RCMP hired Lebanese man suffering from PTSD

Mountie says son was masochist, torture trial hears



A Mountie on trial for torturing and starving his shackled, naked son in a Kanata basement believed the boy was a masochist — someone who gets gratification from pain — a psychologist testified Wednesday.

He also believed he was educating the 11-year-old in order to protect the rest of the family, said the psychologist, who saw the Mountie more than 50 times for one-hour sessions.


The 44-year-old man and his wife are both on trial for confining the boy and failing to provide him with the necessities of life. The boy’s father is also on trial for aggravated sexual assault with a barbecue lighter.


When the Mountie confined his child in the basement of his Kanata home before he escaped on Feb. 12, 2013 in search of water, he viewed his child as his “main enemy” and imagined that his son was possessed by the devil, the psychologist testified.

The Mountie suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the “extremely barbaric” scenes he witnessed at a young age when he lived in Lebanon, the psychologist testified. He was also the victim of sexual assault — a common occurrence at his school in Lebanon, court heard.

“It marked him,” the psychologist testified.

Before moving to Canada, the Mountie was a child when he left school one day to take a taxi to his mother’s apartment in Beirut but was asked to exit the vehicle by militia at a check point. The Mountie had to lie about his name in order to save his life, the psychologist testified.

A few days after he arrived in Beirut, the Mountie injured his arm when a car bomb exploded, court heard.

The Mountie was also traumatized by the kidnapping of his parents, court heard.They were eventually released when it became clear his family had no money to pay a ransom, the psychologist testified.

The psychologist testified he believed the Mountie was sincere when he told him about his difficult past.

The Mountie’s PTSD led him to become “hyper-stimulated” and something as simple as a smile from a woman could be viewed by him as sexual assault, the psychologist testified.

When he came to Canada, one of the worst things that could have happened was getting hired by the RCMP, the psychologist testified. With the job came danger that was constantly stimulating his PTSD.

The test the RCMP administered when he was hired showed a “small problem” but the service decided to look the other way, the psychologist testified.

The psychologist’s testimony continues Thursday.



HALIFAX: Taxi driver Seyed Mirsaeid-Ghazi charged with sexual assault

Halifax cab driver charged with sexual assault of 21-year-old woman

Seyed Mirsaeid-Ghazi, 45, has been charged in relation to the October incident

The Halifax Regional Police badge


The Halifax Regional Police badge

A Halifax taxi driver faces a sexual assault charge after police said he sexually touched a 21-year-old woman in his cab last fall.

At about 11:30 p.m. on Oct.23, 2015, a man driving a taxi in the area of Windsor and Allen streets picked up a 21-year-old female passenger he had driven on previous occasions.

According to a police release issued Friday, the man touched the woman in a sexual manner without her consent before dropping her off at her requested destination in Halifax.

Police said the incident was reported on Nov.16, 2015.

On Thursday, 45-year-old Seyed Mirsaeid-Ghazi was arrested without incident.

Police said he was released on conditions to have no female passengers in his vehicle, and no passengers in the front seat, while operating under a taxi licence.

Mirsaeid-Ghazi will appear in Halifax provincial court on June 9 to face the sexual assault charge.

*This article previously stated the date of the incident was October, 2016 when the correct date is October, 2015.

Veteran ESL teacher makes house calls for Syrian migrants

Veteran ESL teacher makes house calls for Syrian newcomers

More ESL teachers are needed to help refugee families

Robert Liddiard (left) teaches students Alaa Al Radi and Abrahim Soloume Yosfam with the help of a picture dictionary.


Robert Liddiard (left) teaches students Alaa Al Radi and Abrahim Soloume Yosfam with the help of a picture dictionary.

Robert Liddiard’s philosophy for teaching English as a second language (ESL), is simple: if they’re having fun, the language will follow.

Liddiard, who has nearly two decades of ESL teaching experience, is now using his skills to make house calls for a group of Syrian refugees. Metro sat in on one of their classes and Liddiard’s philosophy was clear in all his lessons.

Robert Liddiard teaches refugees ESL classes right in their own homes.


Robert Liddiard teaches refugees ESL classes right in their own homes.

“I like to do vocal warm-ups and play acting to help teach English,” he said. “When they’re really enjoying themselves the language comes much easier.”

While Metro was visiting, the group of five adult students put on a small performance of the classic story Andrew’s Loose Tooth by Robert Munsch. Using simple phrases and words the refugee students were able to tell, and in turn, understand the story.

