Protesters released early

Several pipeline protesters were released from a British Columbia jail on Sunday, a few days before their week-long sentences were set to end.

Seven protesters in all were sentenced to a week in jail term on Aug. 15, after pleading guilty to contempt charges in B.C. Supreme Court.

Five who were released on Sunday issued a joint statement, saying they were imprisoned because of their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

In the statement, the five women — who include anti-poverty activist and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson — said they are not criminals, but "political prisoners."

Swanson said in a phone interview that her four days spent at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, B.C., had not deterred her in what she said is a fight against climate change.

"I don't know how anyone can look at the sky in Vancouver today and say global warming is not an issue," said Swanson, in reference to the smoke and particulate matter from wildfires hazing the skies in southwestern B.C.

"We need to do something, we need to stop the insanity."

From her perspective as an anti-poverty advocate, Swanson said the Trans Mountain pipeline ties the issues of homelessness, poverty and climate change together.

"For all those billions and billions of dollars, governments could actually create jobs building renewable energy.... Governments could end homelessness, they could put clean and safe water on Indigenous reserves."

In May, the federal government announced its intent to acquire Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan Canada.

According to recent documents filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, the sale could cost as much as $1.9 billion more than the initial quote of $4.5 billion.

The documents also suggest the project could take another 12 months to finish.

More than 200 activists have been arrested for demonstrations against the Trans Mountain project since March.

Those released on Sunday also included former B.C. Teachers' Federation president Susan Lambert.


Trudeau will run again

Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.

The Liberal leader formally announced his nomination at a party event today in his Montreal riding of Papineau.

The partisan crowd cheered as Trudeau reaffirmed his belief in what he called "positive politics," and took jabs at Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, whom he accused of exploiting fear and division.

The Liberal leader also promised to tackle a number of challenges that include protecting Canada's oceans, raising the standard of living for Indigenous Peoples and narrowing the gap between rich and poor.

Trudeau was first elected to represent Papineau in 2008, and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015.

The riding has been held by the Liberals for almost all of the last 50 years, with the exception of 2006 to 2008 when it was held by the Bloc Quebecois.

Mixed response to holiday

The federal government's intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering the legacy of Canada's residential school system has drawn mixed reactions from Indigenous Canadians, with responses to the plan ranging from cautious optimism to open disdain.

Many have expressed concern that such an occasion — dedicated to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples — could simply devolve into another day off for most Canadians, and note that a lot of work will need to be done if the day is to achieve its goal.

"Reconciliation right now is a great buzz word, but that's kind of where it seems to end," said Frances Moore, an Anishinaabe woman from Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec who now lives in London, Ont. "If this truly is about reconciliation, then great. Do this day, but let's also see action in other ways."

The steps needed to make a prospective day of remembrance effective would have to involve the government making educational resources available across the country to ensure the effects of residential schools remain front and centre, Moore said.

Input from Indigenous Canadians from all walks of life will be essential to designing a meaningful tribute day, but they should not be left alone to shoulder the burden of educating the broader public, Moore said.

Governments and allies, she said, should "step up" and relieve survivors and those who love them of the "emotional labour" of telling traumatizing stories that have not yet come to an end.

The government-funded, church-run residential schools operated for more than a century. Indigenous children were ripped away from their families, usually starting in late September, and sent to schools where they endured widespread sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

Evelyn Korkmaz, who spent several years at the St. Anne's Residential School in northern Ontario, said the projected day of tribute would do little more than re-open those wounds for her and her fellow survivors.

"Who wants to be reminded every year your country and Church betrayed and destroyed your innocence? No thanks," Korkmaz wrote in an email, adding that she is not aware of widespread efforts to consult survivors before the government floated the possibility of a stat holiday.

One organization involved in sustaining Remembrance Day, a potentially comparable federal holiday, echoed Moore's call for a focus on education.

Anthony Wilson-Smith, chief executive officer for Historica Canada, said Remembrance Day has lodged itself in the collective psyche in part because of its widespread adoption across the country and the substantial educational resources that have gone into preserving its purpose.

"With Remembrance Day you can go to any one of the cenotaphs across this country that every small town ... and big city has," he said. "If you're going to have this day of remembrance for survivors and the loss from residential schools, what kind of tools are you going to provide to communities to do that?"

