INDIAN High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria is headed to New Delhi after completing his term in Ottawa on June 30.
He is one of the most talented Indian Foreign Service members and his expertise in East Europe as well as the Eurasia region, coupled with his vast experience in Russian diplomacy and fluency in Russian will surely be an asset to India’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Bisaria was private secretary to the then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1999 to 2004 and attended more than 50 international meetings with him.
He also served as India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan from December 2017 to February 2020.
In a farewell letter to friends, Bisaria noted: “It has been an eventful tenure over the last two years, with long spells of ‘virtual diplomacy.’ The challenges of this new normal made the assignment more interesting: I had the privilege of greater access and interaction with friends across Canada, even though in-person contact was limited.”
PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday issued the following statement on Canada Day:
“Today, we celebrate the country we love, and the people we share it with. Canada is home to over 38 million people: Canadians who live in cities and towns – big and small; people who are indigenous to this land; and those who’ve been here for weeks, months, years, or for generations.
“Canada is strong because of our diversity. No matter what our faith is, where we were born, what colour our skin is, what language we speak, or who we love – we are all equal members of this great country.
“Today, we celebrate the place we all call home. I know for some, our country’s historic wrongs can make that difficult. But while we can’t change history, we can put in the work to build a better future; one that reflects our values of hope, resilience, kindness, respect, and generosity.
“Generation after generation, Canadians have shown that we can deliver on those values. We did it when we adopted our charter in 1982, we did it when we took care of each other during the pandemic, and we do it every day when we welcome refugees with open arms.
“Today is an opportunity for us all to recommit ourselves to those values – values that the Maple Leaf represents. Because our flag is more than a symbol, it’s also a promise. A promise of opportunity. A promise of safety for those fleeing violence and war. And a promise of a better life.
“As we come together today, let’s think about what this country means to us – and tomorrow, let’s challenge ourselves to find new ways to live up to the great promise of Canada. From my family to yours, happy Canada Day!”
CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Candice Bergen said in a statement:
“Every day, I am inspired by Canada.
“Our country is known worldwide as a land of compassion, tolerance, and opportunity. We are recognized as a hospitable nation that invites people from all walks of life, and that works to uplift those who are suffering.
“For many years, the Maple Leaf has served as a symbol of hope and light to the world. Ours is a country of peace, freedom and democracy. Today, we honour the history of Canada and celebrate these foundational values. We take pride in our heritage, and in the incredible natural wonders that serve as symbols of Canada’s greatness.
“But most of all, I am constantly inspired by Canadians themselves. Canadians are kind, welcoming, compassionate and generous. They are hard-working and resourceful. We meet the challenges facing our country with determination and resilience.
“Even when we disagree, Canadians know when to put aside our differences for the good of our country. We know that when we are united, Canada thrives.
“Today, I encourage all Canadians to take time to reflect on the immense blessing it is to live in Canada. I urge everyone to recommit to the defense of our values and our freedoms and to take joy in all that Canada has to offer.
“Happy Canada Day!”
VANCOUVER Coastal Health (VCH) announced on Thursday that the some patients accessing maternity services at Squamish General Hospital (SGH) may be diverted to alternate hospital sites for care in early July 2022.
Patients who are in labour may be diverted to Lions Gate Hospital, Richmond Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital or B.C. Women’s Hospital, where appropriate obstetrics oversight and care is available.
Due to a temporary gap in coverage, VCH said it is implementing this interim measure to ensure those accessing maternity services continue to receive quality care and treatment, wherever they are on their maternity journey. VCH’s priority continues to be the wellbeing, health and safety of our patients, including babies delivered at its hospital sites.
VCH said it appreciates the importance of patients having a safe and positive birthing experience, and is committed to making this referral process as seamless as possible for any patients who may be impacted.
A regional Emergency Operations Centre will support the diversion of patients to other facilities, as appropriate, to ensure the facility is prepared to provide a high standard of care and their needs are met.
VCH said that it also recognizes this operational adjustment may cause concern for those accessing maternity services and sincerely apologised to its patients and their families for any disruption.
