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Australian cancer patient, 12, granted wish to ‘blow stuff up’

A 12-year-old Australian boy who has been battling leukemia had his wish to “blow stuff up” granted over the weekend with the help of Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Make-A-Wish foundation.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Declan McLean-Pauley is in remission from leukemia and was able to spend a day with AFP’s Specialist Response Group at the force’s headquarters in Canberra to have his Make-A-Wish granted.

“My name is Declan, I’m 12 and my wish was to blow something up,” the boy said in a video highlighting his day.

The boy was treated to a police motorcade to start his day. Later, he took in a handful of training exercises that pretty much involved blowing up stuff.

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“What inspired Declan’s wish I think was for him to do something different and something to take his mind off his illness,” the boy’s mom, Belinda, said in the video. “Declan has been pretty excited in the lead-up to today. He’s been telling all of our friends and family he’s going to blow stuff up.”

Declan participated in a mock hostage situation, used explosives to blow off doors from a training building and “breaching scenarios.”

“Being involved in something like this is a special opportunity for us to get involved with someone who is through a bit of a tough time, and that’s not only young Declan, but his family, so if we can do something to brighten their day or give them a happy experience, then we are more than happy to do that,” Sgt. Peter Murphy said.

The boy also had the opportunity to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.

“I think Declan was truly speechless, which doesn’t happen very often,” his mother said.

Pipeline approval protesters set up at Portage and Main Thursday evening

WINNIPEG —; Dozens of protesters set up at a busy intersection Thursday evening, speaking out about two recent pipeline approvals in Canada.

The protest started at 6 p.m. at Portage Avenue and Main Street. The protesters lined up along the side of the street with a banner.

It’s in retaliation to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent approval of two large pipelines – Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3.

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READ MORE: Justin Trudeau halts Northern Gateway, approves Kinder Morgan expansion, Line 3

The Winnipeg Jets take on the Edmonton Oilers at the MTS Centre Thursday evening at 7 p.m., meaning there will be a lot of traffic downtown.

This comes more than two weeks after protesters took to the streets at the busy intersection, speaking out against the Dakota Access pipeline.

READ MORE: Dakota pipeline protest closes Winnipeg’s Portage and Main during rush hour

Winnipeg police closed off the intersection and it remained closed until just after 6:30 p.m., as hockey fans were making their way to MTS Centre for the game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Chicago Blackhawks.

As a result, traffic was tied up in downtown Winnipeg for hours. Thursday evening’s protest did not spill into the streets.

WATCH:  Dakota pipeline protest closes Winnipeg’s Portage and Main during rush hour

Police spokesperson, Const. Rob Carver, who is a member of the Crowd Management Unit, said there is a fine balance when it comes to people’s rights.

“I have the right to assembly and I have the right to peacefully protest – I don’t necessarily have the right to block traffic,” Carver said.

“So, those are two competing rights and part of our job is to somehow balance those two competing rights with the rights of hundreds of motorists who are trying to get home or trying to get to a Jet game with the rights of individual to make a political statement.”

Fake news: From pit bulls to a fake news ban, four things that didn’t happen this week

Here’s a roundup of news this week that you may not have seen, and didn’t happen in the real world — though somebody would like you to believe otherwise.

    桑拿会所 has threatened to cut off Donald Trump’s account.

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    The starting point for this was a story in Slate. (There’s a very similar one in Quartz.) Reporter Will Oremus asked 桑拿会所 if it might ever ban U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, in theory, and the company responded with an e-mail in which a spokesperson cut-and-pasted the relevant part of the network’s user agreement, which prohibits “violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse.” Does this apply to Trump, Oremus asked? “The 桑拿会所 Rules apply to all accounts,” the company replied.

    Which is kind of what you would expect them to say.

    It was all that Alex Jones needed, though. InfoWars promptly published a video titled ‘桑拿会所 Threatens To Kill Trump’s Account.’ 

