Judge who issued court injunctions to end rail blockades acted for CN

first_imgBy Kenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsThe judge who signed court injunctions to end two different rail blockades in support of Idle No More used to represent CN Rail as a lawyer and also acted as a witness for the company in the United States according to documents obtained by APTN National News.This has some questioning whether Justice David Brown of Ontario’s Superior court should have recused himself on these injunction requests.CN asked Brown to put in place injunctions to end blockades on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in January and in December against Aamjiwngaang First Nation, both in Ontario.That includes Ron Plain who faces a contempt of court charge for refusing to end the Sarnia blockade in December when Brown ordered him to do so.Plain was the spokesperson for the Aamjiwnaang First Nation blockade that lasted nearly two weeks before a peaceful conclusion was reached Jan. 2.Plain told APTN he didn’t know about Brown’s prior representation of CN Rail.“I’m angry,” said Plain.Brown issued the first injunction against the Sarnia blockade Dec. 21, which was served on Dec. 22, and again, indefinitely, Dec. 27. When it came before the courts a third time Jan. 2 a Sarnia judge presided over the case.Mohawks of Tyendinaga near Belleville, Ont. launched their own rail blockade on Saturday Jan. 5.CN was able to reach Brown that night and have him verbally issue a court injunction but the Ontario Provincial Police, much like Sarnia police, delayed enforcing it, preferring to seek a peaceful resolution.When learning of this Brown blasted police departments for not following through on a court ordered injunctions.“Such an approach by the OPP was most disappointing,” Brown said in his decision. “I don’t get it.”Instead of serving the injunction the OPP decided to wait and see if the Mohawks would leave, which they did at about 11:30 p.m. that night.“We seem to be drifting into dangerous waters in the life of the public affairs of this province when courts cannot predict, with any practical degree of certainty, whether police agencies will assist in enforcing court injunctions against demonstrators who will not voluntarily cease unlawful activities, such as those carried on by the protesters in this case,” Brown said.APTN learned of Brown’s former work as a lawyer acting on behalf of CN Rail in a court case he is currently presiding over, CN vs. Holmes. In court records, Brown states at the beginning that he may have a conflict of interest.“When I practiced law I had acted for CN on some tax litigation and served as a witness for CN in some U.S. regulatory proceedings,” Brown wrote in his decision.He told the lawyers representing the defendants to discuss the matter and come back to him if they had a problem. No one did.Matthew Moloci represents one of the defendants in the Holmes case and said he didn’t think Brown had a conflict of interest.“He said in a prior role as a lawyer he had done some work on behalf of CN that was certainly unrelated to anything that was going in the proceeding,” said Moloci. “As far as I was concerned I wasn’t concerned.”When asked if his attitude has changed towards Brown throughout the on-going proceedings Moloci said he wasn’t prepared to comment any further.Toronto lawyer James Morton called the case unusual and that typically judges step aside when these cases come up.“There’s two issues when it comes to impartially of a judge. There is actually partiality, the judge is biased one way or the other and then there’s the perception of partiality. Either one is enough to remove a judge from a case,” said Morton.But in a situation where the defendants don’t have an opportunity to waive perceived bias, like in the cases of Sarnia and Tyendinaga, it’s more problematic.The court injunctions were issued without any word from the defendants.“You can certainly see individuals feeling that justice was not completely impartial if they saw that the judge had been the lawyer for one of the parties in the past and they weren’t given an opportunity to say they were comfortable with it or not,” said Morton.The other issue, Morton said, is picking a judge like it seems CN did.Morton said it’s usually luck of the draw and you get whatever judge you get.“It is unusual that lawyers for CN would be able to contact the judge presumably at home on a Saturday night,” said Morton, which is believed to be the case in Tyendinaga. “Now obviously they had his contact information…but this is certainly unusual let’s put it that way.”APTN contacted the office of Brown and requested an interview. Brown said “no.”kjackson@aptn.ca@afixedaddresslast_img read more

