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Police encounter people with pellet guns 'with regularity across Canada,' criminologist says –



Investigators probing the fatal police shooting of a man in Toronto Thursday will not only have to factor in the recent mass murder at a school in Texas, but also encounters Canadian police have with people carrying pellet guns that look like the real thing, a criminologist says.

Encounters with weapons that appear lethal but aren’t “occur with regularity across Canada,” Michael Kempa, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, told CBC News on Friday. 

“There’s more or less about two to three incidents a month across the country, which is a small proportion of total police responses, but still a fairly reliable occurrence,” he said. 

Toronto police shot and killed a man Thursday after receiving reports of a person with a rifle in an area where several schools are located. Later, investigators recovered a pellet gun at the scene, according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the provincial police watchdog agency.

“These weapons, BB guns, pellet guns and real guns all look quite similar,” Kempa said. “You can really only tell by looking directly down the barrel in terms of how they’re shaped.” 

Michael Kempa is an associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa. (CBC)

Kempa says “pellet guns can in fact be quite dangerous,” adding that they “shoot a bullet that looks quite a lot like a regular firearm bullet.” 

Additionally, Kempa says there’s always a question of how much projectile force pellet guns have.

“They vary to a great degree. Police officers simply don’t have the opportunity to make that kind of assessment when they’re faced with a weapon that’s perhaps being directed directly at them.”

The SIU, which is called in whenever someone is killed or injured in confrontations with police, says the man who died in Toronto Thursday was 27. The agency says it has assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to the case.

Investigators won’t say whether the man pointed his weapon at officers or if he spoke of any plan to target a school.

It also remains unclear what happened once police confronted the man.

Texas shooting has police ‘stepping up patrols’

The shooting happened near William G. Davis Public School in Scarborough just two days after a gunman entered a Texas elementary school classroom and killed 19 children and two teachers.

Kempa says police are held to the same standard all the time, but adds officers have a protocol for responding after major incidents like the one in Texas.

“There is a higher risk of copycat incidents, including in Canada, when we have school shootings and other public shootings in the United States,” he said.

“So, for example, following along from the incidents in the United States, Toronto police are going to be stepping up patrols around school areas for a number of days.”

People are seen outside William G Davis Junior Public School after reports of person with rifle forced four Toronto schools into lockdown. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

SIU spokesperson Kristy Denette says the shooting occurred in a residential area and investigators have begun gathering witness statements.

“The SIU investigation really is focused on the police discharging weapons at this individual and his subsequent death, so really the SIU focus is the potential criminality involving the police officers involved,” Denette told CBC News on Friday.

Denette says investigators “have quite a bit of footage and witness accounts” but if there is anyone else who may have seen anything, they should contact the agency to provide that information.

The family of Thursday’s shooting victim has been identified, but Denette says the man’s name is not being released because the family has not given consent.

Ronnie Smith has two children attending William G. Davis Public School. (CBC)

Ronnie Smith, whose two children attend William G. Davis Public School, says there’s a lot of fear because of the Texas school shooting, and people have to trust the police will follow their training. 

He says he hopes the police did the right thing on Thursday. 

“I’m not here to judge them … You can’t take a chance in that situation, you know, going around with a gun by a school,” he said.

“Maybe sometimes they don’t have time to ask questions … I’m sure they don’t just willy-nilly go around shooting people, but I guess they’d have to answer that. One would hope that they don’t do that.”

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More Charges Dropped Just Days Before Trial Against Activists Who Exposed Animal Cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm



ABBOTSFORD, BC – Several criminal charges were dropped by the Crown yesterday against three animal rights activists just days before their four-week trial is set to begin on Monday, June 27. Amy Soranno, Roy Sasano, and Nick Schafer are accused of exposing animal cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford, BC in 2019, and still face a combined total of 14 indictable charges of Break and enter and Criminal Mischief. A press conference will be held in front of the BC Supreme Court in Abbotsford on the first day of trial.The Crown gave no explanation when it dropped some of the remaining charges yesterday against the three activists. The Crown similarly dropped all charges last month, without explanation, against a fourth activist, Geoff Regier, after his lawyers argued in a pretrial hearing that police and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) had engaged in misconduct.Soranno, Sasano, and Schafer, who together with Regier are calling themselves the Excelsior 4. The three activists could each be sentenced to years in prison if convicted.

What: Press conference & start of four-week trial for the Excelsior 4When: Monday, June 27, press conference at 9am, trial at 10amWhere: BC Supreme Court, 32375 Veterans Way, Abbotsford, BC

