CANADA

Canada NOTES

August 26 1996
CANADA

Canada NOTES

August 26 1996

Canada NOTES

CANADA

A POLICE BEATING?

The mother of a 16-year-old boy arrested by Winnipeg police filed a complaint with Manitoba’s Law Enforcement Review Agency, alleging that police beat her son, leaving him badly bruised. The woman, who is Métis, said police also used racial epithets during the incident. The alleged beating followed a high-speed chase. For their part, police say the teenager, driving a stolen van, tried to run over officers on bicycles. Winnipeg’s police chief ordered an internal investigation and issued an appeal for witnesses to come forward.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sandi Thompson, who works for the Speaker of the Ontario legislature, Allan McLean, accused her boss of sexual harassment. Thompson alleged that McLean propositioned and kissed her, threatening to fire her after she turned him down. McLean denied the allegations. NDP house leader Bud Wildman demanded that McLean step down until the matter is cleared up, but Premier Mike Harris said the complaint process should be allowed to follow its course.

MORE DEAD CHILDREN

An internal review by the B.C. social services ministry found 11 more children who died unnatural deaths while under the ministry’s protection. The files were found during the ministry’s investigation of 19 other deaths since 1992, which were cited in a recent report on child protection.

ACF-18 FIREBALL

A Canadian Armed Forces pilot, Capt. Ken Welch, 28, of Calgary, safely ejected from his $35-million CF-18 fighter jet seconds before it crashed on takeoff and burst into flames at the airport in Iqaluit, N.W.T. The jet smashed into the main fuel lines supplying the Baffin Island community. The cause of the crash was unknown. Fifteen CF-18s have crashed in 14 years, killing nine pilots.

ANCIENTS UNEARTHED

Archeologists digging into a cliff face in Calgary found what they say is the oldest known evidence of prehistoric people in North America. The site dates back at least 20,000 years, said archeologist-geologist Jiri Chlachula, who led the dig. The exact location was not disclosed in order to keep curiosity seekers away.

D E ATH TRAIN ! Three men died when a CN Rail freight train carrying hazardous cargo near Edson, Alta., 200 km west of Edmonton, collided with 20 runaway grain cars. At week’s end, the federal Transportation Safety Board was investigating how the grain cars managed to escape from the Edson railyard, rolling down the inclined track for about 10 km before the fiery impact, which toppled dozens of cars but did not result in any toxins being spilled.The board will also look at why there have been 146 derailments in Canada in the first seven months of 1996, compared with a five-year average of only 85.

An addict mom takes her leave

A22-year-old Winnipeg woman, five months pregnant and embroiled in an explosive debate over fetal rights, has kicked her addiction to solvents, according to the 50-year-old father of her unborn child. The woman, who cannot be identified, checked herself out of a hospital last week, where she was being treated, to stay with her sister.

On Aug. 6, Manitoba Justice Perry Schulman ordered the woman into a treatment program, invoking the province’s Mental Health Act and the court’s right to protect those who cannot protect themselves. His ruling, aimed at shielding the woman’s fetus from neurological damage, was both hailed and derided in a debate pitting a mother’s rights against those

of the unborn. The Manitoba Court of Appeal later stayed Schulman’s decision, pending an appeal scheduled for Aug. 20. Nevertheless, the woman, who already has three children, all of whom are wards of the state and two of whom have neurological damage, voluntarily entered the program.

In his written decision, released last week, Schulman said the woman “suffers from a substantial disorder of thought, mood and perception that grossly impairs her ability to meet the ordinary demands of life.” The judge also added a nonbinding opinion at the end of his ruling, called an obiter dictum, in which he said the fetus has rights once a woman decides to keep the unborn child.

Bouchard wades into the language debate

Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard threatened to adopt tougher language laws in the wake of anglophone demands that retail stores post bilingual, as opposed to French-only, signs or face a boycott. “I am quite sad by what is going on,” Bouchard said. But, according to Howard Galganov, one of the Montreal businessmen organizing the boycott, Bouchard “wants anglophones to be very quiet, very docile.” Meanwhile, in a separate language dispute in Ottawa, André Lalonde of the Federation of Francophones and Acadian Communities, says that local businesses that fail to improve their efforts to provide information in French will face a boycott.