Feds ordered to produce St Annes documents to TRC

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe federal government has been ordered to provide police documents detailing abuse at the former St. Anne’s Residential School to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.Ontario Justice Paul Perell ordered the feds Tuesday to give over the documents to the TRC.“Canada has too narrowly interpreted its disclosure obligations…[T]here has been non-compliance [with the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, IRSSA], and Canada can and must do more in producing documents about the events at St. Anne’s,” wrote Perell in his decision.The documents stem from a five-year Ontario Provincial Police investigation between 1992-1997 into sexual and physical abuse at St. Anne’s in Fort Albany, Ont.The police investigation resulted in criminal convictions.It’s the second time in a year the federal government has been forced to produce documents to the TRC.Last January, a judge ordered more documents to be given to the TRC after the feds refused and fought it in court.“It is troubling that we have had to go to court twice now in under a year to get Canada to honour its obligation to produce all relevant documents,” said TRC lawyer Julian Falconer. “In my view, this is proof positive that Canada just doesn’t get it. There is a real risk that the government’s reliance on legal technicalities to avoid doing the right thing will undermine the apology given so solemnly by the prime minister on behalf of Canadians five years ago.”The TRC is an independent commission with a mandate to document the history of the 130-year residential schools where thousands of Aboriginal children died and were abused after being taken from their homes and put in church-run, state-paid, schools.last_img read more

Senior Winnipeg police officer says powers needed to hold runaways

first_imgAPTN National NewsHow to handle chronic runaways is often a problem for police services.In Winnipeg, at-risk-youth are often picked up and then taken back to places like group homes, only to run away again.Now, one Winnipeg police officer believes there may be other options to help vulnerable teens.APTN’s Dennis Ward has this story.last_img

AFN ITK have big expectations for Federal Budget2017

first_imgTodd Lamirande APTN National NewsFinance Minister Bill Morneau told the House of Commons Tuesday that he will deliver the federal budget March 22.Last year, Morneau and the Liberals put up $8.4 billion over five years towards mostly First Nation on reserve programs.According to the AFN, that much should be expected this year.And the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami say last year’s budget was just a start.tlamirande@aptn.calast_img

Labrador 28 say they feel betrayed by letter to Premier

first_imgTrina Roache APTN National NewsAn Inuit leader in Labrador is calling on the premier to help get charges against 28 land protectors dropped.The group is facing 60 charges stemming from a protest at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in the fall.Johannes Lampe sent a letter to Dwight Ball Wednesday urging action from the government.But the people facing criminal charges say it’s not enough.troache@aptn.calast_img

Ontario police watchdog reviewing 9 MMIW Thunder Bay cases

first_imgAPTN National NewsOntario’s police watchdog is reviewing nine cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Thunder Bay.Independent Police Review Director Gerry McNeilly said the nine murdered and missing Indigenous women cases primarily stem from 2009 to the present.McNeilly said the nine cases are part of a total of 39 Thunder Bay death cases going back to the 1990s his office is reviewing as part of a wide-ranging probe of the city’s police force.“It is detailed, it is time consuming,” said McNeilly, in an interview Tuesday. “We are going over all the evidence from the investigations.”McNeilly said the majority of the death cases under review involve Indigenous peoples, but his office’s investigators are also combing through files involving non-Indigenous deaths to gauge whether Thunder Bay police handled investigations differently based on race.“For me in regards to Thunder Bay what we see is of great concern to us,” said McNeilly.McNeilly’s office has included the May waterway deaths of Tammy Keeash, 17, and Josiah Begg, 14, as part of its review. Keeash, from North Caribou Lake, was found dead in a marsh area of shallow water known as the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway. Begg, from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, was found in the McIntyre River.McNeilly’s team is also reviewing the case of Stacy DeBungee, 41, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on Oct. 19, 2015. McNeilly said he expects to release a separate report on the Thunder Bay police’s conduct in handling DeBungee’s death investigation by the middle of next month.Read More: Thunder BayThunder Bay police publicly announced there was no foul play suspected in DeBungee’s death before the completion of an autopsy. A separate investigation conducted by a private investigator discovered that two sets of identification documents — one belonging to DeBungee and the other belonging to an individual that has yet to be tracked down — were found by the river where DeBungee was found. DeBungee’s debit card was also used after his death.In addition to the 39 death cases, McNeilly’s office is also reviewing the deaths of seven First Nation youth which were the subject of a coroner’s inquest that concluded last summer.Five of the seven youth were found dead in the city’s waterways. The coroner’s jury concluded it could not determine what led to three of the five drowning deaths.McNeilly’s office stepped in to investigate the Thunder Bay police last fall after First Nation leaders began to loudly question the police’s handling of death cases involving Indigenous peoples.The public record shows Thunder Bay police investigators have for years been quick to rule out foul play in the apparent drowning death of Indigenous peoples.McNeilly said his office has received numerous complaints from Thunder Bay over the years and some have been withdrawn because complainants feared reprisal.“It has to get better,” he said. “We have to work together to fix this, to make it better.”McNeilly will be in Thunder Bay on Sept. 25 for a public meeting.He plans to travel regularly to the northern Ontario city over the next several months to complete a report on allegations of systemic racism against the Thunder Bay police.McNeilly’s office has been given full access to Thunder Bay police files as part of the review, he said.“I am a friend. I am not an enemy of the people,” he said. “Or an enemy of the police.”McNeilly is familiar with some of the issues facing the Indigenous community is Thunder Bay as a result of his experience running Legal Aid in Manitoba.“I know there is hope,” he said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think so.”McNeilly said he expects to deliver his final report on the Thunder Bay police by the end of next winter.Contact APTN National News here: news@aptn.calast_img read more

