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  • Storm Strands Boaters in Middle of Okanagan Lake

    Three visitors to the Okanagan have a new respect for Mother Nature and a new appreciation for Vernon Search and Recue. On Tuesday August 23 2022 the three were on Okanagan Lake riding an inflatable device when gusts of wind blew the craft into the middle of the lake. Having only small paddles and no lifejackets. they were not prepared for the situation . Luckily, one of the group had a cell phone and was able to contact authorities. According to VSAR's Coralie Nairn “They were very fortunate” Vernon SAR responded to the emergency about 9:30 Tuesday evening. The operation took a couple of hours. The "boaters" were returned to where their adventure started, a campground/beach on the West side of Okanagan lake. Storm cells had passed through the Okanagan Valley the day before the rescue prompting a weather alert from Environment Canada. There was no weather alert August 23rd but the storm could be seen building for several hours. The storm cells brought Lightning, rain and winds estimated at 35kph to the area. Vernon Search and Rescue has been in operation since 1960. VSAR has about 60 members and volunteers that contribute over 6000 hours of their time. VSAR responds to 60-80 calls annually as well as assisting other SAR in the area. VSAR capabilities include snowmobile, rope, boat, swift water, ice, ground search, off-road vehicle, mountain bike, and helicopter rescues. VSAR was the unit that championed and then piloted the development of the Helicopter Winch Rescue program for volunteer ground SAR in all of Canada.

