The Supreme Court of Canada will rule today on a gangland murder case from 2007 out of Surrey, BC, where two men convicted of the crimes claim the investigation was tainted by police misconduct. The question before the high court is whether police misconduct during the investigation, and the men’s treatment in prison, warrants a hearing of evidence to determine if the convictions were tainted by an abuse of process. One of the two men died in prison last year, but the ruling is the other man’s last chance to challenge his conviction on these grounds. The BC Court of Appeal ruled in 2021 that there should be a hearing, but Crown prosecutors appealed to the top court, claiming no “factual controversies” remained in the case to force another hearing.
BC Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is expected to announce a decision today on whether the RCMP or a municipal police service will be responsible for policing in Surrey. The city had already hired numerous policing staff and even a new chief for the Surrey Police Service when voters elected a mayor and several councillors last fall who opposed the change. Mayor Brenda Locke campaigned on a promise to go back to the RCMP, which she says will be less expensive. The government has been deliberating which law enforcement agency to approve for months.
The BC government has created a 200-million-dollar fund to help First Nations participate fully in the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Relations Minister Murray Rankin says the flexible fund can support staffing, training, community-level meetings and other resources required in government-to-government work. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B-C Indian Chiefs, says the fund creates an unprecedented opportunity to work on the challenges of reconciliation. The BC government unanimously passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act into law in November 2019.
Nurses in British Columbia have ratified a new three-year collective agreement covering about 51 thousand registered, psychiatric and licensed practical nurses in the province. The new deal includes wage increases and comes alongside a government promise to make BC the first Canadian province to adopt a nurse-to-patient ratio to improve workload standards. Union president Aman Grewal says the agreement recognizes nurses’ dedication and sacrifice and includes significant investments to recruit more into the profession. Premier David Eby says the agreement is part of the government’s commitment to continue supporting nurses and strengthening the\ provincial health-care system.
Any British Columbians looking for a new fur friends from the province’s SPCA branches can get 50 per cent off adoption fees between now and Sunday. The promotion is to mark National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day. The SPCA says many locations are also hosting special activities and offering extended hours this weekend. The organization says it cared for nearly 16-thousand animals last year.