Steinbach antique store finds century-old letter written by Vimy Ridge soldier – Winnipeg


The owner of a Manitoba antique store is looking to find a veteran’s family members after finding a 102-year-old letter from a soldier who fought at Vimy Ridge in the First World War.

Amanda Kehler, owner of Prairie Pickers Cafe in Steinbach, recently bought a box of old papers for $1 at an estate sale.

Veteran’s love letters let daughter feel ‘whole’

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Among a bunch of random papers, teaching certificates and the like, she was surprised to find a letter dated May 1917, penned by a Canadian soldier in a hospital in England.

Kehler said the handwritten note was to a woman in Selkirk, explaining that her brother had been killed at Vimy Ridge along with several other men. The author, Earl Sorel, wrote that the brother had saved him, after he was shot during what is now known as a historic battle.

Winnipeg man finds grandfather’s name at memorial decades after his death

Kehler said just reading the letter gave her chills. Reading something so personal, so raw, of a time so long ago.

“It was a pretty powerful letter,” she said.

“He was writing a girl back home in Selkirk Man., to let her know that her brother had passed away.”

Kehler posted her discovery on her Facebook page in the hope of finding someone who was related to either the writer, or the intended receiver, of the letter.

“I’d really like to reconnect it back to a family member, and if we can’t do that, we’ll donate it to a war museum,” Kehler told 680 CJOB on Thursday.

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What she really hopes is that she will be able to connect with a family member of Earl Sorel, the soldier that wrote the letter.

“It’s kind of sad that it is not in the family still.”

Kehler, who owns the antique shop with her husband, says she’s picked up lots of papers and random collections before, but the letter was a pretty moving find.

“We’re always out hunting for treasures and antiques to stock our shop with,” she said. “There are so many things people find in unlikely places.”

Long-lost war medals found in Regina in the 1960s, reunited with family in Toronto

She said she has had a number of offers from people wanting to buy the letter, but her real hope is to see it go to a meaningful place.

“To me, it doesn’t feel right to sell it. It’s such a huge part of our Canadian history, I think it should be with the family or a museum of some sort.”

Canadian War Museum photography exhibit depicts price paid in war by soldiers

And that could very well be what happens.

“We’re very close to finding out if there are any living relatives. The response has been overwhelming … I’m confident we’ll be able to find someone.”

Kehler said she has even heard from people as far away as England.

WATCH: Looking for the lost soldiers of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

As for why the letter has garnered such interest (she’s also been called upon to do media interviews from all over the country), Kehler suggested it was a matter of romance, of a sort.

“The art of letter writing is actually dying… you don’t sit down and script out a letter anymore, you hop on your phone and you shoot somebody a text or an email.”

The antique shop in Steinbach is hoping to deliver a letter written by an injured soldier, 100 years later.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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


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Canada’s top soldier spoke with Trudeau after learning of Norman case — but no records exist – National


Hours after learning from RCMP that his second-in-command was under investigation for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets, Canada’s top soldier had a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after briefing top-level political staff about the case.

But there appear to be no records of what exactly the two discussed in the early hours of a case that has rocked the Canadian Forces and prompted accusations of political interference and scapegoating.

READ MORE: Code Name ‘Kraken’ — How Mark Norman’s lawyers allege military used pseudonyms to hide records

In testimony before an Ottawa court on Wednesday, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance explained how he first learned the RCMP was investigating his vice chief of defence staff, Vice-Adm. Mark Norman, in a meeting on Jan. 9, 2017.

In that meeting were several deputy ministers, RCMP officials, Vance and the national security adviser to Trudeau.

WATCH BELOW: Conservatives question Liberals over emails in Norman case

Afterwards, both Vance and the national security adviser met for roughly five minutes with Gerry Butts and Katie Telford to brief them on the news that the RCMP was investigating Norman in relation to a report leaked to media in November 2015 that the newly-elected Liberals had considered freezing a $700-million deal to buy the navy a new supply ship.

Both of its remaining vessels had rusted out or caught fire in the years previous.

