An Abbotsford senior has died after being struck by a vehicle, and police are now seeking to identify the driver.
The fatal collision occurred Tuesday evening at 8:30 p.m. in the 32600 block of Marshall Road, police said in a news release.
A 77-year-old South Asian man, who has not been identified, was walking on the roadway when he was hit by what police describe as a newer model, SUV-type vehicle.
He was transported to hospital by air ambulance, but died of his injuries Wednesday morning.
The driver of the vehicle, meanwhile, fled the scene, and investigators are now working to identify the individual.
“The Abbotsford Police Department are asking for the driver of the vehicle to do the right thing and come forward to speak with investigators,” police said in the release.
Detectives are also looking to speak to witnesses who stopped to help and act as interpreters at the scene, and are appealing to the public for CCTV and dash-cam footage that could help with the investigation.
Anyone with information pertinent to the incident is asked to call the Abbotsford Police Department.
Canadian governments are addicted to the revenue from alcohol DALE DE LA REY / AFP/Getty Images
With so much focus on illicit drugs and overdose deaths, it might seem that opioids are the biggest addictions problem. Far from it.
Alcohol kills many more people each year (14,800 in 2014), results in more hospitalizations annually than heart attacks and is one of the most expensive and intractable health problems.
While cannabis was legalized a year ago and B.C.’s chief medical health officer is pushing hard for decriminalization and ultimately legalization of all illicit drugs, two Canadian addictions research centres want tougher regulations to mitigate the costs and harms of alcohol use and addiction.
The Victoria-based Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research and the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health want a minimum price of $3.50 for a standard drink in a bar or restaurant and $1.75 for off-premise sales. They also want a national minimum drinking age of 19, which is a year higher than national minimum for cannabis. Those are just two of the recommendations in reports they released last month that look at federal, provincial and territorial alcohol policies.
The reports also calling for stricter guidelines for advertising, restrictions on manufacturers’ and retailers’ promotions on digital and social media platforms, and a federal excise tax based on alcohol content that would replace the GST.
Over the past decades, the researchers found an erosion of effective policies and regulations.
“Overall, alcohol policy in Canada has been largely neglected relative to emerging initiatives addressing tobacco control, responses to the opioid overdose crisis, and restrictions imposed on the new legal cannabis market,” their report on the provinces and territories says. In several jurisdictions — Ontario is the worst example — “customer convenience and choice are being given priority over health and safety concerns … the responsibility of governments to warn citizens of potential risks is largely absent.”
British Columbia got a bare pass at 50 per cent based on its potential to reduce alcohol-related harm, which is not good. But it’s still better than the national average of 43 per cent.
Alcohol-related harm was estimated at $14.6 billion in 2014, according the Canadian Centre on Substance Use. Productivity loss due to illness and premature death accounts for $7.1 billion. Direct health care costs add another $3.3 billion and $3.1 billion is spent on enforcement costs for this legal drug.
Tobacco was second at $12 billion followed by opioids at $3.5 billion and cannabis at $2.8 billion. But the data predate the opioid overdose crisis and cannabis legalization.
Alcohol’s costs and harms reflect the fact that 80 per cent of Canadians drink. It’s not surprising. Culturally, we associate drinking with celebrations and good times. It’s We’re bombarded with images in movies, TV and ads of beautiful people drinking and having fun.
Scarcely a week goes by that there isn’t a “good news” story about research showing that a glass of red wine might be good for your heart or that yet another populist politician is campaigning on a promise to slash the price of beer.
Yet less was made of University of Washington’s Global Burden of Diseases Study last summer that found alcohol was the leading factor in 2.8 million premature deaths in 2016 and is so harmful that governments ought to be advising people to abstain completely.
One problem is that Canadian governments are addicted to the revenue from alcohol. Liquor sales and taxes provided $12.15 billion to federal and provincial governments in 2017/18 — $1.6 billion more than five years earlier, according to Statistics Canada.
