24
Jan 19

14 Calgary police employees file complaints alleging ‘abusive and harassing’ workplace conduct

A 14-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service who claims she was bullied and sexually harassed has submitted a formal complaint to Chief Roger Chaffin, along with over a dozen other officers who allege they too were harassed.

Const. Jennifer Magnus (née Ward) attempted to quit during a Calgary Police Commission meeting on Jan. 31, but Chaffin refused to accept her tearful resignation. He thanked Ward for having the “courage to speak out,” but said he wanted to talk to her about it again after “some time” had passed.

Magnus has now retained a lawyer, along with a 13 current and former employees of the Calgary Police Service (CPS). The group submitted formal complaints to Chaffin on Friday, March 3.

WATCH: Female member of the Calgary Police Service publicly announces resignation at police commission meeting.

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    According to a news release from Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP, the employees allege that the CPS has “failed to provide a safe environment for certain employees, which has resulted in years of workplace bullying and harassment.”

    “The employees allege that the culture of the CPS protects those who engage in abusive and harassing conduct in the workplace,” the release stated. “In certain cases, when targets expressed their concerns to superiors, they were advised that nothing would be done if a complaint is filed.”

    According to the Calgary law firm, The Calgary Police Association, which is the union representing police officers, advised some of the employees “that it will not take on ‘blue on blue’ grievances” which left victims “feeling that they have nowhere to turn.”

    READ MORE:
    Diane Colley-Urquhart hopes female officer reconsiders resignation after emotional Calgary police meeting

    Magnus and her lawyer met with Chaffin on Feb. 16.

    “We did not discuss my resignation, we will do that at a later date.” Magnus said. “It was a positive meeting and he did agree to bring in an external investigators to look into my complaints, as well as the … other complaints.”

    “I am encouraged, because [Chaffin] did make a positive commitment to bringing in an external investigator – which I feel is an important step.”

    “I believe this is a cultural issue that needs to absolutely change,” Magnus said.

    She said the complaints come from male and female employees.

    READ MORE:
    Calgary police continue to reform workplace culture after harassment claims

    “We have sworn officers and civilian employees,” Lawyer Rachel West told News Talk 770. “The systemic culture of what happens once you’ve made a complaint, what happens once you’ve blown a whistle is very consistent across the board.

    “There needs to be a cultural shift, plain and simple.”

    “Supervisors need to take their supervisory responsibilities seriously. When they are informed of a complaint or a concern, their response cannot be to shut that individual down. They need to listen, they need to take action and they need to move that complaint through whatever appropriate channels there are.”

    West said next steps could include a lawsuit against the CPS.

    “Well, I am a lawyer,” she said. “It’s always on the table.”

    READ MORE: Calgary police continue to reform workplace culture after harassment claims

    Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin, meanwhile, says he welcomes the filing of complaints, adding he is committed to improving workplace culture within the service.

    “This is a good opportunity for us to sit down with them and get out some of the details so we can move forward,” Chaffin said. “So we can make sure, see what needs to be fixed in the organization: if there’s actual misconduct, if there’s actual criminality that’s occurred. These are things that are important to me.”

    With files from Gary Bobrovitz

    Editor’s note: This article was updated on March 6 to state that formal complaints had been submitted to Chief Roger Chaffin.


24
Jan 19

University of Saskatchewan speakers bureau offering free talks

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is giving people a chance to book speakers – for free.

Last summer, the Office of Community Engagement and Outreach at the Saskatoon-based university provided funding to develop a speakers bureau.

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    This allows faculty, graduate students, instructors and researchers to share their expertise on their current work or general area of expertise.

    It came about after Garrett Richards, a postdoctoral fellow with the School of Environment and Sustainability, gave a talk about citizen science to a fishing club for seniors while he was a member of the speakers bureau at the University of Victoria.

    Richards said he wanted to create a similar environment at the U of S.

    University officials said bookings can currently be made on a number of subjects in around 80 topics, ranging from food to sports, politics and science.

    A variety of presentation styles is used, including one speaker who uses live rescued bats.

    READ MORE: New $8.4M multiple sclerosis research chair announced at the U of S

    Officials are hoping to eventually have 100 topics, which are suitable for schools, community organizations looking to highlight certain topics and businesses pursuing development opportunities for their employees.

    A promotional gallery highlighting the speakers bureau has been set up at the Centre Mall. More information can be found online at the speakers bureau website.

    University officials are hoping to turn the pilot project into a permanent fixture on campus to help build community relationships.


24
Jan 19

Crown tells jury Jayme Pasieka trial not a question of who did it but intent

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated on Feb. 24, 2017 because a jury trial had begun.

Nearly three years after two men died and four others were injured in a stabbing spree at a west Edmonton warehouse, the trial began Tuesday for the man charged in connection to the deadly attack.

Jayme Pasieka is standing trial on two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder in connection with the deadly Feb. 28, 2014 knife attacks at the Loblaw warehouse.

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    READ MORE: Jury selected for Jayme Pasieka murder trial

    On the opening day of the trial, the Crown prosecutor told the jury this will not be a “who done it” case. She said the evidence is pretty clear Pasieka is responsible for the deadly attack.

    Multiple warehouse co-workers recognized and identified the accused. There is reportedly surveillance video of the rampage and DNA evidence of the victims on the knives found next to Pasieka when he was arrested in his vehicle.

    The Crown said the question is whether the killings were planned and deliberate and therefore first-degree murder. The Crown prosecutor told the jury she believes it was.

    There’s evidence of Pasieka purchasing knives before the killings and the attacker was wearing what appeared to be body armour when he entered the warehouse.