Vance said he asked for Butts or Telford, who are Trudeau’s principal secretary and chief of staff, respectively, to inform him of what was going on.

Later that day, he received a phone call from Trudeau about the matter.

READ MORE: Twin investigations launched into whether military blocked access to information in Mark Norman case

But Vance told the court he took no notes and is not aware of there being any records showing what was discussed during that call, nor in any of the other meetings with either Butts and Telford or with RCMP officials that day.

Norman was abruptly suspended from his duties as the country’s second most senior soldier on Jan. 16, 2017, with no public explanation given.

Vance had previously declined to tell reporters which officials he informed of the investigation into Norman.

Yet the question of how much Trudeau knew about the case has dogged him for close to two years now, as have accusations of political interference.

WATCH BELOW: Opposition asks how Trudeau knew about charges against Vice-Adm. Norman

Trudeau made public remarks in 2017 and in February 2018, prior to Norman being charged with one count of breach of trust for the alleged leak, that he expected the matter would “inevitably” lead to “court processes.”

He has since been asked repeatedly in question period and by media as to how he came to that determination, given Norman was not charged until March 2018.

Trudeau has refused to comment on the case since those initial remarks.

Vance told the court he was advised that Norman would be charged prior it actually being laid.

He did not tell the court who informed him of that, saying instead, “I can’t recall.”

When asked whether he shared that information with anyone, Vance said he told either Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan or told the deputy minister of the Department of National Defence with the instruction to tell the minister.

It is not clear when he advised those individuals of the pending charge or whether they told anyone else.

The revelation that Trudeau and Vance spoke directly about the case, and that Vance informed or intended to inform a senior member of Trudeau’s cabinet about pending charges, raises new questions about accusations made repeatedly by Norman’s defence team. Norman’s defence counsel says he is being scapegoated by the Liberals because the leaked report of the plans to freeze the supply ship deal effectively forced the government to honour it.

Ditching the deal with Davie Shipyards,, which was inked under the former Conservative government, would have hit taxpayers with a penalty fee of roughly $89 million.

Scott Brison, who until earlier this month served as President of the Treasury Board, told RCMP when they launched their investigation that the leak had damaged his ability to do his due diligence in re-evaluating the deal after the Liberals were elected.

However, Brison was among several cabinet ministers pressed by Irving and Seaspan, two rival shipyards to Davie, to reconsider proposals to do that same work at their own shipyards in the weeks leading up to the leak.

Brison has close ties to the Irving family. His emails and any potential communication with the firm related to the supply ship deal have been repeatedly sought by Norman’s defence team in the pre-trial hearings in his case so far.

On Tuesday, Brison’s lawyers filed an application seeking standing in the case.

In their filing, his legal team said it wanted to be able to protect his “privacy” and “interests” as the case unfolds.

Testimony is set to continue Wednesday afternoon.

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


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A graveyard, a soldier, a mysterious connection and a long-awaited meeting


On a cloudy December afternoon, Maggie Allison stands over the grave of Pte. Richard Staples at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto.

She talks to him, as she often does, and tells him she is about to meet his great-niece, Catherine Staples. While Staples and Allison have exchanged emails, they’ve never met in the five years Allison has been caring for the grave.

A weathered photo of Pte. Richard Staples as it appears at his gravesite at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto.
A weathered photo of Pte. Richard Staples as it appears at his gravesite at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto.  (Sergio Arangio/Special to the Toronto Star)

According to Allison, who is in her 40s, she found Richard’s grave by accident while on a late-afternoon jog through the cemetery in October 2013.

Something pulled her to an unkempt grave in a poorly maintained section of the cemetery. And she had a strong emotional reaction — the discovery made her break down crying. But Allison still doesn’t know why, since she had never heard of him and has no apparent ancestral connection.

“I just felt this overwhelming feeling of finding something that I had lost,” Allison said in an interview in November. She has been drawn to his grave ever since, bringing flowers each season and keeping his plot tidy. She even planted a cedar tree next to his gravestone.

