Carolann Robillard, 35, and her child Sara Miller, 11, who had started using the first name Jayden, pose in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vanessa Carlin
By Ritika Dubey in Edmonton
Dozens of people gathered at a church Wednesday to bid an emotional farewell to a mother and her child who were stabbed to death outside an Edmonton school earlier this month.
Carolann Robillard, 35, and 11-year-old Sara Miller, who had recently started using the first name Jayden, were killed in what police said was a random attack outside Crawford Plains School on May 5.
Those who attended the funeral at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, northeast of downtown Edmonton, donned T-shirts with a photo of the mother and child. Attendees embraced each other ahead of the service
Robillard’s sister, Amanda Robillard, said purple was her sibling’s favourite colour. She said a community member donated pins with a purple ribbon for the funeral to honour Robillard and Jayden.
With a blend of Indigenous traditions and Catholic practices, their caskets were carried inside the church as the hall resounded with Cree drums and singing, with the scent of sage lingering in the air.
“It doesn’t feel real,” Amanda Robillard said. “(Carolann) cared about her kids. She was a great mother.”
Robillard was studying to become a teacher’s assistant, the sister said in her eulogy.
“Carolann will be remembered for her continuous dancing, her deadly auntie laugh, her big dimples and her beautiful outlook on life,” she said.
She added that Jayden had a “huge heart” and loved everyone.
“(He needed) to make others feel accepted, he made sure to seek out the new janitor at school simply to tell him, ‘Thank you for what you do.'”
He also aspired to become a professional basketball player, Amanda Robillard said.
She said their deaths “tore our family apart.”
Police have said the man who killed Robillard and Jayden had been facing assault charges for allegedly attacking a man on a scooter. The charges were stayed two days before the mother and child were stabbed.
Officers shot the man during an altercation with him shortly after the stabbings. He died in the hospital five days later.
Police have said the 33-year-old was the sole person responsible for the deaths. Since he was incapacitated in the hospital and later died, police said they won’t be naming the killer or laying any charges against him.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, the province’s police watchdog, is investigating the shooting.
Investigators have said the killer was known to police, had mental health issues and a record of assaulting children.
After the funeral Wednesday, Robillard’s brother questioned the security at the school.
“We don’t know how long he was sitting at that park … Schools need to change, security-wise,” George Robillard told reporters outside the church.
On the day of the stabbing, Jayden and his eight-year-old sister had walked home from school but could not get inside, police have said.
They walked back to the school to meet their mother when they were attacked. The eight-year-old escaped but witnessed the stabbings.
Robillard was a single mother of three and her two surviving children are being raised by Robillard’s sister and mother.
During the funeral Wednesday, Katti Holmes, Robillard’s best friend, described her as the life of the party.
“The day I found out about her (death) was my birthday,” Holmes said of her friend of eight years.
“She was supposed to be there.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2023.
Regulator rules in favour of Trans Mountain route deviation
Workers place pipe during construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on farmland, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
By Amanda Stephenson in Calgary
The Canada Energy Regulator has approved Trans Mountain Corp.’s application to modify the pipeline’s route, a decision that could spare the government-owned pipeline project from an additional nine-month delay.
The regulator made the ruling Tuesday, just one week after hearing oral arguments from Trans Mountain and a B.C. First Nation that opposes the route change.
It didn’t release the reasons for its decision Tuesday, saying those will be publicized in the coming weeks.
By siding with Trans Mountain Corp., the regulator is allowing the pipeline company to alter the route slightly for a 1.3-kilometre stretch of pipe in the Jacko Lake area near Kamloops, B.C., as well as the construction method for that section.
Trans Mountain Corp. had said it ran into engineering difficulties in the area related to the construction of a tunnel, and warned that sticking to the original route could result in up to a nine-month delay in the pipeline’s completion, as well as an additional $86 million more in project costs.
Trans Mountain has been hoping to have the pipeline completed by early 2024.
But Trans Mountain’s application was opposed by the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation, whose traditional territory the pipeline crosses and who had only agreed to the originally proposed route.
In their regulatory filing, the First Nation stated the area has “profound spiritual and cultural significance” to their people, and that they only consented to the pipeline’s construction with the understanding that Trans Mountain would minimize surface disturbances by implementing specific trenchless construction methods.
The Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc argued that Trans Mountain never said its originally proposed construction method was impossible, only that it couldn’t be done in time to meet a Jan. 1 in-service date for the pipeline.
The First Nation didn’t respond to a request for comment by publication time.
The Trans Mountain pipeline is Canada’s only pipeline system transporting oil from Alberta to the West Coast. Its expansion, which is currently underway, will boost the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 300,000 bpd currently.
The pipeline — which was bought by the federal government for $4.5 billion in 2018 after previous owner Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. threatened to scrap the pipeline’s planned expansion project in the face of environmentalist opposition and regulatory hurdles — has already been plagued by construction-related challenges and delays.
Its projected price tag has since spiralled: first to $12.6 billion, then to $21.4 billion and most recently to $30.9 billion (the most recent capital cost estimate, as of March of this year).
Keith Stewart with Greenpeace Canada said it’s alarming to see the regulator over-rule the wishes of Indigenous people in order to complete a pipeline on deadline.
“Every Canadian should be outraged that our public regulator is allowing a publicly owned pipeline to break a promise to Indigenous people to protect lands of spiritual and cultural significance,” Stewart said.
The federal government has already approved a total of $13 billion in loan guarantees to help Trans Mountain secure the financing to cover the cost overruns.
Trans Mountain Corp. has blamed its budget problems on a variety of factors, including inflation, COVID-19, labour and supply chain challenges, flooding in B.C. and unexpected major archeological discoveries along the route.
Given the Canadian regulatory system has a reputation for being slow and cumbersome, it was surprising to see the Canada Energy Regulator rule so quickly on Trans Mountain’s route deviation request, said Richard Masson, executive fellow with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.
“It’s a challenging decision to have to make, when you’ve got a $30 billion pipeline that needs to be completed,” Masson said.
“If there’s no feasible way to do that tunnel, then I guess you have to allow for this.”
Masson added that if the regulator had denied Trans Mountain’s request, it would have been bad news for taxpayers as well as the federal government, which is seeking to divest the pipeline and has already entered into negotiations with several interested Indigenous-led buyers.
It also would have been bad news for Canadian oil companies, who have been eagerly anticipating the pipeline’s start date to begin shipping barrels to customers.
“If this can result in the pipeline being completed by year-end and started up in the first quarter, that’s good news. The world is still looking for oil, and oil prices are up at US$90 a barrel,” Masson said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2023.
Partial settlement approved in lawsuit against Calgary Stampede over abuse of boys
A judge has approved a partial settlement in a class-action lawsuit against the Calgary Stampede that alleged the organization allowed a performance school staffer to sexually abuse young boys.
Phillip Heerema received a 10-year prison sentence in 2018 after pleading guilty to charges including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, child pornography and luring.
Heerema admitted to using his position with the Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, which performs each year in the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show, to lure and groom six boys into sexual relationships.
The school is operated by the Calgary Stampede Foundation.
Court of King’s Bench Justice Alice Woolley approved the deal in which the Stampede has agreed to pay 100 per cent of the damages.
Hearings on the amount will take place on Dec. 14 and 15.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2023
Encouraging news: Update on E. coli outbreak in Calgary
Insured damages from summer storms in Alberta top $300M, estimate shows
Yes, You Are Being Manipulated
Canada’s inflation rate reaches four per cent in August: StatCan
Alberta is getting serious about nuclear power
Cause still sought, may never be known, in Calgary daycare E. coli breakout
Canada signs $3-billion deal to finance nuclear power in Romania
Top Story CP2 days ago
Ford workers in Canada ratify agreement, set precedent for other automakers
Dr John Campbell22 hours ago
Excess deaths in Canada and most western nations remain very high long after pandemic deaths subside
Top Story CP22 hours ago
Military drops sexual misconduct charge against Lt.-Gen. Steve Whelan
Alberta2 days ago
Hot rental market makes search ‘stressful’ for many — and it won’t get better soon
Crime21 hours ago
Parole board warned employees about threats following Saskatchewan stabbings: emails
Top Story CP21 hours ago
NDP House leader says Speaker should resign after honouring man who fought for Nazis
Brownstone Institute2 days ago
The Great Demoralization
National21 hours ago
Jewish group demands apology after MPs honoured man who fought for Nazis