    “You cannot make up the magnitude of this!,” Jones warned his listeners. “Kicking the president off — that’s what an enemy government would do, cutting off somebody’s communications. This is getting crazier and crazier by the minute. This is total authoritarianism. They tried to steal the election and failed, and now they’re in full panic mode, folks. They’re going to get their a#% kicked politically, just by showing everybody how evil they are, how ruthless they are, how anti-freedom they are. God Almighty, it’s next-level. If they can ban his free speech, they can ban everybody’s!”

    READ MORE: Fake news: Four things that didn’t happen this week

    2) As he prepares to leave office, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama has banned fake news outlets

    This one is kind of meta, having been published with lots of corroborative detail on the Boston Tribune fake news outlet.

    The story begins:

    “In wake of the controversial 2016 presidential election, President Obama has signed what may be one of his final executive orders. On Monday morning, President Obama signed Executive Order 13749 banning all fake news websites and ensuring penalties ranging from fines/fees to criminal prosecution for those that own and maintain such websites.”

    The editing is shaky, but some attention to detail went into this: the link goes to the page where presidential executive orders are actually published, where you will not find Executive Order 13749, because it never existed. It sounds like it could, though — Executive Order 13738 does. If you were already likely to believe the story, it might withstand at least a basic attempt at fact-checking.

    Obama banning things (in a way that is, in no particular order, impractical, impossible, unlikely or unconstitutional, but would be outrageous if they had actually happened) is a fake news staple. At various times, the outgoing president has been accused of banning the U.S. national anthem (Executive Order 14302), the Pledge of Allegiance (an alternate-reality Executive Order 13738), the possession of gold and air conditioning.

    The Boston Tribune, like the Baltimore Gazette and the Denver Guardian, are fake news sites that are named to imply a bit of legacy media authority. Some thought seems to go into their names — there was a real newspaper, the South Boston Tribune, which went under in 2012 after decades of operation, and a real Baltimore Gazette existed in the Civil War era. (The Baltimore Gazette of 2016 describes itself as “Baltimore’s oldest news source and one of the longest running daily newspapers published in the United States,” ignoring a 140-year gap in operations.)

    This kind of fake news site goes to a surprising level of effort to give the impression online of being a real newspaper, complete with obituaries, horoscopes and the illusion of an advertising department, The Denver Guardian also has a physical address, but the Denver Post (a real newspaper investigating its ghostly rival) found that it was a vacant lot.

    (NPR traced ownership of many of these sites to a man named Jason Coler, who lives in suburban Los Angeles.)

    WATCH: There’s new criticism for Facebook and its handling of so-called “fake news” as the company promises a renewed effort to weed out misinformation on the site. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is laying-out a plan to fight inaccurate news stories from making it to your Facebook feed.

    3) NATO is in a “declared war with Russia”.

    How did we miss that? You may well ask.

    Turkish troops entered Syria this week to keep ISIS forces well back from their border, among other things. Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan also explained they were in Syria “to end the rule of the cruel Assad, who has been spreading state terror.”

    In any case, Assad is a Russian ally, and on Thursday Erdogan explained himself in a phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which may or may not have smoothed things over. 

    “Let me explain what this really means,” Jones of InfoWars announced , speaking of Erdogan’s earlier comments. “It means that war in the Middle East between NATO and Russia has been declared by NATO. He’s a NATO member, there’s a defence pact between all the NATO nations that if one nation attacks they will all back that nation.”

    Therefore, apparently, the United States, Canada and a basket of other countries are at war with Syria — we just haven’t noticed it yet, and nobody’s told us.

    This just isn’t what the North Atlantic Treaty says, though. Article 5, which does commit member states to go to war in each other’s defence, only applies if they’re attacked. (It also only applies in Europe or North America, and all of Syria and nearly all of Turkey is in Asia.)

    If a member state invades another country, that’s their problem. For example, Canada might have sent troops to fight alongside the U.S. in Vietnam or Iraq, but chose not to.

    WATCH: Two of the world’s biggest social media companies, Google and Facebook, are facing criticism over fake news sites after the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

    4) 42 U.S. states have agreed to ban pit bulls 

    You read it first at the Boston Tribune:

    “After nearly 14-months of discussion – representatives from 42 states have agreed to implement a mandatory statewide breed specific legislation banning residents from owning any pit-bull type breed of dogs.”