Allison was determined to find out everything she could about Richard, who died in 1916. Information was scarce until a post on memorial website Find A Grave in October 2015 provided details of his trip to Canada and enlistment in the military.

The post lead her to Richard Staples’ great-niece, Catherine Staples, who had also found the post and had commented on it. Allison then sent her an email in explaining the story.

Over the next three years, they kept in contact, always intending to meet, but never finding the right opportunity. They’ve even narrowly missed each other a few times while visiting other family in the cemetery.

As Allison and Staples finally meet, their eyes light up, with smiles galore and arms outstretched. They share a hug as if they themselves were long-lost relatives.

“It was like I was hugging a part of Richard,” Allison later says.

For Catherine, the whole experience has been surreal. When she first read Allison’s email, she was shocked and surprised.

“My first reaction was ‘my God, this is so special,’ ” says Staples, 69. She has a keen interest in genealogy and had been scouring Prospect Cemetery for months before Allison reached out, looking for a shabby grave rather than a well-maintained one.

“I’m being rewarded for all my hard work of searching for ancestors. It was really special.”

The post on Find A Grave and an entry on Veteran’s Affairs Canada’s virtual war memorial explain that at age 16, Richard came to Canada from England in 1914 with his parents and two siblings, one month after World War One started. Records indicate he and his father were shoemakers. He enlisted in the 169th Battalion in February 1916. Though the age requirement was 18, recruiters would often overlook the ages of young recruits to fill their quotas, particularly after 1916.

Staples was stationed at Exhibition Place in Toronto, which was used as a military training camp during the war, when he contracted pneumonia. He died on May 16, 1916.

A weathered photo of Pte. Richard Staples as it appears at his gravesite at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto.
A weathered photo of Pte. Richard Staples as it appears at his gravesite at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto.

Along with his death his family had also received news of a relative killed in action. According to a report at the time, Richard’s stepfather, Henry, had also enlisted. He had previously been discharged from the British military for “having a nervous breakdown.”

In Staples’ research, she found that Richard’s name was originally Eugene Edward when his birthfather Thomas Edward was still in his life. When or why he changed his name is a mystery. While it was not uncommon for children to take their stepfather’s name, he changed his first name, as well.

While there are large gaps in the information, Allison and Staples speculate on the kind of man Richard was.

“I think that he was just like a really sensitive, sweet man,” says Allison. “Do you get any feeling, Catherine?”

“I have a good feeling because maybe he was following in his dad’s footsteps,” says Staples.

They both appreciate being able to learn as much as they have about his life, crediting that to the community of World War One enthusiasts who dedicate much of their time to uncovering the stories of forgotten soldiers.

Find A Grave is one of their many outlets for connecting people with their lost relatives. Owned by genealogy company Ancestry, the site claims to have over a million contributors of virtual memorials and thousands of contributions are made per day.

Margaret Rose Gaunt, who posted Richard’s Find A Grave information, is one of them. She wanted to learn more about her uncle, who was killed in Normandy in June 1944. Gaunt made a post on the Canada Remembers Facebook page in 2010, which was met with many comments from war enthusiasts. One even visited her uncle’s grave in France and photographed it for her.

Gaunt then resolved that she’d pay the favour forward. She says it’s a noble hobby, having made over 1,800 contributions to Find A Grave alone.

Part of what makes this important to her, she says, is the fact that she was adopted by her uncle and didn’t know who her birth parents were until she was in her 40s. And so, she feels a duty to connect people to their relatives.

“They gave their lives for our freedom and they need to be remembered,” says Gaunt, 75. “And if you can touch somebody else, that makes it all worthwhile.”

Staples and Allison now share the upkeep of Richard’s plot. They admit it’s a strange situation, but they have a mutual respect for each other’s connection to him. Their next goal is to spruce up his ragged section of the cemetery.

Allison also hopes to one day solve the mystery of why Richard changed his first name.

“I’ve asked him but I get no response,” she says with a laugh.


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The last man: Canadian WWI soldier died at 2 minutes to peace


George Lawrence Price died on a Monday. It was a rainy day whose hours were almost evenly split between war and peace. And it was a terrible day to die.

