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Five stories in Canada we’re watching

In the news: L’Isle-Verte report, bail debate, Clayton Cromwell, the Canadian flag, plus an update on the father-daughter liver transplant


 
A police investigator searches through the frozen rubble of a seniors residence Friday in L'Isle-Verte, Que. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

A police investigator searches through the frozen rubble of a seniors residence Friday in L’Isle-Verte, Que. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Five stories in the news today, Feb. 12:

CORONER RELEASES REPORT INTO TRAGIC SENIORS’ HOME FIRE IN QUEBEC

A Quebec coroner’s report into a fatal seniors’ home fire that claimed 32 lives has been released today. Coroner Cyrille Delage’s recommendations include encouraging urban and rural authorities to centralize fire services and to regularly review fire-fighting strategies. Additionally, the coroner called on Quebec to make automatic sprinklers mandatory in all certified buildings, regardless of the age of construction. Fire swept quickly through the Residence du Havre seniors’ home in Isle-Verte, Que. in January 2014, killing 32 seniors. The residence housed 52 elderly people, including many who couldn’t move around without the use of a walker or wheelchair. The inquest shed light on a lack of training for volunteer firefighters that serve the tiny Quebec municipality as well as the fact that only one employee was working the night of the fire. The exact cause of the fire could not be determined by authorities because of the destruction it caused.

Related reading: On the lost lives in L’Isle-Verte

UPDATE TODAY ON FATHER-DAUGHTER LIVER TRANSPLANT

Doctors in Toronto held a news conference today to update the status of a father-daughter liver transplant. Michael Wagner gave part of his liver to Phuoc — one of his twin daughters who have Alagille syndrome. The genetic disorder affects the girls’ vital organs, and they would die without a liver transplant. Wagner and his three-year-old daughter are recovering in hospital after both underwent “successful” liver transplant surgeries.

BAIL DEBATE IGNITED AFTER MOUNTIE KILLING

A police officer who consented to bail for a career criminal who would later kill a Mountie in Alberta has been unfairly targeted as making a mistake, says his union. “People were looking for answers and wanted someone’s head on a plate,” says Sgt. Maurice Brodeur, president of the Edmonton Police Association. He says officers do their best acting as Crown prosecutors when accused persons are charged and first appear before justices of the peace. It’s a job they have had for decades.

MOTHER WANTS ANSWERS ON SON’S JAIL DEATH

Elizabeth Cromwell has been fighting for almost a year to get answers about the jailhouse death of her son, a 23-year-old who was in prison awaiting a court hearing when he suddenly overdosed on methadone. What she has found out so far doesn’t add up. Clayton Cromwell wasn’t part of a methadone treatment program, leaving his mother wondering how he obtained the drug in the Halifax jail and what safeguards were in place that may have saved his life.

CANADIAN FLAG, NOW BELOVED, BORN IN CONTROVERSY

When Lester B. Pearson unveiled his top pick for a new Canadian flag at a Winnipeg legion hall in July 1964, he was met with boos, hisses and heckling from veterans who accused him of selling out Canada to the “pea supers.” The Liberal prime minister had campaigned a year earlier on replacing the Red Ensign — the country’s unofficial flag which paired Canada’s coat of arms and the Union Jack — with a uniquely Canadian emblem as the 1967 centennial approached. As Canada prepares to celebrate its now-beloved flag’s 50th birthday on Sunday, the bitter national brawl that erupted as Pearson forged ahead with his plans is a distant memory.


 
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