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Last-minute Fajardo TD gives Roughriders 31-24 victory over B.C. Lions

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VANCOUVER — A last-minute touchdown by quarterback Cody Fajardo gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders a 31-24 road victory over the B.C. Lions on Friday.

Fajardo scored on a quarterback sneak on third down with two seconds left on the clock, clinching a back-and-forth game between the two sides.

Damon Webb poured salt in the Lions’ wounds, recovering a fumble by B.C. wide receiver Lucky Whitehead and darting into the end zone for a touchdown as time expired.

Fajardo threw for 279 yards, one touchdown and one interception on the night, completing 24-of-31 attempts. Kicker Brett Lauther had four field goals for Saskatchewan, including a 49-yard bomb in the first quarter.

Lions quarterback Michael Reilly had 259 passing yards, and made good on 23-of-34 attempts, including a pair of touchdown passes to Whitehead.

The win gives Saskatchewan (5-2) sole possession of second place in the West Division and snapped a three-game win streak for the Lions (4-3).

The Riders were first on the scoreboard when Lauther made a 38-yard field goal 5:52 into the game.

B.C. was quick to respond. Reilly connected with wide receiver Bryan Burnham on a 28-yard pass on the next play, then followed it with a short toss to Whitehead.

The speedy Florida Atlantic product evaded several Saskatchewan defenders and streaked 47 yards down the sideline for his first touchdown of the night.

Whitehead leads the CFL in receiving this season with 665 yards in seven games.

A solid Lions defence kept the Riders frustrated and pinned in their own territory for much of the first half.

Lauther kept Saskatchewan within striking distance, booting a 49-yard field goal to close out the first quarter and a 28-yard kick early in the second.

Reilly struggled at times to connect with his receivers across the first half.

But with less than a minute to go in the second frame, the veteran QB narrowly avoided a sack, then got a running pass off to Jevon Cottoy for a 26-yard gain. He then sent an 11-yard dish to Whitehead to set up a first-and-goal, then once again found Whitehead in the end zone for B.C.’s second major of the night.

Jimmy Camacho made the converts on both plays and the Lions took a 14-9 lead into halftime.

A 21-yard pass from Fajardo to Kyran Moore put the Riders in good position early in the third, but B.C.’s Jalon Edwards-Cooper spoiled the ensuing touchdown attempt, knocking down a pass before it reached the hands of Mitchell Picton as he waited in the end zone.

Saskatchewan settled for yet another Lauther field goal, this time from 30-yards out.

B.C. responded with a field goal of its own, a 32-yard kick by Camacho.

Saskatchewan caught a big break in the final minutes of the third when Whitehead fumbled a punt return, giving the Riders the ball at the Lions 48-yard line.

Minutes later, Fajardo blasted a 23-yard pass to Ricardo Louis in the end zone, giving the Riders their first touchdown of the night 13:16 into the quarter. Saskatchewan was stymied on the two-point conversion attempt, though, keeping the score 18-17.

The strike was Louis’ first in the CFL. The 27-year-old wide receiver is playing his first season in the league after spending three years with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

Down a point heading into the final frame, the Lions refused to relent.

About four minutes into the quarter, Reilly made an 11-yard run to give his side a first down at Saskatchewan’s 31-yard line. Ed Gainey tripped Burnham in the end zone on the next play and the pass interference created a first-and-goal opportunity for the Lions.

Reilly handed the ball off to Shaq Cooper and the running back snuck across the goal line for the touchdown. B.C. went up 24-18 after Camacho made the convert.

Camacho later missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.

Edwards-Cooper came up big once again with three minutes left in the game, intercepting a long pass from Fajardo along the sidelines, but the Lions couldn’t whether the Riders’ final push.

The Lions will face a tough test on Oct. 1 when they host the league-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Saskatchewan will visit the Calgary Stampeders the following night.

NOTES: Saskatchewan defensive back Ed Gainey returned to the lineup after missing two games with an injured toe. … The Lions gave out 10,000 orange shirts with a reimagined logo by Kwakwaka’wakw/Tlingit artist Corrine Hunt to mark the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2021.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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Mohawk Council of Kahnawake ‘repulsed’ by politicization of Habs’ land acknowledgment

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MONTREAL — The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is blasting the Quebec government for questioning a land acknowledgment by the Montreal Canadiens that refers to the unceded territory of the Mohawk Nation.

The statement, which has been read before the NHL team’s home games this season, acknowledges the hospitality of the Mohawk Nation “on this traditional and unceded territory where we are gathered today.”

Quebec Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière told reporters on Wednesday the acknowledgment may be an error.

In a statement Thursday, the elected council for the First Nations reserve across the river from Montreal commended the hockey club’s gesture as an example of true reconciliation and added it was “repulsed” by the province’s attempt to politicize the effort, which it said undermines the Mohawk presence in the Montreal region.

On Wednesday, Lafrenière told reporters that referring to a specific nation may be a mistake as historians differ on which nation was the first to live in Montreal, while adding it was important to recognize that First Nations were the first occupants.

Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer said in a statement that land is an essential part of Mohawk identity.

“It holds the knowledge of our ancestors, our history and our presence, now and for the future,” Sky-Deer said. “Opinionated commentary that challenge and discredit our presence are not only insulting, they are taken as displaced attacks on our existence.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Supreme Court of Canada sides with injured woman in snow-clearing squabble

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OTTAWA — A woman will get another chance to sue for damages over a leg injury she suffered while climbing through snow piled by a city’s plow, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.

Taryn Joy Marchi alleged the City of Nelson, B.C., created a hazard when it cleared snow from downtown streets after a storm in early January 2015.

The removal effort left snow piles at the edge of the street along the sidewalk early in the morning of Jan. 5.

Late in the afternoon of Jan. 6, Marchi — then a 28-year-old nurse — parked in an angled spot on the street and, wearing running shoes with a good tread, tried to cross a snow pile to get on to the sidewalk.

Her right foot dropped through the snow and she fell forward, seriously injuring her leg.

Marchi contended the city should have left openings in the snowbank to allow safe passage to the sidewalk.

She pointed to the neighbouring municipalities of Castlegar, Rossland and Penticton in arguing there were preferable ways to clear the streets so as to ensure safe access for pedestrians.

However, the trial judge dismissed her case, saying the city was immune from liability because it made legitimate policy decisions about snow clearing based on the availability of personnel and resources.

In any event, the judge concluded, Marchi assumed the risk of crossing the snow pile and was “the author of her own misfortune.”

The B.C. Court of Appeal overturned the decision and ordered a new trial, saying the judge erred in addressing the city’s duty of care and the question of Marchi’s negligence.

The ruling prompted the City of Nelson to seek a hearing in the Supreme Court.

In a written submission to the high court, the city said its actions amount to “a clear example of a core policy decision” that should be immune from liability.

In her filing with the court, Marchi said city employees made a number of operational decisions that fell below the expected standard of care of a municipality — decisions not required by the written policy.

In its 7-0 ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court said a fresh trial should take place because the city has not proved that its decision on how to clear the snow was “a core policy decision” immune from liability.

While there is no suggestion the city made an irrational or “bad faith decision,” the city’s core policy defence fails and it owed Ms. Marchi a duty of care, justices Sheilah Martin and Andromache Karakatsanis wrote on behalf of the court.

“The regular principles of negligence law apply in determining whether the City breached the duty of care and, if so, whether it should be liable for Ms. Marchi’s damages.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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