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First moments of violent Markham bank robbery caught on surveillance video – CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

February 20th, 2020

Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, February 20, 2020 9:12AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:14PM EST

New surveillance video exclusively obtained by CP24 captures the initial moments of a violent bank robbery in Markham that injured four employees Wednesday night.

The incident occurred at an RBC bank near 16th Avenue and Markham Road shortly after 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

In the video, the suspects are seen getting out of a dark-coloured vehicle and entering the bank. The suspects could be seen moving inside the bank. They were not seen in the video leaving the bank through the front doors.

About six minutes later in the video, a York Regional Police cruiser is seen pulling up to the bank and begins inspecting the area.

York Regional Police said three suspects, armed with knives and a gun, ordered everyone to get down on the ground, and demanded cash from the safe.

Two employees were stabbed during the robbery and two others were kicked in the face, police said.

York Regional Police arrived at the scene with patrol cars, K9 officers, and tactical units a short time after the robbery was first reported.

“Officers quickly set up a perimeter and members of the canine unit tracked the suspects who were hiding in a house under construction,” police said in a news release issued on Thursday.

The suspects were arrested without incident and police later learned that the vehicle they were using had been stolen in a violent carjacking in Toronto on Feb. 10.

The three have been linked to additional robberies throughout the GTA, police said, and the investigation into those incidents is ongoing.

The suspects, who are 13, 15, and 16 years old, are facing a number of charges, including robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault, disguise with intent, and unauthorized possession of a firearm. 

The teens, who cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, will appear in a Newmarket courtroom at some point today.

The mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti, said while the injuries the employees sustained were serious, it is fortunate that the robbery did not result in a loss of life.

“I just wish the victims a speedy recovery,” the mayor said.

“It is a very brazen approach that these three individuals came in and started a violent attack on the employees. It is one more serious incident that underscores that serious action, immediate action needs to be taken on gun violence.” 

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Trudeau to speak with premiers on blockades as Wet’suwet’en solidarity protests continue – Global News

February 20th, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will call Canadian premiers to update them on the work the government says is underway to reach an end to blockades in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation that have shut down railroads across the country for more than two weeks.

A spokesperson for the prime minister told Global News that Trudeau will call the premiers at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday to discuss the situation.

READ MORE: Will news of RCMP departure lift Ontario rail blockade as it enters 15th day?

“From Day 1 the prime minister and ministers have been directly engaging with provincial governments to resolve this complex situation,” said Cameron Ahmad, director of communications for the Prime Minister’s Office.

0:30People cannot know requests of Wet’suwet’en unless they ‘actually ask’: Miller

People cannot know requests of Wet’suwet’en unless they ‘actually ask’: Miller

“Today the prime minister will again engage with premiers in a call with the Council of the Federation. We’re working hard to reach a peaceful and lasting resolution.”

Story continues below advertisement

Reality check: Can the Canadian government send RCMP to arrest Wet’suwet’en protesters?

It has now been 15 days since individuals set up a blockade on a major rail line in Ontario, forcing Via Rail to shut down passenger service and CN Rail to shut down its own operations. Both have since laid off more than 1,000 total employees as a result.

Those behind the blockades say they are acting in solidarity with some of the hereditary chiefs of B.C.’s Wet’suwet’en First Nation who are opposed to the Coastal GasLink natural gas line project.

Four of those hereditary chiefs and a representative for a fifth are expected to meet with the individuals blockading that and other sections of the rail line shortly.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said on Thursday he is hopeful that meeting will lead to a solution.

“These are opportunities to come to a peaceful resolution,” Miller told reporters in Ottawa when asked about reports that four of the hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink project in B.C. and one representative for a fifth chief will meet with those blockading the railway on Thursday or Friday.

“I think this will give us an increased opportunity to have those discussions so we can de-escalate.”

Neither Miller nor Indigenous-Crown Services Minister Carolyn Bennett have yet been invited but said they would make themselves available if asked.

Story continues below advertisement

1:55Railway blockade remains after protesters meet with Indigenous Services Minister

Railway blockade remains after protesters meet with Indigenous Services Minister

Details about the meeting are scarce.

While one of the hereditary chiefs did confirm on Wednesday that he and others would be travelling to Ontario to meet with people blocking the railroads at several sites over the weekend, there has been no official notice of a set meeting time.

Global News has made repeated attempts to reach out to members of the community to confirm timing for the expected meetings.

Those requests for comment have been refused or gone unanswered.

READ MORE: RCMP have agreed to move away from barricaded area in Wet’suwet’en territory, Blair says

Members of the Mohawk community in Tyendinaga and Kahnawake say they are protesting in solidarity with five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are against the natural gas project going ahead.

0:35Rail blockade near Belleville enters Day 15

Rail blockade near Belleville enters Day 15

Those five hereditary chiefs are a minority of the 13 total hereditary chiefs of the community, the rest of whom support the project.

The elected band council for the Wet’suwet’en also supports the project, as do 20 other First Nations along the proposed route who have signed economic benefit deals with the company building the pipeline.

Story continues below advertisement

But efforts by RCMP in B.C. last month to remove protesters from the pipeline route in accordance with a court injunction have kicked off nationwide protests and blockades that have intermittently shut down a border crossing, blocked access to government buildings and shut down railroads across the country.

