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Assault trial begins for Joshua Boyle, former Afghanistan hostage

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OTTAWA — Lawyers for Joshua Boyle will vigorously challenge the credibility of one of his alleged victims — his wife Caitlan Coleman, a Crown attorney predicted Monday at the outset of the long-awaited criminal trial for the man whose family was taken hostage in Afghanistan seven years ago.  

Coleman has had to endure some unusual and difficult experiences in her life, said Crown lawyer Meaghan Cunningham as she urged Justice Peter Doody to exercise caution in interpreting her behaviour, choices and reactions.

In particular, Cunningham suggested, it would be a mistake to conclude Coleman willingly submitted to her husband’s physical and sexual abuse.

Boyle and Coleman were taken hostage in 2012 by a Taliban-linked group while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan.

Pakistani forces freed the couple in October 2017 along with their three children, who were born during their captivity.

Two months later, Boyle was arrested by Ottawa police and charged with offences including assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and causing someone to take a noxious substance.

With Coleman’s consent, a publication ban was partially lifted Monday to reveal that she is the alleged victim in 17 of the 19 counts Boyle is facing. A ban remains in place on identifying the second alleged victim.

Boyle has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which relate to incidents that allegedly occurred after he returned to Canada. Coleman plans to testify during the trial, which is being heard by Doody with no jury present.

The Crown’s first witness, social worker Deborah Sinclair, spoke in general terms of how an abuser’s controlling behaviour can damage a woman spiritually and emotionally, affecting how she acts.

“I think that’s very hard for the public to understand, why she does what she does,” said Sinclair, who has decades of experience with issues of trauma and intimate partner violence.

Lawrence Greenspon, Boyle’s lawyer, took the court through various aspects of Sinclair’s work. He noted she did not profess to be an expert on whether certain effects resulted from domestic abuse or long-term captivity.

Boyle was released from jail last June with strict bail conditions. He was ordered to live with his parents in Smiths Falls, Ont., and wear a GPS ankle bracelet that can track his movements.

Boyle, who sat in the court’s public gallery Monday, attended high school in Kitchener, Ont., and earned a degree from the University of Waterloo in 2005.

He married the Pennsylvania-raised Coleman in 2011 during a lengthy trip the pair took to South America.

The following year, they set off for Russia and travelled through Central Asia for several months, winding up in Afghanistan.

The family’s dramatic rescue in 2017 made global headlines, and even led to the family meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill about a week before Boyle’s arrest.

As the trial unfolds, the court is expected to hear a 911 call to police in late December 2017, as well as testimony from a neighbour, Coleman’s mother, her sisters and a Global Affairs Canada employee.

— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press



Agriculture

151st Cowichan Exhibition includes new category: best home-grown pot

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VICTORIA — One of Canada’s oldest fall fairs is putting a new twist on its annual showcase of local livestock, produce and fruit by adding a new category for best home-grown marijuana.

The Cowichan Exhibition in Duncan, B.C., which dates back to 1868, has created a best cannabis category to embrace legalization and celebrate local pot growers, said exhibition vice-president Bud James.

The fair starts Friday and the cannabis entries will be on display in the main hall at the Cowichan Exhibition Grounds along with the region’s top vegetables, fruits and baked goods. First prize is $5, second is $3 and third place gets a ribbon.

“We just decided this year, because it’s an agricultural product, and it’s been grown in the valley for years, and now that it’s finally legally grown, we would allow people to win a ribbon for the best,” said James.

He said fair officials believe the Cowichan cannabis category is the first of its kind in Canada.

An official at the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, a non-profit organization representing rural and urban fairs, said she had not heard of any other cannabis judging contests prior to the Cowichan Exhibition, but couldn’t confirm it was the first.

A fall fair in Grand Forks, B.C., is also judging local cannabis, but the event starts Saturday, one day after Cowichan’s fair. Those who enter the competition in Grand Forks can compete for best indoor- and outdoor-grown cannabis.

James said fair organizers contacted the local council and RCMP prior to adding the cannabis category. The mayor and council did not oppose the contest and the RCMP referred organizers to B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, the agency monitoring retail sales of non-medical cannabis, he said.

Organizers decided to go ahead with the event after its plans were not rejected, James said.

“Our interpretation of the rules are you can’t make it attractive to people under 19 years and we are not making it attractive,” he said.

