Security concerns sink plans for Calgary nudist swim at public pool

first_imgCALGARY – An escalating debate over a nudist swim at a public swimming pool has prompted the City of Calgary to cancel the event over concerns about security.“We’ve had a review completed by Calgary Police Service and corporate security that has led to these arising concerns,” James McLaughlin, acting director of Calgary Recreation, said Thursday.“Safety concerns are related to the volatile public commentary regarding this public booking and they cause concerns for all users of the facility.”The Calgary Nude Recreation club had sold tickets for a swim night on Sunday at the Southland Leisure Centre. The club described the private, after-hours event on its Facebook page as a way of snubbing winter.Word of the event prompted an online petition urging the club to cancel the swim or ban children from attending. The leisure centre’s Facebook page was inundated with negative comments about the event including some that threatened to bring “cameras and baseball bats.”Calgary police say they received a report of a threat Monday to the leisure centre due to the swim event. Although they say officers determined there was no immediate danger, the incident is still under investigation.Event organizers posted reaction to the city’s decision on the Calgary Nude Recreation club Facebook page. They called the move a “terrible precedent.”“It is outrageous that lawful recreation can be prohibited by an incredibly vocal minority. These people must NOT be allowed to dictate public policy with threats against law-abiding citizens engaged in lawful activities,” reads the post.“Calgary Nude Recreation recognizes that the City of Calgary is not the bad guy here. We will continue working with the city to reschedule a future event.”The group also said its new goal is to establish a legal clothing-optional stretch of river within reasonable distance of the city core. It warned that cancelling the event at the pool won’t make nude activity go away.McLaughlin said city facilities have held nude swims for years. The cancellation was not due to the nature of the activity, but solely because of security, he said.“It actually speaks to the concern the administration has for the safety and security of all our users.”By Thursday afternoon, an online petition opposing the event had racked up 20,000 signatures.“Respect the concept and believe in an 18+ setting it could be a popular event. However, having naked children around a bunch of naked adults doesn’t seem like a good idea for any reason,” said the petition posted by April Parker.“Sexual predators will be on the prowl — having an event like that is just like Christmas to them.”Calgary Coun. Jeromy Farkas, whose ward includes the city-operated leisure centre, said his office was contacted by a lot of people concerned about the swim. He suggested there may have been a solution to the debate.“Given that I’m very live and let live … I am disappointed that we couldn’t proceed with this in an 18-plus manner.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitterlast_img read more

BC family says care home switched their moms cat with robotic version

first_imgDUNCAN, B.C. – The family of a British Columbia woman who has dementia say staff at a care home removed her cat and replaced it with a robotic stuffed animal.Dawn Douglas has been living at the Sunridge Place care home in Duncan for nearly two years and her family says they’ve been working to reunite her with Snoop.Bill Court says he was told Snoop could move in with his mother if they supplied appropriate documentation from the family doctor and a veterinarian, and also agreed to be responsible for the cat’s hygiene and vet bills.Lisa Douglas says negotiations took some time to reunite her sister with Snoop.“It took a year-and-a-half to jump through all the loops and hoops and permissions,” she said.Within a day of the reunion, Court alleges staff at the care home told his mother they were taking Snoop for a bath, then replaced her with a robotic stuffed toy, leaving his 66-year-old mother distraught.A spokeswoman for Park Place Seniors Living, which operates the home, said a staff member had a severe allergic reaction and the cat had to be removed.“What we ended up having to do was rehome the pet with a staff member who is lovely and real animal lover until we could find a resolution and work with the family,” said Lynda Foley, vice-president of quality assurance.Foley said she could not comment on allegations that Douglas was told the cat was being removed to have a bath, but she said Park Place does use robotic animals for some residents.She said live-in pets are not permitted at any Park Place facility and she had not seen documents the family believe show permission for the cat’s permanent stay at Sunridge Place.“My side of the story continues to be that the well being of our residents and our staff comes first,” she said.Court, who now has Snoop, and Douglas say they are pursuing the matter with the Vancouver Island Health Authority.“She was so much more calm and focused and that was the whole point of her having the cat, was to relieve her of her anxiety,” said Douglas.— By Beth Leighton in Vancouver.last_img read more