RCMP in B.C. offered on Thursday morning to move back from a barricaded area of the territory the Wet’suwet’en claim as their traditional lands.

That portion of the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline route is subject to a court injunction allowing RCMP to move protesters off the land.

RCMP will instead be moving to the town of Houston, located nearby.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said on Thursday he believes because of the RCMP move, “the conditions have now been met” for a resolution.

“I believe the time has come for the barricades to come down,” he said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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As it happened: Police eye St-Lambert railway blockade protesters – Montreal Gazette

February 20th, 2020

The Montreal Gazette is in St-Lambert where police may take down a new blockade today. The issue is also dominating debate in the National Assembly.

Protesters at blockade on the train tracks in Longueuil near Oak Ave. and St Georges St. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

Pressure is growing on Ottawa to end railway blockades impeding freight, commuter and intercity trains. Montreal Gazette reporters and photographers are covering the story — from local blockades to the National Assembly. Questions/comments? ariga@postmedia.com


3:45 p.m. Over and out

That’s it for the live blog for today. Thanks for joining us.

3:25 p.m. St-Lambert update

Colleague Jason Magder is taking over from Christopher Curtis in St-Lambert.


3:15 p.m. Trudeau call

There are reports that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be holding a conference call with premiers tonight to talk about the blockades.


3 p.m. Police gearing up in St-Lambert


2:25 p.m. Ottawa ‘encouraged’

Still no word about a meeting between federal officials and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

But Carolyn Bennett, the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, said she’s “encouraged” by the RCMP’s decision to leave the Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s territory in British Columbia.


2 p.m. Meanwhile, in Kahnawake…

Colleague René Bruemmer is about 50 meters from the blockade in Kahnawake. He has been asked not to get any closer and not to take photos.


1:55 p.m. How did we get here?

Here’s a timeline, from the Canadian Press, of rail disruptions by people showing solidarity with the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project:

Dec. 31, 2019 — The B.C. Supreme Court grants Coastal GasLink an injunction calling for the removal of any obstructions including cabins and gates on any roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use.

Jan. 1, 2020 — The Wet’suwet’en First Nation serves Coastal GasLink with an eviction notice, telling the company workers are “currently trespassing” on their unceded territory.

Feb. 5 — Talks intended to de-escalate the dispute fail after just two days.

Feb. 6 — The RCMP move in to Wet’suwet’en territory to enforce the court injunction that would have allowed construction work to resume. A handful of pipeline opponents are arrested. Hours later, outside of Belleville, Ont., east of Toronto, protesters start holding up railway traffic in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Feb. 7 — Via Rail halts service along one of its busiest routes because of the Belleville-area blockade. All travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal is cancelled. Canadian National Railway obtains a court injunction to end a demonstration by members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville. Protesters also begin disruptions at ports in Vancouver and Delta, B.C.

Feb. 9 — Kahnawake Mohawk community members south of Montreal erect a blockade on a CP rail line.

Feb. 10 — Demonstrators in the Montreal area disrupt commuter train service on the Exo Candiac line. A shuttle bus service is in effect for affected rail stations.

Feb. 11 — CN stops transport between Prince George, B.C., and Prince Rupert, B.C., because of a blockade near Hazelton, B.C.

Feb. 12 — The Manitoba government says it may seek a court injunction to end a blockade on a rail line west of Winnipeg, but CN obtains its own court order.

Feb. 13 — CN shuts down its operations in Eastern Canada.

Feb. 14 — A rail blockade that halted train traffic to and from the Port of Prince Rupert is lifted as First Nations leaders agree to meet with federal and provincial politicians.

Feb. 18 — An emergency debate is held in the House of Commons, where the Opposition Conservatives advocate for forceful action and the governing Liberals push for ongoing dialog with backing from other political parties. Meanwhile, CN issues temporary layoff notices for 450 employees.

Feb. 19 — Protesters erect a blockade along a stretch of CN rail line in Edmonton, but are soon faced with counter-protesters who begin forcibly dismantling the barricade. Via Rail announces nearly 1,000 temporary layoffs. The rail provider also cancels plans to resume a route between Ottawa and Quebec City as a new blockade is erected in St-Lambert, near Montreal.

Feb. 20 — Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP has offered to move its officers from Wet’suwet’en territory to a nearby town. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs travel to Quebec and Ontario to thank supporters who have maintained the blockades.


1:50 p.m. Protesters dig in


1:45 p.m. Update

Colleagues Philip Authier and Christopher Curtis have the latest on the crisis, with reporting from the National Assembly and the St-Lambert blockade.


1:25 p.m. Pinpointing the protests

Wondering exactly where the local blockades are taking place?


1:15 p.m. Resident confronts St-Lambert protesters


12:15 p.m. House of Commons also debating

Both the National Assembly and the House of Commons are focusing on the blockades at the moment.

The House of Commons debate can be viewed here.


Noon: Emergency debate

The National Assembly just started an emergency two-hour debate about the rail crisis. The Liberals and the Parti Québécois asked for it.

You can watch it live here. (Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be a way to embed the feed).


11:45 a.m. Who are the St-Lambert protesters?

A police intervention may be in the offing.


