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  • WINNIPEG — A female Winnipeg police officer testified Wednesday that a male colleague pointed a shotgun at her groin and said, “Boom, right in the crotch.”

    Const. Danielle Prefontaine was in a parking garage at police headquarters after a night shift in May 2016, when she said officer Leroy Gold walked up to her holding a shotgun in one hand. He raised it towards her body — only a few inches away — and threatened her, she said.

    “I really still don’t know how to take that. It wasn’t funny,” Prefontaine told court, holding back tears. 

    Gold, who is no longer an officer, is on trial on charges of pointing a firearm and uttering threats stemming from two encounters with the female officer.

    Prefontaine, a 14-year member of the force, said after the first time she told Gold never to do it again. She also told her partner about what happened, but didn’t immediately report it to superiors.

    “I went through a process of ‘I could have died’ to the implication of reporting another officer,” she said.

    That November, Prefontaine testified she was on another night shift, writing up a report about items recovered in a break-and-enter investigation.

    She leaned back in her chair to stretch when Gold came into the room, once again, holding a shotgun. She told court he put the weapon into her rib cage and said, “I know what you need.”

    “I was just kind of frozen,” Prefontaine said. “I had my vest on, but I could feel it against me.”

    She reported both incidents to superiors soon after and the professional standards unit investigated.

    Gold’s defence lawyer did not get a chance to challenge Prefontaine’s testimony Wednesday. The trial continues Thursday.

    Gold, who spent 15 years on the force, was put on unpaid administrative leave and charged in July 2017. Court did not hear details about why he is no longer an officer.

    An officer in the professional standards unit testified that she pulled the records of shifts for the time period the allegations happened, as well logs to show whether Gold had signed out a shotgun on the days in question.

    On one day, the records showed that Gold’s partner had signed out the gun, despite not being certified to do so.

    Defence attorney Richard Wolson questioned the dates and whether the data could be considered accurate.

    “Records are only as good as the people who input the information,” Wolson said.

    He also asked how no other officers saw what happened, despite it being a busy time at headquarters.

    Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press


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    Canadian Press NewsAlert: Canadian citizen killed in Honduras plane crash

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    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Global Affairs is confirming that a Canadian citizen has been killed in a plane crash in Honduras.
    A spokesperson for the department says the crash happened in the Roatan Islands area.
    Stefano Maron says consular offic…


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  • TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Global Affairs is confirming that a Canadian citizen has been killed in a plane crash in Honduras.

    A spokesperson for the department says the crash happened in the Roatan Islands area.

    Stefano Maron says consular officials in the capital, Tegucigalpa, are in contact with local authorities and providing consular assistance to the victim’s family.

    Local media report that all five people who died in yesterday’s crash were foreigners.

    More coming.

    The Canadian Press


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    ‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

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    EDMONTON — Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging off the new government’s promised $30-million “war room” to fight criticisms of the province’s energy industry.
    “The war room makes for good theatre, but the people …


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  • EDMONTON — Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging off the new government’s promised $30-million “war room” to fight criticisms of the province’s energy industry.

    “The war room makes for good theatre, but the people who follow this closely are going to look at this as amateur hour,” said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace.

    “Chasing environmentalists might play well politically, but it’s not actually relevant to the discussion that Alberta and Canada need to be having,” added Simon Dyer of the clean-energy think tank Pembina Institute.

    Both groups have been singled out by Kenney as examples of ones distorting the truth about the impact of the oilsands. The premier has said government staff will be tasked with responding quickly to what he calls myths and lies.

    Kenney has also promised to fund lawsuits against offending environmentalists and to call a public inquiry into the role of money from U.S. foundations.

    “Stay tuned,” Energy Minister Sonya Savage said Tuesday. “We’ll have something to talk about next week.”

    Environmental groups have already been discussing informally what the United Conservative government might have in mind and how they should react.

    “We’ve been contacted,” said Devon Page of Ecojustice, an environmental law firm. “We’ve been saying to the groups, ‘We’re here. We’ll respond and represent you as we have in the past.’

    “What we’re trying hard not to do is to do what I think the Kenney government wants, which is to get distracted.”

    Dyer and Stewart said their groups are about 85 per cent funded by Canadians. The Pembina Institute was founded in Drayton Valley, Alta., and its headquarters remain in Calgary.

    Both called the war room political posturing aimed at the party’s base.

    “A lot of the rhetoric around our work and our contribution to Alberta has been based on complete misinformation,” said Dyer, who pointed out Pembina has worked with virtually every major energy company in the province.

    Stewart called the threats a rerun of the 2012 campaign against environmental groups fuelled by the right-wing The Rebel media group and led by Stephen Harper’s federal Conservatives.

    “We learned to play rope-a-dope,” said Stewart. “Stephen Harper was our best recruiter.

    “We had people contacting us saying, ‘How do I lie down in front of a bulldozer?’ We don’t usually get a lot of those calls but we were getting a lot of those calls.”

    Each group is confident in the accuracy of the facts it cites. Dyer said Pembina research has been used by investors, academics and governments.

    Stewart said the issue isn’t facts, but how they are understood. 

    “Often what it is is a disagreement over which fact is important. Industry will say, ‘We’re reducing emissions per barrel.’ We’ll say, ‘Emissions are going up.’ Both statements are true and it depends which you think is more important.”

    Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said the Kenney government must tread carefully. It’s OK to defend your position, but not to threaten, she said.

    “If we’re talking about initiating lawsuits against individuals or organizations on the basis of speaking out on issues of public importance, then that raises serious problems,” she said. “Then we have a much more obvious impact and potential violation on freedom of expression.”

    The province could possibly expose itself to legal action if its statements harm a group or individual — say, by putting them at the centre of a Twitter firestorm, said an Edmonton lawyer.

    “There’s certainly some kind of moral responsibility in terms of understanding that kind of highly charged rhetoric,” said Sean Ward, who practises media law. “You have to understand the consequences that are likely to follow.”

    Ward said any cases the government funds would also be tough to win. 

    “There are a lot of available defences. It’s difficult to see that this sort of general debate they’re going to be able to shut down with defamation law.”

    Environmentalists say their response will be to avoid distraction and carry on.

    “The vast majority active in this place don’t want to go back to a high conflict, polarizing environment,” Dyer said. “We’re not interested in polarizing this debate.”

    Bob Weber, The Canadian Press




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