Tag Archives: Vancouver

VPD Police Detective James Fisher Charged with Sexual Exploitation and Sex Assault

Det. Const. James Fisher, pictured here in 2014, is a 29-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He was charged Thursday with sexual exploitation and sexual assault. (CBC)

Det. Const. James Fisher, pictured here in 2014, is a 29-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He was charged Thursday with sexual exploitation and sexual assault. (CBC)

29-year police veteran facing 6 counts involving a juvenile and an adult

By Karin Larsen, Chad Pawson, CBC NewsDec 29, 2016

A veteran Vancouver police detective, who in 2015 received a special citation for his work on a sexual exploitation investigation, has been charged with sexual exploitation.

Det. Const. James Fisher was arrested Wednesday and faces three counts of sexual exploitation, one count of sexual assault, one count of breach of trust and one count of attempt to obstruct justice, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.

‘Very troubling news’

Vancouver Police Chief Const. Adam Palmer said one of the victims is a juvenile and another an adult.

Palmer called the charges against Fisher “very troubling news” and said they are “not reflective of the other members of the police department,” at a hastily called news conference on Thursday.

Fisher — a member of the force for 29 years — has now been suspended from duty.

In 2015, Fisher received a Chief Constable Unit Citation for “extraordinary dedication” for his work in the Counter Exploitation Unit.

He was the lead investigator in the unit’s recent human trafficking investigation that led to the conviction in September 2014 of Reza Moazami of 30 counts of prostitution and sex assault-related offences involving 11 young women between 14 and 19 years old.

Fisher received special recognition from the provincial government for “exemplary leadership in community safety and crime prevention.”

Fellow officer came forward

Palmer said a fellow officer came forward with concerns about Fisher in March of this year and an investigation was immediately called at that time.

“The details I can share are limited, as the matter is before the courts,” said Palmer of the charges Fisher now faces.

Palmer also said that B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner was also involved in the case from the beginning.

“It is rare for a VPD officer to be charged with offences such as these,” said Palmer. “There is no information to suggest that another officer was involved.”

The charges against Fisher relate to allegations from August 2015 to November of this year.

Detective James Fisher, seen here in 2011, was charged with sexual exploitation and sex assault in addition to other charges. (CBC)

Detective James Fisher, seen here in 2011, was charged with sexual exploitation and sex assault in addition to other charges. (CBC)

Palmer denied that any Creep Catcher group — those that look to use false online social media accounts to out sexual predators — were involved in Fisher’s case.

But Vancouver’s top cop did say that because Fisher was involved in numerous investigations, the force will be reviewing those.

Bail with conditions

Fisher appeared in court Thursday morning, but the details of his bail hearing are subject to a publication ban.

The conditions of his bail, however, do prevent him from contacting the victims as well as several other people and agencies listed in the court documents.

His next appearance is scheduled for January 24, at Surrey Provincial Court.

Meanwhile, Palmer said he was very upset by the news about Fisher and tried to downplay the impact it could have on the reputation of his force.

“Every day, our officers are faced with very difficult and challenging situations,” said Palmer. “Our officers build strong relationships with the community, and they act with integrity, courage, compassion and respect.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vpd-detective-james-fisher-charged-with-sexual-exploitation-and-sex-assault-1.3915994

SiteC Dam Is Waste Of Money And Infringes On First Nations’ Rights, Protesters Say

Protesters gather at Vanier Park to speak out against the construction of the Site C dam along the Peace River in northeastern B.C., in Vancouver on Saturday, July 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Linda Givetash

Protesters gather at Vanier Park to speak out against the construction of the Site C dam along the Peace River in northeastern B.C., in Vancouver on Saturday, July 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Linda Givetash

By Globalnews.ca, July 9, 2016

VANCOUVER – Dozens of people gathered at a Vancouver park on Saturday to protest the construction of the Site-C dam in northeastern British Columbia.

Protest organizers from the group “Fight C” said the dam on the Peace River proposed by BC Hydro is a waste of taxpayer money and infringes on the rights of First Nations.

The dam is estimated to cost upward of $8 billion and will generate 5,100 gigawatts of energy each year — enough to power 450,000 homes.

Those opposing the dam said the cost will only add to BC Hydro’s ballooning debt of over $78 billion and the energy generated is not needed since excess energy from the province is already being sold to the United States.

“I think this is a political agenda, it’s not for public necessity,” said Fight C organizer Caroline Brown.

