10 year old once given 48 hours to live has ‘miracle’ recovery a year later

Almost a year ago, Patty Furco was told she was going to lose her daughter.

Her second child, Abby, was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of four. Today the 10 year old based in Virginia Beach has made a “miracle” recovery even doctors can’t explain.

“Sometimes we can’t grasp what has happened and what continues to happen,” the 41-year-old mom-of-three tells Global News. “We had prepared for Abby to die.”

Abby’s long journey

In the last few years, Abby went through several hospital visits, intense chemotherapy sessions and radiation treatments, Furco says, but in 2015, things took a turn.

After being in remission for 11 months, Abby relapsed in September 2014. A year later, she had a bone marrow transplant that caused acute graft versus host disease (GvHD) — a common side effect of the transplant.

“Late last spring the side effects [of GvHD] were out of control and started a downward spiral leading to continuous dialysis [and] a long pediatric intensive care unit stay,” Furco says.

Abby’s organs weren’t keeping up and her kidneys began to fail.

“[My husband] and I tried to be hopeful, yet we prepared everyone, including our other daughters, for the end.”

Her family was told by doctors their little girl would die.

“I still have flashbacks to sitting at my dining room table with the head hospice nurse, choosing a funeral home. [My husband] Joe and I talked about where we wanted her remains. I clearly remember thinking about specific songs I wanted played during her memorial service,” Furco says.

Living in a tight-knit military community, Furco says her friends gathered together to give support.

Last year she remembers driving Abby to a girl scout event in another part of town, and passing by the funeral home she had picked out for her daughter.

“My heart sunk and I called Joe crying,” she says. “It just caught me off guard. Here I am in the car with my thriving Abby and we’re driving by the funeral home I picked six months earlier.”

Her recovery can’t be explained

Abby’s doctor, pediatric hematologist and oncologist Jacob Wessler, told People magazine there’s no real explanation of Abby’s recovery.

“We have no idea [how she got better] and there is no way to test it,” he tells Global News. “She’s the only patient I have to do this. She is one for one as far as our experience.”

Wessler was the first person to diagnose Abby and has been working with the Furco family for six years.

READ MORE: Saskatoon family appealing for more childhood cancer research funding

Although he adds there have been ups and downs throughout the journey and continues to be, last June he remembers bringing Abby home to feel more comfortable. At this point, he had believed she wouldn’t survive.

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He reduced the amount of medication and check-ins, as her family prepared for the worst.

“But she sat there and just started getting better,” he says. “It was really interesting and fascinating.”

At first, Wessler told the family there was no absolute timeline of when her organs would fail, but weeks and soon months went by and Abby was feeling better. Almost a year later, she is the best she’s ever been.

“I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened, but it’s a good news and bad news situation,” he says. “It’s great that it has happened, but it is a little maddening we don’t know why. But for Abby it doesn’t matter why — what matters is she’s better.”

The heartache living with a sick child

Parenting coach Julie Romanowski of Vancouver says for any family or parent who is going through a similar situation with a sick child, the most important thing to do is to be aware of your situation.

“It sounds obvious but when people are in crisis mode, we think life is ‘normal’ and we need to keep going,” she tells Global News. “Get a good support network and let them know you are in crisis. Pretending nothing is going on adds more stress.”

READ MORE: Hundreds of Calgarians take part in annual ‘Run for Childhood Cancer’

And if you have other children, it can get difficult to talk about what their sibling is going through, especially the topic of death.

Romanowski says siblings also need a support network and parents need to be honest with them.

“If you pretend nothing is happening, that’s what makes the situation dangerous. We have to get real and accept our current situations… younger children will look at their parents on how to deal with the crisis and mimic it.”

Her recovery is also inspiring others

Furco says since 2012, the family has been very active in raising awareness for childhood cancer. They raise money for cancer research and put time into learning about Abby’s medication.

Abby is also an ambassador for the St. Baldrick`s Foundation, a private fund of childhood cancer research grants. Since 2012, her fundraising campaign has raised US$133,226.

Patty Furco and her daughter Abby.

Courtesy of Patty Furco

But Furco says hearing from other families with similar situations has been the most heartening. Some people tell her Abby has inspired them to get out of bed or keep fighting their own disease.

“That’s a gift that could only come out of this dark journey that has consumed our lives for many years,” she says. “It’s giving people hope and letting them continue dreaming about the future.”

Abby is looking forward to summer

Today, like many children, Abby is looking forward to her Grade 5 graduation. She is once again in remission and is receiving steroids twice a day.

Her mom says she loves to play Minecraft, hang out with her friends and plans on being a chef when she grows up.

“This is amazing as last year around this time, she was barely walking then wheelchair-bound. Through very hard work she is now able to walk on her own, currently working on long distance stamina,” she says.

Furco says her daughter is also looking forward to summer camp, a place where she meets other cancer patients and survivors.

“Our hope for Abby is that she gets to live a full life full of happiness. We take each day as it comes, so we hope that each day continues down the path of good health and growth in every way possible.”

