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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Alberta murderer gets Canada's stiffest prison term since the death penalty was repealed

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 15/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The toughest prison sentence since Canada’s last execution was given to an Alberta armored car guard who shot four of his fellow workers, three fatally.
   Travis Baumgartner, 22, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.
   Associate Chief Justice John Rooke called it an “unspeakable, outrageous, cowardly and cold-blooded crime . . . all with the simple motive of robbery.”
   A new federal law allows consecutive parole ineligibility periods in multiple murders instead of the previous maximum of 25 years.
   The death penalty was repealed in 1962 and the judge in this case could have imposed a parole wait of up to 75 years.
   Rooke said Baumgartner showed “absolutely no compassion for life,” and shot the workers in the back of the head and ambushed a fourth guard waiting outside in a truck.
   They were filling a cash machine at the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton.
   Baumgartner pleaded guilty to murdering Brian Ilesic, 35, Eddie Rejano, 39, and Michelle Shegelski, 26, and the attempted murder of Matthew Schuman, 26.
   He was arrested in British Columbia at the Canada-U.S. border carrying $400,000 in cash the next day.
   (For more Canadian news of the week, click "Read More" below)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Two Canadian warships back in British Columbia for repairs after a collision in the Pacific

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 8/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Royal Canadian Navy has ordered an inquiry into what caused the collision of two warships in the Pacific.
   Something went “dramatically wrong” during a routine training exercise involving the HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Protecteur, said Commodore Bob Auchterlonie.
   It happened during a towing exercise while en route to Hawaii, with the Algonquin bearing the brunt of the damage.
   It had a large gash in the hangar along the port side while the Protecteur had damage to its front end.
   “There is an inherent risk of ships operating together at sea in close proximity, but this sort of incident I've not come across in my career,” Auchterlonie said.
   There were no injuries among the 300 sailors on board each of the ships that have returned to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, near Victoria, for repairs.
   The incident has compromised Canada’s naval readiness on the West Coast as a third ship, the frigate HMCS Winnipeg, was rammed by an American fishing trawler last spring and is still out of service.

(To view more of the Canadian news roundup, click "Read More" below)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Canadian senator resigns and repays $231,649 in "improper" expense claims

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 1/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Mac Harb, one of four senators accused of submitting improper expense claims, has resigned and paid back $231,649 to the Canadian government.
   The veteran Liberal politician refunded all of the living-related expenses in question in a scandal that has reopened a debate of whether to abolish the non-elected Senate.
   “My dispute with the Senate committee on Internal Economy made working effectively in the Senate unrealistic,” he said.
   The Mounties continue to investigate Harb’s expenses concerning compensation paid because he said his main residence was outside the capital region.
   Attorney Paul Champ said an independent audit did not determine that Harb violated any rules but the rules themselves weren’t clear.
   Harb, 59, could have remained in the Senate until age 75 and was earlier a Member of Parliament for 15 years.
   Three other senators named in the inappropriate claims’ audits are also being investigated by the police.
   Mike Duffy has paid back $90,172 while Pamela Wallin has returned $38,369 and must repay another $100,000 for improper travel expenses and Patrick Brazeau has been asked to pay back $48,745.

 (For more Canadian news of the week, click Read More)