Connect with us


‘Starting to heal’: Victim of Saskatchewan mass stabbing wakes in hospital a widow



Joyce and Earl Burns were childhood sweethearts.

They grew up together on James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, first as neighbours, then as husband and wife.

“It was childhood love,” said Victor Sanderson, a younger brother of Joyce Burns. He babysat their children and watched the couple grow old together.

He now visits his sister in a Saskatoon hospital room, where she recently regained consciousness after she was stabbed multiple times in the stomach and neck in a mass killing on the First Nation.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

The ashes of her 66-year-old husband sit in an urn next to her bed.

Joyce and Earl Burns were among the 28 people attacked on the First Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon, northeast of Saskatoon, on Sept. 4.

Eleven people, including Earl Burns, were killed. On Thursday, RCMP said they believe Myles Sanderson, the couple’s former son-in-law, was responsible for all the homicides.

Joyce Burns is the only one of those injured who remains in hospital, say health officials.

Doctors had placed her on life support and her family was surprised when she woke up in late September, said her brother.

“It was really touch and go with how she was doing because her lungs filled up with water and her liver too,” Sanderson said from his home in Debden, Sask.

“When she got transferred to Saskatoon, she was pretty much leaving us, but then she just turned around. Her body is starting to heal.

“I’m very happy that she’s still with us, very much so.”

Sanderson said Earl Burns was more than his brother-in-law. He was a mentor.

After Earl Burns joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry with the Canadian Armed Forces, he convinced Sanderson to join up as well.

“He taught me: ‘Keep your head up high, don’t let anybody knock you down, and always stand your ground.’”

When Earl Burns left the military, he started a family with his wife and they eventually became grandparents. He was also a rodeo competitor and a diehard Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

“He was one hell of a guy. He was a jack of all trades. He loved life, he loved his kids, he loved his grandkids more than anything else,” Sanderson said.

“He always protected his family in a good way.”

Defending his family and community is how residents of the First Nation are remembering Earl Burns.

They said he bought his own school bus years ago and drove students to Bernard Constant Community School every weekday.

There have been reports that on the Sunday morning of the killings, as Burns was wounded, he got in his bus to chase down thesuspect. Others have said he went to get help.

He took his last breath on that bus, said Sanderson. A memorial of flowers from his Sept. 17 funeral was placed near where some say the bus went off the road as he died.

Court documents show that in 2015 the couple’s former son-in-law, Myles Sanderson, repeatedly stabbed Earl Burns with a knife and wounded Joyce Burns. He was sentenced to two years less a day in jail.

Myles Sanderson died after he went into medical distress in RCMP custody on Sept. 7.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore said Thursday that investigators now believe Myles Sanderson killed his brother, Damien Sanderson, who had earlier been named as a suspect.

As his sister begins walking again in the hospital, Victor Sanderson said he’s focusing on remembering the laughter — mainly from her husband, who was known for cracking jokes and making people smile.

“He was a really big part of my life,” he said.

“On a serious note, he was always about the kids, really. The future of our children (on James Smith Cree Nation) and how they are doing, and which direction our leaders are taking them.”

He said the attacks have brought his family members closer, and also changed everything else.

“Our outlook in James Smith — it’s going to be totally different,” he said.

“The only way that we can (heal) is to just move forward. Look for brighter days and not let this happen again.

“And don’t let anybody forget.”

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


Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press


Afghan refugees: Government delays increasing financial pressure – CTV News



Refugee advocates are raising concerns that Afghan refugees granted asylum in Canada are being burdened by escalating costs stemming from the government’s delay in processing their claims.

Before they board their flight to Canada, all refugees are required to sign a loan agreement to pay back the cost of their transportation and pre-arrival expenses which can include hotel stays.

Some Afghans identified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as eligible for resettlement have been waiting months for exit permits while living in hotels arranged by the government. The hotel bills can add thousands of dollars to their debt.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

The Canadian Council for Refugees says Afghans are being forced to pay for an inefficient bureaucracy.

“It seems like the Canadian government is taking advantage of the vulnerability of people,” says Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council of Refugees. Hotel bills can add thousands of dollars to their government debt.

Dench says refugees have no choice but to accept a “legally dubious” contract that doesn’t stipulate a precise loan amount.

“If they want a permanent home they have to sign on to whatever the terms of the agreement are. There’s no negotiation room, so people are forced into this situation.”


Because Canada doesn’t recognize the Taliban government Afghans must get to a third country with consular support to complete their refugee applications. Many flee to neighboring Pakistan where Canada has a High Commission in the capital of Islamabad.

Nearly all Afghan refugees deemed eligible for resettlement are placed in the care of the International Organization for Migration while they are overseas.

The IOM organizes both charter and commercial flights to Canada and coordinates hotel stays for refugees as they wait for their exit permits. IOM doesn’t book flights until after IRCC has completed security and medical checks of its applicants. The organization bills the Canadian government approximately $150 per day to house and provide three meals a day for one family.

Of the 25,400 Afghans who have arrived in Canada since August 2021, IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon told CTV News in an emailed statement Friday the organizations has arranged travel for more than 22,000 of those refugees.

