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Alberta

Hinshaw challenged over violating Charter freedoms of Albertans

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Originally published on October 29, 2020 by The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms 

CALGARY: The Justice Centre today responded to new violations of the Charter-protected freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, announced earlier this week by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer.

On October 26, Dr. Hinshaw declared that Albertans in Calgary and Edmonton cannot gather in groups larger than 15 for dinner parties, birthday parties, wedding and funeral receptions, retirement parties, baby showers and other social events.

“This Order violates freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” stated lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre.

“This Order is based on ‘cases’ of COVID-19 in Alberta, including thousands of ‘cases’ among people who are not experiencing any symptoms or illness. This Order is not properly grounded in relevant considerations such as deaths, hospitalizations, and ICU capacity, and is therefore not a justifiable violation of fundamental Charter freedoms,” continued Carpay.

Prior to lockdowns being imposed this past March, the word “cases” typically referred to people who are actually sick and clearly displaying symptoms. But today’s “cases” include completely healthy people who simply had a positive PCR test. The reliability of the PCR tests is increasingly in dispute, with the number of false positives as high as 90% according to some reports.

Unsurprisingly, the number of “cases” rises with the number of tests that governments conduct. For example, September saw 28,763 “cases” in Canada, as a result of testing almost two million Canadians.

“What really matters is not the ‘cases’ of perfectly healthy people, but rather the fact that 25,000 Canadians die each month,” explained Carpay. “In September, 171 of those 25,000 Canadian deaths were attributed to COVID-19.”

The media continues to hype “cases” and warn of a “second wave.” Yet government data
shows that since May, monthly COVID-19 deaths in Alberta have remained under 50, with more than 2,000 Albertans dying each and every month of other causes, based on 27,000 Albertans dying each year. Deaths peaked in April and May, when 134 Albertans died along with about 4,000 Albertans who died in those same two months from other causes.

In Alberta and elsewhere, COVID-19 significantly threatens elderly people with one, two, three or more serious pre-existing health conditions, as well as a very small number of adults under 60. However, COVID-19 does not have a significant impact on overall life expectancy. The average age of those reported as COVID deaths in Alberta is 83. Life expectancy in Alberta is 82. To date, 309 Albertans, predominantly elderly near the final stages of their life, have died of COVID-19, almost all of them with one or more serious comorbidities.

“Government data shows that COVID-19 is not the unusually deadly killer that Premier Kenney and Dr. Hinshaw made it out to be when they claimed in April that—even with lockdown measures in place—as many as 32,000 Albertans would die of the virus,” stated Carpay.

“Politicians claim that the lockdowns saved many lives, but they have yet to put forward actual evidence that might support their speculation and conjecture,” stated Carpay.

“Each of Alberta’s 309 COVID-19 deaths is sad and tragic, and so are the other 26,917 deaths that occur in Alberta each year,” continued Carpay.

Each and every month, Albertans mourn the passing of over 2,000 friends and family members, who die of cancer, car accidents, alcoholism, drug overdoses, suicide, heart disease, delayed surgeries, and many other causes. In the past seven months more than 14,000 Albertans have died, 309 of the virus and the remainder of other causes.

Since March, lockdown harms such as increase in drug overdoses, which kill more Albertans than COVID-19 does, have been either ignored or accepted, as if dying of COVID-19 is somehow worse than dying of another cause.

“In light of the Alberta government’s own data on COVID-19 deaths, there is no rational basis for forcing all Albertans to continue living in fear,” stated Carpay.

“Alberta’s politicians and health officials should focus their attention on protecting those who are at serious risk from COVID-19, rather than violating the Charter freedoms of the entire population,” stated Carpay.

“Albertans, and all Canadians, should exercise their freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly without fear of prosecution or penalty. This is especially true for the young, who are at more risk of being struck by lightning than dying of COVID,” concluded Carpay.

Source: https://www.jccf.ca

Alberta

‘Tragic and senseless’: Prison for driver with brain tumour who killed pedestrian

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CALGARY — A judge has sentenced a man with a benign brain tumour, who lost consciousness while driving and killed a Calgary woman, to 27 months in prison. 

James Beagrie, 48, was originally charged with criminal negligence causing death after his truck hit Anjna Sharma, a mother of three, who had been on a walk during a work break in May 2017.

Beagrie pleaded guilty last fall to a lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death. 

Court heard he had been told by his doctor not to drive and, three months before killing Sharma, blacked out and got into a single-vehicle crash.

“I would describe this offence in two words — tragic and senseless,” Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Neufeld said in his sentencing decision Thursday.

“Mr. Beagrie ignored all of those warnings and drove anyway, and he will live with that for the rest of his life. It’s exactly that type of behaviour that must be denounced and deterred so other lives can be saved.”

Neufeld said Beagrie deserved a sentence of 30 months, but he lowered it to 27 months because of the man’s “precarious medical condition.”

“In my view, justice without compassion is not justice at all … he is on borrowed time himself. A sentence of 2 1/2 years may turn out to be a life sentence,” said Neufeld.

The Crown had asked that Beagrie serve 2 1/2 years in prison. His defence lawyer suggested two years.

The judge also ordered Beagrie be banned from driving for 7 1/2 years after his release.

“If you do recover, as I hope you will, you will have served your debt to society and will deserve a chance after a period of time to return to normalcy,” Neufeld said.

“This ordeal does not need to define the rest of your life, just as I truly hope that it will not define the rest of the lives and happiness of the Sharma family in the years to come.”

On Monday, Beagrie apologized in court and promised not to drive when he get out of prison, unless it’s a matter of “life and limb.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

‘Brutal and callous:’ 15-year parole ineligibility for man who killed father

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CALGARY — A man who killed and dismembered his father has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance at parole for 15 years.

A jury found Zaineddin Al Aalak guilty in December of second-degree murder in the death of 53-year-old Mohamed Al Aalak. He was also convicted of offering an indignity to the man’s body.

Jurors rejected a claim by the 24-year-old that he was not criminally responsible because he was in the throes of a psychosis at the time of the killing and was unable to understand that his actions were wrong. 

Court heard that Zaineddin Al Aalak attacked his father from behind with a hammer and strangled him with his hands in July 2017. He dismembered and decapitated the body using power tools and dumped the parts at a construction site in Okotoks, a town south of Calgary.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice David Labrenz said the crime was “brutal and callous” and that Al Aalak disposed of his father’s remains like they were “pieces of garbage.”

“There was a display of brutality at the time — and there was displayed a lack of compassion –over the way the father was killed and the way his body was treated after his death,” the judge said while giving his sentencing decision Thursday.

The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, but court heard submissions from lawyers about how long Al Aalak should have to wait before he could apply for parole.

Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail had requested a wait of 16 to 18 years.

“Part of Mohamad Al Aalak’s body was never actually recovered and found,” she said. “His right hand was never located by police and therefore was not able to be buried with … his remains … in Iraq.”

Al Aalak’s lawyer, Alain Hepner, suggested his client serve 13 or 14 years in prison before could ask for release.

Hepner said his client, still a young man who had been “the favourite son” before the killing, is remorseful.

“He has — and he knows — he has destroyed his family. He knows what he’s done. He knows what has happened.”

Al Aalak offered an apology.

“It was by my hands that he died and for this I am sorry and in grief beyond words,” he told the court.

“The reason this happened was because of an altered state of mind that I experienced. I am consigned to live with that reality nonetheless.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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