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Disguised B.C. RCMP officers to crackdown on drivers using devices

Officers will be disguised as highway workers and hide on top of commercial vehicles to catch people using their cellphones.

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Cell phone-using drivers in the B.C. Interior be warned – the RCMP is taking extraordinary steps to catch you this summer.

Officers will be disguised as highway workers and hide on top of commercial vehicles to catch people using their cellphones – meaning drivers will have committed the offence even before they see a uniformed officer in the distance.

RCMP released photographs Tuesday of officers hidden on commercial vehicles looking at traffic through binoculars. An officer was also photographed taking notes while dressed as a highway worker.

Disguised RCMP officer
Courtesy RCMP

Prior to curtailing enforcement efforts in March due to COVID-19, RCMP conducted a distracted driving enforcement blitz across the South Okanagan, the force said in a release.

The effort saw officers conducting targeted enforcement efforts in Penticton, Summerland, Princeton, Keremeos, Osoyoos and Oliver. Over 200 tickets were issued for either distracted driving or occupant restraint violations.

“We could just do enforcement but we would be missing an opportunity to prevent these offences from happening in the first place. To that end, we are raising awareness and actually advertising our tactics in the hopes that drivers with an illegal electronic device habit will change their behaviour,” said South Okanagan Traffic Services Sgt. Ryan McLeod, Unit Commander of SOTS.

Penalties aside, we are asking drivers to ask themselves one question: ‘Is that text message or phone call worth my life or the life of someone else?’

Every driver has choices to make when it comes to driving. Please make it a habit to put your phone in a place where you won’t be tempted to use it, use the Do Not Disturb feature, or ask a passenger to take a call for you. It’s never too late to make the right decision.

According to provincial statistics, distracted driving is responsible for more than 1 in 4 fatal crashes in B.C. and claims 76 lives each year. Studies show that drivers using their electronic devices lose about 50% of what is going on around them visually and are 5 times more likely to crash.

The use of handheld electronic devices while driving has been banned in B.C. since 2010. A ticket for distracted driving involves a $368 fine and four penalty points ($252) for a total penalty of $620.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Having children causes traffic jams, billboard warns

The strange reminders are courtesy from a group called World Population Balance who are concerned the growth of the world’s population is unsustainable.

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Vancouver drivers are being told that having fewer children would cut down on traffic jams.

The strange reminders are courtesy from a group called World Population Balance who are concerned the growth of the world’s population is unsustainable.

“The world is overpopulated. But a surprising number of journalists, elected officials, pundits and members of the public are unaware,” says the group on their website.

“This billboard campaign will raise public awareness of overpopulation, improve everyone’s knowledge on the subject, and serve as a demonstration model that jump-starts a global campaign to speed progress toward a ‘small family norm.'”

Before putting up the billboards in Vancouver, they erected two billboards in Minneapolis and another between Denver and Colorado Springs.

“Human overpopulation is present in Vancouver just as it is in most parts of the world. Everyone around the world needs to be aware of this crisis, because we all have a role to play in resolving it,” said the group.

“While Vancouver occupies an area of about 2,800 square kilometers, its footprint (the area of the planet required to provide food, water and other resources, and to process the waste) is 36 times that.

“Reducing overconsumption can help Vancouver get back into sustainable equilibrium, but contracting population also must be part of the equation. Cities like Vancouver need to rethink their economic development strategies, ceasing to pursue population growth, and begin to celebrate the trend of more couples choosing smaller families.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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UCP demand Lethbridge cops shut down drug injection site

The pop-up drug site operates on a nightly basis in a park that is the centre of the opioid abuse in the southern Alberta city.

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The provincial government is demanding Lethbridge police shut down an illegal safe injection site being operated in a tent.

The tent sprung up after a controversial Lethbridge safe drug consumption site shuttered its doors on Aug. 31 after the Alberta government cut its funding after an independent audit discovered a litany of problems including “financial irregularities.”

Now the pop-up drug site operates on a nightly basis in a park that is the centre of the opioid abuse in the southern Alberta city.

“Alberta’s government provides a legal, sanctioned overdose prevention site a block away from this location, with adequate capacity for the community, said associate minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan in a statement to the Western Standard.

“This illegal site contravenes the Criminal Code of Canada and we expect the City of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Police Service to enforce the law.”

ARCHES received up to 800 visits a day – one of the busiest supervised consumption sites in the world. Lethbridge, a city of 100,000, has the highest per-capita rate of opioid overdose deaths in Alberta.

The pop-up site is being run by the newly formed Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society, CBC reported.

