On Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the nation, saying that intelligence from multiple sources indicates an Iranian surface-to-air missile likely downed the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed outside Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, including 138 people who were headed to Canada.
Trudeau would not speculate on what Canada’s reaction to Iran would be, saying that a response would need to start with a “clear understanding” of what had occurred.
There was an almost immediate outburst of anguish and accusations on social media, with some fingers pointed squarely at U.S. President Donald Trump and the American military.
A large portion of online blame fell to Trump, with people positing that were it not for the Jan. 3 U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani — the architect of the country’s regional security strategy — UIA Flight 752 would not have been struck by the missile and the lives of the 63 Canadians, 82 Iranians and 11 Ukrainians would have been spared.
Pentagon sources said that Iran’s missile defence system was likely active at the time due to the recent retaliatory missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq. The plane crash took place mere hours after Iran fired missiles at a joint American-Iraqi army base.
Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of the New Economics Foundation, said that the British government made a “mistake” in failing to condemn Trump’s actions in Iran.
U.K. foreign minister says families of Iran plane crash victims want answers
“This is yet another example of Trump being cavalier, reckless, thoughtless and impulsive and it’s put all of us in danger,” she said in an interview with the BBC.
Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic candidate running for U.S. president, echoed that sentiment.
“Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat,” he tweeted.
Others argued that Trump was not to blame, instead saying the Iranian regime and its actions in the past justified military retribution. Lines were clearly drawn on social media, with the left leaning towards Trump-blaming and the right defending the president.
Republican congressman Mark Meadows said the blaming of Trump is “absolutely reprehensible.”
IN PICTURES: Tehran plane crash claims 63 Canadian lives
U.S. senator Marco Rubio predicted the online fallout before it started to pick up steam.
Ilan Goldenberg, Middle East security director at the Center for a New American Security, said there’s no reason to play the blame game, instead stating that in war, there are always casualties and collateral damage.
Reza Akbari, president of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton, said news that the plane was likely shot down was “very scary.”
“When I put myself in the shoes of the family, it’s a huge difference. It changes the whole scenario of who is responsible for this.”
Cellphone video purports to show moment plane struck by Iranian missile
By Thursday evening, scores of people had gathered outside Trump Tower in Manhattan for an anti-war rally.
Chants of “No war in Iran!” could be heard.
The Boeing 737-800 was six minutes into its trip from Tehran to Kyiv when it caught fire and crashed in a field Wednesday.
— With files from The Canadian Press, Kerri Breen and Rachael D’Amore
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Social media giants monetise anger and trolling is the result. A crackdown is welcome – The Guardian
Princeton the focus of international media – the story on the story – Penticton Western News – Pentiction Western News
Over the past two weeks the community has been flooded…with media.
Princeton quickly became a focus for journalists across Canada and around the globe, following the devastating events that started Sunday, Nov. 14, when the Tulameen River breached its banks.
Last Thursday, correspondents working for The New York Times were trekking through muck on Fenchurch Avenue, interviewing residents who were starting the process of cleaning out their homes.
“In the town of Princeton, which was uncomfortably close to this summer’s wildfires and was hit by record heat, bands of volunteers of all ages were roving the streets and helping out,” wrote Ian Austen. “There are a lot of tears in Princeton and other communities right now, but they’re not all from grief over what’s lost. When flood victims described the kindness of those volunteers to me, some broke out in tears of gratitude.”
The U.K. based Guardian also reached out to area homeowners.
Ed Staples, from Coalmont, was interviewed.
“After a summer of staying indoors to shield his lungs from thick smoke, Staples said he’s sad to see the loss in his community so soon after the fires,” The Guardian wrote. ‘It’s heartbreaking, I get choked up thinking about it,’ said Staples. ‘These are real people who have lost everything and it’ll take months or years to get their lives in order.’”
Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne has fielded hundreds of requests for interviews, and granted many.
“I’ve done so many interviews,” he told the Spotlight, “I don’t know who all I’ve interviewed with. It’s kind of been a blur to be honest…I was doing, by lunch time, about eight interviews a day at one point.”
