Saskatoon on track to see more emergency room visits due to meth than last year

WATCH: There were nearly 1,000 hospital visits as a result of meth use in 2020. Saskatchewan Health Authority says this years' numbers are on track to be around the same, if not higher.

According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the crystal meth crisis in Saskatoon continues.

Current stats for 2021 show that the city is on track to match last year’s amount of emergency room visits — and possibly surpass it.

There were nearly 1,000 emergency room visits in Saskatoon due to methamphetamine use in 2020.

Read more:
Over 6 kilos of meth seized by Saskatoon police after homes searched

There has already been around one-third of that amount just in the first four months of 2021.

Superintendent Patrick Nogier with the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) said drug and general seizures have increased by almost eight per cent over the last year and SPS is continuing with efforts to reduce drug trafficking.

“These are significant seizures that are taking a product off the street that has the potential of doing a lot of harm to your community,” said Nogier.

The Street Crimes Unit alone has seized over 15 kilograms of crystal meth over the last year.

Although that is a large amount to take off of the streets, the executive director at Prairie Harm Reduction, Jason Mercredi, said, “The problem is drug traffickers are crafty and we’re still going to have a methamphetamine issue in this city.”

“It’s great that the police are able to do that but, really, the best way to get out of that is getting people out of the cycle of addiction.”

Read more:
RCMP charge 4 individuals after seizing 1.16 kg of meth in Saskatchewan town

Prairie Harm is meant to be a safe space for drug users to get help for many issues and concerns, including if they are experiencing an overdose.

Mercredi said it’s important to have that service for people in Saskatoon because the current drug crisis, paired with COVID-19, is causing hospitals to be overwhelmed with patients.

“It’s definitely a huge cost to the health-care system to have that many emergency room visits and, when we’re looking at emergency rooms being overloaded, it’s not a good situation.”

After Nogier mentioned a notable increase in calls, tips and complaints about drug use in Saskatoon, SPS decided to focus even more efforts on drug trafficking in 2021.

However, he added there is still a long way to go.

Read more:
Meth users need a new, more effective treatment model: Sask. addictions counsellor

“The war on drugs is very complicated. We know that it’s time-consuming, we know there’s a lot of money associated to it, a lot of time associated to it, but we’re committed as a police service to make sure that Saskatoon’s a place that people can thrive and prosper.”

Saskatoon Police recently made one of their largest meth seizures in recent years, consisting of six kilograms of the drug.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Belleville police celebrate grand opening of new $26 million headquarters

The Belleville Police Service unveiled its new Police Headquarters in a grand opening ceremony that featured speeches, a tree planting and a plaque ceremony.

The grand opening of the new Belleville Police headquarters was held Saturday morning, 11 months after police moved in.

“This is something that the community has been waiting for, for a long time,” says Belleville Police Chief Mike Callaghan. “And we’re incredibly proud to be in a position to have the grand opening and very fortunate that we’ve been able to do so within the confines, and obeying the legislation, surrounding COVID and physical distancing.”

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Speeches, a tree planting and a plaque ceremony were followed by tours of the upgraded facilities.

The 67,000 square-foot building is on a nine-and-a-half-acre lot, making further expansion possible as the city and police force grows.

Chief Callaghan says the upgrade was long overdue.

“The previous building had 92 structural cracks in the foundation,” says Callaghan. “It had seven different heating and cooling systems that didn’t talk to each other, we were cramped for space that we could not have members from other police services come in to have meetings let alone do joint-forces opportunities in training, as well as operation issues.

“That’s why having this facility, we’re able to do those. And that’s why you’re seeing the numbers that we have currently with respect to the amazing work done by our drug unit and project renewal.”

The police chief says that consideration was taken towards reducing costs where possible.

“We have on-site training capabilities which will assist us in lowering our budget when we’re looking at training for our members, both sworn and civilian, as we move forward.”

Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk attended the opening ceremony, participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and giving a speech on stage.