Woman who orchestrated Rengel killing to appear before parole board

first_imgKITCHENER, Ont. — A young woman who sexually blackmailed her boyfriend into killing a 14-year-old girl she saw as a rival more than a decade ago is set to appear before the Parole Board of Canada today.Melissa Todorovic was convicted in 2009 for masterminding the murder of Stefanie Rengel, a girl she had never met but who became the focus of her jealousy.Rengel had briefly dated Todorovic’s then-boyfriend, David Bagshaw, years earlier and Todorovic threated to break up with him or withhold sex unless he killed his former flame.He eventually carried out her command, stabbing Rengel six times and leaving her to die in a snowbank outside her house on New Year’s Day, 2008.Todorovic was sentenced in 2009 as an adult to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years, the maximum adult sentence for someone her age. She challenged the ruling but it was upheld on appeal.Bagshaw is also serving an adult life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.At a hearing late last year, the parole board granted Todorovic three unescorted three-day absences from prison, saying she had made progress in handling her emotions but still needed to work on her self-esteem and other issues.Todorovic said at the time she planned to use the absences to continue therapy after her sessions were discontinued in prison, and work with an employment counsellor to see what she could do once released.During that hearing, Todorovic said the plot against Rengel was fuelled by intense jealousy and rage, as well as a desire to exert power over Bagshaw.Todorovic also told the panel she had asked him to kill at least two others she considered rivals, and said she had made a similar request of a previous boyfriend, which caused him to end the relationship.Todorovic, who for years insisted she didn’t believe Bagshaw would go through with the killing, said during the hearing that she now felt like a “monster” for telling him to do it.She also said she didn’t want anything to do with Bagshaw anymore, despite a recent attempt he made to reach her.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

China formally arrests two detained Canadians in case linked to Huawei

first_imgOTTAWA – Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the government is “deeply concerned” about China’s decision to formally arrest two Canadians citizens it has been holding since December.Goodale says the move is an “arbitrary action” and that Canada will continue to demand the appropriate treatment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.He says no evidence has been produced to indicate any validity to allegations made against them.…”We will take all the relevant factors into account as we make the decision.” On top of usual talking points, he adds “the international context is obviously very very relevant.”Also says there is more than one company and one country who can provide 5G infrastructure #cdnpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) May 16, 2019A Chinese foreign-ministry spokesperson says Kovrig and Spavor have been arrested for stealing state secrets but provided no further details.Kovrig is a former Canadian diplomat and expert at the International Crisis Group and Spavor is a businessman with lengthy experience in North Korea.Both were arrested on Dec. 10 after a senior executive with Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities, who want her extradited to face fraud charges.last_img read more

Tiny increase in young appointees to federal posts after Liberal overhaul

first_imgOTTAWA — Newly released documents show Liberal changes to the federal appointments system has yielded a small increase in the number of younger people getting government posts.Documents from the Privy Council Office show that as of last year, fewer than five per cent of all appointments made under the Liberals’ system were of applicants between the ages of 25 and 34.That age group is just under 20 per cent of the population.A spokesman for the Privy Council Office says the government plans to “continue to increase youth representation” by working with organizational heads, boards and decision makers.The government’s recently released youth strategy aims to have one youth representative on the boards of 75 per cent of Crown corporations within the next five years.Months after taking power in late 2015, the Liberals changed how the government makes hundreds of appointments each year to positions such as the boards of Crown corporations and tribunals that make decisions on benefit payments and immigration claims.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Male stripper who performed lap dance on woman gets new sex assault