VCH said it is making every effort to address any gaps in coverage, and continues to explore and implement a wide range of measures to help address current staffing challenges and other demands on acute care delivery. This includes targeted recruitment strategies and the redesign of staffing models, where appropriate.
If requiring urgent care, pregnant individuals should proceed to the Emergency Department nearest to them. If the person believes they are having complications, they should call 9-1-1 without delay.
THE Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) said on Thursday evening that it is working with the BC Coroner’s Service in order to positively identify the two male suspects.
Once that is complete VIIMCU said its first priority will be to speak to their next of kin and then it will be moving forward on determining more about them, which would include their backgrounds or histories and how that may relate to what took place.
Numerous witnesses have been interviewed, however, police still have many more interviews to conduct. They also continue to canvass the neighbourhood and gather both physical and digital evidence from the scene and surrounding area.
Police thanked the numerous individuals and businesses who have already met and worked with investigators with respect to information and videos.
A number of firearms have been recovered at the site. The fulsome assessment and analysis of the firearms used during the exchange with police is underway and police said they are mindful that while it is important to the VIIMCU investigation – it is also being looked at by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) for their concurrent investigation.
Police added: “Therefore, there is nothing further we can say with respect to the firearms. However, we can say multiple units or personnel that specialize in dealing with and identifying firearms are involved.’
As the scene was being assessed on Wednesday, a vehicle that police now believe is associated with the suspects was found to have multiple improvised explosive devices in it. The RCMP Provincial Explosive Disposal Unit was called in to further assess the devices. The EDU was able to assess them prior to being handled, safely transfer them to a container and then ultimately take them to another site where they were safely destroyed.
“It is fair to describe what EDU dealt with has a highly volatile and dangerous situation. We are not in a position to provide additional specifics at this time. There is significant work underway to look further at those devices and providing specifics at this time could impact those efforts,” police added.
With respect to the suspect vehicle, it is described as a white 1992 Toyota Camry – 4 doors with two black racing stripes over the hood and roof. Police are requesting anyone who may have any information about this vehicle or its movements in the week prior to Tuesday to contact VIIMCU at 250-380-6211.
THE BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced on Thursday that a charge of assault has been approved against Vancouver Police Constable Riley Emerson Robert Wiens in connection with an on-duty incident involving an individual on March 20, 2021, in Vancouver.
An information charging Wiens with one count of assault was sworn on Thursday. The first appearance on this matter is scheduled for August 15 in Vancouver Provincial Court.
The charges were approved by an experienced Crown Counsel with no prior or current connection with the officer.
THE two newest Metro Vancouver Transit Police explosive detection police dogs will graduate from training and receive their police badges in a ceremony that will also honour the late Canadian police officers after whom they are named.
Transit Police dog Harnett, a two-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, is named in honour of Sgt. Andrew Harnett of the Calgary Police Service, who was killed in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve in 2020. Harnett was struck by a vehicle that fled a traffic stop and succumbed to his injuries despite the valiant efforts of his police colleagues and paramedics.
“We wish to thank the Metro Vancouver Transit Police for honoring Sgt. Andrew Harnett in the naming of a Police Service Dog in his memory. We will never forget the ultimate sacrifice Andrew made and it brings us comfort knowing he will be remembered in Vancouver as well,” said the Calgary Police Service and Harnett’s family in a statement.
Transit Police dog Chopper, an 18-month old Black Labrador Retriever, is named for Constable Ryan “Chopper” Masales of the Abbotsford Police Department. In September 2016, Masales was diagnosed with an aggressive stage four brain tumor after collapsing while on duty. Despite several attempts at treatment over the following years, Masales lost his battle on March 26, 2020.
“Ryan loved his work, but the thing he loved most in life was being a father to his now 10-year-old son Ryder. Family was his passion along with being kind to others. Anyone who knew him would agree that he truly was one of a kind. Ryan bravely fought his disease, never giving up. We will always love him, and something that is loved is never lost,” said his spouse Estelize Masales.
Transit Police dogs Harnett and Chopper will receive their badges on June 30. They will join the rest of the dog team in keeping the transit system safe, while bringing awareness to the legacies of Harnett and Masales and the two officers’ devotion to community service.