  • Shootout at Canadian Bank, Two Dead, 6 Injured

    Saanich Bank Shootout UPDATE July 1, 2022: Police say the vehicle used by the suspects in last Wednesday's shootout contained "multiple explosive devices". Firearms were also found in the suspect vehicle. Police are also asking for the publics' help tracking the whereabouts of the white 1992 four-door Toyota Camry in the days leading up to the botched robbery that left two suspects dead and six Saanich and Victoria police with gunshot wounds, some very serious. The vehicle has two very distinctive black racing stripes that run the length of the car over the hood roof and trunk If you have any information re the location of the vehicle before the robbery you're asked to contact police. As of Thursday, the Coroner's service had not identified the two deceased suspects. UPDATE: Saanich Police Chief Dean Duthie held a press conference today. In part he said, "Of the six officers injured at yesterday's botched bank robbery and subsequent shootout, three have been released from hospital and are recovering at home with their families. Three officers sustained what were considered life-threatening injuries at the time of the incident. These officers remain in hospital following surgery. One of these officers will require additional surgeries and treatment over the coming months, and one of these officers remains in the Intensive Care Unit following surgery and will require additional surgeries and treatment over the coming months." "Explosive devices were discovered during the incident in a vehicle associated to the suspects. Homes and businesses in close proximity to the scene of the incident were evacuated for safety, while the BC RCMP Provincial Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) attended to address the devices. Earlier this afternoon, the explosive devices were transported to Hartland Landfill Facility by EDU and safely destroyed. Some residents and businesses remain unable to return to their homes and places of work as officers continue to process the crime scene." This remains an ongoing police incident. Shelbourne Street, between Cedar Hill Cross Road and Donnelly Avenue, will remain closed today during the investigation. Officers continue to investigate the potential of a third suspect involved in this incident. However, at this time we do not have information to believe that there is a risk to the public. We will continue an ongoing risk assessment and keep the community apprised of any updates. Watch the Saanich press conference for Wednesday, June 29th 2022 HERE Shelli Fryer, a woman who claims to have been in the Saanich bank at the time of yesterday's botched robbery, says the two male suspects she saw were carrying assault rifles and wearing body armor, right down to their shins. Their heads and faces were covered with balaclavas. She remarked how calm the pair appeared to be. Fryer estimates about twenty-two people were in the bank at the time of the robbery, and most of the hostages were customers. Graphic Video Taken By Eye Witness Shelli Fryer phoned a radio talk show and recounted her experience. She heaped praise on the officers that ended her ordeal. Three of the six Greater Victoria ERT members shot at yesterday's botched bank robbery in Saanich BC remain in hospital. Two of the officers underwent surgery yesterday. No details are available for the third injured member still in care. Dozens of shots rang out around 11 am yesterday at a Saanich Bank of Montreal branch at 3616 Shelbourne street. When the smoke cleared, two suspects were dead and six police officers were injured, presumably from gunshot wounds. Saanich and Victoria Police took to Twitter to thank the public for the outpouring of support they've received on Social Media, Check out the comments on Twitter Chief Constable Dean Duthie, Saanich police, updated the public today regarding a brazen daylight shootout between suspects in a bank robbery and a special ERT team known as GVERT (Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team). The shootout ended with two suspects being shot dead at the Bank of Montreal at 3616 Shelbourne street in Saanich. Six GVERT team members received gunshot wounds. All 6 were transported to Emergency. The area around the bank remained behind police lines and closed to the public as police searched the area for a possible 3rd suspect as well as a possible explosive device in a vehicle believed to be associated with the suspects... Chief Constable Dean Duthie held a press conference on June 28, 2022 "I can confirm that 2 suspects are dead and several members of GVERT have been transported to the hospital during an ongoing incident at a bank in Saanich today". "A shelter-in-place advisory remains in effect for the area... north dairy road/ cedar hill crossroad... Richmond road to cedar hill crossroad... as officers search for a potential 3rd suspect". "At approximately, 11 am this morning officers with the GVERT responded to reports that two armed men had entered a Bank in 3600 block of Shelbourne street in Saanich. Multiple officers responded to the scene and encountered an armed suspect who fired at police. Two suspects were shot by police and died at the scene. Six GVERT members suffered gunshot wounds and were transported to hospital. At this time we anticipate some officers will be released following emergency treatment, whereas other officers sustained more serious injuries and have been taken to surgery". "We will provide conditions of all officers as soon as we are able to. We are keeping families updated and we are doing everything we can to support them and all other staff". "Three of the ERT are members of the Saanich police department.... three are with the Victoria police department". "At this time we do not believe any bank employees, customers or members of the public have been injured". "The incident is ongoing and there is a heavy police presence in the vicinity... Homes and businesses in the vicinity have been evacuated due to the presence of a potential explosive device in a vehicle confirmed to be associated with the suspects". "The RCMP and Victoria police department have augmented the Saanich police response, Central Saanich police, Oak Bay police, and the West Shore RCMP. Vancouver Island Major Crime is also assisting". "Since this was a police-involved shooting, the Independent Investigation Office (IIO) will be investigating the incident". "We will provide further updates regarding the emergency response Updates can be found at or vicpdcanada on Twitter" "To the community of Saanich, I want you to know on this very challenging day, police service remains active and officers will continue to respond to your calls for service" The area lockdowns were lifted Tuesday evening

  • Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Overturned by SCOTUS

    Friday, June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned a landmark decision commonly known as Roe vs Wade. The legal decisions around that case are widely credited with legalizing abortion in the United States. For the last 49 years, the Roe v. Wade ruling has protected a pregnant woman's right to have an abortion. Before Roe vs Wade, abortion law was determined mostly by individual states. Getting an abortion before Wade, for reasons other than medical was often impossible. That all ended on January 22, 1973, when a 7-2 SCOTUS decision replaced the existing abortion law. Abortion law, in every state of the union, was suddenly under federal jurisdiction and a constitutional right At the time of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme court found the 5th and 14th Amendments to the US constitution prohibited governments' arbitrary deprivation of "life, liberty, or property". That essentially legalized abortion nationwide. But, the court also wrote the right to an abortion was "not absolute", creating a "trimester timetable". The Original Roe v. Wade SCOTUS Trimester Timetable: - For the first 3 months of pregnancy, no regulations preventing abortion. - For the second 3 months, some regulations were in place to protect the mother's health but not that of the fetus. - For the final 3 months, the SCOTUS ruled abortions could indeed be regulated, or even banned as long as provisions were in place to allow the procedure when the life or health of the woman was at risk. In 1992 a second SCOTUS decision regarding abortion in the United States was reached. In the case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the trimester framework established by the court in their Roe v. Wade decision was overruled. That allowed a woman to have unrestricted access to an abortion at any point in the pregnancy, right up to birth. That was where abortion laws remained in the US until recently. Then, Texas lawmakers found a workaround to Roe and Casey, essentially prohibiting abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization the Texas "workaround", known as "Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act' was challenged. The plaintiff argued the Texas "workaround" restricting abortions to less than 6 weeks gestation except for "medical emergencies" or a "severe fetal abnormality" violated a woman's constitutional right to an abortion based on the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision. On June 24th a draft SCOTUS decision was leaked indicating that Roe vs Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey was about to be overturned as a result of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. That would, for the most part, give abortion laws back to individual states. Anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court decision, many states had prepared so-called "trigger laws" that would go into effect after the SCOTUS decision regarding abortion was made official. Professor Greer Donley, an expert in reproductive health care law at the University of Pittsburgh is quoted in the publication Politico as saying it could take months for all the legal maneuvering to be completed and for the nation to have a more definitive picture of where "abortion is legal". The professor fears “immediate total chaos” and "a real nightmare" for both abortion providers and patients. Kentucky, South Dakota, and Louisiana are the only states that will immediately ban most abortions. States' trigger laws generally need certification by lawmakers before they come into effect. That may take weeks. Its also uncertain if the reversal on Roe and Casey will revert state law to a pre "Roe/Casey" era. Until those details are ironed out it's generally believed current federal abortion laws will remain in effect. But that's not certain. The Supreme Court of the United States will have no effect on Canadian abortion law. Abortion in Canada is legal and is publicly funded. In Canada, a woman can choose to have an abortion at any time during pregnancy. Despite Canada being the only nation with absolutely no criminal restrictions on abortion, few providers offer abortion care beyond 23 weeks and 6 days without a medical reason. Further reading

  • $359 Million to Fight BC Forest Fires in 2022

    Katrine Conroy, BC Minister of Forests promised $359 million dollars and some policy changes to better prepare the BC Wildfire Service to combat wildfires. The changes include a partnership with indigenous communities BC Wildfire Service will be receiving $359 million dollars in new funding to help protect British Columbians from a repeat of the 2021 devastating wildfire season. $145 million is earmarked to transform the BCWS into a year round operation. It will also shift from its current reactive model to a more proactive model The BC wildfire service will focus on a Four Pillars approach. Prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. $26 million of the $359 million is capital funding to upgrade BCWF facilities... Minister Conroy promised to double local wildfire prevention funds. A $90 million will be administered through BC's Firesmart program. Administered by BC union of municipalities in partnership with the first nations emergency services society, homeowners and communities will be able to access "tools and information" hopefully reducing fire risk on the ground Minister Conroy acknowledged traditional knowledge how to "prevent and manage wildfires on their territories" As part of the announced partnership with indigenous communities, BC wildfire will be expanding cultural and prescribed burning. Meteorologist and lead weather predictor for BC Wildfire Service, Matt McDonald reported a slow start to this year's fire season. He said temperatures have been 2-3 degrees lower than average and most of the province has been wetter as well. McDonald stressed there are some dry areas BCFS is keeping an eye on. AS of the beginning of June 2022, there have been 137 wildfires, half the number that might be considered "normal". So far the outlook is good, but, McDonald says it's not possible to predict farther than 2 weeks into the future. so wildfire activity may pick up near summer's end. Minister Conroy also encouraged everyone to download the BC Wildfire service app. A number of updates are promised on June 7, 2022. One of the updates will allow people to report fires using the BC Wildfire Service app, including the ability to upload pictures as well. Real-time and push notifications will also be available thru the app. The Public can also call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cel phone Thanks in part to a "heat dome" and a significant fuel load on the forest floor, 2021 was the third-worst recorded fire season. From April 1, 2021 to March 28, 2022, 1,642 wildfires burned 869,279 hectares in B.C. Approximately 60 percent of wildfires in 2021 were natural-caused, 35 per cent were human-caused and the remaining 5 percent is undetermined. A provincial state of emergency was declared on July 21, 2021 and stayed in effect for 56 days until Sept. 14, 2021. The wildfires triggered the implementation of 181 evacuation orders and 304 evacuation alerts. The total cost of wildfire suppression from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2021 was about $565 million. Communities like Lytton and Monte Creek were almost completely lost. Dozens of homes throughout the fire area were also consumed. Tragically two lives were lost in Lytton BC The BC government and BC Wildfire Service were highly criticized for their wildfire response in 2021, especially by those living in Monte Creek BC.

