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U.K. man pleads guilty after drunkenly causing WestJet flight to turn back

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The U.K. man who forced a WestJet airplane to turn around and land back in Calgary is a recovering alcoholic who got drunk for the first time in 18 months and became belligerent toward the flight crew and his fellow passengers, according to details read aloud at his guilty plea.

On Thursday, David Stephen Young, 44, pleaded guilty to two charges — one under the Aeronautics Act of failing to comply with safety instructions, and the other for resisting arrest under the Criminal Code.

Young issued a written apology for what he called his “disgusting behaviour,” for the “damage and inconvenience” he caused to his fellow travellers and for the “embarrassment I brought upon my family, especially my children.”

Provincial court Judge Brian Stevenson accepted the guilty plea and heard sentencing submissions from defence and Crown lawyers who are seeking restitution as a penalty.

Stevenson will decide on sentencing next week.

Question of money to be paid

WestJet wants Young to pay about $65,000, though it says the costs of the rerouted flight could soar well above $200,000.

Although WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart recently told CBC News none of the passengers will be compensated beyond the $250 because the detour was considered “an uncontrollable incident just like the weather,” prosecutor Lori Ibrus told the judge that when a flight is delayed by more than four hours, airlines must pay out €600 in compensation to every passenger who requests it.

WestJet clarified that the €600 wouldn’t apply to the first group of passengers on the U.K.-bound flight, but rather a second group of passengers that would have boarded the flight in the U.K., on a trip to Canada.

WestJet and EU flight rules state that travellers will be compensated €600 if they:

  • Were on a WestJet-operated flight departing from the European Union or U.K. to a non-EU country.
  • They were delayed three or more hours.
  • Their flight was more than 3,500 kilometres.

The prosecutor said “it is not the Crown’s intention to bankrupt Mr. Young,” but defence lawyer Michelle Parhar said her client makes a modest income and would be financially ruined should he face the $65,000 restitution order sought by the prosecution.

Defence lawyer Michelle Parhar asked Stevenson to order Young to make a $5,000 to $8,000 restitution order.

“With his financial circumstances, he simply does not have the ability to pay,” said Parhar.

What led to the disruption

On Jan. 4, 2019, Young boarded a flight bound for London after spending time with his mother, who lived in B.C. There were about 260 passengers on board.

He had six drinks at the airport, according to Parhar, who said Young was a lifelong alcoholic who had been sober for 18 months until then.

As the plane was taking off, Young repeatedly got up to use the washroom, according to the agreed facts, read by Ibrus. 

When flight attendants tried to stop him, he argued with them and became “aggressively intimidating,” reads the document.

Young’s row-mate Karen Ambler tried to intervene and explain the flight crew’s intentions. He then turned his verbal abuse on her.

Young was swearing and telling people he didn’t care about anything anymore. 

Eventually, he forced his way into the bathroom.

When he got out, “the situation heated up again” and he continued to shout and shake his fists. That’s when the flight crew decided to turn the plane around and return to Calgary.

The pilot had to burn off and then dump 2,000 pounds of fuel, according to the facts.

Once Young was arrested after the plane landed, he continued to be belligerent and was unco-operative with police and CBSA officials, swearing and yelling at officers and accusing them of being racist.

Young spent one week at the Calgary Remand Centre, where he was terrified, according to Parhar. He has never been in custody before, she said.

Several members of Young’s family wrote letters of support, detailing a “kind and decent” person who had recently experienced several family crises.

Once Young returns to the U.K., “he’s essentially barred from entering Canada, barred from seeing his mother in B.C.,” said Parhar.

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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair

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Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
Industry: Government
Age: 27
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $75,300
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,930
Gender Identity: Woman

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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing

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An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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