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Bob Mackin

A lawyer for the provincial government said in B.C. Supreme Court on May 13 that a judicial review of B.C.’s 2020 snap election is a waste of time. 

“A new government has been formed, passed a budget and enacted numerous pieces of legislation,” said Emily Lapper, on the second of two days before Justice Geoffrey Gomery. “In so doing, the petitioners seek to have the judicial branch weigh in on what are fundamentally political questions.”

John Horgan announces the election in a Langford cul-de-sac (CPAC)

After the BC Liberal government amended the law in 2001 to schedule elections, B.C. voters went to the polls in May once every four years between 2005 and 2017. NDP Premier John Horgan broke the cycle on Sept. 21, 2020 when Lt. Gov. Janet Austin agreed to dissolve the Legislative Assembly and schedule the Oct. 24, 2020 election.

Democracy Watch and IntegrityBC founder Wayne Crookes filed for judicial review the day before Horgan’s NDP won a 57-seat majority. They say Horgan broke the fixed election date law by calling the snap election without testing the confidence of the Legislature. It was also contrary to the May 2017 confidence and supply agreement with the B.C. Greens, which said there would be no election for at least four years. 

What’s more, the NDP and Greens had amended the fixed election date law to move the next election from May 2021 to October 2021. But Horgan exploited a perceived lull in the pandemic to call the fall 2020 election in order to seek a majority. 

Before the 2001 amendment, elections could occur whenever the lieutenant governor accepted a premier’s advice to exercise the Crown prerogative to dissolve the assembly, Lapper said.

“This was subject only to the constitutional requirements that an election occur within a five-year window,” Lapper said. “And that constitutional requirement is derived from the Charter.”

Lapper noted that the BC Liberal government did not amend the clause that left the lieutenant governor’s power to dissolve the legislature intact. 

She also mentioned how Premier Christy Clark unsuccessfully sought dissolution in June 2017, after the NDP and Greens defeated the BC Liberal minority in a confidence vote.

“The power to dissolve the legislature is the lieutenant governor’s alone, that only she exercises that power. The first minister does not have the prerogative power to dissolve the legislature. By convention, the first minister advises the lieutenant governor, but it is the lieutenant governor.”

Canadian courts, Lapper argued, have repeatedly recognized the Crown’s prerogative and that the conventions governing their exercise “are not amenable to judicial review.”

On May 12, the lawyer for Democracy Watch and Crookes said the purpose of the 2001 amendment was to restrict a premier’s power.

“If premiers could time elections when their opponents were at their weakest, then they would gain political advantage from that scheduling,” MacKinnon told the court.

How much are taxpayers spending to defend Horgan’s snap election call? 

During the final week of the election campaign in 2020, after Democracy Watch announced it was going to court, a reporter asked Horgan if the NDP would pay the legal bills to defend his election call. 

“I don’t believe that this case is warranted,” Horgan said on Oct. 21, 2020. “And I don’t believe that the cost will be significant. I’ll certainly take a look at that when it concludes.” 

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Bob Mackin A lawyer for the provincial government

Bob Mackin

Two men charged in the early 2021 death of a senior citizen will go on trial in summer 2023.

Scene of the 2021 home invasion (Google Street View)

Usha Singh, who lived alone, was found badly beaten in her house on Jan. 31, 2021. Vancouver Police said two men allegedly gained entry to the 78-year-old’s Little Mountain home around 6 a.m. on the Sunday morning by posing as police officers. 

Singh succumbed to her injuries in hospital two days later. Sandy Jack Parisian, 48, and Pascal Jean Claude Bouthillete, 42, were arrested Feb. 3, 2021. They remain in custody. 

Bouthillette was charged with second degree murder and Parisian manslaughter. Bouthilette’s charge has since been upgraded to first degree murder. Both have elected to be tried by judge alone. 

During a scheduling hearing on May 11, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Gomery set May 24 for a pre-trial conference and scheduled Bouthillete and Parisian’s trial for July 4-28, 2023. 

Parisian was living in the Strathcona Park homeless camp — six kilometres north of the crime scene — when he was arrested. Bouthillette was arrested near Main Street and Terminal Avenue.

Parisian described himself in 2019 as the “mayor” of the Oppenheimer Park homeless camp. When he was arrested, Bouthillette was early in a 12-month probation for a June 2020 break and enter in the Queen Elizabeth Park area.

