New Westminster schools to have counsellors on hand after student dies of overdose

The New Westminster School District in British Columbia says it will have extra staff and counsellors at schools to help students cope with news that a student died of an overdose and another is in hospital.

The tragedy occurred after police said two people bought pills from the same street level drug dealer.

On Friday, the New Westminster Police Department issued an urgent warning for what it calls a “lethal” strain of drugs in the city.

The name of the deceased student has not been released.

Police said it’s not clear what the drug is.

Meanwhile, the school district calls the death “a terrible tragedy.”

“Our heartfelt condolences goes to the family and all who have known this student,” the school district said in a release on Sunday.

Critical response plan

The New Westminster school district says it has put in place a critical incident response plan, which includes having extra counsellors and additional staff to help students cope with the news of the death.

“We have been concerned, as are many school districts, about the current overdose crisis,” said the release.

In May, the district held a community discussion to heighten awareness about the opioid crisis

“The tragedy we face underscores the importance that we must continue to work together to provide support in all areas, from prevention and early intervention to harm reduction and treatment options,” read the release from the district.

New Westminster police says the case remains under investigation and police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 604-525-5411.

Most Airbnb hosts not registered in Quebec, 1 year after law took effect

The majority of Quebecers who list their properties on Airbnb and other home rental websites are not registering with the province, just over a year since it implemented a law regulating them, new data suggests.

Tourisme Québec says it issued 967 permits for rental hosts out of 2,244 applications in the year since the law took effect on April 15, 2016.

There were 19,400 Airbnb hosts in Quebec in 2016, according to the company’s data, and that doesn’t include people who rent out their homes on other websites such as VRBO and Kijiji. That would suggest a compliance rate of less than five per cent among Airbnb hosts alone.

The law, the only one of its kind in Canada, requires people who rent out accommodations for no more than 31 consecutive days to have a permit and pay a hotel tax.

Individuals who violate the law can be fined between $2,500 and $25,000 daily, while corporations face penalties of between $5,000 and $50,000 a day.

“The provincial law is pretty onerous and overly complicated,” said Alex Dagg, Airbnb’s director of Canadian public policy.

Potential changes to the law?

Airbnb and the provincial government have been in discussions about changing the law. As an example, company spokesman Christopher Nulty pointed to Philadelphia, where hosts who rent a dwelling for 90 to 180 days must pay for a permit but those who host for fewer days are exempt.

Jean-Pierre D’Auteuil, a spokesman for Tourisme Québec, said there are already exemptions. People who rent accommodations out during a specific festival or tourist event are allowed to do so once a year without registering, as are people who rent out their homes when they are away at a cottage.

Airbnb Screenshot

Airbnb, one of the most popular online vacation rental services, shows several apartments available for rent in Montreal.

Many Airbnb hosts don’t require certification because their activities fall within those exemptions, D’Auteuil said.

But according to data from Airbnb, the median number of nights Quebec hosts rented their listings was 30 last year, indicating more frequent activity.

The hotel industry has often complained that Airbnb and other similar companies eat into their business and have an unfair leg up because their hosts don’t face the same strict regulatory requirements, like taxes and safety measures.

Nulty says Airbnb doesn’t take issue with its hosts having to pay taxes. He says Airbnb would support more stringent registration and regulatory requirements for people who rent a second home or vacation property, adding that such hosts account for a small part of its business.

D’Auteuil said the Tourism Department is continuing discussions with various groups and examining potential improvements to the law, but he declined to say whether the government would be open to setting different regulations for hosts based on how often they rent spaces.

NDP leadership debate brings 2 new candidates to the race

Two new NDP leadership hopefuls are among the candidates who faced off in a debate in Sudbury, Ont., this afternoon in a debate that touched on policy issues such as Indigenous rights, the economy and resource development.

Ontario provincial New Democrat Jagmeet Singh and former veterans’ ombudsman Pat Stogran are vying to replace federal leader Tom Mulcar in a race that until recently has included MPs Niki Ashton, Guy Caron, Charlie Angus and Peter Julian.

The moderator posed a question about Andrew Scheer becoming the new Conservative leader.

Ashton said she is “very concerned” about Scheer’s political agenda, pointing to the leader’s position on abortion and LGBTQ rights.

Caron said the Liberals and the Conservatives can fight each other and suggests the two parties are not very different.

The bilingual debate, the third of eight scheduled, featured opening statements, open debates and short “lightning round” questions and responses.

Opening statements addressed reconciliation with Indigenous communities, including the urgency of the current suicide crisis, as well as income inequality and sustainable use of natural resources. 

Jagmeet Singh

Jagmeet Singh, 38, a lawyer and Ontario MPP, has joined the race to lead the federal NDP. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

The NDP race is expected to ramp up and could draw more attention now that the year-long Conservative leadership contest is over.

