The federal government is putting up $500,000 for a feasibility study into a potential search for the remains of two Indigenous women at a Winnipeg-area landfill.
Marc Miller, the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, says the money will help the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs work with experts, police and other levels of government to examine the feasibility of a search.
The two women are among four alleged victims of Jeremy Skibicki, who has been charged with first-degree murder.
Police initially rejected the idea of a search, citing the passage of time, the lack of a precise location within the landfill and the tonnes of material that have been deposited in the area.
After public pressure, an Indigenous-led committee was put together to examine whether a search is feasible.
“We anticipate that the work ahead will be emotionally and spiritually demanding for all involved, and as we continue to move forward at an expedient pace, we remind all those affected by this tragedy to ensure they are accessing the supports available,” Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said in a written statement Wednesday.
Skibicki is also accused of killing Rebecca Contois, whose partial remains were found in a different landfill, and an unidentified woman, whom Indigenous leaders have named Buffalo woman.
Skibicki did not enter a plea during a court appearance in December 2022, but his lawyer said he maintains his innocence and a trial is likely some time away.
A forensic expert has said a search of the landfill might succeed, although there are no guarantees.
Despite the passage of time and other material at the landfill, signs of any human remains may be visible to trained searchers, said Tracy Rogers, director of the forensic science program at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
The top administrator at the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington United Way, Bhavana Varma, has announced she will step down as CEO at the end of August.
Varma, who has been CEO of the United Way KFL&A United Way for 24 years, oversaw record fundraising efforts and the agency’s ranking in the top 100 Canadian charities.
“We are very sorry to see her go,” said board chair Mary Rae. “Bhavana has worked tirelessly for the United Way, and she’s leaving our organization with a very strong foundation on which to build the future. I thank Bhavana for her leadership, passion and commitment to the community. She will be missed.”
The board has begun a search to find her successor.
“We’re coming out of the pandemic with great resilience, helping more people and raising more money than ever,” Varma said of her departure.
“Also, and just as significantly, we have built wonderful working relationships and partnerships geared to understanding our area’s greatest needs, and have invested where we can do the most good.”
The United Way of KFL&A has grown significantly under Varma’s leadership. In addition to raising record amounts of money in its annual campaign, the agency has attracted significant new sources of revenue from the government and other organizations in support of critical human service programs in the region.
Police in Halifax have charged nine people with drug trafficking and firearms offences as part of an ongoing investigation.
Halifax Regional Police say members of their Quick Response Unit, and Central Division Patrol members, searched a residence in the city just after midnight on Wednesday.
“Officers arrested nine people without incident and seized quantities of cocaine, fentanyl, morphine, hydromorphone and dextroamphetamine, cash, a conductive energy weapon and two loaded firearms,” police said in an afternoon news release.
According to HRP, the charged are:
Vincent Cain, 24
Christopher John Clayton, 52
George Allen Clayton, 57
Troy Edward William Clayton, 56
Tyshaun Crawley, 20
Brittany Jessica Green, 33
Rebecca Elizabeth Moir, 38
Vincent Leroy Ross, 53
Emanuel Sparks, 19
All nine accused are facing the following charges:
Possession for the purposes of trafficking (x5)
Possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace (x3)
Possession of firearm/prohibited or restricted weapon obtained by crime (x2)
Possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition (x2)
Possession of a firearm without a license (x2)
Storing a firearm or restricted weapon contrary to regulations (x2)
Unauthorized possession of a firearm (x2)
Possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon or ammunition without a license
Possession of a prohibited weapon
Tampering with serial number of a firearm
As well, HRP said Rebecca Moir and George Clayton are facing four counts each of possession of a firearm contrary to a court order, and Troy Clayton is facing seven counts of possession of a firearm contrary to a court order.
WATCH: Canada’s humanitarian aid in Turkey and Syria
As rescue crews from around the world scramble to find survivors buried under wreckage wrought by a massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria, Canada is still “looking” at how to help, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.
The death toll has topped 11,000 since a 7.8 magnitude quake — and its powerful aftershocks — reduced thousands of buildings to rubble in the region. Rescuers have rushed to pull people from the destruction, but as more time passes, calls for help from under the rubble have begun to grow silent.