“The Excelsior 4 case started three years ago with a total of 21 charges hanging over us,” said Amy Soranno, one of the Excelsior 4 defendants going to trial on Monday. “But before the jury has even been selected, the Crown has dropped all charges against one of us and reduced the number of charges against the rest of us.”Until last month, Regier had faced similar charges for his role in blowing the whistle on Excelsior. In July 2019, Regier made contact with the BCSPCA—the only animal abuse enforcement agency in BC—and provided the private charity with video evidence of criminal animal cruelty at the hog farm. However, instead of recommending charges against Excelsior, the BCSPCA violated its own confidentiality policy in order to turn Regier over to police. The trial comes more than three years after the exposure of animal cruelty at Excelsior, yet the hog farm has never had to answer for the video footage clearly depicting animal abuse. A short video was recently published about the Excelsior 4 case, with an incisive look at how industry has avoided accountability, how the police mishandled evidence, and how the Crown is criminalizing activists. View the 7-minute video here: “The fact that we still face prison time while Excelsior Hog Farm is free to continue its abusive practices is a mockery of justice,” said Soranno. “This case further illustrates the clear bias against animals and activists by the animal agriculture industry, BCSPCA, and police. Our trial will shine a light on the criminal animal abuse taking place at Excelsior, and the failure to hold them and other animal farms accountable.” The trial also comes more than a year after a Freedom of Information disclosure revealed that the BCSPCA has no capacity to enforce anti-cruelty laws at animal farms in BC. Activists point to the abuse carried out at Excelsior as just one example of the BCSPCA’s failure to take enforcement action despite ample evidence of criminal animal cruelty. “BC needs an enforcement agency that is accountable to the public, not a private charity that is unfit for the role and only answerable to its board of directors,” said Soranno. In addition to demanding that the hog farm be held accountable, the Excelsior 4 and animal rights activists across the province are calling on BC Agriculture Minster Lana Popham to replace the private charity BCSPCA with a more accountable government agency to enforce against animal cruelty in BC. In the interest of transparency and accountability, activists are also demanding the installation of Closed-Circuit TV cameras at all animal agriculture facilities in BC. “With no national regulations governing animal welfare on farms and virtually no government oversight on farms, one of the only ways abuse and mistreatment of farmed animals comes to light is through whistleblower and hidden camera exposés,” said Animal Justice in a recent statement. “Preventing journalists and animal advocates from exposing animal abuse restricts freedom of expression, one of the most important human rights in Canada.” For more information about the Excelsior 4, the story behind their charges, and how to take action against animal cruelty:
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Is The Canadian Online Gambling Industry Regulated?



Like in many western countries, gambling is a popular pastime for many Canadians. Throughout Canada’s evolution, it has strived to give its citizens the freedom of gambling across the provinces. Thanks to this, casinos in the country have grown and thrived over the years, from land-based casinos to the more modern online gambling sites.

Interestingly, government-sponsored sites have also joined the online trend. While other nations globally move from one extreme to the other in terms of their stand on gambling, Canadian lawmakers have generally used an even-handed approach despite the attraction of quick and easy money.

Generally, the country’s laws are flexible while simultaneously protecting the public’s welfare.


History of Canada’s Gambling Laws

The ‘90s marked a new age for the gambling industry in Canada because of the computer and internet boom. The first online casinos also launched during this era, and you no longer had to risk gambling in unlicensed casinos in Sweden if you could not access legal casinos. Avid gamblers could simply go online, although they were much fewer in number.

The first reason for this was only a few people owned computers. There was also a concern about the absence of online casino regulations. As the industry expanded, governments began establishing rules to control the sector. Today, traditional and online gambling is prevalent in the country since accessing casinos is much simpler now than before.


Is the gambling sector legal in Canada?

Online gambling had been illegal for years in Canada until quite recently. Now, it is legal in Canada in different forms. All the ten provinces and the three territories have the premise to set their own rules. The minimum legal gambling age in Canada is 19, apart from Alberta and Quebec, where players are only allowed to gamble upon turning 18.

All casinos, lotteries, racetracks as well as other gaming establishments must abide by the rules stipulated by their territory or province of operation. As previously mentioned, some forms of gambling are legal in parts of Canada and illegal in others. The country has two gambling laws; the First Nations Law and the Provincial Law.

The latter accords each territory or province control over gambling activities within its jurisdiction. Subsequently, some provincial laws are stricter than the federal regulations.


Take away

Today, many Canadians enjoy gambling online, from sports betting and live tables to traditional games like slots. Now that it is legal, you can safely access any reputable and legal casino online and physically.


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Downtown Ottawa: Ottawa Bylaw issues 513 tickets, tows 121 vehicles over Canada Day weekend | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa



Ottawa Bylaw officers issued 30 parking tickets and had eight vehicles towed out of the downtown core on Sunday, the final day the motor vehicle control zone remains in effect.

The control zone, aimed at preventing another convoy-style occupation near Parliament Hill, came into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday in preparation for Canada Day celebrations and possible protests. While roads remain open for traffic, vehicles participating in protests are prohibited and there is no parking or stopping in the area.

In an update on Sunday afternoon, Ottawa Bylaw said since 8 a.m. Wednesday, officers have handed out 513 parking tickets – 186 tickets on Saturday and Sunday – and towed 121 vehicles.

Six tickets have been issued for encumbering the highway, one ticket for “pile material on highway” and three tickets for unlicensed mobile refreshment vehicles.

Bylaw Services says three tickets were issued for the unauthorized use of fireworks, while one ticket was issued for public urination.

“We thank all residents and visitors who celebrated Canada Day while respecting Ottawa residents and laws,” Bylaw Services said on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

Ottawa police have not commented on the police operation in downtown Ottawa over the Canada Day long weekend. Officers from the RCMP, OPP and municipal police forces across the country joined Ottawa police for the Canada Day policing plan.

Mayor Jim Watson told CTV News Ottawa he thought the Canada Day celebrations and the police presence went “really, really well.”

“We were better prepared, we had more police officers at the right time we needed them from different police services and at the end of the day I think what we did was make sure there was a police presence but we also were very firm with applying the rules,” Watson said.

The motor vehicle control zone stretches from Colonel By/Sussex Drive in the east to Booth Street in the west, and Wellington Street in the north to Laurier Avenue in the south. The control zone also includes the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway east of Parkdale Avenue.

It will remain in effect until 6 a.m. on Monday.


The city of Ottawa says a motor vehicle control zone will be in effect from Wednesday at 8 a.m. until July 4 at 6 a.m. (City of Ottawa/Twitter)

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