While the province approves of the project, the federal government must also give approval and Brown said there are hopes Ottawa will stop construction.

A number of lawsuits led by First Nations and environmental groups currently underway could also kill the project, Brown said.

Members of the Treaty 8 First Nations, from the Peace River Valley, who attended Saturday’s rally said they do not approve of the dam that will flood lands they rely on for hunting and farming.

Connie Davis Brown, from the West Moberly First Nation, said communities around the site have not been properly consulted by BC Hydro or the provincial government.

“I feel like I don’t matter, my kids don’t matter, my mom doesn’t matter,” she said.

“They have no remorse for us at all.”

Preparation for construction has already begun with land clearing and new roads built leading to the site.

Brown said the development has caused berry bushes to disappear and changed grazing patterns of moose, making it harder for her family to find food.

Brown along with other protesters at the rally remain hopeful that the land can be salvaged if the project is stopped.

https://reportca.net/2016/07/sitec-dam-is-waste-of-money-and-infringes-on-first-nations-rights-protesters-say/

Vancouver Occupation Of INAC Office Ends

Indigenous women and children who occupied INAC offices in downtown Vancouver for one week leave the building after securing a meeting with federal ministers to discuss their demands. (Facebook)

Indigenous women and children who occupied INAC offices in downtown Vancouver for one week leave the building after securing a meeting with federal ministers to discuss their demands. (Facebook)

#OccupyINAC protesters leave building after securing meeting with federal ministers

CBC News Posted: Apr 25, 2016

The occupation of an Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office in Vancouver by a group of Indigenous mothers ended Saturday, after the ministers of INAC and Canadian Heritage agreed to meet with the group in May, Council of Mothers spokesperson Jerilyn Webster says.

“This is big for us, as far as government placing Indigenous issues as a priority on its agenda,” Webster said.

“But these are just the first steps to the real work that needs to happen.”

Vancouver’s occupation started on Monday, April 18, following occupations of other INAC offices across Canada.

#OccupyINAC protesters were demanding action on the suicide crisis in Attawpiskat, Ont.

Toronto protesters left that city’s INAC buidling on Thursday, saying they were directed to leave by youth from Attawapiskat.

That’s when Vancouver’s group shifted the focus to reinstating a youth cultural program and increasing Indigenous language funding, both federal responsibilities.

A spokesperson from INAC confirmed via email that Minister Carolyn Bennett will meet with the group “in the coming weeks” to discuss language funding, and also to discuss a youth culture program disbanded by the Harper government in 2012.

“We’ve heard from the youth about the importance of rebuilding their identity as proud Indigenous people, and we agree that cultural and wellness programming plays a valuable role,” states the email.

Protesters who occupied the INAC office in Vancouver for six days say they've secured a meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. (CBC)

Protesters who occupied the INAC office in Vancouver for six days say they’ve secured a meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. (CBC)

Webster said she’s cautiously optimistic about the gesture.

“This new government didn’t just shut its ears; it listened, it wants direction and we’re here to provide that, but we don’t want lip service.”

Re-establishing culture and language programs fits into a bigger healing picture, Webster said. The fallout from historical injustices in Indigenous communities has created circumstances in which people, like those in Attawapaskat, are now killing themselves.

“As mothers, we see the sense of urgency and we did what we had to do to make addressing it a priority,” said Webster.

Vancouver’s occupation drew civic and Indigenous leaders, but it also found new supporters such as the local chapter of No One Is Illegal, a social justice group that advocates for immigrant rights and issues.

“We were able to bring all these people together for a common goal,” Webster said.

Occupy Vancouver was the only #OccupyINAC group that involved only women and children.

“We wanted our kids to stand with the kids of Attawapiskat,” Webster said.

Vancouver was the second to last INAC office to be occupied. Protesters are still inside the INAC office in Winnipeg.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/vancouver-occupation-of-inac-office-ends-1.3551611

#Occupy INAC Vancouver Ends Occupation

#OccupyINAC Vancouver ends occupation: View original post

Warrior Publications

INAC occupation vancouver kids Children participating in Vancouver occupation of INAC offices, April 19, 2016.

Through their determination, courage and commitment the Council of Mothers have secured a meeting with both Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett and also Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly to discuss their demands.

They are ending their occupation on Saturday April 23, 2016 at INAC. If anyone has supplies at INAC they need to pick up please do so today from 5-9 pm.