On Tuesday, the federal government committed to sending $10 million in initial, direct aid to the countries — money Trudeau says is already flowing. The next day, he also promised the government would match up to $10 million of Canadians’ donations made to the Red Cross.
However, as other countries quickly suited up their rescue crews and flew them into the disaster zone, Canada’s leadership on Wednesday continued to say they are weighing their options when it comes to getting boots on the ground.
“From the very beginning we’ve been talking with our diplomatic staff, our counterparts over there, working with the international community on getting as much help as needed the right way there,” Trudeau said, speaking to reporters as he headed into a caucus meeting on Wednesday.
“We are there to help, we’re just looking at how to best do it.”
Countries around the world sprang into action after the deadly earthquake rocked Syria and Turkey, committing not only dollar figures but also search and rescue crews and gear, according to Reuters.
Australia made a promise similar to the one Canada outlined on Tuesday, pledging to provide AUD$10 million (CAD$9.3 million) to the region. But it also promised to deploy an urban search and rescue team of up to 72 people to Turkey, with the aim to have boots on the ground by the end of the week.
Two U.S. Agency for International Development teams — each comprised of about 80 people plus search-and-rescue dogs — are on their way to Turkey.
The U.K. also sent 76 search and rescue specialists with four search dogs, as well as rescue equipment.
China’s team of 82 earthquake rescuers and four search dogs arrived in the region on Wednesday, according to the country’s state broadcaster.
India, meanwhile, has sent two teams of 100 people from its National Disaster Response Force, as well as dogs, equipment, relief material and medical teams. Neighbouring Pakistan said it was sending two C-130 planes with relief supplies and 36 search and rescue personnel.
Japan sent piles of equipment to affected areas and sent dozens of people from its rescue teams. Poland, Taiwan and Switzerland all did too.
Qatar, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Greece, Israel and Spain all have either already sent or pledged to send rescue teams or military members, in addition to a smattering of other kinds of aid.
Saudia Arabia has ordered an air bridge to provide aid to the region. Germany is providing camps with emergency shelters and water treatment units. It’s also preparing relief supplies with emergency generators, tents and blankets, in coordination with the Turkish authorities — and promises to do more.
The European Union’s 24-7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre has activated its emergency Copernicus satellite mapping service to help first responders.
Finland said rescue experts would be sent to Turkey as part of this EU aid.
The World Health Organization said its network of emergency medical teams has also been activated to provide essential health care for the injured and most vulnerable.
Ukraine and Italy’s leadership have both said they’re standing by, ready to provide support. Even the Italian Roman Catholic Church has gotten involved, with a pledge to allocate 500,000 euros (CAD $720,540).
Both Trudeau and International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan have said the government is still considering its options when it comes to putting crews on the ground in the region, including whether to deploy the Disaster Assistance Response Team.
The team also deployed to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Both humanitarian workers and Turkey’s ambassador to Canada have made it clear they hope to see more aid flow to the region.
Shortly after the initial $10 million in aid was announced on Tuesday, Save the Children’s head of humanitarian affairs Dalia Al Awqati told Global News she looks forward to “continued commitment and support” from the Canadian government.
“It is really good news that the Government of Canada has committed the money,” she said. “It’s important to keep that door open as well. I would say we’re probably going to need to see more.”
Kerim Uras, Turkey’s ambassador to Canada, thanked Trudeau on Wednesday for his commitment to match donations to the Red Cross.
Speaking in an interview with Global News on Tuesday, Uras said he is “not in a position to tell what Canada should give or should not give.”
“We would wish more to be done by everyone because this is a humanitarian issue,” he said.
Canada is currently conducting a “needs assessment” to determine what the next steps should be, Sajjan said as he left a cabinet meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday.
“We’re also looking at various other options — medical teams, heavy urban search and rescue — and I know that also Minister Anand is looking at options for the (Disaster Assistance Response Team) DART as well,” Sajjan said.
Right now, however, no the federal government has not sent any teams — but “nothing” is off the table, the minister said.
— with files from Reuters
Corus Entertainment, the parent company of Global News, is supporting the Humanitarian Coalition in its appeal to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Donations can be made online.
D’Hondt was only 14 years old when she was invited to the 2020 X Games in Aspen as an alternate. She joined the field because of withdrawals and placed sixth in her debut.
