Two replica pipe bombs found in Vancouver safe injection site: police

Two replica pipe bombs were found at a safe injections site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, police said Wednesday.

Staff at the injection site near Pender and Abbott streets found the replicas inside the toilets on Saturday afternoon.

A bomb technician from the Vancouver Police Department safely destroyed the device.

Police are still searching for a suspect.

“Pipe bombs are extremely dangerous. They can eject pieces of shrapnel in all directions causing serious injuries or death,” Const. Tania Visintin said in a statement.

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“At a glance, replica pipe bombs can appear very real. As such, we take these calls very seriously and must investigate them thoroughly.”

Police said officers investigated three other bomb threat calls last week. A bomb threat emailed to a cybersecurity company near Homer and Robson streets on Oct. 17 was determined to be a hoax.

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Police said 110 hours were spent investigating the calls.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Woman clocked driving double the speed limit, car impounded: Guelph police

Guelph police say a 31-year-old woman has lost her car for two weeks after allegedly being caught going more than twice the speed limit on Tuesday night.

Just before 11 p.m., an officer clocked a white car going 129 km/h in a 60 km/h zone near Speedvale Avenue and Elmira Road.

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The woman behind the wheel was charged with stunt driving and failing to provide a driver’s licence.

Police said her licence has since been suspended for 30 days and her vehicle impounded for 15 days.

In a tweet, the service added she was the fourth person since last Friday to lose their licence after being charged with stunt driving in Guelph.

Stricter stunt driving regulations went into effect in September, joining other harsher penalties that came into play in early July.

As of Sept. 12, roadside driver’s license suspensions increased from seven to 30 days for all stunt driving offences under section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act and Ontario Regulation 455/07.

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Stricter stunt driving regulations go into effect in Ontario

On July 1, the criteria for stunt driving dropped to 40 km/h or higher, from 50 km/h, if the driver is operating the vehicle on a road that has a speed limit of less than 80 km/h.

Another change in the law involved impounding vehicles that are stopped at the roadside. As of July 1, the vehicle will be immediately impounded for two weeks, up from one week.

— With files from Global News’ Jessica Patton

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mount Saint Vincent University apologizes for ties to residential school system

Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia has formally apologized for its connection to Canada’s residential school system.

Interim university president Ramona Lumpkin gathered with a group of Indigenous community leaders, residential school survivors and university representatives today to perform a ceremony of apology and commitment on the school’s Halifax campus.

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Lumpkin noted that the school’s founders and previous owners, the Sisters of Charity Halifax, had members who staffed residential schools in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

Members were stationed at the Shubenacadie Residential School, which was open from 1930 to 1967 about 60 kilometres north of Halifax, and the Cranbrook Residential School in southeastern B.C. from the late nineteenth century to 1970.

Lumpkin also said Mount Saint Vincent would be committing to several actions to improve its relationship to Indigenous people on campus and in the province.

She said commitments include expanding financial aid for Indigenous students and adding more Indigenous content to courses.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

West Kelowna Mounties recover $30K in stolen property

Two Lower Mainland residents are facing numerous charges after the West Kelowna RCMP recovered over $30,000 in suspected stolen merchandise.

A man and woman associated with a Ford cargo van were allegedly seen shoplifting high-value merchandise between Oct. 17 and 18 from local businesses and RCMP were called.

Within a day, the West Kelowna RCMP community safety unit located the Ford cargo van with two occupants in the parking lot of a business in Kelowna. A man and woman were arrested and taken into custody without incident.

Following their arrests, the cargo van was seized and a search located over $30,000 of high-value merchandise suspected to have been stolen from local businesses.

“The merchandise recovered included home improvement supplies, kitchen appliances, as well as various tools and machinery of high value,”  Cpl. Bryan Mulrooney of the West Kelowna RCMP Community Safety Unit said in a press release.

“Prolific thieves and shoplifters cost businesses thousands of dollars in lost revenue each month. Our collaborative approach and our relationship with our local asset protection associates is an invaluable tool that assists us in targeting prolific retail thieves.”

A 42-year-old man from Langley and a 46-year-old woman from White Rock were conditionally released to attend court at a later date. The investigation remains ongoing and the matter will be submitted to the BC Public Prosecution Service for consideration of charges.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Kingston police investigate double homicide in Sydenham Road shooting

Kingston police say a homicide investigation from the weekend is now a double homicide investigation.

In a media conference Wednesday, Const. Joel Fisher said two people were shot on Sydenham Road Saturday evening. One was pronounced dead at the scene while the other was sent to hospital, but later died.