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To buy or rent a cottage? These 5 questions will help you decide

To buy or rent a cottage? It’s the eternal question Canadian families face, especially as summer draws near.

Ask your friends and relatives, and you’re likely to find an even split between those who can’t imagine life without a lakeside property and those who see a second home as a ball and chain.

READ MORE: Why this may be the best summer ever to spend your vacation in Canada

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Coming up with a list of pros and cons isn’t much help, either. In theory, there as many good reasons to purchase a cottage and as there are not to.

In the buy camp: Building priceless memories by the same lakes as the kids grow up. Having an affordable gateway for every break and long weekend. Eliminating the risk of a ruined vacation because your rental cottage looks nothing like the pictures. Similarly, avoiding massive family disappointment — especially for the little ones — when it turns out the rental you have been booking every summer and have grown to love isn’t available this year. And so on.

READ MORE: Think you don’t need insurance when travelling in Canada? Think again

In the rent camp: The kids’ memories may be priceless, but owning a cottage certainly has a price tag — and a hefty one. Renting means your hard-earned vacation time won’t be sucked into a black hole called “cottage upkeep.” It also means being able to explore a different lakeside spot every summer — or deciding, guilt-free, that you’d rather go to Paris instead.

A more productive approach may be examining your specific circumstances and financial situation, according to Maureen Reid, Meridian Credit Union branch manager in Penetanguishene, a popular cottage country destination on the southeasterly tip of Georgian Bay, Ont.

For the undecided cottage vacationer, she has a list of five key questions:

1. How much will it really cost you?

Step one is assessing whether you can really afford to own a cottage. The question goes beyond whether you can carry two mortgages, Reid points out. As with any residential property, buying involves a slew of legal fees and taxes, as well as monthly expenses like utilities. Heat in particular can be a financial back-breaker in a cottage, said Reid, especially if you have to rely on electricity to keep it cozy inside.

READ MORE: The genius life hacks that working moms and dads use to get it all done

Other potential costs include owning, maintaining and docking your own boat if that’s the only way to reach your property, said Reid.

And then, of course, there’s upkeep. Although Reid told Global News it’s hard to come up with an average estimate for this kind of expense, it’s safe to say it will likely be higher than whatever your average yearly spend is on your first home. From rodent infestations to pipes that burst in winter, the fact that cottages are usually immersed in nature and used only for part of the year tends to drive up the maintenance bill.

READ MORE: Flooding, flooding everywhere – do Canadians have insurance for it?

2. How much will you (realistically) use it?

Once you’ve come up with a comprehensive cost estimate, ask yourself how much R&R bang you’re going to get for your buck, according to Reid. Is the cottage close to home? Do you get lots of time off in the summer? Will you be able to use the property in the winter as well? If so, then great.

On the other hand, if you only have two weeks to spend lakeside every year, will the stress of the drive and the upkeep work eliminate your ability to relax?

READ MORE: Here’s why a good school isn’t always worth the home price premium

3. Are you going to rent it?

This one goes back to question No. 1. Being able to rent your cottage for periods of time when you’re not there will make it easier to afford it, noted Reid.

Doing so has become easier than ever with online home-sharing services like Airbnb. And if you’re worried that the tenants who presented themselves as a “a quiet middle-aged couple’ will turn out to be a horde of partying teenagers, Facebook groups, which tend to be more community-focused, are another great resource. A short post advertising your property among friends and neighbours can quickly locate a trustworthy tenant.

READ MORE: Buying and selling online? Instead of Craigslist or Kijiji, try Facebook

Still, not all cottages rent easily, cautioned Reid. Remote properties in less well-known areas might have fewer takers.

4. Is it a good investment?

This is really a two-part question. The first thing to consider is whether using your savings to buy a cottage makes sense. Owning two homes could mean tying up a lot of your investments in real estate, which can be risky.

READ MORE: Moody’s downgrades Canadian banks: Beginning of the end for the housing market?

Speaking to your financial advisor is always a good idea, said Reid.

The second part of the equation is figuring out what the rate of return on your cottage will likely be. A winterized property in a coveted, easily accessible location will be easy to sell and likely to appreciate over time, said Reid.

The opposite is generally true, if your version of a cottage is only a few steps removed from a wooden shack, or if it becomes inaccessible in winter.

READ MORE: Here’s how much climate change can cost homeowners in damages

5. What financing is available to you?

Location and features like insulation, heating and running water will also dramatically affect what kind of financing you’ll be able to access in order to purchase your cottage, said Reid.

What Reid calls a “type A” cottage — one with all the amenities — usually guarantees you’ll be able to get a regular mortgage.

For a more rustic “type B” property, on the other hand, your only option might be a personal loan, for which the going interest rate is generally 7 per cent, much higher than currently available mortgages.

William Sandeson murder trial hears full day of testimony ahead of holiday weekend

The seven-woman, seven-man jury sitting on the first-degree murder trial of Dalhousie medical student William Sandeson heard a full day of evidence on Thursday.

