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Epilepsy patient refuses to leave Vancouver hospital until her health needs are met

Epilepsy patient refuses to leave Vancouver hospital until her health needs are met


A 22-year-old epilepsy patient is risking arrest — refusing to leave her hospital room at Vancouver General Hospital — claiming the medical system has failed to provide her with a plan of care and that her life is at risk.

Tavia Marlatt has severe epilepsy and can sometimes experience up to 50 seizures a day. Her condition means she can’t live on her own in case she has a seizure and needs someone to administer emergency medication.

Marlatt has been at VGH for the past eight days, undergoing tests to determine whether targeted brain surgery could ease her epilepsy.

Instead, results showed that her epilepsy is critically severe — while doctors thought the seizures were stemming from her left frontal lobe, they’re actually coming from three different spots in her brain.

Because she’s occupying one of just two beds dedicated to seizure assessment in B.C., she’s being discharged on Thursday — a decision she says will put her life in jeopardy.

“I’ve been told that I have to leave the hospital, that [staying] is not an option. So if they need the police to come in here and take me out then that’s fine. If I have to get something put on my criminal record for standing up for what I believe in that’s fine,” she said.

Marlatt and her mother, Renee, who works as a trained special needs caregiver, have been fighting for her right to live at home, rather than have her moved into an institution. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Even spending short amounts of time alone can be dangerous for Marlatt, who recently broke her jaw in four places after experiencing a seizure while walking on the side of the road. She also has borderline personality disorder and cognitive deficits.

Her mother Renee, who works as a trained special needs caregiver, has been fighting for her daughter to live at home and receive support there rather than be moved into an institution.

But the Fraser Health Authority has denied funding that would allow the family to organize in-home care, saying the authority would instead pay for Tavia Marlatt’s care in a group home or at a government-run facility.

“The goal is to get funding so we can hire somebody … while my mom is not home, so that my mom doesn’t come home one day and I’m dead on the floor because there was no one there to put me on my side in the recovery position,” said Marlatt.

“The thought that they think it’s OK for me to go to a group home … that’s also a spit in my face.”

Results from recent tests showed that Marlatt’s epilepsy is more severe than originally thought — while doctors thought the seizures originated from her left frontal lobe, they’re actually coming from three different spots in her brain. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Kim Davidson, executive director of the BC Epilepsy Society, said the family’s position is not meant to be adversarial.

“We’re asking for the basic needs that this young woman requires in order to be safe in our community, that’s it,” she said.

“I think the health-care system needs to [think about] — what does this look like if this turns into a coroner’s inquest?”

Awaiting response from authorities

Davidson said she’s contacted Fraser Health and the minister of health multiple times about the case, with no response. She said that while the doctors working on Marlatt’s case are “extraordinary,” the bureaucracy of the health-care system “is going to cost someone their life.”

Fraser Health previously sent CBC News a statement explaining that in cases like Marlatt’s, community support homes are offered as an option because many caregivers are highly trained to deal with complex care needs.

On Wednesday afternoon B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix declined to comment on the specifics of the case due to privacy.

“It’s going to be the clinicians and the people working on the issue that are going to work out the care plan, they have to work it out with the family with the tools that we have,” he said.

“A disease such as epilepsy puts an enormous burden on everyone involved and I understand that.”

Even spending short amounts of time alone can be dangerous for Marlatt, who recently broke her jaw in four places after experiencing a seizure while walking on the side of the road. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)



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Brampton man departs to collect remains of 6 family members killed in Ethiopia plane crash

Brampton man departs to collect remains of 6 family members killed in Ethiopia plane crash


Manant Vaidya didn’t sleep at all last night. 

Then early Saturday morning, the Brampton, Ont., man departed for a trip that nobody would want to take.

His parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces were all killed last Sunday, when a flight from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa crashed shortly after takeoff. None of the 157 people on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 survived.

“I lost my family,” Vaidya said shortly before boarding a plane at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. “It’s still hard to believe. I’m totally broken.”