Fisher identified the two men as Carl-Alen Delphin, 20, and Nico Soubliere, 29, both of Ottawa.

He also noted that currently, a black KIA Optima with Quebec licence plates is a central part of the ongoing investigation.

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“We’re aware of several vehicles and members of the public who were in the area of Sydenham Road and the 401. We are appealing to them for dashcam footage, personal observations that they might have made,” Fisher said.

Fisher noted that both victims came to Kingston earlier in the day Saturday to spend time celebrating Queen’s University homecoming.

Although Kingston police originally said Saturday night’s shooting may have been linked to a shooting the night before on Theresa Crescent, Fisher said as of Wednesday, the incidents are being investigated separately.

He noted that Kingston police are looking into more than one suspect, but did not give any more details about the number of suspects or who they may be.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mushrooms, maggots and mischief: Bad blood over B.C. farm leads to criminal conviction

Two brothers in Summerland, B.C., were convicted of mischief and sentenced to probation on Tuesday in a long-simmering and bizarre dispute with their neighbour.

On Tuesday, Penticton provincial court judge Michelle Daneliuk found Bradley and Darren Besler guilty of mischief for a series of events that occurred in the summer of 2019.

A property owned by their mother neighbours What the Fungus, a mushroom farm on Garnet Valley Road.

Daneliuk said in her judgment that the dispute began when the Beslers became upset by the existence of a mushroom farm next to the property, and in particular the noxious odours.

The property is owned by Thor Clausen, who required a bylaw variance to comply with district permitting regulations to continue operating the mushroom farm.

The Beslers mounted a public campaign in the hopes of getting the variance denied, but were unsuccessful.

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The animosity between the two neighbours escalated from there.

Daneliuk said evidence suggested the Besler brothers drove their trucks along the property line to create dust clouds that wafted over the mushroom farm facility, parked a truck near the fence line and blared loud rap music, and shone high beam lights into their neighbour’s home in the dark hours.

In the summer of 2019, the duo constructed a large compost heap immediately adjacent to the production area of What The Fungus, claiming they were experimenting with the production of maggots for a possible commercial venture.

“Through the heat of the summer, evidence of Crown witnesses is that they would dump raw and rotting meat and other organic matter into the box, causing the expected noxious odour,” Daneliuk said.

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Daneliuk said she concluded that the maggot farm was created for no other purpose than as a “sort of a retaliatory manoeuvre to annoy and provoke the employees of What The Fungus.”

In August of that year, Clausen awoke to find several large, white crosses on the Bessler land facing his property, which had been erected in the early morning hours.

“He chose to attend the property in the very early morning hours before sunrise, under the cover of darkness, to do this, as captured by the Clausen surveillance cameras,” Daneliuk said.

“I find that these signs were constructed to provoke the occupants of the Clausen property, which they did.”

It wasn’t until after the police were notified that “no trespassing” and “private property” were written on the large signs.

The Beslers represented themselves in court and argued they never trespassed, verbally or physically threatened anyone, and did not possess or produce any weapons.

Their conduct, they claimed, was a lawful display of protest and objection to the operation of the mushroom farm on the neighbouring property.

Read more:
Neighbour dispute over Summerland mushroom farm leads to criminal charges

Daneliuk granted the Besler brothers a conditional discharge with nine months probation for mischief.

“The willful conduct of the Beslers, while not rising to the level of criminal harassment, obstructed, interrupted, and interfered with the lawful use of enjoyment or operation of the property of Thor Clausen by the occupants of that property,” she said.

What the Fungus declined an interview with Global News, but wrote on its Facebook page that justice was served.

“It has been incredibly difficult dealing with our neighbours over the past 2.5 years. We are hopeful that everyone involved can move on with their lives and find peace,” the business wrote.

“All of us at What The Fungus are so grateful for the continued support from everyone in Garnet Valley, Summerland, and throughout the Okanagan.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ontario's watchdog reveal investigation into Hamilton police officer for alleged sex assaults

The province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) says it’s started a probe into alleged legacy sexual assaults believed to have been committed by a member of the Hamilton Police Service.

In a release on Wednesday, SIU director Joseph Martino said the investigation was launched after receiving legal notification in mid-May suggesting the assaults happened in 2010.

“As a result of the SIU investigation, Const. Michael LaCombe is charged with two counts of sexual assault contrary to section 271 of the Criminal Code,” Martino said in a statement.

