Surrey RCMP searching for missing 14-year-old boy

Surrey RCMP is asking for the public’s help to locate a 14-year-old boy missing since Tuesday.

Gerrit Surette was last seen around 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Fleetwood Park Secondary.

Mounties and his family are concerned for his well-being.

Read more:
Two Surrey boys found after running away from elementary school

Surette is described as Caucasian, five-foot-seven and 150 pounds with dark blond hair.

He was last seen wearing a black and white track suit.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.

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

Toronto mayor defends role in Rogers family trust amid boardroom drama

WATCH: Toronto Mayor John Tory questioned over involvement with Rogers family trust

Toronto Mayor John Tory responded to questions about his role in the Rogers family trust on Wednesday, saying it hasn’t affected his commitment to the top job at City Hall.

Speaking at an unrelated event, Tory was asked about the appropriateness of his role in the trust amidst a growing feud involving the Rogers family that has spilled into the public.

“If there’s been anything that the city required of me at any hour of the day, on any day of the week, any day of the month, any week of the year — I devote myself to that first, and that includes sometimes putting my family second,” he told reporters.

The trust is the controlling shareholder of the company.

Read more:
Rogers family drama: What to know and why you should care

Tory’s connection to the late Ted Rogers is a longstanding one that dates back to his father, and he previously ran the company’s cable division.

“The fact that I might take a few hours of my time to do something else — whether it’s in respect to an obligation I made to a friend, or whether I was out playing a sport or spending time with my family, or going to see some art — I think that people will understand.”

Tory also confirmed to reporters that he receives compensation for his role on the trust, but said he has abided by the law scrupulously every day.

The Toronto Star first reported Tuesday that Tory receives $100,000 per year as a member of the trust, although the mayor did not confirm that amount to reporters Wednesday.

Rogers Communications has been propelled into the headlines this month, in large part due to the ongoing battle for control of the telecom giant.

Edward Rogers was recently ousted as chairman of the board, following an attempt to remove chief executive officer Joe Natale.

He has since gone to British Columbia’s Supreme Court, in an attempt to legitimize the company board he formed over the objections of some of his relatives.

Read more:
Edward Rogers asks B.C. court to validate new board family says is illegitimate

The drama has since thrust Tory’s role within the family trust — and whether remaining in that role is appropriate while he serves as Toronto’s mayor — into the spotlight.

“You cannot be in a senior position in the trust and in the city, and simultaneously represent the best interests of each,” said Richard Leblanc, professor of governance, law and ethics at York University.

Leblanc told Global News in his opinion, Tory’s role with Rogers constitutes a conflict of interest.

“It is the power of RCI, this trust board. So in many jurisdictions, when politicians go into office, they stand down from all commercial relationships, and that’s for the simple reason of exactly what we’re going through now. It is the potential for conflict of interest and divided loyalties.”

B.C.’s Supreme Court is slated to hold a hearing on Nov. 1.

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

2 people dead after highway collision in west-central Alberta

The RCMP is investigating what led to a two-vehicle crash on a highway west of Breton, Alta., on Wednesday that left two people dead.

In a news release, police said officers from the Breton and Thorsby RCMP detachments were called to a crash on Highway 616 at Range Road 43 just before 5 p.m. They said paramedics, firefighters and a crew from STARS Air Ambulance were also called to the scene.

Two people were declared dead at the scene. Police did not provide details about the victims, which vehicles they were in or if they were believed to be the drivers.

An RCMP collision reconstructionist has been called to the scene to help with the investigation. Police said traffic will be impacted in both directions on Highway 6161, Range Road 43 and Range Road 44 until investigators clear the scene.

Breton is located about 110 km southwest of Edmonton.

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

Raptors beat Pacers for first home win

TORONTO – Fred VanVleet had 26 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and OG Anunoby added 25 points as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Indiana Pacers 118-100 on Wednesday night for their first home victory of the season.

Rookie swingman Scottie Barnes chipped in with 18 points for the Raptors (2-3), who had dropped their first three games at Scotiabank Arena.

Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana (1-4) with 18 points. Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis, who was averaging 24.8 points per game entering play, had a team-high eight rebounds but was held to just nine points.

Barnes delivered a running one-handed slam dunk early in the fourth quarter to the delight of the sellout crowd of 19,800, giving Toronto a 98-78 lead.

The Pacers wouldn’t buckle though, with Brad Wanamaker hitting a three-pointer with 4:36 left that cut the deficit to 10 points. However, VanVleet delivered two straight field goals after a timeout and Anunoby hit a three-pointer with 2:01 left to put the game away.

