Fredericton shooting: Police have identified two of the four people killed - Canadanewsmedia
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Fredericton shooting: Police have identified two of the four people killed



Graham Slaughter and Jackie Dunham, Staff</span>

Published Friday, August 10, 2018 7:42AM EDT

Last Updated Friday, August 10, 2018 3:57PM EDT

A mother of three and a father of four – both police officers – have been identified among four people killed in an early-morning shooting at a Fredericton apartment building.

Robb Costello, 45, served with Fredericton police for 20 years. He leaves behind a common-law partner and four children.

Costello’s common-law partner, Jackie McLean, told the Canadian Press she learned the devastating news this morning from a police inspector.

The second officer, 43-year-old Sarah Burns, was on the force for two years, police confirmed. She leaves behind three children and her husband.

The two other victims have only been identified by police as an adult man and woman.

A 48-year-old man from Fredericton was arrested in connection with the shooting, which broke out in a residential neighbourhood in the city’s north end. Police say the suspect is being treated for “serious injuries.”

“Please appreciate this is a difficult time for their families and our colleagues,” police said in the tweet.

The incident occurred in the area of Brookside Drive between Main Street and Ring Road at approximately 7 a.m. local time on Friday morning. Just after 11 a.m., police confirmed there was no further threat and that lockdowns in the area were no longer required.

“Police still have the crime scene contained, and will be working the investigation for some time,” police said.

Police also said the suspect in custody is being treated for “serious injuries” related to the shooting. The nature of his injuries is unclear.

Horizon Health Network said its Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital was treating “multiple victims” following the early morning shooting.

Reporting from the scene, CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore said that police were escorting residents from their homes following the announcement that one suspect was in custody. He said it’s unclear if officers are searching for any other suspects, but that police said the area would be contained for the “foreseeable future” as the investigation is ongoing.

Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., Moore said there was a large police presence on Brookside Drive where officers appeared to be focused on a single residence.

“There is a police officer standing outside with a gun,” he told CTV’s Your Morning.

Moore said he heard approximately four gunshots within a five-minute timespan during that hour.

In a series of tweets about the incident, Fredericton police asked residents to avoid the area and stay inside their homes with the doors locked.

People standing outside the cordoned off area early Friday told Moore that they were instructed to vacate their homes while they were still in their pyjamas.

David MacCoubrey told the Canadian Press that it was shortly after 7 a.m. when he awoke to the sound of gunshots that sounded like they were "10 metres" from his bed in his apartment on Brookside Drive. He said he first heard three gunshots that woke him up and then heard as many as 17 more between that time and 8:30 a.m.

MacCoubrey, whose apartment complex has four buildings in a square, said it sounded as though gunshots were coming from the middle of the square. He said was sitting on the floor of his apartment away from the windows while police searched the complex.

Tim Morehouse also lives in the apartment complex and said he heard two gunshots and then another three. He said he heard someone yelling “Shut up! Shut up!” from outside. When he looked out of his window, Morehouse said he saw the body of a man lying on the ground in the back parking lot of 237 Brookside Dr.

After calling 911, Morehouse said he looked out the window again and saw two police officers on the ground.

Rachel LeBlanc was on her way to work at a daycare centre in the area when she saw police cars speed by. She told CTV News Channel that she heard four gunshots at approximately 7:30 a.m., as she arrived at the centre.

LeBlanc said the daycare centre is located “extremely close” to where the shooting occurred. She didn’t want to say how many children were currently inside the building with her, but she said a few children had already arrived before they realized what had happened.

LeBlanc said she called the police’s non-emergency line and was told by the dispatcher to go on lockdown at around 7:45 a.m. She said they plan to remain under lockdown until they have more information.

The daycare worker said she has already assured parents that their children are “very safe” and called the centre “secure.”

LeBlanc, who also lives in the area under lockdown, said she’s still processing the morning’s events.

“It happened right by my home,” she said. “Of course, I was calling my husband frantically telling him to lock the doors and my sister is actually in that location as well so it’s been very scary.”

