Sheila Lemaitre says her husband was used as scapegoat by Mounties after death of Polish immigrant at Vancouver airport in 2007

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By: The Canadian Press, Published on Fri Jul 31 2015

Pierre Lemaitre leaving the Braidwood inquiry, where he testified in 2009. ((CBC))

VANCOUVER — The wife of an RCMP officer who killed himself two years ago claims that her husband was used by the Mounties as a scapegoat in the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport in October 2007.

In a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Sheila Lemaitre said her husband, Pierre, was told he would lose his job if he tried to correct misinformation given to the media about the night Dziekanski died.

The sergeant was the media relations officer who released information about the incident where the Polish immigrant was jolted with a police Taser and died on the floor of the arrivals area.

The lawsuit claimed Lemaitre wanted to correct the information, but was ordered not to say anything.

“As a result of this incorrect information, his immediate removal as RCMP spokesman, the subsequent public release of the private video . . . he was brought into public contempt where he was accused in the public of being the ‘RCMP liar’ and/or the RCMP spin doctor,” the statement said.

The bystander video released after the Dziekanski confrontation with police was much different that the original version of events given to media by RCMP.

In fact, the four officers involved were later charged with perjury for testimony they gave at the public inquiry looking into the death.

The officers were all tried separately and two were convicted, while two were acquitted.




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Halifax woman asked to move from her seat to accommodate ultra-Orthodox Jewish man on plane

Airline says seating changes for religious reasons are very rare

By Susan Bradley, CBC News Posted: Jul 29, 2015 8:04 AM AT Last Updated: Jul 29, 2015 11:32 AM AT

Media placeholder

Woman questions airline seat move request 2:00

A former Halifax chef wants an apology from Porter Airlines, alleging she was asked to move from her seat to accommodate a man who did not want to sit beside a woman for religious reasons.

Christine Flynn, 31, said she was buckled in and waiting for Porter Airlines Flight 121 from Newark, N.J. to Toronto to take off early on Monday morning when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man approached.

Christine Flynn believes she was asked to move from her assigned seat on a Porter Airlines flight because the man sitting next to her, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, did not want to sit next to a woman. She said the man did not speak to her directly or make eye contact. (CBC)

“He came down the aisle, he didn’t actually look at me … or make eye contact. He turned to the gentleman across the aisle and said, ‘Change.’”

Flynn said she was confused at first, wondering why the man was speaking to the other passenger and gesturing toward her. The man didn’t speak to her directly, but Flynn said it’s clear to her that he didn’t want to sit next to her because she’s a woman.

Foster children who wind up in the care of families from different cultures may face “severely traumatizing” experiences, says Aaminah Ega

Culture clash: How the foster care system is failing Canada’s ethnic communities

Published on: July 3, 2015 | Last Updated: July 3, 2015 4:31 PM EDT

Mumtaz Akhtar has been a foster parent to eight Muslim children but says the screening procedure may be too intrusive for many prospective Muslim foster parents to accept. DARREN BROWN / OTTAWA CITIZEN

It’s been 28 years since Michael and Suzanne Paquette took in a First Nations foster child for the first time.

Since then, the couple — who call themselves “white Canadians” — have fostered more than 15 children from First Nations communities in Ontario. While the Paquettes’ foster children go on bike rides with Michael and read bedtime stories with Suzanne, the couple admits there is one thing they can never, fully share with the children in their home: the First Nations’ culture.

“There is definitely a loss there for a child that is not grounded in their own culture completely,” says Michael, who advocates on behalf of foster families as chairman of the League of Ontario Foster Families.

“You can expose them to all of the stuff that you get to and you can make sure they understand that this is their culture and you can teach them all those things, but … you can’t be that culture.”

VANCOUVER: Chinese children adopted by white Canadians admit there are challenges

Chuck Chiang: For Chinese children adopted by white Canadian parents, birth culture is both ‘foreign’ and an opportunity

Children at an International Children’s Day celebration at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver. Held by the local Chinese consulate, the event drew members of about 20 B.C. families with children adopted from China.

Photograph by: Handout

Earlier this year, I was doing the dishes when a documentary on TV caught my eye.

Twin Sisters by Norwegian filmmaker Mona Friis Bertheussen detailed the tales of two girls — identical twins — who were adopted from China by two families, one in Sacramento, Calif., the other in a small village in Norway.