That Monday marked both the end of the long suffering of the First World War, and of the Canadian private’s short life. His premature death, just minutes shy of a tenuous peace, was no more or less tragic than that of countless others killed during the course of the war — or afterward, because of it.

But being the last Canadian and Commonwealth soldier to die in the war to end all wars — just as so many people were celebrating — lifted him out of almost-certain anonymity.

His death on Nov. 11, 1918, ultimately made him a symbol of the futility of conflict.

George Lawrence Price was eventually buried in St. Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons, Belgium. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

Before all that, George Price, the civilian, lived an unremarkable life.

Son of Annie and James Price, he grew up in what is now Port Williams, N.S. As a young man, he moved west, ending up for a time with Canadian Pacific Railway in Moose Jaw, Sask.

He made headlines there for an unfortunate aside: Stealing « a quantity of house effects, » including dishes and linen, from his landlady. The value of the goods? A then-significant $25. He served one month in prison with hard labour.

It was also there that he joined the army. As a soldier in the 28th North West Battalion, Price served in the thick of the Canadian effort leading to the end of the war, according to Tim Cook, author and historian at the Canadian War Museum.

« He served throughout the Hundred Days campaign, » said Cook, in reference to a series of successful Canadian battles in which they suffered heavy casualties.

According to his personnel record, Price was also hospitalized for a month after a gas attack in France.

The Canadian soldiers who made it to the end were « exhausted, » said Cook. « They had seen their comrades, their best friends killed. They had buried them in shallow graves. »

Letters sent home

Like many around him on that Monday, Price was a conscripted soldier — drafted at 24, and without a wife or children. He wrote home diligently, sending stoic and hopeful postcards to his little sister, Florence.

« Just a line to let you know I still think of you, » he wrote in one. « I will see you someday. »

In his letters to his mother, Price revealed he was a reluctant warrior.

« He didn’t want to shoot anybody, » said George Barkhouse, Price’s nephew and namesake, who turned 90 last month.

A last-minute mission

Early Monday, the Canadians had just taken the Belgian village of Havré, on the outskirts of the newly liberated Mons, a city that still today remembers both Canadians and Price for their sacrifices.

At 6:30 a.m. that Monday, the Canadian Corps received official word telling them the fighting would stop that day — an armistice that would come at 11 that morning.

Most of the units would have heard by runner or telegram by 9:30 a.m., Cook said.

« They had about two hours to know that the war would be over. And most of the officers simply said to the soldiers … ‘Find a hole in the ground and stay there. Don’t expose yourself, don’t endanger your life,' » he said.

« They understood that this was the end of a very long and costly war. And yet for some reason, Pte. Price was leading a small patrol to the east of Mons. »

A view of the George Price Footbridge, which sits close to the spot where the Canadian private was believed to have been killed on Nov. 11, 1918. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

For Price and a handful of other soldiers, the war went on. And there are a few versions of what exactly happened with Price that morning.

According to one account, by Pte. Art Goodmurphy, Price suggested they go sweep some buildings sitting across a narrow canal in Ville-sur-Haines to look for German soldiers.

Five soldiers walked across the small bridge and arrived at one home, kicking down a door to enter. While inside, German machine guns came alive, picking at the bricks of the house.

For these German soldiers, too, the war had not yet ended.

As the Canadians ventured back out, Price was shot by a sniper. On the inside his uniform, he was wearing a delicate flower knitted by his fiancée.

Art Goodmurphy recounts how Canadian Private George Lawrence Price was shot and died in his arms on Nov. 11, 1918 — the last soldier of the British Empire to be killed in action in WWI. (CBC archives) 2:22

« All of a sudden — BANG. One shot came from all the way up the street. Got hit right through the back and to the heart, » recalled Goodmurphy.

Various accounts mention a young woman who ran over and tried to help. They note that the lady of the house also tried to comfort Price.

But he went quickly: Price was dead — just a month shy of his 26th birthday.

‘The war is over!’

