The oldest school in Cork Ireland has recently posted a video on their Facebook page asking the public if they have the number to call "Ghostbusters" because it seems their hallway is haunted by a ghost who hates lockers.
(Larger version of the video at the bottom of the page)
Footage from the school's closed circuit TV shows shows locker doors slamming shut, unites being rocked back and forth and even books flying through the air.
In a meeting on December 9, 2020, the Montreal City Council voted down an amendment that would have funded body cameras for Montreal police officers. The defeat of the proposal — by a vote of 34 to 27 — was just the latest turn of events in the years-long, zigzagging effort to make the cameras part of the SPVM uniform.
Now, in the wake of the wrongful arrest of Mamadi Camara, supporters of the measure have once again renewed calls for additional police accountability. Here's a complete history of the political evolution of the proposal, and where it could go from here.
The initiative saw metro, traffic and neighbourhood patrol officers test out cameras made by Axon Public Safety Canada Inc.
"In order to better protect both the population and our police officers, we must, as a responsible metropolis, seriously consider the solution of portable cameras," then-Mayor Denis Coderre said at the launch of the pilot.
Then-SPVM director Philippe Pichet supported the project, suggesting body camera videos could serve to counter viral footage from witnesses of police altercations.
"Over the past few years, we have seen several videos of police interventions that have made citizens react," he said.
"Except that these videos did not always show the entire intervention. There was almost always only one side of the coin."
"Portable cameras will make it possible to show another angle of police interventions."
What was the result of the Montreal body camera pilot?
In a January 2019 report, the SPVM concluded that "the experience of the project did not unequivocally demonstrate that portable cameras promote the transparency of police interventions."
The report claimed that the cameras had "little impact" on police interventions, though it noted that members of the public who encountered participating officers generally felt the cameras "[were] a good thing and that they [provided] a sense of security, or even extra protection, for both the police officer and the citizen."
Police also argued that body cameras could serve to "weaken the bond of trust between the population and the organization, or even the justice system" if ever there were footage of a highly publicized event that investigators did not release to the public, for investigative purposes, for instance.
Finally, and perhaps most critically, the SPVM attached a $17.4 million price tag to a large-scale deployment of body cameras in the police force, plus an additional $24 million per year.
Axon, for its part, seemed to dispute these estimates, saying in a statement submitted to Montreal's public security committee that "false ideas" about price were based on "outdated studies."
Ultimately, however, the city government decided not to move forward with body cameras. Mayor Valérie Plante made the announcement at an executive committee meeting on February 6, 2019, citing, in part, the projected costs.
"We can't sweep it under the rug, it's a major investment," she said, also mentioning perceived shortcomings in the technology used in the pilot.
"The investment would be worthwhile if we were guaranteed that the technology was there. [...] But that's not the case."
What has happened since then?
Calls for Montreal police officers to wear body cameras peaked again during the surge of racial justice protests that began in spring 2020 following the police killings of, among others, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
One petition to make cameras mandatory amassed over 150,000 signatures.
On June 2, 2020, as Montrealers took to the streets to call attention to systematic racism in the city, Mayor Plante said the city hoped to work "as fast as we can" to continue conversations with the provincial government to implement body cameras for the police force, though she didn't give a firm timeline.
The opposition in City Hall, meanwhile, has consistently pressed the administration to adopt body cameras.
Lionel Perez, leader of Ensemble Montréal, said Plante's call to shelve the project in February 2019 was the "wrong decision for Montreal and the SPVM."
Later that year, in light of a report that identified "systemic bias" towards racial minorities by the SPVM, the party once again urged for the adoption of portable cameras.
In a November 2019 statement, City Councilor Abdelhaq Sari, opposition spokesperson for public safety matters, stated that "Mayor Plante has refused to defend Montrealers' interests and bowed to the SPVM's arguments without realizing the impact this will have on all those who denounce racial profiling."
"Montrealers are in favour of body cameras. They've been proven. They are known to contribute greatly to modifying behaviours by both sides during a police action," he continued.
"Given the troubling data contained in the report on police stop-and-checks and racial identities, we need concrete solutions to curb racial profiling within the SPVM."
In February 2020, Ensemble Montréal publicly demanded that the city introduce body cameras for officers by 2021.
What happened at the December 9, 2020 Montreal City Council meeting?
Perez and Sari proposed an amendment to the city's Ten-Year Capital Investment Plan that would have diverted money from the Réseau express vélo — a signature project of the mayor's party — for body cameras.
In a December interview with MTL Blog, independent City Councilor Marvin Rotrand, who voted in favour of the amendment, bemoaned that opposition to the cameras hinged in part on the SPVM's predicted cost for their implementation — a cost the councillor claimed is "ten times higher than what it would cost in Toronto."