first_imgTORONTO — A male strip-club performer convicted of sexually assaulting a woman who paid him for a lap dance should get a new trial because the judge relied on stereotypes of how women behave, Ontario’s top court ruled on Thursday.In quashing the conviction against Damir Cepic, the Court of Appeal faulted the judge’s reasoning in deciding the complainant, 23, did not consent to sexual activity with him.“The trial judge’s path to conviction rested largely on a series of erroneous assumptions about what a young woman would or would not do in the circumstances of this case,” the court said. “The conviction must therefore be set aside.”The case arose in March 2016, when the woman, identified only as OI, and seven girlfriends went to the Foxxes Den in Toronto to celebrate a birthday, court records show. It was OI’s first time at such a club.During the evening, OI paid Cepic $10 for a lap dance. He would testify she reached into his pants to touch his private parts, something she would deny. She then paid Cepic, 29, another $40 for a private lap dance. This time, court heard, she performed oral sex on him and he briefly penetrated her.Cepic testified at trial before Superior Court Justice Anne London-Weinstein that he was already having intercourse with the woman and about to ejaculate when the woman said, “no, I have a boyfriend.” She denied saying that and testified she told him, “no” and tried to push him off her.After the dance, OI texted a friend wondering what to tell her boyfriend. She also said she was worried her father, a police officer, would be furious, court heard.When her then-boyfriend arrived to pick her up, she told him she had been sexually assaulted, court heard. She reported the incident to police several hours later. Police charged Cepic with sexual assault.The only issue at trial was consent. OI argued she was forced into fellatio and intercourse. Cepic, described as a hard-working and trustworthy father, said the woman had been a willing participant.London-Weinstein sided with OI, saying she found the complainant reliable and credible, and Cepic self-serving.For example, the judge rejected Cepic’s evidence that OI had touched him sexually, saying it was unlikely the woman would have done so on her first-ever lap dance. The judge also called it “completely implausible and nonsensical” that OI would have told the accused about her boyfriend just as he was about to climax.London-Weinsten convicted Cepic and jailed him for two years less a day.Cepic appealed, arguing the judge had relied on stereotypes and assumptions, while OI maintained London-Weinstein was entitled to rely on common sense assumptions about basic human behaviour.In its analysis, the Appeal Court warned the common-sense approach to assessing credibility is “fraught with danger,” and London-Weinstein had unfairly made assumptions about female behaviour in accepting OI’s testimony and rejecting Cepic’s.“The trial judge started from the assumption about what a young woman would do in a strip club and carried that theme throughout her analysis,” the Appeal Court said. “(Her)determinations about what ‘made no sense’ or was ‘implausible’ were blatant assumptions, unsupported by the evidence.”The judge, the Appeal Court said, ignored the context in which OI found herself.“The context was significant: a women’s only party in a highly sexualized environment involving alcohol and male dancers,” Justice Mary Lou Benotto said for the Appeal Court.London-Weinstein, the higher court said, also appeared to resort to stereotypes about male aggression when she rejected Cepic’s evidence that OI had come on to him and found he had taken advantage of a “stunned and confused” young woman.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Pet store owners lose bid to suspend rules forcing them to sell

first_imgThe Canadian Press MONTREAL — A Quebec judge has rejected an application by Montreal pet store owners for the suspension of a new city bylaw that bans the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits that don’t come from shelters or veterinary clinics.In a decision released Wednesday, Superior Court Justice Johanne Mainville denied the request by 25 store owners to have the rules temporarily stayed while a legal case brought by the group is argued on its merits.The bylaw went into effect in July and says pet stores are only allowed to sell animals from refuges and veterinary clinics. Montreal’s new rules were part of a wide-ranging municipal pet bylaw passed in August 2018.Yves Pepin, lawyer for the applicants, says he’s disappointed with the ruling. But he says the judge who heard the request noted the broader issues argued in the case merited a full hearing.Pepin says the new rules give a monopoly to animal shelters, create a black market for certain kinds of pets and punish store owners.The SPCA says in a statement it welcomes the ruling. The animal-rights group adds it is confident the measure is valid, noting other North American cities, including Toronto and Chicago, have similar laws.last_img read more

Terry Wogan To Be Honored At Evening With The Stars

first_imgJoin guest of honour Sir Terry Wogan and MC Jon Culshaw for a spectacular evening with the stars in aid of BBC Children in Need at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, in October.This superb evening is a real ‘A list’ event and your chance to rub shoulders with the many stars who attend, as well as enjoying some first class entertainment. As a feature this year, stars from the world of sport will be taking on the challenge of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.The event takes place on October 28. For more information, click here.last_img

John Clayton To Perform At Hollywood Helps Flint Event

first_imgA number of professionals in the entertainment industry have joined together to do a benefit for their hometown of Flint, Michigan in response to the city’s devastating water crisis.Hollywood Helps FlintThe event, created by publicist Howard Bragman, manager Tulani Bridgewater and director Alex Grossman will be held Sunday, February 21 from 4-6:30 p.m. at Spaghettini (184 N. Canon Dr.) in Beverly Hills.The fundraiser will feature performances by Flint native and triple Grammy winner Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tamir Hendlemen and John Clayton. Guests will be treated to Angelo’s Coney Island hot dogs—a Flint staple, and Vernor’s ginger ale.“We have left Flint, but Flint never left us,” explains Grossman. “We have families and friends there who have been ravaged and we can’t stand idly by.”The host committee consists of a number of Flint natives and Michiganders who have banded together to send a message of love and support to their hometown. It includes Alex Grossman, Howard Bragman, Tulani Bridgewater, Dave Koz, Cary Hardwick, Sandra Bernhard, Sam Gottlieb, Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart, attorney Adam Kaller, agent Rhonda Price, television personality Bob Eubanks, designer Steven Rachwal, Jill Rosenbaum, director Wendey Stanzler, filmmaker Laurie White, actor Ben Cain, writer Gordon Young, talent booker Krystyn Price, super agent Sam Gores, attorney Adam Kaller and author Ben Hamper.The venue is being donated by jazz legend Dave Koz and Spaghettini owner Cary Hardwick. There will be a cash bar and tickets are $100 at Indiegogo.All monies raised will go to FlintKids.org, a local charity that addresses the health needs of children affected by the situation.last_img read more