Read more:
St. Lawrence College changes Indigenous centre’s name

“As the Mayor of the City of Belleville, I am proud to say that our police service is as important to us today as it has ever been to us over the past 231 years,” said Panciuk, addressing the invite-only crowd.

Callaghan says the project cost a total of $26 million to complete and was nearly two decades in the making.

“When we look at the cost of policing, right across North America, it’s one of the most, it’s one of the highest or one of the most expensive budgets in any community,” Callaghan says. “And while we’re always trying to ensure that we’re being frugal with our money, we need the community to understand that the whole concept of community safety is not necessarily expensive, but it’s priceless. And it’s something that we are very, very fortunate to have here in our community, and something we want to keep.”

The final approval of the concept design for the new headquarters was given in 2018, with officers moving in last fall.

“This is a building about the community,” says Callaghan. “This building has a community boardroom … that is a boardroom to be dedicated to non-profit organizations, which they’ll be able to use in the future. And we want that environment of having a welcoming approach to the community. Because, after all, this building is about the community.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Quebec judge refuses request for fully vaccinated jury at Montreal trial

A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled a juror doesn’t need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in a Montreal fraud trial.

Justice Mario Longpré wrote in ruling released Friday that full immunization wasn’t necessary and cited privacy concerns and jury representativeness in his ruling.

The accused in the trial had brought the request, citing a recent decision in Ontario that saw an Ottawa judge rule that all jurors participating in a murder trial would need to be fully inoculated with two doses of vaccine. That ruling cited concerns about the Delta variant and rising case counts.

But Ontario’s Juries Act allows those who aren’t physically able to perform their duties to be declared ineligible, a distinction that doesn’t exist in Quebec, where the law only allows those with mental incapacity or impairment to be exempted, Longpré wrote.

READ MORE: Quebec reports 837 new COVID-19 cases, 75% of which are inadequately vaccinated

“The Jurors Act applicable in Quebec does not allow it to declare candidate jurors disqualified by reason of a physical incapacity, even if it were to be concluded that the fact of not being adequately vaccinated constitutes such an incapacity,” the judge wrote.

Courts have differed on full vaccination for jurors in recent Canadian judgments. One decision from B.C. Supreme Court last month did not allow the Crown to ask jurors questions about their vaccination status, citing privacy.

In the Ontario ruling, the judgment also did not allow prospective jurors to be asked why they weren’t vaccinated, limiting the question to if they were or not.

“The principle of selection of juries in Canada is also based on the fundamental principle of respect for the privacy of candidate jurors,” Longpré wrote.

READ MORE: Appeal for more time as Quebec holds firm on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for health workers

Longpré said selecting a jury made up of those who are adequately vaccinated also raises privacy issues which are protected by the province’s human rights charter as well as Quebec’s Civil Code.

The automatic exclusion of non-vaccinated jurors could create problems for representativeness from the outset of the selection process, which could create issues for things like impartiality, Longpré wrote.

There is no vaccination requirement for Quebec justice system actors and the province’s vaccine passport isn’t used for courthouses, he added.

The judge also noted jury trials have taken place without major issues or delays during the pandemic and the province has gone with 14 jurors to ensure trials can run smoothly.

He wrote jurors should be made aware of the health measures as well as the fact that people might not be adequately vaccinated, and they should be allowed to ask for an exemption for COVID-19 concerns.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

SpaceX capsule with world's first civilian crew set to land

WATCH ABOVE: SpaceX launches first amateur astronaut crew to orbit Earth

The quartet of newly minted citizen astronauts comprising the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission were due to splash down in the Atlantic off Florida on Saturday, completing a three-day flight of the first all-civilian crew ever launched into Earth orbit.

To prepare for atmospheric re-entry and return to Earth, the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle completed two rocket “burns” on Friday to lower its altitude and line up the capsule’s trajectory with the targeted landing site.

The Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience, is scheduled to parachute into the sea around 7 p.m. Eastern time, shortly before sunset, according to SpaceX, the private rocketry company founded by Tesla Inc electric automaker CEO Elon Musk.

Read more:
SpaceX launches first all-civilian crew into Earth’s orbit

SpaceX supplied the spacecraft, launched it from Florida and flew it from the company’s suburban Los Angeles headquarters.

The Inspiration4 team blasted off on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral atop one of SpaceX’s two-stage reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

Within three hours the crew capsule had reached a cruising orbital altitude of just over 363 miles (585 km) – higher than the International Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope, and the farthest any human has flown from Earth since NASA’s Apollo moon program ended in 1972.

It also marked the debut flight of Musk’s new space tourism business and a leap ahead of competitors likewise offering rides on rocket ships to well-heeled customers willing to pay a small fortune to experience the exhilaration of spaceflight and earn amateur astronaut wings.

The Inspiration4 team was led by its wealthy benefactor, Jared Isaacman, chief executive of the e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments Inc, who assumed the role of mission “commander.”

He had paid an undisclosed but reportedly enormous sum — put by Time magazine at roughly $200 million – to fellow billionaire Musk for all four seats aboard the Crew Dragon.

Read more:
SpaceX to launch first all-civilian flight into orbit by end of 2021

Isaacman was joined by three less affluent crewmates he had selected – geoscientist and former NASA astronaut candidate Sian Proctor, 51, physician’s assistant and childhood bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, 29, and aerospace data engineer and Air Force veteran Chris Sembroski, 42.

Isaacman conceived of the flight primarily to raise awareness and donations for one of his favorite causes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading pediatric cancer center in Memphis, Tennessee, where Arceneaux was a patient and now works.

The Inspiration4 crew had no part to play in flying the spacecraft, which was operated by ground-based flight teams and onboard guidance systems, even though Isaacman and Proctor are both licensed pilots.

SpaceX already ranked as the most well-established player in the burgeoning constellation of commercial rocket ventures, having launched numerous cargo payloads and astronauts to the space station for NASA.

Two rival operators, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc and Blue Origin, inaugurated their own astro-tourism services in recent months, with their respective founding executives, billionaires Richard Branson and founder Jeff Bezos, each going along for the ride.

Those suborbital flights, lasting a matter of minutes, were short hops compared with Inspiration4’s three days in orbit.

(Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

© 2021 Reuters

Trans-Canada Highway: B.C. project near Alberta enters final phase, closures planned

If you’re planning on travelling between Alberta and B.C. on the Trans-Canada Highway, add some time to your journey.

Starting Monday, ongoing construction on the Kicking Horse Canyon project will ramp up, with multi-day, 24-hour closures occurring until Dec. 1.

According to B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation, the final phase of the project is complex and “traffic disruptions and full highway closures during certain times are necessary to safely carry out the heavy excavation and construction required.”

“Extended multi-day closures, like those in spring 2021, will take place this fall.”

Read more:
Trans-Canada Highway in B.C., near Alberta border, to close for month-long construction shutdown

Traffic stoppages in the canyon earlier this month included single-lane, alternating traffic, daytime and evening half-hour stoppages and overnight closures.

Now, with the highway about to be closed, traffic will be rerouted via highways 93 and 95.

The ministry says the rerouting will add 1.5 hours of travel time, and that roadsigns will provide advance notification of the closure.

The ministry has also set up a calendar as to when the highway will be closed and opened.

There will be exceptions to the closures where the canyon will be reopened to traffic:

Sept. 25-26

  • The closure will be suspended, but shorter-duration stoppages and overnight closures may apply.

Thanksgiving holiday long weekend.

  • The highway will be fully open day and night.

The Kicking Horse Canyon project will create 4.8 kilometres of four-lane road and involves other highway improvements. It’s also part of a Kamloops-to-Alberta four-lane program.

The provincial government says that the stretch of highway carries more than 10,000 vehicles daily during the summer.