Along with his wife and two children, Vaidya is on his way to Ethiopia to collect the remains of his loved ones. Then, he intends to fly to India — where his extended family resides — for final rituals. He has been in frequent contact with officials at both the Canadian and Indian consuls to facilitate transportation of the remains. 

“My priority is to get the closure, to the bodies, to the souls. I want to make sure that they rest in peace,” he said.

Vaidya expects to spend two days in Ethiopia, where he will try to help authorities identify the remains of his family members and visit the field where the Boeing 737 Max 8 slammed into the ground. He said Peel police collected a DNA sample from him on Tuesday that will be used to attempt to distinguish his relatives from the other victims.

He lost his father, Pannagesh Vaidya, 73, and his mother Hansini Vaidya, 67; his sister Kosha Vaidya, 37, and his brother-in-law Prerit Dixit, 45; as well as his two nieces Ashka Dixit, 14, and Anushka  Dixit, 13. The teenage girls, who were both students at schools in Peel, were his sister’s daughters.

From left to right: Ashka Dixit, Prerit Dixit, Kosha Vaidya, and Anushka Dixit. The family was among those killed when a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed in Ethiopia. (Pramesh Nandi/Facebook )

“It’s still unbelievable for me to even digest the news that they are no more,” Vaidya told CBC Toronto. Sometimes he prefers to think that they are still on vacation and that “they are still going to return.”

But he expects the tragic truth of the situation to hit him particularly hard in Addis Ababa.

“Once I get over there, maybe I will face reality. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just want to get the closure and answers to all my questions about what happened and why it happened.”

Answers, however, could still be far off. A team of investigators in Paris have begun examining the black box recorders recovered from the crash site. Experts say it is too soon to know what caused the crash, but aviation authorities worldwide have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX 8s and 9s in response.

Flight data has already indicated some similarities with a crash by the same model of plane during a Lion Air flight in October. All 189 people onboard were killed. Both planes crashed within minutes of takeoff after pilots reported problems.

Investigators have notified other families that it could take up to six months to identify their loved ones

Vaidya says he eventually wants clarity about what led to the crash. But for now, he’s focused on his family. In India, he will gather with other relatives to say goodbye to those they have lost.

Six members of this Brampton family are among the dead in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash. (Garry Asselstine/CBC)



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Compliments brand chicken nuggets recalled due to salmonella risk

Compliments brand chicken nuggets recalled due to salmonella risk


Compliments brand chicken nuggets have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.

The agency says people who bought the chicken nuggets should throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased.

The possibly contaminated chicken nuggets came in a 1.5 kg package with a best-before date of  2019 JL 18. The UPC code is 0 55742 33690 0.

Compliments chicken nuggets were sold across Canada, except in Quebec.

The agency says the recall was triggered during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. On Jan. 25, Crisp & Delicious brand chicken nuggets (1.6 kg, with best-before date of July 19, 2019) were also recalled due to risk of salmonella. Both recalled brands of chicken nuggets were manufactured by Sofina Foods. 

There are currently 59 cases of illness linked to this salmonella outbreak across Canada, but none of those affected have been hospitalized, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The provincial breakdown of cases is:

  • British Columbia – 4
  • Alberta – 13
  • Saskatchewan – 1 
  • Manitoba – 4
  • Ontario – 22
  • Quebec – 4 
  • New Brunswick – 2
  • Nova Scotia – 5
  • Prince Edward Island – 3
  • Newfoundland and Labrador – 1

Food contaminated with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick, with symptoms including fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, the agency noted.

Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems who become ill may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections, the agency warns.

Compliments brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

Compliments brand chicken nuggets with a July 18 2019 best-before date should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)



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Nominees fill out the musical lineup for the 2019 Juno Awards in London

Nominees fill out the musical lineup for the 2019 Juno Awards in London


The lineup of performers at the 2019 Junos Awards just got a bit more diverse.