Coyne said this has given him the opportunity to keep Princeton’s needs top-of-mind for government officials, who hold the purse strings for emergency aid. “If I’m not out there, Abbotsford is going to be the story…It’s getting us the attention we need.”
Coyne appeared live on the CBC’s The National, and on the television program Power and Politics. He’s spoken frequently with regional affiliates of all the major networks.
While he doesn’t particularly relish the limelight, Coyne is uniquely qualified to take on the press. “At one time I was a small town reporter. I worked for Black Press, I worked for (The Similkameen News Leader.)”
Recently a journalist writing for the Globe and Mail followed the mayor for an entire day, as he made the rounds of the community.
“Shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Mr. Coyne jumped in his yellow Nissan Xterra and began driving around town, checking on crew progress and speaking to residents about their needs. His cellphone rang constantly. He made a stop at the one-runway airport where the small lounge was crammed with people bringing in dogs and cats in animal carriers,” wrote Anthony Davis.
There’s been absurdity, attached to some of Coyne’s experiences.
“One interview, I won’t say what network and what show, they began telling me what I should be wearing in the interview and what the backdrop should be…like a bookshelf.”
Coyne eventually gave that interview, via his phone, wearing a high-visibility vest, while inside the Princeton fire hall.
During an interview with the BBC, he was asked about local temperatures. When the mayor reported the temperature was hovering at about minus 3 degrees Celsius, he was asked, “And why is that?”
After requesting the question be repeated, Coyne responded, “Well, it’s November. This is when we start to turn into winter.”
Coyne said he often prefers to communicate with local media.
“Local media has been invaluable, absolutely invaluable,” he stated. “I really appreciate the efforts of the Spotlight in order to keep accurate information going out.”
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Local peer outreach team continuing without Northern Health, claims health authority lied to media – Energeticcity.ca
A public outcry took place once it was announced funding was being cut. Schultz believes NH’s statement was an attempt to save face.
“Northern Health is committed to harm reduction and overdose prevention in Fort St. John, and working to improve existing services, and implement additional and expanded services. Peers play an important role in Overdose Prevention work, and Northern Health will work with peers to ensure this continues,” said Northern Health in a statement to local media.
The group was formed in April, providing harm reduction services and tackling the stigma surrounding drug addiction. In October, NH informed the team that they were restructuring the funding model.
There were 30 peers working for the outreach teams that were fired, and more than 20 with lived experience were employed by the group, said Schultz.
The peers helped offer food, hygiene kits, first aid, naloxone kits, harm reduction supplies, info on detox and treatment, and warm clothing for those in need. Afterwards, they were paid a cash honorarium, which is what NH has cut.
Schultz and another leader, Neil Bramsleven, were in contact with the health authority to work on the community mobile harm reduction program. Schultz describes the program as a mobile safe injection site.
They were the only ones contacted to continue working for the health authority due to meeting specific criteria, including being clean from drugs and alcohol, said Schultz.
“NH Leadership is in contact and discussion with the peer outreach team leaders to continue peer outreach services in Fort St. John,” said Northern Health in a statement.
Schultz has pulled her application for the mobile program following the release of NH’s statement.
“There are no outreach programs right now, and they have no plans of getting outreach programs.”
Schultz showed Energeticcity an email with an NH worker, which confirms there are no outreach programs in the city.
“They did admit that it was untrue about peer outreach continuing. They said they don’t talk with the person who deals with the media.”
Peers were previously paid by NH to go on patrol, but Schultz says they will now run on a voluntary basis.
“We will accept donations from the community, and we will get harm reduction from mental health.”
At this point, Schultz says the team doesn’t want anything to do with the health authority.
“Peers are real. Peers are honest. We have one passion, and that’s to help people. We’re not even going to work with Northern Health anymore. We will volunteer our time.”
Anyone looking to donate to the team can contact Schultz at 250-329-8374.
Eryn Collins, Regional Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations with NH, says the health authority is aware of the pushback and is working to get clarity on concerns being raised.
With files from Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
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