Calgary man shot by police speaks out: ‘This is worse than a life sentence’

Morgan Thompson misses the simple things now, like his days of riding his bike and working at landscaping jobs.

Everything changed for Thompson in March of last year, when he was shot by a Calgary police officer in downtown Calgary.

One bullet remains in his spine.  He is now a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair to get around.

“I couldn’t move anything. I knew I was paralyzed because I never felt anything like that,” Thompson said, outside his downtown apartment on Sunday.

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Thompson was shot on March 21, 2015 after confronting people gathered at an anti-racism rally near City Hall.

READ MORE: Calgary man remains in coma after last month’s police involved shooting

It’s been over a year since Thompson was shot. No charges have been laid against him so far and an ASIRT investigation in still underway.

“I said a bunch of stupid stuff. I don’t know what I was thinking. All I know I was leaving peacefully and they started following me,” Thompson said. “I tried running. But now it’s time to fight. I didn’t think I’d get shot. I thought four big police officers could’ve overwhelmed me easily. Why didn’t they have tasers?”

Thompson allegedly threatened the officer with a pipe, according to ASIRT, and was shot.

“The police officer exited his vehicle and began following the male. The three recruits also exited the vehicle but followed at a distance. The police officer caught up with the male. There was brief physical contact. We do know that the officer drew his baton which was recovered on scene,” Calgary Police Chief Paul Cook said at the time of the shooting. He was the interim police chief at the time.

Thompson still manages to get out in his wheelchair to the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Flea market where he and his father have sold their wares for many years.

“I exercise and eat well and try to stay positive. It’s hard, right? I wake up in the morning and ask why do I go on? What’s the point of me going on.”

Fellow vendors have been helping Thompson since he was released from the hospital a few months ago.

They are also mourning the recent death of Thompson’s father Don, who passed away in May after spending many months by his son’s bedside while he recovered in the hospital.

“I’d say the bullets killed his dad. That’s what I think,” Al Gibson, a friend of a family, said.  “His dad must’ve gone through hell, worrying about if his son is going to live, and how he’s going to live and how am I going to have to take care of him and everything else.”

Gibson says he feels sympathy for both Thompson and the officer who pulled the trigger.

“He’s not the white supremacist that he painted him as. Not at all,” Gibson said.

“My reading on it? It’s just really unfortunate circumstances. My dad was a cop in Hamilton.  I feel for both parties. I’m right on the fence, right in the middle on this one,” Gibson said.

“He did admit to saying it was the dumbest thing he ever did. But it doesn’t mean he deserves what he got for it,” Gibson said.

Thompson says his life is lonelier now without his dad, who he lived and worked with. He regrets his actions on that day in March of last year, but wonders how it could have led to his current situation.

“Just the circumstances leading up to it. I might’ve been a little wrong. But this is worse than a life sentence. This is a life sentence of pain and embarrassment. This is forever,” Thompson said.


700 of ‘best and brightest’ Canadian high schoolers start SHAD program

When Bruce Gao was in high school, he visited an orphanage in China where he saw children huddled together in beds to share body heat.

It was monsoon season, and it was cold. There was heating in the building, but the solar panels meant to provide electricity weren’t installed to their full capacity.

Gao, who is now 22, wondered what he could do about that.

He researched how solar panels should be positioned to soak up the most energy, which he said was “a little daunting” for a high schooler.

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    And then, he spoke publicly about his plans to create an app — “I was a big computer programmer,” he said nonchalantly of his time in high school — while at the nationwide Shad program for “exceptional high school students.”

    Gao said that experience solidified his decision to actually make the smartphone app, SimplySolar, with a high school classmate. The app is now used in more than 130 countries.

    It works using a combination of GPS and the built-in compass in smartphones. Users place their phones on top of the solar panels, and the app shows them when the panels are facing the most effective direction.

    Pointing solar panels in the right direction can make them up to 40 per cent more effective, Gao said.

    Now Gao is in his second year of medical school at the University of Calgary. He said that what he liked about coding and creating apps was the ability to help people, and he gets the same thing out of medicine.

