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Family, colleagues grieve victims of Canada’s deadliest mass shooting – CityNews Vancouver

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HALIFAX (NEWS 1130) – An unspeakable act of violence in Nova Scotia has left much of the country in shock, and looking for answers.

At least 19 victims lost their lives during a 12-hour killing spree, which only ended when RCMP officers took out the lone suspect at a gas station north of Halifax.

As families and friends grieve the loss of loved ones, we’re now starting to learn who some of these victims were.

The Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union has confirmed that Lisa McCully — an elementary school teacher in Delbert — was among those killed in the attack.

“Teachers join all Nova Scotians in grief over the catastrophic deaths rocking our province,” a statement from the president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, Paul Wozney, reads.

Saying there are “no words to capture the loss Nova Scotia has suffered,” the union extended condolences to all those who lost someone in the shooting spree, adding this is a time when people need to come together to support one another.

“This is a devastating time for all communities affected across our province. Let’s reach out to those in our circle who have seen loved ones lost or injured and offer our love and support.”

A nurse from Truro, Heather O’Brien, was identified by family as well as her employer as one of other people killed in the attack.

Her daughter took to Facebook to write, “The pain comes and goes in waves. I feel like I’m outside of my own body. This can’t be real.”

According to VON Canada, her employer, the grandmother shared a “deep caring of others as a VON nurse for nearly 17 years.”

VON Canada also confirmed a continuing care assistant, Kristen Beaton — a “young wife and mother” — was also killed in the shooting.

“Kristen began work with VON nearly six years ago and like Heather, was a caring and compassionate member of the VON team,” a statement from the president and CEO reads. “All of our frontline care providers are heroes. Yesterday, two of those heroes, Heather O’Brien and Kristen Beaton, were taken from their families, and from VON. We mourn their loss, and we mourn for their families.”

Greg and Jamie Blair are also being remembered by family members, with one post reading, “Two beautiful souls were lost today… and many more. I have absolutely no words for the heartache my family & many others are going through.”

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An unspeakable act of violence in Nova Scotia has left much of the country in shock, and looking for answers. Eighteen people lost their lives during a 12-hour killing spree, which only ended when RCMP officers took out the lone suspect at a gas station north of Halifax. As families and friends grieve the loss of loved ones, we’re now starting to learn who some of these victims were. The Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union has confirmed Lisa McCully (bottom left) — an elementary school teacher in Delbert — was among those killed in the attack. Saying there are “no words to capture the loss Nova Scotia has suffered,” the union extended condolences to all those who lost someone in the shooting spree. A nurse from Truro, Heather O’Brien (top right), was identified by family as well as her employer as one of other people killed in the attack. Her daughter took to Facebook to write, “The pain comes and goes in waves. I feel like I’m outside of my own body. This can’t be real.” According to VON Canada, her employer, the grandmother shared a “deep caring of others as a VON nurse for nearly 17 years.” Greg and Jamie Blair (top right) are also being remembered by family members, with one post reading, “Two beautiful souls were lost today… and many more. I have absolutely no words for the heartache my family & many others are going through.” Meanwhile, it was confirmed by the RCMP that Cst. Heidi Stevenson (bottom left), a 23-year veteran of the force, was killed while responding to the call this weekend. She leaves behind a son and daughter, both of whom are in grade school. Full story online. Link in bio. Photo credits: Facebook, Nova Scotia RCMP handout #NEWS1130 #NovaScotia #NovaScotiaShooting #NovaScotiaStrong #NSStrong #Portapique #RCMP #Canada

A post shared by NEWS 1130 (@news1130radio) on Apr 20, 2020 at 9:03am PDT

Meanwhile, it was confirmed by the RCMP that Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force, was killed while responding to the call this weekend.

The statement from the teachers union, which was posted Sunday, also pays tribute to her.

“Constable Stevenson is the wife of our brother, Dean Stevenson, who teaches at Cole Harbour District High School and loving mother to two children,” Wozney writes. “We send our love and care to them as they face this sudden news.”

Stevenson also leaves behind two children — a son and daughter, both of whom are in grade school. She may have been a familiar face in Nova Scotia, having done interviews with the media.

“Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served,” Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman said on Sunday. “The impact of this incident will extend from one end of this province to the other. As Nova Scotians, we have to do what we are known for. And come together in times of need and support one another.”

You can expect to see police officers right across the country to be donning a blue ribbon, a sign of support for the fallen Mountie.

Departments and politicians in Canada have already begun to share their messages of support and unity online.

The shooting began on Saturday evening with a firearms complaint in Portapique.

When they arrived, officers reportedly found “several casualties” inside and outside a home in the area, but the suspect was not there. The suspect led police on a lengthy chase, and at one point, the 51-year-old wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruise while on his killing spree across the province’s northern area. He was killed after being intercepted by officers at a gas station in Enfield, N.S.

Police have said it will take a long time to chronicle everything that occurred during the rampage, which is now the deadliest shooting in Canadian history.

“This is one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said, asking those in need of answers to be patient. “Words cannot console the families affected by what has transpired.”

Editor’s note: This article has been edited to update the number of people killed. According to RCMP, there are at least 19 victims, all of whom are adults, from 16 different crime scenes.

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made history by nominating the first judge of color to sit on the country’s Supreme Court, which has only ever had white justices in its 146-year existence.

Mahmud Jamal, who has been a judge on Ontario‘s court of appeal since 2019, trained as a lawyer and appeared before the Supreme Court in 35 appeals addressing a range of civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues.

“He’ll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court – and that’s why, today, I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau has frequently said there is a need to address systemic racism in Canada.

Jamal, born in Nairobi in 1967, emigrated with his family to Britain in 1969 where he said he was “taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”

In 1981 the family moved to Canada, where his “experiences exposed me to some of the challenges and aspirations of immigrants, religious minorities, and racialized persons,” he said in a document submitted to support his candidacy.

Canada is a multicultural country, with more than 22% of the population comprised of minorities and another 5% aboriginal, according to the latest census.

“We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” Trudeau said last year.

Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire from the nine-person court on July 1.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Donors pledge $1.5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

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More than 30 countries and two development banks on Thursday pledged more than $1.5 billion in grants and loans to aid Venezuelan migrants fleeing a humanitarian crisis, as well as their host countries and vulnerable people still in the country.

The $954 million in grants announced at a donors’ conference hosted by Canada – which included pledges of $407 million from the United States and C$115 million Canadian dollars ($93.12 million) from Canada – exceeded the $653 million announced at a similar event last year.

But that fell short of the needs of countries hosting the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2015, as the once-prosperous nation’s economy collapsed into a years-long hyperinflationary recession under socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Most have resettled in developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who have themselves seen their budgets stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Does this cover all needs? Of course not,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters. “We will have to continue to encourage donors to support the response.”

At the conference, Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso announced that the country – which hosts some 430,000 Venezuelans – would begin a new process to regularize migrants’ status. That came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the 1.8 million Venezuelans it hosts.

Karina Gould, Canada‘s minister for international development, said the amount pledged showed donors were eager to support such efforts.

“There is that recognition on behalf of the global community that there needs to be support to ensure that that generosity can continue, and can actually deepen, in host countries,” Gould said.

In addition, the World Bank and Inter-American Developmemt Bank pledged $600 million in loans to address the crisis, Gould said.

($1 = 1.2349 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Luc Cohen, Michelle Nichols and David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Aurora Ellis)

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Ecuador to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

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Ecuador will implement a new “normalization process” for the 430,000 Venezuelan migrants living in the South American country, President Guillermo Lasso said on Thursday, without providing further details of the plan.

Lasso’s announcement, at a conference hosted by Canada intended to raise money to support the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have fled an economic crisis in the South American country, came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the nearly 2 million Venezuelans it hosts.

“I am pleased to announce the beginning of a new regularization process, which in order to be an effective, lasting and permanent policy should be complemented by strategies for economic integration and labor market access,” Lasso said.

Ecuador in late 2019 launched a regularization process for Venezuelans who arrived before July of that year. That included two-year humanitarian visas meant to facilitate access to social services.

Lasso said Ecuador needed outside funding to continue caring for Venezuelan migrants, estimating that more than 100,000 additional migrants were expected to arrive before the end of the year.

“I call on our partners in the international community to be co-responsible and have solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and with the countries that receive them,” he said.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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