Sarbjit Bains sentenced to 18 years without parole eligibility for three slayings

By Jennifer Saltman, The Province

A Surrey man who choked three people to death has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 18 years.
Sarbjit Bains, 33, pleaded guilty in April to manslaughter in the death of 29-year-old Amritpal Saran, and two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jill Lyons, 45, and Karen Nabors, 48. They were killed in on Feb. 23, Aug. 9 and Aug. 25, 2013.
He was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on Wednesday morning.
According to an agreed statement of facts read at Bains’s sentencing hearing, on Feb. 23, 2013, Bains and his common-law partner Evelina Urbaniak called Saran to bring drugs to their Surrey apartment. That afternoon, the three drank and did cocaine together, something they had done before on a number of occasions.
Urbaniak went to bed in the evening, and the two men continued to drink and do drugs. Bains went to the bathroom at one point and when he returned he found Saran naked and about to get into bed with Urbaniak.
Bains put Saran in a choke hold and dragged him out of the room. He believed he used too much force and killed Saran.
Bains and Urbaniak put Saran’s body into a large plastic container, taped a second container over top and put him in Urbaniak’s car. They dumped Saran’s body on Colebrook Road and Bains set it on fire with gasoline.
Saran’s remains were found the next day by a woman and her grandson who were driving in the area.
Six months later Bains contacted Lyons and Nabors, who advertised online as escorts, two weeks apart. He arranged to meet them at their apartments, which were in the same building in New Westminster, intending to rob them.
He arrived at their apartments and tried to intimidate them. When they screamed, he put them in choke holds until they stopped, kicked them and then searched their apartments for valuables. He stole credit and debit cards, cash and cellphones before leaving.
Crown and defence made a joint submission at Bains’s sentencing hearing for life sentences with no chance of parole for 18 years for the two murders, and a 10-year prison sentence for the manslaughter charge. They asked that all sentences run concurrently.
According to court records, Justice Miriam Maisonville acceded to the joint submission.
In February, Urbaniak received a conditional sentence of two years less a day plus three years of probation for her role in disposing of Saran’s remains.

A mob in India dragged a man out of bed and beat him to death with bricks — for eating beef

