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Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mother says

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  • GLACE BAY, N.S. — The mother of a Cape Breton teen with cerebral palsy says her son has forgiven a group of students who bullied him last week — telling him to lie in a shallow stream as other students walked over him.

    But she said he is still afraid to return to his high school because he doesn’t feel safe.

    In an interview Tuesday, Terri McEachern said her son, 14-year-old Brett Corbett, received an apology over the weekend from two of the students involved.

    School administrators said Tuesday they wanted to assure parents and the community that they would “work with students, staff and parents to address this behaviour.”

    The stream, known as Burr-Bank, is near Glace Bay High School where Corbett is a Grade 9 student.

    The incident was recorded and ended up posted on Facebook, causing wide-spread concern and condemnation.

    “To see the video of your kid laying there and kids mocking, ridiculing, it tore my heart out,” said McEachern, who added that she has been dealing with calls from media outlets as far away as Washington, D.C., and Africa since the story about her son broke.

    McEachern said the family saw the video, but it didn’t become public until a girl posted it on social media to counter those who said the incident didn’t happen.

    She said a boy and a girl who were involved came to her home this past weekend to apologize in person.

    “He’s accepting of the apologies, he’s forgiving of them,” she said. “He was OK with then coming here and apologizing so I’m OK with that.”

    An emotional McEachern said while it’s been hard to deal with a situation she still can’t believe happened, she has to try to forgive as well.

    “I don’t hold hate and resentment in my heart. It hurts, it was wrong, it’s unacceptable, but hate only grows, it’s a dark emotion.”

    On Tuesday, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education released a statement promising action.

    “This incident is tremendously harmful to both the individual involved and the school community as a whole. We are disappointed and saddened by the behaviour that led to the incident on the video.”

    The statement said that in addition to dealing with the individuals involved, the school would conduct a restorative practice process.

    “A restorative practice approach involves students, staff, parents, School Advisory Council and members of the school community, in a process that acknowledges the harm done and gives a voice to all in planning our way forward within a respectful, safe and secure learning environment.”

    However, McEachern said school officials hadn’t yet contacted her, and she’ll be looking for reassurance that her son will be safe in school.

    “An apology and a one day suspension doesn’t change tomorrow how Brett feels about what happened,” she said.

    McEachern said she will keep her son at home until Monday to see what develops.

    The Canadian Press


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    New psychiatric assessment ordered for alleged Fredericton shooter

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  • FREDERICTON — A Fredericton man accused of murdering four people in an August shooting spree has been ordered to undergo a 60-day psychiatric assessment.

    It will determine if Matthew Raymond can be found criminally responsible for the crimes he has been accused of.

    He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton police constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

    Raymond was previously found fit to stand trial after a shorter assessment. Details of the arguments seeking the assessments are under a publication ban

    Defence lawyer Alison Menard said Tuesday the longer assessment is to assess the mental state of an accused at the time of an alleged offence.

    “Did they suffer from a mental disorder which would exempt them from responsibility?” she said outside court.

    “In certain circumstances, people who suffer from a mental disorder can be found not criminally responsible because they are lacking the intent element of the offence because of the mental disorder.”

    The case returns to court on Feb. 8, 2019.

    Raymond is alleged to have fired from his apartment window with a long gun, killing the two civilians as they loaded a car for a trip on Aug. 10, and the two police officers as they responded to the scene.

    Raymond has previously told a judge there is evidence that would allow him to be “exonerated” immediately because of temporary insanity.

    As he has in previous court appearances, Raymond stood in court Tuesday, and complained to the judge about the jail-issued orange jumpsuit and orange sweatshirt he was wearing.

    “I should be in casual clothes. I’m not supposed to be in orange at all,” he said.

    Raymond was also upset over documents he took from a file folder and waved in the air.

    “It concerns these documents I should not have in my possession. There are photographs and evidence. Only the court should have these documents,” he said.

    The documents concerning the investigation are under a publication ban, but Raymond said guards where he’s being held are able to see them.

    He said a guard came into his cell in the middle of the night and was looking at the documents.

    “There’s no (expletive) way someone should be in my (expletive) cell in the middle of the night looking at my (expletive),” he said.

    Former friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered varying memories of the accused murderer, ranging from a boy who retreated into video games, a pleasant supermarket co-worker and an increasingly isolated loner in recent years.

    Some business owners have described Raymond, who is in his late 40s, as becoming reclusive and occasionally unpleasant in the year before the alleged shootings.

    Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press




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    Longtime New Democrat Robinson considers political return in Burnaby riding

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  • OTTAWA — Former New Democrat stalwart Svend Robinson says he is strongly considering a return to federal politics, noting his former party is facing challenging times.

    Robinson, 66, represented the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby for 25 years.

    He left politics in 2004 after he admitted stealing a diamond ring from an auction, saying he was under too much strain at the time.

    Since then, he has spent time in Switzerland working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. After retiring last year, Robinson and his partner moved to Cyprus.

    If he decides to run, Robinson said he would seek election in Burnaby North—Seymour and hopefully help out the NDP candidate in the next riding — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is expected to face a byelection in Burnaby South in February. 

    In the 2015 federal election, the NDP won Burnaby South by just over 500 votes.

    “I will do everything I can to support Jagmeet and support him in his campaign for election in Burnaby South. Hopefully if I’m a candidate in a neighbouring riding, that will be of some assistance,” Robinson said on the phone from Cyprus.

    Despite insisting he hasn’t made up his mind, Robinson said he spent a month door-knocking in the riding this fall and sent a letter to residents saying he is seriously considering a run. His letter closed by pointing out a nomination meeting will take place early in the new year. “And then we will have to work very hard together over the months leading up to the election in October of next year to take back the riding. Let’s do this!”

    Speaking from Cyprus, Robinson said he thinks he could add some veteran know-how to the federal NDP given the number of experienced caucus members not standing for re-election next year.

    Liberal Terry Beech is running again in Burnaby North—Seymour, which is set to become a battleground riding next year over Liberal pledges to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. The pipeline ends in the riding.

    “I think the next election is going to be a make or break election for the future of the climate and if I run, those issues will be front and centre,” Robinson said.

    Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press



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    december, 2018

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