Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Top Story CP

UCP members show overwhelming support for ideas to give Alberta more autonomy

Published

CALGARY — Members of Alberta’s United Conservative Party have shown overwhelming support for measures that would give the province more autonomy from Ottawa amid simmering separatist sentiment.

At its first annual general meeting since winning power this spring, the UCP held a special session on Saturday to discuss ways for Alberta to get what it calls a “fair deal” from the federal government.

Informal straw polls were taken on the idea of Alberta establishing its own tax collection agency, pension plan, police force, trade relationships and firearms watchdog. A panel weighing those ideas is to complete its report by March 31.

In a show of hands, members voted nearly unanimously for each measure.

“We are not seeking a special deal. We are simply seeking a fair deal,” Premier Jason Kenney later told party members.

Kenney said he’d be taking that message to an upcoming meeting of premiers in Toronto and to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa in a week and a half.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said the Alberta pension plan idea warrants a thorough investigation.  

“Alberta is the youngest province by age in the country and because of our earnings level, we make a disproportionate net contribution to the Canada Pension Plan program every year,” he said. “We believe this is a bona fide issue to give serious consideration to.”

One member stepped up to the microphone to call the idea an “absolute slam dunk.”

“It would definitely give us some clout,” another added.

Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said the provincial police force idea appeals to him because officers should report to the communities they serve, not Ottawa.

He said he heard from many rural Albertans fed up with crime.

“They’re tired of a justice system that’s designed for downtown Toronto,” Schweitzer said. “It’s not designed for rural Alberta. We’ve heard that loud and clear.”

He conceded there would be financial implications, as Ottawa currently foots 70 per cent of the bill for the RCMP.

“I just think that’s part of a negotiation,” he said.

One member raised concern about whether good officers working for the RCMP would take jobs with the new police force.

Earlier Saturday, hundreds braved the freezing cold outside the airport hotel where the UCP is holding its meeting to protest public sector cuts.

Candie Olsen, who receives financial support through the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program, said she felt the need to speak out even though it was a tough trek for her to get to the event.

Under the UCP’s budget last month, payments under the program are no longer indexed to inflation.

Olsen said she lives off $1,685 a month and can’t work.

“It’s freezing cold. It’s a long walk for me. I can’t walk that far,” she said.

“But I can’t just sit idly because there’s other people on AISH that physically couldn’t get here. I was able to get here, so I need to add my voice and say ‘No, you can’t do this. It isn’t OK.'”

University of Calgary undergraduate student Jemie Field said she was there to speak out against faculty layoffs and tuition increases.

“Honestly I have no idea what my future looks like at this point,” Field said. “Depending on what the next couple of years bring, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to finish my degree.”

Kenney said in his speech that there are no easy choices and his government seeks to get finances in order.

“But let us together choose the path of co-operation, not confrontation,” he said.

“Let us remember that Albertans in the private sector have gone through years of adversity, and cannot pay more.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2019.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press


Top Story CP

Appeal denied: Man who killed couple, their grandson wanted conviction quashed

Published

on

CALGARY — Alberta’s top court has upheld the conviction of a man who killed a couple and their grandson, dismissing objections to the warrantless search of his farm, disturbing photographs shown at trial and comments the judge made to jurors.

Douglas Garland was convicted in 2017 of first-degree murder in the deaths of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and Nathan O’Brien more than five years ago.

He is also appealing his life sentence with no chance of parole for 75 years.

The couple and the boy vanished after an estate sale at the Liknes home in Calgary. Five-year-old Nathan was there for a sleepover.

The victims’ bodies were never recovered, but bone fragments, burned flesh and teeth were found in ash from a burning barrel on Garland’s property.

“On arriving at the farm on July 4, 2014, the police had a decision to make: to enter without a search warrant with the hope that the victims may still be alive but in need of medical assistance, or wait to enter until a search warrant authorizing a search of the property could be obtained,” the panel of three Appeal Court judges wrote in its decision released Friday.  

“They chose the former.”

The officer in charge told his colleagues to only search buildings and receptacles that were large enough to hide a body.

“Significantly, it was not alleged the police had an ulterior motive for entering into the appellant’s property and searching it, other than to find the victims, hopefully still alive,” the judges wrote.

“We see no basis to interfere.”

The judges also took no issue with the information provided for the search warrant that was later issued.

“All told, (it) was a thorough document that went into great detail in summarizing the evidence known to the (Calgary Police Service) at the time,” they wrote.

“It provided a detailed account of witness interviews, crime scene photographs and analysis, expert opinions, CCTV video analysis and an extensive summary of the findings at the Garland farm during the warrantless search.

“We can see no error or reason to interfere with these conclusions.”

The Appeal Court also dismissed an argument that the trial judge erred when he allowed jurors to see gruesome photographs found on a hard drive in Garland’s basement, including ones depicting dismembered, diapered and restrained women.

The judges wrote that decisions on evidence that is clearly prejudicial but also affords proof of something are difficult.

“They are best left to the trial judge, who has a full appreciation of the nuances of the case, to decide. Absent a palpable or overriding error, such decisions are entitled to deference.”

Comments the trial judge made to jurors acknowledging the disturbing nature of the evidence they heard did not show bias, they added.

“With respect, viewed in the context of this difficult trial, we find nothing inappropriate about these comments.”

This report by the Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2019.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press


Continue Reading

Top Story CP

Feds vow to ban guns similar to one used in Ecole Polytechnique shooting

Published

on

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the federal government will be ready soon to produce a list of semi-automatic weapons that will be banned in Canada.

His comments come the same day Canadians are marking the 30th anniversary of one of the worst mass shootings in Canadian history.

But Blair says until the list is approved by cabinet he won’t name any specific guns under consideration, including the one used in the Ecole Polytechnique shooting on Dec. 6, 1989.

He says he doesn’t want to create a run on gun purchases ahead of the ban.

The Ruger Mini-14 was used in the shooting where a gunman entered the Montreal school, killed 14 women and injured 14 people before killing himself.

Blair says the government will be clear about how certain weapons were selected when the list is made public.

While there is no firm date for its release, Blair said it will be done as soon as possible before noting it was only the second day of the new Parliament.

The Liberals promised during the federal election campaign to ban military-style assault rifles and give municipalities the ability to put limitations or bans on handguns within their own borders.

The party also said owners of legally purchased firearms that fall under the ban would receive fair-market compensations for their weapons as part of a buyback program. Blair said during the campaign about 250,000 semi-automatic assault rifles are owned legally in Canada.

The Liberals have been pressured by survivors of the Montreal Massacre to do more to restrict guns in Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his House of Commons speech marking the massacre Friday to say the government will be moving on its campaign promises.

“We will strengthen gun laws and ban the type of weapons used at Ecole Polytechnique,” he said.

“These weapons, designed to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time, have no place in our communities, in our streets, in our country.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

december, 2019

thu12dec5:30 pm7:30 pmH.E.A.R.T.S (Helping Empty Arms Recover through Sharing)H.E.A.R.T.S (Helping Empty Arms Recover through Sharing)5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

thu19dec5:30 pm7:00 amMonthly Mindfulness Drop-In5:30 pm - 7:00 am

tue31decwed01janNew Year's Eve Dueling PianosNew Year\'s Eve at Boulevard7:00 pm - (january 1) 2:00 am

Trending

X