BY MICHAEL E. MILLER, WASHINGTON POST

Mohammad Akhlaq was in bed when the mob arrived.
The commotion began in the distance, but crept closer and closer like encroaching thunder. Suddenly, there was a pounding at the door. Then the door broke inwards and men dragged the 50-year-old farmer from his sheets and into the street, according to the Indian Express.
They beat him with bricks found underneath his own bed; beat him until the bricks broke in their hands; beat him until Mohammad was dead.
Akhlaq’s alleged crime?
Eating beef.
The attack on Monday night in the northern Indian city of Dadri has shocked the country, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise. For the past six months, meat has been a matter of major debate in India.
Although 80 percent of the country’s of 1.3 billion inhabitants are Hindu — who avoid beef for religious reasons — roughly 250 million Indians eat the animal. That tally includes almost 25 million Christians and up to 140 million Muslims, like Akhlaq, for whom slaughtering cows is part of religious feasts.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power last May, however, the country has become increasingly intolerant of anyone killing, selling or consuming beef.
Modi is a Hindu nationalist who, as governor of Gujarat state, presided over religious riots in 2002 in which more than 1,000 people — most of them Muslims — were killed. For years afterward, Modi was blocked from visiting the United States because of his role in the riots.
All that changed last year, however, when Modi and his Hindu nationalist BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) swept to power. Modi campaigned on a vision of India finally fulfilling its economic potential — a promise highlighted by his recent tour of Silicon Valley.
Yet, critics claim Modi’s tenure also has been marked by a concerted cultural shift that undermines secularism and threatens to drag India back into sectarian bloodshed.
In the past, Modi has complained about India’s “pink revolution” of rising meat exports and backed the idea of a national ban on cow slaughter, according to the BBC.
Since Modi’s election, Muslims have grown worried about a string of inflammatory statements and actions by Hindu nationalist leaders. Accused Islamist terrorists have been executed ahead of non-Muslims, stirring anger. Meanwhile, BJP lawmakers have openly called for Hindus to out breed Muslims to “protect Hindu religion.” That same politician, SakshiMaharaj, invited outrage when he called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin a “patriot.” (NathuramGodse was a militant Hindu activist who killed Gandhi for “appeasing” Muslims.) Finally, India’s foreign minister has called for the Bhagwad Gita, a Hindu scripture, to be declared a “national scripture.”
Hindu leaders have also launched efforts to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism and warned against romantic relationships with members of other religions.
It is beef that has drawn the most blood, however.
India’s 36 states and territories have long been a patchwork quilt when it comes to their laws regarding beef. Some said that only old cows could be killed. Others allowed only bulls or bullocks to be sent to the butcher.
In the past 15 months, however, many states have tightened their laws – with encouragement from Modi and his government.
The most infamous example is the western state of Maharashtra, home to the bustling metropolis of Mumbai and many of the country’s Muslims. Under BJP leadership, the state passed the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill back in 1996 but it was blocked from becoming law because president Shankar Dayal Sharma of the Opposition Congress Party refused to approve it.
With Modi’s election last year, however, times have changed. And in March of this year, BJP members in Maharashtra convinced the current president to approve the law.
The move effectively banned beef overnight, putting thousands of predominantly Muslim butchers out of a job and putting anyone eating beef in the state at risk of arrest.
Despite legal challenges to the ban, the new law immediately brought results. Just days after the law’s implementation, two people were arrested for allegedly slaughtering two calves, the BBC reported. Last month, four more people were accused of smuggling beef into Mumbai, according to the Indian Express.
The crackdown on cow-eating is driven by a desire for religious/national purity, but critics point out that it’s already creating political and practical problems.
“Some Hindu hard-liners insist the idea of eating beef was introduced by Muslim invaders, despite references to its consumption in ancient texts like the Vedas, written more than a millennium before the time of Muhammad. By eradicating this ‘alien’ practice, they hope to return the country to values they hold dear as Hindus,” wrote novelist ManilSuri in a New York Times op-ed.
Suri said it was part and parcel of a broader conservative cultural shift under Modi and the BJP.
“With the recent re-criminalization of gay sex, bans on controversial books and films and even an injunction against the use of the colonial-era name ‘Bombay’ instead of ‘Mumbai’ in a Bollywood song, the new laws join a growing list of restrictions on personal freedom in India,” he warned.
Since his election, Modi has said he is committed to secularism at the same time members of his party openly push to outlaw beef, the BBC’s Justin Rowlatt pointed out in April.
“That’s why while the idea of cow mug shots may be amusing, the beef ban is deadly serious,” he said. “India’s triumph has been forging a nation in which Hindus and Muslims can live happily together. The fear is that the beef ban is part of a process that is gradually undermining the compromises that made that possible.”
Rowlatt’s words proved prescient when protests erupted earlier this month in India-administered Kashmir, where the Supreme Court suddenly enforced a 83-year-old beef ban on the Muslim-majority state.
They accused us of keeping cow meat, broke down our doors and started beating my father and brother
Beef again became a pretext for violence during Monday’s mob attack in Dadri, a city of roughly 60,000 near New Delhi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where a near-total ban on beef is in effect.
The attack allegedly came moments after an announcement at a nearby Hindu temple that Mohammad Akhlaq had slaughtered a calf. The calf had gone missing several weeks earlier, according to the Indian Express. Rumours quickly spread around the neighbourhood that Akhlaq was the culprit.
Incited by the announcement, the mob broke down Akhlaq’s door and dragged him into the street, where 100 men beat him to death with bricks, his family members told the Express. The invaders also dragged Akhlaq’s 22-year-old son, Danish, outside, beating him until he was close to death as well.
“They accused us of keeping cow meat, broke down our doors and started beating my father and brother,” Akhlaq’s daughter, Sajida, told the Express. “My father was taken outside the house and beaten to death. My brother was dragged to the courtyard downstairs and they used bricks to hit him on the head and chest, leaving him unconscious. They also tried to molest me and hit my grandmother on her face. They threatened to kill me if I said a word to the police.”
Sajida said her family had never suffered from Islamophobia in the past.
“Every time there was a feast in this house, Hindu residents of the village would attend such functions,” she said, standing in a ransacked house littered with bricks and blood splatter. “Even on (Muslim holiday) Bakr-Id, we had guests. But suddenly they started doubting us.”
Police appeared to confirm the account.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that an announcement was made from the temple” about the family consuming beef, senior superintendent of police Kiran S told the Express. “We have been told that a group of people entered the temple and used a microphone to make the announcement. However, investigations are still underway. We do not know if any of the accused are associated with the temple.”
When police detained six people, including the temple’s priest, on Tuesday, protesters set fire to two police cars. One person suffered a gunshot in the riot, although the priest was released after questioning, according to the Express.
In a cruel irony, Akhlaq’s family insists that the meat in question wasn’t even beef.
“There was some mutton in the fridge which was taken away yesterday,” Sajida told the Express. “They thought it was beef.”
“The police have taken it for examination,” she said. “If the results prove that it was not beef, will they bring back my dead father?”

Vancouver candidates promise to track down Canadians flouting foreign-asset disclosure laws