Goodmurphy reported the death to his major. « The war is over! … The war is over! » the major replied. « What the hell did you go across there for? »

By Goodmurphy’s telling, Price never knew an armistice was imminent. « He was just doing his job. »

A « Killed in Action » report filled out afterward records Price’s death at three minutes before the armistice took hold — and ahead of the church bells that echoed across Mons.

Other accounts — including an inscription on his old headstone, now housed at a museum in Mons — say it was just two minutes before: 10:58 a.m.

Learn more about how George Price left a lasting legacy in the region where he died:

This year’s Remembrance Day marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. In this weeks Dispatch, the CBC’s Nahlah Ayed travels to Belgium to bring us the story of Canadian Private George Price, the last British Empire soldier killed in the First World War. 9:55

In another version, Price had crossed the bridge to say hello to a young woman who had waved to him, perhaps for a kiss or a handshake.

« It’s interesting we focus on Price and what his death means, but we don’t, in fact, have a clear picture of how he died, » said Cook.

But on the other side of the ocean, what was clear was that the jubilance of that Monday was short-lived for Price’s family, who had joined countless others that morning, gathering at the local park to celebrate.

« The war was over and [the family were] having a real good time, » said Barkhouse. « They got home and found out Uncle George had been killed. Pretty darn rough. »

Buried alongside enemy soldiers

Price was eventually buried in the St. Symphorien Military Cemetery, which is also the resting place for several German soldiers.

Now, 100 Remembrance Days later, a new monument is being unveiled in Price’s honour in the city of Le Roeulx, across the canal from where he died, just under a footbridge also named after him. Barkhouse will be attending the ceremony with his granddaughter, Sylvia.

After a lifetime of telling the story, the pain lingers for Barkhouse, heir to the grief and love of the uncle he never knew.

George Barkhouse, Price’s nephew and namesake, was given this frame during a trip to Belgium in 2014. It contained the knitted flower his uncle was wearing on the day of his death and a handwritten thank you note from a Belgian family. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

On a trip to Belgium in 2014, Barkhouse also inherited an unexpected gift: That knitted flower worn by Price on the day he died. It’s still stained by his blood.

The flower was given to Barkhouse by a Belgian family, who had framed it and added these words:

« Today, Nov. 11, 1918, at the exact moment where the peace was signed, you fell for us. The last victim of a terrible conflict. Thank you George Price! »

Read Pte. George Lawrence Price’s war records:


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Man charged with impersonating a soldier while fundraising


Ontario Provincial Police east of Ottawa have charged a man they allege was impersonating a soldier while fundraising for his cadet organization nine days ahead of Remembrance Day.

OPP officers spotted a man in Alexandria, Ont., on Friday afternoon, soliciting funds at multiple addresses while wearing what appeared to be a military uniform, Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OPP said in a news release issued Tuesday.

The OPP detachment’s spokesperson, Const. Tylor Copeland, said the uniform included combat fatigues, a beret and various patches that appeared to come from different military organizations.

The organization the man was soliciting funds for had to do with cadets and was started by the man, Copeland added.

The OPP officers investigated and determined the man wasn’t authorized to wear the uniform.

No one with man’s name in DND records

A spokesperson for the Department of National Defence confirmed Tuesday that it has no one with the man’s name in its records.

The 47-year-old man from North Glengarry, Ont., which includes the community of Alexandria, was charged with unlawful use of a military uniform under section 419 of the Criminal Code.

It bans people without authorization from wearing « a uniform of the Canadian Forces or any other naval, army or air force or a uniform that is so similar to the uniform of any of those forces that it is likely to be mistaken therefor. »

His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Alexandria is about 100 kilometres east of Ottawa.

A western Quebec man drew national attention to this law when he was charged and eventually pleaded guilty to wearing a military uniform and medals to the 2014 Remembrance Day ceremony in downtown Ottawa, despite never having been a member of the military.