“With the B.C. election and Conservative contest behind us, our race is kicking into high gear. We have an amazingly strong field of candidates. Any one of them would be able to take on Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer today,” said NDP National Director Robert Fox in a statement to CBC News.

NDP members will pick a new leader in the fall through a preferential, ranked ballot system. Voting will take place online and by mail.

Round 3: NDP leadership debate brings 2 new candidates to the fray

Six NDP leadership candidates will square off for the third debate in Sudbury, Ont., today.

It’s the first time former federal veterans’ ombudsman Pat Stogran and Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh will take the stage with the four MPs already in the race: Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron and Peter Julian.

The debate will begin at 2 p.m. ET and CBCNews.ca will carry it live.

Topics will range from issues of local and regional significance, including those specific to remote, northern and Indigenous communities, as well as national and international debates.

The bilingual debate, the third of eight scheduled, will feature opening statements, open debates and short “lightning round” questions and responses.

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Former veterans’ ombudsman Pat Stogran is one of six candidates fighting to replace Tom Mulcair as leader of the NDP. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The NDP race is expected to ramp up and could draw more attention now that the year-long Conservative leadership contest is over.

“With the B.C. election and Conservative contest behind us, our race is kicking into high gear. We have an amazingly strong field of candidates. Any one of them would be able to take on Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer today,” said NDP National Director Robert Fox in a statement to CBC News.

NDP members will pick a new leader in the fall through a preferential, ranked ballot system. Voting will take place online and by mail.

Jagmeet Singh

Jagmeet Singh, 38, a lawyer and Ontario MPP, has joined the race to lead the federal NDP. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

Community mourns ‘golden saint of a man’ after RCMP locate body of missing B.C. fire chief

RCMP say the body of a missing fire chief who was swept away by flood waters in Cache Creek, B.C., has been found.

Clayton Cassidy was reported missing after his vehicle was found near a washed-out bridge where he was last spotted on May 5.

Ashcroft RCMP say Cassidy’s body was discovered late Saturday night by the Ashcroft fire department during their daily patrol of Cache Creek, near the washed-out bridge.

Cassidy had been checking water levels at the creek — located an hour west of Kamloops — when he was last seen, ahead of several weeks of flooding in the Interior.

‘A golden saint of a man’

“He’s just a golden saint of a man and everybody meets him wishes that they could be a little more like Clayton Cassidy,” said Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta.

Ranta said Cassidy was a stalwart in the community who was loved by everybody for his service with the fire department, as a minor hockey coach and the way he would volunteer for “anything that would be of assistance to his community members.”

“Clayton was a friend of everybody in the community,” he said. “That’s why it’s so devastating to lose a citizen like that who is so highly respected by everyone.”

Clayton’s dedication to his community was lauded in 2016 for his actions during the 2015 Cache Creek flash floods. He received B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship.

“He was here during the flood of 2015 long after other volunteers had left. He was still working 12- and 14-hour days trying to assist people who were negatively impacted by the flood.”

A family man

Cassidy was close to his large extended family. He was the fourth of eight siblings.

“He’s extremely family orientated man with three boys and the grandchildren. That was his life. Integrity, morals, and just somebody you could actually talk to,” said his younger brother Patrick Cassidy.

“Everybody that’s here is just so shocked and so sorry because everybody knew him because he was just that kind of good guy.”

With files from Tara Copeland.

Community mourns ‘golden saint of a man’ after RCMP locate body of missing fire chief

RCMP say the body of a missing fire chief who was swept away by flood waters in Cache Creek, B.C. has been found.

Clayton Cassidy was reported missing after his vehicle was found near a washed-out bridge where he was last spotted on May 5.

Ashcroft RCMP say Cassidy’s body was discovered late Saturday night by the Ashcroft fire department during their daily patrol of Cache Creek, near the washed-out bridge.

Cassidy had been checking water levels at the creek — located an hour west of Kamloops — when he was last seen, ahead of several weeks of flooding in the Interior.

‘A golden saint of a man’

“He’s just a golden saint of a man and everybody meets him wishes that they could be a little more like Clayton Cassidy,” said Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta.

Ranta said Cassidy was a stalwart in the community who was loved by everybody for his service with the fire department, as a minor hockey coach and the way he would volunteer for “anything that would be of assistance to his community members.”

“Clayton was a friend of everybody in the community,” he said. “That’s why it’s so devastating to lose a citizen like that who is so highly respected by everyone.”

Clayton’s dedication to his community was lauded in 2016 for his actions during the 2015 Cache Creek flash floods. He received B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship.

“He was here during the flood of 2015 long after other volunteers had left. He was still working 12- and 14-hour days trying to assist people who were negatively impacted by the flood.”

A family man

Cassidy came from a large family that he was very close to. He was one of eight siblings, the fourth oldest.

