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Jury convicts Newfoundland father of first-degree murder of daughter, 5

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A Newfoundland mother sobbed Friday after a jury convicted her estranged husband of first-degree murder in the death of their five-year-old daughter.
The jury returned Friday afternoon with the verdict against Trent Butt — it carries…

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  • ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A Newfoundland mother sobbed Friday after a jury convicted her estranged husband of first-degree murder in the death of their five-year-old daughter.

    The jury returned Friday afternoon with the verdict against Trent Butt — it carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

    It prompted cheers and sobs in the packed courtroom in provincial supreme court in St. John’s, N.L.

    His estranged wife, Andrea Gosse, tearfully hugged family members, friends and Crown lawyers, as others wiped away tears.

    “It felt like it took forever, but we got justice for Quinn,” Gosse said between sobs, a memorial pin over her heart showing her daughter’s smiling face.

    “I can’t explain it, I have never felt this type of emotion in my life,” she said. “But this is what he chose to do to our life.”

    The Crown had argued that Butt killed Quinn in 2016 in a calculated plan to inflict suffering on Gosse.

    Surrounded by her family on the courthouse steps, Gosse said she hopes the verdict brings changes that could help the next child like her daughter.

    Gosse said the verdict may not mean closure for her right away, but she sees it as a new chapter to grieve and talk about her daughter’s death, now that the emotional trial is over.

    Butt will be sentenced April 23. He had previously pleaded guilty to arson, having set his Carbonear, N.L., home on fire after the murder.

    Crown prosecutor Lloyd Strickland said the guilty verdict offers some relief in the tragic case, the disturbing details laid out over the course of the highly publicized trial.

    “There’s no happiness to be taken from any of this,” Strickland said. “The verdict doesn’t obviously take away the pain and it doesn’t bring Quinn back, but I suppose there’s satisfaction knowing this stage, the trial stage, is over.”

    No one at the murder trial disputed that Butt killed their daughter Quinn at his home in April 2016, before attempting to take his own life. The jury was asked to decide whether the death was planned and deliberate, which would mean Butt was guilty of first-degree murder, or if he was guilty of a lesser charge.

    Butt testified at trial that he did not remember killing Quinn, but said he found himself over her body and concluded he must have suffocated her.

    The jury, which began deliberations Thursday, had asked Friday to hear Butt’s testimony again, and to view a security video taken from his house.

    The video from the night in question showed Butt moving his truck and later putting something in it. Quinn’s voice is heard on the tape after Butt moved the truck.

    In closing arguments on Thursday, the Crown pointed to the security video as evidence that the killing was premeditated. The Crown noted that Butt moved the truck before Quinn was killed, suggesting he had been planning to set fire to his home, presumably with Quinn inside.

    Butt left a suicide note in the truck saying he had killed Quinn and himself to keep her apart from her mother.

    The story has haunted the small province in the nearly three years since Quinn’s death.

    The provincial RCMP issued a statement Friday expressing condolences to the family and commending the work of first responders who worked on the difficult case.

    “The local volunteer firefighters who were among the first on scene, the paramedics, the health professionals at Carbonear General Hospital – you all were outstanding and provided professional and compassionate care during a very difficult and emotional time,” the statement from Cpl. Peter Gosse read.

    After Friday’s verdict, Butt faced the judge, a few feet away from Gosse and the crowd gathered behind him in the courtroom.

    Gosse said she had little left to say to Butt after the conviction.

    “What else to say? Was it worth it?”

    Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press


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    Parties shop for housing ideas for platforms with issue high on voters’ lists

    OTTAWA — Federal parties are preparing to chase voters with ideas for dealing with what a new survey suggests is a major concern across the country: Housing affordability.
    The ideas being shopped around to stakeholders in the housing sector i…

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  • OTTAWA — Federal parties are preparing to chase voters with ideas for dealing with what a new survey suggests is a major concern across the country: Housing affordability.

    The ideas being shopped around to stakeholders in the housing sector include targeted spending towards certain groups, such as veterans, and more spending to increase the supply of lower-cost housing units to further cool housing prices.

    Last week, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he would ease the mortgage stress-test the Liberals brought in and make it easier for homebuyers to borrow money, while eliminating red tape to help provinces and municipalities build more low-cost housing.

    Sources who have heard the detailed pitch, and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said they are still waiting on the details of Conservative plan.

    Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has repeatedly pushed the Liberals to immediately help build some 500,000 affordable housing units, but sources said the New Democrats are still working on how to pay for such a thing if they get elected and have to do it themselves.

    The struggle with affordability and the price of housing in some markets is shaping up to be a key campaign issue.

    A survey being released today, conducted for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, suggests the cost of housing is seen as having the largest effect on quality of life in Canadian cities.

    The polling from Abacus Data suggests that making housing more affordable is second only to improving roads and sewers as a priority voters have for all levels of government.

    Abacus chief executive David Coletto said worries about housing costs extend beyond big-city markets to rural communities as well.

    “There’s a sense that housing has become unaffordable and therefore that’s having an impact on the quality of life people have come to expect and seek,” he said.

    The survey of 5,106 Canadians aged 18 and over was conducted between March 14 and 28 using a random sample of members of online panels invited to complete the survey. Polling industry experts say online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not generate a random sample of the population.

    The municipal federation is hoping the results of the survey boost its bid in this election to secure a promise to revamp the financial relationship between Parliament and Canadian cities.

    Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s 2019 budget, the last before the fall vote, had a one-time doubling of federal transfers to municipalities from gas-tax revenues, to do an end-run around provincial governments that have been slow to apply for other infrastructure money. Municipalities have lobbied for that type of spending — cash transfers with few strings attached — to become the only way they receive funding, rather than requiring application-based programs.

    The survey results suggest that giving cities more direct money, rather than submitting specific projects for provincial and federal approval, has equal support from Liberal, Conservative and New Democrat voters and from respondents in urban, suburban and rural communities.

    “That doesn’t happen all that often. There are a handful of issues that I’ve been tracking over the last few years that show that kind of cross-party, cross-community-type consistency. It is really rare these days to find it,” Coletto said.

    “What this reflects is the quality of your roads, the quality of infrastructure, the quality of parks and communities you live in is not a Liberal, Conservative or New Democrat idea.”

    Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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    National

    Ottawa will implement Senate proposals to strengthen accessibility law: minister

    Canada’s accessibility minister says the government will be acting on the Senate’s proposed recommendations to strengthen the country’s first piece of accessibility legislation for people with disabilities.
    Carla Qualtrough sent a letter to disabl…

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  • Canada’s accessibility minister says the government will be acting on the Senate’s proposed recommendations to strengthen the country’s first piece of accessibility legislation for people with disabilities.

    Carla Qualtrough sent a letter to disabled advocates saying the government planned to accept all the amendments senators had proposed for Bill C-81, also known as the Accessible Canada Act.

    Earlier this month, the Senate committee on social affairs, science and technology adopted several amendments that nearly a hundred disability organizations said were necessary to make the law effective.

    Chief among them was a call to set a timeline requiring the act to be fully implemented in all areas under federal jurisdiction by 2040, as well as recognition of sign language as an official language among deaf Canadians.

    The federal government had resisted some of those measures as the bill worked its way through the House of Commons, but Qualtrough says all proposed Senate amendments will now be included.

    The amended bill is expected to come back before Parliament for final consideration next week.

     

       

     

    The Canadian Press

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