CANADA

Canada NOTES

June 12 1995
CANADA

Canada NOTES

June 12 1995

Canada NOTES

CANADA

A NEW NDP CONTENDER

Alexa McDonough, who led the Nova Scotia NDP from 1980 until 1994, entered the race to succeed Audrey McLaughlin as leader of the federal party. McDonough, 50, joins B.C. MP Svend Robinson, former Saskatchewan MP Lome Nystrom and Vancouver author Herschel Hardin in the October leadership contest.

BREAST CANCER SUIT

Montreal’s St. Luc Hospital is being sued by the U.S. department of justice for damages incurred after one of the hospital’s surgeons, Roger Poisson, submitted false data to a U.S.-funded study on breast cancer. The $725,000 suit seeks to recover money spent weeding out the inaccurate information from the clinical trials comparing two breast cancer treatments.

NEWFOUNDLAND REFERENDUM

Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells announced that he will hold a referendum on his government’s plans to reduce the amount of control that churches exert over the province’s school system. He set no date for the vote.

RCMP TURBAN RULING

The Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa unanimously upheld an RCMP policy that allows Mounties to wear turbans. The suit against the policy had been launched by an Alberta group led by three retired RCMP officers.

CARE CONTROVERSY

The federal government said that it will investigate CARE Canada after the CBC alleged that the aid agency misused more than $300,000 in donations intended for relief work in Somalia. Spokesmen for CARE Canada denied the report and said the agency will sue the CBC for libel.

CABBIE BEATING TRIAL

André Lapointe, one of five Montreal police officers charged with aggravated assault against taxi driver Richard Bamabé, testified that it was only to stop Bamabé from hurting himself that five police officers “restrained” him so forcefully he wound up in a permanent coma. Lapointe told the court that “no excessive force was used.”

MR. POPULARITY

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s approval rating climbed to a record 68 per cent in the latest Gallup poll, conducted May 8 to 12. The previous record-holder was John Diefenbaker, who registered a 64-per-cent approval rating in August, 1958.

RAGING INFERNO: A forest fire takes its toll 200 km north of Prince Albert, Sask., one of hundreds that consumed more than 250,000 acres of forest across Western Canada. In northern Alberta, where one firefighter died when the wind suddenly changed direction, the smoke from the biggest forest fire in a decade blocked the highway into Fort McMurray, a community of 35,000. Fires in northern British Columbia and Saskatchewan forced the evacuation of more than 800 people.

Signs of support for gun control

A new public opinion poll showed that nearly two-thirds of Canadians continue to support federal Justice Minister Allan Rock’s proposed gun-control legislation—even though a slight majority of respondents said they did not think it would reduce crime. The Angus Reid Group poll, conducted between May 24 and May 30, surveyed 1,500 Canadians. Of those, 1,108 said that there were no guns in their households. Overall, 64 per cent of respondents supported the proposed legislation—which includes mandatory registration of seven million currently unrestricted firearms—while 32 per cent said they opposed it, and four per cent were undecided.

The survey showed opinion divided along regional lines—and between gun owners and those who do not own firearms. Regionally, Rock’s bill was supported by 64 per cent of respondents in British Columbia, 51 per cent in

Alberta, 40 per cent in Saskatchewan/Manitoba, 64 per cent in Ontario, 79 per cent in Quebec, and 46 per cent in Atlantic Canada. The survey also found that 73 per cent of respondents from households without guns supported the federal proposal. But it was opposed by 59 per cent of those from households that owned guns.

Air India reward

The RCMP offered a $ 1-million reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the June 23, 1985, bombing of Air India Flight 182 from Toronto, which blew up off the Irish coast, killing 329 people, 278 of them Canadians. No one has been charged in the bombing, although police have long believed that it was the work of Sikh extremists working out of the Vancouver area who were agitating for a separate Sikh nation to be carved out of India. The announcement of the reward came two days before a meeting between Solicitor General Herb Gray and relatives of the Air India victims, who are demanding a public inquiry into the bombing.