  • Gas $2.30 Per Litre Canada Average By Summer

    According to GAS BUDDY... the average price for a litre of gasoline in Canada is $206.5 That's the national average, naturally, in British Columbia the average cost for a litre is $2.20, the nation's highest. Some areas are already experiencing fuel prices above $2.30 The national average has jumped 9.7 cents in just one week. .19 cents per litre over last month. This time last year, the national average was $131.0, that's .75 cents lower. Check Out Gas Buddy Gas reached a high of $2.31 per litre in Vancouver, $216.9 per litre in Vernon. According to GasBuddy more bad news is on the way. Gasoline inventories continue to decline, in part because of less refining capacity than before the pandemic. That, combined with a post COVID rise in consumption can only mean more pain at the pump. Rising fuel costs will also push the price of most goods up as well. China’s economy is reported to be returning to full capacity, that puts even more upwards pressure on prices. At the start of June 6th 2022 the price of a barre l of crude was approximately $119 per barrel, down from $123 per barrel last week. There may be some reason for optimism. OPEC has surprised analysts by raising oil production by 648,000 barrels per day, that's higher than the 432,000 barrel increase expected by the member states. Analysts warn the average price per litre nationwide could reach $2.30 this summer.

  • Johnny Depp wins defamation case, Heard vows to appeal

    After just over a dozen hours of deliberation over three days a seven-person jury, comprised of 5 men and 2 women, found Amber Heard did indeed defame her former husband Johnny Depp. The Pirate of the Caribbean star was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million for punitive damages. Depp alleged Heard had defamed him in an op-ed published in the Washington Post where she described the abuse she suffered, writing she was "a public figure representing domestic abuse". Depp claimed the op-ed was aimed directly at him. The Jury apparently agreed. Heard countersued Depp, alleging he defamed her with malicious intent publicly three times. The jury found only one of those allegations to be true. The Aquaman star was awarded punitive damages of $2 million dollars for statements published by Depp's former attorney, Adam Waldman. The jury believed Heard's allegations Waldman was acting on behalf of Depp when he stated publicly her allegations of domestic abuse were a "hoax". Virginia law caps punitive damages at $350 thousand dollars, meaning the $5 million dollars punitive penalty awarded to Depp was immediately reduced by Judge Penney Azcarate, lowering the award for Depp from $15 million to $10.35 million dollars. Heard did win one of her 3 countersuits, and the jury found public statements by former Depp attorney Adam Waldman calling Heard's accusations of domestic abuse against Depp a hoax were defamatory... For that Heard was awarded 2 million dollars. The Hollywood couple divorced in 2017, after what was undoubtedly a torturous marriage. Vicious allegations of physical violence, including sexual assault, were made by both sides. The trial lasted six weeks. Broadcast live on every platform known in the 21st century, it was viewed billions of times. The 24 days of the trial included hours of bitter arguing recorded on both video and audio made by both parties. There was even body cam video provided by police who responded to investigate allegations of abuse by Depp from Heard where no signs of abuse or property damage was found. Both sides claimed physical and mental abuse by the other. Witnesses and experts testified for both sides, often contradicting each other. In the end, Depp's team provided a more convincing argument to the jury, Depp winning by most accounts in the court of public opinion long before the jury made it official. Depp was subject to very tough questioning by Heard's team while giving testimony. In the end, apparently, the jury found him more believable. Heard on the other hand was dogged by her previous testimony. For example, she claimed she donated her $7 million dollar divorce settlement to charity, something she clearly had not done. Her insisting that pledging to do so was the same as making the donation under cross-examination by Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez that seemed to go on forever hurt her credibility. Heard also claimed she received serious injuries inflicted by Depp, including bruises, cuts and even a possible broken nose. Those allegations carried little weight after Depp's lawyers presented photos and videos of Heard taken the day after the alleged assaults took place yet showed no sign of injuries. At one point Heard's team said the reason no bruises were visible was because Heard was wearing makeup. Her team even mentioned the brand Heard used. The company that manufactures the named makeup came out and publicly said that particular product wasn't even being produced at the time of the alleged assault, hurting Heard's credibility even further. Testimony like reports of feces on Johnny Depp's bedroom pillow didn't help Heard's case either. Depp and Heard both released statements after the verdict was read: JOHNNY DEPP'S STATEMENT "Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye. False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought. From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that. I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media. I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the Judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth. The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun. Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes." AMBER HEARD'S STATEMENT "The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously. I believe Johnny's attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. I'm sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American -- to speak freely and openly."