For more about the Kicking Horse Canyon project, which is expected to be finished by the winter of 2023-24, visit the B.C. Ministry of Transportation website.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

N.B. education minister says PPC supporters vandalized office in August

WATCH: Following a documented confrontation last month, New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy says supporters of the People’s Party of Canada vandalized his constituency office.

New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy says his constituency office was vandalized in August — and he thinks People’s Party of Canada supporters are to blame.

He claims it happened on or around August 28 — one day after a video shows the minister confronted by a crowd of PPC supporters in Saint John, including leader Maxime Bernier and Saint John-Rothesay candidate Nicholas Pereira.

READ MORE: Maxime Bernier, party supporters, get into heated exchange with N.B. education minister

The group voiced their dissatisfaction with Cardy’s support of COVID-19 vaccines and in-school restrictions.

Cardy, a member of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick, says that the video was just the beginning of a turbulent relationship with those who align themselves with the PPC.

“That led to an outpouring of hate mail, death threats, attacks on my partner, my staff, people who work for the department,” Cardy tells Global News.

In a Facebook post on Friday, the minister detailed the vandalism some three weeks after it allegedly happened — he believes after a rally Bernier attended in Fredericton on August 28.

“Apparently some folks turning up at my constituency office, throwing bricks at the door of the constituency office and then leaving a Bernier flag behind just to make it very clear who’d done it,” says Cardy.

He says the bricks, which had “LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE” written on them, didn’t break the glass but left scuff marks behind.

Three weeks after the alleged incident, scuff marks are still visible on the glass door of Cardy's office.

Three weeks after the alleged incident, scuff marks are still visible on the glass door of Cardy's office.

Travis Fortnum / Global News

Global News made several attempts to contact a People’s Party spokesperson, as well Pereira and even the PPC candidate for New Brunswick Southwest, the riding in which Cardy’s office is located.

None responded to the requests for comment on Cardy’s allegations.

Pereira did, however, make a Facebook post of his own following Cardy’s, insinuating the education minister was fabricating his claims.

“Who falls for this anymore?” Pereira writes.

“If this happened on the date he suggests, August 28th, why wait until 3 days before the election to post about it?”

Supporters in the comment section of the post asked whether Cardy had really called the police at all and accused Cardy of throwing the brick himself.

New Brunswick RCMP confirm to Global News they did receive a related complaint and are investigating.

Global News spoke to a neighbouring business owner in the same plaza as the constituency office who confirmed the scuff marks on the window have been there for “about three weeks.”

Additionally, when on location at Cardy’s office Saturday, Global News observed a second PPC flag had been left.

A neighbouring business owner saying it was placed by someone 20 minutes earlier.

“It’s their decision how they want to behave,” says Cardy, “but in a democracy, at some point, we have to say any use of violence is unacceptable.”

He says he’s received numerous explicit death threats, which he’s reported to public safety as per protocol, but isn’t afraid.

“We’ve got a lot of people here who are living their lives as keyboard warriors, sitting behind a computer thinking that somehow this is going to change the world,” Cardy says.

“They don’t realize there are consequences and real-world impacts.”

Cardy says he’s speaking up because something has to change.

“We ask why people don’t get involved in politics, why women don’t get involved in politics or people from minority communities … they don’t want to put up with this stuff,” he says.

The PPC heads into its second election since its formation without much to lose, having no seats at the dissolution of Parliament.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Elks turn to rookie QB Cornelius as 5-1 Bombers visit Saturday

The spotlight on Saturday night will be on 26-year-old rookie quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who will get the start for the Edmonton Elks when they host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.

On Thursday, Elks quarterback Trevor Harris was placed on the team’s six-game injured list because of a neck injury sustained during the Labour Day rematch last Saturday against the Calgary Stampeders.

Cornelius, who played college football at Oklahoma State University, won the backup quarterback job in training camp and has only seen work on short-yardage situations. He hasn’t had full reps this week as Harris was cleared to practise before pulling himself on Wednesday.

