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Watchdog report blasts RCMP failures investigating missing Saskatchewan woman



Amanda Michayluk’s final moments were spent walking alone in the cold and snow through a Saskatchewan field as her family anxiously waited for an RCMP search and rescue team that would never arrive.

A scathing report from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP says officers responding to calls for help from  Michayluk’s family had tunnel vision, relied on stereotypes and did an inadequate ground search.

The decision not to call in search and rescue was described as “unconscionable.”

“Although it will never be known for sure, it is possible that she might have been found alive were it not for the RCMP’s failures in this case,” says the report from the RCMP’s civilian watchdog.


The partially redacted report, made public under freedom of information laws, details at least 36 hours of serious missteps by Mounties that began with a report from Michayluk’s family that she had disappeared near Maidstone, a small town in northwestern Saskatchewan.

Michayluk, 34, had been out collecting firewood with her father when their vehicle got stuck in snow. When it started to get late and dark, Michayluk attempted to walk home, which was about two or three kilometres away, to get help.

Her father eventually got the truck unstuck and drove to the house. His daughter wasn’t there.

He drove back to the area he’d last seen her and tried several times to follow the path she had taken, but it was impassible due to large snowdrifts.

The father called 911 and asked for a search and rescue team. He said snowmobiles would be needed to get to the area. At no point would a rescue team arrive.

An RCMP officer attended the scene not long after and found several sets of foot tracks. Another officer also arrived but the commission’s report found they did an inadequate ground search.

One officer found a set of boot prints that ended at tire tracks. The commission’s report says the obsession with this detail would have officers unreasonably conclude Michayluk was picked up by a passing motorist.

The report found officers relied on racial stereotypes and unsupported assumptions and noted in their reports that Michayluk had an “active social life at the bar.”

Family made it clear to officers that Michayluk would not take off and leave her two young children behind.

Officers were also confused by time zones based on where Michayluk’s phone last connected with a cell tower. Maidstone is near the Alberta boundary and the cell tower was running on Central Standard Time, but the area where Michayluk was last seen runs on Mountain Time in the winter.

“As the investigation went on, the subject RCMP members continued to flounder, failing to communicate effectively, or to respond appropriately,” the report says.

The officers returned to the family’s home and told them arrangements had been made for a ground search to be conducted in the morning, “even though they did not arrange for any further search,” the report noted.

“This was an egregious dereliction of their duties.”

The report says that in the following hours, officers and their supervisors used their time to call Michayluk’s friends and attend places she worked. The did shoddy paperwork, the report noted, and didn’t follow the RCMP’s own missing person protocols. Some officers made no work on the missing person’s case at all.

One corporal noted how he didn’t think Michayluk was lost.

Meanwhile, a volunteer search party unaffiliated with the RCMP began a search using skidoos and a drone. They found her body in a farmer’s field a couple of kilometers away from the firewood site.

The report notes the civilian search party was able to locate Michayluk very quickly by following her tracks, “which were still clearly visible, a day after (she) had disappeared.”

Her cause of death was hypothermia.

Michayluk’s family complained to the RCMP that its members failed to conduct a proper search. Mounties investigated the complaint and the family brought it to the commission after an RCMP report failed to address a number of key issues.

The civilian commission’s chairperson, Michelaine Lahaie, agreed with the family that the RCMP report into the investigation did not consider important evidence, ignored many relevant issues, and was inaccurate and misleading. The RCMP’s report also stated a search began for Michayluk in the morning, which was false.

“There are no words that can sufficiently describe the horror of this deceit,” Lahaie wrote.

The commission’s report included recommendations, including an apology to the family and code of conduct proceedings for the responding officers.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki agreed with most of the recommendations but said the Saskatchewan RCMP division decided “operational guidance and performance processes” were preferable responses for the officers.

RCMP did not respond to a request for comment or explanation of whether any officer faced disciplinary action for failures in the case. One of the responding officers has since resigned from the RCMP, the commission’s report noted.

A GoFundMe created to support Michayluk’s two young sons after her death says she had a “heart of pure gold.” It described her as a single mother who wanted to help people and show her boys unwavering love.

“Amanda always did everything she had to, to be sure her boys were taken care of and she never complained or was defeated, she just did it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2023.


