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Canada  

After Trudeau orders blockades torn down

Saskatoon protest springs up

More protests in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs sprung up on Saturday, a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pivoted to take a sterner tone with Indigenous leaders he blames for halting train service across much of Canada.

Crowds of protesters rallied at the Ontario legislature in Toronto, carrying signs that called for RCMP to leave Wet'suwet'en land and for the federal government to respect Indigenous sovereignty. Another rail-line protest sprung up in Saskatoon.

Local police said they were monitoring the protest along the railway tracks, and a statement from the office of Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said a train was allowed to pass through the protest area as scheduled.

Moe's office said the protest must remain lawful and that transport routes cannot be disrupted by illegal blockades.

Trudeau said Friday the blockades must come down and said injunctions to clear the rail lines must be enforced. He pointed the finger at Indigenous leadership, who he said have not been receptive to his government's attempts at negotiation.

The barricades, including one on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario, are in response to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to a pipeline worksite on Wet'suwet'en territory in northern British Columbia.

Supporters who gathered near the Ontario blockade said they were disheartened by Trudeau's strong words against the protests — with one saying it was Trudeau's shift in tone that drove her to make the 40-kilometre trek to the rail line.

"I've been meaning to come, but with what he said yesterday, I just said, OK I'm going," said Sarah Dear, who brought small gifts from Mexico she said were symbolic for Indigenous communities there.

"I voted for Trudeau back in 2015 because he promised meaningful reconciliation, and as far as I'm concerned he's broken that promise," she said.

Cory Chalk, who lives on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory but isn't Indigenous, said he, too, felt Trudeau was striking the wrong tone and making the wrong moves.

"He's not talking to the right people still — trying to lay down the hammer is not going to work," he said. "This is a whole generation standing up against a lot of things that have been done wrong."

He said if police tried to dismantle the blockade with force, he thinks they would be met with force back.

Increased attention is on Canadian police forces now that Trudeau has ordered the enforcement of anti-blockade injunctions.

A Wet'suwet'en hereditary chief said protesters won't tear down the barricades themselves unless, and until, the Mounties get off their traditional territory and Coastal GasLink halts construction on the natural-gas pipeline that crosses their land.

Chief Woos of the Grizzly House said Indigenous leadership will only begin negotiating with the Canadian government under those same conditions. But Trudeau said injunctions ordering the rail lines be cleared must be obeyed and the law must be enforced.

On Thursday, the RCMP in B.C. sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, telling them the force intends to move its officers off the access road and station them instead in the nearby town of Houston, but Woos said a letter isn't good enough.

Protesters who'd been blockading a CN Rail line in St-Lambert, Que., south of Montreal since Wednesday cleared out Friday night shortly after riot police arrived on scene ready to enforce an injunction to clear the tracks. But the blockade of a critical east-west rail line on Tyendinaga territory remains in place — and more protests are planned for March 20 along the borders of Manitoba.

Ontario Provincial Police have said they don't intend to break up the Tyendinaga protest in the immediate future.

But Trudeau said the inconvenience to Canadians has gone on long enough, given that the blockades have halted rail lines for weeks.

"Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can't get to work, others have lost their jobs," he told a news conference Friday. "Essential goods … cannot get where they need to go."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2020.



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Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs arrive in Kahnawake, Que.

Hereditary chiefs visit

Traditional chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation have arrived in Kahnawake, Que., as they continue their tour of Mohawk communities in eastern Canada where rail blockades in solidarity with their cause have been erected.

Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would carry natural gas to the B.C. coast, though others in the community support the pipeline.

Countrywide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to a Coastal GasLink work site.

Their Quebec visit comes one day after the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs visited supporters at Tyendinaga Mohawk territory to thank them.

One of the hereditary chiefs said Friday his people are willing to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C. and federal governments, but not until the RCMP in B.C. have left traditional Wet'suwet'en territory entirely and Coastal GasLink, the pipeline company, ceases work in the area.

The comments came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerged from meetings with senior cabinet ministers on Friday saying that barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes must come down after two weeks of calls for patience and stalled attempts at negotiation.

At least two blockades in Quebec have come down since Trudeau’s comments, neither on Indigenous territory.

Late Friday, protesters left a site in St. Lambert, south of Montreal, where they had been blockading railway tracks since Wednesday.

Riot police arrived in the afternoon after Trudeau spoke to enforce an injunction ordering protesters off Canadian National Railway tracks in St-Lambert, Que.

