Young man who killed five at house party to be reintegrated into Edmonton community
In 2014, Matthew de Grood fatally stabbed five people at a Calgary house party. He was originally charged with five counts of first-degree murder but was found not criminally responsible in 2016 after a two-week trial. At the time, the judge ruled that de Grood suffering from schizophrenic symptoms at the time of the attack, believing there was an impending war, and that he was not capable of understanding that what he was doing was wrong.
He is now being transferred to a Edmonton hospital where he is to be slowly reintegrated into society, and may be allowed to live in a halfway house.
Jon Dziadyk is the Ward 3 Councillor for Edmonton.
No one moves to Edmonton for the weather, and we used to have record unemployment. We now have a substantial homeless population and that tells me that many currently experiencing extreme hardship were once bundled up, cozy, in an Edmonton home. Times have changed. Likely, in years past, they were productive members of society: sleeping in their own bed and working in the morning. Various government policies, economic cycles, bad luck, bad choices, addictions and/or mental illness may have led to their downfall. A government needs to be compassionate and utilize common sense: enter the municipal response to those shivering on the streets during our latest deep freeze. I am disappointed in what is happening in light of what could happen. The goal of any homelessness policy should be to rehabilitate with dignity. The solutions should be practical, modern, and not complicated.
Last year I successfully advocated that our LRT stations should be open during our coldest nights to much opposition. This year, despite my efforts, as a City Councillor, our homeless are out of luck.
Picture this: a public, heated, safe building sitting empty during a dark winter night has its doorway occupied by a homeless person aiming to capture a scrap of heat escaping from the mailslot. That is essentially what can be seen outside of a LRT station in Edmonton, and across the country. Our train stations close nightly and yet they are heated and designed to accommodate large volumes of people.
There are many problems with this picture, but there are two which I would like to address. The first is that there is nothing stopping this unused public space from being open overnight to allow our most vulnerable to sleep with a shed of dignity. The second problem is that—here in Edmonton—our dedicated homeless shelters are actually not full, even during the most severe winter storms. Why then are there homeless people in the doorways? What are our shelters doing wrong? If we cannot meet their basic needs, how will we rehabilitate them into society at large?
Let’s face it, governments everywhere fail at being efficient and adaptive. If a private entity had empty space that could be used for something else, you bet their bottom dollar they would find a use for it. Our LRT stations are closed for several hours every night and are not being used for what could be a lifesaving service. Sleeping outside in our winter city can be fatal at 5 below, let alone in negative 30 temperatures.
In 2009, Edmonton put forward a plan to end homelessness. Given that we are having this conversation regarding our homeless population a decade on, we have not succeeded. At what point do we reevaluate our efforts? We can alleviate the suffering of those experiencing homelessness by opening our warm public doors for a few hours until a permanent and sensitive solution is found.
I view the opening of our unused LRT stations during the night as a Band-Aid for the deeper problem. The real issue is why are our services for the most vulnerable being left largely unused? Are the services not being utilized because those who need them are not aware they exist? Can they not access them? Is the lack of co-ed sleeping quarters deterring them? In this woke era of safe injection site acceptance, are the conduct policies at shelters too strict? We need answers to these questions to find out why we have exterior doorways occupied and beds empty. For whatever reason, segments of the homeless population will not go into our homeless shelters. So it’s incumbent upon the city to modernize our services.
In rebuff to the LRT proposal, and in response to concerns raised about our homeless predicament, the City will now be opening a portion of a recreation centre just outside of the downtown core during extreme cold spells. This checks the dignity box but misses the point.
Their opposition to the LRT station use is that transit staff are not trained to deal with the homeless population and, when it was tried before, there were a few fist fights and spills of bodily fluid. I would counter and say that, obviously, transit staff should not be involved and that the referenced problems will occur anywhere this population congregates. The rec center is fancy but analogous to the LRT station except that it is not located where the homeless population actually is. Whatever arguments are used against the train station could be the same ones used against the rec centre idea. I fear that the homeless will not travel to the supposedly well thought out alternative.
