21 child murderers have been sent to Indigenous healing lodges since 2011: data

Written by admin on 14/11/2018 Categories: 老域名出售

Nearly two dozen child murderers have been sent to Indigenous healing lodges since 2011, according to data from Public Safety Canada.

Healing lodges held four offenders convicted of first and second-degree murder of children during the 2011-12 fiscal year. The following three years saw 10 more offenders sent to the facilities.

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Another seven were transferred to healing lodges after Justin Trudeau succeeded Stephen Harper as prime minister in 2015, reveal the figures shared with Global News by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office.

In total, 21 child murderers have been transferred to healing lodges since 2011. Over half of them (14) were held there while the Conservative government was in power,

As of Sept. 23, 2018, there were 11 convicted child-killers held in healing lodges.

READ MORE: Terri-Lynne McClintic is back in prison, Rodney Stafford says ‘it makes me feel amazing’

The data was released to Global News on Tuesday following widespread outrage over the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic — convicted in the 2009 rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford — to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan in October.

McClintic was moved out of the healing lodge and into an Edmonton prison last week, Tori’s father Rodney Stafford told Global News Radio. Stafford had previously organized a rally in Ottawa calling for the government to put McClintic back behind bars.

Goodale also announced last week that the Liberal government was implementing new rules governing the assessment and transfer of inmates from conventional prisons to healing lodges.

WATCH: Terri-Lynne McClintic sent back to penitentiary

“At the request of the minister, corrections officials reviewed inmate transfer policies. Based on their recommendations, the government strengthened the governance and oversight of transfers to healing lodges,” a spokesperson for Goodale told Global News in an email accompanying the data.

“The murder of a child is odious and utterly reprehensible, and perpetrators must be held fully accountable for their crime. At the same time, our correctional system must also strive for rehabilitation so we can have fewer repeat offenders, fewer victims, and ultimately safer communities.”

EXCLUSIVE: McClintic’s brother says ‘she’s no more Indigenous than I am green from the planet Mars’

Goodale’s spokesperson added that Correctional Service Canada only approves offenders for transfer to healing lodges “following a thorough risk assessment,” while prioritizing public safety.

He also insisted that that healing lodges “have a record of successfully dealing with difficult cases, and can be the right correctional approach for certain offenders.”

WATCH: Conservative MP pleased McClintic back behind bars, calls on government for better checks and balances

Indeed, research out of Northern Arizona University showed that six per cent of healing lodge residents had re-offended while they were on conditional release, compared to a federal re-offending rate of 11 per cent.

However, a 2002 study showed higher rates for re-offending among healing lodge residents than among offenders in minimum security — it was 19 per cent, “significantly higher” than the rate among Indigenous offenders who were released from minimum security (13 per cent).

READ MORE: Inmate escapes from healing lodge near Maple Creek, Sask.

That study was updated in 2011, and it showed that among Indigenous offenders, conditional releases were “as likely to be maintained in the community as conditional releases for aboriginal offenders from minimum security institutions for men and multi-level security institutions for women.”

— With files from Amanda Connolly and Jesse Ferreras

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‘It’s like he took a grinder to it’ : Scrap metal business turns in stolen cenotaph plaque

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FREDERICTON – The thefts of plaque from two cenotaphs in Fredericton have police on the hunt for who’s responsible.

A plaque was taken from the Barker’s Point Cenotaph on Saturday, Oct.17. It’s replacement value is $3,000.

This week, three plaques went missing from the New Brunswick Provincial Cenotaph in Fredericton. Their replacement value is $10,000.

Fredericton Police say they are actively investigating the thefts.

Best Metals owner Iaan Brown said he believes the Barker’s Point Cenotaph plaque landed at his scrap metal business on Oct. 17.

He said he paid the man $110 for the plaque. Shortly after, he realized what he had received after seeing the plaque on 老域名怎么购买 and the news.

Barker’s Point Cenotaph. Courtesy: Fredericton Police

Courtesy: Fredericton Police

“This guy completely defaced the plaque,” Brown said. “It’s like he took a grinder to it.”

Brown said the only reason he could identify it was the torch on the right side of the plaque.

He said the same man came in with several more plaques the following Tuesday, Oct. 20. His employees recognized him and took a picture. Brown also took a picture of the man’s car before he fled.

