Canadian True Crime - Major Case Updates & Feedback 2023—Part 1

Episode Date: November 14, 2023

[Part 1 of 2] In this two-part series, we report back on cases that have had major updates or have attracted notable feedback over this past year. Kristi will also be addressing some of the most commo...n comments and feedback received.Part 2 is available ad-free now on CTC premium feeds: Amazon Music (included with Prime), Apple Podcasts, Patreon and SupercastAvailable to all in one week - November 21.Approximate timestamps4:00 - Disappearance of Madison Scott8:00 - Saskatoon Freezing Deaths - Darrel Night10:40 - The Brampton High School Shootings15:00 - Legacy Christian Academy Scandal19:00 - Kelly Favro’s Story (Publication Bans)33:00 - Opioid Crisis Feedback41:00 - Lush & Whiteway Families (Newfoundland Car Crash)47:00 - January Lapuz Feedback1:03:00 - Responding to more generic feedbackMore info:PODCAST: Crackdown is an awardwinning and highly-regarded Canadian podcast led by and about people who use drugs, and their stories.JANUARY LAPUZ: follow Florence Ashley and X/Twitter. See the page for this episode at for all the sources quoted.LEGACY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY: More detail on the class action lawsuit here, and you can donate to support the ex-students hereBOOK GIVEAWAY: Lay Them To Rest by Laurah Norton - it's easy to enter for the chance to win one of five hardcover copies. Deadline November 30. See link above for T&Cs.Full list of resources, information sources, credits and music credits:See the page for this episode at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Canadian True Crime is a completely independent production, funded mainly through advertising. You can listen to Canadian True Crime ad-free and early on Amazon Music included with Prime, Apple podcasts, Patreon, and Supercast. The podcast often has disturbing content and course language. It's not for everyone. Please take care when listening. Hi everyone, I hope you're well. It's that time of year where we report back on some cases we've covered that have had major updates or have attracted notable feedback. Cases that we're covering include the disappearance of Madison Scott from Hogsback Lake in British Columbia, the Lash and Whiteway families car crash in Newfoundland, a surprise guilty plea
Starting point is 00:00:42 in the Legacy Christian Academy case and Kelly Favreau is joining us with an incredible update about her journey with the women of my voice, my choice, to change the law around publication bands. We also have significant updates on Dellen Mellard, Mark Smitch and other convicted criminal serving sentences with lengthy parole and eligibility periods. We'll also update you on the Renfrew County Massacre inquiry and recommendations. The latest controversies involving Paul Bernardo, the Brentwood 5 and Matthew DeGrood, and many more, and they'll be presented across these two episodes in no particular order.
Starting point is 00:01:21 To see the list of all the cases we're discussing and the approximate timestamps give or take a few minutes, see the show notes and as always there will be a quick summary of each case to get you up to speed. Part 2 will be available in a week, and for those listening, add free on Amazon Music included with Prime, Apple Podcast, Patreon, and Supercast, you will have it well before then. Whether you're listening to the ad supported or ad-free version, thank you so much for listening, and thanks also for your ratings and reviews, constructive feedback and supportive messages. I really appreciate it. These case updates episodes are a good opportunity to provide a thoughtful
Starting point is 00:02:02 response to some of the more common or notable pieces of feedback related to each case. And instead of giving individual responses, this means that we get to deliver this response to everyone who wants to hear it. Over the last year or so, there has been a noticeable uptick in angry listeners, which I'm sure is mostly a reflection on the state of the world right now. But there has been some very passionate feedback expressed about some of the cases we have chosen to cover, so stay tuned for all of that and again if you're interested check the time stamps.
Starting point is 00:02:35 One last thing before we begin, there is an amazing new True Crime book fresh off the press that has just landed a spot on Oprah's best new true crime books. And we've got hard cover copies to give away to five lucky listeners. The book is called Lay Them To Rest by Laura Norton, who was a writer, academic researcher, and host of the highly regarded podcasts The Fall Line that covers cold cases that haven't received much or any public attention. Lay them to rest as Laura's first book and it's a fascinating deep dive into the dark world of forensic science. Laura takes the readers behind the scenes that she teams up with a biological anthropologist to solve a cold case in real time, skillfully breaking down layers of complexity in
Starting point is 00:03:22 a way average readers like me can understand. Described as engrossing and formative, heartbreaking and hopeful, lay them to rest as a gripping must-read for anyone interested in true crime. To support Laura's book, we've got five hard copies of lay them to rest to give away to Canadian listeners. It's easy to enter and no purchases required. For full details, visit slash book. The deadline to enter is end of day, Thursday, November 30th. That's slash book.
Starting point is 00:04:00 And with that, it's on with the show. And with that, it's on with the show. The Unsolved Disappearance of Madison Scott In May of 2011, 20-year-old Madison Scott and a friend attended a party at Hogsback Lake in British Columbia. They were supposed to camp for the night, but the friend decided to leave, and Maddie was eventually left there by herself. This was the last time anyone saw her. For more than a decade, her family have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of her case, in the hope that they might eventually find her. Their staged events held fundraisers and plastered towns with missing posters. In May of 2023, there was a huge and sudden update to this case. The RCMP announced they had found
Starting point is 00:04:56 remains that were confirmed to be Madison Scott, almost 12 years to the day since she was last seen. The remains were found at a rural property located within about 10 kilometres from Hogsback Lake, where Maddie had last been seen camping with friends. In response, her family released a statement on their website,, saying they were extremely appreciative for the continued support but kindly asked for privacy. The statement said in part quote, While there is some relief that Maddie has been found, we are left with many questions that now has us motivated to find answers to truly bring Maddie home. The emotions that we've experienced since Sunday cannot be summarized. As a family, we now
Starting point is 00:05:46 have the opportunity to allow Maddie to rest, although nothing has been planned. We trust that with patients, persistence and belief that we will receive answers and remain motivated to achieve closure. A week after Madison's remains were found, a candlelight vigil was held at Nechaco Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof, attended by a massive 2,000 people. A report from Global News described attendees being invited to wear hockey and baseball jerseys in her honor as a nod to her love of both sports. Former classmates remembered Madison as vibrant, happy, always smiling and always in a good mood. Finding her remains is just one piece of the puzzle though, and the investigation continues
Starting point is 00:06:36 with the RCMP confirming they were searching the rest of that property. There is no information about how the remains were found, where on the property they were, or if the owners of the property are considered people of interest. The RCMP have not released Maddie's cause of death and say that foul play has not been ruled out. Although no charges have been laid and no arrests made, an RCMP spokesperson said they weren't aware of any danger to the public related to the discovery of the remains. Quote, the investigation remains an active and ongoing missing person's investigation. So, the RCMP and not classifying it as a homicide just yet.