Thelma Chalifoux former senator and Metis activist dies in Alberta at 88

first_img(Metis activist, and former senator Thelma Chalifoux died Friday. Photo courtesy: NAIT)The Canadian PressST. ALBERT, Alta.- Metis activist and retired senator Thelma Chalifoux has died.Chalifoux’s daughter, Debbie Coulter, says her mother passed away Friday evening at a care home in St. Albert, near Edmonton, and had been in declining health for some years.She was 88.Chalifoux was appointed to the upper chamber in 1997 and served until she retired at age 75 in 2004.Chalifoux was born in Calgary in 1929 and noted when she was named to the Senate that she raised seven children, so she was used to hard work.She began working in community development when she was offered a job by the Metis Association of Alberta.She later served as chairwoman of the Metis National Council Senate and vice-president of the Aboriginal Women’s Business Development Corporation.She was also the first Metis woman on the Senate of the University of Alberta.“We spent the last couple of days in her room surrounding her with love, music and stories,” Coulter said Sunday, noting that children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present during that time.“We like to think that she could still hear us.”In her job with Alberta’s Metis Association, Chalifoux was sent from the cities of south and central Alberta to the northern bush country of Slave Lake, where she was to spend the next 12 years.Working with the Company of Young Canadians, a government agency that brought young workers in to help people in poor communities organize to improve their lot, she began fighting for better conditions for her people, especially better housing.She modelled her work on the writings of Saul Alinsky, who wrote about community development in black neighbourhoods in American cities.“When you develop communities, it’s like working in the trenches. You train the people to become self-sufficient,” Chalifoux told The Canadian Press in an interview in 1997.Along the way, she became one of the first Indigenous women to broadcast on private radio, Peace River’s CKYL.She received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1994.During her time as senator she appointed a task force to consult with Edmonton’s Indigenous community about violent Indigenous youth gangs, and argued for better education and partnerships between the community, police and other Canadians.She also challenged a claim by then-Alberta premier Ralph Klein that she should have been elected to the post, noting she could have won an election.Chalifoux said she wouldn’t have a chance because she was a woman, Metis and didn’t have the finances for a campaign.After leaving the Senate, Coulter said her mother founded an organization to preserve and protect the Metis history in northern Alberta, called the Michif Institute. Coulter and her sister took it over when their mother became ill, and a version of it continues today.“There’s a saying that nobody wants on their grave that they wish they would have worked more. We were laughing about that the other day and we thought, well, except for my mother. She might have said that,” Coulter said.Contact APTN National News here: news@aptn.calast_img read more

