Hello Passengers,

It’s the weekend! And, even better, we’re almost halfway through the month. Which means there’s another month just around the corner. Time, it just marches on by don’t it. Anyway, right, I’ve dropped in your inbox for a reason. It’s Robert (@robert_hiltz) here with your daily news digest. 

Today we’ve got a rough start to the news with confirmation the OPP shot and killed a baby boy. A COVID-19 surge in Newfoundland and Labrador has postponed this weekend’s election in about half its ridings. British Columbia hit a grim milestone, with 2020 marking the most opioid overdose deaths ever in the province. Finally, Laurentian University used research grant money to keep the lights on, a big accounting no-no.

News time!

Police Shot And Killed The Baby They Were Supposedly Trying To Rescue

Ontario Provincial Police shot and killed a baby boy last November.

We know that now, nearly four months later, thanks to the glacial Special Investigations Unit’s (SIU) investigation into the death of 18-month-old Jameson Shapiro.

Shapiro had been taken by his father last November, prompting the mother to call the police. Outside Kawartha Lakes, Ont., the pickup truck carrying the toddler and father met a police roadblock, at which point officers attempted to stop the vehicle. 

The truck rammed a police cruiser and the car of another motorist. Then, one officer attempted to roll out a spike strip when he was struck by the pickup truck and seriously injured.

Just after this, three OPP officers opened fire on the vehicle, hitting the toddler and his father. Police knew, or ought to have known, the child they were searching for was inside the vehicle. The police put their safety ahead of the child’s they were looking to rescue. The child was pronounced dead at the scene. The father made it to hospital where he died about a week later.

A gun was found inside the car with the father, and the possibility was left open that the father had killed the boy before the police had fired a shot. The most recent SIU update, released yesterday, confirmed it was actually the police who killed the toddler. 

A man with a restraining order because of domestic abuse allegedly kidnapped his own son. The mother, desperate for help, turned to the police. Instead of bringing her son home safe, they killed him.

What’s left to say after that?

DIG DEEPER: Defunding Police Is A Necessary First Step Toward Abolition

Newfoundland And Labrador Postpone Election In Nearly Half Of Province’s Ridings Because of COVID-19 Outbreak

  • The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has postponed voting in 18 of 40 ridings for the election that was supposed to happen this Saturday, after a number of poll workers resigned out of fear of COVID-19. 
  • These ridings are all in the St. John’s region, where a large COVID-19 spike led to 100 new cases yesterday — the highest it’s been in the province to date.
  • No results will be released until all voting is completed, and mail-in voting options have also been extended. When voting will take place in the postponed ridings has yet to be decided.

Record Number Of Opioid Deaths Wrack B.C., Province Wants Further Drug Decriminalization

  • Every day in 2020, about five people in B.C. died of an opioid overdose, for a total of at least 1,716 deaths, the most in the province’s history. 
  • It’s the worst death total in the province’s history, a 74 per cent increase over 2019’s death toll of 984, and significantly above 2018’s total of 1,549, the previous record year. It also exceeds the province’s current COVID-19 death toll of more than 1,270.
  • In the wake of the record year, B.C. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson is calling on the federal government to further decriminalize drugs to include opioids.

ICYMI: Laurentian University Research Grant Money Vanishes Into Black Hole Of Apparent Poor Money Management

Laurentian University’s unique money management decisions have led to research grant money vanishing. Instead of having separate accounts for regular operating expenses and grant money, the university put all of its funds in the same bank account, according to the Globe and Mail.

This means the research money belonging to many academics at Laurentian — millions in total — has instead gone into salaries, bills and other general operating expenses.

One researcher, Pascale Roy-Léveillée, only discovered she didn’t have access to her grant money when a courier refused to deliver samples to her lab.

Pascale Roy-Léveillée told the Globe, “It’s not just myself who’s implicated in terms of my [work], my future credibility as a scientist and my ability to get funding, but also the students and research professionals who are involved in the research.”

Via the Globe: In a monitor’s report filed with the court, Ernst & Young [the major global accounting firm] wrote that research grants typically must be spent only in connection with the approved proposal and not for any other purpose; in most cases they “cannot be used to fund faculty salaries or university operating overhead,” the report states.

The university is currently seeking bankruptcy protection in court, where the documents were filed as part of the ongoing case, including the Ernst & Young report. After running years of deficits, Laurentian was on the verge of running out of money before receiving an emergency $25-million loan. 

That’s it for today’s Passage Daily. We’ll see you back here next Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday for a lot of you. Not me though, I live in Quebec so it’s a regular ol’ Lundi. Until next time…

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