Starting point is 00:07:25 But anyone with information that might further the investigation is encouraged to call the RCMP tip line. The details are in the show notes, along with the link to, where you can find all the most up-to-date information about the investigation. Our thoughts are with the Scott family and all of Maddie supporters at this time. We hope for their sake, there will be more answers coming soon.
Starting point is 00:08:00 Saskatoon freezing deaths Saskatoon freezing deaths. The description for this episode starts. In 2000, Darryl Knight was having a night out with friends when he was picked up by the police. He thought they were going to take him to the drunk tank, but instead, the car went in the opposite direction. That freezing cold January night, Darryl Knight was driven to the outskirts of Saskatoon, where he was abandoned in the snow without any winter clothes.
Starting point is 00:08:32 As you remember, Darryl had quite a struggle to survive in minus 25 degrees Celsius, and he almost succumbed to hypothermia, but he was able to find his way to a power plant, and there happened to be a worker there who heard him banging on the door. In the days afterwards, the frozen bodies of two other indigenous men Rodney Nistus and Lawrence Wegener were found around this time in the same area. Darrell decided he had to come forward with his story as a living survivor. In speaking out, he effectively confirmed what had long been suspected. The Saskatoon police were profiling and picking up intoxicated indigenous men, driving them to remote locations on the outskirts
Starting point is 00:09:20 of town and abandoning them in freezing temperatures, knowing they likely would not survive. So the update is that in April of this year it was announced that Darryl Knight had died, age 56. The cause of his death has not been released publicly. A wake and funeral for him were held at Soto First Nation. His former lawyer, Donald Worm, told Jason Warrick of CBC News that there's no question that Darryl Knight made a difference in the city of Saskatoon. Quote, his name is synonymous with pushback against police misconduct in the city. But even though there have been several investigations and inquiries into the practice,
Starting point is 00:10:08 leading to some firings, no Saskatoon police officer has ever been convicted criminally in relation to any of the freezing deaths. Lawyer Donald Worm told CBC News that although the overt racism within the police force has diminished, there's still a lot of work to do, combating institutional racism and other forms of injustice. Rest in power, Darryl Knight. The Brampton High School Shootings
Starting point is 00:10:47 This was the story of the first ever mass shooting at a secondary school in Canada and how it spurred changes to Canadian firearms laws. Sixteen-year-old Michael Slobodian went to school armed with two powerful firearms, killing student John Slinger and teacher Margaret Wright, and seriously injuring more than a dozen others. You remember that one of the first people shot in the washroom was 16-year-old Richard Shatterack, who sustained a chest injury and needed several surgeries. A listener who was familiar with his family sent us an article that inadvertently provides
Starting point is 00:11:26 an update about Richard. His brother is a man named Gordon Shatterack, a celebrated visual artist who was interviewed by a writer named Ed Seaword for his website and published earlier this year. The article includes the following sentence, quote, �We are celebrating Richard Shatterak's 60th birthday on the date he was born, hence the oddness, because Richard is not with us. He lost his battle with depression, with PTSD, the previous year. We were extremely sad to hear this news about Richard Shatterack, our thoughts are with his family and his loved ones and anyone at Brampton Centennial Secondary School who knew him. The other thing we wanted to mention in relation to this episode was something that I've
Starting point is 00:12:17 learned is extremely important to firearms enthusiasts, who reached out to provide feedback about an incorrect term used to describe one of the firearms used that day. The Marlin 444 lever action rifle. In the episode, we described this rifle as, quote, a powerful military-style firearm recommended for hunting large game like deer and moose and known for its knockdown power. Some listeners familiar with firearms reached out to let us know that lever action rifles haven't been used by any modern military.
Starting point is 00:12:54 And so, including military style as a descriptor is perceived as an important distinction loaded with political meaning that a lay person likely isn't aware of. One listener said that describing it as military style is, quote, the type of harmful language the liberal government is trying to push into our media. Another said, quote, I am sure you will receive lots of messages about the perception of bias by listeners. So, to respond to messages like these, this podcast has never actually taken an advocacy
Starting point is 00:13:32 position on gun control in Canada. We were only reporting on the history of gun control laws, and we have no idea what messaging the federal government might be pushing onto our media about it. So for those that read something into what we said, the phrase, never attribute to malice that which could easily be explained by incompetence comes to mind. So to explain the reason why we include descriptions of firearms is to show how each of them impacted the victims and survivors of the shooting. And while we make every effort to fact check the primary case details of every crime we cover,
Starting point is 00:14:12 minor errors can sometimes occur with those details on the peripheral, whether the error comes from the original source document or human error. This particular error, or describing it as military style, came directly from the news archives. And absolutely, in a perfect world, we would have double checked every single tangential detail like descriptions for firearms or geographical distances as another example.
Starting point is 00:14:39 On the other hand, we have to maintain a reasonable balance between making sure the primary facts of the case are accurate so we can release an episode in managing expectations of absolute perfectionism across the board, which can never be achieved. In this instance, we have determined that removal of that specific detail, military style, really makes little to no difference to the facts of the case from the perspective of victims and survivors. The Marlin 444 lever action rifle may not have been used by modern military, but it remains a powerful firearm that caused catastrophic injury. That's it, we do like to be accurate, so we removed the phrase from the episode.
Starting point is 00:15:25 Thank you again to everybody who took the time to send us a message. The Legacy Christian Academy and Mile 2 Church scandal. and Mile 2 Church scandal. So where we left off, four men had been charged in relation to the Legacy Christian Academy allegations about the school in Saskatoon formally known as Christian Center Academy. Each of these men were in positions of authority over minors who attended the school, and we have a pretty major update about the former coach or director of sporting activities. 46-year-old Aaron Bennewise was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor while in a position of trust or authority between 2008 and 2012. As you recall, the complainant Jennifer Bodry, who we can name because she fought to have
Starting point is 00:16:26 the publication ban removed from her name, acknowledged that her former sporting coach started making eyes at her in 2008 when she was 13. Aaron Bennerwise was around 30 at the time and was married with children. Jennifer alleged her first kiss was with him when she was just 14. And over the years, he started calling her into his office to chat, which led to abuse allegations that Jennifer says occurred in the school van, in secluded rooms in the school and church, outside the school at his home and on school trips out of town. When Jennifer and her parents went to past a Keith Johnson about it, he encouraged Jennifer to go to the police, but suggested she
Starting point is 00:17:12 tell them she was 16 when the abuse started instead of 13. This would mean that the ramifications for Aaron Benerwice wouldn't be anywhere near as serious, and that is what she did. But after the CBC investigation was published last August, Jennifer decided to set the record straight and told the police that she was actually under 16. At the time, Aaron Benerwice's lawyer issued a statement saying, quote, based on related media coverage to date, Mr. Benawise is concerned about the accuracy of the reporting, but on my advice, he does not wish to be interviewed. So what's the big update? On October the 5th, 2023,
Starting point is 00:17:58 Benawise pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation, according to reporting by Dan Zakresky of CBC News. Benner Wise's lawyer sent a statement that said he has, quote, taken responsibility for the highly inappropriate relationship he had with a teenage athlete when he was in a position of trust over her. Jennifer Bojory pointed out that her former coach spent a long time denying facts, quote, So to see him have to step up to the plate and face his demons and say yes, I am guilty of this
Starting point is 00:18:34 felt really really good. I know that there's a lot of people in my shoes that don't get this opportunity. Jennifer said that she was anticipating her sentencing hearing which was scheduled for January. The former students are continuing to move forward with their class action lawsuit. If you would like to donate or need more information, please see a link in the show notes. We wish them well. The chilly Canadian weather is here and if you're anything like me, you're already dreaming about two things. How you can escape it to bask in the warmth of your next sun-filled vacation and score an amazing deal in the warmth of your next Sun-filled vacation and score an amazing deal in the process.