“He must have sensed it. He threw them in the back of his trunk and sped off.”

Brown reported the incident to police.

Mayor Brad Woodside is urging all local scrap metal dealers to watch for the plaques.

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©2015

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Land transfer taxes up for review, could double across Ontario

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TORONTO – It may soon get significantly more expensive to own a home in Ontario.

The province is currently in the process of holding public consultations to amend the Municipal Act which includes giving every municipality outside of Toronto the power to charge the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT).

Ontario has already given permission for Toronto to impose the tax back in 2008.

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“It’s before us now as a consultation process to review the municipal act and that’s all this is, no decisions have been made,” said Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

“We’ve uploaded quite a bit with regards to the demands we put on municipalities.”

Sousa said the land transfer tax is part of the province’s review of the municipal act, which is set to be completed this week. He added that if the legislation is enacted it could come into effect by the spring of next year.

“We’re having a discussion with municipalities who have felt for some time a bit beleaguered on the fiscal front ever since the downloading days of the old government and we’re still recovering from that, we’re uploading costs,” said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Ted McMeekin.

“Should all municipalities have the same tools the city of Toronto has and if not, why not? So that’s part of the discussion we’re having.”

Those looking to purchase a home for $445,000 will therefore have to pay $5,375 in the Provincial Land Transfer Tax and an additional $4,625 for the new MLTT.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) issued a media release Tuesday decrying the province’s move to double the tax on home purchases.

“The Ontario Liberals wrote to us in May 2014, during the election, stating that ‘they had no plans to extend these powers to municipalities’,” said Patricia Verge, president of OREA.

“On behalf of home buyers, we want them to remain good on this election promise and that means Ontarians need to send a strong message that the government must rethink its plan to double the land transfer tax burden on home buyers.”

During question period at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, the Progressive Conservatives demanded the Liberal government to guarantee they won’t allow municipalities to impose the extra tax.

The Association claims the MLTT in Toronto has already stiffled home purchases in the city and is costing the economy billions of dollars.

“Over five years, it is estimated that 38,227 housing transactions did not occur in Toronto because of the MLTT,” the OREA said in a media release.

“With every home transaction generating $55,000 in consumer spending on things like renovations, furniture, appliances, and fees to professionals, the MLTT has cost the City of Toronto $2.3 billion in lost economic activity and 15,000 jobs.”

The OREA has since launched an online campaign to urge the public to oppose the move.

Kamal Aurora says she is buying a new home in Oakville, Ont., adding that she hopes to sell the home she currently has.

“Maybe I won’t be able to sell my house, that would affect me,” she said. “Homes are already getting expensive, it’s not a good decision.”

With files from Adam Miller

©2015

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Toronto’s Good Neighbours’ Club helps homeless men over 50 in need

Written by admin on 26/04/2020 Categories: 老域名出售

TORONTO —; The Good Neighbours’ Club is a home-away-from-home for men over the age of 50 who are in shelters and rooming houses. It is a place where everyone can feel safe, respected, and understood.

“The Good Neighbours’ Club is an organization that provides services exclusively to older adult, homeless men,” said mental health worker and counsellor, Elliot Nourse.

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Members are welcome to the club between 8 p.m. and 5 p.m., 365 days a year with access to essentials that men of limited means might need; such as hot meals for a dollar, shower and laundry facilities for 50 cents and free clothing.

“There should be a place like this in every city because there are a lot of people over 50-years-old that really have nowhere to go. They sit at home in a room and look at walls all day or they wander around the streets,” said club member, Alan O’Leary.

For most men here, this is a place to spend the day before heading back to shelters, rooming houses, or bunking on a friend’s couch or even a park bench.

“I counselled some who were doctors, others were engineers, we have professional Olympic athletes —; a wide range of professionals who somewhere down the road was unable to retain what they had built and it generally stems from divorce, mental health depression, psychosis and then this becomes a reality for them,” said Nourse.

Other services offered at the club include counselling and crisis support, assisting men to obtain and maintain housing, recreational programming, nursing care and more.

“Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to provide a lot of the services that we do. We wouldn’t be able to give out winter jackets three times a week, we wouldn’t be able to take the guys out on field trips like baseball games, we wouldn’t be able to serve any of the meals, so it’s a big part of the club,” said volunteer development coordinator, Heather Lockie.

