‘He’s still here in spirit’: Fathers open up about the loss of their children – BC

Every morning, when Whistler resident Mark Edmondson walks to work, he takes the longer route through the forest.

This way he can visit the memorial garden and be with his son Owen Benjamin, who died five days after his birth in October 2014. He suffered from a loss of oxygen during an emergency delivery which caused severe, irreparable brain damage.

Edmondson and his wife said goodbye to their son under an oak tree on the grounds of BC Women’s Hospital on a rainy October night.

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“We weren’t in control of his birth and what happened there,” he said. “But we could at least be in control of his death and make it peaceful.”

When they were ready, doctors took out Owen’s breathing tube. “And they all left, except for this one nurse who stood silently behind us, holding an umbrella over us, while she was getting drenched for however long it was,” said Edmondson.

They told Owen it was OK for him to go. But for Edmondson and his wife, Owen will always be a part of their lives.

“He might not be here physically but he’s still here in spirit,” he said.

“We make every effort to include him in what we’re doing. We still want to parent him.”

The dads who spoke to Global News after either having experienced infant loss or a stillbirth said that afterwards, most of their attention was focused on their wives and partners, and that’s to be expected.

But they also found that their grief was often not acknowledged in the same way, and sometimes not at all.

“My initial automatic reaction was to protect [my wife] Robyn and that maybe wasn’t helped by the fact that A, that’s what society expected. And B, anyone that we would interact with, they interacted with Robyn and not me,” said Edmondson.

He said when a midwife came to check on the couple after Owen’s birth, she only talked to Robyn. “And the only thing she said to me was when she arrived and asked ‘is Robyn doing OK?’”

“For someone who’s trained in the profession, to kind of have that societal expectation as well, I’m sure some of it is nature, but I’m sure a lot of it is nurtured by this concept of the man being the strong pillow or model, kind of thing,” added Edmondson.

He said he understands the fact that the loss of the initial physical attachment is so much stronger for the mother.

“I was focused more on the loss of having someone to teach how to play football and to chase around in the garden and show wildlife to and that sort of stuff,” he said. “Which I realize is years away, but that’s how the loss hit me.”

Owen Bejamin

Mark Edmondson

Mark with his son Owen

Mark with his son Owen

Mark with his son Owen

Elizabeth Blake

Dave Shannon, whose daughter Elizabeth Blake Shannon died in utero due to a knot in her cord, said he knew he had to assume the role of being ‘The Strong One’ in order to keep life going. He and his wife Caitie also have two other children.

“One of the big things that stuck out for me was I sort of had to put my own grieving on hold,” he said. “Caitie obviously needed my support. She knew Elizabeth far more than I did. I only got some glimpses in some monitors and then I only got to hold her for a day.”

Shannon said he didn’t mind assuming that role to give his wife and his family time to grieve. But he knew he would need some time for himself and in the beginning, his grief manifested itself as anger.

“For the first month or so I was wound pretty tight,” he said. “I was pretty angry and I couldn’t express myself because it was a very odd time.”

“My anger was more about the fact that how dare they take my Elizabeth away from me. We went through all of that time and effort and money to have it just stripped away from us and that made me so angry. That made me more angry than anything else.”

Dave holding his daughter Mila, who is holding Elizabeth.

Caitie Grange and her family with baby Elizabeth.

The Grange family

Caitie and her husband with baby Elizabeth.

Valley

Eric Hill’s daughter Valley was stillborn last June. She passed away in his wife’s womb a couple of days before she was born.

As a grieving father, he also struggled with how to support his wife and family and allow himself the time and space to mourn the loss of his daughter.

“I knew I had to be emotionally strong,” he said. “Yes, I held my ground for a bit, but I knew if I blacked out those emotions to be strong for my wife, I knew I would be losing out on those emotions.”

He said, from his experience, men feel like they have no one to talk to sometimes and may feel like they are left behind in their bereavement.

He approached his grief by talking about his daughter as much as possible, even though the pain of mentioning her name was sometimes overwhelming.

“Every day I wake up, I see her face on the wall,” he said. “Every day I go out to work, I always see her.”