Man charged with killing 12 year old Monica Jack in 1978 found

first_imgThe Canadian PressFamily members of 12-year-old Monica Jack who was murdered in British Columbia in 1978 cried, hugged and thanked jurors who found a man guilty of first-degree murder Thursday.Garry Handlen, 71, told undercover police during a sting in Minden, Ont., that he abducted Monica Jack while she was riding her bike, sexually assaulted and strangled her, but his defence team said the confession was coerced.As sheriffs led him out of B.C. Supreme Court, Handlen turned to face a woman who yelled: “And that goes for … trying to kill me!”The woman, whose name is under a publication ban following a trial in 1979 where Handlen was convicted of sexually assaulting her, wept too as she supported Jack’s family.Jack’s mother, Madeline Lanaro, said she would not immediately comment on the verdict. The family will return to court for a sentencing hearing on Jan. 28 and provide victim impact statements.Jurors began deliberating Handlen’s fate on Tuesday after an 11-week trial that heard tearful testimony from Lanaro, who last saw her daughter riding her new bike on May 6, 1978.The trial heard Handlen confessed during a so-called Mr. Big operation, saying he’d grabbed Jack from a highway pullout in Merritt.A first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.In a hidden-camera video shown in court, Handlen told the crime boss of the fictitious Mr. Big operation that he grabbed Jack, threw her bike in a lake, forced the girl into the bathroom of his camper and drove up a rough hill where he killed her.Jack’s skull and some bones were found in the area 17 years later.Her mother told the trial she was driving her old Mustang home with her other children when she saw her daughter on the highway and that the girl waved at them.“I honked and the kids yelled out, ‘Do you want a ride? And she said ‘No.’ ”The woman who Handlen sexually assaulted said outside court that police called her in December 2014 to say he’d been charged with the first-degree murder of Jack.“Then everything came back,” she said. “The last four years have been hell, very difficult. I haven’t been able to hold down a job.”Handlen was arrested and charged after a nine-month undercover operation involving a fictitious crime group that hired Handlen to do legal and illegal jobs such as loan sharking, the trial heard.Handlen was paid almost $12,000 by the gang that promised him a middle-management job as he was gaining favour with the boss, who told him in the video that police had DNA linking him to Jack’s murder but the crime could be pinned on someone else if he provided enough details.“The bottom line is, they got people that saw you and they got your DNA. That’s not good, Garry,” the crime boss tells him in a hotel room, in video shown to the jury.Handlen was also told he would have to travel to British Columbia’s Interior with other members of the group to point out the spot where he said he’d abducted Jack so an ailing man taking the fall for him would have that information.Handlen told the supposed crime boss that he picked up an Indigenous girl and sexually assaulted her, then repeated at least half a dozen separate times that he strangled her before tossing her body behind a log and leaving the area.“It’s a weight off my shoulder now, I’ve told you. So I’m not the only one that knows now,” he tells the crime boss in the video.The boss tells him he could continue working for the group to repay the debt.“I’m indebted for life now,” Handlen says, before repeatedly thanking him.Handlen’s defence lawyers told the jury their client was set up by the RCMP with inducements that had him believing he’d get his dream of a new truck and continue being part of a group he called a band of brothers.However, the Crown said Handlen had no motivation to confess to a crime he didn’t commit and felt relief at having unburdened himself from a secret he’d carried for 36 years.Outside court, Crown spokeswoman Alisha Adams praised the three prosecutors who worked on the case for four years, adding they showed great perseverance through a difficult case.last_img read more