The shooting is reminiscent of the deadly shooting rampage in Moncton, N.B. by a lone gunman that left three RCMP officers dead in 2014, LeBlanc said.

“I was thinking of Moncton, of course,” she said. “The girls here, we were talking about Moncton and how it felt so close to what happened there.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to the victims’ families in a tweet on Friday morning.

“Awful news coming out of Fredericton. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this morning’s shooting. We’re following the situation closely,” he wrote.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant also tweeted about the shooting on Friday morning.

“On behalf of all New Brunswickers, I offer my condolences, thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. During this difficult time, our thoughts are also with the courageous women and men on the front lines working to keep us safe,” he said.

Gallant also asked residents in the area to stay informed about the situation and follow the instructions of law enforcement officials.

With files from The Canadian Press

Fredericton police are continuing to share updates on Twitter:

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Doug Ford promises to balance books, targets Trudeau and team at PC convention




Premier Doug Ford promised to balance Ontario’s budget, without providing specifics, while broadening his attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax at a gathering of Progressive Conservative party faithful on Friday.

Mr. Ford used his opening night speech at the Ontario PC party convention to tout his party’s economic plan after his government introduced its first fiscal update this week, when the Tories announced the provincial deficit had fallen by $500 million to $14.5 million.

“The Liberals kept picking your pockets. Always finding new fees, finding new taxes. And even after introducing billions in new taxes, they left Ontario with a $15-billion dollar deficit,” Mr. Ford said to boos from hundreds of PC members who gathered for the first time since the June election. “We will balance that budget as sure as I’m standing here, because it’s the right thing to do.”

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Still, Mr. Ford did not give a timeline for balancing the province’s books, despite the fact that the PCs promised during the election campaign that they would return to balance by the end of their mandate.

The Ontario Premier also broadened his attack against Mr. Trudeau and the federal carbon tax to include the Prime Minister’s “advisers.” Mr. Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, who worked at Queen’s Park for former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty until 2008, frequently targets Mr. Ford on social media for the Premier’s decision to pull out of the cap and trade program and for his lack of climate policy.

“We will fight the carbon tax right to the end. The Prime Minister, his ministers, his advisers, they want to impose a carbon tax that will jack up the price of everything, every good and every service,” Mr. Ford, whose government is challenging the tax in court, said. “I’m putting the Prime Minister on notice. We’ve already taken Kathleen Wynne’s hands out of your pockets. And Justin Trudeau … you’re next,” he said, to the night’s loudest applause and cheers.

Mr. Ford also took pains to praise his finance minister, Vic Fedeli, who faces allegations in former PC leader Patrick Brown’s new book. Mr. Brown alleges Mr. Fedeli was the subject of an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations last year. Mr. Fedeli has called the claims false and malicious.

“Minister Vic Fedeli, one of the most honourable men I have ever worked with … told us how we are going to get Ontario back on track. We’re going to watch every single penny,” Mr. Ford said.

Although Mr. Ford’s speech was met with cheers and applause, the large convention centre room was not at capacity, and chatter filled the space during the speech.

Despite Mr. Ford’s assurances that the “Ontario PC Party has never been stronger,” the PCs are facing a bitter battle for party president at the gathering in Toronto this weekend, as members will also vote on measures to clean up nomination races and membership sales.

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The party’s general meeting comes on the heels of Mr. Ford’s majority government election victory and after months of turmoil sparked by the forced resignation Mr. Brown amid sexual misconduct allegations. Mr. Brown, recently elected as mayor of Brampton, denies the accusations.

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Meet Dean French, the political unknown who has become an omnipresent force in Ford's government




When Ontario Progressive Conservatives gathered for a “unity rally” last March, the plan was for Doug Ford to be introduced by the candidates he had defeated for his party’s leadership days earlier.

It was to be an important gesture of conciliation, after a hurried and heated race that he barely won. But when Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney arrived at the Toronto Congress Centre, speaking notes already prepared, they were told that their services weren’t needed after all.