Last year, liquor consumption rose in British Columbia, which already had the highest drinking rates in Canada. There were also record sales, which meant that in addition to tax revenue, the Liquor Distribution Branch provided $1.12 billion in earned revenue, up from $1.03 billion two years earlier.
Good for taxpayers? Not really. The reports by the substance-abuse centres recommends B.C. “reconsider the treatment of alcohol as an ordinary commodity: Alcohol should not be sold alongside food and other grocery items as this leads to greater harm.”
It’s based on research done last year by Tim Stockwell of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. He and his researchers found that when access to alcohol is easier, more people die.
Between 2003 and 2008, “a conservative estimate is that the rates of alcohol-related deaths increased by 3.25 per cent for each 20 per cent increase in stores density.”
Estimates have to be conservative because alcoholics’ fatalities are mistakenly counted as death from one of more than 200 other kinds of alcohol-related fatalities including car accidents, suicide, liver diseases, cancers, tuberculosis and heart disease.
What’s surprising is that more than a century after legalization, there are no federal or provincial policies aimed specifically at mitigating alcohol’s harms and costs.
The opioid crisis has been the catalyst for governments to finally think about addictions and drug-use policies and, it’s now impossible to ignore the slower moving crisis caused by alcohol abuse and addiction.
In the coming months, the B.C. health officer also plans to release an alcohol addictions report. The B.C. Centre on Substance Use recently developed guidelines for best practices in treating alcohol addiction, but the provincial government has yet to approve or release those.
Prohibition proved a failure. Yet, legalization and regulation are not panaceas either. Because even with more than 100 years of experience, there is still no jurisdiction in Canada or anywhere else that seems to have got it right.
A man injects drugs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. Despite significant efforts to combat overdose deaths in British Columbia, the provincial coroner says illicit drug overdose deaths increased to 1,489, just over the 2017 death total. JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS
The problem with the provincial health officer’s special report recommending decriminalization of all illicit drug users is that Dr. Bonnie Henry chose to make that her only recommendation.
Three years after a public health emergency was declared because of an epidemic of deaths from illicit opioids, B.C. still has no comprehensive addictions strategy.
It has a stunning lack of treatment services, no universal access to services, no simple pathway to what few services there are, no provincial standards or regulation of privately operated treatment and recovery homes services.
Government ministries such as health, mental health and addictions services, social development and housing remain siloed and the root causes of addiction remain largely unaddressed.
While there has been substantial investment in harm-reduction measures including overdose prevention sites, free naloxone kits (to reverse an opioid overdose), low-barrier shelters and poverty reduction, the needs are greater.
Overdose deaths have only hit a plateau – not dropped. Every day, four people British Columbians die.
Yet, Henry is adamant that decriminalization is the most important next step.
“It’s about a focus and an intent,” she said. “Instead of police focusing on requirement of the Criminal Code, it builds off-ramps to connect with services. And, that in itself, ensures those systems are built.”
The majority of those who have died of overdoses were young men using alone at home. Without fear of being arrested and with the stigma of addiction being reduced, the expectation is that addicts or recreational users would be more likely to go to a supervised injection site, use with a friend (with a naloxone kit at the ready) or call for help if they overdose.
Henry calls decriminalization “a necessary next step to stop the death toll from rising and to make harm-reduction services more readily available.”
But it’s a question whether those recreational users would do that, because many addicts say that they use alone for a variety of reasons — not least of which is that they don’t want to share their drugs or they don’t want anyone to know what they do when they’re high.
The report recommended two options for British Columbia to work around the Criminal Code provisions.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth firmly and quickly said no to both. But he noted there are pilot projects in Vancouver, Abbotsford and Vernon where rather than charging for possession, police are linking users with services. An evaluation of those will be completed in the fall and, depending on the results, they may be expended to other communities.
Henry makes no secret of the fact that her ultimate goals for Canada are full legalization and regulation of all drugs to ensure that there is a safe supply. If that were to happen, Canada would be the first in the world to do that.
