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Kootenay predator who molested ‘street-involved’ foster child jailed 5 years – BC News | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


Brent Richter / North Shore News – Jul 13, 2023 / 6:50 pm | Story: 436761

West Vancouver police say a senior has died after a fall into Cypress Creek Canyon.

The incident happened just after 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The man, who was in his 70s, was hiking with a large group when he fell approximately 200 feet into the canyon. West Vancouver Fire & Rescue was tasked with recovering the man’s body.

“A life was lost today. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the individual.” says Cst. Nicole Braithwaite. “Our Victim Services Team is working to assist the individuals who witnessed the incident, the family of the deceased male, as well as the members who attended.”

No further information has been provided and police will not be releasing the name of the deceased at the request of his family.

It is not the first death of 2023 in that particular area of West Vancouver. In May, a man was swept down the rushing creek when he attempted to rescue his dog after it had fallen in.

Warning: This story includes description of the sexual assault of a child. Discretion is advised.

A Kootenay man who molested a “street-involved” foster child after supplying her with hard drugs has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Kenneth John Harrison was sentenced by a BC Supreme Court justice in Nelson last month after being found guilty at trial of sexual interference and touching touching.

On the night of June 6 and 7, 2019, Harrison, who was 60 years old at the time, took 14-year-old A.B. to an “isolated” location and supplied her with methamphetamines and ketamine, which she had requested.

He then took her to two more isolated locations where he molested her orally, digitally and then had vaginal intercourse with her.

In her sentencing decision, Justice Lindsay M. Lyster noted the victim was “an extremely vulnerable girl” as a foster child who was engaged in “drug-seeking behaviour.”

“Mr. Harrison exploited A.B.’s vulnerabilities, which he was well aware of, for his own sexual gratification. His conduct was morally and legally reprehensible,” Lyster ruled.

Harrison, who is the father of six, proclaimed his innocence at trial and continued to claim to be falsely accused while speaking to doctors during pre-sentencing. He used vulgar and misogynistic language while describing his victim.

Justice Lyster described the testimony of A.B. at trial as “harrowing,” adding that she was “clearly traumatized” by the sexual assaults and being forced to take the stand to testify.

“I agree with Crown counsel that she showed remarkable resilience in pursuing this case to trial… I commend her for her courage, her tenacity, and her commitment to seeing that justice was done.”

Harrison had prior convictions between 1977 and 2012 for possession and trafficking in narcotics, assault, careless use of a firearm, and failure to comply with probation orders.

A pre-sentence report found Harrison had an average risk of sexual recidivism.

“Were he to reoffend, his most likely victim would be a vulnerable, street-entrenched, substance-involved adolescent female,” the decision says.

Crown prosecutors sought a six to seven year sentence while the defence argued for three.

“I find that the six to seven-year sentence proposed by the Crown would not be excessive, but, in light of Mr. Harrison’s age and health problems, is longer than appropriate in his individual circumstances,” Justice Lyster ruled.

Harrison recently lost an eye to cancer as well as some toes, which causes mobility issues.

In addition to the five-year sentence Justice Lyster handed down, Harrison will be barred from interacting with anyone under 16 for a decade after release and register as a sex offender for 20 years.

Harrison also received credit for just under eight months of prison time already served.

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The Canadian Press – Jul 13, 2023 / 5:41 pm | Story: 436665

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.

British Columbia has requested 1,000 additional international firefighters to join the battle against the province’s wildfires.

Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma said Thursday she had also spoken to her counterpart in Ottawa, Bill Blair, about bringing more federal resources to help fight the 350 or so fires burning across B.C.

Ma said at a briefing about drought conditions in B.C. that a team from Australia is arriving on Saturday, adding to the 160 international personnel from Mexico and the United States currently deployed in B.C.

She said the Australians are an “incident management team.”

Firefighters from South Korea, France, South Africa and the Dominican Republic have also been fighting fires in Canada, during what is shaping up as a record-breaking fire season.

Blair, federal minister of emergency preparedness, had earlier said he was expecting a “fairly substantive” request for help from B.C. as wildfires worsen.

