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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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

Calgary residents propose alternatives for ELL students struggling in Calgary schools

Photo: Jennifer Friesen
Daljit Parhar, left, and Ismail Dandia talk about their struggles growing up as ELL (English Language Learner) students in Calgary.

Two Calgarians are working to remove roadblocks for English-language learner (ELL) students floundering in the city’s public-school system.

Stemming from their own struggles as former ELL students in Calgary, Ismail Dandia and Daljit Parhar launched Eroodyt, an online platform that aggregates tutors in a variety of fields.

Dandia said their focus narrowed to tutors for ELL students when they first heard about the 3.1 per cent cut to funding for ELL students in the Alberta government’s March 2015 budget.

“Hearing about the budget cuts hit hard for us because our parents are immigrants,” Dandia said. “English was pivotal to our careers, and we definitely faced a lot of challenges through the school system, especially in grade school.”

Hetty Roessingh, a professor of education at the University of Calgary, has heavily investigated issues surrounding the lack of supports for ELL students in primary schools and how that can dramatically impede academic growth.

Roessingh said the problem is often these children seem like they’re progressing — they can print, read and speak clearly — but end up hitting a wall around Grade 4 when academic demands heighten.

TORONTO: Peer Mohammad Khairi, who almost decapitated wife, loses appeal

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By: Diana Mehta The Canadian Press, Published on Wed Apr 22 2015

Ontario’s highest court upheld the second-degree murder conviction of an Afghan immigrant who nearly decapitated his wife, calling the woman’s death a “horrific” killing in a decision released Wednesday.

Peer Mohammad Khairi, a father of six, had argued that the judge who presided over his trial made several errors, and asked the appeal court for a new trial.

If a fresh trial couldn’t be ordered, Khairi had asked that his period of parole ineligibility — currently set at 15 years after he was sentenced to life in prison — be lowered to 10 or 11 years.

He was turned down by Ontario’s Court of Appeal on both fronts.

“The conviction appeal is dismissed. While we grant leave to appeal the sentence, the sentence appeal is dismissed,” the court’s decision said.

Khairi had admitted to killing his wife in March 2008, it was the circumstances of the death that had been in dispute at his trial, the court noted.

“He contended that he lacked the intent for murder due to mental health issues. Alternatively, he claimed that he stabbed his wife in the heat of passion, caused by her allegedly provocative words and conduct,” the appeal court wrote.

A jury deliberated for three days in 2012 before finding Khairi guilty of second-degree murder.

In his appeal, Khairi argued that the trial judge erred by not declaring a mistrial after what was allegedly an “improper” opening statement from Crown prosecutors, whose effect was allegedly to prevent him from receiving a fair trial. He also claimed the prosecution’s closing address was inflammatory.

The appeal court agreed that the Crown’s opening statement was improper, but found that the trial judge adequately instructed the jury that the Crown’s remarks exceeded the scope of a proper opening statement.


Khairi, who was born in Afghanistan, immigrated to Canada with his wife and children in 2003 after having spent the previous 15 years in India.

The family settled in Toronto but due to the couple’s limited education and inability to speak English, neither of them could find work, court documents have noted.

In 2006, the family had financial troubles and the relationship between Khairi and his wife became strained, the documents said.


Liberal Leader David Swann unveil party’s five-point plan to improve lives of new Canadians

Liberals unveil five-point plan to improve lives of new Canadians

Published on: April 18, 2015
Last Updated: April 18, 2015 8:44 PM MDT

Liberal Leader David Swann unveiled his party’s five-point plan to improve the lives of new Canadians Saturday, April 18, 2015 in CalgaryTrevor Howell / Calgary Herald

The Alberta government is inadequately funding social agencies and programs aimed at helping immigrants successfully transition into Canadian society and the workforce, says Liberal Leader David Swann.

Swann unveiled his party’s five-point plan on Saturday that would bolster local immigration agencies, improve English language and jobs training, streamline the foreign credential review process, and add $25 million for settlement funding.

“We do not believe the PCs have done a good job in preparing and supporting new Canadians and helping them adequately to have their credentials, their training (and) their expertise recognized here,” Swann told roughly 50 supporters at a northeast Liberal campaign office.

Settlement agencies the provide essential services to newcomers lack the resources to adequately meet demand, Swann said.

 Further, he said the Liberals would increase funding to traditional and Internet English language training to unburden social agencies, teachers and help immigrants reach their full potential faster.

“It’s impossible to succeed in this culture without a strong basis in language learning,” Swann said. “We don’t see a strong commitment there by the Alberta government.”

The Tory government was criticized last month for slashing millions of dollars from specialty grants to school boards in the budget, including nearly $3 million from the ESL grant.

“Some people transition easily and in six months … some people are going to take longer,” Swann said. “The provincial government has to help people make whatever the transition timing is right for them and their families.”

Linguistically handicapped Chinese investors in trouble

Lost in translation: The strange tale of two Chinese investors, their friends and a disappearing fortune

 | April 18, 2015 | Last Updated: Apr 18 12:31 AM ET
More from Adrian Humphreys | @AD_Humphreys
Chunxiang Yan, left and Zhenhua Wang celebrate their purchase of a 334-acre estate near Tweed, Ont., at a lavish banquet on Feb. 25, 2013.

FacebookChunxiang Yan, left and Zhenhua Wang celebrate their purchase of a 334-acre estate near Tweed, Ont., at a lavish banquet on Feb. 25, 2013.

Not too long ago, Chunxiang Yan and Zhenhua Wang were fêted by politicians, diplomats and business leaders at a seven-course banquet in Belleville, Ont., where the wealthy couple, recently arrived from China, was lauded as bold entrepreneurs for a plan to create a lavish resort on a 334-acre estate.

“They have big aspirations with ideas such as a golf course, spa, cottages and a winery,” the municipal economic development officer enthused to the local press.

“I really like this country, I extremely like Canada,” Yan, who was then living north of Toronto, told the gathering through a Chinese interpreter. “It is a beautiful land and I am planning, if all of you accept, I will be a permanent resident here.”

That was in 2013.

A year later, as Yan arrived at the York Regional Police headquarters to lodge a complaint against partners in that land deal, she was received not with plaudits but with warrants for the couple’s arrest.

In China, her husband Wang is wanted for an alleged fraud — involving between $180 million and $220 million from about 60,000 investors.

ccbtimes.caJessica Chen says she and her husband, Louie Szeto, are victims of a fraud by Chunxiang Yan and Zhenhua Wang.

Although facing no criminal charge in Canada, both have been in prison for immigration concerns since. From behind bars, they have waged a fierce fight against deportation and issued a blizzard of lawsuits.

Rather than being fugitive fraudsters, they claim, they are really victims of a massive manipulation in Canada, conned at every turn by supposed friends.

And then, they claim — when Yan, 49, and Wang, 50, realized they had been duped out of millions of dollars — they were ratted out to immigration authorities for false documents they had no idea were filed on their behalf, likely robbing of them of their ability to remain in Canada.

That claim is disputed by Yan and Wang’s nemesis as vociferously as it is made: “Those are all lies; that’s their revenges,” said Jessica Chen, who, along with her husband, Louie Szeto, is the couple’s former business associate.


“There is some evidence to support both sides of the allegations, which is the essence of a good lie,” said Detective Ward Taylor, a fraud squad investigator with York police.



Wang was pitching an investment scheme at Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay exhibition centre on March 6, 2012, when Louie Szeto met him.