Another small blockade set up near L'Isle-Verte, Que., on Wednesday was also dismantled late Friday, provincial police said.

The traditional chiefs took part in "Words at Edge of the Woods" — a welcoming ceremony that took place at the Mohawk longhouse in Kahnawake.

Mohawk leaders and Wet'suwet'en chiefs are expected to address reporters later Saturday.



Report finds Catholic charity founder sexually abused women

Founder abused women

A respected Canadian Catholic figure who helped improve conditions for the developmentally disabled in multiple countries over half a century sexually abused at least six women, a report produced for his French-based charity has found.

According to the report released by L'Arche International Saturday, the women's descriptions provide evidence enough to show that Jean Vanier engaged in "manipulative sexual relationships" over a period from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over the alleged victims. Vanier died last year at age 90.

“The alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions,” the report said. It did not rule out potential other victims.

None of the women was disabled, a significant point given the Vatican has long sought to portray any sexual relationship between religious leaders and other adults as consensual unless there was clear evidence of disability. The #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements, however, have forced a recognition that power imbalances such as those in spiritual relationships can breed abuse.

During the inquiry, commissioned by L'Arche last year and carried out by the independent, U.K.-based GCPS Consulting group, six adult, non-disabled women said Vanier had engaged in sexual relations with them as they were seeking spiritual direction.

According to the report, the women, who have no links to each other, reported similar facts and Vanier's sexual misconduct was often associated with alleged “spiritual and mystical justifications."

A statement released by L'Arche France Saturday stressed that some women still have “deep wounds."

The report noted similarities with the pattern of abuse of the Rev. Thomas Philippe, a Catholic priest Vanier called his “spiritual father.” Philippe, who died in 1993, has been accused of sexual abuse by several women.

A statement from L'Arche International said analysis of archives shows that Vanier “adopted some of Father Thomas Philippe's deviant theories and practices.” Philippe was banned from exercising any public or private ministry in a trial led by the Catholic Church in 1956 for his theories and the sexual practices that stemmed from them.

In a letter to the charity members, the Leaders of L’Arche International, Stephan Posner and Stacy Cates Carney, told of their shock at the news, and condemned Vanier's actions.

“For many of us, Jean was one of the people we loved and respected the most. ... While the considerable good he did throughout his life is not in question, we will nevertheless have to mourn a certain image we may have had of Jean and of the origins of L’Arche,” they wrote.

Vanier worked as a Canadian navy officer and professor before turning to charity work. A visit to a psychiatric facility prompted him to found the charity L’Arche in 1964 as an alternative living environment where those with developmental disabilities could be full-fledged participants in the community instead of patients.

The charity now has facilities in 38 countries that are home to thousands of people both with and without disabilities.

Vanier, who was unmarried, also travelled the world to encourage dialogue across religions, and was awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize for spiritual work, as well as France's Legion of Honor. He was the subject of a documentary shown at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival called “Jean Vanier, the Sacrament of Tenderness.”

The allegations against Vanier reveal a major gap in the Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse allegations to date: Because he was a layman, he was exempt from the Vatican’s in-house sanctioning procedures for abuse, which only cover priests, bishops and cardinals. For these offenders, the worst penalty the Vatican can impose is defrocking — essentially, making the priests laymen again.

A similar case concerned the lay leader of a Peru-based organization, Sodalicio, who escaped Vatican justice for years even though there were credible allegations of sexual, physical and psychological abuse against him. The Vatican finally ordered him to live in isolation from his followers, a penalty that drew scorn from his victims given that it amounted to an all-expense-paid retirement in Rome.

 



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Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down

How will police respond?

All eyes are on Canadian police forces now that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes must come down.

A Wet'suwet'en hereditary chief says that won't happen unless and until the Mounties get off their traditional territory in northern British Columbia and Coast GasLink halts construction on a natural-gas pipeline that crosses their land.

Chief Woos of the Grizzly House says Indigenous leadership will only begin negotiating with the Canadian government under those same conditions. But Trudeau says injunctions ordering the rail lines be cleared must be obeyed and the law must be enforced.

The blockades are responses by Indigenous people and supporters to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to the pipeline worksite.

Protesters who'd been blockading a CN Rail line in St-Lambert, Que., south of Montreal since Wednesday cleared out Friday night shortly after riot police arrived on scene ready to enforce an injunction to clear the tracks. But the blockade of a critical east-west rail line on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario remains in place — and more protests are planned for March 20 along the borders of Manitoba.