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Bob Mackin Two men charged in the early

Bob Mackin

A judge should find Premier John Horgan and Lt-Gov. Janet Austin broke B.C.’s fixed election date law when Horgan called a snap election in 2020, according to a lawyer for Democracy Watch and the founder of Integrity BC.

John Horgan on election night (BC NDP/Flickr)

Emily MacKinnon, appearing before Justice Geoffrey Gomery, said May 12 in B.C. Supreme Court that the Sept. 21, 2020 dissolution of the Legislature contravened the Constitution Act’s fixed election date clause. The election should have been Oct. 16, 2021, but it happened 51 weeks early on Oct. 24, 2020. Horgan took advantage of a perceived lull between the first and second waves of the coronavirus pandemic for the snap election and won a 57-seat NDP majority. 

“While it leaves some room for elections to occur outside of that fixed schedule, it does not permit a snap election call while the government holds the confidence of the House and in the midst of a provincial state of emergency and a global pandemic,” MacKinnon said. 

Austin agreed to Horgan’s request for the early election election, without recalling the Legislature for a confidence vote.

After Gordon Campbell led the BC Liberals to victory in the 2001 election, the law was amended for elections to be held on fixed dates every four years beginning May 17, 2005. Elections were previously required once every five years. 

“The purpose of the amendment was to prevent premiers from using the timing of elections to gain political advantage, that’s because if premiers could time elections when their opponents were at their weakest, then they would gain political advantage from that scheduling,” MacKinnon said.

The NDP came to power with the support of the Green Party in July 2017, after their May 2017 confidence and supply agreement that was supposed to last four years or until the next fixed election. The NDP amended the Constitution Act to move provincial elections from May to the third Saturday of October beginning in 2021. 

The petition was filed by Democracy Watch’s Duff Conacher and Integrity BC’s Wayne Crookes the day before the election. The government had initially sought a hearing to ask a judge to quash the petition, but the government relented and agreed to a hearing on its merits. 

Even if successful, the petition would not change the results of the 2020 election.

At the time Horgan called the election, vaccines and antiviral treatment did not yet exist. Had the election occurred on the fixed date, MacKinnon argued, everyone in B.C. would have had access to vaccines. 

Law Courts Vancouver (Joe Mabel)

“To deal with holding an election during a pandemic, 16 emergency orders had to be issued, modified election procedures to accommodate the holding of an election during these extraordinary circumstances,” MacKinnon said. 

The 2020 election cost $51.6 million, the most-expensive run by Elections BC. The 53.9% turnout rate was a record low, worse than 2009’s 55.14%, as 1.9 million voted by mail or in-person.

MacKinnon emphasized her clients are not asking the court to rule whether the election call was a positive political move, just that it breached the law, which, she said, “was aimed directly at removing from the premier the ability to time an election for political reasons. And I say that without implication whether political reasons are good or bad. The purpose of the of the statute is to prevent the timing of an election for them.”

The hearing is scheduled for two days at the Law Courts in Vancouver. 

Last August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried the same pandemic gamble as Horgan, but fell short of winning a Liberal majority in the Sept. 20, 2021 election, which cost a record $612 million. The election had been scheduled for 2023. Democracy Watch and Crookes are also seeking a federal judge’s declaration that Trudeau broke the federal fixed election date law.

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Bob Mackin A judge should find Premier John

Bob Mackin

More than half the contestants for the BC Liberal Party leadership, including winner Kevin Falcon, failed to meet last week’s Elections BC deadline for campaign financing reports.

Kevin Falcon enters the Wall Centre ballroom on Feb. 5 (BC Liberals/Facebook)

Falcon, along with losing contestants Val Litwin and Renee Merrifield, were fined $500 each and have until June 6 to file their returns. Stan Sipos, a late entrant to the race, was granted an extension due to what Elections BC called “extenuating circumstances.” He also faces a deadline of June 6. Falcon has not immediately responded for comment. 

Gavin Dew, Michael Lee and Ellis Ross did file on-time, but the reports released May 11 show that Lee exceeded the party-imposed $600,000 spending limit.

The Vancouver-Langara MLA reported $622,000 income — $568,000 in donations and $50,000 in party transfers — and spent $642,000, including $46,000 on advertising, in his second bid to lead the party.

Runner-up Ross, the Skeena MLA, raised $487,000 in donations and $15,000 from party transfers and spent just over $514,000, including $84,000 on advertising. Ross disclosed nearly $6,000 in prohibited donations, including one for $960 from the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, a Richmond-based group related to the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front foreign influence campaign. 