Instead, the person to precede Mr. Ford was someone most Tories in attendance had never seen or heard of before − but whose name they would soon know well, and whose presence many of them would soon come to fear.

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Dean French watches Doug Ford’s speech at the Ontario PC’s victory party on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Etobicoke, Ont.

Chris Donovan/The Globe and Mail

Dean French, an Etobicoke businessman not prominent in Conservative circles since working on Stockwell Day’s national campaign nearly two decades earlier, was Mr. Ford’s campaign chair. The day after the PCs won power in June, Mr. Ford named him his chief of staff.

Since then, he has emerged as something even that job title can’t fully capture: an omnipresent force seen by some of the new government’s members as more powerful than the Premier who employs him.

The manner in which Mr. French wields his power entered public view this week, when The Globe and Mail reported that he forced the firing of Alykhan Velshi, who was chief of staff to former PC leader Patrick Brown, from a job at the energy utility Ontario Power Generation. His intervention left some Tories privately shaking their heads, because they see it as an impulsive move that will lead to a large, politically unhelpful severance payment.

While offering limited defence of that incident, Mr. French’s allies present it as isolated. In an interview this week, Chris Froggatt − a lobbyist and long-time friend of Mr. French who headed Mr. Ford’s transition team as the PCs formed government − credited Mr. French for bringing together Tories from all camps after the leadership race. He also credited him for adopting an aggressive management approach consistent with Mr. Ford’s desire to run government like a business. John Capobianco, another PC lobbyist who has long known Mr. French, suggested he mostly acts out of loyalty to Mr. Ford. (Mr. French did not reply to interview requests.)

But most of nearly 20 PC insiders interviewed − a range of caucus members and staffers and campaign veterans, almost all of whom were willing to speak only on a not-for-attribution basis − suggested that what happened with Mr. Velshi only scratched the surface of how Mr. French is asserting his will.

The way they describe him casts surprising light on the personality of this new government. Mr. Ford is described by provincial caucus members and staff as pleasant, respectful and, by some accounts, almost passive behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Mr. French is portrayed by insiders almost precisely as Mr. Ford’s critics perceive the new Premier to be: mercurial, bent on settling scores and indifferent to boundaries that his job usually involves.

Most chiefs of staff keep relatively low profiles and make some show of deferring to elected representatives. Mr. French is an extreme exception, for reasons more consequential than his occasional reprisals of his gig as Mr. Ford’s warm-up act.

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There is the way he conducts himself in dealings away from Queen’s Park, including with other levels of government. Most staffers in their bosses’ presence at such meetings defer to them; Mr. French has been at least as outspoken and aggressive as Mr. Ford when accompanying him to meetings with federal officials, with whom they are sparring.

There is the unusual control that Mr. French appears to exert over his government’s appointments processes. He is said to have a tendency to conduct negotiations for high-profile public positions − in some cases, lucrative arrangements off brand for a populist conservative government − without others being looped in, presenting them to Mr. Ford as done deals. The reported $350,000 salary for Conservative insider Ian Todd to serve as Ontario’s trade representative in Washington was cited by multiple sources as an example.

But the most polarizing aspect of Mr. French’s approach to his job is the way he throws his weight around with other Tories at Queen’s Park − encouraging fealty and discouraging independent thought in ways that are unusual even by the hyper-disciplined standards of Canadian parliamentary democracy.

In proceedings where political staff usually aren’t welcome to participate, he has taken a lead role. That includes actively engaging in cabinet meetings, as well as the smaller committee of senior ministers who are supposed to set the government’s agenda. He also sits at the front of caucus meetings, rather than along the side where staff usually sit quietly, if they attend at all. And he uses those positions to clamp down on any semblance of dissent.