By helping these men find a safe place, the staff offers many services to the members of the club routinely to ensure the men are taken care of.

“We have roughly 400 men cycle through The Good Neighbours’ Club on a daily basis. They are highly susceptible to victimization and this club provides a refuge for them- But just to pave the way to make it a little bit smoother for them,” said Nourse.

Despite the large numbers, members of the club get the individual treatment and service they search for when coming to the club.

“It gives me something to do like explore the world through the Internet —; (you) can’t do that in shelters,” said O’Leary.

“So yeah, it’s just the way it should be. People helping people.”

©2015

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Grizzly bear spurs warning, closures in Kananaskis Country

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CALGARY – An injured grizzly bear with a “history of breaking into vehicles, trailers and camps” spurred a bear warning in Kananaskis County Tuesday night.

Alberta Parks said the warning is in place for part of the Elbow Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, between the Evan-Thomas Day Use area and Little Elbow Campground. The affected area includes Evan-Thomas Fireroad, the closed Mount Romulus Backcountry Campground, the Evan Thomas Pass Horse Camp, and part of Little Elbow Trail.

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Alberta Parks said the 2015 season has been an “exceptionally poor food year for bears” because of limited berry crops.

“This bear may be desperate to find food,” said the advisory.

The Mount Kidd RV Park and surrounding area has also been closed since Oct. 8 due to a grizzly bear, which is being tested to see if it’s the same animal. Alberta Parks said the Mount Kidd-area bear has caused property damage after frequenting the residential area and campsites.

A closure is in place for the portion of Mount Kidd RV Park (Sites A 12,13,14,15) and the section of the power line between the Camper Centre and entrance road to Loop A and B.

For more information on closures and warnings, click here

The Mount Kidd RV Park and surrounding area has also been closed since Oct. 8 due to a grizzly bear.

Stefan Keyes / Global News

©2015

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Watch out for sick raccoons, Toronto

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TORONTO – The city is warning residents of a spike in raccoons infected with Canine Distemper Virus, which can kill dogs.

Raccoons displaying “bizarre” behaviour, including disorientation, aggression and seizures, could be infected, the city said in a press release Wednesday.

Diseased raccoons may also be more likely to approach people or sleep in public places.  Canine Distemper Virus affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of canine mammals such as dogs, raccoons and skunks.

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The disease does not affect cats.  It’s transmitted through discharges from runny noses or tearing eyes, as well as through urine or feces.

But it doesn’t last long outside the body: Your pet would have to get up close and personal with a raccoon – or very recent raccoon extreta – to get infected.

Fioan Venedam, supervisor with Toronto Animal Services Enforcement and Mobile Response Unit, says the disease is more likely to occur in areas where raccoons are highly concentrated.

“It’s by the far the most common infectious disease [affecting animals] in Southern Ontario … You do see it every year, but this year we are starting to see an increase in the numbers,” Venedam said, adding that the virus runs in cycles every five to seven years.

The disease doesn’t affect humans.

But it can kill or sicken your dog if it’s unvaccinated and you let it off leash in areas where raccoon population is high.

“We just want to make sure that people are aware that the disease is out there and that they should have their dogs vaccinated.”

Nathalie Karvonen, executive director of the Toronto Wildlife Centre, says dogs are at risk but only if they are not vaccinated or are or are immunocompromised.

“This virus is one that dogs normally get vaccinated against,” Karvonen said.

READ MORE: Rob Ford wants city to deal with ‘severe’ raccoon problem

Mayor John Tory took up the “war on raccoons” in May and introduced specially designed green bins meant to keep the critters out.

READ MORE: Toronto wages war on Raccoon Nation, but experts say they’re here to stay  

The city is asking anyone people who notice a raccoon displaying abnormal behaviour to contact Toronto Animal Services at 416-338-PAWS (7297).

If your dog isn’t vaccinated against Canine Distemper Virus, speak to a vet or visit the Toronto Humane Society to book an appointment.

©2015

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B.C. court tosses mother’s concern over review

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(UPDATE: Sept 1. 2017 – The BC Court of Appeal has overturned this case, ruling evidence of child sexual abuse had been provided by an unqualified expert and that there was no evidence of misfeasance by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). A new family court case regarding J.P. and her ex-husband has been ordered.)