11:40 a.m. The scene in St-Lambert

Colleague Pierre Obendrauf gives us a close-up view of the police and protesters on Montreal’s South Shore.


11:15 a.m. CN has an injunction

A CN spokesperson confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that the railway had obtained an injunction to clear the tracks in St-Lambert but would not comment further on the situation.


10:50 a.m.: No financial aid for now: Legault

In Question Period at the National Assembly this morning, Opposition Leader Pierre Arcand urged the Coalition Avenir Québec government to provide financial aid to businesses struggling due to the blockades.

But Premier François Legault dismissed the Liberal demand.

He said for now Quebec is trying to support businesses by helping them find alternative transport services. Financial aid may come later, Legault said.

The main problem is in Belleville and it’s up to the federal government to solve the crisis, the premier said.

Arcand also chastised Legault for threatening to use force to take down blockades.


10:20 a.m.: The scene in St-Lambert

Philip Authier has the story from Quebec City, where Premier François Legault says police may target protesters in St-Lambert.

Colleague Christopher Curtis is on the ground in the South Shore suburb.


10:10 a.m. RCMP have met protesters demands, Ottawa says

This just in from the Canadian Press:

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP in British Columbia have met conditions set by traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation opposing a pipeline project on their territory.

He says he believes barricades set up in solidarity with that nation should come down.

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would bring natural gas to a liquefaction facility and export terminal on the B.C. coast.

Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.

The hereditary chiefs have demanded the RCMP leave their traditional land.


10 a.m. Police may dismantle St-Lambert blockade: Legault

In Quebec City, Premier François Legault just told reporters that Longueuil police will dismantle the St-Lambert blockade if CN manages to get an injunction.

The premier indicated that the St-Lambert blockade is not the work of Indigenous protesters and is not on Indigenous land.

He said the situation is different in Kahnawake, where the blockade is occurring on Indigenous land and the Kahnawake Peacekeepers are responsible for policing.

The St-Lambert blockade, which went up on Wednesday, is blocking the Mont-St-Hilaire commuter line as well as Via Rail trains. “We are blocking this rail line in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, whose territory has been invaded by the RCMP,” Jessica Robert, one of the protesters, said in an emailed statement. “We will continue to block the tracks until the RCMP leaves Wet’suwet’en territory.”

Colleague Philip Authier is covering the premier.


9:50 a.m. Grand Chief denounces ‘stubbornness’

Here’s what Kahnawake Grand Chief Joe Norton had to say on Tuesday:


9:40 a.m. Protests reach London


9:30 a.m.

The blockades are having a devastating effect on Quebec businesses, industry groups say. They’re struggling to find alternative ways to receive supplies and ship goods. Some are laying off workers.


9:15 a.m. Commuters out of luck

Two Montreal commuter lines (Candiac and Mont-St-Hilaire) are shut down due to blockades.

This morning, Exo, the provincial agency that operates commuter trains, said it will not provide buses to replace the Mont-St-Hilaire trains. In contrast, buses are available for users of the Candiac line.


9 a.m. Losing patience

The simmering rail crisis is on the agenda in Quebec City today.

Transport Minister François Bonnardel says the Quebec government is losing patience. Speaking to reporters a few minutes ago, he also suggested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not take the issue seriously enough last week.

Premier François Legault, who says he’s not happy with how Trudeau is handling the situation, will be scrumming in Quebec City this morning just before 10 a.m. He has previously raised the spectre of police breaking up blockades.

He’ll be asked about a Parti Québécois demand for an emergency debate, colleague Philip Authier reports. Even if that doesn’t happen, the issue is expected to come up during Question Period in the National Assembly today. Follow it live (starting at 10 a.m.) here.

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B.C. RCMP say they’ll leave outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory if road is kept clear – CBC.ca

February 20th, 2020

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he’s hoping the RCMP’s offer to leave their outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks aimed at ending the rail blockades crippling the country’s rail network continue.

“I’m very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised,” said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down.”

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent Wednesday from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs offering to move the RCMP’s temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent.

“As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution,” Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting “in the near future.”

In a separate letter to staff, Strachan said the decision to re-assess their presence was “not an easy one to consider.”

“By making this gesture in good faith, we are not only supporting efforts towards a peaceful and sustainable solution, but also facilitating them,” she wrote in the internal email, first reported on by Global News.

“Our hope has always been to create mutual understanding for a peaceful resolution, without the need for police intervention.”

Watch: Blair says he doesn’t direct RCMP on blockades

[MEDIA

It’s not clear yet whether the hereditary chiefs will meet with federal and provincial government representatives. Earlier this afternoon, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said she had not heard back from the chiefs on whether they will accept Strachan​​​​​​’s offer.

The RCMP, which acts as the provincial police service in B.C., moved in to enforce a court injunction earlier this month after the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters blocked construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in December authorizing the police to clear away the protesters who had blocked access to the public road.

Those arrests triggered national protests and the rail blockades, which have lasted just over two weeks now. Via Rail announced nearly 1,000 layoffs Wednesday in response to the nationwide rail shutdown, while CN Rail says it has issued temporary pink slips to 450 workers because the blockade has shuttered much of its eastern Canadian operations.

Bennett has offered to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as soon as possible to help resolve the dispute.