    READ MORE: Alberta junior high school takes science experiments to new heights

    The SHAD program, which Gao said convinced him to build the app, is now in its 37th year. The 2016 program begins Monday, and more than 700 high school students will participate.

    “One of the things we believe is that you can’t really leave it to chance, that the best and brightest minds are going to develop to their capabilities,” said Teddy Katz, a spokesperson for SHAD.

    So through the program, students travel to universities — 12 are participating across the country — where they listen to lectures from prominent university professors and business leaders.

    They also work in groups to come up with a business proposal that creates a new product or service to solve a social problem. In the autumn, a winning proposal will be selected.

    READ MORE: ‘He wanted to fly’ – Career Day soars above expectations for Edmonton boy

    Last year, students focused on a lack of physical activity in Canadian kids’ lives. The proposal that won was a machine that could be installed in public parks to dispense sporting equipment, like a combination between a library and a vending machine.

    This year’s theme has yet to be announced, but the program has already started. One of the students participating is 16-year-old Debbie Dada of Toronto.

    Dada said she plans on going into medical research when she’s older. She said that right now, she’s especially interested in how to decrease the infant mortality rates in developing countries.

    She got the idea when she was on a field trip for anthropology class, she said. Her teacher mentioned the infant mortality rate in the central African country of Chad. (The latest data puts the rate at about 89 deaths per 1,000 babies born, compared to about 4.5 per 1,000 in Canada.)

    “I was just blown away,” Dada said.

    Thinking about — and researching — what she could do, she decided that education about sanitary births was key.

    “I think it’s important to share that knowledge in an efficient way, where it doesn’t just help a couple people, it helps thousands,” she said.

    And she’s also done work at home. She started a program called “Find Your Path,” which brings motivational speakers to schools to help give kids the confidence to aspire for big things.

    She said she got her drive from her family — her paternal grandfather didn’t go to school, she said. But her father has a PhD.

    READ MORE: Unconventional Grade 6 homework assignment gets top marks from parents

    Growing up in an environment where she felt like she could accomplish a lot really helped her, she said. And she hopes her experience this summer will help her, too. She’ll be spending the month of July in Thunder Bay, Ont., with the SHAD program.

    She said she’s looking forward to learning from people who have already built successful careers in science and technology fields, and also to working with peers who have similar interests.


Arm wrestling championships offer 300 athletes a shot at national glory

Canada’s top arm wrestlers descended on Saskatoon this weekend for the sport’s national championships. Roughly 300 athletes were looking to earn themselves a trip to Bulgaria for the world championships in September.

Clayton Turcotte took up the sport just over two years ago.

READ MORE: Provincial series event latest sign of BMX racing resurgence in Saskatoon

A former Greco-Roman wrestler, Turcotte once came close to winning a national title. Now at the age of 40, he wants to make the most of his second chance to wear the Maple Leaf.

“This is my first nationals. It’s awesome to pull against a lot of the guys that have been pulling for years and national champions,” said Turcotte, who competed in both the masters (40+) and open events.

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    Arm wrestling is divided into several classes, from youth to grandmasters (50+), with separate events for men and women. In the open competition, athletes are divided into weight classes as in other combat sports like boxing.

    The top two finishers in each age or weight class qualify for a spot on Team Canada.

    “There’s some world champions in this room. I’ve been to worlds four or five times and placed top ten in the world,” tournament director Kayne Hemsing said. “At worlds you’re going against Russians, Americans, Brazilians. There’s over 80 countries there.”

    READ MORE: Ricky Ray leads Argonauts over the Roughriders 30-17

    Wrestlers spend long hours training for matches that often last just a few seconds.

    “You’re trying to strengthen your hands, your grips, especially the tendons in your arms. It’s not always muscle. It’s a lot of technique,” Turcotte explained.

    Win or lose, Turcotte is glad to have found a new sport that fuels his competitive fire.

    “After I see where I’m at with these guys I’m pretty excited at how far I’ve gone in two years.”

