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Alberta

RCMP search for suspect leads to multiple shoot outs over 24 hours. Suspect dies from wounds.

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News Release from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team and Alberta RCMP

Investigation into fatal RCMP officer-involved shooting near High Prairie continues

On June 17, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding an encounter between members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and a 29-year-old man that took place that same day near High Prairie.

The incident was ongoing when the matter was assigned to ASIRT, and while the man was not believed to have sustained any injuries, ASIRT was directed to investigate on the basis that police officers had discharged their service firearms.

Following the assignment of the matter to ASIRT, RCMP officers continued to search for the man. On June 18, the man appeared at a containment point and a confrontation occurred during which officers discharged their firearms, fatally injuring the man. ASIRT’s investigation will examine not only the first encounter that resulted in the discharge of service weapons but also the circumstances surrounding the death of the man during the final encounter.

On June 17 at about 10:57 a.m., a fully-marked RCMP unit initiated a traffic stop on a red Cadillac which was associated with a 29-year-old man who had outstanding criminal warrants. The Cadillac fled from police, who did not pursue the vehicle. The RCMP officers who had attempted the traffic stop broadcast for other officers to be on the lookout for that vehicle, and at about 11:30 a.m., a different RCMP unit located the Cadillac just east of Range Road 175 about three kilometres north of Highway 679. The vehicle was stuck in the mud and partially covered with a blanket.

Two RCMP officers cleared the vehicle, which was unoccupied, and found a bag containing three different types of ammunition, as well as identification belonging to the man. Two additional police officers, one of them a Police Service Dog (PSD) handler, attended to the location. The PSD established a track and all four officers and the police dog began tracking east into thick bush for approximately three to six kilometres over about two hours. When the officers eventually encountered the man, whose identity was visually confirmed as the wanted 29 year old, the man and police exchanged gunfire. During this incident, the PSD was struck by gunfire and killed. No police officers were injured during this incident, nor was the man believed to have been struck. The officers received direction to disengage, and were removed from the area by a civilian Search and Rescue helicopter.

Additional police resources were deployed to the area, including members of the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team (ERT). ERT members attended to the area of the initial incident, and again encountered the man. During this encounter, several police officers discharged their firearms. At the time, the officers believed the man had been struck. After attempts to communicate with the man or force him out of the thick bush were unsuccessful, a physical search of the area was conducted, but failed to locate the man.

After a lengthy search through dense brush spanning several hours, police made contact with the man on two additional occasions, and issued verbal commands to him. No shots were fired during these encounters, and officers were able to establish that the man did not, in fact, appear to be injured.

Police established containment around the roads in the area and continued searching for the man. On June 18, at about 11:45 a.m., two RCMP officers who were assigned to maintain containment spotted the man in a ditch on the west side of Range Road 170, about two kilometres north of Township Road 770. The officers exited their marked police vehicle and a confrontation occurred between the man and the police officers, during which both officers discharged their service firearms. The man fell to the ground in the tall grass, and additional police officers and ERT medical officers responded to the area. Medical officers attempted to treat the man, but ultimately he died at the scene. A loaded semi-automatic .22-calibre rifle, as well as a range finder, were recovered from the incident scene and have been seized as exhibits.

ASIRT’s investigation will examine the actions of police during this incident, while the RCMP will maintain responsibility for the investigation of the man and his actions. As ASIRT’s investigation is underway, no further information will be released at this time.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.

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Alberta

The Alberta Sovereignty “Within A United Canada” Act has been introduced

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Defending Albertans from Ottawa overreach

Alberta’s government has introduced proposed legislation to fight federal laws or policies that negatively affect Alberta’s interests.

If passed, the government will use the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act to stand up to federal government overreach and interference in areas of provincial jurisdiction, including in the areas of private property, natural resources, agriculture, firearms, regulation of the economy and delivery of heath, education and other social programs.

“Albertans are proud Canadians, and we love our nation dearly. The Canadian Constitution is clear that the federal and provincial governments are equals, each with our own areas of exclusive jurisdiction. The Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act will be used as a constitutional shield to protect Albertans from federal overreach that is costing Alberta’s economy billions of dollars each year in lost investment and is costing Alberta families untold jobs and opportunities.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

“Alberta’s government will use the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act to push back on federal legislation and policy that is unconstitutional or harmful to our province, our people and our economic prosperity. It is time to draw a line in the sand, as Albertans rightfully expect the federal government to respect the federal-provincial division of powers.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice

If passed, the act will give Alberta a legislative framework to formally defend its provincial jurisdiction while fully respecting Indigenous and treaty rights, Canada’s Constitution and the courts.

