A multi-vehicle crash on the Coquihalla Highway has left one person dead and more than 35 others hurt. The crash happened in the northbound lanes of Highway 5 near Hope just after 9:30 a.m. BC Emergency Health Services says 34 people sustained non-life threatening injuries and were treated at the scene. Two people were airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. Three other people with serious injuries were taken by ambulance to the the hospital. They are in stable condition. The RCMP confirms at least one person is dead however it’s unclear if they were among those taken to the hospital. Traffic northbound on the Coquihalla was closed since 10 a.m. but has since reopened. The RCMP is looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed this crash or who may have dashcam video of it.

 

Premier John Horgan says the province had no choice but to request a court injunction ordering three churches not to hold in-person services. Horgan says he’s confident that public health orders are constitutional and there’s a need to limit the spread of COVID-19. Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley, the Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church in Abbotsford and Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack were all part of a constitutional challenge of COVID-19 restrictions filed last month. They say restrictions on in-person religious services violate people’s rights and freedoms.

 

The R-C-M-P say a man charged in a series of break and enters across the Lower Mainland has pleaded guilty. The Mounties say Anthony Vossler was charged with four counts of break an enter last May in connection with incidents in late 2019 in Surrey and Langley. He was charged with an additional nine counts a week ago in break and enters in Surrey, Burnaby, Delta and Coquitlam between December 2019 through last April. Police say Vossler pleaded guilty to all 13 charges the same day.

 

A poll is suggesting trust in vaccines isn’t strong enough to give Canada good herd immunity against COVID-19. Almost two-thirds of respondents to a Proof Strategies poll say they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. That’s still well shy of the 75 per cent level experts say is necessary to achieve herd immunity. Eighty-six per cent of those over the age of 75 say they trust
the vaccines, compared with less than 60 per cent for the 18-to-24 and 25-to-44 age groups. Trust in vaccines also rises with a person’s income level.

As Canadas COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered across the country, a new ranking shows Canada is lagging behind many other nations when it comes to just how fast we’re inoculating our population Canada has slipped to 38th in the world when it comes to vaccination rates per 100 people. Countries ranked ahead of Canada include some of the nation’s closest allies, including the U.K. and the U.S., which are both in the top 10, as well as countries like Israel,  which tops the list, and the United Arab Emirates. While infectious diseases experts says Canada could have done better in its efforts, he believes the situation will improve. Federal officials have repeatedly said it’s expected the country will have enough vaccines for every Canadian who wants one to get a shot by the end of September. This is despite recent delays in shipments from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — the two approved COVID-19 vaccines in Canada at this time.

Canadians are expected to spend 20 per cent less this Valentine’s Day due to COVID-19 lockdowns and ongoing economic uncertainty. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is urging people to consider buying local. Restaurants Canada is also encouraging people to make reservations at local restaurants where possible or order takeout, saying it could help them survive.

 

The Conservation Officer Service says pet owners in the northeast corner of Metro Vancouver should keep their animals on a short leash as there have been numerous reports of cougars prowling in Coquitlam, Port Moody and Anmore. A post on the service’s website says a cougar grabbed a small dog Tuesday night in the Scott Creek area of Coquitlam but the dog’s owner gave chase and the cougar dropped it’s planned meal. The dog is being treated for bite wounds to its body but the Conservation Officer Service says the pooch should make a full recovery. There are no reports of cougars in Metro Vancouver acting aggressively toward people but officers urge residents to keep pets leashed when outside and not to put out pet food or bird seed — possibly attracting animals such as raccoons or squirrels, which could, in turn, entice cougars.

 

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says a record number of fatal overdoses in B-C last year underscores the urgency of the city’s request to decriminalize simple drug possession. Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has agreed to work with the city after it asked for an exemption from the law. Stewart says the city is working with health experts and police to bolster its case and expects to file the first part of its submissions to Health Canada by March 1st. He says a safe supply system is also needed after a poisoned drug supply led to more than 17-hundred deaths last year, including 408 in Vancouver alone. 

A legislature committee looking at changing the Police Act has been told it should consider “de-tasking” police where possible to free up funds for affordable housing. BC Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender says people who are homeless, Indigenous Peoples and those living in poverty have far more interactions with police. Govender says the Human Rights Commission should be amended to give them added protection and access to justice when dealing with officers. She also says race-based data should be collected to help eliminate systemic racism in policing. 

Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial say dire harm from his false and violent incitements will vex American democracy long into the future. They’re calling on the Senate to convict him of impeachment and bar him from future office. The House prosecutors have concluded two days of emotional arguments in Trump’s historic trial on accusations he incited last month’s deadly Capitol mob invasion. Trump’s defence will take the Senate floor tomorrow, arguing that— as terrible as the attack was — it clearly was not the former president’s doing. The proceedings could finish with a vote this weekend. 

A month-long slowdown in Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine deliveries will finally be over. In a virtual roundtable with nurses and doctors from around Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that the rollout of vaccines across the country has been lagging. But federal officials now say the pace will pick up starting next week. Trudeau says things are about to get better in the fight against the coronavirus, with Canada approaching something he called “the big lift” with millions of vaccines about to reach our shores.