Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she’ll look into why Ottawa signed off on a sympathizer of Syrian President BasharÂ al-Assad as that country’s honorary consul in Montreal. A report in Maclean’s says Waseem Ramli, a well-to-do Montreal businessman and “unapologetic supporter” of Assad, was nominated for the post earlier this summer and approved last month by Global Affairs Canada. As honorary consul, RamliÂ will exert control over the affairs of the Syrian diaspora in eastern Canada and in much of the United States. The magazine said Ottawa’s confirmation of Ramli to the post sparked fear and concern within the Syrian community in Montreal. In an interview with Maclean’s, RamliÂ described the White Helmets, a volunteer group of first responders and war crime monitors that enjoys the support of the federal government, as a “terrorist organization” that supports Al-Qaeda.Â The Maclean’s article also says Ramli “bristled” at suggestionsÂ that he wouldn’t treat Syrians equally. Freeland said on social media that she was “shocked” by Ramli’s comments and the views “he has espoused publicly on social media and elsewhere.” She says neither she nor her team were aware that Global Affairs officials had approved his appointment and has asked the department to look into it right away.
RCMP mask policy for bearded front-line officers ‘must be rectified’: Ottawa | CBC News
The RCMP is facing accusations of discrimination because of a policy requiring front-line officers to wear properly fitting, medical-grade face masks — something that might not be possible with a beard. Calls for a change in policy arose after some front-line officers with beards — including Sikh and Muslim RCMP members who leave their hair unshorn for religious reasons — were reassigned to desk…
The RCMP is facing accusations of discrimination because of a policy requiring front-line officers to wear properly fitting, medical-grade face masks — something that might not be possible with a beard. Calls for a change in policy arose after some front-line officers with beards — including Sikh and Muslim RCMP members who leave their hair unshorn for religious reasons — were reassigned to desk duties over the mask issue.On March 19, as Canada began dealing with the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki sent out a directive outlining the use of respirator masks for front-line officers. Lucki said officers must ensure the respirator is sealed correctly and “one of the most common causes of a breached seal is facial hair.” World Sikh Organization legal counsel Balpreet Singh said Thursday the move has resulted in some Sikh officers being removed from their front-line duties during the pandemic. “It’s clearly a case of discrimination in that once again, Sikh officers are able to serve in the Canadian forces, were able to serve in different police forces and there’s been really no issue. The fact that this has been allowed to linger for almost six months without a resolution. To me, it points to a larger issue of not understanding the need to accommodate.” Singh said his organization wrote to Lucki and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair asking them to resolve the issue. Blair’s office condemned the policy in a statement to CBC News on Friday. “All officers must be given equal opportunity to serve their community while practicing their faith. They must not experience discrimination based on religion,” read an email from the minister’s spokesperson. “The reports from the World Sikh Organization are concerning,” the email said. “It is essential for the RCMP to provide necessary personal protective equipment in a timely manner for Sikh officers. We have raised this matter with the RCMP, and expect that this be rectified as quickly as possible.” Vancouver Police spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said the department does not have a policy similar to RCMP and is consulting medical experts to find a way for members with beards to be safe while working. Other masks available B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about the issue Thursday and said N95-type respirator masks aren’t needed for most law enforcement. “I believe there are very few cases where a police officer would need to wear a respirator. For the most part, they are not involved in resuscitating people and there are many other types of masks that can be used safely for other types of activities that police officers are involved in.” Henry said respirator masks should be worn when someone is providing care for someone who has a respiratory illness like tuberculosis or COVID-19, or during an invasive medical procedure such as intubation. WATCH | Bonnie Henry on police wearing masks: B.C.’s chief health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are “few cases” where a police officer would need to wear a respirator mask. 0:50 Federal policy dictates rules However, the RCMP says it is different from other police forces because it is bound by the Canada Labour Code and Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, which require a clean-shaven face for proper use of N95 masks. Cpl. Caroline Duval with RCMP National Communications Services said in a statement that under current legislation, the force does not have the authority to change the rules around personal protective equipment (PPE). “Unfortunately, there is presently no evidence of a safe and proven alternative to the currently approved PPE that meets the unique uncontrolled setting in which our front-line members operate and that adheres to occupational health and safety regulations.” The National Police Federation (NPF), which represents 20,000 RCMP members across the country, said the force’s directive is “unnecessarily broad and contrary to the RCMP’s human rights obligations.” The NPF said it is advocating for a new policy that allows individual members to be assessed for front-line duties. A clean-shaven RCMP officer is pictured wearing a respirator mask and directing traffic at a COVID-19 testing centre in Burnaby, B.C., in August. (Ben Nelms/CBC) Retired officer wants resolution Retired RCMP Insp. Baltej Singh Dhillon, who served nearly 30 years and became the first RCMP officer to wear a turban, said he disagrees with the force’s “blanket policy” because it discriminates against one group of police officers. He said calls to police are often assessed for risk so officers who wouldn’t be able to meet the standard for a fitted respiratory masks could go to a different call and still serve on the front line. “Clearly, the PPE is for that time where a police officer feels that he or she is in a higher-risk situation where they may be exposed to COVID-19,” said Dhillon. “Because I think you can generally see that RCMP officers are currently working in our communities, not wearing masks the moment they leave the detachment.”