Canada’s Climate Crisis: An In-Depth Look at the Current State and What’s Being Done to Combat It



Canada's Climate Crisis

Canada’s annual average temperature increased by 1.9C from 1948 to 2021. According to the Government of Canada, northern regions exhibited an increase in annual mean temperature three times over the global mean warming rate.

Climate change affects food security, biological diversity, and people’s health. Many believe that Canada’s dealing with a climate crisis and wondering what’s been done to combat it. Here’s a quick overview of the current situation and the plans the government has available to tackle this problem.

What’s the Current Climate Situation in Canada?

According to the last update from the Climate Action Tracker, the action taken by Canada has been rated as “highly insufficient.” That means the country isn’t in line with the global agreement made in Paris to stick to the 1.5C limit.

Furthermore, CAT experts believe the emission reduction target by 2030 is only enough to be in line with a 4C warming. They warn that Canada should strengthen their climate policies and targets while offering more support to others to reach set goals.


Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan

The plan for reducing emissions by 2030 was adopted in March 2022, and the government itself describes it as achievable but ambitious. The idea is to lower emissions in 2030 by 40% when compared to 2005. It’s worth noting that Canada has a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

According to this plan, the country will invest over $9 billion to promote pollution-cutting effects. The strategy includes:

  • Improving electric vehicle infrastructure. People who want to purchase ZEVs (zero-emission vehicles) can hope for financial support.
  • Greening buildings and homes. The idea is to adopt revised building codes that are in line with the environmental goals.
  • Clean energy projects. These include investing in solar and wind power, electricity, and other projects.
  • Reduce gas and oil emissions. It seems to be the most ambitious part of the plan, especially since Canada keeps supporting the Trans Mounting pipeline and exporting LNG to Europe.

Some other details include empowering farmers to implement sustainable practices and communities to launch climate action projects.

What Can You Do to Help with Climate Change?

Collective action is important to restrict climate change, and some suggestions for individuals include the following:

  • Consider how you travel. Use public transport or walk when possible. If you are heading to far destinations, consider not taking frequent long-distance flights. For example, if you want to go to Vegas to enjoy casino games, consider playing online roulette while at home, which can provide immersive fun while reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Use LED lightbulbs and energy-efficient appliances. Many modern appliances come with an energy efficiency rating.
  • Eat veggies to reduce a carbon footprint. It takes less energy and greenhouse gas emissions to produce vegetables. Apart from lowering your carbon footprint, this is a healthy diet that could help you lose pounds and manage weight.
  • Focus on reusing and recycling items. Consider shopping for second-hand clothes and not purchasing anything you don’t absolutely need. Consider donating the items you don’t need anymore, and make sure to recycle those that you throw away properly.

A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy

The federal authorities adopted this long-term plan in 2020, and its goal is to secure a future with a healthier environment and economy. The main principles of this plan include the following:

  • Making energy-efficient structures more affordable. The idea is to make locations where Canadians live easier to purchase, maintain, and upgrade while ensuring houses and buildings energy-efficient.
  • Affordable and eco-friendly transportation. From clean electricity supply to ZEVs and other details, the idea is to reduce congestion while making communities healthier.
  • Carbon pollution pricing. The idea is for pollution to be pricey but ensure that the households get back more than they pay.
  • Achieving a clean industrial advantage. The country aims to focus on “Made in Canada” services and products with low carbon footprints.
  • Embrace the power of nature. Restoring and conserving natural spaces while planting billions of trees is another way to reduce pollution and fight climate change.

The government has released the final National Adaptation Strategy for comments. It’s the first strategy of this type that was designed by working with Indigenous People, municipal, territorial, and provincial authorities, as well as other relevant platforms. The idea is to design shared priorities and unite everyone across Canada to take joint action to decrease climate change risks.

Final Thoughts

Scientists are racing to find the most effective climate change solutions, with the potential options leaving them divided. However, they agree on one thing – it’s necessary to take strong action in the soonest possible timeframe.

Canada has already adopted a climate change action plan, and the only question is if it’s aggressive enough. It remains to be seen whether some changes to the strategy will be made in order to reach the long-term goals of dealing with the climate crisis.

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Debt in Canada: What’s normal for your age?



If you’re like most people, you have at least some debt. Your mortgage, car payment, credit card balance, and student loans are all liabilities that contribute to your total debt.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how much debt is normal for your age, though?