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced Monday several more artists set to appear on the Mar. 17 broadcast. They include:

  • 2018 Polaris Prize winner and Indigenous artist Jeremy Dutcher
  • Francophone singer-songwriter Coeur de pirate
  • Québec rapper Loud
  • Country music duo The Reklaws

Quebec rapper Loud, whose real name is Simon Cliche Trudeau, is seen here holding his trophy at the Gala Adisq awards in Montreal in October. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

They join electronic dance duo Loud Luxury, singer bülow and Canadian music icon Corey Hart, previously announced  as performers for the annual celebration of Canadian music.

The 2019 Juno Awards will be presented at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. The broadcast will be hosted by Sarah McLachlan.

Dutcher, a member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, won the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. The recording is also up for the Juno for Indigenous music album of the year.

Dutcher will be joined onstage by Toronto violinist Blake Pouliot, who is nominated in the classical album of the year category.

Beatrice Martin performs under the stage name Couer de Pirate.

Couer de Pirate, a six-time Juno nominee, will compete with newcomer Loud for francophone album of the year. But the two Quebec​ artists will also team up for a performance at the show.

The Reklaws are a brother-sister duo from Ontario who are up for country album of the year for their recording Feels Like That.

Siblings Jenna and Stuart Walker, who perform as The Reklaws, are nominated in the country music album of the year category.

The 48th Juno Awards will be broadcast live on Mar. 17 starting at 8 p.m. on CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, the free CBC Gem streaming service, and globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.



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Scheer wants Trudeau to testify on SNC-Lavalin affair

Scheer wants Trudeau to testify on SNC-Lavalin affair


Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appear as a witness at the justice committee probing the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Scheer is holding a news conference at 10 a.m. ET, and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.

A motion from the Conservatives says Trudeau should be called to answer questions given his “alleged direct involvement in a sustained effort to influence SNC-Lavalin’s criminal prosecution.” It calls on the prime minister to appear at a two-hour televised committee under oath.

Scheer called it a “textbook case of government corruption” and said there was an unprecedented attempt to alter the course of justice through political interference.

“Politicians don’t get to execute our justice system,” he said.

Later today, the committee will hear from a number of legal experts. 

Jody Wilson-Raybould, whose resignation from Trudeau’s cabinet on Feb. 12 after a Feb. 7 story in the Globe and Mail touched off the scandal, is expected to testify this week, but an exact time has not yet been confirmed.

Last week, Canada’s top civil servant Michael Wernick told the justice committee that he warned Wilson-Raybould that there would be economic “consequences” from prosecuting SNC-Lavalin, including big job losses. But he maintained that he, Trudeau and officials in the Prime Minister’s Office did not impose any inappropriate pressure on the minister.

Trudeau said Friday that Wernick is an “extraordinary public servant” who has served Canada with “integrity and brilliance.”

“I would recommend that people pay close heed to the words of the clerk of the Privy Council. His service to this country over decades in the public service leaves him well-positioned to understand what institutions are grounded in, and make sure that we’re doing the right things as a government.”

Witnesses scheduled to appear at the justice committee beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET:

  • Mary G. Condon, interim dean of Osgoode Hall Law School.
  • Maxime St-Hilaire, associate professor, Faculty of Law, Université de Sherbrooke.
  • Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, senior associate counsel at Woodward and Company LLP, and professor Peter Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia.
  • Kenneth Jull, lawyer and academic, Gardiner Roberts LLP.
     



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Health Canada suspends licence of Winnipeg cannabis producer Bonify

Health Canada suspends licence of Winnipeg cannabis producer Bonify


Health Canada has suspended the sales licence of Winnipeg-based cannabis producer Bonify.

The federal agency barred Bonify Medical Cannabis from selling cannabis on Monday due to safety and public health concerns.

“The department found that Bonify Medical Cannabis was possessing, distributing and selling product that was purchased from an illegal source, and selling product that did not comply with the good production practices as required under the Cannabis Act and cannabis regulations,” Health Canada spokesperson Eric Morrissette said in a statement.

The case has been forwarded on to the RCMP and Canada Revenue Agency, said Morrissette.

The announcement comes after Health Canada issued a recall on two Bonify strains in December over contamination concerns on products sold in Saskatchewan.

The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba, which regulates the cannabis retail sector, and the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, the wholesaler of cannabis in the province, followed suit and suspended the sale of Bonify products.