Ontario Provincial Police say they don't intend to break up the Tyendinaga protest in the immediate future, however, Trudeau says the inconvenience to Canadians has gone on long enough, given that the blockades have halted rail lines for weeks.

"Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can't get to work, others have lost their jobs," he told a news conference yesterday. "Essential goods … cannot get where they need to go."

But Woos said the inconvenience to Canadians pales in comparison to what the Wet'suwet'en people have experienced.

"There is a difference between inconvenience and injustice — total difference. Don't confuse one with the other," he said after meeting with Mohawk allies on Tyendinaga territory.

He noted that Wet'suwet'en land was never surrendered to the Canadian government in any treaties, so RCMP presence there amounts to an occupation.

On Thursday, the RCMP in B.C. sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, telling them the force intends to move its officers off the access road and station them instead in the nearby town of Houston.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he believes this move meets the original conditions set by the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, but Woos said it doesn't go far enough.

"Out means out," Woos said.

In addition to tension with the First Nations, Trudeau is also experiencing pushback from the provinces.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a statement Friday saying "enough is enough."

"The illegal blockades must come down. This is a national emergency and innocent people from coast to coast are being hurt. The federal government must co-ordinate action to take down these illegal blockades across the country.”

Alberta's Jason Kenney, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, said the barricades are scaring away investment and giving the impression that Canada can't operate as a modern democratic country.

And Quebec Premier Francois Legault warned on Thursday that provincial police would dismantle the blockade near Montreal as soon as an injunction was granted.



Skiers injured after gondola lift stops suddenly at Quebec resort

Injured in gondola mishap

Multiple people were injured Friday when a gondola lift carrying skiers at a resort northeast of Quebec City halted unexpectedly and sent the cabins swinging wildly.

Maxime Cretin, director of the Mont-Sainte-Anne ski resort, told reporters that people had been transported to hospital but he couldn't say how many.

He said the gondola cabins "were swinging pretty hard."

A news release issued later in the day by the ski hill, located about 40 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, did not include any information about injuries.

Witnesses to the incident told reporters the windows of at least one gondola had shattered, and screams could be heard from people inside the cabins.

The company said it will work with the manufacturer of the lift and will conduct an inspection of the electrical system to find out why it stopped suddenly.



Wet’suwet’en chiefs, Mohawks dig in heels on blockade

Chiefs dig in on blockades

Anyone hoping that Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who met with Tyendinaga Mohawks in Ontario this week were there to broker an end to a two-week long blockade of railways is in for disappointment.

If anything, things may have now escalated.

At a press conference this afternoon, both the Wet’suwet’en chiefs and representatives of the Tyendinaga Mohawks dug in their heels, saying a railway blockade in Ontario will not come down until two conditions are met — one of which Premier John Horgan just reiterated this morning is not on (halting the Coastal GasLink pipeline).

At a press conference this afternoon, Frank Alec (whose hereditary title is Woos), said the Tyendinaga had affirmed that they will maintain the blockade of a railway line in Ontario and only dismantle it once the RCMP have completely withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en territory in the Houston, B.C. region “and cease patrols of our lands."

“Out means out,” Woos said, adding: “We demand that all CGL activities cease within Wet’suwet’en territory while nation-to-nation talks are going.”

Only after those conditions are met will the Wet’suwet’en agree to a “nation-to-nation” meeting with provincial and federal governments, and only on Wet’suwet’en land.

But just shortly before the chiefs held their press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also held a press conference, where he appeared to close the door on any further “dialogue” with the Wet’suwet’en.

"Every attempt at dialogue has been made," Trudeau said. "But discussions have not been productive. We can't have dialogue when only one party is coming to the table. For this reason, we have no choice but to stop making the same overtures."

He said barricades that have brought railway traffic to a halt in Eastern Canada for two weeks "now must come down."

"The injunctions must be obeyed and the law must be upheld."

And earlier today, B.C. Premier John Horgan shut the door on the idea that work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline would be halted.

"The project will proceed," he told reporters in a scrum, following an address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) Friday morning. "It's fundamental to our economy, fundamental to prosperity for people in the north."

In other words, Canada and First Nations could be headed for a standoff. And the last time the Mohawk people were involved in a standoff — the Oka crisis of 1990 — one police officer was killed and the region was paralyzed for weeks, after Mohawks seized the Mercier Bridge.

The Oka crisis may well be in the backs of minds of politicians and police who have been reluctant, to date, to use force to remove the blockades.

RCMP commanders have agreed to withdraw from the Morice West Forest Service Road to Houston, B.C, provided Wet'suwet'en chiefs agree to keep the service road open "to all users."

