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RCMP come up empty after tip in search for Saskatchewan stabbing suspect

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JAMES SMITH CREE NATION — Saskatchewan Mounties surrounded a house on the James Smith Cree Nation Tuesday after reported sightings of a suspected mass murderer, but left soon afterward with no sign of the man.

Emergency alerts blared yet again. A helicopter and drones flew overhead. A tactical armoured vehicle arrived on-site, driving past a checkpoint where reporters were kept. Shortly after, police vehicles left the scene and Myles Sanderson remained at large more than 48 hours after the stabbing attacks.

“We didn’t hesitate,” Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP, said of the search, which bypassed the usual police practice of verifying information.

“We felt the risk to individuals if he was in fact there outweighs the benefit of having that information (held) closely to be more reliable.”

Residents in a community already grieving the loss of so many were left on edge as another lead on the suspect seemed to run cold.

“People will have that sense of nervousness until Myles Sanderson is located and in custody, and understandably so,” Blackmore said.

“Many of these people … have seen things, and possibly themselves have been attacked. Things no individual should have to see or deal with.”

Sanderson, 32, is one of the accused in the stabbings over the weekend at several locations on the James Smith Cree Nation and nearby village of Weldon, in which 10 men and women were killed and 18 were injured.

Regina police Chief Evan Bray said late Monday afternoon that based on new information, his service no longer believes Sanderson may be in his community. Police had reported a possible sighting in the city on the weekend of a vehicle Sanderson and his brother had driven.

Blackmore is encouraging the public to report anything that looks out of place, as police are following up with all tips.

“As hours go by, and days go by here, I don’t want people to become complacent … because we haven’t seen any victims since … Sunday,” Blackmore said. “We certainly don’t want people to believe that there’s no danger out there.”

RCMP have said Sanderson’s brother, Damien Sanderson, who had also been a suspect in the killings, was found dead Monday in a grassy area not far from one of the crime scenes. Police have said they don’t believe he killed himself and are investigating whether Myles Sanderson was involved in his brother’s death.

More victims were identified Tuesday.

The Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association confirmed the death of Earl Burns in a Facebook message, saying he was a veteran with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

His sister confirmed his death in a statement to news website paNow in Prince Albert. Deborah McLean told the outlet her brother died protecting his family and that his wife is in intensive care.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said 10 of the injured victims remained in hospital Tuesday, including three in critical condition.

The Prairies-wide search has left other communities anxious.

Piapot First Nation, 45 kilometres northeast of Regina, urged residents to be vigilant.

“Do not let strangers inside your homes or answer the door for anyone you do not know. Please keep all windows and doors locked,” community leaders wrote in a safety notice posted online Tuesday.

Leaders of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations issued an appeal to find Myles Sanderson, begging those with knowledge of his whereabouts to come forward to help end the manhunt without any more loss of life.

A former Mountie said the vast open spaces of the Prairies could complicate any manhunt.

“This is a huge area, and there’s a whole lot of nothing,” said retired RCMP officer Sherry Benson-Podolchuk. “There’s a lot of places people can hide.”

Benson-Podolchuk noted that police are monitoring roads going into and out of adjacent provinces.

“Suspects aren’t going to go on the (main) roads. If they can take a side road or a gravel road or a dirt road somewhere, they will do that,” Benson-Podolchuk said.

Parole documents show Myles Sanderson has a nearly two-decade-long criminal record, which included convictions for assault, assault with a weapon, assaulting a peace officer and robbery. The parole board said he had propensity for violence when intoxicated.

“Your criminal history is very concerning, including the use of violence and weapons related to your index offences, and your history of domestic violence,” said the document obtained by The Canadian Press.

Sanderson received statutory release from prison in August 2021, but it was revoked about four months later because the board said he failed to communicate with his parole supervisor.

In the document, the board said it decided to reinstate his statutory release with a reprimand, and said Sanderson “will not present an undue risk to society.”

In May, a Crime Stoppers bulletin was issued for Sanderson, warning he was unlawfully at large.

Damien Sanderson faced an assault charge from June, showed court documents obtained by The Canadian Press Tuesday.

The Mounties have not said what motivated the attacks. Police believe some victims were targeted, but others were chosen at random.

People in the region have rallied around the victims and the communities affected.

An online fundraising effort has begun for victims and their families in James Smith Cree Nation. It had raised more than $104,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

A community garden organization near Prince Albert posted on social media that it is sending produce to the First Nation for wakes and other gatherings in the days ahead.

“We will be cleaning carrots, cucumbers and potatoes to send for the wakes. If you can help pick, peel or cut we will need a few extra hands please,” read the post on Jessy’s Garden Facebook page.