“I keep living, breathing for her. And as long as my heart’s going, she’s going with me.”

Rebekah, Eric and their daughter Valley.

Rebekah, Eric and their daughter Valley.

Eric and his daughter Valley.

Rebekah and her daughter Valley.

It’s no secret that some men find it difficult to talk about their feelings and emotions, especially to other men.

“I feel like, as a guy, we kind of feel almost shy about exposing how vulnerable we could be,” said Shannon. “There are [mens’ grief groups], but it’s almost like ‘I gotta be a big strong guy, I can’t go to this.’”

“It would be a group of guys sharing their feelings and guys aren’t exactly known for that. We don’t naturally go around and have a big group discussion about our feelings.”

But all the fathers say talking about their children and being acknowledged in the fact that they lost a child helps them and others in the grieving process.

READ MORE: Stillbirth and infant loss: Your stories

Faith

Hung Nguyen’s wife had a stillborn daughter, Faith, in 2011.

He said they were lucky in the fact that they were able to spend four days with her in the hospital before they had to say goodbye.

Families and groups around B.C. are now raising money to get hospitals a cooling cot or a cuddle cot, which is a device that keeps the deceased baby cool, allowing the family to spend more time with the baby.

Nguyen said he and his family still mark Faith’s birthday every year and still talk about her as often as they can.

“I just talked about it a lot,” said Nguyen when Faith died. “I just found for myself the more I talked about it, the better I felt about it. Different times I’m up and down about it. It’s easier to deal with on certain days.”

“It never gets easy, but it’s a matter of talking to people and just educating people.”

Faith Tien Chambers-Nguyen

Faith Tien Chambers-Nguyen

Faith Tien Chambers-Nguyen

Faith Tien Chambers-Nguyen

Edmondson agreed, saying he has found that acknowledgement is one of the most powerful and important things someone can do in dealing with grieving parents.

He said the worst experience is seeing people who know what happened but do not even try to acknowledge it.

“We live in a small community obviously and we know a lot of people, and even people on our street just almost blank us,” he said.

“We feel it’s very selfish for someone to not be able to overcome their own fears when they can probably, at least partially, know what we’re going through and that it’s way worse than them just saying something or feeling bad.”

However, Edmondson knows that if the tables were turned, he and his wife would struggle to say the right thing to comfort someone in their deepest grief.

He said the support of people just willing to sit with them, or hug them, helped immensely. “They’ve helped us get to a point where we can do day-to-day things and survive,” he said.

Help raise money for a Cuddle Cot in a B.C. hospital.

Hill said he wants to see the government do more to help grieving families who are going through the loss of a child. He had to drop out of school when Valley died and even though they received financial help from their family, he knows many other families are not awarded the same opportunity.

“Some of us males aren’t always in the best financial position and it feels like you have to suck it up, go back to work, when we’re already fragile losing a child,” he said.

“I can tell you, no parent should go through the passing away of a child, it’s one of the biggest fears of anybody I think. Even passing away yourself is not as scary as losing a child.”

A spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Health says there are care teams in hospitals throughout B.C. that are trained to support families through the loss of a child through stillbirth or infant loss.

“Health authorities provide access to social workers to provide comfort and support during this time. Families are also provided with information, including resources they can use.”

The hospitals also support the family by taking pictures and footprints so they can take home some memories of their child.

“Parents can also receive services and support through a family doctor, midwife, nurse practitioner, nurse or mental health professional,” said the ministry in a statement.

Through the Provincial Health Services Authority, parents can access services such as the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre, the Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Clinic, and the B.C. Reproductive Mental Health Program.

While nothing can ever take away the pain of losing a child, these fathers agree that no one should be afraid to ask about their children or talk about them.

“I had to be strong, I had to be the one to go to the neighbours to explain to them what was going on,” said Shannon. “In a weird way I almost looked forward to doing it because it made me feel more pain so that I could kind of get a little closer to Caitie’s level of pain.”

“It was almost like a self-infliction so that we could somewhat get a little bit closer.”

“Also in a way, because I was reaching out, to neighbours and friends and family and stuff like that, I was able to heal a little bit faster as well because I was able to start having connections with people.”

“I could talk about her.”