But in a press release from the Unist'ote'n, the group that has led the resistance against CGL and other pipeline projects, said the RCMP are not withdrawing as they said they would.

"Contrary to the announcement by the BC RCMP on February 20, 2020 that they are withdrawing from Wet’suwet’en territory, the BC RCMP and CIRG (community industry response group) have in fact increased harassment, made illegal arrests, increased surveillance, and monitoring of Wet’suwet’en people and their invited guests."



Nobel Prize winners urging Trudeau to deny oilsands project

Trudeau urged to deny Teck

Canadian author Alice Munro and dozens of other Nobel Prize winners around the world have joined the heated opposition facing a massive oilsands project in northern Alberta, decrying the proposed development as "a disgrace."

Munro, Canadian biologist Jack W. Szostak and 40 other global winners from various fields signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland urging them to deny the Teck Resources Ltd. plan, as well as any expansion of the fossil-fuel sector.

"The mere fact that they warrant debate in Canada should be seen as a disgrace," states the letter, which appeared on the Guardian's website Friday.

"They are wholly incompatible with your government's recent commitment to net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. And with clear infringements on First Nations rights, such projects fly in the face of rhetoric and purported efforts towards reconciliation."

The signatories call fossil-fuel projects "an affront to our state of climate emergency," and say the "importance of leadership in the coming few years cannot be understated."

A decision on the $20.6-billion, 260,000-barrel-per-day Frontier project is supposed to come next week.

The project is expected to produce about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year over 40 years.



Trudeau says time for blockades to come down

Trudeau: clear the tracks

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says after two weeks, barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes have to come down.

He said injunctions to clear tracks must be obeyed and the law must be upheld, and there's no point making the same overtures to Indigenous leaders if they aren't accepted.

"We are waiting for Indigenous leadership to show that it understands," he said in an Ottawa news conference. "The onus is on them."

The blockades, particularly one on a critical east-west rail line in Ontario, are responses by Indigenous people and supporters to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to a worksite for a major natural-gas pipeline project in British Columbia. Hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation oppose the work on their traditional territory, despite support from elected band councils along the pipeline route.

"Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can't get to work, others have lost their jobs," Trudeau said. "Essential goods … cannot get where they need to go."

The situation "is unacceptable and untenable," he said.

And Trudeau distinguished between protests over deep, long-standing, historic injustices and opposition to current policy decisions. One deserves more deference and patience than the other, he said.

Trudeau is contending with pressure from several premiers after they had a collective telephone call with him Thursday evening.

"We've sent a message clearly with our willingness to say, quite publicly, that we don't believe it's in the best interests of protesters or the general public to stand back in respect of the laws being broken, that it can endanger people's lives and endanger their well-being," Manitoba's Brian Pallister said Friday.

Alberta's Jason Kenney, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, was sharper in an appearance of his own. He said he made it clear to the prime minister on the conference call with the other premiers that the blockades are having devastating impacts on people across the country.

He said it is scaring away investment and giving the impression that Canada can't operate as a modern democratic country.

Kenney said the prime minister told the premiers that the government's "patience is wearing thin" and that he believes that action is required "within hours and not days."

Meanwhile, a group of hereditary leaders from the Wet'suwet'en Nation in British Columbia is spending the day with Mohawk supporters in Ontario.

The B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them by blocking that rail line between Toronto and Montreal.

A notice telling police and reporters to stay away says the gathering is to celebrate friendship, healing, peace and optimism, and to talk politics.

The chiefs have scheduled their own news conference at the blockade near Belleville, Ont., this afternoon.

The hereditary Wet'suwet'en leaders say they're willing to talk with representatives of the Crown, but only after the RCMP and Coastal GasLink workers have left their traditional lands.

On Thursday, the RCMP in B.C. sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, telling them the force intends to move its officers out of the territory and station them instead in the nearby town of Houston.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he believes this move meets the original conditions set by the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and that the time has come for the barricades to come down.

Trudeau has been under increasing pressure to end the blockades, with Conservatives calling for the government to use force, while the Liberal government insists peaceful negotiations are the only way to a lasting solution.

Canada's premiers are among those pressing for a swift resolution, including Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who said Thursday provincial police in Quebec would dismantle a blockade in a suburb south of Montreal as soon as an injunction was granted.

Canadian National Railway received a court injunction to end the blockade in St-Lambert Thursday, but so far police have not moved in.