In nearby Melfort, Sask., on Monday night, the Mustangs Junior A hockey team held a moment of silence for the victims ahead of their pre-season game against the Nipawin Hawks.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and First Nations leaders held a moment of silence Tuesday at the opening of a hockey complex on the Big River First Nation some 180 kilometres away from where the stabbings took place.

“Those of you that have friends and family in the James Smith community or Weldon, or are impacted in any way, please know that all of this province’s heart is with you and your family this weekend and the weeks and months ahead,” Moe said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 6, 2022.

 

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press

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Iran protests: Canada sanctioning 'morality police' – CTV News

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Canada will be imposing new sanctions on Iran as a result of a continuing violent crackdown on protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The sanctions will be levelled on “dozens of individuals and entities, including Iran’s so-called morality police,” the prime minister said.

“We’ve seen Iran disregarding human rights time and time again, and now we see with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protests,” Trudeau said, referencing the death of a 22-year-old who was detained for allegedly violating the country’s forced veiling laws. Her death has sparked outrage and has prompted a wave of international demonstrations, seeing some women cut their hair or burn their hijabs in revolt.

“To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you, we stand with you. We join our voices, the voices of all Canadians, to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights, and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves peacefully,” Trudeau said.

While no official notice of the new sanctions has been published by Global Affairs Canada, the prime minister noted they come in addition to outstanding measures Canada has taken against Iran.

In an email to CTV News, Adrien Blanchard, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that Trudeau “announced Canada’s intention” to issue these sanctions, pledging more details “in due course.” 

Joly, as well as MPs from all parties, have spoken out about the escalating tensions and use of force against civilians in Iran, with the House of Commons unanimously passing a motion last week offering “solidarity to the women of Iran who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.”

With files from CTV News’ Michael Lee 

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Maine power workers cross border without incident to help in Nova Scotia

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OTTAWA — Nova Scotia Power says there were no issues delaying American power crews from crossing the border to help repair the electrical grid from the devastation of hurricane Fiona.

On Sunday, the utility company and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston had both said an issue related to the controversial ArriveCan app was delaying power crews from crossing into Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said this morning that the order making the app mandatory and requiring that foreign citizens be vaccinated to come to Canada will expire on Friday.

Power crews helping to restore electricity are considered essential workers and are exempt from the border measures.

In a new statement Monday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster says there was some confusion about the app but it is now confirmed there were no problems.

Versant Power says 15 line workers and two mechanics left Bangor, Maine, for Canada early Monday morning without issue, and Central Maine Power reports more than a dozen two-person crews and 10 support workers crossed the border without incident at around 7 a.m. Monday.

“We now know there were not any issues with ArriveCan,” said Foster. “Our contractor crews have made their way over the border and we are grateful to have them as part of our restoration efforts here in Nova Scotia.”

The Canada Border Services Agency reported that it cleared 19 power trucks at the Third Bridge border crossing in St. Stephen, N.B., just after 7 a.m. Monday. The CBSA said the average processing time was between 30 and 60 seconds per vehicle.

The ArriveCan app has been fodder for heated political debates for months and Conservatives have repeatedly demanded that the government shut it down.

During question period on Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre cited the allegations that ArriveCan delayed power crews to demand that the app be scrapped ahead of schedule.

He asked, “Will the prime minister suspend the ArriveCan app today, not Saturday, so that no more holdups happen at the border for those who are trying to help those in desperate need?”

Trudeau said he can “confirm that there were no delays at any border because of ArriveCan or otherwise.”

The utility company had said Sunday that crews were physically stuck at the border, but confirmed a few hours after question period on Monday that this had never been the case.

Foster suggested the error was a result of “confusion” after a concern arose Friday — before the storm actually hit — that crews from Maine might not be able to cross the border because of ArriveCan.

No New Brunswick border crossings reported issues over the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

 

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Former top civil servant, medical association president appointed as senators

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OTTAWA — Ian Shugart, a longtime bureaucrat and the country’s top civil servant during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been tapped for a seat in the Senate.

Dr. Gigi Osler, a Winnipeg surgeon, University of Manitoba professor and president of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada, is also set to become a senator.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the picks today after the two were recommended to him by the independent advisory board for appointments to the upper chamber.

Shugart, who will represent Ontario, stepped down as the clerk of the Privy Council in early 2021 to undergo cancer treatments and formally retired in May after a long public service career.

Trudeau also appointed him to the King’s Privy Council today, adding his name to a list that includes past and present cabinet ministers and people “honoured for their contributions to Canada,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Osler, who will represent Manitoba, became the first female surgeon and the first racialized woman to hold the presidency at the Canadian Medical Association in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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