VanVleet’s previous career high was nine rebounds in a game against Washington on Dec. 20, 2019.

Toronto shot 46 per cent on 46-for-100 shooting. Indiana was 38-for-79 on the night (48.1 per cent)

Anunoby set the early offensive tone with 11 points over the first eight minutes. He had 16 points in the first quarter to help stake Toronto to a 29-24 lead.

Indiana opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run. Svi Mykhailiuk restored Toronto’s lead with a three-pointer that put the Raptors up 34-33.

Anunoby also flashed some defensive skills, crossing the court and fully extending to block a Brogdon shot from the wing. VanVleet made a three-pointer on Toronto’s next possession to give the Raptors a 57-48 advantage, a score that held into the halftime break.

The Pacers had some early success when they penetrated down low with Brogdon leading the way with 16 first-half points. But Indiana struggled from distance over the first two quarters, converting just two of 14 three-point attempts.

Barnes and Toronto native Dalano Banton provided some offensive spark early in the second half. Anunoby ended a long scoring drought with a three-pointer late in the third quarter and VanVleet added a deep three just before the buzzer to give Toronto an 87-71 lead.

Toronto will close out its four-game homestand Friday against the Orlando Magic. The Pacers will continue their road trip with a visit to Brooklyn that night.

Notes: The Raptors and Pacers will meet again Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. … Indiana’s win in Toronto came on March 1, 2013. … Toronto native and former Raptor Oshae Brissett had six points for the Pacers. … Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle celebrated his 62nd birthday on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2021.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

B.C. appoints recovery liaisons to help Lytton rebuild from devastating fire

The B.C. government says two parliamentary secretaries will work with the Village of Lytton to help it recover from the wildfire that destroyed much of the community.

Two people died in the June 30 blaze that tore through the Fraser Canyon village, causing an estimated $77 million in insured damage.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, and Roly Russell, parliamentary secretary for rural development, will start in their new roles immediately.

Read more:
‘Helplessness’ in Lytton, B.C. says mayor, as residents question findings on devastating wildfire

He says they previously worked to help the Grand Forks community rebuild following floods in 2018.

Farnworth says they will listen to feedback from village residents and bring the information back to the government through the cabinet working group on wildfire recovery.

He says the ministry has also committed funding for both the transportation and disposal of debris preventing further delays in the cleanup process.

“We all want to see Lytton rebuilt and rebuilt quickly, but the reality is that housing solutions take time,” he said Wednesday in a release.

“There will be many challenges in this recovery in the weeks and months to come, but I can assure Lyttonites that the province will continue to work directly with the village to get you back on your feet.”

 

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Crown seeks jail time for Edmonton police officer convicted of assaulting Indigenous man

A judge must decide how to punish an Edmonton police constable after he assaulted an Indigenous man. The incident was caught on camera and widely circulated, sparking a debate over how far the punishment should go. Morgan Black reports. WARNING: This video contains disturbing content.

A judge will have to decide what punishment is appropriate for Edmonton Police Service Const. Michael Partington, who was found guilty of a 2019 assault.

Another officer had stopped an Indigenous man for riding a bike on a sidewalk without a bell.

Video of the confrontation shows the victim on the ground in a prone position. He screams in pain as the officers both kneel down over him. The footage shows Partington drive his knee into the man’s back.

The incident was caught on camera and widely circulated, sparking a debate over the officer’s actions and potential consequences.

Read more:
Video from 2018 shows Edmonton police officer using his knee on man’s neck during arrest

Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail argued Wednesday that Partington should serve jail time — 60-90 days — followed by 12-18 months probation.

MacPhail said the context of the assault was a man riding a bike with no bell — a “very non-urgent situation” that led to a “violent confrontation” with “extreme consequences for all involved.”

She said it was a “failure by Const. Partington to follow his training in regard to application of force.”

MacPhail pointed out that the victim is a member of a racialized minority, and while she was not alleging the assault was racially motivated, that fact “can’t be ignored.”

She argued the victim was in a position of vulnerability and said Partington’s knee could have resulted in worse injuries.

“(It’s) more good luck than good management there weren’t more serious consequences,” MacPhail told court.

She said jail time would serve as a wider deterrent for other law enforcement officials and would denounce Partington’s actions.

The defence argued that message is already being sent loud and clear and jail time isn’t required.

Partington’s lawyer Mike Danyluik argued that news coverage of the incident serves as a big deterrent.

Other EPS officers were aware of it and saw the resulting scrutiny and the consequences. The defence pointed out the video will be online forever and the fear of job loss or the financial impact is a stronger deterrent than jail time would be.

