TSB to share updates on B.C. train derailment at Tuesday news conference

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The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will release more details about a deadly train derailment in B.C. at a Tuesday morning news conference.

The conference, which will be held in Calgary at 11 a.m. MT, will be live streamed on GlobalNews.ca.


READ MORE:
3 Calgary men killed in CP Railway train derailment near Field, B.C. identified

The crash on Monday near the Alberta-B.C. border killed the train’s three-person crew, including Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer. All three men were from Calgary.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) freight train was heading west when it went off the tracks, plunging into the Kicking Horse River just east of Field, B.C., at about 1 a.m. MT.

WATCH: Aerial footage shows the extent of the damage after a fatal train derailment near Field, B.C.






According to CP Rail president and CEO Keith Creel, the derailment happened between the Upper and Lower Spiral Tunnels, which were built in the early 1900s to accommodate the steep grade change on the stretch of railway.

“This is a tragedy that will have a long-lasting impact on our family of railroaders,” Creel said.

He added that recovery of the derailed cars will be “complex and challenging given the remote location and extreme weather.”

WATCH: Several damaged train cars lay beside the highway near Field, B.C., after a fatal train derailment






The circumstances that led to the derailment are being investigated by the TSB.

Sixteen cars of a CP Rail train derailed on Jan. 3 in the same area. No one was injured in that derailment.

— With files from 

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

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Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur in court Tuesday ahead of ‘significant’ expected developments

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Accused serial killer Bruce McArthur is scheduled to be in Ontario Superior Court this morning, where Toronto police say a “significant” development is expected.

In a statement released Monday, Toronto police announced a venue change — to one of the largest rooms in the downtown courthouse — and parking provisions for satellite trucks, signalling police anticipate a large media presence.

Bruce McArthur is accused of killing eight people. From left (top): Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Majeed Kayhan, Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam and Abdulbasir Faizi. From left (bottom): Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick and Andrew Kinsman.
Bruce McArthur is accused of killing eight people. From left (top): Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Majeed Kayhan, Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam and Abdulbasir Faizi. From left (bottom): Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick and Andrew Kinsman.  (Star Wire Services)

Police did not provide any information about what the new developments might be, and McArthur’s lawyer could not be reached for comment Monday.

McArthur, 67, stands accused of killing eight men with ties to Toronto’s Gay Village between September 2010 to June 2017.

McArthur’s lawyer, Crown prosecutors and Ontario Court Justice John McMahon have recently held pretrial discussions behind closed doors ahead of the trial, which has been set for January 2020.

Police investigators recently began reaching out to families of McArthur’s alleged victims, according to Fareena Marezook, wife of Soroush Mahmudi, who police allege was killed by McArthur in 2015. In an interview Monday, she said police recently informed her and her son that a significant milestone would soon be reached in the case.

McArthur is alleged to have killed: Andrew Kinsman, 49; Selim Esen, 44; Majeed Kayhan, 58; Soroush Mahmudi, 50; Dean Lisowick, 47; Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam, 40, Abdulbasir Faizi, 42, and Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam, 37. Many of the men had ties to the Gay Village and were of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent.

More to come.

Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and policing. Reach her by email at wgillis@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis

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Calgary Stampeders’ victory rally downtown Tuesday – Calgary

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The Calgary Stampeders will be the toast of the town Tuesday as the city holds a celebration rally for the 2018 Grey Cup champions at Municipal Plaza.

Beginning at 1 p.m., fans will be able to enjoy some giveaways and congratulate their team on the win.

“Dress warmly in your red and white, and bring a food bank donation,” a city press release said Sunday. “Food trucks will be on site, as well as the Stampeders merchandise trailer, offering official 2018 Grey Cup Championship merchandise.”


READ MORE:
Rick Zamperin: Grey Cup victory cements Calgary Stampeders’ legacy

The Stampeders’ mascot Ralph the dog, the Outriders cheerleaders and some other guests will be in attendance.

There will be road closures to help accommodate the crowds: Macleod Trail northbound between 9 and 6 Avenue and 8 Avenue between Macleod Trail and 1 Street S.E.

These streets will close to vehicle traffic between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The city said CTrain and bus services will continue as usual.


