The Caller: Karin Fossum

Tight, concise, skilled writing, but the overall effect is more like taking your Suzuki Estilete moped in for routine maintenance than taking it to the top of a high, steep hill in the forest and gliding down the slope with your eyes closed, hands off the handlebars, and gulping in huge draughts of cool, sweet menthol scent of pine into your soul.

Ambadassador? No! Embarassdor.

Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland made news recently by tackling a protester at an Easter Uprising memorial.

The protester, who had an official invitation, was acting well within the legal limits of peaceful protest and dissent when the Ambassador tackled him.

Kevin Vickers, the Ambassador, is best known for stopping and killing a terrorist attacking Canada’s Parliament when he then Sergeant-at-arms.

Mr. Vickers was a hero in that circumstance. He is an embarrassment in the Irish one.



Ambassador Kevin Vickers, former House sergeant-at-arms, tackles protester in Dublin
Justin Trudeau unwilling to comment on Vickers’ actions during protest at Eastern Rebellion event
By John Paul Tasker, CBC News Posted: May 26, 2016 11:06 AM ET Last Updated: May 27, 2016 3:55 AM ET

Canada’s ‘AmBadAssador’ to Ireland receives mixed reaction after tussle with protester

Canada’s ambassador to Ireland, the man hailed as a hero for shooting Ottawa gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau after he stormed Parliament Hill in 2014, tackled a protester at a ceremony in Dublin Thursday morning.

Canada’s ‘AmBadAssador’ to Ireland receives mixed reaction after tussle with protester
Kevin Vickers, the former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, was at the event commemorating the 100 British soldiers who died during the Easter Rising, also called the Easter Rebellion, when Irish republicans tried to overthrow British control of the country by force.

A male protester, wearing an Easter Rising T-shirt, stood up during the invitation-only event and could be heard yelling, “This is an insult.”

Vickers was the first to respond to the disturbance, tackling the man and leading him away from the ceremony. Police later arrested the protester.

“This man just ran forward and started screaming, ‘It’s a disgrace.’ He was tackled by somebody and it was only after that I realized it was the Canadian ambassador,” an unnamed eyewitness told the Irish Independent.

“The whole thing lasted about a minute,” the eyewitness said. “The Canadian ambassador grabbed him. There was a struggle and gardaí [the police] wrestled him to the ground. Without hesitation, [Mr. Vickers] jumped out from the middle of dignitaries.”

Thursday’s ceremony was being held at a time of heightened security, in the centennial year of the uprising that sought to establish an Irish republic. The British MI-5 recently raised the threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism from moderate to substantial, adding there is a “strong possibility” of an attack from “dissident” Irish republicans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to wade into whether Vickers would be subject to any discipline when asked about the incident at the G7 summit in Japan.

“I’ve been very much engaged in discussions around here and I’m not fully apprised on all the details of that particular incident and will not be commenting on it,” he said.

When pressed further, Trudeau said “if it lands on my table, I’ll take a look at it.”

The protester was identified as Brian Murphy by the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA), of which he is a member. The group, which claims it is not aligned with any political party, is a support group for the families of imprisoned republicans.

In a Facebook post, the group chided Vickers for what it called his “assault” on their member. Murphy can be seen wearing the IRPWA logo across his chest.

As the protester was being handcuffed by police, attendees at the ceremony were hearing these words from the speaker at the podium, quoting from the Irish government’s foreword to the Ireland 2016 centenary program.

“All lives are equal in value, and 2016 must be a year in which the narratives of everyone on this island of Ireland are included and heard. This is how we can truly honour the vision of the 1916 proclamation (of the Irish Republic).”

‘It was impressive’

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that Vickers intervened to intercept the protester from running up to the speakers’ podium. He was not injured during the incident, the department confirmed. The Canadian Embassy in Ireland would not comment.

“We were all kind of surprised, to put it mildly, that a dignitary kind of beat the Irish police in wrestling this guy to the ground,” Colin Keegan, a photographer covering the event, told Vanessa Vander Valk, host of CBC Radio’s Shift.

“I have to hand it to him. It was impressive … he was in action within a split second of it happening.”

But Keegan said Murphy, the protester, seemed more disgruntled than a security risk.

“I wouldn’t say it was threatening, really, it was more disruptive than threatening. He didn’t lunge at anybody, or he didn’t have a weapon. I presume the gentleman was just disgusted that we were commemorating the death of British soldiers on Irish soil.”

Global Affairs Canada has a code of conduct for its diplomatic staff abroad, last updated in 2014.

