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N.S. mass shooter wrote about being 'well-armed' for the pandemic – CTV News Atlantic

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HALIFAX —
A heavily redacted 131 page warrant document made public by the courts Monday provides a small glimpse into the man responsible for the horrific mass killings in Nova Scotia’s Colchester County this past April, suggesting he was paranoid about the pandemic, and described himself “well-armed” for it.

The lengthy document also describes to what extent Gabriel Wortman used the internet to purchase many of the items used to create his mock RCMP car.

Twenty-two people died in the shooting rampage that occurred over more than 13 hours on April 18 and 19th. One of the people shot was also pregnant at the time of her death.

A general warrant used by RCMP investigators to seek access to Wortman’s Amazon account outlines many of the online purchases he made in the year before the tragedy.

The document is heavily redacted because of the ongoing RCMP investigation into the shooter’s crimes dubbed “Operation H-Strong.”

The warrant application includes a statement made to an RCMP officer by an unnamed acquaintance of Wortman.

In the statement, the witness, who says he’s originally from New Brunswick, tells RCMP Sgt. Fraser Firth that “Gabriel must have thought about this a long time with the police car and high powered rifles.”

When it comes to the 51-year-old’s firearms, previous court documents have revealed one witness told the RCMP he had “acquired guns from a friend who passed away.”

The RCMP say Wortman was in possession of two semi-automatic handguns and two semi-automatic rifles when he left the Portapique, N.S., area on April 18.

One gun has been traced to Canada. Investigators believe the other three weapons were obtained in the United States.

The warrant released today states that a search of Canada’s firearms databases found that the shooter’s guns were not registered.

The document also indicates an earlier warrant granting RCMP access to the shooter’s PayPal account, found a raft of purchases of police car related items dating back to March of 2019.

Those purchases include:

  • A Ford Police Interceptor Taurus 2013 Plus Model HAVIS Police Center Console
  • An Interceptor Taurus Sedan Police Push Bumper Bar
  • Rear Window Armor Bars
  • An LED Lightbar
  • And a 2013-2019 Ford Explorer Taurus Police 18” Wheel Cover Hub.

It appears from the list that he also purchased various stickers and decals used to make his decommissioned RCMP vehicle look like the real thing.

According to details previously released in court documents, the shooter purchased several old police cars by credit card from GCSurplus Ottawa, operated by Public Services and Procurement Canada.

The General Warrant application made public today states that one of those vehicles, purchased on July 3, 2019 by the shooter, a 2017 Ford Taurus, was the vehicle he used on April 18 and 19th.

According to the RCMP, before any vehicles are sent to to GCSurplus for disposal, the RCMP ensures that policing equipment such as radios, sirens and lights are removed.

An RCMP spokesperson says equipment removed from the vehicles is either reused by the RCMP or rendered inoperable before being sold as scrap. Decals are also removed.

Canada’s financial intelligence agency, FINTRAC, flagged some of Wortman’s PayPal transactions, including his purchases of vehicle accessories through eBay. It prepared a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) with respect to those purchases, and others, details of which have been largely redacted. It also included credit card transactions associated with Wortman, to buy items from GCSurplus, totaling more than $15,000.

Investigators also obtained access to one of Wortman’s email accounts, and details from various correspondence are revealed in the warrant application.

One email exchange comes in June of 2019, from a business only referred to as “American Vinyl”, which turned down the shooter’s inquiry as to whether the company would do a “complete decal set for an RCMP Ford Taurus sedan…”

The company’s reply: “Hi Gabe! The RCMP sedan stickers are going to be a pass for us, since we’re trying to get away from custom orders…”

Previous documents and RCMP statements have stated Wortman visited a so-far unnamed business on July 3 2019, to purchase “sheets of reflective and sapphire blue vinyl.”

Documents from the Parole Board of Canada show the man who made the decals for the gunman was a convicted drug trafficker and was sent back to prison when his role in the April mass shooting was uncovered.

Those documents state that Peter Alan Griffon was interviewed by police as part of their investigation into the shootings and he at first lied about producing the decals.

After executing a search warrant, police found a copy of the completed work on Griffon’s phone.

A month before the Nova Scotia mass shooting, the killer also sent an email to an acquaintance talking about COVID-19 and being “well-armed” for the pandemic. 

The name and email address of the recipient is redacted.

The document says the message “talked about how the virus was huge and people have not dealt with something as big as it was.”

It goes on to state the killer — “said that he wasn’t optimistic and once the money runs out people will become desperate and people will need guns and ‘Thank God we are well-armed.’” 

Past documents detail how the shooter started cashing out his assets and investments beginning on March 20th. He then went to a CIBC branch, spoke to the branch director, and requested to withdraw $475,000 in $100 bills. Arrangements were then made to pick up the cash in two parcels from a Brinks location.

The warrant application states it is believed that the shooter did not have a cell phone, and that whatever device was being used to communicate by email was burned in the fires he set on his properties in Portapique the night of April 18.

The document released Monday were made public by order of Judge Laurel Halfpenny-MacQuarrie as part on an ongoing application by multiple news outlets, including CTV Atlantic. The media organizations are asking the Nova Scotia Provincial Court to release more information from warrants and other documents used in the investigation into April’s mass shooting.

