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Alberta

Alberta men accused of killing Métis hunters took law into own hands: prosecutor

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EDMONTON — A father and son accused of killing two Métis hunters took the law into their own hands when they chased them on a rural Alberta road, shot them and left them to die, a Crown prosecutor told court Thursday.

Jordan Kerr said Roger and Anthony Bilodeau were angry because they thought the two hunters were trying to steal from them and wanted to kill them for it.

The Bilodeaus face two counts each of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jacob Sansom, who was 39, and his uncle Maurice Cardinal, who was 57. Both the accused have pleaded not guilty.

“You knew you weren’t acting lawfully when you shot those two men, right?” Kerr asked Anthony Bilodeau during cross-examination.

“I believed our lives were in danger and I was very afraid that these men were going to kill us,” Bilodeau replied.

The trial has heard a recorded interview between an RCMP officer and Anthony Bilodeau on March 31, 2020 — four days after the shooting near Glendon, Alta., about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

In the recording, Bilodeau tells Sgt. Christian Reister that he did not shoot the hunters and didn’t know anything about their deaths.

Court has also heard that Bilodeau, 33, got a call from his father and younger brother, Joseph Bilodeau, on the night of March 27, 2020, saying they were following a truck they thought had been in their yard. Joseph Bilodeau, then 16, had seen a blue Chevy pickup earlier in the day.

Jurors have been told the teen and his father got into a truck to follow the other pickup, so they could ask the people what they were doing. The teen has testified that the vehicle they were following that night turned out to be a white Dodge pickup truck.

Anthony Bilodeau has said that he was home when he got the phone call to bring a gun and catch up with his father and brother in case they needed protection from the people in the Dodge.

“You could have told him, ‘Dad, this is ridiculous. Pull over. We’re calling police,’” Kerr told Anthony Bilodeau.

“I didn’t think of it at that time,” he replied.

Bilodeau has testified that his cellphone was still connected to a Bluetooth speaker in his father’s truck when he heard thuds and the sound of a window cracking. The window of Roger Bilodeau’s Ford F-150 was punched in before he and his son were allegedly attacked inside it, the jury has heard.

Kerr asked Anthony Bilodeau whether it was possible the people were upset because they had just been chased down the road in the dark in an isolated area.

“I believed that could be a possibility,” he replied.

He said he showed up at a rural intersection where his father and brother were stopped and could see one of the hunters choking his father.

He added that he wasn’t sure whether that person had a gun, so he quickly loaded his own rifle and got out of his truck with it.

From the witness stand, Anthony Bilodeau, using two hands, demonstrated how he said the man was choking his father.

Kerr pointed out that that the man couldn’t be holding a weapon if both hands were choking Roger Bilodeau.

“So nobody visible to you had a firearm,” Kerr said.

“That’s correct,” Bilodeau said.

“You’re the first person to introduce a gun to this situation, right?” asked the Crown.

“Yes,” Bilodeau replied.

Kerr said Anthony Bilodeau shot Sansom “point blank” in the chest.

Anthony Bilodeau has testified that both men were coming at him. After shooting Sansom, he said, Cardinal came at him with a gun and threatened to kill him in retaliation.

Bilodeau said at that point he ran over to the side of the road and shot Cardinal once in the shoulder.

By then, Roger Bilodeau had turned his truck around and Anthony Bilodeau could have hopped in and left, Kerr said.

Instead, Kerr said, Anthony Bilodeau went over to Cardinal, who was hunched by the side of the Dodge, and shot him a second time and then a third time when he was already on the ground.

Anthony Bilodeau said the man kept telling him he was going to kill him.

“That’s a lie,” Kerr said. “He never said that to you when you went back around that Dodge truck. He was physically incapable of saying that to you. He was dying.”

Court heard that Cardinal was found with no gun at his side. Instead, there was an unloaded one in the back passenger seat near where Cardinal had been standing.

An evidence photo presented to Anthony Bilodeau showed the gun did not have a clip in it. The photo also showed the clip was under a bag.

Anthony Bilodeau testified that after the shootings, he cut up his gun in four to five pieces, took a set of lights off his truck bumper and disposed of the items separately.

He said he didn’t recall talking to his father or brother about reporting the shooting to police.

Anthony Bilodeau has said he destroyed evidence and lied to police because he was afraid of going to jail for protecting his family.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Elks down Tiger-Cats 29-25 for first win of CFL season

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HAMILTON — Tre Ford was in his happy place Friday in Hamilton.

The Edmonton Elks quarterback got a win in his first career CFL start 30 minutes down the Queen Elizabeth Highway from his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ont.

The Elks came from behind to beat the Tiger-Cats 29-25 in front of 20,233 at Tim Hortons Field.

“To come back to Hamilton and have all my family watching me get that first start and that first win has been fantastic,” Ford said.

Among Ford’s supporters were his wife, parents, sister, sister-in-law and mother-in-law, his high school football coach from A.N. Myer Secondary, his University of Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia, eight of his former university teammates and more friends.

Ford was shaky at times as the Elks trailed by 13 points early in the second half.

But the 2021 winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy winner that goes to the most outstanding Canadian university football player threw a game-tying touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler early in the fourth quarter.

The winning play for the Elks (1-3) arrived with 1:38 remaining when defensive back Scott Hutter tackled Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans and knocked the ball loose.

Jalen Collins recovered for a 14-yard touchdown.

“I saw him tackle him and thought, ‘please punch the ball out,” Collins said. “All we needed was an opportunity to close the game out. We were fighting all night. It was ugly.”

The winless Tiger-Cats opened a season with four straight losses for the first time since 2017 when they started 0-8.

“I want to apologize to all the guys. I put both home losses on me,” Evans said. “I just have to take care of it, and we win the game.”

Evans was 20-for-31 in passing for 197 yards and a touchdown throw. He was intercepted twice.

Ford’s numbers didn’t sparkle, although he did rush for 61 yards on six carries. The 24-year-old competed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.

Edmonton’s defence helped out with interceptions by Sheldon Brady and Matthew Thomas, as well as the pivotal late-game recovered fumble by Collins.

“A big shout out to the defence,” Ford said. “They won us that game. They made what, three or four turnovers? They did super well.

“I have room for improvement. I’m not going to complain because we did win. But I’m going to hit the film room to see what I can critique and where I can get better.”

Hamilton went after the rookie with various blitzes in the first half.

“My legs are going to open things up for my arm,” Ford said.

Ford credited teammate and quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who started in Edmonton’s three losses this season, for advising him during the game on defensive reads.

“He’s been like that since day one, even though we’re competitors for the position,” Ford said.

He admitted to early jitters as Hamilton led 16-6 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime.

“I always get nervous for the first play of every game,” Ford said. “I think it’s a good thing because it means I care and that I want to win.”

Evans hit Steven Dunbar for a 21-yard strike, and Lawrence Woods returned a kickoff of 72 yards for Hamilton’s first-half touchdowns.

Edmonton’s Kai Locksley scored on a one-yard plunge.

Elks kicker Sergio Castillo made two of his three field-goal attempts, while Hamilton counterpart Michael Domagala nailed his three and gave the Ticats at lead with a 33-yarder with 3:10 remaining in the game

“We’re not good enough right now,” Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer said. “We’re not executing at the level which needs to happen. We’re just not making those plays we need to make.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2022.

Tim Wharnsby, 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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