Dec 7, 2013 / 9:17 pm
Canada's luge relay team of Alex Gough, Sam Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith won silver at the World Cup event in Whistler, B.C., with a combined time of 2 minutes 4.202 seconds.
Germany's Natalie Geisenberger, Felix Loch, Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl finished first in 2:03.791, while the Austrian team placed third in 2:04.686.
Canada placed second in the relay event at the World Cup in Igls, Austria two weeks ago.
Earlier, Gough took silver in the women's event, finishing 0.133 seconds away from first place. Geisenberger finished in 1:13.412 seconds for gold and Anke Wischnewski, also of Germany, was third in 1:13.622.
Canadians Kimberley McRae, Arianne Jones, and Jordan Smith, all also from Calgary, finished 11th, 14th and 17th, respectively.
Dec 6, 2013 / 10:03 pm
A 42-year-old Coquitlam, BC woman has been convicted for stabbing her former boyfriend to death in his trailer park home.
Darlene Daigle was found guilty of killing 39-year-old Peter Markus.
She was convicted of second-degree murder by a BC Supreme Court jury in New Westminster on Thursday.
Cpl Dominic Duchesneau says the pair had ended a relationship six months before the killing.
RCMP were called to his trailer park home in Coquitlam on January 2010.
Daigle is still awaiting sentencing.
Dec 6, 2013 / 7:49 pm
A stranded boater who was forced to brave strong winds and spend the night in a remote channel on British Columbia's north coast has been rescued from shore.
Air force Cpt Trevor Reid says the man reported mechanical difficulties with his eight-metre boat in Douglas Channel on Thursday afternoon before losing contact.
He says the Air Force sent a Buffalo airplane and Cormorant helicopter from Comox, BC, to assist in the coast guard's search but their efforts were hampered by winds of between 50 and 70 kilometres an hour.
The search was called off for the night, resumed in the morning, and Reid says coast guard members aboard a fast-response boat spotted the man's partially submerged vessel just after noon on Friday.
Reid says crew aboard the Buffalo found the man, who was wearing an orange floater jacket, and pinpointed his location on shore with a smoke marker.
He says coast guard members took the man to Kitimat, and that he was in good condition.
Dec 5, 2013 / 7:16 pm
BC Hydro says about 54,000 customers were left without power late Thursday afternoon because of an incident at a substation on southern Vancouver Island.
Spokesman Ted Olynyk says the major event occurred after a problem with protection-and-control equipment at a substation in downtown Victoria, B.C.
He says the substation changes the voltage of electricity that arrives on transmission lines and then sends it back out to the community on distribution lines.
Olynyk says workers restored power to most if not all of the customers within an hour, but the exact cause of the outage is still under investigation.
He says nobody was hurt in the incident.
The commercial Crown corporation says it serves about 95 per cent of the province's population through 76,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution lines, some 300 substations and about 1 million utility poles.
Dec 5, 2013 / 2:54 pm
Kimberley RCMP have confirmed that two people are dead and a third person has been sent to hospital after a collision near Moyie Lake, south of Cranbrook.
Highway 3/95 is closed in both directions at Moyie and Shores Road because of the crash and no detour is available.
The highway is expected to be closed for several hours.
Dec 5, 2013 / 10:58 am
The B.C. School Trustees Association is asking the government for a break from soaring energy costs, saying power rate increases will mean fewer programs for students.
Energy Minister Bill Bennett announced last month that hydro rates will go up by 40 per cent over the next decade, with the first increase of nine per cent coming next spring.
Association president Teresa Rezansoff says hydro costs for more than 1,600 schools across the province already cost $35.5 million a year.
She says the rate increase will push that figure up by an estimated $4.1 million next year, and by about $29 million over the next five years.
Rezansoff says school boards already get limited funding, and the rising utility costs will lead to additional staff losses and fewer student services.
The association is asking Bennett to either exempt public schools from the rate increases or to provide a special rate for schools.
Dec 5, 2013 / 7:53 am
Walter the sea otter should be in high spirits these days.
The rescued critter was found wounded and blind after suffering gunshot wounds to the head, but the Vancouver Aquarium announced Wednesday he is no longer in critical condition.