Franck Gervais spoke with CBC News during a live broadcast from the 2014 Remembrance Day ceremony in downtown Ottawa, wearing a uniform and medals. The Department of National Defence later confirmed he had never been a member of the military. (CBC)


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Right-wing extremism not welcome in Canadian Armed Forces — but ‘clearly, it’s in here,’ says top soldier


In a three-part series, the Star looks at the rise of white nationalist and right-wing extremist groups in Canada, and what authorities are doing to identify and suppress these threats. This is part 2. To read the first part, click here.

OTTAWA—Canada’s top soldier frankly acknowledges there are members within the Canadian Armed Forces who harbour right-wing extremist and white supremacist beliefs.

It’s obvious Gen. Jonathan Vance has given the issue much thought.

“Clearly it’s in here,” Vance told the Star.

Over a 40-minute interview at National Defence Headquarters, Vance repeatedly stressed that nobody holding extremist beliefs is welcome in the Canadian Forces.

“(But) what a lot of these folks don’t realize, (is) they may be able to find a couple of confreres among the tens of thousands of people that we have, but it’s not the norm.”

As the Star reported Sunday, there has been an alarming rise of right-wing extremist and white supremacist groups active within Canada in recent years.

In the United States, research into the far right suggests extremist groups have made a concerted effort to infiltrate police forces and the military to gain access to training, experience and potentially even weapons.

Less research has been done on whether extremists have made similar attempts in Canada. But as far as Vance is concerned, it’s simply a fact.

He compared the presence of far-right extremists in the Forces to the military’s recent experience dealing with sexual harassment and assault. As a traditionally male-dominated institution, the Forces were just not sensitive enough to the scourge of sexual harassment within its ranks, Vance said.

Could that mean that, as a traditionally white institution, the forces aren’t sensitive enough to the issue of white supremacy?

“It’s not just possible; it’s probable,” Vance said.

“It is entirely possible that we are not sufficiently aware of the indicators or the insidious, corrosive effect of having extremism in our ranks. I think we’re academically aware, like technically aware. But from a practical basis, how do you know for sure?”

Over the past two years, the Canadian Forces have had to respond to three high-profile incidents of soldiers or sailors associated with far-right groups.

On Canada Day in 2017, five Canadian Forces members — members of the “Proud Boys” movement who proudly proclaim their “Western chauvinism” — disrupted an Indigenous protest in Halifax.

This year, Vice Canada reported an army reservist in Nova Scotia was a member of a much more dangerous group. Vice alleged that Brandon Cameron, a 25-year old former soldier, was associated with the Atomwaffen Division — an American neo-Nazi terrorist group tied to an attempted bombing, numerous hate crimes, and the killing of a 19-year-old Jewish man in Florida. Cameron denied involvement with the group.

The Quebec-based anti-immigration and anti-Islam group La Meute counts a number of current and former Forces personnel among its ranks. In December, a CBC/Radio-Canada investigation counted 70 Forces members in a members-only La Meute Facebook group.

Vance is categorical: there is no place for far-right extremism in the Canadian Armed Forces.

One of the five members who participated in the Proud Boys protest has left military service. The four others were subject to unspecified professional discipline and received a permanent reprimand on their records. Vance suggested they may be on their way out as well.

But the general also referred to blowback he’s heard about how the brass handled the Proud Boys situation.

“When I say cultural change (is needed) … I’ve seen comments about how we’re standing up to the Proud Boys and so on, as if … we’re somehow lesser military because of our posture,” Vance said.

“That’s horses–t. Good militaries aren’t racist.”

Vance said his gut sense is that when it comes to right-wing extremists within the Forces, there could be “small groups or individuals,” but not significant numbers.

“I haven’t proven that hypothesis,” Vance admitted. “And maybe some time we should.”

The question of whether or not far-right extremists or white supremacists have infiltrated Canadian policing is more difficult to answer — both because of the scale of the question and, unlike the Canadian Forces, the absence of publicly reported incidents.

A 2015 report by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, published by the Intercept, suggested that a wide range of extremist and white supremacist groups have developed “active links” to law enforcement officers. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service refused to say whether it has conducted a similar counterintelligence assessment on Canadian law enforcement agencies.