  • Illicit Drugs Decriminalized in British Columbia

    This is not the legalization of illicit drugs: Federal Minister Bennett Canadian Federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, Carolyn Bennett announced she is decriminalizing possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. Starting January 31st, 2023, 18 and over adults in BC will no longer be subject to criminal charges for possession of fewer than 2.5 grams of certain drugs for personal use. British Columbia had requested possession of up to 4.5 grams of illicit drugs be decriminalized. Health Canada approved the time-limited exemption in response to a request made by the Province of BC in February of last year. Minister Carolyn Bennett began by acknowledging Vancouver and BCs leadership dealing with the opioid crisis, specifically referring to the "Four Pillars" and Harm Reduction initiative. Vancouver was the first Canadian city to open safe injection sites like Insite. Bennett went on to blame "ideological opposition" to "Harm Reduction" stating that opposition has "cost lives" "BC has been the epicenter of the drug crisis for several years," Bennett said, reminding attendees that in 2016 the provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendal declared BC's opioid crisis a public health emergency. "Since 2016 there have been over 9400 overdose deaths due to toxic illicit drug deaths. In 2021 alone more than 2200 lives were lost in BC" "affecting thousands of families, some who lost multiple members" Minister Bennett also promised BC an additional 11.78 million dollars for 14 projects thru health Canada. The monies are to scale up prevention, harm reduction and treatment programs supporting those at risk... Despite their efforts, the crisis has grown, exasperated by a toxic illicit drug supply. Critics of the plan say it's a step in the right direction but it does nothing to stop people from dying of an overdose or from contaminated drugs. That, critics say, can only be addressed by providing a safe drug supply. Portugal decriminalized the consumption of all drugs in 2001. The first country to do so. If someone is found to be in possession of drugs in that country they are offered treatment counseling and legal advice. The three-year exemption is for people who possess a small amount of certain illicit substances for personal use. The exemption will be in effect from January 31, 2023, to January 31, 2026, throughout B.C. Drugs include opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA (Ecstasy). Canadian chiefs of police and BC chiefs of police support the announcement. Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Minister Sheila Malcolmson, Bonnie Henry The Minister emphasized this is not legalization, but an exemption to Canadian drug and substances act 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act It remains to be seen if other Canadian provinces follow BCs lead

  • Mysterious Light Flashing on Middleton Mtn, Coldstream, BC

    An unexplained light has been flashing on Middleton Mountain in Coldstream British Columbia, part of the Greater Vernon region for at least two days. The mysterious flashing light was first reported by a couple out for an evening walk. The area on Middleton Mtn where the light appeared to be coming from was searched the following day during daylight but no sign of a light was found. In fact, no lights were found anywhere on Middleton Mountain. That night, the mysterious flashing light appeared again, apparently in exactly the same spot. So far there has been no explanation as to the source of the flashing light, first reported on April 22/22

  • $121m Price Tag For The Proposed "Greater Vernon Active Living Centre"