    Wearing a Maple Leaf may only be a matter of time.


Pride Toronto denies it has agreed to ban police floats from future parades

Pride Toronto is denying it has agreed to ban police floats from its parades, saying it has committed only to having a “conversation” about the controversial demand made by Black Lives Matter after the group staged a sit-in that held up Sunday’s march and angered the police union.

While Pride’s executive director signed the list of nine demands and ended the 30-minute protest, co-chair Aaron GlynWilliams said Monday nothing was actually agreed upon and that the signing was done to get the parade moving again.

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GlynWilliams said Pride organizers will now turn to discussing the demands internally and with police and Black Lives Matter Toronto.

“We’ll continue that conversation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rodney Diverlus with Black Lives Matter has indicated the demand concerning police —; the “removal of all police floats/booths in all Pride marches/parades/community spaces” —; is open to negotiation.

Black Lives Matter sees the proposed ban as strictly for police parading in uniform, while the group is open to LGBTQ officers participating out of uniform, the co-founder told Global News.

VIDEO: Black Lives Matter get Toronto Police kicked out of future parades says co-founder

Police Chief Mark Saunders refused to comment on the ban.

“Right now it’s all speculation. I’m waiting for the Pride executive to contact me. Until I’m informed as to what the circumstance is, there isn’t much I can say or offer,” he told reporters.

The head of the police union said he was outraged by the proposal.

The police force has been actively involved in Pride for years, and officers shouldn’t be excluded from future parades, said Toronto Police Association head Mike McCormack.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter gets police kicked out of future Pride parades say co-founders

The idea of barring police led one openly gay officer to pen a public letter decrying the proposal as discriminatory.

“Basically the letter was about —; this was my first pride, and it was very powerful for me to see the police and how many officers were marching. I didn’t expect that and basically it was a display of how much we are supported, how much LGBTQ officers are supported,” Const. Chuck Krangle told Global News.

“Removing the floats and us from the parade … we’re part of the community. It’s not just about the police being part of the community, it’s about the police accepting their own.”

When asked whether he would attend next year’s parade if police in uniform are banned from floats, Krangle said that “Uniformed officers are LGBTQ, are part of the community as well.”

Krangle, who was not speaking for the force, said he wasn’t commenting on Black Lives Matter, though his letter was addressed to Pride Toronto over its perceived agreement with the protest group’s police float demand.

“Police officers are significantly represented in the LGBTQ community and it would be unacceptable to alienate and discriminate against them and those who support them. They too struggled to gain a place and workplace free from discrimination and bias,” wrote Krangle.

“Exclusion does not promote inclusion.”

Black Lives Matter’s list of demands also includes calls for greater space and funding for black queer youth, better representation of black LGBTQ in the event’s organization and a townhall with Pride for marginalized communities.

Police and Black Lives Matter have been at constant odds over the practice of carding, which disproportionately targets black youth, and the recent shooting deaths of black men in Toronto like Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby.

Diverlus said “carding happens to LGBT black folks as well,” and defended the protest tactic.

“So folks might think this tactic is a bit too divisive or a bit out there, I just challenge them to think of which side of history they will be in 20 years and how they think of black inclusion within LGBT spaces,” he said.

With files from Tom Hayes, David Shum, Peter Kim and


Juno spacecraft set to fire main rocket engine as it slips into Jupiter orbit

LOS ANGELES – A solar-powered spacecraft is spinning toward Jupiter for the closest encounter with the biggest planet in our solar system.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft fires its main rocket engine late Monday to slow itself down from a speed of 150,000 mph (250,000 kph) and slip into orbit around Jupiter.

With Juno on autopilot, the delicately choreographed move comes without any help from ground controllers.

Juno is travelling through a hostile radiation environment, “but it should be able to withstand it,” said Kenny Starnes, program manager for Lockheed Martin, which built the spacecraft.

WATCH: Jupiter: Into the Unknown (NASA Juno Mission Trailer).

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Juno’s camera and other instruments were switched off for the arrival so there won’t be any pictures at the moment the spacecraft reaches its destination. Scientists have promised close-up views of Jupiter when Juno skims the cloud tops during the 20-month, $1.1 billion mission.