If Parliament did approve a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday, it would only apply to federally regulated workplaces — the civil service, marine ports, airports, airlines and telecommunications companies. Provinces and territories would have to amend their existing labour codes to establish any additional day off.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the details of a prospective day off are still in the works and has pledged that no plans will be made without extensive Indigenous community consultation.

For one non-Indigenous man, honouring that pledge will be critical.

Matthew Martin-Ellis of Toronto said he wants to use a prospective day as an educational opportunity, but would like to hear from survivors and their families as to how to pay tribute respectfully.

He noted, however, that he didn't want to see a holiday turn into an occasion that suggests the inequities Indigenous Canadians face are in the past.

"If it ends up being a day that seeks to congratulate us on a victory and a reconciliation that we haven't achieved yet, I think we should not pursue this," Martin-Ellis said.

Carolyn Hepburn, a Cree woman from Fort Albany First Nation, said she sees the government plan as a valuable sign of good will.

She does feel, however, that Ottawa should reconsider attaching the commemorative day to either Indigenous People's Day on June 21 or Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30 as the government has indicated it's considering.

"We don't want to lose the messaging on either of those days," she said, adding that events like Orange Shirt day — when people don the brightly hewed tops to pay tribute to a survivor who had a treasured possession taken from her when she entered the residential school system — serve their own purpose in advancing what should be an ongoing conversation about reconciliation.

For others, like Native Council of Nova Scotia Chief Lorraine Augustine, the entire idea of the holiday smacks of insincerity.

She said that while she could not speak for others in her community, she is personally struggling to see any merit in the proposal despite the fact that it comes as a result of a recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"How can you honour (residential school survivors) after what you've done to them?" she said. "No amount of apology, no amount of money is going to take away the hurt and what they went through."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had the wrong last name for Matthew Martin-Ellis.


Massacre survivor dies

The sole survivor of the 1992 McDonald's massacre in Sydney River, Nova Scotia, has died. Joan "Arleen" MacNeil died Wednesday at a hospital in Halifax at the age of 46.

MacNeil was 20 years old when a botched robbery at a Sydney River McDonald's restaurant left three of her co-workers dead.

She survived the attack but was shot in the head, leaving her with a permanent disability.

In an obituary submitted to the Cape Breton Post, MacNeil's family describes her as a "survivor" who brought "joy and inspiration to those who knew and loved her."

Her funeral will be held in Cape Breton on Tuesday.

"Arleen loved to listen to country music, playing games on the computer, going for long walks in the wheelchair and was the 'queen of crazy eights,'" the obituary states.

Following the shooting, Darren Richard Muise, Freeman MacNeil and Derek Wood were charged.

Muise, who was 18 at the time of the killings, received full parole in 2012. MacNeil and Wood are serving life sentences.

Canadians fear for relatives

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala, Canadians with ties to the region fear for friends and relatives left stranded by the disaster that's been called the worst in the country's history.

More than 300 people have died this week in the wake of the flooding, officials said, and more than 800,000 have been displaced by the floods and landslides that are a result of heavy rains that began on Aug. 8.

"No one was prepared for this," said Prasad Nair, president of the Mississauga Kerala Association, located west of Toronto. "Most people have lost everything that they have."

Nair, who came to Canada from Kerala in 2003, said one of his relatives saw his house fully submerged in water and had to stay on the roof for two days before being rescued.

"The house that I lived in during my childhood has been fully submerged in water for five days," said Nair, 47.

The international community needs to understand what's happening in Kerala because the state will need help, he said.

"Most of us here are Canadians and we will always be a part of Canada, but a part of us belongs there too."

Nair said the association will continue to fundraise for the disaster, but urged the Canadian government to pledge to donate, especially to rebuild, as officials estimate over 10,000 kilometres of roads have been damaged.

"We are working really hard to get an appointment with the PM’s office," he said. "But we have not heard anything back from him yet."

"Canada has the technology, ability and experience in these kinds of disaster operations," he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter Saturday that he sends his deepest condolences to those affected, and a spokesperson for Global Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Joe Thottungal, 46, came to Canada 20 years ago from Kerala and in 2004 opened a restaurant in Ottawa that serves Keralan cuisine.

He said it's devastating to see the state he grew up in face such destruction.

