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Red Deer RCMP Capture Wanted Man

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By Sheldon Spackman

Red Deer Mounties have their man.

32 year old Kevin Leo Gallagher was wanted on 11 outstanding warrants out of Red Deer and Brooks and two more out of Saskatchewan and is now faceing additional charges after police located him in a stolen vehicle in Red Deer on Thursday afternoon, October 27th.

RCMP say Gallagher has further been identified and charged as the suspect in the October 16 robbery of a man at knifepoint on the Red Deer College grounds.

Mounties found Gallagher when they responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle parked on 59th Avenue Crescent, a silver Jeep Patriot which had been reported stolen out of Red Deer on October 23rd.

In addition to the charges related to his 11 outstanding warrants, Gallagher now faces more counts related to his October 27th arrest and the October 16th robbery. They include Robbery with weapon, Possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose, three counts of Possession of stolen property over $5,000, four charges of Failing to comply with conditions and Illegally possessing or trafficking in government identification documents.

Gallagher made his first court appearance on October 28th in Red Deer and will appear in court again October 31st.

(Photo courtesy of Alberta RCMP)

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Running for Conservative leadership not about ticking boxes: Leslyn Lewis

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OTTAWA — Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis is the only woman in the race, the only immigrant, the only visible minority.

Though she could seize on those qualities to differentiate herself from her three white male opponents, or to hammer home a point about the party being a big blue tent, she isn’t.

For her, the campaign is not about ticking boxes.

“My presence alone sends a very strong message,” she said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

“I don’t think I need to articulate the obvious.”

The Canadian Press asked for a follow-up interview this week, to discuss the protests and violence linked to the death of a black man in police custody in the U.S. last week.

But Lewis declined the request, saying she had no more to add to an email she’d sent to supporters on Friday.

In it, she wrote about how she’s been unable to watch the video of George Floyd’s treatment, as it makes her physically ill.

“The riots, the anger and fear, it’s all brutal,” she wrote. 

Lewis linked his death to that of a young black woman in Toronto who died after falling from a balcony while police were at her apartment, an incident currently under investigation. She said dealing with hatred, racism and mental health requires speaking about them plainly.

Lewis, who turns 50 this year, moved to Canada from Jamaica as a child.

She’s the first black woman to run to lead the Conservative party, creating a controversy last month when a relatively new group called the Association of Black Conservatives endorsed her rival Erin O’Toole.

In a subsequent email to supporters far longer than the her traditional policy pitch, Lewis railed against them, accusing them of being a Liberal-lite organization testing out tactics to bring her down if she wins the leadership.

Among the things she pointed out: a candidate questionnaire from the group that included questions like “What steps have you taken to address the under-representation of the black population in national politics?”

If they were true conservatives, Lewis argued, they’d know identity politics is a dangerous game for the party.

“To focus on what makes us different, whether that’s race, gender or religion, rather than what we have in common, has never served to bring people together,” she said. 

Some black leaders spoke out against the endorsement, and eventually O’Toole walked away.

“Engaging the black community and other communities in Canada that have largely not traditionally supported our party is going to be key to our path towards electoral victory,” he said on social media. 

Winning a leadership race, though, is also about courting traditionally supportive groups within a party. For Lewis, there have been some easy links and others harder to forge.

As a suburban mother of two, she’s not personally close to the debate around guns.

But firearms associations are among the best-organized groups in the conservative landscape.

Lewis, who says she sleeps somewhere between four and five hours a night, put her academic training to work. She has three postgraduate degrees and works as a lawyer.

“Because I understand the Constitution, I understand democratic ideals and our parliamentary system, it’s an easy transition to then say ‘OK, what are the principles that tie into these ideals?’ and that’s basically how I approach my policy,” she said.

Socially conservative groups in Canada — a faction whose political clout is also significant — have had her back from the beginning.

Lewis is part of a huge evangelical church group, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

In a rare personal glimpse into her life, she sent an email last month reflecting on her decision not to terminate a pregnancy while she was in law school, despite significant pressure to do so.

Questions about her positions on social issues have followed her throughout the campaign, given how spectacularly current leader Andrew Scheer was hammered for his, and whether in turn she could win a general election.

Lewis said her beliefs aren’t the problem, but that the propensity of many Conservatives not to clearly articulate their own views makes opponents’ claims that they have a “hidden agenda” too plausible for voters.

By making her plans clear — include banning sex-selection abortions and increasing funding for centres that counsel women against terminating pregnancies — she said she hopes she can convince Canadians to accept them and move on.

Lewis pointed to her past legal work advocating on behalf of gay HIV-positive inmates as proof she can — and will — fight for everyone’s rights if she’s elected.

“That’s what Canadians want to see in a leader,” she said.

Whether or how that would extend to women’s rights to access abortions, or the expansion of LGBTQ rights, she wouldn’t say.

Breaking into the club of elected Conservatives has been another challenge for her:  Lewis has never held elected office, and yet is trying to vault straight to the top.

She has secured endorsements from several social-conservative MPs, despite one of their own also running in the race — Ontario MP Derek Sloan.

Even if she loses the leadership race, she said, she intends to run for a seat as an MP in the next election.

“I think that I have a very unique role in the party to play.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2020.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

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Liberals detail changes to COVID-19 aid as they ask MPs to OK new spending

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OTTAWA — The Trudeau Liberals are detailing to parliamentarians a plan that would shift tens of billions in pandemic-related aid, sending more toward a key COVID-19 emergency benefit for workers after seeing demand skyrocket from original estimates.

The Liberals had expected the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to cost the federal purse about $35 billion this fiscal year, but revised that estimate in recent days after realizing more workers than expected were applying for aid.

The most recent federal figures show that as of Monday, more than 8.3 million Canadians have applied for the relief program, which has paid out nearly $42.6 billion in combined benefits.

The details in supplementary spending estimates released Tuesday are part of an overall package totalling $87 billion in additional measures unveiled since main spending estimates were released in February.

Parliamentarians only need to approve $6 billion in new money after granting the Liberals broad spending powers during the pandemic.

The supplementary estimates will only receive four hours of debate this month under a motion agreed to by a majority of parties to keep the House of Commons on an extended hiatus due to the pandemic.

Parliament’s spending watchdog said last week that those four hours would not give MPs nearly enough time to properly scrutinize the government’s plans.

The majority of the spending in the documents is driven by the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also includes $481.2 million for the Indian Day Schools settlement and $585.8 million for two new naval support ships.

There is also $14.8 million set aside for Via Rail’s proposed high-frequency rail service between Toronto and Quebec City, $24.4 million for an IT upgrade for the asylum system, and almost $13.8 million for measures in response to the national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the main estimates were released in March.

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june, 2020

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