Roundup: Mass Casualty Commission treating RCMP with ‘kid gloves’ says lawyer, fraudster who stole $500K from Bridgewater going to jail, remembering hockey legends

Victims' families had to march in the streets before government would order an inquiry into the Nova Scotia mass shooting, and now that it's happening, some say their questions remain unanswered. Photo: Raissa Tetanish

Plus: True COVID-19 count far exceeds government tally, says researcher

The Mass Casualty Commission released its interim report into the April 2020 Nova Scotia shootings yesterday, exhaustively summarizing its methodology and hearings so far, but offering little new information for the victims’ families, who are still waiting to learn why it took the RCMP so long to warn the public and stop the attacker.

Antigonish lawyer Adam Rodgers has been following the hearings and offering regular commentary on his YouTube channel. He’s concerned that the commission appears to be giving police witnesses preferential treatment.

“You look at police witnesses versus civilians and it seems like the civilians are being grilled and the police are being handled with kid gloves,” he says. “It comes down the trauma-informed mandate that the commission is trying to fulfill, and I really don’t think they’ve figured out yet how to do that properly.”

He adds that RCMP witnesses testifying so far only include those who performed their duties appropriately, not those whose decisions enabled the shooter to leave Portapique and continue his rampage, with victims unaware he was dressed as cop. “Just the fact of who they’ve chosen to question is another issue,” he adds.

Janet Whitman interviews him for the Reporter.

Jordan Bonaparte has also been following the mass shooting investigation on his Nighttime podcast, where he delves into theories about the shooter and his potential ties to the RCMP.

It’s our Podcast Pick in the new issue of Unravel Halifax.

Thousands of uncounted Nova Scotians are sick
The COVID-19 count continues to increase worldwide, with the World Health Organization confirming 264,440 new cases globally in the last 24 hours.

The real number of infections is likely much higher though, as many jurisdictions (including Nova Scotia) are now withholding daily data, making it impossible to get a full picture of the disease’s spread.

Infectious diseases researcher Dr. Tara Moriarty estimates that about 24,000 Nova Scotians are getting COVID-19 each day, a figure 20 times higher than the official government tally. At this rate, Nova Scotia should expect to sustain about 900 deaths from the Omicron variant alone, adds the Toronto researcher, who has been doing a weekly series of tweets about the true extent of the pandemic.

So far, COVID has killed 6,238,832 people worldwide, including 39,182 people in Canada and 314 Nova Scotians.

Bridgewater fraudster sentenced
The court has given Ayoola Ajibade, the Ontario man recently convicted of defrauding the Town of Bridgewater out of nearly $500,000, a three-year prison sentence. “A half-a-million-dollar fraud would have a very large-scale impact on a small town’s budget,” says Judge Paul Scovil.

The fraud began in October 2019, when an accounts payable clerk for the Town of Bridgewater got an email claiming to be from Dexter Construction, requesting forms to allow the company to conduct business through an electronic fund transfer. Recognizing the name, the clerk complied.

The electronic transfer form directed the money paid by the town and owed to Dexter Construction to go to Ajibade’s Scotiabank account. In November 2019, town officials dutifully wired $490,930.43 and “two other large payments” after receiving a Dexter Construction invoice. A bank employee in Ontario uncovered the crime when Ajibade tried to transfer $180,000 to China.

Keith Corcoran reports for Lighthouse Now.

Guy Lafleur. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Remembering hockey legends
Last week, two members of the hockey world died: 1970s superstar Guy Lafleur and Babs MacNeil, who didn’t have national fame, but helped shape the sport in Nova Scotia.

“I have no idea if they ever met, but I got to know them both through my lifelong involvement in sports,” says columnist Hugh Townsend. “My association with Babs was confined to my working days back in Pictou County in the 1950s and ’60s. He was always into things athletic, first as a participant, later as a coach, administrator and executive.”

Townsend’s involvement with Lafleur goes back to the early 1970s, when Halifax was home to the Canadiens’ farm team.

“The Habs played in the province different times, practised here, and Lafleur was one of the attention-grabbing Canadiens in those days … He was a magician on the ice, so exciting to watch. When he was flying out there, when I was seeing the Habs live, I couldn’t take my eyes off him.”

See Townsend’s latest column in the Pictou Advocate.

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