NS budget Health spending up slightly after election focused on problems

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Liberal government, which had promised to address the health care problems that dominated the spring election campaign, drew derisive opposition reviews by adding only $6.2 million in new health spending to a budget worth $10.5-billion.The majority government’s added investment Tuesday — on top of planned spending in an April 27 budget that was shelved due to the May 30 election — is a tiny fraction of the $4.2 billion annual health department budget.Finance Minister Karen Casey said the budget “builds” on the earlier document, and fulfills Liberal promises to deliver back-to-back surpluses and lower taxes.“We made some difficult, but necessary, decisions to live within our means. At the same time, government made key investments in communities across the province,” Casey said.“Nova Scotians . . . want more timely access to primary care and to family doctors. They want shorter wait times for surgeries, and they want better access to mental health services.”The budget hikes overall spending by $19-million over the April document.The extra health spending includes $2.7 million for orthopedic knee and hip surgeries, $2.0 million for mental health, $800,000 to assist people who need cancer drugs and have limited private insurance coverage, and an added $800,000 for the opioid use and overdose program.The budget also keeps the $2.4 million promised in April to support the recruitment and retention of doctors. The funding creates 10 new places in the family residency program at Dalhousie University and opens 10 new spaces a program that assists international doctors in establishing practices.Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie pulled no punches, saying he was “pissed off” by a budget that in his view failed to live up to Liberal claims that the government had heard concerns on the campaign trail about a lack of doctors and long wait times.“It’s very clear all of that was just lip service,” said Baillie. “No new money for primary health care and family doctors … when it comes time to put his money where his mouth is, the premier lets everybody down.”NDP Leader Gary Burrill was equally dismissive of the government’s fiscal efforts for a sector he says is in crisis.Over the past two years, stagnant funding and delayed spending on health facilities has accompanied stories of bursting hospital pipes, shortages of family doctors and — over the past winter — a dying patient left to languish for over six hours in the hallway of an overcrowded emergency department.“It’s a bit like they’ve brought a garden hose to a house fire,” Burrill said.“All those people that are looking for a family doctor, they’ll be looking to the budget and asking: ‘Is this going to help me with my predicament?’ Plainly it’s not.”The budget still has a $21.3-million surplus, but that’s $4.6 million lower than the original budget due to a drop in revenue from income tax and the increase in departmental spending.In dismissing the opposition’s complaints, Premier Stephen McNeil said the government had carried out its promise by adding $82 million in new spending to health, including the April figures.McNeil said voters had also sent another message during the campaign, and that’s why the government didn’t use more of its surplus for health.“Nova Scotians want us to live within our means. They want us to make the investments that reflect who they are … and we will continue to do so as we go forward.”McNeil said strategic investments in health would continue over the long term and would be reflected again in next spring’s budget.In the April budget, the health budget rose almost two per cent — and it is now consuming about four of every 10 dollars spent by the province as its population continues to be among the country’s oldest.Meanwhile, an unexpected clean-up operation on a waterfront development in Halifax is consuming $4.7 million that wasn’t in the pre-election calculations.There’s also an additional $2.5 million for the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, a joint program with Ottawa that funds research and innovation in the fish and seafood sector.The Liberals are keeping a promise to reduce taxes by an average of $160 for a half-million low- and middle-income earners. They’re doing that by increasing the basic personal exemption by up to $3,000 for taxable income up to $75,000.The change is weighted towards lower-income Nova Scotians, and will also mean 63,000 poorer Nova Scotians will no longer pay provincial income tax after the program kicks in Jan. 1, 2018.Earlier this year, the suicides of three young students in Cape Breton prompted calls for more prevention and support programs. The budget adds money for social workers, guidance counsellors and mental health clinicians.“During the last campaign, Nova Scotians said clearly that mental health was a priority for them,” said Casey in her speech. “We will hire more clinicians, put more support in underserviced areas, and cut wait times for mental health care.”The Liberals say they are still planning to spend about $6 million for new collaborative care centres — one of the measures aimed at remedying problems in primary care, and addressing the premier’s 2013 election promise to provide each citizen with access to a family doctor.The cost for the middle class tax cut in the 2017-18 budget remains at $22 million. The annual cost to the treasury will be $85 million.In addition, a previously announced tax cut on small business income will cost about $14.1 million a year.The province’s net debt is about $15 billion, which is $15,860 per person.Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.last_img read more

Hamilton Spectator rolling out new website paywall version next Tuesday

first_imgHAMILTON – The Hamilton Spectator newspaper says it’s rolling out a new version of the paywall system on its website on Tuesday.The daily publication says in a notice on its website that starting Nov. 7, non-subscribers will have access to five locked articles per month.After reaching the limit in a 30-day period, users must subscribe for full access to thespec.com.Customers who receive the newspaper at home will automatically get online access, while digital subscriptions alone will cost roughly $1 for the first month, and $9 per month afterwards.The Spectator is one of several publications owned by Torstar Corp. which also publishes the Toronto Star and Waterloo Record and holds a stake in The Canadian Press.The company reported a $6.6 million loss in its third quarter amid continued declines in print advertising revenue.last_img read more

Vancouver tech company hires exUS Homeland Security special agent

first_imgVANCOUVER – Big Blockchain Intelligence Group Inc. says it has hired a former U.S. Homeland Security special agent to head its forensics division.The Vancouver-based company says Robert Whitaker, a former Homeland Security Investigations supervisory special agent, will serve as its director of forensics and investigations.Whitaker’s responsibilities will include the global rollout of the company’s QLUE.io product, which allows clients to access information they require within any blockchain.The company says Whitaker’s U.S. government agency and other relationships will help increase market penetration and increase the number of early adopters of the new technology.CEO Lance Morginn says in a statement that Whitaker is an obvious fit for the position and he’ll provide the company the opportunity to become the industry leader.Big Blockchain develops blockchain technology solutions, search and data analytics.last_img read more

