The Man Who Decapitated His Seatmate on a Greyhound Bus Is Set to Be Released
After sawing off a man’s head with a Rambo knife six years ago, Vince Li will soon be able to leave the Canadian psychiatric unit behind for short periods of time and take a bus around the nearby Selkirk community on solo visits.
I called up Chris Summerville, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and executive director of the Schizophrenia Society of Manitoba. Chris considers himself a friend of Li’s and conductedthe only interview Li has ever given to media. We talked about his relationship with Li, whether the general public should be worried that he might stop taking his meds once he’s free, and trying to explain mental illness to people who believe that if you kill someone, you should be locked up for life, regardless of mental health issues.
VICE: Describe your relationship to Vince Li.
Chris Summerville: It’s been a relationship of rapport and developing a friendship, providing self-help services to him, peer support services, and helping him understand his mental illness. Basically, being a non-therapeutic person for him. Everybody’s asking him therapeutic questions, he needs somebody who can just talk to him in a personal, one-on-one way.
Vince Li’s psychiatrist from the Selkirk Mental Health Center, Dr. Steven Kremer, says Li runs a low risk of re-offending once back in the community. What does that mean?
It means the psychiatrist does risk assessment. What they evaluate is whether or not he has insight into his illness. And he does have insight into his illness. They also evaluate whether he is compliant with his medication and understands the need to take the medication, which he is and does. Also, [assessing whether] he has any addiction problems, which he doesn’t. Does he have any sociopathic traits? He doesn’t. He’s an ideal patient, he hasn’t had any altercations with any of the patients since he’s been [at the Selkirk Mental Health Center], so he’s really an ideal patient.
We Interviewed the White Supremacist Running for Mayor of Toronto
Don Andrews is a self-described white racist and the leader of the Nationalist Party of Canada. He co-founded far-right white supremacist group the Edmund Burke Societyand waged war with Toronto’s communists in the 70s. His front door and car have been bombed by various resistance groups, and a house he owned was burned down while he was on vacation in Mexico. Don’s other claims to fame include being the first person in Canada to be charged with promoting hate and having Toronto’s laws changed specifically because of him—he came in a distant second in the 1974 mayoral elections, but that scared council enough to change the law that said the runner-up would take the mayor’s place if the position became vacant between elections. (Today, council gets to choose the replacement.) He’s run multiple times since then, his previous attempt being in 2010.
After hearing that he had put his name in the race for the 2014 election, I decided to visit Don in his home near the Beaches neighborhood. As a little Asian girl who used to hang out with anarchists, you can imagine that I was a little apprehensive meeting the guy at his home. What I wasn’t expecting was to be welcomed into the house by a heavily limping 71-year-old man who’s fairly well versed in history and geography. Nor did I expect to have a civil, in-depth interview with Andrews that lasted over an hour. The following is an edited excerpt of our conversation.
VICE: On Wikipedia, you’re identified as a Neo-Nazi. Do you agree with that label?
Don Andrews: Well what does “neo” mean? “New” or “like”? I’m not a new Nazi, OK? [Am I] like a Nazi? Well the Nazis were imperialists. They took off and tried to subjugate other peoples. I’m against that. I’m a nationalist. So I’m a racist, I’m a white racist, I’m a white nationalist, and I’m just a man.
When did you start developing a white-supremacist attitude?
Well, let’s say over a period of time where I saw the city changing. The whites were disappearing, and anyone who complained about it was immediately attacked as being something worse than a war criminal. A racist. Not to be a racist is to be an idiot. Everyone’s a racist, and if they say they’re not they’re liars.
kids have to play on that, you know?
Over the past decade, prescription pills have become the latest drug-epidemic bogeyman. A study published earlier this year claimed that one in four American teenagers have misused medications at least once—a 33 percent increase from 2008—and OxyContin has been leading the charge. The painkiller’s active ingredient, oxycodone, gives users a feel-good high similar to heroin and is much easier to score than other hard drugs. But how did it get so popular in the first place?