Dew counted $135,000 income and was left with a $1,100 surplus.

On Feb. 5, Falcon won the phone and online vote on the fifth ballot with 52.19% of weighted votes (4,541.35 points) to Ross’s 33.65% (2,928.33). Lee was third with 14.14% (1,230.31). 

Kevin Falcon and BC Liberal leadership candidates except Val Litwin (BC Liberals/Facebook)

The race was held under a cloud of controversy as Falcon opponents complained about fraudulent memberships. 

A month before Falcon won, managers of five candidates wrote party brass seeking an audit because they feared the election would be tainted by thousands of illegitimate memberships sold by the Falcon campaign team. An internal party audit found more than 32,000 new memberships were sold B.C.-wide, with much of the growth concentrated in Surrey and Abbotsford riding associations.

Lee’s campaign manager, Diamond Isinger, complained in a Jan. 31 email to the party that contractor Votem did not have basic safeguards to limit the use of multiple IP addresses and virtual private networks, nor was the party allowing real-time scrutineers. 

When Lee confronted Falcon at the Jan. 18 candidates’ debate, Falcon dismissed the allegations and accused Lee of “creating a cloud of distrust.”

With hours to go in voting on Feb. 5, a B.C. Supreme judge rejected a petition from BC Liberal member Vikram Bajwa that aimed to delay the release of results by 15 days in order to investigate the allegations. 

After Falcon’s win, Andrew Wilkinson, who led the party in the 2020 election, stepped aside in Vancouver-Quilchena. North Vancouver-resident Falcon won 58% of the vote in the April 30 by-election over the NDP’s Jeanette Ashe, wife of Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. 

Falcon is expected to complete his Legislature comeback later this month when he is sworn-in. The runner-up in the 2011 leadership race to Christy Clark quit politics in 2012 after 11 years in multiple cabinet portfolios and became executive vice-president at developer Anthem Properties. 

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Bob Mackin More than half the contestants for

Bob Mackin

SNC-Lavalin has finally admitted to bribery in Quebec around the same time it was bidding in B.C. to build the Canada Line and the Bill Bennett Bridge.

SNC-Lavalin’s Vancouver office (Mackin)

On May 6, SNC-Lavalin announced it would pay $29.6 million over three years under a remediation agreement with Quebec’s Crown prosecution office for kickbacks paid on the $128 million Jacques Cartier Bridge refurbishment contract from 1997 to 2004. A judge accepted the deferred prosecution agreement on May 11.  

Last September, the RCMP announced the company and two former executives, Normand Morin and Kamal Francis, were charged with forgery and fraud. A Victoria resident, former Federal Bridge Corp. CEO Michel Fournier, admitted to taking $2.23 million in bribes through Swiss bank accounts. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail, but paroled after two years. 

SNC-Lavalin CEO Ian Edwards said in a prepared statement that he hoped the deal with Quebec prosecutors would allow the company to “turn the page.”

“We have extensively transformed the company in terms of governance, operations and culture, while continuing to draw on relevant best practices,” Edwards said.

SNC-Lavalin and Serco were among three groups shortlisted in 2003 for what was then known as the RAV (Richmond-Airport-Vancouver) rapid transit line. The SNC-Lavalin bid to build and operate the line, under the inTransitBC banner, was chosen in November 2004. The $2 billion project opened in summer 2009. 

SNC-Lavalin was also named in May 2004 to the shortlist for the Okanagan Lake Bridge in Kelowna and the BC Liberal government awarded the contract just over a year later. The $144.5 million crossing opened in 2008.

SNC-Lavalin won the bid to become builder and operator of the Canada Line (BC Gov)

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has not responded for comment.

The Quebec announcement by SNC-Lavalin came two weeks after Vancouver city council rubber-stamped its inclusion on a nine-company list of preferred suppliers for environmental assessment and remediation over the next three years. City hall expects to spend $2.65 million on consultants for housing and parks development, community centres, streets, laneways and utilities, and to complete environmental and human health risk assessments. 

The other companies were SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd.; Pottinger Gaherty Environmental Consultants Ltd.; Active Earth Engineering Ltd.; AECOM Canada Ltd.; Core 6 Environmental Ltd.; Arcadis Canada Inc.; Thurber Engineering Ltd.; and Keystone Environmental Ltd.

