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Windshield smashed in P.E.I. pub’s van after photos of Trudeau visit drew harassment

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CHARLOTTETOWN — A brewpub on Prince Edward Island says a barrage of harassment that followed a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has culminated in violence, after someone smashed the windshield in the company van.

Lone Oak Brewing Company said in a Facebook post and picture Saturday that its delivery driver found the van that morning with spiderwebs of cracked glass spreading out from what appears to be two points of impact.

The post says management is taking “the necessary steps to keep our staff safe” and that police had been notified about the incident.

The smashed windshield comes after the pub says it faced a torrent of “negative and vulgar comments,” private messages and phone calls after staff posted pictures from a July 22 visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The post says one photo had to be taken down because it was attracting comments sexualizing Lone Oak staff.

A statement Sunday from Trudeau’s office says the threats and violence faced by the pub are unacceptable and that it’s heartening to see the community support the business and condemn the attacks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Family files $2.7-million lawsuit over Indigenous woman’s death in Quebec hospital

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MONTREAL — The family of an Indigenous woman who was mocked by staff as she lay dying in a Quebec hospital in September 2020 filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking nearly $2.7 million in damages.

Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven, filmed herself on Facebook Live as a nurse and an orderly were heard making derogatory comments toward her at a hospital in Joliette, Que., northeast of Montreal.

The video of her treatment in September 2020 went viral and drew outrage and condemnation across the province and the country.

The lawsuit filed in Joliette names the hospital as well as Dr. Jasmine Thanh, an attending doctor, and Paule Rocray, the former nurse who was caught on film insulting Echaquan. It seeks a total of $2,675,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

The family and the community of Manawan marked the second anniversary of her death on Wednesday. Lawyer Patrick Martin-Ménard says the civil suit is about compensating the family for the loss of Echaquan.

“Of course no amount of money will bring Joyce back. The goal of the compensation is to try to help … moving forward from the prejudice they’ve suffered,” Martin-Ménard said.

An emotional Carol Dubé, Echaquan’s husband, said he was hopeful the lawsuit would help with healing for him and those around him. “I’m still very lost,” Dubé said, his voice trailing off. “This is a new chapter that’s beginning.”

The lawsuit, which contains allegations that have not been tested in court, claims negligence on the part of the hospital management.

Many of the problems Echaquan encountered were highlighted two years earlier during testimony from Manawan community members at a provincial inquiry examining relations between Indigenous communities and the provincial government, the suit alleges, but officials did not correct the situation.

The filing also claims that Thanh failed to properly investigate and assess Echaquan’s condition and that Rocray failed to help Echaquan after she fell out of bed and instead made “racist” comments towards her.

A spokeswoman for the regional health board that oversees the hospital in Joliette declined to comment on the matter.

Echaquan’s mother, Diane Dubé, said there’s still a lot of sadness over the video and called on Premier François Legault to recognize the existence of systemic racism in the province, which he has refused to do.

“It’s difficult today to live this, but we want justice for my daughter, for Joyce,” Diane Dubé said through an interpreter.

Coroner Géhane Kamel concluded last year after an inquest that Echaquan’s initial diagnosis, that she was going through withdrawal from opioids or narcotics, was faulty and based on prejudice. The coroner found she wasn’t properly monitored before finally being transferred to intensive care, where she died of a pulmonary edema that was linked to a rare heart condition.

Kamel has said Echaquan would likely still be alive if she were a white woman and that systemic racism “undeniably’” contributed to her death.

In the aftermath of her death, the Atikamekw community drafted Joyce’s Principles, a series of measures aimed at ensuring equitable access to health care for Indigenous patients and recognizing systemic racism.

Legault’s incumbent Coalition Avenir Québec government agreed to adopt much of the document, but it does not accept the reference to systemic racism. Atikamekw leaders at Thursday’s news conference denounced that refusal.

“We need things to change and at the political level,” said Grand Chief Constant Awashish of the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw. He said he doesn’t feel his people’s concerns are being heard.

Legault this month apologized to Echaquan’s husband after saying during a televised leaders debate that the racism situation at the hospital in Joliette was “settled.”

“Before this tragic event, things that should have changed did not change,” Carol Dubé said Thursday. “We’re still waiting.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

 

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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Some in P.E.I. and Nova Scotia won’t get electricity back until next week: utilities

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HALIFAX — It will be Sunday or Monday before all communities in Prince Edward Island are reconnected to the electricity grid — more than a week after post-tropical storm Fiona yanked down power lines across Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec, officials said Thursday.

The wait could be even longer for hundreds of households and businesses because of damaged service masts or undetected problems at the neighbourhood level, Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin told a news conference.

“I realize Islanders without power want to know a restoration time for their outage,” Griffin said. “At this time, we are not able to provide what we consider an accurate estimation when individual areas will be restored .… I don’t feel comfortable giving a blanket restoration time, days or weeks out.”

The storm roared into the region early Saturday and lingered over the Island, Cape Breton and southwestern Newfoundland, knocking out power to more than 500,000 homes and business in the four Atlantic provinces.

At the height of the storm, more than 90 per cent of Maritime Electric’s customers were in the dark, as were 80 per cent of Nova Scotia Power’s customers. By Thursday afternoon, those numbers had dropped to 44 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.