BY DOUGLAS TODD, VANCOUVER SUN

VANCOUVER — Federal election candidates are promising to strictly enforce foreign-asset disclosure laws so every Canadian pays their share of taxes.
New Democratic Party candidate Jenny Kwan said this week that, even though many ethnic Chinese people are wary about disclosing their wealth to government officials, she strongly objects to tax evasion.
The Vancouver Kingsway hopeful is one of several candidates who have expressed views related to articles in The Vancouver Sun and elsewhere revealing thousands of mansion owners in Metro Vancouver, many of them Chinese, are not paying Canadian income taxes because they appear “extremely poor,” mainly because they’re failing to report offshore assets.
When the NDP held power in B.C. in the late 1990s, premier Glen Clark and finance minister Andrew Petter joined Chinese business leaders in opposing aspects of proposed federal Liberal legislation aimed at clamping down on immigrants who hid their foreign assets from Revenue Canada.
At the time Kwan, a member of the province’s NDP government, was reported as saying, “The Chinese are very private about their money. This law goes against our culture.” Her comments appeared in the book Millionaire Migrants, by UBC geographer David Ley, and were cited in a Saturday article in The Sun.
Kwan said this week her early quote was an accurate “observation” in light of fear expressed by Chinese realtors and others in the 1990s that the economy was suffering because immigrants were leaving Metro Vancouver to return to Hong Kong, possibly because of the proposed foreign-asset disclosure law.
Asked if she agreed with her NDP government’s 1990s opposition to the foreign-asset disclosure laws, Kwan said this week, “I was never asked that question. And my position then and now remains that Canadians, regardless of their origins, should be treated the same under all laws.”
As an NDP MLA, Kwan held a June forum on Metro Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis. This May in the B.C. legislature she called on Finance Minister Mike de Jong to collect more reliable data on the extent of foreign ownership of Metro Vancouver housing, which planners say contributes to the region’s astronomical prices.
Kwan’s Liberal rival in the Vancouver East riding, Edward Wong, said this week that “All Canadians must bide by the rule of law” regarding foreign-asset disclosure rules.
“As a trial lawyer, I believe when you come to Canada you must pay your fair share of taxes.”
Wong was not convinced that widespread failure to disclose foreign assets should be linked with ethnic Chinese residents in Metro Vancouver, many of whom arrived through the federal immigrant-investor program.
However, asked about demographic studies of Metro Vancouver by UBC geographer Dan Hiebert and others that show a strong correlation between expensive mansions, reports of “extreme poverty” and predominantly Chinese neighbourhoods, Wong wouldn’t comment further, saying “I haven’t undertaken those kinds of studies.”
Conservative Party candidates in B.C. have also recently promised to show no tolerance to Canadians who illegally evade taxes by not disclosing their offshore assets to tax officials.
“Our government has zero tolerance for tax evasion,” said a spokesman for B.C. Conservative MP (Delta-Richmond East) Kerry-Lynne Findlay, who is Canada’s minister of national revenue. Carter Mann said the federal government in 2014 brought in tough legislation to root out those not declaring offshore assets.
However, Murray Rankin, the NDP candidate for Victoria, said the Conservative government has not been aggressive enough in going after those who flout tax laws — in part because of “endless cuts” of Revenue Canada tax auditors who had the knowledge to track “complex international tax avoidance schemes.”
Green party leader Elizabeth May, the candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands, also said in September that Revenue Canada should be mandated to use more forensic accounting to go after offshore accounts and dubious tax-haven loopholes.
For her part, Kwan agrees with an anti-tax cheat strategy proposed by that Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland proposed at her June forum on housing affordability.
Kurland told her one of the best ways for Revenue Canada to stop people with Canadian passports hiding their offshore assets is by more rigorously requiring that house buyers declare their permanent place of residence. That could help stop people from declaring they’re “non-residents” to avoid paying income taxes, while they declare themselves Canadian residents for property purchases.
Vancouver South Conservative MP Wai Young did not return the Sun’s phone calls or messages this week. Vancouver Kingsway Liberal candidate Steven Kou, an accountant who is vice-president of the Canada Chinese Investors and Entrepreneurs Association, also did not return calls. Neither did Alice Wong, the incumbent Conservative candidate for Richmond Centre, nor Kenny Chiu, the Conservative candidate for Steveston-Richmond East.

Shutdown in Punjab against Sikh body’s pardon to self-styled godman

Amritsar, Sept.30 (ANI): A shutdown call was given by radical Sikh groups in Punjab on Wednesday in protest against the pardon granted by the Akal Takht to controversial self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

In 2007, Rahim Singh, the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS), had dressed up as Guru Gobind Singh. The incident had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs, following which the controversial godman was excommunicated from Guru Panth (Guru’s path).

Recently, Rahim Singh had apologised to the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion. The Sikh clergy had accepted his apology.

A 12-hour-long shutdown was observed in Amritsar, among other places in the state.

Shops remained shut and roads wore a deserted look amid stringent security by police.

“The security measures in the whole city are very good. We have also called for additional force from outside as well. We have covered the whole city to assure the people that we are here to protect them and serve them,” said Superintendent of Police, Harvinder Singh.

Meanwhile, residents of Amritsar complained that their work was hampered due to the shutdown.

“We are not able to work due to the shutdown till afternoon , which is causing a lot of problems. The shutdown should have been for the whole day as half-day shutdown is hampering our work,” said Maninder Singh.

Rahim Singh had earlier grabbed headlines when he made his Bollywood debut with ‘Messenger of God’ (MSG).

Several groups representing the Sikhs demanded a ban on the film, in which they said Singh distorted their scriptures.

Earlier this month, the sequel of MSG was released in India – ‘MSG – 2: The Messenger’ – amid protests. (ANI)

Local Woman Facing Mail Theft Charges

Chilliwack:  Amanda Sharon Paulen, 30, of Chilliwack is facing charges of Theft from Mail, Mischief Under $5000, and Possession of a Break-in Instrument after being arrested by RCMP on September 15, 2015.  Paulen has been released from custody pending a court appearance in December.