Chief procurement officer Alexander Ralph refused to comment. 

The staff-recommended list was adopted on consent, without discussion or debate, at the April 27 finance committee meeting. Absent for personal reasons was Coun. Colleen Hardwick, who had spearheaded a motion three years ago for the city to review its relationship with SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier. 

Despite opposition from Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Coun. Christine Boyle, a majority of council agreed with Hardwick and ordered the review. But it was less-than-thorough.

Then-city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny’s May 6, 2019 memo included only one paragraph about SNC-Lavalin and attached a summary of purchase orders from 2010 to 2018.

In the 2010 SNC-Lavalin annual report photo, Riadh ben Aissa (left), Jim Burke and Pierre Duhaime.

“Services include environmental testing, seawall design and inspection, and other design elements,” Dobrovolny wrote. “Approximately $1 million of the total noted in the table below represents 1.26% of the total professional and commercial services category awarded by the City from 2017-2018. During this time span a total of 716 professional and commercial services category contracts were awarded.”

TransLink vice-president of infrastructure Sany Zein and vice-president of strategic sourcing and real estate Derrick Cheung’s April 25, 2019 memo said TransLink had checks and balances to gauge competition and fairness for contracts, with advice from project boards, steering committees and lawyers. 

From 2019 to 2021, SNC-Lavalin billed city hall $845,000. In 2020, the most-recent year available, TransLink paid SNC-Lavalin $28.3 million to operate the Canada Line. It also paid $2.8 million to SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific) Inc. 

SNC-Lavalin was shortlisted to build a new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel by 2022, but the NDP government cancelled that project after Premier John Horgan came to power in July 2017. 

In early 2019, SNC-Lavalin was actively lobbying then-Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena while the NDP government was considering bids for the Pattullo Bridge and Broadway Subway. Around the same time, former attorney general and Vancouver-Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pressured her to drop a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin for corruption. 

SNC-Lavalin withdrew its bids for both transportation projects in July 2019 and Spain-based Acciona was eventually hired for both jobs. At the end of 2019, SNC-Lavalin pleaded guilty in a Quebec court to fraud and agreed to pay a $280 million fine for corruption in Libya.

Acciona’s bid team included the former head of SNC-Lavalin’s B.C. operation, James Burke, who had earlier served on a PartnershipsBC due diligence panel that reviewed the Broadway Subway business case. 

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Bob Mackin SNC-Lavalin has finally admitted to bribery

Bob Mackin

The promoter of the electric car race and festival that were supposed to happen Canada Day weekend says a decision whether to refund tickets awaits confirmation of the 2023 ABB Formula E World Championship schedule.

OSS Group’s Matthew Carter (LinkedIn)

Montreal-based One Stop Strategy (OSS) Group had planned to run Canadian E-Fest around Eastern False Creek June 30-July 2. It was supposed to climax with the Vancouver E-Prix race on a 2.21 kilometre temporary circuit on some of the same streets used from 1990 to 2004 for the Molson Indy Vancouver. Vancouver was one of 10 cities on the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile-sanctioned 16-race, 2022 tour.

Late afternoon on April 21, however, OSS and Vancouver city hall separately announced the 2022 race had been called-off. With 70 days to go, OSS had yet to secure its civic permits.

It took a few more days for OSS to say on its website that it would be “communicating with ticket holders to inform their options.” 

In an interview, OSS CEO Matthew Carter admitted ticket holders are in limbo until the 2023 schedule is decided by June. 

“Our preferred way forward would obviously be for the tickets to be valid for next year. But right now, as I say, we’re waiting for Formula E to confirm the date for next year,” Carter said. 

OSS said 33,000 Canadian E-Fest tickets had been sold, but Carter said he did not have a breakdown of how many were fully paid. He said capacity was 50,000 on each of the two race days — half reserved, half general admission — and that the majority of tickets were expected to move in the month before the race.

Canadian E-Fest was marketed as a change-making sports, business and arts event. The weekend was also to include a concert by Nickelback and a business conference headlined by environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich and former Mexican president Felipe Calderon. 

Canadian E-Fest marketing document (OSS)

The latter was supposed to be organized by Globe Series, but the head of event partnerships, Caroline Vanasse, told clients in an April 20 email that OSS breached its contract. Vanasse said her organization wanted to be involved in 2023, if “new leaders are put in.”

According to Carter, “that’s been resolved.” 