“He’s extremely family orientated man with three boys and the grandchildren. That was his life. Integrity, morals, and just somebody you could actually talk to,” said his younger brother Patrick Cassidy.

“Everybody that’s here is just so shocked and so sorry because everybody knew him because he was just that kind of good guy.”

With files from Tara Copeland.

Andrew Scheer not the only winner in Conservative leadership race

Bold changes aren’t terribly conservative, which helps explain how Andrew Scheer became leader of the federal Conservative party.

But he wasn’t the only person who won something in this leadership race.

The entire process leading up to the surprising — for many — result offered a revealing look at the state of the party in 2017, two years after losing power and the departure of Stephen Harper.

Here’s some of what emerged:

A stay-the-course leader

Scheer didn’t campaign on the need for the Conservative Party to head in a bold new policy direction. His victory speech stuck to themes many Conservatives could be comfortable with.

“Sunny ways don’t pay the bills,” Scheer said, after pledging his party would be “looking for new ways to make life more affordable” as it “represents taxpayers, not connected Ottawa insiders.”

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Scheer is congratulated by Rona Ambrose after being elected the new leader of the federal Conservative party at the party’s convention in Toronto Saturday. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Popular interim leader Rona Ambrose could have given the same speech. So could Stephen Harper. 

This race offered other options to the 141,000 members who voted.

Ontario MP Alex Nuttall, who worked hard to try to get Maxime Bernier in the driver’s seat, said before the result that “it’s a very difficult time for the mainstays of the party to see change happening.”

Bernier’s strong campaign, he felt, represented a “transitional, a generational change.” There was “no question,” he said, that Bernier’s ideas raised money and brought new members and new energy to the party.

They just didn’t get him elected.

Resurgent social conservatives

Apart from the result itself, the biggest surprise of the evening was the strong showing of candidate Brad Trost. Fundraising data foreshadowed that his fellow social conservative, Pierre Lemieux, had middling potential, but Trost’s appearance in the final four was unexpected.

It signaled a strong mobilization by the Conservative Party’s family values wing, which found two champions in this race and supported them to make sure their issues got a hearing.

It’s not clear their support helped Scheer win. He’s a strong Roman Catholic, but social conservatives criticized him for not being a strong enough advocate for their anti-abortion views.

“My job as leader is to encourage our members to focus on areas that bring us together,” Scheer said Saturday night. He added that as a House of Commons Speaker, he supported the right of individual MPs to introduce bills and motions they believe in, and he’ll do the same as leader. 

While the social conservatives didn’t win, they certainly didn’t lose in this race either. Scheer’s challenge, like leaders before him, is to keep them engaged.

“Every single kind of Conservative is welcome in this party and this party belongs to all of you,” the new leader told the crowd.

A Campaign Life Coalition press release Saturday night urged him not to forget the family-friendly campaign pledges he made.

Conservative strategist Tim Powers said on CBC Radio’s The House that social conservatives were among those who “enhanced their stock” in this campaign.

Erin O’Toole, who hopscotched others to become a big federal player among Ontario Conservatives, and Lisa Raitt, who offered “a voice and conscience of party at a time when it was important to do so,” were also among those who’ve gained something by running, he said.

Peter Mansbridge speaks with Andrew Scheer7:44

Bruising defeats

Bernier jumped in early and ran a solid, platform-driven campaign that even rival camps largely respected.

His falter just short of the line deals a blow to the aspirations of the MPs and high-profile former candidates who backed him, including Tony Clement and Kevin O’Leary.

Scheer’s challenge will be to keep the new people Bernier brought into the party engaged, especially younger members.

Powers said there’s been no proof yet that Conservatives have succeeded with millennials and the party is “whistling past the graveyard if we don’t do more than simply give it lip service.”

Despite being under 40 himself, Scheer was seen as the favoured candidate of the party’s establishment. 

Saturday’s result also spikes the perception that some populist nativism was taking hold, after Kellie Leitch’s “Canadian values” campaign sold a lot of memberships and raised a lot of money.

Her lower-than-expected finish is not only a blow to her personally, it suggests that when presented with an unabashed champion, the majority of this party wasn’t receptive to immigration-skeptic politics.

A win for unity?

In her Friday night speech, Raitt called on her party now to focus not on this past campaign, but the next one: the federal election in 2019.

“Every single Conservative in this country should be proud of the diversity on offer in this campaign,” she said. “The cost of this diversity though is that not everybody gets everything they want.”

“Come Monday, many people in our party will still be reconciling themselves to the fact that, on issues of importance, they do not share the position of our new leader,” she said. But, “come Monday, there is only one shade of blue.”

The screen behind Scheer as the balloons dropped from the ceiling Saturday night echoed her call: “United,” it read.

