Lynn Grivich was teaching adults to skate at the event.

“We’re getting a great response,” Grivich said. “There’s a lot of newcomers to Kingston that have perhaps never skated before.”

The event brought about 25 adults to Market Square, half of whom were, like Wurtele, starting from scratch.

Grivich says she finds “a lot of satisfaction seeing just how nervous and stiff they are when they initially come on to the ice and then gradually start relaxing.”


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Global News asked Grivich to provide some pointers for new skaters.

She says the most common mistake people make is that they push the blade forward instead of pushing from the side.

“You’re pushing and bending from side to side,” said Grivich.

She also adds that the most important tip of all is to relax, something that sounds simple but is usually the hardest for those new to the ice.

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

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What we know and don’t know about the alleged Kingston terrorist plot

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The city of Kingston, Ont., is still reeling after a young person was charged with terrorism-related offences following thousands of hours of investigation by multiple police agencies and raids on two homes. 

Here is what we know (and much of what we don’t) about the case.

What is the young person actually charged with?

Police have laid two charges against the young person, who is accused of knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and counselling another person to « deliver, place, discharge or detonate an explosive or other lethal device … against a place of public use with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury. »

« It’s interesting to me what they didn’t charge [the youth] with, » Leah West, who practices national security law and previously worked in the Justice Department’s national security litigation and advisory group, told CBC Radio’s The House.

« They didn’t charge him with S. 83.2, which requires affiliation with a terrorist group to be proven. Because there’s no reference to a terrorist group, that could tell me that perhaps they don’t think he’s associated with a group like ISIS, or they believe he may be self-radicalized or self-inspired. »

What did the alleged plot entail?

​During a press conference Friday, the RCMP said it received a « credible » tip from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in late December 2018 that there were individuals in Kingston planning a terrorist attack, which led to the police raids at two homes in the area Thursday.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CBC News the alleged terrorist activity involved a plan to use an explosive device, but a specific target hadn’t been chosen yet.

Watch: security experts discuss Kingston investigation

Former CSIS senior strategic analyst Jessica Davis and former RCMP deputy commissioner Pierre-Yves Bourduas joined Power & Politics to discuss the latest developments in the terrorism investigation in Kingston, Ontario. 9:28

The source said the person or people involved had the intent, began acquiring the potential to create an improvised explosive device and formulated a plan, but the arrests came before a target had been chosen, the source said.

« There was no specific target identified but there was an attack planned, » RCMP Superintendent Peter Lambertucci told reporters.

After the arrests, the RCMP found « elements » and « trace elements » of homemade improvised explosive devices in an unspecified residence. The explosive substance was later neutralized, Lambertucci said.

What do we know about the suspect?

The identity of the accused has been withheld by police as the person is a minor and protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Because of that publication ban, little can be reported on about who the suspect is. Details about their family, which could reveal the identity of the subject, are also protected.

The person will be back in court on Monday.

A second individual, an adult male CBC News has identified as Hussam Eddin Alzahabi, was also arrested Thursday but has not been charged.

Police officers carry evidence from one of the homes in Kingston, Ont., that were raided. Two people were arrested and a minor has been charged with a terror-related offence. (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

Police described the relationship between Hussam Eddin Alzahabi and the person charged as an « informal friendship. »

Hussam’s lawyer, Mohamed El Rashidy, told CBC News that his client maintains his innocence and will continue to co-operate with the security services as the investigation unfolds. 

« He’s exercising his legal rights and he cares about Canada’s safety as much as the next person, » said El Rashidy. « He’s here studying, he’s doing everything that he can to be a contributing member to society and there is no reason to malign him or treat him differently than anybody else. »

Could there be more charges?

Former CSIS senior strategic analyst Jessica Davis said she wouldn’t be surprised if more charges were laid against other individuals as the investigation continues.

« What we know about terrorism in Canada is that individuals rarely act alone, » she told CBC’s Power & Politics. 

« They generally have people who they’re getting materials or financial support from or encouragement. » 

What was the motivation?

Despite repeated questions during Friday’s news conference, police would not comment on the ideological motivations of the people apprehended or say if they had any ties to foreign elements.

Davis said in order to lay the terrorism charge, officials would have had to have had a clear ideological link, so police are likely remaining silent because it relates to an ongoing investigation. 

