3 crew members killed in CP train derailment near Field, B.C.


Three Canadian Pacific Railway crew members were killed early Monday in a train derailment east of Field, B.C.

The westbound freight train went off the tracks at about 1 a.m. MT, CP said in a release. The fatally injured crew members were on board the train at the time. 

A union representative said the train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary.

Greg Edwards with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) said the workers had just taken over the train when it happened. 

The freight train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary. (CBC)

He says two of them were found near the locomotive, which landed in the Kicking Horse River, and the other was still inside.

The three victims are believed to be a locomotive engineer, a conductor, and a conductor trainee based out of Calgary.

British Columbia’s Environment Ministry confirmed between 30 and 40 grain cars went off the tracks and there was no immediate word of fuel or other contaminants entering the water. 

CP said there was no threat to public safety and there were no dangerous goods involved.

« Our condolences and prayers go out to their families, friends and colleagues, » the Calgary-based company said.

« A full investigation will take place to determine the cause of this incident. »

Previous derailment, same area

Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigators were headed to the site of the incident on Monday morning, the agency said in a release.

Eric Collard, a TSB spokesperson, said the site is remote, with access only possible by rail. « So you can’t get to it by road. »

The safety board has not yet released any further information.

« Our hearts and our deepest condolences go out to the victims’ loved ones and co-workers, » François Laporte, president of Teamsters Canada, said in a release. « Our union and its 125,000 members stand with them in mourning, »

Field is about 80 kilometres west of Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway.

The train derailed near the mountainous border with Alberta. (CBC)

Sixteen cars of a CP train derailed on Jan. 3 in the same area, which is near the Upper Spiral Tunnels, close to Cathedral Mountain, between Field and Lake Louise, Alta.

No one was hurt in that derailment.

Teamsters Canada says eight railway workers have died in accidents in Canada since November 2017.

« Today, our focus is on this accident as well as the victims’ friends and families. But moving forward, the government and the rail industry will have to recognize that something is wrong and change is needed. Eight workplace fatalities in a little over a year is not something that should be expected or accepted, » Lyndon Isaak, president of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), said in a release.


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Pride Toronto members won’t allow uniformed police to march in the parade


Members of Pride Toronto have voted against allowing the city’s uniformed police officers from participating in this year’s parade.

The vote comes about three months after the organization lifted a ban on uniformed officers taking part in the annual event, saying the force was welcome to apply to be a part of this summer’s festivities.

WATCH: Oct. 16, 2018 — Toronto police invited back to Pride

But the decision to keep them out was made by a margin of 163-161 on Tuesday night.

The relationship between Pride Toronto and city police has been tense for the past two years.

READ MORE: Toronto police allowed to take part in 2019 Pride parade, organizers say

Uniformed officers were first banned from the parade in 2017 over concerns of racial profiling, and again in 2018 over criticism the force had not taken the disappearances of several men missing from the city’s gay village seriously.

In a statement Tuesday, Toronto police say they “remain committed to maintaining a dialogue with Pride Toronto as well as the larger LGBTQS community to deliver policing services that are inclusive and responsive to the needs of the community regardless of the outcome of one particular vote or event.”


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Military says it’s aware of 30 members who hold ‘discriminatory’ views


OTTAWA—Canada’s military is “aware” of some 30 personnel known to be part of hate groups or who hold “discriminatory” views, the Star has learned.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff, said the number of people who harbour such beliefs is likely higher but insists it is still a fraction of the 95,000 personnel in uniform.

“On average we detect about five instances a year where somebody expresses an opinion or does an act that would, on a range of extremist behaviour, trip our ethics wire,” said Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of defence staff for the Canadian Armed Forces.
“On average we detect about five instances a year where somebody expresses an opinion or does an act that would, on a range of extremist behaviour, trip our ethics wire,” said Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of defence staff for the Canadian Armed Forces.  (Matthew Usherwood / iPolitics File Photo)

“The numbers are very small. We do investigate and track. We have a fairly good system to do that,” Vance told the Star in a year-end interview.

Faced with questions about potential right-wing extremists in its ranks, the military police criminal intelligence section did an assessment last fall to better understand the scale of the problem.

That review found that between 2013 and 2018, about 55 members of the military were part of hate groups or had made statements and taken actions that “could be viewed as discriminatory.”

Thirty are still in the military. Vance said that estimate is probably low but adds, “that’s what we can see.”

“If one keeps it completely secret and it doesn’t have an impact on your workplace … we’re not going to detect it,” he said.

“But there are many who, outside of working hours, they get themselves on social media and they can be found out that way,” he said.

“On average we detect about five instances a year where somebody expresses an opinion or does an act that would, on a range of extremist behaviour, trip our ethics wire,” Vance said.

