CANADA

Canada NOTES

June 5 1995
CANADA

Canada NOTES

June 5 1995

Canada NOTES

CUTS AT THE CBC

CBC President Perrin Beatty announced that the corporation intends to eliminate about 1,000 jobs. As part of its budgetcutting efforts, 350 people will be laid off, about the same number will be offered buyouts, and another 135 vacant positions will not be filled. In February, the federal government reduced its grant to the CBC for 1995-1996 by $44 million to just over$1 billion.

CLASH OVER CREATION

B.C. Education Minister Art Charbonneau gave the Abbotsford school district until June 16 to stop teaching so-called creationism in its classes. Charbonneau said that provincial law prohibits public schools from teaching any religious creed. Creationism rejects Darwin’s theory of evolution, arguing instead that the world was created as described in the Bible.

NYSTROM IN THE RUNNING

Former Saskatchewan MP Lome Nystrom declared his candidacy for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party, to be decided at an October convention in Ottawa. Nystrom, 49, represented the Saskatchewan riding of Yorkton/Melville for 25 years before losing in the October, 1993, election. The other two declared leadership candidates are B.C. MP Svend Robinson and Vancouver author Herschel Hardin.

SODOMY RULING

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that teenagers between 14 and 18 are free to engage in anal intercourse with consenting partners. The court said that a law against youth sodomy and buggery discriminates against young people, particularly homosexuals.

A VISITING WAR CRIMINAL?

The federal government scheduled a deportation hearing in Toronto for June 1 for Konrad Kalejs, an 81-year-old visitor to Canada whom Ottawa says is a Second World War criminal. The government declined to say where the man is visiting from, or what crimes he is alleged to have committed, until the hearing is held.

MEXICAN EXTRADITION

Dennis Hurley, a 31-year-old Newfoundland native, became the first Canadian national committed for extradition to Mexico under a treaty signed in 1990. Hurley, a former executive assistant to the publisher of Chatelaine magazine, is charged in the January, 1993, drowning of his 46-yearold live-in companion, Murray Haigh, while on a trip to Mexico.

SLIP-SIiIDm6 AWAY: Prime Minister Jean Chrétien got a helping hand as he tried to mount a skateboard before a news conference in Ottawa. Chrétien later told reporters that Quebec separatists are attempting a similarly precarious balancing act: trying to convince Quebecers that they can separate and yet still enjoy all the benefits of an economic union with Canada. A referendum victory based on such claims, he added, would be open to challenge.

Explosive claims

Police in Charlottetown stepped up security measures at the city courthouse after the justices of the Prince Edward Island Supreme Court, who work in the same building, received a letter stamped with a swastika from an unnamed group claiming responsibility for the April 20 bombing at the P.E.I. legislature, and another unsolved bombing that took place at the courthouse in 1988. A second letter from the group, mailed to a local CBC announcer, contained a detailed drawing of the legislature bomb, including precise measurements and the type of batteries used in it. It also said the bomb used in 1988 was identical except for the timer and batteries. Police said they were taking the letters seriously.

Meanwhile, a man accused of bringing a homemade bomb into the department of Indian affairs offices in Hull, Que., complained in an open letter to the Prime Minister that the federal government had ignored his proposal to distribute food in northern Canada through

a Quebec-based company. Pierre-Claude Dufresne, 41, was charged with illegal possession and use of explosives, and with mischief. He had been seeking a $ 1-million loan guarantee from Ottawa.

New allegations

A long-awaited commission of inquiry into the actions of Canadian peacekeepers serving in Somalia got under way amid allegations that two more Somalis died at the hands of Canadian soldiers than had originally been reported. Until the commission hearings began, the allegations of wrongdoing by Canadian peacekeepers had centred on four deaths, including the torture and beating death of Somali teenager Shidane Arone in March, 1993. But Issae Sechere, a lawyer representing the Somali community in Canada, told the commission about allegations of two additional deaths and of other unreported cases of beatings and torture. The commission was considering Sechere’s request to bring Somali witnesses to Canada to testify.