The charges stem from a police investigation initiated on September 1st when RCMP received a report of a break and enter to an apartment block in the 46600 block Yale Road.  Evidence gathered by investigators of the Chilliwack Crime Reduction Unit linked the suspect to damaged mail boxes and stolen mail from inside of the building.

“Police remain proactive in their approach to investigating and arresting those responsible for the theft of mail in our community.   Together with our partners from Canada Post we remind the public to pick up your mail daily to help prevent the theft of mail,” said Cpl. Mike Rail.

As always anyone who witnesses anything they believe to be suspicious in nature is encouraged to contact the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611 or, should you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Elderly woman struck, killed crossing Oak Street in Vancouver

Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER – A 75-year-old woman is dead after she was hit by a car while crossing a Vancouver street Monday night.

The woman was walking across Oak Street at 53rd Avenue shortly before 10 p.m. when the southbound car hit her, according to police. She died at the scene.

The 19-year-old man who was driving the car remained at the crash scene and is said to be cooperating with the police.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the collision. The young man’s car has been towed to be tested by mechanics and investigators have seized surveillance video taken in the area of the crash.

This marks the eighth pedestrian to be killed by a vehicle in Vancouver this year.

 

One person dead, active shooter on the loose in community west of Ottawa, police say

One person dead, active shooter on the loose in community west of Ottawa, police say
 BY MICHELLE MCQUIGGE AND PAOLA LORIGGIO,

NA0923_Winlo_shooting_620_AB

Ont. — WILNO, Ont. — Residents of a small eastern Ontario town were ordered to seek shelter on Tuesday as police combed the area for a gunman believed to have killed at least one person.

Ontario Provincial Police offered few details about the shooting in Wilno, a small community about 180 kilometres west of Ottawa, but confirmed that someone was killed during the shooting that took place mid morning.

Sgt. Kristine Rae of the Bancroft detachment of the OPP said the gunman is considered armed and dangerous.

Police advised local businesses to lock their doors and urged some residents to relocate while they searched for the gunman. Two schools in the area were also in lockdown.

Sara Burchat was home alone when police advised her that there was a male suspect on the loose near her property. Burchat said her husband was trying to return to be with her, but was kept away by road closures as the police investigated the scene.

Burchat said she was left shaken by the incident, adding that no one has been given any information as to who was involved.

Businesses in the small community of about 300 people were taking precautions as they waited for more information to be released.

Arthur Shulist, owner of Wilno Building Supply, said he was instructed to secure the store.

“We have our doors locked and when somebody comes to the door we open up for them.”

Clinton Roche, owner of the Wilno Station and Country Kitchen Cafe, said he was concerned for his mother who was closer to the area currently being held under lockdown.

He had fewer concerns for his own safety.

“I’m kind of in an open area here, I don’t think he’s going to come storming into our station to take us hostage…he’s more worried about himself right now”

Mike Harrington, who runs an auto body shop near Cormac, Ont., said he could see about 50 police officers from his home nearby.

Several area residents reached by The Canadian Press said they were hearing rumours about the suspected gunman’s identity.

“This is a small community. We know our neighbours, so even when a name is thrown out as a suspect it’s very personal. We know these people,” said Corinne Higgins, owner of the Wilno Tavern Restaurant.

Local residents said Wilno’s main strip was a hive of police activity for about an hour in the mid morning, but said the search appears to have shifted to outlying regions of the quaint village identified on its website as Canada’s first Polish settlement.

Trudeau attacks Mulcair over F-35s, calling NDP leader ‘irresponsible’ for still considering fighter jets

Glen McGregor, Postmedia News 

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau turned the defence of his plan to scrap the purchase of F-35s into an attack on Tom Mulcair, accusing the NDP leader of reversing his position on the fighter jets.

Trudeau called Mulcair’s willingness to still consider the expensive fighters “irresponsible” to the military and the economy.

Since the weekend announcement that the Liberals would scrap the acquisition of F-35s in favour of increased spending on the Royal Canadian Navy, Trudeau has taken flack from both Conservative leader Stephen Harper and Mulcair, who says the procurement process can’t be pre-judged.

In a speech before several hundred supporters, Trudeau said that Mulcair had previously called the Conservative government’s plan to buy the Lockheed Martin aircraft the “biggest procurement fiasco in the history of Canada” but has since said he wants to keep the process open and hasn’t ruled out buying the jets.

“This shows you exactly what Tom Mulcair’s experience in politics has taught him: to play politics with everything,” Trudeau said Monday.

Trudeau promised that a Liberal government would “cap” the acquisition of the new jets to replace Canada’s long-in-the-tooth CF-18s, though he didn’t provide a figure on the cap.

He also focused on the purported performance problems with the F-35s, saying the aircraft are unsuitable for use in the Arctic and called it “a stealth fighter that’s not actually stealth.”

Mulcair maintained Monday that both the Liberals and Conservatives are attempting to pre-determine the outcome the procurement without a process in place. He also reiterated some of his past concerns about the suitability of the F-35s for Canada’s needs.

The Conservatives put their acquisition of the F-35s on hold in 2012 after the auditor general said they would cost an estimated $44 billion over their operating lifetimes.