Portugal is mentioned frequently in the report and by Henry. Possession for personal use was decriminalized more than 20 years ago. But it was done only as part of a comprehensive, drug strategy.
Police still arrest anyone found with illicit drugs. They are taken to a police station where the drugs are weighed. If the amount is above the maximum limit set for personal use, they are charged and go through the criminal justice system.
If the amount is below the limit, tickets are issued and users told to appear at the Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Use within 24 hours. There, they meet with a social worker or counsellor before going before a three-person tribunal, which recommends a plan for treatment.
People don’t have to comply. But if they are arrested again, the commission can impose community service, require that they seek treatment, impose fines and even confiscate people’s property to pay those fines.
That’s not the kind of decriminalization Henry is recommending. Instead, the onus here would be on police officers – not trained addictions specialists, psychologists or social workers — to connect users with services.
Part of the reason for the difference is that Portugal’s goal wasn’t legalization or keeping addicts alive until they chose to go treatment. Its focus was and is on getting addicts into treatment and recovery so they could resume their place in society.
Harm reduction is only a small part of the Portuguese plan. Its first supervised injection site has only recently opened. But there is free and easy access to methadone (which dampens heroin addicts’ craving for the drug) and free needles to stop the spread of infection.
These harm reduction measures are deemed to temporary bridges to abstinence for all but older, hardcore, long-term heroin users rather than long-term solutions. Of course, fentanyl and carfentanil have yet to be found in its illicit drug supply.
Its treatment services as extensive and include everything from outpatient treatment to three years’ residency in a therapeutic community during which time the users’ families are provided with income supplements.
Nothing in this decriminalization report moves British Columbia anywhere close to that kind of comprehensive system. And until we get there, it’s hard to imagine that this overdose crisis ending anytime soon.
Jim Mann wants everyone to know that he’s more than his dementia.
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 12 years ago, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be involved in making decisions about his health.
The distinction is important for Mann — and many others living with dementia. The Surrey resident is thinking a lot about consent these days after being part of an advisory committee on health care consent for people with dementia. Their report, Conversations About Care, was released Feb. 27.
Mann, 70, said professionals in health care still make assumptions about people with dementia.
He recalled an emergency room incident when a nurse yelled his name and added “patient only.”
“My wife and I stood up and walked over. Halfway there, she (the nurse) yelled again ‘patient only.’ I got up to her and said ‘my wife needs to be with me. I have Alzheimer’s.’ She turned around and looked me up and down and said ‘well, you look fine.’ “
Mann said that while the public might not always understand that dementia is a cognitive impairment not a physical one and therefore not visible, he believes that kind of language isn’t acceptable in a health care environment.
“Within the medical system, I’m sorry, you should really know this by now,” he said.
The goal of the project’s Conversations About Care report is to ensure that the legal framework in B.C. remains strong enough to protect people living with dementia as well as those named as their legal substitutes.
In 2018, about 70,000 people in B.C. were living with dementia. By 2033, that number is estimated to increase to almost 120,000.
Krista James, national director of Canadian Centre for Elder Law at the University of B.C., said the report is intended to start a conversation about the rights of people with dementia.
“I feel that we’re missing that rights-based lens that recognizes the rights of older people to make choices about what happens to them,” she said.
“Although the law is different in each jurisdiction, and this report applies specifically to the experience in B.C., we need to open up that conversation to think about the citizenship rights of older people in a health care context. It’s really urgent.”
The report’s 34 recommendations were developed through a process that included consultation with people living with dementia, family caregivers, health care professionals, and others who deal with consent on a regular basis.
James said the origins of the report came from phone calls she received from family caregivers who felt frustrated that decisions were being made without consultation.
“From our perspective, the health care consent law in B.C. is super robust and I think fairly clear,” James said.
“It says if it’s not an emergency, you need to get that prior informed consent. The care facility regulations that govern long term care don’t seem to be consistent. There is a lot more wiggle room.”