Importantly, the act will not compel any private citizen or business to violate federal law, nor does this legislation involve anything related to separation from Canada.

In addition, Premier Danielle Smith has tasked her ministers with preparing a number of special resolutions under this proposed act for the spring legislative session to push back on several federal laws and policies that seek to:

  • Regulate and control Alberta’s natural resources and economic development (i.e., Bill C-69).
  • Penalize the province’s energy and agricultural sectors, including implementation of mandatory fertilizer cuts and arbitrary emissions reductions that would devastate Alberta’s economy.
  • Control the delivery of health care, education and other social programs with strings-attached funding.
  • Confiscate legally owned firearms.
  • Interfere with the private property or charter rights of Albertans.
  • Violate other sovereign areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction.

Additional information regarding the act is online at alberta.ca/StandUp, as well as in this question and answer document.

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Alberta

‘Ottawa is not our ruler’: Alberta government introduces sovereignty bill

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By Dean Bennett in Edmonton

The Alberta government has introduced a bill that would grant Premier Danielle Smith and her cabinet broad powers to rewrite provincial laws behind closed doors in an effort to push back against Ottawa.

The proposed legislation would also allow cabinet to direct “provincial entities” — Crown-controlled organizations, municipalities, school boards, post-secondary schools, municipal police forces, regional health authorities and any social agency receiving provincial money — to not use provincial resources to enforce federal rules deemed harmful to Alberta’s interests.

“The Canadian Constitution is clear that the federal and provincial governments are equals, each with our own areas of exclusive jurisdiction,” Smith said in a statement Tuesday after her government introduced the Alberta sovereignty within a united Canada act.

“The (act) will be used as a constitutional shield to protect Albertans from federal overreach that is costing Alberta’s economy billions of dollars each year in lost investment and is costing Alberta families untold jobs and opportunities.”

In the bill, the United Conservative Party government promises to follow court rulings and the Constitution, but says it would be up to the federal government to sue the province to resolve disputes instead of the other way around.

Smith said if the bill passes, her government would use it as early as this spring to fight the federal government on a slew of issues, including energy development, agriculture, health care, education, firearms, child care, property rights and social programs.

It was the cornerstone of her successful campaign to win the leadership of the United Conservative Party last month to take over from Jason Kenney as premier.

The bill has been criticized by Kenney and even some of Smith’s leadership rivals — four of whom now sit in her cabinet — as a recipe for legal uncertainty, investment flight and the first step toward separation.

The bill was tabled after Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani read aloud in the chamber the speech from the throne, launching a new legislative session.

In the speech outlining government plans and priorities, Lakhani said the four-week fall sitting would focus on helping Albertans with inflation, health care and battling the federal government.

“Ottawa is not our ruler. Ottawa is our partner and it needs to begin acting like it,” Lakhani told the assembled legislature members and dignitaries.

The sovereignty bill sets out the framework to launch fights with the feds.

Under the bill, cabinet ministers or Smith would decide whether federal rules are harmful to Alberta. The bill does not give a legal definition of what constitutes harm.

Cabinet would then craft a resolution laying out the nature of the harm and steps that need to be taken to fight back. The 87-member legislature would vote on the resolution and if it gets a majority, the resolution passes and cabinet goes to work implementing it.

Cabinet can implement the resolution by using existing powers in legislation or it can unilaterally amend any provincial laws it deems applicable. Those laws are normally debated and passed in the legislature.

The bill says while cabinet can then direct any “provincial entity” to not enforce those federal laws or policies, it cannot do so with individuals or private businesses.

It also stresses that the bill cannot infringe on First Nations rights, a concern Alberta treaty chiefs have raised.

Any resolution passed by the assembly would expire after two years, unless the legislature votes to end it earlier. However, cabinet can extend orders and rules made under any resolution for a maximum of two extra years.

The window to fight the act in court in a judicial review is reduced from the normal six-month time frame to 30 days.

The Saskatchewan government introduced legislation with a similar aim last month, focusing on reinforcing provincial rights over natural resources.

Earlier Tuesday, Smith was sworn in as the new member for Brooks-Medicine Hat after winning a byelection for the seat earlier this month.

It was her first time back on the floor the legislature chamber since the spring of 2015.

At that time, Smith was with the Progressive Conservatives, having led a mass floor crossing of her Wildrose Party months earlier. She failed to win a nomination for the PCs in 2015 and returned to journalism as a radio talk-show host for six years.

Kenney remains a backbench UCP legislature member. He was not in the chamber for the throne speech or the introduction of the bill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2022.

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