    The story has lots of detail from a delighted activist that called the move “an enormous victory for everyone,” names, statistics, careful attribution of quotes to a nonexistent ABC News reporter’s interviews, an implementation date (March 3, 2017), and a screenshot of a Facebook statement, complete with logo, from a group that seems to not exist on Facebook. The list of 42 states even adds up to 42 (yes, we checked).

    As far as Global News can tell, the thing is complete hooey, from start to finish.

    Once you start asking questions, there are more and more:

    Where did the agreement take place? (Nowhere in particular.)Who in a U.S. state can commit in advance to passing a law? (Nobody — someone, a governor perhaps, could commit to introducing one.)So they couldn’t commit to having it passed by a given date? (That’s right.)Why would they need a common implementation date, anyway? (No reason.)Where does that link to an interview on ABC go to? (The main page for the network.)What if I start Googling people mentioned in the story? (Give it a try.)

Toronto Sun journalist Don Peat to take on lead role in Mayor John Tory’s office

A veteran city hall journalist will soon be taking on a lead role in Toronto Mayor John Tory‘s office at a pivotal time in his mayoral term.

Don Peat, a former city hall reporter during Rob Ford’s tumultuous mayoral term and assistant city editor with the Toronto Sun, will become Tory’s new director of communications and chief spokesman.

Peat is replacing 33-year-old spokeswoman Amanda Galbraith, who worked closely with the mayor since his 2014 election campaign.

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Thursday marks two years to the day that Tory took office and Peat’s appointment comes at a time when the mayor grapples with proposed tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway, changing councillor appointments to crucial committees and a looming 2018 election.

READ MORE: Road tolls issue worth losing election over: Mayor Tory

Tory announced the changes in an email to city councillors Thursday morning.

“Don is no stranger to us here at City Hall, having served as the Toronto Sun’s City Hall Bureau Chief from 2010 to 2015,” Tory said.

“During his decade at the Sun, Don has earned a reputation for his productivity and fairness, and is well liked by all. He also gets up early, which will help.”

READ MORE: Former Wynne staff member, journalist Siri Agrell joins mayor’s team

Tory said Peat would begin his new role Monday, with Galbraith’s last day Dec. 16. He mused city staff would be “arranging for a peaceful transfer of power.”

Toronto Sun Editor-In-Chief Adrienne Batra told the newspaper Peat was “irreplaceable.”

“His reporting contributions are unmatched and culminated into an anthology of some of the most important events in Toronto,” she said.

“Don has been such an integral part of the Toronto Sun family and will be missed. Our loss is definitely the city’s gain.”

READ MORE: John Tory previously campaigned against tolling the DVP, Gardiner Expressway

Galbraith confirmed to Global News she would be taking on a new role at Toronto PR firm Navigator —; known for representing high profile companies and public figures such as former attorney general Michael Bryant and former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi.

She said she would eventually take on a lead role in the firm’s crisis and issues management practice and help expand their municipal affairs practice across Canada.

Galbraith added she would also “play a role” in the mayor’s 2018 re-election campaign and help with planning in the future.

Here’s why oil prices, the Canadian dollar and stock markets are all up

Canada has been presented with some promising economic news over the last few days, largely thanks to a strengthening Canadian dollar and news that OPEC agreed to cut its oil production for the first time in eight years.

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On Wednesday, optimism over the OPEC deal had a positive effect on the stock market, driving the commodity-heavy S&P/TSX composite index in Toronto up 83.04 points, with the energy sector recording the largest rise, surging by nearly eight per cent.

The price of oil continued to surge on Thursday, rising another four per cent to just over US$51 a barrel.

Oil prices have also boosted the Canadian dollar, which rose by almost two-thirds of U.S. cent on Thursday to trade above 75 cents U.S.

READ MORE: Canadian dollar hits three-week high as oil surges

These positive trends are somewhat obvious to economists – but not so much to the average Canadian. Here is the low-down on why oil prices, the Canadian dollar and markets are trending upwards:

Our dollar is driven by oil

The first thing any economist will tell you about the loonie is that it’s largely driven by oil prices.

