UPDATE: 'No environmental pollution' in the Fraser River from barge fire, but monitoring continues - Canadanewsmedia
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UPDATE: 'No environmental pollution' in the Fraser River from barge fire, but monitoring continues

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Flames are no longer visible and the smoke over New Westminster has waned, but firefighting crews remain on scene of a barge fire in the Fraser River.

Crews have been on scene since the early morning hours battling the fire on a barge containing compacted cars, sending a giant plume of noxious smoke into the air.  The fully loaded 76-metre barge was moored just north of the Pattullo Bridge.

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Danielle Jang, who works in media relations for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, reported as of 3:15 p.m. that Vancouver and Surrey fire departments remained on site at the fire.

“Their fire suppression efforts have been successful with a significant reduction in smoke,” she said in an email.

A fireboat from Vancouver had been called because firefighters in Surrey could not attack the worst of the flames near the front of the vessel, farthest from shore. Officials said the fire had worked its way deep into the load of vehicles, and the thick, black smoke that filled the air this morning resulted from the burning oil, tires, seats, dashboards and other materials in the crushed vehicles.

Jang said the barge is being leased by Schnitzer Steel, one of North America’s largest recyclers of metal products. How and when exactly the fire started is still unknown. But Jang confirmed the barge contained scrap metal.

The fire burned much of the day because upper levels of the load needed to be removed to be able to get water on the fire below.

Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid, on Twitter, said the firefighting effort was very challenging and that it was expected to be a “long duration event.”

 

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The Record also asked Jang what kind of environmental effects the fire might have on the river and its surroundings and what agencies would get involved in its investigation.

Jang said the Coast Guard has reported that “there has been no environmental pollution in the water at this point,” but they are continuing to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, New Westminster residents should still keep an eye on Metro Vancouver’s air quality warnings.

Metro Vancouver’s warning came as a result of what it described as “sporadic elevated levels of fine particulate matter” that were measured at air quality monitoring stations this morning.

Compounding the air issues are smoke from the Whyte Lake wildfire in West Vancouver, plus wildfires burning in California, Oregon and Washington.

“Smoke concentrations can vary widely across the region as winds and temperatures change, and as fire behaviour changes,” the notice read.

 

– with files from CP

 

Here’s the state of the firefighting efforts as of about 1 p.m. Friday. – Julie MacLellan

 

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Protest camp coming down

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RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Police say in a release that large structures at the protest camp, known as Camp Cloud, will be dismantled and the area cleaned up. Officers began moving in on the camp this morning.

The release says police do not expect what they call violence or disorder while the injunction is being enforced.

Protesters said Monday that several members were prepared to protect a sacred fire that's been burning around the clock at the site, although the injunction specifically says it should be extinguished due to dry conditions.

The camp has grown since November from a single trailer to include a two-storey wooden structure, a cabin, an outdoor shower, more than a dozen tents and multiple vehicles and trailers.

On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove all structures, shelters and vehicles from the site outside a Kinder Morgan tank farm within 48 hours, but that deadline passed on Sunday.

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Winnipeggers slam Bernier for tweet about city park named for Pakistani leader

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Winnipeggers are condemning Conservative MP Maxime Bernier for using the naming of a community park in South Pointe as a way to criticize "extreme multiculturalism."

In a tweet, the former party leadership contender suggested it was an odd dichotomy that Victoria recently removed a statue of Canada's founder, and Winnipeg recently dedicated a park to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the modern state of Pakistan.

Bernier also argued the partition of India, which led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947, killed nearly one million people.

His remarks came Tuesday night, after Bernier's initial series of tweets on the weekend were roundly disparaged for stoking racist and xenophobic tensions.

Rashid Ahmed, a Pakistani university professor in Winnipeg, scoffed at the suggestion that more diversity and multiculturalism is somehow a form of extremism.

If "being loved by each other is extreme, that's fine," said Ahmed, who campaigned for the new name to city officials. "I'm happy with that word as extremism." 