A Look Inside Illegal Canadian Weed Grow Houses from the 1990s
In the mid-90s, photographer Victor John Penner did some pro-bono work for Jim Skipp, his graphic designer friend in Vancouver, British Columbia that involved shooting a police chopper and some officers. A few years later one of those cops asked him to photograph some grow houses as they were being busted so they could submit pics for some sort of police award. For Victor it sounded like an awesome opportunity to gain a veritable backstage pass to what was then a mostly unexplored and shady underground scene. The project became the series Not Safe to Occupy, named after the warning the cops would tack to the door of grow houses after every bust. We recently asked Victor about his haunting, candid shots.
VICE: Can you give us some context on what things were like in Vancouver back when you shot these?
Victor John Penner: Back then, the citizens of Vancouver were blissfully ignorant about what was going on in every neighborhood as far as grow houses went, but in general, pot was such a part of the fabric of the city that they stopped paying attention to its casual use.
At the time that I shot [these photos], there was definitely organized crime running the show. But they were much more low profile than the explosion of very public gang violence that happened here in 2009, when there were 20 killed and 40 wounded in the first three months of the year while the street price of BC Bud hit $3,000 and up per pound.
A School in Ontario Staged a Fake Massacre for a Police Training Exercise
Journalism students at Sheridan College, near Toronto, were ordered to take down video and photos (which you can see in the gallery above) of a mock school shooting that have ruffled some feathers with the school’s faculty and administration.
On November 25, the college hosted a training exercise for the Halton Regional Police Department. Students from the school’s musical theatre program acted as if they had been shot dead, complete with fake wounds and blood.
The scenario took place with two shooters played by plainclothes cops. About 100 students and staff participated in the event, with 15 playing dead and a further 10 playing wounded.
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Canada’s New Medical Weed Program Puts the Poorest Patients Last
At the moment, 40,000 Canadians are currently authorized to possess medical marijuana. Until April 2014, these patients can purchase their supply from a licensed personal producer, or they can get permission to grow it themselves, but soon every Canadian medical marijuana user will be forced to comply with a new medical program that will push them to buy legal medical weed from commercial government-regulated facilities.
Canada’s new “Marihuana for Medical Purposes” (yes, they spell it with an ‘H’ for some reason) program is creating an emerging for-profit market that will regulate crop control, dump money into the economy, and attempt to position Canada as one of the world’s top exporters of medical marijuana. But it’s the patients who are caught in the middle of an evolving system that threatens to make medical weed so expensive many will no longer be able to afford it, forcing them to continue growing their own personal stashes—which will be illegal as of April 2014—or buying it from regular ol’ pot dealers.
According to Health Canada, no one’s trying to turn sick Canadians into criminals with these new laws. It was more in response to problems with the current Marihuana Medical Access Program(MMAP), which a Health Canada spokesperson says is “open to abuse.”
What’s Going On in the New Rob Ford Video?
This has been a terrible week for the Rob Ford administration. On Tuesday afternoon, Ford admitted that he has smoked crack cocaine, which inspired a nearly unanimous string of mockery from every late-night TV host and Twitter account owner in the world. More importantly, that admission, after months of question-dodging and denial, sounded more like a proverbial fuck you to the City of Toronto and its many hard working councilors and employees who are not currently embroiled in a crack related crime scandal. Then, about an hour after the crack admission, VICE reported that Amin Massoudi, Rob Ford’s spokesman, allegedly hired a hacker to destroy the crack tape on a private server—an allegation that Amin denied hours after we published our investigation, despite not answering several of our very specific requests for comment days before.
The Toronto media has been blue-balling the public all week with hints that there are more bombshells to come, and that’s not surprising. The 474-page surveillance document released last week is so heavily redacted with swaths of thick black ink that clearly there are more, presumably ridiculous, revelations to come. As a journalist, it’s somewhat thrilling. As a Torontonian, it’s exhausting and sad.