"The evolution of the technology means that the cost argument is no longer valid," Rotrand said, further charging that "there's no political will for the majority party to do this."
What effect has the Camara case had on the body camera movement?
Montrealer Mamadi Camara was wrongly arrested following an attack on an SPVM officer on January 28, 2021. He was released from detention six days later on February 3, in light of new evidence that exonerated him.
Just days after his release, Ensemble Montréal once again made a formal call for the implementation of body cameras, arguing that the technology would "help avoid arbitrary arrests."
"It's time to stop playing games!" Lionel Perez declared in a statement.
"For two years we've been asking the Plante administration to act on this matter; each time, all we've gotten are excuses."
"Body cameras have unanimous support; we just have to pull our heads out of the sand."
Mayor Valérie Plante, meanwhile, still says she supports the measure, but added in comments on February 8 that "it's about making sure that this time is the good time, so we don't spend money on something that doesn't work [...] as it should."
The mayor referenced the need to ensure that body camera footage could hold up in court, a prerequisite that the technology in the 2016 pilot project did not fulfill, she has previously explained.
"I don't have hesitations towards the body cams or buying them right now, but the point is, it has to work properly," she told MTL Blog.
The mayor said she has been discussing body cameras with the provincial minister of public security, Geneviève Guilbault, and that the Government of Quebec has expressed willingness to support a camera project.
"We want it. We want it as soon as we can," Plante concluded.
Ensemble Montréal plans to table its own motion calling for the "immediate permanent implementation of body-worn cameras on SPVM officers" in a city council meeting on February 22.
"We're not giving up until the Plante administration gives in," Perez said.
"Montrealers of every origin must feel protected from police repression in their city. The tragic events of recent days involving Mr. Camara demonstrate that action is needed now, for the good of us all."
"We're done accepting lame excuses and empty promises from Valerie Plante."
But this could actually work. It may sound crazy, but as Ken points out, Scotland is closer to Canada than America is to Hawaii, and that in today's day and age, geographical proximity isn't necessary for two countries to be united.
Ken believes that Scotland would have more independence if it joined Canada, seeing as how it would automatically become the 3rd largest province, with 5.3 million people. Also, they would be able to maintain control of their courts, education, health care and immigration policies.
We already have a little bit of Europe in Canada, thanks to Montreal. Now it's time to put a little bit of Canada into Europe.
And considering the amount of Canadians who have Scottish heritage, I'm sure they would fit right in. With a little bit of luck, they might just give us discounts on Scotch, which makes this deal worth it alone.
If you're like me, you're always thinking of the next travelling adventure you can escape on. At least twice a day I can be caught daydreaming about all the tropical places I want to travel to in (hopefully) the near future. But can you blame me? With unreal travel pictures posted on Instagram and Facebook daily, it's almost impossible to avoid.
The one thing that usually crushes all of our grand daydreams is the cost. Europe is super expensive, especially right now when the Canadian dollar isn't doing so hot. But these European Islands are surprisingly affordable! So start planning your travels right now!
We all know that Greece is a dream destination. It's many islands are abundant with white, sandy beaches and the towns are filled wit Greek culture and amazing cuisines. Kos, Greece is no different. It is known for it's soft beaches surrounded with bright blue waters and the town is filled with Greek and Roman landmarks making this vacation not only relaxing, but also a cultural experience.
Visit Neratzia Castle, Tree of Hippocrates, and the Asclepeion temple to fully embrace this Greek getaway.
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Cheapest Meal: $8.00
Cheapest 3-Star Hotel: $62/night
Cheapest Beer: $2.00
Croatia is an beautiful vacation destination that just can't be missed when you're travelling to Europe. The water here is an amazingly bright blue and the forest are lush and green. You must take some time to explore Mjlet National Park while you're here, hike through the amazing forest, find some hidden waterfalls and swim in the two salt water lakes! Spend your days wandering around the town to find some cultural experiences as well as shopping in the abundant markets!
Norway is a slightly cheaper island destination than most right now but it is beautiful nonetheless. The island is completely car-free making it a quiet paradise from a bustling city life. The little houses on the island are simple and cute bring the roadless town together and creating a unique experience for tourists. Though, this island does not have any beaches, their seafront is all rocks but it is still comfortable for sunbathing and swimming!
Don't we all just want to jet off to an Italian destination and drown ourselves in pasta, gelato, and breathtaking views? Well, if this is your dream than Capri Island is definitely the place you should go. It is best known for it's natural Blue Grotto, which is a cave on the island and when the sunlight streams in it causes the water to light up bright blue, like something out of movie! Also, you can indulge in high end shopping in designer stores, which are all over this island.