The film is beautifully made, highlighting the girls’ innate connection to one another despite growing up in vastly different environments and cultures. It touched on issues of identity for internationally adopted children — something that would strike a chord with countless immigrant children whose parents’ culture varies drastically from the mainstream that shaped their childhood.

According to Statistics Canada, almost 21,000 children were adopted from abroad by Canadians 1999 to 2009, including 8,000 from China.

A week ago, the Chinese Consulate hosted International Children’s Day celebrations at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver. The event drew about 20 B.C. families with children adopted from China.

Officials describe these families as an important bridge between cultures, a sign of the growing person-to-person interaction between Canada and the Far East. Several parents explained how they had to “stretch” outside of their usual comfort zone and learn more about another culture for the sake of their children

“Our families are the symbols for the link between China and Canada, and we hope that these children continue to serve as a link to help other Canadians learn more about China,” Eamon Duffy said at the event. He is co-chair of the group Families with Children from China.

The marriage of cultures present challenges that parents and children both readily admit to.

“I remember, when Wednesdays would come around and it was time to go to Mandarin class, I would hide, pretend to be sick,” recounted Maia Robinson, 19, who had taken Chinese language classes since age 5. “I spent a lot of time studying Mandarin, and I remember I used to always resent it.”

Maia and her sister Cleone, 17, were adopted from China when they were infants. The family lives in West Vancouver.

Traditional Chinese Medicine continues cultural clash with the West in Vancouver

Traditional Chinese Medicine continues cultural clash with the West in Vancouver


A Traditional Chinese medicine shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

A Traditional Chinese medicine shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Last week, customs officials seized 213 bear paws that were hidden hidden inside the tires of a van. The culprits were two Russian men looking to cash in on their medicinal value in China. Their horrific display of wares had an estimated street value of about 570,000 Canadian dollars.

While particularly disquieting, the scene is not an entirely unfamiliar one here in the West.

In 2011, a man was arrested at the Vancouver Airport after trying to smuggle three black-bear paws.

And earlier this year, at the 5 Tastes Chinese Bistro in the Vancouver’s UBC Village, firefighters found a black bear paw inside one of the restaurant’s refrigerators after responding to a call.

In various parts of Asia, bear paws are fashioned into a soup that can cost as much as $1000 a bowl, a sum that is won for the dish’s exoticism and purported health benefits. The practice has an even more grisly underbelly: in some places, it has been reported that live bears were lowered onto hot coals until their paws were sufficiently cooked.

But it’s not just bears. Other animal parts are as equally prized by smugglers.

In October, officials confiscated 1007 live turtles from a man looking to board a flight to board a flight to Shanghai. This came just weeks after another man was arrested at the Detroit-Windsor border with 51 live turtles hidden in his pants.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.: Punjabi community needs Punjabi signs as members can’t read English

Officials at two Sikh temples have asked city council for bilingual signs in their areas

By Daybreak North, CBC News Posted: May 27, 2015 8:35 AM PT Last Updated: May 27, 2015 8:35 AM PT

Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association in Prince George, holds an example of a street sign that would include English and Punjabi. Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association in Prince George, holds an example of a street sign that would include English and Punjabi. (CBC/Audrey McKinnon)

Prince George city council is moving forward with two requests to add Punjabi to some signs in the city. The requests came from officials at Guru Gobind Singh Temple and Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple who say their buildings can be tricky to find, especially for native Punjabi speakers.

“We think we need signs in Punjabi and English because we’ve got community living here, lots of people (who do) not read English,” said Pal Bassi, secretary with the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Society.

If the proposals move forward after city staff reviews the associated costs, signs on Highway 97 North and South, Highway 16 West, Ospika Boulevard, and Davis Road, all in the vicinity of the two temples, would have Punjabi added to the existing English.

“If (people) go by, they don’t know about the Sikh temple, if they see the sign they can come if they need food, a cup of tea, or overnight, we can arrange something,” said Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association.

Prince George mayor Lyn Hall supports the idea of multi-lingual signs and said they would be reflective of the growing cultural diversity in Prince George. 

“I see it as a big opportunity … we just need to look around and see how multicultural we are,” Hall said.

Prince George city staff will report back to council with the cost of adding Punjabi to the streets signs at an upcoming meeting.






with files from Audrey Mackinnon and Andrew Kurjata