He regularly returns to the region, and has for the past three years brought Canadians along with him to explore the state's food scene.

Its tea plantations, backwaters and abundance of spices like cardamom are some of the reasons tourists are so keen to visit, he said.

Nelson Abraham, who also owns a restaurant in Ottawa, said some of his Canadian friends who travelled to the province are stuck because the airport is closed.

"Everyone that we know is safe, but a lot of people are suffering for the food and the drinkable water," Abraham said, adding that he will return to India later this year to take care of his family.

"My mother is alone there, so I must go," he said. "I think everything will be all right in the next month ... at least I hope so." Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that its thoughts and sympathies are with the families and friends of those killed in the flood.

It said 3,748 Canadians in India have officially registered with the department's emergency notification system, but this is not necessarily a complete picture of how many Canadians are in the country.

All eyes on Andrew Scheer

After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will try to refocus the spotlight on trying to convince Canadians his party is a government-in-waiting.

Party members from across the country are preparing to gather this week for their first policy convention since Scheer was elected chief last year.

The three-day event beginning Thursday in Halifax comes on the heels of a week of headaches for the Opposition party in Ottawa, inflicted principally by Quebec MP Maxime Bernier. After tweeting his view that promoting too much diversity is bad for Canada, several members of the party — including Scheer himself — denounced the notion, leading to questions about whether Bernier would be booted from caucus.

Scheer has demurred from opining on these "internal caucus matters." But discussions are bound to erupt among grassroots party members at the convention about the open rift between the two MPs, who came within a razor's edge of one another in last year's leadership race.

Party officials had hoped to focus the convention on unveiling some of Scheer's visions and policy ideas in advance of the 2019 election campaign, according to senior insiders. A speech by the leader planned for Friday night of the convention is being promoted by organizers as the highlight.

But the Bernier debate could threaten to knock Scheer off message and serve as a distraction from the official agenda — all of which would become fodder for the governing Liberals, said Conservative strategist Tim Powers.

"This convention can't become the next great Halifax explosion," he said.

"A lot of people are going to want to try to figure out what is going on with Bernier and how that may impact party unity and fortunes going forward ... so the challenge for Mr. Sheer and his team is going to be to try to bring the spotlight back on the party as an entity that's ready to compete with the Liberals."

At issue is not only a personality dispute between two high-profile members of the party, but also a desire by some within the membership to condemn the Trudeau Liberals' so-called "virtue signalling" — the public flagging of moral correctness, says Conservative commentator Alise Mills.

This frustration with Justin Trudeau's approach is the reason Bernier's tweets criticizing the prime minister for "extreme multiculturalism" are resonating with many Conservatives, Mills said.

"Diversity wasn't the real issue, it's the virtue signalling and what Canadians seemingly are willing to accept in place of real policy and thoughtfulness."

But while such discussions likely will play out in some way at the convention, members will also vote on six dozen policy resolutions, including several that promise to spark lively debate.

One resolution proposes to scrap supply management of agricultural products, an issue that will highlight the Scheer-Bernier squabble as they have taken opposing stances.

Other resolutions deal with regulating abortion, repealing gender identity legislation "which compels Canadians to utter made-up pronouns like 'ze' and 'zir,' and attempting to change the wording of the party's policy promoting equality for women to equality for "Canadians."

The party membership has approved 74 resolutions for consideration, dividing them into three lists to be debated by groups of delegates in workshops. Only about 10 resolutions from each workshop will then be presented for debate by the entire membership.

Mills says she hopes the debates, and resolutions passed, will reflect the party's belief in small government — "that we're getting out of the way of Canadians living their lives and we're doing that with economic and fiscal and social policy."

Jason Lietaer, a Conservative strategist who worked in Stephen Harper's war room in 2011, says he believes all the talk of division and in-fighting within the party will be put to rest once Tories actually gather Thursday in Halifax.

The event will rally the troops and act as the soft launch of the 2019 election, Lietaer said.

"This is an election readiness kind of thing and I think people will be looking at Mr. Scheer and taking the measure of him," he said.

"Most of the members, like me, want to see him doing well and know that he can be competitive and has got a chance to win the next election."

Trudeau marches at Pride

Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on Sunday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued what has become a yearly tradition of walking in the city's colourful Pride parade.