Sandeson, 24, is accused of killing fellow Dalhousie student Taylor Samson, 22.

Samson was studying physics and about to start his fifth year of university when he disappeared in August, 2015. His body has never been found.

WATCH: Murder trial hears from police, Taylor Samson’s girlfriend

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Staff Sgt. Andre Habib, a forensic identification officer with Halifax Regional Police was the first witness on the stand Thursday.

The crown had questioned Habib the previous day but court ended before the defence had an opportunity to complete their cross-examination.

Lawyer Eugene Tan questioned Habib about what protective clothing he wore when at Sandeson’s apartment on Henry Street. He told the court he wore both gloves and booties.

READ: Jury hears William Sandeson told roommate not to come home on night of alleged murder

The defence also questioned Habib about his experience using a trajectory kit. He testified not only did he take a two month course but he also did a seminar with a firearms expert in Calgary a few years ago.

Habib told the court he was not a ballistic expert but that he and other identification officers are able to use the trajectory kit to determine which way an object, like a bullet, may have come from.

Habib also testified that he was involved in the search at the Sandeson family property in Lower Truro, N.S.

He said he had been involved in searches of that nature “numerous times” and was satisfied that police did the best they could at the scene. “We left no stone unturned,” he told the jury.

WATCH: William Sandeson murder trial hears police searched family farm looking for body

The second witness to testify on Thursday was Rick Chadwick who currently works with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Chadwick told the court before going to RBC he worked as an RCMP officer.

Chadwick says he was served a production order – which requires documents to be made available to law enforcement  – for the banking information of Taylor Samson.

He told the court that Samson was a client at the bank for eight years and had an everyday account, a tax-free savings account and a MasterCard.

Chadwick testified that until August 13, 2015, there was “actual activity by the client.” Following Samson’s disappearance, the only activity he said was on the accounts was automatic.

WATCH: Former teammate of William Sandeson tells court he saw bleeding man, bloody cash

Two volunteers with Ground Search and Rescue were also called as crown witnesses.

Wayne Burns, a volunteer with search and rescue for 15-years, told the court that he and a team of volunteers searched the farm property for hours.

Burns was the one who located the refrigerated ice cream truck and informed police. He testified he looked inside and saw three bags but did not enter the truck.

READ: Court hears bag found in ice cream truck at Sandeson farm smelled like decomposition

Lawrence Corbin, also a volunteer searcher, testified that when he arrived to search at the farm in August 2015 he was told by officials that searchers could possibly find human remains. None were ever located.

Corbin and his team found a pair of gloves located in some brush, not far from where the ice cream truck was. He told the court that he flagged the gloves and called his command centre before searching the rest of the area.

READ MORE: William Sandeson says during interrogation video intruders may have shot Taylor Samson

Cpl. Shawn Reynolds, an RCMP officer, was the incident commander for the Sandeson farm search. He told the court that he helped coordinate and run the search, as well as pass information along to the Halifax Regional Police major crime unit.

Reynolds said he was notified by search and rescue that a pair of gloves were located and helped seize them. He also secured the scene where the ice cream truck was located until ident officers arrived to process it.

READ: Jury shown gun, bullets and cash seized from William Sandeson’s apartment

David Webber, a civilian member of the RCMP was also called to the stand. He is a forensic lab technician and was tasked with examining Sandeson’s DVR.

He told the court that although the DVR was passport protected he found a back door to access the video. Webber testified that he was able to dump video from Aug. 13-18, 2015 from the DVR and give it to investigators.

Webber said he did not splice or edit any of the video. After the initial video dump from Aug. 13-18, Webber said he was able to go back and locate video for two and a half months, which was also turned over to investigators.

Under cross-examination, Webber admitted he originally thought he had discarded his notes from the case but later found them.

WATCH: Last images of Taylor Samson shown to jury in William Sandeson murder trial

The final witness to take the stand Thursday was Det. Const. Jonathan Jefferies, a Halifax Regional Police officer. He told the court that he was the scene coordinator for the farm search.

Jefferies said he executed a search warrant at the property and explained to William Sandeson’s father what police would be doing.

When questioned by defence lawyer Brad Sarson, Jefferies said that police and volunteer ground search rescue members did search some property that was not covered under the search warrant. However, Jefferies said they asked the owners of the property if they could search there and had them sign consent forms.

Jefferies was also tasked with getting a DNA sample from Sandeson after he was arrested and remanded to the Central Nova Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. While there, he also told the court he questioned Sandeson about the whereabouts of Samson’s body but Sandeson did not speak about it.

READ MORE: William Sandeson ‘confident’ as murder trial begins in Halifax: defence

The trial is scheduled to sit for 32 days over the course of eight weeks.

The case does not hear evidence on Friday and because Monday is a statutory holiday, the jury is scheduled to resume hearing testimony on Tuesday morning.