    UPDATE: Vernon residents will get a chance to vote if the city should borrowing $121 million dollars for the proposed Active Living Centre. A referendum question will be on October 15th election ballot. The question reads: "Are you in favour of "Active Living Centre Loan Authorization Bylaw 5908" which would authorize the Corporation of the City of Vernon to borrow up to $121 million dollars, with interest, over a period not exceeding 30 years in order to finance the construction of an Active Living Centre to be located at 3501 43rd Avenue?" The facility would include a 50m pool, a double gymnasium, multiple sport courts, 80-station fitness centre and 150m synthetic walking/running track To learn more about the proposed facility, the results of public and stakeholder engagement regarding the project, and how to participate in the referendum process. Visit April 23, 2022 $112.5 million to $121.5 million, That's the estimated cost to build the proposed Vernon Active Living Centre endorsed by Vernon City Council. That's $30 million more than the $90 million estimated construction cost estimate back in 2020. The facility, which would include a 50-meter pool, fitness center and indoor walking running track as well as other amenities would also have an annual operating cost double the $600 thousand dollars currently spent running the existing aquatic centre with its 25-meter pool. Operating the proposed Active Living Centre with its 50-meter pool is estimated to be just under $1.5 million annually. The Facility would be built on the property next to Kal Tire Place on 43rd where the Kin race track is currently located If the project goes ahead Vernon taxpayers will have to pay the majority of the cost as neighbouring communities have declined Vernon Councils' requests to participate by sharing the financial burden. Based on an average assessed value of a property within the City of Vernon of $620 thousand dollars, Vernon voters would have to pay an additional $295.50 per year. The citizens of Vernon will be asked to support borrowing the full cost for building the proposed Active Living Centre. Neighbouring communities were asked to participate by Vernon City but so far have declined. In April 2022, the District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C (Area B -Swan Lake, Area C BX / SilverStar) notified the City of Vernon that they have declined to participate in the Active Living Centre project, as proposed. Lumby has also declined to participate in the project. Vernon voters will get the chance to be heard at the next municipal election on October 15th, 2022. That's when voters will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum asking if they want to borrow the $112.5 million to $121.5 needed to build the facility. Completion of the project, if approved, is 3 to 5 years away The existing facility and its 25-meter pool would be repurposed. $121m Price Tag For The Proposed "Greater Vernon Active Living Centre"

  • Elon Musk, live in Vancouver British Columbia

    April 14th 2022 The world's richest man, Elon Musk was in Vancouver Canada today, as a guest speaker at the Ted Talks 2022 conference. Ted Talks dropped its usual $50 per day viewing fee, opening up a live stream for all to watch for free. Recently, the outspoken billionaire shook up the Social Media universe by purchasing 9.2% of Twitter stock. That made Musk Twitter's single largest shareholder. On that news Twitter shares immediately jumped 22%, boosting Musk's initial investment estimated at $2.9 billion to a value of $3.5 billion. Musk had the option to become a Twitter board member, but he declined the position. A position on the board would restrict the amount of shares Musk could own, and it would potentially weaken his position. Early today (April 14th), Musk made an offer to buy all of Twitter, offering $54.20 a share. A move some describe as the first step in a hostile takeover. The market value of Twitter is currently estimated at about $37 billion. During his appearance, Musk laid out his vision for Twitter, should he succeed in purchasing it. Musk believes the world needs an open honest platform where people can freely express their thoughts. A platform that allows everyone to express their opinions openly, except for hate speech, of course, is essential for democracy to work according to the billionaire. Very important to Musk was transparency. He wants to see more openness and transparency regarding Twitter's inner workings. Musk envisions an "open source" platform where anyone can see how Twitter's algorithms determine who or what is allowed or disallowed on the massive social media platform. Musk also spoke of more personal issues as well, describing how his Asperger's disease put him on a different path than many of his peers but eventually made him the man he is today. Musk says gaining control of Twitter isn't a sure thing. Pressed, he admitted there is a "plan B" if his attempts fail Asked if he had the $37 billion needed to make the purchase, Musk 1assured the audience he did. According to Bloomberg, Elon Musk is worth about $260 billion Link to LIVE Stream, Musk spoke around am 11 local time.