Cornelius took the news in stride.

“I found out Wednesday after our Day 2 practice that I’d be starting this week,” Cornelius said.

“(Elks head coach) Jamie (Elizondo) called me into his office and told me the news. After that, I continued to get prepared and get ready for the game.”

LISTEN BELOW: Edmonton Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius on adapting to CFL game in his rookie season.

Elizondo has some history with Cornelius from their days with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL, where Elizondo was the offensive co-ordinator. In five games, including four starts, Cornelius passed for 858 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. He added 114 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns.

Elizondo says Cornelius brings a lot of attributes that quarterbacks need.

“A lot of poise, obviously he has a cannon for an arm,” Elizondo said. “I think his composure and his toughness… he’s just very even-keeled.

“He’s played in some big environments but I think his strengths are his toughness, arm strength, his accuracy and his poise.”

Read more:
Elks place QB Trevor Harris on 6-game injured list with neck injury

The task for Cornelius and the rest of the Elks is a formidable one on Saturday as they face the 5-1 Bombers who are in first place in the Western Division. The Bombers have scored the most touchdowns in the CFL with 15. They have the best turnover ratio in the league at plus-12, and are tied for the best red-zone touchdown success rate at 67 per cent.

LISTEN BELOW: Edmonton Elks head coach Jamie Elizondo on his team finding their identity.

For the first time as a member of the green and gold, offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers will play in a game and start at left tackle.

Rogers was originally signed by the team in the 2019 off-season but tore his tricep in training camp and missed the entire season. He’s been out for the last two months because of a chest injury sustained back in the first week of training camp.

SAM linebacker Derrick Moncrief will make his Elks debut after signing with the team on Sept. 7.

Moncrief played three seasons for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, having his best season in 2019 when he was named a Western Division and CFL All-Star. Moncrief was most recently with the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL.

Other changes see defensive end Kwaku Boateng being placed on the one-game injured list with a leg injury.

Thomas Costigan will make his second start of the season on the defensive line. He has eight defensive tackles, two quarterback sacks, two pass knockdowns and one tackle for a loss.

The following are the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Elks:


Quarterback: Taylor Cornelius

Running back: James Wilder Jr. (fullback: James Tuck)

Offensive line: SirVincent Rogers, Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, David Beard, Matt O’Donnell, Kyle Saxelid

Receivers: Derel Walker, Greg Ellingson, Shai Ross, Mike Jones, Earnest Edwards


Defensive line: Mathieu Betts, Jake Ceresna, Mike Moore, Thomas Costigan

Linebackers: Nyles Morgan, Kieshawn Bierria, Derrick Moncrief

Defensive backs: Jonathon Mincy, Trumaine Washington, Jordan Hoover, Aaron Grymes, Jonathon Rose

You can hear live coverage of Saturday’s game between Elks and Blue Bombers on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kickoff at 6 p.m.

The opening kickoff on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium will be at 7:45 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus, hear analysis from Blake Dermott and Eddie Steele.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

No easy fix to build back Winnipeg's downtown core, advocates say

Getting people back downtown is the biggest issue facing downtown Winnipeg.

That’s according to Loren Remillard, president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, who says stepping up policing in the downtown core isn’t the answer to help people feel safer.

Read more:
COVID-19: Manitoba reports 88 new cases, 1 death

“Recognizing that the safety issue goes hand-in-hand with underlying social challenges our community and communities across the country are facing,” he says. “It’s really going to require bringing a lot of groups together to say, ‘how do we address these underlying social issues that are really macro-issues,’ and respond to the need to create safe spaces for people.”

Remillard says he’s seeing a steady stream of office workers coming back downtown, which he says is going to help small downtown businesses recover.

He says if there are more people downtown, especially working downtown, it helps boost the area, but it’s more than just office employees heading back to their desk.

“Going to restaurants, events and to enjoy parks in our downtown is definitely an issue. But one thing we know is more feet on the street creates both real and perceived feeling of safety.”