The Canadian was invited again this year as an alternate, but D’Hondt declined her invitation to the January event.
“I just felt my time would be better spent training in my home pipe in preparation for Calgary’s World Cup as well as Mammoth,” she explained.
WinSport’s halfpipe is the largest in Western Canada at 6.7 metres high, 22 metres wide, 160 metres long and a vertical of 83 degrees.
Calgary was an occasional training stop for retired American snowboard legend Shaun White because of the pipe’s dimensions and night lighting.
“My favourite part about it is that it’s 10 minutes from my house and when you’re standing at the top of the pipe, you can see the whole city and it’s also one of the only places in the world that you can ride at night,” D’Hondt said.
It was a successful 2022 United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin fundraising campaign.
The organization announced Wednesday during a ceremony at Linamar in Guelph, Ont., that they were able to raise $2,603,347. The total announced was based on received and pledged dollars.
It was the first live, in-person celebration by the United Way since 2020. There was no set fundraising goal as the charity, like many other not-for-profit organizations, has faced challenges in raising money since the COVID pandemic began.
“People had to work a lot harder,” said UWGWD executive director Glenna Banda. “It was quite stressful. But people showed empathy, perseverance and commitment. When it is a challenging time like this, the long-term supporters that are there for us really help us get to our goal.”
“We kind of likened it to a roller-coaster,” said outgoing campaign chair Patricia Tersigni. “But these last couple of years have been no exception, probably even harder than the beginning of the pandemic.”
The United Way also handed out awards recognizing the outstanding achievements of their volunteers. Here are the individuals and organizations that were honoured on Wednesday:
Public Sector, Mid-Size Organization – County of Wellington
Private Sector, Mid-Size Organization – The Co-operators
Public Sector, Large Organization – University of Guelph
Private Sector, Large Organization – Linamar Corporation
Helen Robson, Linamar Corporation
Sue Keuhl, Sleeman Breweries
Mark Colvin, University of Guelph
Robin Drew and Rebecca Force, OMAFRA
Lorena Wilson, TransAlta
Lifetime Achievement Award
Donna Bryson, GM Blue Plan
Robyn Gladstone, Linamar Corporation
Les Herr, Herr Wealth Management
Local Love Award
University of Guelph’s Food Sciences Department
Leading the Way Award
Bright Star Award
The Frank Hasenfratz Centre For Excellence In Manufacturing
More than 150 workplaces took part in the campaign and more than 4,000 donors contribute to the United Way.
“Along with the workplaces that we celebrated today, there are a lot of individuals who donated through either direct mail or our website,” said Banda. “They are not celebrated in the same way, but we are greatly appreciative of the support.”
The event also marked the end of the two-year term for Tersigni as campaign chair but she says she is leaving the post in an excellent position to do more.
“I’ve met some really great people in the community that I didn’t know before, and I’ve strengthened relationships that had already existed,” Tersigni said. “Guelph Wellington and Dufferin is such a caring community. There is really nowhere to go but up.”
WATCH: Tech Talk: Netflix ads fall flat and job website scams
Netflix has announced a set of new features to be rolled out in Canada and other countries to help clear the confusion about when and how a member can share their account access with others.
The new features are aimed to give members “greater control over who can access their account,” Netflix said in a statement Wednesday.
“A Netflix account is intended for one household and members can choose from a range of plans with different features,” the company said. One of these features will allow members to set a primary location ensuring that anyone who lives in their household can use their Netflix account, they added.
There will also be another feature that will allow members the ability to manage who has access to their account from the company’s new Manage Access and Devices page.
Netflix said the new features will be rolled out more broadly in the coming months, starting Wednesday in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.
King’s University College in London, Ont., and the Salvation Army London Centre of Hope are partnering together in having social work students provide free counselling services for the city’s most vulnerable in helping them “overcome trauma” while “rebuilding dignity and hope.”
Working under clinical supervision, the new King’s Community Support Centre brings six students enrolled in their master’s and bachelor’s social work programs to the Salvation Army London Centre of Hope every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“The new partnership offers the students practical counselling experience while providing support to individuals and families impacted by homelessness, substance use recovery, mental health, and other traumas,” officials wrote in a statement.
Jon DeActis, executive director of the Salvation Army London Centre of Hope, said “there’s always been a need” for mental health support for the local unhoused population, “but there haven’t been enough resources.”