« The individual would have had to been motivated by political, religious ideological considerations so they know what that is, » she said. 

« Whatever the motive is could tip off other individuals. »

Some of those details could come out when the case heads to trial and the Crown has to argue its case.

Was Kingston ever at risk?

While police believe an attack was considered imminent, officials maintain there was no credible threat to the people of Kingston.

RCMP officer Peter Lambertucci speaks to reporters in Kingston on Jan. 25, 2019. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

« I want to reassure the citizens of the greater Kingston, Ont., area and all Canadians that during the investigation, our primary focus was the safety and protection of the public, » said Michael LeSage, a chief superintendent with the RCMP’s « O » Division.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the operation has not changed the country’s threat level. It remains at « medium, » where it has hovered since late 2014.

« The number one sentiment that I’ve been hearing is that people are reassured. They feel that law enforcement has done a good job and are on top of the situation, » added Mayor Bryan Paterson.

Why is FINTRAC involved?

The RCMP said they were supported by both Kingston police and FBI officers with support from the Ontario Provincial Police, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

That last agency stood out to some national security watchers.

As Canada’s financial intelligence wing, FINTRAC’s job is to detect, prevent and try to stop money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

It’s unclear at this time what role they played.

« The only reason that drew it to my mind would be if they were transferring money to an area that was flagged or receiving money that was flagged from an area that was of concern to FINTRAC or the banks, » said West.

West also pointed to CBSA’s shout-out in this probe as interesting, but it’s unclear what role they played.

Again, more details about the scope of the investigation are likely to trickle out in court as both sides build their arguments. 

Leah West discusses what the details of the investigation reveal. 9:43

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Kingston man says terror arrests over alleged bomb plot are ‘just allegations’

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KINGSTON—Hussam Alzahabi said he was at work near his home Thursday when suddenly police swarmed around him, yelling, and telling him that he was under arrest.

The 20-year-old says he was handcuffed and taken to the Kingston police station on Division Street, where he was held overnight in a cell.

At the same time, a teenager, whose gender was not released by police — Alzahabi said he was male — was charged with knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity; and counselling a person to deliver, place, discharge or detonate an explosive with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury. He cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Asked how he knew the minor who’s been charged, Alzahabi said he is “just a friend” and a former classmate.

“There was some accusation that I work for some terrorist group,” he said, sitting on a brown sofa in his family’s living room after his release from custody Friday afternoon. He looked tired. His father, Amin, sat on a flowered couch across from him and said he wanted his son to talk, so the public would know what happened and hear his perspective.

Investigators have not identified a specific target for the alleged plot and no bomb was ever planted, Lambertucci said.

But one individual was “believed to be building a homemade improvised explosive device,” said RCMP Cpl. Caroline Duval.

Labertucci said investigators confirmed that fact during a search of the teenager’s home, adding a potentially explosive substance was removed from the home and blown up Friday morning by the Kingston bomb squad.

“There were elements and trace elements, but I’m not prepared to speak on that with regard to the ongoing investigation,” Lambertucci said.

On Friday night, back home with his family, Alzahabi said he met the youth at school.

He said he was communicating with him, but said they didn’t do anything wrong, calling the arrests “just a misunderstanding” and “just accusations.”

Asked if the minor spoke about bombs, Alzahabi said he “talked a lot about that.” But Alzahabi said he never took him seriously and told him it was a bad idea to talk about things like that.

Now, back at his family’s home on a quiet residential Kingston street, he’s “worried about what will happen in the future.”

“Not for me, but for the whole Syrian people, because they will be affected,” he said.

The police still have his phone and laptops and are still investigating him, he added.

The family came to Canada about two years ago after fleeing war-torn Damascus for Kuwait. Their home in Syria has been destroyed. The father was once imprisoned for not joining the ruling political party and would be vulnerable to arrest and severe retaliation should he and the family return home, according to one of the churches that sponsored the refugee family.

They’ve been in Kingston for about one-and-a-half years, Alzahabi said.

Alzahabi said the police at the division treated him well, and gave him a sweater because he was cold.

Without laying charges, RCMP were required to release Alzahabi 24 hours after arrest, police said.

As Alzahabi described his last 24 hours, his father, Amin, looked on protectively. After Alzahabi went to bed, his father was eager to speak more about how he says his family was treated by officers who came to their home.