“You will be subject to intense media scrutiny, financial consequence and lose your job,” Danyluik said.

Read more:
Edmonton Police Service constable charged with assault in relation to 2019 arrest

The defence argued that it’s dangerous to bring race into the case since Partington saw the suspect for three seconds and his face was turned away.

The defence is seeking a suspended sentence — 12 to 18 months probation, 120 to 180 hours of community service and instructional programming on police use of force.

Danyluik argued Partington has led an otherwise exemplary personal and professional life apart from this one moment.

“It was a misjudgment of moments.”

The judge reserved his decision Wednesday.

Regardless of the outcome in court, EPS is conducting its own internal investigation into the incident, barring any appeals.

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

'Strikes like clockwork': U of A research pinpoints respiratory illness pattern in babies

Some Alberta researchers have discovered a pattern when it comes to seasonal viruses and they say it could help predict the future of the COVID-19 pandemic. Su-Ling Goh explains.

If health professionals could know when there would be an influx of patients — to then be prepared for the spike — could there be less of a strain on the health-care system?

That’s the question a University of Alberta research team has tried to answer when it comes to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within babies.

Pediatrics professor and lead researcher Michael Hawkes examined the seasonal pattern of respiratory viruses from clinical lab data analyzed from more than 37,000 patients in Alberta between the years 2005 to 2017.

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Of those, the seasonal pattern was discovered in more than 10,000 babies hospitalized for RSV.

“It’s a well-known fact (among the medical community) that in December and January, the hospital wards are packed with infants with RSV,” Hawkes explained.

“The virus is responsible for sending one per cent of infants worldwide to hospital. It strikes like clockwork in the winter months, so we wanted to examine this behaviour more deeply.”

According to his research, Hawkes says stints of respiratory illness from six viruses that were analyzed by the U of A team all peaked in January and hit a low in June. However, they also noticed a trend in that the peaks are worse every second year.

“From a high year of infection, there is a large number of people with immunity going into the next season, which means low levels of infection. But a low infection year would be followed by low levels of immunity and high levels of disease in the subsequent year — an alternating pattern based on transient immunity.”

Read more:
Severe RSV season ahead for Alberta: researcher

According to the study, babies born in January had a higher risk of hospitalization from the virus than those born in June, and infants born in severe peak years were more likely to be infected and hospitalized.

Hawkes says by understanding the seasonal patterns, it has the potential to allow health-care providers to “ramp up” RSV immunizations along with pushing out more public health messaging surrounding measures like handwashing.

“(It could) also help with planning: how many nurses and beds we are going to need in a given year.”

RSV likely to be high this year

Cases of RSV are likely to be high this winter, Hawkes predicted, noting immunity is low given that COVID-19 restrictions kept many people at home and out of school last year, reducing cases of the illness.

“Based on the implications of our work, the health-care system should prepare for a wave,” Hawkes said.

“COVID-19, like its cousins, is a respiratory virus and is likely to follow similar patterns as these other six viruses, so we could expect winter peaks and summer lows for COVID going forward, under natural conditions, without vaccine intervention.”

Hawkes noted that while the coronaviruses the researchers studied are responsible for less serious illnesses like the common cold and flu, the findings could potentially help hospitals brace for future seasonal waves of COVID-19 or other emerging pathogens.

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

Wasaga Beach, Ont., disables comments on its social media to prevent spread of hate, misinformation

An Ontario town says it will no longer allow comments on its social media posts in an effort to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation.

The Town of Wasaga Beach says it will disable comments for now, but will continue to share community information on social media.

The town located on the shore of Georgian Bay says it’s making the change because certain individuals in the community have been using its social media pages to “bully, spread hate and misinformation.”

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In a video posted online, Mayor Nina Bifolchi says the town does not want to give those people a platform to spread “hate and lies.”

She says residents are still encouraged to reach out to staff and council members by phone and email if they need to.

The town is also encouraging residents to use the municipality’s community engagement website called Let’s Talk Wasaga Beach.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

How to land a cheap flight as travel restrictions relax, and why it pays to be flexible

With demand picking up and the holidays just around the corner, it's expected airline ticket prices will soar. Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa has some tips on how you can still save on your next trip.

As COVID-19 travel rules relax around the globe, more and more people are thinking about taking to the skies.

While there are traditionally fewer deals around the holiday season for air travel, travel experts say there are ways to save on your next flight if you’re flexible.

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“The number one tip if you want to save money for flights is flexibility. If you can be flexible with one thing and what I mean by that either your destination or dates you can probably get a good price,” Barry Choi of moneywehave.com.

