Canada NOTES

Canada NOTES

A COSTLY DEBACLE

May 9 1994
Canada NOTES

Canada NOTES

A COSTLY DEBACLE

May 9 1994

Canada NOTES

A COSTLY DEBACLE

The biggest spender in last October’s federal election was also the biggest loser. Figures released by Elections Canada showed that the Progressive Conservatives spent $10.4 million to win two seats. How much the other major parties spent and how they fared: Liberals, $9.9 million (177 seats); New Democrats, $7.4 million (nine seats); Bloc Ouébécois, $1.9 million (54 seats); Reform, $1.5 million (52 seats).

The ‘second soldier’

The main figure in the vicious torture and beating death of a Somali teenager last year will probably never stand trial for his actions. The Canadian Armed Forces judge advocate in the case, Col. Guy Brais, said that Master Cpl.

Clayton Matchee, who was charged with second-degree murder, torture and negligent performance of duty, was unfit to be tried. Brais said that Matchee is unable to understand the nature and purpose of the court martial because of the severe brain damage he suffered after attempting to hang himself in a holding cell at the Canadian Airborne Regiment compound in Somalia, three days after being charged in the death of 16year-old Shidane Arone. But the judge advocate added that Matchee’s case will be reviewed every two years to determine if charges can proceed against him.

During the earlier four-week court martial of Pte. Elvin Kyle Brown, who was convicted of manslaughter and torture in Arone’s death, Matchee could not be identified because of a publication ban imposed by the judge advocate. As a result, media reports routinely referred to him as “the second soldier” (after Brown). But last week, Cmdr. Randy Gwyn lifted that ban while presiding over the court martial of another Airborne member, Sgt. Mark Boland. After Boland pleaded guilty to negligent performance of duty in relation to Arone’s death, a statement of facts z was read into the record, z Among other things, the § statement said that Matchee i “systematically beat” Arone I with a wooden baton, a metal S bar, his fists and his boots, s and that he “burned the soles of Arone’s feet with a cigar or cigarette.”

A contentious crash

CRIME CRACKDOWN

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police urged Ottawa to consider a major crackdown on crime. Among its proposed measures: automatic transfer to adult court for 16and 17-year-olds involved in serious crimes; tighter controls on the sale and registration of guns and ammunition; and new laws requiring prison officials to tell the public when dangerous offenders are released.

A 'SECOND CHANCE'

Immigration Minister Sergio Marchi said “the system failed us” when the appeal division of the Immigration and Refugee Board overturned an order from his department last November to deport a man who was charged last week in the Just Desserts murder in Toronto. Oneil Grant, a 22-year-old Jamaican who came to Canada at the age of 12, was charged with manslaughter in the April 5 shooting death of Georgina Leimonis at the Toronto café. Grant had racked up 15 criminal charges between 1988 and 1992, but had successfully pleaded for a “second chance” from the immigration board.

VANCOUVER JOINS NBA

Vancouver will join Toronto as part of the 29-team National Basketball Association, starting with the 1995-1996 season. Northwest Sports Enterprises Ltd., of Vancouver, paid $170 million for the expansion franchise.

HITTING THE JACKPOT

Computer analyst Daniel Corriveau received more than $620,000 from a Montreal casino after outwitting an electronic keno game. After entering more than 7,000 combinations from the keno game into his home computer, Corriveau detected a glitch that made the keno game, an electronic bingo-like device, spew out numbers in a regular pattern. On April 10, he and his family members bet on the numbers his computer projected, and won three times straight before the casino shut the game down. A police investigation concluded that Corriveau had won the money fairly.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on April 28, Maj. Walter Sweetman radioed the Saint John, N.B., airport that the Sea King helicopter he was piloting had caught fire. The 40-year-old pilot from Peterborough, Ont., reported that he and three other crew members were going to attempt an emergency landing. Moments later, the aircraft hit a cliff near the Bay of Fundy, killing Sweetman and his co-pilot, Maj. Robert Henderson, 47, of Victoria, and seriously injuring the navigator, Capt. Owen Hanam, 47, of Baddeck, N.S., and the flight engineer, Mike Langdon, 35, of Shearwater, N.S. The crash reignited a debate over the Canadian military’s aging fleet of Sea King helicopters.

The former Conservative government approved the purchase of 50 advanced EH-101 helicopters to replace the Sea Kings, which date back to the 1960s. The Tories later reduced that to 43 at a cost of $4.8 billion. The Liberals cancelled that purchase late last year, declaring that the EH-101 helicopters were too expensive. Following the crash, Defence Minister David Collenette said that Ottawa still

believes that the Sea Kings will be airworthy until the year 2000. Added Collenette: “I don’t want to make light of it, but from time to time planes do have mechanical problems.” Sweetman’s grieving mother, Shirley, took a much harsher view. She recalled that her son “was disgusted” when the Liberals cancelled the purchase. “He was not happy with them,” she said of the Sea Kings. “They were like old cars, running on rubber bands and gum.”

Coming out swinging

Until last week, she was one of the least conspicuous members of the federal cabinet. But Health Minister Diane Marleau came out swinging against the B.C. and Alberta governments over medicare fees. Claiming that she was protecting B.C. residents against “cashregister medicine,” Marleau said Ottawa will withhold $750,000 in transfer payments to British Columbia this month to offset the amount that 44 B.C. doctors who remain outside of medicare have extra-billed their patients. She then threatened to cut transfer payments to Alberta if it continues to allow private clinics to charge user fees.