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Alberta

‘No way justified:’ Murder trial told farmer, son assumed Metis hunters were thieves

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EDMONTON — A Crown prosecutor has told a murder trial that an Alberta farmer and his son followed and shot two Métis hunters assuming they were thieves who had earlier driven onto the family’s property.

A lawyer for the farmer says the killings were in self defence.

The jury trial began in Edmonton on Monday for Roger Bilodeau, 58, and his son Anthony Bilodeau, 33, who have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal.

Sansom, 39, and his 59-year-old uncle were found dead on a rural road near Glendon, northeast of Edmonton, in March 2020.

Prosecutor Jordan Kerr said in his opening statement that Sansom had driven from his home in southern Alberta and dropped his three children off at his mother’s home in Bonnyville. He and his uncle then went moose hunting so they could fill the family’s freezer with meat.

Kerr said the older Bilodeau saw the hunters’ pickup truck slowly go by his home,and it looked like one that had been on his property that day. While following the hunters in his truck, Bilodeau phoned his son and asked him to follow behind and to bring a gun, said the prosecutor.

Security footage from a nearby gas station shows the Bilodeau men in their trucks following Sansom and Cardinal in their truck, Kerr added.

Roger Bilodeau and the hunters first stopped their trucks on the road.

Anthony Bilodeau arrived soon after. Within 26 seconds, he shot Sansom, then shot Cardinal as the hunter was walking to his truck, said Kerr.

The Bilodeaus then drove away.

A motorist called RCMP after finding Sansom dead in the middle of the road and Cardinal’s body in a ditch.

Autopsies determined that Sansom was shot once in the chest and Cardinal was shot three times in his shoulder, said Kerr.

“These were in no way justified killings,” Kerr said.

“Anthony Bilodeau freely made the decision to arm himself and to join in a pursuit on a public highway, simply because his father had suspected somebody might be trying to steal from him.

“Roger Bilodeau clearly anticipated having a confrontation at the end of the chase, when he recruited his son Anthony Bilodeau into joining the pursuit and bringing a firearm.”

Defence lawyer Shawn Gerstel said Roger Bilodeau followed the hunters because a similar truck had gone onto his property earlier in the day while his wife was home alone. There were also concerns about property crime in the area.

Gerstel said Anthony Bilodeau shot at the hunters because Sansom had smashed a window of his father’s truck and punched his father multiple times.

“Along with the video, you will see the shirt that Roger wore that evening. The collar of Roger’s shirt is torn half off. Mr. Sansom’s blood was located on three distinct areas of Roger’s shirt,” Gerstel said.

“(Roger Bildoeau) asked for a gun for protection because he didn’t know who he was dealing with.”

Gerstel also said the hunters were drunk, loud and obnoxious. He said a medical examiner is to testify that Sansom had a blood alcohol level that was nearly threetimes the legal driving limit, and Cardinal’s blood alcohol limit was nearly two times the limit.

James Sansom testified he had never seen his brother miss a target during a hunt, and he was also a talented martial artist who was good at de-escalating situations.

The trial is to continue Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Calgary Stampede receives $10M from federal government to aid recovery from pandemic

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Calgary – The Calgary Stampede has received more than $10 million from the federal government to help it bounce back after last year’s event was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report to the city this week showed the Stampede had an operating loss of $8.3 million in 2021.

Last year’s Stampede ran at half capacity because of COVID-19 public health measures and was cancelled all-together the year before.

Daniel Vandal, the federal minister for Prairies Economic Development Canada, says the money aims to support a full-scale Stampede to deliver the “authentic western experience” this year.

He says it would also help to reignite Alberta’s visitor economy.

The 2022 Stampede is set to run from July 8 to 17.

“Festivals large and small were hard hit during the pandemic,” Vandal said in a news release. “They are events where families and friends come together and take in the exciting atmosphere.

“The tourism industry is facing a strong comeback providing quality jobs across the country, showcasing stunning landscapes and offering exciting experiences right here in Alberta.”

The federal government also provided about $1.8 million for four other tourism projects in southern Alberta: Charmed Resorts, Cochrane Tourism Association, Heritage Park and Tourism Calgary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.

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Alberta

Canopy Growth to exchange C$255.4M in notes for shares and a bit of cash

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SMITHS FALLS, Ont. — Canopy Growth Corp. has signed a deal to exchange C$255.4 million of its debt for shares and a little bit of cash.

Under the agreement with a limited number of noteholders, the cannabis company will acquire the 4.25 per cent unsecured convertible senior notes due in 2023 for about C$252.8 million in shares plus approximately C$3 million in cash for accrued and unpaid interest.

The price used to value the shares will be the volume-weighted average trading price on the Nasdaq Global Select Market for the 10 consecutive trading days beginning Thursday, subject to a floor price of US$2.50 and a maximum of US$3.50 per share.

Constellation Brands Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary Greenstar Canada Investment Limited Partnership, has agreed to swap half of the C$200 million in notes it holds under the deal.

The company, which is already Canopy’s largest shareholder, will receive a minimum of 21.9 million Canopy shares based on the floor price and a maximum of 30.7 million shares.

Constellation currently holds nearly 142.3 million Canopy shares, representing a 35.3 per cent stake in the company.,

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:WEED)

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