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BC 911 dispatchers: Stop calling us!

Emergency operators inundated with non-emergency calls about health restrictions

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Emergency dispatchers are begging people to stop calling 911 about BC’s new travel restrictions.

“911 is for emergencies ONLY. Help us keep the emergency lines free for people who need help from police, fire and ambulance,” said E-Comm in a tweet.

E-Comm is BC’s largest emergency communications centre, and began receiving calls shortly after the province’s minister of public safety announced an inter-provincial travel ban until May 25.

“We are receiving calls on 911 from (people) asking (questions) about travel restrictions — remember: 911 is for emergencies ONLY,” read the E-Comm tweet.

“HelpUsHelp keep emergency lines free for (people) who need help from police, fire or ambulance.”

The travel ban began Friday and prohibits British Columbians from travelling outside of their health region or risk a $575 fine.

The province is working with local police agencies to set up check stops at each of the health regions and details of the check stops are expected to be released next week.

Provincial health officials are still encouraging residents to stay in their local region, despite being able to travel within your health region without penalty.

BC Ferries — which said it will not will not schedule extra sailings, a typical act during the May long weekend — now also bans leisure travel outside the Island Health region.

Here’s a BC government list of what’s deemed essential travel:

• carrying out a work-related purpose, including volunteering;

• moving to a different principal residence or assisting a person to move;

• commercially transporting goods;

• receiving health-care services or social services or assisting someone to receive those services;

• attending court;

• complying with a court order;

• accessing child care;

• spending parenting time with a minor child;

• attending classes or receiving training at a post-secondary institution or school;

• responding to an emergency or a critical incident, including incidents that involve search and rescue operations;

• providing care or assistance to a person who requires care or assistance because of:

• a psychological, behavioural or health condition; or a physical, cognitive or mental impairment;

• visiting by an essential visitor as provided in the guidance of the Ministry of Health;

• attending a funeral service;

• travelling by residents of the local health areas of Bella Coola Valley or Central Coast to Port Hardy to obtain essential goods and supplies;

• travelling by residents of the local health area of Hope to Chilliwack to obtain essential goods and supplies;

• travelling by residents of the Nisga’a Health Authority region into the Northern-Interior Health Authority region; and/or returning to one’s own principal residence.

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

Mike D'Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief and Copy Editor for the Western Standard. He worked as an investigative crime reporter at the Calgary & Winnipeg Suns. mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    April 25, 2021 at 9:29 am

    This is what happens when you have the low intellects running the province.
    Premier Horgan has never had a real job . . . and now he is telling the folks how to live their lives? Lockdown Horgan keeps doing the same routine over and over . . . while expecting a different result. Einstein said that’s the definition of Insanity!

    Why not look around the Globe Mr. Horgan? Why are other places doing so much better than BC & Canada today? The Gov of Florida said that the “Lockdown” singular . . . was a big mistake. But hey, with a track record like the NDP has in BC . . . mistakes are a way of doing business !

  2. Joni Menz

    April 25, 2021 at 9:13 am

    So, now the gov’t is defining ‘essential’ for us. Great. Also, the fact that people are calling 911 shows that their voices are not being heard. I send emails weekly to all the premiers of every province and never get a response. I have emailed SHA a few times now without a response. I’ve been told to write your representatives when you have an issue. Yeah, I’m getting radio silence every time…

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Lock-down ignoring party host arrested again in Vancouver

“Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them,” said Sergeant Steve Addison, VPD.

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A man arrested by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) earlier this year for running a “makeshift nightclub” from his downtown penthouse has been convicted of new charges.

Mohammad Movassaghi was initially sentenced to 18 months probation in April, along with 50 hours of community service after pleading guilty in BC provincial court on counts of violating a public health order and selling liquor.

The 43-year-old man hosted hundreds of party-goers to his 1,100 square-foot penthouse near Richards Street and Georgia Street, equipped with cash machines, menus, and doormen.

VPD officers arrived at one of the parties on January 31 after a “witness” reported the event. One of the alleged doormen was issued several fines, however Movassaghi refused to open the door and was defiant with police. Officers returned early Sunday morning with a search warrant and subsequently issued over $17,000 in fines for violations contrary to the Emergency Program Act.

Large quantities of cash were seized as well.

“Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them,” said VPD Sgt. Steve Addison, following the January 31 arrest.

“If you are caught hosting or attending a party during the pandemic, and continue to break the rules, you could face stiff fines or wind up in jail.”

Of Addisons’ top concerns was the fact that “none of them were wearing masks.”

A GoFundMe was set up shortly after Movassaghi’s arrest, which stated he’d lost $15,000 in cash and liquor.

The campaign was shut down before it reached $300.