Forget casual sex – millennials want to date but don’t know how to have healthy relationships: report

Dating and hanging out with friends is top of mind for millennials, but difficult to do because they struggle with cultivating lasting and healthy romantic relationships, a new Harvard report says.

What they’re not up for, however, is casual sex.

According to researchers, teens and adults tend to “greatly overestimate” the hook-up culture of millennials, which fuels misconceptions that can be harmful to young people.

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READ MORE: Should people stay friends with their exes after a breakup?

“We hope that this report is a real wake-up call,” Dr. Richard Weissbourd, lead author of the study, said in a statement. “While adults, and parents in particular, wring their hands about the ‘hook-up culture,’ research indicated that far fewer young people are hooking up than is commonly believed.”

The study surveyed over 3,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 in the U.S., as well as looked at several years of research by Weissbourd and his team. They also talked with adults who are key to the demographic, like parents, teachers, sport coaches and counsellors.

From their research, the team found that when people overestimate the hook-up culture of millennials, it can make them feel embarrassed or ashamed, and puts pressure on them to have sex when they’re not interested or ready.

As well, 70 per cent of respondents said they wished they had been given more information from their parents about the emotional aspects of romantic relationships.

“This focus on the hook-up culture also obscures two much bigger issues that our research suggests many young people are struggling with: forming and maintaining healthy and fulfilling romantic relationships and dealing with widespread misogyny and sexual harassment,” Weissbourd said. “Unfortunately, we also found that most adults appear to be doing very little to address these serious problems.”

In fact, 87 per cent of women who took part in the study said they’d experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime, yet 76 per cent of said they’d never spoken to their parents about how to avoid sexually harassing others.

“[Adults] don’t say anything, even when sexual harassment is right in their midst,” Weissbourd told ABC News. “And many tell us… they don’t say anything because they don’t know what to say. And they fear that they won’t be effective, or they fear they will be written off.”

READ MORE: How to start dating again after ending a long-term relationship

This could be because many millennials don’t feel gender-based degradation is a problem in today’s society.

Digging deeper, researchers found that 48 per cent of young people believe that society has reached a point where double standards against women no longer exist.

Parents are also neglecting to discuss the issue of sexual assault.

Of the respondents, 61 per cent of say they’ve never talked about “being sure your partner wants to have sex and is comfortable doing so before having sex,” the report states. They’ve also never discussed assuring their own comfort before engaging in sex (49 per cent), the importance of not pressuring others into having sex (56 per cent), the importance not continuing that pressure to have sex despite the other person saying ‘no’ (62 per cent), or the importance of not having sex with someone who is too intoxicated or impaired to properly consent (57 per cent).

And those who did have those conversations with their parents say they were “at least somewhat influential.”

To address these issues, researchers offered up several tips for parents.

    Talk about love and help teens understand the differences between mature love and other form of attractionShow young people how to identify healthy and unhealthy relationshipsHelp young people identify misogyny and harassmentIf parents and educators see unhealthy relationship behaviours (like hearing degrading words, for example), they should interveneTalk about what it means to be ethical by helping them develop the skills to maintain healthy romantic relationships and treat those who are different from them with dignity and respect

For more tips, click here.

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Mr. Biggles, ‘utter bastard of a cat,’ up for adoption in Melbourne

A cat adoption agency in Melbourne had some fun with the cat bio for one of their latest wards, Mr. Biggles, describing him in a hilariously honest manner.

“Mr. Biggles (also known as Lord Bigglesworth) is an utter, utter, utter bastard,” it begins.

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According to Gina Brett, the author of the description and a volunteer with the rescue group Cat People of Melbourne, the feline is quite feisty.

READ MORE:
Maine Coon in Australia may be world’s longest cat

“Mr. Biggles is a despot and a dictator. He will let you know he is not happy, which is often, because things are often just not up to his high standards,” his bio reads.

The dark humour and straightforward description has seemed to charm several cat lovers.

“This is by far the best description of a cat I have ever read! So raw and honest, I love it!” wrote Facebook user Joanne Keith.

People from around the world have since expressed their admiration of Mr. Biggles.

The rescue group has even launched a blog for the kitty, where they promise he will be updating with articles on “how to play with a dog and not kill it” and “getting what you want from human slaves.”

Although Cat People of Melbourne is accepting applications for people who want to be Mr. Biggles’ “human slave,” no suitable candidate has been found yet.

“Mr. Biggles is not a cat for the inexperienced or faint-hearted. He is a full-blooded tomcat with very firm boundaries,” Brett said. “Mr. Biggles needs an owner that won’t take his nipping personally but won’t let him get away with bad behaviour, either.”

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‘Big Brother Canada’ finale: Season 5 winner crowned

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on unless you’ve watched the Big Brother Canada Season 5 finale.

Big Brother Canada (BBCAN) crowned Kevin Martin as the Season 5 winner during Thursday night’s finale on Global.

Kevin Martin, a 24-year-old professional poker player and content creator from Calgary, Alberta, beat out 16 houseguests to be named champion.

