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Gov.-Gen. Pyette spending hundreds of thousands of dollars so she doesn’t have to see people

But Pyette’s spokeswoman says Canadians don’t have to right to ask about her living arrangements.

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There’s more evidence out of Ottawa of Gov.-Gen. Julie Pyette acting like a drama queen – including spending $141,000 to plan for a private staircase that was never built.

But Pyette’s spokeswoman says Canadians don’t have to right to ask about her living arrangements.

It was part of hundreds of thousands of dollars Pyette demanded in privacy upgrades before she would move into Rideau Hall – but she still hasn’t moved into her official residence almost three years into her five-year mandate. 

More than $117,500 was also spent on a gate and series of doors to keep people away from Payette’s office, according to the National Capital Commission (NCC), which manages the official vice-regal residence.

While a large chunk of the grounds of Rideau Hall are open to the public, Payette “wanted to come and go without anyone seeing her,” one source with knowledge of the project told the CBC.

Multiple sources told CBC, Payette doesn’t like maintenance workers in her line of sight and even RCMP protection officers aren’t allowed to stand directly outside her office door and must hide in a room down the hallway.

Early in Payette’s mandate, CBC reported she wanted a door for her cats to be able to exit the living quarters on the second floor and go outside. The idea then changed into a private exit for Payette.

CBC said a team of government staff and outside companies spent months working on the project and going through a rigorous approval process to make the addition to the heritage building, according to sources. But the staircase was never built. 

But Payette’s press secretary, Ashlee Smith, suggested it’s not in the public’s interest for the media to ask about Payette’s living arrangements.

“To date, outstanding issues regarding universal accessibility and privacy in the space provided in Rideau Hall for the Governor General have not yet been addressed,” said Smith in a statement to CBC. 

“In this day and age, the interest in this seems contrary to respecting the life and privacy of a person.”

During the pandemic, Payette has spent time working at her own cottage in Quebec which means RCMP have to travel to the area near Mirabel and stay in hotels, the CBC reported.

Just last month there were claims the Queen’s representative in Canada had seen a mass exodus of staff while reducing others to tears after dressing-downs.

“Four members of Payette’s communications team have departed during the pandemic period alone. A fifth person is leaving this week and another two have taken leaves of absence. It’s just the latest wave of staff to quietly transfer out of the small office in response to mistreatment during Payette’s mandate”, multiple sources told the CBC.

“This has gone from being one of the most collegial and enjoyable work environments for many of the staff to being a house of horrors – it’s bullying and harassment at its worst,” one source told CBC.

CBC said they had spoken to dozens of sources to come up with the portrait of a tyrant Pyette.

The sources told CBC Payette has yelled at, belittled and publicly humiliated employees. They accused her of throwing tantrums in the office and, on one occasion, tossing an employee’s work aside and calling it “sh&%.”

CBC reported on one day along multiple people were seen leaving Pyette’s office in tears.

Multiple sources told CBC Payette routinely complained of being tired, underfed and overworked.

But Rideau Hall said Payette and “the management of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General ‘strongly believe’ in the importance of a healthy workplace.”

“We deeply regret this reporting, which is in stark contrast to the reality of working at the OSGG, and obscures the important work done by our dedicated staff in honouring, representing, and showcasing Canadians,” said Ashlee Smith, press secretary to the Governor General, in a statement to CBC.

Payette, a former astronaut, was appointed Governor General on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October 2017. Her term runs until 2022.

At the beginning of her mandate, CBC reported, Payette put staff on the spot by quizzing them about outer space — asking them to name all the planets in the solar system, for example, or to state the distance between the sun and the moon.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Police on the hunt for armed killer who gunned down man in Coquitlam Park

Dozens of witnesses potentially saw the shooting occur.

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Police are calling on the public to help them locate the person responsible for killing a 20-year-old man next to a basketball court, where there may have been more than a dozen witnesses.

On April 19, about 6:30 p.m., Coquitlam RCMP members rushed to Town Centre Park to investigate calls of a shooting.

When police arrived, they found Bailey McKinney lying on the ground. He was pronounced dead at scene.

“We believe this was a case of an individual being targeted for murder and not the park itself,” said Sgt. Frank Jang, of the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

“Unfortunately, we know too well that these types of events can happen in any community.”

IHIT has control of the investigation and is working closely with the Coquitlam RCMP, the Integrated Forensic Identification Services and the B.C. Coroners Service to gather evidence.

Now police are looking for anyone who might have seen something, or has other information that would help Mounties nab a suspect.

“We are aware that there were several people in the immediate area when the shooting occurred,” Jang said.

“Many of them fled the scene, understandably, from the shock of having witnessed a shooting. However, if you were one of those people, we need you to come forward now.”

McKinney was known to police, and cops said he had conflict with certain individuals who may be responsible for his murder.