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Starting point is 00:20:39 away. To score your next vacation deal, visit That's for vacation deals so good you'll feel it. Kelly Favreau's story. These two episodes were about Kelly's story of being sexually assaulted by her former intimate partner, and it was only after the trial process that she realised her identity and name had been under publication ban for five years, something she never consented to or even knew about. She was also shocked to learn that there was no requirement for the Crown Prosecutor to advise
Starting point is 00:21:25 or request consent from the victim complainant in advance, nor is there any requirement to inform them afterwards that their name is now under publication ban and what that actually meant. Cali met a bunch of other women, sexual assault survivors who had similar stories to tell. Their identities preemptively put under publication ban without them knowing it. As part of that story, we told the stories of Jade Nielsen and Samantha Geiger, how when they tried to have their publication bans removed so they could speak publicly about their own experiences, they realized there was no real process and
Starting point is 00:22:05 a whole lot of buck passing. So Kelly and a growing number of women banded together and decided to do something about it so that no other sexual assault complainant would have to go through what they did. Where we left off with Kelly Favreau's story, the group of women had traveled to Ottawa at their own expense to lobby parliament during a review of the federal government's obligations to victims of crime. After a standing committee found the Canadian victims' bill of rights was poorly implemented and doesn't properly support victims and survivors of crime. The publication ban issue was just one aspect.
Starting point is 00:22:48 There were other victims there as well, including Charlene Bosmer, the wife of Tim Bosmer who was murdered by Delamalad and Mark Smitch. After they acted like they wanted to buy the truck he'd advertised for sale. I'll tell you more about that side of things in part two when we get up to that case update. So the Standing Committee's report made 13 recommendations about how to better support victims of crime via amendments to the Canadian victims' bill of rights, two of which were directly in reference to publication bans. The group of women also launched a petition in support of these changes, calling the federal government to improve things. We ask the
Starting point is 00:23:33 listeners to sign it, so thank you to everyone who signed the petition. They ended up with thousands of signatures and it made for a great statement of public support. So at the end of Califabro's story, we said that just like inquiry reports, recommendations are just recommendations, and the next test will be to see if the government does anything about it. And today, we have a big update.
Starting point is 00:23:59 I'm so pleased that Califabro is joining us to tell us what happened and how this group of women have changed the law for victims and survivors of sexual assault. As we mentioned in the episode, Cali Favreau and the women from my voice my choice made several trips to Ottawa at their own expense, but perhaps the biggest trip was made in May. I asked Cali to give us a rundown of what happened at that trip. So in May, we returned to Ottawa for a week long lobbying campaign to change publication ban laws. And so we were there to kick off the start of sexual assault awareness month as well.
Starting point is 00:24:41 We had 16 meetings over four days between two teams from my voice, my choice. We split into two groups of four. We went hard with the meetings. We met with senators and MPs and ministers, and all of them shared our opinions on publication ban laws. Some of them even said me too. So it was really nice, you know, sharing those moments with other people who are hurting who can benefit from the changes as well. So we ended up getting Bill S12 and it was introduced in the Senate in April 26th. And that was kind of what kicked us all off. So we basically had like four days to review the bill, see what we liked and see what we wanted to change
Starting point is 00:25:27 and see what amendments that we could fight for. The bill that the Senate sent back was a really nice bill. It was a nicer bill than what we originally had. I was saying that if a publication ban had been imposed, the court must at the first reasonable opportunity let the recipient know of their right to apply or revoke or vary the order. So it was a really empowering sort of part of the bill that was really important for us to see get put through. However, we did see a couple of issues with that. As the courts, notifying the victim doesn't really make a lot of sense
Starting point is 00:26:03 since they don't actually interact with the victim until the trial begins or if at all So the ban is ordered at the accused first court appearance, which the victim is not required to attend So it would make more sense for the prosecutor to be ordered to notify the victim since they interact with the victim pretty much right from the start So I mean that's we at least have it in writing now that the courts must let us know instead of, you know, it just being something that they should kind of do. The bill then also required the the courts to ask victim if they wanted to be the subject of a publication ban, if they're president court at that time. And then if they're not present, the court would have to ask the crown if they sought out the wishes of the victim or witness,
Starting point is 00:26:48 which is great. However, there's nothing that specifically says that the wishes of the victim must be respected and publication bands, as we all know, they've been ordered against the wishes of the victim before. So this is giving the courts, again, just a little too much power over the save a ban
Starting point is 00:27:02 on the victim's name, but this is a good start. It then went on to clarify obligations that the prosecutor has with the victim or witness with respect to the information on the right to seek or revoke or vary a ban. So it basically says the prosecutor needs to assist the victim in removing or varying the ban, which means that no one ever has to self-represent again, or hire a lawyer for the most part. However, I am not a lawyer, please not take my legal advice on this. But it means that, you know, because as your listeners know, I had a self-represent in BC Supreme Court, and that was a terrifying process because I didn't understand anything. There wasn't a lot of guidance. So with the prosecutor having to assist the victim in removing or varying it, we don't ever have to have another kelly ever again,
Starting point is 00:27:50 which is kind of nice. And then the biggest win for the majority of us, there was a part of the bill that made it clear that victims can no longer be charged with breaching their own ban, unless they compromise the privacy of another person who is also protected by a ban. So I mean, there's a lot of back and forth on this. We could debate this until the end of days. But the plane, plane, plane of it all is that victims will no longer be charged for breaching their own ban, which is fantastic because we all know about the Kitchener Waterloo woman.