In a release, the aquarium said Walter is now considered stable after seven weeks of receiving critical care and a number of successful surgeries to fix shattered bones in one of his flippers.
Walter also received oral surgery to treat broken teeth caused by the shotgun blast. Three of the teeth were extracted and the otter needed complex root canal surgery to save one of his canine teeth.
Dr. Martin Haulena, an aquarium veterinarian, said Walter has made “significant progress” in his recovery.
“His flexibility has improved, which means he can now groom himself much better,” he said. “Due to his injuries, however, Walter will likely never regain his sight.”
Because of his injuries, it’s likely the sea otter will have to stay under the care of the Vancouver Aquarium for the rest of his life.
Walter was found on a Tofino beach in mid-October. Someone riddled his body with buckshot, leaving him to die a slow, painful death.
It is believed Walter was intentionally fired on by a shotgun.
There were at least a dozen buckshots scattered around his head, shoulders and hind-quarters
Dec 5, 2013 / 7:39 am
Richmond Mounties are investigating a shooting that put a man in hospital with life-threatening injuries Wednesday evening.
The victim was shot at a tile store in the 11100-block of Bridgeport Road around 6 p.m.
He managed to cross the street and find someone to call 911. He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
RCMP have not confirmed how many times the victim was shot or whether the incident was linked to drugs, gangs or organized crime.
No suspects have been identified but officers and a K9 unit were called to search the area.
Bridgeport Road between Shell and Simpson roads remained closed as of 9 p.m.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact the Richmond RCMP detachment.
Dec 4, 2013 / 3:30 pm
British Columbia's highest court has doubled a prison term to 10 years for an elderly father who sexually abused his daughters, sexually touched his granddaughter and once described his family as his "harem."
The man named only as K.V.E in the ruling was sentenced June 5, 2013, to a five-year term for three counts of incest on his daughters and two years for sexual touching his grandaughter, all of which was to be served concurrently.
But the Crown appealed the sentence, arguing it wasn't proportionate to the gravity of the offences.
All three B.C. Court of Appeal judges hearing the case agreed with the Crown recommendation to increase the prison term to 10 years.
In a ruling issued today, Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein says the sentencing judge gave insufficient weight to the principles of deterrence and denunciation, and the original sentence was disproportionate to the gravity of the offences.
Stromberg-Stein says a more appropriate sentence is five years for each count of incest, two years for sexual touching, all to be served consecutively, but has settled on 10 years.
Dec 4, 2013 / 12:00 pm
British Columbia New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix is calling for the abolition of Canada's Senate.
Dix says he will introduce a motion in the BC legislature in February to get rid of the Senate and he'll ask for support from the Liberal government.
Dix told a Vancouver news conference he wants BC to join Saskatchewan and Manitoba in support of Senate abolition.
He says the ongoing Senate scandals have turned the upper chamber into an object of national ridicule and it's time to get rid of the upper house Senate.
Dix says Premier Christy Clark should support what he's calling the NDP's principled stand and vote to get rid of the Senate rather than repeatedly change positions on support for Senate reforms.
New Democrat House Leader John Horgan called the Senate a trash heap of undemocratic appointments.
Dec 4, 2013 / 7:50 am
Police are considering charges after an SUV plowed through the front of a Thrifty Foods on Vancouver Island Tuesday afternoon, injuring three shoppers.
The driver, believed to be a 75-year-old woman, drove a white Subaru into the Thrifty Foods on Quadra Street in Saanich at around 3:15 p.m., hitting a checkout till and knocking over a handful of customers.
Const. Mark Prill said the victims are around 40, 60 and 70 years old, and nobody was seriously injured.
“They fell back as a result of the car hitting the till but the most serious injury might have been a broken leg to one of them,” Prill said.
“They were all alert, talking to us and in reasonably good spirits considering the circumstances.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. A witness told CTV News it appeared the driver was trying to park when she accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake and drove into the store.
Police don’t believe there are any mechanical issues with the Subaru. Prill said charges are pending against the suspect driver, who was not injured in the crash.