Below, I’ll outline the average and median debt by age in Canada, so you can see how your finances compare. Then I’ll explain some of the key reasons why Canadians’ debt is increasing.

Average debt by age group in Canada

First of all, it’s important to understand that debt is normal. Very few Canadians are 100% debt-free. Even those with near-perfect credit scores likely have an auto or student loan they’re paying down.


These are the debt metrics measured by Statistics Canada during census surveys.

Here’s the average debt by age group in Canada as of 2019, according to the latest data sets from Statistics Canada:

Note – this data applies to individuals who are not in an economic family. The numbers differ for economic families, which include married/common-law partners and families with dependent children.

The total debt measured includes:

  • Mortgage debt
  • Lines of credit
  • Credit card debt
  • Student loans
  • Vehicle loans
  • Other debt (doesn’t fit in the categories above)

Median debt by age group in Canada

Looking at average debt provides a decent overview of the data. However, the averages are very skewed by the debt incurred by Canada’s ultra-wealthy taxpayers.

When calculating the average, all values are added together and divided by the total number of values. This means that a few extreme values can greatly influence the result.

In contrast, the median is the middle value in a dataset when values are arranged in order. As such, it is less affected by outliers and provides a more accurate representation of typical values.

For example, a multi-millionaire with a $2-million mortgage will skew the average higher than the average Canadian.

For a more accurate look at Canadian debt, I find that the median data as of 2019 provides more accurate insight:

Why is consumer debt increasing in Canada?

Over the past year, consumer debt has notably increased. This is especially true for credit card debt. The average monthly spending per credit card increased by 17.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, according to a recent report by Equifax Canada.

In the report Rebecca Oakes, vice-president of Advanced Analytics at Equifax Canada, stated that “Gen Z and Millennials are driving up higher consumer spending the most.”

Even though inflation is slowly easing, it’s still relatively high. The high inflation has driven up the cost of everyday goods, including groceries and fuel. This, in turn, means that Canadians are spending more per month than they were before 2022, when inflation started to rise.

Unfortunately, workers’ pay hasn’t grown with inflation. This means that the average Canadian simply has less money to spend, increasing their reliance on credit cards to purchase daily necessities.

  • Pent-up demand and travel

Oakes goes on to state that “Pent-up demand and increased travel with the easing of COVID restrictions, combined with soaring inflation, have led to some of the highest increases in credit card spending we’ve ever seen.”

It makes sense that Canadians would be eager to travel after several years of travel restrictions, even if it means incurring more credit card debt.

  • Increased interest rates

To keep inflation under control, the fed steadily increased interest rates throughout 2022 and is discussing more rate hikes this year. As the federal interest rate has increased, variable interest rates, such as those offered by credit card companies, have also increased.

Those who carry a credit balance over to the next month must now pay even more interest on their credit card debt, increasing their overall debt.

Creating a plan to manage your debt

Accruing debt in the short-term may be inevitable due to high-interest rates and inflation. However, it’s important to create a plan to get your debt under control.

A reliable budget plan paired with consistent action is the best way to get out of debt.

Revisit your monthly budget to find areas where you can save, try to pay down high-interest credit card debt as quickly as possible, and consider taking up a side hustle to earn extra money that you can put towards your debt.


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Six bodies, including one child, recovered from St. Lawrence River




The bodies of six people, including one child with a Canadian passport, were recovered from the St. Lawrence River late Thursday afternoon, according to Akwesasne Mohawk Police Chief Shawn Dulude.

The St. Lawrence River flowing east past Cornwall Island.
The St. Lawrence River flowing east past Cornwall Island. (CBC News)

The bodies of six people, including one child with a Canadian passport, were recovered from the St. Lawrence River late Thursday afternoon, according to Akwesasne Mohawk Police Chief Shawn Dulude.

Dulude said he could not provide any information on the nationalities of the other five deceased.


The Mohawk community of Akwesasne straddles the Canada-U.S. border and occupies territory in Ontario, Quebec and New York state.

The Akwesasne Mohawk Police, with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard, is leading the ongoing investigation, Dulude said.

The bodies were spotted in Canadian waters by a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, he said.

The discovery of the bodies coincided with the search for a missing Akwesasne community member that also began Thursday, Dulude said.



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