Kraft Heinz layoffs in Canada join long list of job casualties – National

The merged food giant Kraft Heinz Co. said Wednesday it plans to cut 2,500 positions from its North American workforce, or more than 10 per cent, as part of an effort to shave billions in annual expenses.

The axe will cut deep in the United States, where much of Kraft Heinz’s operations reside. But Canadian white-collar workers face layoffs, too, while remaining factory positions will be spared for now, a spokesperson said.

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    Heinz-Kraft merger by the numbers

The move mirrors recent cuts at other large food companies that have been acquired or merged together under the direction of 3G Capital, including Tim Hortons late last year.

3G, a Brazil-based investment firm, completed the merger of Kraft and Heinz last month in partnership with Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s investment company.

Operations footprint

Company filings show the newly formed packaged food behemoth operated 36 food processing plants in North America as of the end of last year. Two are located in Canada.

Kraft Heinz also owns or leases 36 distribution centres, three of which are located north of the border. Kraft Canada’s head office is located in northeast Toronto.

Of the 22,100 employees in North America, approximately 2,000 work in Canada, company documents filed with securities regulators on Aug. 10 said.

Kraft Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen said affected workers in U.S. and Canada were to be notified in person. About 700 of the cuts, or 28 per cent, were coming in Northfield, Illinois, where Kraft had been headquartered.

The company would not specify where other cuts were taking place but said that all the jobs were salaried.

It said none of the job cuts involved factory workers.

Layoffs elsewhere

As it’s taken control of an increasing number of companies, 3G has become infamous for its belt-tightening tactics, such as its “zero-based” budgeting approach. The financial firm, which installs its own executives to run the companies it acquires, also hasn’t hesitated to cut costs by closing facilities outright.

In mid-2014, 3G shuttered Heinz’s iconic ketchup and food processing factory in Leamington, Ont., after acquiring the company in 2013, affecting approximately 800 jobs.

In total, Heinz’s new owners have culled 1,600 positions and closed five facilities in North America.

3G is also the majority owner of Restaurant Brands International, which merged Burger King with Tim Hortons last year. The company cut about 350 white collar jobs in January.

MORE: Tim Hortons’ new owners done cutting ‘at this time’

More to come?

Analysts have recently suggested Restaurant Brands — which won approval for the merger from federal authorities by committing to maintain minimum employment levels – is likely looking at ways to further trim costs at the Canadian coffee chain.

“[Restaurant Brands] is probably not done with cost cutting at Tim Hortons,” CIBC analysts said in July 27 research note. Tims’ distribution network, which includes five distribution centres located across the country, is a likely target, they said.

“The next big step is probably the distribution system, which we expect to see RBI make some move to re-structure either later this year or in 2016 at the latest,” the CIBC analysts said.

“That restructuring will probably take the form of a sale of all or part of the system to a third-party operator.”

WATCH: The merger of Kraft and Heinz will create a North American food giant that owns many of the brands found in Canadian kitchens today.

— With files from The Associated Press 

Notorious Cecil Hotel slated for demolition but sign to be saved – Calgary

WATCH ABOVE: The sign from the Cecil Hotel is set to be removed on Friday morning. Jenna Freeman reports.

CALGARY – The historic Cecil Hotel in downtown Calgary will be demolished instead of being redeveloped.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that while they were aware some Calgarians hoped the landmark could be saved, salvaging it just isn’t possible.

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“Following decades of neglect plus the ravages of fire and flood, rehabilitation and restoration simply aren’t feasible options,” said CMLC President & CEO Michael Brown in a news release.

“We will apply for a demolition permit this fall after an abatement program has been completed on the building and all hazardous materials have been properly removed.”

Local historian Harry Sanders said the hotel “filled a need” in the city when it first opened.

“It was a working man’s hotel, and always was,” he said. “It didn’t always have the reputation that it came to be known for in the later years.”

Situated on the corner of 4 Avenue S.E. and 3 Street S.E., the Cecil Hotel is one of only six pre-First World War hotels still standing in Calgary. It was built in 1912.

The CMLC is making efforts to keep elements from the building of historical value, such as the hotel’s large neon sign.

