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Ontario woman’s remains to return home from the Bahamas: mother

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The remains of an Ontario woman who died in the Bahamas during hurricane Dorian will soon be returned home, her mother said.

Josie McDonagh said Alishia Liolli’s body was flown off the Abaco Islands to a funeral home in Nassau on Wednesday night and should be coming to Canada in the coming days.

“There’s nothing in this world that could explain what I’m experiencing right now,” McDonagh said through tears.

Liolli, 27, died after the full force of Dorian hit the Caribbean islands on Sept. 1. She had moved to the Bahamas in 2013 where she helped build and run a program for adults with autism.

McDonagh could not get in touch with her daughter or her son-in-law for days as she frantically posted for help on various websites. Liolli’s husband, Cialin Dany, was able to find someone with a working phone to deliver the devastating news to McDonagh.

“The first three days was hell for me,” McDonagh said.

During those days, McDonagh spent a lot of time dealing with Canadian Consulate officials in Nassau. She said they were also struggling to get information in the aftermath of the hurricane due to the devastation it wracked upon Abaco Islands.

The official death toll in the Bahamas stands at 50, but authorities expect that number to increase significantly.

“The embassy couldn’t reach out to anyone on the island,” McDonagh said. “There was no police force left on the island. Their hands were tied, our hands were tied.”

Then Dany stepped up, McDonagh said. He was running all over the island with the couple’s 17-month-old son trying to get the paperwork in order to bring his wife’s body to Canada.

“If it wasn’t for my son-in-law, she wouldn’t be coming home,” McDonagh said. “That’s seven days running around with my grandson. He ran out of diapers, he ran out of milk. I blame the Canadian government for not going in and having our own people there helping out.”

McDonagh said she does not blame the people at the Canadian consulate, who continue to work under difficult circumstances, but she hopes the federal government can learn from her daughter’s ordeal.

Hours before Dorian pounded the Bahamas, Liolli asked her friends and loved ones on social media to pray for her family and the small island she called home.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified; but the dogs, chickens, husband & children are inside and everything is batted down the best we could!” Liolli wrote on Aug. 31. “I love you all — please pray for our Bahamasland, especially our Abaco.”

On Wednesday, Dany wrote about Liolli on Facebook.

“We had so much dreams and so much plans,” he said. “My heart is aching, my head is exploding.”

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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Trudeau was only one in dark makeup at 2001 party but nobody took offence: attendee

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VANCOUVER — A man who attended an “Arabian Nights” gala held by a private school in Vancouver says no one besides Justin Trudeau attended in skin-darkening makeup, but no one else there was dressed as Aladdin.

Wayne Hamill, who is white, says he doesn’t recall anyone expressing any offence over Trudeau’s costume or “brownface” makeup at the time.

Hamill went to the 2001 party because his kids were West Point Grey Academy students and he says the future Liberal leader’s costume was in keeping with the theme and others were dressed as belly dancers or wearing saris or veils.

He says he’s not a Trudeau supporter but he believes the uproar over a photograph showing Trudeau made up in brownface is unfair because it’s applying today’s standards to yesterday’s context.

Trudeau has apologized for the image and others that have emerged of him wearing skin-darkening makeup, saying he had a blind spot because of his privilege and he deeply regrets behaviour he now recognizes as racist.

He says in his 2014 book, “Common Ground,” that teaching at West Point Grey Academy gave him new insights into the “privileged lives” of private-school students that he didn’t glean from his own advantaged upbringing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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Ontario Human Rights Commission unveils new policy to tackle racial profiling

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VAUGHAN, Ont. — Ontario’s Human Rights Commission says racial profiling in law enforcement is profoundly harmful.

It says the police practice hurts black, Indigenous and other racialized communities.

The commission today released a new policy on eliminating racial profiling called Under Suspicion.

It says it’s the first such policy in the country.

Recommendations include acknowledging the problem, collecting data on police stops and independent accountability.

It also calls for officers to wear body cameras.

 

The Canadian Press

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