Harper says cancelling the purchase is sure to cost jobs in the Canadian aerospace industry and dismisses Trudeau’s claim that it is necessary to kill the acquisition to fund new frigates and supply ships for the navy.

“The Liberal party is living in a dream world if they think we could pull out of the development project of the F-35 and not lose business,” Harper said during a campaign stop Monday.

Trudeau was introduced by the party’s “star” candidate in Orleans, retired Army general Andrew Leslie, who accused the government of “pooching” the procurement of the fighters.

Leslie is attempting to unseat Orleans incumbent Conservatives Royal Galipeau, in the kind of suburban riding the party needs to win to form government.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian PressLiberal Leader Justin Trudeau reacts to the crowd as he arrives at a campaign stop with local candidate, retired Canadian Forces General Andrew Leslie in Orleans, Ont., on Monday, September 21, 2015.

Trudeau has picked up on Leslie’s call for a sleeker Canadian military that is “more teeth and less tail,” but denies this would mean cuts to spending on the Canadian Forces.

That message resonates in Orleans, a community with a large number of public servants.

Earlier Monday, Leslie said in a radio interview the Liberal plan for a toothier military would not require cuts to the number of jobs at the Department of National Defence.

A full list of all the promises made so far in the Canadian election campaign

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair listen as  Conservative Leader Stephen Harper take part in the first leaders debate Thursday, August 6, 2015 in Toronto.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank GunnLiberal leader Justin Trudeau, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair listen as Conservative Leader Stephen Harper take part in the first leaders debate Thursday, August 6, 2015 in Toronto.
OTTAWA — A running list of promises made by the federal political leaders since the election campaign began Aug. 2:

Conservatives

  • Sept. 20: Create a $100-million manufacturing technology demonstration fund available to large, pre-commercial projects in the advanced manufacturing sector.
  • Sept. 18: Bring in legislation to ensure that criminals sentenced to life are not eligible for parole. Toughen penalties for drunk drivers. Provide new money for child advocacy centres.
  • Sept. 15: Bring in a $2,000 tax credit for single seniors to help nearly 1.6 million seniors with pension income.
  • Sept. 11: Commit an additional $10 million over five years to the Kanishka Project, which was established in 2011 to fund research into preventing and countering violent extremism.
  • Sept. 10: Invest $20 million in the lobster industry over three years, including a $15-million partnership with the Lobster Council of Canada to market and promote lobster abroad, plus $5 million for research.
  • Sept. 8: Raise government contribution when low- and middle-income families invest in education savings plans. A family earning up to $44,000 would get $200 for the first $500 put away for a child’s higher education plan each year, while a family earning up to $88,000 would receive $100 on the first $500 each year.
  • Sept. 7: Increase the maximum annual Canada Disability Savings Grant for low- and middle-class families to $4,000 from $3,500.
  • Sept. 6: Create an endowment fund for museums that would match the money the institutions raise privately, with a cap of about $15 million a year.
  • Sept. 4: Allot $5 million annually for programs to sustain habitats that support bird, moose and turkey populations, starting in 2017. Create a family bird-hunting permit and allow the use of crossbows for hunting birds. Earmark $9 million over three years starting in 2016 for a tourism program to attract recreational anglers, hunters and snowmobiles from the U.S. Establish a Canadian Forces reserve unit in the Yukon, the first such unit in the territory since the Yukon Regiment was disbanded in 1968.
  • Sept. 2: Extend the existing 15-per-cent mineral exploration tax credit first implemented in 2006, and create a new 25-per-cent credit for hard-to-reach mines.
  • Sept. 1: Establish a not-for-profit agency in Burlington, Ont., to help develop new products and technology for manufacturing, with a budget of $30 million a year for five years. Set up a new trade-promotion office to help attract new business for exporters, paid for by reallocating other government resources.
  • Aug. 27: Add $40 million over five years for an existing federal loans program that offers financial support to new Canadians while they complete the foreign credential recognition process. The money comes on top of $35 million committed to the program in the last budget.
  • Aug. 26: Spend $200 million to expand the country’s high-speed broadband Internet network across remote and rural areas.
  • Aug. 25: Support for a new marine terminal in Montreal and an expanded cruise ship terminal in Quebec City.
  • Aug. 23: Provide a tax break on membership fees to organizations such as the Kiwanis, Lions and Royal Canadian Legion.
  • Aug. 21: An extended partnership with the Pacific Salmon Foundation and $15 million to restore British Columbia estuaries.
  • Aug. 20: Increase the value of the 15-per-cent non-refundable adoption expense tax credit to $20,000 from $15,000 and make it fully refundable.
  • Aug. 19: Cut “red tape” for businesses stemming from legislation and policy rules in addition to regulations. Better harmonize child car seat regulations with those of the United States to provide more choice and better prices. Simplify the calculation of home-office expense deductions.
  • Aug. 18: Resurrect the “life means life” legislation that died in the Commons when the election was called. The bill would mean that those who commit the most heinous murders or high treason would spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
  • Aug. 17: Add 6,000 people to the ranks of the Canadian Forces reserves at a cost of $163 million over three years and $63.4 million going forward once the target of 30,000 personnel is reached.
  • Aug. 15: Improve the earnings loss benefit for veterans with service-related disabilities or injuries by letting them earn up to $10,000 in outside work, without losing any government funding.
  • Aug. 14: Spend $14 million to pave a stretch of a scenic highway between Fort Smith and Hay River in the Northwest Territories.
  • Aug. 12: Raise to $35,000 the amount that first-time homebuyers can withdraw tax free from RRSPs to finance a home purchase. Track the impact of home purchases by foreign, non-residents to ensure this doesn’t skew the market against Canadian buyers.
  • Aug. 11: Another $4.5 million a year, on top of the $22 million currently budgeted, for an RCMP team designed to crack down on illegal drug labs and marijuana grow-ops. Allot $500,000 a year over four years on a national toll-free hotline for parents to call to get information about drug use among youth.
  • Aug. 10: Bring 10,000 additional refugees from Syria and Iraq. Spend $9 million over three years to help the Office of Religious Freedom protect places of worship and religious artifacts targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
  • Aug. 9: Expand federal laws that make it a crime for Canadians to head overseas to fight alongside groups officially identified by the federal government as a terrorist organization. Essentially it would declare certain areas no-travel zones for most Canadians, with exceptions for journalists and humanitarian workers.
  • Aug. 4: A permanent home-renovation tax credit _ an update to the temporary credit introduced in 2009 _ costing $1.5 billion a year, but contingent on a stronger economy. Applies to $5,000 worth of renovation costs, down from $10,000 in 2009.
  • Aug. 3: Increase the apprenticeship job creation tax credit, first introduced in 2006 to create incentives to foster skilled trades, to a maximum of $2,500, up from $2,000, and extend it to include the third and fourth years of eligible training.