Remillard says a persistent issue plaguing downtown is inadequate lighting, but there’s a lot more work if we want to create a safe and welcoming downtown Winnipeg.

“The downtown report released from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ shows 69 per cent of those surveyed believe government should spend more money to help our downtown recover. Working with the Downtown BIZ and other members in the downtown to really pull together ideas and strategies to formulate a plan so that we can present to government, at all three levels.”

Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth says the force has stepped up their foot patrols in the past few years but ensuring your safety and the safety of others is about situational awareness no matter where you are in the city.

“We’re seeing evidence of people congregating in bus shelters and parks overnight. For people that have never really witnessed that before, it affects their perception of downtown.”

Smyth says the return of entertainment, such as the Winnipeg Jets, is going to bring a lot more people downtown, which in turn enhances public safety.

Read more:
BIZ launches new outdoor workspace in downtown Winnipeg

In terms of what Mayor Brian Bowman believes the downtown core needs, he says it’s bringing more office workers back downtown.

Bowman says more foot traffic is going to help lower safety concerns but helping downtown businesses recover is going to take a few years.

“We know that disproportionately, this pandemic has hit certain demographics and communities very differently. There is absolutely more work that all levels of government need to do,” he says. “Municipal isn’t the primary level of government for social services, mental health or housing, but we have a role to play, so we’re trying to do what we can with the levers that we have.”

Bowman says the federal government has provided some financial support to recoup losses from running nearly empty buses throughout the pandemic so frontline workers always had a ride to work.

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is looking to the future while focusing on the current recovery plan.

Famers markets and afternoon concerts are some of the events organized by Kate Fenske’s team.

Fenske is the CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and says while the downtown recovery is looking up, there is still a lot more work to be done.

“We spent the summer talking with Winnipegers. We met with over 100 individuals from 100 organizations and 20 roundtables and one-on-one chats to really understand what is the current situation. We spent a lot more time talking about what is our future going to look like and what do we all need to do to help our downtown recover.”

Read more:
Anti-vaccination rage at local businesses misplaced, says Winnipeg restaurant owner

Fenske says the pandemic brought several downtown issues to the surface and rebuilding the area is going to take all of Winnipeg and that the city can’t afford another lockdown, especially in the downtown core.

“It’s about taking action. Some of these quick wins we can look at, whether that’s events like expanding or supporting existing or new events. What can we do around parks or greenspaces downtown? And also encourage people to consider downtown as an option to live because it’s great to walk around and have so many great things close by.”

Fenske says they’re planning to release the full Downtown Winnipeg BIZ recovery plan this fall.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Trudeau warns Canadians against splitting vote in dead heat federal election

WATCH: Will Trudeau's pandemic election gamble pay off for his party Monday?

With the Canadian election in a dead heat two days before the Sept. 20 vote, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and his Conservative rival implored supporters to stay the course and avoid vote splitting that could hand their opponent victory.

Both men campaigned in the same seat-rich Toronto region on Saturday as they tried to fend off voter defections to the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) and the populist People’s Party of Canada (PPC), both of which are rising in polls.

The latest Sondage Leger poll conducted for the Journal de Montreal and the National Post newspapers put the Conservatives one percentage point ahead of Trudeau’s Liberals, with 33 per cent over 32 per cent. The NDP was at 19 per cent while the PPC was at 6 per cent.

Read more:
Trudeau open to electoral reform, says he is a fan of ranked ballots

Trudeau, 49, called an early election, seeking to convert approval for his government’s handling of the pandemic into a parliamentary majority. But he is now scrambling to save his job, with Canadians questioning the need for an early election amid a fourth pandemic wave.

“Despite what the NDP likes to say, the choice is between a Conservative or a Liberal government right now,” Trudeau said in Aurora, Ontario. “And it does make a difference to Canadians whether we have or not a progressive government.”