Hamilton police confirm LaCombe is an 18-year veteran of the service and has been charged with two counts of sexual assault.

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“The officer has been suspended with pay,” a spokesperson said in a release following the announcement of the investigation.

“The matter is now before the courts. Out of respect for the process, Hamilton Police Service will not be providing further comment.”

LaCombe is set to appear before an Ontario court justice in Hamilton on Nov. 9.

No further details are being disclosed by the SIU “in consideration of the fair trial interests of the accused,” Martino said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Quebec plans to end pandemic state of emergency in 2022, but some measures could remain longer

After 20 long months, the worst of the pandemic is finally behind us according to Premier François Legault. He opened a new session of the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon and laid out his government's priorities and made promises ahead of the 2022 election. Global’s Raquel Fletcher reports.

Premier François Legault says that while the province plans to lift the pandemic state of emergency after younger children have been vaccinated, some health measures may stick around longer.

Legault told reporters in Quebec City Wednesday the state of emergency has given the province flexibility to introduce measures such as masking rules and a website to recruit health-care help. He said the province would look at measures one-by-one and introduce a bill to maintain those that are needed.

“We have to see what we have the right to do and then what we need to do once the children between the ages of five and 11 are going to be vaccinated,” Legault said.

“We think that, for the most part, we will be able to remove most of the measures, but it is possible that some should be kept.”

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Legault had been vague about when the health emergency might end, but said Tuesday it could come in early 2022, depending on how quickly vaccination begins for younger children.

The state of emergency grants the government broad powers that include issuing non-tendered contracts, closing places of assembly, limiting travel and other measures deemed necessary to protect the population.

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said the state of emergency is not needed if vaccination of younger children is the only remaining hurdle.

“There is no visibility, he can do basically whatever he wants without having to justify himself,” Anglade said of the exceptional powers Legault has under a state of emergency. “That’s what’s going on right now, and I don’t think it’s necessary to maintain it that way.” On Twitter, she described the premier as “authoritarian.”

Health Minister Christian Dubé said the end of the health emergency does not mean the end of restrictions. “With public health, we will continue to communicate our measures. It’s very encouraging, a sign that the crisis, the worst of the crisis is behind us,” he said.

Quebec reported 458 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Wednesday.

The Health Department reported 287 people hospitalized with the virus, 10 fewer than the day before, and 72 of those patients are in intensive care, a decline of three.

According to the province’s public health institute, 90.2 per cent of those aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, with 87.2 per cent considered adequately vaccinated against COVID-19.

The province has reported more than 420,000 infections and 11,455 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

COVID-19: London, Ont. researchers to study impact on brain of 'moral injury' in health-care workers

Researchers out of Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University’ Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry will be examining the impacts of what’s known as “moral injury” on the brains of health-care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A moral injury involves injury to a person’s moral conscience and can happen when someone sees or does something, or fails to prevent something, that conflicts with their morals. As a result, people are often left with profound guilt and shame.

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Researchers argue that some health-care workers have experienced situations amid the pandemic that could have resulted in moral injury.

“Those suffering from moral injury have a cognitive or thinking component which may include repeated thoughts that they didn’t provide the best care for, example, or that they let their family down do to their intense work schedule or need to self-isolate,” explains Dr. Ruth Lanius, associate scientist at Lawson, Schulich professor and London Health Sciences Centre psychiatrist.

“We are trying to look closely at what happens in the brain when a person recalls a moral injury event. By understanding the changes happening in the brain, we may be better able to treat individuals suffering from moral injury.”

The study involving health-care workers will involve 60 participants who will undergo a functional MRI scan at the beginning of the study. The participants will have the option to receive eight weeks of treatment followed by another MRI scan to see if and how the brain changes.

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Lanius adds that the MRIs can be “very validating” for health-care workers, as they can “make the invisible wound of moral injury visible.”

The team aims to better understand what networks of the brain are activated with moral injury in hopes of improving treatment.

The study is still seeking participants and interested health-care workers are asked to contact research co-ordinator Suzy Southwell at 519-685-8500 ext. 35186 or suzy.southwell@lhsc.on.ca.

This is not Lawson’s first foray into the field of moral injury. In January 2020, Lawson announced a two-year study into moral injury among veterans.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Doctors sound alarm over COVID-19 vaccine exemptions: 'We have ethics'

WATCH: Doug Ford satisfied with CPSO process restricting Ontario doctors.

Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth has spent countless hours trying to convince hesitant patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Ottawa-based family doctor told Global News she’s encountered patients who don’t want to get vaccinated because they’re scared. Some have asked for an exemption – but that’s something Kaplan-Myrth won’t do.

“A patient asked if they could be exempted, and there was no medical reason; they just didn’t feel comfortable having the vaccine,” she said.

“I said, ‘No that is not a valid reason to be exempted.’ … it’s very restricted who can be exempted – in fact it’s so exceedingly rare that you have to wonder how any of the people who are getting these exemptions are given the exemption.”

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Kaplan-Myrth is one of several health-care professionals expressing shock after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario barred two doctors last week from providing COVID-19 vaccine, mask and testing exemptions.

As well, a third Ontario doctor also had their exemption abilities restricted late last month.

The provincial regulator issued the interim orders under provisions of the Regulated Health Professions Act, which allows them to impose restrictions on a member’s licence if it believes their conduct “exposes or is likely to expose patients to harm or injury.”

A spokesperson for the college told Global News it expects physicians to provide exemptions based on valid medical reasons.

“Deliberately providing patients with exemption documentation that does not meet Ministry criteria or providing exemptions to circumvent vaccination mandates could constitute serious misconduct,” they said.

“We take these matters very seriously and, wherever we become aware of allegations, we would take all appropriate steps to investigate.”

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In light of this, Global News contacted every province and territory’s medical regulator to see if any other region has received complaints regarding doctors providing exemptions.

Global News received replies from every jurisdiction with the exception of Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories. Some regions couldn’t provide the information, either citing privacy laws or that the information wasn’t available.

Regulators in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Yukon and British Columbia haven’t received any formal complaints.

However, in B.C., regulators there told Global News that it has heard through “informal avenues that illegitimate COVID-19 vaccine exemption and deferral letters may be circulating in the community.”

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC said it hasn’t seen any evidence of those letters, but published a public service announcement for those who may be required to determine the legitimacy of a vaccine exemption letter.

“If people are writing exemptions … they’re writing those exemptions either because they feel like they have to appease their patients, or they haven’t learned how to say no to their patients,” Kaplan-Myrth said.

“But we have to say no to patients all the time.”

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Number of COVID-19 vaccine exemptions being given out seems ‘high,’ Ontario medical officer says

Earlier this month, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said the number of vaccine exemptions being given out in the province seems “high.”

He said there are two main reasons for a medical exemption: a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine ingredient, and a risk of inflammation to the heart caused by the shot.

When those two risks are considered, there should be an exemption rate of approximately one to five per 100,000, Moore said.

“We’ve tried to educate physicians, nurse practitioners who fill out these forms to ensure that they are aware of the two major medical exemptions for these vaccines,” he said.

“I’ve heard, let’s say through hockey leagues and/or through employers, of a one to two per cent medical exemption rate. To me, that does seem high and we have to have physicians and nurse practitioners better aware of what the true medical exemptions are.”

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Kaplan-Myrth added that misinformation is driving fears among the hesitant.

“It’s really hard to get a person past that extreme fear, but still that is not a reason that you give them an exemption,” she said.

Dr. David Esho, a family doctor in Toronto, told Global News he has been able to convince some patients to get vaccinated, but that it’s a work-in-progress for others.

“I think some of them don’t really understand what the criteria are, and that’s where my job as a physician is to educate them around what are the actual reasons for vaccine exemptions or mask exemptions,” he said.

“I think it’s important that as family physicians, as physicians in general, that we always practice with the best evidence-based medicine.”

Dr. Steven Bellemare, director of strategic engagement and advocacy with the Canadian Medical Protective Association, told Global News doctors need to use “clinical judgment” when assessing their patients’ needs.

“It really is important that physicians understand that they have to follow their college’s guidelines,” he said. “And if they are going to be providing exemptions, they do it in the context of proper clinical assessment and an established doctor-patient relationship.”

When asked about complaints regarding illegitimate exemptions being given, a spokesperson for the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada told Global News that medical regulatory authorities (MRA) must follow due process “and, by legislation, cannot make public comments while these processes are unfolding.”

“There may in fact be several cases across the country where physicians have been brought to the attention of the MRA for the concern you outline, but due process must be allowed to unfold as it should.”

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For Kaplan-Myrth, she hopes that other physicians continue to be there for their patients.

“My message to any colleague who is doing the public a disservice by providing falsified exemptions is that they have no business practicing medicine,” she said.

“We have standards, we have ethics, we have codes of conduct and we have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our population.”

— With files from Ryan Rocca and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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