B.C. gun report recommendations not implemented despite ongoing violence

More than a year after a report by a B.C. government task force on illegal firearms, several key recommendations have not yet been implemented. Postmedia has learned that forensic testing of some guns used in suspected crimes is not getting done because of a lack of capacity in RCMP forensic labs. And border guards still don’t have access to a B.C. police database that would give them intelligence on organized criminals and gangsters who might be attempting to cross into Canada with firearms or drugs. But retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner Wayne Rideout, who headed the Illegal Firearms Task Force, said a lot of progress has been made implementing other recommendations… Read More

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Radio Atlantic: Pecker Pics and Tabloid Tricks

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently accused the National Enquirer of “extortion and blackmail” over private photos of him obtained by the tabloid. In a Medium post, Bezos shared emails from the Enquirer that threaten to publish those photos unless he accedes to their demands. How did a celebrity magazine get into the rough and tumble world of extortion? On this week’s Radio Atlantic, Alex Wagner is joined by Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker staff writer and CNN’s Chief Legal Analyst. He shares insights from his 2017 profile of the man who runs the tabloid. How did the National Enquirer become what it is today? Why does it pay to silence stories… Read More

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The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet

Is it too early for this? Or is it … too late? Roughly four years ago, when I compiled a cheat sheet of the 2016 candidates, it seemed like an exercise in absurdly early coverage of the presidential election. Yet because so many people were contemplating running (largely on the GOP side of the ledger), it also seemed like a useful service to voters, who might have trouble keeping track of everyone. What a quaint time that was. Halfway through Donald Trump’s first term, the potential field is even more sprawling—this time mostly, though not entirely, made up of Democrats—and the primary feels as if it is, if not in… Read More

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B.C. Hydro’s private power projects wasting billions, says new report

VICTORIA — B.C. Hydro is losing billions of dollars because it was forced by the provincial government to sign contracts with private power producers for the wrong type of power at exorbitant rates, according to a new report. The independent report, commissioned by Energy Minister Michelle Mungall, concluded that the private power contracts will “cost ratepayers an estimated $16.2 billion over 20 years, the estimated period during which B.C. Hydro will likely not need the energy government directed it to buy.” “The annual impact of this surplus energy to B.C. Hydro ratepayers is estimated at $808 million per year, or $200 per year per residential ratepayer, which is equivalent to… Read More

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B.C. NDP MLA’s taxi-driver dad should prompt committee resignation, say Liberals

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s Opposition Liberals say a New Democrat member of the legislature must resign from a committee reviewing ride hailing because his father holds a taxi licence. Liberal Jas Johal says Delta North member Ravi Kahlon should quit the all-party select standing committee on Crown corporations. Kahlon says his father Navroop Singh Kahlon has held a taxi licence in Victoria for almost 30 years, but that should not force him to quit. The committee is preparing a report that would examine and make recommendations on the implementation of ride hailing, and Johal says Kahlon’s participation doesn’t pass the perception of conflict “smell test.” Kahlon says he has an… Read More

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Fact-checking the throne speech: Inflated numbers on doctors and nurse practitioners at urgent-care clinics, gov’t admits

The B.C. government’s throne speech contained misleading information about the number of doctors being hired for 10 urgent-care centres across the province. “These new centres will come with 200 more family practice physicians, 200 nurse practitioners and 50 clinical pharmacists and other health-care providers,” the speech stated. However, when questioned Wednesday about those inflated figures, the Ministry of Health acknowledged the speech “wrongly linked” 400 health professionals to the clinics, five of which have opened and five more that are slated to open by May. Ministry of Health spokeswoman Kristy Anderson said that while “some” of those nurses and doctors will be working at urgent-care facilities, the rest will form… Read More

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Trump Doesn’t Like the Border Deal—But He’ll Probably Sign It Anyway

Much of the lead-up to Friday’s government-funding deadline has felt like deja vu. On Monday night, as with December’s eve-of-shutdown talks, Republicans and Democrats reached a deal that guaranteed only a small fraction of the amount of money the White House demanded for a border wall. And as they had in December, conservative lawmakers bristled at the proposal. Finally, as if on cue, media personalities like Sean Hannity lambasted the compromise as “garbage.” President Donald Trump, however, decided to rewrite his part of the script. Throughout the last government shutdown, Trump was unequivocal in his demands. He made clear in multiple remarks, including his first address from the Oval Office,… Read More

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More fallout from the Plecas report: ‘Protocol’ watches and MLAs who ‘broke the law’

As MLAs returned to Victoria on Tuesday, the spending scandal at the legislature was top of mind, and some action is already being taken to address the Speaker’s explosive report detailing the alleged misuse of taxpayer money. Also Tuesday, before the NDP’s throne speech was delivered, Premier John Horgan told CKNW radio that he knew of no MLAs who are under police investigation. His comments were in response to Speaker Darryl Plecas telling CTV last week that MLAs “broke the law.” In an interview with Postmedia, Plecas said he did not necessarily know if MLAs were under police investigation, but stood by his earlier comment about law-breaking MLAs with one… Read More

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Ian Mulgrew: Legislature offers olive branch to Turpel-Lafond

Suspended legislature Clerk Craig James and former Liberal Attorney-General Geoff Plant have been replaced on the legislature’s legal team in the expensive squabble over the former representative of children and youth’s retirement benefits. The legislature said it has changed lawyers — Don Farquhar, of Victoria’s Pearlman and Lindholm, is now in charge, and James is no longer directing the litigation. Acting Clerk Kate Ryan-Lloyd is instructing counsel. For three years, James directed Plant in the acerbic lawsuit over verbal promises he allegedly made more than a decade ago to lure to B.C. then-Saskatchewan provincial court judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. She maintains in her claim that she became the first children’s… Read More

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B.C. government to deliver throne speech today

VICTORIA – Premier John Horgan’s government will deliver its speech from the throne Tuesday, though the heavy snowfall in Victoria will mean less ceremonial flourish than usual. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin will read the Horgan government’s speech at 2 p.m. But the traditional military honour guard that is present when she arrives at the legislature has been cancelled due to the weather. The premier rejected delaying the annual throne speech, despite snow causing the cancellation and delays of flights and ferries to Victoria. The Liberal, Green and NDP caucuses said most of their MLAs are expected to be at the legislature for the speech. However, early Tuesday morning several MLAs from… Read More

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