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Andrew Scheer speaks after his election Saturday, as his family gathers behind him: his wife, Jill, and, left to right, children Mary, one and a half, Thomas, 12, Henry, 6, and Grace, 10. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Scheer is a cheerful warrior who had a lot of caucus support. His platform wasn’t terribly divisive, and his political career features more time in the neutral House of Commons Speaker’s chair than the partisan trenches.

As he prepares to move his young family into his second official residence, Stornoway, he inherits a party, convention-goers were reminded, with potential to win again — it has more money, more members and its long, grassroots-driven leadership race appears a success.

“The era of big machine politics is actually over,” strategist Chad Rogers said.

“We said cynically at the start of this process, ‘No one will use a mail-in ballot, there’s too many people in the race, it’s too unwieldy,'” he said. “All of that is wrong.”

“All of the leading indicators have never supported the narrative of the death of the Conservative movement post-Stephen Harper.”

Rescue crews save 4 from sailboat in distress off Nova Scotia coast

The crew of a sailboat had to be rescued off the coast of Nova Scotia after their vessel started taking on water early this morning, according to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax.

Four people were taken off the boat by the Canadian Coast Guard and then airlifted by a Cormorant helicopter to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. 

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre said it was contacted about a ship in distress around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It responded, along with the Canadian Coast Guard.

JRCC helps organize the deployment of military assets like helicopters and airplanes to respond to emergencies — like search and rescue operations.

The sail boat was approximately 155 nautical miles or about 287 kilometres southeast of Halifax. A Hercules aircraft and a Cormorant helicopter were dispatched. 

JRCC said no one from the sailboat was injured. It’s not clear why it began taking on water.

Rescue crews hoist 4 from boat in distress off Nova Scotia coast

Details are scarce on a rescue that took place off the coast of Nova Scotia this morning — in which four people were airlifted from a boat by a Cormorant helicopter.

Joint Task Force Atlantic said it was contacted about a ship in distress around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It responded, along with the Canadian Coast Guard.

JTFA responds to requests for military intervention, assistance or support.

The boat was approximately 155 nautical miles or about 287 kilometres southeast of Halifax. A Hercules aircraft and a Cormorant helicopter were dispatched. 

4 people transported to Halifax

The Cormorant managed to hoist four people from the boat and transport them to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, said JTFA. 

It doesn’t appear that anyone was injured. 

JTFA doesn’t know why the boat was in distress or what it was being used for. It said the operation was mainly coordinated by the coast guard so it doesn’t have those details.

CBC news has reached out to the coast guard for more information but has yet to receive a response.  

Artist urging Supreme Court to preserve residential school testimony

An artist who’s the son of a residential school survivor is urging the Supreme Court of Canada to rule to preserve the stories of more than 35,000 people like his father so future generations can learn from the tragic chapter in the country’s history.

Carey Newman founded the group Coalition to Preserve the Truth to save the testimony delivered to adjudicators as part of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), which was set up to determine individual compensation for survivors who suffered as a result of being forced into residential schools.

But some, like the Assembly of First Nations, want those records destroyed to protect the privacy of survivors. The documents are now in the hands of the Supreme Court, which will decide their fate.

“I think that future generations do have some right to those stories, because we are also impacted,” said Newman, who came to Ottawa Thursday to argue his case to the Supreme Court.

‘A really complicated process’

The more than 35,000 accounts gathered through the IAP are separate from the 7,000 gathered and retained by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which held public events across the country to invite survivors to share their experiences.

carey newman artist

Artist Carey Newman is part of a coalition lobbying for the preservation of residential school survivor testimony. (Submitted)

Newman believes the decision to keep the IAP stories on the historic record should have been up to each survivor.

“One of the difficulties is that the consent process that would need to be in place to achieve that wasn’t in place at the point of collecting these narratives or these statements,” he said. 

“So in the ensuing years, survivors have passed away. There’s no list or registry where we’ll be able to contact everybody. So the process of informing everybody is going to be a really complicated process.”

With privacy the central concern among those who want the accounts destroyed, Newman’s coalition is suggesting such solutions as redacting names and other identifiable information, while keeping the stories themselves intact.

Intergenerational impact

“A person going in and opening those files in 20 years wouldn’t see anybody’s names,” Newman said. “They would see the story of what happened in the school, what school they went to, and maybe what community they were raised in. But there wouldn’t be identifying information.”

Canada residential schools, truth and reconciliation

For more than a century, approximately 150,000 Indigenous children attended residential schools across Canada. (Truth and Reconciliation Commission)

Newman has travelled the country in recent years with his Witness Blanket art installation, which is made of pieces from different residential schools.

He said the survivors he met during that time helped him understand his father’s residential school experience, and that’s what he hopes comes from preserving these stories.

“It completely changes the way that I look back at that time, and the way that I understand my father as a person today. So that sort of speaks to the intergenerational impact of residential schools,” said Newman.