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VANCOUVER – A government-led review of the actions of British Columbia social workers who granted visits to a father who had sexually abused his four children will take place against the wishes of their mother.

READ MORE: B.C. ministry failed to protect children sexually abused by father: judge

B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson dismissed the mother’s application to stop the internal review over her lack of faith in the government and concerns that the review process is flawed.

Hinkson forcefully rejected her suggestion that the government can’t be trusted, dismissing the assertion as “unwarranted hyperbole.”

“This scandalous submission should not have been advanced,” he said in his written decision.

Earlier this year, Justice Paul Walker released a blistering ruling that social workers had knowingly violated a court order banning the father from unsupervised visits, allowing him to assault the children.

Social workers labelled the mother crazy, put her four children in foster care and discounted her tearful efforts to convince them that her kids had been sexually abused by their father.

In the wake of Walker’s 2015 ruling, the province appointed former civil servant Bob Plecas in July to lead an internal review into the policies and staffing concerns raised in the decision.

The mother protested in her petition that Plecas’s appointment was an indirect attempt by the government to “retry” the case.

Her lawyer asked Hinkson to refine and narrow the review’s terms of reference to ensure that Plecas would not be allowed to challenge the factual or legal conclusions made by Walker.

But Hinkson concluded that the review would not undermine the earlier court decision that recommended the mother be granted sole custody of her children.

“Mr. Plecas has denied any intention of offering criticism of the decision,” Hinkson wrote.

“Even if he had not done so, I would reject the submission that the decision cannot be the subject of comment, even if the comment is critical.”

Hinkson went on to write that the needs of children in government care are “pressing and substantial” and that they might benefit from the proposed review.

In October 2011, the government’s director of children, family and community services argued the mother was too emotionally and mentally unstable to parent and that custody of the children should be granted to their father.

Five months later, the director admitted it was possible the children had been sexually abused by their father and she advised they should be returned to their mother. By that time they had been in foster care for two and a half years.

Walker concluded in his 2015 decision that officials in the Ministry of Children and Family Development had breached their duty of care and were guilty of intentional misconduct, bad faith and reckless disregard for their obligation to protect children.

“As (the mother) continued to complain about the sexual abuse of her children and to protest the director’s conduct, social workers’ antipathy towards her increased, and as it did, the director’s focus turned away from the best interests of the children,” he wrote.

“If it were not for the Herculean efforts of (their mother), the children would now, through the fault of the director, be in the custody of their father, who sexually and physically abused them.”

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Chris Falconer to appeal murder conviction next month – Halifax

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HALIFAX —; Christopher Falconer will be going before a panel of judges next month looking to get a new trial.

The 32-year-old was convicted in the murder of Amber Kirwan on Jan. 28, 2013. Less than a month after a jury of his peers found him guilty of first-degree murder, Falconer filed an application for appeal from behind bars.

Kirwan went missing after a night out with friends on Oct. 8, 2011. Her remains were found less then a month later in Heathbell, N.S.

Amber Kirwan is seen in this undated photo.

File photo/Handout

Scott Falconer Jr., Chris’ father, said he was “very happy” with his son’s decision to file an application for an appeal at the time. The family believes Falconer did not get a fair trial and that the case should have had a change of venue.

Falconer is proceeding with his appeal without a lawyer.

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Mike Taylor served as the Falconer’s defence lawyer during the trial, which brought together hundreds of people. Spectators stood in line for hours to get a seat inside the courtroom, which was full to capacity through the entire trial.

Cell phones had to be banned during the first week of the trial because a member of the public took a photo of Falconer and posted it to social media, something that’s not allowed inside Nova Scotia courtrooms.

Kirwan’s parents, Marjorie and Don, were present every day of the trial and both testified.

When the guilty verdict came back, Marjorie Kirwan told Global News she was “very” pleased with the decision.

Kirwan’s death is Falconer’s second murder conviction. He pleaded guilty in 1998 to second-degree murder, after he and another teenage boy killed a taxi driver on Heathbell Road in Pictou, the same area where Kirwan’s remains were found.