READ MORE:
Calgary Stampeders defeat Ottawa Redblacks 27-16 to win 106th Grey Cup

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

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Alberta’s Lubicon Lake First Nation to ink land deal Tuesday with feds, province

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Alberta’s Lubicon Lake First Nation expects to mark the end of a decades-long fight for recognition on Tuesday.

But Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan says the real work will begin after the band signs off on its land claim with the province and the federal government.

He says the $113 million included in the deal will allow the band to get to work rebuilding the community of Little Buffalo.

READ MORE: Treaty signing marks start of real work for Alberta’s Lubicon, says chief

Money in the settlement is already tagged for essentials such as decent housing, a new school and an elders care facility.

Laboucan says the 246 square kilometres included in the claim are in good shape and relatively unaffected by industrial activity.

Laboucan credits former chief Bernard Ominayak for that, saying his advocacy work let companies know the Lubicon had an interest in that land and discouraged them from working there.

READ MORE: Lubicon band settles long-standing land claim for $113M and swath of land

In the late 1800s, British officials missed the Lubicon as they negotiated Treaty 8 with other Indigenous groups. Canada agreed the Lubicon deserved title to their land in 1939, but a deal was never reached.

The issue stagnated until the 1970s when oil and gas companies began carving through local traplines. By then, the Lubicon were so poor that diseases such as tuberculosis were a problem.

In 1988, Ominayak staged a protest at the Calgary Olympics and blockaded roads into the disputed area. The dispute went global as a United Nations committee criticized Canada for its treatment of the Lubicon.

“If that hadn’t been the case, we wouldn’t be here,” said Laboucan. “A lot of credit has to go to previous chief Bernard Ominayak and council, and all the chiefs before him.”

Alberta Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan says signing the deal will feel a little like history.

READ MORE: Prentice welcomes new federal negotiator for stalled Lubicon treaty talks

Feehan says everyone at the negotiating table sat down with the knowledge that the time had come to settle the dispute.

Ominayak has been invited to the ceremony, although it’s not clear if he’ll attend.

Laboucan said the band can finally focus on it’s future, not its hard-luck past.

“Up until this point, we haven’t had our own land base. It’s pretty hard to do what you need to do without a land base.”

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Verdict expected Tuesday in trial for fatal PATH stabbing at Shoppers Drug Mart

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A decision is expected Tuesday in the case of a woman who, the Crown and defence agree, was not criminally responsible for fatally stabbing 28-year-old Rosemarie Junor in a Shoppers Drug Mart.

In the brief trial last week, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ian Swayze testified Rohinie Bisesar, 43, was in a state of severe psychosis, experiencing hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thinking when she bought a knife from a Dollar Store and stabbed Junor in the heart on Dec. 11, 2015.

Junor was a “victim of (Bisesar’s) illness,” Swayze testified. He said the horrible tragedy for everyone involved would not have happened if Bisesar had been in treatment.

He diagnosed Bisesar with schizophrenia, suffering from fixed beliefs that external forces had placed an implant or device into her body and were controlling her movements.

Junor, a newlywed ultrasound technician, had popped into the drugstore in the underground PATH system on an afternoon break, court heard. She was on the phone with a friend when, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court, Bisesar walked up to her and stabbed her. Bisesar put the knife on a cosmetics display and left immediately.

The women were complete strangers to each other, court heard.

According to Swayze’s report, made in a court exhibit, Bisesar told Swayze that on the day of the incident, she heard the voice in her head say: “what is the worst thing you can do.”

She said the voice commanded her to buy a knife. “The voices, communication and movements made me sit up, turn, walk straight into the Shoppers fast… I was not an agreeable participant.”

She said she approached Junor without hesitation. “The voice said, if you mean to do it, do it,” she told Swayze. “The voice and movements raised my hand, pushed forward…it was like the knife was sticking to my hand and couldn’t be dropped.”

Junor was rushed to the hospital, but died four days later.

Junor’s death has been “unbearable” for the close-knit family, her cousin Denise Sagar wrote in a statement given to reporters Friday. Sagar said Junor dedicated her life “to the care and treatment of people who are ill.” Sagar said her worry is what happens should Bisesar stop taking her medication again in the future.

“I hope my fears are unfounded,” she wrote. “I don’t know which is worse, the loss of my cousin or my fear that another family will suffer the loss of a loved one because someone simply decides to stop taking their medication.”

