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Millard called dad a failure, blamed him for family business woes, trial hears

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TORONTO — Days before an aviation executive was found dead in his bed — a bullet lodged in his brain — his son called him a failure and blamed him for the financial woes the family-owned business was facing, a murder trial in Toronto heard Tuesday.

Dellen Millard, 32, a twice convicted murderer who is serving two consecutive life sentences, is accused of killing his father, Wayne Millard, on Nov. 29, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in his father’s death, which was initially ruled a suicide.

A retired forensic detective showed court scores of text messages Millard sent after purportedly finding his father dead in bed. Jim Falconer said the texts were recovered from one of Millard’s computers seized from the home he shared with his father in Toronto’s west end.

At 5:56 p.m., Dellen Millard sent a text message to his friend Andrew Michalski.

“Bro please come over, I don’t want to be alone, something terrible has happened,” he wrote.

Court has heard Michalski went to Millard’s home for a brief visit.

Millard texted his girlfriend in the early morning hours of Nov. 30, 2012, that his 71-year-old father had suffered from depression and had shot and killed himself.

In the texts read out by Falconer, Millard tells Christina Noudga his “world has never been so upside down.” At the time, Dellen Millard was working for his father, who was in the middle of transforming Millardair from a company that rented out hangars to a maintenance and repair company and had built a massive hangar at the Region of Waterloo International Airport.

“The last time I spoke to him, I told him the company’s financial troubles were his doing and that he was a failure,” Millard wrote. “Usually he tells me not to worry. But this time he said maybe I was right.”

Millard also told her his father has “always had depression, but he’s never been suicidal.”

Within days of his father’s death, Dellen Millard changed the locks at the hangar and fired everyone working at Millardair, court heard.

On Dec. 4, 2012, Millard called all Millardair employees to the new hangar, which included 11 mechanics and five managers, including John Barnes, a longtime aircraft maintenance and repair manager.

“We were advised of Wayne’s death,” Barnes testified. “We were told at the time it was an aneurysm and that the business was going to be closed down.”

Barnes said he met Wayne Millard the day before his death to discuss what benefit packages to sign the new employees up for. The company had recently received a crucial licence from Transport Canada to operate the business.

“He seemed excited, enthusiastic,” Barnes said.

But money was tight, Barnes added, and Wayne Millard was dipping into his personal fortune to help finance the new business along with a multimillion-dollar business loan he took out.

The elder Millard told Barnes he had taken out a mortgage on the hangar and on the family home.

Barnes said Millardair had a customer lined up in Halifax, and there were other opportunities as well.

The company, he said, was “going to be viable,” but at that point did not have any contracts signed.

Barnes said he wasn’t sure of the younger Millard’s role in the business other than that Dellen Millard’s property company was doing the interior work on the hangar. He later found out Dellen Millard owned half of Millardair.

“He (Wayne) told me it was to leave something to Dellen,” Barnes said. But Wayne and Dellen Millard “didn’t see eye to eye.”

Dellen Millard had a collection of vehicles and trailers on the hangar floor and the washrooms were used, but never cleaned, Barnes said. “It was deplorable,” he said, adding that he couldn’t show the hangar in that state to either Transport Canada or potential clients.

The trial has heard that Dellen Millard bought the handgun found next to his father’s body from a weapons dealer. Dellen Millard’s DNA was found on the handle of the gun.

Millard told police he last saw his father alive around noon the day before and said he stayed the night at his friend Mark Smich’s house. Phone records indicate one of Millard’s phones moved from Smich’s house around 1 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2012, to his father’s home where it stayed until shortly after 6 a.m.

 

Liam Casey , The Canadian Press


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Construction

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

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OTTAWA — Cities, provinces and territories building new roads, bridges, water and transit systems funded with federal dollars will have to let Indigenous Peoples, veterans and recent immigrants have a hand in those projects under new rules being unveiled today.

The idea of so-called community benefits will be a mandatory requirement for many infrastructure projects the federal government will help pay for through its $33-billion spending envelope.

Provinces and territories will have some leeway to decide what projects are to be subject to the rules. Those projects that are will have to explain publicly how far they have come in meeting the government’s goals.

Under the new guidelines, provinces, territories and cities would have to hire apprentices, Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women, or procure goods and services from small- and medium-sized businesses or social enterprises.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi will be in Toronto to unveil the new rules alongside the MP that first brought the idea to him two years ago — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

Community benefit agreements have been used for years in the United States and were applied to the construction of the athletes’ village for the Vancouver Olympics. The agreements require projects to hire locally or create jobs for groups facing high unemployment rates, such as young people and Aboriginals.

The deals are usually negotiated among private companies doing work, the public body funding the project and community groups like unions, faith-based groups or social services.

The Liberals inserted broad wording about community benefit requirements into infrastructure funding deals that provinces and territories signed over the past year.

Once construction starts on projects funded through those agreements, the Liberals want to see how many hours the targeted populations work, or the value of the contracts provided to targeted businesses, to see how well proponents are doing at meeting their goals.

There will also be requirements to explain the challenges and successes provinces, territories and cities have in meeting the community benefit goals.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

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VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man who sold bottles of “Hot Dog Water” for nearly $40 each says he was trying to see how marketing of health claims backed by supposed science amounts to quick sales.

Douglas Bevans said he boiled about 100 organic beef hot dogs and put each one in a bottle of the water he sold at an annual car-free event.

Each bottle of the “keto-compatible,” unfiltered water sold for $37.99, but two bottles cost only $75 because of a special deal last Sunday at his booth, where he wore a hot dog onesie and promoted himself as CEO of Hot Dog Water.

Bevans promised the water would lead to increased brain function, weight loss and a youthful appearance, even erasing crow’s feet when applied to the face in the form of a lip balm, which he also happened to sell.

“We noticed that some people were rubbing lip balm on their crow’s feet and they were swearing their crow’s feet were disappearing before their eyes,” he said.

One man who rubbed the lip balm on his “dome” sent him photos suggesting it promoted hair growth, Bevans said.

While many people laughed, he said others were impressed by the health benefits they’d experience with his unique products, including body spray and “Hot Dog Water breath freshener.”

Bevans said he sold 60 litres worth of the products.

He told people the water creates quicker sodium uptake for good health, uttering sheer quackery: “Because Hot Dog Water and perspiration resemble each other so when you drink Hot Dog Water it bypasses the lymphatic system, whereas other waters have to go through your filtering system, so really, Hot Dog Water has three times as much uptake as coconut water.”

Bevans, who is really a tour operator and a performance artist, said he came up with the idea as he questioned the ridiculous marketing and health claims behind some products and thought to himself: “I bet I could sell hot dog water.”

“We’re helping people, empowering them to use informed decisions in their purchasing choices,” he said about his marketing stunt. “That is the message behind this.”

His aim is to get consumers to bypass slick marketing and think about what they’re buying, especially in the age of social media clicks and ‘likes’ involving celebrities pitches.

Bevans said he thought of his project as an art performance to create awareness about critical thinking.

“Art, I think, has a way of doing this better than if this was a public service announcement. There’s an image attached to it, that it’s ridiculous.”

— Follow @CamilleBains 1 on Twitter.

 

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


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