Vance first spoke with the Star on the issue in October, when he acknowledged that while people with such views aren’t welcome in the Armed Forces, some still get past pre-recruitment screening and are able to enlist.

In recent years, several high-profile incidents of military personnel associated with far-right groups have forced the Canadian Armed Forces to confront the problem. In the most prominent of the cases, five Canadian Forces members — each of them members of the “Proud Boys” movement who proclaim their “Western chauvinism” — disrupted an Indigenous protest in Halifax.

An investigation last year by Radio-Canada found about 75 Armed Forces members were part of a private Facebook group associated with anti-immigration and anti-Islam views.

But Vance again stressed that “good militaries aren’t racist.” Once detected, the Armed Forces is faced with the question of what action it should take against personnel found to have acted inappropriately. Vance admits that many advocate a “heavy-handed” approach to drum offenders out of uniform.

“You have to remember that we are also an employer that follows due process. So opportunities for rehabilitation are important. We also have all sorts of administrative measures from counselling to probation that are intended to allow some to recover,” he said.

The Queen’s Regulations and Orders sets out expectations for those in uniform. In the section on personal conduct, it makes clear that officers and non-commissioned members are barred from saying or doing anything in public that “might reflect discredit on the Canadian Forces or on any of its members.”

A navy commander is apologizing to Indigenous people after video emerged showing Canadian Forces members disrupting a Mi’kmaq ceremony in Halifax. Rear Admiral John Newton says the navy is taking the Canada Day incident “very seriously.” (The Canadian Press)

Vance was careful to make the distinction around any acts that could be considered criminal. “If it’s criminal, we would take action instantly.” But he said education has proven effective in countering such views and that some of those already identified have been counselled.

“I think sometimes people just don’t know what is really crossing the line,” he said.

Vance stressed that the small number doesn’t diminish his concern for the problem and its potential impact on the military.

“It’s a huge concern for us for a variety of reasons but the reputation of the Armed Forces as a symbol of what the country stands for is important. This country doesn’t stand for that extremist view. We don’t,” Vance said.

He said extremist views are corrosive and undermine the military’s “warrior ethos” that is designed to “ensure cohesiveness and morale in combat.”

“We’re warriors. We’re designed to work in teams where everyone around you you can trust. That’s a warrior ethos that I hold dearly and most people in Armed Forces do,” he said.

“We have to reinforce that. It’s a very, very powerful thing,” he said.

Still, Vance said the issue has sparked discussions in defence headquarters about more “robust training” for new recruits to better instill values that will help stamp out not only what he called “dangerous” extremist views but sexual misconduct and harassment, another problem the military has been grappling with.

“We do it now. We may need to add some more to our training,” Vance said.

“As we bring in people to the Armed Forces, I’m actively considering right now for the future perhaps a more robust beginning period, that before we teach you the military arts and virtues, we need to have a period of baseline acceptable behaviour, not just from the perspective of the Armed Forces, but just acceptable behaviour,” he said.

With files from Alex Boutilier

Bruce Campion-Smith is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @yowflier


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As government prepares response to calls to bring ISIS members to justice, some walk free – National


On Facebook, the Pakistani-Canadian described himself in a recent post as a “Mujahid residing in Dar al Kufr” — a jihadist fighter in the land of disbelief.

But more than two years after flying back to Toronto and telling reporters he had served in the brutal ISIS police in Syria, he has not been arrested.

“No kafir can touch me,” he said in a recent text message to a former friend, who shared it with Global News. Kafir is an Arabic term for nonbeliever.

The government was to respond Tuesday to a House of Commons motion that called for “a plan to immediately bring to justice anyone who has fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity.”

WATCH: A motion tabled by the Tories calling for a government strategy for returning ISIS members passes 280-1.

Although introduced by the Conservative opposition, the Liberals and NDP supported the Oct. 22 motion, which specifically urged action against those “who are in Canada or have Canadian citizenship.”

It’s unclear what the government will put forward to address an issue that set off fiery parliamentary debate: Several Canadians who have joined, or tried to join, ISIS and other jihadist groups have not been charged with terrorism.

According to terrorism researcher Prof. Amarnath Amarasingam, only four of the at least 19 Canadians he has identified as having returned from Syria and Iraq have been charged. Five others were subjected to terrorism peace bonds that have now expired.

At least a half-dozen Canadians allegedly affiliated with ISIS, meanwhile, have been captured by U.S.-backed forces in Syria and want to return to Canada, including women from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Another Canadian is being held in Turkey.

WATCH: Mike Armstrong looks at why Kurdish officials are worried about foreign fighters and what Canada is prepared to do about it

One of the captives, Muhammad Ali, told Global News in an exclusive interview he had been a member of an ISIS sniper unit. But neither he nor the others detained abroad face charges in Canada.