The case has taken nearly three years to conclude because Bisesar was repeatedly assessed and eventually found unfit to stand trial in December 2017 because her continued delusions impaired her ability to instruct her lawyer. She consistently refused treatment for a mental illness, instead claiming there was an implant in her body controlling her, which should be a matter of national security. She also suggested she did not believe Junor was dead, but rather hiding.

After her arrest Bisesar was held at the Vanier jail, though she was briefly transferred to hospitals on four occasions out of concern for her declining physical condition, including weight loss and facial lesions from her picking at her face. She was forced to receive treatment after being found unfit to stand trial. Her symptoms are now almost entirely in remission, Swayze testified at her fitness hearing last week after which a jury found her fit to stand trial. She is now consenting to treatment, he said.

Bisesar’s lawyer Robert Karrass argued in his closing address that she should be found not criminally responsible because, while she committed the physical act, her ability to think rationally was so impaired by her mental disorder at the time that she did not know what she was doing was legally and morally wrong.

If she is found not criminally responsible, Bisesar would be sent to a forensic hospital for an indefinite period of time.

Swayze’s report recommends Bisesar continue to be held at the women’s secure unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health where she is responding well to treatment and has been granted staff-accompanied community passes.

Bisesar’s release would be controlled by the Ontario Review Board, a five-person panel usually including psychiatrists, a lawyer and a member of the public.

In annual hearings they determine whether individuals found not criminally responsible (NCR) should continue to be detained in the hospital, given a conditional discharge which could allow the person to live in the community while subject to certain requirements, or an absolute discharge which is a full release with no further supervision.

A detention order is not intended as a punishment, like a prison sentence.

Instead the paramount concern of the Board is whether the person poses a significant risk to the safety of the public, said mental health lawyer Anita Szigeti who is not involved in the case.

“Just because someone is found NCR doesn’t mean they are in any way dangerous,” she said. If the person is found to be a significant risk, the board will consider other factors — most importantly the protection of public from dangerous persons, as well as the re-integration of the person into society and the liberty interests of the person.

They have to choose the “least onerous, least restrictive” disposition possible, she said. “They can’t take away more liberty than is neccesary.”

However, it is definitely not a “get-out of jail free card,” she said. “The ramification of coming under the review board’s jurisdiction is potentially indefinite detention in a maximum secure psychiatric facility setting, some of these facilities are very similar in their layout and security to high-security prisons.”

Victims can make victim impact statements at the annual Ontario Review Board hearings, Szigeti said. However, that process — which is often emotional and difficult for both the victims and the person found NCR — can give victims the “unfair and wrong impression” that their statements can influence the board’s decision, Szigeti says.

Unlike in a sentencing hearing, the statements do not have any impact on the decision the board makes which is based on the person’s current level of risk to public safety, she said.

Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati

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Ottawa to detail Canada’s new official poverty measure on Tuesday

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OTTAWA—The federal government will detail a new way to measure poverty across Canada on Tuesday, as it pledges billions of dollars to reduce homelessness and build more affordable housing over the next decade.

Adam Vaughan, the Liberal MP for Spadina—Fort York and parliamentary secretary to the social development minister, confirmed to the Star that the government will explain details of its official “poverty line” on Tuesday. Vaughan said the poverty line will be set at different levels in regions across the country to reflect social and economic circumstances such as the cost of housing.

A homeless person is seen in downtown Toronto in January 2018. The federal government is pledging billions of dollars to reduce poverty across Canada.
A homeless person is seen in downtown Toronto in January 2018. The federal government is pledging billions of dollars to reduce poverty across Canada.  (Christopher Katsarov / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The goal, he said, is to establish a better way to measure who needs more social assistance as Ottawa works to reduce poverty by 50 per cent over the next 12 years.

“It’ll give you a clearer understanding of who has been lifted out (of poverty), who is still in,” Vaughan said, pointing to a government announcement in August that promised legislation to create an official poverty line.

Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told the Huffington Post last week that the Liberal government would introduce that legislation in the coming days. He told the website that such a bill would hold future governments accountable to poverty reduction efforts like the Liberal goal of lifting 650,000 Canadians out of poverty by next year. “Future federal governments will need to live up to that unless they change the law,” he said.

Read more:

Ottawa, province ink deal to preserve 130,000 social housing units

Opinion | It’s time for politicians to take food insecurity and poverty seriously

Duclos is scheduled to make an announcement at an Ottawa food bank Tuesday morning.