Griffin said about 900 of Maritime Electric’s customers have reported damaged service masts — the covered pole or tube used to attach power lines to individual homes and businesses.

“I know this was a historic storm for us, unlike anything we have ever experienced,” she said. “I know you are rocked by what is happening in your life, work and family .… Fiona hit us harder than any other storm in our 100-year history.”

During the news conference, Premier Dennis King confirmed that his home was still without electricity, though he said his family has a generator.

“I can relate to those who are frustrated,” he said. “When I left this morning, we didn’t have power …. Look at my hair. I haven’t been able wash and shave to the extent that I would like to. But I’m doing fine. I’m more concerned about the rest of Prince Edward Island.”

In neighbouring Nova Scotia, a spokesman for Nova Scotia Power said the “majority” of the utility’s customers would have their power restored by Friday. However, Matt Drover said, “some pockets” of the province would have to wait until the weekend or “into next week.”

Earlier in the day, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said he had requested more help from the military. “I understand we have over 300 military personnel on the ground, and I’m thankful to the federal government for that, but we need so much more,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

“In a province where we have something like 10,000 military personnel stationed here, it’s my personal belief that pretty much every single one of those people would drop everything to help their fellow Nova Scotians, should they be asked.”

On Wednesday, the premier criticized the telecommunications companies that serve Nova Scotia, saying they failed to adequately co-operate with the province’s emergency management team, an accusation denied by Bell Aliant, Telus, Eastlink and Rogers.

On Thursday, Houston said the companies should apologize.

“I would have at least liked to hear from the telecommunications companies that they can do better and they’re sorry,” he said. “But to hear them say that everything was just great, falls well short of my own personal experience and the experiences that Nova Scotians have relayed to me.”

In Charlottetown, King said he believes the telecommunications companies could have done a better job, but he did not elaborate.

“We’ve come to know that there are things we need to be better prepared for in the future,” the premier said. “I think the telcos have a role to play in that …. I’m not sure that as we try to get people back to some kind of normal life if now is the time to start throwing arrows and picking fights.”

In Ottawa, Defence Minister Anita Anand said there were 700 military members in Atlantic Canada helping to clear debris, reopen roads, check on residents and assess damage. Additional troops are on standby, along with some ships and aircraft, the minister added.

Federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray said 180 of the region’s 706 small-craft harbours were in the path of the storm, and she said the department knows of at least 99 harbours that are partially operational and five that are no longer functional. As well, Murray said work is underway in many harbours to remove dozens of sunken or grounded vessels.

“This is going to be a very costly venture,” Newfoundland MP Gudie Hutchings told a ministers briefing Thursday. “And we need to build back safer, stronger and better for our fishermen, for our farmers, for our communities and, most importantly, for our residents.”

Hutchings represents the area that includes Port aux Basques, N.L., where Fiona destroyed more than 70 homes, some of which were dragged out to sea by a record-breaking storm surge on Saturday morning. The storm claimed the life of a 73-year-old woman, who was swept out to sea when a wave flooded her home and tore apart her basement.

In Charlottetown, some streets remained closed Thursday because of hazardous debris, fallen power lines and damaged trees. Island residents were again asked to limit travel to essential trips.

In New Brunswick, the provincial government confirmed Thursday it had received 164 damage reports, most of them from an area extending from the Nova Scotia boundary, along the Northumberland Strait to the Acadian Peninsula.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

 

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

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Hindutva fascism in Britain – People in Canada stand in solidarity with British South Asians against this menace

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Montreal, September 29, 2022. A number of South-Asian diaspora organizations across Canada stand in solidarity with British South Asians against Hindutva fascism.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other Hindutva groups in Leicester, UK, are encouraging violent conflict within the South Asian community. Hundreds of masked men marched through a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood shouting the slogan “Jai Sri Ram”, used by Hindu supremacist mobs linked to the Narendra Modi government, which have repeatedly attacked Muslims in India. Many men were transported to Leicester from the nearby boroughs of Wembley, Harrow and elsewhere. Among the henchmen were far-right white fascists.Since 2014, Modi, who in 2002 as Chief Minister of Gujarat presided over the genocide of Muslims (women – some pregnant – children and men) is now the Prime Minister of India. After coming to power, Modi’s government has systematically suppressed political dissent and undermined India’s secular democracy. Journalists, professors, human rights activists, students, etc. have been silenced and imprisoned without trial.The events in Leicester are a manifestation of the growing brazenness of Modi’s supporters in the South Asian diaspora, which includes Canada, who assume that they can enjoy the same impunity as Modi and his Hindutva ideology counterparts in India.As people of South Asian origin, we express our solidarity with those who are being attacked and threatened in Britain, and we want to draw attention to how this scourge of Hindutva fascism is spreading its tentacles outside India.  We are very concerned about the spread of Hindu right wing extremism here. The Canadian government must take note of this hatred and condemn it.CERAS (Centre on South Asia), MontrealICWI-Canada (India Civil Watch International-Canada)SADAC (South Asian Diaspora Action Collective), MontrealSADAN (South Asian Dalit and Adivasi Network), CanadaSANSAD (South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy), Vancouver

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