A Surrey teacher says there are still too many barriers to teaching anti-racism in schools, and the burden is too often placed on individual teachers to make up for systemic shortcomings. Annie Ohana, a social justice teacher at L.A. Matheson Secondary School, says educators in this province’s schools don’t have what they need. “What I always tell folks is the intent is always there to do good to try more. But the resources, the money to actually pay people properly if you want to bring in for example, Indigenous facilitators, or knowledge keepers — that’s not there yet.” With last months discovery of the remains of 215 children at a residential school site in Kamloops, Sunday’s hate-motivated killing of a Muslim family in London Ont., and the increase in police-reported hate crimes during the pandemic — Ohana says teaching students about systemic racism, and prioritizing diversity and inclusion are crucial. She went on to say “This is something we really have to look into at a systemic level. One way to do it is that we need to stop following this idea that Canada’s amazing and these are aberrations. The system was built to do this.”

 

The federal government could be announcing further action to ease some COVID-19 border restrictions, but B.C.’s health minister says the province still has some work to do before British Columbians pack their bags. Travel is currently restricted — both within B.C. and internationally — for most non-essential travel. The next phase in the province’s reopening plan is set to reallow travel within the province, but it still remains unclear when people will be able to hop across the border, as many did regularly before the pandemic hit. Health Minister Adrian Dix says B.C. remains in phase one of its restart plan. The earliest the province will move into step two is June 15, and he says “that will be based on the evidence.” It was announced just yesterday that starting early July Canadian citizens who are double vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days when coming back into Canada And while Dix says he expects to see borders opening soon, he stresses safety remains the priority

 

B.C. is continuing to keep the number of new COVID-19 infections relatively low, recording 148 cases on Wednesday. There are 195 COVID patients in B.C. hospitals, down from 203 on Tuesday. There are 47 people in the ICU, down from 57. The province recorded three more COVID-related deaths, for a total of 1,725 since the pandemic began. About half of the new cases were in the Fraser Health region, and about 16 per cent were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Twenty-two per cent were in the Interior Health region. “We are reporting that 74.5% of all adults in B.C. and 72.4% of those 12 and older have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” reads a joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

 

The 20-year-old man accused of deliberately driving down and killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., is set to appear in court Thursday morning. Nathaniel Veltman faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder Relatives have identified the deceased as 46-year-old Salman Afzaal, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal.The couple’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously wounded but is expected to recover. The attack happened on Sunday, when the family was out for a walk. Police have said the attack was a planned and premeditated act that targeted Muslims. The London Muslim Mosque, which the family belonged to, has called for a national summit on Islamophobia between all levels of government in the days since the tragedy. The attack has been denounced as an act of terrorism by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, some experts say it’s possible the terrorism label will not be reflected in the charges against the 20-year-old suspect.

 

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says a pilot project to test cannabis sold in illicit stores found almost every sample was contaminated by at least one type of pesticide. Farnworth says testing also found “unacceptable levels” of bacteria, fungi or heavy metals in many of the 20 samples seized from illicit stores across Metro Vancouver. He says Health Canada requires licensed cultivators to test cannabis to make sure it’s fit for consumption, but little is known about the quality of illicit cannabis products and production. Farnworth is also warning people, especially those with children, not to buy illicit cannabis edibles packaged to look like candy or cookies because it often exceeds legal limits of T-H-C concentration

 

One of Western Canada’s top music festivals, FVDED in The Park, has shared details surrounding plans for 2021. Organizers announced on Thursday that they’re working to finalize the details for this year’s event. One of the possibilities includes a two-day festival that would take place in the fall. “We have a potential back-up plan for FVDED in the Park on September 10 and 11, 2021,” the event shared in an Instagram post. “We are in ongoing conversation with the City of Surrey and Fraser Health on where the restrictions may be in summer and beyond.” Organizers say that there will be an update on the festival lineup as soon as they receive a “go-ahead from all parties.” The update was cautiously optimistic, however, as organizers stressed that they “must remain realistic.” They added that festival passes for 2020 will be honoured for the new dates. Additionally, those who keep their festival passes will be given a “FVDED legend pack,” which includes a pre-loaded card for drink and merchandise, a fast pass for entrance, and a pre-sale discount for future events. Presented by Blueprint and Live Nation Canada, the annual event draws 45,000 attendees, and features top names across multiple genres – from hip-hop and rap to R&B, electronic, pop and more.

 

BC’s liquor stores are about to turn 100, marking a century since Prohibition ended in this province. The B-C Liquor Distribution Branch says the first of nine government liquor stores officially opened on June 15, 1921 — selling fewer than 100 products, all of them from behind a counter. Purchasers had to be at least 21 years old and — in addition to paying for their booze — had to buy a one-time permit for 50 cents or an annual permit for five dollars — which would be the equivalent of nearly 75 dollars today. B-C’s liquor stores will mark the centenary with what it says will be a year of celebrations and product sales — starting this Saturday at select outlets offering everything from bottles of Aviator gin signed by actor Ryan Reynolds to 100-dollars off a bottle of 10-year-old Glenmorangie scotch or 10-dollars off a variety pack of White Claw hard seltzer. 

 

The man accused of deliberately running over and killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ontario, made a brief appearance in court today. Nathaniel Veltman faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Veltman, wearing an orange T-shirt and orange pants with a blue mask, spoke calmly and clearly, saying he’s still arranging for a lawyer. The driver of a black pickup plowed into the family of five Sunday evening, and Veltman was later found by police in a mall parking lot where the truck was parked. 

 

Simon Fraser University says its new, 33-million dollar, high efficiency biomass plant is now in full operation at its Burnaby Mountain campus and will cut greenhouse gas emissions from heating by as much as 80 per cent every year. The university says that’s the equivalent of emissions from 900 homes. It says the new plant makes S-F-U a leader in use of green energy with one of the smallest greenhouse gas footprints of any Canadian post-secondary institution. Biofuel is made from clean wood waste — such as wood chips and shavings — produced during construction projects or in the processing of logs or other wood

 

Burnaby R-C-M-P say they have made a significant seizure of drugs, weapons and cash that will significantly disrupt a drug organization associated to Lower Mainland gangs. The items seized after a months-long investigation include multiple ounces of suspected cocaine and fentanyl, approximately 15-thousand dollars in cash, a high-end vehicle and several weapons. Inspector Matt Toews says such weapons are often used by gangs for violent incidents and murders such as the ones recently plaguing the Lower Mainland. Drugs and weapons charges against two people associated to the drug organization will be forwarded to prosecutors. 

 

British Columbia health officials announced 153 new test-positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 145,996. In a press conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that broken down by health region, 21 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 73 are in the Fraser Health region, 11 are in the Island Health region, 39 are in the Interior Health region, and nine are in the Northern Health region. There are 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 176 individuals are currently hospitalized, 49 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. There have been four new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,729 deaths in British Columbia. To date, 74.9% of all adults 18 and over in BC and 72.8% of those 12 and older have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 3,823,103 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in BC, 443,562 of which are second doses. This equates to about 325,000 immunizations every week in the last few weeks. A total of 142,314 people who tested positive for the virus have now recovered.

 

The search continues for a permanent host to replace the late, great Alex Trebek on “Jeopardy!” Replacing Trebek, who died of cancer, involves sophisticated research and a parade of guest hosts doing their best to impress viewers and the studio. The possible contenders include Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric and “Jeopardy!” champs Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen. Taping for next season is expected to begin later this summer.