That means some physicians, licensed practical nurses and care aids don’t understand the concept of prior informed consent for non-emergency care.
“I have talked to a few people who think that if the person is in the care facility they have consented to all the care that the people who work there think is the right care for them,” she said.
“Some of the staff don’t understand they have to get consent. They confuse admission to the care facility with consent to all the meds.”
One of the report’s recommendations calls for all licensed long-term care facilities to set out rules on restraints, including chemical restraints (medications such as antipsychotics used to control aggressive behaviour).
Other big concerns include the challenge of sorting out situations where family members making decisions about care for someone with dementia can’t agree on what to do. One way to address that, James said, is to have social workers involved in helping families find a solution.
James said the report recognizes that health care providers are never going to be experts on the law.
“They’re not lawyers,” she said. “We shouldn’t expect them to be experts on the finer details of the law. They need to have support so they can properly interpret the law.”
Recommendations of the report
• Improving health care decision-making laws in B.C. by adding language to recognize that people’s capacity to make health care decisions can vary from day to day and decision to decision, and that they be involved to the greatest degree possible in all case planning and decision-making.
• Address barriers to informed consent experienced by Indigenous people and people who need language interpretation, and create financial incentives to support physicians so they can spend time to talk with patients and families.
• Create a review tribunal to allow people living with dementia to review health care decisions made by substitute decision makers.
RCMP search the Bridgeview neighbourhood in Surrey on Jan. 31, 2019. Jason Payne / PNG
The search continues for a man wanted in connection with the shooting of a Transit Police officer in Surrey on Wednesday.
Surrey RCMP have identified Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, as a suspect in the shooting inside Scott Road SkyTrain station that left Const. Josh Harms recovering from gunshot wounds to his arms.
Sgt. Chad Greig said the focus on Thursday was on the Bridgeview area, which is a residential and industrial area directly across King George Highway from the SkyTrain station.
It was believed that the gunman had fled to that area after the shooting, and police maintained a perimeter, did neighbourhood inquiries and searched for evidence. Surrey RCMP officers were backed up by the emergency response team and dog handlers.
“As the day was going on, our concentration in the Bridgeview area was slowly being decreased,” Greig said. He was unable to say on Friday morning how many police officers remained in the neighbourhood.
Greig said police believe Glasgow might flee B.C. to evade capture. He does have a criminal history in Ontario.
“We sent the message out that he could be leaving the province, and that is to have all of our police agency partners aware that this subject could be anywhere,” Greig said.
Glasgow, who according to court records has been known to use the aliases Darrell James Davis and Cornell Gibson, has a lengthy history with the justice system. A judge called his criminal record “reasonably significant.”
In September 2005, he was charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime. It was alleged that the offences took place in Mississauga and Toronto, respectively. The case was transferred out of province.
In April 2006, Glasgow was convicted of unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon, obstructing a peace officer, failing to comply with an undertaking and failing to comply with a recognizance. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail on each count, served concurrently.
Four months later, he was convicted of possession of an illegal narcotic for the purpose of trafficking, and sentenced to two years in prison.
In April 2008, Glasgow was sentenced to nine months in jail for a 2005 charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking and handed a lifetime firearms prohibition.
His most serious offence took place in March 2010, when he killed Terry Blake Scott in the washroom of the McDonald’s restaurant in the 11000-block of Scott Road — just 550 metres from the Scott Road SkyTrain station — after a marijuana deal between the two went bad.
Witnesses heard raised voices in the washroom, followed by a gunshot. Scott, who had been shot in the chest, left the bathroom and collapsed in the restaurant while Glasgow fled.
At the time, Glasgow was on parole for a drug offence. In April, 2011, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, minus a year’s credit for time served following his arrest. He was also given another lifetime firearms ban.
However, in April, 2015, Glasgow’s sentence was reduced by a further six months when a the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled he should have been given 18 months credit for time served.