NDP

  • Sept. 21: Spend $454 million over four years to provide treatment for veterans suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Sept. 20: Reopen the maritime rescue sub-centre in St. John’s, N.L., and reopen the Coast Guard marine communications and traffic services centres in St. John’s and St. Anthony. Have coast guard search and rescue capabilities available at all hours.
  • Sept. 18: Provide $2.6 billion over four years and work with provinces to establish universal prescription drug coverage. Aim to cut drug costs by 30 per cent through bulk purchases.
  • Sept. 15: Set up a $100-million, four-year mental health innovation fund for children and youth, including $15 million a year for health-care providers and community mental health associations and $10 million a year for research and information-sharing among health-care providers.
  • Sept. 14: Invest $300 million to build 200 additional health clinics and spend $200 million on recruitment grants for health-care professionals. Devote $40 million to deal with Alzheimer’s and dementia, including money for research, screening, early diagnosis and treatment and help for families seeking care for afflicted relatives.
  • Sept. 13: Spend $1.8 billion over four years to help provinces bolster health care for seniors by expanding home care for 41,000 seniors, creating 5,000 more nursing beds and improving palliative care services.
  • Sept. 10: Provide up to $100 million a year to create more than 40,000 jobs, paid internships and co-op placements for youth over four years. End Canadian participation in the bombing campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country by the end of the year.
  • Sept. 9: Invest an additional $90 million in the federal automotive supplier innovation program over the next five years.
  • Sept. 8: Create a $160-million, four-year fund to help small- and medium-sized aerospace companies adopt new technology and increase production.
  • Sept. 3: Convene a first minister’s meeting to discuss expansion of the Canada and Quebec pension plans within six months of taking office.
  • Sept. 2: Give $28 million for Sport Canada to help poor and disadvantaged youth to play sports.
  • Aug. 31: Invest $40 million over four years to restore cuts to shelters for women fleeing violence, creating or renovating 2,100 spaces in first-stage shelters and 350 spaces in transition houses.
  • Aug. 27: Reverse a planned reduction in the rate of increase in provincial health transfers, due to set in two years from now.
  • Aug. 26: A $40-million tax credit for businesses that invest in machinery, equipment and property used in innovative research and development.
  • Aug. 25: A balanced budget in the first year of an NDP mandate.
  • Aug. 24: Increase the guaranteed income supplement for the poorest seniors by $400 million; return the age of eligibility for old age security back to 65 from 67.
  • Aug. 20: Create a million child care spaces over eight years, including 110,000 in B.C., where child care costs are highest. The party says the cost to parents would be no more than $15 a day.
  • Aug. 19: Spend $250 million over four years to recruit 2,500 new police officers. Commit $100 million year thereafter to a recruiting program.
  • Aug. 18: Commit $7 million a year to a Joint Emergency Preparedness Program for disasters such as floods and fires and earmark an additional $2 million for emergency training programs.
  • Aug. 17: Invest $30 million over three years in Destination Canada, a Crown corporation responsible for promoting Canada as a tourist destination.
  • Aug. 14: Bring in legislation to make the parliamentary budget officer a fully independent officer of Parliament and require government departments and agencies to make financial information available to the PBO.
  • Aug. 11: Create a payment-protection program for farmers who don’t get paid if they sell their products to U.S. companies that go bankrupt.

