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‘Very intense:’ A look at judge who will sentence truck driver in Broncos crash

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  • REGINA — The judge deciding the fate of a truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos crash is a passionate former Crown prosecutor who once worked as a conservation officer and played on a boys hockey team while she was growing up in rural Saskatchewan.

    Provincial court Judge Inez Cardinal is to hand down a sentence  Friday for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu.

    The 30-year-old Calgary truck driver blew through a stop sign and into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus near Tisdale, Sask., last April. Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured.

    During an emotional sentencing hearing in January, Cardinal sat for four days in a makeshift courtroom in a gymnasium in Melfort, Sask., and listened to relatives of the people on the bus describe their pain and grief.

    Lawyers argued that Sidhu, who pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving, be sentenced anywhere from 1 1/2 years in jail to 10 years in prison.

    Greg Brkich, a member of the legislature with the governing Saskatchewan Party, grew up with Cardinal in the village of Bladworth, south of Saskatoon.

    “She was very intense,” Brkich told The Canadian Press. “When she wanted to do something she did it.” 

    The daughter of a grain buyer and a homemaker, Cardinal had 10 siblings and was involved in sports growing up, Brkich says. He remembers his 10-and-under boys hockey team needed more players and Cardinal ended up on the roster.

    With an interest in the environment, she worked as a conservation officer and earned a diploma in renewable technology, but eventually settled on a law career.

    She worked as a Crown prosecutor in Regina, La Ronge and Saskatoon.  

    And she was a teacher.

    Willie Ermine helped hire Cardinal for a position as sessional lecturer in Indigenous law at the First Nations University of Canada in Prince Albert. She fit in well, he says.

    “I always had the sense she really wanted to work with the students,” he says.

    “She had a good mind for Indigeneity.”

    In 2006, Cardinal became Saskatchewan’s first designated prosecutor for environmental offences.

    “It was something very close to her heart,” says Matthew Miazga, a Crown prosecutor who worked with Cardinal in Saskatoon.

    Miazga now does environmental prosecutions, but says Cardinal defined the role.

    She did educational seminars with conservation officers, travelled across North America to talk about environmental law and worked with an organization focused on environmental crime, he says.

    She also loved fishing and created elaborate wood carvings of game birds.

    “I’m just laughing because I’m looking on my desk. I still get her subscription to the Western Canadian Game Warden (magazine),” he says.

    “Maybe she’s wondering why she hasn’t got them for several years.”

    Darrell Crabbe, executive director of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, sat in on a few cases that Cardinal prosecuted. He credits her for helping increase fines and penalties for people guilty of environmental crimes such as illegal hunting and outfitting.

    “Inez was instrumental in changing, I would say, the legal system’s attitudes towards the values of fish and wildlife,” he says.

    Cardinal knows her way around a courtroom and is not the type to suffer fools, adds Miazga, who has appeared in front of her since she was appointed to the bench in Melfort in 2012.

    He also remembers her playing in some office hockey matches.

    “She could be a pretty tough opponent … and I seem to recall her being somebody you’d rather have on your team.”

     

    Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


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    Canadian man charged with spying in China gets visit by consular officials

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  • OTTAWA — Global Affairs Canada says consular officials in China visited today with detained former diplomat Michael Kovrig today.

    It is the fifth time Kovrig has received a consular visit since he was detained by Chinese authorities in early December, but the first since he and fellow detainee Michael Spavor were charged with stealing state secrets two weeks ago.

    Spavor has received four consular visits thus far.

    The two have not had access to lawyers and receive one visit from Canadian officials a month.

    The Canadian government says their detentions are arbitrary and warns Canadians travelling to China to do so with a “high degree of caution” because of the arbitrary application of local laws.

    Canada is calling for the immediate release of both men.

    Canadian officials have complained the two men are being held in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou under an extradition request from the United States.

    Global Affairs notes the number of countries who back Canada’s position on the matter including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Spain and Denmark as well as NATO and the European Union.

    Consular visits typically include assessing the well-being of the men, trying to get them medical attention if needed and helping them communicate with loved ones.

    Because of privacy laws, no specifics about the visit can be made public.

    The Canadian Press


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    EU military wants to partner with Canada in Mali as it races for exit

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  • OTTAWA —  As Canada’s military mission races to leave Mali and the United Nations pleads for it to stay, the European Union is making a fresh appeal to the Canadian Forces to partner with it in the West African country.

    Gen. Esa Pulkkinen, director general of the EU’s military staff, told The Canadian Press that he has asked the Canadian government to bring its military training expertise to Mali as part of a broader effort to stamp out Islamic extremism in Africa’s Sahel region.

    Pulkkinen said he’s aware of the context of his request — it comes as Canada faces pressure from the UN to extend its Mali peacekeeping mission in order to bridge a gap until Romanian replacements can arrive.

    But he says Canada would make a great bilateral partner with the EU’s military training efforts in West Africa, which he says are crucial to stamping out security threats to Europe.

    Those threats include the mass northward migration to Europe, an increase in the smuggling of arms, drugs and human trafficking, as well as terrorism.

    Pulkkinen was in Ottawa this past week, and said he was planning to make a formal request to Canadian officials after raising the matter informally.

    “I need brains. I don’t need the quantities,” he said.

    “Your officer training is top level in the world. More importantly, you have French language skills as well, which we need when we provide advice for our Malian friends.”

    Pulkkinen already commands 1,000 troops in Somalia, the Central African Republic and Mali, and is partnering with the United States on various missions on the continent. He said the EU wants to ramp up its presence in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad as well. 

    Joining forces with Canada would be a natural fit, he noted, because the EU mission is predicated on the same shared values.

    “We try to find other partners that share the same universal Western values as we have. They are very important when you provide education for our African troops,” Pulkkinen said.

    “The same understanding of the respect of human rights and other issues — you name it.”

    But the mission will be a tough sell for the EU.

    Canada is in the final throes of withdrawing its eight helicopters and 250 military personnel from Mali, where they have been providing emergency medical evacuations and transporting troops and equipment across the vast country.

    The drawdown has moved the UN to formally ask Canada to extend its mission in what appears to be a final effort to prevent a gap in military medical evacuations for wounded peacekeepers and UN staff.

    The UN sent a formal request, in writing, to the federal government late last month after months of behind-the-scenes prodding got them nowhere with Ottawa.

    The letter marks an unusual step: the UN usually only makes such requests if it believes it stands a good chance of a positive response, which in this case is far from certain.

    The government, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has repeatedly played down the gap it would be creating by leaving Mali on schedule.

    Pulkkinen’s request on behalf of the EU will only increase the pressure on the Trudeau government, which has faced criticism for what has been seen as a relatively weak return to the business of UN peacekeeping due to the Mali mission’s modest scope. The Liberals made peacekeeping a signature foreign policy promise during the 2015 federal election.

    Canada will face pressure this coming week when the UN hosts a major peacekeeping summit in New York, the first one since Vancouver hosted a similar gathering in November 2017.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to attend next week’s peacekeeping summit in New York, but her office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press


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    march, 2019

    fri8mar - 30aprmar 85:30 pmapr 30Real Estate Dinner Theatre5:30 pm - (april 30) 10:00 pm

    sat30mar - 31mar 3010:00 ammar 319th Annual Central Alberta Family Expo10:00 am - 5:00 pm (31)

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