OPEC, otherwise known as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, collectively produces more than one-third of the world’s oil. They agreed to trim production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting in January – which is a good thing for oil prices.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau halts Northern Gateway, approves Kinder Morgan expansion, Line 3

“When you have a cut in production that tightens up on supply, when you have less supply it sends oil prices higher,” said Neil Shankar, economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank. Shankar noted he expects to see oil prices remain around the current level  over the next few months.

“Canada is a really oil-dependent economy, out west we have the oilsands, and given the fact that we now have oil prices trending higher we should see our dollar gain strength for the next little bit.”

WATCH: What an OPEC oil production agreement means for Canada 

Donald Trump had a bit of an influence on the stock market

Global markets have been trending upwards since Republican Donald Trump became president-elect of the United States, which some say is due, in part, to Trump’s campaign touting several promises to boost the economy.

READ MORE: Is Donald Trump ‘draining the swamp’ or joining the party?

“I think there is a lot of uncertainty still if some of the stuff he campaigned on is going to be implemented, but what we have seen so far is a very optimistic approach,” Shankar said.

Avery Shenfeld, chief economist of CIBC Capital Markets, said while the U.S. stock market has been climbing in part on enthusiasm that Trump’s administration might lower personal taxes, it could lead to uncertainty for the Canadian market.

READ MORE: What President Donald Trump will mean for Canada

“The enthusiasm from some voters in the U.S. is that they are going to promote U.S. production, if they were to do that it would be bad for Canada,” Shenfeld said.

“[But] the post-election rally will, at some point run, out of steam until we see what the new president actually brings.”

But, a good economy could mean higher interest rates in the U.S.

With higher oil prices and a strengthening dollar, things might be looking pretty rosy. But that could change when the U.S. Federal Reserve meets in two weeks time.

“To me it’s a good thing when the economy does well, it means growth, job creation, people are getting a steady income – but that also means because economic activity is ramping up, the Federal Reserve steps in and increases rates,” said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at Bank of Montreal.

What does a hike in interest rates in the U.S. have to do with us, you ask? According to Lee, an increase in rates from the Federal Reserve will strengthen the U.S. dollar –  and that weakens our dollar.

“If their dollar is higher, ours weakens, which is good for exporters,” said Lee. “For anyone who wants to do cross border shopping it’s not so good.”

— With files from the Associated Press

Saskatchewan veteran speaks out about experience with anti-malarial drug mefloquine

A Saskatchewan veteran who served in the military is speaking out about his experience with the anti-malarial drug mefloquine.

Mefloquine is a drug prescribed to Canadian soldiers when deployed to zones known to have the malaria disease.

Dave Bona was administered the drug during the 1990s for two separate deployments to Somalia and Rwanda.

When he returned to Canada, he wasn’t the same.

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    “Why are they still issuing this drug? It makes no sense. It’s almost as if they actually don’t care about their soldiers,” Bona said.

    “The only driving factor is cost. This is the cheapest drug out there.”

    In 2013, a boxed warning was added to the label of the drug by the Food and Drug Administration, citing “neurologic and psychiatric side effects” associated with its use.

    Dr. Remington Nevin, an anti-malarial medication expert based in Baltimore, Md., said during Bona’s deployment, soldiers weren’t properly briefed on the effects mefloquine had.

    “It’s very disappointing that Canadian Forces soldiers received no warnings; no education at all about the important safety information that was necessary to follow,” he said.

    “U.S. soldiers at least in theory, received a copy of the approved product insert describing under what conditions they should stop taking the drug, such as symptoms of anxiety, depression, and restlessness.”

    “Canadian soldiers received no such warnings.”

    READ MORE: U.S. Army commandos told to stop taking antimalaria drug mefloquine

    Nevin added that the drug can cause brain damage, and has symptoms that may include insomnia, nightmares, depression, to even more severe side effects such as panic attacks, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts.

    Dr. Andrew Currie, head of the Communicable Disease Control Program with the Canadian Armed Forces, denies that there is any evidence that links permanent brain damage to the drug.

    “I think I echo those of us who provide care to our members, that it’s important that we understand the symptomatology and look out for the health of our members,” he said.