CSIS has faced allegations of racism within its own ranks. In 2017, the Star reported the spy agency had settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from five officers and analysts who claimed years of anti-gay, anti-Muslim or anti-Black discrimination.

Former RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson also admitted in 2015 that the Mounties had racists within their ranks.

“I understand there are racists in my police force,” Paulson told a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations. “I don’t want them to be in my police force.”

The new RCMP commissioner, Brenda Lucki, told the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network this year that “racism will not be tolerated” within the force, after the network reported on anti-Indigenous posts in a closed RCMP members Facebook group.

On the broader question of far-right extremist infiltration, RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia told the Star that it’s a concern.

“Our screening would pick up on that, unless someone has never spoken to anyone about it and they kept it to (themselves),” Malizia said.

“But I can’t recall a case right now (within the RCMP). I’ve not seen it. But it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened elsewhere.

“There’s no doubt about it that there’s no place for those types of individuals in a police service or any type of law enforcement agency,” Malizia added.

Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier


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Canadian soldier comes to the aid of downtown Windsor shooting victim


As shots fired in downtown Windsor early Friday morning, a Canadian soldier who was home for Thanksgiving sprung into action.

Windsor police say a man in his mid-20s remains in critical condition following a shooting in downtown Windsor early Friday morning. It happened outside near Ouellette Avenue and Maiden Lane.

Cpl. Brandon James Liddy, originally from Tecumseh, is an imagery technician for the Canadian Armed Forces — stationed in Gatineau.

Shortly after arriving home for the holiday weekend, Liddy headed to a downtown Windsor club for an event. Moments before the shooting, he was outside « catching some air with a friend. »

Windsor police are investigating a shooting that happened in downtown Windsor at about 1:45 a.m. Friday. (Bob Becken/CBC)

« Within a few minutes of being outside, shots rang out. I immediately took cover, » he said, adding a lot of people in the area seemed to confuse the shots for a cap gun.

« I was sure that it was an actual firearm. After which, I had seen a man who was shot stumbling and then came to his knees and fell down. »

With the victim lying down in the street, Liddy approached him and introduced himself.

Ouellette Avenue from Wyandotte Street to Park Street were closed while police investigated the scene. (Bob Becken/CBC)

« When I came to notice this guy was shot, or had a strong feeling, I had a moral obligation as a soldier to go in, » he said. « I checked for the different things we’re supposed to look for — wetness for blood and holes for gunshot wounds and whatnot. »

Upon observing a gunshot wound on the victim’s arm, he removed his belt and used it as a tourniquet — but there was another wound to the victim’s upper torso.

« I pointed at a bystander and said, ‘Hey, I need you to take your shirt off. It needs to be pushed on this guy’s body to stop the bleeding.’ I then called on another guy to hold pressure on the wound while we did other checks and whatnot. »

Liddy said he worked alongside emergency personnel before more arrived on the scene, adding the way they handled stuff was « very professional and in a kind manner. »

‘Windsor’s changed a lot’

Liddy, 35, is no stranger to the downtown Windsor scene. He said he remembers hanging out with friends and grabbing a drink in the area during his mid-20s. With the exception of the occasional fist fight, he recalls very « minimal gun and knife violence. »

« It’s definitely changed and it’s very sad to see this because a lot of people in Windsor notice this. There’s definitely a hard need for change and I wouldn’t even know where to start with that because I now live in Ottawa, » he said.

« But for the people here, there’s a lot of tension. »

When I came to notice this guy was shot, …  I had a moral obligation as a soldier to go in.– Cpl. Brandon James  Liddy

Grateful to save a life

Liddy said he feels empowered to have the training necessary to involve himself in such a dire situation, adding he started to doubt if he’s every going to need to refer to his training after many years of being in the force.

« It happened last night. It felt good knowing that I had that confidence through training to help someone and possibly save a life. »

According to Windsor police, the victim underwent surgery after being rushed to hospital.

Nobody has been arrested and a suspect description has not been released.


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