RCMP training facility suspected of causing illness and death of recruits
For 20 years, Canada’s agents were trained in an area filled with dangerous contaminants.
According to a recently published CBC investigation, a training facility in Ontario, designed to secretly train Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members tasked with spy operations included large amounts of mould, water containing lead levels 14 times higher than permitted, as well as asbestos.
The CBC’s investigation furthermore found that “at least six RCMP members who had trained at the facility and who died prematurely.”
The building was officially closed in 2006 after a hazardous occurrence form filled out by members finally forced a response from Health and Safety.
Worryingly, while closing the location, the RCMP did not inform all members who worked there of possible associated health risks.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are sticking to their demands of the withdrawal of the RCMP and construction workers from their land before they will meet with government leaders to bring a two-week rail stoppage to an end according to the Star.
No deadline or outlined plan has been publicly announced by the Trudeau government to lift the blockades. But on Wednesday, while talking with the BC government, he considered the idea of replacing the RCMP that are on Wet’suwet’en land with an Indigenous police force.
“This is an issue that obviously comes under the decision of the police forces and the province where the RCMP works as provincial police. This is exactly the kind of discussion and reflection that we are having to resolve this situation peacefully,” said Trudeau.
The idea was shut down by chief Na’Moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale. On Wednesday, he told the Star that they have not requested that the RCMP completely pull out of their territory but just the detachment that is situated near the blockade.
He said, “Not out there, they have no reason out there” when referring to the RCMP. He added that they must withdraw the detachment or no meetings can be held with government ministers.
“You can’t have that all weighing on you and make clear and concise decisions. That’s not free, prior and informed consent in any way shape or form. When we say free, well, when you’re under duress that’s not free,” he said on Wednesday.
Na’Moks also mentioned that some of the hereditary chiefs were on their way to meet up with Mohawk communities in Montreal and thank them for their support in opposition to the pipeline.
When speaking of a meeting with Trudeau, Na’Moks said, “If we’re going to do a meeting, it should be on our territory. This is what we’re talking about. He should come and see how pristine and beautiful it is. Right now I’m looking at a blue sky and sunshine with snowcapped peaks.”
“You won’t know what we’re trying to do unless you put feet on the ground, breathe the air, have a look at the beautiful river, and eat the food here.”
Jagmeet Singh, the NDP leader addressed the issue saying, “Will the prime minister meet with the hereditary chiefs and appoint a special mediator?”
“The RCMP need to stand down to allow these conversations and dialogues to happen.”
According to a senior federal official, the option of using a mediator has not been ruled out though they are still waiting for a response to the offers made by the BC and federal governments to arrange a meeting.
Wilson-Raybould has asked the Wet’suwet’en to let Canadians know exactly who speaks for the community.
Trudeau has asked for patience as the blockades continue though many cannot afford patience at the moment.
Because of the blockades, Via Rail has been forced to lay off approximately 1,000 employees.
Cynthia Garneau, the President and CEO of Via said, “In 42 years of existence, it is the first time that Via Rail . . . has to interrupt most of its services across the country.”
Despite the calls for action, the Trudeau government has not set a deadline.
The Star reported Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair saying, “I’m reluctant to put a deadline to something because I find that that’s not a very effective means of negotiation.”
Trudeau said, “We know that people are facing shortages. They’re facing disruptions. They’re facing layoffs. That’s unacceptable. That’s why we are going to continue working extremely hard with everyone involved to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
“We understand how difficult this is for so many people who are facing shortages and layoffs right now, but we know we need to resolve this in a way that will not create more problems months from now and over the coming years,” he said in question period.
“That is why we are taking every step necessary to resolve this constructively, peacefully and rapidly.”
Mark Strahl, a Conservative MP referred to Trudeau saying, “He’s made promises to Indigenous communities about how different it was going to be with him as the prime minister. It hasn’t happened. He hasn’t resolved these long-standing issues. So the patience — patience to what end?” Strahl told reporters.
“Just simply so he can drag this out longer and hope that they get tired and go home seems to be the strategy.”
An Ontario couple has been arrested and charged with laundering money in connection with the Canada Revenue Agency telephone scam. The two, husband and wife, were also involved in other multinational schemes. Their arrests are the result of Project Octavia, a longstanding investigation into the CRA tax telephone scam according to CTV News.