Ninth Annual Kiehls LifeRide A Huge Success

first_imgThe ninth annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR kicked off in Los Angeles on August 6, 2018, beginning a week-long initiative that raised funds for HIV/AIDS research.The five-day motorcycle charity ride made eight stops at Kiehl’s stores across Southern California, ending in San Diego on Friday, August 10. At each stop, the public was encouraged to meet the riders, learn more about amfAR, and contribute to the Foundation. Kiehl’s donated a total of $150,000 over the course of the ride.Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR has covered a total of more than 12,000 miles and raised more than $1.9 million since 2010, funding 10 cure-related research projects.Chris Salgardo, Kiehl’s Brand Ambassador, and Kevin Robert Frost, CEO, amfAR, rode from Los Angeles to San Diego with Gilles Marini, actor, Days of our Lives, tattoo artist Luke Wessman, top men’s style influencer Blake Scott, and music photographer Travis Shinn.The proceeds from the 2018 Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR will fund a specific grant to aid the research of Dr. Gabriel Ozorowski, a scientist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA.Dr. Ozorowski received a grant under the Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Research, an annual research initiative created to support bright young scientists seeking innovative solutions to HIV/AIDS. Dr. Ozorowski plans to use an innovative technique called cryo-EM in the search for new antiretroviral drugs in a class called fusion inhibitors. Only one fusion inhibitor – initially characterized by amfAR-funded researcher Dr. Carl Wild – has ever been approved for use. Cryo-EM is a technique that freezes molecules in action and can reveal exquisite detail about their structure. The technique earned its inventors the 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry.last_img read more

Dave Grohl Steps Up to Headline Autism Speaks Into The Blue Gala

first_imgDave Grohl, frontman for the multiple Grammy award-winning band Foo Fighters – and who headlined the Autism Speaks “Blue Jean Ball” in 2013 – returns to headline the organization’s “Into the Blue” gala on October 4, 2018 at The Beverly Hills Hotel.This year’s honoree is Jeff Apploff, founder of Apploff Entertainment and Executive Producer / Creator of “Beat Shazam,” the mega-hit game show hosted by Jamie Foxx and deejayed by his daughter, Corinne Foxx. When Jamie Foxx, originally slated to perform at the gala, bowed out due to a scheduling conflict, Grohl stepped in.The star-studded evening will be hosted by Corinne Foxx and will feature a cocktail reception with music by DJ Irie, a live performance by the glow-in-the-dark dance sensation iLuminate, an exciting dinner program and an exclusive celebrity fashion experience. Celebrities and VIPs scheduled to participate in the fashion experience include Emmy award-winning co-hosts of “The Real” Jeannie Mai and Adrienne Bailon Houghton, “The Talk” host Eve, E! News host Carissa Culiner, television host Victoria Recana, model Lori Harvey, actresses Garcelle Beauvais and AnnaLynne McCord, Too Faced CEO Jerrod Blandino, and media personalities Kym Douglas and Rachel McCord, among several others.Past celebrity participants have included Pink, Freddie Highmore, Sarah McLachlan, Conan O’Brien, Diane Kruger, Molly Sims, Raphael Saadiq, JK Simmons, Rick Springfield, Kevin Frazier, Nikki Reed, Maria Menounos and Cirque de Soleil, among others.Celebrity blue carpet arrivals will take place between 6:30-7:30 pm during the cocktail reception that will conclude at 8:00 pm. Guest will be seated for dinner at 8:00 pm and the program will wrap at 10:00 pm.“Into the Blue” raises funds to support the mission of Autism Speaks, the research and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting solutions across the spectrum and throughout the life span for the needs of all those affected by autism.Individual tickets are sold out. For event sponsorship opportunities and additional information, visit www.autismspeaks.org/intotheblue.last_img read more