Blair told The Canadian Press the government operations centre has been in discussions with the province for the last several days, and Ottawa is ready to deploy needed resources.

“The fire season now is obviously sparking up pretty seriously out there and they have sent us an indication of some additional resources that they will require,” he said in an interview Thursday.

“For the last 48 hours we’ve been working with Canadian Armed Forces, Parks Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and people from the Canadian Coast Guard,” said Blair. “There’s a lot of different federal departments all mobilizing their response to the requirements of British Columbia.”

He said the federal help could include military assistance for airlift evacuations from remote locations, as well as members of the military trained as firefighters who can provide “mop up” to keep blazes from reigniting once they’ve been put out.

“If there are communities that become isolated and need to be evacuated, then Canadian Armed Forces provides those resources,” Blair said.

The Canadian Coast Guard is also mobilizing support for affected coastal communities, and Natural Resources Canada staff with forest management expertise are also preparing to help, he said.

Blair added there are a number of national parks in B.C., so Parks Canada is ready to aid the province with park firefighters and forest management experts.

Blair said B.C. is one of the better equipped provinces to handle fires because it is often among the hardest hit, but any extra help needed is being made available.

Ma’s request for more international help was lodged through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates firefighting resources across the country.

Premier David Eby said earlier this week the province was looking for more firefighting support, particularly air equipment, in its battle against wildfires.

He said forecasts suggest B.C. and Canada could be facing the worst fire season in 100 years.

Eby expressed gratitude for the help provided by international firefighters from Mexico and the United States who are on the frontlines with provincial crews.

Rural and northern B.C. communities have felt the brunt of this year’s wildfire season, but on Wednesday, smoke from a blaze on the mountains overlooking Vancouver could be seen across the city, as helicopters dropped water to extinguish the flames.

Brant Arnold-Smith, director of the Metro Vancouver regional district’s emergency operations centre, said at a media briefing Thursday that crews were still tackling hot spots, saying the fire in North Vancouver’s Seymour conservation area is deep underground.

“We are quite confident that it will not spread anymore,” he said.

Arnold-Smith said their initial theory suggested it was caused by lightning, but they’re not ruling out that it was human caused until an investigation is done.

But he said the fire was in a “rugged, secluded area” where people rarely trek, taking an hour and a half for crews to reach the scene through thick brush.

“This event serves as an important reminder as to how dry our region is,” he said. “It’s been almost a month of just no precipitation in the region, so our green spaces are very dry and very susceptible to any sort of ignition sources that could cause a wildfire.

There are more than 350 wildfires burning in all corners of the province, and the BC Wildfire Service warns another blast of heat in many areas could add more burdens on already overstretched crews.

The wildfire service says a week-old, 300-square-kilometre blaze close to Highway 37 just south of the Yukon boundary has been calm, but it and similar fires across northern B.C. could flare up during the next several days of expected hot weather.


ORIGINAL 10:15 a.m.

Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Minister says he is expecting a “fairly substantive” request for help from British Columbia as wildfires worsen.

Bill Blair tells The Canadian Press the government operations centre has been in discussions with the province for the last several days, and Ottawa is ready to deploy the needed resources as the formal request for help is expected today.

That’s said to include military assistance for airlift evacuations from remote locations, as well as members of the military trained as firefighters who can provide “mop up” help to keep blazes from reigniting once they’ve been put out.

The Canadian Coast Guard is mobilizing support for affected coastal communities, and Natural Resources Canada staff with forest management expertise are also preparing to help.

Blair adds there are a number of national parks in B.C., so Parks Canada is ready to aid the province with park firefighters and forest management experts.

Blair says B.C. is one of the better equipped provinces to handle fires because it is often among the hardest hit, but any extra help needed is being made available.

There are more than 350 wildfires burning in all corners of the province, and the BC Wildfire Service warns another blast of heat in many areas could add more burdens on already overstretched crews.

The wildfire service says a week-old, 300-square-kilometre blaze close to Highway 37 just south of the Yukon boundary has been calm, but it and similar fires across northern B.C. could flare up during the next several days of expected hot weather.

includes some nifty details that Vancouver residents will recognize, including two trips across the ice at the home of the Canucks, Rogers Arena — called “M Arena” in the game.

