CANADA

National Notes

February 26 1990
CANADA

National Notes

February 26 1990

National Notes

VICTIMS COMPENSATED

The federal government announced that more than 100 people in Canada who suffered debilitating birth defects as a result of thalidomide will receive equal compensation payments from a fund of $7.5 million. But a spokesman for Canada’s thalidomide victims said that the payments should vary according to the severity of disability. In 1961 and 1962, before the drug was found to damage fetuses, doctors prescribed it to reduce nausea during pregnancy.

ONE JUDGE INVESTIGATED

Quebec Court Judge Denys Dionne was suspended while the province’s judicial council investigates a complaint lodged by Quebec Justice Minister Gil Remillard over remarks that Dionne made during a Jan. 27,1989, assault and weapons trial in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil. Interjecting during an argument over a point of law, Dionne had said that “rules are like women: they are made to be violated.”

ANOTHER CLEARED

The Canadian Judicial Council said that B.C. county court Judge Peter van der Hoop was wrongly accused of blaming a three-year-old girl’s behavior in a case involving a man who touched her body for a sexual purpose. The council concluded that the judge’s observation in court last December that the child had been “sexually aggressive” was an “unfortunate choice of words” that was misunderstood. Demonstrators had called for van der Hoop’s removal from the bench.

TRANSIT EXECUTIVES CHARGED

Donald Castle, president of the provincially owned Saskatchewan Transportation Co., and company vice-president Darryl Lowery, both of Regina, were among four people charged in Texas with conspiracy to bribe. The charges relate to a contract by Saskatchewan Transit to purchase 11 buses from Texas-based Eagle International Inc. The other two people charged were a vice-president and an agent of the Texas bus-maker.

LANGUAGE COMPLAINT

The Geneva-based United Nations human rights committee gave the Canadian government until the end of March to respond to a complaint by a funeral operator from Huntingdon, Que., against Quebec’s language law, Bill 178. Gordon McIntyre, 58, complained to the committee in November that the province had inhibited his right to freedom of expression by making it illegal to display an English-language sign over his business.