Monday Medley: Canadians witness Paris terrorist attacks

A man waves a French flag as people observe a minute of silence in Lyon, France, Nov. 16, 2015.
A man waves a French flag as people observe a minute of silence in Lyon, France, Nov. 16, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

After the horrific terrorist bombings by ISIS in Paris, France on Friday, which resulted in the casualties of at least 132 people, many people are still trying to come to grips with what happened.

Some people have a lot more knowledge about what happened because they were there, including a number of Canadians visiting Paris.

Such is the story of one woman from British Columbia, who was in Paris for a conference, and stayed two doors away from the Bataclan music hall, where 89 people were taken hostage and then murdered by the terrorists.

Cherie Hanson of Kelowna told CBC News: "People were screaming. There were people yelling out in pain and crying, 'Run, run’…I couldn't see, but because of the way they sounded in the street, it was very clear to me they were dying."

Another Canadian was stuck at La Stade de France, the soccer stadium in which a friendly game between Germany and France while the terrorist attacks were taking place not too far away.

Prince Edward Island resident Josh Coles heard the explosions outside, but said that nobody thought much of it because it’s normal for flares or fireworks to go off during matches.

However, people quickly realized something was wrong when they were checking their cell phones during the game.

Coles told CBC News: "It was surreal because, at first, we didn't really know the explosions were anything serious. The first things we started to hear was there were gunfights in Paris."

There have been no reports of Canadian casualties so far.

Quebec anticipates federal approval for supervised injection sites

Quebec is hoping to get the green light for supervised injection sites from the federal government very soon.

Louis Letellier de St-Just, the founder of the Cactus Montreal community centre, said he had “no doubt” that new federal Health Minister Jane Philpott will approve the application for the potential injection sites after they got nowhere with the last government.

Planned are three fixed safe injection sites and one mobile site.

While Health Canada didn’t comment on these planned injection sites, it looks likely that they will be approved. The Liberal’s election platform included support for safe injection sites.

Right now, the only safe injection sites to be found are in Vancouver, B.C.

Though the Conservative government was against these supervised injection sites and tried to close the Vancouver centre Insite, the Supreme Court of Canada forbade them from doing so.

However, Conservative-backed prohibitions from earlier this make it very hard to open supervised injection sites, so it still may take a while to get the project off the ground.

Former Nova Scotia environment minister not taking dismissal lying down

There is a lot of tension nowadays in the Halifax legislature, after Andrew Younger, the environmental minister, was recently dismissed.

Last week, Premier Stephen McNeil was grilled during question period about Younger’s dismissal. McNeil said Younger was dismissed after he didn’t provide correct information about when he knew about parliamentary privilege to avoid appearing at a trial.

The trial involved a former Liberal staff member who allegedly assaulted Younger. As Younger didn’t appear for the court date, a Halifax judge dropped the charges.

However, members of the legislature were questioning McNeil’s office’s involvement in the case. Apparently, a secret recording emerged, obtained by the CBC and recorded by Younger, in which Kirby McVicar - the premier’s chief of staff - allegedly helped to plan Younger’s return to parliament.

Younger issued a news release last week claiming that he and his wife were mistreated by the premier’s office.

He also claims his government-issued smartphone was wiped clean after he was fired.

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