©2015

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Allegations police abused First Nations women in Val d’Or part of a national problem, observers say

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It’s not just Val-d’Or.

Allegations Quebec police attacked and sexually assaulted First Nations women for years are part of a national problem, says a researcher with Human Rights Watch.

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First Nations women from Val-d’Or, about 525 kilometres northwest of Montreal, claimed in a report by Radio Canada that Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers forced them to commit sex acts, assaulted them and dropped them off outside of town, forcing them to walk back alone in a litany of alleged incidents stretching from 2001 to 2015.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced Tuesday the province will name an independent observer to oversee the investigation by Montreal police into the accusations.

READ MORE: Eight SQ officers suspended in wake of sexual-assault allegations

None of the allegations have been proven. Eight SQ officers are on leave; a ninth accused officer has died since the alleged incident occurred.

But to Meghan Rhoad the allegations are nauseatingly familiar.

Rhoad, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, has documented allegations of excessive force and sexual assault by police in northern British Columbia. She says the situation in Val-d’Or is similar.

“There needs to be a real examination at the national level of the relationship between police forces and indigenous women and girls,” Rhoad told Global News Wednesday. “That examination would be a logical part of a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous girls.”

In 2013, Rhoad’s report Those Who Take Us Away detailed police failures to protect indigenous women from violence in northern B.C. as well as abuse by police officers themselves.

READ MORE: Anger at Stephen Harper, disenfranchisement fuelled turnout of aboriginal voters

An RCMP watchdog is investigating the report.

Human Rights Watch was surprised to get the call in 2012 from a Vancouver organization Justice For Girls, Rhoad said. Canada had a strong human rights record – why would an investigation be necessary?

She realized that assumption was naive.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 50 indigenous women and girls ranging in age from 15 to late 60s across 10 communities that included Prince George, Prince Rupert and Williams Lake.

READ MORE: Indigenous group gives Quebec premier 24 hours to meet, discuss police abuse claims

The result was scathing: Allegations included a police dog’s unprovoked attack on a young girl; unwarranted strip-searches of women by male officers; and allegations of sexual assault in five of the communities the report’s authors visited.

In the early 2000s, the Saskatoon Police Service became infamous for its so-called “starlight tours” – the practice of arresting First Nations men and driving them out of the city in the dead of winter before abandoning them.

The story of Darrel Night, who survived one of the incidents, was widely reported in the media. Two officers involved were convicted of unlawful confinement in September 2001 and sentenced to eight months in jail.

Rhoad said she remains positive there will be systemic change in Canada.

“There are problems in every country.What matters is the government takes meaningful steps to address them.”

On Tuesday, Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, demanded a meeting with Couillard to discuss abuse against Native women.

Picard called on prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau to open a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal woman within 30 days of being sworn into office. Trudeau had previously said he’d do it within 100 days.

*Editor’s Note: An earlier version stated that Human Rights Watch was asked to investigate police in northern B.C. by the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. They were first asked to investigate by a Vancouver organization Justice For Girls.

©2015

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No mountain pine beetle in NW Saskatchewan for 2nd year: official

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SASKATOON – There’s some promising news on the mountain pine beetle’s presence, or lack thereof, in Saskatchewan. The insect has destroyed millions of hectares of lodgepole pine in British Columbia and Alberta, and there were worries that it could move further north, where there are a lot of Jack pines.

Rory McIntosh, Saskatchewan’s forest entomologist and pathologist, says they have found no trace of the dangerous bug in the northwest part of the province for the second straight year.

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Related

  • Number of tent caterpillars high this spring in Saskatoon

  • Spring forest renewal program has sprung in Sask.

READ MORE: No more Dutch elm disease found in Saskatoon

McIntosh says the situation is also improving in the Cypress Hills area in the southeast, where both Alberta and Saskatchewan are working together to slow down the beetle.

He says they found 260 affected trees, compared to 440 in 2013.

McIntosh hopes that aggressive actions to burn trees immediately after they are affected and a lack of insect immigration could lead to a continuing downward trend.

He says anyone can make a difference to prevent the beetle from arriving in Saskatchewan.

He cautions people to not move, transport, store, or use pine firewood with bark attached.