“The hotel is a landmark, but so too is the sign, and perhaps more so,” said Sanders. “As a drive-by landmark, the sign is the visible part.”

The Cecil Hotel sign was removed on Friday morning.

The sign atop the Cecil Hotel is removed on Friday, August 14, 2015.

Global News / Tom Reynolds

“It will be restored to its original colours and condition and then placed into storage until such time as a community use can be identified,” said Brown. A CMLC spokesperson on site said the sign would be used in the East Village redevelopment.

With files from Carlos Prieto

Sandals hopeful about reaching new contracts with teachers before school begins – Toronto

WATCH ABOVE: Provincial Education Minister Liz Sandals says a lot of bargaining is underway to avert a province-wide September strike. Lama Nicolas reports.

TORONTO – Education Minister Liz Sandals issued a warning to Ontario teachers Wednesday while expressing optimism about reaching new contract agreements before the start of classes Sept. 8.

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    Meeting between premier and Ontario teachers’ unions leave parents of students with little assurances

  • Teachers’ unions agreed to resume stalled contract negotiations: Liberals

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The four big teachers’ unions are, or soon will be, in legal strike positions, and that means any job actions they plan if there are no agreements by September would amount to a limited strike, not a work-to-rule campaign, said Sandals.

The unions, which represent 115,000 teachers, have talked about refusing to supervise extracurricular activities or to participate in parent-teachers meetings as possible protest actions if there are no agreements when classes resume.

READ MORE: Two Ontario teachers unions set to hold talks

They’ve been without contracts for a year now, and once they are in legal strike positions they can’t unilaterally decide on work-to-rule campaigns, said Sandals.

“The things that they’re proposing to do in the event that there are no agreements would be a partial withdrawal of services, so it is a form of strike,” she said. “The teachers can’t simply decide that as a work to rule they won’t do EQAO testing, as an example. That’s a strike action.”

However, the minister said all sides are ready to reach new agreements after negotiations resumed Wednesday with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers for the first time in three months. Talks with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation are scheduled to resume next week. The government is also in “informal” talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation about a resumption of negotiations.

“I really do get a sense that … everybody’s very focused on making sure that we do get agreements and there won’t be disruption in the fall,” said Sandals.

“I have a sense of a good feeling coming back from the table.”

There was already a lot of bargaining with the teachers’ unions, even if it was “in fits and starts,” and many issues have already been resolved, added Sandals.

“It isn’t like we only have a few days and we have to do everything,” she said on her way into a Liberal cabinet meeting.

Part of the difficulties in this year’s round of negotiations with the teachers is a new two-tiered bargaining process, with talks at both the local and provincial level, which Sandals said is like trying to negotiate a first contract.

READ MORE: Teachers’ unions agreed to resume stalled contract negotiations: Liberals

“There’s never ever been a central agreement with any of these organizations before, so it’s really like we’re negotiating a first central collective agreement with each and every one of the unions,” she said. “The first time you do a collective agreement is always the most difficult because you have to figure out absolutely everything as opposed to just modify a few things from the last time around.”

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association launched a website called teachersmatter桑拿按摩 which lists workload, fair hiring as well as wages and benefits as key issues for the union in the talks. It notes teachers had their salaries frozen for two-years and the Liberals are insisting on a net zero increase in new contracts.

“We would all like to avoid a labour disruption, but not at any cost to public education,” said OECTA President Ann Hawkins.

©2015The Canadian Press

At least 50 dead after massive explosion rocks Chinese city of Tianjin – National

Please note: This story is developing and details could change as more information emerges.

Officials and state media outlets say at least 50 people have been killed and over 700 more injured after two blasts, one of which was reported to be the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT, shook the Chinese port city of Tianjin late Wednesday night.

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The explosions, which lit up the sky with a fireball and sent a shockwave across the area, happened just after 11:30 p.m. According to the BBC, the Chinese Seismological Network registered magnitude 2.3 and 2.9 tremors.

Police in Tianjin said an initial blast took place in shipping containers at a warehouse for hazardous materials owned by Rui Hai International Logistics Limited, a “large transit distribution centre” that handles the transport of hazardous and dangerous goods.