Please see and share the press release and statement below and be sure to share and attend the victory press conference and rally on Monday April 25th at 10:30 am. FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/879500925505405/

View original post 497 more words

Vancouver #OccupyINAC Group Vows To Stay Until Demands Met

A group of women and children have occupied the Indigenous and Northern Affairs office in Vancouver since April 18. (OccupyINAC/Twitter)

A group of women and children have occupied the Indigenous and Northern Affairs office in Vancouver since April 18. (OccupyINAC/Twitter)

CBC News Posted: Apr 22, 2016

‘There’s an urgency that our young people need to be heard,’ says protester inside Vancouver’s INAC office

A group of women and children have been occupying the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office in Vancouver since Monday, April 18.

Jerilyn Webster, who is Nuxalk and Onodaga and a mother of one son, is part of the small group of Indigenous mothers and their children who are vowing to stay until their demands are met.

But with the situation in Attawapiskat drawing to a close, and with the occupation of INAC offices in Toronto ending, the focus in Vancouver has shifted to addressing regional demands.

Attawapaskat may be thousands of kilometres away, but its conditions are universal, said Webster.

“The same things that are happening in their community are happening in our communities now, it’s just that they don’t have media coverage and people don’t see it,” she said.

As a youth worker, Webster once tried to assist a young troubled Indigenous girl. The girl eventually succumbed to her despair and took her own life, something that devastated Webster, who sees a bigger, more tragic picture unfolding.

“There’s an urgency that our young people need to be heard. Their voices haven’t been heard and they’re crying out for help.”

‘Sense of urgency’

The group has demanded a meeting with federal ministers to address three issues.

One, the group wants to see Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth re-established. The $22 million national program, which enhanced the economic, social and cultural lives of off-reserve youth, was cut by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2012.

Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing demographic in the country, particularly in urban areas. Keeping youth connected with their culture is critical, Webster said.

 

Secondly, the group wants to see Indigenous language funding increased from $5 million to $1 billion per year.

Webster and her group analyzed the most recent federal budget and found that the French language received $2.4 billion in funding while Indigenous languages received $5 million.

“There’s 63 different Indigenous languages and when you break that down, that’s $6,000 to $8,000 per community. There needs to be an increase.”

And lastly, Webster and her group want meetings with Carolyn Bennet, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and with Mélanie Joly, the Canadian Minister of Heritage to talk about their demands.

In response to a media request, a heritage ministry official noted in an email that Joly’s mandate requires her to work with INAC to fund Indigenous language preservation and enhancement.

The government invested $5 million in Indigenous languages this year, and it proposes to extend funding for the to 2016-2017, the email stated.

Bennet did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

#OccupyINAC

Webster was inspired to lead Vancouver’s Occupy INAC movement after watching occupy movements mushroom in Winnipeg, Ottawa, Regina, Gatineau and Toronto.

She put the call out for support and found that no men responded; only women and children occupy the Vancouver office. She said she was disappointed with the lack of response from men, but she looked to women past and present for inspiration.

OccupyINAC Vancouver

BC MLA Melanie Mark (far right) visited Occupy Vancouver protestors in the INAC office in downtown Vancouver on April 21. (Facebook)

“Lillian Howard was at an INAC occupation protest in 1981 and she’s an Indigenous woman. Melanie Mark is an MLA now and she’s Indigenous,” Webster said.

“An occupation led by women, this isn’t the first time.”

On Thursday demonstrators left the Toronto’s INAC office, nine days after they took it over and sparked a protest that has spread across the country.

Currently INAC offices in Winnipeg and Vancouver are the only ones that remain occupied.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/vancouver-occupyinac-group-vows-to-stay-until-demands-met-1.3548940

Norway House Walk For MMIW Extends To Vancouver

Members of Norway House First Nation are shown here on their cross-country walk in August. The group is trying to raise awareness for Canada's missing and murdered indigenous people and drum up support for a national inquiry. (Cliff Simpson/CBC)

Members of Norway House First Nation are shown here on their cross-country walk in August. The group is trying to raise awareness for Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous people and drum up support for a national inquiry. (Cliff Simpson/CBC)

CBC News

Journey has spanned more than 4,000 kilometres from Manitoba to B.C.

A peaceful protest for a national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women has spanned more than 4,000 kilometres and now will go even further.

A group of eight walkers set out on foot from Norway House in July, planning to walk to Vancouver while surviving only on donations of food and accommodation from supporters.