“Why are some people charged with terrorism-related offences while others are not?” asked an internal government document obtained by Global News under the Access to Information Act.

“Terrorism investigations are complex and resource intensive, and are some of the most challenging investigations the RCMP conducts,” the document disclosed by the RCMP continued.

“Often, they require evidence of an individual’s activity in foreign conflict zones, or rely on information provided by partners that we are not authorized to disclose in court. The RCMP also faces challenges in collecting digital evidence, including access to encrypted online communications.”

‘I just want to go back’: Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria speaks out

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service director, David Vigneault, said in a speech last week that few of the roughly 100 extremists who left Canada to fight in Syria and Iraq had returned.

“Despite the collapse of Daesh [ISIS] in Syria and Iraq, we have not seen a surge in foreign fighters attempting to return to Canada,” Vigneault told the Economic Club of Canada.

That is partly because so many have died. Almost two dozen have been killed in combat and airstrikes, including four ISIS fighters wanted by the RCMP, Amarasingam said.

Ten of the 19 identified by Amarasingam as having returned never actually made it to Syria or Iraq; they were turned back before crossing the border. Two of them, Pamir Hakimzadah and Rehab Dughmosh, are awaiting trial on terrorism charges.

Ahmad Waseem, an ISIS fighter from Windsor, Ont., with Mohamed El Shaer, who travelled with him to Syria but has since returned.

But jihadist fighter Ahmad Waseem was able to come home to Windsor, Ont., receive hospital treatment for a gunshot wound and then return to fight with ISIS until he was shot again, this time fatally.

The friend who signed his passport application and travelled with him to Syria, Mohammed El Shaer, was subjected to a terrorism peace bond upon returning to Windsor but was not charged with terrorism offences.

The lack of charges against some of those who have come back has meant they faced no legal consequences for having participated in terrorist groups responsible for horrendous atrocities.

It is also a potential security risk.

A photo on the Facebook page of the Pakistani-Canadian showed rows of shoes. “Other guy goals,” the caption read. Below it was a photo of a cache of military-style firearms. “My goals,” read the post by the man, who identified himself in his profile as “Abu Huzayfa.” He has since deleted the post.

A new-deleted post on the Facebook page of a Toronto-area man who says he was a member of the ISIS religious police.

The “right to enter” Canada is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights. “Therefore, even if a Canadian engaged in terrorist activity abroad, the government of Canada must facilitate their return to Canada,” said a briefing note prepared for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

The RCMP works with Canadian officials posted overseas to identify high-risk travellers, who may approach diplomatic posts for new passports. Their return is managed by a High-Risk Returnee Interdepartmental Taskforce and the RCMP’s National Security Joint Operation Centre.

“Once RCMP is made aware of a possible returnee, they exchange what information they have through the NSJOC and existing mechanisms and make an assessment of what risk they may pose,” the briefing note said.

“Following that, the Taskforce will meet to discuss as a community, what measures can be taken to control the return of the individual. There are standard operating procedures in place for this process, including what measures can be put in place to address returnees.”

“For instance, RCMP may use undercover officers to engage with the HRT to collect evidence, or to monitor them during their flight home. They could also be subjected to secondary customs screening and in some cases, or detention by police, when they reach Canada.”

‘I’m going to die here’: Wives of ISIS fighters want to return home to Canada

WATCH: ISIS fighters’ Canadian wives want to return home

Depending on the risk, police have several options: criminal charges; peace bonds to “mitigate the threat”; or having an “intervention team work with the returnee’s family to open up dialogue with the individual and to help support the returnee’s disengagement from their radical ideology and past behaviour.”

Professor Stephanie Carvin, a national security and terrorism expert at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, said the approach outlined in the documents was “good on paper.”

“But we do not really have a good idea of how it is working in practice. The government must respect privacy concerns, but we really don’t have any concrete data to say whether or not the RCMP’s approach is being implemented well.”


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


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‘Rise up, boys’: Humboldt football team in championship game after bus crash claims team members


A -20 degree windchill blasted the 45 teenage boys running drills on a snow-covered football field in Humboldt, Sask.

The undefeated Mohawks prepared for Saturday’s championship game knowing that a provincial title would be a storybook ending, a triumph in the wake of tragedy.

The players predicted their success months ago, when they dedicated the season to their football coach and two players killed or critically injured in the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus crash.

« We all held a piece of them in our hearts, and still do, » Mohawks head coach Cory Popoff said. 