Dec 3, 2013 / 12:50 pm
The British Columbia government has reached tentative contract agreements with 51,000 unionized public sector workers, giving the province five years of labour peace and workers a benefit-sharing deal, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Tuesday.
The three deals cover about one-quarter of the government's unionized workforce, including 25,000 B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union members and members of two bargaining associations, who include about 11,000 people who work in social services, and another 15,000 community health employees.
De Jong called the agreements novel because they offer public-sector workers a chance to share in the benefits of stronger economic growth.
He said the deals, reached four months before the current contracts expire, offer five years of labour stability for taxpayers, workers and the government and they include an economic growth-sharing dividend linked to the province's gross domestic product.
The minister said the deals signal to other public sector unions, especially the province's teachers, that the government is looking for long-term contracts and is prepared to share the profits of economic growth.
A government statement says under the economic dividend agreement a government worker earning $50,000 annually can expect an extra $250 if the provincial GDP rises by one percentage point above forecasts.
"It's possible to achieve a settlement on a long-term basis and the province is willing to share the benefits of economic growth with the women and men who work," said de Jong at a news conference in Vancouver.
Premier Christy Clark said in a statement the agreements will help her government keep its commitment to balance the budget.
The BCGEU said in a statement the tentative agreements offer job protection and wage increases in four of the five years.
Dec 3, 2013 / 8:41 am
A provincial court judge has tightened restrictions on a Kamloops, B.C., teenager labelled by the RCMP as a high risk to commit targeted acts of violence and terrorism.
The court heard that Mounties searched the 17-year-old boy's home earlier this year and found documents about bomb making, interrogation and torturing techniques and Canadian links to al-Qaida.
The youth, who can't be named under a publication ban, was in court Monday after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a social worker last month and breaching probation.
He is already serving a three-year probation order for a conviction of arson and break and enter last year.
Judge Chris Cleaveley sentenced the teen to 20 days in custody and 10 days of community supervision for the recent charges, and then tightened the teen's probation conditions after hearing about the materials Mounties found in his home.
The conditions include a ban on Internet access and on any written materials related to terrorist activities.
Dec 3, 2013 / 8:06 am
The push to hold a province-wide pot referendum in B.C. appears to be getting stamped out instead of sparking change.
Marijuana advocacy group Sensible BC rolled out a petition in September to hold a referendum on decriminalizing pot possession, with a goal of collecting more than 400,000 signatures by Dec. 9.
But with one week to go, the group has only netted about half of the signatures it needs to trigger a vote on the divisive issue.
Sensible BC spokesman Dana Larsen said while canvassers have seen some success in rural areas, connecting with people in Metro Vancouver and Victoria has been their biggest challenge.
“We’re looking at just over half the signatures we need, it’s been a challenge,” Larsen told CTV News. “It’s not so much the public support, although there is a stigma around this issue as well.”
If Sensible BC gathers support from ten per cent of registered voters in each of the province’s 85 ridings, B.C. will be forced to either hold a non-binding referendum or vote on the issue in the legislature.
In a referendum, British Columbians would vote on whether or not to pass the so-called Sensible Policing Act, an amendment to the BC Police Act which would decriminalize possession of marijuana.
Larsen said despite supporting the effort, some people remain concerned over the consequences of signing the petition – fearing they could lose their job or be banned from crossing the border if authorities find out.
“Those fears are not really based in any kind of reality. Nothing bad is going to happen to anyone for signing on board with this,” he said. “I didn’t expect that to be a big problem, but it has. People are just afraid of signing our petition sometimes.”
The Sensible BC campaign has been the second-most successful in the province’s history, with only the petition to hold a vote on the Harmonized Sales Tax garnering more signatures, according to Larsen. The 2010 ‘Fight HST’ campaign was the first and only successful citizen-initiated petition in B.C.’s history.
“It’s designed to fail,” Larsen said. “There’s no question that British Columbia’s referendum system is designed to give the appearance of democracy, while not actually having it.”
Similar pot reform campaigns in Colorado and Washington State have succeeded – a result of those states’ comparably relaxed referendum laws, Larsen said.
“If we were in any of those American states, this effort would have succeeded…The amount of signatures we’ve gotten would’ve qualified us on the ballot in Washington and Colorado and pretty much any other American state,” he said.