As Vaughan explained, Canada currently uses a series of measures for poverty, such as the “market basket measure,” which defines low income based on the cost of basic goods and services like transportation, food, clothing and housing. Statistics Canada also uses a “low income cut off” that counts Canadian households that spend a larger share of income on necessities like food, shelter and clothing. There are different cut offs based on the size of a community and how many people live in a household.

Anti-poverty groups such as Campaign 2000 have advocated for an official poverty line because they say it is necessary to establish reduction targets and timelines.

The Liberal government has pledged to spend $40 billion from 2017 to 2027 on its national housing strategy. The plan aims to create 100,000 new housing units and repair 300,000 units over that decade to address urgent housing needs of low-income Canadians and cut chronic homelessness by 50 per cent. It also includes $2.2 billion over 10 years to tackle homelessness.

The NDP has accused the government of being too slow to spend this housing money, much of which isn’t scheduled to roll out until after next year’s federal election.

On Monday, Duclos announced details of how the money will roll out — with $43 million going to the territories over nine years and cities gaining more access to $1.25 billion available through the government’s homelessness strategy.

With files from The Canadian Press

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

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Calgary Olympic committee to make crucial decision on 2026 bid’s future Tuesday morning

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CALGARY—Calgary’s bid for the 2026 Olympics may not survive the week.

City council’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games assessment committee is set to meet Tuesday morning after conflict over how the city, province and feds would split hosting costs was revealed in the media late last week.

City councillors weren’t optimistic about the 2026 Olympic bid’s future on Monday, with at least four members of council saying they want the process stopped. Ward 8 councillor and committee chair Evan Woolley said the city had “passed the deadline to communicate a fiscally responsible deal to Calgarians.”

Unless “something dramatically changes from the other orders of government,” he said late Monday afternoon, “I have a hard time seeing how this passes through tomorrow.”

If the committee passes a motion to stop work on the bid, it will still have to go through a full vote of council.

Councillors voted to push ahead with the bid process in April and again in September this year.

After weeks of waiting for a final cost-sharing agreement between the city, province and Ottawa, the parties appeared to be in deadlock over the weekend after reports emerged Friday that the federal government would contribute up to $1.75 billion to the cost of hosting — in 2026 dollars.

Under the federal hosting policy for international sporting events, Calgary would get the money only if the city and province increased their contributions to match Ottawa’s total amount.

The provincial government announced earlier this month that they would give a “maximum” of $700 million for Olympic costs, with conditions that included a “yes” vote in the plebiscite and “increased transparency requirements.” Finance Minister Joe Ceci insisted in recent days that the amount would not be increased.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said earlier in October that if the city has to contribute more money than the province to Olympic hosting costs “that is not a good deal.”

The International Olympic Committee is set to offer $925 million (U.S.) to the 2026 host city. During the wait for the federal government to reveal the share of funding it would offer, Premier Rachel Notley and Nenshi suggested the IOC’s amount could increase.

But during a visit to Calgary last week, an IOC official said the organization couldn’t chip in any more than its stated commitment.

The Calgary Olympic Bid Corporation, or Calgary 2026, appointed Mary Moran as CEO in late July and publicly presented their draft hosting plan on Sept. 11. At the time, BidCo estimated the cost of hosting at about $5.2 billion, with $3 billion coming from taxpayer funds. The plan included updating Calgary’s aging venues, constructing athletes’ villages that would be converted into affordable housing, and building a new field house and mid-sized arena. Canmore, Alta., and Whistler, B.C. would also be involved in hosting some Olympic events.

City council voted 12-3 at that point in favour of going forward to the plebiscite. Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell, Ward 2 Councillor Joe Magliocca and Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu voted against. Some other councillors expressed doubt about going ahead with the bid, but voted in favour of giving Calgarians a chance to weigh in.

Calgary 2026 has also been promoting an Olympic bid as a way to bring billions of dollars of investment into Calgary, spurring job creation and other economic benefits.

The city, province and Ottawa each agreed to jointly fund the BidCo in March, and holding a plebiscite was one of the province’s conditions for offering those funds.

If the city backs out of the bid process now, the plebiscite will also be called off.