©2015

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Islamic State on recruitment spree in Russia’s North Caucasus

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MAKHACHKALA, Russia – The Russian province of Dagestan, a flashpoint for Islamic violence in the North Caucasus, is feeding hundreds of fighters to the Islamic State in Syria — and now some are coming back home with experience gained from the battlefield.

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The departures mean that the region itself has become markedly less violent recently with fewer bombings and shootings. And the returning fighters have either landed in jail or been kept under close police surveillance. But there are long-term concerns that the presence of radical Muslims trained in IS warfare could lead to greater instability and violence.

“We can’t allow them to use the experience they have just gained in Syria back home,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently.

Eduard Urazayev, a former minister in Dagestan’s provincial government, and now a political analyst, said that poverty and unemployment in the region made the IS recruiters’ job easier. “If the high level of corruption and unfavourable socio-economic situation remain,” Urazayev said, “it may further fuel protest sentiments and increase sympathy for the IS.”

READ MORE: Russian intelligence chief says Taliban, ISIS may invade Central Asia

The Islamist insurgency that has swept Russia’s North Caucasus after two separatist wars in Chechnya has a proclaimed goal of carving out an independent state governed by Shariah law. The Caucasus Emirate, an umbrella group comprised of rebels in several Caucasus provinces, has sworn allegiance to the IS.

Alexei Malashenko, an expert on Islam with the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow office, said that officials in the Caucasus had an interest in encouraging the militants to move out of the region.

“A drop in the Islamists’ activity and the reduction in the number of casualties in the North Caucasus in 2014-2015 were the result of militants leaving for the Middle East,” Malashenko wrote in a recent article.

Officials said they were keeping close watch on those who return. Dagestan authorities have tried to register all followers of Salafism, a radical branch of Sunni Islam, taking their fingerprints and DNA samples.

Sharaputdin Arslanbekov, a police official in Makhachkala in charge of fighting extremism, said the official number of Dagestan residents who have left for Syria stands at 419, but reliable intelligence indicates that the actual figure is around 700, a significant share of an estimated 2,500 Russian citizens with IS.

Arslanbekov said IS recruiters were working actively in universities and schools, taking advantage of economic and social problems in the region. “The recruiters are quite sly and well-prepared, they know methods of ideological indoctrination and are good psychologists,” he said.

WATCH: Russian drone films fighting in Syrian capital

Police captured five former IS members and killed three others, he said, adding that nine of those who fought alongside the IS in Syria have voluntarily surrendered after coming back home.

Gazimagomed Aligadzhiyev, a native of the mountainous village of Gimry, a key centre of Salafism in Dagestan, was one of those who left for Syria and spent three months at an Islamic State training camp in Syria before he decided to come back. Upon return, he joined a local militant group but eventually got sick of hiding and turned himself in to the authorities.

“We only went out at night, as they could spot us in daytime. I haven’t seen sunlight since December,” he told Russian state television.

Even though some officials in the Caucasus may feel relief about militants fleeing to Syria, the Kremlin has voiced strong concern about the potential threat the militants could pose upon return.

Putin has described the IS threat to Russia as a key factor behind his decision to launch air strikes on militants in Syria. He said that between 5,000 and 7,000 people from Russia and other former Soviet countries are now fighting alongside Islamic State militants.

Meanwhile, Russia’s air campaign in Syria has drawn threats of retaliation from militants there, raising the danger of IS-driven terror in a country that has seen numerous suicide bombings and other extremist attacks in the past.

They included the 2002 hostage-taking raid on a theatre in Moscow, which left 130 hostages and all 40 attackers dead, and the 2004 seizure of a school in Beslan in southern Russia, in which more than 330 people were killed and over 800 others were wounded. In 2010, twin suicide bombings on the Moscow subway killed 40 people and wounded over 120, and a 2011 suicide bombing at a Moscow airport killed 37 and injured more than 180.

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the main KGB successor agency, said recently that under the brunt of Russian airstrikes, some militants were trying to leave the warzone in Syria with a goal to conduct terror attacks in Russia, Europe and elsewhere.

READ MORE: Uprooting ‘terrorists’ is the start to a political solution in Syria: Assad

A few weeks ago, the FSB arrested a group of people, including some trained by IS in Syria, who were accused of plotting a terror attack on Moscow’s public transport system. It also found a home-made bomb loaded with five kilograms of explosives.