Trudeau calls blockades an ‘unacceptable situation’ 

So far, the hereditary chiefs have said they won’t meet with the federal and provincial ministers until the RCMP leave their territory.

Blair said he hopes the RCMP’s offer will meet the chiefs’ conditions.

“I have not been directing the RCMP, but they have been making very thoughtful and well-informed operational decisions with respect to their deployment in response to concerns that have been raised,” he said after today’s cabinet meeting.

In a tweet, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called the RCMP’s decision “an important opportunity for progress, dialogue and safety.”

A handful of hereditary chiefs are travelling to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont., to meet with protesters there who have been blockading CN Rail in solidarity. The chiefs are also expected to visit Mohawks at Kahnawake in Quebec.

Watch: Blair says B.C. RCMP offering to leave Wet’suwet’en territory

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the federal government has not been directing the RCMP’s actions during the rail blockade crisis. 0:31

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office put out a statement calling the B.C. developments a positive step while pushing for a timeline to end the blockades.

“While the Ontario government believes in the rule of law, it is imperative that elected officials do not direct police operational decisions,” his office said in a statement.

CN gets injunction for Montreal blockade

“We believe the OPP is in the best position to ensure the protest remains peaceful, as both sides find a negotiated resolution.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet met in Ottawa Thursday morning to chart a path forward.

“We’re working very hard to end the blockades. It’s an unacceptable situation,” said the prime minister.

CN Rail says it has obtained an injunction to dismantle a rail blockade on Montreal’s South Shore.

“We’ve obtained the injunction and are hoping for a swift resolution of this incident so that passenger commuter rail service can resume,” it said in a statement.

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters earlier Thursday that “once the injunction is granted, we will dismantle the blockade.”

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Live coverage: Police eye St-Lambert railway blockade protesters – Montreal Gazette

February 20th, 2020

The Montreal Gazette is in St-Lambert where police may take down a new blockade today. The issue is also dominating debate in the National Assembly.

Protesters at blockade on the train tracks in Longueuil near Oak Ave. and St Georges St. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

Pressure is growing on Ottawa to end railway blockades impeding freight, commuter and intercity trains. Montreal Gazette reporters and photographers are covering the story — from local blockades to the National Assembly. Questions/comments? ariga@postmedia.com


3 p.m. Police gearing up in St-Lambert


2:25 p.m. Ottawa ‘encouraged’

Still no word about a meeting between federal officials and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

But Carolyn Bennett, the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, said she’s “encouraged” by the RCMP’s decision to leave the Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s territory in British Columbia.


2 p.m. Meanwhile, in Kahnawake…

Colleague René Bruemmer is about 50 meters from the blockade in Kahnawake. He has been asked not to get any closer and not to take photos.


1:55 p.m. How did we get here?

Here’s a timeline, from the Canadian Press, of rail disruptions by people showing solidarity with the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project:

Dec. 31, 2019 — The B.C. Supreme Court grants Coastal GasLink an injunction calling for the removal of any obstructions including cabins and gates on any roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use.

Jan. 1, 2020 — The Wet’suwet’en First Nation serves Coastal GasLink with an eviction notice, telling the company workers are “currently trespassing” on their unceded territory.

Feb. 5 — Talks intended to de-escalate the dispute fail after just two days.

Feb. 6 — The RCMP move in to Wet’suwet’en territory to enforce the court injunction that would have allowed construction work to resume. A handful of pipeline opponents are arrested. Hours later, outside of Belleville, Ont., east of Toronto, protesters start holding up railway traffic in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Feb. 7 — Via Rail halts service along one of its busiest routes because of the Belleville-area blockade. All travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal is cancelled. Canadian National Railway obtains a court injunction to end a demonstration by members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville. Protesters also begin disruptions at ports in Vancouver and Delta, B.C.

Feb. 9 — Kahnawake Mohawk community members south of Montreal erect a blockade on a CP rail line.

Feb. 10 — Demonstrators in the Montreal area disrupt commuter train service on the Exo Candiac line. A shuttle bus service is in effect for affected rail stations.

Feb. 11 — CN stops transport between Prince George, B.C., and Prince Rupert, B.C., because of a blockade near Hazelton, B.C.

Feb. 12 — The Manitoba government says it may seek a court injunction to end a blockade on a rail line west of Winnipeg, but CN obtains its own court order.

Feb. 13 — CN shuts down its operations in Eastern Canada.

Feb. 14 — A rail blockade that halted train traffic to and from the Port of Prince Rupert is lifted as First Nations leaders agree to meet with federal and provincial politicians.

Feb. 18 — An emergency debate is held in the House of Commons, where the Opposition Conservatives advocate for forceful action and the governing Liberals push for ongoing dialog with backing from other political parties. Meanwhile, CN issues temporary layoff notices for 450 employees.

Feb. 19 — Protesters erect a blockade along a stretch of CN rail line in Edmonton, but are soon faced with counter-protesters who begin forcibly dismantling the barricade. Via Rail announces nearly 1,000 temporary layoffs. The rail provider also cancels plans to resume a route between Ottawa and Quebec City as a new blockade is erected in St. Lambert, near Montreal.

Feb. 20 — Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP has offered to move its officers from Wet’suwet’en territory to a nearby town. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs travel to Quebec and Ontario to thank supporters who have maintained the blockades.