WATCH BELOW: Big Brother Canada: Kevin raises the stakes in Season 5 return

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READ MORE: ‘Big Brother Canada’ host Arisa Cox analyzes returning ‘BBCAN’ vets

The contest came down to fellow finalist Karen Singbeil, 53, and Kevin, who received a second chance at playing the game after appearing in Season 3.

Kevin and Karen both fielded questions from the jury about why they deserved to win the $100,000 grand prize, a $30,000 home furnishing makeover from The Brick and a new 2017 Toyota 76.

Kevin received all nine of the jury votes to secure his victory.

Demetres Giannitsos had previously won the first round of the final head of household competition but Kevin won the second and third rounds and sent Demetres to jury, choosing to take Karen to the final two with him.

“This time I want to get to know people deeper on a personal level,” Kevin said before entering the competition for a second time.

READ MORE: ‘Big Brother Canada’ Season 5: Final group of houseguests revealed

Kevin was one of the first houseguests to be evicted as a result of a triple eviction in Season 3 and he’s also the first houseguest in BBCAN history to be kicked out of the house without receiving any eviction votes against him.

By the end of this season, Kevin felt like he was completely alone in the house and announced that many times to the BBCAN cameras.

In one of his final pleas to the jury members, Kevin said, “Since you all have left, I’ve been by myself in this game. The only reason I am here is because I won the power of veto during the triple eviction. I am alone, isolated and targeted.”

This season, Kevin won head of household twice, the power of veto four times and was put on the block three times.

Before entering the BBCAN house, Kevin was asked, “What element of Big Brother Canada did you not have a chance to try before, that you’d like to experience this time around?”

Kevin’s answer was simple: “The end of the game!”

He continued: “I went home ninth out from the end. The game changes so drastically in those final weeks, the decisions get so much more intense. I want to stick around all the way through to the end.”

Some fans of BBCAN were ecstatic about Kevin’s win.

Others wished that the finale had played out differently.

Were you surprised that Kevin won Big Brother Canada 5?

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Calgary police adopt committee to review sexual assault cases dismissed as unfounded

Calgary police are taking steps to review sexual assault cases that investigators dismiss as unfounded — meaning they have evidence to suggest the offence didn’t occur.

A Case Review Committee is being formed to “take a second look” at cases the Calgary Police Service (CPS) dismiss as unfounded. The approach was first adopted in Philadelphia 17 years ago.

CPS investigators will meet with the independent members of the committee three times a year, according to a release, to review all new cases of reported sexual assault that have been deemed unfounded.

The committee members will be able to look over all details of the cases, except identities and private information about those involved.

WATCH: Wed, May 3: CPS Staff Sergeant Melanie Oncescu from the Child Abuse Unit, believes the confidence and stigma of reporting sexual assaults are being reduces

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Committee members include Alberta’s Minister of Status of Women, as well as representatives from the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Communities against Sexual Abuse (CCASA).

“We know that sexual violence is a gendered crime. The vast majority of survivors of sexual violence are women, and I hope this helps them feel safe to come forward to tell their story,” status of women minister Stephanie MacLean said in a release.

“I want every survivor to know we believe them, and they deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.”

Sarah MacDonald, a forensic psychologist with the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, said she was looking forward to examining and providing insight on how police conduct their investigations into sexual assault reports.

“As a forensic psychologist on the committee, I am excited to provide scientific-based knowledge on memory and forensic interviewing best practices that can be incorporated into the sexual offence strategies,” she said.

Calgary police dismiss about 10 per cent of cases as unfounded

Calgary police said the initiative was undertaken as a result of a Globe and Mail investigation, which revealed police in Canada dismiss one of every five reported sexual assaults as unfounded.

At the time, CPS said, Calgary police dismissed about 10 per cent of sexual assault cases, 62 per year, as unfounded. The national average, according to the Globe and Mail, is 19 per cent.

Studies show the unfounded reporting rate for sexual assaults is between two and eight per cent.

“Calgary’s unfounded rate was lower than average, both nationally and provincially,” Staff Sergeant Bruce Walker said in a release.

“But there are still other police agencies that are doing better than us. We felt it was important to learn from their successes and see what we can do even better here.”

CPS said sexual assaults should only be dismissed as unfounded if investigators have determined the assault didn’t happen or wasn’t attempted, and that no other other offence happened at the reported time and place.

“At CCASA we know that the rate of unfounded cases has needed to be addressed across the country for a long time, and we are very hopeful that this committee will be able to effectively address it in our city,” CCASA CEO Danielle Aubry said in a release.

“We are pleased that the Calgary Police Service has taken a leadership role in recognizing the importance of this issue and is willing to open up their processes to a committee of external community partners.”

Comparatively, Edmonton’s unfounded rate is 10 per cent, Toronto rate is at seven per cent, Ottawa 28 per cent and Halifax 13 per cent.

La Loche school shooting: teen told police he had regrets about the shooting

A teen gunman who killed four people at a home and in a school in northern Saskatchewan told police he had regrets about the shooting.