IS has been active on social networks across Russia and other ex-Soviet nations in search of new recruits, focusing primarily on young people.

People from Kyrgyzstan and other ex-Soviet Central Asian nations, where the majority of the population is Muslim, have been a top target for IS recruiters. Poverty and lack of jobs have pushed many to go to Russia to work as migrant labourers, and Russia’s economic downturn helped make the IS recruitment effort easier.

One such recruit, Babur Israilov, a 21-year old citizen of Kyrgyzstan, went viral on the Internet last month: A video showed him weeping while climbing into a vehicle rigged with explosives, just minutes before blowing himself up in a suicide mission in Syria.

WATCH: Russia releases more aerial footage showing airstrikes on alleged ISIS targets

Those who knew Israilov said he had gone to Russia in search of a job, and apparently was lured into joining the IS there. Kyrgyz officials wouldn’t comment on the case pending a probe.

Along with the poor and the desperate, IS nets have caught some members of the middle-class. A second-year student of the elite Moscow State University, who studied Arabic and developed an interest in Islam, left to join the IS but was detained on Turkey’s border with Syria a few days later after her father raised the alarm.

Most local imams in Dagestan shun radical views, but they have found it hard to counter the appeal of radical ideas promoted by the Islamic State. Some imams who spoke against radical Islam have been killed.

READ MORE: Syria’s Assad bolstered with visit to ally in Moscow

Muhammad-Haji, an imam in Makhachkala, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared Islamist revenge, said many young people fell under the spell of the extremist ideas and he found it hard to persuade them to change their views.

Tanya Lokshina, the Russia program director at Human Rights Watch, said that police abuses fueled anger against the authorities, contributing to the popularity of IS among young people in the region.

Unlike Dagestan, which has remained the epicenter of the Islamic insurgency in recent years, Chechnya has become more stable under the leadership of Moscow-backed strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, who has incorporated many former rebels into his feared security forces. International rights groups have accused him of using extrajudicial killings, abductions and torture to uproot the Islamist insurgency in the region.

Kadyrov claims that “tens of thousands” Chechens were eager to travel to Syria to help President Bashar Assad’s military.

“By helping Syria,” Kadyrov said, “we are protecting our country.”

©2015

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Rob Ford announces doctors have discovered new tumour on his bladder

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TORONTO —; Former mayor and current City Councillor Rob Ford has hit a setback in his road to recovery from cancer, announcing Wednesday that a new tumour has formed on his bladder.

“Recently, Councillor Ford was experiencing more abdominal pain, and he has spent time undergoing examination and testing by his medical team at Mount Sinai Hospital,” a statement from Ford’s chief of staff Dan Jacobs read.

“It’s now been confirmed that there is a new tumor growing on his bladder. At this time, we are still awaiting testing results to determine if it is related to the previous growths, as well as whether it is malignant.”

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Doug Ford told Global News the family is waiting on more information from doctors so they can get a better idea of what treatment options are available.

“He’s been complaining about pains over the last couple of weeks and then finally he went in and ended up getting checked out,” he said.

“So he was just starting to feel a little confident and then bang out of left field this comes along too. So it’s tough right now.”

READ MORE: Tory wishes Rob Ford ‘speedy recovery’ from health setback

Doug Ford said his brother was in “excruciating pain” due to the fact that the tumour puts pressure on the bladder and other areas of his body.

“He wanted to go home so he asked if he could go home to spend times with his kids and his wife and his family and so they let him go home,” he said, adding that Ford may return to the hospital tomorrow for more testing.

“There’s probably a few options; straight operation or chemo to reduce the size of the tumour and then to operate. And as a lot of people know, and millions people have dealt with this and their families, as Rob said chemo is 10 times worse than the operation, especially heavy doses of chemo.”

Doug Ford said the news was “devastating” for the family as it was totally unexpected.

“As soon as you feel that you’re moving forward and Rob was looking good, feeling great and just out of left field this happens so it’s tough,” he said.

“We just appreciate all of the prayers and thoughts. That’s what keeps Rob positive, that’s what keeps the family positive and it’s overwhelming and we’re very, very grateful.”

