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RCMP confirm officer discharged firearm at N.S. woman during incident in Dieppe

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The RCMP confirmed Sunday that one of their officers discharged their firearm at a 25-year-old Nova Scotia woman during an incident on Saturday in Dieppe, N.B.

The woman was taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.

While RCMP continue to investigate the incident, the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team, an independent police oversight body, said its investigation into injuries the woman sustained is in its preliminary stages.

SIRT’s Ron Legere said the agency was called in to investigate by the New Brunswick RCMP. 

“Our investigation is ongoing,” Legere said, adding no other information would be released at this time.  

RCMP spokesperson Nick Arbour said he couldn’t comment on the use of force by RCMP officers or how many shots were fired because the actions of the members were under review by SIRT.

“Any questions about the use of force will have to be directed towards the Serious Incident Response Team,” Arbour said. 

The woman was arrested on Saturday after she allegedly opened fire on emergency workers responding to a motor-vehicle crash on Adélard-Savoie Boulevard, about a half kilometre from the Moncton airport. She was taken into police custody after about 45 minutes.

A vehicle involved in the ongoing RCMP investigation remains at the scene covered with a green tarp. (Guillaume Aubut/Radio Canada)Her injuries are not believed to be life threatening. RCMP said no one else was hurt. 

On Saturday, police said in a release a woman shot at responders. But on Sunday, their release said “she took actions threatening first responders” and they believe those threats were shots, but that they won’t say for certain. They are still investigating.

When asked if discharging the firearm caused the woman’s injuries, Arbour said that was part of the investigation.

Questioned about the timeline of Saturday’s event, Arbour said after the woman exhibited the threatening behaviour toward first responders “they caught up with her 45 minutes later” to make an arrest.

Asked if she had driven away, Arbour said those details were part of the ongoing investigation.

Road remains closed

A small section of Adélard-Savoie Boulevard remained closed Sunday as RCMP and SIRT continued to investigate.

A vehicle remains in a wooded area covered by a green tarp. An RCMP vehicle, covered in snow, sat on the side of the street with two orange cones standing beside a rear tire on the passenger side of the vehicle. 

Legere said investigators with SIRT were at the scene overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning. 

SIRT can be called in to investigate matters that involve death, serious injury, sexual assault and domestic violence or other issues of significant public interest that may have arisen from the actions of any police officer.

“It’s a significant investigation so it’s going to take quite some time,” Legere said.

Disturbing events

Chris Hood, executive director of the Paramedic Association of New Brunswick, said what happened is disturbing.

Hood said it is not only concerning for the general public, but also for first responders who don’t expect something like that to happen when they are trying to help someone. 

“We’re not entirely clear of what the details are but all indications are somebody fired a weapon at them,” Hood said. 

Hood said the paramedics association will be in contact with those on duty at the time to offer any assistance they require.

A RCMP vehicle sits covered in snow with two orange cones by the rear tire. (Guillaume Aubut/Radio Canada)

“We’re not seeing this as an isolated incident as much as we would like to think,” Hood said. “The last few years have certainly brought to light issues where people aren’t always so happy to see first responders showing up at their doorstep.” 

Hood said it appears the paramedics in Saturday’s incident reacted appropriately to the situation. 

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Federal Budget 2021: Ottawa adds $1B to broadband fund for rural, remote communities

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The federal government will add $1 billion to a fund for improving high-speed communications in rural and remote areas of Canada, bringing the total to $2.75 billion by 2026, the Liberals said Monday in their first full budget since the pandemic began last year.

The money is going to the Universal Broadband Fund, which is designed to support the installation of “backbone” infrastructure that connects underserved communities to high-speed internet.

It’s one of many government and private-sector initiatives that have gained urgency since the pandemic began, as Canadians became more dependent on internet service for applications ranging from e-learning to daily business operations.

Ottawa says the additional money will keep it on track to have high-speed broadband in 98 per cent of the country by 2026, and 100 per cent by 2030.

Money spent on high-speed communications will be good for a recovering economy, said Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, a non-partisan think-tank.

The latest data from Statistics Canada says there were about five million people working from home during the pandemic, up from about two million prior to that, Antunes said in an interview.

“That’s a quarter or so of the workforce,” he added. “And I think a fair number of those people are going to continue to work from home, at least in some part-time way.”

Improved connections to high-speed broadband and mobile communications will add to the productive capacity of the economy overall, especially as it reaches beyond Canada’s cities, Antunes said.

He said there’s been a “real issue” with economic growth outside major urban centres and the improved connectivity “is something that can help stimulate that.”

The Universal Broadband Fund was initially mentioned in the 2019 budget, though specifics were not available until last November’s fiscal update.

The $1-billion top-up to the broadband fund announced today is in addition to $1.75 billion promised to the fund by the federal government’s November fiscal update.

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COVID-19: What you need to know for April 19

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Provincewide

  • Per today’s government report, there are 4,447 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 421,442 since the pandemic began; 2,202 people are in hospital, 755 of them in intensive care, and 516 on ventilators. To date, 7,735 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 40 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 36 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 127 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,755 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government’s report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 7 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 66,897 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 3,904,778 since December 2020. 3,212,768 people have received only one dose, and 346,005 people have received both doses.

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Federal budget 2021 highlights: Child care, recovery benefits, OAS increases – everything you need to know

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The federal government’s first budget in more than two years certainly looks the part: At 739 pages, it is a hefty document chock full of billions in new spending.

Those funds will be spread among a number of key groups – students, seniors, parents and small-business owners, to name a few – as Ottawa looks to bolster Canada’s recovery from COVID-19 but also plan for life beyond the pandemic.

To that end, the deficit is projected to hit $354.2-billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which just ended – better than expected about five months ago, given the economy’s resilience over the winter months. It is estimated to fall to $154.7-billion this fiscal year, before dropping further in the years to come as pandemic spending recedes from view.

Here are some of the highlights from Monday’s budget.

The budget outlines tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies for a national child-care program, a promise the Liberal Party has made in some form since the early 1990s. Child-care supports became a point of national debate during pandemic lockdowns as parents with young children struggled to juggle work and family responsibilities.

In total, the government proposes spending as much as $30-billion over the next five years, and $8.3-billion each year after that, to bring child-care fees down to a $10-a-day average by 2026. The proposal, which requires negotiation with the provinces and territories, would split subsidies evenly with those governments and targets a 50-per-cent reduction in average child-care fees by the end of 2022.

The federal program is largely modelled on Quebec’s subsidized child-care system, implemented in the 1990s in an effort to increase women’s access to the labour market. Since then, labour participation rates for women aged 25 to 54 in the province have grown to exceed the national average by four percentage points.

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