Signalling a sharp shift in federal strategy, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said that Canadians will be given the final say on constitutional reform through a referendum—or even an early federal election— should the federal government and the provinces fail to reach an agreement. The proposal for a national referendum drew support from some key Quebec members of Mulroney’s cabinet and from Reform party Leader Preston Manning. Mulroney told a Tuesday-night Quebec caucus meeting that the referendum could be held as early as June.
AN ABORTION CONTROVERSY
The government of the Northwest Territories ordered an independent inquiry into the abortion procedures at Yellowknife’s Stanton Hospital after dozens of women complained that they had been subjected to unnecessary pain from abortions performed without anesthetic. The territories’ health minister, Tony Whitford, resigned his portfolio as a result of the controversy.
CHARGES AGAINST AN MP
Quebec provincial police charged Conservative MP Denis Pronovost, 38, with three counts of procuring sex with males under 18, two counts of sexual assault and one count of breach of trust. Pronovost, a former journalist, represents the central Quebec riding of St-Maurice, a seat formerly held by Liberal Leader Jean Chrétien, who plans to run there in the next general election.
NEW GUN RULES
Anti-gun lobbyists welcomed new guncontrol regulations from Federal Justice Minister Kim Campbell that limit the magazine capacity of handguns, semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. The proposed rules—which are intended to strengthen gun-control measures passed by Parliament last year—also require that firearms be locked when they are stored or displayed.
MOUNT CASHEL AFTERMATH
Douglas Kenny, the last of nine Christian Brothers convicted of sex crimes at the now-defunct Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, Nfld., was found guilty on seven of 14 counts of physically and sexually abusing boys from 1971 to 1976—years during which Kenny, now 50, served as superintendent. The Congregation of Christian Brothers announced that the 94year-old orphanage will be razed and the land sold. The proceeds will provide counselling for the victims of abuse.
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