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Heartwarming clip shows newcomer kids experiencing first Canadian snowfall

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  • TORONTO — A woman who shared a video of two Eritrean children reacting gleefully to their first Canadian snowfall says the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the clip is reaffirming her faith in the country as a welcoming place for newcomers.

    Rebecca Davies shot the video on Saturday, 48 hours after the children shown in it arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings as privately sponsored refugees.

    In the video, the seven-year-old girl and five-year-old boy twirl, dance and revel in the snow shower in the backyard of Davies’ Toronto-area home.

    The clip has since garnered nearly 2 million views and been shared thousands of times on Twitter, often with accompanying hashtags and messages welcoming refugees in general and the children in particular.

    Davies, who helped sponsor the Eritrean family through the private Ripple Refugee Project, says the video’s reception gives her hope.

    She says she encounters racism and anti-immigrant sentiment in her work on behalf of refugees, but says the positive responses to the clip have left her feeling more confident about the society the family is eager to join.

    “When a universal, lovely little vignette of kids playing in snow gets this kind of response, it gives me some hope for humanity,” she said in a telephone interview.

    Davies said the Eritrean family landed in Toronto on Thursday, bringing an end to a lengthy saga.

    She said the single mother fled the war-torn east-African country in 2013 and spent the next five years in a refugee camp in Sudan. Two of the four children who accompanied her to Canada were born in that camp, Davies said, adding all the kids are under the age of eight.

    The family’s first full day in Canada was marred by steady rain, limiting opportunities to explore Toronto, which they plan to call home. Conditions didn’t seem too promising on Saturday either, with high winds sending daytime temperatures plunging to near the freezing mark for the first time this season.

    Davies said her family had tried to explain the concept of snow to the Eritrean newcomers. So when flakes began unexpectedly descending from the sky, she lost no time in pointing them out to the family.

    The two youngest boys stared out the window in fascination, but the eldest boy and his sister appeared to run away after the first look outside.

    “I was thinking, ‘where are the big guys? I would have thought this would have been magic,'” Davies said. “But then you hear them screaming up the stairs. They found the bag of various winter coats and boots that many people had donated to us, threw on anything, ran past us, opened the … patio door and just started twirling.”

    The video shows the beaming children exclaiming in delight and jumping around the small yard as the snow falls. The girl is seen spinning around with her face raised up to the sky as her brother jigs up and down. At one point, both put their hands out and watch the flakes land on their upturned palms.

    Davies said the flurry didn’t last very long, but allowed enough time for her six-year-old daughter to teach her Eritrean playmates how to eat snow and gave all three a chance to have a mini snowball fight.

    The video struck a chord on social media, where thousands of users liked, shared and exclaimed over the children’s obvious excitement.

    Underpinning many of the messages were comments encouraging the family as they begin a new chapter on Canadian soil.

    “This is what life is all about. Children, new to Canada that have never seen snow, and embracing it in that magical way that children do,” wrote one Twitter user. “Welcome to Canada sweethearts! Your lives will hopefully be a beautiful journey.”

    Davies said the children haven’t just confined their excitement to Canadian weather — they’re currently eager to enrol in a neighbourhood school and start going to class.

    Michelle McQuigge, 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 NDP MP Robinson considers new run in Burnaby riding

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  • OTTAWA — Former New Democrat stalwart Svend Robinson says he’s strongly considering a return to federal politics.

    Robinson says that these are challenging times for the party and if he decides to run in Burnaby North—Seymour, he hopes it helps the candidate in the next riding over — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

    Robinson, 66, represented the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby for 25 years and until 2004, when he admitted he stole a diamond ring from an auction, said he was under too much strain, and left politics.

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

    Despite insisting that he hasn’t definitely made up his mind, Robinson says over the phone from Cyprus that he spent a month door-knocking in the riding this fall and sent a letter to residents saying that he is seriously considering a run.

    He says a number of experienced members of the NDP caucus are not standing for re-election and that’s where he could make a contribution.

    The Canadian Press



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    december, 2018

    wed21nov - 21decAll DayAlberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum - Deck the Hall 31 Days of Giving-31 Days of giving(All Day) Event Organized By: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

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