The tent offer services for a couple of hours before packing up for the day. There is enough room for two people to inject drugs at a time.

ARCHES had received more than $14.4 million in taxpayer dollars over the past two years.

The government announced in July the accounting firm Deloitte found:

  • $1,617,094 unaccounted for due to missing documentation for expenditures from 2017 to 2018.
  • $13,000 of interest off ARCHES bank accounts was used to fund parties, staff retreats, entertainment and gift cards.
  • A senior executive’s compensation totalled $342,943 for calendar year 2019. This includes $70,672 in overtime for fiscal year 2019-20. The grant agreement allows for a salary of $80,000.  
  • The Everyone Comes Together (ECT) program staff salaries and benefits also exceeded the amount allocated by the grant agreement by $16,000.
  • The number of ARCHES employees is greater than allowed by the grant agreement.  ARCHES maintained up to 126 employees. However, the exact number could not be verified.
  • $4,301 spent on European travel for management to attend a conference in Portugal.
  • Thousands of dollars in unverifiable travel expenses, including trips charged to company credit cards but not recorded in the ledger.
  • A senior executive’s family member was hired, earning $9,900. The auditors could not locate a resume or personnel file to verify any qualifications.
  • $7,557 for management retreats, including meals and mileage where documentation for spending was unclear.
  • The grant agreement requires the organization to maintain the funding received from Alberta Health within a separate bank account; however, the audit revealed that it was comingled with other funding sources. As a result of ARCHES comingling their accounts, the auditors could not verify thousands of dollars of expenses.
  • Proper personal conflict of interest declarations were not recorded when related individuals or vendors were hired or utilized.
  • Vendors were repeatedly secured in secrecy with a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • No petty cash reconciliations have been completed.
  • $1,129 was used to buy gift cards for board members for The Keg, iTunes, Boston Pizza, Earls, Gap, Shell, Chapters, Cineplex, Amazon, Starbuck’s, Tim Hortons, MasterCard, and Bath and Bodyworks. The expense was recorded as “Gift cards – Board Members.”
  • $2,100 was spent on gift cards to The Oil Changer – a business owned by a senior executive’s spouse.
  • $2,205 was spent on a television with no receipt documentation to support the purchase.

The report has been passed on to police.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Trump approves $22-billion railway between Alaska and Alberta

A2A Rail vice chair Mead Treadwell said the so-called A2A Railway will succeed where others have failed, because markets are hungry for resources that Canada produces

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U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an executive permit allowing a $22-billion international railway to be built between Alaska and Alberta.

“Based on the strong recommendation of @SenDanSullivan and @repdonyoung of the Great State of Alaska, it is my honor to inform you that I will be issuing a Presidential Permit for the A2A Cross-Border Rail between Alaska & Canada. Congratulations to the people of Alaska & Canada!” the president tweeted Friday.

A2A Rail vice chair Mead Treadwell said the so-called A2A Railway will succeed where others have failed, because markets are hungry for resources that Canada produces, but can’t export quickly enough to meet demand.

A2A proposed route

The company will start by constructing rail from North Pole, near Fairbanks, where the Alaska Railroad ends today. From there the railway will move south and east through Alaska, across into Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and into Alberta.

“It is approximately 1,600 miles, with roughly 200 miles of new track in Alaska, and the remaining 1,400 miles in western and northern Canada. We estimate our investment to be $15 billion CAD in Canada and another $7 billion CAD in Alaska,” said the company’s website.

“The port capacity and sometimes the rail capacity at other places in Canada are just so choked that there’s a potential market for a new port and a new method to get to Asian markets,” Treadwell said in an interview in August with KUAC.

“The Alaska Railroad right now runs 512 miles from Seward to North Pole we’re going to take that track and extend it 1500 miles to connect up with rail lines in Alberta,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell said the the system will transport bitumen, potash, sulfur and grains.

“We believe we have a project which is competitive with pipeline and one of the reasons why it’s competitive is because its risks can spread over several different commodities,” he said.

Treadwell says if all goes according to plan, work on the project would begin within three years and be completed in six. 

The company said it will now begin an “extensive environmental impact assessment” (EIA) under Canadian legislation for the Yukon, B.C. and Alberta.

Company founder Sean McCoshen has already spent over $100 million USD through the pre-feasibility, feasibility, and detailed engineering phases of the project. 

A2A Rail has also started talks with Indigenous groups along the proposed path.

“The proposed route for the A2A Rail project includes portions of traditional, treaty and heritage lands of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the United States. A2A Rail has initiated dialogue with Indigenous Peoples along the proposed route to brief them on the project,” said the company.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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