DHX Media licenses Teletubbies Season Two to Nick Jr channel for US

first_imgDHX Media (or the “Company”) (TSX: DHX.A, DHX.B; NASDAQ: DHXM), the world’s leading independent, pure-play children’s content company, has licensed exclusive U.S. broadcast rights for 30 brand-new half-hour episodes of Teletubbies which will begin airing on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. preschool channel in 2017.Josh Scherba, SVP Distribution of DHX Media, said: “The new Teletubbies series is winning fans worldwide, and the pickup of another season in the U.S. points to the enduring appeal of this global brand. With all the recognizable favorites as well as new features, the second season is a real treat for audiences both in the U.S. on Nick Jr., and the U.K. where it will premiere exclusively on CBeebies next year.”As the flagship property in DHX Media’s strategy to build global brands, the new Teletubbies continues to perform extremely well and is gaining global momentum. The global licensing program is growing rapidly, with more than 85 top-tier licensees already on board, underscoring its position as one of the best-loved and most recognizable international properties. Licensees in core categories include Character Options (award-winning Master Toy line, with distribution in North America and Northern Europe by Spin Master and Southern Europe by Giochi Preziozi) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (DVD and EST) as well as book  publishers Egmont (global rights excluding North America and China) and Simon & Schuster (North America). Advertisement Advertisement Season two of Teletubbies introduces exciting new elements to delight another generation of devotees. Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po continue to laugh, learn and play as they discover a new area of Teletubbyland called the Hidey Hup–a beautiful hidden glade containing equipment for physical Teletubbies fun, including the Tubby Bouncy, Tubby Slidey, Tubby Uppy Downy and the Tubby Spinny.  In typical Teletubbies style, they drive to the Hidey Hup in their brand-new honk-honk Tubby Car, singing the infectious Tubby Car song as they travel. The Teletubbies extend their friendship to the adorable and intrepid little Tiddlytubbies–Mi-Mi, Daa Daa, Baa, Ping, RuRu, Nin, Duggle Dee and Umby Pumby–who have their own sing-along signature song. Also, look out for the story of pink tubby custard turning green and a very special Tubby Custard ride carriage for the Noo-noo.In addition, multi-talented author, comedian, actor and presenter David Walliams and girl band star turned TV presenter Rochelle Humes join the voice cast for season two, alongside Jim Broadbent, Fearne Cotton, Jane Horrocks, Daniel Rigby and Antonia Thomas from season one, as they lend their voices to Teletubbies’ distinctive and much-loved Voice Trumpets.The new TV show was commissioned and premiered in the UK by CBeebies, and has been picked up by 23 broadcasters worldwide to date, as well as Amazon Prime Video in the U.K.The new Teletubbies follows the same well-loved characters and styling as the original but has been visually modernized by DHX Media and award-winning U.K. production company, Darrall Macqueen, bringing a refreshed and contemporary look and feel to one of the world’s best-loved preschool properties.About Nick Jr.Nick Jr., the 24-hour network from Nickelodeon dedicated to preschoolers and moms, currently reaches almost 73 million households via cable, digital cable and satellite TV. For more information or artwork, visit www.nickpress.com. Nick Jr. and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).About DHX MediaDHX Media Ltd. (www.dhxmedia.com) is the world’s leading independent, pure-play children’s content company. Owner of the world’s largest independent library of children’s content, at more than 11,800 half-hours, the company is recognized globally for such brands as Teletubbies, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Caillou, In the Night Garden, Inspector Gadget, Make It Pop, Slugterra and the multiple award-winning Degrassi franchise. As a content producer and owner of intellectual property, DHX Media delivers shows that children love, licensing its content to major broadcasters and streaming services worldwide. Through its subsidiary, WildBrain, DHX Media also operates one of the largest networks of children’s content on YouTube. The company’s robust consumer products program generates royalties from merchandise based on its much-loved children’s brands.Headquartered in Canada, DHX Media has offices in 15 cities globally, and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (DHX.A and DHX.B) and the NASDAQ Global Select Market (DHXM).DisclaimerThis press release contains “forward-looking statements” under applicable securities laws with respect to DHX Media, including, without limitation, statements regarding the broadcast, distribution, licensing, growth, demand, viewership and business strategies in respect of Teletubbies. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and are based on information currently available to the Company. Actual results or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, among other things, include risk factors discussed in materials filed with applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time including matters discussed under “Risk Factors” in the Company’s most recent Annual Information Form and annual Management Discussion and Analysis, which also form part of the Company’s annual report on Form 40-F filed with the SEC. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