1:50 p.m. Protesters dig in


1:45 p.m. Update

Colleagues Philip Authier and Christopher Curtis have the latest on the crisis, with reporting from the National Assembly and the St. Lambert blockade.


1:25 p.m. Pinpointing the protests

Wondering exactly where the local blockades are taking place?


1:15 p.m. Resident confronts St. Lambert protesters


12:15 p.m. House of Commons also debating

Both the National Assembly and the House of Commons are focusing on the blockades at the moment.

The House of Commons debate can be viewed here.


Noon: Emergency debate

The National Assembly just started an emergency two-hour debate about the rail crisis. The Liberals and the Parti Québécois asked for it.

You can watch it live here. (Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be a way to embed the feed).


11:45 a.m. Who are the St. Lambert protesters?

A police intervention may be in the offing.


11:40 a.m. The scene in St. Lambert

Colleague Pierre Obendrauf gives us a close-up view of the police and protesters on Montreal’s South Shore.


11:15 a.m. CN has an injunction

A CN spokesperson confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that the railway had obtained an injunction to clear the tracks in St. Lambert but would not comment further on the situation.


10:50 a.m.: No financial aid for now: Legault

In Question Period at the National Assembly this morning, Opposition Leader Pierre Arcand urged the Coalition Avenir Québec government to provide financial aid to businesses struggling due to the blockades.

But Premier François Legault dismissed the Liberal demand.

He said for now Quebec is trying to support businesses by helping them find alternative transport services. Financial aid may come later, Legault said.

The main problem is in Belleville and it’s up to the federal government to solve the crisis, the premier said.

Arcand also chastised Legault for threatening to use force to take down blockades.


10:20 a.m.: The scene in St. Lambert

Philip Authier has the story from Quebec City, where Premier François Legault says police may target protesters in St. Lambert.

Colleague Christopher Curtis is on the ground in St. Lambert.


10:10 a.m. RCMP have met protesters demands, Ottawa says

This just in from the Canadian Press:

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP in British Columbia have met conditions set by traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation opposing a pipeline project on their territory.

He says he believes barricades set up in solidarity with that nation should come down.

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would bring natural gas to a liquefaction facility and export terminal on the B.C. coast.

Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.

The hereditary chiefs have demanded the RCMP leave their traditional land.


10 a.m. Police may dismantle St. Lambert blockade: Legault

In Quebec City, Premier François Legault just told reporters that Longueuil police will dismantle the St. Lambert blockade if CN manages to get an injunction.

The premier indicated that the St. Lambert blockade is not the work of Indigenous protesters and is not on Indigenous land.

He said the situation is different in Kahnawake, where the blockade is occurring on Indigenous land and the Kahnawake Peacekeepers are responsible for policing.

The St. Lambert blockade, which went up on Wednesday, is blocking the Mont-St-Hilaire commuter line as well as Via Rail trains. “We are blocking this rail line in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, whose territory has been invaded by the RCMP,” Jessica Robert, one of the protesters, said in an emailed statement. “We will continue to block the tracks until the RCMP leaves Wet’suwet’en territory.”

Colleague Philip Authier is covering the premier.


9:50 a.m. Grand Chief denounces ‘stubbornness’

Here’s what Kahnawake Grand Chief Joe Norton had to say on Tuesday:


9:40 a.m. Protests reach London


9:30 a.m.

The blockades are having a devastating effect on Quebec businesses, industry groups say. They’re struggling to find alternative ways to receive supplies and ship goods. Some are laying off workers.


9:15 a.m. Commuters out of luck

Two Montreal commuter lines (Candiac and Mont-St-Hilaire) are shut down due to blockades.

This morning, Exo, the provincial agency that operates commuter trains, said it will not provide buses to replace the Mont-St-Hilaire trains. In contrast, buses are available for users of the Candiac line.


9 a.m. Losing patience

The simmering rail crisis is on the agenda in Quebec City today.

Transport Minister François Bonnardel says the Quebec government is losing patience. Speaking to reporters a few minutes ago, he also suggested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not take the issue seriously enough last week.

Premier François Legault, who says he’s not happy with how Trudeau is handling the situation, will be scrumming in Quebec City this morning just before 10 a.m. He has previously raised the spectre of police breaking up blockades.

He’ll be asked about a Parti Québécois demand for an emergency debate, colleague Philip Authier reports. Even if that doesn’t happen, the issue is expected to come up during Question Period in the National Assembly today. Follow it live (starting at 10 a.m.) here.

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Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in federal prison – Business Insider – Business Insider

February 20th, 2020
  • A federal judge sentenced the longtime former GOP strategist and Trump ally Roger Stone on Thursday to serve 40 months in prison. He was also sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, four years of probation following his prison term, and 250 hours of community service.
  • A jury convicted Stone in November of five counts of false statements, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of witness tampering.
  • Federal prosecutors initially recommended a seven to nine-year sentence for Stone, but senior DOJ leadership overruled them and asked for a lighter sentence after Trump publicly complained about the initial recommendation. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Roger Stone, a former Republican political strategist and informal adviser to President Donald Trump, to 40 months in prison after he was convicted of witness tampering, false statements, and obstruction of justice.

Stone was also charged a $20,000 fine and sentenced to four years of probation after serving out his sentence, as well as 250 hours of community service.