James said the cannabis entries will be placed in a glass display case and the individual entries will be sealed in clear zip lock plastic bags.

“It’s being judged to the same standard of judging garden and field produce,” he said. “It’s done by uniformity. You want all three buds to be the same size, same shape, same colour. It’s also the dryness, texture and smell. It’s exactly the same way you would judge apples or carrots or hay bales. It’s all done the same way.”

James said the contest doesn’t involve sampling the product.

Bree Tweet, the manager of a medical cannabis dispensary in nearby Ladysmith, will judge the marijuana entries, said James.

The exhibition received 18 cannabis entries and James said the contest created a buzz at the fair.

“The enthusiasm of the entrants, the people bringing their entry forms, they are so enthusiastic it’s unbelievable,” he said. “They are so thrilled that it’s happening, that we’re doing it because they’ve been waiting for years for legalization and now, they finally got it and now they have a chance to show what they can do.”

James, who has entered his prized Dahlia flowers at past fairs, said the addition of the cannabis category has exceeded expectations with the 18 entries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

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Education

School board defends book pictured on principal’s desk after online uproar

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A Toronto-area Catholic school board says an online firestorm that erupted after a book on how to teach black students was photographed on a principal’s desk stems from a misunderstanding over the book’s contents.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board says the book, titled “The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys,” has a provocative title but is actually a helpful resource on tackling racial and cultural oppression in education.

Michelle Coutinho, the board’s principal of equity and inclusive education, says such materials are a particularly useful reference given how diverse the student population is in the district and at that specific school.

The controversy emerged this week after a Brampton, Ont., high school, Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School, posted a photo of its new principal on Twitter.

The photo, which shows the book on her desk, set off heated debate, with some suggesting it was a sign of racism or incompetence, or a prop meant to bolster the school’s image.

The image was also shared on instagram by 6ixBuzzTV, a popular account with roughly 1.2 million followers.

“LOOOOL. No principal should make it this far while subsequently needing a book like this,” one person wrote on Twitter. “She a bad principal,” wrote another.

Some defended the book, however, and the principal’s efforts to educate herself. “She’s making an effort to connect with her students, it’s more than most principals do,” another tweet read.

The board said it was surprised by the uproar and hoped people would look up the book before jumping to conclusions based on its title.

The principal intends to address the photo in a public announcement and invite any students with lingering questions to see her, said Bruce Campbell, the board’s spokesman.

The book, written by three researchers and published in 2017, aims to improve outcomes for black students by helping teachers create learning environments in which they feel nurtured and engaged. The title references the fact that white women make up the bulk of the teaching force in the U.S.

Coutinho said the book asks educators to challenge the biases they may bring into the classroom.

“We know that we’re steeped in a colonized kind of world view and how do we break out of that in our everyday practices?” she said, noting it has been used in the board’s anti-oppression training in the past.

Cardinal Ambrozic’s new principal was involved in a book study at several schools that delved deeply into the text last year, Coutinho said.

“If we’re going to make any changes to the education system, we have to start talking about these things and talking about them openly and honestly without shame or blame.”

 

 

 

 

 

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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november, 2019

thu14nov5:30 pm7:30 pmH.E.A.R.T.S (Helping Empty Arms Recover through Sharing)5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

sat16nov4:30 pm7:30 pmVisit The Grinch4:30 pm - 7:30 pm Tribe, 4930B Ross Street

tue19nov1:00 pm3:00 pmDiabetes Discussion Drop In1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

thu21novAll Daysun24Festival of Trees(All Day)

thu21nov6:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Trees - Preview Dinner6:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

fri22nov8:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Wines8:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov9:00 am12:00 pmFestival Family Bingo - 1st time ever!9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov6:00 pm11:00 pmMistletoe Magic !6:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov8:00 pmRed Deer Nov 23 - Calgary's THIRD CHAMBER - EP release show "Harvesting Our Decay"8:00 pm

sun24nov9:00 am12:00 pmBreakfast with Santa9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

mon25nov1:30 am2:30 pmPlanning A Calmer Christmas1:30 am - 2:30 pm

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tue26nov1:00 pm3:00 pmDiabetes Discussion Drop InDiabetes Discussion Drop In1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

thu28nov7:30 pm11:00 pmA special Christmas Musical Event at The KrossingBig Hank's Tribute to the Blues Songs of Christmas7:30 pm - 11:00 pm MST The Krossing, 5114 48 Avenue

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