An account of the conversation with the premiers from Trudeau's office stressed his recognition of the need to restore rail service across the country and that the federal government is looking at all options to resolve the current interruptions given the impact on the economy.

Trudeau called it a "complex issue" on which he working closely with B.C. Premier John Horgan. He also noted his hope that the RCMP's offer to withdraw from the traditional territory in B.C. will lead to a meeting between Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs to address both urgent and longer-term issues.

Horgan struck a more understanding note than some of the other premiers Friday. He said his government continues to be ready to engage in talks with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.

He acknowledged it's a "challenge" to have a dialogue with chiefs who have refused to meet with federal or provincial cabinet ministers unless the RCMP and Coastal GasLink withdraw entirely from their traditional territories.

But Horgan said more people from the community, other than the hereditary chiefs, have begun to speak out, including the matriarchs who have historically been the keepers of the traditional practices of the Wet'suwet'en people.

Horgan said he expects Na'moks, a hereditary chief who also goes by John Ridsdale, will be hearing from people in the community about his refusal to meet with the province, because that's "not how you have respectful dialogue with your neighbours."

He said he believes the vast majority of northern B.C. residents and Wet'suwet'en people want to find a way forward and his government remains "at the ready" to help reach that outcome.


ORIGINAL 12:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says after two weeks, the barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes have to come down.

Speaking in Ottawa, he says the situation is unacceptable and untenable, with goods not moving and workers being laid off.

He says injunctions to clear tracks must be obeyed and the law must be upheld, and there's no point making the same overtures to Indigenous leaders if they aren't accepted.

More to come...



Protesters maintain rail blockade after court ordered it taken down

Blockade defies injunction

About two dozen protesters at a railway blockade south of Montreal are continuing to defy an injunction ordering them to leave, while the Quebec premier is calling on the police to enforce the decree.

Police patrols passed by the blockade in St-Lambert, Que., regularly overnight but there was no sign of a mobilization Friday to eject the protesters from the site on Canadian National Railway tracks.

The protesters, who say they are blocking the rail lines in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia, refuse to identify themselves. Their actions have interrupted rail service for suburban commuters and for Via Rail travellers between Montreal and Quebec City.

"The cause is much bigger than individuals," one protester who declined to give his name said Thursday night. "Our identities are anecdotal; we are here to listen to the Wet'suwet'en."

The Wet'suwet'en's hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would bring natural gas to a liquefaction facility and export terminal on the B.C. coast. But others in the community do support the project, including 20 First Nations bands along the route that have signed agreements with the company.

Countrywide protests and blockades followed a move by the RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to a Coastal GasLink work site. Twenty-eight people were arrested, including one hereditary chief.

The St-Lambert protesters said they will continue to block the railway until the RCMP leave the Wet'suwet'en territory. But their motivations to camp out in the freezing cold are also tied to the fight against climate change.

"Natural gas isn't a transition energy," one protester said.

The injunction granted to CN by Superior Court Justice France Dulude authorizes "any police services or peace officers" to assist the company in executing the order in St-Lambert. But with a barrel fire going Friday morning and supporters bringing coffee and muffins, the protesters don't seem ready to leave.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault told reporters he will leave it to police to enforce the injunction, but he hopes the blockade will be removed "rapidly."

"We need these tracks for transporting cargo, to avoid job losses, to avoid losses for companies," he said. "The law has to be respected, and obviously I hope it is done in an orderly fashion."

The premier estimated the losses to the Quebec economy of the rail blockades at up to $100 million dollars a day.

"It's a lot of money, and already, there have started to be layoffs at (Canadian National) and in some manufacturing companies."



Teacher suspended 6 months for anti-Afghan comments

'Don't blow up my class'

A six-month suspension handed to a high school teacher who told a student he didn't want any Afghanis in his class was disappointing, a Muslim organization says.

The licence suspension for Martin Bonello sends the wrong message, Mustafa Farooq, executive director with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said in a statement.

"The reality is that Mr. Bonello's remarks devastated the student," Farooq said. "The fact that a teacher can racially abuse a student, and only face a slap on the wrist, is an insult to the notion of safe and inclusive classrooms."

Discipline records show the incident occurred at a school in the Peel District School Board just west of Toronto four years ago where Bonello was a construction technology teacher. According to an agreed statement of facts, the teacher told the student, who cannot be identified, in front of others in the classroom:

"I don't want you to blow up my class," Bonello said. "No Afghanis in here!"

The upset student left the classroom and later told the vice-principal that he felt singled out and like an "invisible person sitting in the class." Bonello was suspended with pay pending an investigation.