Wearing white pants and a pink button down shirt, the prime minister yelled "Happy Pride" as he marched alongside his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, as well as Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and other dignitaries.

Less than a week before the kickoff of Quebec's election campaign, politicians from all three levels of government could be spotted among the amid the parade's sequins, rainbow flags and whirling dancers.

At a press conference ahead of the event, Trudeau called for an end to the use of the word "tolerance" as a benchmark for the treatment of diverse communities.

"We need to talk about acceptance, we need to talk about openness, we need to talk about friendship, we need to talk about love — not just tolerance," he said to cheers.

Trudeau began his day at an upscale hotel in Old Montreal, where he attended a Pride-themed Liberal fundraising brunch in the company of Montreal-born "Queer Eye" TV personality Antoni Porowski.

As guests snacked on foie gras appetizers and lobster rolls, the prime minister and Porowski discussed topics ranging from Montreal's food scene to the continued importance of Pride events.

Trudeau noted that LGBTQ youth are still more likely to be homeless or have suicidal thoughts, despite the progress that has been made towards equality.

The prime minister planned to end the day in his home riding of Papineau, where he was set to announce his nomination as a candidate for the 2019 election.

Fires impact water supply

Smoke isn't the only way wildfires affect people and places far from the flames.

Researchers are studying how blackened forests affect ecosystems and water quality far downstream just as hundreds of blazes in British Columbia are darkening skies as far east as Manitoba.

"Fires are particularly hard on water," said Monica Emelko, a water treatment engineer at the University of Waterloo and a member of the Southern Rockies Watershed Project.

"If the intensity is there and enough of the watershed is burned, you can have a very significant impact on the water supply and that impact can be long-lasting."

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta's 2003 Lost Creek fire. Its work has proven so valuable that the team recently received about $9 million in grants to keep studying how changes in forested areas affect water.

Fires and forests have always gone together. But that relationship began to change around the turn of the century.

"Fire managers started to see wildfire behaviour that was at the extreme end or beyond anything that had been previously observed," said Uldis Silins, a University of Alberta hydrologist and project member.

The intensity and speed of fires ramped up. Blazes that used to calm overnight kept raging. At Lost Creek, firefighters reported walls of flame 150 metres high rolling through trees at 2 a.m.

A 2016 published paper found the effects of that fire were visible in rivers and streams more than a decade later.

Runoff began earlier and was faster, increasing erosion and creating drier forests. Nutrients such as phosphorus were up to 19 times greater — good for aquatic bugs but also for algae.

"Some of these streams became choked with algae," Silins said. "We've seen lasting and pretty profound impacts on water quality and aquatic ecology."

The project has seen similar effects from other fires it's studied. Some are detectable hundreds of kilometres downstream from the flames and have serious consequences for urban water treatment.

"You get much bigger swings in water quality," Emelko said. "One of the biggest and most common challenges to water treatment is not water contamination, but large swings in water quality."

Nutrients that choke streams can also create microbe growth in water pipes and distribution networks. They can react with chemicals used to purify water to form compounds that are themselves harmful.

Emelko said nutrients from fires can show up far downstream and last for years.

"They can sit there in riverbeds and reservoirs and can create a legacy of effects."

The challenges aren't going away.

Climate scientists have for years predicted hotter and larger wildfires. Climate change doesn't in itself spark fires, but it loads the dice in favour of them by creating longer fire seasons and drier forests, as well as increasing the number of dead, combustible trees through climate-related insect outbreaks.

Natural Resources Canada says those effects could double the amount of boreal forest burned by the end of this century compared with recent records.

Meanwhile, those forests are the source of much of our water. Two-thirds of the water used in Alberta comes from forested landscapes.

"As we see these fires more frequently with more severity, the types of impacts to our water are likely to be seen more broadly," said Silins.

Emelko said it's time Canadians stopped thinking solely in terms of fire suppression and water treatment plants. As water demand increases, water security has to start where the water comes from, she said.

Smoke irritates tourists

Smoke from wildfires that's blanketing parts of Alberta does more than just irritate the eyes and throats of visitors to the province's mountain parks — it obscures the spectacular scenery that many have travelled thousands of kilometres to see.

"I did have a couple the other day that were quite disappointed. They were looking at the photographs on the wall and kind of complained, 'We can't see any of this stuff,'" said Jeremy Salisbury at Tekarra Color Lab, which sells cameras supplies, photos and art in Jasper.