A third-party investigation found the company sold unauthorized product at retailers in Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw.

The investigator alleged senior managers of threatened staff members to look the other way when 200 kilograms of unlicensed cannabis arrived at the Winnipeg facility. Three Bonify executives were subsequently dismissed.

The company has 10 days to respond to the suspension and give Health Canada a reason to reconsider.

Health Canada plans to monitor whatever actions Bonify takes to rectify the non-compliance issue.

“Health Canada will continue to undertake unannounced inspections of cannabis licence holders to help ensure that they are in compliance with the law and regulations,” Morrissette said in a statement.

“Health Canada is disclosing this licensing decision as part of its ongoing commitment to openness and transparency. The department publishes information on its inspection and enforcement activities so that Canadians can see how industry follows the rules put in place to protect their health and safety.”

CBC News tried to contact Bonify Tuesday night for a response but did not hear back.



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Harassment, sexual assault among alleged misconduct by border agents investigated by CBSA

Harassment, sexual assault among alleged misconduct by border agents investigated by CBSA


The Canada Border Services Agency, which has the authority to detain and search Canadians and carry out deportations, investigated 1,200 allegations against its own staff over a two and a half year period from January 2016 to the middle of 2018.

Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request describe a wide range of alleged offences among agency staff, including criminal association, excessive force and using “inappropriate sexual language.”

One staff member apparently created “a hit list for employees who crossed him.” Other allegations appear more minor, such as sleeping on the job or calling in sick to attend a wedding. 

The records released by the CBSA don’t show which allegations were found to be credible or what actions the agency took to address specific problems. 

They come from a database of internal investigations undertaken by CBSA in response to complaints about conduct.

The database provides a rare glimpse into how one of the largest policing bodies in the country handles complaints against its own. The CBSA remains the only major law enforcement body that has no outside oversight of staff conduct. 

Toronto immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk said the CBSA needs outside oversight. (John LeSavage/CBC)

“CBSA, for many years, has been a law unto itself,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk.

“It’s hard to imagine an organization with the size and the complexity and the amount of responsibility and authority of an agency like this would be completely without any kind of oversight.” 

50 categories of offenses

A CBC News analysis found 50 different categories of offenses. The largest number are filed under “neglect of duty,” with 228 total allegations, followed by 183 allegations of “discreditable conduct” while on duty. 

The agency also investigated 59 allegations of harassment, 38 allegations of “criminal association” and at least five allegations of sexual assault. 

Specific details are redacted in some cases but not all. For example, one employee was accused of “selling prohibited knives.” Another “may have conducted an unauthorized query of an ex-[girlfriend].”

Roughly, a quarter of misconduct cases involved multiple allegations, including a small number of cases with more than a dozen allegations each. 

 

There are reasons to believe the actual number of misconduct allegations against CBSA officers is far higher than what was disclosed to CBC News, according to Sandaluk. 

It can be difficult to convince people to file complaints, he said. Some people who come into contact with the CBSA over immigration issues decide not to file legitimate complaints about staff, fearing repercussions from the agency.

Temporary residents and visitors to Canada, Sandaluk said, “simply aren’t around long enough to make a complaint or to see that complaint through.”

“These allegations — as disturbing as they are —  probably only represent the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

They ‘kept kicking my back with their knees’

Lucy Granados, who was deported to Guatemala last year, alleges CBSA officers seriously injured her during an arrest. Granados arrived in Canada in 2009 and remained in Montreal after making a failed refugee claim.

When Granados applied for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, the border agency moved to deport her, sending four officers to her Montreal apartment building last year. 

Internal reports written by three of the arresting officers and obtained by CBC News from a group advocating on behalf of Granados indicate one officer wrote that some force was necessary because Granados would not surrender her hand to be cuffed.

Lucy Granados was deported to Guatemala last year. Granados said she was seriously injured during an arrest by CBSA agents prior to her deportation. (Dave St. Amant/CBC)

Granados, who didn’t file a complaint, said at least one CBSA officer violently pushed her to the ground and kneeled on her back while pulling on her arm. It’s unclear if her case was a part of the database.