OSHAWA MUSICIAN LENNON STELLAS STAR IS RISING EVEN AS SHE FIGURES OUT

first_imgAdvertisement We’re at midday and roughly eight hours before the commencement of the first date of a sold-out, two-night homecoming stand at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall that also happens to be the first date of Lennon Stella’s first tour ever and, while she professes nerves, she’s not really betraying them.“All my family is coming,” says the 19-year-old Oshawa expat. “Like, everyone. That makes it so much more nerve-wracking. So much more nerve-wracking.” Facebook Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Stella doesn’t sound nervous, though. And why should she? She’s been onstage and in front of microphones and cameras for years, most notably alongside little sister and sometime singing partner Maisy playing sisters Maddie and Daphne on the CMT series Nashville between 2012 and 2018.For someone who’s not yet old enough to drink legally in any of the many U.S. venues that await her on the Love, Me tour — more than half of which has been sold out since it was announced in January — she’s already something of a seasoned industry pro and a known quantity. The strange thing is that it’s taken this long for Lennon Stella to get a record out and go on the road. Twitterlast_img read more

Manitoba school shutdown due to asbestos

first_imgAPTN National NewsA remote northern Manitoba First Nation has shut down its school.They did so amid fears that generations of children may have been exposed to cancer causing asbestos.About 300 kids have been removed from the school on Berens River First Nation.APTN National News reporter Ntawnis Piapot has more on the story.last_img

Tina Fontaines death and Raymond Cormiers trial What the jury heard

first_imgThe Canadian Press WINNIPEG – Jurors sat through three weeks of evidence in the trial of Raymond Cormier, 56, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the slaying of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine.Tina’s body, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks, was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg several days after she disappeared in August 2014. The case reignited calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.Here is what the jury heard:THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TINA AND CORMIERCourt heard Tina had a happy childhood raised by a great-aunt on the Sagkeeng First Nation, but the girl began to spiral downward when her father was murdered in October 2011. Tina’s mother, who had not been part of her life, re-emerged and Tina started going to Winnipeg to visit her. The girl ended up on the street and was being sexually exploited.Tina’s boyfriend Cody Mason, who was 18 at the time, testified the pair first met Cormier earlier in the summer of 2014 and told him they didn’t have a place to stay. Cormier, who court heard was a methamphetamine and crack user, took them to a house with a basement. Known to some as Sebastian and to others as Frenchy, Cormier supplied Tina with the prescription drug gabapentin, said Mason, who added he and Tina would also drink and take marijuana and cocaine.Tina told a social worker that Cormier was a much older man who was going to get her a bike. Cormier told friends he had had sex with the 15-year-old. One witness, Sarah Holland, testified she once saw Cormier grope Tina while asking her to “just do me.”THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCEThe cause of Tina’s death was undetermined. Dr. Dennis Rhee testified that he found no definitive injuries on her body or to her internal organs. He said there was no evidence of a sexual assault, no signs of a stabbing or major blunt force trauma. It was estimated her body was in the river for three to seven days.There was no evidence that she drowned, but it couldn’t be ruled out. Christopher Keddy, who works at the RCMP forensics lab, testified that tests showed Tina’s body had a level of alcohol slightly above the legal limit for driving. Keddy also said there was a relatively high level of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana.There was no indication of gabapentin, but Keddy said the test the RCMP lab ran might not detect low levels of the drug. Under cross-examination, the defence suggested it couldn’t be ruled out that gabapentin was in Tina’s system at a potentially lethal level in combination with other drugs. There was no DNA evidence linking Cormier to Fontaine.THE DUVET COVERThree people connected to Cormier told police he owned the same type of duvet cover that was wrapped around Tina’s body. DNA testing found no traces linking Cormier to the cover. Court heard police tried to find the source of the duvet cover. It was sold by Costco Canada and 864 had been shipped to the three Costco stores in Winnipeg.Police tracked down 100 people who had purchased covers with the same design to ask them whether they still had them. Under cross-examination, investigators acknowledged Costco had given away some of the unsold duvet covers, and police could not rule out whether similar ones had been purchased elsewhere and brought to Winnipeg.THE ARGUMENT ON THE STREETOn Aug. 6, about two weeks before Tina’s body was found and three days before she was reported missing, witnesses saw her arguing with Cormier in the street and heard Cormier mention something about a river. Holland testified that she heard Tina tell Cormier she was going to call the cops.The Crown argued that Cormier was worried that Tina was going to report that he had stolen a truck. Court heard an audio recording of Tina calling 911 to report a stolen truck. Witnesses also testified that Tina was angry that Cormier had sold her bike for drugs. Cormier acknowledged the argument in an interview with police and said he followed her down the street before turning in the other direction.He said that is the last time he saw her. He also suggested the suspect police should really be looking for was a man who looked like singer Robert Plant who was walking in the same direction as Tina that night. “Don’t focus on me,” he told police.ERNIE DeWOLFEDeWolfe met Cormier in prison and they stayed at the same halfway house for a time. DeWolfe testified he talked to Cormier on Aug. 15 and Cormier said he had met with Tina the previous day to ensure she was not going to call the police.“He just said that he had talked to her and he straightened it all out and took care of it,” DeWolfe testified. “I just presumed that he talked to her and … sorted it out.”Tina’s body was found in the river on Aug. 17. In cross-examination, the defence suggested DeWolfe made the whole story up because he and Cormier had had an argument over money.THE UNDERCOVER TAPESPolice launched a six-month undercover operation against Cormier called Project Styx. Cormier was placed in a bugged apartment for free and an undercover officer moved into a suite on the same floor.Cormier was recorded saying he’d bet the girl was killed because he found out she was only 15 years old.“I drew the line and that’s why she got killed,” he said.Cormier also told a woman that when he last talked to Tina, he told her to go jump off a bridge. At another point, he asked a woman if she had ever been “haunted by something” before he started to talk about Tina and boast that he beat two murders.During another recording, Cormier said during an argument with a woman that there was a little girl in a “grave someplace screaming at the top of her lungs for me to finish the job. And guess what? I finished the job.”Court also heard Cormier in a recording warning people in his apartment not to overdose or they would end up wrapped in a carpet and thrown in the river. In conversations with the undercover officer, Cormier said there were “three rules to crime: deny, deny deny.”THE ARGUMENTSCrown prosecutors contended that Cormier killed Tina, either by suffocation or drowning, because he found out she was only 15 and that would make him a pedophile. They said Cormier’s own words on the undercover tapes should be enough to convict him.The defence said that with no DNA evidence and no cause of death, there were too many holes in the case. It argued that Cormier felt guilt after learning that Tina was only 15 and he wanted to find the real killer.last_img read more