His co-worker Matt Quiring, who also works part time at the Jasper Planetarium, said the smoke has made photographing the night sky particularly challenging.

Jasper is designated a dark sky preserve due to its limited light pollution and the planetarium typically has telescopes set up on summer nights. But the universe is obscured by thick haze these days.

"Even those stars that are visible, the smoke lowers the contrast so you don't get black, black skies," Quiring lamented.

The thick smoke from hundreds of wildfires that continue to burn through British Columbia's forests and brush is also creating air-quality problems for much of Alberta, Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba as winds drive it eastward from B.C.

In Calgary and Edmonton, the tops of downtown highrises get fuzzier the higher up you look.

Quiring said mountains in Jasper that are usually beautifully detailed with trees on the ridgelines have turned into silhouettes.

Further south in Banff, a live webcam from the summit of Sulphur Mountain — accessible by gondola — shows mostly grey.

Tanya Otis, a spokeswoman for the company that operates the gondola, said people are still going up but visibility varies depending on wind direction.

"It really depends on the time of day for what they can see," Otis said.

Mike Gere, who operates Jasper Photography Tours, said tourists are still booking. They understand the poor visibility isn't anyone's fault, but it's still disappointing for them, he said.

Gere said the Perseids meteor shower, which peaked last weekend and coincided with a new moon, was a bit of a bust for the second year in a row due to smoke.

"Some days we can't even see the mountains that everyone has travelled from all over the country and all over the world to see."

It isn't all bad for shutterbugs, however.

Salisbury said photographers can still get good close-up shots at attractions such as Athabasca Falls. And Quiring pointed out there are opportunities for shots he wouldn't otherwise get.

Last year, when smoke was also bad, Quiring posted a sunset pic to Instagram that was "other worldly."

"The mountains were just barely visible in silhouette. The sun was like a rosy globe going down and the whole sky was awash in a peachy colour ... draped over the landscape. It was quite beautiful," he said. "I very much enjoyed that moment."

The smoke allows photographers to get shots they would normally only get if it were foggy or misty, Gere added.

"You get ridges of trees that are stacked up on one another in the distance. You kind of get a graduated effect where the trees that are closer to you look like black in one corner of the photo and it keeps stepping up and up and up until they're white in the distance.

"It gives it a unique layered effect."

It was surreal last week when smoke rolled in at Maligne Lake, he said.

"Everything looked really, really orange. It was like a perpetual sunset."

He wishes the smoke would go away, but realizes it could be a lot worse.

"Hey, at least we're not on fire. I think of the people in British Columbia who are suffering more than we are."

Less influence after election

When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the Montreal mayor's popular plan for a new subway line, he didn't feel it necessary to even pay lip service to the idea.

Valerie Plante's "pink line" helped her win the 2017 municipal election as Montrealers dreamed of a shiny new transit project with stations to be named after women and minorities who helped build the multicultural city.

The Liberals and Parti Quebecois, who both hold ridings on the island of Montreal, publicly supported the project, despite acknowledging the embryonic plan was many years away — if it ever came to fruition.

Legault and his party, which is popular in the far-flung suburban ridings surrounding the greater Montreal area, weren't enamoured of the project.

"We have concluded it's not the priority," Legault told reporters at his party's convention in May.

Pollsters have indicated the Coalition, which was created in 2011 and has never held power, can win the Oct. 1 provincial election without any of the 27 ridings on the island of Montreal.

And while the party has one or two chances of picking up a Montreal riding, its political base is in Quebec City and the surrounding areas known as "the regions."

A major question is where the country's second-largest city and Quebec's economic engine will rank in the Coalition's list of priorities should it take power.

Montreal — a Liberal party and federalist bastion — had a hard enough time getting attention when the sovereigntist PQ government was in power, said Peter Trent, ex-mayor of Westmount, a wealthy English-speaking enclave on the island of Montreal.

"I felt the difference," Trent, who served as Westmount mayor between 1991 and 2002 and again from 2009 until last year, said in an interview.

"Whenever the PQ was in power, a cold wind blew."

Cities and regions across the province compete for attention and money from the capital, Quebec City, and constituents are often better served if their legislative member is in cabinet or is powerful within the government structure, Trent said.