The $2-million cost of carrying out the plebiscite comes from a fund granted by the provincial government. City returning officer Laura Kennedy said nearly a month ago that the legislative process for the vote was well under way, with equipment and facilities already booked and hiring nearly complete for the 3,000 workers needed to facilitate the plebiscite.

The IOC approved Calgary several weeks ago as one of three bids in the running for the 2026 Games. The other two are Stockholm and the combined Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

The Olympics aren’t the only important item on city council’s agenda Tuesday. The finance committee is also set to discuss a steep drop in the value of downtown office space, which could affect the city’s four-year budget discussions in November.

Madeline Smith is a reporter/photographer with StarMetro Calgary. Follow her on Twitter: @meksmith

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Canada Post strike extends to GTA on Tuesday

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Almost 9,000 Canada Post workers will be walking off the job at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) said in a statement.


READ MORE:
Canada Post union workers to begin rotating nationwide strikes Monday morning

The walk-off will include the Greater Toronto Area, with the exception of Scarborough, and most of the 905 region.

Tuesday will mark the second day of postal disruptions across the country, after Canada Post announced a rotating strike on Sunday and began the walk-offs Monday morning.

The rotating strike includes Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor and Halifax, with the strike lasting 24 hours in each location, and workers will continue to strike daily.

WATCH: Victoria among first Canadian cities hit by Canada Post rotating strikes






“For us to reach any agreements, Canada Post has to talk about the changing nature of postal work and the issues that stem from the growth of parcels,” said CUPW national president Mike Palecek in a statement. “We need to address health and safety concerns and precarious work as well as gender equality. We will stay at the bargaining table and on the picket line for as long as it takes to get a fair deal for our members.”

CUPW has been negotiating with Canada Post for nearly a year, with key demands being job security, an end to forced overtime and better health and safety measures, among other concerns.

Canada Post said in a statement that the strike in Toronto will not only affect delivery in the city, but also Canada Post’s operations as a whole.

“Toronto is a key processing hub for mail and parcels in Canada. The union’s rotating strike will therefore have a significant impact on our operations,” the statement read.


READ MORE:
Canada Post’s rotating strikes: Everything you need to know about it

“Canada Post will make every effort to minimize the impact, but customers across the country may see delays for parcel and mail delivery,” the statement read.

The company says it is “committed to arriving at a negotiated settlement with CUPW.”

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

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Trudeau to unveil carbon tax plan Tuesday for provinces that don’t comply

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil Tuesday the federal government’s plan for wayward provinces that do not comply with the national climate plan.

That plan, brokered with most provinces roughly two years ago, includes a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions as part of a larger effort to tackle climate change. Trudeau has said the federal government will implement the carbon tax in provinces that do not have a tax of their own, or a cap-and-trade system.

On Tuesday, Trudeau will reveal exactly how Ottawa will go about implementing the carbon tax — or, as the government prefers to describe it, a « price on pollution. »

A senior government source, speaking to the CBC’s David Cochrane, confirmed a national price will be imposed on Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Prince Edward Island is expected to see a « blended » program, with the federal backstop imposed on large emitters. Other provincial programs were assessed by Ottawa and were found to be adequate.

So what was initially intended as a « backstop » in the event that a few provinces failed to design their own carbon pricing plans has now become the principal carbon pricing mechanism for nearly half of the country’s population. Roughly 47 per cent of Canadians live in provinces that have said they will not follow through on the national climate framework.

Trudeau has said that the tax will start at a minimum of $10 a tonne in 2019, rising by $10 each year to $50 a tonne by 2022.

Trudeau has long insisted the plan will be revenue-neutral for the federal government, with any revenues collected by the system staying in the province or territory where they are generated.

Liberal cabinet ministers are preparing to fan out across the country tomorrow to sell the climate plan to Canadians — and to try to reassure consumers it will add up to more money in their pockets, not less.

Led by Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Toronto, ministers also will be speaking in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — provinces that aren’t complying with Ottawa’s plan. The ministers will confirm that it will take effect as of January 1, 2019.

Ottawa plans to mail out rebate cheques to compensate people in provinces without a plan. The cheques are meant to offset some of the added cost the carbon tax will impose on goods like gasoline and natural gas.

While former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall was initially the lone provincial holdout on the carbon tax, his successor, Scott Moe, has been joined by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister in opposing the plan.

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