Canada NOTES

August 14 1995

Canada NOTES

August 14 1995

Canada NOTES


Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau insisted that there is no rift in the province’s sovereignty alliance—despite a call from one of his key allies to scrap the Parti Québécois’s draft bill on sovereignty. Mario Dumont, leader of the tiny Parti Action Democratique, said earlier that he wants the bill to set out the process for negotiating economic and political links with the rest of Canada if Quebecers vote yes in the referendum expected this fall. According to the current draft bill, a Yes vote would empower the government to declare Quebec sovereign and require it only to propose a union to Canada.


Charlottetown police dismissed letters claiming responsibility for the April bombing at the Prince Edward Island legislature as the work of an “off-base individual.” Police said they had no evidence that the writer of the letters, which contained stylized swastikas and language promoting violence, was involved in the incident.


Federal Fisheries Minister Brian Tobin announced that 18 of Canada’s 70 staffed coastal lighthouses—eight in British Columbia, eight in Newfoundland and two in New Brunswick—will become automated. Tobin said that lighthouse keepers at other stations will be laid off when automatic technology is proved reliable.


A new Canadian clinical study concluded that premenstrual syndrome is likely caused by an oversensitivity to a protein substance that triggers panic and anxiety attacks in the brain. The study, which was published in the latest issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, says that chemical changes in the body, especially during the final week of the menstrual cycle, make some women hypersensitive to a protein that the brain releases in times of stress. The study also suggests that severe PMS attacks—which afflict less than five per cent of women—can lead to suicidal thoughts.


After being arrested by the RCMP in their North Vancouver home, Atif Rafay and his friend Sebastian Bums, both 19, faced extradition on murder charges related to the brutal July, 1994, slaying of Rafay’s parents, Tariq and Sultana, both 56, and his sister, Basma, 20, in their home in Bellevue, Wash. Police said the motive for the killings was an insurance policy and the family home, worth a total of $475,000.

A tale of attempted seduction

There were trips to Toronto, a night at the Royal York Hotel, dinner at the CN Tower and Christmas presents worth approximately $1,000, according to a 19-year-old St. Catharines, Ont., woman who testified last week against Paul Bernardo— the 30-year-old former bookkeeper on trial for first-degree murder in the sex slayings of two southern Ontario schoolgirls. The woman, who cannot be identified because she was a minor at the time of the events she described, told the eight-man, four-woman jury that in late 1992 Bernardo showered her with gifts and personal attention in an attempt to have a sexual relationship with her. She said that she refused to submit to Bernardo’s approaches, despite the encouragement of his ex-wife, 25-year-old

Karla Homolka, who is -

serving concurrent 12-year manslaughter sentences for her part in the slayings. “I said I didn’t want to be doing this, but he said Karla didn’t care because he had had other girlfriends,” she recalled. “She said she didn’t care either. She wanted to see Paul and I together.”

The testimony of the timid and vulnera-

ble-looking teenager marked a week in which Crown prosecutors called 18 witnesses, including former friends and fellow employees of Homolka. Co-workers at the St. Catharines animal clinic where she was employed until January, 1993, as a veterinary assistant said she often came to work with bruises visible on her arms and around her ears, evidence called to support the Crown’s case that Homolka participated unwillingly in her husband’s crimes because she was terrified of his abusive behavior. The Crown’s final witness of the g week, London, Ont., psy% chologist Peter Jaffe, spent &lt almost an entire day on the I stand explaining battered g women’s syndrome, again I to back up the prosecu“ tion’s case that Bernardo, rather than Homolka, was the prime perpetrator in the vicious assaults and murders of 14year-old Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French. But Ontario Court General Division Justice Patrick LeSage cautioned jurors that the trial was not about whether Homolka was a victim of abuse, but whether Bernardo committed the crimes of which he is accused.

Following orders

The Senate inquiry into the proposed privatization of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport was told that former prime minister Kim Campbell, and not her minister of transport, Jean Corbeil, authorized the deal in the midst of the October, 1993, federal election campaign. William Rowat, who was the government’s chief Pearson negotiator, told the inquiry that he received a fax, dated Oct. 7, informing him that Campbell had approved the final signing of the Pearson legal documents for later that day. Rowat said that a prime minister’s personal authorization for such a signing is unusual, but added that “these were not normal circumstances.” After the Tories lost the election, the new Liberal government cancelled the $700-million rede-

velopment proposal, which had been awarded to Paxport Inc., a firm headed by a major Conservative fund-raiser. The Liberals claimed that the deal had been tainted by political patronage.

Taking control

Federal Fisheries Minister Brian Tobin warmly welcomed a new United Nations treaty that will give coastal nations, including Canada, greater control over foreign fishing fleets that harvest migratory fishing stocks such as cod or turbot far from their home waters. Among other things, Tobin said the new treaty gives Canada the clear right to take tough enforcement measures beyond its 200-mile nautical jurisdiction—as it did in March, when Canada seized a Spanish vessel that was fishing turbot off the Grand Banks.