READ MORE: WATCH: Hubble captures brilliant aurora on Jupiter as Juno spacecraft nears

The fifth rock from the sun and the heftiest planet in the solar system, Jupiter is what’s known as a gas giant – a ball of hydrogen and helium – unlike rocky Earth and Mars. With its billowy clouds and colorful stripes, Jupiter is an extreme world that likely formed first, shortly after the sun. Unlocking its history may hold clues to understanding how Earth and the rest of the solar system developed.

Named after Jupiter’s cloud-piercing wife, Juno is only the second mission designed to spend time at Jupiter. Galileo, launched in 1989, circled Jupiter for 14 years, beaming back splendid views of the planet and its numerous moons. It uncovered signs of an ocean beneath the icy surface of Europa, considered a top target in the search for life outside Earth.

VIDEO: Hubble captures bright aurora in Jupiter’s north pole

Juno’s mission: To peer through Jupiter’s cloud-socked atmosphere and map the interior from a unique vantage point above the poles. Among the lingering questions: How much water exists? Is there a solid core? Why are Jupiter’s southern and northern lights the brightest in the solar system?

There’s also the mystery of its Great Red Spot. Recent observations by the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the centuries-old monster storm in Jupiter’s atmosphere is shrinking.

READ MORE: Why do we get the northern lights?

The trek to Jupiter, spanning nearly five years and 1.8 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometres), took Juno on a tour of the inner solar system followed by a swing past Earth that catapulted it beyond the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Along the way, Juno became the first spacecraft to cruise this far out powered by the sun, beating Europe’s comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft. A trio of massive solar wings sticks out from Juno like blades from a windmill, generating 500 watts of power to run its nine instruments.

Plans called for Juno to swoop within 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometres) of Jupiter’s clouds – closer than previous missions – to map the planet’s gravity and magnetic fields.

Juno is an armoured spacecraft – its computer and electronics are locked in a titanium vault to shield them from harmful radiation. Even so, Juno is expected to get blasted with radiation equal to more than 100 million dental X-rays during the mission.

READ MORE: Juno’s mission to Jupiter: 7 weird and wonderful facts about this giant planet

Like Galileo before it, Juno meets its demise in 2018 when it deliberately dives into Jupiter’s atmosphere and disintegrates – a necessary sacrifice to prevent any chance of accidentally crashing into the planet’s potentially habitable moons.


Alberta’s 3-dose HPV vaccination program reduced cervical abnormalities: CMAJ

A new study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows the current three-dose HPV program in Alberta may be beneficial in preventing cervical cancer.

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Alberta implemented a school-based immunization program in 2008. A three-year catch up program was added in 2009 and a vaccination program for boys was added in 2014. The current program involves three doses of the vaccine, which protects against 70 per cent of cases of cervical cancer.

It looked at women born between 1994 and 1997 who had at least one Pap test between 2012 and 2015.

The study involved 10,204 women, out of which 1,481 were cases while 8,723 were controls.

READ MORE: HPV vaccine offered to gay, bisexual men

Women with negative results were controls while women with low-grade and high-grade cervical abnormalities were cases.

Among the cases, 1,384, or 93.5 per cent, women had low-grade cervical abnormalities and 97 women had high-grade cervical abnormalities.

Within the total population group, 5,712, or 56 per cent, were unvaccinated and 4,492 were vaccinated with at least one dose before screening. The study showed that within the three-dose vaccinated group, 11.8 per cent had cervical abnormalities compared to 16.1 per cent of unvaccinated women.

READ MORE: HPV vaccine could be given in 2 doses, not 3, UBC research suggests

“Three-dose HPV vaccination has demonstrated early benefits, particularly against high-grade abnormalities, which are more likely to progress to cervical cancer,” write the authors.

“Effective HPV vaccination will disrupt the balance of harms and benefits of cervical cancer screening.”

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.