« I think, we came together and said, ‘We’re going to play together and we’re going to go through the season together. We’re going to play for Tyler. We’re going to play for Brody. » 

Tyler Bieber, 29, was the Mohawks receivers coach for four years. He was on the Broncos’ bus as the junior hockey team’s play-by-play radio announcer. Former Mohawks player and equipment manager, Brody Hinz, 18, travelled with the hockey team as their statistician. Both were killed when the bus collided with a semi-trailer, leaving 16 dead and 13 injured, on April 6, 2018. 

Former quarterback Morgan Gobeil, 18, was a star athlete who also played with the junior hockey team. He remains in hospital recovering from a brain injury.

Tyler Bieber coached Mohawks quarterback Morgan Gobeil during the football season and interviewed him during the hockey season. (Melanie Gray)

« You gotta rise up, boys »

« I’ve learned to take nothing for granted, » Popoff said. « Everything we’ve been given, or earned, we value and we treasure and we thank people for it. It has changed me as a coach, it has changed our focus as a team. »

Popoff, who is also the principal at Humboldt Collegiate Institute, has been coaching for 20 years. He said he’s never seen a team band together quite like this one. The players would start practice early and stay late on their own to work on their conditioning.

The coaches emphasized the need to heal and take care of each other. Popoff said that translated to success on the field. 

Bieber’s favourite saying became a common refrain for the team. 

« You gotta rise up, boys. » 

A season of healing

Bieber’s mother Marilyn Hay attended the games and cheered her heart out, even as she wiped away tears.

Hay learned in the summer that some Mohawks players had gotten tattoos in honour of her son and invited them to her house. They shared stories, hugs and a promise to win the championship.

« I told them, ‘You have to win it for yourselves, too.’ But they were all hyped to win it for the boys, » said Hay. She now has her own tattoo of Bieber’s portrait and a microphone.

Some of Tyler Bieber’s former players have gotten tattoos in his honour. (Submitted by Marilyn Hay)

Despite her grief, Hay began to feel some football fever creep in. She and her other sons, Brandon and Brett, discovered that attending Mohawks games made them feel closer to Bieber. Hay can picture him pacing the sidelines in front of the players, clutching his play list, handing out high fives and pats on the back.

« I felt like I needed to be there. I felt like I needed that team to know part of Tyler was there, » Hay said. « I do truly feel him and Brody are looking from above and are with them. And I could feel Tyler with me. » 

Mohawks player Bray Berschiminsky shows Tyler Bieber’s mother an armband dedicated to his football coach, who was killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. (Submitted by Melanie Hay)

Her son’s love for the Mohawks started 15 years ago when he tried out for the team. The scrawny Grade 9 student realized he didn’t want to play on the field, but he did love the team and the game. The head coach, Shaun Gardiner, made him equipment manager and he travelled with the team for four years.

A decade later, when Bieber moved home to Humboldt, he joined the coaching staff alongside Gardiner. He would wake up at 5:30 a.m. for his morning radio gig at Bolt FM, grab an hour nap after work, then dash back out the door to coach basketball, football or flag football. He volunteered 22 hours a week on average.

« That’s what I’m missing. I want to see the jubilation in him, and all the excitement, » Hay said. « Tyler would be so pumped that [the Mohawks] went all this way. »

Focus on the moment

Brody Hinz, 18, never got a lot of playing time with the Mohawks but his commitment to the team was unrivalled. Head coach Cory Popoff says Hinz epitomizes what it means to be a Mohawk. (Melanie Gray)

Competing for a championship title in honour of those who died, in a community hungry for good news, could be a lot of pressure for a team of boys only 14 to 18 years old. Offensive coordinator Dave Rowe said he’s already told the boys that Saturday won’t be about the past.

It will be about the moment. 

« I feel like I don’t want to let those three fellas down, but I also have a pile of other kids that I don’t want to let down. I need to focus on my job, » Rowe said.

Bieber’s mother said the Mohawks have honoured their coach and former teammates, win or lose.

« I want them to know, they have [already] done it for the boys. They’ve gotten this far, and those boys would be damn proud of them. »

The Mohawks will host the Lumsden Devils in the provincial nine-man football final at Glen Hall Park in Humboldt on Saturday at 1 p.m. local time.


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Ontario to offer free fishing licences for veterans and current military members


The Ontario government says it’s making it easier for past and present members of the military to go fishing.

The government released a statement saying it’s amending fishing regulations to exempt veterans and active service members from having to buy a fishing licence.

They say military members would then be able to fish for free across the province by early 2019.

Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski says the move is a way of thanking members of the military for their service.

« We enjoy the rights and freedoms we have today because of the sacrifices of those brave women and men throughout history and those actively serving to defend our rights and freedoms, » he said.

« The people of Ontario are grateful for the service of our veterans and active Canadian Armed Forces members who have and continue to defend our freedom and values. »


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