The issue involving the student was one of several incidents in which Bonello was found wanting. The others include kicking students out of class without explanation and allowing them to wander around unsupervised. The probe also turned up numerous health and safety problems involving him.

The disciplinary hearing, in November, was also told that 12 of 23 workplace inspections between 2011 and 2015 at the school turned up health and safety hazards in Bonello's woodworking classroom. Those hazards included electrical dangers, obstructed exits, unsafe storage of items, and safety guards removed from machinery. Bonello appeared resistant to making needed changes.

Similar problems involving Bonello had occurred before. In 2008, he was given a disciplinary letter for leaving students unsupervised and failing to address various safety issues and formally cautioned in 2011. A year later, the board suspended him for five days without pay for various issues, including "inappropriate language" toward students and removing equipment safety guards.

The board initially fired Bonello in October 2016, but he was allowed to resign after a grievance. It was not clear what Bonello has done since.



Diamond Princess evacuees arrive for quarantine in Canada

Cruise evacuees arrive

A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have spent weeks confined to cabins aboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan landed on Canadian soil this morning.

The former Diamond Princess passengers can expect to undergo another two weeks of isolation at the Nav Centre in Cornwall, Ont., where they will be monitored for potential signs of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

All of them were tested for the virus by Japanese officials before they left the ship, which has been docked in Yokohama, Japan, since early February. So far none shows any symptoms of the virus.

The ship was the site of the largest outbreak of COVID-19 outside of China, where the virus originated. The Diamond Princess had more than half of the confirmed cases outside that country.

There were about 250 Canadians originally aboard the ship, and of those 47 contracted the illness and were not allowed to return home. They remain in Japan for treatment while they receive consular services.

Others who chose to stay behind — with loved ones who are sick, for instance — will be subjected to a mandatory quarantine when they return to Canada on commercial flights.

Those who were allowed to return landed at Canadian Forces Base Trenton at 2 a.m. Eastern time, where they were screened for symptoms before they were taken by bus to Cornwall. They are to be confined to rooms in the Nav Centre until they are released from quarantine.

"The returning Canadians have been through a stressful experience over the past couple of weeks. During their quarantine in Canada, we will offer support for both their mental and physical well-being," Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a written release Friday.

The Diamond Princess evacuees will be subjected to the same screening as the Canadians who were repatriated from Wuhan, China, the centre of the outbreak — hundreds of whom are to be released today.



Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan

Canadian evacuees fly home

A planeload of Canadian evacuees who have spent weeks confined to cabins aboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan were expected to begin two weeks of isolation in Cornwall, Ont., Friday, unless Canada's top health official deems them healthy enough to be released.

Canadian authorities are looking closely at their experience on the Diamond Princess cruise ship as the country prepares for an upcoming tourist season with concerns about the novel coronavirus, called COVID-19, still very much in the air.

Initially, the government said the evacuees from Japan would have to spend 14 days in isolation because that is considered the typical incubation period for the virus.

But because all the passengers have been tested for the virus by Japanese authorities, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Thursday there is a chance that they will be released early from quarantine if they show no symptoms upon their return to Canada, under the discretion of Canada's top public-health doctor.

Those who were cleared to travel are to be screened again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton before they are placed in isolation at the Nav Centre in eastern Ontario.

Each passenger was given a government-issued face mask and coloured wristband before they were ushered off the ship in Yokohama to nearby Tokyo's Haneda Airport, according to a letter from government officials to the evacuees on board the ship.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public-health officer, has already released flight crew and medical personnel who escorted Canadians home from Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 was first detected, but so far all the evacuees themselves have had to serve the full quarantine period.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship has seen the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, with 634 passengers having tested positive at last count.

Hajdu said Canada will be keeping its eye on Japan's examination of how the virus was handled aboard the ship, especially as it relates to Canada's own upcoming tourist season. Measures aboard the ship seemed to do little to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

"There has been obviously concern about the practices on board the ship that have potentially led to the increased spread of the coronavirus on the ship," Hajdu said, adding that she also has empathy for Japanese officials who had to handle the quarantine of more than 3,000 people docked off a major city.

The 47 Canadian passengers who have already tested positive for COVID-19 remain in Japan for treatment.

As for the first 213 Canadian evacuees and their families who have served out their two week quarantine at CFB Trenton, they are scheduled to be released Friday. So far, none have developed symptoms after their arrival from Wuhan, China, the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The second wave of Wuhan evacuees are expected to be released next week.



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