As a City Councillor I sometimes fear that we look for complicated solutions versus utilization of the obvious assets. We justify spending more money because we want to congratulate ourselves on the solutions and the process of how we got to those solutions. Something as simple as hiring security to open the LRT gate is just a little too uneventful.
To the readers from the rest of Canada, many of our homeless are former energy workers. The Alberta economy is hurting and meaningful employment is the key to the recovery. Government policies that have hurt our industries have been the start of the problem. Let’s not have local paternalistic government policies perpetuate the problem or it will become a crisis.
At least 30 Edmontonians are believed to be among the 63 Canadians who died after the crash of a Ukrainian passenger flight only minutes after departing from Tehran’s airport yesterday.
According to Payman Parseyan, a member of the Iranian-Canadian community in Edmonton, 27 Iranian-Canadians were on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.
Among the 63 dead were two University of Alberta professors, married and with their two daughters.
Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Daneshmand—both professors in the faculty of engineering—and their two daughters, Daria and Dorina, passed away in the plane crash, according to Masoud Ardakani of the University of Alberta.
Parseyan went on to tell CBC Radio that the flight was not an organized trip, and the large number of Iranian-Canadians on the flight was coincidence, due largely to international students’ inability to travel to the United States, which led them to take European connections.
Parseyan says a small group of roughly 100 people has committed to helping make arrangements for the victim’s families.
“Edmonton’s Iranian community isn’t Canada’s largest Iranian community, but we are working together to ensure all members of the community are supported during this difficult time.”
“Many were expecting their friends and [family] members to come back … [and] were well aware what flight they were on,” said Parseyan.
Parseyan told a story of a man who called in disbelief to ask him if there could have been a different flight to Kyiv.
“He called and said, ‘Hey, is there any chance there’s a second flight to Kyiv, this is a mistake? This can’t be real.’ He’s devastated.”
A New York man has been charged with federal hate crimes after stabbing five people. The stabbing took place last Saturday night at a Hanukkah celebration at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg.
The 37-year-old’s name is Grafton Thomas, he is from the village of Greenwood Lake. Thomas has been charged with five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon as well as causing injuries.
The incident took place in Monsey, N.Y. Thomas was previously charged with five counts of attempted murder along with a count of burglary due to the incident. Thomas’s bail is set at $5 million. Officials have called the incident an act of anti-Semitism.
According to the New York Post, the FBI is investigating whether Thomas is connected with a stabbing that took place on November 20, in Spring Valley.
The Spring Valley stabbing was around a ten-minute drive away from where the incident occurred this past weekend.
According to The Yeshiva World, prosecutors said that Thomas had a journal full of anti-Semitism and that he recently googled “Why Did Hitler hate the Jews.”
Prosecutors said they found “Adolf Hitler” and “Nazi culture” references in the journal. There were also sketches of swastikas and the Star of David.
In a statement issued by attorney Michael Sussman, Thomas’s family said, “Grafton Thomas has a long history of mental illness and hospitalizations. He has no history of like violent acts and no convictions for any crime.” they added, “He has no known history of anti-Semitism and was raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races. He is not a member of any hate groups.”
“We believe the actions of which he is accused, if committed by him, tragically reflect profound mental illness.”
“Finally, we express our deepest concern and prayers for those injured physically and otherwise deeply affected by the events of Saturday night. … We thank those who rendered medical attention to each of those injured.”
On Sunday, Donald Trump commented on the incident in a tweet saying, “We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.”
A school bus driver has been arrested today just southwest of Edmonton. According to the RCMP the woman was impaired before driving students home Monday afternoon.
School staff at Graminia School noticed the safety concern and notified RCMP who arrived at the school where the arrest took place. It was 3:11 p.m. and the students were on the bus just prior to its scheduled departure while the driver was arrested.
The driver suspected of being drunk is a 46-year-old female and currently has charges pending RCMP told CTV News Edmonton
Parkland School Division Superintendent Shauna Boyce posted a letter to the parents of their students to notify them about the incident. In the letter she stated that the driver has been suspended permanently by the bus contractor for the duration
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call Parkland RCMP at 825-220-7267 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.