The former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicted Stone in last year on seven charges — one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, and one count of witness tampering.

The charges were linked to his contacts with the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks and subsequent efforts to suppress witness testimony.

Stone’s indictment contained a slew of details about his false statements to Congress about his interactions involving WikiLeaks; his extensive communications with the far-right commentator Jerome Corsi and the radio host Randy Credico about WikiLeaks’ document dumps in summer 2016; and his prolonged efforts to prevent Credico from testifying to Congress or turning over information to the FBI.

After Mueller formally wrapped up his Russia investigation last March, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia took over Stone’s case. A jury convicted Stone on all seven counts in November.

“The defendant lied about a matter of great national and international significance. This is not campaign hijinks. This is not just Roger being Roger,” US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said as she sentenced Stone.

Jackson also refuted Trump’s attacks on federal prosecutors for bringing the case against Stone, saying, “There was nothing unfair, phony, or disgraceful about the investigation or the prosecution.”

Initially, the federal prosecutors who argued Stone’s case recommended a seven to nine-year sentence for him based on federal sentencing guidelines.

But after Trump publicly complained about the recommendation on Twitter, calling it “horrible” and “unfair,” senior DOJ leadership announced that they would reverse the initial recommendation — which they called “excessive and unwarranted” — and request a lighter sentence for Stone.

The highly unusual intervention prompted all the prosecutors on Stone’s case to either withdraw from the case or resign from the DOJ altogether.

Attorney General William Barr later told ABC News that he had already decided to request a lighter sentence for Stone before Trump blasted out his tweet, but he said the president’s constant public comments made it “impossible” for him to do his job.

Still, the timing of the DOJ’s announcement raised questions and rankled former officials who accused the attorney general of catering to the president’s public demands.

“Can’t recall a worse day for DOJ and line prosecutors,” Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ, told Insider. “A robbery in broad daylight in the middle of Chicago is more subtle than Barr’s obsession to shield Trump and his co-conspirators.”

At Stone’s sentencing hearing Thursday, Jackson addressed the DOJ’s unusual move to reverse prosecutors’ initial recommendation and ask for a lighter sentence.

“For those of you new to this and [woke] up last week to the fact that the [sentencing] guidelines are harsh…I can assure you that defense attorneys and many judges have been making that point for a long time but we don’t usually succeed in getting the government to agree,” she said.

The judge also criticized Trump’s tweet about Stone’s sentencing as “entirely inappropriate.”

She added, however, that although she believed the initial sentencing memo was “thorough, well-researched and supported,” a recommendation of seven to nine years “would be greater than necessary.”

Jens David Ohlin, a vice dean at Cornell Law School and an expert on criminal and constitutional law, told Insider that although Stone’s sentence is lighter than what was originally requested, it is still “substantial” and “much more than a slap on the wrist.”

“It sends a dual signal: that Stone’s criminality was significant and also that the judicial system is independent,” he added. Now, “all eyes are on Trump to see if he will immediately pardon Stone.”

Stone came onto the political scene in the 1980s, developing a reputation as a “dirty trickster” who often employed unsavory tactics to help his clients. Stone established a Republican political consulting firm along with the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and both men later became well-known lobbyists.

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Feds say RCMP offer to move off Wet’suwet’en land ‘significant’ step towards ending blockades – CTV News

February 20th, 2020

OTTAWA — The federal government says the British Columbia RCMP’s offer to move from their position on Wet’suwet’en territory to a nearby town is a “significant” step towards ending the ongoing blockades.

“These are opportunities to come to a peaceful resolution, which is what we’ve always aimed for,” said Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, accompanied by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett after meeting with the federal cabinet.

“The step that was made by the B.C. RCMP was significant, it reflects the professionalism of the police forces across the country. It is something we respect, we believe that is a significant step to ensuring that this situation resolves in very short order,” Miller said

Earlier Thursday Blair told reporters that given the RCMP has met this condition of repositioning, he believes it’s now time for the protesters to remove their barricades.

“The RCMP— I think in a very appropriate pursuit of less confrontation and in the goal of peacekeeping—have agreed to continue to serve the area but by locating their people in a nearby town, which is entirely their decision but I think the right one,” Blair said, adding that he thinks this should bring the situation to a point where it can be resolved.

Protests and demonstrations have been ongoing across Canada in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation who oppose the planned Coastal GasLink pipeline project to carry natural gas to the B.C. coast.

The nationwide response comes after the RCMP moved to enforce a court injunction earlier this month, against a blockade at an access road to the project’s work site.

The chiefs had asked that the RCMP move off of their land before any further de-escalation talks with provincial and federal leaders could go forward.

Blair said that the B.C. RCMP have sent a letter to the hereditary chiefs offering to deploying their police officers from the nearby town of Houston, B.C.

“They are changing their profile on the property,” Blair said, calling it a “sound operational decision” made by the RCMP.

“I’m hoping that… the condition that the people said was the reason for the barricades has now been met,” Blair said. “I think now the circumstances are such that those barricades should come down… now it’s time to move forward.”

In an email, RCMP spokesperson Janelle Shoihet confirmed that Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan sent a letter on Wednesday to the hereditary chiefs and that in an internal letter to all B.C. RCMP employees she “outlined her appreciation for the professionalism displayed during the enforcement of the B.C. Supreme Court injunction and subsequent demonstrations.”

