Episode 299: In this episode, we explore a dark chapter of Winnipeg’s criminal history, centred on the “Yuletide Bandit,” notorious for his holiday-season robberies in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Michael David Syrnyk, known for targeting banks and armoured vehicles, executed his crimes with a reckless disregard for human life, often using firearms and viewing his victims merely as obstacles. His choice of the festive season for these heists added a cruel irony to his crimes, starkly contrasting with the spirit of joy and family. One notable incident was a shootout at Winnipeg’s Polo Park Mall, causing terror among Christmas shoppers. The dramatic end to his criminal spree came with a 12-hour standoff involving a former girlfriend, leading to his capture. This episode not only recounts Syrnyk’s heinous acts but also underscores the lasting impact of his crimes on the victims and the broader community in Winnipeg.

Dark Poutine will return on January 8th, 2024, ad-free on Amazon Music and in our regular feed on January 15.

Sources:

NATIONAL REPORT Gunfight at Winnipeg mall has shoppers ducking

Red Deer Advocate 13 Dec 2000, page 14

The Winnipeg Sun 05 May 2002, page 3

The Winnipeg Sun 08 May 2002, page 1

23 years in the nick for Yuletide Bandit

Waterloo Region Record 26 Dec 2002, page 5

North Bay Nugget 18 Dec 2002, page 9

The Kingston Whig-Standard 26 Dec 2002, page 48

The unlikely suspect in hostage-taking had hidden arsenal

Hostage | 72 Hours S01E14 | True Crime

“72 Hours: True Crime” Hostage — s01e14 | Documentary, Crime|

Michael Syrnyk | News, Videos & Articles | Global News

Apr 2016: Winnipeg’s notorious ‘Yuletide Bandit’ makes first appearance before the parole board

‘I could be dead’: Security guard shot by ‘Yuletide Bandit’ frustrated by early parole | CBC News

Michael Syrnyk was released from prison on Friday | CBC News

The Yuletide Bandit: The Seven Year Search for a Serial Criminal by Mike McIntyre

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Episode 298: Last week, we learned how Chinese immigrants have significantly contributed to Western Canada’s development since 1788, playing critical roles in trade, gold rushes, and railway construction. Despite their contributions, they faced severe discrimination and exploitation, particularly during the railway construction in the early 1900s. Post-railway completion, they suffered rights losses and were subject to a prohibitive head tax, escalating to $500, which failed to deter immigration. Enduring nativist racism and accusations of moral and social threats, their plight culminated in the dark chapter of Canadian history on July 1, 1923, as the Chinese Exclusion Act came into law.

Sources:

Federal Exclusion Act – Province of British Columbia

Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 | Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Chinese Head Tax in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

1872 – Indigenous and Chinese Peoples Excluded from the Vote

When Chinese in Canada Were Numbered, Interrogated, Excluded

What was the Chinese Exclusion Act in Canada? 3 things you might not know – Beyond

Chinese Immigration records – Library and Archives Canada Blog

Douglas Jung

The Chinese head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act | CMHR

 Formal apology to Chinese Canadians

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Episode 297: The history of Chinese immigration to Canada is a story marked by adversity. Chinese labourers played a pivotal role in building the Canadian railway under harsh conditions, yet faced institutional discrimination, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923, which limited immigration and separated families for years. Despite these challenges, the Chinese community’s resilience has left an indelible mark on Canadian culture. Today, we honour their contributions and recognize the need to confront our history’s shadows, striving for a more inclusive Canadian identity that values people of all backgrounds.

Sources:

Was ‘old-stock Canadians’ coded language — or a simple screw-up? | CBC News

1872 – Indigenous and Chinese Peoples Excluded from the Vote

The Fraser River Gold Rush and the Founding of British Columbia

Chinese Head Tax in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Indigneous People

Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 | Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Federal Exclusion Act – Province of British Columbia

Sir John A. Macdonald – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Biography – CHU LAI – Volume XIII (1901-1910) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Chinese Head tax: George Yee’s story

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Episode 296: On December 6, 1989, a tragic and profound event shook Canada and had a lasting impact. That evening, a gunman entered the École Polytechnique in Montreal, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal. This act of violence was specifically targeted against women, marking it as a horrific instance of gender-based violence. The attacker, motivated by his hatred for feminists whom he blamed for his personal and professional failures, embarked on a rampage through the school.

The consequences were devastating — in less than 20 minutes, 14 young women lost their lives.

They were: Anne-Marie Edward, Sonia Pelletier, Geneviève Bergeron, Maryse Leclair, Barbara Daigneault, Maud Haviernick, Michèle Richard, Anne-Marie Lemay, Annie Turcotte, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Annie St-Arneault, Maryse Laganière and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

Also, ten more women and four men were injured before the cowardly gunman ended his own life. The event, later known as the École Polytechnique Massacre or the Montreal Massacre, left a deep scar on Canadian society. It led to increased awareness and action against gender-based violence, prompting changes in gun control laws and police procedures. The date, December 6, was subsequently declared the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada, serving as a sombre reminder of the need to combat gender-based violence and discrimination.

Sources:

Polytechnique Montréal | Polytechnique Montréal est l’un des plus importants établissements d’enseignement et de recherche en génie au Canada

Women in Engineering

Women in scientific occupations in Canada

30 years later

Nathalie Provost

The Montreal Massacre — The Target — Crime Library on truTV.com

Montreal_Coroners_Report

Because They Were Women – The Montreal Massacre — Josée Boileau

Aftermath — Monique Lepine

Historical CBC Reports on the Massacre

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