Prison sentence for Indigenous woman doesnt seem right BC judge

first_imgThe Canadian PressVANCOUVER – A judge in British Columbia has sentenced an Indigenous woman to four years in prison for manslaughter, but says it doesn’t seem right that incarceration was the best available option.Sadie Taniskishayinew was convicted last October of fatally stabbing 31-year-old Robert Boucher on a Vancouver street in November 2015.Her trial heard that she and Boucher had been drinking, but there seemed to be little motive for the stabbing and the woman left without calling for help, then tossed the butcher knife into an alley garbage can.Justice Susan Griffin said in a decision posted this week that Boucher’s death was senseless and addressed his family directly, noting the Indigenous man was killed before his daughter reached her first birthday.“Mr. Boucher was a valuable person and did not deserve to die, and I have taken into account the value of his life and the loss to his family,” she said. “Far too many Indigenous people die violent deaths in Canada. His life mattered.”Imposing a fit sentence in the case was a difficult task, considering the background of both the victim and the attacker, Griffin added.The decision said Taniskishayinew is a 25-year-old Indigenous woman who has experienced significant neglect, trauma and loss, including the death of one of her three children.A report prepared before the sentencing hearing noted her family had attended residential school, and she is suspected of having fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The report also listed a number of extensive injuries she had suffered as the result of significant violence, including broken bones, concussions and slashes that required stitches.Griffin said Taniskishayinew admits to being addicted to alcohol, and that she was using methamphetamines and drinking heavily when Boucher was killed.“She feels that if she had been sober, the offence would never have happened,” she said.It’s not surprising that Taniskishayinew struggled with substance use or lashed out violently, the judge added.“Given her painful and harsh life, it is little wonder that Ms. Taniskishayinew reacts violently and impulsively and drowns her emotional pain with intoxicants. It does not seem right, as a society, that we do not have better options for her than jail.”She noted that the woman will need significant counselling “given the social problems caused to our Indigenous communities by Canadian historic injustices, and the need to avoid over-incarceration.”But Griffin said that Taniskishayinew’s violent history made her a risk to the public and it had to be noted that she had taken a life.With credit for time spent awaiting trial, she will serve a further year and a half in prison and then must complete three years probation.Griffin urged the woman to dedicate herself to mental health and trauma counselling, and told her that she must stay sober for the rest of her life.“Getting out of prison is only the first step,” she said.last_img read more

