Canada

Canada NOTES

April 26 1999
Canada

Canada NOTES

April 26 1999

Canada NOTES

AGREEING IN PRINCIPLE

Ottawa, the British Columbia government and the Sechelt Indians signed an agreement in principle for a treaty that, among other things, would give the band control of some 2,000 hectares of land 50 km northwest of Vancouver and a $42-million “prosperity fund.” The agreement comes at a time when the province is mired in controversy over a similar treaty with the Nisga’a in northwestern British Columbia. But the Sechelt treaty appears to have widespread support-which officials attribute to a process of consultation during the negotiations.

PREMIERS AT ODDS

Former Alberta Tory premier Don Getty said that his successor, Ralph Klein, was “stumbling pretty bad” in the area of social programs, especially health and education, calling the system “busted.” Klein brushed off the remarks, saying Getty was a “nice man” who was “entitled to his opinion.”

OFF THE BENCH

Jocelyne Moreau-Bérubé was removed from her post as a provincial court judge in New Brunswick because of comments she made in February, 1998, saying the province’s Acadian population was dishonest. The provincial cabinet made the decision after the New Brunswick Judicial Council recommended her removal because the remarks compromised her impartiality.

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CBC Radio, which has been free of advertising for more than 20 years, is seeking permission to include sponsorship messages in its programming. According to documents filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the messages would not be commercials, but “short, simple announcements intended to acknowledge partners and sponsors.”

A JUDGE RESIGNS

Facing an inquiry by the Canadian Judicial Council, Quebec Superior Court Justice Robert Flahiff resigned. In February, he was sentenced to three years in jail for laundering $1.7 million in drug money before his appointment to the bench six years ago. Flahiff is appealing that conviction, and wanted the council’s inquiry postponed until the court proceedings were over, but the council refused.

A FLAG FLAP AND ANGRY PROTESTS:

After a visit to the United States,

Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji (above right) headed to Canada for a six-city tour—and faced ongoing angry demonstrations over China’s human rights record. In Newfoundland, St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells (above left with flag) allowed a local group to briefly raise the Tibetan flag outside City Hall to protest China’s repressive treatment ofTibet. In Ottawa, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien tried to ease the sting of the flag flap, telling a joint news conference that Tibet could not be compared to Kosovo. But Zhu pointedly put the controversy into a context Canadians could readily grasp:“If during Prime Minister Chrétien’s visit to China we were also to fly Quebec’s flag in Beijing, what would that mean?”

Compromise in Saskatchewan

Hopes were raised for an end to the weeklong illegal walkout by Saskatchewan nurses after Premier Roy Romanow’s NDP government promised in writing to address certain key concerns of the nurses’ union. That letter came in response to one from the union, which pledged to end the strike in exchange for government guarantees that concerns about patient care, pay equity and working conditions would be addressed. But the two sides remained far apart on some issues, especially pay demands (the nurses want a 22-per-cent increase over three years, while the government’s last offer was six per cent), and at week’s end union president Rosalee Longmoore said that without more significant movement by the government, nurses

would stay off the job. “What we need is a commitment to address the recruitment and retention of nurses and that is not going to happen unless we get more of an increase in salary,” Longmoore said.

The province’s 8,400 nurses began their walkout on April 8, and stayed off the job in spite of back-to-work legislation from the government and a court injunction ordering the union to end the strike. Although the nurses have continued to provide essential services during the walkout, Saskatchewan’s hospitals have been accepting only emergency cases and discharging all but the most seriously ill patients. Health authorities have also been forced to transport about 170 patients to medical centres in neighbouring provinces and states.

A teenager's death

The trial of Warren Glowatski, 17, charged with second-degree murder in the Nov. 14, 1997, beating death of Victoria-area teenager Reena Virk, opened in the British Columbia capital. Last week, witnesses described how Glowatski and a group of girls savagely set upon Virk during a Friday night gathering in

the Gorge waterway area near Victoria (six girls have already been convicted of assault for their roles in that incident). During that beating, Virk endured having a cigarette stubbed out on her forehead and numerous kicks to the head before that attack ended. The Crown alleges that Glowatski and another girl, whose trial is pending, then followed Virk and murdered her.