Six stories in the news for Thursday, Aug. 29
B.C. ANTI-GANG UNITS TARGETING KIDS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
A senior officer in the RCMP's gang enforcement unit in Surrey, B.C., says he didn't expect to find himself working in elementary schools. Sgt. Mike Sanchez says there are already signs of kids glorifying what he describes as a "gang lifestyle." He says they wear clothes mimicking older kids who sell drugs and show no surprise when his team gives its presentation. A task force on gang violence found that while many promising programs, they often operate in silos and with limited budgets. The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit says the average age of a gangster on the Lower Mainland remains in the late 20s. But the task force found teens and young adults can be attractive partners for older, more entrenched gangsters who may direct them to kill, which reduces the risk of retaliation and criminal charges.
FACTS AREN'T FAIL PROOF IN POLITICS: SURVEY
A survey probing how people use facts to form beliefs suggests that even when given accurate information, many people still get the facts wrong. The Digital Democracy Project told poll participants that Canada is not on track to meet its climate-change commitments, which is true. But even when armed with that fact, barely half of those surveyed then correctly answered a question on the subject. Researchers say the results show it is possible for journalists and politicians to correct the record, but not easy. The project, led by the Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University, is exploring how people's ideas are shaped by the information they consume and in turn how that might shape their vote this fall.
FUNERAL TODAY FOR B.C. TEEN WHO DIED OF APPARENT OVERDOSED
A celebration of life is set to be held today for a 14-year-old British Columbia boy whose apparent drug overdose death was captured on video and posted to social media. Carson Crimeni's death on Aug. 7 in Langley, B.C., is under investigation by RCMP and B.C.'s police oversight body, the Independent Investigations Office. Crimeni was found that night in an area near the skateboard park and was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead. RCMP have set up a 24-hour tip line seeking anyone who may have seen Crimeni in the hours before he died, as well as anyone who might have seen him with any other groups of people. An obituary published by Crimeni's family last week described the teen as a "fun-loving jokester" who had "dreams of becoming a veterinarian or chef." The funeral is to take place this afternoon in a Langley church.
HOSPITAL TO DEVELOP THERAPY GEARED TOWARD SOUTH ASIANS
Canada's largest mental health hospital is developing a specialized form of psychotherapy that will be catered toward Canadians of South Asian origin. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto says it hopes to have a culturally adapted manual on the specialized form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, as well as a therapist training package ready by November. CAMH psychiatrist Dr. Farooq Naeem says he will be consulting with patients, caregivers, mental health professionals and community leaders on the project. He says evidence shows that CBT is as good as medications to treat depression and anxiety, as well as to prevent relapse. He says he hopes the culturally adapted C-B-T will help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health for South Asians and encourage members of the community to seek help if needed.
LIBERALS PLEDGE $1.5M TO TACKLE CAMPUS ASSAULT
The Liberal government is committing up to $1.5 million to help colleges and universities get better at dealing with sexual violence on campus. Maryam Monsef, the minister for women and gender equality, says the money is to be spent over two years to fill gaps in resources that post-secondary institutions need to tackle the problem. Student groups welcomed the effort but said those promises should be backed up by the resources and oversight needed to make them work. The Liberal government committed $5.5 million over five years toward the initiative in the 2018 federal budget, which also came with a threat. The budget said that beginning this year, the federal government would consider holding back funding from institutions that are not putting "best practices addressing sexual assaults on campus" into place.
YOUR WARD NEWS PUBLISHER SET TO BE SENTENCED
The publisher of a free Toronto newspaper that promoted hatred against Jews and women is expected to be sentenced today. The prosecution wants 77-year-old LeRoy St. Germaine jailed for six months. St. Germaine was found guilty in January of two hate counts but sentencing has been delayed repeatedly. A week ago, the editor of Your Ward News was given a one-year term. The judge said he would have given James Sears a stiffer sentence had the law had allowed. The judge said the publication promoted hate to a large audience, both in print and online.
ALSO IN THE NEWS:
— Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi makes a coal mine reclamation project announcement.
— B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin is expected to sentence James Oler, a former leader of a polygamous sect in Bountiful, B.C. Oler was convicted of removing a child from Canada to marry a member of his fundamentalist church in the United States.
— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan will make an announcement today at the BC Hydro Trades Training Centre.
— Closing arguments take place today in the trial of David and Collet Stephan. They are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life in the death of their son Ezekiel from meningitis.
— Edmonton MP Randy Boissonnault to announce federal funding to help Alberta commercialize health-care products.