Dayne and Drayden Fontaine were killed at their house in La Loche in January 2016 before the shooter went to the high school, where he killed a teacher and a teacher’s aide.

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Related

  • La Loche shooter could face significantly different sentences

  • The untold stories of the La Loche, Sask. school shooting

  • La Loche school shooting victim wants adult sentence for teen who killed 4, wounded 7

    READ MORE: Students had a look of ‘horror on their faces’: La Loche shooting victim

    The teen was asked in a videotaped police interview, which was played at his sentencing hearing Thursday, how he felt when he thought about killing the two brothers.

    “I didn’t plan to shoot them, man. I already told you. They weren’t part of the plan,” he said, crying, in the video.

    The officer asked him what the plan was.

    “Go to the school and shoot the f—;ing kids,” said the teen.

    The teen was also asked what he would say to Dayne and Drayden now.

    “Tell them that I’m sorry, man.”

    The teen has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.

    The sentencing hearing is to determine if the teen, who can’t be named because he was just shy of his 18th birthday at the time, should be sentenced as a youth or an adult.

    Court has heard that Dayne Fontaine was shot 11 times, twice in the head, and Drayden was shot twice, including in the back of the head.

    The boys’ mother, Alicia Fontaine, told court in Meadow Lake, Sask., that the teen gunman called her two days after the shooting to apologize.

    “I may be angry, but I’m not angry at him,” Fontaine said.

    “I talked to him. He was crying. I forgave him. You can forgive, but you’ll never forget.”

    If it were up to her, Fontaine said, she would not press charges in the deaths of her sons.

    “It is true, my whole world is gone, but I know my babies are in a place where there is no pain,” she said.

    “I have forgiven you.”

    READ MORE: ‘Don’t shoot me’: sentencing hearing underway in La Loche shooting

    The shooter’s mother said the family has also forgiven her son for “this horrible crime.”

    “I was in shock like everyone else,” she told court. “I never knew this was going to happen.”

    The teen’s mother said she feels guilty, although she knows the shooting wasn’t her fault.

    “I am not a bad mother or person. If I knew and seen the signs that he was struggling in life, I could have stopped all of this from happening,” she said.

    “Sometimes, as parents, we are unaware of the struggles that our children have.”

    Video surveillance from the school shows the teen walking and running through hallways firing a shotgun. Teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier were killed and seven others were hurt.

    In the police interview, the teen is asked who he was targeting when he went into the school.

    “Nobody,” he replied.

    FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting

    The officer asked the teen who he was looking for when he was trying to open doors.

    “Teachers and students,” he said.

    The defence has said there is no simple reason behind the shooting and little about the motive has been made clear so far.

    Earlier in the interview, the shooter said he never felt bullied. The officer also asked the teen if he felt the school had “wronged” him.

    “Not really,” he said. “I don’t think so, no.”

Crime Stoppers: Appeal for information about missing Abbotsford couple

In a mysterious disappearance, an Abbotsford couple vanishes without a trace.

Rosalie Jean Allan known as Rose was reported missing by a friend in December of 2013. Investigators soon realized that Rose’s  boyfriend Jonathan Wood was also missing.

It’s been a particularly difficult case for investigators in Abbotsford who say they’ve had very little information and few leads.

Police and Crime Stoppers need your help. Do you have any information that could help crack the case?

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The couple, described as being in an “on again, off again relationship” had been living together on Glenmore Rd in North Abbotsford in late October 2013.

Previously the couple were known to frequent an area of downtown Abbotsford known as Five Corners as well as the Salvation Army on Gladys Ave.

Rose, known by many as a vibrant person,  loved animals and made friends easily. Her family says they love and miss her. Despite her transient lifestyle she managed to keep in touch with her parents.  Her father says his daughter was in good spirits when she went missing. Her parents and Jonathan’s parents are pleading for anyone with information to come forward.

At the time of her disappearance Rose was 46 years old. She is 5′ 4″ and weighs 130 pounds. She has brown hair and blue eyes.

Jonathan’s 6’2”, 180 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.  He has an outstanding theft warrant but police say it’s not a serious matter.

Police say it’s highly unlikely for them to simply disappear. Can you help solve this mystery?

If you know anything call police…or if you’d like to remain anonymous visit bccrimestoppers杭州桑拿 or call 1 888 222- 8477.

Japanese princess giving up royal status in order to marry commoner

Princess Mako, the granddaughter of Japan’s emperor, will marry an ocean-loving legal assistant who can ski, play the violin and cook.

Japanese nuptials tend to be highly ritualized, especially for a royal family member, and the buildup to the wedding is likely to take time. A public announcement would come first, then a wedding date would be set and then the couple will make a formal report to the emperor and empress.

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Quasi-public NHK TV reported the news late Tuesday and the Imperial Household Agency confirmed the report to Japanese media who belong to an exclusive “press club” system. But the agency declined comment to The Associated Press.