Worker dies after being pinned by machine at Alberta chemical plant

first_imgRED DEER, Alta. – An investigation by Occupational Health and Safety is underway after a worker was killed in an accident at an Alberta plant operated by Dow Canada.The department says the accident happened sometime between Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning at a polyethylene plant northeast of Red Deer.Trent Bancarz, an OHS spokesman, says the 47-year-old man was pinned by a machine he was using.The equipment — known as a drum dumper — loads material into a hopper.The victim died at the scene and his identity has not been released.OHS has placed a stop-use order on the dumper.Bancarz said the order is usually done for two reasons.“We may issue it because (the equipment) is not safe to use at the time, or so investigators can take measurements and examine things without the machine being altered from the state it was in at the time of the incident,” he said.Dow said in a statement that the company is “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a colleague, and we are working closely with all parties involved to gather more information and learn from this tragic incident.”The plant site, known as Dow Prentiss, has more than 120 employees.last_img read more

Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales up 02 per cent in September

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales edged up 0.2 per cent in September to $58.5 billion, led by gains in the transportation equipment industry.The growth compared with a drop of 0.5 per cent in August.Economists had expected an increase of 0.3 per cent for September, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Sales were up in eight of the 21 industries tracked. The transportation equipment sector increased 3.1 per cent in September, while sales in the chemical sector gained 1.4 per cent.Sales in the machinery industry fell 6.2 per cent, while wood product sales dropped 2.9 per cent.In constant dollars, sales edged down 0.1 per cent, indicating a lower volume of goods sold.last_img

Venezuela vows to reactivate Goodyear plant

first_imgCARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s government says it will reactivate an assembly line after U.S.-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber announced it will no longer produce tires in the crisis-wracked country.The socialist government said in a statement Tuesday that it aims to preserve some 1,160 jobs. The government has made similar pledges following other plant closures in the past only to see its efforts fall short.It called the Akron, Ohio-based company’s decision to halt production in the industrial city of Valencia illegal and vowed to pursue legal action against its Venezuelan executives for alleged “sabotage.”Goodyear is the latest international corporation to cease operations in Venezuela amid hyperinflation, price controls, U.S. financial sanctions and an economic contraction worse than the U.S. Great Depression.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Washington bans anyone under 21 from buying assault rifles

first_imgSEATTLE — Washington on Tuesday joined a handful of other states that ban anyone under 21 from buying a semi-automatic assault rifle after voters passed a sweeping firearms measure in November that has drawn a court challenge from gun-rights advocates.The ballot initiative seeks to curb gun violence by toughening background checks for people buying assault rifles, increasing the age limit to buy those firearms and requiring the safe storage of all guns. Only the age-limit portion of the measure goes into effect on Jan. 1; the rest becomes law on July 1.Kristen Ellingboe, a spokeswoman for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said the initiative was one of the most comprehensive gun-violence prevention measures to pass in the United States. It specifically targeted “semi-automatic assault rifles” in response to mass shootings across the country, she said.“We’ve seen that assault rifles are the weapon of choice for mass shootings, and when they’re used, more people are killed and injured,” Ellingboe said.Fifty-nine per cent of Washington voters approved Initiative 1639 in the Nov. 6 general election.“We’ve see time and again that Washington voters want action to prevent gun violence in our state,” Ellingboe said. “They showed that again by supporting 1639 by a wide margin.”Opponents have sued to block it.“Starting today, young adults between the ages of 18 to 20 will have their rights to purchase semi-automatic rifles stripped away,” said Dave Workman, a spokesman for the Bellevue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation.The federal lawsuit says the measure violates the Second and 14th amendments of the Constitution as well as gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are firearms dealers in Spokane and Vancouver, a 19-year-old competitive shooter, a 19-year-old in the Army Reserves, a 20-year-old recreational shooter, the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he “looks forward to representing the people of the state of Washington in court against the NRA.”“The gun lobby is trying to thwart the will of nearly 60 per cent of Washingtonian voters who supported common sense gun reform in our state,” he said in an email.The full measure, when it goes into effect later this year, will expand the background check process to ensure that vetting for rifle purchases is the same as for buying pistols.Now, people in Washington who buy long guns are run through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. Background checks for handgun sales are done by local law enforcement agencies that can access NICS as well as more detailed records that might expose mental health issues or harder-to-find criminal records. And you must be 21 to purchase a pistol.“This will update Washington state law so the requirements to purchase semi-automatic assault rifle will match handguns,” Ellingboe said.In most states, including over the border in Idaho and Oregon, you must be 18 to buy an assault rifle. But Republican-dominant Florida passed a law after a school shooting to increase the age limit to 21.Nikolas Cruz was 18 when he legally bought the assault rifle he used to kill 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last February.Four other states — Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and New York — also prohibit anyone under 21 from buying all firearms.Workman of Second Amendment Foundation says Washington’s measure will take away firearms from law-abiding residents who can easily pass multiple background checks. It will impair public safety and embolden criminals while placing restrictions on people who already legally own semi-automatic rifles, Workman said.Martha Bellisle, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Aboriginal hockey team hosting Pub night at Brewhouse

