The Bowden Institution facility is shown near Bowden, Alta., on March 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
A man who was once known as the “Paper Bag Rapist” has again been denied parole after a hearing from an Alberta prison.
John Horace Oughton, 74, was convicted in 1987 of two counts of rape, six counts of indecent assault and six counts of sexual assault with a weapon in British Columbia.
He was tagged with the disturbing name because he made his victims wear a bag over their head or wore one himself to mask his identity.
Oughton appeared Friday at the online parole board hearing from the federal medium-security Bowden Institution, where he’s serving an indeterminate sentence as a dangerous offender.
He was denied day parole and full parole by the two-person board.
“There’s been some lowering of your risk, likely due to your mobility issues and your age,” board member Janelle Jackiw said Friday as she delivered the decision.
She said, however, Oughton has not participated in high-intensity sex offender programming and has no release plan.
“There hasn’t been significant change since the last hearing to this hearing,” she said. “Overall, your risk is assessed as being unmanageable.”
Oughton, who was in a wheelchair, said during the hour-long hearing that he’s dying of heart disease and is also mentally ill.
“I suffer from a cognitive impairment,” he told the board. “When I’m not treated, I start to imagine things that aren’t real.”
The parole board has previously said it’s believed Oughton had between 30 and 140 victims, but he said Friday he believes there are a lot of mistakes in his file.
“I cannot defend anything I did,” he said, adding he believes he made up some of those victims. He also suggested that there were no weapons and no disguises during his crimes.
Oughton added that he’s been involved in a restorative justice program during his time in prison and met with some of his victims.
“I apologized to each and every one of them,” he said.
“When they left, they knew it was not a normal person who committed these crimes against them. It was a person who was mentally ill.”
Earlier parole board documents said that Oughton’s 14 sex-related offences on women and children took place in B.C.’s Lower Mainland between 1985 and 1987.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2023.
Alberta says first steps to reform provincial health delivery system coming this fall
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks to the media in Calgary, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. Smith says the first steps are coming this fall to reconfigure Alberta’s health delivery system – a plan the Opposition calls a recipe for more chaos from a government fresh off turning lab testing into a debacle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Dean Bennett in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Premier Danielle Smith says the first steps are coming this fall to reconfigure Alberta’s health delivery system — a plan the Opposition calls a recipe for more chaos from a government fresh off turning lab testing into a debacle.
“We will not delay,” Smith told mayors, councillors and other local leaders at the Alberta Municipalities convention Friday.
She said Health Minister Adriana LaGrange is to present her proposal to Smith and cabinet Wednesday on how to decentralize Alberta Health Services.
“If we get the cabinet approval and the caucus approval, we would be moving on some of that direction in the fall so that we are prepared for the new budget cycle in February.”
Smith has directed LaGrange to revamp the structure of Alberta Health Services, better known as AHS, saying it needs to be more responsive to regional needs and focus more on direct hospital care.
She has said LaGrange will look at whether AHS still needs to be in charge of non-acute functions such as midwifery, primary care staffing and continuing care.
Alberta finished centralizing its health system 15 years ago to create AHS.
Smith has made AHS reform the centrepiece of her leadership.
Last year, she fired the governing board of AHS and replaced it with a single administrator. She blamed the agency for failing to step up during the COVID-19 pandemic as hospitals came close to being overrun with patients.
Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Smith’s plan is only going to make things worse, particularly given the province abandoned last month its attempt to fully privatize community lab services after the changes resulted in long waits for tests in Calgary and southern Alberta.
“People all across this province are struggling to get access to lab (testing) now because of the dysfunction of this UCP (government),” Notley told reporters after her speech to Alberta Municipalities delegates.
“Overlaying more disorganization on top of that is a recipe for further undermining our health care and our public health care.
“There is not a single solitary thing that this UCP government has done under (former premier) Jason Kenney’s leadership or Danielle Smith’s leadership that has made our health care better.”
Alberta Municipalities represents and speaks for villages, towns and cities that make up about 85 per cent of the province’s population.
Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam, the newly elected president of Alberta Municipalities, said they’re hoping for changes and improvements to fix doctor shortages and emergency rooms forced to limit their operating hours.
“I was speaking with members of council from Ponoka and hearing that their emergency room had been shut down nearly 20 times this year so far,” Gandam told reporters.
“The last thing that a person should be worrying about is whether or not the emergency room is going to be open or an ambulance is going to able to respond to their call when they need it.”
The convention focused mainly on calls for more funding from the province.
On Thursday, delegates voted 98 per cent on a motion calling on the province to roll back years of municipal funding cuts on infrastructure.
The association says the province has cut both per capita spending and the percentage of total budget spending for years, resulting in about $1.3 billion less investment in community infrastructure per year that needs to be returned, particularly as the province continues to attract thousands more newcomers a year.
Smith said she will look at ways to get more money to municipalities to help bring property taxes down along with more one-time funding from recent budget surpluses to help accelerate capital projects.
“’I’ve watched it happen many times that we’re very generous (and) increase the funding when times are good, and then when times turn the other way, we ask you to take a pretty big haircut, and that puts a lot of extra pressure on you,” Smith told the delegates.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2023.
Man dies in Edmonton mall parkade after standing up through car sunroof: police
The West Edmonton Mall is shown on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Edmonton police say they are investigating the death of a man in a parkade at the mall after he stood up through the sunroof of a car and was struck by a beam. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Jackson
Edmonton police say they are investigating the death of a man in a mall parkade after he stood up through the sunroof of a car and was struck by a beam.
Officers responded to the call Thursday at West Edmonton Mall.
They were told a sedan had been travelling through the mall parkade when the 18-year-old passenger stood up.
As the car passed underneath a ramp, the man was struck by a concrete beam.
Emergency workers treated the man at the scene and took him to hospital, but he died of his injuries.
The 17-year-old male driver and 15-year-old female passenger were unhurt.
Police say speed and impairment are not believed to be factors.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2023.
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