Twelve of the dead were from among the more than 1,000 firefighters sent to fight the blaze set, the official Xinhua News agency said. It said over 520 people were being treated in hospitals, 66 of them with serious injuries.

The shockwaves were felt kilometres away, according to local media, knocking out windows in several buildings.

“I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on,” Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu, told the Associated Press. “Only once I was outside did I realize it was an explosion. There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds. Everybody could see it.”

Reports on social media sites such as Weibo indicate the doors and windows on homes and buildings kilometres away from the blast site were blown or shaken off, while power to many high-rise buildings in the area was knocked out. Meanwhile, Tianjin Public Security reported the East China Sea Road light rail station was damaged in the explosion.

“At the time of the explosion the ground was shaking fiercely, nearby cars and buildings were shaking, a few buildings’ glass all broke and everyone started to run,” BBC reported an eyewitness identified as Ms. Yang saying. “Now all the residents are gathered in the street.”

“Lu Yun, head of the nearby Taida Hospital, said they have received more than 50 wounded people, and more are coming. The injuries were mainly from broken glass or stones. Some of the injuries are serious,” Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Videos and still images circulating on social media show a massive fireball filling the night’s sky followed by a shockwave seconds after the initial explosion.

A plume of flames and smoke rose several dozen metres into the air and was reportedly caught on a Japanese weather satellite.

Ruihai Logistics said on its website – before it was shut down – that it was established in 2011 and is an approved company for handling hazardous materials. It said it handles 1 million tons of cargo annually.

Tianjin, with a population of about 15 million, is about 120 kilometres east of Beijing on the Bohai Sea and is one of the country’s major ports. It is one of China’s more modern cities and is connected to the capital by a high speed rail line.

-With files from The Associated Press.

Boil water advisory issued for North Battleford, Sask.

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. – A boil water advisory has been issued for North Battleford, Sask. A city-wide precautionary drinking water advisory (PDWA) was issued following an operations failure at the water treatment plant.

According to officials, partially treated water bypassed one of the treatment processes and flowed into the treated water reservoir of the surface water plant.

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The water quality alarm at the water surface plant sounded six minutes later and the plant was shut down. They say the incident, which happened Tuesday, occurred due to an operational error.

In a release, officials say an evaluation of the situation indicate “that in all likelihood the partially treated water remained within the water treatment plant.”

Crews are flushing the water main closest to the surface water treatment plant “as an additional precaution to reduce the risk in the event water had somehow escaped the plant before shutdown.”

Officials say water should be boiled for at least one minute at a rolling boil before consumption or for other purposes including brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables or making ice cubes.

They also say no one should drink from public fountains supplied with water from the public water supply.

Under most circumstances, water does not need to be boiled for other household purposes. Adults, teens and older children can still shower or bathe using tap water, but should avoid swallowing the water. Younger children and infants should be sponge-bathed.

The PDWA will remain in place until further notice.

READ MORE: North Battleford fined for waterworks violations

The last time there was a city-wide boil water order in North Battleford was in 2001 when Cryptosporidium parvum was detected in the system.

Between six- and seven-thousand people became ill after consuming water but no fatalities were reported.

Seven portables destroyed in south Edmonton school fire – Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Parents, students and teachers stopped by École Frère Antoine Wednesday to check out the damage caused by a fire Tuesday afternoon. Fletcher Kent has the details. 

EDMONTON — Fire crews continue to investigate what caused a south Edmonton elementary school to catch fire Tuesday afternoon.

Fire crews were called to École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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While the cause is still not known, the fire broke out in the school’s portables. A spokesperson with Edmonton Catholic Schools said Wednesday morning school officials have not yet been able to get into the main school building to assess the damage, but several portables will have to be replaced.

“What we do know this morning is that we will have to replace seven of the modular classrooms,” said Lori Nagy.

“We found out that the roof that was being repaired on one of the portables is not the portable where the fire started, so that has been ruled out as a possible cause.”

Nagy said the education minister has already reached out to offer support and said he will expedite the delivery of seven modular classrooms.