One of the most specific of those Vancouver references is found right outside Rogers Arena, both in the game and in real life. Just as a driver exits Rogers Arena during the third and final lap, they’ll pass a golden statue in the likeness of the real-life statue of former Canucks head coach Roger Neilson hoisting a white towel on the end of a hockey stick.

It’s a detail that doesn’t exist in the Mario Kart Tour version of the Vancouver Velocity track, so it was added just for the Switch version.

Roger Neilson and Mario exist in the same universe

Let’s just take a moment to ruminate on the implications of this.

We already knew that hockey existed in the Mario universe — Mario and his Nintendo friends, as well as Sonic the Hedgehog and his Sega friends, play hockey together in the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games series — but this gets a lot more specific.

Let’s start with the statue, which was created by Abbotsford sculptor Norm Williams, cast in bronze in Langley, and installed outside of Rogers Arena in April of 2011 — all of which must also have happened in the Mario universe. The statue depicts Neilson symbolically raising the white flag in mock surrender to the officials after some questionable officiating in Game 2 of the Canucks’ playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The statue’s existence in Mario Kart implies that Neilson exists in the same universe as Mario “Jumpman” Mario, his brother, Luigi Mario, and all of the bizarre creatures that appear in the Mario games, from Bowser to Birdo to all the various Koopalings.

Somewhere, while Mario is jumping on the heads of Koopa Troopas and sending their carapaces spinning violently into their brethren, Roger Neilson is clipping video of him doing so in order to break down how he can more efficiently bust up Bowser’s operations.

Neilson was an innovator, who was nicknamed “Captain Video” for his first forays into using video to illustrate his points to players, which soon became commonplace around the league. He also was one of the first coaches to track his own analytics in his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, keeping tabs on scoring chances and other statistics and using those to influence who he sent out for specific faceoffs and line matching.

“All that had to start somewhere,” said Darryl Sittler, who played for Neilson with the Leafs. “We were all packed in a little room under the stands at the Gardens when he showed us those first videos, on a basic TV, going over power play and penalty killing.

“It was new, but refreshing and I was all for it. Roger also introduced us to proper off-ice conditioning, got us working on faceoff plays and he probably came up with the first [defined chart] of scoring chances. Mostly, he made you accountable, to be prepared for every night like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.”

Neilson only made it to the Stanley Cup Final once as a coach and it was with the Canucks, featuring that immortalized-in-bronze moment when he raised the white flag. That led to the beginning of Towel Power, as Canucks fans seized on Neilson’s defiant moment and rallied around it, swinging white towels over their heads for the rest of the playoffs.

It’s a tradition that continues today, albeit only in spirit, as Canucks fans haven’t actually had the opportunity to swing towels at a Canucks home playoff game for eight years. 

Teasing out the implications

Here’s the thing: it’s not just that Neilson exists in the Mario universe but that the specific moment of him raising the white flag exists in the Mario universe. This means that the Vancouver Canucks exist in the same universe as Yoshi and Waluigi and that in the history of the Mario universe, the Canucks went on the same playoff run in the 1982 playoffs.

That means all the events that led up to Neilson raising the white towel also exist. 

For instance, Neilson wasn’t even supposed to be head coach of the Canucks in those playoffs. He was an assistant coach and only took over behind the bench when Harry Neale was suspended ten games for fighting with fans during a game against the Quebec Nordiques. When the Canucks immediately went on a winning streak under Neilson, he remained as head coach for the playoffs.

So, in the Mario universe, Harry Neale also punched a Nordiques fan who was reaching around the glass to poke at Dave “Tiger” Williams. 

Here’s the big question, though: did the Canucks win the 1982 Stanley Cup in the Mario universe?

The Mario universe must be an alternate dimension. After all, in the Mario universe you can drive underneath the Olympic cauldron in Vancouver, whereas in real life there’s a fountain that would block your path. 