They arrived in Winnipeg last month, and continued on to Prince George, B.C. Now, they’re planning on extending their walk to Vancouver.

Among them, Brenda Osborne, whose daughter Claudette Osborne went missing in 2008. Claudette was 21 years old when she vanished from Selkirk Avenue and King Street in Winnipeg on July 25, 2008.

Claudette Osborne 01 for AIH

Claudette Osborne was 21 years old when she vanished from Selkirk Avenue and King Street in Winnipeg on July 25, 2008. (Supplied by family)

Project Devote is investigating the case, but the family hasn’t received any new information since 2010.

“We don’t even feel tired. We just want to keep going,” she said. “But I know we got to get back to our families.”

Osborne called the experience so far “powerful, especially when people that lost their families walked with us.”

She said the families have talked and prayed with the group.

On Tuesday, First Nations chiefs in Ontario announced they were launching a provincial inquiry into murdered and missing women.

So far, the federal government has not agreed to commit to a national inquiry.

Youth Representative Criticizes B.C. Government For Aboriginal Teen’s Death

British Columbia's representative for children and youth

British Columbia’s representative for children and youth

The Canadian Press

An indifferent care system and persistent inaction by front-line workers led to the death of an aboriginal teenage girl in Vancouver, British Columbia’s representative for children and youth has determined.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has released a scathing report after investigating the life and death of Paige, a 19-year-old who overdosed in the city’s troubled Downtown Eastside in April 2013. The teen’s last name was not revealed in the report.

Turpel-Lafond says the Ministry of Children and Family Development inexplicably allowed Paige to remain in the care of her mother, who struggled with substance abuse, despite being the subject of 30 child protection reports in her lifetime.

The report says Paige’s life was chaotic from the start, as she was exposed to violence, neglect, open drug use and was moved more than 50 times to different homeless shelters, safe houses and single-room occupancy hotels.

It says the teen suffered from a syndrome that left her legally blind without her glasses and developed substance abuse problems that landed her in the emergency room or in detox centres at least 17 times.

Turpel-Lafond says social workers, police, health care workers and educators show constant indifference to aboriginal children, and she is demanding that the provincial government take immediate action.

Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux says she was horrified by the report and that her ministry will work with other service providers to learn from what happened.

Daniel Paul Arrested In Connection With Girlfriend’s Homicide

Daniel Alphonse Paul has been arrested, according to the family of his girlfriend who was found dead last month in East Vancouver. (Vancouver police)

Daniel Alphonse Paul has been arrested, according to the family of his girlfriend who was found dead last month in East Vancouver. (Vancouver police)

CBC News

The family of a murdered woman says her boyfriend Daniel Paul was arrested by Vancouver Police on Wednesday.

The body of Rose Paul, a mother of five, was found March 3 in the basement suite of a home on East 22nd Avenue in Vancouver. Now her sister, Candace Paul, says she got a call from police saying he was arrested by two female police officers a month later.

“He was tried denying who he was and they’ll be busy with him for hours tonight,” Candace told CBC News.

“I can breathe now. It’s been so emotional and scary. Every day has been emotional. Just memories of my sister everywhere. We don’t have to be in fear anymore.”

Rose Paul

The body of Rose Paul, a mother of five, was found Mar. 3 in the basement suite of a home on East 22nd Avenue in Vancouver. (Vancouver Police Department)

Vancouver police had offered a $10,000 for information on Daniel Paul’s whereabouts in mid-March. They said Daniel Paul has a history of committing violent offences against women and it was possible that people who know him are helping him.

Daniel Paul was arrested after two officers spotted him riding his bike downtown. When confronted, he initially denied who he was, allegedly, but was arrested without incident.

Rose’s uncle, Howard Paul, added “I’m extremely happy that they finally caught him after a month on the run.”

‘Rosie’ — as she was known to family — was raising five girls aged eight to 19. She was described as beautiful, outgoing and loving.

“She helped all the young girls with the struggles of life,” Candace Paul said.

B.C. missing women inquiry led to changes, but roots of violence remain

Serial killer Robert Pickton was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder, but is suspected of killing dozens of women who went missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. (Vancouver Police Department)

Serial killer Robert Pickton was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder, but is suspected of killing dozens of women who went missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. (Vancouver Police Department)

By Elaine Chau, CBC News

Violence against aboriginal women remains a problem that police and governments aren’t addressing well enough, say women’s advocates, two years after the B.C.’s missing women inquiry released 63 recommendations for major change.