At the time of this week’s shooting, Glasgow was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for a suspected parole violation.
Glasgow has a profile on prison correspondence site, Canadian Inmates Connect. On his profile, he stated he is in the Kent penitentiary in Agassiz and that he expected to be released in 2019.
Glasgow, who listed “murder, drugs, robberies” under his admitted convictions, states in his profile that he’s “looking for a shorty that I can grow with.”
“I’ve done a lot of sh*t but I respect women and I love kids. I did my crime and I’m doing my time. Now it’s nothing but positive moves towards my future.”
Police say Glasgow is dark-skinned, five-foot-five, 170 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. At the time of the shooting he had black stubble and a moustache. He is known to alter his appearance.
Anyone who sees him is asked to call 911 right away and not approach him.
A dedicated tip line has been set up for the public to report information, at 604-502-6284. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit solvecrime.ca.
Former police officer Derek Brassington. NICK PROCAYLO / PROVINCE
Derek Brassington, seen as a “rising star” in the RCMP, partied with and had sex with a witness in the Surrey Six murder investigation in locations across Canada over a period of months.
The details of the misconduct of Brassington and two other Mounties who also pleaded guilty in connection with their duties during the investigation of B.C.’s biggest-ever gangland slaying, can be reported for the first time after a publication ban was lifted Wednesday.
After submissions by media lawyer Daniel Coles, B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes set aside much of the ban imposed on the circumstances of the case when Brassington, David Attew and Danny Michaud pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
In an agreed statement of facts, it was revealed that Brassington became involved with the witness, who can only be identified as Jane Doe 1 due to an ongoing ban, in June 2009 when she moved to Calgary and agreed to co-operate with police. During the next several months, Jane Doe 1, who had knowledge of the October 2007 murders in Surrey and had been threatened, was relocated to various places throughout Canada. To keep her on-board as a witness, investigators with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) assigned Brassington to work with her.
Between June and December 2009 Brassington engaged in an ongoing relationship with Jane Doe 1, frequently drinking alcohol with her. He lied to fellow police officers and manipulated the witness protection program in order to spend time alone with her.
They had sex together in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Victoria, Toronto and the Lower Mainland. Brassington compromised her security on several occasions and billed the RCMP for witness management trips that included his pursuit of his relationship with her, including billing overtime for hours spent drinking and having sex with her.
“This conduct constituted a breach of trust and amounted to a serious and marked departure from the standard of conduct expected of an RCMP officer engaged in witness management duties,” said the agreed statement of facts.
Particulars of the offence include a trip by Brassington to Calgary in June 2009 that saw him and another officer exploring Jane Doe’s willingness to co-operate with the investigation. They took her out to dinner and while the other cop was in a washroom, Brassington and Jane Doe discussed a plan to spend time alone together. Brassington and Jane Doe told the other cop that Jane Doe was going to spend the night at a friend’s house.
But after Brassington and the cop returned to their hotel, Brassington returned to the bar where Jane Doe had agreed to wait for him and then took the witness back to his hotel where they had sex.
The next month, when Brassington flew to Halifax to attend to another witness, he obtained authorization to fly Jane Doe out to Halifax to meet with him for the purpose of securing her co-operation in the investigation. She provided information about the murders, but also spent three nights at his hotel having sex with Brassington.
Then the pair flew together to Montreal where they had sex again in a hotel. When Brassington’s supervisor became aware that he was alone in Montreal with Jane Doe, he called Brassington and cautioned him to meet with her only in public. Another officer arrived in Montreal, but Brassington and Jane Doe continued to have sex without the officer’s knowledge.
At one point in a bar in Calgary, Brassington, Jane Doe and others bought and consumed $800 worth of alcohol. Jane Doe sat on Brassington’s lap and kissed him in front of others.
At another point in the relationship, after they had had an argument, Brassington sent her a text bemoaning the “constant slinking around,” the excessive drinking and the “feelings of absolute guilt” toward his kids. He told her he didn’t enter into the relationship thinking they’d fall in love.