With the help of his younger son to translate, he expressed his outrage at how he says they stormed into his home and terrified his family.

He said he was shaken by the way officers, who he said were not wearing uniforms, rushed into his house with their guns and saw his wife without her hijab and stepped on the prayer mats, both of which, he said, are very upsetting to people of Muslim faith.

The RCMP said they started their investigation as soon as they received the tip from the FBI. Over the last few weeks, Kingston residents had started complaining over social media about the sounds of a low-flying plane, buzzing over their homes at night.

At the Friday news conference, Lambertucci confirmed the plane was part of the investigation and identified it as a Pilatus PC-12 turboprop operated by the RCMP.

Bronek Korczynski, who co-chaired the church committee behind the sponsorship, said he and other members of the four churches that brought the family to Canada were shocked by news of Hussam Alzahabi’s arrest.

“Even though our sponsorship ended last July, many of us in the group have maintained relationships with the family — meaningful relationships — and this is just a real body blow,” he said. “We’re just gobsmacked by this. It’s so out of whack with the family we’ve come to know and care for.”

Korczynski said he’d been at a meeting with Kingston police and RCMP on Friday morning, alongside other community leaders. Officers wanted to ensure the leaders had the answers they needed, and were able to continue providing services to the family and the broader community.

“It was very much an opportunity to say, ‘What can the community do to make sure that this doesn’t become an incident that unjustifiably targets any ethnic group, national group, religious group?’ ” he said.

He added that Alzahabi has both a younger and an older sibling, both of whom are dedicated to their education.

No other countries were involved in the alleged plot, and the FBI did not tell the RCMP about any U.S. connection, Lambertucci said.

Diane Smith-Merrill, who lives across the street from one of the Kingston homes raided Thursday, told the Star she heard sounds of a small explosion nearby early Friday morning.

“I shot right up out of bed,” she said.

Christian Matte, a Queen’s University student, was sitting inside the house across the street with his roommate Thursday when “we saw lights come on and there was already like 30 cops on the street, they all got out of their cars.”

Matte said the raid happened around 4 p.m. and there was “a plane flying over at night for the last few days.”

“It’s usually pretty quiet around here,” Matte said.

The FBI, Kingston police, OPP, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada all took part. The RCMP said as many as 300 people were involved in the investigation.

Asked if this was a “lone wolf” plot or if the accused had ties to a larger group, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale refused to delve into the details of the case.

“At this stage, the investigation is just beginning. As of this morning one set of charges were laid,” Goodale told reporters in Edmonton.

“The process is just too early to speculate,” Goodale added. “But police and security agencies are very clear that the situation has been neutralized, and (is) under control, and Canadians can be confident in Kingston and elsewhere across the country that they are indeed safe and secure.”

There has been no change to Canada’s threat level, Goodale said in an emailed statement to the Star on Thursday.

Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said the incident underscores the “critical importance” of having strong anti-terrorism laws and appropriate penalties for those found guilty of breaking them.

“It is also clear that Canada’s refugee-screening process needs to be seriously examined,” Scheer said. “We’ve recently learned of several examples of dangerous individuals entering the country, due, in part, to lax screening procedures.”

A senior national-security policing veteran warned against jumping to conclusions.

“We live in a fear-based society, that’s for sure. It’s partially a media construct and partially police and senior bureaucrats and politicians trying to get everyone afraid of ‘The Other.’

“Yes, there are some bad people out there,” said the officer. “I’m more concerned about some guy going crazy just because his girlfriend hurt his feelings than I am about some Syrian refugee kicking off.

“The world is changing and everyone’s afraid, but I just don’t think it should be the priority that it is.”

With files from The Canadian Press, Alex Boutilier, Alex Ballingall and Stephanie Marotta, Jacques Gallant, Mitch Potter and Moira Welsh

May Warren is a Toronto Star reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @maywarren11

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Community leaders work to head off anti-Muslim backlash after Kingston terror arrests

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Islamic community groups, mental health workers and police officers met today to calm fears and discuss ways to prevent an anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant backlash in the wake of two arrests related to an alleged terrorist plot in Kingston, Ont.

Community leaders say they’re worried about the broader community implications after the RCMP’s national security team charged one youth with two terrorism-related offences and arrested an adult male named Hussam Eddin Alzahabi in connection with an alleged plan to detonate explosives at an undisclosed location.