McKinney was due to be in court next month for a litany of charges — including drug charges and assault with a weapon, to using a firearm during a criminal offence, and uttering threats to kill or cause bodily harm — acquired late September when he was involved in crimes in Coquitlam.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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They’re home! Police give pupdate on stolen bulldog babies

Three American Bulldog puppies were stolen April 10 during a break and enter.

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With dogged determination, Surrey Mounties have recovered the last two of three puppies stolen 10 days ago.

Three American Bulldog puppies were stolen April 10 during a break and enter at a home in the 17400 block of 8 Avenue.

One of the three stolen pups was quickly returned to the owners two days later, on April 12, when officers, acting on public tips, located one of the puppies that had been sold to an unwary attendee at a car show in Mission, BC.

Then, four days ago, Surrey RCMP Property Crime Target Team found the remaining two puppies. The wee pooches were returned to their owner and then reunited with their mom.
 
RCMP did not give details of the rescue, but did note the owners are very grateful to the public.

“Everyone feels good about being able to return these little pups to their family, and it was made even better by the fact we did it with help from the public,” said Cpl. Dan Barrows, of the Surrey RCMP Property Crime Target Team, said in a release.

“This was a rewarding investigation for our officers.”

The puppies — valued at about $3,000 apiece — were last seen snuggling their mom.

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard. mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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B.C. father of transgender girl to appeal sentence and fine

The father reached a plea bargain deal for a 45-day sentence and 18 months probation – but B.C. Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen decided to sentence C.D. to six months in jail.

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The B.C. father of a teenaged girl given male hormones against his wishes will appeal his sentence and fine for criminal contempt of court.

C.D., as he was known in court documents, pleaded guilty to the charges last week and was sentenced on Friday. He defied orders not disclose details that would reveal his child’s identity or that of the doctors responsible for cross-gender treatment. 

The father reached a plea bargain deal with prosecutors who recommended a 45-day sentence and 18 months probation. However, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen decided instead to sentence C.D. to six months in jail.

C.D.’s lawyer Carey Linde told the Western Standard he hopes to get his client out on bail while he appeals the sentence.

“We’re doing the bureaucratic steps to try to get him out,” Linde said.

“It depends on what the Crown’s position is going to be. And they’re not going to take a position until they can read the judgment. And the judgment has not been posted yet.”

Linde believes the sentence is excessive, especially given the plea deal.

“The responses that I’m getting from lawyers who are criminal lawyers say that…it’s absurd,” Linde said.

In his decision, Tammen said: “I do not accept (the father’s) intention was otherwise than to attempt to undermine the authority of the courts and overall administration of justice… Moreover, I expressly reject (the father’s) sworn assertion … that he had no desire to share information that would harm (the child).”

Linde said: “The judge has gone off the deep end of law and order. Why? He gave a very reasoned argument, if you agree with him…justifying draconian measures.”

In his decision, Tammen said: “No member of the public can decide when, in what circumstances and which court orders to follow… Unless and until successfully appealed, court orders must be obeyed. They are part of the legal fabric of society and, thus, the law. Without the ability to enforce court orders, and if citizens were free to disregard them at will, there would not be democracy but anarchy.”

Linde believes Tammen never grasped what his client tried to do.

“He never understood it. He kept coming back and talking about you can’t avoid punishment, people aren’t free to go out and break the law because they think it goes against their conscience. But that’s not what civil disobedience is, Civil disobedience, says, ‘I do this in the knowledge and the acceptance of being punished.’ So my client always knew that he would get something.”

In court, C.D. said, “I’ve never once gone after my child for the choice she made wanting to be a male…I only tried to prevent her from making a medical choice she might regret later.”

When asked if he planned to continue his campaign in the future, the father said he had already done his part, adding, “I pass the torch on.”

Tammen granted C.D.’s 46 days jailed in pre-trial custody to count towards the 180-day sentence. C.D.’s crowdfunding website, which contained materials in breach of the court orders, had raised more than $50,000. Tammen instructed the father to donate $30,000 to a children’s charity within six months of his release from jail. Linde also plans to appeal the fine.

Linde said his client’s goal was to raise public awareness on “the school programs [that teach gender fluidity and transgender concepts]; the Infants Act, which allows doctors to do what they’re doing legally; and rapid onset gender dysphoria…You and I are talking, where we wouldn’t have two years ago. These things are moving.”

When asked about his client’s mood following the long sentence, Linde said,

“Obviously, he’s not happy, he would rather it didn’t happen…He doesn’t object to being sentenced…[but feels] he’s been singled out somehow, misunderstood…

“He pled guilty. And his evidence was that he had accomplished what he set out to accomplish. He never asked for any of this. He was a defendant…And he just wants to go back to live as much as he can the life he had before all this happened to him.”

Harding is a Western Standard reporter based in Saskatchewan

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