“We’re looking now to see which partner we’ll be using for the business conference for next year,” he said. “My discussions with Globe have been that they are available and amenable to working with us for next year. So I think that the email that was sent out was sent out at a time when things were not necessarily finalized as they are now. Maybe it was a bit hasty.”

Vanasse did not respond for comment. 

The racecourse map includes the same Concord Pacific site used for Cirque du Soleil, but an executive with the developer said there was no agreement with OSS. 

“We did not receive any payments or consideration from OSS,” said director of corporate relations Peter Udzenija,

Just over three months before the race, and without civic permits, OSS was trying to sell ticket and exhibitor packages, according to a 26-page PowerPoint presentation marked confidential.

The Canadian E-Fest Vancouver E-Prix 2022 Partnership/Exhibit/Test Drive/Hospitality Opportunities document was created on March 22 by OSS co-owner Philip Smirnow. It advertised 10-foot by 10-foot exhibitor spaces for $2,500 to $5,000, $12,500 for two parking spaces and a 10-foot-by-10 foot exhibitor space in the electric vehicle test drive zone between B.C. Place Stadium and the Plaza of Nations, and pit lane private hospitality suites for $150,000 and up. 

(Formula E/Twitter)

Packages included “on-site experience” and “data collection.”

The brochure claimed Formula E aired in 171 markets in 2021 and the New York City race was beamed to 15.4 million viewers around the world. The promoters boast 72% of race attendees were under age 35. OSS estimated Canadian E-Fest would spur $80 million in spending and 3,000 jobs. 

In a recent interview, Prof. Victor Matheson, a sports economist at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., cautioned that his numerous studies found sporting events rarely lived up to the economic hype generated by their organizers. 

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante called the taxpayer-supported 2017 Formula E race a “financial fiasco” and cancelled it when she came to power in a city famous for its Formula 1 race on the former Expo 67 site. Montreal city hall paid $3 million to settle the promoter’s $33 million lawsuit.

Carter, a former CEO of the Lotus Formula 1 race team, said he moved his family to Vancouver late last year and OSS remains committed to staging a race in the city.

“[City of] Vancouver weren’t prepared to financially contribute towards it, we still believe that Vancouver is the best place for this race,” he said. “I’ve seen Vancouver or certainly British Columbia sells more electric cars than any other province or it’s certainly right up there. Greenpeace coming from Vancouver and the whole ecological, climate change, drive and push that you can feel in and around Vancouver and along this west coast. It makes absolute perfect sense for us to come here.”

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Bob Mackin The promoter of the electric car

Bob Mackin

A man in his late 70s is facing a second degree murder charge, more than five years after the body of a North Delta man was found in East Richmond.

Adrianus Johannes Rosbergen, who was born in 1943, was scheduled to appear by video before a judge in Vancouver Provincial Court on May 9. Rosbergen is charged with the second degree murder of Allen William Skedden, 52, whose body was found March 3, 2017 near Fraserwood Park by the Fraser River.

Murder victim Allen William Skedden

Skedden had been reported missing to the Delta Police after leaving his North Delta residence Feb. 21, 2017 and was believed to have been seen that day at Queensborough Landing in New Westminster, less than four kilometres from where his body was found.

The charge against Rosbergen was sworn Feb. 26 and he was released March 24 on $20,000 bail.

A man with the same name was described in Richmond city council minutes in June 2010 as the owner of a property at 23060 Westminster Highway with an accumulation of vehicles and material. City hall hired a contractor to dispose of discarded materials at Rosbergen’s expense. 

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Bob Mackin A man in his late 70s

For the week of May 8, 2022:

As if media industry turmoil isn’t enough of a challenge for reporters.

They also face threats from ransomware hackers to political extremists to agents of authoritarian regimes like China and Russia.

Dave Masson of Darktrace (Mackin)

This week’s guest on theBreaker.news Podcast is Dave Masson, the Ottawa-based director of enterprise security at Darktrace, a Cambridge, England headquartered cybersecurity firm.

Masson, a former senior manager in the U.K. Ministry of Defence and Public Safety Canada, offers his take on cybersecurity trends and tips for both journalists and the public on how to stay safe online and off.

“Threat actors are constantly innovating. They are innovating faster than the cybersecurity market innovates to be perfectly honest with you,” Masson tells host Bob Mackin.

“Keep one step ahead of attackers — it’s more likely that we’re always one step behind, but the important thing is to keep just the one step behind and be prepared to act.”