According to Shoihet, Strachan said that the decision to “re-assess” their presence was an “important acknowledgement,” and noted that the RCMP’s presence has been viewed as “a barrier to further dialogue.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with his cabinet on Parliament Hill Thursday morning, with his minority Liberal government under pressure to resolve the situation as rail service continues to be impeded across much of the country due to the demonstrations.

On his way into the meeting Trudeau said the government is “working very hard to end the blockades,” calling it once again “an unacceptable situation.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted Thursday morning that with the RCMP “allowing discussions to happen,” it is “now up to the PM to show some leadership.”

The premiers have called for a meeting with Trudeau, as he and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland have been speaking separately with several provincial leaders, including B.C.’s John Horgan.

Bennett and her provincial counterpart in B.C. have offered to meet with hereditary chiefs in Smithers, B.C. to “address the urgent and longer term issues at hand” as early as Thursday. Other chiefs have travelled to Ontario too, to meet with First Nation communities that have set up solidarity blockades, cutting off a critical freight and passenger rail line.

Both Via Rail and CN Rail have announced temporary layoffs as a result of the suspension of service, and as tensions continue to fray in recent days there have been confrontations at blockades between the demonstrators and counter-protesters.

“We just hope that’s enough room to get on with the dialogue,” Bennett told reporters.

She and Miller restated Thursday afternoon that they are ready and able to jump on a plane to have further in-person discussions as soon as the chiefs would like.

In the House of Commons MPs are debating a motion from the Conservatives that calls on the House to “stand in solidarity with every elected band council on the Coastal GasLink route, the majority of hereditary chiefs, and the vast majority of the Wet’suwet’en people, who support the Coastal GasLink project, and condemn the radical activists who are exploiting divisions within the Wet’suwet’en community, holding the Canadian economy hostage, and threatening jobs and opportunities in Indigenous communities.”

Without an imminent indication that the rail shutdown will end, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said that she is looking at “practical” ways to support the Canadian farming community, whose livelihoods have been impacted by the inability to move products by rail.

More to come.

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B.C. RCMP say they’ll withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory if road is kept clear – CBC.ca

February 20th, 2020

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he’s hoping the RCMP’s offer to leave their outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks aimed at ending the rail blockades crippling the country’s rail network continue.

“I’m very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised,” said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.

“I think the RCMP have made a very sound operational decision based on the current circumstances.” 

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent Wednesday from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs offering to move the RCMP’s temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent.

“As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution,” Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting “in the near future.”

In a separate letter to staff, Strachan said the decision to re-assess their presence was “not an easy one to consider.”

“By making this gesture in good faith, we are not only supporting efforts towards a peaceful and sustainable solution, but also facilitating them,” she wrote in the internal email, first reported on by Global News.

“Our hope has always been to create mutual understanding for a peaceful resolution, without the need for police intervention.”

Watch: Blair says B.C. RCMP offering to leave Wet’suwet’en territory

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says B.C. RCMP have offered to withdraw its mobile station in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory. Blair spoke to reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting Thursday. 4:04

The RCMP, which acts as the provincial police service in B.C., moved in to enforce a court injunction earlier this month after the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters blocked construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in December authorizing the police to clear away the protesters who had blocked access to the public road.

Those arrests triggered national protests and the rail blockades, which have lasted just over two weeks now. Via Rail announced nearly 1,000 layoffs Wednesday in response to the nationwide rail shutdown, while CN Rail has issued temporary pink slips to 450 workers because the blockade has shuttered much of its eastern Canadian operations.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has offered to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as soon as possible to help resolve the dispute.

Trudeau calls blockades an ‘unacceptable situation’ 

So far, the hereditary chiefs have said they won’t meet with the federal and provincial ministers until the RCMP leave their territory.

Blair said he hopes the RCMP’s offer will meet the chiefs’ conditions.

“We have met the condition that those who were on the barricades had said was important to them before they would change their posture,” he said.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down.”

It’s not clear yet whether the hereditary chiefs will meet with federal and provincial government representatives.

In a tweet, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called the RCMP’s decision “an important opportunity for progress, dialogue and safety.”

A handful of hereditary chiefs are travelling to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont., to meet with protesters there who have been blockading CN Rail in solidarity.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office put out a statement calling the B.C. developments a positive step while pushing for a timeline to end the blockades.

“While the Ontario government believes in the rule of law, it is imperative that elected officials do not direct police operational decisions,” his office said in a statement.

“We believe the OPP is in the best position to ensure the protest remains peaceful, as both sides find a negotiated resolution.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet met in Ottawa Thursday morning to chart a path forward.

“We’re working very hard to end the blockades. It’s an unacceptable situation,” said the prime minister.

CN gets injunction for Montreal blockade

CN Rail says it has obtained an injunction to dismantle a rail blockade on Montreal’s South Shore.

“We’ve obtained the injunction and are hoping for a swift resolution of this incident so that passenger commuter rail service can resume,” it said in a statement.

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters earlier Thursday that “once the injunction is granted, we will dismantle the blockade.”

