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Red Deer MP’s and Conservative opposition calling for federal assessment of rural crime rate

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Statement by Canada’s Conservatives on Rural Crime in Canada

Ottawa, Ontario – Conservative Members of Parliament Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland), Blaine Calkins (Red Deer – Lacombe), and Pierre Paul-Hus (Charlesbourg – Haute-St. Charles) today issued the following statement regarding rural crime in Canada:

“Canada’s Conservatives believe that the safety of Canadians must be the number one priority of any government. Unfortunately, due to escalating crime rates in our rural communities, many Canadians do not feel safe in their own homes.

“Over the past few months, Conservative Members of Parliament held meetings across the country with law enforcement officers, community leaders and concerned citizens. We heard firsthand about the need for a strategy to address rural crime issues, including filling vacant RCMP positions.

“That is why we are bringing forward Motion 167, which calls on the Public Safety and National Security committee to conduct a comprehensive and current federal assessment of crime rates and trends, an analysis of RCMP, policing, and staff resources, along with provincial and municipal partnerships, in rural and remote communities across Canada. This motion is an important first step toward making concrete recommendations that will enhance rural crime prevention and reduce emerging crime rates.

“Canada’s Conservatives will continue to stand up for rural communities and to fight for concrete actions to keep Canadians safe.”

For more information, please contact:

Office of Blaine Calkins, MP
[email protected]
613-995-8886

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Biden to name Asian American-Pacific Islander liaison

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will name Erika Moritsugu, a Capitol Hill veteran and vice-president of a women’s rights advocacy group, as his liaison to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, according to two sources familiar with the decision.

Biden committed to creating a senior-level role focused on the AAPI community after he received criticism from Democratic Sens. Tammy of Duckworth of Illinois and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii for the lack of Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in his cabinet. The two senators threatened to hold up his nominees unless Biden remedied the situation, but reversed their stance after the White House said it would create the position.

Katherine Tai, who is Taiwanese American, is in the Cabinet as Biden’s top trade envoy. Dr. Vivek Murthy, the son of Indian parents, was confirmed Tuesday as surgeon general, a sub-Cabinet position. And Vice-President Kamala Harris is of Indian-American descent as well. But the senators expressed concerns that they had no direct liaison within the White House to make their concerns heard.

Biden is set to meet with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus at the White House on Thursday, though Moritsugu is not expected to attend, according to two sources granted anonymity to speak freely about internal discussions.

Moritsugu is the vice-president for the National Partnership for Women & Families, and prior to that held a number of roles on Capitol Hill, working for Duckworth, former Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and the Senate Democratic Policy Committee under former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She also served in the Obama administration as an official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The pick comes as the Senate has taken up legislation aimed at combating anti-Asian hate crimes, in the wake of a raft of violence against Asian Americans over the past month.

Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press

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Alberta

'We are going to proceed': Trial moving ahead for accused in Alberta doctor's death

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RED DEER, Alta. — The trial for a man charged in the slaying of a family doctor at a central Alberta medical clinic is going ahead as scheduled.

Deng Mabiour, 54, had been deemed fit last year to stand trial on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Dr. Walter Reynolds, who was killed at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic in Red Deer, Alta., last summer.

At his last appearance in March, Mabiour was told that a further assessment was going to be done and that he was being held on a mental-health warrant at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in Calgary.

No mention was made of the second assessment on Wednesday, but Mabiour has been transferred from the psychiatry facility back to the Calgary Remand Centre.

“We are going to proceed with this trial,” said Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paul Belzil, who appeared by video from Edmonton.

Mabiour, wearing a blue prison jumpsuit and accompanied by two sheriffs, made his first in-person appearance in court since his arrest and sat quietly through most of the proceeding.

“Do as you want,” he said.

Mabiour, despite urging from the judge to get a lawyer, repeated his intention to represent himself at his trial, which is scheduled from Nov. 22 to Dec. 17.

“This is a criminal trial and it’s my duty to make sure you’re getting a fair trial. You’re facing a very serious charge here, sir,” said Belzil.

“I recommend that you do not do so, sir, but you have a right to represent yourself.”

The case is to return to court May 20 to discuss a number of applications, including one from the Crown pertaining to Mabiour acting on his own behalf.

“The purpose of that, Mr. Mabiour, is there’s a provision in the Criminal Code that allows the court to make an order that you not examine civilian witnesses,” the judge explained.

The accused was asked if he understood what was happening and if he had any questions.

“My question is do you believe that my case is connected with a human rights abuse case?” Mabiour asked.

Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, was attacked with a weapon while working at the clinic on Aug. 10. He died in hospital.

One witness told media that she was in the waiting room when she heard cries for help and saw a man with a hammer and a machete.

RCMP have said the crime was not random and the two men knew each other through the clinic, although they have not said if Mabiour was a patient of Reynolds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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