“They pulled it backwards and kept kicking my back with their knees,” Granados said in a video-link interview with CBC News, speaking through a translator.

CBC News shared the reports, which are filed any time force is used during an arrest, with CBSA spokesperson Nicholas Dorion. 

“CBSA officers are trained in the use of force and are expected to follow all related CBSA rules and procedures,” Dorion said in an email.

“While unfortunate, CBSA officers do encounter circumstances where use of force is necessary.” 

Complaint to CBSA ‘doesn’t really lead anywhere’

Dorion would not say whether Granados’s removal prompted any internal investigation into staff conduct, citing privacy legislation.

“A specific individual’s file, including those from internal investigations resulting from an external complaint to the CBSA or from any alleged misconduct behaviour or other personnel security and professional standards issues reported by managers, is protected by these parameters,” Dorion said in an email.

Dr. Nazila Bettache reviewed Granados’s medical file and concluded she suffered a traumatic injury during her arrest. (Dave St. Amant/CBC)

Nazila Bettache, a Montreal-based physician and social justice activist who reviewed Granados’s medical file, said Granados suffered “a traumatic injury … which basically damaged the nerves in her cervical spine,” causing paralysis in her arm.

“Where is the accountability?” she said. “Who was there to … look after the situation and make sure that procedures are respected, that there is no abuse of power?”

Granados said she still suffers from a lack of feeling in her arm.

Advocates for undocumented workers who knew Granados when she lived in Montreal said they have so little faith in CBSA’s ability to police itself, they’ve encouraged her to pursue a complaint through the United Nations rather than with the CBSA.

“We have enough experience to know that making a complaint to the CBSA about the CBSA doesn’t really lead anywhere,” said Mary Foster of the group Solidarity Across Borders.

Mary Foster of the activist group Solidarity Across Borders says she has no faith in the CBSA’s complaint process. (Dave St Amant/CBC)

Even if Granados had filed a complaint, there’s no assurance it would appear in the numbers released by the CBSA.

Public complaints submitted online are initially filed separately, a CBSA spokesperson said. After review, the allegations may be reported to the Personnel Security and Professional Standards Division (PSPSD), in which case they would be added to the database.  

“Allegations are inputted in the database and are thoroughly investigated to determine whether they are founded,” a spokesperson said in an email. 

Liberals still promising legislation 

The Liberal government has been promising to introduce legislation to add an oversight process.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in 2016 that the lack of CBSA oversight was “a gap that definitely needs to be addressed.”

“CBSA officers processed 95 million travellers in 2017, and only a very small number of these interactions led to a formal complaint,” Goodale’s spokesperson, Scott Bardsley, said in an email. 

His office declined an interview request but said the minister is still committed to creating oversight legislation.

With an election looming this fall, however, it’s not clear any legislation could be passed before the current session of the House of Commons is finished.

“As long as you don’t create this agency, misconduct or harassment can occur on an ongoing basis, essentially unanswered,” Sandaluk said. 

If you have tips or story suggestions send them to diana.swain@cbc.ca or stephen.davis@cbc.ca



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Montreal real estate developer Tony Magi dead after NDG shooting

Montreal real estate developer Tony Magi dead after NDG shooting

A man in his 50s is dead after he was found shot in the upper body in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce district this morning.

Multiple sources have confirmed to Radio-Canada the dead man is Tony Magi, a businessman with known ties to the Montreal Mafia.

Police were called to a garage located at 6125 Saint-Jacques Street near Beaconsfield Avenue around 11:15 a.m.

Saint-Jacques is closed between Hingston Avenue and Grand Boulevard as police investigate.

Police have cordoned off St-Jacques Street between Hingston Avenue and Grand Boulevard as the investigation continues. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

This is not the first time an attempt has been made on Magi’s life. 

In 2008, his SUV was left riddled with bullets in a shooting.

In 2011, his vehicle was again shot at. His wife, who was inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting, was unharmed in that incident.

In 2013, a man with a gun was spotted near his NDG home.

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