Earlier this fall, former federal MP Paul Calandra − now a provincial backbencher − stood up in caucus to complain that MPPs had not been looped in before the government rolled out its cannabis policy (which Mr. French spearheaded internally). That level of criticism is not unusual at caucus meetings of most governments, including the Stephen Harper-led one that Mr. Calandra served in, and can be an important component of representing constituents. But according to multiple people who were in the room, after Mr. Ford responded politely, Mr. French furiously tore into Mr. Calandra for not being a team player. The result was a lengthy screaming match between the chief of staff and the MPP that served as a message to others in the room that they’re best to keep their heads down.

Mr. French’s behaviour with PC aides has been similar. At a meeting with ministers’ chiefs of staff, he asked whether they thought their directors of communications were performing well; when they answered yes, he berated them for being wrong. He then attended a meeting of communications directors where he assailed their collective competence, and singled out individual ones to the extent that in at least one case they were reduced to tears. The main cause of his anger, according to multiple sources, was that they were not doing enough to amplify Mr. Ford’s messaging on social media, through mechanisms like retweets and hashtags.

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Accounts abound of similar one-on-one confrontations about perceived disloyalty, with threats of firings or demotions. MPPs are under the impression that Mr. French − a physically imposing man who speaks in sports metaphors, many about the importance of being a team − is closely monitoring their public behaviour for signs of insufficient enthusiasm. That may help explain caucus recently delivering so many standing ovations in Question Period that the Speaker of the legislature asked it to stop.

To date, push-back against such treatment has been minimal. Most members of Mr. Ford’s cabinet are happy to be there after years as opposition MPPs; most backbenchers are new to elected office. Few are inclined to risk going to Mr. Ford, particularly when Mr. French is perceived to closely guard access to him, and many consider sidling up to Mr. French as their best chance at longevity or promotion.

But the controversy with Mr. Velshi and various surprising personnel moves attributed to Mr. French (such as the unexplained firing of John Sinclair, the popular head of PC caucus services), has recently raised the level of chatter about whether the current situation is sustainable.

How Mr. Ford will react, if and when other Tories come to him with their concerns, is very unclear.

A view common among many of Mr. French’s detractors is that Mr. Ford would be upset to know how Mr. French is treating people, ostensibly on his behalf. But some of the interactions have happened right in front of him.

What they may be underestimating is the extent to which Mr. Ford sees in Mr. French a kindred spirit, and someone who has his back.

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Although not much involved in broader party politics after his stint as a campaign official for Mr. Day’s Canadian Alliance, Mr. French remained a fixture in local politics in Etobicoke − where he moved as a young man after growing up in the Peterborough area – launched his insurance business and raised his family. That put him in the Ford family’s backyard, and he has been a reliable ally since as far back as 1995, when he helped Doug Ford Sr. successfully run for a provincial seat. Later, he worked on Rob Ford’s mayoral victory and helped organize the subsequent Harmony Dinner to erase the debt of some municipal candidates.

Mr. French was among the first people to hop aboard Doug Ford Jr.’s leadership campaign last winter. And over the course of that campaign and especially the general election, he was almost always by Mr. Ford’s side. That allowed the two men, who are both in their early 50s and share a love of sports and other interests, to strengthen their friendship.

In a government filled with political professionals who did not support Mr. Ford in the leadership contest, Mr. French stands out as someone whose established loyalty is first and foremost to the Premier, not the party or any other institution. Mr. Ford, known for his skepticism toward political and bureaucratic “elites,” may also see Mr. French’s disregard for institutional norms as a virtue. And as Mr. Froggatt suggested, Mr. Ford may look at his government’s early record – including pushing through an end to the province’s carbon pricing system, a shrinking of Toronto’s city council and an overhaul of cannabis legalization – and see Mr. French’s heavy-handedness paying off.

Even an odd one of Mr. French’s internal critics concedes some appreciation for the pace at which this government can move, when consensus is essentially forced on it rather than slowly ironed out at the cabinet table.

But from all those critics − senior staff around government, MPPs, people who worked on Mr. Ford’s campaign and express affection for him and belief in his government’s overall agenda − there are warnings about the path they are on, if Mr. French’s management style continues.