Starting point is 00:28:23 Side note, we started the Cali Favreau series offered the story of a man in the kitchen-a-waterloo area of Ontario, who was convicted of violently sexually assaulting his wife as their children slept nearby. After the trial, the ex-wife emailed the court document to a small group of family and friends, which resulted in the perpetrator her husband complaining to the courts that she violated a publication ban. The thing was, it wasn't even his name under publication ban, it was her name. The sexual assault survivor who deserved privacy and protection from possible negative consequences. But because she was married to the accused, she could be linked to him so
Starting point is 00:29:03 his name was hidden as well. The survivor could have faced jail time and a fine, but luckily at the last minute, the crown saw reason back to Kelly. But the biggest win for me personally is that the accused or the perpetrator no longer has a say in the process of modifying or revoking a publication ban. I can't tell you how hard I cried when this was read out. You know, my perpetrator was able to stand up in court and make statements as to why I should be indefinitely silent. Another side note, you remember that even though Kelly's perpetrator Ken Erickson's name wasn't under publication ban, he was still entitled to provide a response to Kelly's
Starting point is 00:29:46 application to have her own publication ban removed and the court had to take it into consideration. So Ken told the judge he preferred the publication ban remain in place so that the case didn't attract any more attention. But the judge said he wasn't persuaded that Ken's concerns would outweigh Kelly's own request back to Kelly and that was degrading Like it's a humiliating thing to have the person who's caused you so much harm get after I be like, you know what she She shouldn't be able to tell the world what I did. Well, okay That's cute, but I'm going to
Starting point is 00:30:20 But yeah, so now it's officially law that the accused will not have any say in the process of anything involving the publication ban. And that's a huge win. That's a huge, huge win. So everything that I've just, you know, talked about, this became law on October 26th. And it was just so, it was just wild. Like I'm, I'm still trying to process it. And that's kind of why I'm starting over my words.
Starting point is 00:30:43 Am I done? Is this it? Like this has been a really, really long journey. I'm thrilled that this is done. I'm I'm thrilled that I can go back to having my life. I ended up having a baby in July. I was pregnant during the whole time this was happening. So I would like to get to know my family that I've been collected for the last year. Yeah, it's been a journey. We're taking a break from advocacy for surrounding publication bands.
Starting point is 00:31:14 We've gone as far as we can, right? This is it. So is there anything else that you still need to worry about, like any proposed amendments or anything like that that could result in anything you've done being walked back? I don't see any amendments coming towards this part of the criminal code until if anything after the next election. And what we would really like to see a committee get put together to actually discuss publication bands and discuss the changes
Starting point is 00:31:46 that have come into effect. Just to see how they're working and how everything's going along. Another thing that we learned in committee was there was a crown prosecutor who is testifying talking about publication bands and the MP, my MP actually, Randall Garrison ended up speaking to him and said, you know, how many people have these bands on their names? And the crowd's like, well, we don't know. We don't really track that information. And Garrison kept pushing and pushing and pushing.
Starting point is 00:32:15 Basically, the long of the sort of it is, the crowd ended up admitting that, like, basically no one ever asked the victim if they want the span on their name. And it's safe to say that everybody has the span on their name and he even said that he's never asked anybody if they want the span on their name. So there's a kick in the teeth. So what does that mean for other sexual assault survivors? So there's, I mean, this law came into effect in 1988, right? So it's 35 years of people not knowing they're under a ban, not knowing that they were, they were even asked if they wanted to go on a ban. Some of them probably know about it now. But for anybody listening, like if you've had a sexual assault case
Starting point is 00:32:54 since 1988 and charges has been pressed to use your perpetrator, there is a very good chance that you have a publication ban on your name and you are not legally allowed to discuss what happened to you. You can now go to a crowd, your crown prosecutor and say, hey, is a ban on my name? Because here's a lot now, you have to help me get it off. If you want to get it off, of course, you know, there's been so much, so much work done. I'm sorry to keep up with all this. Wow. Yeah. Yeah, I'm so glad it's done. And I know that other folks in my voice, my choice, feel the same as well. We're burnt out.
Starting point is 00:33:29 Like we gave a year of our life to this. It's been an expensive long journey. So it's over. Yeah, we're really happy. So we're glad that parliamentarians listen to us. We are very glad that they tried their best to make this law a little bit easier for those experiencing sexual violence. We'll see what happens after the next election.
Starting point is 00:33:53 Kelly, I know you wanted to say something to the listeners that helped by signing the petition and donating money. We're super thankful for just all the support and all the love that we've had and just specifically for your listeners, you're signing and sharing of the petition, your financial contributions and your messages of support and your retweets. That was awesome. We thank you so much. And thank you for, you know, just messaging us and saying,
Starting point is 00:34:22 me too, or I heard your story on Canadian True Crime, and here's what I think about it, and my God, go get them. But it was just so nice to get those messages of support. So I'll tell your listeners, I very, very much thank you, and just thank you. Kelly and I are going to be staying in touch. I mean, for selfish reasons, she's like a ray of sunshine. She's always so funny and jovial in spite of everything that she's been through and positive. I'm sure that we'll hear more from Kelly again, but for now, it is time for her to enjoy some time with her family and take a little break. So thanks again to Kelly, Jade and Samantha and to all the women from my voice, my choice,
Starting point is 00:35:06 who worked so hard to change the situation for other sexual assault survivors. You're all in inspiration. The truth about Canada's opioid crisis. In this series, we shared the stories of Sophie Brin, Seth McLean, Skycrasseweller, and Morgan Goodridge. Four young Canadians who came from completely different walks of life, yet all met the same tragic fate. Sophie Brin's mother, Mary Furhurst Brin, is a published author in her own right and because she had written about Sophie before, including for the Globe and Mail, I asked her if she would like to write about Sophie
Starting point is 00:35:51 again for our series. She did, and in the end, she took the reins on the rest of the series as well, which was amazing. So thank you so much to Mary and also to Shelby Procop Malar for suggesting and researching the history of opioids in Canada. Obviously, this series was incredibly polarizing for a number of reasons, but we received a great deal of positive feedback from listeners, so thank you so, so much. One listener said, I used to not understand the safe use sites near where I live. After listening to these series, I got a not understand the safe use sites near where I live. After listening to these series, I got a better understanding of the history, the reasons behind, and the rationale of disapproach. Many others said they learned a lot about Canadian history
Starting point is 00:36:36 and why things are the way they are in relation to drug policy. And as always, I learned a lot as well. Now when it came to constructive or negative feedback, a few listeners suggested that instead of just focusing on people who have lost their lives to the opioid crisis and their loved ones, we could have also included lived experience interviews with people who currently use drugs. Several listeners directed us to the Crackdown podcast, which is an award-winning and
Starting point is 00:37:06 highly regarded Canadian podcast led by and about people who use drugs and their stories. It's a very, very good suggestion and obviously we can't be all things to all people with our episodes, but I've included a link in the show notes for anyone who wants to check this podcast out. Again, it's called Crack Down Podcast. I also heard from listeners in British Columbia who made a very valid point. Even though BC is leading the way in Canada with safe supply and harm reduction strategies, we can't forget that these are emergency strategies designed to stop people from dying long enough for them to get treatment, whatever form that comes in. Harm reduction is just one of the four pillars. The others include enforcement, prevention and treatment. So if treatments for prevention, recovery and mental health are lacking, or unavailable to most of the population,
Starting point is 00:38:06 either because of cost, distance, or some other factor, then there's a big disconnect when it comes to harm reduction. And I've heard that BC is the same as many other provinces, and that they're falling behind in funding these treatments and services and making them more accessible to people who need them. After all, we know that a mental health crisis can lead to increased substance use, so it is imperative that governments invest in publicly funded healthcare options to help all citizens who need it.