“I’m happy with this,” said Abrahim Soloume Yosfam, one of the students, who was a teacher back in Syria.

Abrahim, who began resettling in Canada in February, said the lessons have been very helpful for him and his friends. He said they’re learning a lot from Liddiard.


CALGARY: Support drying up for some Syrian migrants

Calgary advocates fear support drying up for some Syrian newcomers


Dec. 28 Syrian refugees arrive Calgary

Siblings Maryam, Ines, Shirin and Malak hold up welcome signs for newly-arrived Syrian refugees at the Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Ab., on Monday December 28, 2015. (Mike Drew/Calgary Sun)

Some Syrian newcomers to Calgary are struggling to get by after support from private sponsors has dried up, say local advocates.

Sam Nammoura has helped Syrian newcomers who’ve alleged abuse, manipulation and a complete lack of financial or emotional support from the relatives that sponsored their journey to Calgary and whom they now rely on for housing, food and assistance as they adjust to a new life in Canada.

“They’re isolated. They have zero help,” he said.

“They’re really suffering tremendously.”

Nammoura, who works closely with newcomers as co-founder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group, said these refugees are terrified of speaking up about their struggles and in desperate need of jobs.

Syrian migrants with disabilities have trouble finding appropriate housing

Some Syrian refugees fed up after months in temporary housing

Settlement agency says it’s working ‘flat out’ to find housing, but refugees refusing offers

By Catherine Rolfsen, CBC News Posted: Apr 21, 2016 10:35 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 21, 2016 2:37 PM PT

Fayzeh Ramadan and her 15-year-old son Mohamed Alsedawe in the doorway of their East Vancouver motel. Mohamed hasn't been able to start school because the family doesn't have a permanent home.

Two of the Alsidawe daughters are disabled. A nerve problem called neurogenic atrophy means they have little to no movement in their lower bodies.

Fayzeh Ramadan and her 15-year-old son Mohamed Alsedawe in the doorway of their East Vancouver motel. Mohamed hasn’t been able to start school because the family doesn’t have a permanent home. (Catherine Rolfsen)

Some Syrian refugees living in limbo months after arriving in Canada say they feel frustrated, and ignored by settlement workers.

“When we came at first, we have a hope … but now we lost the hope,” said Hatem Alsidawe, through an interpreter.

Alsidawe, 19, has been living with his family — four siblings aged 15 to 26 and his mother, a widow — in a motel unit in East Vancouver since early February. 

Vancouver needs more permanent houses for Syrian migrants

Vancouver behind in housing Syrian refugees

SURREY, BC: March 9, 2016 -- Mohamad El Refaie, left holds his blind daughter Heba, 7 as his wife mother Shamia El Refaie, right holds their other daughter Lema, 4 a hotel in Surrey, B.C. Wednesday March 9, 2016. The family fled Syria as refugees. (photo by Ric Ernst / PNG) (Story by Tara Carman) TRAX #: 00042133A [PNG Merlin Archive]

The El Refaie family has moved from temporary housing in a Surrey hotel to a permanent home. RIC ERNST / VANCOUVER SUN

High housing prices have meant Syrian refugees in Metro Vancouver have had a harder time finding permanent housing than those who were settled elsewhere in Canada, with some waiting close to four months.

Nationally, more than 90 per cent of government-assisted Syrian refugees have found permanent housing, and in some cities, such as Ottawa, all have been housed.

In Metro Vancouver, there are 29 Syrian families still in temporary housing, said Chris Friesen, settlement services director with the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. Three of those families arrived in late December, and one has been shuffled between three temporary housing sites over that time period.

The Immigrant Services Society has found homes for 13 of the remaining families, including two of the three who have been here since December. They will be moving in the next 10 days, Friesen said, leaving 16 families still to house.

The cost of housing coupled with large family sizes — often in excess of six people — has made housing refugee families more of a challenge in Vancouver and Toronto than in other parts of the country, especially Alberta, where an economic downturn has depressed housing prices, Friesen said.

Victoria faces a similar challenge, with about 25 Syrian families in that city in need of permanent housing. Some of the refugees who initially arrived in Victoria have gone farther afield, to the Duncan area, in search of affordable housing.

In the past month, three of the Syrian families who came first to Vancouver were relocated to Vernon, Penticton and Summerland.