    “When you read the scientific literature, and we’re talking about millions of doses of mefloquine, there’s nothing in the evidence that links permanent brain damage with use of mefloquine.”

    Bona doesn’t understand how the military can continue giving the drug to its soldiers after the negative side effects he, and other veterans, experienced while on the drug.

    He remembered that on the first day they were required to take mefloquine, everyone’s behaviour changed.

    “It was like a horror show. The screaming, the yelling, guys getting up walking out of their tents; everyone was having the vivid dreams,” he recalled.

    “As that tour progressed, who I was started to evaporate.”

    He still suffers from symptoms. He believes the drug caused abdominal problems, vertigo, dizziness, and occasional episodes of “insane anger.”

    “At times it’s like another person has dropped into our life,” his wife, Teresa Untereiner, said.

    “It’s not Dave. His behaviour, his personality, changed.”

    “Physiologically he changed as well too.”

Scottish Diaspora Tapestry tells globe-trotting tale of Scots, on display at Atwater Library

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, which displays over 300 hand-embroidered panels, is on display at the Atwater Library and Computer Centre, in Westmount.

It tells the stories of Scots who settled in places far and wide across the globe and is considered “Scotland’s contribution to the world.”

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    The tapestry was stitched by volunteers with Scottish roots from around the world to show aspects of their new countries and the Scottish influence there.

    The library first got involved due to its longstanding collaboration with the St. Andrews Society of Montreal, which paid for the installation of the hanging railings. They will remain in place once the tapestry moves on.

    The Montreal panel of the tapestry was embroidered by Moira Barclay-Fernie, past president of the society, and member Suni Hope-Johnston.

    “[It was] sent to Scotland in good time to be steamed and stretched, ready for display with the other almost 300 panels from 33 countries across the globe, of which Canada and Australia completed the most panels,” the St. Andrews Society of Montreal explains on its website.

    “The Diaspora Tapestry was, and is, intended to tell the Diaspora’s tales back to Scotland so that those in Scotland will be better informed and educated about Scotland’s contribution to many other countries around the globe.”

    The Montreal panel shows McGill University, the Bank of Montreal, the fur traders, the first Presbyterian Church, the railway and steam ship systems.

    The tapestry will eventually end up in Prestonpans, a small town just east of Edinburgh where it was created.

    The tapestry will be on display at the Atwater Library until Saturday, Dec. 10 2016.

    Admission is free.

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#GreatMTLer: Rosie Animal Adoption’s Anne Dubé, saviour who gives dogs 2nd chance at life

Anne Dubé found her true calling in life 15 years ago — simply because she has a love of dogs.

READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Gabriel Bran Lopez, the educator who lifts up Montreal’s youth

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    She is the founder and executive director of Rosie Animal Adoption, a rescue service that runs out of the Pierrefonds Animal Hospital.

    “We get home surrenders, pound surrenders, puppy mill surrenders,” she said.

    “The phone rings all the time [with] people wanting to surrender their animal or people wanting to adopt an animal.”

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Meet Judy Kelley, teacher, mother and tireless volunteer

    The organization, named after Dubé’s beloved dog, which she rescued at two months of age, is considered a precious resource on the West Island.

    READ MORE: Meet some great Montrealers

    “They told me she was going to be euthanized because of her eye problem,” she told Global News.

    “So I took her and she needed her eye removed because her eye was pierced — and she just never left my home.”

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Do you know a Montrealer doing great things in the community?

    Rosie became the mascot, and the raison d’être of Rosie Animal Adoption, which aims to connect vulnerable pets with loving owners.

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Meet Alexandre Taillefer, the visionary with a strong social conscience

    “Some of our other dogs are dogs that have been abandoned in the woods, hit by cars, abused,” said Dubé.

    “How resilient they are, how they can still love people after all we’ve done to them.”

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Guardian angel Shirley Hunt takes care of those in her community

    Pierrefonds Animal Hospital vet K.J. Goldenberg adopted five-month-old Ben from Rosie.

    “It is so important to have the Rosie staff and volunteers. They rescue dogs that no one else would think to rescue,” he said.