“The more attached I become to you, the more anxiety I feel over it,” said Brassington. “I want you to have a fresh start in life and feel that I have totally f—ed that up by allowing all this to happen.”
Brassington received a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community after a joint submission from the Crown and defence.
In imposing sentence, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman accepted the joint submission and found that the conditional sentence could properly address the applicable sentencing principles.
Brassington gave an emotional apology in court, saying that the Surrey Six file came on the heels of the investigation into the RCMP’s tasering of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport and that he initially saw the murder probe as a chance to redeem the force.
“But instead of restoring the public trust, I killed it. I made it a thousand times worse with what I did,” he said.
Attew and Michaud admitted to a much lesser involvement in the case, pleading guilty to non-criminal misconduct and receiving shorter, house-arrest sentences.
The Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Jason Payne / PNG
A young North Vancouver woman who was the victim of a brutal sexual assault during a pre-grad party is angry that her attacker will only spend two weeks in custody.
The victim, who was 17 at the time of the incident and can’t be identified due to a publication ban, was attending the unsanctioned party at a Vancouver nightclub along with several hundred other young people, including the young offender, who was 16 and whose identity is also covered by the ban.
The two went into a washroom stall where the offender forcibly digitally penetrated her against her will, twice forced fellatio on her and forced her to have sexual intercourse.
The offender was convicted in November 2017 of one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement. He was also convicted of an earlier sexual assault of another girl.
In November last year, Provincial Court Judge Paul Meyers sentenced him to a maximum three-year term for a youth committing a serious offence, with just two weeks of that period to be spent in juvenile custody and the rest of the time under supervision in the community.
“It makes me really upset,” the victim said Thursday in her first public comments on the sentencing. “People go on vacation for two weeks.”
Her father, who also can’t be identified, said: “Two weeks in a daycare, that’s what the guy got.”
The Crown, which had sought to have the offender serve the full three-year period in custody, isn’t planning to appeal the sentence, a decision that doesn’t sit well with the victim either.
“Not appealing it sucks a lot. I feel like this whole situation shows other people who have survived sexual assault, there’s nothing they can do to get real justice,” she said. “It’s been hard for me to even trust anyone through all of this because they tell me one thing and something else happens. Ultimately this just shows that you can get away with sexually assaulting someone.”
The victim said that since the incident she’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has suffered flashbacks to the night of the assault. She’s also had panic attacks, come close to passing out and cried a lot.
“It’s a pretty long list of stuff,” she said.
What’s particularly galling to her is that while the Crown isn’t appealing, the offender is appealing his conviction.
“It almost seems like he’s never going to accept that he did something wrong and he’ll never learn,” she said. “Anyone with a healthy brain or even an ounce of compassionate empathy would understand it was wrong to do what he did. And it scares me that he’s still in the community.”
The sentence has spurred several people to post an online petition calling for the judge to be fired. More than 50,000 people have purportedly signed it and several lawyers have protested that the petition is undermining the rule of law.
In his ruling, the judge, who had the discretion to determine the amount of time in custody within the three-year term, noted that in sentencing a young offender he was obliged to focus on rehabilitation.
He also took into account reports that found the offender was a low risk to reoffend and that he’d abided by his conditions of bail for nearly 30 months, including house arrest and a curfew.
Joseph Saulnier, a lawyer for the offender, said his client had suffered consequences, including being kicked out of school and not being allowed to attend any North Shore schools. When he tried to find employment, someone would contact the employer and he’d lose his job because of the offence, said the defence lawyer.
“Someone was actively going out there and trying to keep him from living a productive life, from rehabilitating himself,” the lawyer said.
Saulnier said the judge committed several errors that will be the subject of the conviction appeal.
Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Crown, said in an email that the decision not to appeal the sentence came after a “full and careful review of the file materials, the pre-sentence reports and the reasons for the court’s decision.”
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