Alzahabi’s family, originally from Syria, came to Canada in 2017 through a private refugee sponsorship program after living in Kuwait for 10 years.

Bronek Korczynski, who led the family’s sponsorship through Our Lady of Lourdes church, said the community groups that met today will attempt to head off rumours and spread the message that the alleged offences have nothing to do with Islam.

« This is not about casting aspersions on any faith community, on any identifiable ethnic or racial group. This is about an individual or individuals who have been involved in something that was brought to the attention of police, » he told CBC News.

Noting the arrests come near the anniversary of a deadly 2017 mass shooting at a Quebec mosque, Korczynski said police promised they would exercise increased vigilance against a potential backlash. Six Muslim men were shot to death by a lone gunman who walked into a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29, 2017.

Addressing immigration concerns

Korczynski said he also fears the arrests and publicity surrounding the alleged terrorism case could spark unnecessary concerns about immigration.

« This certainly doesn’t suggest in any way, shape or form that Canadians shouldn’t remain open to support newcomers, whether they’re immigrants or refugees, » he said.

The backlash fears come as the political debate over immigration heats up again.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who has accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of maintaining lax control over the border and immigration system, attempted to assign some blame for the developments to the Liberal government. 

Scheer points finger at Trudeau

« It is also clear that Canada’s refugee screening process needs to be seriously examined, » he said in a statement. « We’ve recently learned of several examples of dangerous individuals entering the country due in part to lax screening procedures. »

Scheer pointed to a 2017 audit of the Canada Border Services Agency which found that potential security threats may not have been identified due to lax screening.

« This is completely unacceptable and must be immediately remedied, » he said. « Conservatives will continue fighting against Justin Trudeau’s attempts to weaken Canada’s national security laws and implement real policies to ensure that Canada’s streets and communities are safe. »

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale dismisses Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s comments on refugee screening in wake of arrests, says police should be left alone to conduct investigation free of speculation 0:43

Last night’s arrests came just hours after Trudeau warned Canadians to expect « fearmongering » over immigration in the run-up to the fall election.

At a town hall meeting in northern New Brunswick, a young Syrian refugee thanked Trudeau for allowing her family to come to Canada, drawing applause from the crowd.

Trudeau said in an era of rising intolerance and misinformation about migrants, Canadians have a responsibility to engage in « a positive and a thoughtful way. »

According to a bulletin posted to the website of a Kingston-area Catholic church detailing the journey of the Alzahabi family, the family’s sponsorship application was approved in the spring of 2016, but the family was still awaiting its final security and health checks that fall due to the « overwhelming number of applicants. »

At the time, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was working to bring more than 50,000 Syrian refugees to Canada through government and private sponsorships.

Community supports for family

According to the bulletin, five committees were working diligently to prepare to welcome the family and had raised more than $30,000 to assist their resettlement.

A storage room was rented to hold donated furniture and supplies, and an extensive support binder in Arabic and English was assembled to ensure a smooth transition.

The Anglican Diocese of Ontario and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston, which support refugee sponsorship and resettlement programs, issued a statement after learning through the media that one of the individuals arrested was a member of a sponsored family.

« As the investigation evolves, we support the work of law enforcement. Our concerns, thoughts and prayers are for the Kingston and surrounding area, the faith communities involved, the family and all those affected by this unfortunate situation, » the statement says.

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RCMP charges Kingston youth with terrorism-related offences over alleged bomb plot

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The RCMP announced Friday morning they have charged a youth with terrorism offences, alleging the minor attempted to get someone to conduct a bombing.

The charges follow a pair of arrests in Kingston on Thursday.

Police officers carry evidence after raiding a house in Kingston ON Thursday.
Police officers carry evidence after raiding a house in Kingston ON Thursday.  (Lars Hagberg / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The youth, whose gender was not released, has been charged with knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity; and counselling a person to deliver, place, discharge or detonate an explosive or other lethal device against a place of public use with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury.

The minor can’t be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The RCMP said a second person, an adult man, has also been arrested but has not been charged.

Both were arrested as part of a national security investigation, Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale confirmed Thursday.

Police are expected to update the public at a news conference in Kingston at 1 p.m.

The FBI, Kingston Police, OPP, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada all took part in the investigation.