Commissioner Wally Oppal’s inquiry into missing and murdered women slammed police for botching their investigations into serial killer Robert Pickton, who preyed on Vancouver sex workers from 1997 to 2002.

The issue returned to the spotlight after the family of Stephanie Lane, whose partial remains were found on Pickton’s farm, called for a new murder charge against the killer last week.

Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services, says that when it comes to addressing violence against aboriginal women, more lasting change is needed.

“We need to see that change in an ongoing way. We need the political will. What we haven’t seen is the systemic change that we would need to get at the roots of why we have this type of violence.”

$750K for drop-in centre helping sex workers

MacDougall is optimistic about the changes she’s seeing, however, citing improvements to the Missing Persons Act and the evaluation of the Vancouver police’s Sister Watch program.

Missing Women Inquiry

B.C.’s inquiry into missing and murdered women slammed police for botching their investigations into serial killer Robert Pickton, above, who preyed on Vancouver sex workers.

She says she’s encouraged by Vancouver police efforts to improve their relationship with vulnerable women.

One of the missing women inquiry’s recommendations acted upon immediately was the provision of $750,000 to the WISH Drop-In Centre Society — an organization that provides services for sex workers.

As a result, WISH is able to stay open overnight, helping staff see many more women — around 180 in the course of the day. Kate Gibson, executive director, says her clients appreciate the change.

“I think the main thing that we hear, is that they can access the services, that it’s much more responsive to their schedules.

“I think that’s made a huge difference for women who didn’t have a safe place to go in the middle of the night.”

Tribal council calls for women’s buses in northern B.C.

MacDougall and Gibson point to northern B.C. as the region where support for vulnerable women is most needed.

According to the province’s final status update report in response to the missing women inquiry, $350,000 has been provided to the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council in Prince George to deliver community safety workshops along Highway 16.

The government also provided $75,000 to the group, to support increased access to driver education, but, more concretely, the group is asking for shuttle buses to transport women safely throughout northern communities.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone told CBC Radio’s The Early Edition in December 2014 he didn’t think shuttle buses are a practical solution.

 

 

Vancouver rally beats drum for a national missing women’s inquiry

People attending the #AmINext rally calling for a federal inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women take part in a drum circle in Vancouver on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

People attending the #AmINext rally calling for a federal inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women take part in a drum circle in Vancouver on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

December 8, 2014 | Metro

Heartfelt drumming and song from First Nations that have lost too many daughters, mothers, sisters and aunts amplified through False Creek on Sunday during a powerful demonstration.

More than 100 people gathered near Science World to call for a federal inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women as part of the growing #AmINext campaign.

A quick look at the crowd showed the pervasiveness of the issue, and why NDP MP Libby Davies says the murder and disappearance of 1,181 aboriginal women since 1980 (according to RCMP) need to be looked at as more than just isolated, individual crimes.

Many people among the crowd wore shirts or held signs with the picture of a relative or friend who has gone missing or been killed.

Molly Dickson attended the rally with a picture of her daughter, Angeline Pete, who went missing in May 2011 and hasn’t been found since.

The weekend marked Pete’s 31st birthday.

“It is very frustrating, I can’t even sleep at night, worrying and wondering where she can be,” said Dickson. “She’s a young mother and she’s loved by a lot of people. She’s a person.”

Dickson said First Nations communities are all too familiar with how deep the disappearance and murder of so many women has affected families, but “it doesn’t seem important to anybody else.”

#AmINext started as a social media campaign involving women taking pictures of themselves with a sign asking if they could be the next missing or murdered aboriginal woman.

The campaign is meant to raise public awareness and to lobby the federal government for an inquiry.

Now rallies in the campaign’s name have sprouted up across the country.

“I am next? Those are such powerful words,” said Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan at the Vancouver rally. “Isn’t it time to say we need a national inquiry to get to the bottom of this, and to stop it from happening again?”

A talking stick from Sunday’s rally will be passed to different communities holding their own #AmINext rallies until it ends up in Ottawa, where a final demonstration is planned.

The federal government has so far rejected calls for an inquiry, but Davies vowed to continue pushing “like hell” for one in the House of Commons.

http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/1233218/vancouver-rally-beats-drum-for-a-national-missing-womens-inquiry/