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Cheapest Meal: $8.00
Cheapest 3-Star Hotel: $100/night
Cheapest Beer: $4.34
The rugged landscapes of this unreal island connected to the mainland by a bridge, is one you definitely shouldn't miss on your next trip to Europe. Take a day trip to The Storr to hike through the amazing landscapes then visit the Dunvegan Castle to see some classic Scottish architecture. Stay in the town of Portree, which has many pubs and boutiques for tourists to explore!
This island is an amazing French destination that you definitely won't be disappointed with. You must visit the town of Sauzon for the best views of the bright blue ocean waters, the cutest lighthouses and classic churches throughout the town. If you're looking for white sandy beaches, then you must go to Bangor next and spend your days relaxing by the water!
Another unreal island destination in Greece, this one is actually super affordable for tourists right now! It is made up of many small towns filled with Greek culture. Visit Adamantas to see some gorgeous white and blue buildings, soak in some natural hot springs, and relax on the white sandy beaches! Next, go to Plaka for some hiking, more classic Greek architecture and a whole lot of relaxing beach days.
Tenerife is the largest of Spain's group of islands called the Canary Islands. The most amazing part of this island is the towering dormant volcano, Mount Teide, which tourists can enjoy hiking for some seriously unreal views of the whole island. There are numerous beaches on this island with all different colours of sand, whites, yellows and even black sands!
This amazing German island in the Baltic Sea. It is known for it's unreal kitesurfing beach, basically dedicated solely to this sport. If you're interested in trying this adrenaline-rushing activity, then this is definitely the spot to come, it's also fun to sit and watch as well! There's also an abundance of countryside fields and meadows for scenic morning walks. Enjoy your days relaxing on the sandy beaches all day every day!
Many people wouldn't think of Estonia while they're planning their next Europe trip, but it actually has so much to offer you definitely shouldn't miss it! The island of Hiiumaa is the second largest island in Estonia and is the perfect destination if you're looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation. Take a kayaking trip around the islets of Hiiumaa, explore the town and the lovely churches all over, and check out the gorgeous harbours and markets!
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Cheapest Meal: $12.00
Cheapest 3-Star Hotel: $70/night
Cheapest Beer: $5.50
Inisheer is one of the three islands that make up the Aran Islands in Ireland. This island is filled with ancient churches and castles that are now beautiful ruins. Take a walk over to Cill Ghobnait, which is a castle that lays in ruins now. Visit the ruins of the church Teampall Chaomhain Caomhan. The surrounding waters of this island are also home to many adorable dolphins, you can take a boat tour out into the waters where you can ride right next to the amazing creatures!
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Cheapest Meal: $11.20
Cheapest 3-Star Hotel: $50/night
Cheapest Beer: $2.13
The Cies Islands in Spain are a small archipelago of islands located in the Atlantic Ocean. The most amazing beach on this island is Rodas Beach, which links the islands of Monteagudo and El Faro. Hike through Los Ninos Lake for some amazing bird watching, a pre-Roman settlement and breathtaking views from the top of the cliffs. Try snorkelling and scuba diving if you're looking for some aquatic sports to take part in!
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Cheapest Meal: $7.35
Cheapest 3-Star Hotel: $57/night
Cheapest Beer: $1.50
Madeira is a small archipelago of 4 small islands in Portugal. It's known for it's tropical climate, refreshing wines, and rugged cliffs and natural environments. Hike up Pico de Arieiro or hike up Cabo Girao, both featuring some amazing views at the top of the cliffs! Spend some time on the white sandy beaches, soaking up the sun and cooling of in the bright blue waters.
Europe is like the holy grail of backpacking destinations. It's almost a rite of passage once you finish school, to pack your bags and head off to Europe with a best friend or significant lover to have the time of your life.
It's yourchance to see the world and some of the most amazing architecture, partying and food you'll ever find. Since Europe is such a small continent all those magical countries are packed in together making it so easy to hop from one to another by train or bus!
The only downfall of backpacking Europe is that it can get a little pricey. So if you still want that once in a lifetime experience, but are looking to save your bucks as much as possible, these European cities are where you should go.
Travelling Europe isn't out of your reach anymore!
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Average Meal: $4.48
Average Accommodations: $8.50/night
Average Beer: $1.18
Kiev is a very historical city in Ukraine. Their main attraction is the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, a monastery which encompasses several gold-domed churches. It is included on the World Heritage list and is a must-see when you visit Ukraine.
Kiev also features many gorgeous buildings with ancient architecture. If you wish to learn more about the history visit the Golden Gate Museum.
Budapest is a very interesting city. It is split into two regions by the Chain Bridge, with the hilly area of Buda at the top and the flat area of Pest below. Budapest is also widely known for its amazing food culture. Try their traditional stuffed cabbage, hungarian soup or a range of delicious pasta dishes.