The majority of the ridings on Montreal island are Liberal, and the members who hold those seats are almost all in Premier Philippe Couillard's cabinet.

Montreal's West Island, for example, is home to Finance Minister Carlos Leitao, Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley. To their geographical east is the riding of Saint-Laurent, represented by government house leader Jean-Marc Fournier.

The new, multibillion-dollar light rail train system under construction by the province's pension fund, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, travels right through all those Liberal, federalist ridings.

Kelley said having himself, Leitao and Coiteux around the cabinet table "certainly didn't hurt" the project, which is also funded by the provincial and federal governments.

"It's a project from the Caisse," Kelley said in an interview, "but we wanted to make sure the concerns in the West Island were heard."

Kelley, a 24-year political veteran who is not seeking re-election, is not ready to call victory for the Coalition in October, despite what the polls suggest.

He did acknowledge, however, that if Montreal is found "offside" politically — and has little to no elected representation in a future governing party — it would be a "big problem."

"It's been a long time, I can't remember when that's happened in Quebec history, so it would be a big problem because a lot goes on, on the island of Montreal,'' Kelley said.

"Whether it's our institutions, our infrastructure, it's very important that people are close to the ground and understand those issues."

Angelo Persichilli, who was director of communication for ex-prime minister Stephen Harper between 2011 and 2012, worked in government when the Conservatives didn't have a single seat on the island of Montreal and only five provincewide.

In his experience with Harper, he said, Quebec wasn't treated any differently because it had fewer MPs compared to other provinces.

Persichilli did, however, offer an old adage: "Whoever is absent is always wrong."

With the Liberals in power since 2003 aside from a short-lived minority PQ government between 2012 and 2014, the so-called regions are going to be putting a lot of pressure on Quebec City for attention if the Coalition wins, Trent said.

"There will be a tremendous amount of pull," he explained. "They'll say: 'Now that we got you in power we want our goodies and it's our turn.'"

The allegedly forgotten parts of Quebec are already getting attention ahead of the election campaign, which will officially begin this Thursday.

PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisee recently called Montreal's east end the Liberals' "forgotten child" and accused the governing party of ignoring the area because its constituents largely don't support it.

Legault's best chance to pick up seats in Montreal, polls suggest, can be found in east-end ridings currently held by the PQ.

No winning ticket

No winning ticket was sold for the $22 million jackpot in Saturday night's Lotto 649 draw.

However, the guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket holder in Quebec.

The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Aug. 22 will be approximately $25 million.

Child dies in boating mishap

Officials have identified a 12-year-old Canadian girl as the victim of a deadly boat accident in California.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office says Lia Rose Barakett was riding in a boat with family friends last Saturday when tragedy struck.

A report from the examiner's office says the boat was conducting "recreational manoeuvres" while dragging a tube carrying a passenger. When that person fell off the tube, the operator of the boat stopped suddenly and Barakett was thrown off, the report says.

The craft then sailed over her, the report says, and she became separated from her life jacket and was submerged in the water.

The San Diego Fire Department says the incident occurred around 6 p.m. on August 11 at the San Vicente Reservoir northeast of the city.

"Several people immediately went in after her but they were not able to locate her," said Monica Munoz, a spokeswoman for the department. Another person on the boat called 911 and police responded, she said.

They were able to locate her life jacket, but an initial search for the girl was unsuccessful.

"Teams searched until dark and then resumed the search the next day and continued searching until she was located on Wednesday morning, " Munoz said, adding that the team managed to find her using sonar technology.

Munoz said she posted a video of the dive to the department's Facebook page, which shows responders plunging into murky water.

Law enforcement agencies from around the county offered their services and private companies offered their technology, she said, as the San Vicente Reservoir is a difficult dive location, reaching about 85 metres in some spots.

"The terrain on the bottom is particularly dangerous: trees, fishing line and other debris and very large and sharp boulders," she said. "This made the search efforts very difficult and dangerous."

Munoz said the team was committed to finding Barakett, and officials are compassionate towards the girl's family.

Several media outlets, including CTV News and the Waterloo Chronicle, report that Barakett was about to enter Grade 8 at a Catholic school in Waterloo, Ont. The medical examiner's report said that Barakett lived with her mother.

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