    The Crown said the attacker planned to kill anyone and everyone who he encountered in the warehouse.

    Fitzroy Harris, 50, and Thierno Bah, 41, were the two men killed in the attack after a man walked into the workplace armed with two knives, Edmonton police said.

    The suspect fled the scene and a massive manhunt ensued. Pasieka, who was 29 years old at the time, was arrested and taken into custody in the area of 39 Street and 74 Avenue.

    READ MORE: Loblaw employees mark sombre anniversary in Edmonton

    The trial is scheduled to take two weeks.


24
Jan 19

More than 100 transit staff gather for bus drivers funeral

WINNIPEG —; Friends, family, and colleagues of Irvine Jubal Fraser came together today to remember the fallen bus driver, and call for more security for transit workers.

A funeral service and a moment of silence was held for Fraser, who was killed on the job last week.

Fraser, 58, was fatally stabbed by a passenger while he was stopped at the end of his route at University of Manitoba on Feb. 14.

WATCH: Winnipeg Transit drivers observe moment of silence near the scene of driver’s death

The service for Fraser was held at Calvary Temple on 440 Hargrave Street at 1 p.m.

READ MORE: ‘He was always happy’: Winnipeg transit community mourns driver after he was fatally stabbed

Transit drivers attending the funeral said it’s been a week of mixed emotions.

“We are a family, we stand as one. That’s why this hurts so much,” bus driver Avie Erdile said.

Erdile said it’s a great chance to show support for Fraser’s family, but the battle for more safety is far from over.

“Today is a day we are putting Jubal to rest. It’s not necessarily a day of closure.”

Union representatives were on hand to show support. President of the Amalgamated Transit Union John Callahan, said a comprehensive report will be put forward at City Hall soon, looking at current security measures for drivers.

WATCH: Hundreds gathered at City Hall Friday morning, to honour the memory of transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser, who was killed in a knife attack while on the job this week

“I feel very optimistic that good things are going to happen,” Callahan said.

A moment of silence was also held for drivers who were working during the funeral at 1 p.m.

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The route signs on the front of buses will scroll the message, “rest in peace 521,” which represents Fraser’s operating badge number.

READ MORE: Hundreds of Winnipeg bus drivers rally for safety at work

Since his death, hundreds of Winnipeg bus drivers, including retired staff have come together to rally for improved safety on the job.

“I was one of the people that told them this was going to happen at some point in time. I’m really sorry to say that it had to come true,” retired transit driver Ron Monkman said.

At the funeral, Fraser’s brother said he wants to see more protections in place for bus drivers, and called on the Mayor and Premier to take action immediately.


24
Jan 19

Fake data? Trump administration mulls tweaking NAFTA trade numbers

Ottawa has been breathing a little more easily since U.S. President Donald Trump promised earlier this month he would seek “tweaks” to Canada’s terms under NAFTA, rather than demand major changes.

But new reports from the U.S. might well cause the Trudeau government to again lose sleep over Canada’s trade relationship with the U.S.

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According to a Wall Street Journal article published Sunday, the White House is mulling a change in the way it tracks imports and exports that would make the U.S.’s trade deficit with various countries appear bigger. The move is likely meant to strengthen the administration’s political case for renegotiating trade deals.

READ MORE: Can Donald Trump promise to tweak NAFTA? Trade experts say no

The idea is to exclude “re-exports” when calculating U.S. international trade balances. Re-exports are goods that were first imported into a country, usually for assembly or processing, and then exported again. It is standard practice to calculate re-exports as parts of a country’s exports, and that is how Statistics Canada tracks Canada’s trade flows.

WATCH: How to renegotiate NAFTA and get a better deal from the U.S.

U.S. reports noted that, if the U.S. were to adopt the new method of computation, the country’s trade deficit with Mexico would nearly double.

But the optics would deteriorate considerably for Canada as well, Global News calculations shows.

For 2016, the U.S. trade deficit with Canada would grow fivefold, from US$11.2 billion (C$14.8 billion) to US$56.8 billion (C$75.2 billion), according data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Mexico would see its deficit swell from just over US$63 billion (C$83.4 billion) to nearly US$117 billion (C$155 billion).

READ MORE: As Trudeau meets Trump, will Canada abandon Mexico?

While the size of the U.S. trade imbalance with Canada would still look far smaller than Mexico’s, the deficit-magnifying effect of ignoring re-exports is far greater for Canada.

It’s unclear whether the proposed change, which has reportedly met resistance from career government officials at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, would affect Canada.

Trump told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit to Washington earlier this month that Mexico, not Canada, is the focus of the administration’s efforts to amend NAFTA. Such assurances were widely seen as a major political win for the Trudeau government.

WATCH: Ambrose asks what PM Trudeau’s tweaks to NAFTA will be

“I was encouraged from the comment from President Trump when he referred to tweaks to NAFTA,” Canada’s Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told Bloomberg in a recent interview.

“There’s an acknowledgment that we just don’t sell to each other, we make things together, and for me this was very encouraging because this is an agreement that has been good for the middle class,” continued Champagne.

But bilateral tensions remain on a number of NAFTA-related questions, such as Canada’s regime for dairy and lumber.

READ MORE:  Defining ‘tweaking’: Unpacking the politics after Trudeau, Trump meeting

U.S. dairies are already eyeing Trump as a potential ally in the fight against Canada’s dairy quotas and import tariffs.

New, skewed trade statistics could give political fodder to U.S. domestic lobbies with longstanding grudges against Canada’s NAFTA terms.