Starting point is 00:38:39 This is Canada after all. So next time you hear a provincial government talking about privatizing health care, just know that private is private. It's only for people who can afford to pay for the best in health care. And for the rest who can't afford to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for mental health and rehabilitation treatment, they'll be left behind. So that's great feedback to pass on. Moving on, obviously there were also the usual complaints about the series being too long,
Starting point is 00:39:14 not true crime enough and of course too political. One person commented, gee, I wonder how the narrator votes. And I found that to be really interesting because I was open a few months ago about not supporting any political parties, because I think they're, frankly, all doing a terrible job across the board right now. It seems that none of our major political parties in Canada seem motivated to take any meaningful action that might help everyday Canadians. All we see is them blaming each other, breaking promises, passing the buck to federal or provincial governments and giving out vague statements that don't amount to any action. And I know from my friends and other countries, including of course Australia, that things
Starting point is 00:40:01 are almost exactly the same there as well. We're all facing very serious problems right now. We're still trying to recover from the upset of the last few years and now we're dealing with severe economic hardships, a cost of living crisis, unaffordable housing, unemployment and a lack of hope for the future. These are all things that are a direct result of government action or inaction and have all been linked to worsening mental health. History has shown us over and over again that in difficult times people turn to substances, drugs and alcohol to help the manage or dull the pain of living. So how can this not be political?
Starting point is 00:40:45 And some people just don't seem to realize that the criminal justice system is inherently political, so responsible crime reporting and analysis cannot be free of politics. And realistically, anything could be perceived as political, because governments are the source of politics and it is governments that have a hand in most aspects of our daily lives. Anyway, I hope that one day we can get to a place where the first response to a series like this is not to complain about perceived bipartisanship, but instead to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This is not about which party each of us votes for,
Starting point is 00:41:26 and what talking heads are stating as fact. This is about the increasing number of Canadians who are dying of toxic drug poisoning, and what the evidence, which is decades of science, tells us, will work best to help them. So, for me personally, I don't really care about politics one way or the other. I just want people to stop dying. Now one last thing before we move on. One of the people we profiled in this opioid crisis series was Sky Crasuella, the indigenous girl who experienced unimaginable trauma as she was shipped from foster home
Starting point is 00:42:03 to foster home by the BC government who was intent on finding her forever home. As we discuss, this focus on adoption at all costs was based on the recommendation of Mary Allen Terpall LeFond, known as a high-profile indigenous scholar and former judge, who in 2021 was appointed to the Order of Canada. But after a CBC investigation found little evidence for her claims of being Indigenous, Tupal Lafont has been embroiled in controversy. At the time of recording, it was just announced that at her own request, the governor-general has removed her from the order of Canada and terminated her membership. But it appears it's not because she is trying to write a wrong.
Starting point is 00:42:53 Trapal Lafond provided a comment about her request to CBC News. She said, I returned it because I don't want to be harassed by people who seem to make it their thing to kick others down. Life is too precious to give haters a seat at my table." The Lush and Whiteway Families This was the case of the horrific car crash in Newfoundland where John and Sandra Lush were driving their daughter Suzanne, her boyfriend Josh Whiteway,
Starting point is 00:43:33 and newly adopted Cat to the airport after a trip back home to visit family. Their car was hit by another car, and John and Sandra Lush were killed on impact, as was the cat. Suzanne Lush and Josh Whiteway were left with serious injuries. Josh is now in a wheelchair for life. The driver of the car was Nicholas Villeneuve, an intoxicated 22-year-old man driving home from a nightclub. Unfortunately, in the chaos of the crash, an RCMP officer had gone into Vilnerv's hospital room to ask him some questions. And although the officer cautioned him twice,
Starting point is 00:44:16 he did not properly inform him of his right to speak with a lawyer, because this is a requirement when a person of interest is detained, so the key issue before the court was whether Vilnerve was detained at the time or not. The trial judge found that he was effectively detained from the moment the RCMP officer began asking him focused, directed, and continuing questions about the incident. So the judge decided that all evidence collected after that point was not obtained properly because Vilnerve should have been told he could speak with a lawyer,
Starting point is 00:44:54 but he wasn't. So all that evidence was ruled inadmissible, including blood samples that proved Vilnerve was over the limit to drive. His admission that he had been drinking, as well as phone records and information from his vehicle. The crown has the burden of proof, so if they have no evidence to present, the chances of a conviction are slim to none. As you'll remember, the crown really had no other choice than to withdraw all eight charges
Starting point is 00:45:26 against Nicholasville, and that inspired a wave of protests and demonstrations in Newfoundland. The Crown ended up filing an appeal of the trial judge's decision to throw out all the evidence, and where we left off, the appeal had been heard, but we can now report on a decision. It ended up taking more than a year. In May of this year, the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal found that the trial judge, quote, made erroneous factual findings relied on irrelevant considerations and ignored the relevant consideration that the officer twice cautioned Mr.ville Nerve.
Starting point is 00:46:09 The appeal court's decision stated that this misapprehension caused the trial judge to mischaracterize the hospital encounter between the RCMP officer andville Nerve, and wrongly conclude thatville Nerve was detained at a point when the evidence did not support that conclusion. As an example, the appeals judges did not agree with the defence that the first 20 minutes of the encounter included focused, directed, and continued questioning, noting that the officer only asked Vilnerv variations of one question, what happened, or where were you going, the decision noted, quote, one question in 20 minutes does not support
Starting point is 00:46:54 that an officer continued to question, as was found by the trial judge. The appeals court found no evidence that the RCMP officer took advantage of Vilnerv's vulnerable position being confined to a hospital bed. The case was sent back to provincial court, and Nicholas Vilnerv was ordered to stand trial for all eight charges, including two counts of impaired driving causing death. In response, Crash Survivor Josh Whiteway told CBC News that he was relieved to see that finally some sense has been made of all of this. He said quote, nothing is said in stone or anything yet, but it means a lot for all of us to finally see the three judges get together and to agree that this was mishandled and that it
Starting point is 00:47:45 deserves to go back to trial. It's a good day for everybody. Josh also reflected on his journey so far, adding that the crash completely up ended his life at a time when his entire life and career was ahead of him. He was left partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair, and he had to move home to be closer to family as he recovered. He said that it was already tough, and it became even harder when the judge ruled the evidence inadmissible and the charges were dropped. He said, quote, You try not to think about it every day and night, but it creeps into your thoughts frequently.
