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‘Boom, right in the crotch:’ Winnipeg officer says colleague pointed gun at her


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


Seamus O’Regan faces calls to visit Attawapiskat during state of emergency



Dwelling in Attawapiskat

OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan is facing calls from the federal NDP to visit the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat First Nation.

Earlier this month, the community declared a state of emergency over concerns about chemical levels in tap water.

NDP MP Charlie Angus, who represents the federal riding encompassing the reserve, is meeting with the community today and says O’Regan needs to see the impacts of the issue first-hand, including that community members are worried about being able to safety bathe their children.

Attawapiskat has drawn national attention for its 2012 housing crisis and it has also faced issues with youth suicide.

Former chief Theresa Spence, who launched a high-profile protest over the housing situation, has also started a hunger strike over water concerns.

O’Regan’s office says that addressing the water issue in full partnership with the First Nation is a top priority, adding it knows recent test results have raised concerns.



The Canadian Press

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Trudeau to push trade pact in EU leaders’ summit as France moves ahead on CETA



Trudeau to push trade pact with EU

MONTREAL — Lawmakers in France begin their ratification of the comprehensive trade agreement between the European Union and Canada as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes the leaders of the 28-country bloc to Montreal today.

Trudeau has been pushing hard for a win on trade and foreign policy after two difficult years marked by a rough renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the Trump administration and the deterioration of political and trade relations with China.

Trudeau will talk up the merits of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a series of events in Montreal over the next two days.

But Wednesday’s legal development when the French National Assembly begins its consideration of France’s ratification bill is also a prime focus for Canada’s Liberal prime minister, who will be fighting a federal election this fall.

Sources in France and Canada, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the talks, say Trudeau lobbied French President Emmanuel Macron for more than a year to introduce the bill, and that those efforts finally paid off last month in Paris during their most recent face-to-face meeting.

Almost all of CETA — in excess of 90 per cent — went into force in September 2017 under what is known as provisional application, but individual ratifications by EU member countries will bring it fully into effect.

That would mean a win for the international trading order that has been under assault by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“It’s an essential step. We’re very pleased with our co-operation with the French government,” International Trade Minister Jim Carr said in an interview.

Carr will be meeting his EU counterpart Cecilia Malmstrom in Montreal. He said the French move towards ratification is a significant step in Canada’s broader goal of diversifying Canada’s export markets.

Trudeau was in Paris in early June after attending the 75th anniversary commemorations of D-Day in France and Britain, and he and Macron emerged with news that France would move forward with CETA’s ratification. The introduction of the bill in the National Assembly is a first step in a process that the French government hopes will lead to full ratification by the end of 2019.

Macron and Trudeau have talked about the agreement repeatedly — in Paris in April 2018, in a telephone conversation a year later, and other face-to-face meetings. Macron is a staunch Europhile and open supporter of CETA, but he has had to tread cautiously because of populist opposition to trade deals in France and across Europe.

Canada has lobbied French lawmakers, businesspeople and farmers, an effort that included more than two dozen visits to various regions of France by Isabelle Hudon, the Canadian ambassador.

Trudeau also made a direct appeal to French lawmakers in an April 2018 speech to the National Assembly, the first time a Canadian prime minister addressed that body.

“Let us ask ourselves this question: If France cannot ratify a free-trade agreement with Canada, what country can you imagine doing it with?” Trudeau asked.

CETA gives Canadian businesses preferred access to 500 million European consumers, and a $24 trillion market. In 2018, Canada’s exports to the EU increased by seven per cent to more than $44 billion.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

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