The personal finance and travel expert says the day you fly and time of your flight can make a difference in price.

Choi says very early morning flights or late afternoon departures are sometimes less expensive.

“Even flying a Tuesday through Thursday is traditionally cheaper than flying Friday through Monday,” Choi explained.

Travellers may also want to consider a stopover rather than a direct flight which could save you hundreds of dollars.

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A break in a flight itinerary may also be a great way to see another city.

“Let’s say you want to go to Paris. You can fly to any city in Europe and maybe take a discount carrier or possibly a train and it could save you money,” Choi said.

“It may take you longer to get there, but at the same time that stopover is an opportunity to see more of Europe.”

To offset higher fares, watch for Black Friday and Cyber Monday travel deals, he added.

“As a travel expert and travel deal hunter I always look forward to Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Choi said.

“To me, travel is one of the best deals to be had. The thing is you have to be ready to pounce on those deals because usually they even have travel Tuesday and as soon as those deals are gone, they are gone. So if you are ready to commit, book right away.”

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Choi also recommends signing up for price alerts and joining travel related mailing lists to score deals.

Also, if you’re in the market for a new credit card, now might be a good time to apply for one.

“With travel coming back credit card companies want to entice you to sign up for their card. I’m seeing welcome bonuses that are worth hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars these days and these bonuses are the highest I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“So it’s a good time to sign up for a new credit card if you are looking for one.”

To contact Anne Drewa and Consumer Matters, email story information and contact details to consumermatters@globalnews.ca

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

Former RCMP officer files civil defence in connection with Lake Country murder case

It’s been more than five years since Arlene Westervelt died while canoeing with her husband in Lake Country, but the story surrounding her death continues to unfold.

Former RCMP officer Brian Gateley has now filed a response to the lawsuit launched against him by Arlene’s family.

In the days after Arlene’s body was pulled from Okanagan Lake, Gateley took her cellphone and had another officer crack it using RCMP resources.

Gateley said that Bert had told him he wanted the pictures from his last day with Arlene.

Read more:
What happened to Arlene Westervelt?

The two men say their wives worked together and they knew each other as casual acquaintances, although Arlene’s family believes they were good friends.

According to court documents, the phone was hacked and returned to Bert before a murder investigation against him had been launched.

The civil response filed by the government says that four days after Arlene’s death, Gateley called Sgt. Craig Andrichuk, who was an investigator on the case and is also named in the lawsuit.

Gateley allegedly told Andrichuk that he’d been friends with the couple for years and had never seen any evidence of violence or abuse between them.

The government’s civil response also claims Andrichuk told Gateley that RCMP had no reason to seize Arlene’s cellphone because at that point it was still a non-criminal investigation.

“Supt. Gateley directed one of his subordinates to unlock Arlene’s cell phone using a program called Cellebrite,” the government’s response reads.

“As part of the unlocking process, Cellebrite also examined the cell phone and created a copy of the cell phone’s contents, which the subordinate retained in compliance with RCMP policy for Cellebrite usage.”

In February 2019, an internal RCMP conduct investigation found that Gateley engaged in a potential conflict of interest and misused RCMP IT equipment, according to the government’s civil response.

Read more:
‘They remain in the dark’: Family of woman who died on Okanagan Lake calls for coroner’s inquest

But Gateley disputes that.

In court documents filed this week, he says there was only a “perception” of a conflict of interest.

He also claims the police force found that unlocking the phone was an isolated case which did not result in personal gain, so no sanctions were imposed against him.

“In fact, Supt. Gateley was the catalyst for the RCMP learning that Bert had been untruthful during his initial interview with the RCMP,” Gateley’s civil response reads.

In court documents, the former Mountie denies trying to influence the investigation into Arlene’s death or having a personal interest in the outcome of it.

He resigned from the police force in March 2019.

Read more:
Who’s policing the police?

A month later, Bert Westervelt was charged with Arlene’s second-degree murder, nearly three years after her death.

Bert has always maintained his innocence, and the allegation against him has never been proven. The charge was stayed two months before it was supposed to head to a preliminary inquiry.

In his civil response, Gateley claims the stay on the murder charge has nothing to do with his actions.

Shortly after resigning from RCMP, he picked up a new job in policing with B.C.’s anti-gang agency.

The same officer who signed his conduct investigation letter was also the assistant commissioner at the anti-gang agency at the time.

In the civil suit, Arlene’s family alleges the former Mountie tried to shut down the investigation into her death. They’re seeking damages.

Gateley denies the allegations, and claims the family has not suffered any losses because of his actions.

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

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