The claims of another 15,000 Afghans Canada committed to accepting after the Taliban took over the country have been delayed.

Irfanullah Noori, 28 and his family of five stepped off a plane at Pearson International Airport less than two months ago at the end of October. Before the Taliban took over his homeland in Noori worked as a logistics coordinator at the Kabul International Airport. He qualified for asylum because his brother served as an interpreter for Canadian soldiers.

Before being issued travel documents to Canada, Nouri, his wife and their three children, all under the age of five – stayed in an Islamabad hotel arranged by IOM for three months.

Irfanullah Noori poses with his youngest daughter on October 25, 2022 at the Pakistan International Airport before he boarded plane bound for Canada.

Before boarding his flight he signed a loan agreement. Nouri says IOM staff told him he would need to repay hotel expenses that added up to more than $13,000. That amount does not factor in the cost of flights for his family that he will also have to repay.


IRCC says 96 per cent of refugees are able to pay back the loans. Monthly payments on the interest free loans are scheduled to begin one year after refugees arrive in Canada and costs can be spread out over nine years.

The federal government puts a cap of $15,000 on each loan per family, but the Canadian Council for Refugees says this is a misleading number.

Refugee families who have older dependents may have to pay back more than the cap. That’s because dependents over the age of 22 years old, can be considered a separate family unit and required to take on a new loan. Dench says this policy puts refugees in a precarious economic position. She’s seen families fight over finances and hopes and dreams put on hold.

“You have young people who should normally be going to university and pursuing their education but they feel that they’re morally obliged to get down to work, even at a minimum wage job in order to pay off the family debt,” said Dench. She argues the Canadian government should stop requiring refugees to repay the costs of getting them to safety, no matter where they come from.


Since the fall of Kabul in August 2021, the Veterans Transition Network has helped raise funds to get interpreters and others out of Afghanistan. Oliver Thorne, VTN’s executive director says he’s frustrated that there are huge variations how long it takes for claims to be approved between applicants with similar profiles

“Some migrants are left in the dark. They don’t know why it’s taking them an additional two, four or six months compared to another interpreter who worked with the Canadian armed forces.” Thorne says IRCC needs to hire and train more staff to speed up the processing of claims.

He’s also calling for the removal of loan requirements, especially for Afghans who assisted the Canadian armed forces.

“They protected our men and women in uniform at great risk to themselves and their families. And secondly, these are going to be Canadians. They’re going to live here in our society down the street from us, and we have nothing to gain by making their transition more difficult,” Thorne said in an interview from Vancouver.


CTV News asked the Immigration Minister if it was fair that the Canadian government was burdening Afghans with additional costs due to the government backlog.

On Friday, Sean Fraser blamed a complicated process, but acknowledged that some refugees had been stuck “for a significant period of time.’ But the minister offered few solutions other than a vague reassurance that his department was “working with Pakistani officials to make sure we’re facilitating the smooth transportation of people to Canada.”

Meanwhile Noori is struggling to make ends meet in his new Ontario home, despite finding a job a few weeks ago at the General Motors plant in Oshawa.

Hired as a data-entry clerk, Noori earns $19/hour and is trying to pick up extra shifts on the weekend so he can make his $2,000 monthly rent on a one bedroom apartment.

Even though he won’t have to start paying back his refugee loan until next year, he’s daunted by the impending bill.

“It’s expensive (here.) I work 8 hours a day and six days a week. It will be very hard for me to pay back.”

After surviving the Taliban, Noori now faces subsistence in Canada.

Adblock test (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Children’s hospital in Newfoundland and Labrador is cancelling some surgeries



A children’s hospital in the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is cancelling some surgeries and appointments starting Monday.

Health officials say it’s due to a high level of respiratory illness.

It is unclear how many surgeries and appointments at Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John‘s will be affected.

Residents who are not experiencing a medical emergency are being asked to avoid visiting an emergency department.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated
Continue Reading


Slain RCMP Const. Yang cleared of wrongdoing in shooting: B.C. police watchdog



Slain RCMP Const. Yang cleared of wrongdoing in shooting: B.C. police watchdog

British Columbia‘s police watchdog has cleared a slain Burnaby RCMP constable of wrongdoing after she shot a man in the altercation that led to her death.

The Independent Investigations Office says after a review of all available evidence its chief civilian director determined that there are no reasonable grounds to believe Const. Shaelyn Yang committed an offence.

It says the matter will not be referred to the Crown for consideration of charges.

Yang, a 31-year-old mental health and homeless outreach officer, was stabbed to death on Oct. 18 while she and a City of Burnaby employee attempted to issue an eviction notice to a man who had been living in a tent at a local park.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Yang shot the suspect before she died, and the IIO later said Jongwon Ham underwent surgery for his injuries.

Ham has since been charged with first-degree murder in Yang’s death.

“Due to concurrent court proceedings related to the incident, the IIO’s public report will not be released on the IIO website until that process has concluded,” the IIO said in a news release.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2022.

Continue Reading