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UPDATE: Beaumont RCMP solve suspicious incident

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UPDATED SEPT. 19, 2017 Beaumont, Alberta –  Beaumont RCMP have determined that the male described in the September 13 incident was an RCMP officer and there is no risk to the public. The RCMP member was in an unmarked police vehicle, and not in uniform. 

No offence was committed and further information will not be provided by the RCMP on this incident.

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE from Sept. 15 Beaumont, Alberta – Beaumont RCMP are investigating a suspicious occurrence which was reported on September 13, 2017.  While walking to school, a 13-year-old male and 14-year-old female had an unusual verbal exchange with a male who presented himself as an ‘officer’.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on September 13, a male in a parked, newer, black coloured SUV with tinted windows, called two school children over and talked to them.  The male said he was an ‘officer’ and asked questions which were probing and concerning.  At no time did the male make any physical contact, or ask the children to come into the vehicle.  After talking for a few minutes, the unidentified male drove away.

The male was not dressed in any clothing which would indicate any sort of a police, or ‘officer’ uniform.

The RCMP were advised of this incident later that day at 6:00 p.m., and began actively investigating.  Neighbourhood inquiries have been conducted to determine if anyone was witness to this exchange and patrols made to identify a vehicle.  The investigation continues.

The male is described as:

          Caucasian with dark complexion

          Approximate age – mid 40s

          Green eyes, dark hair with receding hair line

          Scarred face

          Wearing a dark coloured golf type shirt

A composite sketch has been completed and is attached to this release.

“Although no one was injured, an exchange like this is alarming, and we want these incidents reported to the RCMP right away” said Staff Sergeant Jeff Egan, Beaumont RCMP Detachment Commander.  “Parents are encouraged to continue to have discussions with their children about practicing street safety, and trusting their instincts when it comes to strangers.  Reporting strange events is paramount to our solving them.”

The RCMP are asking anyone with information to contact them.  The male involved in this incident is encouraged to contact the Beaumont RCMP in an effort to explain his actions and clear this investigation.

If you have information about this investigation, please call the Beaumont RCMP at 780-929-7410 or call your local police detachment.  If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), by internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by SMS.  

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Saskatchewan to require proof of COVID vaccination to try to increase uptake: premier

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REGINA — Saskatchewan will be bringing in a proof of vaccination program in an attempt to increase the number of people immunized against COVID-19. 

Premier Scott Moe made the announcement on his social media accounts Thursday.

He said the policy is expected to come into effect Oct. 1 and will apply to businesses, establishments and event venues, but will exclude civil services. 

People will have to show proof of vaccination or show a negative test. 

Moe also said all government employees of Crown corporations and in ministries will be required to be vaccinated or consistently show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. 

He is also reinstating a provincewide mask mandate for all indoor public places, which he said could be lifted by late October. 

“These are not measures we wanted to implement — and as a government we have been patient in providing the opportunity and access to get vaccinations — but that patience has come to an end,” Moe said in a video posted on social media. 

“The vast majority of Saskatchewan people have grown tired of the reckless decisions of the unvaccinated that are now driving our fourth wave.”

Moe had previously said he would not bring in vaccination passports and that getting a shot was a personal choice.

“As a province, and as a government, we have been very patient. Possibly too patient,” he said. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who had also been adamant that he would not require proof of vaccinations, on Wednesday announced he was bringing in a similar program.

Saskatchewan is the last province in Western Canada to implement such a policy. 

Moe was to be joined by the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, at a news conference later Thursday, when more details were expected to be released.

On Wednesday, the province reported 475 new cases, 22 per cent of which were in children under the age of 12, who are ineligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2021.

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press

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Another minority looks likely but it could be very different from the last one

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OTTAWA — Canadians have chosen minority governments in four of the last six federal elections and Monday’s vote seems likely to produce a fifth.

Whether it will be a Liberal or Conservative minority is anyone’s guess.

Polls suggest the two parties are locked in a dead heat, neither within reach of winning a majority of seats in the House of Commons — much as they were in 2019 when Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won a relatively stable minority.