In the Mario universe, the denizens of Vancouver obviously honoured Neilson with a statue the same way they did in this universe. This implies that all of the same events that led up to the moment of Neilson raising the white towel remained the same in both universes and that it had a similar impact on Vancouver fans. 

But that doesn’t say anything about what came after. 

Perhaps in the Mario universe, a rogue blue shell came out of nowhere to crash into the front-running New York Islanders during the 1982 Stanley Cup Final, allowing the Canucks to catch up despite trailing behind the Islanders the entire season.

You never know.

Arthur Williams / Prince George Citizen – Jul 13, 2023 / 5:21 pm | Story: 436753

Northwood Pulp Mill will resume production on Monday, July 17, after production was temporarily curtailed on Thursday, the company announced.

On Tuesday, Canfor Pulp Products announced it was curtailing production at the mill due to the limited storage space for pulp products that cannot be transported to the company’s overseas markets during the B.C. port workers strike.

The B.C. Maritime Employers Association said work would begin again at B.C. ports with Thursday’s 4:30 p.m. Pacific-time shift, confirming an earlier Tweet from its dispatch centre. The employers association said earlier it had reached a four-year agreement with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, which represents 7,400 workers in the job action that began July 1, The Canadian Press reported.

The mill employs roughly 475 people, and the majority of the employees will be impacted by the curtailment, a Canfor Pulp spokesperson said in an email on Tuesday.

“We will have a skeleton crew working to ensure the safety and protection of the mill and they will also continue to receive chips and hog,” the spokesperson said. “We regret our Northwood employees are being impacted as a result of the labour dispute at B.C. ports.”

The curtailment was expected to reduce the company’s production of market kraft pulp by 11,000 tonnes per week.

  • With files from The Canadian Press



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Claire Wilson / Business in Vancouver – Jul 13, 2023 / 5:20 pm | Story: 436752

Increased land-use regulations are being linked to increased unaffordability in Canadian cities in a new survey from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) and Statistics Canada.

Metro Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area earned the survey’s highest residential land-use regulation scores at 98 and 100, respectively.

Toronto’s score is meant to serve as a yardstick whereby scores below 100 indicate less regulation than the Toronto area and scores above that figure indicate more regulation relative to the area.

The rest of B.C. received a score of 79, while Saskatchewan had the lowest score at 66.

“Because housing supply is so important, we want to look into the different things that might be holding supply back. This is one of those things … that we can look at in order to find ways to make the responsive supply more efficient so we can improve housing affordability,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in an interview.

The 2022 Municipal Land Use and Regulation Survey fills in gaps from a previous CMHC report released in 2018. The earlier report expressed concerns about the connection between land-use regulation and increasing prices in large metropolitan areas. Dugan said the most recent survey validated those concerns.

“It confirmed what we found back in 2018, that higher levels of regulation tend to be associated with lower levels of affordability, probably because it has an impact on how quickly housing supply can respond to increasing demand conditions,” said Dugan.

Metro Vancouver also ranked first for housing approval delays.

Both the Vancouver and Toronto areas have approval times that are almost four times as long as regions with more affordable housing, according to the survey.

Dugan said that one of the biggest predictors of unaffordability is the delay in housing approvals.

“Longer approval times seem to be the most highly correlated with affordability challenges,” he said. “In an environment of high interest rates, if a developer is holding onto a property and financing the cost of that property at higher rates for longer, that can add to costs and ultimately gets reflected in the price,” he said.

Vancouver is ranked as the most unaffordable area in Canada based on having ??the highest house-price-to-income ratio, according to the July 13 report.

The Vancouver census metropolitan area (CMA) received a housing-price-to-income ratio of 14.18, while the Victoria CMA received a 10.04. These are the only two CMAs in Canada with a ratio above 10.  

The region received a housing-price-to-income ratio of 14.19, while the Victoria census metropolitan area received a 10.04. These are the only two areas in Canada with a ratio above 10. The rest of B.C. scored a 7.45.

The hope is that this data can inform municipalities and urban centres on the biggest barriers they face to adding more housing supply and improving affordability.