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Meet Kim Reid, the giver who founded On Rock Community Services

    “They give pound dogs a chance, they give dogs coming from puppy mills a second chance — we need them.”

    “Because Rosie works with fosters, they know their personalities. They can really help you match up. They know the right questions to ask.”

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, the creator of WatchMojo长沙桑拿

    Rosie’s relies heavily on volunteers to keep going.

    WATCH BELOW: Meet some Great Montrealers

    #GreatMTLer: Gabriel Bran Lopez, the educator

    04:16

    #GreatMTLer: Gabriel Bran Lopez, the educator

    03:32

    #GreatMTLer: Franca Sparapani, the giver

    03:53

    #GreatMTLer: Ashkan Karbasfrooshan

    03:47

    #GreatMTLer: Storyteller Roxann Whitebean

    03:54

    #GreatMTLer: Kim Reid, founder of On Rock Food Bank

    03:53

    #GreatMTLer: Judy Kelley

    04:02

    #GreatMtler: Alexandre Taillefer, the visionary with a strong social conscience

    03:42

    #GreatMTLer: Fabienne Colas, unstoppable force behind MIBFF

    03:37

    #GreatMTLer: Shirley Hunt, guardian angel



    “Some of these dogs come in, in terrible terrible shape,” said Zina Hussein, a volunteer at Rosie Animal Adoption.

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Storyteller Roxann Whitebean has a unique view of the world

    “[Dubé is] the epicentre of this rescue, she’s the heart and soul of this rescue. She has the ability to inspire people.”

    “She works 24/7 [and] when she’s not helping dogs, she’s on the phone leading adoptions, helping the fosters that go out, doing paperwork, there’s so much that goes into it.”

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Franca Sparapani, the giver who helps vulnerable seniors in the South Shore

    Now, at the age of 67, Dubé jokes that she’s ready to retire, but she’ll never give up on the dogs.

    READ MORE: #GreatMTLer: Meet Fabienne Colas, the unstoppable force behind Montreal’s Black Film Festival

    “If there wasn’t a need for us, I would say ‘good, we can close, there’s no more homeless dogs,’ but until [then], they need a second chance.”

    There are so many Great Montrealers around us. If you know someone who should be profiled as part of Global News’ Greater Montreal campaign, don’t forget to nominate them!

    You can send us a private message on Facebook, tweet at us on 桑拿会所 or by e-mail:

Death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine drives Manitoba volunteer searchers

WINNIPEG —; The 2014 discovery of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine’s body – wrapped in a garbage bag and discarded in the Red River – shook Winnipeg to its core.

To this day, it prompts residents of the city’s North End neighbourhood, a low-income area with a high crime rate, to try to prevent others from meeting a similar fate.

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RELATED: Dozens march in Winnipeg to remember Tina Fontaine

With virtually no public funding, they comb the river, the shoreline and the streets, determined to make a difference. Bad weather doesn’t deter them. Neither does the very real risk of danger.

“Tina Fontaine’s untimely demise – the disrespect that was shown to her personhood – was the last straw for myself, my family and mycommunity at large,” James Favel said, who relaunched a dormant street patrol called the Bear Clan in 2015.

Armed with flashlights, reflective vests and two-way radios, Bear Clan members break up into groups of eight or nine and methodically walk the neighbourhood block-by-block. They pick up drugs, paraphernalia and weapons lying on the ground. They hand out packages of food and safety items to the most vulnerable.

They ask everyone they come across how they are doing. At all times, they engage.

“How are you doing? You OK?” Favel asks a teenage girl as he leads his group down one residential street.

The girl is not eager to talk. A man in his 30s is nearby. The girl refers to the man as her boyfriend, but the Bear Clan has seen her before and is concerned the man may be exploiting her.

They ask her if there is anything she needs. She and the man leave and go into a building. They know there are eyes on the street.

A few blocks later, a used syringe is found outside the entrance to a nursery school. Bear Clan members pick it up with pliers and put it in a container.

“It used to be that when we found needles, they would be in a quiet, hidden-away location,” Favel said. “Now they are everywhere.”

It is, relatively speaking, a quiet night. A large knife is found on the ground and put away safely. A police tactical unit surrounds and enters a house, causing one Bear Clan group to temporarily stop its progress.