Nagy said the school district is working on a plan, which may include using the gym or library as temporary classrooms. Sending students to another school is also a possibility, but Nagy said they won’t have a concrete plan in place until they can get inside the school to assess the damage.

Several parents and teacher stopped by the site to check out the damage Wednesday and said it’s about much more than just the physical structures.

“When I saw it this morning it was pretty heartbreaking,” said Nicole St. Jean, a teacher at the school.

“This is a French Immersion school and it’s extremely difficult to find appropriate resources for the students, so a lot of the teachers spend a lot of their own personal money and time creating resources by hand, on the computer, just so that it’ll fit into their classroom environment.”

Dally Songa said her daughter, who is going into Grade 3 in the fall, was crying when they walked past the school Wednesday morning.

“My daughter, she’s very excited to start Grade 3 but I don’t know what will happen. It’s so sad.”

Fellow parent Jennifer Kojder said it’s tough not knowing what will happen, but hopes the students will be able to stay together.

“We’re a very close-knit school community and I think as parents and teachers we’ll all work together to do whatever we can to keep the kids together… Wherever it may be.”

Nagy said school officials should be able to go inside late Thursday or early Friday. Each portable that was lost was worth about $500,000. The portables were used for Grade 1 and 2 classes.

Updates on the school will be posted to Frère Antoine’s website. Nagy said they hope to have a plan in place by early next week.

A local group has started collecting items for the teachers. You can visit the group on Facebook.

WATCH: Edmonton Catholic Schools comments on fire at École Frère Antoine

A fire at École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Global News

A fire at École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Global News

A fire at École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Global News

A fire at École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Global News

A fire at École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Global News

A fire at École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Global News

A fire at École Frère Antoine, located in the area of 28 Avenue and Mill Woods Road, Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Cliff Harris, Global News

Damage at École Frère Antoine Wednesday August 12, 2015 one day after a fire.

Craig Ryan, Global News

Damage at École Frère Antoine Wednesday August 12, 2015 one day after a fire.

Craig Ryan, Global News

Damage at École Frère Antoine Wednesday August 12, 2015 one day after a fire.

Craig Ryan, Global News

Damage at École Frère Antoine Wednesday August 12, 2015 one day after a fire.

Craig Ryan, Global News

 *Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Tuesday, August 11, 2015. It was updated at 11:40 a.m. Wednesday.

Dog in distress? Nope. It’s just living in a parked van – Edmonton

EDMONTON — City officials say they can do nothing about a dog that has been living in a van in Edmonton for weeks because the animal is not in distress.

The city, police service, fire department and humane society have been flooded with calls about the golden retriever in a Ford Windstar van regularly parked behind a car wash on Jasper Avenue and 116th Street.

The Edmonton Humane Society said it discourages pet owners from leaving dogs in vehicles, but unless its officers see a dog in immediate distress, there’s nothing they can do.

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Mayor Don Iveson said “this is not a desirable situation” for the dog, and the city is working with the society, which is responsible for enforcement of the Animal Protection Act, to find a resolution.

“The Mayor’s Office has spoken with Animal Control department and they advise that the windows are open providing fresh air for the dog and that it is well and not in distress,” Iveson said in a Facebook post. “Thank you for your concerns and input.”

There are more than 5,000 signatures on a change杭州夜网 petition calling on the mayor and police to do more.

Deanna Kubbernus said she has known about the dog since July 24, and started the petition on Monday after repeated calls to officials yielded no change and the temperature began to rise to dangerous levels.

“This is not a witch hunt. What we’re trying to do is get this dog to safety and help this gentleman.

“We really need to review our bylaws. If a dog is contained 24/7 in the heat outside, the humane society can do something about that. However, when it’s in a vehicle, this is a grey area.”

She said an animal rescue group and a Good Samaritan with a dog-friendly apartment for rent have offered to help the dog’s owner.

Global Edmonton has tried on several occasions this week to find the van without success.

Liberals in Steveston-Richmond East resign after candidate controversy

WATCH: Allegations of tampering and preventing the Liberal nomination in Steveston-Richmond East came to a head tonight. Catherine Urquhart reports.

Eight federal Liberals in B.C., including the provincial membership chair, have resigned their positions after a candidate was abruptly barred from running for the party’s nomination in Steveston-Richmond East.

