Canada

Canada NOTES

July 14 1997
Canada

Canada NOTES

July 14 1997

Canada NOTES

IPPERWASH ANGER

Natives were incensed by Ontario Court Judge Hugh Fraser’s decision not to imprison policeman Kenneth Deane, who in 1995 shot and killed native protester Dudley George during a confrontation over land rights at Ipperwash Provincial Park. Deane was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death last April. Fraser ordered Deane to perform 180 hours of community service.

BAYER BACKS OUT

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer Inc. backed out of the Canadian Red Cross Society’s plans to build a $380-million blood fractionation plant in Bedford,

N.S., saying the society was unable to secure financing by a June 30 deadline. Bayer was to have supplied the technology for the facility. The Red Cross is currently embroiled in a public inquiry into the tainted-blood scandal of the 1980s.

TOUGH ON TRUCKERS

Ontario adopted traffic laws permitting fines of up to $50,000 for the owners of trucks whose wheels fly off. The province has been plagued by a number of lethal mishaps involving truck tires that have broken free and collided with cars. Impaired drivers, meanwhile, now face a lifetime driving ban for a third infraction. The ban could be cut to 10 years should the offender complete a rehabilitation program.

LOGGERS FIGHT BACK

Members of the International Woodworkers of America in British Columbia used logging booms to hem in a Greenpeace ship, preventing it from leaving its moorings in Vancouver. The B.C. loggers are also picketing the ship, demanding that Greenpeace pay union members for wages lost due to the group’s anti-logging protests. Greenpeace is pushing for a halt to the clearcutting of old-growth rain forests.

LANGUAGE POLICE

Some Montreal municipalities claimed that Quebec’s Office de la langue française was targeting them for minor infractions of the province’s Frenchlanguage law. The accusation came after the province’s language watchdog sent six municipalities notices warning them that they were flouting the law. Among the offences: street signs marked “St.” instead of “rue.”

TOUGH COMPETITION! A well-protected “hostage taker” had his

hands full with Ace, an attack dog from the Saanich Police Department on Vancouver Island, during the dog competition at the World Police and Fire Games.The games, which wrapped up last week, were held in Calgary and attracted about 8,700 contestants from more than 45 countries. Loud and enthusiastic crowds gathered to see events such as a tug of war for female police, a water-bucket relay for firefighters and hose-spraying for accuracy.

Cracking down on a reserve

It was a stunning act for a judge, and an emphatic condemnation of those who control the wealthy Stoney reserve, west of Calgary. The case centred on Ernest Hunter, a reserve resident who pleaded guilty to beating his wife while drunk last December. During a hearing last week, provincial court Judge John Reilly refused to sentence the guilty man. Instead, he ordered Calgary’s top Crown prosecutor to investigate “social conditions, political corruption and financial mismanagement” on the re serve, which received $32 million in federal funding and oil and gas royalties last year.

Reilly’s ruling arose from the fact that Hunter had been unable to complete a treat-

ment program because its funding had been cut off. “Residents of the reserve have described it to me as a ‘prison without bars’ and a ‘welfare ghetto,’ ” Reilly wrote. “Why is it that this reserve, which should be so prosperous, has so many poor people, has such a low level of education, has horrendous social problems, and has such an apparent lack of programs to deal with those problems?” Stoney reserve Chief John Snow denied the allegations of corruption and mismanagement. But others praised Reilly’s decision. “The system that’s on the reserve is very wicked,” said Roy Little Chief, former chief of the Siksika Nation. “It’s a hidden Mafia situation that we live under.”

Leniency for a woman who killed her son

Danielle Blais, 44, was deeply depressed last November when she drowned her six-year-old autistic son, Charles-Antoine. She then tried to kill herself. Last week, Quebec Court Judge Jean Falardeau gave Blais a 23-month suspended sentence for manslaughter, ordering her to live in a halfway house while receiving psychiatric treatment. The Crown had sought a jail term, but Falardeau said imprisonment does not act as a deterrent for those suffering from mental illness. Evidence indicated that Blais was depressed because she could not get school authorities to comprehend her son’s autism, which is associated with severe behavioral problems.