Despite it looking like Sensible BC’s campaign will go up in smoke by this time next week, Larsen said the group will continue to push for the Sensible Policing Act.
“Sensible BC is here to stay,” he said. “You can be quite sure we’re going to try this campaign again sometime in the next year to year-and-a-half, if we don’t succeed this time. We’re not going away.”
Dec 3, 2013 / 6:39 am
Homicide investigators have taken over the case after a woman's body was found in a Burnaby, apartment.
Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Dominic Duchesneau says the body was located at about 4:30 Monday afternoon.
He says the suite, in the 4900 block of Hastings Street, has been secured since then as detectives search for clues.
The victim is believed to be in her 60s, but her name has not been released and Duchesneau is not saying how she died.
He also refuses to speculate on a motive, saying the investigation is in its early stages.
Anyone with information about the woman or her death is urged to contact Burnaby RCMP or the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.
Dec 2, 2013 / 7:56 pm
Two men on trial for the murders of six people, including two innocent bystanders, who were found dead in a Vancouver-area highrise were full members of a gang that trafficked crack cocaine and used violence to take care of its problems, a former girlfriend told their trial Monday.
The woman, who can only be identified as K.M., is the latest witness at the trial of Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston, who are each charged with six counts of first-degree murder for the October 2007 mass killing in Surrey, B.C.
They had been standing trial along with alleged gang leader Michael Le, but he pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit murder. Another alleged gang leader, Jamie Bacon, is set for trial next year.
Six people, including fireplace repairman Ed Schellenberg and 22-year-old building resident Chris Mohan, were shot dead in what the Crown has alleged was originally intended as a hit on a rival drug trafficker. Haevischer, Johnston and third man, who can't be named, are alleged to have been directly involved in the killings.
K.M.'s testimony on Monday didn't touch directly on the killings, but she offered a first-hand account of life inside the Red Scorpions gang, which, she said, ran dial-a-dope trafficking operations that expanded throughout Metro Vancouver and routinely resorted to violence.
The woman, who appeared emotional as she took the stand and spoke in a soft voice, testified that she first met Haevischer in 2003, when she was working at a McDonald's restaurant and he and Johnston were frequent drive-thru customers. Haevischer — who she knew at the time by his pseudonym, Blake — asked for her telephone number and they began seeing each other.
Before long, K.M. became aware that Haevischer sold crack cocaine as part of a dial-a-dope operation in Coquitlam, the suburb east of Vancouver where she grew up, she told the court.
Her friends from high school wanted nothing to do with her new boyfriend, she recalled.
"They all got scared and didn't want to hang out with Cody and his friends," said K.M.
K.M. said she hadn't heard of the Red Scorpions until the spring of 2004, when she went to a house where Haevischer was hanging out with a number of other men. She saw crack cocaine on a table, police-style batons in the room, and a newspaper article about a recent shooting in Vancouver, she said.
"They were joking around, they were saying how they did that shooting and that now that I knew that, they were going to have to kill me," said K.M., who was high on magic mushrooms that day.
"I think they knew I was on shrooms and they wanted to freak me out. I didn't really think they were going to kill me."
Not long after, Michael Le, who she said was the gang's leader, offered her a full-time job driving Haevischer to his drug deliveries, she testified. It paid about $150 a day and she took the job.
Over the next several years, K.M. ascended into the gang's inner circle, she said. She moved around the Vancouver area to different suburbs to work on other dial-a-dope lines.
"We were like a family; we were always together," she said. "If you needed somebody, they would always be there."
Le was in charge, handling the money and buying new product to sell, she said. The drugs would then be distributed to "work houses," where they were divided into smaller quantities to be sold, she said.
If runners had any problems — for example, if they encountered rival drug traffickers — they would call someone such as Johnston for help. K.M. said she saw both Johnston and Haevischer assault people who were seen to be causing problems.
"People really didn't want to mess with us," she said. "That (violence) was just part of it."
There were strict rules designed to avoid being monitored by the police, she said. They were to use nicknames on the telephone and speak in code, she said. For instance, heroin was referred to as "pants."