Judge Ellen Gordon compared Movassaghi’s actions with those of a drug dealer, specifically fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine. Her logic being COVID-19 can kill people, and so can fentanyl. Therefore there is “no difference.”

“What you did, sir, is comparable to individuals who sell fentanyl to the individuals on the street who die every day. There’s no difference. You voluntarily assumed a risk that could kill people in the midst of a pandemic,” said Gordon.

Fast forward to August and Movassaghi had violated the court orders again when he began hosting more parties in his penthouse, prompting a second VPD investigation leading to his arrest on Wednesday night.

He has since plead guilty of two counts of failure to comply with an order of the health officer and one count of selling liquor, says VPD.

Movassaghi has now been sentenced to 29 days in custody, 12 months of probation, and a $10,000 fine — leaving many wondering if he will switch up the location for his next party, possibly somewhere more discreet.

Reid Small is a BC-based reporter for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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Porch pirate Chahal could face $5K in fines or six months in jail

“I’ve fully cooperated and provided all the information that was requested of myself and my team,” said Chahal in the interview.

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Porch pirate George Chahal, under investigation for mail theft by Elections Canada, could face a fine of $5,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

The Liberal Calgary-Skyview candidate was victorious in September’s federal election, however, he came under fire when a doorbell cam caught Chahal removing an opponent’s election literature from a mailbox ahead of the September 20 election.

Chahal, in a jersey with his name clearly visible on the back, was easily identified in the video.

A complaint was filed on September 23 and an investigation was launched.

Months later, Chahal’s name and his involvement in the incident was brought up in question period in the House of Commons this week by Barrie-Innisfail Conservative MP John Brassard.

“The member is facing a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail during an investigation that is continuing from the Commissioner of Canada Elections,” said Brassard.

“Even with the low bar on ethics and conduct set by the Liberals and indeed the prime minister over the last six years, does the prime minister think this type of action from a member of his caucus is acceptable?”

Trudeau, in defence of Chahal, said, “The member has apologized and is fully cooperating with Elections Canada as it goes through its processes.”

Chahal, during a Friday morning interview on CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener, mentioned both he and his team are being investigated in the incident.

“I’ve fully cooperated and provided all the information that was requested of myself and my team,” said Chahal in the interview.

The investigation was initially opened by the Calgary Police Service’s anti-corruption, unit but was quickly transferred to Elections Canada.

Chahal’s admission during the Friday morning radio interview could mean the replacing of election material in voters’ mailboxes may have been more widespread and could have involved his large team of volunteers.  

The matter is still under investigation with Elections Canada.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Suzuki apologizes for radical ‘blown up’ pipelines comment

“The remarks I made were poorly chosen and I should not have said them. Any suggestion that violence is inevitable is wrong and will not lead us to a desperately-needed solution to the climate crisis.”

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Environmental activist David Suzuki issued a public apology for comments he made last Saturday referencing “blown up” pipelines if the government doesn’t take drastic action on climate change.

The radical activist made the comments at an Extinction Rebellion protest in downtown Victoria last weekend when asked by CHEK News what he thought would happen if government leaders didn’t address the climate crisis.

“We’re in deep, deep doo doo. And the leading experts have been telling us for over 40 years. This is what we’ve come to. The next stage after this, there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on.”

A released statement, also available on his website, said, “Dr. Suzuki’s comments were born out of many years of watching government inaction while the climate crisis continues to get worse.”

The statement included this apology from Suzuki:

“The remarks I made were poorly chosen and I should not have said them. Any suggestion that violence is inevitable is wrong and will not lead us to a desperately-needed solution to the climate crisis. My words were spoken out of extreme frustration and I apologize.

“We must find a way to stop the environmental damage we are doing to the planet and we must do so in a non-violent manner.”

The statement goes on to cite the work of the David Suzuki Foundation.

“Since 1990, the Foundation has produced credible and reliable evidence-based environmental information, and worked with all levels of government (including indigenous leadership), business and communities to resolve critical environmental issues.”

Suzuki was heavily criticized Monday for his comments by Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon.

“David Suzuki is so out of touch with the real world that he advocates for eco-terrorism…towards Canadian people and industries — this is completely unacceptable and extremely reckless,” said Nixon during Ministerial Statements in the Legislature.

“The NDP have a long history of collaborating with David Suzuki and their silence on his outrageous comments make them complicit with calls for ecoterrorism towards Albertans.

“We must protect our critical infrastructure and not allow these ridiculous ideological menaces to destroy what Albertans have worked so hard to create.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Suzuki’s comment was “an implicit or winking incitement to violence,” and likened it to something you’d hear in “gangster movies.”

Contrary to accusations of inciting violence by critics, Suzuki’s statement read, “Always grounded in sound evidence, the Foundation empowers people to take peaceful and impactful action in their communities on the environmental challenges we collectively face.” 

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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