Trudeau has spent two of the final three days of his campaign in Ontario where polls show the NDP could gain seats, or split the progressive vote.

A tight race could result in another minority government, with the NDP, led by Jagmeet Singh, playing kingmaker. It has also put a focus on turnout, with low turnout historically favouring the Conservatives.

With polls suggesting a Liberal minority may be the most likely result on Monday, Trudeau was pressed on whether this could be his last election. He responded: “There is lots of work still to do, and I’m nowhere near done yet.”

If voters give Trudeau a third term, everything they dislike about him “will only get worse,” Conservative leader Erin O’Toole told supporters on Saturday, saying his party was the only option for anyone dissatisfied with the Liberals, in a dig at the PPC.

The PPC, which has channeled anger against mandatory vaccines into surprising support, could draw votes away from the Conservatives in close district races, helping the Liberals eke out a win.

On Saturday, the Liberals announced they would drop a candidate over a 2019 sexual assault charge that the party said was not disclosed to them. Kevin Vuong, a naval reservist running in an open Liberal seat in downtown Toronto, denied the allegations on Friday, noting the charge was withdrawn.

Read more:
Canada Election: Black, Indigenous voters lament leaders shying away from race-based issues

“Mr. Vuong will no longer be a Liberal candidate, and should he be elected, he will not be a member of the Liberal caucus,” the party said in a statement on Saturday.

Earlier this month, Liberal member of parliament Raj Saini ended his re-election campaign amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards female staffers.

O’Toole, 48, campaigned in Saini’s district on Saturday, one of three Liberal ridings he is hoping to swing his way. Earlier, he appeared in a Conservative-held riding west of Toronto that was closely fought during the 2019 election.

The area’s member of Parliament, who is not running again, came under fire last spring for saying COVID-19 lockdowns were the “single greatest breach of our civil liberties since the internment camps during WW2.”

O’Toole, who said he wants to get 90 per cent of Canadians vaccinated, has refused to say who among Conservative Party candidates were.

© 2021 Reuters

Over 50% of commercial vehicles recently inspected in Edmonton deemed a risk to others: police

The Edmonton Police Service says a recent inspection blitz on commercial vehicles in the city resulted in 52 per cent of the vehicles being declared “out of service.”

That designation means “the vehicle had a defect that was an immediate risk to the safety of other road users,” police said in a news release issued Friday.

“Comparing these statistics to those from the 2019 inspection, the out-of-service rate has increased by 10 per cent, with a similar number of inspections conducted,” police said.

Police said 30 per cent of vehicles passed their inspection and 18 per cent of the vehicles required non-urgent attention.

The EPS considers a commercial vehicle to be one that is registered commercially and that is used for the transportation of goods and services.

The vehicle inspections were conducted between Tuesday and Thursday and saw 216 commercial vehicles reviewed at three sites across Edmonton.

According to police, the “most dangerous vehicle” members came across was a semi-truck towing heavy trailers that was found to not have its cargo properly secured and which had mechanical issues relating to its brakes and trailer attachment points. Along with 27 other vehicles, the truck was towed because of its “dangerous condition.”

“The bulk of our inspections this year looked at commercial vehicles travelling in and around the city of Edmonton,” said Sgt. Dave Beattie, with the EPS’ commercial vehicle investigation unit. “It’s important to note that despite the one very dangerous semi-truck we found, most of the long-distance highway trucks we see are in safe condition.

“So while the results are not indicative of the transport industry as a whole, it shows that there is work to be done within certain sectors.”

READ MORE: Nearly half of vehicles failed commercial inspection in Edmonton 

In total, the EPS said the inspections resulted in 601 violations discovered, resulting in 174 tickets issued totalling $56,376. Police also said two charges were laid for suspended driving.

For more information on commercial vehicle inspections in Edmonton, click here.

Watch below: (From September 2017) A recent inspection blitz of commercial vehicles in Edmonton found that over half of the vehicles checked were deemed to be unsafe on the road. Quinn Ohler reports.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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