Also, commentary and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines. 

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Google Podcasts!

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For the week of May 8, 2022:

Bob Mackin

The Canadian Olympic Committee says its team studying the feasibility of Vancouver bidding to host the 2030 Winter Olympics met a trio of International Olympic Committee technical experts from May 2-4.

Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith (left) and Four Host First Nations executive director Tewanee Joseph (second from left) at the Dec. 10 bid exploration announcement (Twitter/Tewanee Joseph)

But it is not saying which venues they visited or who the IOC experts were.

“The feasibility team working in collaboration, coordination and under the the leadership of the Host First Nations will provide the list of venues visited when we publicly release the proposed concept plan in June,” said Chris Dornan, spokesman and member of the seven-person feasibility team. 

Three COC-affiliated feasibility team members — president Tricia Smith, vice-president Andrew Baker and lobbyist Mary Conibear — and ex-Vancouver 2010 Four Host First Nations executive director Tewanee Joseph did not respond for comment. 

Dornan declined to set-up an interview. But, in a prepared statement, said the COC used the visit to review the potential venue masterplans and get expert feedback on specific sites. 

“The meetings and site visits led to very positive and constructive discussion that left us feeling confident that we have the technical pieces necessary to host an incredible Games in 2030,” the statement said.

The visit was focused on technical aspects of a Games bid, but also included promotion of what the COC has called an Indigenous-led process that aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for international sporting events to respect and engage Indigenous communities in all aspects. 

Chief Lara Mussell Savage and Tewanee Joseph

The visit came the week after Conibear registered to lobby the B.C. NDP government on behalf of the COC, which wants the government to provide staff resources to help create the conceptual plan. 

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton signed a memorandum of understanding last December with leaders of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lil’wat. Joseph and Skwah First Nation chief Lara Mussell Savage are the only Indigenous members of the feasibility team, but Dornan said the group was invited to work under leadership of the four bands. 

The IOC has replaced costly bidding wars with a new process to encourage interested cities to negotiate behind closed doors through “continuous dialogue.” The 2030 host is expected to be chosen by May 2023 at the IOC session in Mumbai, India. 

The IOC delegation visited winter 2002 host Salt Lake before arriving in Vancouver. It is expected in winter 1972 host Sapporo later this month. The fourth potential bid is 1992 summer host Barcelona. 

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Bob Mackin The Canadian Olympic Committee says its

Bob Mackin

The day after the annual remembrance for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Vancouver Police confirmed they found the remains of a missing 24-year-old Cree woman on the grounds of a Shaughnessy mansion.

Chelsea Poorman

Chelsea Poorman, a member of the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, was last seen by her sister at a Granville and Drake apartment on Sept. 6, 2020. Poorman was reported missing two days later, but Vancouver Police did not publicize the case until Sept. 18, 2020.

Police do not believe Poorman died by foul play. They believe she died shortly after she went missing. 

The announcement answers why major crime investigators were on-scene April 22 and 23 at the mansion on the south side of quiet, cherry blossom-lined 36th Avenue west of busy Granville Street. 

On the afternoon of April 23, a reporter photographed three marked VPD cruisers, the forensic unit van and two white utility trucks. The gates of the vacant, under-renovation mansion were behind yellow police tape. There were no vehicles parked on the driveway. Instead, a pile of construction debris at the rear of the property.

An officer was observed walking away from the scene carrying two machetes. Another officer in a white body suit placed a green tarp into a white van. 

An officer on-scene said police had been there two days but referred a reporter to the media office. Cpl. Tania Visintin would only say police were there for an ongoing investigation and there was no risk to the public. 

Ryan Panton of the B.C. Coroners Service refused to confirm or deny the coroner had been called. On May 6, however, Panton said the coroner is investigating, but was unable to provide further information while the investigation remained open.

A Vancouver Police officer carried machetes from the scene of a death investigation at a West 36th Avenue mansion (Bob Mackin exclusive)

The nine-room mansion was assessed at $7.1 million last year and registered in September 2014 to Long Zhou, businessman, and Jiayu Bu homemaker. A temporary orange mesh fence by the sidewalk includes a sign for Richmond-based contractor Comfort Development. 

Proprietor Victor Chow referred a reporter to a co-worker named Kenny, who declined to comment on the incident and would not answer whether the registered owners are in Vancouver. 

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Bob Mackin The day after the annual remembrance