Starting point is 00:48:26 We'll obviously be keeping tabs on this case and we'll report back when we have an update. It's fall, and you can get anything you need delivered with Uber Eats. Well almost, almost anything. So no, you can't get a maple tree on Uber Eats, but maple syrup, maple lattes, and maple bourbon. Yes, we deliver those. Turtles? No.
Starting point is 00:48:58 But turtles the dessert? Yes. Because those are groceries and we deliver those too. Along with your favorite restaurant food, alcohol, and other everyday essentials. Order Uber Eats now. For alcohol you must be legal drinking age. Please enjoy responsibly. Product availability varies by region. See you at for details. The Murder of January La Pooz This episode was about the murder of a beloved Vancouver community figure, January La Pooz, a woman who was violently stabbed to death in her own home by one of her clients.
Starting point is 00:49:38 Obviously, for this next part, there is a content warning for LGBTQ plus trauma, particularly transgender discrimination. We're going to address some of the key pieces of feedback received and look into where it stems from and whether it's true because there is a lot of misinformation going around right now. In 2021, transgender people became the focus of a new moral panic defined as a widespread feeling of fear Often an irrational one that some evil person or thing threatens the values interests or well-being of a community or society Moral panics usually arise in response to wider societal issues And are designed to take the focus away from the real issue and put it somewhere else, a person, group, or thing instead.
Starting point is 00:50:31 In the 80s and 90s, there was a moral panic over AIDS HIV, when the media started incorrectly calling it the gay plague, which effectively turned gay men into societal priors, and other people who caught AIDS HIV from other sources unrelated to the gay community were effectively de-legitimized. And from 2021, there has been another moral panic that accuses members of the LGBTQ plus community and their allies, particularly transgender people, as trying to promote a gay or trans agenda, which they believe is connected to child grooming. Moral panics are usually perpetrated by mass media coverage and exacerbated by politicians and public figures.
Starting point is 00:51:18 And as a result of this, we've seen a big push with misinformation and fear-mongering designed to make life harder for transgender people, which includes removing their right to health care. So it's for these reasons that I decided to include the introduction before the January LaPou's episode. I did expect that a flood of comments would come in, complaining that the podcast suddenly became political. One comment on our website says, wow, she became so woke is unbearable.
Starting point is 00:51:50 Such a shame it was a very good podcast to recently. And another said, go woke, go broke. CTC is getting overly woke starting to lose interest in the podcast. So to respond to this feedback, we have always portrayed LGBTQ plus issues this way. In 2019, we covered the murder of Tracy Tom, a trans woman from Vancouver,
Starting point is 00:52:16 and we provided the data around how transgender people are one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in society, routinely experiencing discrimination, harassment and violence at much higher rates. We also talked about November 20th, the transgender day of remembrance for those who have been murdered
Starting point is 00:52:37 in acts of anti-trans violence. I'm reading from the script from that episode, quote, as allies, this day gives us the opportunity to stand with the trans community and show them we support them as they simply try to live their lives. So that episode was released in 2019, and we barely heard a peep of complaint about this messaging. But in 2023, we are deep into the culture wars
Starting point is 00:53:06 with people scapegoating the LGBTQ plus community as the cause of society's problems. And even though on this podcast, we haven't said anything different to what we've been saying for years, we're getting a lot of negative feedback about being political. So from our perspective, we've always been vocal
Starting point is 00:53:25 in supporting the LGBTQ plus community. We believe that transgender people should be allowed to live as their authentic selves without risk of having their basic human rights taken away, being violently attacked, murdered, or discriminated against. We haven't changed at all. So that was the most generic level of feedback, but some listeners provided some additional arguments to support complaints
Starting point is 00:53:53 about our coverage of transgender people. Despite the fact that January's story was about a transgender person who was murdered, most of the arguments had nothing to do with what was in the actual episode. But in the spirit of open discussion and honest conversation, we have decided to look into some of these points to provide some clarity for anyone else wondering. Some people spoke in reference to the US politician who announced several months ago that trans genderism must be eradicated. These people claimed that they don't want transgender people to die. They quote, want to help them get better.
Starting point is 00:54:37 And they hate that the transgender is being pushed on kids. So my response to this is, you don't help people get better by trolling them online and trying to take away their rights and their health care. And besides, what does getting better actually mean? Who gets to define it? And did transgender people even ask for the general public's help in getting better?
Starting point is 00:55:03 Another complaint we received was from a person who identified themselves as a doctor, who supports the LGBTQ plus community, but went into detail about an issue they had specifically around gender affirming care of transgender minors. This listener's complaint was related to what they say is an international disagreement among experts in this field, which we're assuming means the field of transgender health. The listener says that the topic can be confusing for lay people because contradictory claims are being made about the basic science of providing hormone replacement therapy and puberty blockers to trans youth.
Starting point is 00:55:46 They refer to an editorial where a doctor argues that there is either not enough evidence to support gender-affirming medical care, or that the current evidence is too weak. Now overall, this is one of those examples of how moral panic messaging overrides everything else, including logic and reason. There was a generic message of support of the transgender community at the beginning of the episode, but there was no mention whatsoever of gender affirming care for miners, medical or not. January LaPouse was over 18 when she transitioned, so she wouldn't have needed it.
Starting point is 00:56:25 But overall, I have to say that I find it sad that instead of finding some empathy for a transgender person who was murdered, the first response is to argue against gender affirming care for miners. And we wanted to provide a response to this, but we're not experts in trans-health care. Luckily, it didn't take long to find one. Florence Ashley is an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, faculty of law, an award-winning bioethicist and jurist, or expert in law, who conducts broad-ranging research on issues faced by transgender people in the legal and health care systems. Florence Ashley is also the first openly trans feminine clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Starting point is 00:57:13 We consulted with Florence about the key points made in the negative feedback we received, and they told us, quote, the consensus in trans youth health is that miners should have access to gender affirming medical care. It's not only supported by the best available evidence, but it's also a matter of human rights. They go on to say that in most cases, critics of medical gender affirming care are not specialists in the field, they don't work in trans health and are not familiar with the literature nor the realities of trans people. And further to this, these calls for more research and more evidence, quote, ignore the fact that the level of evidence they are asking for just isn't common in medicine.