It was frowned upon to talk openly in vehicles, she said. Before speaking indoors, they would remove the batteries from their cellphones. Later on, in-person communication would be conducted using dry-erase boards and they bought encrypted BlackBerry smartphones, she said.
Drug runners were expected to swallow any crack cocaine they were carrying if they were pulled over by the police, she said, which she did more than once.
At some point in 2007, the court heard, the Red Scorpions gang merged with another group led by a trio of brothers: Jamie, Jarrod and Jonathan Bacon.
Johnston met one of the Bacons in jail, said K.M.
She said associates of the Bacons soon tattooed themselves with the initials of the Red Scorpions, "R.S." — an honour previously reserved for only the central, full-patch members of the gang.
The Crown has alleged that, after the merger, Le and Jamie Bacon shared the leadership of the Red Scorpions.
"I knew that Jamie and his people had Abbotsford and Langley and Mike (Le) and everyone just wanted to have control of the whole Lower Mainland, so coming together was a good idea," said K.M.
The Crown's theory is that Le and Jamie Bacon, who is scheduled to stand trial next year, ordered the killing of a rival drug trafficker named Corey Lal.
The Crown alleges Haevischer, Johnston and a third man went to the Balmoral Towers condominium complex to murder Lal, but ended up killing five more to eliminate potential witnesses.
Aside from Lal, the other victims were Schellenberg, Mohan, Lal's brother Michael, Edward Narong and Ryan Bartolomeo.
Jarrod Bacon is serving a 14-year sentence for drug trafficking.
His brother, Jonathan, was gunned down in a daylight shooting in Kelowna in 2011.
Dec 2, 2013 / 8:15 am
A man was taken into custody Sunday morning after it was reported that a suspicious person was aboard a Victoria Clipper ferry near Seattle.
The boat was discovered adrift in Elliot Bay 300 yards off the Seattle waterfront at around 7 a.m. Sunday morning. According to police, the U.S. Coast Guard and Seattle police were contacted after a tugboat was sent to retrieve the 300-seat boat and a man was discovered on board.
The Seattle Police Department SWAT team and helicopter teams also responded and the SWAT officers eventually boarded the vessel and arrested the man after he refused to answer the radio or phone on the ferry. The man told police he had planned to take the ferry to West Seattle.
Some passengers who travelled on another Clipper ferry Sunday, were amused by the man’s alleged theft attempt.
"I thought it was hilarious,” one passenger said. “It got probably about maybe 500 metres. It wasn't much of a theft at all."
Others who saw the incident thought the weather was to blame when they saw the tugboat towing the 132-foot vessel.
“I just looked out the window and said to my friend, ‘Oh, wonder what’s going on over there?’…[I] thought maybe because of the rough weather, maybe the vessel was just broken down,” one passenger said.
Darrel Brian, the president of Clipper Navigation, said the man climbed through a gap in a fence to board the high-speed vessel.
“In 28 years we've not had any issue with anyone gaining access," Brian said.
Clipper Navigation plans to have the security breach fixed soon, and the suspect may face charges of piracy or grand theft vessel.
Dec 1, 2013 / 10:11 pm
A family of five was submerged in the Elk River following a motor vehicle incident on Dec. 1 at approximately 2:30 pm MST.
Elk Valley RCMP from Fernie and East Kootenay Traffic Services responded to a collision on Hwy 3 about 8 km west of Fernie, BC.
The family was returning to their home town of Coaldale, AB when their mini-van left the roadway on a straight stretch of highway and plunged into Elk River, coming to rest upside down.
A passing motorist and his girlfriend rescued all five occupants from the river, before RCMP members and witnesses at the scene - including a traveling physician - performed CPR on the victims.
CPR was unsuccessful on the female passenger and she was pronounced dead at the Fernie Hospital. A four-year-old child was revived, while the male driver and one of his children were treated at Sparwood Hospital for minor injuries. The other two children were transported to Alberta Children's Hospital by air ambulance with severe injuries.
Road conditions at the time of the accident were slushy on the center of the roadway due to overnight snowfall. Investigation is still ongoing, but it appears that the mini-van may have been attempting a pass and lost control along the slushy center area.
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