“I want to reassure the citizens of the greater Kingston, Ontario area and all Canadians, that during the investigation, our primary focus was the safety and protection of the public,” RCMP Chief Superintendent Michael LeSage, said in a news release.

“I would also like to highlight the efforts of our (Integrated National Security Enforcement Team) here in Ontario which worked diligently to obtain the evidence required for these charges. Investigations of this nature are complex and require significant time and resources to come to a successful conclusion, while ensuring public safety at all times.”

There has been no change to Canada’s threat level, Goodale said in an emailed statement to the Star on Thursday.

“Taking all relevant information into account, the official threat level for Canada remains at ‘medium,’ where it has stood since the fall of 2014,” Goodale said.

One woman, who said she witnessed the RCMP activity across the street from her residence, said she didn’t hear any police sirens.

“I think they went in and made the arrest quickly,” said the woman, who did not want to give her name. “They had a dog too. It looked like a German Shepherd. I saw it come out of the house.”

She said the residence police targeted is a semi-detached house.

MORE LATER

Patrick Ho is a rewrite editor working on the Star’s digital desk in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @patrick_ho_007

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For weeks, Kingston residents watched a ‘mystery plane’ flying at night. It was RCMP, sources say

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For weeks, Kingston residents noticed a “mystery plane” flying around over their homes — but no one could quite figure out what it was up to.

There had been hundreds of plane sightings since Jan. 4, and there were a few guesses as to what it could be.

The plane was flying around at night; one aviation enthusiast in the city heard a buzz over his home that lasted for about a week.

WATCH: Jan. 23 — Kingston mystery plane solved?






Royal Military College Prof. Christian Leuprecht surmised that the plane belonged to a “government entity.” Plane tracker Neil Aird suggested it was an RCMP plane, based on a flight path.

The RCMP at the time only offered a statement saying its “primary concern is the safety and security of Canadians. We have multiple aircraft that support our mandate in Ontario and elsewhere in the country. To maintain the integrity of our investigations and operations, the location of our aircraft is not disclosed.”

On Thursday, Kingstonians received some clarity as to the plane’s origin. It was related to two raids executed in the city that resulted in the arrests of two people linked to a national security investigation, sources told Global News.

READ MORE: Kingston’s mystery plane likely belongs to ‘government entity,’ say local experts

The raids happened at two homes: one on Kingsdale Avenue, the other at 430 MacDonnell Street.

One of the two people arrested was a minor, sources said.

Speaking to Global News Radio’s Charles Adler on Thursday, Leuprecht, an expert in defence and security, said he was not sure this operation was “run in an optimal fashion for a national security investigation.”

“When the RCMP is flying a plane here on a regular basis at night, it’s a good tip that something may be up,” he said.

READ MORE: 2 arrested in Kingston raids related to major national security probe

The plane, Leuprecht said, had been “raising eyebrows” within Kingston for weeks “because it seems to show up in the middle of the night, usually after midnight, then it circles for several hours on end, so it didn’t seem to be moving particularly far.

“And if you’re familiar with the ways plane traffic works, there was concern this could pose a security issue.”

Leuprecht was also puzzled as to why they used this particular plane “if two high-altitude planes they could have used, that do not make the amount of noise that this particular plane does.”

This particular plane was brought in from Montreal “for this particular purpose,” he said.

Flight plan

Since 9/11, Leuprecht said, there isn’t much that happens in the sky that authorities aren’t aware of.

Any plane flying at this one’s height — estimated at 6,000 feet — would have had to file a flight plan with Transport Canada, he said.

“Nobody just flying a private plane would be able to get permission from Transport Canada to fly their plane with no lights on in the middle of the night, in relatively close proximity to our own little airport here, if this wasn’t a government priority,” Leuprecht said.

“I think people had already drawn the inference that there was government, and likely law enforcement, involvement and investigation under way.”

In a statement on Thursday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale didn’t provide further details on the investigation.

“The Government of Canada has no greater responsibility than to keep its citizens safe,” he said.

“Earlier today, the RCMP and other police partners took action in Kingston, Ont., based on credible information, to ensure public safety. Any comments on operational details will be made at the appropriate time by the RCMP.”

  • With files from Mercedes Stephenson, Alexandra Mazur and Jessica Vomiero

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

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