A sex-trade worker, who appears very intoxicated, thanks patrol members for food they give her. Then she tells them, somewhat politely, to get away from her “office.”

There are no violent confrontations on this night. Patrol members are greeted warmly as they walk through the grounds of a public housing complex where children are playing.

The Bear Clan Patrol relies on private donations. A pharmacy has given them naloxone kits to help people who overdose on drugs. Favel and others cover many costs out of their own pocket.

RELATED: Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol launches in Regina, Kenora; more chapters in works

When a toddler disappeared in March near Austin, Man., a Bear Clan crew drove the 300-kilometre round trip and paid for fuel and other expenses themselves.

Drag the Red

One kilometre to the east, the same type of personal commitment drives Kyle Kematch and other volunteers in a group called Drag The Red. Kematch and Bernadette Smith, who have both seen loved ones disappear, set up the group following Fontaine’s death.

RELATED: Drag the Red volunteers receive new training to help with their search

Kematch’s sister, Amber Guiboche, disappeared in 2010. He hopes that by scouring the Red River – by motorboat, canoe and walking along the shoreline – he may be able to bring closure to his family and others.

“What keeps me going is my sister. You’ve got to keep going for your family,” Kematch said, as he prepares to put in a canoe donated by a local wilderness rental business.

“What would you do if your loved one was missing, right? You’d do the best you can.”

The Red River is where some of the missing end up. In 2003, an arm and a leg belonging to Felicia Osborne were pulled from the river, three months after she disappeared. She was 16.

WATCH: Drag the Red increases search efforts

On this day, Kematch is joined by Melvin Pangman, who lost a nephew to suicide in the river.

“I heard of a group called Drag The Red and I gave them a call and Kyle was there immediately. And he searched right until my nephew came out of this water, and ever since then I’ve been helping him.”

Pangman’s daughter, Kayleen McKay, raised more than $14,000 in May, running 450 kilometres from Duck Bay to Winnipeg. She donated money to Drag The Red so that it could buy a motorboat.

Before getting into the canoe, Pangman – dressed in a jacket and tuque against the cold weather – says he keeps giving his time and energy so that other families of missing people might have hope that their loved ones will be found.

“It’s just to give people hope. Really, that’s what it’s all about – just knowing somebody is out there doing something, trying.”

Ontario teens charged after rocks thrown off highway overpass smash through car windshields

Two teenagers from Peterborough, Ont., have been charged after rocks thrown from a highway overpass smashed through windshields in the same area where police say a local boy was fatally struck while throwing snowballs in a similar incident a decade ago.

Ontario Provincial Police launched an investigation in late September after rocks were thrown at 15 vehicles from the Highway 115 Bypass near the Bensfort Road exit.

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Police said some of the vehicles sustained significant damage and rocks also smashed through the windshields of a tractor trailer and a minivan.

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“I think they were in great, great danger,” OPP Const. Jason Folz told Global News, adding that many of the vehicles were travelling more than 100 km/h when they were struck.

The OPP made “exhaustive” efforts to track down the suspects with the help of an Emergency Response Team, canine units and patrols by both uniformed and plain clothes police officers.

Folz said the result could have been catastrophic, adding the suspects were difficult to track down due to the “sporadic” nature of the incidents over the past few months.

Police announced Thursday that two Peterborough boys aged 13 and 14 had been charged with 15 counts of mischief endangering life. They are scheduled to appear in a Peterborough court on Dec. 12.

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“It’s a pretty significant charge the one of mischief endangering life and we’re talking 15 counts each,” he said, adding he hoped the suspects realized the seriousness of the charges.

“If not certainly the justice system will convey to them how serious it actually is and could be.”

He added the drivers were “shaken up” by the incidents but no injuries were reported.

Folz said a 16-year-old Peterborough boy was killed in January 2006 while throwing snowballs on the nearby Ashburnham Street overpass, when he ran across the southbound lanes of Highway 115 and was fatally struck by a minivan.

“That’s the next exit over,” he said. “So playing on the highway in this manner is dangerous for everybody.”