Morale, they say, is already dangerously low. The Tories are at risk of losing good staffers much earlier than most governments do. Aides and caucus members who bite their tongues while their party is still relatively strong in the polls could turn on their leader when the going gets tougher.

And that tough going could come sooner than it should, if there are more stories like the one with Mr. Velshi. A Premier and chief of staff both new to government and unfamiliar with usual boundaries could stumble onto all sorts of ethical landmines, if others with more legislative or governmental experience are afraid to speak up.

Such talk will not be audible as PCs gather this weekend for their first convention since winning government.

As Mr. French maintains his usual high profile, Queen’s Park denizens will be careful to publicly show requisite enthusiasm, lest they be called onto the carpet. But the whispers of confusion, when he took the microphone at the same venue last March for the unity rally, will likely be replaced by ones that are more knowing.

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Third incident reported at Toronto private school




People leave St. Michael’s College School following a parent information meeting relating to an alleged sexual assault involving students in Toronto on Nov. 16, 2018.

Tijana Martin

Eight students have been expelled from St. Michael’s College School over two videos, one showing an alleged sexual assault, as the elite Toronto academy revealed that it is examining a third incident.

Police are investigating multiple occurrences of “alleged assaultive and sexually assaultive behaviour” involving St. Michael’s College School students. “At this stage, police believe there may be other victims and witnesses and are encouraging anyone who has not yet spoken to investigators to come forward by calling the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre,” the police service said in a news release Friday.

The school released its timeline of events on Friday, which detailed three separate incidents coming to their attention over the past five days. It was the first official confirmation of a “third incident.” The Globe and Mail spoke with a parent who said her child viewed the alleged third video in a Snapchat group of approximately 35 to 40 people on Wednesday night, allegedly depicting a boy performing a sex act on another boy in front of a group of others. She said her child, who does not attend the school, e-mailed administrators from St. Michael’s, believing the video to involve its students.

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The new video was allegedly viewed in the same Snapchat group as the graphic sexual-assault video that’s been under investigation by Toronto Police since midweek. Two police sources who spoke with The Canadian Press say that the sexual-assault video being investigated since Wednesday allegedly involves a St. Michael’s football team, in which a group of boys allegedly held down another student and sexually assaulted him with an object. The school said Friday that the video took place in a locker room.

By the school’s own account, it learned about the locker-room video on Monday evening. Earlier that same day, the school had contacted police about a separate videotaped incident, where the two police sources who spoke with The Canadian Press say members of the basketball team allegedly bullied a student and soaked him with water. The school said that incident took place in a washroom. “Advice was provided to the school, and no further action was taken or received,” Constable Caroline de Kloet said.

An internal school investigation was launched into the boys’ washroom incident, and on Tuesday, four students were expelled because of that probe. Also Tuesday, the school interviewed students identified as allegedly being involved with the locker-room video. Faculty and staff were informed Tuesday about both incidents. On Wednesday, four other students were expelled for the locker-room video, plus one suspended in connection to the washroom incident. Police also learned about the locker-room video on Wednesday, but Constable de Kloet told The Globe and Mail that they learned about it through media inquiries.

The timeline released by the school doesn’t specifically answer why administrators didn’t inform police right away about the locker-room video, which police have said meets the definition of child pornography. “There have been many questions about our handling of the matter and the sequence of events leading to the expulsion of eight students and one suspension,” the school wrote. “The priority for the last three days has been on the victims, students, and our staff and faculty.”

Several meetings have been held at the school, including two with parents on Friday. Administrators and coaches met with the junior football team Thursday. A Facebook post on the school’s page from last week boasted about their junior football team’s championship victory in the independent school conference. The school has said that the season is now cancelled.

“As school administrators and educators, we bear a heavy responsibility to help guide our students through a challenging period in their lives – when external forces are often in conflict with the notion of doing the right thing,” the school wrote Friday, “and these incidents were a stark reminder that we have more work to do.”

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