The man who won the princess’ heart spoke to reporters Wednesday, and his comments dominated national TV coverage though he gave few details.

READ MORE: Princess Charlotte’s brand is worth $3.8 billion and she’s only 2 years old

Kei Komuro said he works as a legal assistant and had just spoken over the phone with Mako, who had been a fellow student at International Christian University in Tokyo.

“When the right time comes, I’d like to talk about it,” he told reporters, bowing repeatedly, wearing a suit and tie.

The couple, who are both 25, met at a restaurant in Tokyo’s Shibuya about five years ago at a party to talk about studying abroad, and they have been dating several times a month recently, NHK said.

Komuro was once tapped as “Prince of the Sea” to promote tourism to the beaches of Shonan in Kanagawa prefecture, a facet of his profile highlighted by local media.

Women can’t succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Mako’s father and her younger brother are in line to succeed Emperor Akihito, but after her uncle Crown Prince Naruhito, who is first in line.

Once she marries, Mako will no longer be a princess and will become a commoner.

NHK said Mako has already introduced Komuro to her parents, and they approve. A formal announcement could come as soon as next month, Japanese media said.

READ MORE: Facebook could face legal action if it doesn’t remove posts about Thai King

Unlike royalty in Great Britain and other European countries, the emperor and his family tend to be cloistered, although they travel abroad and appear at cultural events.

Akihito, 83, is the son of Hirohito, Japan’s emperor during World War II.

Akihito expressed his desire to abdicate last year, and Japan has been preparing legislation especially for him so he can.

Until Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II, Hirohito was viewed as divine, and no one had even heard his voice. But the times are changing, and the Japanese public harbours a feeling of openness and familiarity toward the emperor and his family. People are likely to see Mako’s marriage as a celebration, although the rituals will continue to be tightly orchestrated.

WATCH: Highlights from Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s Canadian visit

Princess Charlotte and Prince George have some fun with balloons and animals

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Princess Charlotte and Prince George have some fun with balloons and animals

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Princess Charlotte and Prince George watch balloon maker at children’s party

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Princess Charlotte dances with her mom, Kate, at children’s party in Victoria

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Boy gives flowers to Princess Charlotte, but gets denied on high five from Prince George

00:53

Governor General says goodbye to Prince George and Princess Charlotte



COMMENTARY: Is cultural appropriation an act of theft or artistic literary exploration?

Two Canadian magazine editors have resigned and a television producer has been reassigned after defending the right of authors and other artists to take inspiration from cultures different than their own.

The phenomenon in question is called cultural appropriation: Inherent in the name is the implication that the act is theft, rather than a literary exploration of a world beyond the writer’s own.

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Toronto painter Amanda PL was quite open about her work taking inspiration in both style and subject matter from an Anishnaabe artist. She was honouring that artist, not plagiarizing. But that didn’t stop the Visions Gallery from cancelling the event, capitulating to the mob of people accusing the artist of racism and colonialism.

READ MORE: Let’s start with what cultural appropriation is not

And then came Hal Niedzviecki, the editor of Write — the magazine of the Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) — who contended that authors should be not only be allowed, but encouraged, to craft characters across the spectrum of cultures.

“In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities,” he said in the editor’s note, for which TWUC has since apologized.

The union apologized for the hurt caused by the piece, and rather ironically said the magazine aims to be “sincerely encouraging to all voices.” Except in apologizing for Niedzviecki’s piece, the union is in effect saying not all voices are welcome.

READ MORE: Walrus editor Jonathan Kay resigns amid cultural appropriation controversy

The union’s “equity task force” (the in-house legislator for the aggrieved) called for sensitivity training, “affirmative action hiring” practices, turning over the magazine to editors from indigenous communities for the next three issues, and a paid equity officer who must be “active and respected in anti-oppression cultural movements for at least three years.” Of course, this role has priority for “indigenous writers, racialized writers, writers with disabilities and trans writers.”

Any sensible person would see this response — and the myriad accusations of racism directed towards Niedzviecki — as excessive. Especially since Niedzviecki himself wrote his now-maligned column in the spirit of bridging understanding across cultures.

And then came former Walrus editor-in-chief Jonathan Kay, who critiqued the “mobbing” of Niedzviecki in a tweet, on a CBC panel discussion, and again in a National Post column — the latter of which culminated in his abrupt resignation from the magazine, citing a trend of “self-censorship” that put his Walrus role at odds with his scrappy columnist instincts.

Managing editor Steve Ladurantaye of CBC’s The National was part of a 杭州桑拿会所 exchange suggesting an “appropriation prize” — even offering to chip in some money for it — for the best example of appropriation each year. Despite posting a heartfelt series of apology tweets vowing to do better in the future, he was reassigned to another role at CBC.

Days after his resignation, Niedzviecki went on a pandering apology tour, saying the situation “breaks my heart.”

He said on CBC’s The Current that his goal was to “push some buttons within the writing community and make sure we didn’t err so much on the side of caution that we’re no longer able to, say, put a person of colour in a piece of writing.”