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“I put my application forward believing it is an open nomination. Believing it is fair and transparent and it is just. But our right was taken away,” said Wendy Yuan at a rally with supporters on Tuesday.

Yuan, who ran and lost for the Liberals in Vancouver Kingsway in the last two federal elections, had been campaigning for several month against former MP Joe Peschisolido to run for the Liberals in the new electoral district.

But a day before the nomination meeting, Yuan announced she had not been approved by the party’s green-light committee.

“Our faith and our trust has been ignored, and has been taken away,” she said.

In response, B.C. membership chair Mike Hillman resigned from his position, along with the entire executive of the party’s local riding association.

“People told me that the party let Joe’s supporters in the back door, so it only left 10 or 20 seats for the rest of the party members. In the lobby you saw a lot of people not happy. They came here expecting to be part of the nomination,” said Peter Xie, who resigned as riding president.

The Liberal Party would not comment on the specific reason Yuan had been banned, only saying the process was more rigorous than previous elections.

Harper pledges to track foreign property ownership

WATCH: Before he left Vancouver, Harper used the backdrop of Canada’s most expensive city to make some promises about real estate. He says he’ll raise the amount first time home buyers can withdraw from their RRSPs to $35,000 and he’ll look at how foreign buyers are influencing the market, and driving up prices. Robin Gill reports.

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VANCOUVER — A re-elected Conservative government would spend half a million dollars next year to figure out just how many foreign investors have eaten up condos and homes across Canada, many of them sitting empty year-round.

The spending Stephen Harper promised Wednesday could ultimately lead to strict rules about what kinds of homes — existing or new — foreign investors are allowed to own.

Harper suggested that the Tories were ready to work with the provinces to make sure that foreign, non-resident investors only buy homes that ensures the “availability and affordability of homes for Canadians.”

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Campaign material provided by the Conservatives pointed to rules in other countries that force foreign investors to only purchase homes under construction, or to limit home ownership for foreign nationals to just the time that they live in the country.

“There are real concerns that foreign, non-resident real estate speculation is the reason some Canadian families find house prices beyond their budgets,” Harper said at an event in Vancouver, the urban skyline looming behind him.

“If such foreign non-resident buyers are artificially driving up the cost of real estate, and Canadian families are shut out of the market, that is a matter we can and should do something about.”

About 15 per cent of the condo market in Vancouver sits empty year-round by some estimates, with the owners sitting on the properties hoping to make a profit as the prices of homes rise.

The problem is that many of the estimates of the concentration of home ownership are just that, estimates, because governments haven’t historically tracked the level of foreign investment in Canadian markets, Harper said.

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Harper said there are serious concerns that foreign investment is making home ownership unaffordable for many Canadians.

A home is the biggest investment and asset for many Canadians, he added, which is why a re-elected Conservative government would ensure more of them can realize the “dream” of home ownership.

Those rapidly rising costs of homes in places like Vancouver have raised concerns of a housing bubble in Canada’s hot housing market.

The Bank of Canada has issued warnings about the risks of a housing correction due to overvalued real estate market in some areas, suggesting prices are overvalued between 10 and 30 per cent, but it has maintained the sector is likely headed for a soft landing.

Last month, the central bank said the robust housing markets in B.C. and Ontario — in terms of both resale activity and new construction — were a result of rising demand whipped up by “historically low” interest rates.

The bank’s latest monetary policy report also identified foreign investors among the groups fuelling the strong market in those regions.

Harper also promised to raise the amount first-time home buyers can take out of their registered retirement savings plans for a down payment — $35,000, up from the current $25,000 limit.

“Home ownership is good for Canadian families, it’s good for Canadians communities, and it’s good for the Canadian economy, which is why our government believes in helping Canadians achieve it,” he said.

More than 2.7 million Canadians have withdrawn money under the program from their retirement savings plans to help pay for their first home.

Expanding the withdrawal limit will cost the federal government an extra $30 million per year in lost taxes starting in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the Conservatives say.

Harper was scheduled to travel to Edmonton later Wednesday for a rally.

©2015The Canadian Press