Canada

Canada NOTES

October 27 1997
Canada

Canada NOTES

October 27 1997

Canada NOTES

Unanswered questions

After a seven-month investigation into allegations of influence-peddling, the RCMP charged former Liberal fund-raiser Pierre Corbeil with four counts of fraud. Corbeil allegedly pressured four Quebec companies for money during the federal election campaign last spring, promising preferential treatment in assessing the companies’ applications for government grants. But while

the RCMP said the case is now closed, Opposition MPs demanded more

answers.

They want to know how Corbeil knew which companies had applied for government money. Human Resources Minister Pierre Pettigrew has said the information was not kept secret. Conservative MP An« dré Bachand, however, z wondered why four of six 1 companies visited by Cor| beil were eventually awarded grants. Also be| ing questioned is why Cor£ beil was allowed to contin£ ue working up to the June 2 election, even though the RCMP started investigating in March. Another contentious issue is Treasury Board president Marcel Massé’s admission that he knew of an RCMP search warrant for his Montreal office that was never executed. Police countered last week that they had warrants only for Corbeil. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, meanwhile, was visiting Winnipeg and rural Manitoba. After a Liberal fund-raising dinner, Chrétien brushed by reporters who tried to question him about the case.

EDUCATION

Strike showdown

Ontario’s new education minister, David Johnson, announced that he will not tolerate a strike by disgruntled teachers. “There seems to be a little bit of confusion about whether the strike that is being contemplated is not illegal,” Johnson told reporters last week. “It is illegal.” Still, Johnson said he is optimistic that talks with teachers, scheduled for this week, will help avoid a walkout. The teachers are angry over Bill 160, proposed legislation which transfers a range of powers from boards of education to the province, including the right to set class sizes and the allocation of education dollars. Thousands of unionized workers supported the teachers last week when about 15,000 marched through Windsor, the eighth city in Ontario to be hit by demonstrations against cuts to health and education. Schools and car factories were closed, while delays were reported at Detroit border crossings.

A killer is jailed

At the conclusion of an emotional trial, B.C.

Supreme Court Justice Wally Oppal found Terry Driver—known as the Abbotsford killer— guilty of first-degree murder in the 1995 sex slaying of 16-year-old Tanya Smith. Driver was also convicted of attempting to murder Smith’s friend, Misty Cockerill, now 18, with a baseball bat. “I cannot find the words to accurately describe your horrible crimes,” Oppal said as he handed down a life sentence.

Driver, who has two young children and is the son of a retired Vancouver police sergeant, ambushed the girls on their way to a party in Abbotsford. He admitted raping Smith and dumping her body in a nearby river, but denied killing her; instead, he claimed she was unconscious when he came across the girls by chance, and that she later died of a seizure. During a five-month investigation, Driver taunted police with phone calls: his family eventually identified him after hearing recordings of the calls, broadcast publicly by police. Glen Orris, Driver’s lawyer, said his client’s actions were due to Tourette’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and obsessivecompulsive disorders. Orris had argued for a conviction on the lesser charge of manslaughter. Police now plan to interrogate Driver about a number of unsolved murders in the 1980s.

MARSAW SETTLES

Defence Minister Art Eggleton announced that former submarine commander Dean Marsaw will be given an honorable discharge. Last month, a military appeal court overturned Marsaw’s 1995 conviction for abusing his crew-abuse that allegedly included inserting a cigar tube between an officer’s buttocks during a drunken party. The defence department will pay Marsaw compensation of up to $180,000.

HATE ON THE WEB

A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal began hearing allegations that Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel operates a Web site propagating hate by denying that the Nazis killed millions of Jews. Zundel’s lawyer says the site is operated by a woman in the United States, but Zundel’s estranged wife, Irene, testified that he supplies material from his Toronto office. The case is among the first to test the application of human rights laws to the Internet.

REGAN GAG ORDER

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge Michael MacDonald ordered a publication ban on pretrial motions in the case against Gerald Regan. The former Nova Scotia premier faces 18 sexrelated charges-including rape-dating back to 1956 and involving 13 women. The ban prevents journalists from reporting arguments or evidence that could taint a prospective jury.

EMISSIONS INCREASE

Environmentalists called on the federal government to curb greenhouse gases linked to global warming. The Sierra Club of Canada, brandishing Environment Canada documents it obtained, said Canada’s carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased almost 11 per cent since 1990. A Sierra Club spokesman called for binding reductions on industrial emissions.

COUNTING TOES

Ontario Premier Mike Harris took his shoe and sock off for reporters after a recently published 1967 photograph appeared to show that he has six toes on his right foot. At first, Harris brusquely denied it. But reporters, Tory colleagues and a private citizen offered Harris $1,050 for his favorite charity if he counted his toes in public. The final right-foot tally: five.