Canada Cover

Canada Notes

Another fatal accident in ‘Carnage Alley'

June 19 2000
Canada Cover

Canada Notes

Another fatal accident in ‘Carnage Alley'

June 19 2000

Canada Notes

Another fatal accident in ‘Carnage Alley'

An Ontario Provincial Police sergeant, Marg Eve, 38, was killed and five other people were injured when a truck slammed into three OPP cruisers and a car on Highway 401, Canada’s busiest. The accident took place near Chatham, on a stretch of the road nicknamed “Carnage Alley.” Meanwhile, an inquest began into the Sept. 3,1999, massive pileup that killed eight and injured 45 nearby.

Compensation for tainted water

The Ontario government promised compensation for residents of Walkerton, Ont., who are still struggling with a deadly E. coli outbreak. Attorney General Jim Flaherty, flanked by three other Conservative cabinet ministers, had few details, but he told a news conference in the farming community 150 km northwest of Toronto the plan should provide help to businesses and individuals for their “pain and suffering.” Up to 2,000 people have become ill, seven have died and four other deaths are under investigation as a result of the contamination of the towns water supply in mid-May. Flaherty said he did not know how much the province would ultimately pay, but added that insurance and Ontario’s budget surplus would cover the cost. “Obviously, it’s going to cost millions of dollars,” he said. “This is about doing the right thing. It isn’t about money.”

There is, however, one catch to claiming the money—people must waive

their individual right to pursue classaction suits. At least six legal firms have stated they plan to launch class-action suits on behalf of residents. And while some called the compensation package generous, others in the town of 5,000 said it was too little, too late.

Two days earlier, the government announced a special $300,000 fund to help students, whose schools had been closed since May 23, to complete their school year outside Walkerton. Neither announcement stopped the opposition parties from continuing to lambaste the Tories, claiming government cutbacks played a role in the tragedy. They pointed to an environment ministry report showing the ministry had been warned in 1997 that closing its water-testing labs could lead to serious health problems. Meanwhile, officials released details about a building-tobuilding disinfection program, which could take up to seven weeks before the water will be safe to drink. The province also named Ontario Court of Appeal judge Dennis O’Connor to head the tragedy inquiry, expected to start in the fall.

Big tobacco changes its tune

After years of denials, spokesmen for Canadas cigarette industry appeared before a Senate committee hearing on youth anti-smoking legislation and acknowledged that their products are dangerous and addictive. They also said they supported Bill S-20, which would raise the cost of cigarettes and put the extra money towards antismoking initiatives, and suggested that youths under the age of 18 be prohibited from possessing tobacco.

Tobin under fire

Phil Fontaine, grand chief of the Assembly of First Nations, accused Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin of perpetuating stereotypes after he said alcoholism is a problem among the aboriginal leadership in Labrador. “Ffe should be dealing with mass poverty, poor housing, high unemployment,” Fontaine said. “Fie should be stabilizing those communities, not blaming the victims.”

Officially cleared

Police in Winnipeg officially exonerated Thomas Sophonow for the 1981 murder of Winnipeg teen Barbara Stoppel. Ffe underwent three trials and two convictions and spent almost four years in prison before being released on appeal in December, 1985—but was never formally cleared. Manitoba has promised an inquiry into the case.

More care for the dying

A Senate subcommittee report recommended more funding for palliative care in Canada, including special benefits paid to Canadians who take time off work to care for dying relatives. “Canadians are still dying in needless pain and without adequate palliative care,” said committee chairwoman Senator Sharon Carstairs.

Dangerous offender

John Paul Roby, a former usher at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, was declared a dangerous offender. Roby, who was at the heart of the Gardens sex scandal, was convicted in 1997 of molesting 26 boys and one girl over a span of three decades and will be jailed indefinitely.