Liberals pick daycare operator to battle NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Burnaby South byelection


BURNABY, B.C. – The federal Liberal party has selected the owner of a daycare business as its challenger against NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in an upcoming byelection in British Columbia.

Karen Wang, who owns Angels Playhouse and previously ran in the 2017 provincial election with the B.C. Liberals, was named the Liberal candidate at a nomination meeting in the riding on Saturday.

She defeated biotechnology scientist Cyrus Eduljee, who is product manager for Stemcell Technologies, after 123 members cast ballots.

Jagmeet Singh readies for B.C. by-election battle ahead of 2019 election

“I’m so excited and I am so honoured to be selected by you here,” Wang said, before reading a poem she said was written by a Chinese poet.

“My eyes are full of tears because I love this land so deeply,” the poem began.

Wang told reporters she believes she has what it takes to take on Singh, because she has lived in the riding for 20 years and has strong connections in the community.

“He’s not from our local community. He cannot represent you, represent us,” she said.

READ MORE: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh campaigning in Outremont ahead of federal byelection

“I believe we will have a good chance to win in Burnaby South as I believe right now I’m very familiar with our community. I’m one of the people here.”

Wang said her top three priorities would be improving housing affordability by increasing supply, creating more jobs and improving public transit.

WATCH: NDP leader Jagmeet Singh meets with GM employees in Oshawa

READ MORE: Playing long game, new NDP leader Singh says of poor byelection showing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet set a date for the byelection in Burnaby South, which was vacated by former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, now Vancouver’s mayor.

Trudeau is expected to call byelections for the Burnaby South, Outremont, Que., and York-Simcoe, Ont., ridings early in the new year.

The byelection, expected for February, marks Singh’s biggest political test to date, while he also tries to calm party fears about fundraising, slumping polls and a growing list of veteran MPs who say they won’t run in 2019.

Trudeau to call 3 byelections for February, Singh gets chance to win B.C. byelection as Ontario seat opens

Singh has said he plans to focus on campaigning in the riding over the next month, so he can check “elected” off his to-do list for the critical campaign year ahead.

In the 2015 federal election, the NDP won Burnaby South by just over 500 votes.

WATCH: Trudeau says byelections in seats vacated ‘mere weeks ago’ will be filled ‘soon’

A party leader who can’t win a seat customarily steps aside, although that hasn’t happened in a byelection since the 1940s.

Singh won’t say what he’ll do if he loses.

WATCH: ‘It shows a lack of respect for the people of this country: Singh on Trudeau not calling byelections

Corporate lawyer Jay Shin is running for the Conservatives in the byelection, while Green party leader Elizabeth May has said the Greens won’t field a candidate.

Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada plans to name a candidate in the next two weeks, spokesman Martin Masse said.

Because the party is so new and only recently established electoral district associations in the riding, the candidate won’t be selected through a typical nomination voting process.

READ MORE: Ipsos poll says it’s advantage Liberals going into 2019, with Conservatives needing a Trudeau stumble

“Essentially, the leader will choose the candidate in each byelection,” Masse said.

Ahead of the nomination vote Saturday, Eduljee told a crowd of about 100 party members gathered at a banquet hall in Burnaby that the “whole country” will be watching the vote in Burnaby South’s byelection.


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Rogue North Vancouver hostel operator found to be in contempt of court – BC


The owner of a North Vancouver townhouse, who has been operating the home as an illegal hostel, has been slapped with new fines and could face more punishment down the road.

Emily Yu has been marketing the 14-bed operation as the “Oasis Hostel” over the objections of her neighbours.

Last year, her strata corporation won a Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling against the operation, which was later upheld by the B.C. Supreme Court.

North Vancouver strata seeks contempt of court ruling against townhouse-turned-hostel owner

On Wednesday, the strata won another Supreme Court victory, this time finding Yu in contempt of court for ignoring those previous rulings.

WATCH: Scofflaw North Vancouver townhouse owner targeted by strata corporation

In his ruling, Justice Barry M. Davies found Yu had ignored previous court rulings and had failed to pay fines previously assessed to her. He also found that she had admitted to operating the facility illegally.

“How am I going to pay?” Yu responded in court, to which Justice Davies replied: “That’s my ruling.”

Yu has been ordered to pay $4,000 more in strata and bylaw fines as well as cover her strata corporation’s legal fees associated with the contempt case.

READ MORE: Hostel takeover: owner flouts short-term rental laws, rents out 15 beds in North Shore townhouse

The price tag on those court costs is still pending a registrar’s assessment of what is “reasonable” but could top $15,000.

Yu will also face an additional punishment for being found in contempt of court. However, the severity of that punishment will depend on Yu’s actions in the months to come, Davies said.

In court, the justice asked Yu if she intended to continue to operate her hostel — Yu said no. coverage of Oasis Hostel

Davies said the court would reconvene in four months to assess her final punishment.

In that time, he said Yu will be monitored to ensure that she does, in fact, cease renting the property. Davies implied that if she fails to do so, she could face much more than just a fine.

READ MORE: Illegal North Vancouver hostel remains open as deadline passes

“I think the judge wanted to ensure that Ms. Yu understood that the court is going to be watching her over the next four months,” said Steve Hamilton, legal counsel for the strata corporation.

“If Ms. Yu complies with the court’s order, then I expect the judge will take that into account. However, if she doesn’t comply with the court’s order then as the judge said (Wednesday) in court, he’ll decide what the appropriate sentence will be.”

However, Yu’s neighbours aren’t convinced that Wednesday’s ruling will be the end of the story.

“I’m not totally confident because she also said that at the Civil Resolution Tribunal, that was part of that — that she would comply with their decision — and she didn’t,” said neighbour Maria Shawcross.

Some neighbours have claimed that forcing Yu to sell her property might be the only way to prevent her from violating court orders.

Yu has previously insisted that she is exempt from the court rulings because renting out her townhouse for short-term accommodations is a grandfathered right. She now also denies that her townhouse was ever a hostel, despite the term being used several times on her website.

The strata’s legal team added that if it does find that Yu has violated the ruling at any point in the next four months, it can take the case back to the B.C. Supreme Court early and attempt to push for tougher penalties.

Yu is also facing challenges from the City of North Vancouver, which claims she is in violation of municipal bylaws. Yu has disputed all of the city’s claims.

© 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


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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