Breonna Taylor’s family, attorney demand to see grand jury transcripts | CBC News
Breonna Taylor’s family and their lawyers sharply criticized Kentucky’s attorney general for the failure to bring charges against police officers in her death, calling Friday for him to release the transcripts of the grand jury proceeding while vowing to continue their protests until the officers are charged. Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in a statement read…
Breonna Taylor’s family and their lawyers sharply criticized Kentucky’s attorney general for the failure to bring charges against police officers in her death, calling Friday for him to release the transcripts of the grand jury proceeding while vowing to continue their protests until the officers are charged. Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in a statement read by a relative to a gathering in Louisville, Ky., that she did not expect justice from Attorney General Daniel Cameron.Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, urged the prosecutor to make the transcripts public, so people can see if anyone was present at the grand jury proceedings to give a voice to Taylor. Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has also called for Cameron to release what evidence he can. Taylor, a Black woman who was an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers after her boyfriend fired at them, authorities said. He said he didn’t know who was coming in and opened fire in self-defence, wounding one officer. Police entered on a warrant connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. Cameron said Wednesday that the investigation showed officers acted in self-defence. The grand jury brought three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into Taylor’s neighbour’s home. LISTEN | ‘Breonna Taylor’s killing was an institutional one’: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday said there would be no charges against Louisville police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor back in March. Only one of three men involved, who has since been fired from the force, was indicted, and faces three counts of “wanton endangerment” for shooting into Taylor’s neighbour’s home. After the grand jury decision was released, protests erupted in Louisville. Today, host Josh Bloch talks to USA Today politics reporter Phillip M. Bailey about the implications of the grand jury decision, and why Taylor’s name continues to be a rallying cry for those fighting against police brutality in the U.S. 21:02 Protests have taken place locally since Taylor’s shooting death in March, growing nationally after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis occurred in May. The FBI is still investigating whether Taylor’s civil rights were violated. But the burden of proof for such cases is very high, with prosecutors having to prove officers knew they were acting illegally and made a willful decision to cause someone’s death. City settled civil suit Since Taylor’s killing, Louisville has taken some steps to address protesters’ concerns. In addition to the officer who was fired and later charged, three others were put on desk duty. Officials have banned no-knock warrants and hired a Black woman as the permanent police chief — a first for the city. Louisville also agreed to more police reforms as it settled a lawsuit that included $12 million for Taylor’s family. But many have expressed frustration that more has not been done. WATCH | Anger, frustration after grand jury decision: One police officer has been charged over the raid that led to the death of Kentucky woman Breonna Taylor in March, but he wasn’t charged for her death. Brett Hankison was charged with ‘wanton endangerment’ for firing into a neighbour’s apartment. 2:03 Meanwhile, a not guilty plea was entered Friday morning for a man charged with shooting and wounding two police officers in Louisville during protests over Taylor’s death. Larynzo Johnson, 26, appeared in an orange jumpsuit Friday morning and only spoke when the judge asked if he understood the charges. He replied that he did. Bond was set at $1 million US, and the judge appointed a public defender to represent Johnson at his next court date set for Oct. 5. According to police, at least 24 people were arrested as of 1 a.m. Friday in a second night of protests after Cameron made the announcement. Authorities alleged the protesters broke windows at a restaurant, damaged city buses, tried to set a fire and threw a flare into the street. Earlier, it got heated between some protesters and a group of 12 to 15 armed white people wearing military-style uniforms, but it didn’t turn physical. A curfew will last through the weekend, and the governor called up the National Guard for “limited missions.”
Investors who profited from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme must return earnings: judge | CBC News
WorldInvestors who profited from Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme even though they knew nothing of it must still pay back their profits, an appeals court decided Thursday.Judge rules the money — even if earned innocently — belonged to other peopleThe Associated Press · Posted: Sep 24, 2020 7:17 PM ET | Last Updated: September 25A…
WorldInvestors who profited from Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme even though they knew nothing of it must still pay back their profits, an appeals court decided Thursday.Judge rules the money — even if earned innocently — belonged to other peopleThe Associated Press · Posted: Sep 24, 2020 7:17 PM ET | Last Updated: September 25A judge has ruled that investors who profited off of the Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff, seen here in 2009, must return the profits. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)Investors who profited from Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme even though they knew nothing of it must still pay back their profits, an appeals court decided Thursday. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld lower-court decisions in cases filed by Irving Picard, a court-appointed trustee who has recovered money for cheated investors for over a decade.Madoff, 82, is serving a 150-year prison sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2009. His bid to be released early on grounds that he is dying was rejected this year. Thousands of investors lost billions of dollars through his multi-decade fraud. Madoff customers who received millions of dollars more than their original investments fought in court to hang on to their profits, arguing through their lawyers that they had received the payouts in good faith and that too much time had passed to let Picard recover the money. A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit concluded, however, that the investors were not entitled to “fictitious” profits that actually was money belonging to other customers. It noted that the investors were permitted to retain the principal of their investments. Picard has reported recovering over $14.3 billion US for investors who lost over $17.5 billion US that they invested. The collapse of the Ponzi scheme left many investors severely damaged financially because they were told their investments had grown much larger than what they started with.