Starting point is 00:57:59 It turns out that evidence for gender affirming medical care is no more weak or incomplete than what is typical for other forms of medical care. A journal article titled Evidence and Health Decision Making Written by former CDC Director Thomas Frieden concludes that while there will always be an argument for more research and better data, to delay a decision while waiting for the perfect level of evidence and research is counterproductive. It's important to remember that trans health is not just a medical issue, but a human rights issue because the use of medical intervention via puberty blockers and or hormone replacement
Starting point is 00:58:41 therapy allows for self-determination and self-expression. To illustrate this in a way we can better understand it, Florence referred us to an article published in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, where they drew comparisons between attitudes to reproductive healthcare and trans-health care. So when it comes to reproductive healthcare, they point out that society generally accepts that access to birth control and abortion are a right, even for minors under the age of 18, despite an absence of evidence demonstrating how they've benefited the mental health of the patient. So why is that? Florence says, quote, because we think that being a parent
Starting point is 00:59:26 is such a huge factor in determining the very shape of your life, that it would be unacceptable for someone else to make that decision for you. The same logic applies to gender affirming medical care. Access to these shapes your ability to live out your gender day in and day out. Without it, you may have to live every single day in a body that doesn't reflect the way you see yourself." This is important because studies have consistently found that transgender and sexual minority adolescents are at increased risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt compared with their peers. One 2022 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that while stigma around identifying as a sexual minority has reduced over the last two decades, the risk
Starting point is 01:00:20 of poor mental health and of suicideality remains high among sexual minority youth. An about mental health, Florence Ashley points out that obsessing over mental health conditions in relation to transgender individuals can actually hinder trans health and their access to care. According to a 2020 study in the International Journal of Mental Health, trans patients often downplay or withhold mental health concerns from clinicians to convince providers that they are mentally ready to transition, because when they reveal symptoms of distress, they encounter significant barriers to treatment. There's a lot of misinformation going on and
Starting point is 01:01:06 another listener claimed that kids as young as two were being transitioned, that they're put on puberty blockers as young as eight and double mastectomies are done as young as 13. And it's easy to make these claims because there are no minimum ages for gender affirming medical care, just recommendations. What is actually done varies by province and territory, and healthcare providers have commonly said that decisions around gender affirming medical care are made on a case-by-case basis between patients and their doctors. The Trans-Youth Can Research Project reported that most patients referred to double mastectomies
Starting point is 01:01:47 or top surgery were 15 or 16 at the age of referral. A small percentage of them were 14 years old at the age of referral. In an article for the National Post, author Sharon Curley quoted one anonymous doctor who confirmed performing this surgery privately on one patient who was 14. But the doctor emphasized that younger mastectomy patients must have really good social support as well as realistic expectations and a long understood goal. Now when it comes to bottom surgery or surgery on the genitals in June of 2023, the Canadian
Starting point is 01:02:29 Pediatric Society released a position paper recommending the surgery should only be for those age 18 and above. Other forms of gender-affirming medical care include pubic blockers and hormone therapy. When it comes to miners being treated, most sources, including the Canadian Pediatric Society, recommends that puberty blocker medical treatments should not be prescribed before the onset of puberty. But again, there is no minimum age on this, because humans go into puberty at completely different times, there is no one age. Every person is different. These kind of medical decisions should be made by medical doctors who specialize in trans
Starting point is 01:03:14 healthcare. It seems that a primary argument for people who are critical of gender affirming care for transgender miners is that they are just going through a phase or have been brainwashed by the transgender and will one day change their minds, so they shouldn't be able to make permanent and irreversible changes to their bodies. These people seem to think that doctors are approving surgeries and hormones for younger and younger kids based on no evidence, but it just doesn't work like that.
Starting point is 01:03:47 And with the concern around transgender minors changing their minds, a 2022 study conducted by Olsen et al. and published in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics studied more than 300 transgender children who transitioned between the ages of 3 and 12. The study found that after at least five years of social transitioning, which simply means living as the gender they identify with, 94% of these children maintained their transgender identity. The researchers concluded that it is not common for children to re-transition back to the
Starting point is 01:04:26 gender they were assigned at birth. So when it comes to the concern that transgender people are mutilating their bodies forever, and that's a quote that was sent to me, why is there so much focus on this tiny, tiny portion of the population when gender- gender affirming medical care also includes breast enhancement surgeries, along with breast reduction, which miners are also able to get, nose jobs, vaginal rejuvenation, penis enlargement surgeries and more, trans people are not the only ones getting gender affirming care. This is a true crime podcast. We are not experts and trans issues or trans healthcare. When we tell the tragic story of a person murdered
Starting point is 01:05:13 who happened to be transgender, it is with the same empathy and compassion that we afford any other victim of crime. So it's quite frankly really odd to see people who are not experts or specialists in transgender health care, focusing so heavily on critiques on how their medical treatment is handled. Thanks again to Florence Ashley, an actual expert for consulting with us on this. You can follow them on X or Twitter at But Not The City. Or go to to learn more about them. Links are in the show notes, and we've also included all the sources
Starting point is 01:05:53 and journal articles we've referred to. Thanks also to Shelby Pro-Cop Malar for her research and consulting work on this. consulting work on this. I wanted to take a few minutes to respond to some of the more generic feedback related to the types of cases we cover, the level of detail we include, and the fact that you don't know when to expect a new episode. And I'll try to keep this response a bit more high level,
Starting point is 01:06:23 but I did want to explain how and why we choose cases to cover and how we make production decisions. I understand that for many listeners, the label of true crime means murder cases. There's no avoiding that. From a rational perspective, I think we all know that true crime actually means the criminal justice system. And the list of crimes set out in a catalog that we here in Canada know as the Canadian criminal code. And that list includes a lot more crimes than murder. It's obvious that the real issue here is likely that these angry listeners want to hear
Starting point is 01:06:58 about a murder case. And instead, they got a detailed deep dive into Canadian drug policy or the history of education in Canadian evangelical church schools. And I do get the disappointment. But what I don't understand is the tendency of some listeners to reach out and anger about it and make threatening comments. Another hot button issue that seems to make some listeners really angry is when we release a multi-part series instead of a stand-alone episode. So over the summer, we decided not to take our usual break and instead release two non-murder multi-part series. Because we wouldn't have been releasing episodes over summer anyway, I hope that this decision might placate those listeners, but instead that anger increased exponentially. Learned a big lesson from that one will be for sure taking that break next summer.