If that truly was the intention, he should be declaring victory rather than apologizing. He certainly pushed buttons, and proved that the writers’ community is willing to stomp on the value of literary freedom.

Whether a white author should craft a black or aboriginal character is secondary to the far more important point, which is that a writer can create whatever work he or she wants to, for whatever reason. That’s what art is. That’s what freedom of speech is.

There is a fundamental difference, I admit, between censorship imposed by the state — the most egregious kind — and censorship that is self-imposed because of a political or ideological climate, but the result is the same. In both cases, ideas and speech are stifled, meaning thought itself is subverted.

Speaking at an academic freedom conference at Western University in London, Ont. last weekend, academic firebrand Jordan Peterson labelled free speech “the process through which ideas are generated.”

We often view speech as the way ideas are shared, but that process — the dialogue of exchanging ideas — is how new ideas, and by extension new truths, emerge. In the fiction world, it’s how new perspectives and stories emerge.

When bestselling author Lionel Shriver took aim at cultural appropriation during a literary conference last September, she faced many of the same accusations of racism and privilege directed towards the players in the TWUC kerfuffle.

One of the most important points she raised was how much great work simply wouldn’t exist if not for the creators taking influence from people unlike them.

She cited Graham Greene, Malcolm Lowry, Matthew Kneale, and Maria McCann — all writers whose work involved using voices of people of different races, background, and sexual orientations.

To dogmatically impose the cliche “write what you know” on writers would make literature very boring. Whether you’re reading a book about wizardry, spies or bank robbers, there’s a high likelihood that the author wrote it from a place outside of their own identity.

We need to restart viewing that as art, not theft.

Andrew Lawton is host of The Andrew Lawton Show on AM980 London and a commentator for Global News.

Jail time handed down to 3 men caught abusing dairy cows on Chilliwack farm

Jail time has been handed down to three men today who were caught on video abusing dairy cows at a Chilliwack farm in 2014.

They were seen in an undercover video that showed cows being beaten at Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd.

The footage was collected using secret cameras as part of an undercover operation conducted by the animal-rights activist group Mercy For Animals.

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Former employee Travis Keefer was given seven days in jail and cannot be in care or control of any animals for one year. The two other defendants, Chris Vandyke and Jamie Visser, both received 60 days in jail and cannot be in care or control of any animals for three years.

The judge said the sentences will be served on weekends so they will still be able to maintain their jobs.

Twenty counts of animal cruelty were laid against Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd., with 16 falling under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The BC SPCA said it received the undercover video in June 2014 showing dairy cows being beaten with chains, canes and rakes. The footage also showed cows being kicked and punched after they were trapped and could not escape the abuse.

The B.C. SPCA said the case marks the first time a B.C. company has been held accountable for acts of animal cruelty on a farm.

“The judge didn’t have any prior cases to give him a lot of guidance for something like this,” said criminal defence lawyer Craig Sicotte. “So he put a lot of thought into it and gave a sentence that obviously my three clients aren’t thrilled with, they have to go to jail, but I think, at the end of the day, this will set the tone for a lot of sentences like this.”

When the sentences were handed out there was a lot of emotion from the suspects’ family members.

“I don’t think any of the family members are thrilled to see these three young men go off to custody,” said Sicotte. “These are young men from good families, they have jobs, they have a lot of support.”

The judge did agree the three men were not properly trained or supervised.

Last December, president of Chilliwack Cattle Sales, Kenneth Kooyman, pleaded guilty to three charges of animal cruelty. His brother, who is a director at the facility, pleaded guilty to one charge. They were fined $300,000 total along with another $45,000 to help fund victim services.

Ryan Meili running for leadership of Sask. NDP

Ryan Meili hopes to become the next leader of the Saskatchewan NDP.

Meili announced on Thursday his intention to enter the race.

READ MORE: Ryan Meili’s byelection victory could change face of Saskatchewan NDP

“This leadership contest is our chance to develop the kind of healthy politics that works for Saskatchewan people,” Meili said in a statement.

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Related

  • Ryan Meili says more action needed to close health gap faced by First Nations

  • Saskatchewan NDP launch leadership race; will choose leader in vote next May

    “I look forward to speaking with and working alongside longtime party members, recently mobilized voters, and community builders across the province to build the inspiring and effective movement we need.”

    Meili said he will formally launch his campaign in the coming months.

    He has run twice before for leader, losing to Dwain Lingenfelter in 2009 and Cam Broten in 2013.

    READ MORE: Ryan Meili wins Saskatoon-Meewasin byelection

    Meili was elected as MLA for Saskatoon-Meewasin in March.

    Broten stepped down after the 2016 provincial election after the party gained only one more seat.

    Regina MLA Trent Wotherspoon has been filling the role as interim leader, but Wotherspoon has said he won’t pursue permanent leadership because he doesn’t want to lose time with his family.

    The new leader will be elected at a convention in Regina on May 6, 2018.

    With files from