Canada

Canada NOTES

June 23 1997
Canada

Canada NOTES

June 23 1997

Canada NOTES

RIDING NOT SO HIGH: A red-coated RCMP horseman parading

in the streets of Monaco was not enough to push Calgary past Nagoya, Japan, which won the right to host Expo 2005. Fifty-two member countries of the Bureau of International Expositions voted for Nagoya, while Calgary garnered only 27 backers, despite what Canadian observers said was a superior bid. According to the Calgary team, the city could not match the financial incentives offered by Japan. “It became clear in the last month or so that economics were far more significant,” Calgary Mayor AI Duerr said. “We can’t promise automobile plants and tire companies.”

Truth and lies in the Morin case

The Ontario inquiry into the wrongful murder conviction of Guy Paul Morin heard stunning testimony from Janet Jessop, mother of nine-year-old victim Christine. Jessop said police pressured her into giving false testimony at Morin’s first trial in 1986, at which he was acquitted, and again at his retrial in 1992, which ended in a conviction. He was cleared in 1995 on the basis of DNA evidence. Jessop said she lied about when she arrived at her Queensville, Ont., home on the day her daughter was abducted in 1984, adding 25 minutes to her original estimate of 4:10 p.m., at the suggestion of the investigating officers. They said her initial recollection of the time left

Morin with an unassailable alibi—since he had punched a time clock when he left work—and that a murderer would go free if she did not change her story. “I felt they were the authorities [sol maybe I was wrong,” she said.

Her son Kenneth, who was 14 when his sister was slain, echoed his mother’s account, testifying at the inquiry that police clouded his family’s judgment by accusing Morin of being a serial killer whose family practised incest. “It was almost as if they were trying to keep us convinced it was him,” Jessop said. Morin later told reporters: “I think it is obvious they wanted a conviction any way they could—through persuasion, coercion, contaminating the truth.”

Forest fire season returns with a vengeance

Some relief if only slight—was in sight late last week, after hundreds of fires laid waste to parts of forests in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Near Timmins, Ont., an out-of-control blaze prompted emergency officials to evacuate 400 residents. To the east, the 1,300 residents of Weymontachie, about 350 km northwest of Quebec City, were beginning to return to their homes after being forced to flee south to La Tuque. Firefighters in Manitoba, meanwhile, benefited from cooler weather and contained a fire at Spruce Woods Provincial Park. By week’s end, thunderstorms in Ontario and Quebec had firefighters worried that lightning strikes could easily ignite dozens of new blazes.

THE COHO CRISIS

Stocks of coho salmon are so low that Canada may be unable to offer increased quotas on the species as part of its negotiations with the United States on sharing fish stocks. When federal officials surveyed catch results from B.C. waters last April, they found only 13 coho had been caught in areas where fishermen normally take about 13,000. The talks over fish quotas, which collapsed on May 20, are scheduled to resume this week.

HOMOLKA'S MOVE

Karla Homolka, sentenced to 12 years for the sex slayings of two Ontario teenagers in 1991 and 1992, will move from the aging Kingston Prison for Women, which is scheduled to close, to a new low-and-medium security prison in Joliette, Que. The facility, where inmates do their own cooking and cleaning, has been dubbed Club Fed.

A WONDERFUL LIFE

For the fourth consecutive year, the United Nations designated Canada as the best country in the world in which to live, basing its ranking on health, education and standard of living.

DEFLATING AIR BAGS

The federal government asked car manufacturers and the provinces to agree on the need to disconnect air bags in certain circumstances. Those include situations where rear-facing baby seats must be placed in the front seat, or where children must sit in the front seat. Several deaths in Canada and the United States have been blamed on the powerful impact of the rapidly inflating bags.

INSURANCE FLIP-FLOP

The B.C. government yielded to intense public and industry pressure and reversed its plan to introduce no-fault car insurance. The province had originally tried to sell its scheme as a way to avoid premium increases of up to 25 per cent over the next three years, but opponents said it would not be in motorists’ best interests and would only reward bad drivers.

POSTAL RAID

Police in Mississauga, Ont., west of Toronto, raided Canada Post’s Gateway sorting plant after numerous complaints by mail recipients. They laid 115 charges against 22 mail handlers.