READ MORE: Doug Ford says Rob Ford has hit a ‘bump in the road’ with cancer recovery

Jacobs said Ford will be undergoing additional treatments to address the new growth, adding that information will be released pending approval from Ford and his family.

“Councillor Ford and his family wish to extend their continued gratitude for the thoughts, prayers, and support that they have received during this difficult time,” Jacobs said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory wished Ford a “speedy recovery” on Wednesday following Doug Ford’s comments, adding that he hopes the Ward 2 councillor will continue down the road to recovery.

In Sept. 2014, Ford was diagnosed with pleomorphic liposarcoma and has since undergone chemotherapy.

In May, the former mayor underwent a 10-hour surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and doctors deemed the procedure a success.

Ford’s health caused him to drop out of the 2014 mayoral race. His brother Doug ran in his place, but lost to Tory.

Ford has been sitting as a councillor for Etobicoke Ward 2 since Oct. 2014.

With files from Simon Ostler

©2015

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Trudeau is a true environment ‘amigo’: Mexican envoy

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OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau’s election gives Mexico and the United States a true continental “amigo” in the fight against climate change, Mexico’s ambassador said Wednesday.

Envoy Francisco Suarez said that under the Harper Conservatives, Canada lagged behind Mexico and the U.S. on environmental policy.

“The green agenda of the Canadian government was behind the United States and Mexico. Let’s put it that way,” Suarez said in an interview at the Mexican embassy.

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“Mexico and the United States were very much in favour of pushing forward meaningful agreements, meaningful targets.”

Suarez said with Trudeau planning to attend December’s major international climate change in Paris, known as COP 21, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, U.S. President Barack Obama and the newly elected Liberal leader will provide a unified North American front.

READ MORE: Harper to resign as prime minister next week, just before Trudeau takes office

“I’m sure one issue we’ll be working very, very closely with the prime minister is on the COP meeting. Obama, Trudeau — the three amigos — will be acting as three amigos on climate change in Paris,” said Suarez, using the label has been applied to the periodic summits of North American leaders over the last decade.

Pena Nieto wanted to be the first foreign leader to congratulate Trudeau on his Oct. 19 election victory and managed to get his call through first, said Suarez.

Mexico hopes Trudeau will follow through on a campaign promise to end the visa requirement for travellers from that country. Suarez says the visa policy is the major irritant in an otherwise good relationship between the two countries.

WATCH: Justin Trudeau arrives to a raucous crowd as he meets Kathleen Wynne

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote to Pena Nieto earlier this year telling him his government was moving to lift the visa requirement by implementing a new electronic system.

The government introduced the visa in 2009 in what it said was a clamp down on bogus refugee claimants, but the imposition angered Mexicans, who saw it as a slap in the face to a major trading partner.

The ambassador says Trudeau should make Mexico his first international stop as prime minister, or at least second after the United States. He said the “Liberal brand” is strong in Mexico, in part due to the popularity of Trudeau’s father, Pierre.

“He will be getting a hero’s reception. And if he would announce in Mexico the elimination of the visas, he will be getting a standing ovation. And that, in itself would make it an extremely successful foreign policy success to begin with.”

READ MORE: Crumbling 24 Sussex an ‘embarrassment’ says DIY expert

Trudeau already has a full schedule of international meetings in the coming weeks, in addition to the Paris summit. They are the G20 leaders’ summit in Turkey, the APEC summit in the Philippines and the Commonwealth summit in Malta.

So far, Trudeau has committed only to attending the Paris climate change meeting, long with opposition party leaders and provincial premiers.

But like other countries, Mexico hopes to see Trudeau at the other summits. Suarez said Pena Nieto would be eager to meet Trudeau on the margins of the G20.

In addition to the environment, Mexico and Canada now share common ground on economic policy, especially when it comes to infrastructure, said Suarez.

Trudeau said he would run three years of modest deficits to stimulate what he said was a stagnant economy.

Suarez said Mexico believes in strong infrastructure investment, which “generates modest fiscal deficit” because it creates jobs and grows the economy.

“We’re in the pro-growth camp rather than the austerity, sluggish, stagnant growth camp,” said Suarez.

“Pro-growth sustained on efficient infrastructure investment, while maintaining solid public financing … Europe went to austerity, austerity, austerity and everything deteriorated.”

©2015

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