Liberals

  • Sept. 20: Scrap the purchase of the F-35 fighter jet and instead buy cheaper planes to replace the aging CF-18s and use the savings to pay for offshore Arctic patrol vessels for the navy being built in Halifax.
  • Sept. 16: Provide $1.5 billion for public transit in Calgary as well as unspecified financing for flood control measures in the city.
  • Sept. 15: Give $500 million to the provinces for skilled trades training, and devote $200 million for federal training programs. Set aside another $50 million to help aboriginal people improve their skills and job prospects.
  • Sept. 11: Spend about $1.5 billion over four years on a youth job strategy to help 125,000 young people find a job.
  • Sept. 10: Put a moratorium on tanker traffic along the northern coast of British Columbia. Reinstate $40 million cut from the ocean science and monitoring program at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Increase protected marine and coastal areas to five per cent from 1.3 per cent by 2017, and to 10 per cent by 2020.
  • Sept. 9: Change the rules to allow people to dip into their RRSPs more than once to buy a home.
  • Sept. 8: Reduce EI premiums drop to $1.65 per $100 earned from $1.88. That’s less than the $1.49 rate that the Tories committed to in the 2015 budget, but the Liberals say the extra money would be reinvested, with $500 million going to the provinces for skills training. Reduce wait times for a first EI payment to one week from two at a cost of $710 million.
  • Sept. 3: Kill a planned toll system on a rebuilt Champlain Bridge in Montreal.
  • Aug. 27: Increase federal infrastructure investment to almost $125 billion, from the current $65 billion, over the next decade. Provide new, dedicated funding to provinces, territories and municipalities for public transit, social infrastructure and green infrastructure.
  • Aug. 26: A refundable tax benefit of up to $150 for teachers who spend their own money on school supplies.
  • Aug. 24: $300 million a year to reform veterans’ benefits and delivery of services to vets.
  • Aug. 20: Make employment insurance compassionate care benefits available to anyone caring for a seriously ill family member and make the program more flexible by allowing the six-month benefit to be claimed in blocks of time over a year-long period.
  • Aug. 19: Change labour laws to ensure that employees in federally regulated industries have the right to ask their bosses for flexible work hours.
  • Aug. 18: Invest $200 million a year to develop clean technologies in forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and farming. Put another $100 million into organizations that promote clean technology firms.
  • Aug. 17: Lower the federal income tax rate to 20.5 per cent on incomes between $44,700 and $89,401, paying for it by raising taxes on the wealthiest one per cent. Bring in a new, tax-free child benefit to replace the Conservative universal child benefit.
  • Aug. 13: Add $515 million a year to funding for First Nations education, rising through the mandate to a total of $2.6 billion. Add another $500 million over three years for education infrastructure and $50 million more a year for a program that helps aboriginals in post-secondary education.
  • Aug. 11: Bring in a merit-based appointment process for the Senate.

Greens

  • Sept. 16: Cut tuition fees for students and their families without adequate financial means. Forgive all student loans over $10,000. Abolish interest on new student loans and increase available funding for bursaries. Create a national Community and Environment Service Corps, to provide $1 billion a year to municipalities to hire youth. Provide a guaranteed livable income to ensure no person’s income falls below what is necessary for health, life, and dignity.
  • Sept. 10: Close all tax-haven loopholes.
  • Sept. 9: Set up national pharmacare program. Spend $6.4 billion on municipal infrastructure. Roll back cuts to Veterans Affairs, Canada Post and the CBC. Tax carbon and return benefits to individuals through “carbon dividend.” Protect environment from oil tankers and pipelines. Bring in a national housing strategy. Axe university tuition by 2020. Repeal Bill C-51, the anti-terror act. Scrap subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry and raise taxes on large corporations to 19 per cent from 15 per cent.
  • Sept. 2: Introduce a national seniors strategy, which would include a guaranteed livable income, a national dementia strategy and increases to the Canada Health Transfer to account for the age of a province’s population.
  • Sept. 1: Restore door-to-door mail delivery across the country and have Canada Post make up its budget shortfall by getting into insurance and banking services.
  • Aug. 25: Create a national housing strategy. More funding for the co-operative housing sector. Retrofit all homes by 2030 to increase energy efficiency. Implement a guaranteed livable income to help low-income Canadians and youth buy homes. Ensure a percentage of all newly built units are reserved for affordable housing. Increase access to social housing for First Nations on and off-reserve.
  • Aug. 18: Legislate a ban on super tankers on British Columbia’s coast and impose a moratorium on drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Produce stronger environmental assessment laws to help defend coastal communities from risky pipeline and tanker schemes. Repeal the Conservative omnibus security legislation.
  • Aug. 14: Improve benefits for veterans. Provide any veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder a service dog if they want one.