Rashid Ahmed, a Pakistani university professor in Winnipeg, was part of the group that asked that the park be named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah. (Radio-Canada)

He said Bernier appears to be exploiting Islamophobia to rile up anti-immigrant sentiment. 

"Why do they only choose this name, this park, as the symbol for the division or the multiculturalism? Why not other parks all over Canada?"

In a followup tweet sent Monday, Bernier said his controversial tweets were not meant to trash diversity itself, but rather "ever more of it." Members of his party have tried to distance themselves from his remarks since the weekend.

"Something infinitely diverse has no core identity and ceases to exist," he tweeted.

Ontario Conservative Sen. Salma Ataullahjan, who is Pakistani-Canadian, said Maxime Bernier's latest tweet about the naming of a park in Winnipeg after the founder of the modern Pakistani state is offensive and an attempt to divide Canadians. (Salma Ataullahjan/Senate of Canada)

Conservative Ontario Sen. Salma Ataullahjan, who is Pakistani-Canadian, told CBC News that Bernier's remarks are not merely offensive — it's an attempt to divide Canadians of Pakistani origin from other Canadians.

"A lot of [Pakistani-Canadians] supported his leadership bid and instead of wishing them well on Pakistan Independence Day he tweets this out … He's just poking us in the eye for no reason."

The City of Winnipeg held a naming ceremony for the park in the city's south end this May. It is in honour of a revered figure in Pakistan who is called "Qaid e Azam," Urdu for "great leader."

Jinnah Park lies alongside a pond and includes a cricket field, play structure, swing set and benches. It is located south of Tim Sale Drive at Northern Lights Drive.

Local MP Terry Duguid was among those Wednesday to ask Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to dismiss Bernier from caucus.

This new multicultural reality is reflected in our parks, our streets, our buildings, and I view that as a very, very positive thing.– Liberal MP Terry Duguid

"It's really unfortunate, these tweets and these comments by Maxime Bernier. They're very divisive. They're not helpful."

Duguid said Winnipeg has a history of naming places in support of their cultural communities, such as Dr. José Rizal Park, named after a Filipino hero, and Manila Road, based on the Philippines' capital city.

"This new multicultural reality is reflected in our parks, our streets, our buildings, and I view that as a very, very positive thing."

Scheer said in a statement late Wednesday that Bernier doesn't speak for his party on any issue.

"I disagree with politicians on the left and the right when they use identity politics to divide Canadians. I will not engage in this type of politics."

Scheer did not elaborate specifically on the tweet. A request from CBC News to both Scheer and Bernier about the Winnipeg tweet was not returned.

Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) said she was approached by the city's Pakistani community to name the park after one of their leaders.

She said the new name creates a broader understanding of Pakistan for other Canadians, while acknowledging the contributions of the Pakistanis already making a life in the city.

Winnipeg has more than 5,000 people of Pakistani origin, according to the 2016 census. A large contingent resides in the city's southern reaches.

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Toronto firefighters rescuing woman trapped on downtown crane

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Fire department workers are in the process of rescuing a woman inside the operator's compartment of a crane in downtown Toronto.

Emergency services were called to the construction site near the intersection of Dan Leckie Way and Lake Shore Boulevard West at around 6:30 a.m. ET.

Firefighters say they will attempt to speak to the woman first, then determine how to safely bring her down.

"They are going to go through their procedures to try to negotiate with her to get her down safely," said Acting Staff Sgt. Sean Cassidy of Toronto police.

The fire department's high-angle rescue squad is leading the operation.

"The crane boom actually hangs over, partially, onto the Gardiner Expressway, so there was some concern for her safety," Cassidy added.

It was not immediately clear how the woman scaled the crane.

It's the second such incident in 16 months in Toronto. In April 2017, a 23-year-old woman was rescued, and in January was granted an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to two mischief counts.

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