Starting point is 01:07:51 So I get that sometimes listeners don't want a detailed deep dive into a case. You want it summarized into one neat episode. And that's why shows like date line are so popular. It takes real skill to take cases of varying complexity and condense them into the same one hour time slot. But from my perspective, here's the thing that I wanna point out. This podcast has always been a detailed deep dive as evidenced by our very early multi-part series in 2017 on the murder of Victoria Stafford and also the crimes
Starting point is 01:08:27 of Robert Picton. And I always say I started this podcast as a passion project. And my particular passion is not just to tell a murder story, it is to look behind the established narratives to explore the nuance and context of complicated cases. So basically, these angry listeners are expecting the podcast to suddenly turn it to something that it isn't and has never been. But again, it's obvious to me that the real issue is not so much about a dislike of in-depth storytelling. They're probably more of a lack of patience
Starting point is 01:09:01 that listeners don't like waiting between parts of a multi-part series. And I obviously understand that as well. And if I was able to have all parts of a series ready to release at the same time, I definitely would. But that would also result in a longer weight between episodes and series, which also results in anger and complaints. And I know there's no avoiding the fact that this podcast is an entertainment product. It can be easy to get lost in thinking about the entertainment value of it all. Why the mystery wasn't drawn out for longer, why the details weren't summarized more, and why are some true crime podcasts able to release weekly episodes, yet we don't
Starting point is 01:09:43 even have a set publication schedule. So rather than getting into a detailed explanation about how we make each decision and why, I'll explain why we think it's important to dig into the details and provide necessary context and helpful and educational information where possible. Why we feel it's important to treat every case with the seriousness and gravity it deserves and how that necessitates a flexible production schedule. We try to make ethical and responsible decisions at every step of the way, but this is a non-journalistic podcast, analyzing cases that may be more than a hundred years old, so it isn't always appropriate or possible to contact or engage
Starting point is 01:10:25 those on the victim's side. But when we do work with family members, friends, or loved ones of the victim, we follow trauma-informed practices, which means recognizing what these people have experienced, how it might be affecting them currently, and trying to minimize further harm. In practice, what this means is that we try to center them and their feelings in the telling of their story, not our own deadlines, production schedule, or listener expectations. We don't push them, we give them space when they need it, and the choice of how they participate in the episode, whether they would want to be interviewed and if so, what exactly
Starting point is 01:11:05 they would want to speak about. And even when these and other precautions have been taken, we recognize that these people may still be unexpectedly retraumatized in the process and might have to take a break, perhaps indefinitely. So what you see in the podcast feed is only the tip of the iceberg. We are always working on a number of projects behind the scenes with the loved ones or those on the victim's side, but we won't ever release an episode until they are okay with it. Now in the cases where it's not possible or appropriate to engage with those on the victim's side, we have to consider that they will find the episode
Starting point is 01:11:45 sooner rather than later. And we'll listen along to the story of what was likely the worst day of their life, or perhaps a very important event in their own family history. They are still real people. These are still real stories and I believe they deserve more than a superficial retelling that leaves out the important nuance and context. I also feel that in many cases, doing superficial retellings can be exploitative.
Starting point is 01:12:13 Of course we're always working to make improvements to identify areas of the case that don't need a deep dive and make episodes less repetitive and more concise. Even now, after I've recorded each script, I still make decisions to cut things out in post-production. But when it comes to high-profile and or detailed cases especially, I do believe it's irresponsible and a risk to reduce it to a single standalone episode. And that brings us to another thing that I have to point out. There have been instances of legal action and a lone episode. And that brings us to another thing that I have to point out.
Starting point is 01:12:45 There have been instances of legal action taken against podcasts and true crime content creators related to libel or slander. And this wouldn't have been a worry in 2017 when Canadian true crime was just a hobby podcast with a couple of hundred listeners. But these days, the podcast has a high profile here in Canada and many critical eyes. So that means a higher chance of someone taking
Starting point is 01:13:11 issue with something. I've recently discovered that because of all the unethical operators in the true crime space, insurance providers don't trust any of us to be accurate. So they won't provide coverage for media liability unless there is confirmation that a lawyer reviews each episode before it's released. And that might be reasonable with a new eight-part investigative series released by a major production house. But it's a completely different prospect
Starting point is 01:13:40 when we're talking about an independent anthology style podcast that releases episodes most of the year. So I hope that this helps you to understand why we have to prioritize being so careful with the details, the exact language that we use, and the way we present the facts of each case. All additional layers and processes that were not at all necessary when this was a hobby, but the landscape has changed and we have much more to take into consideration. So that's why we have a flexible production schedule, why we decided to stop releasing episodes on a set day and instead guarantee at least two episodes most months whenever
Starting point is 01:14:22 they're ready. This has also resulted in some angry listeners accusing us of being lazy, so I took a look back at the number of new episodes we released in the last 12 months and compared it to the 12 months before that. We typically only released 20 brand new case-based episodes a year. Between November of 2021 and 2022, we released 23 new episodes, and since November of 2022, we've released 26 new case-based episodes, and that's not including the three others that we updated and re-released. So even though we've moved away from a regular production schedule,
Starting point is 01:15:05 we have still released three more new episodes in the last 12 months than we did in the year before that. For the many listeners who have been patient and understanding, we thank you so much. We appreciate it. Overall, I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Obviously, we want to keep as many listeners happy as we can. And I don't expect everyone to like the cases we choose to cover. The podcast cannot be all things for all people. And believe me, I have tried. As someone who started this as a hobby with no expectations of being a public figure, a business owner, an entrepreneur, or anything else, I've tried many different approaches over the years just so that I can continue to produce
Starting point is 01:15:48 this podcast in a sustainable way. And obviously, I am a very sensitive person. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that. And I think that that sensitivity is a benefit to how I tell stories. But I don't like the thought that I'm making people so angry, even if I might think their reasons for that anger might not be warranted. Regular listeners might remember being invited to do a survey about the podcast a couple of years ago. I wanted more data than one-off reviews or feedback sent in, and I figured that if I got enough of you to reply to a survey,
Starting point is 01:16:23 that would give me so much better and consistent data to use in making decisions. I was thrilled when we got more than 3,000 responses to the survey, but I learned that some people like multi-part series, some don't, some like the background music, others prefer without, some like solved cases only, and some don't mind. The only thing that may have been helpful was to find out that 28% of you listen to the podcast as you were going to sleep, which was quite surprising. Let me tell you.
Starting point is 01:16:56 So now, several years after that survey, the reality is that we receive critical and negative feedback after almost every episode. It doesn't really matter what we do, so I had to make a decision. When I decide what cases to cover for this podcast and how to cover them, I have to follow my own passions and interests and balance that with ethical and responsible practices
Starting point is 01:17:20 as much as I can, otherwise it's almost impossible to make decisions. So, to those listeners who get angry at me or the podcast, I'm hoping that by explaining how and why we make the decisions we make, you can better understand why it is so important that I treat the subject matter with the gravity and seriousness it deserves. Thanks for understanding. So that's where we'll leave it for part one. In part two, we'll discuss feedback around the AI voices, as well as major updates about the trial of Jacob Hogard, the Brentwood 5,
Starting point is 01:18:02 Paul Bernardo, the giant mine murders, Dellen Malard and Mark Smitch, the Renfrew County Massacre, and more. Thanks for listening and special thanks to Anya Best for researching these case updates. Please see the show notes for the full list of resources and links for further information on any of these cases or the podcast, including how to access ad-free episodes on our premium feeds. You can also find this info at Audio editing was by Nico from the Inky Pau print, aka We Talk of Dreams, who also composed
Starting point is 01:18:39 the theme songs, and production assistance was by Jesse at the Inki Paul Print. Additional research, writing, creative direction, and sound design was by me, and the disclaimer was voiced by Eric Crosby. I'll be back in a week with part two. See you then! you

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