But that doesn’t mean this election will produce the same result.

Here are some things to keep in mind about how minority governments are formed and what another one might look like:

— Which of the two front-runners ultimately forms government doesn’t necessarily depend on who wins the greatest share of the popular vote or even who wins the most seats.

Rather, it depends on which party can command the confidence of the House, notes University of British Columbia political scientist Maxwell Cameron.

And that means: which party is able to muster enough support from one or more smaller parties to win crucial confidence votes?

— If he were to see little prospect of mustering sufficient opposition support to continue governing, Trudeau would likely resign and allow the Conservatives to form government.

But regardless of the outcome, Trudeau has the right to carry on until he is defeated in a confidence vote in the Commons. Opposition parties would get their first opportunity to topple his government by voting against the throne speech, which opens each new session of Parliament.

If the throne speech was defeated, it would be the prerogative of the Governor General to invite Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole to form a new government. O’Toole would then have to gain support from one or more of the other opposition parties in order to command the confidence of the House. If he could not, another election would be triggered.

— In 2019, the Conservatives actually won a slightly larger share of the popular vote but, because so much of it was concentrated in the Prairie provinces, they came up with 36 fewer seats than the Liberals.

There was never any suspense about whether the Liberals would continue to govern. They were only 13 seats short of a majority and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party captured 24 seats, had been clear during the campaign that New Democrats would never prop up a Conservative minority.

Trudeau was able to govern without reaching any formal deal with opposition parties, relying on support from different parties at different times to survive confidence votes and pass legislation.

— Singh has not ruled out propping up the Conservatives this time. Nor has Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet.

Although O’Toole has shifted the Conservatives more toward the centre of the political spectrum, Cameron suspects it would still be harder for him to find a dance partner in the Commons, since both the Bloc and NDP are more ideologically aligned with the Liberals.

However, Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s virtual endorsement of the Conservatives could influence the Bloc to give O’Toole a chance to move into the Prime Minister’s Office.

— So what would happen if the NDP were to back the Liberals and the Bloc were to back the Conservatives but, even so, neither of the front-runners could muster majority support in the Commons?

In that case, it’s theoretically possible that a handful of Green Party or People’s Party MPs could determine which of the front-runners forms government.

— The further either of the front-runners is from the 170 seats needed for a majority, the more leverage the smaller parties would have to make demands in return for their support.

There are three approaches to minorities, notes Cameron, the most common being the informal vote-by-vote approach taken by Trudeau during the past two years. Cameron suspects that would be the likely approach again should Monday’s election produce another minority.

However, it’s possible that Trudeau or O’Toole might be compelled to go further, negotiating an agreement with one or more smaller parties to prop them up for a period of time in exchange for specific legislative action.

That’s how David Peterson’s Liberals took power in Ontario in 1985, striking a two-year deal with the NDP to oust the Conservatives, who had won the most seats.

It’s also how John Horgan’s NDP won power in British Columbia in 2017, ousting the Liberals who had won the most seats by securing the support of the Greens’ three members of the legislature.

It’s also possible that the smaller parties could demand to be part of a coalition government. But coalitions, while common in other countries, are rare in Canada where the notion has been tainted by an aborted attempt to unseat Stephen Harper shortly after he won a second Conservative minority in 2008.

At that time, the Liberals and NDP negotiated an agreement to form a shaky coalition government, but since both parties combined still fell short of a majority, they had to secure a promise of support from the separatist Bloc Québécois. Further complicating matters, the would-be coalition prime minister, Stéphane Dion, had already resigned as Liberal leader.

Harper railed about the coalition as an affront to democracy, effectively characterizing it as an attempted separatist-backed coup and winning the public relations war. He then persuaded the Governor General to prorogue Parliament, buying himself some time.

By the time Parliament resumed, Dion was gone, the Liberals had got cold feet and the coalition agreement fell apart.

— While the smaller parties might be tempted to make stiff demands in return for their support, Cameron thinks their bargaining power would be limited by the fact that no one would want to plunge the country into yet another election in the midst of the fourth wave of COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2021.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

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