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Alberta

ASIRT investigating shooting death of 39 year old suspect near Rocky Mountain House

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New Release from ASIRT (Alberta Serious Incident Response Team)

Investigation into RCMP officer-involved shooting fatality continues

On Aug. 14, 2021, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a 39-year-old man who was shot and killed by police at an oilfield battery site during a standoff that same day.

On the evening of Aug. 13, 2021, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police became involved in what started as an investigation into an armed carjacking earlier that day in Parkland County, during which a GMC truck was stolen. During the course of that investigation, a 39-year-old man was identified as a suspect. As the situation unfolded, police received additional information that led them to believe that the 39-year-old man may also have been involved in a homicide in Edmonton.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 14, 2021, the 39-year-old man repeatedly contacted police. He advised them that he was in possession of a weapon and that he had a hostage. As these communications continued, police continued in their efforts to locate the man and the stolen vehicle from the carjacking.

The stolen GMC truck was located and, at approximately 7:43 a.m., the vehicle was cleared by police. A police service dog tracked the occupant(s) of the vehicle to a nearby outbuilding at an oilfield battery site west of Rocky Mountain House. It was determined that the man police had been in communication with was inside one of the outbuildings on site; however, it remained unclear whether anyone else was inside. The man was believed to have been armed with a firearm.

RCMP officers, including RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) officers, a dog handler and a police service dog, contained the scene while negotiators attempted to persuade the man to surrender peacefully. As these negotiations continued, at approximately 1:30 p.m., the man exited the outbuilding, initiating a confrontation with police. During the confrontation, one officer discharged a service weapon that fires less lethal rounds; other officers subsequently discharged service firearms. The man was struck, sustaining critical injuries, and fell to the ground. Emergency medical intervention was attempted, but the man died on scene.

A 12-gauge pistol grip pump-action shotgun, as well as live and spent shotgun ammunition, were recovered on scene. The scene was subsequently cleared and it was determined that during the period of containment, the man had been alone in the outbuilding.

The events leading up to the eventual critical incident at the oilfield battery site, and any offences that may have been committed by the man, including the carjacking and possible homicide, remain under investigation by the police services of the relevant jurisdiction. ASIRT’s investigation will focus on the events relating to the containment at the oilfield battery site and the uses of force that ultimately resulted in the death of the man.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.

Alberta

Smith won’t seek early vote if she wins UCP leadership, becomes next Alberta premier

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United Conservative Party leadership candidate Danielle Smith says if she wins this week’s vote and becomes the next Alberta premier, she would not call an early election to seek a broad mandate on her policy ideas.

Smith, the perceived front-runner in the race, says the public tends to punish leaders who call an early election.

She says she would wait until the next scheduled election in May 2023, but believes she has a mandate now to proceed with her plans.

Smith has said she would immediately pass an Alberta sovereignty act, which would allow the province to ignore federal laws and court rulings deemed not in its interest.

Legal experts, some of Smith’s leadership rivals and Premier Jason Kenney have labelled the act not only illegal but a recipe for constitutional and economic chaos.

Smith has also talked about revamping the health system by using health spending accounts and firing the board of Alberta Health Services, which oversees the front-line delivery of care.

Today is the last day for advance voting, as seven candidates dig in for the final campaign push before UCP members select a new leader to replace Kenney on Thursday.

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Alberta

Alberta commits $20.8 million over the next four years to fight human trafficking

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By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Alberta government is providing $20.8 million over the next four years to implement recommendations from a star-led task force on human trafficking.

Country singer Paul Brandt, chair of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force, personally thanked Premier Jason Kenney during the funding announcement Sunday at Edmonton International Airport for his willingness to prioritize the issue, and for putting faith in Brandt to lead the group.

“Premier Kenney’s longtime personal dedication and commitment to the issue of human trafficking is authentic and is admirable,” Brandt said.

“He’s the only political leader I’ve met in my 17 years of advocating for trafficking victims and survivors who took the time and initiative to personally write a plan to address this horrific crime.”

The money will establish an office to combat trafficking as well as a centre of excellence for research and data collection — recommendations the government accepted when the task force presented its report in March.

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the goal is to launch the office by next summer.

Other task force recommendations that will be supported include a new grant for community projects and Indigenous-led and culturally appropriate services. Civilian positions that will focus on supporting victims and survivors throughout human trafficking investigations will also be funded.

“Human trafficking is far more prevalent — way more common — than the stats would suggest because it’s a hidden crime,” Kenney said at the announcement.

“It festers in the dark. There are victims who face fear, shame and self-doubt and some who will never report what they’ve gone through.”

The task force was appointed in May 2020 and engaged with nearly 100 experts and survivors of trafficking to provide guidance on how to best implement the government’s action plan to fight human trafficking.

The government has said human trafficking includes sexual exploitation, forced labour trafficking and trafficking in human organs or tissues.

Kenney, who will be replaced as premier when his United Conservative Party selects a new leader on Thursday, noted he started fighting human trafficking over 20 years ago when he was an MP and joined a group of international parliamentarians on a coalition to fight the practice.

Later as Canada’s immigration minister, he said he took steps to make it easier for human trafficking victims who had migrated to Canada to obtain safety and protection.

In winter 2019, he said he committed the UCP to a nine-point action plan to combat human trafficking, which led to the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, which took effect in May 2020.

Brandt said it was exciting to be part of the funding commitment at the airport, where he said he stood in 2019 for a partnership with the facility and other groups in the Edmonton region to fight trafficking, which he called “modern day slavery.”

“It has been our dream that special focus and permanent funding would one day become a reality. Today is that day,” Brandt said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2022.

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