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Asian shares open higher following stellar month of gains – Reuters

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Healthcare

Paulina Duran
Jessica DiNapoli

(Corrects to China’s index, not futures, in paragraph 3)

SYDNEY/NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Asian share markets opened slightly higher on Tuesday buoyed by the prospect of a COVID-19 vaccine, reversing the previous day’s dips as investors took profits at the end of a record-breaking month.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.26% on Tuesday after closing the month 9% higher, the best November since 2001. Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were each 0.9% higher, while South Korea was up 1.4%.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.72% higher on Tuesday, after data on Monday that pointed to a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve seen clearly a huge wave of liquidity coming to equities in response to the vaccine news and in response to U.S. election news,” said Hamish Tadgell, a portfolio manager at SG Hiscock & Company.

“But there are still risks, and as a result we could see the market pull back, I think, particularly as we come into sort of the Christmas period.”

Wall Street was weaker on Monday, partly driven by a rebalancing of portfolios, as investors cashed in on gains after a strong month punctuated by updates of COVID-19 vaccines progressing and hopes of a swift economic rebound next year.

“There was profit taking around the world so we ended a record month with a whimper not a bang, and you know, taking a little bit of a breather,” said Interactive Brokers Chief Strategist Steve Sosnick.

“I think that markets are pricing in, if not fully pricing a recovery, they are pricing in the vast majority of it (and) it’s very hard to meet these elevated expectations.”

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was roughly flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.36%, while China’s CSI 300 futures were 0.36% higher.

In the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.91% on Monday while the S&P 500 lost 0.46%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended down 0.06%.

Moderna Inc applied for U.S. emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns.

“U.S. markets were a little bit lower, that’s what was holding us back a little bit,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone. “People are pretty optimistic for a good 2021.”

The dollar was under pressure on Tuesday, after closing out its worst month since July with a little bounce and as investors reckon on even more U.S. monetary easing.

Oil prices were slightly lower on uncertainty about whether the world’s major oil producers would agree to extend deep output cuts at talks this week.

U.S. crude eased back 11 cents to $45.23 a barrel on Tuesday, while Brent crude futures were largely unchanged at $47.86.


© 2020 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

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Housing growth, auto loans drive up demand for credit in third quarter: Equifax – Business News – Castanet.net

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Consumer demand for credit intensified in the third quarter, driven chiefly by increases in mortgage balances and new auto loans, according to data released Monday by credit reporting agency Equifax.

Mortgage balances and new auto loans were up 6.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent year over year, respectively, according to Equifax. Overall average consumer debt increased 3.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of last year.

Rebecca Oakes, assistant vice-president of advanced analytics at Equifax Canada, said in an interview that growth in mortgages last quarter was especially high, with the largest increase among people under 35. That trend comes even as economic fallout from the pandemic and associated lockdown measures hit young people especially hard.

“In terms of new mortgages, that could be refinancing, or it could be brand-new, first-time homebuyers or it could be people moving house,” Oakes said. “That was actually the highest value that we’ve seen ever.”

The increased demand for auto loans in the third quarter could have been a result of pent-up demand from people who had to wait to buy cars later in the year, Oakes said.

The figures in Equifax’s report are drawn from banks and other lenders that provide data to the credit rating agency.

Equifax pegged total consumer debt at $2.04 trillion, while Statistics Canada reported in June that household debt had reached $2.3 trillion, with $1.77 in debt for every dollar of household disposable income.

More than three million consumers have chosen to use payment deferral programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equifax. Since the start of this year, some banks have offered consumers the option to suspend their loan payments for several months, in recognition of the financial strain the pandemic has created for many households.

However, under the payment deferral programs, interest continues to accrue during the months for which payments are suspended.

The percentage of balances where credit users have missed three or more payments was at its lowest level since 2014, with deferral programs likely masking the true delinquency rates, according to Oakes.

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Housing growth, auto loans drive up demand for credit in third quarter: Equifax – Business News – Castanet.net

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Consumer demand for credit intensified in the third quarter, driven chiefly by increases in mortgage balances and new auto loans, according to data released Monday by credit reporting agency Equifax.

Mortgage balances and new auto loans were up 6.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent year over year, respectively, according to Equifax. Overall average consumer debt increased 3.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of last year.

Rebecca Oakes, assistant vice-president of advanced analytics at Equifax Canada, said in an interview that growth in mortgages last quarter was especially high, with the largest increase among people under 35. That trend comes even as economic fallout from the pandemic and associated lockdown measures hit young people especially hard.

“In terms of new mortgages, that could be refinancing, or it could be brand-new, first-time homebuyers or it could be people moving house,” Oakes said. “That was actually the highest value that we’ve seen ever.”

The increased demand for auto loans in the third quarter could have been a result of pent-up demand from people who had to wait to buy cars later in the year, Oakes said.

The figures in Equifax’s report are drawn from banks and other lenders that provide data to the credit rating agency.

Equifax pegged total consumer debt at $2.04 trillion, while Statistics Canada reported in June that household debt had reached $2.3 trillion, with $1.77 in debt for every dollar of household disposable income.

More than three million consumers have chosen to use payment deferral programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equifax. Since the start of this year, some banks have offered consumers the option to suspend their loan payments for several months, in recognition of the financial strain the pandemic has created for many households.

However, under the payment deferral programs, interest continues to accrue during the months for which payments are suspended.

The percentage of balances where credit users have missed three or more payments was at its lowest level since 2014, with deferral programs likely masking the true delinquency rates, according to Oakes.

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