  • RCMP Union Fighting Communities Moving to Municipal Policing

    The union representing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the National Police Federation (NPF), is reportedly fighting communities that are considering or in the process of transitioning away from the RCMP to a more local police service. The NPF even publicly criticized an opinion piece recently published in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on March 27th. Columnist Ian Mulgrew's story calls attention to what he describes as BC's "patchwork" of 13 municipal police departments, 65 RCMP municipal detachments, First Nations police, 135 RCMP (appox) detachments, and 20 community safety offices under federal jurisdiction. Also mentioned by Mulgrew, the numerous unanswered calls for a more efficient and accountable regional policing strategy. NPF President, Brian Sauvé responded to the Vancouver Sun article in a letter to the editor. The former front line RCMP officer took issue with the critical tone of the opinion piece stating in part: "76% of Canadians and 75% of British Columbians in RCMP-served communities are satisfied with policing in their community. In fact, support in B.C. actually increased from 71% in December 2020." The NPF has been active in defending RCMP turf in western Canada. In Alberta, the National Police Federation (NPF) has organized town halls promoting the RCMP and telling Albertans they will have to pay more for a provincial police force if they should decide to move in that direction. In BC, the NPF is reportedly funding a campaign to overturn Surrey's transition to a municipal police force, a process that is well underway. In Surrey, Mayoral hopeful Brenda Locke is making the transition a key part of her platform, promising to keep the Mounties. The move away from the RCMP to a Surrey police service was a key issue last election for current Mayor Doug McCullum's campaign, a campaign that focused in part on a lengthy wave of gang violence in the community. Surrey's next municipal election is on October 15th, 2022 Is it even possible to stop the creation and deployment of the Surrey Police Service at this point? Depends who you ask. That question was the focus of a two-part spread in Surreys Peace Arch News. As the back and forth continues, the fledgling Surrey Police Service (SPS) continues to grow, hiring 20 more officers last week, and deploying another 25 to work Surrey streets. As of March 28th, a total of 66 SPS members have been deployed into the RCMP for a few days of orientation before they begin responding to service calls. “With every additional SPS officer deployed, the transition to Surrey’s own police service advances,” says Chief Constable Norm Lipinski. The total number of Surrey Police Service officers hired to date is 196. As members complete their training they will be deployed. Learn more about the transition from Surrey RCMP to the Surrey Police Service HERE By late 2022 the SPS will be the second-largest municipal police force in British Columbia. The Vancouver Police force is the largest. Learn more about the Surrey Police Service HERE

  • RCMP Retroactive Pay Is a Big Hit for British Columbia Communities

    Make no mistake, RCMP members deserve a fair wage. A recently ratified collective agreement between non-commissioned RCMP members and the Federal Government includes several years of retroactive pay. The bill for retroactive pay has to be paid by municipalities served by the RCMP. That's a heavy financial burden, especially for smaller communities RCMP won the well-deserved right to unionize in Canada's supreme court in January of 2015. The RCMP had been barred from forming a union since the 1960s when other government employees unionized Collectively, the bill for the retroactive pay to BC communities served by the RCMP will be in the hundreds of millions. Moving forward there will also be increased costs for the policing service. Vernon alone may be facing an estimated 3.4 million one-time cost for retroactive pay. Looking ahead to the coming years Vernon city spokesperson Christy Poirer estimates that could mean a 2.4% increase for Vernon taxpayers. According to Vernon's Chief Administrative Officer, Will Pearce "2022 will see the full implementation of the RCMP Collective Agreement, the first negotiated Collective Agreement covering regular members. The Collective Agreement will have a significant impact on the operating budgets of municipalities across British Columbia that contract RCMP services. The City of Vernon, on Council direction, has set aside monies to accommodate the resulting retroactive lump sum payment which dates back to 2017. In 2022, the Collective Agreement will add more than $1 million to the City operating budget which equates to a one-time municipal tax rate increase of 2.32%" You can view the proposed Vernon Budget HERE Approximately 70% of a typical municipalities police budget goes to member compensation Proposed Vernon Budget Executive summery

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