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Sunday, September 2, 2012

B.C. sled dog tour manager admits killing 56 dogs not needed after Winter Olympics

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 2/12


   (c) By Jim Fox

   The former manager of a British Columbia sled-dog tour company admitted to brutally killing 56 of the animals no longer needed after the 2010 Winter Olympics.
   Robert Fawcett pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the culling of the dogs from the pack owned by Howling Dog Tours in Whistler.
   He will be sentenced Nov. 22 after the court considers a psychiatric assessment.
   The incident became known last year after Fawcett filed a claim to receive worker’s compensation for “post-traumatic stress disorder” over stress from killing the animals.
   The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals exhumed the remains of the dogs from a mass grave as part of the investigation.
   Marcie Moriarty of the SPCA said the maximum penalty Fawcett faces is five years in jail, a fine of up to $75,000 and a possible lifetime ban on owning animals.
   Animal rights advocates gathered outside the courtroom in North Vancouver urging that he receive the maximum penalty.
   “We want to have a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves,” said pet owner Ingrid Katzberg.


   U.S. military-service resister Kimberly Rivera who has lived in Toronto since 2007 is being deported.
   Rivera, who lives with her husband and four children, two of whom were born in Canada, had sought refugee status to remain and avoid further American military service in Iraq.
   The Canada Border Services Agency said it did not believe claims she would face harsh penalties, denying her bid to stay.
   The War Resisters Support Campaign said two other Iraq war resisters who were deported to the U.S. were given one-year jail terms by the military.


   News in brief:
   - The decision by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to give an opposition leader, Jack Layton of the New Democrats, a state funeral cost $368,326, newly released figures show. A Harris-Decima poll said more than 75 percent of Canadians said it was appropriate to give such an honor – not normally done for party leaders – to Layton a year ago.
   - Four consumer groups have joined the movement to try to encourage federal regulators to reject Bell Canada's proposed $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media. They say the deal would give Bell control of 38 percent of Canada’s television market and 29 percent of radio stations, thereby removing competition from the marketplace. A decision is expected next month.


   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian dollar was higher Friday at $1.0141 in U.S. funds while the U.S. dollar was valued at 98.60 cents Canadian.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is unchanged at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.
   Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,954 points and the TSX Venture index 1,230 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (Aug. 29) 3, 5, 8, 14, 24 and 34; bonus 38. (Aug. 25) 4, 12, 17, 18, 34 and 44; bonus 21. Lotto Max: (Aug. 24) 2, 3, 5, 22, 23, 32 and 33; bonus 8.


   Regional briefs:
   - A newly married Quebec woman was swept to her death during a photo shoot in Rawdon, north of Montreal. Married in June, Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, of Laval was posing at the edge of the Ouareau River in her wedding gown for “trash the dress” pictures. When her gown became waterlogged and heavy, she slipped from the rocks and was pulled into the swiftly moving water and carried away.
   - Alberta and Saskatchewan are among the best-performing labor markets in North America, the public policy Fraser Institute said. It named the two western Canadian provinces at the top followed by Manitoba at fifth place and British Columbia seventh in a study of Canada and U.S. markets. With Quebec 11th overall and Ontario 16th, they trail in “important areas such as private-sector job creation and total employment growth,” report co-author Amela Karabegovic said.
   - There’s more backlash against Canadian visitors in U.S. border towns as some restaurants in Burlington, Vermont have added surcharges for “stingy” diners from Quebec. “Tipping is not just something you do in a canoe,” the menu says at Ken’s Pizza, suggesting an 18-percent gratuity. Two other waterfront restaurants also admitted adding an automatic surcharge to cover the tips for “people from foreign countries.”


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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