Police need to work harder says head of Saskatchewan police chiefs at

first_imgTamara PimentelAPTN NewsInteraction with police services has been one of the most critical topics at this week’s hearings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.“I’ve heard multiple examples of how police perceived to have failed and, in many cases, continue to fail Indigenous people in this country,” said Katrina Swan of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police (SACP).Swan is the first of only a few parties with standing to represent police services in this week’s hearings in Calgary.Swan said the SACP, which represents 12 municipal police forces, has been taking note of issues arising within the inquiry.“Contact with the family is a critical part of the investigative process. I would love to stand before you today and say we get it right all the time,” she said.“But, as you’ve heard, as often as we get it right or think we get it right, we’re being told that we missed the mark. Police need to work harder at ensuring there is an open relationship and communication between the parties.”Charlene Belleau of the Esketemc First Nation in British Columbia represents the First Nations Health Council.She shared stories of missing and murdered women from her community and how cultural protocols are used as an alternative to the RCMP or justice system.“The victims of violence feel they lose their voice in the criminal justice system,” she said.“We wanted to be able to give them a voice through these protocols.”The traditional and ceremonial approach seems to be more effective, Belleau added.“When we have our healing circles they do acknowledge the behaviour, and they do acknowledge having perpetrated those crimes.”It also works faster.“We feel a responsibility that we can help these families that we don’t have to wait for the RCMP or police services or search and rescue,” Belleau said.“We can do things on our own and we should be doing what we can for these families.”Swan said while there are things police services need to work on, in Saskatchewan the SACP has been improving.“Police are involved in initiatives designed to address the root causes of vulnerability and marginalization of indigenous women and girls,” she said.“(They’re) becoming more involved in restorative justice efforts and are working collaboratively with community partners.”tpimentel@aptn.ca@tamara_aptnlast_img read more

Hudsons Bay in jointventure talks with European retailer Signa Holding

first_imgTORONTO – Hudson’s Bay Co. is eyeing a joint venture in Europe with an Austrian department store heavyweight it previously rebuffed.The Canadian retailer said it is in talks with Signa Holding GmbH, a European company that made an unsolicited bid late last year for HBC’s German operations, but withdrew the offer earlier this year after it was rejected by the HBC board because it undervalued the business.A statement HBC released Friday said the pair recently signed a non-binding letter of intent “with respect to the exploration of a potential joint venture,” but noted that “there can be no assurance that any such discussions will ultimately lead to a transaction” and that any deal would still be subject to board approval and third-party consents that are out of HBC’s control.Signa owns Kardstadt, a department store that sells everything from apparel to household appliances, while HBC runs similar businesses overseas called Galeria Kaufhof and Galeria INNO.A potential deal between the two could pave the way for a German department store monopoly and signals that HBC still sees value in Kaufhof, despite its European operations seeing a 6.6. per cent decrease in overall comparable sales in the last quarter.HBC scooped up Kaufhof from German retailer Metro AG in 2015 for 3 billion euros ($4.5 billion CDN).HBC declined to make a representative available to discuss the potential deal it is eyeing, but said it released a statement Friday in an effort to quiet recent reports suggesting that it had signed a binding agreement to sell or combine business or properties.It said it publicized the exploration of a deal with Signa because it believes “it is prudent to advise stakeholders.”Some of those stakeholders have been tussling with HBC for years now, especially given the retailer’s rocky recent performance that included a $400-million loss in the first quarter of 2018, compared with a loss of $221 million a year ago.The most outspoken of the stakeholders has been Jonathan Litt, chief investment officer and founder of activist investor Land & Buildings Investment Management, who has repeatedly complained that HBC is really a real estate company, not a retailer, that has failed to outline a plan to unlock the “substantial real estate value trapped in the company.”Last month, he released a note saying HBC should look towards American department store chain Macy’s as HBC’s underperfomance “has become even more pronounced.”“Hudson’s Bay could learn a lot from the way Macy’s has built a credible real estate team to help drive its turnaround,” Litt wrote, at the time. “One could even reasonably ask whether the most logical course for HBC at this point would be an acquisition by Macy’s as opposed to trying to play catch up.”While Litt has been outspoken about the company’s real estate, a Lands & Building spokesperson declined to comment Friday about its take on HBC being in talks with Signa.Companies in this story: (TSX:HBC)last_img read more