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Teens arrested in violent Markham bank robbery allegedly connected to similar incidents across GTA – CTV News

February 20th, 2020

TORONTO — Three teenagers, who were arrested after a violent Markham bank robbery, have been connected to a series of similar incidents across the Greater Toronto Area, police say.

Four people were injured during the robbery at a RBC near 16th Avenue and Markham Road around 8:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

Police said it was reported that three suspects, who are 13, 15 and 16 years old, allegedly arrived at the Markham bank in a vehicle and were armed with knives and firearms.  

Upon entering, the suspects allegedly ordered everyone onto the ground and demanded cash from the safe, police said. 

markham bank

Officers said two bank employees were stabbed and two other people were kicked in the face.

One person was transported to a trauma centre with serious injuries while the others were taken to a local hospital for treatment. All four had non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said the three suspects attempted to flee on foot when officers arrived at the scene. Police said that with help of the K9 unit, the suspects were later located and taken into custody.

Investigators said the youths were arrested directly north of the bank, where they were hiding inside a townhouse under construction.

Two of the suspects have no fixed address, while the third is from Mississauga, police said.

Police said the allegedly vehicle used by the suspects had been stolen on Feb. 10 during a violent carjacking in Toronto.

“They pulled up in a vehicle and this vehicle has now been confirmed to be stolen,” Const. Laura Nicole told CTV News Toronto. “It was stolen during a violent carjacking incident where the victim was also stabbed in Toronto.”

The suspects face a number of charges, including robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault, disguise with intent, unauthorized possession of a firearm and possession of property obtained by crime.

Wednesday’s robbery is the latest in a series of bank robberies across the GTA in recent months.

York police said evidence has been obtained connecting these suspects to the additional robberies, but the suspects are not facing any charges in connection with those incidents yet.

armed robbery, 16th avenue

“We’ve seen a very significant increase in robberies like this over the last few months,” Nicole said.

“We’ve had more robberies in only two months of 2020 than we’ve had in an entire year in the past, so our highest number for a full year was 17 and we’re close to 20 robberies at this point.”

She said the age of the suspects and the “level of violence” allegedly committed is shocking.

“This is the first one that I can think of recently where we’ve had employees of the bank essentially complying with the demands that they are given and so violently assaulted,” she said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6630, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. 

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B.C. RCMP say they’ve offered to withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory – CBC.ca

February 20th, 2020

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he’s hoping the RCMP’s offer to leave their outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks aimed at ending the rail blockades crippling the country’s rail network continue.

“I’m very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised,” said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.

“I think the RCMP have made a very sound operational decision based on the current circumstances.” 

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent Wednesday from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs offering to move the RCMP’s temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent.

“As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution,” Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting “in the near future.”

In a separate letter to staff, Strachan said the decision to re-assess their presence was “not an easy one to consider.”

“By making this gesture in good faith, we are not only supporting efforts towards a peaceful and sustainable solution, but also facilitating them,” she wrote in the internal email, first reported on by Global News.

“Our hope has always been to create mutual understanding for a peaceful resolution, without the need for police intervention.”

Watch: Blair says B.C. RCMP offering to leave Wet’suwet’en territory

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says B.C. RCMP have offered to withdraw its mobile station in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory. Blair spoke to reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting Thursday. 4:04

The RCMP, which acts as the provincial police service in B.C., moved in to enforce a court injunction earlier this month after the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters blocked construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in December authorizing the police to clear away the protesters who had blocked access to the public road.

Those arrests triggered national protests and the rail blockades, which have lasted just over two weeks now. Via Rail announced nearly 1,000 layoffs Wednesday in response to the nationwide rail shutdown, while CN Rail has issued temporary pink slips to 450 workers because the blockade has shuttered much of its eastern Canadian operations.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has offered to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as soon as possible to help resolve the dispute.

Trudeau calls blockades an ‘unacceptable situation’ 

So far, the hereditary chiefs have said they won’t meet with the federal and provincial ministers until the RCMP leave their territory.

Blair said he hopes the RCMP’s offer will meet the chiefs’ conditions.

“We have met the condition that those who were on the barricades had said was important to them before they would change their posture,” he said.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down.”

It’s not clear yet whether the hereditary chiefs will meet with federal and provincial government representatives.

In a tweet, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called the RCMP’s decision “an important opportunity for progress, dialogue and safety.”

A handful of hereditary chiefs are travelling to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont., to meet with protesters there who have been blockading CN Rail in solidarity.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office put out a statement calling the B.C. developments a positive step while pushing for a timeline to end the blockades.

“While the Ontario government believes in the rule of law, it is imperative that elected officials do not direct police operational decisions,” his office said in a statement.

“We believe the OPP is in the best position to ensure the protest remains peaceful, as both sides find a negotiated resolution.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet met in Ottawa Thursday morning to chart a path forward.

“We’re working very hard to end the blockades. It’s an unacceptable situation,” said the prime minister.

CN gets injunction for Montreal blockade

CN Rail says it has obtained an injunction to dismantle a rail blockade on Montreal’s South Shore.

“We’ve obtained the injunction and are hoping for a swift resolution of this incident so that passenger commuter rail service can resume,” it said in a statement.

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters earlier Thursday that “once the injunction is granted, we will dismantle the blockade.”

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