Dugan said results of the survey “feed nicely” into the Housing Accelerator Fund, which provides incentive funding to local governments who create initiatives to increase supply.

“Maybe this helps them identify where the low-hanging fruit is or the biggest impediments to supply so that they can successfully participate in the program and get access to funding that will help improve the supply of housing in their municipality,” he said.

Dugan said the CMHC hopes to do more research in this area but wanted to publish data as fast as possible to inform municipalities and give researchers access to survey results.

BC Demographic survey.

The anti-racism survey was launched by the BC government last month as a way to identify systemic racism and eliminate gaps and inequities in accessing government services.

Minister of Citizen’s Services Lisa Beare announced the funding grants during an event in Kelowna.

The grants were provided to 35 community and indigenous organizations across the province including Kelowna Community Resources in Kelowna, Kamloops-Cariboo Regional Immigrants Society and Independent Living Vernon Society.

KCR executive director Ellen Boelcke told those assembled it’s important for all British Columbians to take the survey and provide information that will help first identify discrimination issues and systems and then to inform meaningful change.

“We know it is so important for both those harmed by discrimination and those witnessing discrimination to report these incidences so the harm can be addressed and those that are harmed can get resources and support,” said Boelcke.

“It is critical for the community to come alongside those being harmed so they know they are not alone and they don’t internalize the hate being directed at them.”

While it is important to hear from those people who do face discrimination and racism on an almost daily basis, Beare says it’s just as important to hear from the rest of the province as well.

“If you take Harwinder (Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee) and I for example…if I fill out this survey and Harwinder fills out this survey, we are enabling government to identify the level of services that I am receiving and the level of services Harwinder is receiving,” said Beare.

“Two middle age women…are we getting equitable services, are there gaps, are there areas where Harwinder may be facing systemic racism or barriers to accessing services we don’t know about.

“That’s why it’s important everyone fills out the survey so we are able to get a full picture of the services being offered in British Columbia.”

Sandhu, who says she does face racism from constituents who communicate with her office and hears stories of racism from other constituents, says being part of the survey is humbling to her.

“For me it’s an incredibly powerful moment. I have two daughters and they tell me they are very proud,” said Sandhu.

“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, but it has also paved the way for future generations like my daughters and many more.”

Jeremy Hainsworth / Glacier Media – Jul 13, 2023 / 1:55 pm | Story: 436714

B.C. government lawyers will take to the streets July 13 in their fight against legislation they say aims to block their right to unionize.

The legislation at issue is Bill 5, also known as the Public Service Labour Relations Amendment Act. B.C. Finance Minister Katrine Conroy introduced the bill on Feb. 9. It was passed in the Legislature May 10 and received royal assent the next day. 

“The amendments enable these collective bargaining rights and ensure government maintains an appropriate public service bargaining framework that promotes continued labour stability and controls future costs,” Conroy said at the time.

Gareth Morley with the BC Government Lawyers Association (BCGLA), says the law unfairly directs members to join the Professional Employees Association (PEA), an existing union selected by the government, despite government civil lawyers choosing representation by the BCGLA by a margin of over 70 per cent.

“Everyone should agree that workers should democratically choose their unions, but especially a party whose origins go back to struggles of working people,” Morley said, adding “government lawyers are frustrated the NDP is not living up to its principles.”

The association asserts the move would deny those who draft the laws — including the Labour Relations Code itself — any right to unionize at all.

The BCGLA advocates for the civil lawyers who represent the provincial government in court, provide it with legal advice and draft provincial legislation. The group has been in existence for 30 years and has filed unionization cards with the province’s Labour Relations Board.

As lawyers prepared for a Victoria rally to announce a constitutional challenge to the law, Morley said it’s hard to imagine how former NDP firebrand premier Dave Barrett would respond to the law.

“I am not aware of any other group that the government has done this to,” Morley said. “We are just looking for the Labour Board to be allowed to treat us like any other group of employees and for the government to respect the result like any other employer would have to.”

The association said Bill 5 takes effect Friday, July 14, and came under considerable criticism as it was passed by the NDP government.