Under a broad heading of “Canada’s reputation: Personal behaviour,” it notes in part: “Regardless of any legal immunity conferred upon representatives abroad, their conduct and actions will be subject to a greater degree of scrutiny and public interest than they would be at home.

“The potential for public scrutiny requires that representatives use good judgment and common sense.”

Vickers was representing Canada at the ceremony as a guest of the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan.

He was appointed ambassador to Ireland early last year, just months after he played a key role in ending the shooting attack on Parliament Hill.

Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed 24-year-old Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22, 2014, then entered the halls of Centre Block and continued shooting, as security staff and frightened parliamentarians raced through corridors. Vickers was lauded for his efforts in halting the attacker.

Canuck the crow steals crime scene weapon from jaws of the police

Did Canuck the crow swoop off with a knife from a Vancouver crime scene?
Crow in question appears to be the notorious Canuck
By Tamara Baluja, CBC News Posted: May 25, 2016 5:46 PM PT Last Updated: May 27, 2016 5:56 AM PT

Murder most foul! Vancouver crow attacks mapped in new project
Canuck the crow, Vancouver’s most notorious bird, is being accused of flying away with a knife from a crime scene.

The crow has quite a reputation in Vancouver and its antics are regularly chronicled on social media, including a dedicated Facebook page that has a profile photo of the bird holding a knife in its beak.

Earlier on Tuesday, police had shot a man near Hastings and Cassiar streets. They were called to the scene of a car engulfed in flames. When they arrived, police said, they were confronted by a man with a knife.

Shots were fired and the man was arrested.

Police shooting, car fire, shut down Hastings and Cassiar

Vancouver Courier reporter Mike Howell said he saw the bird — which had a red tag on its leg as does Canuck — swoop in and pick up an object from inside an area cordoned off by police tape.

“A cop chased it for about 15 to 20 feet, and then the crow dropped it and took off,” Howell told CBC.

“It was really strange. In my 20-plus years reporting from crime scenes, I’ve never seen anything like that crow trying to take a knife.”

Vancouver police confirmed a bird did indeed take off with crime scene evidence.

“The crow was persistent, but the knife was eventually gathered as evidence,” Const. Brian Montague said in an email.

The bird was also spotted sitting on the roof of the burned car and trying to get into a camera operator’s gear.

Infamous bird

Among its other exploits, Canuck attacked a cyclist in East Vancouver last year and posed for a mock interview with CBC journalist Dan Burritt.

It was also spotted riding the SkyTrain.

This particular crow was raised by humans and is a common fixture around its East Vancouver neighbourhood.

Anatomy of a crime

Crows are known to be curious and intelligent creatures, so why would it pick up a knife?

Wayne Goodey, a zoology lecturer at UBC, said city crows are sometimes attracted to shiny things.

“They might associate a shiny foil with edibles or food wrapping from a restaurant,” he said. “And they have no way of knowing it’s not food until they put it in their beaks.”

He also said the knife’s green handle might have appeared like food to the crow and piqued its interest.

“It was a crime of opportunity.”

Gingers of the world unite!

If you belong to on of the numberous gaggles of Japanese schoolgirls who have already gone Cosplay and dyed your hair red, rejoice.

A worldwide casting call for a red-haired girl to play the latest incarnation of Anne has gone out.

Worldwide, I say. Worldwide.

Worldwide search begins to find CBC’s next Anne of Green Gables
Casting call includes in-person and online auditions, production to begin this summer
CBC News Posted: Apr 27, 2016 12:15 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 27, 2016 4:01 PM ET

If you know a spunky girl with that je ne sais quoi, she could become the star of a new CBC series.

Online and in-person auditions are being held to cast the lead role in the upcoming Anne. It’s based on the beloved Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

“We are looking for a certain unique quality, a girl that can help define Anne for a new generation,” series producer Miranda de Pencier told CBC News.

That includes someone who isn’t old-fashioned or too precious. But she’ll still have many of the traits fans have grown to love in the original version — imaginative, forthright and interesting.

“She’s a modern girl with a massive heart,” said de Pencier. “She is also a deeply wounded kid — she bears the emotional scars of the abusive life she’s led so far. Anne is full of contradictions.”

The people behind the series know they can’t “replace the image of Anne” that comes from the classic 1985 mini-series starring Megan Follows as the precocious red-head. But they’re hoping to find an equally charismatic character.

“I’m looking for an Anne who is contemporary: smart, quirky, fierce and spirited, but also insecure and wildly emotional. Anne is mercurial and complicated,” said screenwriter and excecutive producer Moira Walley-Beckett, an Emmy-winner whose credits include Breaking Bad and Flesh and Bone.