Significant progress made fighting Burns Bog fire; 60% contained

Story highlights

Fire is estimated to be 78 hectares in size.

It is now 50 per cent contained.

Road closures remain in effect today and will likely last until Friday.

With help from the weather on Monday and overnight, the Burns Bog fire in Delta, B.C. has stopped spreading and is now 60 per cent contained.

It is hoped it will be 100 per cent contained by Tuesday night.

The latest estimates show the fire is approximately 78 hectares in size. Officials say the fire did not penetrate the peat line, which would allow it to burn underground.

Highway 17, between Highway 99 and the Highway 91 Connector, will remain closed until at least Friday due to the smoke created from the fire, said Delta Fire Chief Douglas Copeland. A business park near the Burns Bog fire was partially evacuated but the order was lifted Monday at 8 p.m.

Shortly before noon on Sunday, fire crews were called to fight the fast growing brush fire that sparked in the bog along Highway 17.

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Evacuation order lifted near Burns Bog fire

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Firefighters face challenging battle against Burns Bog fire

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Danger of fire burning in Burns Bog

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Raw video: Firefighters work to contain Burns Bog fire

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Delta Mayor Lois Jackson on the Burns Bog fire

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Burns Bog no stranger to fires

02:27

Fire

Archive: 2005 Burns Bog fire

00:58

Burns Bog Fire

‘Full complement’ of Delta firefighters now battling Burns Bog blaze: chief



READ MORE: Burns Bog fire: How bog fires burn and why they’re difficult to combat

It was first reported as a small brush fire measuring roughly 100 square feet, but hot and gusting winds soon whipped the blaze into a much bigger threat.

The towering column of smoke could be seen several kilometres away from the heart of the fire on Sunday.

The blaze had leapt across Highway 17 by mid-afternoon Sunday, igniting grass near businesses in Tilbury Park.

Delta Fire Chief Douglas Copeland said in a press conference Tuesday that the Burns Bog fire has stopped spreading 

As of midnight Sunday, the evacuation order was scaled back on Progress Way between 76 to 80 Street, including approximately 25 businesses.

The Fraser River was also temporarily closed to marine traffic Sunday so airtankers could collect water.

There is no word yet on the cause of the blaze, but officials do not believe it was caused by lightning.

Burns Bog is one of North America’s largest peat bogs and it poses a challenge to firefighters because the flames can sink under the dry peat, where they will burn out of sight.

Burns Bog Fire Map

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READ MORE: If history is any guide, Burns Bog fire could be active for days

A Delta firefighter was hospitalized Sunday afternoon due to a medical condition aggravated by the environment at the scene of the fire. He is in Royal Columbian Hospital at this time but his current condition is unknown.

Provincial crews, including about 26 firefighters, five air tankers and four helicopters, were called in to help fight the blaze. Other departments from across Metro Vancouver also provided backup as the flames spread.

Firefighter sent to hospital as a result of Burns Bog fire:

No air quality advisory issued

Smoke from the fire could be smelled across the Lower Mainland Monday, with Vancouver and the North Shore getting the worse of it.

Metro Vancouver says it is monitoring the situation closely but at the moment it is not going to issue an air quality advisory.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said the highest concentration of particles per million in the air was 2.5, between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight on Monday. “These were intermittent. The conditions overnight have improved and Metro Vancouver’s [particles per million] 2.5 objective is based on a 24 average concentration of 25 micrograms per cubic metres,” said Jackson. “So they’re monitoring this very closely but there’s no general advisory at this time from Metro Vancouver.”

But many people took to 桑拿会所 to complain about being awoken by the smoke.

Metro Vancouver says if you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheeze, follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Seeking shelter indoors may offer relief from air pollution.

Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.

Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.

The Burns Bog fire from the air.

Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.

A fire has broken out near Burns Bog.

The fire also knocked out radio transmitter towers in the area, including those for AM730.

The all-traffic station was taken off the air Sunday afternoon but you can still listen live on HD Radio 101.1 FM, sub-channel 3 in downtown Vancouver only, and online at am730traffic长沙夜网.

-With files from