Bloc Quebecois

  • Sept. 18: Make banks and oil companies pay more tax.
  • Sept. 16: Invest $40 billion in green technologies.
  • Sept. 15: Abolish the GST on books in the hope of saving $100 million for young readers and their parents.
  • Sept. 14: Invest more in federal infrastructure in Montreal.
  • Sept. 11: Entrust the Quebec government with collecting federal taxes by creating a single tax return administered by Quebec in the hope of saving the province’s taxpayers $600 million.
  • Sept. 10: Tighten security measures surrounding the rail transport of hazardous materials.
  • Sept. 9: Maintain home mail delivery in Quebec and have Canada Post called before a parliamentary committee to study the issue of community mailboxes.
  • Sept. 2: Keep employment insurance fund for people out of work and not loot it for other projects.
  • Aug. 28: Help the ailing forestry sector, including funds for companies undergoing a second and third restructuring.
  • Aug. 27: Compensate cheese producers with $300 million to help offset financial losses stemming from a free-trade agreement with the European Union.
  • Aug. 24: Have Quebec get its fair share of naval contracts.
  • Aug. 19: Keep the federal Health Department from interfering in the opening of supervised injection sites in Montreal.
  • Aug. 18: Ask the federal Competition Bureau to investigate fluctuating gas prices.

Two B.C. men accused of terrorizing Justice Institute of B.C. affiliates via arson, gunshots

John Colebourn, Postmedia News 

Two Metro Vancouver men, one a past lottery winner of a Shaughnessy mansion, face numerous arson and firearms charges after a security breach at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) led to people connected to the Justice Institute of B.C. being terrorized.

In total 15 people were targeted from 2011 to 2012, with some having their homes and cars badly damaged from deliberate fires and gunshots.

The victims all had connections to the Justice Institute, the New Westminster-based school that trains police officers and emergency personnel.

Adam Grossman, spokesman for ICBC, said the corporation dismissed the employee allegedly connected to the security breach in 2011. Grossman said the former employee for the company that insures, licences and registers B.C. drivers and vehicles has yet to be charged and for that reason he could not provide more detail.

At a press conference Monday by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-B.C. (CFSEU), Chief Supt. Kevin Hackett said in some cases the victims had simply parked their cars at the Justice Institute to take their children to a nearby daycare.
Jason Payne / PNG

Jason Payne / PNGOne of the accused, Vincent Cheung, was the winner of the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Lifestyles Lottery 2003 grand prize, which included a fully furnished luxury home, a BMW SUV and $25,000 in cash.

Hackett outlined the four-year investigation and said police were able to establish that an ICBC worker had used an office computer to check the victims’ licence plates in order to access personal information.

Vincent Eric Gia-Hwa Cheung, 40, of Langley, was arrested last week in Burnaby. He was the winner of the $2.4-million Shaughnessy mansion, a $60,000 BMW and $25,000 in tax- free cash in 2003.

Cheung, the alleged mastermind of the terror, faces 23 criminal charges including five counts of vehicle arson and 11 counts of causing damage by fire to homes. Thurman Ronley Taffe, 54, of Burnaby, faces one count of intentionally or recklessly causing damage by fire or explosion to property.

According to CFSEU media liaison Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, the two will appear in court on Oct. 1. They have been remanded in custody.

Houghton said police allege Cheung has ties to the United Nations gang.

“We mentioned at the press conference he (Cheung) has had associations with people in gangs for a very long time,” he said. “It started well before he won that house.”

Houghton said the reasons for the terror spree “will come out in court.”

Nick Procaylo / PNG

Nick Procaylo / PNGThe Justice Institute of BC campus in New Westminster, BC., February 2, 2012.

Cheung won the mansion in the B.C. Cancer Foundation Lifestyles Lottery in 2003 when he was 28. He said then that he was an auto mechanic and part-time bartender.

“Every year I buy a ticket and I don’t even win a toaster,” Cheung told The Province at the time. He said he had been buying the foundation’s lottery tickets since his dad died from cancer in 2001, and “I think my dad helped me out this time.”

ICBC’s Grossman said in an email that security has been reviewed and the breach was caught early by co-workers.

“All ICBC employees are subject to a criminal record check before joining us,” Grossman noted.

“There are other ongoing class actions and legal proceedings relating to this incident, but these are still very much before the courts and it would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment on them.

“ICBC follows strict privacy and information security policy and procedures. In fact, it was the integrity of our systems that allowed us to uncover this clear breach of ICBC’s policies and procedures by the former employee, who accessed personal information … without ICBC’s consent.

“Today, every ICBC employee has to sign off on our code of ethics and privacy guidelines once a year. We also introduced new software which has given us greater flexibility in restricting access to customers’ personal information.”

Jenelle Schneider / PNG

Jenelle Schneider / PNGThis West Vancouver home is one of 14 that have been damaged by arson linked to the Justice Institute. It is believed the attack, that occurred on January 13, 2012, was directed towards the previous owner.

Steve Kee, a spokesman for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said personal security is paramount in the insurance business.

“This case underscores the vigilance necessary to protect personal information,” Kee said in a statement.

“In today’s highly technological world, the protection of personal information is a priority for sectors around the world. Canada’s private property and casualty insurers are no different.

“Each insurer has their own protocol in place for protecting private information and comply(ing) with the Government of Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act as well as privacy legislation in place by provincial and territorial governments.

“The insurance industry also provides products and consulting that helps businesses protect private information and manage their cyber risks.”

RCMP handout

RCMP handout2012 pictures from the RCMP of a man suspected of committing arson on the West Vancouver Lawson Ave. property of former West Van police chief Scott Armstrong.