Bucharest is the gorgeous capital city of Romania. There's some amazing things to see while you're in this city like their magnificent Parliament building with 1,100 rooms or their Arcul de Triumf. It's also one of the cheapest locations in Europe right now, so don't worry about spending big bucks while you're there.
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Average Meal: $10.00
Average Accommodations: $20/night
Average Beer: $4.00
Naples is an amazing location to visit in Italy. From authentic pasta dishes to beautiful water-front views you won't be disappointed here. It's also home to the famous Mount Vesuvius, an active and constantly smoking volcano that tourists can climb!
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Average Meal: $5.50
Average Accommodations: $10/night
Average Beer: $1.50
This city is filled with historic monuments and churches that hold an amazing amount of culture and beauty. Visit the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral or the Boyana Church while you're there. Walk around the streets and enjoy the never-ending amount of street art as well!
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Average Meal: $4.50
Average Accommodations: $15/night
Average Beer: $1.50
Prague is known for it's historic culture. Their Old Town Square, Charles Bridge and many other colourful buildings and churches offer many places for tourists to explore while they're here. You can also catch some rare Pokemon too!
Belgrade, Serbia has so much to offer. Whether you enjoy exploring beautiful architectural buildings, such as the Belgrade Fortress, enjoy strolling through parks on a relaxing afternoon, or spending your days in one of the numerous cafes and restaurants, there's something for everyone to enjoy here!
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Average Meal: $6.50
Average Accommodations: $15/night
Average Beer: $2.20
There's so many beautiful things to see in Croatia, plus it's also one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe right now. It's filled with unreal national parks and gorgeous beaches. The city of Zagreb is no different. With amazing cathedrals, lakes and museums to visit, this city contains all the culture you could ever want on your trip.
Lisbon is packed with fun activities! Take a tram and explore the city streets, visit one of their beautiful beaches for a relaxing afternoon, or visit some of the crazy castles and monuments! Oh, and don't forget to try an authentic Pastel de Nata (Portuguese egg tart) while you're there.
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Average Meal: $4.50
Average Accommodations: $12/night
Average Beer: $1.75
Krakow, Poland is known for it's preserved medieval core and their Jewish quarter. Visit some amazing castles like the Wawel Castle or see the unbelievable underground chapels and lakes of the Wieliczka Salt Mines!
The core of Sarajevo, Bosnia is filled with history and monuments representing their previous struggles. They have monuments representing the 1914 assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which began World War 1, and a monument representing the 1984 Winter Olympics. You can visit their magical springs and rivers as well.
Okay, there's no European location better than Greece. With the classic white houses built into the hills with a background of bright blue water, it's an unbelievably magical destination. Greece is a bit more expansive than the average European country but Santorini is actually cheaper than most. Relax on their unlimited beaches, soak in hot springs, or go on an adventurous volcano hike!
This will be one trip you most definitely won't forget.
Madrid is one of the most beautiful and elegant cities in Europe. You can stroll down their classic boulevards, walk through their manicured parks, or stroll through the halls of their magical art museums. Visit the beautiful Plaza de Cibles, pictured above!
Berlin is an amazing city to explore, and there's many ways to enjoy it for cheap too. Take a trip up Reichstag dome for a fantastic, panorama view. Or tour the art house for only €7 and see an amazing collection of graffiti. You can also visit the Berliner Dom pictured above!
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Average Meal: $16.00
Average Accommodations: $20/night
Average Beer: $6.00
Nice is a gorgeous city in France, that's an undeniable fact. Explore the amazing beaches in and around this city for some sun-tanning time or have some wine on a terrasse with a view of the French Riviera! They also have some amazing museums and cathedrals to explore.
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Average Meal: $16.00
Average Accommodations: $22.50
Average Beer: $3.85
Florence is probably my favourite city in Italy from when I traveled there. It has beautiful cathedrals such as the Florence Cathedral pictured above or the Basilica of Santa Croce. They also have an amazing leather market where you can buy leather purses, wallets, shoes, and belts! Don't forget to check out the Ponte Vecchio, which is a medieval stone bridge filled with art galleries you can walk through.
Dublin is a super cool city which features a perfect mix of nature and city life to experience while you're there. Visit the Cliffs of Moher for some amazing views or go to the guinness storehouse where they first created the famous beer. The nightlife is very impressive here, which is perfect for young travellers and Irish people are some of the nicest you'll ever meet!
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Average Meal: $10.95
Average Accommodations: $14/night
Average Beer: $3.85
Known for it's artistic and musical history, being home to Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud, this city is something special indeed. Check out their palaces, like Schönbrunn Palace or visit Prater, their public park with a giant ferris wheel. There's some amazing culture to absorb in this city and you definitely won't want to miss out.