“The legislation was designed by the government as an ‘end run’ around a Labour Relations Board hearing that was already considering the BCGLA’s certification as a bargaining unit,” the association said.

The BCGLA has earlier said Bill 5 is opposed by labour groups including the BC Federation of Labour, BC General Employees’ Union, BC Crown Counsel Association (which represents Crown prosecutors) and the PEA.

The British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association also urged the withdrawal of Bill 5, saying it showed a lack of understanding of “the unique role of public sector lawyers who must ensure government acts in accordance with the rule of law.”

Stefan Labbé / Glacier Media – Jul 13, 2023 / 1:52 pm | Story: 436713

More than two-thirds of British Columbia’s rivers are facing high to extreme drought conditions, requiring “action from everyone in B.C.,” said Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Bowinn Ma Thursday.

Ma she would be meeting with the province’s municipalities and First Nations within hours to call for an “escalation” of water restrictions as quickly as possible.

“It is more than about today or the next week or the next few months. Extreme drought conditions can result in long-term economic impacts,” she said.

Ma called on British Columbians to build water conservation into their daily routines — consider whether or not you really need to water your lawn, take shorter showers, and run laundry and dishwashers only when fully loaded, said the minister.

“You can save 19 litres of water for every minute that you reduce the shower,” Ma said. “If each person and company makes a few small changes to how they use water, it can have a profound impact.”

Connie Chapman, a senior water resources specialist from the Ministry of Forests, said it’s working with water licensees to seek voluntary reductions, and if that doesn’t happen, “regulatory action may be required to protect the aquatic ecosystem and fisheries population.”

“It’s likely more restrictions are on the way,” Chapman said.

Drought a year in the making

The extreme drought conditions come after a year in which some regions of the province received less than half the precipitation they usually get. Jonathan Boyd, a hydrologist at B.C.’s River Forecast Centre, revealed parts of the province have received as low as 40 per cent of average snow and rainfall over the past 365 days.

“We’re well below anything that has ever occurred this early in the season,” said Boyd. “The story of the current drought situation really begins exactly a year ago.”

“This is a cumulative impact of drought.”

A heat wave this spring (May was the hottest in B.C.’s record) only worsened a lack of rain carrying over from 2022. The spiking temperatures melted snowpack earlier than at any point in B.C.’s record, exhausting alpine water sources that usually feed streams and rivers throughout the summer, according to Boyd.

drought-conditions-in-bc-july-13
By mid-July 2023, high to extreme drought conditions had spread across more than two-thirds of B.C.’s watersheds. Government of B.C.

 

By July 10, a quarter of the centre’s streamflow stations across the province recorded their lowest levels ever for that time of year. Some watersheds that have reached level 5 drought conditions include the Tsolum River near Courtenay, the San Juan River near Port Renfrew, and the Bulkley River near Houston.

Level 5 drought conditions indicate that it is “almost certain” there will be adverse impacts to the socio-economic or ecological value of a river system.

On the Fraser River at Hope, last year’s water levels had not reached such low levels until the first week of September, he said. Some of the hardest hit areas in B.C. include both sides of Vancouver Island, Fort Nelson and Bulkley Lake.

No sign of drought conditions lifting

The drought conditions come as B.C.’s 2023 wildfire season vaulted into the second biggest on record in terms of area burned.

“There is a correlation between drought and wildfire, and we’re seeing that correlation on the ground right now,” said Cliff Chapman, director of provincial operations for the BC Wildfire Service.

Ma noted that unlike fire, drought conditions can hit rivers long before people start feeling them on the ground.

“For a lot of community members, I recognize that it might not feel real right now. We are here saying that absolutely it is real,” said the minister.

It’s not just rivers running dry. Boyd also warned that groundwater levels are dangerously low in several locations across the province. He said his biggest fear is if dry conditions persist into September and October.

Environment Canada forecasts summer temperatures to be hotter and drier than normal, but forecasts beyond 10 days get increasingly unreliable, particularly when it comes to rain.

“What’s unusual this year is how early it is and how widespread it is,” Boyd said.

“What’s going to happen? That’s always a question I get asked. And the real answer is, we just don’t know.”

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