RCMP investigators arrested a 37-year-old man and 36-year-old woman on Wednesday in Brampton, Ont. They believe that there is also a 26-year-old foreign national involved, currently living in India whom they have issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for.
The RCMP said the CRA scam has been going on since 2014. Callers based out of India would call Canadians posing as federal agents and intimidate their victims into paying non-existent outstanding taxes or fines.
“This has led to Canadians becoming wary or suspicious even when CRA is attempting legitimate contact,” RCMP said.
There has been a total of more than $16.8 million in victim losses reported since 2014 in the CRA scam alone. That number jumps up to over $30 million with the inclusion of other scams such as tech support and bank investor scams according to the RCMP.
RCMP Insp. Jim Ogden spoke at a press conference in Milton, Ontario on Friday saying, “We have disrupted the necessary flow of money from Canada to India, which will have a big impact on the operation and the bottom line of the scammers,”
The pair recently arrested in Brampton were likely “money mules” purported Ogden, claiming that the couple laundered the proceeds of these telemarketing scams in Canada and sending it elsewhere.
Project Octavia has led to the takedown of 39 illegal call centres in India as well as arrests in Canada. A public awareness and prevention campaign has helped make Canadians more aware of the scam and RCMP’s efforts have helped to reduce the number of successful scam calls since 2018.
The proof is in the numbers as the total amount of victim losses in 2018 was $6.4 million and within a year that number was down to $1.4 million.
RCMP continue to go after money mule networks in Canada in cooperation with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and RCMP criminal analysts, Canada Border Services Agency, the CRA, provincial police and the RCMP liaison officer in India. Authorities in the U.S. and India continue to aid investigations as well.
Gurinderpreet Dhaliwal, 37, and Inderpreet Dhaliwal, 36, from Brampton have both been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering of the proceeds of crime, and one count of property obtained by crime.
“We remain steadfast in our pursuit,” Ogden said.
A Canadian photojournalist has again been threatened with arrest twice in two days by the RCMP and CP police after attempting to cover the anti-pipeline #ShutDownCanada protests.
On Friday, photojournalist Jesse Winter was threatened for a second time in two days the RCMP and the CP police for doing his job as a journalist. In the video, Winter can be heard criticizing the police for not allowing him to document the protests.
“Are you aware of the amount of criticism the RCMP and the CP police have face this week for exactly this,” asked Winter. The police officer refused to comment on the matter, instead of refusing to allow the photographer access to the site.
Just one day earlier, Winter said on Twitter that a Canadian Pacific police officer threatened to arrest him for documenting the #ShutDownCanada protests that have crippled parts of the country’s infrastructure.
Protests across Canada have sprung up over the last two weeks in reaction to the construction of a pipeline in Northern British Columbia. In Ontario, protestors blocked the tracks at Belleville, stopping all train travel between Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Since the protest began last Thursday, Via Rail has had to cancel 157 trips, leaving at least 24,500 passengers stranded. All freight trains carrying goods across the country are halted as well.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he would not intervene in any of the #ShutDownCanada protests. Conservative leaders, on the other hand, were outraged by Trudeau’s lack of leadership in dealing with the shutting down of major highways and railways.
In Vancouver Island, protesters erected barricades to stop cars from accessing public highways. In Metro Vancouver, 57 demonstrators were arrested after judges granted an injunction to remove a blockade that had stopped workers from entering the Port of Vancouver.
Likewise, in Toronto, protestors decided to occupy the office of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations—chanting slogans like, “Canada is an illegitimate, violent, colonialist state.”
Police in Regina are facing a litany of overdoses since recently. They were called out to 14 overdoses over this past weekend and have had an additional five cases since Monday afternoon, according to CTV News.
Regina Police services have confirmed that the overdoses are from fentanyl. Officers had to administer Naloxone to three people over the weekend and fortunately, so far, there have been no fatalities.
“Remember that purchasing drugs from a dealer and not the pharmacy can result in unknown quality control, unknown additives to the purchase, and more dangerous risks,” Regina police said in a news release.
Fentanyl is an increasing problem within Canada’s ongoing opioid crisis.