“This is a great partnership for us in the community and to provide something that you typically don’t see in a shelter,” he said.
The free counselling and support program began last month and just within that short span of time, DeActis said the response has been nothing but positive and continues to build.
“Our residents here have really appreciated the opportunity to meet with someone and talk,” he said. “They’re even referring themselves without going through anyone, and they can do that, which is great.”
M.K. Arundel, co-ordinator of field education at King’s School of Social Work, said it’s not just Salvation Army clients who are responding well to the program, highlighting the positive response from participating students.
“They’re very excited to be able to contribute to being part of a solution for our community,” she said. “But they’re also very excited for the learning that they are going to have as they journey along in their mandatory clinical direct practice practicum.
“Anything from mental health addictions, trauma, system navigation, these are all rich, relevant, valuable learning opportunities that they’re really embracing and enthusiastic about.”
The program’s first trial will run until the end of July before starting up again in September. In total, up to 12 King’s social work students will participate in the placement during the academic year.
Looking further into the future, Arundel said the hope is to expand the program to be available for other community members in need.
“This program is innovative, creative and collaborative,” she said. “This is a win-win for both our students who have a mandatory requirement for clinical and direct practice while being able to offer needed support to our community.”
The King’s Community Support Centre is located on the main floor of The Salvation Army London Centre of Hope, on the corner of Wellington and Horton streets.
The centre is now open every Monday and Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for in-person intakes. Appointments can also be booked on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The city of Winnipeg tabled a preliminary 2023 budget on Wednesday at city hall.
Rising inflation has significantly impacted the budget with inflation fees of $2.5 million.
The budget includes an expected 3.5 per cent property tax increase which aligns with Mayor Scott Gillingham’s campaign pledge.
“The pandemic has had a severe impact on city finances over the past three years,” said Gillingham.
“Now is the time to invest in priorities like transit capacity, road safety, tree planting and pruning and better customer service so that together, we can build a stronger Winnipeg.”
The average homeowner in southwest Winnipeg will pay an extra $101 in property tax while a North Ender will pay around $60 more.
And frontage levies for property owners with street frontage will pay $1.50 extra per foot, raising almost $18 million for road work and active transportation investments.
Even with the increase, Winnipeg’s property tax still remains low compared to other provinces.
The priority investments in 2023 according to the new budget are better customer service, improved transit and transportation service, improved safety and security, economic development and growth and tree canopy investment.
Under better customer service the budget includes a 25 per cent increase to improve service response times and $450,000 to begin development of the Neighbourhood Action Teams Concept.
“This is consistent with and fulfills the campaign commitment I made,” said Gillingham.
“There will be cross-trained people and they can repair a curb, fill a pothole, trim a tree.”
The budget also claims to restore transit service to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic levels over the course of the new year. This includes increasing the investment in road renewals by $18.9 million. Gillingham said more information will be available in the coming weeks.
Concerns around transit safety are also being addressed with a $5.0 million investment to launch a transit safety team initiative.
Business taxes remain the same at 4.84 per cent and the small business tax credit program will provide a full rebate to businesses with an annual rental value of $47,500.
And $3.6 million will be allocated to protect and renew Winnipeg’s tree canopy, which is more than the $4.7 million allocated last year.
Additionally, the budget will Restore Winnipeg arts council to pre-pandemic levels.
The budget also addresses the homeless crisis with a $1.0 million investment in 24/7 safe spaces for vulnerable Winnipeggers and continued funding toward the Downtown Safety Partnership.
Key Projects in the six-year budget
Regional and Local Street Renewal – $977.4 million
CentrePort South water and Sewer Servicing – $40.0 million
Urban Forest Renewal – $56.7 million
Transition to Zero-Emission Buses – $267.8 million
North Garage Replacement – $155.9 million
Combined Sewer Overflow and Basement Flood Management Strategy – $240.0 million
Other notable projects in the 2023-2028 budget include Waverly West Fire Station, a plan for trade route corridors and NEWPCC Nutrient Removal.
The six-year capital plan of $3.1 billion is about $200 million more than in the 2022 budget.
This is a preliminary budget that’ll be reviewed at standing policy committee meetings starting in early March. A final council debate will take place March 22.