“I can’t wait to fall in love with an auditioning actress and say ‘That’s my Anne.'”

Ideally, the new Anne will be 11-14 years old and red hair is a bonus, but not a necessity.

“We are curious to see who responds to this open call and hope that it reflects not only Canada’s diversity but also the world’s,” said de Pencier.

The search for Anne will start with open casting calls in Toronto May 7-8, Charlottetown on May 28, Halifax on May 29-30 and Vancouver May 14-15.

The casting call website can be found here.

Italian tourists end up in Sydney Nova Scotia instead of Australia

Italian tourists end up in wrong Sydney
Travel agency’s booking error landed couple in Nova Scotia instead of Australia
CBC News Posted: Jul 07, 2010 5:38 PM AT Last Updated: Jul 07, 2010 11:58 PM AT

No kangaroos. But can we interest you in a fiddle?
Accidental tourists get royal treatment; Sydney gets the BBC flush
Serena Tavoloni, 25, and Valerio Torresi, 26, arrived in Sydney, N.S., instead of Sydney, Australia. ((CBC))

A couple from Italy got a taste of Cape Breton hospitality Wednesday when they unexpectedly arrived in Sydney, N.S., instead of Sydney, Australia.

Valerio Torresi, 26, and Serena Tavoloni, 25, had never travelled outside Europe until Tuesday night when they found themselves in Nova Scotia instead of Australia where they had planned to fly.

At first, they assumed they were only changing planes, and when they found out it was actually the end of their flight, they didn’t believe what had happened.

“The first reaction was fear,” Torresi said. “And the second reaction is, ‘No, it’s a joke.’ But it’s true.”

The couple’s travel agency in Italy is correcting the booking error, and the couple hopes to be on their way to Australia soon.

In the meantime, they are being treated to a warm welcome in the city of about 23,000 on Cape Breton island. A local restaurant is providing a lobster dinner, and the couple will stay at the Day’s Inn for free.

Torresi and Tavoloni said everyone they have met in Sydney has been kind, friendly and helpful.

This isn’t the first time the two Sydneys have been mistaken.

Two years ago, a woman from Argentina spent an unintentional week in Cape Breton, and in 2002, a British couple made the same mistake and spent several days on the island.

Bar brawl breaks out at funeral fundraiser for man killed trying to stop brawl

Bar brawl broke out at fundraiser for funeral of Saskatoon man killed trying to stop bar brawl




Bar brawl broke out at fundraiser for funeral of Saskatoon man killed trying to stop bar brawl

Family and friends attended Dustin Boulet’s funeral at Royal Canadian Legion Hall on March 9, 2014. (Michelle Berg / The StarPhoenix)
Photograph by: Michelle Berg , The StarPhoenix
At a fundraiser to help cover the funeral costs of a friend who died trying to stop a fight outside a Saskatoon bar, a group of young men ended up embroiled in a fight that led to two of them facing assault charges.

It was a sad set of circumstances that concluded in Saskatoon provincial court on Thursday, with Christopher Godlien pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm. The second accused, Robbie Watier, previously pleaded guilty to assault in relation to the same incident.

They were at Tequila Nightclub on the night of March 8, 2014, at a fundraiser for the following day’s funeral for Dustin Boulet. The 29-year-old Boulet died March 1, 2014, after he was stabbed outside Bridge’s Ale House & Eatery.

Another man at Tequila that night, Brandon Selinger, apparently was looking for a fight, according to Godlien’s defence lawyer Leslie Sullivan.

“In (Selinger’s) own statements, one of the things he likes to do is go drinking and look for fights,” Sullivan said in court.

Selinger started “beaking” at a group of young men standing outside the bar, and a scuffle started between him and another unidentified young man. At some point, others joined in and the consensual fight turned into a multi-person assault on Selinger — but Godlien and Watier were the only two who were positively identified.

The group of men fled before police arrived and Selinger was taken to hospital. He required surgery for a broken jaw and had to be on a liquid diet for two months while he recovered, Crown prosecutor Val Adamko said in court.

Godlien and Watier were initially charged with aggravated assault, but eventually pleaded guilty to lesser charges. One of the reasons Godlien’s case took so long to conclude was that there were issues accessing the surveillance video so he and his lawyer could watch it — and when his preliminary hearing was scheduled earlier this year, Selinger didn’t come to court.

The Crown and defence jointly proposed a one-year conditional sentence order, or jail sentence served in the community, for Godlien — the same sentence Watier received. Both men agreed to pay $1,500 each in restitution to Selinger.

“He’s sorry this ever happened,” Sullivan said. “He wishes he could have had this over, in this fashion, a long time ago.”