first_imgFor more information or to purchase tickets text/call 778-256-9720.Poster of the event. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The local Canadian Brewhouse is teaming up with Outlaw Aboriginal Youth hockey team for a Pub night this weekend.The event will feature door prizes, silent auction and a 50/50 draw. Tickets are $10 a piece and include a free drink and entry fee. Members of the team will be in their jersey’s selling tickets at locations around the city including Enerplex and Totem Mall on Saturday.The event takes place on Saturday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.last_img

City of Fort St John outdoor skating rinks are underway

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John’s outdoor skating rinks have been delayed by unseasonal weather and are currently in the works.City Communications Coordinator, Ryan Harvey, says City Crews are underway with preparing the rinks.“Obviously we need the weather to cooperate a little bit, but some work is started on things. The grounds crew has been out there doing some flooding” City managed rinks will be located at Kin Park, Surerus Park, and at Matthews Park.The rink at Kin Park and Surerus Park will be a traditional rink while the rink at Matthews Park will be a skating loop.The City will also have a croki-curl rink on the grounds of the Rec Centre where residents can play a modified game of crokinole and curling.For more information, you can visit fortstjohn.ca/parkslast_img read more

Palestinian officials President Abbas picks ally for new premier

first_imgRamallah (West Bank): The Palestinian president has chosen longtime adviser Mohammed Ishtayeh as his new prime minister, officials said Sunday, a step that further deepens the rift with the rival Hamas group. President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to announce the appointment later in the day, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement. Ishtayeh, a British-educated economist, is a top official in Abbas’ Fatah movement. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingHe is a former peace negotiator and strong proponent of a two-state solution with Israel. He also is a strong critic of the Islamic militant group Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces in 2007. The Hamas takeover has left the Palestinians torn between rival governments in Gaza and the West Bank, where Abbas’ Palestinian Authority administers autonomous areas. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed. Ishtayeh will succeed Rami Hamdallah, who had overseen a unity government formed nearly five years ago with the goal of reaching a conciliation deal with Hamas. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangThose attempts made little headway, and collapsed a year ago when Hamdallah’s motorcade was almost struck by a roadside bomb in Gaza. Hamdallah announced his resignation in January after years of failure in reconciliation efforts. Ishtayeh is now expected to appoint a new Cabinet of Fatah supporters. Ishtayeh, who is in his early 60s, has a Ph.D. in economic development from the University of Sussex, according to his website. He has held a number of senior positions, including Public Works minister and a past peace negotiator with Israel.last_img read more

Delhi BJP unit seeks action against AAP for indulging in violent acts

first_imgNew Delhi: The BJP’s Delhi unit Tuesday filed a complaint with the Chief Electoral Office in Delhi and sought action against the Aam Aadmi Party, which it alleged was “indulging in violent acts” and violating the model code of conduct.In its complaint, the BJP accused the AAP of burning the 2014 manifesto of the saffron party which had photos of its leaders. They alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with other party leaders had burnt BJP manifesto on March 13. Other party leaders Manish Sisodia, Rajendra Pal Gautam, Kailash Gahlot and Pankaj Gupta were among those who led had party workers in burning copies of the party’s manifesto, the BJP alleged. The manifestos were burnt by the AAP to attack BJP on the issue of full statehood to Delhi. “The AAP leaders are violating MCC by either not seeking permission for such events from Election Commission or they have sought permission for election meetings from EC and misused such permission to violate MCC by burning BJP’s manifesto,” the letter said. The letter, written by SN Verma, co-convener of the legal department of BJP Delhi Pradesh, said orders should be issued to leaders and workers of AAP to “cease and desist from such violent acts”. Five complaints have been made against the BJP and the AAP for organising gatherings to burn manifestos without permission, officials from the Chief Electoral Office of Delhi had said on Monday.last_img read more